Thursday, September 17, 2009

So there I am, waiting at the airport

I sent the seller a PM and he called me up and we talked. He provided a lot of detail, I shared  a story about my 600 mile round trip (driving) from San Diego to Visalia to pick up a 4Runner that was neither as described, nor had a clear title (How does "Do you have a clear title?" "Yes, I do." become "I have paperwork so *you* can get a title."?!?!?).

He gave a detailed description of the dents, the dings, what worked, what didn't.

I get to the airport in San Diego, and the security line is the longest I have ever seen. I haven't missed a flight in many, many years (and fly about every 2 weeks for work).

Wholly mackerel!! It's easy to tell there is no way I'm making it. I check and there are 2 more flights out. I end up with the 2nd-to-last standby seat on the next flight. I am a very frequent flier on, and a fan of, Southwest and I like to think that helped! Since the original flight was delayed anyways, I'm only about 15 minutes later than I would have been anyways. As it is, this flight lands 1 hour after the earlier flight was scheduled. Whew!

At the airport in Sacramento, I quickly recognized the 4Runner chugging up to meet me. No smoke, good. Looked like the pics from the outside. Good.

Dude (name with-held to protect the not-quite-so-innocent) looked like my kind of guy. Bald, tats, working guy. He shook my hand when I got in and we introduced ourselves.

Now I used to work on cars for a living, but I always washed my hands and arms before getting into my ride home (well, any ride, actually). This fellow had just gotten out of work and I now had elevator hydraulic oil on my hands from the handshake. As you can imagine, this kinda got around on the interior too...

Lesson 1 - "Does the interior still look like it does in the pictures you posted?" Answer: You decide

Yes, that's from his tool bag.

Lesson 2 - "What's missing that should be there?" When I got there, I found out that the driver's window/door lock switch was missing. This part is turning out to be particularly troublesome to find (it lays in the door). And it's $225 at the dealer, I found out later. Yes, I'm still looking for one, that's a lot of green! For now I'm using jumper wires to move the windows up and down. What a pain! LOL

Story? "It was broken and I was trying to fix it in my wife's car, laid it on the seat, went somewhere, came back and someone stole it." Or your buddy has it, maybe?

Lesson 3 - "Do all the key locks work?" I knew the rear window had issues going up and down, so I didn't try it. But I did ask "Can I make the window go up and down with tailgate switch?" Answer: "No"

Is that a lie? Why, you ask? Because the key I was given only worked in the driver's door and ignition. Nice.

Excluding these tidbits, though, it was as described, it ran OK, and it didn't leak. We did the deal and I was ready for my drive home!!

A known issue was that the gas gauge wasn't working as expected, so I'd have to go off mileage. Looks like a sending unit problem as it reads fine to 3/4 tank, then thinks it's empty. I can deal with this (I think!).

I gassed it up, threw Flat-Face-Gary on the windscreen and asked him to get me home the fastest way possible.

Unfortunately, I didn't bring my multi-outlet cigarette lighter, so I had to alternate between the V1 (radar detector, world's best, get one!) and FlatFace when his battery tired.

After about 120 miles, I stopped for gas. At 80, I was pulling slightly better than 20mpg. Rock. On.

Turbo boost would not exceed about 30%, but that was probably due to the exhaust leak. And the 220K on the truck. :) Since a new turbo was in the plans, this really didn't bother me. And it was no surprise, obviously.

The ride was relatively uneventful. Relatively excludes:

  1. FlatFace rerouted me due to an accident in LA. At the whatever/I-10 interchange in LA, I completely launched that poor truck well into the air. The shocks are "a bit" worn, so it pogos a bit over bumps, and, with the worn shocks, it compressed fully into the dip, and then LAUNCHED. I just about hit my head on the roof, which is hard to do with a shoulder belt on. Semis must hate that junction.
  2. Right after that I got gas, and then proceeded to, like a dork, drive past 2 officers with my headlights off (at 11pm). I'm too used to my newer cars which turn on the lights FOR you! D'oh!
  3. For the finale to the detour, FlatFace routed me into what appeared to have been some gang violence. Cops everywhere, roads blocked off, body under a sheet in the road behind a car with holes in it. Garmin might want to consider an "Avoid high crime areas" feature!! =8-O Right about then, I was pretty bummed California makes it so hard to get a CCW.

A lot of the route was familar since I had just driven most of it to get to Visalia for that title-less 4Runner.

The long slog up Grapevine did stretch the truck's abilities, but I was able to pull 55ish over most of it without working the truck too hard. MPG dropped to 16.7 for that tank. We did bounce down the south side of Grapevine a bit, as a precursor the the I10 incident.

Most of the ride was done at 8-9mph over with few issues, just cruising with the flow. I got home about 3AM. Much to SWMBO's chagrin. She had wanted me to pull over and sleep. I like long drives (1000 miles on the motorcycle in a day is a good start!), and wasn't tired, so I just drove on through. Much longer though and I would have pulled off for a nap.

Ahhhhh, it was great to be home!!! Though I'd only left at 6pm the night before!

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