Alas…In Fact, R.I.P. Camaro

I recently posted a blog about the impending death of the Camaro, entitled Alas, Poor Camaro. 

What can I tell you?  It died.  Yesterday it began overheating again, and I didn’t even have the option of driving it a few blocks to Jeff the Mechanic, because he doesn’t work on  Mondays.

Not that he would have worked on it..it isn’t like he didn’t warn me at the end of July that the car was not going to make it.  If I had even been able to get it to him I suspect he would have refused.  He does have a reputation to uphold. 

I opted for the plan to take the Camaro home to its driveway. 

It  took me  1 1/2 hours to go 6 miles.  I would drive it a few yards, then pull over into some parking lot to let it cool off before driving it a few more yards and repeating the process.  The irritating part of this was that by the time I reached Stopoff #4 or so, it was dark, so I couldn’t read.  I was almost forced to go inside a Red Lobster to wait.

By the time of my final stop, at the Wal-Mart perhaps 1/2 mile from my house, the Camaro did not want to start.  I guess that would not be the worst possible outcome..I at least could have walked home from there.  But at last it did start, and made an ominously knocking noise for its last half mile.  I’m not even going to insult it by trying to start it again. 

But I needed it to be home.  I needed to empty it of its library books, unopened mail, jackets and sweaters. “green” canvas totes for groceries, various files I can’t keep at work because they are too sensitive, and back issues of Smithsonian Magazine that I haven’t read. 

The trunk of the 1995 Camaro is a surprising place.  It will hold a “rack” of wood—my understanding is that that is 1/5 of a cord.  Not sure that is an official measure.  But whatever!  I loved it that it could be sleek one day, and a workhorse the next.  (Possibly, a metaphor for Fakename herself.)

But good job, Camaro.  You have no idea how much I will miss you.

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25 responses to “Alas…In Fact, R.I.P. Camaro

  1. masteroftheuniverse

    Very touching story. By the way, my blog was hacked and I will be offline until things get restored

    Jeff

  2. It is indeed sad to lose your Cammy. RIP indeed.

    Sounds like you threw a rod through the block and warped the head (I love to listen to Car Talk on Saturday Morning on NPR).

    I have found AAA to be the best modest investment a driver can make and I highly recommend it. So you will have to treat yourself to a different auto now. What will your preference be?

  3. Hi PT…sorry to hear that you are having such fun in retirement that you no longer have time for blogging 🙂 Just kidding, of course. Go get ’em!
    I think your diagnosis may be entirely right! It was that ominous knocking (which I have unfortunately heard before) that was the biggest clue. I’m a big Car Talk fan as well. In addition to Sat. A.M., it also comes on here at 1:00 P.M. on Mondays.
    I am hoping for a Toyota. If that doesn’t work, I’ll look at GM…they may be more desperate to get what little money I have.

  4. P.S. 1995 Camaro for sale. Needs engine. Still has some very nice parts left. Spectacular chrome wheels, for example. Best offer.

  5. masteroftheuniverse

    If you’re selling it, why don’t you part it out. You will get lots more money for the parts than the whole. You’d be surprised who’d need a 1995 Camaro right quarter panel

    Jeff

  6. @Ptfan1:

    When I last threw a rod, it was on a 1975 Pontiac LeMans … and the gasoline ignited a leaf fire under the car. (The event actually happened in a parking lot behind a snooty Princeton University eating club — and the dirty looks that I got from the members was priceless.)

    That said, since you are seemingly well-educated in the world of Click & Clack: do you know whether an engine can actually run after throwing a rod? Fakename suggests that it was running….but overheating … which makes me think it was the oil pump or water pump or some similar thing … which was causing the overheating….?

  7. p.s. I see that I had a grammar error in my post above. Lest there be any confusion, I emphasize that I was PARKING at Princeton … not STUDYING at Princeton.

  8. masteroftheuniverse

    But Rocky, at least you went to that real school up the road and have impeccable credentials. Which brings me to the brouhaha between Anne Coulter and Olbermann, who claims to be a Cornell Grad..I guess he is, but he got his degree in communication from one of their state Ag Schools. Who would have ever thought a state ag school would grant a degree in communication.. I’d love to hear Olbermann do the farm report…….kind of like a modern day Less Nessman at WKRP…..His excellent communication skills would win him the Silver Sow award for sure:)

  9. If you “throw a rod” you will likely puncture the block and then it will leak all over. Since the subject Camero is apparently not leaking, I would suspect some other problem. But I’m only married to a mechanic … It is possible to break a rod without fracturing the block – I have more experience with nitro-fueled drag racers, but they’re in a different world than street cars.

    Ominous knocking would lead me to think valve train. Once it gets hot enough, a lot of things can go wrong.

  10. Jeff: One of the dirty little secrets about Cornell is they have several schools which are part of the NY (SUNY) state college system. This includes the Labor & Industrial Relations School, the Hotel school, the ag school, the vet school and some others I think. The diploma says Cornell, but the tuition is fraction of the private part of Cornell. It’s a great arbitrage if you don’t mind the weather. (And if you like sheep.)

    Fakesister: Thank you for that. You should consider your own radio show. An inside baseball joke to Fakename on thrown rods: “You can say what you wish, but I/we will not let you get away with it without comment…”

  11. masteroftheuniverse

    That sheep comment was classic. I’m sure that many schools other than Cornell have dirty little secrets, I know NU does, but except for the grading scandals of the 60’s-70’s, your alma mater is squeaky clean…except they trade a lot worse than I do……and that says a lot.

