How It Ended
This car went on a 3,000 mile trip loaded down to the brim and we hit a deer as well. Apparently, this is something that happens all the time in Montana. Basically, the car was too trashed to be worth fixing, so I parted it out and sent it to the junkyard 🙁 The transmission was shot, the ignition was having problems and making the car overheat, and I was pretty sure the valve cover was warped. There may also have been a cracked head/block from all the overheating. I thought about fixing it, but it just wasn’t worth the huge amount of work it would have been. I am really sad to see this car go, but it was, I think, for the best.
My wife and I bought this car in December of 2005 after seeing an advertisement for it on Turbobricks. We drove out to look at it. Pictures from this trip are shown above. The car was buried in leaves and didn’t run. The wiring in the engine compartment was shot to hell, and some things weren’t even hooked up.
The previous owner was nice enough to tow the car all the way across town for us on his lunch break. For the next month or so it sat in the garage while I worked on building a new wiring harness for it (shown above). My wife helped too, believe it or not. Some of the days we were out there, it got down below freezing brrr (no heater available). We built our own wiring harness, and the car *almost* started.
I then realized smoke was coming out of the idle air motor – it was completely destroyed. I replaced it with a junk-yard unit ($10), and fired up the car, but it barely ran when the motor was cold. I had noticed while working on the motor that the control pressure regulator had been replaced with the wrong type of unit, leaving several vacuum lines disconnected. I found the proper type at a junk yard (another $10 for that) and then the car started warming up properly. After a bit of idle adjusting, it was running quite well.
At my dad’s house, we buffed the whole car using a power buffer, the results of which are shown above in the work in progress photos. We also replaced a drive shaft u-joint which was causing some shuddering. The headliner also had to be replaced, as well as a lot of interior components that we picked up at various junkyards. Several of the interior panels were damaged because a mouse had lived in the car for a while when it was sitting under the trees. Eventually I got my set of Virgo wheels back from my dad, and then the car had new wheels and tires.
Currently, this car is my daily driver. Recently, I replaced the front engine seals, water pump seals, valve cover seals, timing belt and tensioner. I also picked up some nice armrests at the junkyard and a few other misc. interior parts that were missing. Right now we have spent around $1,000 on it total, and have put several thousand miles on it since we got it running in December.
Modifications to standard DL specs:
- Horn relocation performed
- Steering wheel replaced with smaller type
- Air box opened up
- Front sway bar from GLT Turbo
- 15 inch alloy ‘Virgo’ wheels and good tires
- Pioneer AM/FM cassette with quadraphonic sound!
- Tachometer & Volt gauge