It’s been a couple of months since I’ve posted anything here. I’ve been stuck in North Carolina for a few months, since the timing belt broke on my car. Since then, photography has taken a back seat to pretty much everything else, and I just haven’t had the spoons for it. I’ve spent much of that time holding my breath, expecting the worst, hoping for the best, each time a bit more of the engine was revealed, removed, and inspected. But with the engine stripped down, pulled out, and torn apart, we’re starting to make some forward progress. Here’s where we’re at:

The timing belt broke because a timing belt tensioner pulley’s mounting bolt snapped. That almost always happens because the bolt was over-tightened. It’s likely the mechanic who replaced my timing belt got in a hurry and didn’t use a torque wrench to install it, and just cranked it tight.

The block has been completely stripped down, and along with the crank shaft, taken to a machine shop for cleaning, inspection, and refurbishing. We were unable to get new pistons, so the pistons are being inspected to be reinstalled. They all actually check out to be in great shape, especially for the mileage on them, so while new pistons would be nice while I have it apart, it shouldn’t be a problem to put the old ones back in. I’m picking them all up from the machinist’s today, to begin putting my girl back together. Gotta love a Volkswagen. They’re engineered to run forever if you take care of them (and as long as you don’t take them to AutoCentro for any work).

It’ll take a couple of weeks, maybe a month or so, to get my baby rolling again, but it feels like I’ll start seeing light at the end of the tunnel soon. We’re moving in the right direction. I’ve been documenting the process mostly with my phone camera, and I may make a full post of all that at some point, for those that may be interested.

I don’t really want to be stuck anywhere, but if I have to be pinned to one place, my son and his girlfriend’s place is the best place to be. It’s good to be loved and looked after, as necessary. And I can think of a lot of worse places to spend a winter than eastern North Carolina.

But being stuck anywhere really sucks a lot of emotional energy out of me, and inspiration for photography has been at neap tide. Not to mention I don’t have access to anyplace I could do any photoshoots. It’s been dragging on me, and I’ve been spending my spoons on other things to try and balance that out. I think I’ve been mostly successful, but it’s time to push myself back behind the camera.

I started with something simple, on the theme of time, timing belts, and taking one’s time to do a job right. …with a fucking torque wrench, when you’re supposed to.