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November 29, 2005

the damage

good things include the fact that spacepod is coming home tonight and that his transmission has been pulled in a clean room full of lab-coated experts, sterilized and pumped full of bionic transmission oil. i get another new clutch and the general feeling that the car ain't right, which has been going on for a while now, should magically disappear. also, a new starter, which i've needed for a while. no more embarassing loud groaning noises when i start the car.

the verdict was not a bad release bearing, after all (although i get a new one of those, too), but rather that the flywheel came apart. and had been off-center for a while, hence the not-right feeling at idle.

the fuel filter is due for a change, but we're going to hold off on that. this is the perfect opportunity to clog it up by running the car on B100 biodiesel. once the B100 has cleaned out my fuel lines, i'll change the fuel filter.

bad things include the price tag. well, really, besides not having a car for a week, that's the only bad thing.

MFM agreed that a 2000 - 2003 Jetta TDI would be a good second car. Given how much I am spending on the 'pod today, and how much better he should be running now, I don't need to rush on the second car thing, but i'll at least figure out how i'm going to pay for it and how i'm going to find one (broker... carmax... checking various web sites... or some combination of all three). MFM confirmed that diesels are in very high demand right now, so it may take some time to find one once i start looking.

jeez, it'll be nice to be able to shift again.

Posted by lisa at November 29, 2005 11:27 AM


Glad you're getting Spacepod back! I can only imagine how sucky not having a car would be!

As far as second cars go, were I in the market, a TDI jetta or passat would definitely be tops on the list. I was worried that VW canceled the TDI Passat for 2006, but when picking up Inky from an oil change I talked to a sales guy about them and he reassured me they did in fact exist, but were just hard to find. :)

By the way, how many miles did you have on him when he needed the first new clutch?

Posted by: redhat on November 29, 2005 02:05 PM

It's a pity they stopped making TDI Passats during the early '00's, or i'd consider one.

I'm not sure what the mileage was, i think it was around 100k.

I never did wear out the clutch plate though. That's the reason most people need a new clutch. MFM said later i probably still had another 20k left on the clutch plate. I tend to be fairly easy on clutches, which is why it's kind of ironic that I'm on my third one in this car-- due to bad parts, not bad driving habits.

I joked with MFM that i might as well take up drag racing (which is very hard on clutch plates), since apparently I'm going to need a new clutch before the plate is worn out, anyway.

He has commented more than once that the release bearings in these cars tend to get a groove worn in them, which had happened to my first clutch. Don't leave the clutch in at stoplights or any other time it's not necessary-- that creates undue wear on the release bearing.

Posted by: lisa on November 29, 2005 02:44 PM

So are you switching to B100? that is so cool!

I was just coming here to ask you if you needed any rides for the rest of the week, and you're getting spacepod back anyway! next time you have car trouble drop me a line. I'm usually busy in the afternoons but free in the mornings, except dog acupuncture day every two weeks.

this might make you feel better about spacepod's repair rate: my boss at Stoneline has a dead car today, because, get this, he walked away while the car was running, got distracted and left it idling in the parking lot for a couple of hours. at some point the fan stopped working and the poor car sat there overheating until the guys noticed the burning smell. one of the guys is an auto mechanic and said it's probably the head gasket. spacepod may have troubles but at least they aren't caused by driver carelessness :)

Posted by: Sarah on November 29, 2005 07:53 PM

finally, yes! i joined the co-op today, called the durham guys and got the full scoop. i'll probably go thursday morning to fill up for the first time.

they advise you to run 50/50 while the weather is cold so i won't truly run B100 until spring, but at least the 50% will be from recycled oil instead of fresh stock.

thank you for the offer! i hope i don't need to take you up on that any time soon.

actually, it's kind of frustrating to take such good care of a car and not be rewarded for it, because of bad parts. but i'm attached to the 'pod and there's nothing i can do about that, i guess.

Posted by: lisa on November 29, 2005 08:38 PM

What's the second car for: reliable backup? Just curious.

Posted by: Phil on November 29, 2005 10:36 PM

phil: yes, see my november 28th entry for a little more background.

spacepod has 140k and this isn't the first time this year i've been stranded while he's in the shop.

Posted by: lisa on November 29, 2005 10:57 PM

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