2/5/01 UPDATE:   Well, I spoke too soon.  After the above update, Vic started to buck at varying speeds.  To make a long and annoying story short, I took the car to the dealer I bought it at, and asked them to change the tranny fluid, fuel filter, and clean the fuel injectors BY HAND.  Also, diagnose the bucking.  In short, the car was not fixed, and after weeks of wondering when it would happen, the car gave up on 1/22, 3 days before the dealership was to look at it again (after I complained to their customer service people).  I couldn't drive it, it was bucking so much.  My mechanic worked on it alone with the flu, and that night I test drove it and it was still broken.  He took it the next day, and it has run great since.  What was the problem?  Well, he changed all the plugs, 2 coil packs, and cleaned the throttle body and injectors BY HAND.  The second day he did the second coil pack.  He says it's unusual for such a low mile car to need that type of work.  He ALSO said that they never cleaned anything at the dealer.  I paid about $50 for a fuel injector clean, and I think all I got was a bottle of gas treatment in the tank!  I am going to complain to the dealer about all the stuff I didn't mention here because it would take a whole page (ex: rude cashier, etc) and get my blood pressure up.  Moral of the story?  Stick with your own mechanic.

On a lighter note, it's snowing out as I type, and my 1 hour commute home on the highways of MA wasn't all that bad.  It was BAD, but the car did very well out there.  So well, I rewarded it with some good natured donuts at the high school parking lot.  I wish I had it all on tape, because that has to be one of the best cars left to do that with.  Rear wheel drive, and all that weight to toss around!  Yeehaaa!!!
3/3/01 UPDATE:  Well, Vic finally got it's oil change Feb 15th.  I figured after 6 months it was about time, even though I had only gone 3,300 miles.  It was easy getting the Mobil 1 oil, but I went to 6 places before I could find the Mobil 1 filter.  To the left is Vic getting the royal treatment at my new place of employment, Boston Sportscar.  That's a Lamborghini Diablo and Ferrari 330GTC up on the lifts.  I got a good look at the underside of Vic while it was way up in the air (after shutting off the air suspension), and noticed that the front swaybar bushings look all rotted.  I think that it may be time to look into greasable poly bushings.  I had a mechanic measure for me and I think I'm all set.  I think...  I can't wait to clean and wax the car.  It really needs a fluff and buff.  A good vacuum too.  And the engine is all dusty.  Not allowed...  Realised yesterday that the car does NOT have an alarm.  All this time I thought that when you lock it with the remote, it set an alarm. I tested it, and I was wrong.  Panic alarm with a button, yes.  Alarm?  NO!  Sort of dissapointed.  But at least I know that I have the computer-chip keys.  Can't start the car without the right key.  Though I'm sure some smart thief can get past that by now...
3/31/01 UPDATE:  It's been a nasty March in MA folks.  Lots of wetness in the form of snow and rain.  Roads have flooded as well as basements.  Noticed recently that the clearcoat on my wheels is scratched in places.  Hard to believe what one winter can do to wheels...  I'm looking foward to giving Vic it's first good clean and wax.  Well, waxing such a big car isn't actually all that fun for someone my height, but in the end it's worth it I guess... until it rains and all the wax gets washed off!!  Hate that...  Have been looking into Bilstein shocks for the front end, as with poly swaybar bushings.  Found out that you can't use non-air shocks in the rear at all if you still want the leveling system, so that means it will be a lot cheaper if I make the switch.  And that's good when on a tight budget.  If I do it, I'll have it all done when I get the snow tires off, if that ever happens this year! 
4/6/01 UPDATE:  HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!! Well folks, I have had Vic for one full year!   It had 23,490 miles when I bought it, and now has 30,482.  For those of you without a calculator handy, that works out to a whopping 6,992 miles in one year!!  (GASP!)  Other than the monthly payment, money has gone into it for 4 new Goodyear tires (actually 2, the dealer paid for the other 2), 2 snow tires, 2 oil changes (done myself... for the most part), one tranny fluid change, one bottle of dry gas, one bottle of injector cleaner, a throttle body clean, 8 spark plugs, and 2 coil packs.  I'm hoping this year will be better, since I am all set on tires!!  Incidentally, I am very happy with the snows.  In fact, I'd be happy with leaving them on all year!  The car seems to handle very well with them.  Maybe I forgot how it rides without them, but for now I'm saying they are great. 

After getting my tax refund ("whoopee......."), I took a chance on the Bilsteins.  I got a great wholesale quote, and 2 heavy duty shocks are on the way.  I don't NEED them, and God knows I didn't need to spend the money, but they are on the way nonetheless.  I am a bit chicken to actually get them installed.  I dont want to loose my fillings going over bumps.  But I've been told they should be great.  I'll let you know if and when they get put on.

