Veggie Car Update

So I have had a chance to put a few miles on the old girl this fall. A few things became apparent early on. I spent some time chasing electrical gremlins for a while, not sure if they were age related or just the fact that the car has sat in storage for too many years. First off the headlights needed to be replaced as they were fogged over and just not bright enough for highway use. After doing that, I discovered that the dimmer switch made the left headlights go out when it was on high beam. After some trouble shooting I just decided that there was a fault in the wiring somewhere and so I just ran new jumper wires between the left and right headlights. Problem solved. Then there was an issue with the backup lights staying on all the time. Removing the bulbs was an easy fix for that.
The front struts had to be replaced as the front end of the car would bounce all over the place after hitting a good sized bump. I found a pair on Epay for cheap and installed them even though I had to make a makeshift spring compressor out of a couple of C-clamps. Kids, don’t try this at home. The car rode much better after that. I had a chance to drive it to work for a couple of weeks and run some errands as well. In the process I



put about a thousand miles on her. Gas mileage was pretty good too, about 44mpg, although I was hoping for 50. I think maybe trying to stay with traffic on highway 52 affected that a bit. Also, the odometer was acting a bit wacky for a stretch and so that might have an affect on mileage.
There was an issue with anti-freeze leaking and so I have had to replace a few hoses in an effort to correct that. I even replaced the thermostat and had a bit of a challenge doing that as well. Seems those crazy German engineers put the power steering pump right in the way of one bolt that needs to come out. Curses!
Last week I noticed quite a bit of growling coming from the drivers side and I suspected a wheel bearing. Sure enough, inspection of the old bearing revealed a pitted race. Years of sitting probably factored in there too. After getting a couple of new bearings from the boys at NAPA and installing them, things were much quieter.
The heater blower did not work either and after disassembling part of the dash to get it out I determined that the squirrel cage was seized up. A little penetrating oil on the shaft and working it back and forth got the fan to spin freely. The only other problem was the blower switch. It would only work on the high setting, no medium or low. Better than nothing on those cold mornings but I will be looking for a new switch or maybe I will just rewire it to be on medium speed all the time.
Starting the beast when cold continues to be an issue. If the air temp is freezing or below the car must be plugged in for at least an hour to have any sort of chance at starting. That’s not a problem if you are just running to town and can leave the car running. It will restart in the cold if not left sitting for more than three or four hours, however, that is not much good when I’m at work and the car sits for eight or nine hours. Rather than take a chance or being embarrassed by a non-starting car at the end of my shift I have decided to put the car in storage for the winter. The thing really runs well down the road and is fairly quiet inside the cab. It does not get strange looks from anyone like the old Geo-trike did and that’s just fine with me. Next spring I plan on playing with the veggie oil conversion again and so I will keep you updated on that little adventure at that point.


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