My dad's Dodge Colt

Reviving a car from certain death
by Paulo Rafael Subido | Jul 7, 2009

Just like a musical instrument that is kept in its case and never used, a car that isn't driven will fall apart sooner than you think. And in my case, this is a very depressing prospect.


After my dad passed away in 2003, his wagon sat in the garage of my family house in Baguio for five years. Being the only one in the brood who has an affinity towards automobiles, I told myself that I would keep the car running no matter what.

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Unfortunately, lack of funds (I needed to maintain my daily-driver) and the big move to Manila to start a full-time job prevented that from happening. With every visit home I watched my dad's car fall apart little by little. I was never in Baguio long enough to bring a mechanic over to replace the brake lines or patch up the leaky intake manifold.

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Before I knew it the battery went flat, the tires went flat, and the steel rims rusted through from being doused with dog pee--lots of it. I suppose my older sister Joy got sick of me saying, "I will restore that car!" and not seeing me do anything. When she said that she was going to sell the car as scrap, I knew that I had to get off my ass and show the family that fixing the old Galant was worth it.

Still, I had a feeling that my sister's threat was a ruse. All of us siblings have a special connection with the car, and I don't think any of us wanted to see it as scrap. Of course, by then I managed to save a little bit of money, if only to get the car road-worthy again.

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But five years was a long time to wait, and it took its toll on the car. I filed for a leave of absence from work because I knew that I needed at least three days to get the car running. I don't claim to be an expert, but below are some things that I learned about reviving a car from certain death.

Of course, I can't help but feel that there was somebody up there who was helping me out, because even if the engine hasn't turned in five years, we still managed to get it started, easily. (Thanks for choosing an awesome car with a killer engine, Dad!)

What I needed were the following:

* A new battery (obviously)
* Oil (make sure the engine has oil)
* Spark plugs (the old ones might be fouled up)
* New condenser (for ensuring that distributor points don't burn)
* New contact points (the electrical "switch" of the distributor)
* Gasoline (drain the old gas)
* Water (make sure the radiator has plenty)
* VulcaSeal (to seal the leaking intake manifold, we used what was readily available)
* A pretty damn good mechanic who knows what the hell he's doing.

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