Also, word is that VIC MEET PART 2 will be in Franklin MA on May 20th.  More info as the story breaks!!
4/13/01 UPDATE:  Well, I am now the proud owner of 2 bouncing baby Bilstein HD shocks.  They were installed on the 11th by a mechanic I work with named Mr. Don "Snap-On".  When I told him I was going to time how long it would take him to do the job, he said "I can do it in 15 minutes!"  Total time: 25 minutes.  "I could have done it in 15 if I had my air tools" he said.  At our shop air tools aren't used unless it's a last resort.  But still, 25 minutes is pretty good!!  I have to admit I caused a slight delay when I fumbled with the first shock when he asked for it.  "It's costing me time!"  I had the second one all ready in time.  I had been under the impression that the rear shocks in my car were air ones, due to the absolutely useless Chiltons manual I have.  It was pointed out to me that I have normal ones back there.  Sooooooo, I will have to order 2 rears now (more $$... great...)  Don assures me he can get those ones on in 30 minutes.  Maybe I'll tell him to bring his air tools and see if we can do 25 minutes again! 

So far, the difference with the new shocks is hard to explain.  I'll have to drive a bit more before I can pass judgement.  I can tell that the rear is sloppier than the front now.  Watch this space for when I can get with it and put it all into words...
Don "Snap-On" doing a pit stop on Vic
The boys at the shop also pointed out that my fan belt needs to be replaced soon.  It is starting to make noises.  Also, my brakes seem to squeak too often.  I happened to notice tonight while washing the wheels that one of the front rotors has a big "scrape" on it, as if a small rock was between it and the pad.  I also think it's time for a coolant flush, brake/steering fluid change, and possibly now a brake job.  That's ok... what do I need to save money for?  My retirement?? A HOME??  :-(
4/28/01 UPDATE: Good news: I didn't need brakes.  I seem to be prone to glazing my brakes.  My last 2 cars had it happen, and now Vic.  My mechanic "roughed things up a bit", and I hope that's it for a while.  He put a new fanbelt, changed the brake fluid, flushed the radiator, and put the Goodyears back on.  That should be it for a while, unless I need hoses soon. 

Last night after work Don Snap-On installed the rear Bilsteins.  It took 3 hours.  There were many factors that ruined Don's original estimate of 30 minutes: His arm has 2 bandages on it, he didn't have the right tools at the shop, Ford isn't mechanic-friendly, and the air springs acted up after installation.  There was no room for him to work with his tools to get the top of the old shocks free.  After much sweat and swearing, Don remembered why he made the switch from having his own general shop to working on Ferraris.  Once the top nuts were off, the new shocks went on, and the same stress was repeated in reverse.  When all was seemingly over, about 2 hours had gone by.  Then I backed out of the shop, and realized the air suspension pump wasn't going off.  I got out, and the whole rear of the car was waaaaay up in the air.  "Just drive it, it will go down".  100 feet later, I felt like I was driving a lowrider.  The back was jumping up and down, and the traction control was going on and off.  I was mad because we had shut the air off, just like we were supposed to, before putting it on the lift.  After a consult of some text from the useless Ford Service CD-ROM I have, and some thinking, Don tricked the shocks into behaving once again.  Something to do with the ride height adjustment.  Since I was ready to start crying and doing some swearing of my own, it was a miracle!   After all was said and done, Don was dead-set on never being a Ford mechanic, and I had my shocks installed. 

The ride is a lot tighter now.  It seems that the rear was the softest section of the suspension.  It's a bit odd now going over certain bumps, as the rear jumps a little, as opposed to floating.  I'll have to get used to that a bit.  But the car does feel quite different.  I gave it the pothole test last night, by driving to an infamous road in Lexington.  It's usually dangerously full of craters.  But the ONE TIME I actually NEEDED potholes, I find that they actually FILLED THEM ALL IN!!  But not to fret, they did the usual crappy job on most of them, and I still got a good suspension workout.  Next test: speed bumps.  Now, if Don could just fix my Mystery Squeak..........................
5/7/01 UPDATE: Wow... Hard to believe that it was over 80 last week!  Tonight we are supposed to get frost.  Only in New England... Anyhoo, April 29th was the 6th Annual DARE "Dustoff" Show in Burlington, MA.  It's a great car show heavy on US muscle cars, and I attended it with Dave, Jim, and Clark, 2 fellow Vic nuts and a Maxima (??) nut.  We were planning on just looking at the cars.  Next thing we know, we are entered IN the show!!  We parked the 3 Vics in the "Special Interest" section, right near the '94-'96 Impala SS area.  Ford vs Chevy!!  We knew we wouldn't win any awards, but it was fun just to be in the show.  We spiffed up the cars a bit on-site, and Jim took the opportunity to diagnose his engine light problem.  We had some people stop and chat a bit and look at the cars.  Then we walked all over looking at the entries that had a chance.  When award time came, we were actually in suspense!  But alas, we went home without trophies.  We figured the results were fixed.  But it was still a nice day, and we were proud to represent a small sampling of the Vic Nuts of MA!!! 
Dave, Jim, and Jonelle's cars on display
Vic slumming with a Ferrari 330GTC and Lamborghini Diablo
5/28/01 UPDATE: Nothing much to report.  Vic meet went well, car is creeking all over, found more evidence of a respray (as the British say), toying with the idea of getting a Tornado for my air intake.  And that's all, folks.......
6/6/01 UPDATE:  Well, no one said life would be easy.  I have unfortunately become unemployed against my will.  My position no longer exists at the Ferrari garage.  To cheer myself up, I took a long drive yesterday, ending up at Acton Ford here in MA.  A reliable source informed me that they had a black Vic SAP (Sport/Appearance Package).  Nice indeed, though paint quality was so-so.  The exterior was all black, though they left the chrome door handles on.  Nice 17" rims with the usual LS tires, black leather, and a center console with floor shifter.  Seems a bit odd, shifting that way.  Reminds me of the time I test drove a '96 Impala SS.  But all in all, the package is all show, no go.  I mean, it's only a H/P with police trim.  But still a very nice looking car.  I didn't get to test drive it, because another local Vic nut, Little Big Dave, got word I was in town, and pulled in to the lot, knowing he'd find me there.  We talked Vics a bit, and I took a couple of shots of the car with my disposable camera I keep in the car.  Not sure how long it will take to finish the roll, but don't expect it anytime soon! 

