April 12, 2004
(Half of Illinois
Once again, as we awoke in (gulp) Peoria, Illinois, we rolled over, rubbed our eyes, looked out the window, and saw ... SUNSHINE!!! Our spirits were high, and we were anticipating another Giubilous day riding along in a vintage Alfa Romeo. We spent most of the morning driving mainly eastward through Illinois and into Indiana, looking for something more interesting for you than these ubiquitous grain silos:
Traffic was a never-ending problem throughout the early part of the day. Here are a few shots of the typical Midwestern road-hogs that we encountered:
But, indeed, events did transpire to occupy our attention and (as a consequence) yours. Read on...
For the first few days, the Giulietta's oil consumption was just about typical for a healthy Alfa engine — about a quart per thousand miles. But we did notice a little oil on the ground beneath the car, and the consumption seemed to pick up recently. This morning's ritual fluids check required the addition of a quart instead of the usual half. Then, as we took a sharp corner around midday, we noticed the oil pressure drop precipitously, so we pulled over and had to add another quart.
This was neither good nor normal, so we determined to investigate the problem. As we entered the town of Huntington, Indiana, we decided that we should get the car up on a lift to take a better look, and we sought out the nearest Alfa repair shop. Upon inquiry, we were directed to CarMart Automotive Service. When we arrived, we were greeted by the friendliest folks you could imagine (at least in car repair circles), and our Giulietta was immediately whisked up onto the lift in an empty bay.
The bottom of the engine and transmission were indeed covered with copious amounts of motor oil. We checked for oil coming from the top of the engine, checked the drain plug and temperature sensor, and tightened the pan bolts, hoping for a lucky fix, but the rear main seal looks to be the culprit.
The guys were great, spending quite a bit of time with us looking around underneath the car. Truth be told, however, this was NOT an Alfa shop. As a matter of fact, they'd never seen an Alfa Romeo before. They were, though, honest and knowledgeable car guys who were interested in the car and wanted to help. You don't find that around too often. After determining that the leak wasn't a simple or easy fix, it was decided that just adding oil to compensate would probably get us home, barring a catastrophic seal failure.
Oh, and about those prominently displayed Alfa Romeo signs in the shop — sorry, we PhotoShopped them in for all of you Alfisti who have ever broken down and wished that there was really an Alfa shop right there to make the fix.
When we left CarMart, we drove straight across the street to the NAPA store, and loaded up with an abundant supply of motor oil, which will hopefully allow us to navigate the remaining thousand miles or so to New England, where Alfa Romeos are loved (well, at least recognized).
Note to Glynn Motorsports: Please schedule an appointment to get my crankshaft main seal replaced at your earliest convenience.
Culture of the Day
Despite our worries about finding something interesting culture-wise, we did manage to snap this "Hay Dude" while zipping through the back roads of Indiana. Impressive, dude!
Beer of the Day
We went to FOUR beer stores before we found anything close to a local, interesting brew. One beer merchant we visited said that there was a microbrewery in the next town but it had closed down due to lack of interest (and bad beer). Chicago's Goose Island was as close as we could get. Here's a sample of a Goose Sampler. Dave says the first four on the left were pretty good!
We'd like to quickly thank all of you who have sent us emails with words of encouragement, technical advice, offers of lodging, and even someone who spotted us driving through Boise! We hope you understand that our time at the computer is limited, and that our priorities are:
But we promise to get back to all of you once we get back, and sincerely appreciate that you've taken the time to write!
So far, the Giulietta is still running fine, still averaging in the mid 20s on fuel consumption but now in the low hundreds on oil consumption. Good driving!
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