February 2018

I spent almost my entire evening, once again, on my back underneath the dashboard of the Mustang. Wiring has been cleaned up, and finally, the clutch pedal is connected to the hydraulic clutch master. However, according to the instructions, the linkage needs to be adjusted such that the pedal hits the carpet when the clutch rod bottoms out, and I can’t for the life of me get that to happen. The best I could do is bottom out the clutch master with the pedal sitting about three inches above the carpet. I’m so tired of messing with all of this clutch shit, and I’m flustered as hell. Maybe I should have stuck with the mechanical z-bar clutch linkage…

It’s a nice, warm evening tonight. What better way to spend it than… on my back underneath the dash of the Mustang untangling wires. Stereo wiring? Kludged together by a previous owner. Kill switch wiring? Kludged together by a previous owner. Rally Pac tachometer wiring? Kludged together by a previous owner. Wiring for the cruise control? Well, that’s my fault. Lesson learned: trim the fucking wires to a reasonable length, lest you have yards and yards of wiring ensnared in a massive ball by the pedal box, impeding the space where you want to put your new clutch pedal linkage to actuate your new clutch hydraulic master cylinder.

I just submitted an order for $400 worth of underbody plastics and associated plastic clips for the Miata. It occurred to me that for all the bellyaching I did this morning when looking at tire prices, I’m spending close to three grand on non-essential things like bumper covers, wheel well liners, trunk plastics, and tail lights. I could put money into the best tires if I don’t instead spend that money on new interior carpet. It makes no sense, as I can make the car look nice again and that state won’t last long for the simple reason that I’m its driver, but for some reason I’m willing to fight the Second Law of Thermodynamics for this car when I wasn’t willing to do the same for, say, my old Corvette Z06…

Now that it’s warm and nice and autocrosses are just three weeks away, I’m ordering parts and whatnot for the Miata. I was browsing Tire Rack to see how much money it costs to equip the Miata with the latest and greatest STR tires, and was blown away at the price difference — 40 dollars!! — between a 245 and a 255 width 17″ tire. Well, since my ambitions for National level competition have fallen off a cliff, maybe I’ll make do with 245 width tires. Or maybe save as many pennies as possible and go straight to the Hankook RS4s…

Nice weather all of this week, and the forecast currently calls for nice weather next week too. Sure, it probably doesn’t bode well for the planet now that convertible weather in Michigan begins in February, but I’ll take sunshine on my commute to and from work whenever I can. I figure I’ve got two weeks with the Miata before Michigan decides to be Michigan. If I really wanted to tempt fate, I should install my summer tires back on the Fiesta ST…

With the Morgan temporarily sidelined, I decided that the weather was too nice to be without a sports car and pulled the Miata out of storage and put road insurance back onto it. I figured it was close enough to March, and probably time to get the car ready for the March autocrosses. Besides, with temps in the mid-50s for next week, what’s the chance that we get another snowstorm before April? (Now watch as fate dooms Southeast Michigan to another foot of snow in two weeks…)

Well, I’m an idiot. Added coolant this morning and forgot to replace the cap. On the drive to work, I heard something fall off the car but didn’t think anything of it. Warmed up the car for 15 minutes after work, then went to the grocery store, and finally filled up the gas tank when I spotted this under the bonnet when I went to check my oil. Well, crap. If anyone spots a metal radiator cap on the side of Rotunda, let me know…

Okay, the evening’s drive with the Morgan wasn’t entirely relaxing. I didn’t realize just how many humongous potholes had opened up on 696 and 75 until I was driving on them. I counted nearly a dozen cars tonight stranded on the side of the road with busted tires. I dodged most but not all of the potholes — I nailed a few and by the end of the evening, the passenger left parking lamp on the fender and the speedometer in the dashboard had come loose. If potholes are scary and jarring in a regular car with modern steel or alloy wheels, I found them infinitely more scary and jarring in a flexible flyer of a car with WIRE WHEELS. #JohnLiproblems

Two days of driving rains, and temperatures in the 60s. That means the salt has been mostly washed away and it’s nearly perfect cruising weather. Used this as an excuse to drive the Morgan 40 minutes out to my favorite BBQ joint, Lazybones, for some tasty meats. Talk about a blissful evening…