Two more weeks until I get my car back. =(

It went in for work a few months back, and I was waiting on parts (and being able to buy parts – thank you tax return) for a couple of those months. The timing just sort of sucks, now.

Some background info:

My car is a silver and black 2000 Camaro Z28 in pretty decent condition and not drowning in miles. My wife got it for me as a Valentine’s Day gift last year (ok, I paid for it, but she went to pick it up, stood in line for hours at vehicle registration, etc. so that I could get it in the first place). In the last few months of last year, it developed a sort of whining grindy sound that increased in tempo as the engine rpm went up. I figured it was a belt, so I replaced them. In the meantime, we noticed that the old rims were corroded to the point that mounting tires was nigh impossible, so I got some nice new ones, with long-life sport tires. At least she looked pretty, even if she was whining at me.

At any rate, it was not any of the belts. I next replaced the water pump, and alternator, which were two other possible causes. Neither one was. At that point I was kind of at a loss, but as luck would have it, my eldest has auto shop this year at his school and his teacher loves Camaros. I dropped it off with him, and he figured it was the oil pump. Two weeks later, oil pump arrives, and the sound is still there after it is put in.

At least we narrowed it down to the only other possible issue. A magnet run across the oil pan confirmed the diagnosis – there were tiny (almost invisible) metal shavings in the oil pan. My son’s teacher had his class dismantle the engine, and when he showed me the camshaft, it was obvious what the issue was. For whatever reason, the camshaft had been grinding against something in there (perhaps it became poorly aligned over time?) and as a side issue one of the rocker arms was ground down a little as well.

So, a camshaft, new rocker arms, push rods, bolts, gaskets, etc. etc. needed to take care of everything. My wallet wept, and my bank account could not console it. I couldn’t afford to buy all the parts I needed (the camshaft kit alone was going to be over $800 – we opted for a burlier cam to squeeze out some more horsepower) until I got my tax return. I have kids, and my wife doesn’t work, so I file as soon as I can each year. Usually I can get my tax return before February. At least, before the last couple years.

Thank you Congress, you bunch of do-nothing lazy sacks of crap, and thank you IRS for not accepting returns until the end of January and then sitting on them for two weeks. Meh.

At any rate, I went ahead and threw a sexy new exhaust system into the mix when I ordered parts, and picked up a few things for the family car as well (the highway speeds out here are hell on rotors). $3300 later (over half of that was the camshaft and new exhaust system), I was waiting for parts to ship. I spent more than the cut off for free shipping, so I got priority free (squee!).

Unfortunately, the parts didn’t ship until March, whereas I ordered them in February. Fortunately, they got here really quickly, and we got to work. Wham, bam, top of the engine slapped back together with sexy new hardware… but not two more gaskets that we neglected to order. *twitch*

I ordered those the day we noticed we needed them, priority again – from rockauto.com, who I highly recommend for basic parts. They ship really fast, have good prices, and a great selection. Unfortunately, this was the one bad shipping experience I have had with them (out of many good ones, I assure you). One part shipped from the East coast, the other from the West. The East coast one was by far closest to me.

Guess which one arrived first. That’s right, not the close one. It got here a week after the one coming from the other side of the damned country. *sigh*

Regardless, all the parts are here now, the engine is rebuilt and mounted to the front axle assembly so it can be put back into the car and mostly reconnected to the car. Just in time for spring break. Now I get to wait a week until the car can finally be finished.

At least it looks like I will be able to drive it before the end of April. I’d knock on wood, but I think my car might explode just to spite me. Maybe I’ll drop a picture up here sometime when it is done, barring any spiteful explosions.

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