Wavering Passion for S13

The catchphrase has for my blog has felt a bit ironic lately. It seems that motivation comes in quick spurts, but there are also plenty of days where I am just not feeling continuing to wrench on the cars. I’m not sure if it’s just due to the general busyness of work and life these days or what exactly is causing it, but I have felt like I need to drag myself into the garage lately. Spending more than one evening per week in the garage feels like a total chore.

Historically my career in graphic design has afforded me with a decent amount of time for research and multi-tasking during the day to spend time learning about S13s and researching my next moves. After being laid off at my last gig last summer due to COVID-19, my new job has placed much more responsibility on my shoulders than my previous roles. Not only am I the only designer vs. a member of a larger design team, but I am also the only design resource for an entire family of companies. Add to that the fact that my boss and manager of the marketing department (which consists of the two of us) is currently on maternity leave, and it leaves me pretty busy each day of the week.

Home life is also an area where the responsibilities are never-ending. With three daughters in the house, there’s always an infinite list of things that need to be done to keep our family running somewhat smoothly. My middle daughter Hattie celebrated her seventh birthday this week, so we have been busy with lots of festivities including three different parties- a sleepover with school friends, a neighbor celebration, and a family party tomorrow. Hattie kind of got robbed of a fun birthday last year due to COVID just getting under way, so we wanted to try to make up for it this year, Add to that a late night devoted to assembling her new loft bed that she got for her birthday and there just isn’t much time left! Any remaining free moments are spent trying to enjoy some downtime with my wife and finding sleep when it is available.

Neglected garage ornaments.

Don’t get me wrong: this is the life I chose and I would never change it for the world. I have always wanted to have a family and I am so thankful to be where we are in life. However, lately I’ve definitely come to appreciate the fact that most people have tapped out of this hobby by their late twenties, let alone their mid-thirties. As I’ve talked about in posts with a similar tone in the past, it just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to continue with an in-depth project car when time and money are such difficult resources to come by. Add to that the continued increasing prices for these cars and the parts associated them since the pandemic began, and there’s no denying that cashing out is the wisest choice for so many reasons.

I’d be lying if I said I have not heavily considered cashing out on the hobby completely in the past few weeks. I’ve been chatting to a few friends about this lately and I know many of them feel the same way. I do think that the fact that I have not truly street driven my cars in nearly two years is a major contributing factor to that mindset right now. I always felt that driving my cars was sort of a side benefit for me and that building and wrenching on them is the primary enjoyment I see from them, but maybe that mindset is in the process of starting to shift a bit right now. This is by far the longest I have gone without driving my hatch since I bought it.

Don’t freak out though- I am not ready to throw in the towel just yet. My plan is to stay the course and get both of the S13s roadworthy for the 2021 season. They may both be in need of having some aero components painted, but I do want to get them running and driving well so that I can actually enjoy driving them and see how that affects my mental state. If by the fall of this year I have failed to realize that goal or driving the cars has not improved my feelings towards the hobby, then maybe it’ll be time to reevaluate things a bit.

That being said, this week I finalized the process of registering both S13s as historical vehicles in the state of Michigan. I just wrapped up switching to a different insurance carrier late last week which was the final piece I needed to send in the applications. Historical vehicle registration must be completed by mail for some reason, so I wasn’t able to take care of it when I applied for a title for the coupe a couple weeks back.

What’s the benefit of a historical registration in Michigan you ask? Well, for starters, it’s only $30 and it’s good for ten years if you choose to have a historical plate issued. If you decide to run an “authentic” license plate ( an actual plate from the year your vehicle was manufactured) the fee is $35, but it is valid as long as you own the vehicle. I was able to source old blue plates with ’93 and ’92 registration tabs on them from eBay that I can use, so I decided to roll the dice and apply with authentic plates on both cars. The nostalgia of running the classic all blue “Great Lakes” plates from my childhood was too cool to deny.

There is a catch though. Historical vehicles are supposed to be owned purely as a collector’s item and should technically only be driven to car shows, swap meets, events, parades, etc. During the month of August when the Woodward Dream Cruise takes place, you can drive them as much as you want. The primary reason for this is to prevent people from registering a generic 26+ year old car as a historical vehicle that they use as their primary means of transportation. I am hoping that I drive the cars a fairly limited amount each year anyway and that I won’t be hassled about it, but we’ll see. Worst case I have to switch back to a standard registration which isn’t the end of the world.

Alicia spent an evening with some girlfriends this past week, so I decided to try my hand at replacing a CV boot for the first time. This is a job that has intimidated me for many years, but with OEM axles getting more and more scarce, I decided it was time to finally give it a try. I’m glad I did because the process is much simpler than I imagined- despite it being really messy. It’s essentially just one small C clip that holds everything together which really surprised me.

Fortunately I keep a spare pair of axles in the basement to reboot and swap in whenever they’re needed.

Based on a recommendation from a few people including @poweredby.jonel I went with Beck Arnley CV boots from Rock Auto. They are advertised as being compatible with both the inner and outer S13 CV boots, but I only installed one of the inner ones so far. The OEM boots are still available, but at about $45 a piece, I didn’t want to end up with them just tearing again within 1,000 miles. I also went with Redline CV grease per other people’s recommendations.

Disassembled- pretty simple fortunately! Just a hassle to clean.
The Beck Arnley boots also come with grease, so I probably didn’t need to buy the Redline stuff. Live and learn.

I ended up only replacing the inner boot on a spare axle I had since the outer was still intact. I probably should have done both at once, but again- I didn’t want to go through the effort just yet if the existing boot is still OK and these replacements end up not working out well for some reason. I also picked up some CV boot clamp pliers from amazon that worked well for installing the clamps. I swapped the axle onto the hatch, I just need to finish bolting everything back up.

Fresh boot installed and ready to go.

Anyway, that is just about all I had time to get done this week! I need to make getting the hatch on the ground my next priority so that both cars in are in a drivable state. I just haven’t decided if I want to leave the brand new fenders on it, or swap back to my other set. This weekend will be very busy with Hattie’s family party and Easter festivities, in addition to preparing to a family trip to Florida very soon. We’ll see what happens, but I don’t anticipate getting much done with the cars for a couple weeks.

Thanks for swinging by as always- I appreciate it! It really does motivate me to continue when people reach and say they enjoy the content and get excited to read it every Friday, so thanks for taking the time to do that. I hope you have a great weekend!

Damon

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4 Responses to Wavering Passion for S13

  1. Yuri C says:

    I think once you’re able to drive at least one of the cars you’ll be much happier 🙂

  2. Jay says:

    Love the content man, very inspiring to stay the course with my 180 too. Keep it up!

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