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Embrassing Drive Home With The Lady


Beck180
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"So at what point to do we call a cab?" She said. I hate the tone of voice she uses when she wants me to know she thinks I'm a fool for driving a 40 year old car. Or worse, I'm a fool for attempting to fix my own 40 year old car.

 

At this point the poor car can't even hold idle at a stop sign, let along a stop light. Just hours earlier, the Tii was running great but now it quits anywhere below 1000 RPM. My fiance crosses her arms and stares straight forward from the passenger seat, making it clear she'd rather walk through Golden Gate Park at 10 PM than ride in this piece of Bavarian junk.

 

I had just spent the last week and a half chasing down a timing chain noise in my 74 Tii, I have no service records from the PO so I decided it was best to just replace everything inside the timing covers as well as the water pump to boot.

 

So I bought a new chain, tensioner, guide rail, spring, piston, K-pump belt, water pump and a full set of gaskets for the both covers and the water pump. During the mild rebuild, I hit a few road blocks and had to actually work a few days here or there (I'm a freelancer), but I finally finished all the work on the car today. I was extremely proud because outside of a transmission swap I did last month, this was the most mechanically challenging task I've attempted on the 2002 so far.

 

The engine looks great (after hours of scrubbing all the oil and grease off the timing covers) and after several seconds of the starter cranking, the motor fired up just fine. The idle sounded great and all the clattering noise was gone from the front of the engine. I made sure to burp the tensioner correctly and everything.

 

I took a test drive for about 10 miles and had a few hiccups. About 4 or 5 times the car stalled at idle while stopped at a stop light. Not a big deal. The car started right back up and I figured the throttle or K-pump just needed adjusting after all the new parts. I changed the oil and the filter and let the car rest for a couple of hours while having dinner with my fiance and my parents.

 

When it was time to drive home, the car got progressively worse and worse. At first the Tii would lose idle at every stop light. Then it would be begin to lose it every time I got off the gas. This is when my fiance begins really showing her displeasure. I start driving through the park to get to our apartment on the other side when the car begins to not only stall, but now it even struggles to start.

 

On two occasions I sat at stop signs waiving people around me as I begged the Tii to start again. If not to prevent us having to walk home, just to prevent awful stories of failure being discussed between my passenger and my future mother-in-law.

 

And then I begin to get annoyed at her annoyance. Why is she so angry? I can understand some frustration at the situation, but why is it geared towards me? I took a risk towards a passion of mine. Sometimes it works beautifully (like in the fore mentioned transmission swap), and sometimes I screw up. But the way I see it, at least I tried. And its not like my test drive was from here to Vegas via the desert!

 

My fiance loves to cook. And on occasion she takes a risk. And also on a occasion she messes up. And do I sit there at the dinner table to with my arms crossed attempting to show my frustration? Hell no. I eat it. I smile. I might even tell her it is not the best things she's made (she is a great cook though) but I appreciate the effort she put into it.

 

These are our passions. Cars are a passion of mine. As is journalism, youth leadership and the outdoors. If I take a risk and fail, sometimes there will be innocent bystanders who are inadvertently effected as well. Had my fiance not needed a ride home tonight, she wouldn't care less if the Tii was having issues after days of my turmoil and struggle.

 

"So at what point do we call a cab?" She said.

 

What's really on my mind is, "how soon can I get this to my mechanic to get this sorted out!"

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Ah but you ARE your mechanic.  Oh well, Mechanic's Rule is look at whatever you last messed with.  Surely you'll find it.  Sounds like it's getting progressively worse, such as would result from something not being tied down as well as it ought to have been.  Check your fasteners.

