Saturday, January 10, 2015

The Good, The Bad, But There Is No Ugly Today

Today's article is going to mainly be a photo essay. It is said a picture speaks a thousand words and in this case, I think that's truer than not.

I'm composing this article as I sit parked on the beach in the SoCal city of Manhattan Beach. My son's home is approximately three miles from the beach and the office he works at is conveniently about half way between his pad and the beach. So, this is not a bad arrangement.

The Good!

So, the good is that while My McVansion has suffered an automotive heart attack, I'm fortunate enough to have close family in an idyllic location, especially considering the weather conditions back at my eastern base camp in Keyser, West Virginia. The temperatures there for the past several days have been in the 0-10 degree range at night with 25 to 50 mph winds creating wind-chill temperatures in the -10 to -20 range. Additionally, they have had a nominal blanket of snow on the ground.

So, here is my current location as I compose this piece for, you, my loyal readers --

Surfers on Manhattan Beach, California at
 73 balmy degrees

A small party of onlookers on the beach
in the late afternoon sun
A tanker at anchor off Manhattan Beach

Some volley ball beach babes practicing
Not a bad place to live - if you can afford it

A Pacific Ocean sunset at Manhattan Beach, California

The Bad!

The bad part of this situation is that My McVansion sits about five miles from my present location with a large cavity where its heart (its engine) resided until yesterday. Since my son was kind enough to let me have his car for the day, I took a little time late this morning to visit my micro-condo on wheels and take a look at its current condition.

Here are some current photos of the "patient."

My McVansion with its chest cavity empty - its heart has been removed
The engine block undergoing steam cleaning
One of the two heads and the camshaft
awaiting cleaning and machining

This may be the "bad boy" - one of the pistons is very badly damaged -
the other seven pistons had their miles showing, but were 
generallyin much better condition.

The NOT Ugly!

So, while this is not a convenient or a planned set of circumstance and turn of events, I don't see anything truly ugly about it. First, I get to enjoy some great time with my son. This is something we haven't had the privilege of having very much over the past decade or so. Second, I'm located in a warm, sunny and very pleasant environment. One couldn't ask for a better situation under the circumstances. Third, this failure of automotive technology was neither planned nor was the expense in the budget, so it's going to take a significant bite out of my resources. However, it will only alter my lifestyle a very small amount.

The upside is that I will have a like new engine in the van that should last many, many miles. This will provide reliable travel and opportunities for exploring more of Americana and the adventures that lie ahead.



  1. Like you said, it happened in a 'good' spot! Well it could have been a worse place.... I woke up this morning thinking about when we had the RV towed last spring...
    You are not the first blogger I read to have an engine failure in the past month or so, the other one went with a used engine. What's a rebuild running these days?

    1. Absolutely, Rob. One place quoted me $2,650 for a used engine and could only find one Ford 302 with the same miles on it as my engine. He quoted me $3,650 for a rebuilt. But that place only pulled and reinstalled the engine. They didn't do the actual rebuild. I did some research on the internet and found a place 2 miles from my son that was an engine machine shop and actually pulled the engine, tore it down, did all necessary machining, replaced all necessary parts with new, rebuilt the engine and reinstalled it checking and replacing all peripheral parts like belts, hoses, water pump, etc. as needed. So, I took it there for a second opinion. I liked the owner, the place was clean and orderly, his people seemed knowledgeable and skilled and they had been in business almost 32 years (father to son and the father was still working there). They estimated the job at $2,600 for a fully rebuilt engine and obviously from the photos don't mind keeping me in the loop. I called my regular mechanic back in VA and have him the details and the estimate. He said it sounds like a very good estimate and the right place. Also this place had excellent rating and reviews on yelp and other places. Still -- I have my fingers crossed.

  2. You're right...not ugly...just incapacitated! (:>)