CastleRain

My Online Realm

Tag: Cars

No Plow … Yet

2005 Chevy SilveradoSay hello to my truck.  I know I said I wanted a truck with a plow.  However, this was rather a necessary move.  My Sebring may not last long.

Not an actual picture of my truck —- >
(See below for actual photos)

I took that trip to Traverse City like I said I would.  Hung out with my mom and we walked all over the downtown shopping centers.  Sadly I didn’t find one pair of shoes, any shirts or hats that I was looking for.  The trip was a bust and that shopping area is now reserved for hipsters, food connoisseurs and coffee snobs.  While I love coffee, I’m happy with Starbucks.

After hitting the mall yet again, there just isn’t any shops I’m interested in there.  I had much better luck when I was going to Saginaw.  We stopped for lunch, and as we were leaving my car started doing the most peculiar thing.  As we came to a stop light, the car felt like it just threw itself in park.  It was a sudden lunge and stop action.  We managed to move again, but the next stop the same thing happened.  I thought it was a transmission problem.  My mom felt perhaps it was a brake problem.  Neither of us really knew.  However we carefully drove back to Gaylord trying to avoid coming to a complete stop.  When we did, the car would do the same thing.  Strangely, once we got home, it stopped completely.  It was like it actually was in park.  I could rev the engine, and it wouldn’t move.  If I shifted to reverse, it would move a few feet and “park” again.

The following Monday, I had it towed to a friend/mechanic.  He tested the car’s electrical system.  His suspicions were confirmed, something wasn’t sending the right signals from the computer controller in the transmission to the main computer in the car.  The car deemed something was unsafe.  Though no “Check Engine” light ever came on.  He was able to clean up the harness connecting the two components, but trying to save me money as transmissions are BIG dollars to fix.  His advice to me was “trade it in”.  He said it with more flair that indicated “do it soon”.

I was never really happy with my Sebring.  It was the only car I could afford that wasn’t a piece of junk.  Most cars offered to me when my Lumina died were over priced rust bombs.  I paid way too much for the car, and right from the start it had tires not made for driving in snow.  The air conditioner was blocked with garbage and soaked the interior the first night I drove it for work.  Shortly after, the dashboard lights started to die and only flickered when it was really cold outside.  My radio would lose its programming.  I sunk nearly $1200 in tires, new rear brakes and minor engine repairs.  The list goes on.  Also, who the hell designs a car where the battery is in the wheel well?  [yes, that’s a video link]  Seriously!?!??  Not a Chrysler fan.  Between that and the insanely high interest rate from having bad credit 😒

Anyway…  I managed to find a very low mileage [less than 50k] truck at an affordable price.  It’s not new, but it’s in good condition.  A 2005 Chevy Silverado.  Hopefully with God’s guidance, I made a good choice.  Clean Carfax, one owner, all repairs documented; kind of find.

The topper will be for sale soon.  I’m not a topper kind of fellow.  When I can afford it, I’ll get a vinyl Tonneau Cover.

Little Red TruckDon’t get me wrong, I’m thankful to Simple Auto for helping me rebuild my credit enough to get out from under their Buy Here/Pay Here interest rates.  I now have a regular loan via a Credit Union.  Interest rate is better, though not great.  I will never again let someone else handle my finances and ruin my credit.

For some reason, it just had to be red.  Immediately I wanted to recreate a favorite photograph.

Damn, I’m just becoming a good-ol’-boy aren’t I?  Driving pickup trucks, shootin’ guns…  Though I will never concede to country music and beer.  EVER.

And NO!  You can’t borrow it!

Shortlink:

My New Car

2007 Chrysler SebringSo I’ve had a real rough week.  My old 95 Chevy Lumina was hiding secrets from me.  Compounded by some incompetence by the local repair shop I was using.

