No Spring Chicken

JUST WHEN YOU THINK things are improving, you get smacked again. Just a few weeks before the May 1 DE, the provincial government decided to shut everything down for a month. I understand that they are trying to protect our health, and for that I’m grateful, but it still hurts to lose the first event of a new season. On the other hand I was given the gift of time to finish my transmission saga. More on that to follow.

First I want to comment on last month’s Boxster issue. It was well written and supported by a series of mini articles from members like you. I thought it was a great format and showed the fondness that many people have for those cars. One thing that I thought I might add is that I see the Boxster as the new 944. It’s small, nimble, a great driver’s car, and many solid examples can be bought for around 10 grand. With the parts plentiful and inexpensive, it’s a great track-day car that allows anyone to have some reasonably priced fun, while still handling like a Porsche.

If I owned an expensive street car, I would definitely pick up a Boxster as a DE car. The only thing it lacks is a roof, which Porsche added later in the Cayman. What a great little car!

When I decided to pull my transmission apart, I did it with the philosophy that if it’s already broken you can’t hurt it. You may as well take it apart and see if you can fix it. The answer was no. I’ve never seen ball bearings fly around until they were flat. Retaining bolts that had the heads ground off or bearing races carved in half. I knew the ring and pinion gears would have to be replaced, but when I started adding up the cost of the other damaged parts, it would cost more to repair than it was worth. When I looked at the replacement cost, I decided to take the beginning of the 2021 season off and see what became available.

With the recent loss of Sabine Schmitz and Ludwig Heimrath, it occurred to me that I’m no spring chicken. None of us knows how long we can continue to enjoy motorsports, either economically or physically. I thought about how much I might regret missing part of a season in the future. So I went looking for another transmission, just to see what was out there. I found the identical transmission in a car that had 31,439 miles on it and had been in a front-end collision. While one side of my brain decided to think it over, the other side clicked the mouse really fast, so it was too late to change my mind. If I’m stuck with a new transmission, I might as well put it in the car, right?

I used the old wrecked one to figure out how to prevent a reoccurrence of the failure. I had my machine shop tap both oil plugs, bought a gear oil pump, and purchased an oil cooler for the transaxle. I’ll take oil from the bottom of the case, run it through a cooler and spray it back in the top right over the ring gear. Problem solved. Just the extra capacity alone will help keep the temperature down and I’m adding some heat deflection behind my turbocharger for good measure. Good old COVID gave me lots of time to complete the project, so the only thing I’ll miss will be the May event, along with everyone else. Problem solved.

During the past year I’ve tried not to talk about COVID as much as possible. We are bombarded with information about the pandemic on a daily basis. While it affects everyone, it doesn’t do so in equal measure. I have the luxury of having no debt. While the commercial-sign aspect of my business isn’t essential and unable to obtain permits, the electrical side is considered essential, so I can support my infrastructure very easily. I can’t imagine what it must be like for those with big mortgages and small children. I also can’t imagine what it must be like mourning the loss of a family member without the emotional support of having your loved ones around you.

When things don’t go our way, it’s easy to fall into sadness and frustration, so it’s important to measure our difficulties against those of others. When I measure my problems on that scale, I quickly realize how lucky I am. My family is healthy, I’m financially secure, my business is safe and I’m in no danger of going hungry. I have no right to complain about a bad transmission, the cancellation of a driving event, or the government’s bumbling. I’ll do it anyway because that’s human nature. As soon as the freezing temperatures go away, I start complaining about the wind. My suggestion for everyone is that you think of one thing that’s going really well for you today and focus on that. This mess will end. How you endure it will dictate your quality of life.

I don’t have a crystal ball so I have no idea when our next event will take place. I do know that it will be great and everyone will have a lot of fun. There is something to look forward to! </>

Photos by Adrian Chan

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