Saturday, April 3, 2010

The plan

I'd planned to get up at 8-ish, throw on a t-shirt and jeans and head to Mozart's for 1st Saturday coffee with the Alfa club. To most of you this sounds horrifying - sitting around for hours with bearded car nerds, perma-stained fingernails and zero social competence. And a part of me sees this as an extreme. I don't make appointments for social time with other bass players or dog owners or married guys. Although...
Point being, I didn't manage. Woke up at 2 am with 100% nasal blockage and spent the next hour flushing, spraying and blowing my way to partially restricted breathing. Not a good night. Woke up at 10. Instead, we're doing a bit of furniture shopping, taking the dog for a walk, then playing a gig tonight. If there's time I'm going to reclamp my fuel filler hose and search for my throttle return spring. If I'm successful, the Alfa's going out for a drive. It's a perfect day for the Alfa.

So far, I have maybe 2 hours of seat time in the GTV6. That's not to say I haven't spent any time WITH it, however. I'm intimately acquainted with the Bosch L-Jetronic fuel injection system, the shifter linkage, various bits of the suspension. It's more or less drivable. Most of the remaining bushings are shot and there's some play in the steering that might just be a loose bushing in the rack or might be bad tie rod ends. One fix is free, the other costs $40 plus realignment. If it's the latter, I'd might as well go ahead and totally replace all of the frost suspension bushings. I foresee this as my next project, although I've promised Summer I'd slow down on the tinkering. A couple of hours a week seems reasonable, just to maintain things, but for now no more marathon all-weekend repair and replace jobs. At least until I decide to rebuild the transaxle.

When I was a bit younger, my desire for automotive tinkering was negated by my relative lack of income and subsumed into model building. This Alfa is more or less a full-scale model, albeit one that's already put together - and in a somewhat haphazard manner. I'm reverse engineering it, learning how and why things do what they day, go together, break, etc. It's almost like learning a new language. In many cases this isn't even an analogy, it's a fact. Too many parts named in Italian... but it's good for me. It's a puzzle, it's a problem, and it's exercise for my brain. Since embarking on this project, no joke, I FEEL smarter. Sharper.  Sounds silly, I'm sure, but I feel it's true.  I fully understand why guys don't let a finished project sit for very long. Either it's a decision to drop in a new motor or add a turbo/supercharger, new brakes, whatever; or just sell the damn thing and start over. Now the wife's understanding...


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