Voodoo child

The old Voodoo Wazoo will be my daily driver for the foreseeable future. Toward that end it got a couple upgrades, including slimed tubes, Jandd Grocery Panniers and Egg Beater pedals.

The old Voodoo Wazoo will be my daily driver for the foreseeable future. Toward that end it got a couple upgrades, including slimed tubes, Jandd Grocery Panniers and Egg Beater pedals.

Damn, what a week. Another Bicycle Retailer deadline, the Giro every morning, and an abrupt and unwelcome thinning of the vehicular herd in the garage.

No, we didn’t lose any bicycles. That would be unbearable. But we did say sayonara to Herself’s 2002 Subaru Outback, which has been donated to KUNM-FM after the wizards at Reincarnation said that just about everything between the bumpers was completely fucked.

What began as a timing-belt replacement quickly blossomed into your basic nightmare, in which one repair leads to another: head gasket, clutch, tranny, front rotors, struts front and rear, wheel bearings, tires all around aaaaaaahhhh Jesus make it stop!

When the discussion starts with, “How much does your wife love this car?” you know it’s going to end badly. So, yeah. Off it went. Some cars you’re only gonna get 205,000 miles out of. We was robbed.

Happily, as Master Yoda said, “There is another.” My ’05 Forester. Guess who’s driving that now?

Right you are.

And my vehicle? That’s pictured up top.

• Editor’s note: What are you mutts using for motor vehicles these days? Subarus and Toyotas have been pretty good to us over the years, but we’re always willing to entertain other possibilities. Please to keep in mind that we’re (a) cheap, and (2) have nothing to use as a trade-in.

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54 Responses to “Voodoo child”

  1. doug moore Says:

    Wife and I are more than happy with our 13 yr old 2002 4Runner 4×4. Not great on gas, but with my bike in the back my daily commute is defrayed nicely.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I always wanted a 4Runner, Doug. Not so much the new ones as the oldies, like yours. I’ve sure been through a bunch of Toyota’s trucks over the years. Still miss my ’83 2WD longbed. I drove that sucker from Maine to Spokane, Austin to Boston.

  2. MichaelF Says:

    When the bike hanging on the Saris Bones trunk rack is worth more than the car that the Bones rack is affixed to, I don’t know if I can advise about cars. But, dang, my 2003 Toyota Corolla just keeps humming along. Looks like ass, but runs like a charm, 31mpg, and stone reliable. Amazing how much better it looks with the IF Crown Jewel hanging on the back, too. BTW, love the Wazoo. Interesting parts pick.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Thanks, Michael. The Wazoo is an interesting weirdo, to be sure. It started life as a drop-bar ‘cross bike, then got turned into a single-ring, seven-speed-105, flat-bar townie after I dislocated the bird finger on my left hand and couldn’t shift with it but still wanted to ride. A single Paul’s Thumbie/bar-con combo runs the rear derailleur.

      Lotta gack-box stuff on there: Some Real brake levers that I think came off my old DBR mountain bike; Shimano 600 hubs and crank; Dia-Compe 986 cantilever on the rear wheel and (I think) an Avid Tri-Align on the front; Vetta saddle from a Team Crest Pinarello Prologo TT. A real trip down memory lane.

  3. Pat O'Brien Says:

    Well, a used Honda Element might do the trick. Utilitarian, and enough room inside for two bikes if you fold the rear seats up into the wall, or just take them out. If low price is everything, try a Toyota Echo or Yaris. MPG to rival the Vespa, and basically bulletproof. Well, reliable anyway.
    Better half is still gone. Neighbors from hell still here. I am halfway to the dark side of the force. Darth Vader comes around here, I will rip off his head and shit down his neck.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I was considering an Element before I finally settled on the Forester, Pat, and there are days when I wish I had gone for the Honda. ‘Cross queen Katie Compton and her old man rock one of those for road trips, I think.

      Funny you should mention the Yaris. There’s one parked on the cul-de-sac this evening and Herself pronounced it “cute” when we were walking Mister Boo.

      She llikes Minis, too. But I think the prices give her The Fear.

      • Pat O'Brien Says:

        We traded an Element in on the Toyota Sienna. Element not quite big enough to sleep in, although we did do it once. A fine vehicle with good ground clearance for snow or the occassional dirt road. We brought home an Amish loveseat and two end tables in it, and the store owner was amazed it all fit. Room to spare.

  4. khal spencer Says:

    The 2009 and 2007 Subaru Imprezas (2007 is a WRX) get light duty as cars go, and are doing fine. So far, and knock on wood, they have been flawless performers, needing only routine maintenance, some of which i do myself.

    The 1997 Tacoma 4×4 with 322k miles on it barely made it to Aztec Automotive today in Fanta Sea with a transmission that was pining for the fjords. Something about when it warms up, it refuses to shift. So I am waiting for Michael Potter to tell me if it too will be headed to the radio station or back to Bombtown Estates, having lifted some greenbacks from the checking account.

