Car Enthusiasts Forums

Over a long period of time, I have read and posted on a lot of different forum groups. All of them have been car related and either in the category of trying to provide someone help from my own knowledge or obtaining information about something that I am working on. There can be a wealth of information on some of them but others sometimes make you wonder where the car hobby is actually headed. It is the latter that has me really concerned.

Small Block Chevy – Jeep CJ5

Bad information is sometimes worse than no information at all, especially if it leads someone down an expensive path of mistakes with their own project. But like most things in this world, it seems that if you repeat it often enough and long enough then somewhere it becomes truth. Trying to challenge these “truths” can be quite the undertaking, almost to point of being Quixote in nature. I do try however whenever I can to gently and nicely straighten out someone’s misinformed mindset. Maybe if I just save one? I am never really sure that I am successful but at least I get an “E” for effort I suppose. As an example, one of the more entertaining rants followed another forum poster’s extremely well done installation of a remote filter and oil cooler installation. I have actually used this information to provide this upgrade to my own JDM (Japanese Domestic Manufacturer) vehicle along with two others. Uninformed individuals swore up and down that this upgrade would destroy the engine, that the engine’s oil pump would break and that the cooler oil would wreck havoc upon the engine. Overall, a lot of nonsense. Anyone that has a sports model of these vehicles, one that has an oil temperature gauge (whoa, wait a minute – the manufacturer thought that an oil temperature gauge was important on a sports model – maybe there is something to this?) understands that keeping the oil temperature within a certain range is important to the life of the engine. It doesn’t take but a small amount of vigorous driving to push the oil temperature upward very quickly. Hotter oil is thinner and therefore more at risk of allowing that dreaded metal-to-metal contact that is so detrimental to the internals of an engine. But according to those other individuals, the pump was never designed to push oil through lines and coolers and such, it would surely snap the oil pump’s driveshaft at the worse possible moment. But did any of them notice that the factory offers a kit to do the same exact thing? That the factory does not offer a bigger, heavier oil pump? Maybe we can put two and two together? Nope – doesn’t happen. This information about the install was posted about 5 years ago and to this day still gets negative posts in response.

And that leads me to the next thing in this hobby. While I certainly understand some hesitation in trying something for the first time or the thought that if this messes up, it’s going to be expensive to fix – I don’t see a lot of people venturing into the unknown. And I am starting to see this as a cultural thing. I don’t want to buy that aftermarket hot rod part without being completely convinced that it is going to fit perfectly without me having to do anything else. This appears to be the mantra of the new style hot rodder. Even the ones that should know better have suddenly picked this up recently. A post I just read last night was along the lines of, “I want to put a Chevrolet LS engine in my classic mid-50’s Chevrolet, but I don’t want any problems and I see that no one makes the pre-bent fuel supply lines now.” “What do I do now?”  Well, I guess your quest for a late model powered mid-50’s vehicle just came to a screaming halt. To me, there is something wrong here but I am often reminded that this is “okay”. And I guess it is in the general sense of things. Inside, I am sorry this person cannot proceed however maybe it’s better that they didn’t bother too. I don’t have the answer, I am just happy that I am not that type of person.

 

Just Something Free – Hot Rod T-Bucket Chassis Plans

The Internet can still be a cool place to be sometimes. While browsing around, I found these free T-Bucket chassis plans. They were last updated around 2008 and some of the information such as part numbers might not be correct but the idea is that they give you a good basis to get started if this is something you are interested in doing. And even if a T-Bucket isn’t your cup of tea, the ideas presented might still help you out with your project.

Click the link below for your own free copy.

Free – Hot Rod T-Bucket Chassis Plans

CCR_T_Bucket_Chassis

Holidays are here?!

Wow – the holidays are here and we are down to Christmas already. It’s amazing how this time of year just seems to fly by unless you’re 5-10 years old and are just dying for Christmas Day to get here now!

When we last left here I was working on my racing trailer, the Monza was back for some updates, the Camaro got some work done and I think it was late October – see what I mean, It’s already mid-December without a new post on the site. But there has also been some big changes underneath and one that I have found to be very interesting. About a month ago, my hosting service (HostGator) announced that they were increasing the monthly price – again. Now I have been with them about 7-8 years and of course when I started it was a really good bargain, something like $4.00 a month. The latest increase has them at $12.00 per month and if I remember correctly, this is a $4.00 increase in just the last 24 months. Like everyone else, I try to cap the monthly expenses as best I can and for something like this which I consider to be “fun”, each increase hurts a little bit. So, I was off to find a new hosting service and I actually experimented with four different ones until I found one that fit my criteria – and then there is a certain amount of pain in moving your website to a new hosting service – no matter what they tell you in the cool, splashy ads that they have on their sites – so you really want to make sure of the new service before performing the work. Obviously price was a huge consideration but I needed a CPanel interface, a good amount of bandwidth and a reasonable amount of server space to place my website. I also looked at other things such as their TOS policy, cancellation policy and their ability to stay upright over the long haul. I ended up at Web Host Pro with a monthly bill of just over $4.00. And I have to say I only needed to contact their tech support one time to clear up a question I had during my move. Without going into crazy details, the move took me about a week of work, which included moving all of the site files, databases, email account plus testing everything before making it “live” again. Unless you happened to catch my site during the actual move, I doubt if you would have known. Now, the one interesting piece that I have noticed is the amount of spam mail to my email account has been cut to almost nothing. I mean I am talking a drop in spam from several hundred messages everyday to about 3-5. I would love it if it would stay that way but I am sure as time goes by, things will change. It also tells me that email spammers don’t actually target individual email accounts as much as they target hosting email servers. Overall, I hope I don’t have to move again anytime soon but we will see what happens. I have one more change coming for the site but I am going to hold off on that one until after the holidays.

