E24M Power Steering pump rebuild and reinstall.

Freshly rebuilt power steering pump.

When I drove this car home from its previous owner in Wisconsin I noted an odd, barely perceptible vibration when the steering wheel was anywhere right of TDC. It grew worse over the following year, to the point I stopped driving it. From the leaks I could tell that this pump was dying. Eventually all the fluid came out, even while parked.

I replaced the alternator soon after driving it home (its bushings had collapsed) so it’s not surprising that these thirty-plus year old seals had hardened to the point of uselessness. I also was a bit daunted by the pump’s location and what appears to be a complicated bracket setup. The alternator turned out to require removal of some radiator hoses, which didn’t happen this time, but it still wasn’t easy.

The PS pump has two hydraulic connections, and a multiple set of brackets on both front and back, along with a toothed adjustment bracket to set the belt tension.

It was tough to remove, mostly due to the difficulty in reaching the top hydraulic banjo bolt. Thankfully I had the car on the scissor lift and could find the sweet spot for reach while lying on a carpet remnant on the cold concrete of the shop floor. It took multiple attempts at multiple heights to get all seven or so regular bolts and the two banjo bolts undone. I then sent the pump off to a guy in California for the rebuilding.

A bit of hilarity ensued when he mixed up two pumps and sent each to the wrong clients. Thankfully he figured out quickly where each of them were and had us ship them to each other on his dime. I don’t mind some human error now and then, what matters is how it gets handled. Compared to our experiences with Dan Mooney of Classic Jaguar (which was a costly nightmare) this experience was smooth and I’m still a happy customer in the end. This car needs another pump rebuilt, and I’m very likely to send it to the same guy. He was fast, communicative, and swift to rectify his shipping error. The pump looks great (almost like new, only the “West Germany” label betrays its age!) and arrived pre-primed with fluid. So far I’m impressed.

Less impressive is my mechanical ineptitude as always. It required three attempts to get it back into the car properly. All due to me. 100%. On the second attempt I figured out that the hydraulics need to be attached FIRST since the hoses have to be “just so” in order to properly sink those banjo bolts into the right spots. Of course, they are not visible while you’re doing this and so you’re holding up the pump with one hand while reaching around to the top with the other to blindly turn a bolt, hose, and two washers (which always want to fall out and roll off to some dim, unlit corner of the shop!) into the right spot. After I figured that part out, I found that the adjuster bracket really needed to be installed on the bench prior to installation in the car:

Proper pre-installation of the adjustment bracket.

One more lap around the hydraulic hose install and then one fixed bracket bolt and THEN the adjustment bracket and finally all the other bolts and it is done.

I figure about the time I figure everything out, I’ll die.

But at least now I can get this car moving under its own power again, and off the lift so I can get back to swapping snow tires on and off cars. Winter has come!

Back in the car.
My chilly workshop.

An impromptu solo mini-cannonball. (Part One)

My brain is fogged. I’ve been driving for two days straight with minimal sleep, after two previous days of driving as well. I’m only ~250 miles from my journey’s end, but I really felt the need to get out of the car.

So here I am, sitting in a Burger King somewhere west of Boise, Idaho, sipping on a cold coke zero, munching on some terrible onion rings, and scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed to just give my brain a rest. How did I get here?

Continue reading “An impromptu solo mini-cannonball. (Part One)”

Christopher Graduates!

Chris shaking Rick Steves' hand after receiving his diploma.

It has been a very busy June and early July here at Chez Goolsbee, so apologies for the lack of updates. The day after Nick Graduated he and Chris hopped in the car and drove “home” to Washington state where they visited friends. Nick was able to attend the AHS Graduation ceremony where he would have walked across the stage had we not moved to Oregon. Christopher went to Seattle and took the LSAT test for entrance into Law School, afterwards he visited friends. Sue & I dashed up to Olympia on Friday, June 15th to watch Christopher participate in graduation at The Evergreen State College. He completed his degree in March, but the ceremony took place at the end of the Academic Year. Like all things at Evergreen the event was filled with unbridled enthusiasm and energy – along with a healthy dose of chaos. It was wonderful.

The scene as the graduates file in.

The day was sunny and beautiful, and we were all there to see Christopher receive his Degree.

