Is there anything more important than follow-through?

“Is this the ‘no follow-through’ speech again, Dad?”
“You know what your problem is, son?”
“No follow-through?”
“No follow-through!”

I have no idea why that scene from a corny movie (If Looks Could Kill, 1991) stands out in my mind all these years later, but it does. (If you’re into corny, mistaken identity, spy comedies from the 90s, you might enjoy it. There’s a Lotus Esprit, Nissan 300ZX, and Saab 900 in it!)

In any case, follow-through has been on my mind lately. I’ll be the first to admit, I tend to run with exciting new ideas—no matter the cost to following-through on previous ones already in progress.

Should I really be rebooting GBXM—or doubling my efforts here?

Should I be thinking about sailboats—or investing in my Montero?

See what I mean?

It’s not necessarily that simple, but it’s on my mind lately.

Breathe & stop. Keep your cool. (Bonus track)

I’ve developed a real bitterness toward working on cars in recent years.

It often feels like my vehicles fight me every step of the way. I wonder how much of that is my own damn fault? You know, self-fulfilling prophecy and whatnot.

Wednesday night, after P went to bed, I had to go back out to the driveway and replace filthy, 19-year old heater hoses on Fezzik. It’s not a hard job, but because these are always wedged between the back of the engine and the firewall, it’s almost always a pain in the ass.

Instead of bitching and moaning about it, I told myself to just slow down, breathe, and get it done.

I removed the hood and cruise control box for maximum headroom and comfort. (It was still 107°F/42°C out at 9PM.) I refused to get mad when I dropped that damned hose clamp bolt four times during reassembly.

Whattayaknow. Everything came apart and went back together without a hitch.

The culprit: small hole worn by OE hose clamp on 19-year old OE hose.

I’m gonna try this approach more often. With cars. With life in general.

Bonus: That feeling.

My house is around the corner to the left. Whew!

That feeling. When you’re retracing your steps to see if you sprung a leak after replacing those heater hoses and you find a trail of fresh fluid in the road and you know you didn’t see any other cars in the neighborhood on your test drive—and the trail goes to someone else’s driveway.

FFS, Fezzik, C’mon already.

I topped off the radiator Monday morning. It took half a gallon.

Drove to and from work no problem. Temp gauge normal—just below half.

Tuesday morning, I rolled my eyes at the small puddle under Fezzik, as I loaded P up for school.

Halfway to work, the temp gauge started climbing. Damnit.

I bail out of the commute, find a semi-shady parking spot at a Walgreens, and pop the hood. It looks like coolant is leaking onto the valve cover behind the throttle body. Fine. Whatever.

Add ¾ gallon of distilled water to the radiator, and limp home.

Temp gauge reads normal the whole way—just below half.

Work from home, and replace the throttle body coolant lines before picking P up from school.

The flash adds 10lbs of filth.

Idle for 15 minutes, getting up to temp, bleeding off air bubbles, heater running full blast.

No leaks.

Pick up P from school; a quick, mile or so round trip in 110° heat.

No leaks.

Drive the family to dance class in 110° heat.

No leaks.

Drive home from dance class.

No leaks.

Park in driveway.

No leaks.

Check under truck before leaving for work Wednesday morning.

No leaks.

Drive less than a mile to school, walk back out, to parking lot.

Slow, but steady drip.

Pop hood, check new hoses. Bone dry.

Drive back home, now effectively pissing coolant from the back of the engine.

FFS, Fezzik, C’mon.

I know the one throttle body hose was soft, spongy and cracked. So this is something else. Probably a heater hose.

The gearhead’s golden rule is basically spend the time and money to do it right the first time—so you don’t have to find more time and money to do it over. I’m a big believer in that.

I just seem to buy vehicles which doing it right the first time means replacing entire vehicle systems from scratch.

At this point, within the last 90 days, I’ve flushed the cooling system, cleaned the cooling system, drained and refilled it twice with distilled water, and replaced the thermostat and radiator cap. The water pump was installed new back in April. The radiator hoses are less than a year old.

I’d be lying if I said I was looking forward to climbing up on top of the engine to fight with hose clamps in the three inches of space between the engine and firewall. Ugh.

Seriously, Fezzik. Let’s get on with our lives already. This is dumb.