RIP Time Machine


I was at N+2, but the others need work currently. Additionally our daily-ish is now needing more love.

Alignment, tires, power steering pump, alternator, now new injectors & a heater hose…


Amateurs. I’m currently operating at 2N+1.

The combined age is 67 years, with an average age of a touch over 13 years.


Try pulled a bearing cap off that is the farthest away from the oil pump…and report back with the findings please

Might as well remove a main bearing cap in the same area


My general assumption is that the primary reason for the +1 for the vast majority of people is a backup vehicle while their primary is under repair, Uber is at least a feasibly viable option. Especially when taking into account the storage, maintenance and insurance costs of a backup beater. I’m certainly in the camp of having more of my own, but then again, I can do many repairs on my own and like the convenience of multiple styles of vehicle at my disposal.


I also think the +1 back-up vehicle is: You have an old car, you probably won’t get squat for it if you sell it, but you know it is reasonably dependable: okay A/C does work, radio is out, etc. But starts when key is turned, drives when put into gear, stops when brakes pushed. It’s transportation. The holding cost is really liability insurance.

If your regular driver is down for repairs, a week renting a car pays the insurance and if doing repair yourself, you aren’t under pressure and can drive to get the parts.


Will say, I have a fair bit of mission specific fits here:

Pickup truck - tow vehicle and hauling. Usually also used for short evening trips, just so it is actually driven at least a couple of days per week.
Wife’s SUV - the only thing less than 13 years old, actually only a little over 2 years old, and one of the larger unibody SUV, to be comfortable for us and a couple of friends for longer drives.
Convertible - was selected to hold onto for a long time - especially since I don’t think there are that many ideal convertible days per year around here. Currently down for timing belt aged out.
Wife’s previous SUV - beater car to be left in airport parking when she travels. Largest enclosed cargo space that we aren’t babying.
My daily driver - currently a body on frame passenger car that handles my tall body comfortably, and at least to date has been reliable. It is the one I least mind putting mileage on, and likely the next one to be replaced, though at the moment it still has less than 90,000 miles. It will be interesting to see if it becomes the next airport parking beater when I eventually update my daily driver.

We only maintain collision/comp on 3 of them, which helps the overall costs some.


That’s an interesting combo in Dallas, TX: in 2019 a car that’s old enough to be body on frame, driven daily, and still less than 90k…

From Wikipedia (which I assume we all agree is canon for all things):
The Ford Panther platform, which was discontinued in 2011, was the last series of traditional passenger cars to be built in this manner.

So I’ll assume this vehicle is at least 7 years old, making the average annual mileage around 11k at a maximum…


It is actually a 2001 mercury grand marquis, that was owned by a little old man in Florida. Then, it sat for several years with probate and Texas title complications before it became my challenge to get it running again. From the rust in the tank and fuel pump, I’m thinking one of the Florida gas stations must had picked up some salt water at some point in its history, and when it sat without the pump running, that put an end to the pumps ability to turn. My approximate recollection is that it had about 40,000 when it running again, and I’ve been putting maybe a bit under 10K per year on it since. Between averaging a day or two per week working from home, and spreading driving across so many vehicles, it doesn’t get as much mileage as most would first guess as the primary commuter.


Oddball situation: infrequent enough for most that the cost of hiring a ride vs renting a car is advantageous if you don’t have a backup vehicle.

Free for most of us in the DFW metro with garages or street parking.

A simple backup car or light-duty work truck that sees few annual miles won’t have major maintenance issues. If your “beater” is a full-size truck and you’re towing 10,000lbs across the state every other weekend not so much so.

Sure, tires will expire of age rather than use, you’ll not get whatever the rated life is from the battery/filters/fluids, and you’ll need to drive it periodically just to keep it in reasonable running order which costs fuel and some other non-productive wear … but the operational costs are so low that this is a rounding error.

Liability-only coverage for your infrequently-driven backup beater should be a trivial premium on top of your daily driver’s policy.

Carrying costs for a beater should be quite low:

  • Registration <$100 a year
  • Insurance perhaps $100 a year
  • Anti-atrophy Usage <$50 a year

I wish I’d kept my 95 Ranger. I traded it in on the 3 for a pittance that I didn’t need to make that purchase. It might have had an anemic engine by compare and been in overall rougher shape than my 03 Ranger, but could perform comparable work.

Sounds like an argument for taking a shuttle, a cab, or having a friend give you a ride.


So the time machine has been soaking in a beautiful blend of Diesel, ATF and Marvel Mystery Oil for about 20 days now. It was finally sunny enough to go outside and see if it worked. I unplugged all of the ignition wires, and hooked up a fully charged battery and gave her the beans…

And it turned over immediately! No resistance, no noises, just pure turning beauty.

Next up is to remove the cocktail and replace it with something else, ideally a mixture of oil and some kind of detergent to cleanse any unhappy oil channels.

So I guess my question is, what’s next? Heavy weight? Light weight? Keep cranking it to clean shit or put some fuel in it and hope for the best?


Might as well put in the same oil it normally uses, fire it up, get it up to temperature, drain, refill with fresh oil. I’d probably waste a filter, too, on this procedure.

Then see how much oil she uses on a tank of gas.


If it’s like most two-strokes, you’d only need half a gallon of oil per 16 gallon fill up. Might want hotter plugs to avoid fouling.


I’d also argue that the +1 vehicle should be simple, as in not having many bells and whistles to break. A manual-transmission truck, such as a 90s model, is a good example. Not much to go wrong with those.


Yeah but for " the oil it normally uses" you’ll have to contact Mr.Wan for his “special sauce” formula…

Fresh new motor oil might cause it to have an allergic choking effect…


Wow… I’ve changed the oil twice since acquiring the vehicle. Maybe this is what caused it to fail in the first place?


Guessing recommended oil changes at ~5k mi - more often depending on use/environment.
Might try starting w/ straight 30w dino oil - highy recommend not using any kind of synthetic given the situation.
Fill up crank case to level on dipstick and crank eng (w/ plugs still removed) to get lines/galleys, etc. filled and parts oiled. Check dipstick. Add as needed. Install plugs. Cross fingers and hit the starter.
If oil consumption is to high, go to straight 40w, maybe even 50w.
An engine w/ 40w or 50w oil gets interesting to start after sitting out in the cold.
Ask me how I know this…:smirk:





Mine was winter in Tulsa, OK.
Doesn’t quite meet the lows…



Potty mouth warning…
Have you attempted to move it under its own power?