Grease Girl Diary #1: Engine Boogers

straight six 1I’d been looking forward to Monday for weeks. Yep, this Monday I got to work down at the Studebaker Parts & Service. This is usually a weekly occurrence, but because of another job commitment, I’ve been gone about a month. So basically, my boys down at the shop could’ve given me anything to do and I would’ve been happy!

This week there was a rear-end and an engine block waiting to be cleaned.Any time I get to shine something down to metal I’m always reminded of spending time with my dad in the garage as a little girl. I would take out a drawer of odd-n-in nuts and bolts and shine them one by one on the polishing wheel till they sparkled. Nowadays the polishing wheel bores me pretty quickly, but I still like making things shine.

The rear-end looked easiest, so I tackled that one first. Which was simple enough (Especially with a borrowed “space suit” from Amir, fluorescent orange hat, and safety goggles to keep me clean…ya should’ve seen me, was I ever a sight!) Honestly I was a little scared to touch the engine. I’m still getting to know my way around an engine – and they can still scare me sometimes – you know, I wouldn’t want to hurt it or anything! Which reminds me of a dream I had last week in which my Stude broke down (she’s been parked for the week due to her brakes.) When I looked under the hood (in the dream) the carburetor and air-filter had dropped right through the engine somehow!?! Weird and impossible I know…but I was freaking out in my dream! Anyway…maybe it was because of the dream…maybe because the inside of an engine is still a secret to me…but I felt a little intimidated to approach this lil’ straight-six.

By the time lunch was over that engine was callin’ my name. So I donned some gloves and went to it. And you know…as soon as you start gettin’ yer hands greasy in various parts of a car, those parts lose their scariness. So even though this was more or less just elbow-grease work, I was learning things while I was at it.

The engine was cleaning up pretty nicely when I asked Tommy how it was looking. He pointed to some sludge hidden down under the camshaft and in the compartments with the valve springs. Armed with gasoline and Purple Power I set to get rid of all that sludge…it really is ugly stuff. As I was reaching my finger up and around the valve springs, I was pulling out long gooey bits of engine sludge – and all the sudden I felt like a Mom cleaning the boogers out of her kid’s nose. It’s intimate, it’s messy, and there might be some crying involved.

I wanted to cry when I was having that bad dream about Stude. She is my baby. Maybe I can’t snuggle up to her 383, but I sure do feel the love when I sit behind the wheel.

That straight-six did get cleaned…look for Diary #2 as it comes together and I learn all about pistons!

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