Leapdragon 2016 - Aron Hsiao Was Here

Record-keeping.  §

Done so far on the recently acquired 2002 Volvo V70 XC:

  • Intake cam seal
  • Timing belt, tensioner, and idler
  • PCV breather box and hoses, plus clean crankcase ports
  • Seafoam treatment
  • Pennzoil Ultra Platinum and a Mann filter
  • Cabin air filter replacement
  • Intake air filter replacement
  • New coils
  • Transmission drain and fill with Valvoline MaxLife Synthetic
  • MAP sensor and turbo control valve

© Aron Hsiao / 2017

Car came with a newly rebuilt rack and pinion and some very decent tires. Serpentine belt looks very good. Plastics look good. Turbo sounds and operates fine. No leaks. Plugs are only at about 20k based on records. No idea what’s in there (Volvo OEM have oddball temperature properties that tend to perform best) but whatever in there is working well. Still to come:

  • B4 transmission servo cover (slightly dreading this one)
  • Transmission control unit software update at dealership, along with learning mode reset
  • Minor leather repair
  • Couple of small dents to pull
  • Something in the drive train that needs a new bearing (majorly dreading this one)
  • New splash guard
  • Polyurethane subframe and engine stabilizer bushings
  • Check and fill on angle gear and rear differential (assuming that neither of these are the drive train issue)

Some quick things:

  • Car is very clean, inside and out, and in good mechanical condition. I am hoping to get the transmission to near zero state and then be able to drive it for the better part of a decade until it’s falling to pieces, like I did the last one, and the one before that (which I drove for over a decade).
  • I know that the Asin-Warner 55-40SN transmission is a weak point. This one seems to be reasonable—if I drive it semi-gently (for me), it’s smooth through all gears, cold and warm. If I push it hard, the 2-3 is a little rough, as well as the 3-2. I’m hoping that this is the B4 servo.
  • Given the 55-40SN, I’m going to just drain and fill the transmission case every time I change engine oil for the rest of the car’s life, probably with Valvoline MaxLife syn.
  • Yes, I know that the 55-40SN is specced for dino oil, and that really I’m supposed to be using one of just four JWS3309 fluids—the Aisin one, the Volvo one, the Mobil one, or the Idemitsu (OEM unrelabeled) one, along with friction modifiers that only the dealer has. Welps… too bad. Something (like input from a bunch of other owners, and from a couple shops) tells me that the MaxLife synthetic is the way to go. It’s at least JWS3309 compliant. And once an already problem transmission model has 135k miles on it, I think the result of friction modifiers is indeterminate anyway—it’s not like the final numbers are going to be the same as they would be with a new transmission. The physicals are different, so the properties of the lubricants are going to be different, too. What I can say is that the MaxLife appears to have made this transmission much quieter and smoother in all respects, and that I trust it—being synthetic—a little more than I do dino oil, especially in an unfiltered/fixed filter system.
  • If this transmission bites the dust, I will be seriously tempted to replace it, even given cost. I like the car that much, and the rest is in good enough condition.

It’s a car that has the feel much more even than the last one did. To be in it alone, sunroof open, music playing, on the road—bliss.

— § —

Volvo killed off the XC70 after 2016. It’s 2017 now. So assuming ten years (knock on wood), I can shoot for one more hurrah with this basic car in 2027, when I’ll pick up a ’15 or ’16 and drive it until 2037, at which point I’ll be 61 years old.

What will I do then? I shudder to think.

As I age, I realize that my car(s) are surprisingly important to me. They are the only place in the universe that I’ve ever felt was mine and mine alone, the only place where I’m really whole and happy. Behind the wheel, on my own, in a car that feels right.

— § —

The last two people I was interested in and made advances on (the only two people in a long time, frankly) turned out to be far too young. Not jailbait, thankfully, but—like—ridiculously young. “I can’t in good conscience continue this conversation” young.

That, of course, sucks. It’s not all that often I share a mutual attraction to someone in that “must … act … now … !” way. Given my personality, it takes another person of a very particular personality, especially given what I’ve seen in life to this point. I’m not generally open to just anyone/anything. It’s a hard knock to share glances, and then smiles, and then words, and to feel as though you’ve both had a bit of a revelation—only to find out that the gulf that separates you in years is just not a prudent one to try to cross.

Getting tired of it. But seriously, people my own age are dour, jaded, and narcissistic. I’d rather not even talk to them, much less date them.

— § —

I can’t spend much time with extroverts. I just can’t. The older I get, the clearer this becomes. We live in different fundamental universes. It’s not just about the interaction; it’s about the nature of existence. We don’t share a common reality. It’s like the problem that Paul Virilio describes in The Vision Machine when two beings don’t share a single perceptual framework—there is just no like possible. You can’t get there.

It’s like sky and sand. They are each clearly extant and integral enough on their own, but simply inhabit different, non-overlapping realities, disconnected from one another, with a boundary between them. Even when you do your best to mix them, natural forces quickly ensure their separation again; it’s the nature of things.

— § —

It will be time to re-paint the last walls I painted before I get around to painting (for the first time) the rest of the walls, it would seem.

— § —

Yes, there are times when I am lonely. But it is not because of a lack of social interaction. I get that all the time. I get maybe too much of it. The problem is, I’m surrounded by people that are not like me in any way whatsoever.

That and all those basic existential items.