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This Old Crack House

From log house to farmhouse. Farmhouse to townhouse. Townhouse to apartment house. Apartment house to crack house. Crack house to our house. Our house to our home.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Resurrecting the Beast!

This is the beast!

It died in September 2005 when it locked in reverse and wouldn't go into any other gear. It has sat on the pad that used to be our garage since then. At an odd angle but not quite protruding into the alley. It looks much like an abandoned vehicle. I ripped out the steering column and cut all the wiring back in October but the toll from mosquitos was too great and the project was abandoned until a suitable weather day AND the fact that I have to be in the right mood to work on it. That day was Monday. The event was prompted by the fact that the insurance is due on the vehicle and the plates need to be renewed in March. I was not willing to spend a whole lot of time or money on this thing.

That being said, I must admit that this was probably the BEST motor vehicle purchase I have ever made. I paid $300 for the beast in 2001. It has cost me a total of $87 in repairs since then and $40 of that was a new battery! It is a 1975 Ford Econoline 150 van. The sliding side door won't work and I don't have a key to lock the doors, but what do you expect for $300? The dashboard is ripped out so there is no radio. It has yet to be stolen, though I know that it occassionally gets a good going through once in a while because I often drive off and find the passenger door swings open. It is exempt from emmissions testing and does 12 miles to the gallon but hauls home remodel supplies and auction purchases like nobodys business. I need it to last about 12 more months so that I can buy the brick and tile flue liners that I need to fix a few of our chimneys with as well as any drywall or big items that a car is no good for.

Well, I took a look at the beast on Monday afternoon when it was 50 degrees outside. For some reason, I looked under the vehicle. I saw the problem right away. After I removed the big dead weed that was stuck to the underbelly of the beast it dawned on me that that was the likely culprit. The rod that connects the gear change lever on the steering column to the transmission had been disconnected from the mechanism on the gear box. What is needed? A wire clip! Cost? Less than $1 except I probably have to buy a pack of assorted ones for $3. So, I spliced the wires together, taped them up with electrical tape and put the steering column back together and put the beast in park. It started up just fine! After the white smoke cleared and I could see the vehicle again I realized that the left turn signal won't stop blinking.......

Can he fix it? YES HE CAN!
So, that's another $400 in insurance and registration fees the beast will cost us this year......


At 1/17/2006 1:34 PM, Blogger HomeImprovementNinja said...

Congrats on the beast. My dad had an Econoline 150 when he was a contractor. That thing was indestructable.

I'm particularly a fan of the solid metal bumper. I backed up hard into a telephone pole once and only dented the bumper. I look at the plastic bumper on my SUV and shudder to think what it would look like after a similar collision.

At 1/17/2006 5:24 PM, Blogger amanda said...

Ah, if only we had such an inexpensive beast. Aaron talked me into a 1988 Range Rover and all that thing has done is eat time and $$ from the house and fail MD inspection!

At 1/17/2006 7:57 PM, Blogger Jocelyn said...

I wish we had a beast. WE don't even have a car- let alone a beast!

At 1/18/2006 12:15 AM, Blogger Gary said...

I'm sure the beast would fail MD inspection, too. As well as Pennsylvania, Virginia, Delaware, Rhode Island....

Be careful what you wish for. Next year, or even sooner for that matter, I could drive the beast up to Chicago (if it makes it of course) and park it outside your place and give you the key and the title and let you deal with it! I wouldn't let the neighbors know who it belongs to if you want to maintain ANY dignity! I could probably get home via Greyhound for less than the cost of gas to get to Chicago! You have earned first right of refusal when the time comes to unload the beast! Congratulations!


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