It’s like you’re always stuck in second gear

For the third time this year, I find myself constrained to blog a bit on the passing of another treasured friend of the non-human variety. It really seems these days like nothing good can happen to me without some equal and opposite bad thing happening. Only by “equal and opposite” I mean “At least a little worse”
Aside from a brief stint in a rusted out Ford Escort, I’ve driven a Subaru all my driving life. In fact, I’ve driven a ’91 Subaru Legacy Wagon my entire driving life. Not the same wagon, mind you: Some time late in 2001 or 2002, I traded in the old red one for a gold one with less than half the miles.
If you’ve owned a Subaru of that vintage, you know that they’re tough cars. The red one lasted the equivalent of driving it to the moon and halfway back. The electrical system was pretty badly damaged, to the point that I had to run new lines directly from the battery to the headlights, and my tail lights plugged into the cigarette lighter. The door locks were shot, the air conditioner had died one day so violently that it took out the power steering belt. It also had a bad wrinkle in the fender where I’d lost control in the rain and slammed into a jersey wall. I replaced it shortly after the timing belt had gone, leaving me stranded at a Home Depot.
The gold Subaru was in much better shape. But not for long. There’s some sort of design flaw on that vintage of Subaru that results in the driver’s side ball joint breaking about once every other year. Had them replaced quite a few times. The timing belt went too once, and early this year, the windshield developed a crack. I had to have the entire exhaust system replaced in January as most of it had fallen off.
For the past few months, she’s been idling rough. I replaced the spark plug wires, and then the spark plugs. And then I bought a ratcheting offset screwdriver and turned the idle up. That made it run smoother once she got started, but it also made the check engine light come on. She got harder to start — the engine would turn over, but would die immediately if I didn’t give it gas right away. And then she started to lose acceleration. Had to push the pedal to the floor to gain any sort of speed at all.
So, last night, I took her into the shop. I was hoping that my fuel injector was going to turn out to be clogged, but something in my head told me that the solution was going to include “rebuilt engine”.
I got the call this morning at 10:00 AM. The engine has internal damage. There’s a 90 psi drop between the left and right side.
In lieu of flowers, please send motor oil.

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