Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Had a good surprise at the mechanic
But one thing they found came as a pleasant surprise, even though I didn't realize it until I got home and looked up a few specs. Wayne measured the sway bars with a calipers while it was on the lift, since I was curious about what suspension it had and the option list faded long ago. I found a 30 mm front sway bar and a 22 mm rear one. I'd heard that 30 mm is the largest front sway bar they put on a C4 Corvette, so I did a bit of digging and eventually found VetteNet's suspension guide. Looking up those measurements, I see that I've got the Z51 handling package. I had kind of expected it to have a base suspension - it's got an automatic and quite a few luxury items - so this was a pleasant surprise.
Sunday, August 26, 2007
I know it's a relaxing highway bike, but...
Thursday, August 23, 2007
A mission statement for the Corvette
I kind of had a bit of a dilemma with this car. On one hand, it's a bit beat up, faded, worn, and showing signs of its age. A car like that might make a good beater. Except it's a Corvette. Beaters have their advantages - drive a beater, and you're accountable to no one. You can bomb it down gravel roads, change the color with Krylon, get it airborn on railroad tracks, or cut up perfectly original parts with a hacksaw for creative hack-job modifications. But it's just wrong to treat a Corvette like that. At the same time, I'm not sure I want to put thousands of dollars' worth of speed parts into a $3,500 car.
The answer to what sort of buildup this should be came when I decided the radio needs replacing (it won't lock onto the stations correctly, for one thing) and remembered I had a Blaupunkt CD player that I'd picked up for free from my brother in law: See if I can find some cool mods for way less than retail - either free cast-offs, used parts, odd deals I might be able to whistle up from various connections through work (hey, this isn't the Challenge, so I can use that advantage if I want to!). Kind of in keeping with how the car itself was a score I couldn't pass up. I may sometimes have to pay full price - doubtless will for some wear items, repairs, and things that don't make sense to buy used. But I'm going to see if I can make this a supercar fit for Clark Howard.
Besides some creative scrounging, it needs some other key planning elements. So here they are.
1. First and foremost, it's my daily driver. That means everything on it is to be kept in good working order, I'll keep the AC, stereo, and other things that add weight but make traffic more tolerable, and it won't get mods that ruin its practicality.
2. It'll be made for good handling, and frequently autocrossed. Maybe in A/Stock for now, B/Street Prepared for later. I don't plan on pushing it into Street Mod 2 unless I really run across an impossible to pass up deal on an aluminum block.
3. And like I said earlier, scoring good deals may very well turn out to be as important as going fast.
The Focus acts jealous, again
Ok, so I know it's not jealousy, but it sure seems that way. In truth, the battery had been showing signs of wearing down, and having the car sit for a week was enough to kill it. The fact that the previous owner had put in a battery half the size of the correct one probably didn't help. I put in a new battery and it's now running like normal.
Labels: Ford Focus
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
On the hottest day of summer
I was driving the Corvette home today, on what the weather forecast said would be the hottest day of the summer so far. I heard a squeaking sound, and the air conditioner suddenly started blowing hot air. Great, I say to myself, I've just had my AC start acting up on the hottest day of the year. Then I start smelling something strange. I wonder - hope - if it's someone grilling dinner. Then smoke starts billowing out from under the hood when I come to a stoplight. I shut down the AC and pull over at the first place where I can safely get off the road. I start to worry that I'll have to call a tow truck.
I pop the hood, andI find traces of smoke lingering around the AC compressor. Clearly a siezed compressor. I feel a bit relieved knowing that I'm back to merely having an AC that's acting up and not a car that's left me stranded. I unplug the AC compressor clutch so it can't turn on, and sweat the rest of the way home.
Looks like the Corvette is going to need a bit more work. I kind of figured there had to be a catch to a bargain. Well, it could have been worse - like several other cheap cars I've owned.
Saturday, August 18, 2007
That used car smell
My first assault on the smell was to empty a can of carpet cleaner into the interior. It made a dent, but didn't really make the smell go away.
So today I called in the heavy artillery - I took it to a detailing shop and had the interior completely steam cleaned and shampooed. It was a bit pricey, but knocked out virtually all of the tobacco smell.
Friday, August 17, 2007
I've just picked up a new daily driver...
I wasn't really looking for a Corvette at all. But when this 1986 Corvette popped up on Craigslist for $3500, I couldn't pass it up. It's in mechanically good shape, with a healthy V8 and an automatic that shifts as smoothly as you would expect for a sports car. It's not perfect, of course - it could use some body work, the interior smells heavily of pipe tobacco, and there are some weird nagging electrical gremlins, squeaks, and rattles.
While the exterior still looks kind of timeless, the interior is very much a period piece, with teal blue upholstery and a digital dash that looks remarkably like the one from Knight Rider. Still, it's a lot of fun to drive, and I can't belive I picked one up for a price like this.