A couple of years ago Charlie and friends erected a tall garage on the farm, plastered the walls, and equipped the room with a full-sized auto hoist.

This month has produced a series of adventures in the shop. First came my young friend Sean Izatt on a Friday night with three friends to install a new exhaust system on his Subaru. The removal and installation went surprisingly well, considering that nobody had told Sean that he would need bolts to hold the thing together.

We improvised and everybody learned useful things. In my case I learned that manifold bolts aren’t rusted into the head the way they used to be, and in fact aren’t all that tight on a modern engine. So one can change an exhaust system without access to an ox-acetylene torch.

This knowledge stood me in good stead when the family Lexus started to growl soon after Sean’s visit.

With the hoist in the auto shop I didn’t seriously consider taking the car to the dealership for the job. When the Toyota parts guy confided that most dealership customers opt for off-brand exhaust systems I decided to give Walker a try, ordered from RockAuto.com.

In three days the exhaust system with gasket kit turned up at Wellesley Island Building Supply, the local Kinek outlet. I bought connecting bolts and washers at Baker’s Feed Store. With HST the materials for the project came to $673. CDN.

But while the pipes were in transit, Charlie arrived to collect a BMW race car he had bought in Austin Texas and had shipped to Watertown. This meant endless signal light repairs to two trucks and a trailer, as well as wiring my Tacoma with a brake controller.

The collection of the little red BMW track car on Tuesday morning went very well with Tom Stutzman and his beloved Tundra doing the towing.

The car came with a history of coolant issues, so Charlie added a new, all-metal water pump and a new thermostat. Things didn’t go well until on Wednesday morning he found a blown fuse for the electric fan. Then the coolant would stay in the radiator and not erupt like Vesuvius. After solving the cooling problem he worked long hours to get the car, the truck and the trailer ready for departure Thursday evening for a weekend at Mosport with the Porsche Club of Canada.

In an early report on the heavily modified 1991 BMW 3 Series Charlie commented that it is a strong car, though it’s exhausting to drive at Mosport without power steering.

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