    BMW K1100RS is pure toy. I have to replace the timing chain tensioner, which I better do pretty soon or there will be parts strewn down the road. But I bought that used and really cheap, so not out a whole lot. Ditto with the Toyota. Big issue is when to hold them and when to fold them.

    Friggin bicycles last forever. Hope my knees do as well. Good friend of ours has an Element that I borrowed for a week back a year ago. Awesome car. Handles well with 170k miles on it, full time 4WD, 24 mpg, and easy entrance and exit for our 14 year old Border Collie.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      My 1998 Tacoma started getting expensive right about 100K on the odometer. It went away for the Forester, which has proved to be a pretty reliable, cheap-to-operate auto.

  5. md anderson Says:

    My own ’06 Outback (211,00 miles) has had several parts transplants over the past couple weeks; rear struts, left front CV axle, drive belts, new tires. To the tune of $2K. Then Monday I walked out to the garage to a puddle of fluid under the dang thing. Made me ready to walk onto the local dealer lot with the house equity credit card, point to a XV Hybrid Crosstrek in my favorite Kermit tree-frog green and say “I want to drive that off the lot. Now.”

    The best analysis so far seems to indicate that whatever numbnut at the dealer installed the CV axle did a less than adequate job so transmission fluid leaked. So it’s off to our favorite independent mechanic, who should have done the job in the first place. And we are looking at timing belt/water pump in the near future as well. Of course now it’ll probably run for another 100K miles.

  6. David R Says:

    +2 on the Honda Element. Won’t win any speed contests, but dead reliable and you can put most of what you own in the damn thing – at least for a week or so. A friend put in some custom fork mounts in the bed of his to expand cycle capacity. We did a Vegas – Interbike – journey a few years back and had four bikes, six wheels and gear and still had room for all our kit and two cases of wine on the return journey (the vino was actually the reason for the trip, for me anyway). The Element, like most Hondas of that vintage, are holding their resale value and won’t likely come cheap, but worth looking into if you need room to move stuff.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I like the Element, but you’re sure right about them holding their value. There are a couple on the market in Duke City and more in Fanta Se, but the sumbitches ain’t cheap.

  7. Larry T. Says:

    When my 1987 Honda Civic Wagovan was finally retired we decided to live with just one car, the wife’s 1993 Mitusbishi Expo LRV. It’ll need it’s second timing belt very soon but with less than 120K on the clock we hope it’ll go long enough to get out of the USA in a few years. This of course is IF it’ll start up after sitting in the garage for a year when I get back in August? Sta-bil in the gas tank and a trickle-charger on the battery have done the trick in the past so we’ll see. Ask yourself how much you REALLY need another car, then look up the typical owning/running costs per year. You can beg, borrow or rent a lot of cars for that kind of money. If the Mitsu refuses to come-to-life when I get back, my first choice in a replacement would be a Honda Fit Sport. Resist the “It’ll haul 4 X 8 sheets of plywood” mentality and buy something in-line with what you do everyday vs that once-a-year “not that I would, but I could” idea – the root cause of all those SUV’s and pickup trux going around with one person in ’em…and little else.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      An old racing buddy got a shit-ton of miles off a Mitsu Expo. Don’t recall the vintage, but he drove the wheels off that thing. He’s been through a raft of other minivans since. The wife likes to crash ’em, it seems.

      I like vehicles that can do a lot of different things, which is why I drove Toyota trucks and Subaru wagons most of my life (and now mostly ride touring or cyclocross bikes). Unfortunately, Subaru doesn’t make a pop-top AWD camper van that can sleep two with their bikes inside, cruise at 75 mph, and get 45 mpg.

  8. bromasi Says:

    enough with the cars where’s my jersey.

  9. Hurben Says:

    1990 Toyota Corolla, 406,730 Kms. I love this car, (& what bromasi sez)

  10. khal spencer Says:

    Sad news, folks.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Yeah, that is bad news. A friend and i nearly saw him in Vegas in the Seventies, but we were both full of LSDizzy at the time and were having trouble maintaining in the MGM Grand. Instead we drove to Alamosa for enchiladas.

  11. Steve O Says:

    The 1961 Ferrari 250GT California. Less than 100 were made. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up.

    Or borrow your friend’s dad’s.

    ( Just don’t trust it to any parking lot attendants. )

  12. Weaksides Says:

    One less car= more room for bikes!
    When I drive, I have a 2002 Mazda protege 5 (they’re now called Mazda 3)) and a 1996 gmc Sonoma extended cab to choose from. Larrys very correct on his part & I could live without the truck; but I just enjoy driving it on the rare occasions. The Mazda has been awesome though. 31 mpg on the regular and a 58cm soma saga actually fits w/ front wheel attached. With wheels removed and careful packing 3 and maybe 4 bikes could fit back there. Mtbs might be another story though- 2, maybe 3.
    The better half and I actually have an option for her parents’ Honda Element, but I’ll have to make the garage functional as a garage before that deal can happen. Perhaps I could bear to part with the gmc then.

  13. Debby, south of Longtucky Says:

    Subarus have had problems with head gaskets for years. If you got 200K out of that Outback with no major work you did better than average.