On the 25th and 26th of July, I was visiting Darla.  I had her drive the car around town as I’m still learning my way around Bay City.  She let me know the brakes seemed squishy.  Sure enough they were.  We put some brake fluid in and it helped greatly.  So when I got home I had kept an eye on the fluid levels.  It’s a 20 year old car, so of course it will need some care and attention, and I had been meaning to get the brakes inspected anyway.  So I took it into Independence Tire where I had some work done previously.  They were good to me then.  Or so I thought.

When I asked to have my brakes inspected, I expected they would inspect the entire brake system.  This means the lines, the calipers, the pads, the rotors, the drums, the shoes and the various fittings and hardware that are associated with it.  I mean their slogan on their radio ads is, “We don’t just do it, we do it right.”.  I’m no mechanic, but I have learned several things about cars in my 46 years on this planet.

They ended up telling me I had two lines with a leak and another one ready to pop.  But, they also found a bad rear wheel bearing, a severely worn CV Axle and both my rear struts were dry.  Going for the immediate issues, I said to have the lines done and the wheel bearing replaced.  I’ll get to the other stuff as soon as I could, but I could only afford the stuff I authorized.

Why do people always assume that you’re dumb?  Because when they called me later on saying, “We’ve got some real bad news for you.”.  I asked, “What?”.  They proceeded to tell me that, “When we took the wheels off, we found more problems.”.  Wait… When they took the wheels off to do the work?  They would’ve had to take the wheels off to inspect half of the things I listed in order to do it properly.  Meaning they didn’t take them off when I asked them to inspect it.  So then they tried to sink me for $1500 total and that’s not including the CV Axle and rear struts.  I told them to put the car back together and park it.  I’m done with them and I’m with the Lumina.  I was so pissed.  Because now the car has no brakes at all.  They took them apart before giving me the full story.  I made sure they didn’t charge me for their bullshit, half-assed work.  Of course they gave me some legal crap warning that it wasn’t fit to drive and I’d need it towed away.  I live next door.  Tow truck my ass.  I drove it to the field out front of the neighborhood I live in.  I’ll have A&L pick it up for scrap.  Sucks that there is a full tank of gas and four nearly new tires on it.

This made me car-less and nearly jobless at my night time gig doing delivery.  So I called up my boss at my night job and explained the situation.  Plus the fact I have not enough to buy a car with cash again and my credit has been hosed by previous relationships.  He gave me some advice and while I was hesitant to do it, I want to work and I want to see Darla.  So I took a deep breath and did what he suggested.  I now own a 2007 Chrysler Sebring.  I no sooner got the paperwork signed and I had to rush off to work.  Thank you Bob for covering my Saturday day shift.  It was two hours, but still I appreciate it.

I wanted to take some decent pictures of it after I washed and waxed it.  But mother nature decided to be a bitch and storm all day yesterday.  So here’s the crap pictures I took quickly before starting work.

Now I just need to work more hours to pay for this thing.

Shortlink:

Cars, Swords and Technology

1970 ChevelleI love muscle cars.  Never owned one.  Unless you count that 78 Olds Cutlas I once had.  More of a clunker than a mean street machine.  Still, I want my 70 Chevelle.  I love medieval stuff.  Castles, swords, horses and the seemingly tranquil life it could offer.  But I also love my computers, tech toys, video games and more.  I sometimes wonder how can I like so many things that have little to nothing to do with one another?  Damn I’m weird.  Not like any of you didn’t already know that.  I guess we all have a variety of tastes and likes.  Just seems I choose everything opposite of each other.

So right off, I want to pimp my skills for repairing and building computers and web site designs.  Need to make a little scratch to pay for my car getting fixed.  The downfalls of buying used.  Certified Pre-owned merely means I have proof someone before me beat the snot out of my car before I got it.  Sure for a 20 year old car it has unusually low mileage.  Engine starts and runs like a much newer car.  So I like that.  But the bearings, struts and such tell a different story.  That and the amount of rust and dirt I’ve taken off the car suggests it was previously at home down a really crappy dirt road.  My car needs work to the tune of about $850.  This means I’ll work extra cheap if it gets me some business 😉

My Moto GI’m starting to warm up to my new Android Phone.  Took me a while.  Still has quirks I’m annoyed with and there are things my Windows Phone can do so much better.  It seems that eventually I will get the Lollipop Android update.  Even though it has nearly identical hardware to my Windows Phone, it has better battery life and once I whittled down the bloatware (either by removing it or disabling it – still annoyed I can’t remove many things)…  I have it to where I want it.

