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What'd You Do On The Weekend...? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Colin Brassington (aka Brash)   
Tuesday, 08 November 2016 16:27

So many of my recent weekends have been the same:

Person 1: What'd you get up to this weekend, Brash?

Brash: Not much, spent most of it working on the 180.

Person 1: Driving it yet?

Brash: **angry grunt, followed immediately by dejected sigh** No, not yet but...

Person 2: (interjecting) What about all the other cars you've got?

Brash: Well...

  Shed Driveway Works

And so on. And to be bluntly honest, I was fucking sick of it.

 But I've had a bit of an epiphany, I suppose all this time spent on public transport has to be good for something right? And I refute suggestions that I am the common element with all the troubles I'm having with cars at the moment. However, let me elaborate:

For the first years of Honda ownership, that car was like my baby. Total silver spoon treatment, the best of the best for everything all the time. Rare genuine accessories, exotic lubricants, dealer servicing, whatever it took. She was always garaged, detailed and cleaned most weeks (whether driven or not) and never beaten on in the same way that many friends drove their cars at the time. It wasn't that I was afraid to work on it - I did all the minor servicing, brakes, lots of stereo works. But anything that required more than a couple of hours, I had the professionals handle. And at considerable expense I might add.

The H22A fitted to this car required valve lash adjustments every 40,000km, so every fourth service was done at a dealer because that was too hard for me. Or I couldn't be bothered, one or the other. Even when we were in ultimate savings mode trying to buy a house, the car servicing was kept up with. So you can imagine my level of happiness when the engine failed back in January 2013. You can read about that here.

With the Nissans, both the white Silvia and blue 180SX, one of the things that attracted me to these cars was that they are easy to work on, and that I could do most of what would be required myself.

Of course the key word there is, most.

When the exhaust manifold studs failed on the S14, I simply opened up my toolbox and pulled it apart. I'd never done this before, but I understood the principles of what I was doing and figured there was no reason why I couldn't do it myself. And in all seriousness, there wasn't. And sure, that car was off the road for a few weeks because I didn't have the time to get to it, or because I took a few days to do what a professional would have taken a few hours to do. But at that stage, I think a habit was forming. Maybe not a habit, maybe a mentality.

I mused a while ago about wondering how normal people behave when their cars develop a coolant leak, while I simply called my boss, told him I'd be in by lunch time, and limped the car home to fix it that morning.

And that's the common thing here, if something went wrong with that car, I simply put my old clothes on and set about fixing it. And I think that was as much about proving to myself that I could do it as anything else.

When I bought the 180, I continued that mentality. The concept of a brake upgrade fascinated me to the point where I simply plumped for the parts and started work. Then I got chatting to a mate who convinced me that the subframe changeover was a clever idea, so we did that too. Didn't realise that this conversion was probably well beyond the skill level of an amateur mechanic and a couple of mates until we were that far in that I really had to finish it. There was more than one stage I felt that I should give up and pay a workshop to finish the works, but I would need to partially put it back together to get the car to said workshop, so I may as well finish it myself.

And again this last few weeks with the diff problems. I simply ordered the parts, got changed and jacked the car up.

Shed Works


So what happened between the Honda and the Nissans?

Well I think that while I was almost afraid to work on the Honda myself, with the Nissans I've been almost afraid to spend money on them. And yes I think it's that simple.

When the diff started to make noise, I thought about dropping it down to a workshop I know to have them check it out. But then, when looking more out of curiosity than anything else I found a replacement unit that should have fixed the problem. So without really considering it further, I set about the rectification; figuring that I could get the other diff repaired cheaper if I simply dropped it off separately than if I drove the car in and said 'fix it mate'. But then again, look how that ended up.

So where to next? Not sure. They say that to fix a drinking problem, first you must admit you have one. Maybe I have an addition to pointless automotive works. Hello, my name is Brash and I'm a mod-aholic? Nah, that's not a thing.

After considerable number of weeks, the 180 is back on the road. And I must say it has been wonderful to be able to drive my car. I've put some miles on it and I'm even going to drive it to work this week. And it's so nice to be driving something that has purpose. Not that the Mazda3 doesn't, but it's just been so awesome to hop back in a car that requires you to think while you drive, rather than just point it in the right direction and occasionally change gear.

So back to the question of what next? Not really sure, but you bet you'll be able to read about it here!




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