I awoke this morning at 4:00 am, likely due to the fact that the remainder of the Bostig engine conversion kit is scheduled to arrive later today. I’ll admit it. I’m anxious. I don’t just want the parts, I don’t just want them in the van and running. I want to be in the fucking Rocky Mountains, my top popped, cool beverage in hand, listening to the wind blow through whatever few ponderosas the pine beetles haven’t yet ravaged, knowing that I climbed that last hill at 70 miles per hour in fourth gear, with power to spare.
The real problem here is that the kit is arriving on my doorstep nearly three weeks late. That wouldn’t be a problem except that, well, it’s a problem. When I considered doing the conversion, one of my original questions was Bostig’s estimate of the likelihood that a delay could happen. I was told that a delay could happen, but wasn’t likely. A few days, tops. Well, it happened. The kit was supposed to ship on the 28th of June. It Shipped on the 13th of July.
I should be clear that I’m not mad at Bostig. It’s just that I made a whole set of plans based on the idea that I would have the parts sometime during the first two weeks of July, not the end of the third week. As a result, I’m going to miss my 20-year high school reunion (that’s tomorrow) and my vacation time, flexible though it might be, is slowly being eaten up.
So I’m stuck here, waiting for parts to arrive, hoping that the boys from Boston got my order packed and shipped correctly, that UPS doesn’t fuck up the delivery, AND that it all fits together in the van without a hitch. Yes, I choose to be optimistic.
But enough about me, what about the engine?
I am really excited. I found a low-mileage (29,000) Zetec at a nearby salvage yard in Lockhart, and though I paid too much for it, I got to pick it myself and pick a few brackets and suchlike off of other Zetecs they had lying around. Also, I didn’t have to mess with deliveries, and learned first hand that I would need a cherry picker to just get the thing out of the van. I’m sure there are strong, resourceful folks out there who could get by without an engine hoist. I am weak, and decided that my back (and bank account) would be far happier if I spent $250 on a hoist rather than $500 on chiropractic bills.
I prepped the engine to the extent that I could, including swapping out the white dongle for the purple one on the fuel injection electronics. I also got SK-A from Bostig ahead of the rest of the kit, so the adapter and clutch are also now installed. All of that happened in textbook fashion, although I wonder if there are any other textbooks out there that require slicing a chunk of engine off the block.
Extracting the wasserboxer and its various lifelines has so far been the toughest task (aside from the waiting). I’ve never fully dropped a WBX from a van before, and if you thought it’ll be just like an air cooled with a few more hoses, well, you’d be wrong. It’s heavier, bulkier, and infinitely more messy. I know I never put that much coolant in the damn thing. When it finally came free I danced triumphantly, like I imagine my paleolithic forefathers might have upon pulling the moist warm heart from a wooly mammoth.
That being said, there is a part of me that grew nostalgic as I was removing bits and pieces from the engine. It IS like an old air cooled engine in that it is very German. Which is to say that I know it like I might know appendages that are actually attached to me. Which twists the simile of the previous paragraph very strangely.
In any case, the WBX is out, cleaved from the transmission, and now sitting desolately in the corner. Meanwhile, the Zetec is slouching next to the van, coolly waiting for the arrival of parts, parts, parts. Olly’s engine bay is clean and ready.
My spies tell me that the shipment went “Out For Delivery” at 6:03 this morning. I’ll try to not squeal like a schoolgirl when the UPS guy arrives.
Olly and the Zetec get to know each other.