    Jeff

  12. And to all…yes it was leaking. There has been a water leak for some time from the engine, and it lost a lot of water on Monday. But as for the rod..good point. I really did throw a rod once in a VW and it would not move afterwards.
    And that is just how Rocky and I play baseball 🙂 Rofl, Rocky.

  13. Fakename: I guess I missed the original post — but now, with the water loss, I’m thinking blown head gasket. Did you smell antifreeze? Have you looked in the coolant reservoir and is it clear, empty or brown? Fakesister: you’re the go-to-gal on this stuff .. it seems! (I’m imagining Marissa Tomae in “My Cousin Vinny”) Do you agree?

  14. Antifreeze has a smell? Coolant reservoir? Is that like, labeled? I’m sure you are developing a picture here.
    Fakesister is indeed the go-to. However, Fakename is fascinated by her familiarity with nitro-fueled drag racers: this is a new revelation. You think you know somebody…
    Did that come with the engineering degree? 🙂 (Fakesister is the smart one of the family.)

  15. Nitro cars – I watch NHRA, qualifying and eliminations in lieu of religion. Next race, mid-February. Although the engineering degree comes in handy for understanding technical explanations on-screen. Then there’s the aforementioned husband for the real-life versions.

    Now that the Camero has cooled down, you could remove the radiator cap and pour water/antifreeze in … However, if the so-called freeze plugs have rusted out, that water won’t stay in very long. And now that it’s been so very, very hot, (ominous knocking sounds), you may have valve train damage.

    The coolant reservoir, often called the overflow or catch tank, would sit under the hood, near the radiator. If there’s fluid in it, it should be the same color as the stuff that Jeff The Mechanic has put in over time.

    Smarts come in different flavors – no way am I volunteering to be a people manager ever again in this life!

  16. And now the finale…I bought a car. I only meant to go look (I had pretty much already decided months ago what I wanted, but there was that real world exploration thing). And somehow…I drove it home. I’m still in shock, I think. Because there were many obstacles to anyone wanting to sell me a car. I wanted a Toyota, but I thought I might be reduced to GM. Apparently, Toyota is feeling the pinch of falling to Ford. They really, really, did not want me to walk out the door.
    So now I am the proud owner of a 2010 Toyota Yaris, which will never fit into the “sleek” or “workhorse” category, but it is quite cute. Now if I can only figure out how to open the hatchback.

  17. Fakesister…people management has its perks, but its downsides may be worse. However, as the saying goes, those who can do, and those who can’t…manage.

  18. Re opening the hatchback – RTFM. Read The Fine Manual. Although that’s not how we usually interpret that acronym.

  19. Congratulations!!! Everyone I know (including myself) have had fabulous experiences with Toyotas — I predict you’ll be really happy….once you figure out how to open the gas cap.

    Two caveats:
    1) You can’t just make a spare copy of the ignition key at a hardware store. If you do this, the key will fit, but the car won’t start … because they embed a microchip in the genuine key. I learned this lesson the hard way … and felt like a total moron when I realized why my dad’s toyota wouldn’t start with my “spare” key.
    2) The 2008 Toyota Yaris has the unique distinction of being one of Consumer Reports’ 11 worst cars. I laughed out loud when I read this, since over the years, I have had uniformly awful experiences buying their “top rated” cars, tv’s and other large appliances. I have long since canceled my CR subscription and concluded that they are a bunch of mostly well-meaning idiots who have no accountability …
    http://money.cnn.com/galleries/2008/autos/0802/gallery.2008_cr_worst_cars/7.html

  20. Good try with that spare key thing, Rocky 🙂 I’m on top of that microchip issue, Camaro was the same way. And I think I have the gas thing figure out. But I did have to RTFM to open the hatchback. Also to find out where the lever thingy was to flip the front seat forward so you can climb into the back seat. I could not for the life of me find it on the driver’s side. That’s because there isn’t one.

  21. I find the “worst car” report amusing. Within a day of Fakename’s first mention of this vehicle, I ran across an article naming it one of the best values around. The writer was looking at total cost of ownership so between the mileage, the standard equipment, and the purchase price, the Yaris is a good value.

  22. I think that’s one of the laws of physics: for every recommendation, there is an equal and opposite recommendation. Edmunds.com has a lot of nice things to say about the Yaris, but then goes on to say it is in the middle of the pack, and there are better cars in its class, such as the Honda Fit and the Kia Rio. Hold up there for a minute. Is someone actually saying you should choose a Kia over a Toyota? Are they nuts?

  23. I just accidentally rediscovered this post, and first I’d like to say, I miss Rocky Humbert. Second, it was a blown head gasket. Third, I love my now 2 1/2 year old Yaris. It’s very zippy. It has grown on me. I love being able to park anywhere, such as in a parking space at the grocery store that is half-full of shopping carts, where no one else can park. I love only buying gas about once a month. Probably the only down side is being even more invisible than I was in the Camaro. Ford F-150’s are pretty sure you can’t hurt them, so they might as well run over you.
    When I lived in Iowa, we had a work truck, a Dodge Ram 1500, which I would drive on occasion if we didn’t need it for snow removal duty. It was amazing how people got out of my way.

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