Life with a Spur

Columbia, MO

#1 Aug 8, 2012
Dear Albert,

You asked how the Spur was doing. We have had the engine and transmission rebuilt, along with tons of other new parts. We replaced the steering rack several years ago (a cool few thousand dollars). Last week, we were leaving to go out for dinner and the power steering stopped working. Kurt pulled over on Bennett Dr. and saw a long trail of power steering fluid behind us in the dust of the gravel road. Never owned a car that marked its territory as much as this one.

We managed to get it into the shop without towing and Allan (our mechanic) showed Kurt that it needed a new steering rack again. We ordered one from Albers and Allan installed it. I picked it up Friday evening, I think.

It has another unsettling quirk. Sometimes when I turn the key, the dash lights go on, the power windows work, the radio comes on, but the engine doesn't crank. When Allan looked at it a few months ago, he said it would be too hard to figure out what it was if it didn't do that for him. It's kind of like playing Russian Roulette on wheels. I'm never sure when (or if)I'll get where I'm going.

I drove it all weekend and twice it wouldn't crank. I sat there for awhile, fiddling with the key, jiggling the gear selector, and finally it started normally.

Monday I had a bunch of errands to run. My last stop was the UPS store to mail Drennen's birthday gift. When I came out, it wouldn't start. At all. No matter how many times I wiggled and jiggled. Kurt drove over and tinkered without success. I called Tiger Towing flatbed and they said we were such good customers they weren't going to charge us $80- just $50.

Do you see a problem here?

I am getting to be a dab hand at steering big, heavy cars onto flatbeds while the winch pulls them up.

Allan has had it now for 3 days. He said the battery was completely drained when it arrived but once they charged it, the car started right up. It hasn't given Allan the silent treatment at all. He checked the battery and has no explanation for why it was draining.

He told me to come get it in the morning.

It's been my daily driver (when it runs, that is) for almost 12 years. Can you believe it's been that long? The paint is going, the lacquer on all the wood is cracked and falling off, and the Connolly hides have long splits and are disintegrating. And then there's the Prince of Darkness. When I want to turn on the interior lights, I move the windscreen wiper switch to "delay" because that makes them turn on. I wish the knob that says 'interior lights' would give me a delayed wipe, but no chance. The wipers don't park anymore, either. They rest in a position that bisects the windscreen but I'm pretty adaptable and have figured out how to see most of what's in front of me by doing a little head dance as I drive. The 'Check Mineral Oil Level' light is stuck on and even though at first its evil red glow made me nervous, I've learned to ignore it. The windscreen washer motor has seized up. The only door lock that works properly now is the driver's. All the rest make a funny 'chunking' sound every time they are opened or closed. If you're a passenger in the rear seat, you have to do some sliding around. You can get into the car from the driver's side but the interior door handle doesn't work. So you exit from the passenger side. BUT- you can't get in from the passenger side because the outside handle doesn't work. The engine that powers the driver's seat to go up and down is broken. I can go back and forth as much as I want but too bad if I want to sit up a little higher or Kurt wants to drive without his head rubbing the fancy wool lining of the roof. I know I'm forgetting things. And I'll have new and interesting tales by next week, I'm sure.

The Flying Lady still looks nice, though.

Hope you're doing well. Don't tell Mom and Dad about the Spur- I'll never hear the end of it.

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