Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A few updates. The weekend before last, I was invited up to Chicago by the Midwest 356 Club to give a talk on motor oils. Great crowd. Not too bad for my first time speaking to a group of people.

I had decided to drive the 911 up, since it was not too bad out (in the 40s), but in the even the evening, it got very cold, and by the morning, it was below zero without the windchill.

Let me tell you, it's not easy to start the car with 20w50 in it when it's -8F out! It did turn over, and I did get it started, but it probably took a good few minutes for the car to idle on it's own and I let it sit for about 10 minutes before driving off, until the gauge started to move.

Also, when putting my luggage in the car, it slipped and busted the back plastic window on the cab. (more on that later).

The next day, I woke up before sunrise and hit the road to go down to GA, to visit Aircooled Technology to do some more oil testing on their dyno. (just in case you want to know, Brad Penn made the most HP and Swepco made the most torque this time around!) I again, chose to drive the 911. Even with the bitter cold, I did have enough heat and plenty of traction with the winter tires and the fact that the car is a C4, so it's all-wheel drive. Being it was so cold, I didn't get the best mileage, averaging a measly 20mpg on the way down.

Once down there, it was still plenty cold, down in the mid teens, and I'm glad I can report that the Brad Penn starts up nice and smoothly even down to about 15F.

I might try blending in some 10w30 with the 20w50 for next winter, or even go to their 0w30 since I seem to be driving the car more this winter, and the temperatures have been brutal!

In GA, I did happen to find a local apholstery shop that was able to replace the back window and even put in a new headliner for pretty cheap, only $525, so the car is even nicer now that it was when I started.

The only other hiccups I had this drive again were with the brakes, with shimmy, pulsation, and all around vibration when braking, kind of like when you have warped rotors. General concensus looks like I have bad wheel bearings up front. I plan on re-doing the brake job and putting new wheel bearings in the next few weeks.

Happily, I can report that now, with over 4500 mi on the clock with the 20w50 Brad Penn in the engine, that I have only had to add 1/2 a quart, and I think that's mostly because I have a leak somewhere on the right side of the engine, which is accumulating on the heater box and causing the car to mark its territory.

I plan on pulling an oil sample the next time I have the engine warmed up to send out for testing, to see how the oil is holding up to help determine the proper drain intervals.