On another note, I have decided that FORD no longer means "Fix Or Repair Daily".  Nope.  It means "Find Obnoxious Rattles Daily".  These cars have to have the loudest suspensions and interior parts around!  I know I am picky, and I have to accept that all full size Fords have always and will always make a racket.  I bet my old '88 GM is sitting somplace right now, alone, not moving, making noises...
What a load!
Here's a shot to prove that big trunks are a must.  I forget the exact count, but I think that in there were 6-7 large bags of mulch, and 2 bags of topsoil.  Pretty heavy.  Then factor in the fact they were all wet from rain.  THEN factor in a full tank of gas and a full size spare tire.  This was before the Bilsteins went in, and I will most likely have to wait another year to try them out with such a load, but let me tell you: air springs are a marvel of science!!!
6/21/01 UPDATE: It's been all-quiet-on-the-Vic-front here, kiddies.  Car's sitting in the driveway more than moving on the road, poor thing.  Did take it out today, and parked next to a newer version of my car, only with leather and a dent in the door.  I wanted to snap a photo of them together, but there were too many people around.  Also saw a TWO TONE Marquis yesterday!  Have never seen one before.  Any info?  Looked so-so in dark blue with gray bottom...

Tomorrow, Ma and I are shoving off to Lime Rock Park in Lakeville CT in the Town Car.  A long drive over hill and dale.  Objective: attend the Ferrari Challenge/Historic Races... providing they don't get rained out AGAIN!!  Last year was a total washout, and if the same happens Saturday, I'm sueing God!  He won't like that, but 2 years in a row isn't nice.  Especially since we rarely take "vacations".  Read on the Lime Rock site that the track can be rented by clubs for get-togethers.  I say we all chip in, plan it a year in advance, and have the Ultimate Vic Meet!!  Take the cars on the track and everything!!  Yeeeehaaa!!  Thoughts?  ("she's nuts!")

Was seen in a GM product this week.  Had to drive my brother's '87 Camaro the other day, complete with louvers, Cherry Bomb muffler, air shocks, and new silver paint.  Yup, I looked like an Italian allright!  Its fun driving his car, even with a V6, since it sounds cool.  Not like a set of Flowmasters on a V8, but still...