Some quick updates – The Trailer

The trailer project continues with a couple of the aluminum storage area bins mounted again. I changed things around and mounted my oil/fluid/spray can rack on the right side wall when you are facing the workbench. The shop rag container went back where it was between the rack just mentioned and the side door. On the other wall, I mounted my helmet and racing suit rack. By doing this it allows me to make full use of the countertop work area that had to be shorted. Underneath the helmet rack and to the side of the tool boxes, I had about 20″ of floor space so I built a storage unit out of a piece of 2×6’s and 1/2 plywood. I came up with a three-sided box, 6 inches high that with the open side facing the rear of the trailer, it allows my car jack to be pushed in. A small strip of wood near the front of the box lets the front wheel go over it and prevents it from rolling back out. On top of this where the 1/2″ plywood is mounted, I used some 1″ inch wood to frame out a location for the two jackstands. A short piece of chain and a quick connect keeps the jackstands in place. To the left of this, I mounted a piece of 2″ PVC pipe about 25″ long using a PVC cap along with a bolt, washer and nut arrangement. This is for holding the jack handle. I painted the box with some of the same grey paint that I had used on the floor of the trailer and mounted it securely to the floor with a number of wood screws. I now have all of my lifting equipment in one convenient spot. The last thing that I was able to do was get the doors on the one wood floor cabinet that I kept working correctly. I ended up having to replace 3 of the 4 hinges and then put a slide bar clasp on the front to keep the doors closed. I am now in the process of taking some of my bits & pieces that have been in boxes for months on end and putting them away.

The Monza

The Monza is back for some serious updates and the longer it sits here, the longer the list grows. At this point we have built and welded in place new front engine mounts, removed the old side mounts, re-worked and corrected the rear engine/transmission mounts. Next was getting the issues with the steering corrected. When we did the steering last year, there were compromises that we had to accept and those left us with a steering that worked but was not as solid as we liked it to be. Basically, I started over cutting out some of the previous work and coming up with a solution that is much better and cleaner. To get the angle we wanted inside the car and get it connected to the rack and pinion, it requires two u-joints. But to make this better, I incorporated a support joint that is welded to the frame – this removes any side to side play that existed due to the double u-joints. I was also able to provide additional clearance for the new headers that will be built for the new engine. We also have determined that a new rear was on the list and have removed the old 12 bolt in favor of a Ford 9 inch unit. Along with that, disc brakes will be added to the rear. Replacement fiberglass doors are being mounted along with new lexan windows on the sides and rear. A new hood with a different scoop is going on and of course a new paint job. We have also finished re-working the brake lines on the front of the car and are in the process of installing a new shifter cable. The old one was getting really tight and binding up some.

The Camaro

The Camaro in contrast was rather easy – pull out the previous engine and put a new one in. But we also plan on putting the new Wilwood front brake kit in during the off-season. And maybe getting around to color-sanding the paint job which hasn’t been done yet. Anyway, passes on the new engine put us in the solid 5.90 range although we were hoping to be in the 5.75-5.80 area. So far our adjustments to timing and fuel have not netted us any additional ET reduction but it’s always about the combination and we just need to find it for this new motor. We are also discussing moving to a slightly larger tire to try and reduce the RPM level going through the traps. At least this coming season we will be able to spend most of our time with the car refining the combination. That’s a good thing.

The Mustang

The Mustang project is somewhat on hold as parts are being gathered for it. This is a true low-dollar effort but we expect some great runs from it. Craigslist, eBay and the local trader paper are definitely our friends here for good, used pieces. We will put in new stuff where it’s needed but a lot of times a good used part is perfectly fine. Heck, everything is used as soon as you take it out of the box.

The G35

Maybe this year? I sure hope so as mostly all I have done for it lately is to keep the battery charged. It’s made it’s way into the garage a couple of times but it never gets to stay long – there’s always something else that has to be taken care of right away.

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Trailer Project – Round 4

A quick update on the trailer project.

