19 Dec 08

Things change. Bad things happen.

In early October, I was run off the road into a concrete barrier in the Camaro.  The insurance company totalled it out.  I did OK, after the insurance payment and what I sold what was left of the car I basically got back what I paid for it, which works out pretty well

Most of the impact happened to the pass side nose - I hit the barrier lightly with the front, then the back came around and hit hard, and then the front came back around and hit harder.  The other driver never even hit his brakes.
Better view of the front.  The fog light was pushed way up under the bumper but still worked.  The hood corner got bent up a little.  Air bags did not deploy and I wasn't injured at all.  In part, the other driver not seeing me makes sense - 5am, low slung black car, crappy pickup truck not paying attention.  No more black cars, I'm thinking.
The insurance company totalled the car partially because the engine cradle was bent quite a bit.
In the back the damage doesn't look so bad, but the rear axle and the wheel were bent in the wreck.  Not sure if the housing was bent, or just the axle.. but you could definitely feel it.  I kept the wheels, put the 16" stockers back on it.  I may end up getting spacers and using these on the Camino.

Instead of trying to pick up another Camaro, I went for an alternate plan.  I paid off some debts, I bought some tools, I bought some parts for the Camino, and I bought a car that I might be willing to pass on to my stepdaughter once the El Camino is done.  It's a 94 BMW 325i convertible, and I bought it dirt cheap because it needed a lot of work -- most of the major systems were nonfunctional for one reason or another.  I'm not going to follow the work I'm doing to it here but here's a list of what wasn't right when I got it:

I bought the car from a mom-and-pop type dealership that had several BMWs and a shop but it does not look like they bothered to do any maintenance - the oil was way overfilled, the air filter was dirty, and the like. 

For a while everything I fixed just showed that there was an additional issue it was masking.  When I installed an antenna, I found that the rear speakers were blown.  When I replaced the outside temp sensor in hopes that the CD changer would start working, it didn't (I hadn't checked the compressor yet, so I'd hoped the AC would start working too).  An oil change fixed the fluid leak; polishing fixed the headlight covers.  A local junkyard provided non-power replacement seats that aren't quite the right color (the junkyard next door has them in the correct color though), a new glove box, and an AC compressor.  Some cleaning and lubrication took care of the power mirrors.  Mail ordering parts took care of the power seat gears to fix the recline (cushions can be moved from the non-power seats), new fog lights, and some of the wierdness with the trim (how can a car from the 90s not have cupholders?).  Now the only remaining issues are:

I have to avoid the temptation to go through "upgrading" parts of the car.  This is not a project car.  I do not need to convert it to a manual transmission, or put M5 wheels on it, or put an M3 bumper, or upgrade the suspension, or put euro spec headlamps with glass covers and angel eyes, or anything like that; I merely need to maintain it.  I'm going to keep reminding myself of that.  It is kind of a fun car, and I am sure that with a bit more power and a manual it'd be great.. but then again, that's what the El Camino is for.  There are some interesting things that the BMW does and I will probably see about including them in the Camino. 

It's definitely more comfortable to sit in than the Camaro was -- which I didn't realize until after I'd been driving the BMW for a while and went to go try to start the Camaro. 

I replaced the stock stereo with one that had HD radio and was able to play MP3 CDs and USB devices.  I like the MP3 bits, but HD radio is a little disappointing -- I expected more stations.

The DIY software that you can use to connect to the BMW computer isn't nearly the quality as - for example - EFILive... but it's a lot cheaper, too.

I bought El Camino parts!

No pictures, because I'm either a jerk or I didn't take any.  Or both.

I got:

This *should* complete my fuel system (other than connectors), the front suspension (other than shocks), and the clutch setup.  Still can't get the transmission mated to the engine.  Current thinking is that it's because of the cheapie plastic alignment tool just isn't good enough to use for the dual-disk setup.  Forte's is out of the GM metal alignment tools (I was supposed to call today and see if he was able to get a Ford one turned down) and my local QuarterMaster dealer doesn't have the 26 spline one.

I did grab that Reverse Lockout I'd "borrowed" from the Camino's T56 and the Pro 5.0 shifter, returning the stock parts to the Camaro.

I also bought a replacement camera since my old one appears to have died.  I don't much care for it - half the time it refuses to turn on which makes for spotty picture taking.  Sorry about that.

I bought tools!

I bought a bunch of little tools I'd been needing.  I spent hours at the new local Harbor Freight just looking at what they had and there's always some little thing that you never knew you'd need.  I got things like a set of J-nuts and screws (which I've already used), heat shrink assortments (I've used that too), fuse holders (they were on clearance!) and little crap like that.

I also got the bandsaw I've been needing, and a throatless shear -- I haven't used the bandsaw yet, but that shear makes cutting metal easy.

You don't care but....

I've completed another semester.  Not sure how I did it, but I ended up with an A in Calculus II on top of the programming classes.  I've now been accepted to UNT, so I can take the more advanced classes now although I've already signed up for Calc 3 at Dallas County for this coming semester.  Hey, maybe in five or six years, I'll be done with this school thing and I'll be able to devote more time to the car(s).

I've decided I like driving around with the top down, so I'm looking forward to getting the Chevelle driveable.  Should be even more fun than the BMW, since it'll, you know, be a big block and all.

I've reworked the page

We had to create a website as part of an assignment in a technical writing class over the summer - so I used this one, and the teacher commented that she found white text on black hard to read... so I'm trying black on light grey.  If you actually read this stuff, and have an opinion, let me know?

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