If you never see any updates on this site after today, that means the worst happened.  I will utter the Commuter's Prayer all the way to the track...
6/26/01 UPDATE: I'm alive!!  Thanks to some snazzy driving.  Me, Ma, and the Town Car covered about 500 miles in 3 days, part of those miles during torrential downpours.  Never seen so many TREES!  Lime Rock race track is in the Berkshires of CT, and you know you're up high when your ears keep popping!  I experienced culture shock down there.  They don't seem to have police departments, only unmarked state cruisers here and there.  Fire departments are of the volunteer variety, and look like they are rarely used.  There are scattered houses mostly set back into the woods, and there are very few businesses.  If we were there during the "busy season", it depresses me to think of what it's like OFF season!!  Frightening...Anyhoo, it rained as usual, but at least this year we got to see some racing.  Also took some pics of those CT staties. 
Ma's Town Car way up yonder in them there hills...
I have to admit, I think I prefer Mom's '87 Caprice Classic to the Lincoln as far as the ride.  The Chevy didn't have as much body-roll.  This newer yacht feels like it weighs over 2 tons... because it does!!  If it were my car, the first thing I'd do is get new shocks and springs.  I mean, I know it's supposed to be a luxury ride, but it "floats" a bit too much.  But that aside, it sure LOOKS good!  And the interior is lightyears ahead of the Chevy.  I wish the Vics had the same interiors. Even the newer Town Cars don't have as nice an inside.  As Big Bad Joe (aka: Two Car Joe) likes to point out, the car has that neat "pod" for the clock.  Looks like a tach...
But wait!  Enough about Town Cars, how about Vic??  Vic is still sad, though I took it out today for a bit.  Thinking maybe this is a good time to clean the K&N filter.  One thing's for sure, not driving the car SAVES GAS!!  But I think it's indeed yearning for excitement, because Vic recently was involved in a robbery.  Seems that it was joined by a firmiliar looking tan PI in a raid on a local post office.  They drove up to the PO, demanded the addresses for every Ford executive, then stole 20 sheets of .34 Snoopy stamps.  Before driving off, they laid down a trail of rubber.  I was wondering why it was parked a little crooked later that night... Witnesses said that the tan Vic was "smiling".........
Police photo of suspects
7/3/01 UPDATE: It has been suggested to me that I try adding a page to this site discussing known Vic problems and fixes.  I am limited to what I can do on this site, due to it being made with a WYSIWYG site builder.  I am unable to upload a Front Page site to my AOL space, since it won't support forms.  So I'm in a bind.  There is one cheap way to do it, but it would mean too much work and upkeep.  I have started looking into actual web hosts.  The cheapest monthly charge was about $10 for 50MB of space and a domain name.  Most better plans were over $20.  Perhaps once I am working again I will make the step up.  We'll have to see.  Will require a bunch of work to transfer everything.  As is it, Homestead will start charging its members now for their service.  I am hoping that they will add the features I need to make this site better.  Any feelings on all this?

Also, I FINALLY put BACK buttons on these pages.  I never thought about them.  I hope they work properly!  Please feel free to send any suggestions to me regarding the navigation of this site.  I want it to be as user friendly as possible.  I have been trying to fix the photos on some pages so that they load faster.  One page at a time...
7/11/01 UPDATE: Well, after all this time I FINALLY got under the car and fixed the droopy front air dam!  As some of you know, it had been bent out of shape by the previous owner (or the dealer??) and hung down quite obviously on one side.  I got under the front of the car, which is not easy with these cars, and that's saying something since I am only 5' 4" tall, and managed to poke a hole into the underside of the spolier/dam.  I then took a bit of metal wire and tied it up.  So now, it looks normal.  I did some cheap paint touchups underneath, then realized there is no point in doing so.  I can't beleive it took me so long to get this done!  And it was simple as pie!  I also looked under the removable cover in the front of the engine bay.  There is no room to rig up a ram-air system.  None.  But there is plenty of room for lights behind the grill, etc.  Also, I finally found the horn!  It is attached sort of behind the grill, and is a FIAAM (?) one.  Plastic, of course.  Glad it didn't go off while my head was under the front of the car...........
Latest police photo of suspects
In other news, the Problem Vics have been causing more trouble.  They were recently seen at a cruiser dealer.  Surveillance cameras caught the pair riding around the lot at full speed and doing donuts.  They disconnected all the lightbars, stole new 16" hubcaps "for a friend", and peeled graphics off of 3 cars.  By the time police arrived, the pair were long gone.  A detective found evidence of exhaust-pipe water on the ground.  "There was almost as much from that car as a certain black car we know further south.  We think maybe all three were responsible for some rubber-laying a few months back..." 
7/16/01 UPDATE:  Oh boy... Yesterday was the latest Vic Meet.  Long story, but Vic broke down.  Read the sordid details on the Vic Meet PageMy mechanic says it is a bad fuel injector.  He should have it fixed tomorrow.  He says that a dealer would change all 8, at about $100 a pop.  He says he will check them all, and change only the bad one.  Being unemployed, this is NOT a good thing, no matter what the cost.  One thing is for sure, and my mechanic agrees, this car has had 2 major problems in less than a year, with under 35,000 miles on it.  I think I will call Ford and see what I can find out as far as rectitution.  A peek to the right will show you just how close the tailpipes were to the ground while Vic got on the stretcher...
AAAAAAHHH!!!  I had to back Vic off the lift when we got to my mechanic's place, as the driver was a bit "plump", and the drivers side pipe was going to scrape!!
7/24/01 UPDATE:  Can you say "PAIN"?  I knew you could......... I have had quite the time with this car of mine.  As one fellow Vicker put it, my car is "ill".  Let's see, where should I start?  I am sick of the whole subject!  I'll try and do the Cliff's Notes version:

The injector went because I had bad gas in the tank.  My mechanic says it must be contaminated with diesel.  I had pumped my own gas (a very rare event) at a different station than usual, and the pump had a diesel hose in the same unit.  I pumped in 89 octane, and have the credit card slip to prove it.  After a lot of flushing and cleaning and replacing, I got the car back.  The next day, it cut out and I drifted into a gas station.  Then I drove 500 feet to the dealership where I got the car, to ask if it would be ok to drive it home.  A whole big mess occured, which I don't want to talk about.  Let's just say I was on a payphone talking to my mechanic in the service department of the dealership I got the car at.  One thing led to another, and I had a little "chat" with the service manager.  He explained how these days they can't tell a customer anything without looking at the car, due to lawsuits.  He said the service writer I talked to should have told me that.  So by the time I left, I was a lot less angry.  But that's getting off the subject.

