Driving home from a business trip in Vancouver, Canada, a semi-truck threw a rock and it hit the bottom of my windshield, below the windshield wiper blade. Not a big deal but unfortunately it turned into a crack before I even got home.
I’ve put in a claim with my insurance company and hopefully they can either fix it or replace it. If it can be fixed rather than replaced, supposedly they’ll do it for free with no insurance impact. Fingers crossed.
UPDATE: They had to replace the windshield. My non-collision deductible was $500 (oops) and the new windshield cost $550 so it was all out of pocket. Ow. Super clear now though!
For the first four sessions of the day, an instructor rode along with me while providing input on how to do a better job driving around the track. By the end of the day they were confident enough in my quick progress that they signed off for me to solo drive.
The fifth session of the day was a mixed session with both group A (beginners like me) and group B (people who had a few events under their belt, I would have been B at the next event). I considered skipping it as it was the end of the long day, but decided not to since I wanted to make sure to get the most out of all of the money that I had spent in order to be there. This turned out to be my first mistake.
The second mistake was going out solo instead of continuing to have an instructor ride along with me. I was overconfident in my skills when clearly I was still a major novice who was just making good progress.
The third mistake was lifting off of the gas in the middle of a small corner in order to begin getting ready to start braking for an upcoming sharp corner. This turned out to be the critical mistake and I paid for it.
I was recording the day with two GoPro video cameras and caught the mistake from two angles:
One of those three cones I hit jammed up under my bumper, breaking it and pushing up far enough to actually bend my air conditioning condenser and break my power steering cooler, spraying power steering fluid all over the front of my car. While it could have been worse (I was headed for that barrier before I caught the slide), it still majorly sucks.
Crack on the top of the bumper
Sheared off bottom of the bumper
Large dent in the bottom of the bumper
Even worse is that while I bought insurance for the day ($300! ouch), I found out today that the deductible is 15% of the total insured value which is in this case $7500. That means that the insurance won’t cover this $3000-4000 worth of damage. Ouch.
So while I had a ton of fun at the track before the accident, this turned out to be a really shitty two weeks.
I’m done taking this car to the track as I just love it too much to risk further, and expensive, damage to it. I’d rather just have a bit less fun with it on the street instead. If I do get the track bug again, then I’ll look into buying a cheap track car and drive that instead.
Earlier today I mounted my wheels back onto my Viper. As mentioned earlier, I had taken them off to paint them using some temporary paint to see if I liked the look or not.
Now that they are back on the car, I can without a doubt say that I do! I am so going to get them permanently powder coated.
Here’s the left side (left them polished, image mirrored) vs. the right side of my car (black). I only painted one side so I could get a better comparison. The final look will have the center caps polished instead of black (I forgot to mask them off) and it will be gloss black instead of the current matte look. This should result in a slightly brighter look. I might even add a body colored pinstripe around the outside of the wheel.
I took both right wheels off my car today. It was a lot harder than it sounds due to the super low clearance of the car — only about 5 inches between the ground and the frame! After a lot of work, it’s now sitting on wood blocks.
Tomorrow I’ll be using Plasti Dip temporary spray paint to paint the wheels as a mockup to see if I like the blacked out wheel look. I’m strongly considering getting them all powder coated black and this is a good way to see if I like it. Plati Dip is a rubber-like paint that peels off if I want it to. While meant for things like tools, it has a huge following in the automotive world, especially for things like wheels.
For scale, that piece of wood is 6 inches wide (it’s a 4×6″). Yes, it’s a massive tire!
The passenger side window regulator started failing on me and needed to be replaced. Apparently it’s a pretty common problem in Vipers due to the design of the mechanism. Thankfully it’s covered by the extended factory warranty that came with the car so it’s only a $100 deductible, otherwise it’d be over $1200. Ouch.
Just for fun I put together a map of the route I took to San Diego and back in my Viper. It was long (over 3100 miles!) and gas was expensive ($851.02, 16.3 miles per gallon) but it was 110% worth it. Thanks again to Stephane and Evan for riding shotgun with me on the way down and the way back, respectively. I had a great time!
Disclaimer: This post is going to be useful to very, very few people but I suspect for those people it will be super helpful, so here we go.
When I bought my 2008 Dodge Viper, it came with the standard type of radio for that time period — a simple radio and CD player. However who the hell listens to CDs anymore? I certainly don’t so I set out to be able to hook my iPhone up to my car.
While I easily found a kit to do this for my Mustang, Vipers are a much rarer car so there are way fewer solutions. That said this same radio is used throughout many different Chrysler Group cars so it may be worth seeing if you can find a kit meant for a different car but the same radio.
I decided to go the official route by using the Mopar iPod Interface Kit (82209616). It was designed for iPods rather than iPhones so it’s not perfect, but we’ll get to that later.