Wednesday, September 14, 2011

If it weren't for bad luck... Little Blue and Big Blue are now out of service...

I don't put much stock in luck. But I do notice when "luck" turns bad. Last week, Little Blue barely made it home from Napa. The engine lost power in the top end of the gears, it made a terrible noise that became worse the closer I was to home. By the time I pulled in the driveway, I was sure I had done more damage.


So I started driving Big Blue as a commuter while I figured out how I was going to approach the Little Blue investigation. I wasn't sure what I was was going to do. I wanted to work on the engine myself. Saving money is good, but mainly it's to learn. Little Blue's engine is complete and clean and working on it would be a dream. But, Little Blue is not a hobby. He is my daily driver. I need him to drive the 60 miles round trip to work and back.

Here's the noise in question:



Here, by the way, is a slow motion (no sound) start up:





EP jokingly said that Big Blue wasn't up to the task but I disagreed. Big Blue has only left me stranded 3 times since owning him - less than 1 time a year! - certainly he could make the journey while I took way too long to figure out how to handle the repairs to the problems with Little Blue (which I still don't understand what they are). And Big Blue has a CD player! All the better.

Well, Big Blue lasted less than 2 weeks. Yesterday morning, while coming back from a short trip to our printing place to review some proofs, I noticed Big Blue's steering got worse and worse. If I went slow and straight, it was fine, but any speed (over, say, 35) and any turns, and the steering would flop back and forth as if the front wheels were coming off. I parked it at the office and didn't get a chance to look at it until I was leaving last night. I saw this:



Here's a shot further back from the front:






For those of you who don't know what this piece where the steering meets the bottom beam of the front axle is called, you are not alone. I had to ask PJAlau and Static. I guess it's referred to as a swing lever. I can tell you that I can't drive it. 

I thought back to how I parked at the printer. I was forced to parallel park on an incline. When I came out, someone was very close to my back end. It took me 4-5 back and forward movements, all the while cranking that steering wheel without power assistance. All the while, I was tearing this rusty area apart.

Needless to say, Big Blue didn't move from his resting spot at the office. Now, I am weighing options on both of them. I now have 3 vintage VWs, and none of them are able to go down the highway... The upside is I now have a place to nap at work.


I've never been closer to walking into a Jeep dealership and signing some papers. I was thinking about this as I was back home last night. Considering if our garage is long enough for one of those 4-door jeeps that the top comes off of. I figured it would be close, and hit the button to close the door and then started to head inside the house. 

I made it a few steps before I heard the door bind up on something, try to come back up but get caught again, and then stop. I walked back in to see the garage door had come down on the back end of our 2008 Toyota Camry. I found the key, pulled forward which pulled the car off the now-halfway-closed garage door. And hit the button to bring the door back up. 

With a heavy heart I looked at the damage done by the door. It took paint off the trunk, the back bumper, the emblem was given some freedom from it's snug connection to the car and the taillight was cracked.

If it weren't for bad luck...

5 comments:

whc03grady

Boy, I'm not sure what to make of that noise but if I had to guess I'd say LB's got a broken ring. All my ACVW engine failures (all three of them!) were sudden and catastrophic, not leaving in their wake a running vehicle about which to ponder. Be thankful you've (probably) still got the case and bottom end.

At a few points in the last few months I've been pretty close to Subaru Baja ownership, so I know the feeling. Though when in this state you should probably resist with all your might the urge to get a Jeep. At least with the VWs you the issues are known; with the Jeep, it's Russian Roulette.

My condolences,
whc03grady.

Jeremy

Ouch. I anticipate that I will face a dilemma such as this in the coming years. Good Luck with whatever you decide to do. Should make for some interesting blog posts if nothing else. Cool slow mo video by the way, I thought it was neat the way the bug rocked back and forth right before exhaling.

Steve aka Gus's Owner

Ugh - that sucks. Here's hoping your luck turns around...that noise doesn't sound good.

Brook

Hi Brett, sorry to hear about your troubles. When it rains, it pours it seems. Have you considered reaching out to the Samba members for your mystery noise? I happen to know that 3 members in particular may be VERY helpful to them and I suggest you PM them for help. Busdaddy, Aeromech, and Desertbusman are great and seem to know every little thing about these wonderful but trying machines. I wish you luck.

I also admire you for driving a Bug as your daily driver. I, too, drove a '74 Standard Beetle for 18 years until I couldn't take one more day of no AC. I finally got a classic diesel 'Benz and love it. But I kept the Bug (of course) and got our Bus 8 years ago. Hang in there and network your way through fixing both cars up.

exoticdvm

Sorry to hear the bad news about the Blues. Valentina has been sitting idle for most of the summer here in Miami and I wonder what is going to fail with her now that camping season is approaching in South Florida... ah well, life is good. It's only money, right?

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