We didn't catch on fire!

Unfortunately, the cab faced its first road failure of 2023– we blew the radiator lol. We were expecting a fun cruise with the boys, but the cab had other plans.

Cruise photos

The beginning of the cruise was great. I invited my high school buddy, whom I hadn’t seen in eight years, to join. We had a noise-reduction intercom, so we could easily talk without yelling over the wind. Convertible top down, surrounded by sick cars and their roaring exhaust notes, it was an enjoyable experience. As night fell, the scene became livelier with people and lights as we drove through town.

However, our Cabby struggled to navigate the traffic in Waikiki. The combination of light rain, heavy foot traffic, police cars, and fire trucks made it challenging for our car. It started stalling due to vapor lock, a condition where excessive heat in the fuel system causes the fuel to vaporize. Running on fumes is harder for a car than running on gasoline!

Cruise in the cabin

To prevent the car from stalling completely, I kept pressing the gas pedal in neutral, using up extra fuel so that fresh fuel could be pushed through. This resulted in a lot of noise during the drive. After twenty minutes of bumper-to-bumper traffic, we finally cleared the congestion, but by then, the car was running hot. We made our way through the last few streets, thinking we were almost home, but decided to make a quick pit stop before continuing. Another MR2 ahead of us stopped for a bathroom break, and with rain pouring down, it seemed like a good time for us to do the same. I put the top up and followed the others once they returned.

Finally, out of traffic! Eager to get moving, I revved the engine one last time but it bogged again. I thought, “Well, I guess I gotta unflood again,” but this time was different. The car really struggled to get up to speed, the car sputtered hard and stalled, but more importantly, it started to smoke. Nothing happened for a bit after the initial smoke.

Then, it happened.

“Oh fuck!” The car got too hot and a quick burst of smoke and fluid came from underneath the hood and instantly blocked our view. I froze. I tried to stay calm after the initial smoke but the car behind us started to honk at us, they yelled “The car’s going to explode!” Confused and frantic we bolted. No one yells that just for fun and my carbs are a fireball just waiting to happen.

Get the fire extinguisher

I yelled to my passenger, Yaron, “Fire extinguisher! Fire extinguisher!” as I rushed to open the hood. The smoke finally cleared away and I was searching for any trace of a fire but fortunately, there was no fire. I’m sure the pedestrian shouted that out of sincere concern, but there a big difference between a coolant failure and a gas fire. If there was a fire, smoke would be grey and pumping out of the car almost immediately. My adrenaline cooled down, but that sinking feeling that the car might be gone didn’t fade, I was thinking that all my work just went up in literal smoke. After a short breather to collect myself, I got my hopes back up and convinced myself that I can fix this, everything was going to be okay.

Tow truck

After the breakdown, I had the car towed back home with the help of insurance and a friendly driver named Loto. He admired the car and was like “ho cuz, this must be one chick magnet ah?” Alas, it is not. I’m pretty sure it attracts more attention from guys than girls LOL. Nonetheless, I appreciated his kind words. Once I returned home, I sat for a solid 10 minutes and I got bored. So, I decided to join the final destination at met everyone up with my other car, the Civic. I texted Mike, the organizer, and arrived at Zippy’s Kaneohe.

night cruise 2

I met a lot of cool people from the cruise when I followed up with them at Kaneohe Zippy’s. I talked with a few guys at the lot, one was named Senna. He was driving a MK3 Supra that was actually on FaceBook marketplace not too long ago. All very nice people.

There were a few other guys, Jimmy and Fabian that I met up with last meetup. I remember meeting up with Jimmy, Fabian, and Zeke back on the first cruise and I was telling my friend, Janiene, that I should have got their contact. Sure enough, they were there again that night, Fabian also let me sit in his black MK5 Supra and as a smaller 5’6” boy, it was a perfect fit bwahaha. My yearning for a Supra has not faded and I’m happy to have made friends with these guys.

Now just to convince them to let me drive it. Just a bit! >:)

Originally, the MR2/Supra group thought the Volkswagen caught on fire LOL! I guess word spread fast. That was hilarious but I had to dispel that fallacy. The whole incident was rough but I’m thankful it was just the radiator and not anything else. A big thank you to the guys from the group that called in the VW being down, in really good spirits, and supportive.

Refuse to give up!


With the immediate damage controlled, it’s time to get to work. I refuse to give up and will keep moving forward. My priorities now include fixing the cooling system, re-evaluating the fuel system, particularly the inlet, and outlet, and addressing the steering column repair. If everything goes smoothly, I should be able to complete the repairs in a couple of weeks.

The damage was pretty contained to the left side of the car. Most parts that took real damage were soft plastics and other non-metals like the air intake, plastic covers, wire sheathing, the cooling system, and so on.

Damage on top of engine

Coolant splashed around the head area and burned a few parts, including the throttle cable, carb caps, oil cap, but nothing crazy. Damage on wires

The wire sheathing helped but it was toasted in some places. Burned power steering cap

Other parts were somehow mostly okay, just discolored but still nothing critical. Damaged air filter

The worst of the damage was the air filter that got singed wherever the hot coolant touched. This needed a replacement anyway because of the hole to the left haha. Damaged radiator

And of course, the burnt and burst radiator!

I’ll be searching and ordering parts for the next week and we should have everything installed by the end of the month. I haven’t gotten this busy with a wrench since last year, it’s exhausting but that’s what it’s all about. In the end, it’s worth it to keep up my skills as a DIY mechanic and there’s something funny about this car because as much as I dread some thigns about it, I can’t help but smile about it because of it’s rinky-dinky silly nature.