A little creative chaos never hurt anyone.

Speedy the Geoduck makes an appearance.

TESC’s mascot is the Geoduck and the school’s motto is “Omnia Exteras” (look it up) and the day was as out there are unrestrained as every other graduation is dull and constrained. Everyone just smiled and enjoyed it, including the school administrators and staff. The commencement speaker was PBS travel show host Rick Steves (of Edmonds, WA) and he delivered a passionate oratory on living life and seeing the world.

Rick Steves speaks.

Continue reading “Christopher Graduates!”

Nick Graduates!

Nick Goolsbee, Graduate.Dynamics for the last time.

Sorry for the not so great audio on the last one. I was VERY far away (shot with a 600mm equiv lens) and there were people all around me talking away…

Nick will be attending Oregon State University in Corvallis in the autumn. Today he & Chris are driving to Washington – Nick will be visiting his friends in Arlington, and Chris will be taking the LSAT test at the UW in Seattle. On Friday we’ll all be in Olympia to watch Christopher graduate from Evergreen State.

Congrats Nick, we’re very proud of you.

Nick Goolsbee, Graduate.

Changes to the fleet…

As some of you know, digital.forest was acquired earlier this year. While my payout as a stockholder wasn’t “retire now” in scale, it has allowed us to upgrade the Goolsbee fleet. First and foremost I set out to buy Sue a cruiser to help her sore back and smooth out her hectic driving schedule with something super-comfy. We test-drove a lot of mid-range machines, and she settled upon a Mercedes-Benz C300. It took me a month or so to find the right one, at the right price. She now enjoys a 2009 C300-4Matic. It is hands-down the best car we’ve ever had in the Goolsbee garage. VERY comfortable, and drives super-smooth.

This means her 2006 Jeep Liberty CRD is now for sale.

Christopher finished school at the end of the winter quarter, and is now preparing for law school. Since he loves the car and learned to drive in it, I’m giving him the TDI. It for him will be like the ’80 Diesel Rabbit I drove when I was his age – a great, reliable, frugal first car.

“How about Chuck? What does he get?”

I wanted something fun for my new commuter car. My drive to work is actually quite enjoyable – a choice of twisty two-lanes, largely without traffic. I love to drive roofless. I like to shift my own gears. (In hindsight, I’ve never owned a slushbox for *my* daily driver.) I don’t need more than two seats. I didn’t want to spend that much. I started surfing Autotrader and eBay for used cars meeting the above criteria. After filtering out the Miatas (sorry – while I know they are GREAT cars, they are also nearly ubiquitous) my searches turned up a good selection of interesting cars. MR2s. TTs. S2000s. 350/370Zs. Boxsters. SLKs. Some 911s and Corvettes. Even a Jag (Holy depreciation Batman!)

After the wonderful experience of hucking the ClownTown Roadshow’s old E30 BMW around the track now twice – with every lap bringing a grin to my face, I figured I owed a look at the Z3/Z4 line of cars. A coworker at Facebook loaned me the keys to his 2006 M Roadster while I was in Menlo Park for meetings several weeks back and halfway through the drive I decided this would be my next car.

I decided upon a color & trim choice (blue exterior, grey/wood interior) and went hunting. Autotrader turned up a few, as did eBay, but then I was referred to a car broker in the Bay Area. The idea is you tell them what you want, and about what you will pay. I knew what I wanted, and my shopping gave me an idea of what the fair market value of these cars are now, so I laid it out for the broker. He found me one in SoCal within a few days, and now the car is mine. Totally painless process. I highly recommend it over trying to buy on your own.

The car is a 2007, has ~33k miles, and is REALLY nice.

the car d.f bought.

While I’m not a huge fan of the Z4 styling, the M version seems to tone down some of the more outrageousness, while upping the “ultimate driving machine” bit. It is very much a modern E-type: Classic “long bonnet, short boot” styling. Minimal interior, maximum driving pleasure. High horsepower & torque straight six. Laughable cargo space (though easily 3X what the Jag has!)

I’ve only has it a week, but every mile has been grin-worthy. The miles per gallon can’t touch the TDI, but the smiles per gallon is way past the redline. I can afford the gas now. 😉