July 17th 2008 was a dark day. Around 7pm, mostly faithful Mustard rolled his last mile, and came to a very abrupt and violent halt on the north western motorway.
The grim autopsy confirmed our darkest fears, terminal engine malfunction brought about by complete piston disintegration. Since then, not quite willing to give up on Mustard entirely, Beau has had him sitting in cold storage in the Kumeu Shed, waiting for the possibility of resurrection.
This weekend, trademe, the solution to all life’s problems, provided us with a second hand 173 Holden engine.
Now, the problem with buying a second hand engine for transplant, is it quite probably comes from the same factory line, is the same age, and susceptible to the same faults. It can likely mean a very short-lived resurrection. That is assuming it is even capable of running.
Nonetheless we found ourselves driving down to Miranda in the ’86 1.2L Toyota Corolla with trailer in tow to pick up our new acquisition.
Our sellers were two fantastic kiwi chaps, with an impressive collection of old cars, and seemed rather pleased it would be going back into an original HQ.
Once hoisted onto the trailer we began the journey back, stopping several times along the way to re-secure our new engine bouncing about in the trailer despite our best efforts at avoiding the many pot-holes gracing non-motorway roads.
With the afternoon fast disappearing, and the Toyota exhausted, we finally arrived in Kumeu.
However, before engine transplant could commence, some basic dissection was required.
I have never taken apart a (working) car engine, or even seen one in action, so as the photographic observer, this was an exciting new experience.
Some hours later, with Beau smothered in grease, and the engine mostly disassembled, the initial signs look promising indeed and our new engine appeared to be in very good working condition.
The next steps will be to give it a basic service, clean it up, replace all the precision bits which I don’t yet know the name, or function of, before finally engaging in the transplant operation itself.
Then, all going well, within a just few more weekends, Auckland suburbia will once again be graced with that mighty baby-poo brown HQ.
Watch this space fellow motorists.
View all photos here.