Replacing the car

Ever since the Pulsar got rear ended, I’ve been hunting for a car.

Finding one is difficult – the selections are limited by criteria that really narrow things down to the right car for the job – and considering I don’t hit the freeway often, and do mostly trips to and from work, it’s best to get a 4 cylinder car.

So I did. Another Nissan Pulsar 2003 model. Black. But this was the series two – and looked and test drove good – but a few weeks later the issue with it became prominent, the head gasket was allowing exhaust into the coolant so it’d over heat when driven for a while. The cause could have been a few things, I flushed the coolant system with a Coolant Flush and the Engine Oil with an Engine Flush.

I did both in the same service and took it for a drive (at this same time we were isolating a rattle that wasn’t there when test driven, turns out AA batteries under the carpet under the drivers seat = great way to annoy someone).

Anyway, we set out to replace the head on that, and since it over heated and had those several issues with it, lost confidence in it so will finish that with a replacement head and gasket, and find a new home for it.

A few weeks later – hunting and weeding out the crap from the good, we found a 2004 Mitsubishi Lancer down Sydney. Looked good – first car from a Used car dealer, got him to knock 1000 off the price and did the deal.

At the time of buying, we looked over the log books and found the timing belt wasn’t explicitly serviced, but there were services around the 100000k mark – so the dealer and I both concluded, well they signed it off, surely they did the belt.

After getting it back my partner followed up with the mechanic who signed the log book “Nah, sorry, we’ve only got it as having an oil change done”. So there you have it, log books are useless anyway.

I set out to change the timing belt after tossing up whether it’d be worth doing, and given we still had the Pulsar hanging around, I decided we’d give it ago.  I know the Mitsubishi engine used is an interference engine, so driving it around with an overdue timing belt also didn’t make sense.

I ordered the kit and then a water pump too (do that whilst in there!). The kit arrived and making the belt accessible was surprisingly difficult – everything in the way has to come out – including the motor mount. So this meant that for me to stop and pack up – I’d have to jack the engine to the right point and reinstall the engine mount each time – and so that was done.

It’s amazing when tackling the timing belt how many ‘odds’ you might want to get as well – I went out to get a 14mm deep socket – this allowed the engine mount bolts to come off. I went out to get a 17mm 1/2 inch socket. I went out to get a 22mm socket. I went out to get a.. you get the idea. I spent a fair bit of time on the belt change just getting bits to move a bolt out of the way!

After getting the belt exposed, it got easier – mark the old belt, take the old belt off. Mark the new belt, put the new belt on in the correct order. Test, retest and test again to be sure the engine is in time.

The damned floor jack under the motor got in the way a fair bit too – changing the water pump means draining the coolant, which means a oil pan has to get in somewhere – on top of the jack? It’d probably fall off. A length of garden hose on the end of the connector got it!

I can’t say I wouldn’t do another, but I would love a timing chain.

I’ll finish off the few end bits (coolant – it’s still got just demin water in it, oil change, check some torque) on the Lancer soon and start driving it, freeing the Pulsar up so we can give it a head job.

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