Wednesday, October 12, 2011


It shouldn't take three hours and a month to do something as simple as changing out a bad clutch cable.

But it did.

It's not a complicated job. The cable's held in place by spring tension--just pull the pedal up against its stop, disengage the cable at the transmission end, unbolt it at the firewall, and thread the pedal end out.

Took me two hours to get that far last month when the X-11's cable went bad. It was frayed from rubbing against its housing because the mounting bracket wasn't lined up properly. I ended up having to use a crowbar and cable cutters to pop the cable end loose and get the thing out of the car. By that point, this body of mine had had enough. I could barely stand up, let alone walk.

A few days later, I was laid up in bed with excruciating foot pain, courtesy of my blood pressure issues. Started in the left foot, spreading over the next few days to involve everything from toes to ankle, and nothing but Lortab would touch it--and even that would only take the edge off. There was no walking or sitting; just touching the floor or even its own weight was enough to set that foot off.

Three days into that, my right foot decided that this would be fun, so it joined in. I spent two weeks in bed, barely eating, drinking Gatorade, sleeping as much as I could and hoping I'd wake up without sore feet.

What? Go to a doctor? No. No way I was moving. I didn't think I could handle it, so I took my Lortab and slept. It's not a macho bullshit thing, either--moving just hurt more than not moving.

By the time it had run its course, I was too tired to work on the car and ended up sleeping 18 hours a day, 2 hours at a time, and feeling more and more tired--and feeling guilty for leaving the car unfinished. Yeah, it's just a car, but I'm funny about this one, given its condition when I got it. I pretty much brought it back from the brink, back to life, after half a decade of sitting in someone else's driveway. When I can't drive it, I feel guilty; when I'm in the driver's seat, I'm in the coolest car in town.

I finally dragged my tired ass out of bed this past Saturday, grabbed my tools, and put the new cable in. Thirty minutes, no snags. The difference in how the clutch feels is night and day--much lighter, but now I'm learning to drive it over again. That's the fun part.

It shouldn't have taken a month to get here, though. I'm getting fed up with not being able to walk or ride a bike. If a simple job like that clutch cable can wreck me, just think of how it'll be if I have to replace the clutch.

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