timing belt is something I am stressing to do really soon, I'm at 104k miles; but i hate doing things half way so I gotta wait till i can afford all the parts. Do you think a timing belt or maybe the valve clearances could be a possible culprit?
A good mechanic in socal is a needle in a haystack and they are always aware of just how valuable someone who knows what they are doing is around here.
Never underestimate the corruption and greed in california. They mandate the oxygenation of gasoline (higher % in certain seasons) with claims that it "reduces emissions" but in reality it kills gas milage, causes gas to burn much quicker, and many other nasty side effects.