It’s been quite a while since my last blog. (Where does the time go?) In that one I had told you about several of the shoots we did for the season that is currently airing, but I never got around to the ones in South Dakota, Vermont, Pennsylvania, Mississippi, Florida and Georgia. Guess you’ll just have to watch the episodes but trust me, they’re all good.
The last few months have been spent busily turning the footage we shot last year into the finished episodes you’re watching on SPEED right now. I spend a fair amount of time in the edit suite viewing episodes in various stages of development, and it’s kind of cool to relive the particular event or feature. It’s also a little strange tho. When we’re in the field shooting, I’m focused on what’s going on at the time. I don’t really get to see what it all looks like going down on tape. When I watch it tho, it’s sort of like one of those out-of-body experiences you hear about. And just like with those, I’m able to observe myself but not able to chime in and give myself advice on how I might do it better. No matter, I probably wouldn’t listen to me anyway.
In addition to working to finish the episodes for the current season, I’ve been putting together the field production schedule for the shows I’ll be shooting this year. I’d say that’s about 80% complete. I have most of the events scheduled, and we’ll be shooting everywhere from Ocala, Florida to Fairbanks, Alaska. I was even looking at events in Trondheim, Norway and Ronneby Brunn, Sweden but both have fallen prey to schedule conflicts. I wouldn’t be surprised if we made it to one of those next year tho.
I will soon be on the road almost nonstop so I have also been frantically trying to finish a number of projects around the house and in the shop before my time for such things evaporates. This past weekend, I had two successful wrench projects. The first involved my ’98 Triumph Trophy motorcycle. This is a bike that I hadn’t gotten around to starting for two years (hey, I have six other bikes), and I certainly didn’t do all the right things when I put it up. In fact, I didn’t do any of the right things, and I knew I was just going to have to tear into it and at the very least clean it up a bit. I pulled the tank, drained the bad gas and flushed it, replaced deteriorating fuel lines, put in a new set of spark plugs, and drained and cleaned the carburetors.
None of this was particularly easy since the 1200 cc, four-cylinder engine is really packed into that bike and of course you have to remove a huge amount of Tupperware just to get to it. None the less, when I put it all back together, put some fresh gas in the tank and hit the starter, she sprang to life! I was actually somewhat surprised since this is a much more complicated engine than the old BMW boxer twins that I am more familiar with.
Feeling emboldened by my Triumph success, I decided to tackle an overheating problem with my Gen 2 Taurus SHO. I got lucky here too. After a little Internet research, I had surmised that the problem was a thermostat stuck in the closed position; not all that common, but it does happen. I was certainly hoping it was this rather than the water pump since that is a ridiculously involved job on that car.
If you have ever looked under the hood of a SHO you know that the engine is a thing of beauty, but you can also see why a water pump replacement usually costs around $700. It’s a bit like they held up the water pump and built the rest of the car around it.
I lucked out again tho and after a nominal amount of disassembly, I was able to get to the two nuts holding the thermostat housing and had it apart in no time. The thermostat was indeed frozen in the closed position (yes!) so I put it on my things-that-can-go-wrong shelf and popped in a new one. Then as the books say, “assembly is the reverse of removal”, and I had everything buttoned back up in no time.
I topped up the coolant and fired her up, really hoping that the water pump was OK. I nervously watched the temperature gauge climb, but was relieved when it stabilized in the lower third of the normal range and sat there like a rock. I took it for a test run and was reminded what a fun car that is to drive; nothing like a 140 mph four-door family sedan! I brought it home, put it away and checked for leaks. None were found, and I ended the weekend two for two.
Of course, my ’63 T Bird needs a vacuum brake booster, my ’67 T Bird needs a fuel pump, and my ’56 Lincoln needs to have its power steering box rebuilt. Oh, and I just bought a ’76 F150 rattletrap work pickup, and I don’t even know what all that needs yet. Guess I’m going to need a few more successful weekends before I head out on the road.