In our October '09 issue, I shared my mishaps towing our LeMons Camaro to Reno, Nevada. As usual, I asked for your stories and the responses have been rather impressive. Seriously, a few of them were downright hysterical and I wish I had the room to share all of them with you-maybe I'll add a couple more next month. Now, for those of you who have never pulled a vehicle; read up because there's a lot to be learned here. -H
The stories of painful gearhead moments are by far my favorite part of your publication; I'm still able to laugh several hours later. My story involves my loving girlfriend, who insisted on building the Chevy small-block motor for her Vega herself.
We had these black mud wasps who rudely insisted on filling any unprotected hole on anything full of mud. You name it, emblems, outlets, screw holes, nothing was safe. Knowing this, I wisely balled up wads of shop towels and tightly plugged the spark plug holes on the new engine.
About a week later, the motor's almost finished and it's time to set the valves. She's leaning down over the engine while I crank it over with a breaker bar when it makes the stupidest sound, kind of like a Thooooommb! My girlfriend starts flailing about clutching her neck calling me names and asking "what I did that for!" It took me a second, but I then realized the high compression of the motor fired the wadded paper towel out under substantial pressure, much like a potato cannon striking her in the neck with this cool Whap sound. I couldn't stop laughing and she couldn't quit hitting me.
Slippery Rock, PA
We shouldn't laugh either, but that was great and thanks for sharing! - Ed.
Back To Tennessee
Your LeMons adventure was eerily familiar to my last cross-country trip. As a 22 year Coast Guard veteran, moving every few years was nothing new. I had already driven cross-country five times. I purchased a '97 Chevy C3500 and a car transport trailer so I could tow my '96 Impala SS with a recently installed 383 this last time. The trip from Lenoir City, TN to San Diego in 2004 went off without incident. However, my return trip had Murphy's Law written all over it. I would be traveling back to LC before reporting to my new duty station in Tampa. I had the trip all planned out and expected the 2,200-mile trip would take four days. So on a very rare rainy Friday I left San Diego
I had my first problem just a few hours into the trip on I-8. Ascending the long, steep mountain grades, I quickly realized the dual electric fans I installed the year before (when the stock fan failed), couldn't pull enough air through the radiator. When the truck kicked down to Second gear going up the hills, the engine would immediately begin overheating. I had to pull over every few miles to let it cool. The first 325-mile leg of my trip took over 8 hours!
On the second day, I had a blowout on the trailer. Being the good Coastie, I was 'Semper Paratus' (Always Ready) because I did have a spare. But as I was jacking up the trailer, I noticed my 2-ton aluminum floor jack was having some difficulty lifting the combined weight of the Impala (crammed full with my stuff) and trailer; so I unloaded the car to change the flat. Nearly two hours later, I finally get back on the road, but I'm still dealing with the overheating issue.