After a week of chasing that damned misfire, it felt really good to load up V, P, & J for a triumphant blast across the desert to SoCal for Mitsubishi Owner Day.
Until just outside Indio, when it came right back like I’d done nothing at all about it.
When you spend a week trying to fix your vehicle and the problem keeps coming back, you begin questioning yourself. “Is this actually going to fix it, or just sunk cost fallacy?”
When you know you’ve got it licked, only to have it put your child, wife, and mother-in-law in very real danger of being stranded on the side of the highway in the middle of the desert in 118°F/48°C, you start questioning your self. “If I neither enjoy, nor seem to be any good at fixing a simple misfire, am I still a gearhead? And, if not, what am I?”
Existential breakdown, right there.
A nasty one at that.
We spent over an hour at the filthiest Burger King on I-10 in Cabazon by the dinosaurs waiting for Fezzik to cool down. (The ones from Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, by the way.)
I kept in contact with Josh at Adventure Driven Design, who was about two hours behind us, headed to MOD. He suggested the problem was the ignitor module that triggers the coils.
The only one for 100 miles was at the NAPA warehouse in Ontario. So after limping Fezzik in to Grandpa Don’s house in Covina, Uncle Ron and I took the rental car an hour back out to Ontario to get it.
Two plus hours later, after dinner, Don found me a ½” socket and a light to swap the ignitor in his driveway. (I didn’t have room to pack my toolbox.)
I’ve been turning my own wrenches for 20 years, but this was the first time I worked on a car with family. It’s one of my all-time favorite gearhead memories.
Just after 10PM, I got back on the freeway for a test drive. I drove an hour south to Cypress and met the crew at MOD.
Not a single problem (other than dragging front brakes, naturally, since I spent the better part of two hours installing new pads the day before,) the whole way.
I ended up hanging out with Phil and Wade from Alberta, Josh and the AZ Crawler crew, and several other North American Montero legends, until after 1AM. So much for sleep, right?
I finally cleared the automated fraud alert on my bank account, got fuel, and crashed on Grandpa’s couch back in Covina a little after 2AM. No more misfire. Crisp acceleration. Cool runnings at 80mph with the windows down. #Irie