Sunday, March 25, 2007

The Flight of the Phoenix

Last year, the Miata lost its radiator. I kept it running all season with BarsLeak and chewing gum, but just before Thanksgiving, it was a goner: it could no longer make it to-and-from work without being topped off.

Mercifully, Russ had revived the Death Car for me - making that car much less potentially lethal than it has been in several years - so I just parked the Miata and let it languish in the snow while I enjoyed the luxury of the closed car all winter.

But spring is now officially here: time to get the Miata running again.

Charge the battery, give an ounce of oil to the valve gallery.
Battery: check.
Coolant: uh, check.
Spark: spark? Hello?

Seems like the gas in the tank was pretty non-volatile. That was the longest the Miata had ever been down - about four full months of sitting, come to think of it - so it would crank forever, but never spark.

It took like what seemed like a full minute of cranking before it even fired. But once it finally started firing, it caught in a hurry. Once it was firing roughly, it limbered right up. The Youngest Member and I took it around the block, and it quickly started firing on all cylinders.

To celebrate, I blew 30ยข (on the difference) and treated the car to One Whole Gallon of high-test, to pep up and revive the sludgy old gas. We left it at the corner garage for its annual inspection (oh: and a new radiator...) and walked home.

Year Eighteen of The Red Menace begins.

[(slightly) Tragic addendum: the shop changed the radiator and the major hoses... which shifted the pressure to one of the minor hoses (the "throttle-body-to-somewhere-mysterious" hose). THAT split, creating a slow leak of hot coolant all over the alternator....
Fortunately, I was still in the habit of carrying a jug of 50/50, so I made it home.]

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