My mechanic looked at the car again, and said all was ok.  Must have been a speck of something that clogged something.  He also said I may very well loose the rest of the fuel injectors.  On the 22nd, I went to a car show in Lincoln MA with the Smiling Vic.  And once again, on the way home, I lost power and pulled into the infamous post office parking lot there.  There was smoke puffing out of the tailpipes, and the engine was misfiring.  We drove slowly towards home, dropping into the Taxaco station where I got the gas.  The guy there said to try during the week to talk to the manager.  Off we went again, and as a test, I floored the gas and then the engine light flashed, as expected.  There was no billowing smoke, since the bad gas is gone.  I was running on 7 again...

Anyhoo, the car is still at my mechanic's place (not suprised, since we dumped it on him again).  We tried seeing the Texaco guy, but realized that it was a waste of time.  I called Texaco customer service and the wheels are now rolling.  All I need is an RO or bill to send the woman there, and she can act.  I pray to the God of Crappy Fords that all goes well.  All this mess with my lovely car and being unemployed is REALLY getting me down.  I have started career therapy (to help me figure out what in the wide world of sports to do with myself) and hope that by the Fall everything is back on track.  Wish me luck, folks........
7/30/01 UPDATE:  Turns out that I did not have another bad injector.  The all got cleaned out again, and I drove the car for 3 days, no problem.  Still a bit sluggish at idle, though.  Then, yesterday was another Sunday from Hell:  I went out to start it up for a little ride, and it hardly started, and the smoke was all over the neighborhood.  Smelled like raw gas.  Soooooooooo, after talking to my mechanic today, I realized he may be at a loss as to what to do.  He really does not have the help that would allow him to get into a big job like this.  So we agreed I should take the car to a dealer.  After a few phone calls, I realized no local Ford dealer was going to answer my call, so I called the Lincoln/Mercury dealer we got Ma's Town Car at.  They said no problem, they can work on a Vic.  I told the guy the whole story, and he seems to think it could be some bad sensors, and that they can look at the car this Thursday.  He said we can take it Wednesday to leave it there, but no earlier since they have little parking.  I will ask for a AAA flatbed again... we'll see if they actually send one!!  This whole mess has already cost me over $860, which thankfully my mechanic will let me pay as I can. 

This morning, I called Texaco and left a message for the woman I spoke to last week.  I did not get a call back.  I think I will call tomorrow... and the day after... and the day after...  That is where we stand right now, folks.  I am itching to drive around, but will be grounded for ANOTHER whole week............
8/1/01 UPDATE (Happy Birthday Mom!): Vic was flatbedded to Newton MA today at about 11am.  AAA called an hour after I requested the tow, to tell me they were trying to locate the driver, and that it mya take another hour.  Then, right after, in the space of 3 minutes, I got 2 more calls, one saying they foundthe guy, one saying he'd be there any second.  The guy was nice, and was like lightning!  Before I knew it, the car was on the truck, scrape-free.  We drove to Newton without incident, and other than the cigarette he lit, it was an ok ride.  His truck was more comfy than the last one (this one was a Ford).  The whole tow cost me $32.  $20 because it was a flatbed, and AAA only covers the first 3 miles.  Why Mom didn't upgrade our account before I'll never know........ Anyhoo, I set everyone at the service department straight as far as being carefull with the car.  Reminded them of the air suspension, etc.  They said they will fix it, not to worry.  We shall see...  They have 2 whole days, and Saturday if they need it.  One scratch, and someone bleeds..............Oh, and no one there knew a thing about the Marauder, but I did see the new Grand Marquis with the floor shift!
8/5/01 UPDATE:  According to Clark and White Lincoln/Mercury, I need a new exhaust system, fuel system, and possibly engine.  They said there is an oily film all over everything, pistons, plugs, catalytic converters, etc.  They took a sample from injector #6, which was misfiring, and said it was not normal fuel.  They said they can not guarantee engine repairs due to the amount of damage, and damage that may not be detectable.  That is when I asked if I'd need an engine. 

Cut to the chase: They suggested I call my insurance company.  They said that comprehensive only covers, fire, theft, and vandalism.  Fine.  I called Texaco and finally got the woman I was dealing with.  I almost told her EXACTLY what I thought of her.  Said that she left ONE message for the station owner the 24th!!  I told her in so many words to get her backside in gear and get things moving.  She said it can take 2-4 weeks to get things STARTED!!  After hanging up with her, FUMING, my insurance agent called back, and said that she looked into it and that we can file a claim with my insurance company!!  She took some info, and said she will put a rush on the claim for me. They told me if I don't here from an adjustor by the 6th, to call and they will get in touch with the company.  So, Vic was flatbeddd back home and is sitting in the driveway.....very sad....  Oh, and I also had to pay for the diagnostics at the dealership....$120.

