Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Mighty Mighty POR-15

The job search continues and like the wide-eyed young debutant who comes to Hollywood to seek fame I’m starting to be asked to do things I’m uncomfortable with and make me cry in my sleep a little bit.

I got lured into a scam on Friday. I was called in for an interview on what I was told was a labour relations role to find I was targeted in a hard sell on high volume insurance sales scam. I figured it out as I was walking out the door to go to the interview. I had to Google map the business again to get the exact address. I inadvertently just Google searched the name and all these threads containing the word “scam” came up. It was rather alarming.

I went to the interview anyway because a) I love nothing more than a good caper, b) I was dressed for it – which may not mean much to you, but my normal attire is cargo shorts and a hoodie and c) the only store in Calgary that sells POR-15 was a block away from where I was to be interviewed. I have my priorities.

I quickly laid waste to the temporary staffer who was tasked with my faux interview as everything went as described on the net. I called her on what the net had said and she blew it off as “not their company but another one” – I was just confused apparently. I should point out that there was no computer, stationary or books on her desk. It was also quite obvious she had not read my resume as she said she did when we spoke on the phone.

She wanted to quickly move me to the next interview (with a manager) – which just so happened to be starting in 5 minutes. I then asked her for a job description (as I had yet to see one) and she hedged with the fact I would be getting one in the next step of the process. I then asked her for her card and she didn’t have any – but Susan had cards and if I could just stay for another minute they would get her. I blasted out of there so fast it made her and the creep working the front desk’s heads spin… not this desperado.

I forgot to mention the guy at the front desk was a creep – think Dwight from “The Office” crossed with an older Moore’s Clothing sales guy. He kept hanging over me as I waited for my faux interview. Someone, who was also waiting to be fleeced, commented on my IPhone as I was busying myself with mapping the route from there to the body shop supplier with POR-15. The conversation had quickly turned to Rogers (the other Canadian wireless carrier) and I was commenting on how I liked them as they didn’t have coverage in all the places I didn’t want them to have coverage such as at the Cabin.

The creepy guy, who looked only to be there to make sure the only computer in the joint didn’t walk out the door, chimed in that when I started with them I would have to switch to Telus (thus completes your lesson on wireless carriers in Canada). He did this in the same tone as the kid in the class that thinks he knows everything and everyone hates. Being in the know of what was really going on made me want to push his head through a hollow core door for a) thinking that I was dumb enough to work there (granted I was in the room) and b) that I would let an employer dictate my personal phone carrier.

To round out the story, what was supposed to happen was they were going convince me (no matter what job they had drawn me in with on the phone) that I would be excellent at insurance sales. After a few more interviews the process would be that, as I became more committed and investing more time, they then start asking for money: 30 dollar security check, then 200 dollars for something else; eventually reaching something like 1000 dollars before even getting to work. Then I would be on a 100% commission. They have an 87% turnover rate.

After leaving it took me an hour to track down the body shop supply store that had POR-15. Apparently they moved and neglected to update the website. I phoned the number on the website and got a new address. It would have been only a few blocks over if I put the address into my IPhone correctly. I didn’t and therefore added to another forty minutes to my search. After 2 hours in the northeast of Calgary I finally got my hands on a six pack of POR-15.

For those who are not in the know: POR-15 is a paint-on sealant and protectant that bonds to rust and sucks up moisture as it dries. It finishes with a glass-like coat. This car, and the condition, it is in is the perfect candidate for this stuff. Many conversations about restoring this car, between dad and I, included the use of POR-15. He thought the stuff was magic.

After a nice late lunch with Krista at the world’s slimiest Boston Pizza I packed my overnight bag and was down the road to Red Deer with my new find. I had Friday, Saturday and Sunday and I was dedicated to maximizing my time. My focus Friday night was to pull the trailing arm and axle out from the rear right of the car and clean up the area for sealing.

I got the axle out rather easily but I must say I am getting pretty tired of backing up every bolt I pull off this car. They could have welded in a few more studs. As much fun as it is to have backup wrenches fall on my head.

After the axle was out there was nothing holding the aluminum trailing arm in place so it was all clear to move out. It was around this time I stopped for pizza and beer with my mom. Hanging out with my moms is one of the bonuses of working on the car at the acreage. Go ahead - call me a girlie boy – I can take it – my moms is cool.

When I returned I focused on grinding off the loose rust from surfaces under the right side of the car. By about nine pm I was painting on POR-15. I used a one inch brush to apply it. That stuff is messy –especially when painting up upside down. I had rubber gloves on but short sleeves so just my forearms are completely black. At one point some paint soaked through my shirt so there is a giant black spot on my skin over my heart. I am covered in this stuff.

I spent the rest of the night breaking down the U-joints on the axle and buffing the aluminum on the trailing arm with the wire wheel. I finally called it a night at 3AM. Conservatively, I reckon I put in 10 hours. A quick hit of leftover pizza and I hit the sack.

Saturday was more of the same except that I broke down the rear drum brake parts, cleaned them up and painted the drum plate. I also fit the new bushings and painted brackets onto the trailing arm. A lot of what I did was little stuff while waiting for paint to dry. I was a little worn out from the day before so it was a slower paced day. A lot of little things got done. It was a nice day as there was a lot of great basketball to watch. I had the NCAA tournament on the tube. It was a little less compelling this year as I forgot to fill out my brackets. I will definitely get down to a round of that tournament someday. I want that trip to coincide with seeing the Carolinas if that's possible.

Mom and I had a couple of Steaks and watched “The Hurt Locker” and I retired much earlier then the night before.

Sunday I cleaned up the rest of the inter-rear-quarter panel with soap and water and a spinning brush-head on the drill (the grinder and I are still not speaking). I then did something I was putting off - something that I have been dreading for a while – I removed the rear bumper.

Don, of red TR6 fame, gave me shit the week before for not having it off yet. I worked around it to remove the rear quarter panel (lazy). It wasn’t as difficult as I imagined. I do have to say it would have been damn near impossible without dad’s Snap-On tools as I had to use a knuckle on the extension to get even close to the main bumper bolts.

What surprises me is the amount of dirt that comes off this car -STILL. Between wire brushing and removing the rear bumper I must have removed another thirty pounds of dirt from the floor under the car. No, not rust flakes but just dried dirt. This car is going to be 200 pounds lighter just from dirt removal alone.

I put on a final coat of POR-15 and headed back to Calgary. Nothing more I could have done but watch paint dry.

Sunday night I did some research on the rear hubs as I was considering having them rebuilt. After extensive study it seems TR6 hubs are a very controversial issue. Forget Roe v. Wade, TR6 hubs bring out the claws.

It seems that some people have experienced wheels flying off the car because of rear hub failure! WTF?!

I will admit, although there seems to be a few cases, the occurrences are statistically insignificant but look at these images - very scary. Good Parts makes a beefed up replacement for 300 dollars and change a side. I think this is the way to go as I hate to leave a critical link like this untouched. There seems to be some thought that the rebuild process may be to be blame for the failures. It’s not clear that either choice (rebuilding or leaving them) would give me any piece of mind at all. After all, my moms is going to drive this car.

As I worked on the rear of the car I had the historically problematic rear diff staring me in the face. I am really scared to even think about it yet.

I remember thinking the rear of the car looked so simple compared to the front. Oh, I was so naive.

Stay tuned….

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