Fixing the car… again…

Fixing the car… again…

Mid October. Gorillaz concert. Lets take the Volvo. Approach a peculiar intersection I’ve crossed a thousand times. I have to turn left crossing 3 oncoming lanes. They have a stop sign, I don’t. My crossing the intersection safely depends heavily on the other drivers’ understanding of the right of way. So I’m half way through the intersection when a Golf takes off from his stop and meets me half way.

We pull over and assess the damage. It wasn’t a hard hit, but my passenger side headlight is smashed, fender dented and scratched, bumper cover clips cracked. Relatively insignificant but quite expensive to fix. Normally I’d do it myself but now I’ll be going through the insurance, since my trusty dashcam is able to prove without a doubt that I was not at fault. Hooray! Unfortunately on my way from the accident to the concert I hit a massive unmarked trench dug across the boulevard and dented 3 of my BRAND NEW 18″ FC04s. Also shattered one brake pad, so it was metal on metal all the way home. The concert was awesome though.

Well the garage I chose to carry out the work was dragging their asses, I assume because of the difficulty involved in sourcing parts and the fact that the repair will cost much more than the cars value. I was initially afraid they were going to write me off, but that wouldn’t look good on paper. Car is valued at about 3 grand, repair is closer to 5. Estimated insurance payout is less than 2 grand. This could get annoying.

So two months go by I and I don’t get an appointment. I call them up and they say the adjuster has to look at the car again because blah blah blah. So I’m on my way to go see him and…

I was pulling onto a highway. I waited patiently for the truck in front of me to find a gap in the traffic so he could go. I watched him hit the gas and take off. I look left to look for my gap. Found one. Hit the gas. BOOM. I buttfucked the truck. The driver gets out and starts apologizing profusely for stopping so abruptly, his gap closed when someone changed lanes so he stomped the brake. I appreciated his apology but legally, this is my fault plain and simple. There was no damage to his truck, but he had one of those step things installed in the hitch so he could walk up the back, and it punctured just about everything in my front end. Further, when the van went forward again the step acted like a hook and did even more damage. I sent him on his way and dragged the car back to my garage with an ATV.

The parts list for the October incident were basically a headlight and a bumper cover. Now the list includes the 2 front mount intercoolers, the a/c condenser, the radiator, the bumper cover mounting brackets, a fog light. Thousands of dollars. Woooo.

After calling the adjuster, the garage, and my insurance rep and cancelling the repair (instead opting for the incredibly tiny payout), I got to work tracking down the parts I need to fix this. To my credit, I did a much better job than my insurance company did, and for a fraction of the price.

I joined a facebook group for P2 R owners a while back, and it’s been an incredible source of help and information from a community of thousands of people with the same car. I made a post and a bunch of people in the USA responded. One guy offered me one of the parts I needed for $350, and another guy offered most of the parts I needed for $500. So I exchanged 500 bucks and drove to Albany. 500 bucks sounds amazing, but factor in exchanging on a bad rate day, plus 100 for the trip, oh and the delicious import fees. Anyway for 900 bucks I went to Albany and got my hands on a bumper cover in the wrong color, a pair of HID fog lights with bad ballasts,
a pair of front mount intercoolers, and a radiator with the fan. Additional required purchases were 2 rattlecans of matched paint, 2 rattlecans of clear coat, a pair of bumper cover mounting brackets from volvo, a pair of 35W HID ballasts, and various fluids. Oh and a week of my time but we don’t count that.

The install went fairly straight forward, but there was only one hiccup. I thought I could be smart and save the a/c condenser replacement for the spring considering I don’t need it until summer anyway, but that’s not how things work on the P2R. It turns out that the condenser is the primary mounting part for the entire front cooling assembly. It is absolutely required for mounting the radiator and intercoolers. Without the condenser, these parts just sit loose. So I straightened out my punctured condenser and mounted it proper, just to hold everything else in place. But that’s not all either. It would seem the whole cooling system relies on the condenser and its pressure sensor. If the a/c system is non-functional, the cooling system defaults to a non-functional state and the radiator fan gets pinned to full blast. Basically, whenever the engine is running, the fan is giving 100%. Great for track day but annoying in the winter. -25 degrees with a fan running full blast means the engine will take a loooong time to warm up. Forget about getting heat out of the vents on your way to work.

A few weeks later I was driving and the steering wheel started shaking bigtime. Like scary bigtime. Accelerating is fine, but coasting or braking makes the wheel shake really bad. I checked and found that my front passenger CV axle was very badly worn. Like, both boots torn, grab the axle and wiggle it around worn. I ordered a new one (buying parts is fucking getting old) and did a quick lookup to see how replacement goes. VIDA says remove the ball joints, youtube says remove the ball joints and control arm. Well both of those are seized and I’m not going to get the oxy-ace refilled just for this, so I have to find another way.

What would you say if I said there’s a way to replace the axle without removing any ball joints or control arms? Well it’s easy. Turn the wheel all the way to the right, remove the brake caliper (surprisingly not siezed on an old rusty car), and the upper one of the two strut bolts. That’s it, the axle will wiggle out just fine and the new one will wiggle in just fine. Counting the carrier and the end bolt, that makes for a grand total of 6 bolts to change the passenger side CV axle.

So as of right now, the only parts remaining to replace are the front driver side av axle (might as well), the two front wheel bearings (might as well), the passenger headlight (i glued the broken one back together for now), and the a/c condenser. This will all be done in the spring unless something else tragic happens. BAH.

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