Sooooooo, there we are.  I am going to rent a car for half of next week, since I just can't go on without transportation.  Monday the 6th, I will turn 25, so I will FINALLY be legal to rent. But since I filed the claim when I was 24, I don't get a rental from my insurance...HOW DUMB IS THAT??   At this point, I am sick and tired of not being able to get around.  I'm getting a Grand Marquis and that's that!  No economy crapbox... I'll eat it and pay the extra.

I swear, if the insurance company doesn't pull through, I am getting some of my Italian relatives to "take care" of this matter...... 

8/9/01 UPDATE:  The insurance adjuster came the 7th at about 9am.  He was a nice guy.  Looked at the car and said, "uh...... this is a nice car...."  I handed him a whole stack of paperwork with all the details.  Let him know my feelings about the car and so on.  He said it may take a while, but he will do his best and talk to his boss first before submitting the info to the insurance company.  He said he'd try and see what could be done to hurry things so I can get the car fixed.  He took digital photos of the smoke, and the car itself.  "I want them to see how nice it is", he said.  As of today, I am waiting for them to hear from my insurance company.  All I ever do is wait for people to wait for other people....I can't get a thing done!! 

I also called MHQ in Marlboro MA for an unbiased opinion as to the possible repairs.  To make a long story short, there is a way to fix it without a new engine, which involves running DIESEL in with the oil!!!  ??????  He says it is a way to keep flushing stuff out, BUT has drawbacks.  He said it sounds like I have too much damage for that fix.  He also said they have 10 '98 spec engines in stock, and that they rarely have problems with them.  He also gave me a rough quote of the repairs.  We are talking $$ that may make this whole thing a total, though another dealer says I may not need an engine.  And the adjuster says it won't be totalled. 

I picked up a rental, too.  A '01 Grand Marquis LS, in that gunmetal/green color.  I say it is gunmetal, the keytag says green.  Does look a little green in the right light.  Single exhaust, power options, adjustable pedals, alloy wheels.  The first thing I did when I got home was WASH the thing (yes, I am nuts).  I scrubbed the dust off the wheels and black whitewalls, took off the crap on the sides and bumpers the best I could, and cleaned the junk off the inside windows.  Most people wouldn't, but I did......... Can't be seen in a dirty car!  Why they don't clean them better, I have no clue... The engine sounds a bit "knocky".  Ride is different (mine is better), and power seems different.  Slower pickup.  But once moving still fast.  Forgot there are different rear gears.  Stereo sounds rather good, which means once I am working, I am buying an amp.  :-)  Nice to have the "wood" trim as well inside.  Seats make noise.  The price for renting it is insane, so I don't think I will be doing it very long. 

Also, I saw yesterday that the pump I got the gas from has color-coded baggies over the nozzles.  AHA!!  Out of order????

8/10/01 UPDATE:  Well, things are heading towards the end finally!!  The insurance company will pay for the repairs.  The adjuster found a used engine with about 15,000 miles on it!  I think the cost was about $1,900 with delivery.  I think if that is the engine used, I will be ok with it.  $3-3,500 for a rebuilt one that isn't even complete seems steep.  Anyhoo, I picked up the estimate today, which i think is way too small, but he says the dealer handles it with the insurance company when they use any parts not listed.  Soooooo, I told the dealership to call and get that engine.  When they get it, they will call and I can tow the car back AGAIN.  They also said they'd put on aftermarket mufflers if I want.  Will have to decide...  Looks like I will still have waiting to do, but now it is the repair itself.  Should be all set in time for my Fall MA Meet I'd like to put together.  As always, keep looking on this page for the latest updates. 
The rental
8/16/01 UPDATE: Not much to report folks.  The dealership says that the salvage people should get the engine to them by next Tuesday.  Wait wait wait ....  On the 12th, my brother's Camaro was stolen off our mechanic's lot.  So now HE is going through piles of crapola.  He had a loaner car for a few days. Guess what it was?  An '85 LTD!!  Not a nice one, either.  Looks like it had about 130,000 miles on it...and it showed.  My brother picked up a rental today, so I got to drive this heap back to the mechanic.  Needless to say, my '88 was better than that...
Brother's Loaner
8/21/01 UPDATE:  Mark this date on the calender: VIC IS AT THE DEALERSHIP!!  Woohoooooo!! (do a little dance)  Yup, Vic was flatbedded AGAIN, for the fourth and hopefully LAST time this morning.  I was pretty annoying to the service writer, I know.  I was making sure he knew I want everything PERFECT when it is done. I looked at the new/used engine, which turns out has about 9,300 miles on it, NOT 15,000.  There is some rust here and there, and I asked what they'd do about it.  They will use the best usable parts from both engines.  In otherwords, if my drive pullys are better, they will use those, etc.  I told them to use Mobil 1, which he said they usually wouldn't do.  Don't scratch it, don't dent it, just make my baby perfect again.  He says it should take about 2 weeks, since the insurance company will need to look at some of the parts.  So, things are starting to get done.  But I will still be worrying... two more weeks.....wow....

