21st Century Automotives

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

Jeanne’s ride, a 1991 Oldsmobile 98, tried to go kerplunk.  Her working two jobs and depending on it didn’t keep it from wearing out and the brakes going soft around the time I began borrowing it for physical therapy three times a week.

Well, I’m nothing if not confident when it comes to replacing master cylinders on vintage vehicles.  Hell I’ve done it over Christmas [you might recall] on an aging RV in the parking lot of an AutoZone in Big Spring, Texas while enjoying heart attacks on the side].  [ A merry little dumpster diving year-end adventure]

So I assured her I could replace that master cylinder in a New York minute.  Instead, what happened in a New York minute is the discovery I’ve got nothing in me if it’s strength or endurance you’re measuring.  So not far into the job she called her son, Michael, and I kibitzed while he changed it out.

Which is why I didn’t be the one to twist off the left front bleeder valve inside the wossname, como se llama caliper.  I was the one who did the talking at the parts houses trying to get a non-Chinese steel easy-out, buying one out of hunger that deformed and didn’t break, but also didn’t back out that bleeder valve.

So Jeanne took the Olds to the Firestorm store and got an estimate to fix it.  But they told her all manner of things else needed fixing amounting to 2000 3000 smackers.

So she went to the credit union and borrowed money hopefully enough to buy a car, an old one, but good, or better than the Olds.  Decided on a Subaru Forester or Toyota RVsomething, or Honda CRV with 150k miles or thereabouts.  Needs something high enough off the ground to go on unpaved roads sometimes.

A couple of Sikhs, offspring of Punjabi parents who migrated here in the what? 80s maybe, had one listed on Craigslist.  2002 Subaru Forester with 165000 miles that looked good and fit inside her budget with a little hammering.

Looked great.  So she had them hold it with $200 until she could have a mechanic go over it for another $100.  Mechanic says, “Subaru’s a great vehicle, but not this one.  You don’t want this one unless you want to spend $3000 trying to get it fixed.”

Hot damn.  They kept $100 of the earnest money, those Punjabi bastards, but agreed to pay for the mechanic examination.

No pain, no gain.  She told her boys to fix the damned brakes, replace the caliper on the Olds, that it didn’t look so bad after all.  What’s a bad radiator, electrical problems, rearview mirrors that flap in the wind and power windows going to hell among friends?

Maybe I could sell her the old 1978 Ford Econoline RV that has a new master cylinder and most of the damage of blown tires hidden out of sight underneath the truck.  Except I’m going to have to live in that again one day if I live so long.

Old Jules

4 responses to “21st Century Automotives

  1. A man does what a man has to do — keep the faith.

  2. Better the old beater you own and could eventually fix than another one you probably couldn’t fix.

    • Hi Ed and good seeing you. I couldn’t agree more. Even the newer ones of the ’91 Oldsmobile ilk are chicken noodle soup under the hood, magically avoiding having driveshafts and rearends, trying to pretend they’re futuristic for their 1980s parents and 1970s grandparents. Gracias, J

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