<VV> Tools and Spares, (why)

Smitty vairologist at cox.net
Sat Nov 6 23:02:12 EDT 2010

> From: Taruffi57 at aol.com
> This whole discussion as to carrying a vast amount of parts/tools, etc.
> makes it sound like someone is about to do the Paris to Dakar Rally. 
> Where
> do you put your luggage?  Seems to me that you  inspect/maintain/service 
> the
> car and then carry a minimum of parts - along with  your CORSA members
> registry and wing it.  I am not about to head out on a  long trip unless I 
> know
> the car is right, no matter what kind of car I am  driving.   The last 
> time
> I had a Corvair fail me was a dropped valve  seat in my yellow '65 Corsa
> coupe 140 in 1970.  Never even a fan belt  thrown.  I couldn't fix that 
> one on
> the side of the road anyway and  the 150 mile Greyhound ride home will 
> never
> be forgotten.
>  Joe Dunlap
Smitty Says;  Joe the very fact that you raise such a question tells me you 
have no concept of what I am about.  First cross country back in 69.  6 year 
old Corvair.  Pretty car.  I drove it for 6 months before the trip and fixed 
everything I could find wrong with it.  Good service job of greasing U 
joints, front wheel bearings, gen and so forth, but admittedly a rookie at 
knowing what fails on Corvairs.  This was mid winter and driving and repairs 
were often in the zero degree range.  I had a small tool kit but nothing to 
brag about.  Got down on I-40 headed west in TN in blinding snow. 
Interstate was shut down but I kept trucking.  Blasting through snow over 
two ft with drifts a foot higher.  Drove up into a cut between hills where 
the highway was clear and the coil died.  Lack of preparation on my part. 
Right?  Wired in a CB that was still in the box.  Made a contact on channel 
9 and got ahold of a Jeep driver who brought me a coil.  Back on the road 
again into AK.  Came out in the morning and car was encased in 3/4 in ice. 
Finally got inside and something happened to the starter.  Put on a 
replacement.  Should have changed it before I left, Right?  Also found a 
rust blow out in crossover pipe which had looked good before I left.  Should 
have replaced it at home.  Right?  Shortly after a rear bearing failed.  I 
had checked with the local Chevy agency before I left and they assured me 
they were lubed for life and not to worry.  Me being smarter than you might 
think was able to determine right there that I must always carry a spare 
axle with new bearing on it on trips.  You think it is dumb to carry spares? 
On up into KCK where there was lots of one wheel spinning just to get 
around.  The posi rear packed it in.  I don't mean a clutch.  I mean it was 
junk.  The only one I could get was a PG rear and the car was backed up to a 
board fence with 4 ft of snow packed around it.  I shoveled the snow and got 
the diff out.  Took it to my sisters house and swapped parts with the 
standard diff.  Stupid me.  I should have changed it before I left home. 
Vacation over and time to go home.  Southern route to VA.  Jackson TN the 
other rear bearing went.  Walked 8 miles in 14 degree weather with the axle 
over my shoulder, wind blowing like hell, to get to a machine shop.  No 
sense buying another at that point but I did realize they might be failure 
prone.  25 miles farther the right front wheel bearing failed and welded 
itself to the spindle.  What a dumbass.  I should have put new ones on 
rather than clean and repack them. Right?  After all the car was 6 years old 
and had 40,000 on it.
Joe this was just the first of many great experiences driving Vairs cross 
country.  Broken crankshaft in Midland SD, Rear pump failure in a PG in the 
Western WA desert, Exploded GEN in mid OH.  Crappy Clevite lifters that ate 
the valveguides out of a brand new rebuilt engine, Dropped valve seats a 
couple of times. (which I drove home)  All my fault for not checking my car 
out before I left home. Right?
On another tack I will mention the Wagon has well over 400,000 miles on it. 
I put over 150,000 miles on my previous Camper hauling Corvair with one of 
my engine builds in it and about 40,000 on the one before that. (small 
engine).  My camper weighs somewhere around 1,500 lbs wet.  When I go to the 
highway with it, it runs wide open with my foot on the floor all day long at 
65-70.  It ran that way to Alaska and back.  It has taken me years to decide 
what to carry and what I can do without.  Where do I put my luggage? 
Everything I mentioned would fit in a bushel basket.
All that said, next time I go on an extended trip I will invite you to come 
along with your Cresent wrench and screw driver and travel with me.  I will 
not loan you any tools though and heaven help you if you need any spares for 
your well prepared car.   I just might get snarkey. 

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