fired up the old ford today. 51 years young! i think she deserves to stretch out on the wisconsin backroads this summer after sitting around all winter.
on longer trips, especially since we take frida mostly everywhere with us, we’re often wanting more space in the car. on a trip to maine we saw a car with one of these roofbags and it looked like it might do the trick; affordable, waterproof, easy to put on and take off, and made in the USA.
we’re dog sitting for an extended period of time so on this trip to the upper peninsula of michigan it made even more sense to try out the roof bag so we could have both of the dogs in the space where the luggage would normally go.
so far, so good, although the dogs are a little confused 😃
will our luggage be scattered all over US 2? who knows!
the old ford doesn’t usually give me too much trouble ( yes, i know i just had to put in a new oil pressure gauge line but that was probably 20 to 25 years old and i probably should have just proactively replaced it years ago. ), but i think i Got A Clue to another repair.
today i was running errands and it started to rain and she went from starting very easily to starting very, very, very, very hard. i’ve learned over the years to pay close attention to any changes in noise, vibrations, smells or whatever because they usually Mean Something. suddenly starting hard in a driving rain could be a coincidence, but odds are it’s not.
my guess is that it’s probably time for a new distributor cap and/or rotor? because i’ve been blogging for 16 years, i know precisely when i last got a new cap and rotor. ten years ago, july 2005, in amsterdam new york, while driving back from maine during a “hilarious” incident when the unsecured(?) battery fell off its mount, hit the fan blade and sprayed battery acid all over the engine compartment. fun times 🙂
side note 1: i’m glad i have a first printing of the 1965 ford galaxie 500 shop manual. it comes in handy! also, super weird how close it’s aged cover matches our aged end tables.
side note 2: you can still click on the images to that 10 year old story even thought the image embeds are broken. flickr changed some things and it’s a reminder that i need to write some server side magic to make older embeds work. )
i found the cause of the oil leak in the galaxie and determined i could remove the broken line without draining the oil so i installed the new line that i purchased at our local auto parts store for 10 bucks.
there wasn’t much space to work, so i lucked out when i discovered the new part just screwed into the old part directly attached to the engine block. it would have been tricky to remove.
the other end of the line attaches to the oil pressure gauge mounted under the dash. i attached the line with a new appreciation for the fact that this means i’m pumping pressurized oil into the cabin of the car. what could possibly go wrong!
i started the car and was happy to not find oil leaking out of the gauge and all over the floor 🙂
success! the pressure seems about right while the car is idling, though i wonder if i’m supposed to bleed the air out of the line. i’m not sure how to do that without getting oil all over the place so good enough for now!
part of the reason why i love having a 50 year old car is that i can fix many things on my own without needing fancy computers or equipment.
i’m troubleshooting the leaking oil in the galaxy 500 and my first thought is that a deteriorated valve cover gasket is causing the problem. the engine exhaust doesn’t smell sweet and there’s no oil in the radiator fluid so it’s unlikely to be a head gasket issue.
when i went to the local auto parts store, the guy behind the counter said he’d love to sell me a valve cover gasket ( only $20 ) but asked if i had tightened down the valve cover bolts recently.
“uh, nope. and to be honest i couldn’t remember when i would have thought to tighten them.”
“give it a try. i’ve seen valve covers so loose that oil starts seeping out.”
i went home and sure enough the valve cover bolts were so loose that i almost couldn’t believe the covers stayed on! i was sure that had to be the cause of the leak since the oil seemed to be coming in out of the bolt hole that had one of the loosest bolts. it couldn’t be a coincidence!
so i tightened the bolts, cleaned up the oil that leaked on the block and started the engine.
the result? the oil was pouring out of the same area faster than ever! what was going on? i couldn’t quite tell because it was hard to watch the oil leak and start the car at the same time but it didn’t take too long to figure it out.
while i was poking around i discovered this line appeared to be completely severed! it wasn’t obvious at all that it was severed because it was running through the clip attached to the bolt that seemed to be the main source of the leak. i turned the engine over and sure enough oil came spurting out of the lower section of line that emerged from the engine block. the line looked like it went into the main cabin bundled with a few other lines. i wondered why pressurized oil would be going into the main cabin and it took me a few seconds to come to the rather obvious conclusion.
it’s the line for the after market oil pressure gauge that sits under the dash. it must have developed a small crack right under the clip that held it in place and i broke it completely when i cleaned up the oil around the bold holding the clip.
as i was leaving our local food coop, a ferrari ( perhaps a ferrari 360 which was produced between 1999 and 2005? ) pulled in which is notable because i’ve never seen one in almost 10 years in the area. someone passing through on a saturday drive? or maybe it belongs to a local who has had it in storage for 10 years after they learned why you absolutely can’t drive a ferrari every day?
it’s a handsome car, sure, though i’ve never been that into ferraris except for a brief period in the early 80s when i thought magnum P.I. was a pretty cool dude driving around in his.
it occurs to me that i’m taking the picture from a 1965 ford galaxy 500 which i find amusing on about 10 different levels. am i driving an old ford today because i thought magnum p.i. was cool when i was a preteen and somehow over space and time the early imprinting of coolness morphed into me buying the old ford 15 years ago? who knows! and in the history of photography there has probably never been a photograph of an early 2000 ferrari 360 from 40 year older galaxy 500. i find this a little mind blowing for reasons that i can’t quite articulate.
while my mind is blowing, i smell a smell that’s not a smell one wants to smell while an engine is running. burning. AND THEN OH MY GOD WISPS OF SMOKE COMING FROM THE ENGINE.
but they’re smallish wisps and i’m only 4 blocks from home so i make what’s probably the wrong decision and put it in drive.
thankfully, i got home without anything catching on fire and popped the hood to find what looks oil leaking from the valve covers. while i was blowing my mind, the old ford blew a gasket? WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
it’s a little hard to tell but it looks like the leak is coming through the screw in the left side of the valve cover and along the space between the valve cover and cylinder head. so if i’m lucky, maybe it’s a leaking valve cover gasket? or maybe a head gasket going bad?
today i had an exchange with someone while i was out in the old ford ( she turned 50 years old this year! ) which amuses me because they could not that know i’ve had the exact same exchange countless times over the past 13 years.
them: “you know, i really like your car.”
me: “oh, hey, thanks.”
them: “it’s soooooooo, you.”
me: “uh, thanks. i think that’s a compliment.”
them: “oh, it is.”
still, after all these years, i’m not quite sure exactly what they mean. i know it’s a compliment of some sort, i’m just not sure what sort it is 🙂
nobody ever says, “you know i really like your cool car. it’s sooooooo, you.” that’d be easy to interpret ( and even easier to dismiss as untrue ). i’m probably reading too much into it, but i get the impression from the repeated exchange that the galaxie says something about me that i don’t understand.