 

Could be worse:  I got an '85 K100RS (BMW bike) that had been sitting for years. Rode it home.  A year later I changed all the hoses in the fuel system (injected) and went for a ride with the wife.  She said "I smell gas" and I replied "I have a can of injector cleaner in the tank, that's probably what you smell"  Nevertheless, I pulled over at the bus stop and just then, at walking pace, the engine caught fire.  SH****T this is happening just inside my left leg and it's looking bad. She jumped off and started screaming her fool head off as I try to beat out the flames.  I'm wearing long cuff heavy leather welding gloves (cause I'm cheap and don't buy "Ronny Roadracer" gloves for six times the price) but the fire is behind the fairing and nothing works until the fairing burns away.  It's fiberglass, and some heavy fumes are being generated, but I keep my helmet and jacket on.  The screaming continues, wife is thinking that a la Hollywood, there will be a lightning strike and clap of thunder, leaving only a smoking crater where the dearly beloved (me... ) was last seen.  Long story short, I got the fire out with the help of someone who drove up with a quart of water, plus a nearby resident who showed up five minutes into the event with a fire extinguisher.   When the cop came, it wasn't even smoking any more, and I distracted the officer enough so that he didn't notice the lack of registration or safety check.  When the fire engine arrived, I waved them off.  The we both picked up a few pieces, climbed back on, and coasted two blocks home.

 

Moral 1:  always check your connections.  You can easily miss something critical. 

Moral 2:  always make sure that you to a thorough test ride before committing to hauling the wife/fiance/girlfriend.

Moral 3:  your test ride should always be uphill so if something goes wrong you can get home.  This is especially important after brake work.

 

You got off light, friend.

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Agreed... Always test drive alone before taking along the girlfriend/fiance/wife. 

 

No offense though, but you need to explain exactly what you said here to your fiance. If she can't accept and appreciate that, then consider what you are getting yourself into. I was driving my girlfriend home one day when my pilot bearing let go. I had to wait for hours for a tow, so after about 30 minutes I told her it was probably best she took the train home otherwise she would be late for dinner. She insisted on staying with me, but I told her it would take ages and it was freezing out, so she agreed after some discussion. The first time I mentioned to her that I was considering selling the 02 to get something newer, she got all depressed and said to me "but you love that car...". 

 

Then I thought about it, and I realized how right she was. I always knew I loved it, but I love her enough that I wanted her to be more comfortable when taking trips with me. When she told me that she wanted me to keep it, I realized I had made a pretty good decision in staying with her all this time. 

 

Sometimes our better halves are right about things... Like when they yell at us to put on a dust mask or tell us we've been working too late. But if I've learned anything from my own parents, and from my grandparents (like mother like daughter I suppose), if the woman you're with has a big issue with the things you love most, you better work it out early in your relationship before you find yourself a 40 year old man with no hobbies because just the thought of doing something you love sends your wife into a rage. 

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Sometimes our better halves are right about things... Like when they yell at us to put on a dust mask or tell us we've been working too late. But if I've learned anything from my own parents, and from my grandparents (like mother like daughter I suppose), if the woman you're with has a big issue with the things you love most, you better work it out early in your relationship before you find yourself a 40 year old man with no hobbies because just the thought of doing something you love sends your wife into a rage. 

 

I agree with Honolulu, and Rocan is right on w/ that last paragraph.

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That sucks dude, my gf actually cried when my 2002's engine bit the dust (po never tightened a pair of screws in the carb, eventually they backed out and cylinder number four tried eating them). Now shes pushing me to keep at the m20 swap and not to give up even though there is some money issues right now. Dont give up man, its too easy! Maybe she was just havin a bad day or just doesnt realise how attatched to the car you are

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I've called the two truck for my car twice in the last year, and I get Sh*t for it all the time. BUT, i persevere and stick through it, I take the blows knowing I can do what many can't (and won't even try).

 

The first call was because of a failed component on my megasquirt board (yes, home soldered etc)....the second call because my fuel pump fuse blew (wish I had figured that out before I called the tow truck and got home). This was partially my fault (never finished up the wiring after the first test drives...shorted out when they touched).