    My 2013 Forester was one of the oil burners. Subaru doesn’t know how to fix the problem. Some people on the forum are on their third or fourth engines, with less than 100K miles. I got rid of mine and have a Kia Soul now. I miss the AWD but it’s a much better car. And no oil consumption!

    My 1998 RAV4 was a great car but at 150K it started developing a series of expensive problems. Not being a car mechanic I had to take it in to my local independent shop for fixing, and even a broken $3 clip deep inside the door was a $500 repair. It got traded on the Subaru, but if I’d known how bad that Subie was going to be I would have put the money into the RAV4 repairs. Love my Soul though!

  14. Grumblyoldguyonabike Says:

    2001 Suby wagon 250K miles & 2014 Prius C . Suby will be going to the local NPR station. I feel sad letting go of the old one, but there is only room for one in the house with a bad attitude to working. Driving the prius is as fun using a toaster. No excitement, but 60+ mpg is easy to love. Only 1 car leaves more space for 2wheeled fun tools.

  15. Jon Paulos Says:

    Well my wife picks ’em way better than I do, but the 2002 Hyundai Elantra is doing okay so far at 120k. The 2013 Subaru Impreza Sport is damn nice. As I type this we’re on the Pennsylvania Turnpike bringing one of the offspring home from the first year of college, and it took about five minutes to pack all the crap plus the new memory mattress pad plus the cello plus three of us into it and the Rocket Box on the roof. And still room for two bikes on the roof. Damn thing’s like the Tardis, bigger on the inside than on the outside. Drove it through extremely bad road conditions, no problems, even to Chicago mid winter in the aftermath of a major snow storm. Mind you, we’re only up to about 40k miles, but so far great.

  16. Ryan Says:

    Had a 2001 Forrester bought new in 2000 that the ex wife got in the parting of ways and she traded it in last year on a new fangled one (very nice btw) for basically the same reason -fixing it would have cost a mint so she went with a new one after 14 years and 187K – hey at least you broke the 200,000 barrier.

  17. MichaelF Says:

    Of course, you could always run down to the city of Emphysema and see what’s available at Ralph Spoilsport Motors…definitely spring for the chrome fender dents…happy shopping!

    • David R Says:

      Sneeze proof wind vents for me!

    • khal spencer Says:

      Wow. Excellent. Just lost a friend from the seventies to the Grim Reaper. Man, do I feel old and irrelevant today.

      Pat O’Brien, did you know a guy by the name of Bill “Standup” Seligman in Tucson? He rode Milwaukee Iron rather than bicycle, but was a good friend from my college days. Whenever those were.

  18. veloben Says:

    2005 Toyota Sienna AWD. Has 99,700 miles basically problem free. New brakes, tires, oil changes. Can carry three bikes and three people inside easy.

  19. si little Says:

    scion xB is the closest to an element, i/m/o. the ’06 element has 175k miles and i wish i had bought 2 and put one in cosmoline.

  20. JD Dallager Says:

    Still running a 1990 Toyota 4 Runner, but only 172K miles on it. It’s been thru 12 moves, 2 kids in high school and college, and now hauls bikes, chopped trees, dirt, and rocks.

    Our daughter has a several year old Honda CR-V that she loves and we’ve enjoyed riding in. Good reviews on the inner tubes and from car mags and Consumer Reports.

  21. bromasi Says:

    MG TD enough said.

  22. Herb Clevenger Says:

    Honda or Hyundai. Our family has had very good experiences over the years. Not so with Subaru. My Hondas go 175 k with nary a hiccup before the larger repair bills settle in. My son and daughter have 180k on their two Hyundai with nothing more than brake and exhaust work. All wheel drive is ok but front wheel drive with a set of Blizzaks get us through snowy Michigan winters fine.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Lot of Honda fans in this crowd. We’ve been looking online at a couple Honda Fit Sports a la Lorenzo. Reasonably priced, and a few available in the ‘hood. May inspect same on Monday. Same dealer has a couple 2WD Elements. And I was right: ‘Cross goddess Katie Compton and husband Mark drive a 2007 and love it.

  23. khal spencer Says:

    Looks like the Tacoma needs a clutch. Add money and stir….but I really like that thing.

  24. Johhn A Levy Says:

    currently running a 2008 Subaru Forester bare b ones version, 101,000 miles. The Forester is a tough little rig but for long distance the seats need augmentation. Two trips to the Burg last year killed my cycling butt. Just had a 1999 Dodge Durango buy the farm at 256,000 miles and awreck before I got it. @104 Dodge Journey to haul the three Golden Retreivers. I have had good luck ithe the Subarus and dodges. Ford sucks 93 150 still have it but just a a farm beater rig.

  25. brokenlinkjournalism Says:

    PO’G, 2014 VW Touareg. Bought it used with a few “extra” miles on it, but it gets me from Point A to Point D well enough. Counting the first car I owned, this makes, um, five VWs (the first was an Audi which is really an expensive VW). Good cars all around.

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