My father’s day present arrived – thanks wifey!
Less than a mile into taking my son to his soccer practice and my nose starts twitching. Something doesn’t smell right. Even with all the different sensations that a car like this provides, it’s amazing how in tune you become to the car. The slightest change in how the steering feels, the smell of the exhaust, the sound of the exhaust.
Something didn’t smell right and there was a definite electrical sound – with the only thing in the car electrical being the ignition (and instruments), I pulled over for a review. Couldn’t see anything at first, but decided to turn around and take the truck instead.
Open up the bonnet … yep .. sure enough the coil is fried. Looks like some major arcing – a new coil ordered.
My local town has ‘car cruise ins/car shows’ most nights during the summer. Each evening is a set location – typically I’m not home in time to go to them, but the Independence Day holiday being on a Tuesday this year, I was able to get to the Monday night meet.
Parked next to my friend Dennis and his MkIII.
I love the cars that are allowed on the road in this country. No way this would ever get past any kind of safety inspection in the UK!
One of the things I love about Factory Five cars is their owners – a real community. After posting my predicament on a forum I had two offers of parts! I paid for the shipping but ‘Roadwrench’ supplied me all new bearings, races, and a new spindle. What a guy.
So the process of stripping down the suspension began. Many parts were used to try to get the spindle off the lower control arm. And much swearing.
It finally came off.
All that was required now was to remove the old race, replace the bearings with freshly packed grease, and put back together.
Well, it turned out to not be a stone and the worst case – bearings.
The outer bearing had completely disintegrated. I was lucky – the spindle had got so hot that the bearing had welded itself to the spindle. The wheel could have come off completely had it got any worse.
Not only was the bearing toast, it took the spindle with it, and the bearing race on the rotor (brake disc) too.
The day started out fantastic – an early start (sorry neighbours) and a 90 minute drive north to Albany, NY. Watching the sun come up over the Taconic was incredible if a little chilly. Got to Albany and met up with some other owners, including my friend Pat.
Another couple of hours in the seat and we had cruised across Massachussetts and arrived. I was proud to park my MkIII amongst the others, although I’m sure there were a few eyebrows raised at how unfinished she was!
1PM came too fast and it was time to head out to the Cape for lunch.
Then the cruise back – 3 of us in convoy. I don’t think we dropped below 80MPH for about 3 hours other than the fuel stops. (I think I averaged about 12-15 MPG)
I peeled off at Albany and started my trip south down the Taconic Parkway back home. Less than 3 miles from home and … BANG! … steering goes wobbly, horrendous scraping sound. I immediately pull over. Tried crawling forwards – no, that clearly not going to work, the sound was painful. Something up with the front left wheel. At best, a stone in the brake disc, at worst … a wheel bearing?
Called AAA and arranged a tow home. Oddly the Taconic Parkway is not serviced by AAA, it has to be handled by State Police. So, a call to them on my behalf and a NY State Police car is despatched. He calls in the tow truck for me and we chat while waiting for it to arrive.
About 20 minutes and the local tow truck arrives to take me the 2.5 miles home!
Not the most glamourous arrival home but it could have been worse. The car is (mostly) in one piece, I’m in one piece, and the tow was covered by AAA.
Now just to discover what happened.
Oh – and the box in the passenger seat? A $1,200 pair of stainless steel exhaust pipes for $50! What a steal!
The highlight of the year has often been a day trip to Wareham, Mass. for the Factory Five Open House. A pilgrimage for many a car – this year was to be my first with the Cobra. Preparations involved getting her up on the lift for a visual inspection before the drive – up to 8 hours of driving ahead of me!
A local car show at the Dutchess County Airport, so I decided to head over. Weather said 20% chance of rain – weather map looked OK – so I decided to risk it.
I would never have imagined how so little water could get one so wet. There was water coming in from above, from the side, from everywhere. The clip on wiper was totally useless – no surprise there. I wasn’t going fast enough for the Rain-X to be effective around town, so had no choice but to pull over and wait it out.
Got to the show and toweled off. I think the car dried out faster than I did. Car was popular – had many people taking their picture with it. One kid was running around it shouting ‘race car, race car!’ so I did the only thing I could – had him sit in it for pictures.
“Look but don’t touch” – nah, touch all you like kid, enjoy the memories!
Putting the lift to good use. Well, the manual did say to raise the mower to the highest setting!