It is nice having apps that are made right and work like they are supposed too.  That was one huge drawback to Windows Phone.  So many apps were made by other folks to make up for apps that should be available but aren’t.  Seems they may struggle with that for another few years before either Microsoft throws in the towel or businesses realize it’s a sweet phone.

Having a quad-core processor, good memory and memory management as well as generous storage space, makes a huge difference.  My previous Android phones had next to nothing and they wanted way too much for them.  Music would skip.  Phone would lock up in the middle of a call.  It was a nightmare.  Which is why I was so hesitant to try Android again.

TARDISI did have to change my live wallpaper from the TARDIS though.  Was accidentally setting it off when trying to open apps.  Don’t need anyone running up to me thinking I’m the Doctor.  As they would probably look at me and ask, “What the hell happened to you?”.  Would be embarrassing and depressing.  Although I would gladly trade in my car for a time-traveling blue box any day!

Now if I could only also have David Tennant‘s looks and talents.

Anyway, my experience with my Moto G has been overall, so far so good 🙂

Other than that life is pretty much as it has been.  I’m still heavily considering a career change.  But it’s so hard when you have good things you’d be giving up.  I like what I do and I like who I work for.  To just walk away from that and head into the unknown is frightening.  So I’m still going through the newspapers, craigslist and online job sites trying to find something more.. me.  Rather than jumping to the first paycheck offered to me.  Some folks like to jump into the unknown and embrace the adventure.  I’ve had just about all the adventures I can stand for one lifetime.  Possibly two lifetimes.  Most ending in disappointment.  I think it’s high time I found my happy ending.  Screw what everyone else thinks I should do.

Oh yeah… I did title this post with the word swords.  So…

Sword

Shortlink:

Adventures in Used Car Shopping

Used Car ShoppingWhat an adventure.  Buying a used car has always been a nerve-racking experience to say the least.  Even after the purchase, you’re nervous that you may have ended up with a clunker.  Unless you have a mechanic friend, you’re pretty much stabbing in the dark.  Sadly, my friend list doesn’t include a mechanic.  Actually, it seems the majority of my friends all work for the same company, doing the exact same job.  Just in different cities.  Gaylord, Bellaire and East Jordan.  Not sure if I should be afraid.  They’re coming to take me away haha!

Although most of the adventure has been getting rides, driving or walking around and looking at various cars.  Most of which didn’t run or were near death.

Last Wednesday was interestingly fun in a very evil sort of way.  When I say I’m an Evil Genius, most don’t know my evil side.  It’s not always with computers that I’m a genius either.  Not sure if this was genius, but it certainly was evil.

This past week I’ve been scouring the various car lots in the area.  On Wednesday I visited one of the major car lots.  Though they shall go unnamed.  I was looking at a used foreign economy car.  Now I must tell you I’m not a fan of sales people.  They do what they feel they have to do to make the sale regardless of quality or price.  They are there to make money.  Doesn’t matter much if the customer isn’t getting a fair deal.  So I’m always on my guard with sales folks.

The first sales person to greet me was young and I could see they were eager to make a sale.  So I set my terms and let them know I was interested in looking a the car in hopes that it may be what I need.  I was doing this in earnest.  At least at first.  Things changed very quickly.

I’m no mechanic.  I know what I feel everyone should know about cars.  Especially checking fluids.  So when I got to the car, I opened the hood and started looking for leaks, puddles and fluid levels.  I noticed right away the radiator cap was lying on the strut mount.  Leaving the radiator open.  I didn’t see any fluid in it.  I brought this up to the sales person, who seemed not to really care.  They asked me if I wanted to take it out for a spin.  Immediately, this went from “I’m interested.” to “I wonder how much of an idiot this person is.” and “There’s no way in hell I’m buying this car now.”.  Which is sort of a shame as this car had real potential being the right size for me and would be fairly easy on gas.  I put the cap on the radiator and let the fun begin.

