Car Talk With Virgil
My 9.7 readers might recall the experience I suffered through with my Crown Vic in Mickey D’s drive-thru when I “Virgil-ized” the shifter handle. Stay tuned for another thrilling chapter after these words from the Thoeny Yacht Club and Tonsorial Parlor ...
I’m just blessed to be one of those fellers who isn’t blessed with an over-abundance of luck. If you have something that is on the verge of breaking but has held on for months, I can lay hands on it and immediately it will break.
On a Saturday not so long ago, I Virgilized the Crown Vic, rendering it nearly immobile and virtually unfixable. The memorial service was Monday, and I was very sad indeed. Let me tell you about it.
Remember the Chevy LUV Mikado I told you about that Joe stung me with awhile back? Well, on that same Saturday it blew its second water pump out in the hay pasture back of Chisholm’s Palace. The time was about 3:30 p.m.
I took out the radiator and the broken water pump in about 20 minutes and called an auto parts store in Glasgow to see if the water pump I had ordered a couple weeks ago had arrived and, if so, “What time do you close?”
By now it was 5 minutes to 4 and they close at “4 sharp.” I asked Rick to please leave it outside and I would come get it, mucho pronto.
Eighteen minutes later, I arrived from Hinsdale – ignore that part, Sheriff Meier – to see the water pump box sitting by the door. I beat a hasty retreat back to the hay growing place and installed the pump, re-put back the radiator and put on the belts. I fired it up after pouring some water in the radiator, I headed off to my house, arriving in a cloud of steam.
Seems that when the pump broke it sent the fan into the radiator gouging out a “small” hole.
(You might recall that soon after I got stung with the LUV, I bought a couple wrecked ones from Mike for parts.) Donna gave me a ride back out to the hayfield where the “Vic” was and I headed out to Mike’s to retrieve a radiator from one of the derelicts.
I had been out there many times when the weeds and grass were short. Many times I had not seen a truck rim and blown-out tire lying on the ground off by itself.
This time however, the grass and weeds were waist high. I still didn’t see it laying there just lurking, waiting for me. I hit it and the rim rolled right up under the Crown Vic, causing the car to rise up about three feet off the ground and then come crashing back to earth on top if the rim.
I called Mike, who came over with a jack. We got the rim extracted, pushed the weeds aside and assessed the damage that, among other maladies, included a broken flywheel housing, a broken tranny, a driveline bent like a pretzel, and several or more pieces of metal and plastic hanging down.
Miraculously, the car started up and shifting into “D.” I continued on my 22 mph, wobbly, clanking, hissing, creaking way toward home. I made it just as Vic sputtered, backfired twice in a death salute and passed away.
I had retrieved the radiator but at an unbearable cost. My Crown Vic was dead.
Too despondent to work on the LUV that evening I retired to a corner whining and sucking my thumb and cursing the LUV for causing all this trouble.
Next morning I went outside, kicked the LUV and filled the bird feeders while glaring in the direction of the Mikado. But I soon realized I needed to get the LUV fixed, so I took out the offending radiator and after flushing out the new/used one and checking it over “real good.” I stuck it into its designed place, bolted the fan in place and tightened the alternator belt and the other belt for which I had absolutely no idea what it turned,
As I was filling the radiator, Keith and Myla drove into my yard to see if I could use some help. His first words were, “It’s coming out faster than you pour it in”.
“$*%@” and “oh my,” I thought.
I looked under the pickup and sure enough there was a hole spitting out a small stream of water. I knew I didn’t have any stop-leak, so remembering my youth I went into the house and got a can of finely ground black pepper and dumped a quarter can into the radiator. A couple of minutes later the leak stopped. See, when I was a kid it was common practice to use Bull Durham tobacco or an egg to seal up little radiator leaks. That usually didn’t last very long, but at least it would get you home.
I re-removed the spitting radiator and going into the house, took the phone off the hook, closed the blinds and put Chevy Chase’s “Vacation” in the VCR and watched it 17 times in succession.
One of these days, I’ll strap both radiators to my back and hike to Glasgow to have them repaired.
So, now if you see a fat (but on a diet), white-haired fella with a slight limp, wearing bibs walking along the hiway, have mercy and offer him a ride.
After my “ 26 Hours of Hell,” all I can think of is that old Norwegian/Canadian prayer that simply says.... “Offda, Eh???
That’s it for now folks. Thanks for listening.
Since writing the above I discovered the LUV had a cracked head all along, much like the guy I bought it from, I guess, and I retired it to the boneyard alongside the Cadillac (which would be another story for another time.)