It's Alive!

04 Nov 2008    racing

On the way back from the garage to the house, I have been trying to come up with words to express my excitement…but have consistenly failed to capture what I feel right now. It’s seriously has to be the best damn feeling in the whole world!

It’s November and I am in Seattle, so needless to say its raining. Despite a crappy day at work, I decide to put my work sweatshirt on and force myself to drive over to the garage. The goal: hook up the remaining wires under the dash and fire up the engine. But as you can imagine there’s a long list of things to do and things to check for that I have been reminiscing over the past few days. And to add to that the constant fear of what if something goes horribly wrong and blows up…

On the way I stop at a gas station to pickup 7 quarts of engine oil (accounting for oil leaks) and a gas canister. I invited a buddy of mine over to help me watch the engine area and be ready with a fire extinguisher in case something happens. But he gets volunteered into pouring oil down the spark plug holes to lubricate the cylinders for the first run while I am busy hooking up the wires to the ECU, VDO, instrument pannel and double checking and triple checking everything. Once that is complete, we walk over to gas station around the corner to get 2 gallons of 92 octane gas … yeah this engine doesn’t need it but the gas has been sitting in the tank unused for over an year! And while we were there, we also grabbed some coolant. After filling up the fluids, I head to the driver’s side but…crap! I don’t have the car keys….grr….okay time to make a trip back home to pick up the car keys.

20 minutes of testing Audi’s all wheel drive system later (and it is goooood)…with keys in hand we enter the garage with my heart pounding knowing that I am getting closer to the moment when I have nothing left to do but turn the key. On the trip to my house and back I instructed Mikey about what parts of the engine to focus on and what trouble spots to look for. He picked up things pretty quickly which definitely reduced my stress levels a bit. I get in the driver’s side of the car and put the key in….crap! Steering lock is engaged…grr! Out come the picks and we try to unlock the ignition but to no avail. We try everything till about five minutes in Mr. Mikie suggests … “Dude do you have the right key?” $*#! … I had forgotten that when I bought the car, the previous owner had changed the ignition lock so the key that works on all the other locks doesn’t work in the ignition. Mikie heads back to his position ready with the fire extinguisher while I re-run all the wires and all the hose connections through my head just to check I didn’t miss anything.

Before I knew what I was doing, my fingers were already wrapped around the key and turning it … Chuga-chuga-chuga-chuga-chuga-… Hmm the battery probably needs to be charged…well so far so good; nothing earth shattering. I ran to my daily driver…backed it in, and hooked up the jumper cables. After a few minutes of listening to radio to calm our nerves down we go back to our positions and give it another whirl.

Somewhere between the key being pressed to the start position, Mikey standing in front ready with the fire extinguisher, cold sweat running down my back and the sweet sounds of a new engine trying to start up for the first time…I realized I was in heaven. The cold and drizzling weather didn’t matter, my ex didn’t matter, my job didn’t matter, but what mattered the most was my baby in front of me. Sure enough, like clockwork, after a few more revolutions, the loud unmuffled sound of a new engine coming to life pierced through my ears. White burnt oil smoke was everywhere but neither one of us moved. I think we were lost in the excitement…too busy trying to comprehend what just happened. Big smiles followed by high-fives. My baby was alive!

Total run time: 10-15 seconds, too loud and the next door neighbors were sleeping. Good excuse to get video gear next time around and record the whole thing again :)