Monday, August 07, 2006

STILL not quire right, but it does go left/right

Finished up the installation of the new AGR steering box tonight. Got the system all bled, fluid level topped off, pulled it out of the driveway for a test ride...

It sucks.

I could be the big idiot here, and I know it's supposed to be more firm, but you cannot turn the wheel comfortably with one hand. In addition, it will not return to center on its own. You have to turn it back and position it there. I have already posted at for help, and will be calling AGR tomorrow for ideas, but I'm not happy with it. I'll be pretty bummed if I find out it's actually supposed to be that way! I tried to do some internet searching, and all I found were some vague mentions about a possible mod to the PS pump, but it shed no further light on the subject.


Nothing is ever easy with these things...

Friday, August 04, 2006

Out for a Spin?

MAN I wish I’d had a camera ready on the way home from work yesterday!

I was headed down College, driving the same route I’ve taken nearly every single work day for approximately eight years. This route goes through your basic mix of residential and light commercial areas. It’s pretty much your average sort of middle to upper-middle class neighborhood, so it’s not like you’re going to see anything unusual…very often.

As I was crossing 86th Street and heading south I saw a car in the approaching lane of traffic about two or three blocks away. It looked odd. The headlights were down very close to the ground and extremely close together. My first thought was, “Man, that thing looks like a dragster with headlights. What the hell is it? Sprint car? No way. What IS that?!”

Getting closer, I saw that it was, of course, not a dragster with headlights.
It was, most definitely, a sprint car!

That’s right, a sprint car (non-winged, because that would just be too much for the street, you know) with headlights mounted on it was driving down a busy thoroughfare in rush hour traffic on the north side of Indianapolis. He rumbled by (headers had to have been baffled) and I just started laughing. Awesome! Totally kickass! What better sight could I hope to see on my usually boring drive home from work? (Maybe Ed Roth’s Mysterion, but how can I possibly be picky?)

Of course, I’m wondering what prompted this guy to drive his race car around on the street. Maybe he was just doing a lap around the block to check the ignition or the fuel system or something. I don’t know. All I know is I got to see him motoring around in a vehicle that is slightly more exciting than your average Taurus, Jetta, or Scion.

Sometimes I’m just in the right place at the right time.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

No Left/Right Yet

These things rarely go smoothly. That's why we're surprised when they do.

I was surprised that I got the steering box on my doorstep last Thursday, a mere 24 hours after ordering it. I didn't even have to pay for quick shipping! "I'll be done this weekend!" I thought.

Beware of expectations.

Over the weekend I had minimal time to work on the car. I did manage to get the old steering box removed, but that was about it. I noticed that the installation instructions specified "a clear name brand premium power steering fluid such as Red Line or Royal Purple." Huh. Okay. If that's what they say, then that's what I'll get. I went to the store, but could not find this magic fluid at my local auto parts store, which was a bummer, but no real surprise. I did find a Valvoline brand, and purchased that one.

It was getting late on Sunday by this time, and I figured I'd call the manufacturer on Monday and find out what the whole story was on this fluid, and how I should go about flushing out the used pump that had just been emptied of tranny fluid.

On Monday the tech guy at AGR told me that I shouldn't use the Valvoline, as it is a blended synthetic fluid, and that I should stick with the Royal Purple/Red Line recommendation. Okay, I can do that.

I called a "local" speed shop. (Note: no speed shop is really local to me. I have to either leave work 45 minutes early and race to the south side of town, or go out of town up north to find a speed shop.) I told the shop what I wanted. They said they could get it on Tuesday. Great! I agreed to pick it up the next day.

On Tuesday afternoon I got ready to start on the car and found out that I the nut that holds the pitman arm on the sector shaft is bigger than any of my sockets. I had to go to Sears to buy a socket. Might as well make the fluid and the socket trip into one outing.

I go to Sears. The only socket they have that fits is a 3/4" drive. There is no 1/2" drive 1 5/16" socket available. I have to buy the 3/4 drive socket and a 1/2 to 3/4 adapter. Total cost = $26. Ouch. I grudgingly pay my money and leave.

I go to get the fluid. It's not what I asked for, but the guy says it'll do a great job. I get halfway home, look at the bottle in the front seat, and wonder why the hell I bough it. It's not what I want.

I have now spent the entire afternoon buying a socket that I probably could have borrowed from my dad, and fluid I don't want. I'm mulling this over and becoming more unhappy. My "low fuel" light comes on and I pull in to the gas station. The pump is a pre-pay pump, since most of America seems to have started driving off after fueling due to rising gas prices. I try to pay with my debit card and it doesn't work. I try three times standing out there in 95* heat. Finally I give up and go give the guy 40 bucks, which won't fill the tank, but I want to get home.

Once home I realize that I wanted to finish this today, but I've got the wrong fluid, so I can't. Since I'll have to wait a few more days I could have just borrowed the socket I needed, which makes the Sears trip seem like a waste, and now it's 5:30pm, I'm starving, and I have made no more progress on the installation than when I started at 1pm. I had to quit working on it, as I needed to eat desperately, and then I had some errands to run in the evening as well as meeting up with my writing group.

I took a day off of work for all of this.

I give, man. Some days it just doesn't happen.