US Road Trip Epilog: 22nd August 2005

At 10:30 a.m. the courier delivers the replacement harmonic damper to my motel. Time to head off and get it fitted. Getting out of the underground car park isn't a lot of fun. The ramp up is very steep and on my first attempt up we get halfway before the back wheels start spinning and we're sliding backwards. After a breather, and with a run-up and a much heavier right foot, the summit is reached and we get out.

Destination to get the car fixed is a NAPA AutoCare Center a few miles from downtown. I really don't know why I didn't think of using one of these earlier. NAPA shops have a good reputation in the US for providing quality car parts and one of their service places will, I hope, do a good job. Also they're nationwide, so any warranty on the work they do applies wherever I go.

Initial impressions are good, as there are quite a few 60's cars around - including some very nice Mustangs - and a VW notchback in the workshop. Then the guy who books the car in tells me he owns a '68 Riviera and I'm fairly sure that this place could be ok. After leaving the car there I get a cab ride, with my luggage, to the downtown Sleep Inn where I'll be spending the night. The internet connection there is always useless, but it's cheaper than the Best Western and maybe the air conditioning will work properly.

The old harmonic damper
The old harmonic damper. This heavy lump of metal sits between the engine block and the pulleys. Now you know.

6 hours and $130 later I have my car back. As well as replacing the harmonic damper, I also asked the NAPA place to change the oil and filter and to increase the RPM at idle by 200 or so to stop the car stalling when hot. This isn't a long-term cure as I've been told a few times that the carburettor will probably need rebuilding sooner rather than later. Problem is that I've been struggling to get hold of a rebuild kit that I can then take to a mechanic to get it done.

The very friendly and chatty guys at the NAPA place tell me that they can't see much wrong with the old harmonic damper. That doesn't bode too well, but the only real test will be doing some miles tomorrow.

US Road Trip Epilog: 23rd August 2005 >