Aphelion Issue 295, Volume 28
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Aphelion Editorial 054

December 2001

The Senior Editor's usual drivel about whatever...

by Dan L. Hollifield

Hello and welcome!

I'm sitting here right now looking out the window atmy 3-wheeled car. I've spent all of my recent days off trying to get it to drive. It is giving me a few problems- but then, it is a used car. Either a radiator hose sprang a leak today, or the water pump died. I'd been having problems with the clutch and had replaced a shattered clutch disc last week. Then I had to go back to work for a week, then since my first day off this week, I've been trying to adjust the clutch cable and the new discs.

Then, the cable broke yesterday.

I rigged up something that would work until I could get a new cable next week some time, then started the motor to charge up the battery.

That was when the antifreeze hissed out and the engine began to overheat. I shut it down, re-filled the radiators with water, and re-stsrted the motor to check for the leak. After a half hour of searching with a flashlight, I couldn't see any water spraying out from any hose. Its getting too dark for me to see any putative leaky hose now, but I fear that the water pump has bitten the dust instead. Even while there was still plenty of light, I couldn't see any leak. So I fear the 1978 model water pump had surged its last. Shouldn't cost me too much to replace.

But that's the point...

I can do the work, myself. And anyone can tell you that I'm no rocket scientist. What I am is an old farm-boy with just enough mechanical know-how to replace dead parts with new ones, and generally trouble-shoot common automotive problems.

But I just rebuilt a clutch last week! I've never done that before in my life. Not on any vehicle I own. Matter of fact, I just paid someone $500 to do just that to my VW Dune Buggy! And now I do it myself one afternoon before work? What's wrong with this picture?

Plain little old me replaced 8 clutch discs in under 90 minutes, including the time it took to put the disc assembly back into the motor! True, the proper adjustment of the cable linkage to the new clutch turned out to be really tricky, but if the cable haddn't been dragging across a sharp edge in the handle, I'd of had it finished today. OK, I've replaced fuel pumps, water pumps, brake shoes, carburetors, alternators, and lots of other stuff on other vehicles in my time. So I'm not a complete novice. But still, its odd to be able to do something complicated to a modern vehicle, in this day and age.

It seems like one needs an advanced degree to work on a car these days. Finding a contradiction to that threw me off for a while. I'd found a sense of control that I'd thought lost in these crazy years. I'm glad to have it. Now I hope I can put it to good use.

So what does all this blather mean to you, the reader?

It means that you can blame my new car on this issue being late, for one thing. I've spent so much time on it that I neglected Aphelion. But half of the work for the January issue is already done as I type this, so things balance out.

Control... Its always about control, isn't it?

Onm here's a link to take a look at pictures of the 3-wheeler; Dan's Tri- Magnum.

Thanks for your time.



2001 Dan L. Hollifield

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