I’m planning on taking my three-cylinder, 55 horsepower Geo Metro to Portland this summer after converting it into a tiny RV. The first step in this process was to restore its auto-mobility. I recently spent about a month diagnosing and repairing a problem with the fuel injector. I had about three days of driving bliss before the water pump sprung a leak. The car has over 160,000 miles on it and I have no idea when the timing belt was last replaced, and since it’s an interference engine, the unplanned demise of the timing belt leads to Big Engine Death. The water pump and the timing belt are generally replaced at the same time, so I decided to bite the bullet and do them both. It’s the biggest job I’ve ever done on the car alone, and I’m happy to report success! Because I’m planning on doing a partial re-build of the engine before starting any 1600-mile sojourns, I decided to leave off the timing belt cover off until after that’s finished. Evidently this is fairly common, and the belt looks pretty well protected from Random Road Garbage even uncovered.
It’s very satisfying to drive a car when you know it wouldn’t be running without your intervention, particularly when it’s actually running *better* than when you started. The more I’ve fixed on the car myself, the better off I’ll be if I run into any serious problems on the road.