Knowing this car was likely driven by others with the cap off, there as probably little fluid in the radiator at all.  It was cold and raining, so I knew as long as the car was moving it would stay cooled enough.  It’s when we would stop this would show an apparent problem.  So we took off down the road and then on the short stretch of highway that goes from south of town to main street.  The check engine light was on, and was a perfect excuse to stop at a local auto parts store for a free check before going to the lot again.  Sure enough, once the car stopped, the steam started rolling out from under the hood.  The car wasn’t over heated … yet.  Popped the hood and the fluid in the over flow tank was literally bubbling from the very hot engine block.  I figured it was game over for the sales person, and they would call a tow truck and I would simply walk home.

Instead they further proved to be more of an idiot than I had previously thought.   They wanted to drive the car back to the lot.  Even though they saw the bubbling fluid in the bottle and the steam from the engine block.  Now that the car isn’t moving, it’s good and hot.  Though driving it would now get it to the point of engine damage if we start it again.  I wasn’t about be the responsible party for damages to the car, so I handed the keys to the sales person and let them drive back.  I watched the temperature gauge make it’s way out of the safe zone as we drove along and now it’s pegged over heated.  The car is steaming from the rain and as we pull into the lot.  The sales person parks the car exactly where it was.  Didn’t bother to take it to the service area.  Instead they proceed to ask if there is any other cars I would be interested in.  Most had bald tires or looked really rough.  Honestly, I wasn’t about to deal any further with this person or this dealership.  I politely declined and walked away chuckling under my breath in the rain.

I drove by the next day.  The car is still in the same spot.  Probably hasn’t had anything looked at, and perhaps the piston rings are likely fried.

Shortlink:

Ye Olde Beater II

FredTime is running out for me, and I’ve been unsuccessful in finding a new telecommute job.  I’m still looking for a car.  I’m going to have to step up my spending limit on a car before I start eating into my savings after my hours get cut or let go.  A good fallback job for me has always been delivery.  So now I’m going to see if I can find a serviceable car for just under $1000.  Sadly it’s all I’ve got to work with and it would be better if I can stay away from that upper limit as rent will be due soon and thanks to my wonderful job {cough}, health insurance mainly comes out of my pocket now.

It doesn’t need to be pretty but it does need to operate properly from the start.  If it needs tires or mechanical work, I’m gonna have to pass on it.  As it is, it’s going to cost me a load just to have it.  In Virginia, basic insurance for me was roughly $30 a month.  Here that’s a joke.  I guess it’s because of ice and snow.  They must assume that it increases the risk for accidents.  I’m thinking they forgot it’s more the human factor and not so much mother nature.  Unlike some parody video’s I’ve seen about Pure Michigan, we do know how to drive in this stuff and we do it well.  Most of us anyway.  I can attest to that after having dealt with Virginia drivers on snow for years.  Or chauffeuring those who were too scared 😉

So if everyone could please keep an eye out for me for cars you may see listed in the paper, on craigslist or see them for sale in your area; let me know.  I would really like to get one on the road so I can find a part time job by the end of the month.  If you don’t know how to reach me, the easiest way from here is to either call me at the number below (<- click the link) or email me by clicking here.  Although everyone should have my email, phone, IM and such already.  If you do not there must be a reason for it 😈

Shortlink:

Ye Olde Beater

Tow MaterFor the last 14 months I haven’t owned a car.  I’ve walked pretty much everywhere.  I’ve carried a Sea Bag of clothes on my back to the laundromat once a week.  Many weeks, I’ve carried my groceries home.  Basically plenty of free exercise.  Part of my get back in health drive.  Though looking back, I’ve owned an insane number of cars.  Current count, 35!  However that’s because the majority of the cars I’ve owned were beaters.  Rusty, dented but serviceable cars or trucks.  Back in my teenage to young man years, you could pick them up cheap.  Apparently today’s definition of cheap isn’t the same as it was then.