Like a dope, I also took the plunge and got some Flowmaster 50 Deltaflow mufflers.  Why I bought them when I have no job, I will never know... Looks like having the dealer install them won't work well, so I will have them installed at a later date, hopefully before the FALL MA MEET!! 

Yes, I AM having a meet here in Massachusetts.  Check out the MEET PAGE for info!!
The new/used engine with about 9600 miles
Vic on its way to the dealer for intensive care
8/24/01 UPDATE: I miss my car...  Trying to sell my factory stereo speakers on EBAY, as well as my front shocks.  Not sure what will happen, but I need the money, so up for bid the are!! 
8/30/01 UPDATE: I WANT MY CAR!!!!!  After some angry phone calls after seeing my car on the dealer sales lot on Saturday, unlocked with the key in the ignition, work not even started, I finally got word that I MIGHT get Vic back on Friday.  I will believe it when I see it...  They actually were pretty sure I would get it, but the way this whole thing has been going, I doubt it.  I bet I don't get it, and then the long weekend will prolong it even more.  THEN school starts, and traffic will be insane when I finally get to go out and look for a job.  AAAAAAAAAHH!!  Yes, I am stressed...

On a lighter note, I have finally posted some better directions for the Halloween Meet.  I will get more in depth with traffic lights, etc when I can drive around and take notes. 
8/31/01 UPDATE: IT'S ALIVE!!  IT'S ALIVE!!!  I got Vic back today at 4:30pm, intact and diesel-free!!.  The engine is in, and the salvage title says it has a whopping 9,694 miles on it!!!!   The donor car was a P74 from CT.  Grand total for the whole repair was $5,730.55, of which I paid $517.52.  The $17.52 was because of the Mobil 1 I had them use.  The rest is the deductible.  It looks like they drove it about 20 miles today.  The trip OD was reset, and 20 miles is what it said when I started it.  I drove only about 10 miles tonight, but got up to 80 on the highway for a bit.  Seems rather peppy, but I can tell the computer needs to get used to me driving it.  Tomorrow will be the big test.  I did see 2 drops of tranny fluid underneath when I got home.  Will keep an eye on that...  Also, turns out the mufflers were still good.  So the exhaust is new only from the engine to cats.  The Flowmasters downstairs are now a welcome future-addition, since the car is even quieter than before!!  The new cats make neat noises when they are cooling.  (yeah, I know.... only I would notice that)  The hood is aligned ok, and there is only one bit of damage.  It is near where the front of the hood lins up with the grill surround.  There's a .5 inch chip in the paint.  I will touch it up.  That will be called the "Battle Scar". 

So there we are, folks.  I hope my 6 week Hell is over.  You will all know if it is NOT! :-0  So now, I have transportation, and I can finally get serious about looking for a job.  The career therapist wants me to finish up with him now so I can get rolling again.  We shall see how that works... Thanks to all of you who were supportive during this mess.  Hope to see those of you who are local at the Fall Meet!!  At least now I know that I can attend too!!!  :-)

Here's the new/used engine before I cleaned it tonight (left) and after (right)
My new cats.  Notice the paper labels are all cripsy!!
9/6/01 UPDATE: Turns out the tranny leak was something called a manual level seal.  I had the dealer take a look at the leak yesterday, and that is what they said was bad.  I went to a tranny shop after, and they said to come in at 8am today.  I did, and they did the repair in a little over an hour.  I finally got to see what an automatic transmission looks like.  There is nothing to see!  They changed the filter as well.  Now, I can't see anything else happening, but who knows with my luck.  Last night, while in the company of a tan PI, it was discovered my rear right tire had 20psi in it....and a nice nail.  So I now have yet ANOTHER plug in my tires!    But the car is running great (I probably shouldn't say that!), and as long as it stays that way, I will be happy. 
10/02/01 UPDATE:   Well, I have gone about 1000 miles since I got Vic back, which is a lot of miles for me.  Runs great (jinxing myself again?!) and I think that my creak is gone too!!  I have not yet figured out if the dealer took my hood off when they installed the engine, because there were leaves in the hinges that looked like they had been there a while.  Possibly it was a motor mount?  The world may never know... but I will keep track to see if it comes back.  There is an occasional slight tick/knock now and then from the engine.  It could be internal, or maybe just a pully or fanbelt.  Nothing bad, but a noise just the same.  Another thing to keep track of.  Tranny leak is still gone.  
10/3/01 UPDATE: Ever find out something that makes you feel downright stupid?  Well, it happened to me today.  I have been putting off going to a muffler place in Waltham MA to talk about installing my Flowmasters since I got Vic back.  I keep having doubts about installing them.  Then, today, while on my way to a potential job location (didn't work out), I see this sign right in my own town: "Lou's Custom Exhaust - FLOWMASTER"  Now, I have driven by this spot countless times.  It is about 40 seconds from my house if you beat the stoplight at the end of my street.  WHY HAVEN'T I EVER SEEN IT???  Sooooooo, on my way home, I dropped in.  The guy was nice, and I guess they've been there a couple of YEARS.  I got to hear a 50 Series (non-Deltaflow) on a truck, and we talked about options and prices.  He says I can get the job done for $100 and in a few hours.  If I want special tips, it will be extra.  All this time I thought it would be abut $500 to get this done!  I have a month do decide... I think I have that much money sitting in my "car repair" envelope!  It won't even mess up my bill-paying money!  Hmmmmmmm.... The guy thought I was pretty cool for wanting exhaust work, etc.  He said the car was real sharp.  Ah, yes...... A boost to my ego is always welcome.... :-)
10/24/01 UPDATE: Not much going on here folks.  Still looking for a job, still trying to decide on the Flowmasters.  I am 90% sure I DONT want to install them.  My brother got a 2 chamber one put on his '97 Camaro, and ever since, I just dont want to make the move.  We shall see, though, as some cars at the meet this weekend will have aftermarket mufflers, and that might be the day I decide. 

