“It Would Make A Great Story”

By: Erica Bradley

That’s how it started…I had just spent the day posing for a photo shoot and I was exhausted. I packed my things and started the long drive home. Thirty minutes into the trip, over the loud exhaust, I heard an unfamiliar knock. At that moment, I knew something was wrong and I needed to get home as soon as possible. I barely made it back to my hometown before she shut off on me. I parked at the gas station and opened the hood. As luck would have it, the sky decided to open up and create a wonderful downpour. I was at a loss on what to do. I checked the PCV valve I had recently replaced and everything seemed to be in order. It didn’t take long before I was soaking wet. I hopped back into my car and decided to try to crank her up. The noise of the engine coming to life settled my fear of becoming stranded. But as the RPM settled back down to idle, the knock became even louder. I drove her home, and parked in her usual spot. I knew what had happened…I had blown the motor.

I wish I could say from this point it only gets better but as my luck would have it, it did not. I started the hunt for a new vehicle to drive while my car was down. I had a small budget but was determined to find a good driving Mustang. I came across an ad for a 2000 V6 that was for sale. The car had seen better days. I decided to grab a buddy and go check it out. It was a perfectly good running car. It had been in an accident but appeared to be fixed correctly. The fenders and doors were “wrinkled” and the driver’s door didn’t quite line up right. The rear quarter panels both had dents and dings and the passenger side exhaust was hanging without a hanger. There wasn’t even a back window in the convertible top. It was rough, but all I could see was potential. I thought about it for about a week, contemplating on whether or not it was a good deal for the price. I signed papers and brought her home on Friday, May 19th.

The next weekend, I decided to take her to the beach with a friend. We loaded her up, put Snickers in the back seat, rolled the top down and left around noon. We were beach bound! About an hour into the trip I started noticing the smell of coolant. I checked the temperature gauge and noticed the car was running hot and pulled over at the closest gas station. The radiator was busted. I quickly searched Google and found the nearest parts store that had a radiator in-stock for my car. Luckily we were only 0.3 miles away. With the help of my friend, we were back on the road within the hour.

By this point, I had spent countless hours learning everything I could from YouTube and Google about pulling a 4.6 engine out of a New Edge Mustang. I began to unhook everything on my beloved pink Mustang and worked on it just about every other night, whenever I had the time. I got everything off except one bolt located on the side of the fuse box. Let me remind you, I am very hard headed; I insist that I can do everything myself and I do not need help from anyone. I will also tell you that this one small bolt was kicking my butt. I tried everything I possibly could to knock this small nut from this bolt. It wasn’t happening. I now understand what the phrase “Mechanics at work, watch for flying tools” means. After about 30-45 minutes of sweat and tears I finally called a friend for help. I kid you not; he got it off in less than a minute. That was the moment I realized I was going to need some man power. My friend, Brian Kimbrell, stayed with me the rest of the night as I pulled the transmission apart from the motor and out of the car. Brian did all the muscle work while I undid the nuts and bolts. Afterwards, I pulled the motor out and began the initial tear down. This was when Google became my best friend.

My family decided they needed a vacation and wanted me to join. I told them that I would meet them in Myrtle Beach Saturday morning. June 10th at 8 am I was beach bound again. I was by myself and moving along at a greater speed then the posted speed limit (but then again, so was everyone else). We passed a State Trooper and nobody seemed to hit the brakes so I continued on my way. But as I’m driving, I notice blue lights coming over the hill. He caught up to my car and pulled me over. I apologized for my speed and he gave me my first ticket in the new Mustang. Other than that, the weekend seemed to go pretty smooth. I came back late Sunday night due to my work schedule. But I was able to take Friday off and headed back to the beach to finish out the week with family on Thursday night. It rained on me the whole way there. About an hour and a half into the trip, I pulled over at a gas station to wait for the storm to pass. I talked with a dump truck driver for about 30 minutes and ended up deciding to sell the car once I replaced the back window (yes, I agree, I should have replaced it a long time ago). Then I set back out to finish my trip to the beach. I gave up on waiting for the rain to stop and just drove through it. The lightning lit the sky up like a Fourth of July fireworks show. I got into traffic and was going pretty steady, not having to stop much but for some traffic lights.  It was pretty dark by now and the rain was steady again. I was behind a new Challenger and as we were approaching a light, it turned yellow. I found out pretty quick that the ABS does not work in the V6…Neither do the air bags… Yes, you can count this as number 8 on the accident tally.

So here I am with two 2000 Mustangs, one without a motor and the second with some serious front end damage. I’m sure my luck will turn around one of these days. But this is just another chapter in my book of life.



To be continued…