I go where Yugo?

Quick update. I just recently acquired an old Yugo in a straight across the board trade for the 99 VW Jetta that I had sitting that could only drive in reverse(long story). A salvage yard in Topeka had posted it up for sale and when it didn’t meet the reserve on Ebay(it was only bid up to $300 and some change) I offered a trade. In my mind I was just ecstatic to be getting rid of this piece of crap VW and it’s frozen bolts around the transmission that have just been laughing at me. So I loaded up dad’s truck and the trailer and during one of the windiest days we’ve had in a while I drove it up to swap it out. Not before accidentally ripping off the bumper entirely on the VW while trying to get it rolled up onto the trailer. On the west bound roads I had to back off the gas to keep the trailer from whipping all over the road, no fun task when driving through 435 in Kansas City, but made it there finally.

They used the fork truck to pick up and lift the Yugo over to the trailer since they couldn’t find the key and the steering column was locked up. I got her tied down and headed back home. The yugo was much easier to to tow on the way home, compared to the VW it was like pulling a bag of feathers. I spent most of the day yesterday extracting the door handle to get take the lock over to a locksmith friend of the family, but after all that work the ignition and door keys of course weren’t the same. Dad convinced me to leave all the crazy hot rod stickers plastered on the windows, but I did go ahead and pull out the junk window tinting that they’d put in. I replaced a couple tires so that we could eventually drive it off the trailer. Then after our key discovery worked for a while trying to remove the ignition lock cylinder with no success. After working for an hour or so trying not to destroy the mechanism and cleanly extract it I gave up, it is just a Yugo, and went the screwdriver driven into the lock assembly route to get the wheel lock to disengage. Then for the first time ever I got to work on hot wiring a car. A short while later she roared to life and I was able to pull it down from the trailer into the garage.

On the way back to my apartment tonight I began mulling over the idea of just pulling this engine and fitting it temporarily until the master rebuild of the Fiat’s engine is done to my satisfaction. So if everything works out Dustin you can have your storage area back and I’ll have my 128 back on the road. Although the Yugo was just begging to be put to use in all manner of rally applications, for now she’s just going to be an organ donor. If she sticks around long enough though I can see some ridiculous fender flares, ground effects and spoilers a la Killer B rally car style being installed and maybe a 1500cc engine being dropped back in along with a roll cage.

Here she is in all her glory.

Fiat Update

So I’ve been meaning to give an update on the Fiat saga for a while. Late last December I went outside to start her up and she made a pretty heinous grinding noise when I turned over the key. I was thinking starter grind possibly as it still ran and didn’t sound rough so while curious about what on earth could possibly have made the noise I didn’t have time to check into it any further. Then on Christmas she wouldn’t start at all. Fuel was getting there and spark was good, but it just turned and turned but wouldn’t fire. I didn’t really have too much time to look into it so I had to move on. Luckily this happened before I had the chance to drive it down to Atlanta for New Years Eve and get myself stuck.

Ever since I’d first picked up the car I’d intended on ramping up into rebuild/restore mode, but didn’t have the motivation or time to do it until now. So fast forward to March when my lease was getting ready to run out and I knew I’d loose the facilities of my precious garage. I decided to go ahead an pull the motor so I’d be able to work on it back in the corner of my parent’s garage. The day before I was scheduled to fly out to Denver for work, coincidentally this cars original home, I decided to pull the engine and begin to get down to the bottom of things. I’m still fairly green when it comes to working on cars and thought ripping her down to the core was as good as any place to start my education. So after a very long day and missing a few very, very important steps in the removal process I was able to get the engine removed. There was a bit of jumping on top of the engine to get it to break free and I can definitely say I’ll read instructions more thoroughly from here on out, but it is out none the less.

Once my lease was up my friend Dusty was kind enough to volunteer a spot in a barn at his folks property for the chassis to sit while I work on the motor. We loaded her up and rolled her back into an old barn they had used to raise rabbits when he was a kid and trailered his old VW Beetle back over to his place so he could start a bit of tinkering with it. If you ever get a minute he’s got some pretty hilarious stories about raising rabbits.