As an example, I once bought a 1976 Chevy Nova for $50 from a friend.  The ignition didn’t work, so he was essentially hot wiring it to start it.  I being clever, added two toggle switches.  One for making the ignition system hot, the other for kicking the starter on and off.  I also used 2×4 boards in the rear springs to lift it up level as the rear end sagged.  It wasn’t pretty but lasted me several months.  Many of my cars costs me less than $300.  They lasted anywhere from a few months to a year.

Those days seem to be long gone.  Now anything under $1000 isn’t even drive-able.  At least nothing that I’ve looked at in the past two weeks.

Unfortunately, I find myself in fairly dire need of a car now.  It seems the slow sinking ship that is my job is finally about to capsize.  Since I telecommuted, I didn’t need a car to deal with work.  Now, I’m faced with seeking a job, applying, interviewing and then commuting once again.  Which means I need some wheels and rather soon.

So if anyone has or knows someone with a car they can part with on the cheap that is drive-able, please let me know.

Shortlink:

Drive it like you stole it!

Words I’ve been living by since I started playing video games. I’m not your normal gamer. Nor do I drive like that on the road (though there are other drivers who cause me much road-rage). I’m actually proud of my driving record, and I like my low insurance rates. But that’s not what I’m talking about….

I’m a Race Gamer. The more destructive the better! I especially love to play multiplayer using cars. But I’m not about to spend $15 a month to do Auto Assault, or any other MMORPG crap. I would have to be nuts to spend $180 a year to play a flippin game!! People who like that stuff? Fine. Me? Hell No! I’d much rather have my own server setup, it’s free plus my already exisiting kick ass high speed internet (insert shameless plug for my internet service here – and a hello to my friend Jeff). Thus when I figured out how to do mulitplayer in Carmageddon II, I was thrilled to death! Then came the others that either had multiplayer built in or there was a ready to download mod such as San Andreas Multiplayer. Though some mods are hard to keep cheating bastards off of. But in reality. We Car Gamers are few and far between. It’s very hard to find other players to jump in on the action. Unless you have a lot of friends with your own same tastes that you can catch with free time like that. I, unfortunately, do not. So being a Car Gamer, is a lonely state. Still fun as hell though! Perhaps I should start a Car Gamers Club. Anyone interested?

My Car Gaming started in 1982 with Pole Position, and through the ages, it morphed into the Carmageddon Series, Grand Theft Auto Series and now….. Flatout! I just got Flatout2 last night. Hillarious! As well as loads of fun and explosions! It’s by far not perfect, but still rocks. My wife egged me to stay up and play longer than I should’ve as she enjoyed it too! (time to build another PC for her?? – We used to play Carmageddon together for hours [kids too!!]). Now anyone else want to play??

Here’s a History of my Car Gaming Career (like you really wanted to know….)

Racing History

Shortlink:

Bad Vibes – World War III ?

Let’s See, we have:

The list goes on and on… It’s frighteningly mad! We have nut jobs in office, we have nut jobs around the world. Every day there’s nut jobs! How can this many crazy people continue to exist? Seems they are hell bent on killing us all.

Speaking of nut jobs… I should seek out the nut job that sold me my truck. And beat his ass!! It’s done nothing but break since I’ve owned it. When it runs, it runs good. But as the list off issues passes it’s time to die…

  • Firstly, who was the nut job at Ford who decided that “some cell phone signals may interfere with the Anti-lock Braking System”
  • Then the clutch gave out – twice!!
  • Then the driver side electric Window gears broke.
  • The passenger side lock and window buttons stopped working…
  • The coolant system sprung a leak…
  • And yesterday, the passenger side window gears busted…

This truck is nickel and diming me to death…. Fuck that!  Time for this truck to bid farewell…. Sad as we went though a lot to get it, and keep it running. I’m tired and my wallet is spent…. Fucking truck….

Shortlink:

© 2017 CastleRain

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