Welcome to my homepage
Choose one of the subsections to the left or read my diatribes below.
If you have any questions or comments email me at lee at whatley dot org.
If you are using Microsoft IE, this page will not render the way I intended it to. I suggest you use Mozilla.
If you are using Lynx, you rock.
If you are the one visitor using Opera on BSD, or if you are using Konqueror or some other non-Mozilla-based browser please let me know if the site looks something unlike this
Well the TDi is currently sitting at around 195,000 miles. Earlier this month I replaced the cracked windshield and last week I had the timing belt, serpentine belt, water pump, and front breaks replaced. At some point before it gets cold I will have to replace the glow plugs. It will be time for new tires and new shocks again soon too. The headliner is sagging, the paint is starting to chip off, the glovebox handle has broken off, and there is a nice big dent in the driver's side door thanks to a hit and run while I was running in the Crescent City Classic earlier this year, but the VW takes a licking and still keeps on ticking like clockwork. I'm hoping that I can keep the body together long enough to reach 300,000 miles, which given my current commuting routine will take about 4 years.
So on Monday I managed to get the TDI stuck in the mud. This happened in the parking lot at the gym. The parking lot was full and I made the mistake of parking in rather soft spot in the grass. I knew it was a soft spot but I had parked there many times before and figured it was ok. I went for a run and by the time I came back I could see that the tires were already sunk in the ground. It took lots of pushing by three of the biggest dudes at the gym to get the car out. In the process the bottom portion of the bumper (the black part) came partially dislodged and split into two pieces. So Scott from the gym and myself went ahead and pulled it completely off and trashed it. Parts of the inside wheel well cover were also loose (they were attached to part of the bottom bumber and got pulled loose when the bumper came dislodged) and I ended up losing part of the driver's side one on the interstate on the way home.
Surprisingly, the car seems to still run and handle fine. The only thing noticable (besides the missing bumper section and inside wheel well cover) is that there is slightly more wind noise at higher speeds due to the missing wheel well cover. I have yet to determine if this is affecting gas mileage. Now that the bumper piece is gone the lowest point on the car body is the skid plate. So now when I bottom out (which happens pretty much daily, because my front suspension is pretty much shot beacause the roads in southeast Louisiana are pretty much crap) instead of the car making a plastic scraping sound now it makes a metal dinging sound,
I somehow managed to run over what appeared to be about an 8 foot section of splintered, shattered white picket fence that somehow ended up laying across both lanes of I-12 Monday night without damaging my car. Steel skidplate saves the day again!
At some point last week something took out a chunk of my front grille. I think this might have been when then 18-wheeler in front of me had a blowout and sent chunks of hot rubber flying at me. I know at least one of these chunks hit my driver side mirror, knocked the mirror housing loose, and almost caused the housing to come off completely. I was so busy trying to keep the mirror housing from flying off while dodging chunks of tire that I might not have noticed the sound of the front grille getting shattered. Sheesh. I'm waiting for the day then the road just opens up completely and swallows my car whole...
Well it looks like the TDI is going to be out of comission for a few days. During a routine fuel filter change this weekend the "Thermostatic Tee-valve" that allows warm fuel to recirculate through the filter during cold months cracked. So now when the engine runs fuel spills out through the crack and all over the engine compartment. I have another tee-fitting being shipped to me via next-day air, but until then I am having to catch a ride to work with a co-worker. Since I don't live in an area that could be considered even remotely cold, I may replace the tee-fitting with a metal bypass in order to make sure that this doesn't happen again.
Ok I-10, you win. I don't want to play anymore.
Just to give you an update on my constant struggle to keep my car in good shape despite the awful shape of Lousiana's road system, I recently lost two hubcaps and have warped two of my rims thanks to a truck in front of me (with it's tailgate down) spilling it's load of lumber all over the road). So now in addition to replacing my windshield (two cracks that spread over 50% of the width of it plus a half-dozen small cracks) I need two new wheels and hubcaps. I really need to find a job where I can telecommute.