Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The thing about cars..

I have a long and chequered history when it comes to cars.
I love cars, but they are just inanimate objects and so I treat them a bit cruelly sometimes.
Over the years I have tried to do all manner of stupid things with cars and in the process learnt quite alot, unfortunately there were many expensive and painfull lessons.
I have progressed to the point now where I can pull the engine out of a late modem car, on my driveway, in an afternoon. I can then fix whatever needs fixing and get the motor back into the car again by myself the next day. This is not easy, the engine I am guessing weighs 150kg so you can't lift it by hand, but with the clever use of levers and hoists it is possible to get it done. It actually makes you realise just how easy it is to work on cars, the actual spanner work is really simple, what makes it hard is manouvering heavy parts around, this is where a proper workshop with hoists and good tools makes it much easier.
So anyway, I've got this Subaru Outback, its a 1999 model, the 2.5lt 4cyl AWD and its currently a manual. I have had it just over a year now, during this time I have covered well over 50,000kms and the car has been great. It gets better than 10l/100km in both the city and country and no matter how hard you make it work. The car has travelled 175,000kms now but the engine still feels fine. I had an $800 service follewed by an expensive radiator problem and then CV's and I had to replace the tyres. Suddenly this car was getting expensive! But to be fair to the car it was all just maintainance due to the number of Kms travelled, everything wears out and needs to be replaced sooner or later.
So a month ago the clutch went on the car, I rang around and got quotes ranging from $800 to $1800 so I got the clutch kit through a good mate for $200 and fitted it myself on a saturday afternoon.
The syncros on Second have always been a bit dodgy on my car and sure enough 2nd went bang the other day, I have been driving without second for a while now and I am getting used to it. It would be harder with a caravan though, it would probably destroy the clutch quickly...
So the solution? Well an Auto would be better for towing a caravan, the Outback manual gearbox is not a sporty sexy thing, its like stirring a bag of bolts with a wooden spoon.
So I already have the Hayes manual for the car and I can see the differences between the auto and manual versions. I am waiting for pricing for the Gearbox,TCM,Propshaft,Rear Diff, Oil Cooler, and Lever/Linkage that I would need to change the car over to an Auto. Funnily enough I tried to do this years ago with a Nissan NX-R and it ended badly, but that was paying some idiot to do the work.
I am pretty sure that the cost of the parts from a wrecker (Reycled Parts Supplier) will be comparable to the cost of a recyled manual gearbox or having mine rebuilt.
SeaBreeze promises us NE winds for the next 3 mornings. I will of course be at Mosman Park and look forward to flying there! I will take my camera this time!

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