 

So, stick with it, you will figure it out, take the ridicule because just knowing you did something most can't these days is impressive and should be a source of pride for you.

 

 

 

Yep, any mention of taking my car out on a drive I get the "oh, well you better not call later for a tow truck number", and I go out and enjoy every minute of my drive =)

 

-Bryan

red73

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Beck, life is certainly a lot more interesting when you take a few (non-life-threatening) risks, and driving a 40 year old car is already a risk unto itself. You're putting yourself out there, taking on some new challenges and learning a bunch in the process. And experiencing a passion for something you really care about (my wife describes it perfectly as "having sex with the 02").

 

Chances are your fiance sees cars in a very "getting from Point A to Point B" sort of way, and was embarrassed for both of you when you struggled toward Point B (at least you picked a beautiful area of SF to putter through). She probably thinks that when she fails in the kitchen, you're the only witness.

 

Curious if she shows any sign of affection for your car when it's giving a better driving experience? 

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I didn't marry that girl.

 

I DID marry the girl who wanted her own 2002 so she could drive one daily...

...and then bought us both AAA coverage.  With a grin.

 

Personally, it worked out for the best.

 

I smell baggage- did her dad make her ride in the farm truck in to town?

Did her mom's car have rust holes in the floor big enough you could

lose groceries through?

Or is it just terminal insecurity?

 

t

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I didn't marry that girl.

 

I DID marry the girl who wanted her own 2002 so she could drive one daily...

...and then bought us both AAA coverage.  With a grin.

 

Personally, it worked out for the best.

 

I smell baggage- did her dad make her ride in the farm truck in to town?

Did her mom's car have rust holes in the floor big enough you could

lose groceries through?

Or is it just terminal insecurity?

 

t

Agreed.

 

I find it ridiculous that a car can be such an issue.  Perhaps because they are  not an auto enthusiast.  I don't know.  I do  know that when my household contributions are done I need the sanity of a 40 year old car to balance it out.  Now that being said if the woman du jour needs me I will be in the garage or driving it.  Not at a strip club or a drinking contest.

 

I once had the misfortune of dating and caring about a woman who was challenged by a 91 318is.  Her comment was, "...if you spent half as much time with me as you do with THAT CAR..."  Well, I thought about it.  Later I replied, "If you were half as much fun..."  Thank you baby Jesus, we split.  I still have the car.

 

I now date a woman who worries about me in  a 40 year old car.  Yep, she is adventurous and fun but doesn't come between me and the cars. 

 

BTW, if you like I can send you cab fare to keep in the glove box.  Congrats on the maintenance.  It is a curve.

Edited by Koblenz
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I really appreciate all the similar stories you guys have shared about this. And I totally agree, I could have it a lot worse.

 

In my fiance's defense, despite not being interested in cars at all, she has tried. She asked me to teach her to drive stick, which she hated after one lesson. She also went karting with me on my birthday- she ended up also hating since everyone was passing her.

 

But she tried. And I can appreciate that. I just wish she wouldn't knock me down when I was already so low.

 

I've learned that whatever you bring to the table BEFORE you start dating is fair game during the relationship. Did you race in autocross BEFORE you met? That's fine and you'll never hear a complaint. BUT, if you try to start a car project AFTER the relationship begins... that can be tough.

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For the most part.......people don't change.    What you see NOW, probably will not get better.    Lots of fish in the Sea.....sometimes it may be better to throw one Back and keep fishin'   (cept she threw me back, but it still worked out better for me, though I didn't think so at the time)

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I only married my current wife after making certain she was ok with my projects and having several cars etc. At first she didn't really like it much but now she knows how to tell between a 2002 and a 2002 tii, knows what an Iso Grifo is and so on.

 

Last time the 2002 left me stranded she was with me and helped me change the fuel filter on the spot so I guess I should be pretty darn thankful for that.

 

I don't expect women to understand our hobbies but if they are ok with it and even participate a little that's an amazing thing.

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