Yesterday morning, it seemed that Spank’s LeMons-veteran ’71 Citroën DS would be stranded in El Paso due to a bad water pump shaft seal. When your car is made out of pure unobtanium, Miami seems much farther than a mere 2,800 miles from San Diego.
The clutch started slipping somewhere in the California desert, Actually, it started slipping during the Sears Pointless LeMons race in March, but it became alarming in the California desert.
Thanks to some help from Quattroporte-drivin’ Pendejo Racing, Spank figured out that the weight of the clutch pedal was overwhelming the weak spring and causing the clutch to disengage slightly. The fix: bungee cord on the pedal!
Things were going fine for a while.
But then Spank’s Honda-motorcycle-radiator-and-AC-condenser-fan heater rig stopped blowing warm air. Uh-oh.
No water! Turns out the Citroën’s water pump shaft seal had let go, causing water to pour out the drain holes designed to keep water out of the bearing. Water was still being pumped, but most of it was being pumped to the wrong place.
After spending the night in El Paso, Spank worked on the car while dozens of LeMons veterans called every auto-parts store and junkyard in West Texas. You want a water pump for a whaaaaat? That’s when the 12-volt RV hot-water pump came into play: just remove the Citroën’s fan belt, block off the pump’s drain holes, and let electricity cool the engine.
Weirdly enough, it worked! As you read this, the Citroën is well into Louisiana on a “no sleep till Miami” run. You can follow the ongoing adventure here, as legions of LeMons racers offer help to heroic solo Citroën road-tripper and Index of Effluency winner Mike Spangler aka Spank in his crazed cross-country journey. And I thought I’d made some epic road trips in hoopty-ass cars— San Francisco to Atlanta in a beater ’65 Impala loaded with all my stuff now seems like nothing!
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