Back over at my dad’s garage we built a makeshift engine stand out of some old casters and chunks of wood that would suffice for the first part of the engine deconstruction. After removing the cam towers and getting to look at the cylinder head I noticed one very heinous problem with a shim bucket that sits on top of the valve springs. The bucket had somehow ruptured and the metal split open banging into the cylinder head when the engine turned over and then eventually jammed in place in the cam housing…not a good thing, but I’m still not entirely convinced that was the root of the problem. As nasty of a break as that was I would have thought the car would have at least started or attempted to fire and just run really rough.

I’d originally planned to do this deconstruction over the two week period of vacation in July, but soon found that wasn’t going to happen. I tend to go into very minute detail when I’m working on something I really care about and I want this to be a thing of beauty when she’s done. I was watching some hot rod tips on block preparation and one mentioned smoothing off the block before repainting so you get a really nice glossy finish. So I think I’ve put in roughly 20-25 hours worth of grinding with my Dremel during the crazy heat of late July and August to as much as I can create a smooth surface. I took home the distributor and worked on it up on my kitchen table; cleaning, disassembling and inspecting and then piecing it all back together. Keep in mind all along the way is a whole new discovery process for me. I mean I get how the basics work, but seeing how they’re implemented and pieced together is a whole other level of detail that I am pretty excited to understand.

I finished the block preparation and was ready for the first spray. We took it up to the chem bath at a local shop for one final wash before the spray to get all the junk and shavings out of all the little nooks and crannies. Let her dry and then plugged up and covered all the holes and did the first spray. And with the exception of some residual chem wash seeping from the radiator plug hole the paint went on beautifully. Even with the knowledge that I’ll have to sand a bit and do another spray I’m pretty satisfied considering I’ve never done anything like this before.

So my next steps are to send off the cylinder head to get ported, repaint the oil pan, powder coat the pulleys(obviously no functional improvement, but I think it’ll look really sharp), replace the core plugs, and then slowly put everything back together cleaning and reconditioning as I go. Sorry I didn’t get a chance to get any pictures of the finished paint on the block, but I’ll have some soon. For now here’s some before and after pictures of various camera quality from the process so far.

Holy hammhocks why do people have to be so difficult

Things are rarely as straight forward as we’d like them to be. I believe in absolutes, black and whites when it comes to matters of right and wrong, fundamental beliefs of faith and personal world views. But try as I may and as much as I want a single statement or a rigid response that I can use to apply to these disparate situations I encounter each day I’m left with none that cover every situation, that I can use applied in the same manner over and over again. There is no formula. Even with the same person at times they require one response and other times another. Love is the target and end goal, but even it is not as simple as we’ve made it sound and defined it in our culture. As a co-worker put it, “love is not always doing what the other person wants.” For that matter love is not always doing what we want. And yet here we are searching, looking for a formula, for a way to navigate the sirens calls and the jagged rocks, but not finding any. Because there’s not a simple answer. It’s simple enough to understand, but difficult in application. Though we may not like it, it is the best way. To go through a desert in order to reach the promised land. If you go the quick way into the promised land will you appreciate it? Will you be capable of upkeeping it? Are you a wiser person for doing so?

Applying truth through paradox, being in a place where you are able to hear the Holy Spirit, practicing love in its full capacity and not just the warm and cuddly version we have, listening and seeking out Godly counsel. It takes not just one, but all of these along with constant re-examination of oneself. Always striving, always applying instruction, never ceasing in zealousness, perseverance no matter how much simpler it is to take the easy way out. In short accept responsibility, lead courageously, resist passivity and expect the greater reward.

– Give instruction to a wise man and he will be yet wiser; teach a righteous man and he will increase in learning.
– not to estimate and think of himself more highly than he ought, but to rate his ability with sober judgment.
– Faithful are the wounds of a friend.
– Hear counsel, receive instruction, and accept correction, that you may be wise in the time to come.

