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MS to NM in 25 hours (long, some LBC stuff)

To: MG list <>
Subject: MS to NM in 25 hours (long, some LBC stuff)
From: "Eric L. Van Iderstine" <elv1@Ra.MsState.Edu>
Date: Wed, 17 Jan 1996 01:09:11 -0600 (CST)
This won't be as colorful as Andy's, but I've got homework due in 7 
hours.  And NO, I haven't started yet.

The Christmas Holiday    -   By     Eric Van Iderstine

Old news
Halfway to Grandma's, I decided to check under the hood.....leaking 
coolant...signs of another order to Moss.  Glen, you were right about it 
just being a leaking gasket, and not a cracked head (the car that is).

New news
Put in new head gasket, and discovered why the car was running so 
cool..NO THERMOSTAT....luckily, I ordered one.  The parts go in fine, 
Before removing the head, the compression was 130 130 140 135 (ok for my 
low compression engine, and I still haven't check the "after").  It is 
now one day before the big trip to New Mexico....the alternator goes 
out.  It turned out to be a bad time to do anything except put 
a GM one in (and I had deleted the message for which one other had 
used).  So an 80 mile trip to a place open during the holiday (comforts 
of country living) later, I home rig a lower bracket for the oversized 
It passes the wiggle-by-hand test, so we (my fiance and I) pack up and 
leave for Farmington, NM, some 1300 miles away.

We left about 5:00 in the evening, and before we got out of Vardaman, the 
fog was getting thick.....and it just kept getting thicker.  We got out 
of fog on the other side of Little Rock, AR!!!!  Yep, we drove A LONG WAY in 
the times visibility was down to the front of the hood.  We 
felt like we were in the middle of nowhere, even though we knew that 
there were farms and houses all along the road.  By the time we got to 
Little Rock, the car would die if you tried to let it idle, so we had the 
choke pulled out to raise the idle to 1500.

In Little Rock, we got gas and Johanna said she smelled I 
looked under the hood.  It was apparent by the fuel leaking out from the 
carbon canaster that the float levels weren't right..... So at 10:15 on 
Dec. 31, I pulled the carbs. 
Pulling the carbs showed that the bowls weren't set right, so 
I reset them and put them back on....still leaked...pulled them, reset 
them...put them back on, still this time, I had spoken 
with several people all commenting about how bad it must be to be working 
on a car in 40 degree weather on New Years eve??????  It didn't even 
phase me, I was too engrossed in the carb problem to worry about the 
temperature or the date........

(aside) I hate that little spring in the end of the float neelde peice, 
any advice??

**possible helpful hint**
At this point, I discovered a new way to set the levels......I hooked 
the fuel line to them (one at a time), while hold the carb outside the 
body (barely) and had Johanna turn the ignition on.....I let the fuel 
spray, and pushed the float up until it stopped.  This way I could set 
the level and check it in one minute instead of 25......So they finally 
went back on correctly.
**end of flammible hint**

And off we coffee which I bought when we first got there 
was almost frozen......and it was 12:30 am.

Next stop was Fort Smith....nothing major, just gas.....

On to Amarillo, breakfast and a toothbrush at McDonalds.  It was very 
cold outside, and very cold in the MG....(I think I know why now, I left 
a foam peice out of the heater box....which I'm guessing sealed the 
airflow from just circulating in the heater box.) so there was very 
little airlow inside the MG.

Texas was cold and was the first part of New Mexico....though 
the scenery did pick up some in New Mexico......

Until we got to Albuquerque, we just drove with the trucks at 75 mph, so 
much for lower truck speed limits.

At Alburquerque, we headed north to Farmington.....  When we got off the 
interstate 15 miles north, the scenery really got neat....  We were 
driving through Indian reservations, and there were canyons, snow covered 
mountains, and a beautiful sunset.

Somewhere between Alburquerque and Farmington, it snowed just enough to 
make us pull over and wipe the road grime off the winshield (no winshield 
washer).  From there until Farmington, we enjoyed one of the most 
beautiful drives I have ever seen.

We pulled into Farmington about 5:00, and after searching a few streets, 
found Joan's (older sister) house........25 hours after leaving 
Vardaman.  If you don't count the two hours of tuning, it took us 23 
hours, not bad, and that included a few long stops for meals......

We were exhausted, and got inside and took our shoes off and turned the 
heater on!!!!!!

Janice (other older sister, all J's) and Joan were due in at 9:00 (but they 
were SURE that they would beat us), so we ordered a pizza, had some 
coffee, and relaxed....

The next day we pretty much did nothing......we did retorque the head on 
the MG, at 1300 miles instead of the reccommended 500, but I didn't think 
we should pull over in the middle of nowhere Texas and have to torque the 
head and adjust valves......A quick check with the colortune showed a 
VERY rich I leaned it out and the MG was running smooth 

Skiing in Durango was all we did the next day.......It was a gorgeous 
drive (in Joan's Blazer since we needed to carry skiing gear...and 
Janice).  They (Janice and Johanna, Joan had to work) taught me to ski, 
so I had lessons until noon.  After lunch, we did the lower part of the 
mountain about 5 times before going a little highr up.  On this part, you 
actually had to KNOW HOW TO TURN......AND NOW!!!!  This proved to be the 
most fun part of the day......we did this part a jillion times.  We did 
got to the top of the mountian, and skeed (what is the past tense of ski, 
and how is it spelled??) down...I fell a jillion times, but had learned 
how to fall earlier, so I didn't get hurt......It took about an hour to 
ski down the mountian, and we decided the second place we skied was more 
fun, so we did it about 6 more times before leaving.

The drive back was also complimented by a beautiful sunset......they must 
have a patent on them. 

The next day, we slept late and recovered from skiing...we all had sore 
wrists, knees, and backs......  That evening, we went back to Durango to 
eat at a place where J,J,& J had gone the last time they were there.

We got back and packed for the journey home................

I'll stop now......and write about the trip home later

The trip home of course highlighted by a breakdown in Childress Texas.


Eric L. Van Iderstine - ME senior - Mississippi State University 
Design Coordinator - MSU Formula SAE......Powered by Honda......
74 MGB - 85 Buick LaSabre - 95 DiamondBack Sorrento

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