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Atlantic City Express

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Old 11-07-2011, 02:15 PM
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Default Atlantic City Express

This was from July. Thought I would share.

My buddies and I decide to go on a roadtrip every year. One year to NYC, one year to Niagra Falls / Toronto. This year, we settled on a weekend of fun at Atlantic City. 4 1/2 Star resort, center of the action! IT WAS FUN!!! The trips always come together at the last minute...crappy planning, but it always works out. We were going to take my friends 09' Jeep Liberty, but the week before he lost his wheel on the highway. Sheered the lugnuts right off! 40k on the thing...lucky he and his truck are alright. Ok...so rental? CT doesn't rent to people under 25 without rate hikes. The cost for a Nissan Versa w/o the insurance for three days would have cost about 60/day! (short term notice). Gas was cheaper, so I was like...we should just drive. So decision time...cramped in an Altima for 6 hours (im 6'7"), or take the Lazy Man Blazer, plush with Leather, equipped with A/C, and a working CD player...I drove. Just had the Rough Country Lift installed just weeks before, so I felt as if I had to road test this bad boy. Handled like a dream, better than I could have imagined!

It wasn't until the trip home that my Blazer started to act up in its typical Chevrolet fashion. All I could think on the way down was...wow, I got myself a keeper this time! Could have never done this in the Green Truck (my 98'). Should have found some wood, and knocked on it.

97*F outside when we left the shore. AC was on, naturally. I would have dropped the windows, if it wasn't for the Jersey Traffic. And listen, im Greek-Italian from NW CT...32*F and im in a tee-shirt, and comfortable! I happened to look at my gauges to check my fuel situation, and saw that my truck was spiking about 230*F. I cut the AC, and dropped the windows to much protest from my friends. That did nothing. I then shifted to neutral and revved a bit, to try and engage the clutch fan...kept me around 210*F, but I could now smell the antifreeze. No smoke pouring from the hood, so I knew it was from the overflow boiling out of the reservoir.

Finally, a few miles of travel...sweating like a mother, but my truck hovered around the 190*F mark as long as I was driving, which to anyone traveling the turnpike knows is IMPOSSIBLE at best! After hours...yes hours of this, and still hours away from home, I decided to merge off the crawl of the Jersey Turnpike and head for an automotive store before they closed for the night...could you believe I pick the exit smack dab in the middle of a brownout zone!!! Autozone couldn't take my card because the system was down. I didn't have money on me because 1) Lost at the casino 2) Jersey tolls put me out the other $20 I had in my pocket after dinner. I couldn't afford the thermostat I KNOW I NEEDED, but I was able to bum the 5 dollars out of my friends pocket to pay for a gallon of straight antifreeze, and diluted it with water from melted ice in my travel cooler.

I found a Dunkin Donuts down the road...and their system was up and functional! YES! I got like $100 cashback off of a 3 dollar coolata and limped back to autozone. THEY CLOSED?!?! Nothing even close to resembling an auto parts store was available for at least 20 miles, and that was 20 miles in the WRONG DIRECTION! Plus by now it was 8pm. Autozone or Advance Auto would have been the only choices. I angrely chugged my coolata, got behind the wheel, tore the leather from my wheel from my death grip and got back on the turnpike. After the George Washington Bridge it was smooth sailing...but the damage was done. I smelled burning, and smoke was now billowing from beneath the hood. My friend in the back seat proclaimed (Well, my Nissan would have survived this trip. Nobody listens to me...oooo, lets take Mikes truck, because it is nicer...well look at us now!). 1) Not cool. 2) Bite me. 3) Disrespect my Truck, and you are dead! To this day, I think his arm still has nerve damage from that punch I delivered!

I ran out of antifreeze past the Bridge at a pitstop location. I was still a good 60+ miles away from home, and my radiator had a crack in it. It was repairable...I would just soldier it closed when I got home. I chewed some sugar free gum, and shoved it in the crack (with my mechanix gloves). It was then that I noticed that my drivers side wheel was angled / toed out a good 30*. Umm, am I really losing my wheel right now? Are you F%(#*[email protected] serious?!?! My temp gauge was reading off the guage itself...all I needed was gasket failure at this point, or a cracked engine block. I poured a mix of window wash and water into my reservoir...(slowly!!!) just to have something in my system, and continued on. By this point, I was noticing that my truck was steering itself, and ya...not great when going through No-Mans land NY at 10pm at 75mph to keep my trucks engine from cracking!

Every Gas station I passed was closed by 10pm. I was almost in tears from the stress of the situation. I just motored home, faster than I should have, because that was saving my truck from dying. By the time I made it back to the berkshires, one of my highbeam bulbs burned out. My new tire was starting to feather. Everything else. I pulled in my friends driveway (the one with the Jeep, and the two useable arms). He went into his garage to look for some antifreeze. I shut my truck off, popped the hood, and walked away. I was inside for not even 2 minutes when I heard a loud (POP, CRACK, HISSSSSSS). Oh, you guessed it. Radiator was completely destroyed, after all that! I was 5 miles away from home. The bottom of the radiator actually ended up on my friends driveway, but the good part...the gum was still in place!

I stared blankly at my truck. I love you. Why do you treat me so?

Okay...well, Mikey needs to get home, so on to the spare set of bulbs I keep in the back. I didn't have a spare hi-beam bulb, but I had a spare low beamer that would get me home. I etched away at the grey stuff at the end with my knife, and exposed some bulb...pulled the tab to my headlamp, poured the water out (I had blinker fluid) and started the process of replacing the bulb. My friend bumped on his keys, and set off his alarm on the Jeep...guess where the bulb ended up? IDK, but it was midnight, and I wasn't searching for it! Its a shame Crack is so expensive, I tell you the truth!!!

So...final total:

Weekend in Jersey: $600 (Food, hotel, parking and casino(s) )
Gas: $120-
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Radiator: $160-
Driver Side Tie-Rod: $50-
Passenger Tie-Rod: $50- (My experience, things go in pairs. Preventative)
Sears 4-wheel alignment: $70-
Suspension tweak (got lazy...had them fix it): $100-
Silvania Ultra-Stars: $40
Misc. Fluids: $50 (oil change kit as well)
Tequila: $20
Heart Transplant: TBD
(should have just rented the Versa...)

ALL THAT OVER A $8 DOLLAR PART!!! Funny thing is too, I had one sitting in my garage at home. It was a wierd, but when I ordered my gatorback from Summit, I also purchased a new thermostat, a new idler pulley, and other misc. parts. I payed for one and they sent me two. First one lasted for 2 years. I have higher hopes for this one!

Since then, I have invested in an electric fan from a 93' Taurus 3.8. Yes, in CT, that is rare! Fan + Hardware: $80, and change. And thanks to diagrams from (Swartlkk), I was ready to dive in...but later on that week after fixing my truck, I fell and broke my leg / knee. Out of commission. No work, No school, No truck projects, until today...I went digging in my garage, and found my Taurus E-Fan, and smiled. Inspiration sent me to the computer to complete this masterpiece of what happens when you cheap out and take your POV on a vacation.

The good of this trip...My engine and gaskets are still intact...oil was fine, and yay to that! For being so finicky, these engines are tough! That is why I still have this love / hate relationship with my Blazer. Given its flaws, I will never be (completely) stranded. I can see myself driving that truck for years to come! Lazy Man Liveith (for now)...KNOCKING ON WOOD FOR REAL!!! ~Mike
 
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