1/24/2015-R.I.P.-The Battlewagon (2005-2015)

-Last Thursday morning, two days ago, I was driving my car (AKA “The Battlewagon”) and noticed that something was different in this particular ride. Normally, it always felt like the car was lower than normal to the ground. This time, however, it felt really low. Every time I turned a corner, no matter how slow I did it, I felt something scrape on the pavement for a moment. Not good-and it got worse. I was driving on a straight length of road when the car just “twerked” a little. I basically lost control of the battlewagon for a moment. It was like something had hit it towards the back. Luckily I managed to get to my destination unharmed. A tow truck was eventually called and the car was brought to a garage where the worst was confirmed. The “arm” holding the rear wheels in place had basically rusted through. If I’d been going a long distance, chances are one of the rear wheels would have flew off, injuring me or worse, another driver. In this case, I was extremely lucky that all I experienced was a little “twerk.” Unfortunately, the battlewagon is basically dead-which is having all sorts of ramifications on future projects that were in the air for the coming year.

-The Battlewagon was a 1994 Chevy Caprice Station Wagon. It was purchased in 2005 with already what many would consider to be high milage-169,000 miles. FYI, I’ve , as of yet, never owned / regularly drove a vehicle that was made in the 21st century. I’ve rented 2011-2014 vehicles out for acting gigs though, and I have to say it’s quite a different driving experience. You modern drivers have such luxury ๐Ÿ™‚

-I came up with the nickname “The Battlwagon” years ago when people would look at the car and tell me how cool it looked and how cool it must be to drive it. I usually replied that they should own it for a week or so, then tell me how “lucky” I am ๐Ÿ™‚ There was always something wrong with it, but it kept on going. Gotta give some kudos to Chevy on how long this car lasted. Having said that, the battlewagon was deteriorating and there were already so many things wrong with it as is. I would joke that this car had a divine purpose-to make other cars feel good about themselves. ๐Ÿ™‚ IMO, it did take a lot of patience and inner stamina to drive this thing at times. The following is a list of what I had to deal with while driving this thing. Note that these are not in order of severity and some of these problems were fixed, but a number of them weren’t and I had to deal with them-many on a daily / weekly basis. All part of “paying your dues” right? ๐Ÿ™‚

1)-As I mentioned earlier, the battlewagon was bought with already 169,000 miles on it. As of last Thursday, the mileage was around 335,000 (!). Again, kudos to Chevy. If rust wasn’t such a problem here, I might have been able to stretch it out to 400,000 or even 500,000 miles. Of course, the higher the mileage, the more likely things will start break down…

2)-The low oil light was constantly on-even when filled up. Having said that, the battlewagon leaked oiled and required 2 quarts of oil min. per week.

3)-Not only was there no CD player in it (20th Century vehicle remember?), but one of the speakers was basically blown. Made for listing to early Van Halen songs an interesting experience ๐Ÿ™‚

4)-I go into an accident right after filming the music video for the CAROLINE BLUE Music Video “Pain” (see it HERE-shameless plug). The hood had to be replaced, but could never be shut fully-hence never locked. This lead to it being held down with a chain initially-as can be seen when the battlewagon was used in the opening scene of Season 1, Episode 1 of “Failman” by MAD ANGEL FILMS (Click HERE for more shameless promo-HA!). This was later exchanged for a clamp and very strong fiber rope. Every once in a while, especially on windy days, I’d be driving along and the hood would “pop” up several inches…

5)-At one point, the front headlights had to be rebuilt and were not aligned so from a distance they weren’t even. They also seemed to point towards the right more than center.This could making driving a little tricky under certain conditions at night.

6)-Initially, the biggest challenge with driving the battlewagon was the danger of its V8 engine overheating. That happened a couple of times. No kudos to Chevy for the way the cooling system was designed. Basically, the temp. had to be into the red for the fans to kick in. Guess what happened the first time it overheated? Yep-the fans didn’t work. If I was at a stop light on a very hot / humid day, I’d kinda freak at times cause the temp would start rising rapidly on this beast. A new thermostat and other repairs were made so this wasn’t that much of a problem in the last few years.

7)-Getting 14-17 MPG in 1994 wasn’t too bad, but in the late 2000’s-with gas over $4 a gallon, it was a nightmare replenishing the amount of fuel this beast would guzzle.

