perseverance and self-reliance are certainly worthy of admiration.
But there is a line where they cross over into self-limiting behavior.
If I had to do it all over again, it would play out exactly as it just did.
I made a discretionary call on October 5, 2015. It was based on ignorance of the true extent of contamination in the fuel tank.
Thus, I had to buy the car. ( +
nice car )
It nicely reassured me that it was driveable throughout the winter with a few cleanings here and there, and I made another discretionary call that I could easily handle a few filter cleanings each week, so off on the itinerary I went all the way through the southeast and northeast.
It was when the roads got rough in Illinois and Indiana and apparently the varnish was beginning to soften? and flaking off that I realized there was an increasing price to pay. At that point, I was devoted to the principle that the tank was going to have to come out, but I still had more discretion to abuse as to when and where. I decided that the itinerary schedule was way too jammed to even think about taking a few days near an urban area until California.
Only after Portland OR, did I realize this situation was getting a bit dire due to fast-moving traffic and an increasing propensity to sudden death and bigger debris fields in the cleaning bucket.
I settled on SGKent because, if you know him, he has a severe case of Get The Job Done. What is sort of amazing about this time line, is that the tank gave it all up 1/4 mile from his house. For the first time in 18,000 miles of driving, gas would not come out of the open fuel line. I'd say the timing turned out to be flawless. FINALLY shut off the engine in SGKent's driveway of all driveways. I needed a SGKent fellow "deep bench" mechanic to work the gas tank strap nuts, because I was completely psychologically ruined at that point, the rage had been sparked and I was flying off the handle at the merest little thing. I was DONE.
This entire saga had its reasons. Life is not all about the dry practical decision every time, and those who abide by that sort of rationality might step aside a moment and allow the sloppier longer detour-takers to have their chance to present the more irrational but certainly rich experience of dancing along the guardrail of insanity. I made a decision back in October that has informed me of life in ways that absolutely would not have otherwise occurred, and that is a fact. I regret only the loss of time with people I consider friends as I kept "front-loading" my travel schedule.
This morning, I am relieved but not yet trusting. The car has been docile and smooth all morning, the pump has been eerily quiet. I keep scanning shoulders and exits and have nervous feet and hands and look at other cars with panic when they block my escape routes, and I reckon this Post-Traumatic Fool Disorder shall die down in a few days.
Engine dropped whilst still fueled by fury:
Only had to drop this far to allow the tank to clear:
This surface here is what I think most of the tank looked like in February, a "baked on" layer of varnish:
After 1,000 gallons of fuel and several bottles of Sea Foam, I think the varnish began to slough off along the lower sides and bottom of the tank, you can see little areas of tank metal through the deep layer of breaking up junk:
1/4 mile from SGKent's house, slabs of this crap were landing in the outlet/inlet well:
On our way to the radiator shop, I banged the tank with the overnight-dried varnish cascading out of the fuel filler hole. This mountain of slag represents another three hundred filter clogs easily, right there, that is 20 hours labor at least represented in that bucket:
Here's the newly cleaned tank . . . some rust spots, but hey, no coal slag piles:
SGKent was hospitable and helpful throughout my despairing furious defeated exhaustion. His every helpful suggestion and offer was met with a series of snappish refusals and stubborn recalcitrance.
"Want to do laundry?"
"Want a plastic retainer for the double relay harness?"
I was horrible in most every way but petting the Scottish Terriers.
Somehow, I was fed, laundry was washed, and the double relay harness is now secured by the plastic retainer.
Here is SGKent Himself, this is what a Savior may very well look like, make a note of it: