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My Car, The Super Hero

April 10, 2015

Iron Man or Transformers? 

My car was back among the living. While the literal heavy lifting of doing a partial engine rebuild was being done, I spent a lot of time doing body work. 

My car had some dings and scrapes. Nothing that affected the driving, but the looks were not great. A local body shop quoted me $2800 to fix it. (It IS a Lexus after all.) The door alone was $1000. 



But, the car we were parting out, the Red Lexus had a gorgeous body, expect for the right front corner panel where it had obviously hit something. So, while my neighbor was swapping heads, I swapped hoods. . .and trunk lids. . .and doors. And a whole host of other pieces that were nicer on the red one. 

Swapping out a backdoor is pretty easy. Swapping out a front door gets complicated. Especially when you want to keep the mirror, like I did. And the locks had to be swapped, and the power window didn’t work on the Red one. When we got done, the car looked . . .different. The body was in good shape, of course, but the two-tone paint was a definite fashion statement. 

We finished up, a day and week after the car blew up. The engine swap, which never happened was supposed to take a day or two. Instead we’d spent 8 days and probably 120 man hours rebuilding the bad header and getting it back up and running. 

And it wasn’t cheap. 

$315 towing

$163 for a new oil pump (The largest single expense)

Hundreds for fluids and new tools and bits and bolts. The grand total was $962.34. That number is high, but nowhere near the $5000 I was quoted for a new engine, that’s because the spare engine, and the labor were free. If we’d paid $40/hour for the mechanic services we’d be right in that $5000 ballpark. 

In addition to a running car, I also have “spares;” spare alternator, spare transmission, spare tires with Lexus rims, spare seats that need refinishing, spare brake pump, a whole bucket of spare bolts. And, of course a spare engine that we will rebuild over the coming months, just in case the car dies again. 

I started this week talking about how I’m Afraid Of My Car. . .But, I Have A Good Reason. The biggest difference that this week made for me was that it removed that fear. Remember, we often fear what we don’t understand. Many people are afraid of computers for the same reason. 

I’ve looked into the heart of the engine. I helped pull it out, rip it apart and then put it back together. . and it worked. My car could still die on the freeway. The rings are probably bad and we didn’t touch those, and it still has a power steering leak. Or any number of things can go wrong with a car with 250,000 miles on it.

But, never again do I have to stare at a broken car on the side of the road and wonder if it’s broken too badly to fix. (Well, assuming I didn’t wrap it around a telephone pole, of course.) 


Thanks to my neighbor, I now felt confident that whatever goes wrong. . a battery dying, an alternator going out, even an engine seizing up, it’s fixable. And at this point, I have a spare. 

The only question left was what to make of the paint job? Was the two-tone too much? Did it look like some Frankenstein monster assembled from a red one, a gold one and a white one? 



My neighbor’s son called it: Iron Man. The coloring and the location of the doors and panels make the car look like Tony Stark built it. 


(Photo Credit: Marvel)

Or, even better, Iron Man meets Transformers!

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday at 7:00 AM Mountain Time. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and one grandchild. 
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