I am a breathing time machine

Got back late, late, late last night from Columbia. Cutler and I went up to see The Avett Brothers play at the Missouri Theater. Since I’ve really only listened to their most recent album it was cool to hear a much wider selection of their music in the show. They may be a bit too country/bluegrassy for some, but when they played they had that theater jumping. I mentioned to Cutler that there was a noticeably strong scent of hippie musk in the air, highlighted even more so by the people a few rows down lighting up.(While that’s not unusual at some of the other shows or festivals I’ve been to, this was a very nice seated theater so that was way out of place) Throw in a great opening performance by Low Anthem and some crazy girls dancing in the aisles and you’ve got yourself a hippie folk stew going on. The sold out show lasted about an hour and 30 or an hour and 45. The one song they didn’t play that I’d really hoped to hear was Perfect Space, but they made up for it with the Roger Miller cover Where have all the average people gone. I will say that the fact that it takes longer to drive to Columbia than it does to KC really stinks.

They were recently featured on Austin City Limits too, but dang ACL removed the video. Sorry.

100 Acre Woods Rally

Here’s a quick taste of what my dad and I went to see this weekend around the Salem Missouri area. This was the second race on the national Rally America circuit. The 100 Acre Woods Rally 2010. We met people in from northern Iowa, Fayetteville Arkansas, Oklahoma City, Minnesota and a few people from Springfield. I don’t think I’ve ever seen more rally wannabe Subarus parked in one place. I had to work hard not to have all wheel drive envy in my measly two-wheel drive civic. The Polish guys during stage 5 whooping, hollering and blowing their air horns almost made this feel like a WRC event…almost. Besides the big dogs Travis Pastrana, Dave Mirra and Kent Block; the highlight turned out to be an unlikely VW Beetle and an older Volvo. I’ll try and peice together some of our video and post it soon so you can get a better idea of the race and skill involved. But for now enjoy the photos.

MuteMath Tulsa

Ventured down to Tulsa for another MuteMath show last Saturday with Kent and Robyn at Cain’s. I’d been to Cain’s before, but for some reason in my mind I had torn it down to a crappy old dancehall that wasn’t a very good venue. I guess I had some wires crossed because it was incredible. The crowd there was really into the show and really made the experience much more enjoyable then last week in KC. We were up pretty close and I managed to catch a stick and and after the show even talked for a bit with Vivian, the drummers mother that we used to go to church with years ago. So that’s a total of 6 times I’ve seen MuteMath now since sometime in 05.

1. Springfield Winter 05 @Remingtons w/ The Outlaw Sea. Vedera was a no show.
2. KC Spring 07 @The Granada w/ The Cinematics, SSLYBY, Club of The Sons
3. Tulsa Fall 07 @Cain’s w/ Eisley – met a really cool girl from ORU because of my curly Yukon Cornelious mustache
4. KC Fall 07 @The Granada w/ Eisley – My dad came to this one with me and it was a blast. I think it was right before thanksgiving.
5. KC Fall 09 @The Beaumont w/ Tall as Lions
6. Tulsa FAll 09 @Cains w/ Tall as Lions
7. Winter of 07 I met Darren King at a Bad sweater Christmas Party – Decemberloso – That my friend Sesha throws. He’s really a cool dude, very grounded, but also fun. Too bad didn’t run into he and Greg when I used to go to church at Cornerstone years ago.

If you’re interested and can find any information on the web check out the custom synthesizer they’ve dubbed The Atari or the Rhodes that Paul surfs atop.


Holy frijoles what a good concert. Darren ended up crowdsurfing on top of his bass drum and playing off the rafters. Maybe slightly less energy than the last tour, but still all around a great show. Now to see them again in a couple of weeks in Tulsa with Kent and Robyn.

Here’s a couple videos from the show. Sorry for the crappy audio, it was way overload for my camera. Click the pic to play.

[qt:http://travelingbeard.com/wp-content/uploads/MuteMathMontage.m4v http://travelingbeard.com/wp-content/uploads/Mute3.png 960 540]

[qt:http://travelingbeard.com/wp-content/uploads/Mute2.m4v http://travelingbeard.com/wp-content/uploads/Mute2.png 640 360]