Thursday, January 19, 2006

Non Starter

The car bucks and shudders severely as he pops the clutch pedal. It comes to a dead stop...Failure, once again.

What in God's name was going through his mind on this damp Wednesday morning that made him decide against his natural instinct to leave the car running in front of his Public Storage unit? He was only going to be five minutes -- tops -- to locate that non-descript box containing the two hundred dollar factory remanufactured Nissan starter. He ordered it months ago when he first picked up on the tell-tale warning signs of a failing starter, and it's been sitting locked away in a box ever since. The original had gone 216,181 miles...Nothing to sneeze at, but boy does he wish it could've gone just ONE more mile.

Little drops of rain begin to fall.

There's noone here in this tiny gated parking it's all up to him to heave the 2900 pound hunk of Japanese assembled steel across the slick asphalt. Once more, he slowly eases the car 10 yards to the back of the parking lot. Gathering his composure, he leans on the trunk, pushing and pushing...the white New Balance cross-trainers struggle to gain a footing on the slick smooth surface. Slightly more than walking pace now; hop in, shove it in first, pop the clutch. The dirty four door comes to another halt with even more shuddering, more bangs...but defeat yet again. @*&@(*&#^$!(*&! He lets out a loud sigh and sits, flustered, in the driver's seat -- hm...after 10 years of hard use, it still is holding together reasonably well, with nary a crack.

Maybe it's time to call AAA.

Oh the metaphoric analogies to so many of those ambitious "projects" in his life that were extinguished before ever taking hold. Like that dream 240 track car -- turbo motor swap, stripped interior, Endless ZEAL coilovers and heim joints all around, 16" forged magnesium wheels; that PASACAT video project -- miles and miles of Hi8 footage strewn about, unsorted in small boxes in some house in the middle of East San Diego; or those many failed attempts at relationships with women -- one in particular that was over before it even started, from back when he was a clueless college undergrad; that long-desired trip to Tokyo that as of yet has not materialized into reality; flying a helicopter; getting a pilot's license; the list goes on and on...

Ah, the best laid plans of mice and men (often go astray)

With a renewed vigor (and a sudden burst of inspiration that second gear, not first is the preferred starting point), he once again urges the behemoth back across the lot. (A part of him is grateful that he doesn't drive that 4200lb luxo-bahn-burner that he's longed for the past seven years) This time, lactidosis burning in his calves, he builds a full head of steam and hops in. More shuddering, more bucking, but right before the car comes to a complete stop, the motor quitely stumbles into life. Clutch in, throttle up...Success! "Always listen to your instincts, you freakin' idiot!!" his mind screams loudly into the chilly morning. Legs aching, hands freezing, arms burning, and lungs desperately scratching for oxygen, he heads off to the dealer to get his beloved Nissan (err -- Infiniti) starter replaced.

Something tells me this is a clear indicator for our tragic protagonist to move on to another (more ambitious) vehicle.
Here's to the best handling and most reliable front wheel drive four door that five grand could buy. And the only one with a limited slip diff, camber correcting multi-link front suspension, a fully counterbalanced and microfinished crankshaft and a 7500 RPM redline. It'll be a sad day indeed when I finally hand you over to another Nissan geek.

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At 1/19/2006 2:36 AM, Blogger oj_rokk said...

my daddy always said, push start it in second.

At 1/20/2006 8:01 PM, Blogger Randy said...

i for got to add that on my way to work this morning, i hear this noise, some kind of grinding/whirring sound. as i'm rolling down 92 towards the 101...i noticed that my speedo reads at 80, 90, 100, 110, 120. but i'm at 3500 rpms and that should equal to 70 mps. man, i think my speedo cable is about to go out. my tranny is loud (sounds like a dog box whir) and my car is eating up oil. like you, i also think that's a sign for me to get a new car. i have 188k on the hatch mind you. ahhh, i can feel the evo now.


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