Speaking of the meet, now that I have a digital camera with a 32MB memory stick, I should be able to take lots of shots of cars on the 28th.  Since I also have much more server space for my site, I might just have to add a whole page for this meet.  Still not sure how many cars are coming, but I think it may be more than the current top total.  We shall see............................
10/27/01 UPDATE: Tomorrow's meet looks promising, kiddies.  I'll be happy if 20 people come, yet alone the over 40 initial interested parties.  Watch the meet page for photos in the coming week.  Vic is all cleaned up and has decided to try on its Halloween costume tonight.  As you can see, it is going out as a ghost.  Very original.  Note the numbskull neglected to cut out holes to see out of.  Typical Ford.................
11/12/01 UPDATE: Well, the meet went pretty well.  You can read all about it HERE.  Nothing else much has happened in my neck of the woods.  Plenty going on in New York, unfortunately :-(  The job search is still going on.  I have tried 4 dealerships, but none were hiring.  I have sent out resumes, but no one responded.  I am running out of ideas and patience, but given the current situation in the country, I guess I can't complain as much as others. 

On the Vic front, the leaf conditions here are teetering on the insane.  The one big tree left over the driveway is finally starting to turn, which means it will be "paint-plastered-with-wet-leaves" time very soon.  I waxed it before the meet, but it always seems to dissapear in the fall.  I hate having wet leaves dry on paint, especially now that I have a clear-coat to think about.  I'll just have to keep an eye on it, I guess. 

THINGS I NOTICED ON rt95 YESTERDAY: 1)This car ends up at 80mph faster than I expect sometimes 2) People drive much faster than they did when I was a kid  3) The Bilsteins are great  4) I can go from about 65mph uphill to 80mph faster than I thought  5) A Toyota Echo can actually go over 65mph  6) A MA State cruiser on the side of the highway can make traffic go from 80mph to 60mph in 4 seconds, even if the trooper is out of the car  7)  People take it personally when you pass them  8) I take it personally when people pass me  9) High speed lane changes are fun  10) You can make up travel time by using the slow lane instead of the passing lane

PS - I am not as bad as I sound..............................  :-)
12/17/01 UPDATE: Well, kiddies, I am once again part of the American workforce (insert sarcastic cheer here).  After becoming very bitter over the lack of oppurtunity for a person to get an education without a large bank account, and people's lack of interest in hiring and training people in a craft, I have again sunk to the level of car-dealer-employee.  But this time around, things appear to be different.  I am at Pass & Weisz Audi/Porsche in Burlington MA.  So first off, I am surrounded by better cars than Nissans.  Second, the staff is smaller and seems much nicer than that of a certain Nissan dealer.  Third, I am actually being TRAINED this time around!  GASP!  I will eventually be the biller, meaning I get all the paperwork printed and hopefully done correctly.  I already have experience in about half of the job, so I have half to learn. The half I know needs to be relearned THEIR way.  But after a week, it seems like a nice place to work, though I HATE paperwork (dont tell my boss that!!).  Today I went to the first day of the RMV classes that will let me register cars.  It snowed, and the drive home on rt2 in the cold rain wasn't bad at all with just the Goodyears.  The traction control didnt kick in at all, and I was able to go pretty fast given the road conditions.  The snow tires are set to go on Wednesday along with an oil change. 

The clear Ford Motorsport plate cover on the front of Vic has been retired for the winter, and the chrome rear Ford frame was to be replaced with a www.crownvic.net one, but it wont fit!!!  So, I will have to swipe a PORSCHE one  :-)
What's Up With Vic?  2001
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