8)-With the exception of 1-2 brief times, the AC didn’t work. Driving in the summer was a challenge for a guy like me who heats up at a moment’s notice. Just roll down all the windows right? Well, the passenger windows only rolled the down halfway. The driver side window? That leads to…

9)-There was a problem with the motor that controlled the diver’s side window. You could roll the window down, but then it would get stuck. If it was halfway down, you might have to wait quite awhile till it slowly went back up. During an inspection, one of the guys at the garage, who didn’t know about this, put the window all the way down-and there it stayed. Trying to get it out only resulted in the glass shattering. So some clear plastic was gorilla taped over the area. Obviously there was no way to roll this up or down. Drive thrus and ATMs became more fun to visit as a result…

10)-The passenger side rear door could not be opened from the inside-only from the outside.No wonder no one wanted to ride with me anywhere (HA!) ๐Ÿ™‚

11)-Most of the side and rear windows were tinted and we couldn’t get the damn stuff off. That made going in reverse at night / bad weather more fun…

12)-At some point, the driver’s seat got damaged and had to be propped up with a crate behind it. Without that crate, you basically had to drive with no back support. I did this….once….holy hitting you in the abs Batman! ๐Ÿ™‚

13)-I’m not sure why, but 2-3 times a year, for many years, I’d always have a flat tire somehow-even when the tire was changed. AAA got to know me well for this and other things…

14)-The turn signals would stop working from time to time, leading to a few bouts of roar rage from drivers behind me on certain trips…

15)-Likewise, one of the rear turn lights could be counted on to go out at least once a year…at night…while driving by a cop…

16)-Due to a problem with the cabin light draining the battery somehow, the removal of the cabin light meant having no interior lights save for what came from the dashboard.

17)-There was a rear wiper in the back, but somehow that broke off. Lovely…

18)-The driver’s side wiper was very good at giving its passenger side a clear view of the road. The driver side wiper? Even when the blades were changed, not so much…

19)-The rear bumper got hit by a car years ago and was bent in a nice artsy shape. Not my fault-I swear! ๐Ÿ™‚

20)-Someone sitting on the front passenger side was unable to electrically raise or lower their window (no manual rollers in the car).

21)-Due to an accident at a CAROLINE BLUE show, the rear window was smashed-making for a very cold ride home from Rome, NY (never shut the window with an amp in the back unless you are sure the amp is fully within the interior). This led to a handle having to be put on its replacement. Somewhere along the way, the back door decided it didn’t want to open up so it stayed shut for a few years. An exterior lock system was made which fixed this, but the things that held the glass up when you opened it wouldn’t work so you had to hold the glass up by hand basically the whole time it was open.

22)-The “wonderful” pass lock system. The light would flip on more and more often. Then it would start engaging-and I’m obviously using the right key. This meant having to sit there for two and a half minutes (this happened so many times I was able to time this) to try again. If it didn’t work, more waiting. I even brought a book once cause it was happening daily for awhile till we finally got this featured disabled.

23)-On top of all that, the roof leaked-right over where the driver sat. It was bad enough that water would get in on the driver door…There have been a few times where I went to get into the car and found my pants to be suddenly soaked thru. This also led to the next problem…

24)-Because of all this moisture / liquid leakage, when it’s really cold out, ice has to be cleaned off both the interior and exterior sides of the windows.

25)-About once a year, something would go wrong with the muffler and then you could hear the battlewagon coming a mile away. OK, maybe not a mile away, but from quite a distance…

26)-The brake pads tend to wear down faster than with normal cars. I could almost count on having a brake problem once, min., per year.

27)-There was also something wrong with how the battlewagon used batteries. Another almost yearly problem. Just last December I got stuck in front of a Chipolte cause there was some connection problem with the battery…

-For all it’s faults though, for all the times I was swearing my butt off at this thing, I will miss it. It almost feels like an end to an era somehow. I guess when I wrote, via hashtag, on Facebook in regards to a AAA visit to my car last week “#โ€ŽOneDayUrLuckWillRunOutWaynoโ€ฌ” (BTW-the pic was via Instagram and, since hashtags are so prevalent there and there’s no letter limit, many times I’ll add tags that have no meaning at all as a joke. See more at the WWJ INSTAGRAM PAGE (NO MORE PROMO DAMN IT!) ๐Ÿ™‚ ), I should’ve knocked on wood or something. Of course, I knew this day would come eventually and was even saving money for a new car, but, of course, I’m nowhere near the amount I need to get even a halfway decent junker car at this time. It didn’t help that events with the past 4-5 months, like my laptop suddenly biting the dust, caused me to take more and more from that savings account. Life’s like that though-if a wave isn’t hitting you, one’s on the way.You have to learn to surf or drown…Even with a newer car, it would’ve been nice to have had this one around. Oh well… Hopefully the next vehicle will at least be made in the 21st Century ๐Ÿ™‚ Might be awhile since I’m still currently doing an Oscar worthy performance of a broke actor. ๐Ÿ™‚ Too bad I couldn’t get a Kickstarter going for this right? ๐Ÿ™‚

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About Wayne W. Johnson

Hiya-this is WWJ & thanks for dropping by to my site! I hope you enjoy your visit to my home away from home online. If you have any questions, comments and /or concerns about this site, please let me know via the CONTACT page. Thanks & best wishes to you & yours!
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One Response to 1/24/2015-R.I.P.-The Battlewagon (2005-2015)

  1. Pingback: 12/31/2015-UPDATES-2015 Year In Review | WAYNE W. JOHNSON

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