With good weather in the forecast, I was able to make some plans for the trailer and stick to them finally. As I previously mentioned, everything that sits in the trailer has to be placed outside so that I can work on the interior. Then when I am done for the time being, I load it all back in again. So it was everything out and after going through and plugging all of the various holes in the flooring with caulk, a good sweeping and in some cases a little bit of scrubbing, the floor was ready for it’s new coat of paint. Admittedly I did not use the more expensive rollers to paint the walls or floors but let’s call them medium-grade. I think the two of them cost me about $5 total. On the walls, I used one with a lower nap that is intended for smooth surfaces but for the floor, I got the heavier nap so that all of the rough surface area would be well coated with paint. This is after all just your basic 3/4″ sheathing plywood. The paint went on really well and I was happy with the coverage it provided. Front to back and with a heavy coating, the floor took about 2/3 of a gallon. I have enough leftover to coat the ramp door area and for multiple touch-ups.


“As I moved things back into the trailer, I positioned a lot of it along one wall so that I could keep the front work area clear,”


IMG_1194

The air temperature was in the mid 70’s and the drying time for the paint was just about an hour. I let it sit for about 4 hours before walking on it and there was no problems. As I moved things back into the trailer, I positioned a lot of it along one wall so that I could keep the front work area clear, this will allow me to get that area finished up without having to move a lot of stuff around. In that area, I am working on two items. One is getting the pegboard in place and the other is getting all of the new wiring done. I found some short pieces of 1/4 x 2 inch wood that I  mounted for the pegboard to attach to and allow the peg hooks to fit properly. I also pulled new 110v cable in for all of the connections. Taking measurements I needed to cut the pegboard down to 42″x95″ for it to fit correctly. With that done and about 20 sheetrock screws it was in place. Now I have a place for some often used tools and small parts packages. Back to the wiring, with moving the cabinet to the front of the trailer it necessitated re-thinking how the electrical system in the trailer was going to be powered. I ran cable from the breaker box down to make the connection with the box where we plug in the generator power. Then I had to run two circuits from the breaker box to the new switch/outlet box which will control the light over the workbench and feed the rest of the lights and outlets in the trailer. I am using the peel and stick wire molding along with a couple of new outlet boxes. I don’t really trust the sticky side to stay in place, so a few more sheetrock screws on the inside of the molding will keep it where I want it. A double outlet box was mounted on the pegboard and the wiring from the breaker box was cut down to the outlet and switch. From the top of the outlet box the wiring runs up to the workbench light fixture, then over to the side wall and back to the original trailer wiring. With everything connected that finishes the 110v wiring part of the project.

Next on the list is getting the carpeting on the sidewalls and then the forward part of the trailer. I will be using a spray glue on the sidewalls along with some small carpeting staples. The carpeting on the floor will be stapled along the edges to keep it in place and of course I will re-use the aluminum trim strip where the carpeting ends. There are also 1″ angle strips that run along the edges between the walls and floor that keep the sides tidy. I also have some 2″ inch strips of vinyl that will be put at the rear of the trailer where the main door is, these should hold up to the weather better along with covering up some of the areas in the wall where the vinyl covering has come loose. One area that had me stumped for a bit was the lower part of the cabinet and the support box I built for the toolboxes. I think I am going to take a left over scrap of carpet and cover that area to give it a uniform look.

IMG_1193Putting the carpet on the walls required finding a special trim piece to cap the carpet for a finished look. I found this in 8 foot strips at E-trailer.com, and the stuff arrived in a round shipping tube complete with fasteners. I am going to go about 47-48″ up from the floor, make a couple of marks and then run a line of 1″ masking tape to used as a guide for mounting the trim strips straight. The carpet is 12′ wide so I will cut 4′ pieces and glue/staple them in place. I will probably need to come up with another piece of trim to cover where the carpet joins together, unless I get a really nice fit.


That’s about it for this time. I have a bit more to do with getting a couple of the cabinet doors working correctly, putting in the radio/speaker system and figuring out where a few items are going to be located. It’s coming along nicely and I think I will be happy with the finished trailer when it’s done.

 

 

Inspiration is where you find it..

One of my pals on Facebook posted the picture below which has now ended up as the background on my laptop – why? Well inspiration is truly where you find it sometimes. I have been working on so many different things, not including normal work, that my head has simply been spinning. One of the things that I have been trying to work on is to stop my bouncing from one project to another or at least starting another one. Now in theory this makes sense – finish what you start right? Well sometimes we don’t have the funds we need to get something to the point were we want it to be so my preference is to back off until I can make it the way I want. No point in finishing it up and not liking what I did because I am always going to want to go back and re-do it if I don’t like the outcome. So I have been working on is finishing up stuff, whether on a vehicle or around the house. I still have a lot of projects that are not completed but I am making progress, the real issue is stuff that pops up like the RV repairs that I have to make now. That was totally unplanned and means that the time I have to spend on that takes away from getting the other stuff done.

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So back to the picture, why the inspiration? It’s one of the things that has influenced me for a very long time and it’s the way I view things. I have never understood why but another person can look at a simple bolt and nut – and see a bolt and nut. Myself, I see the nut and bolt of course but can those items do something different, something that maybe hasn’t been done before? I’ve needed threads in a flat piece of steel before, the nut and bolt supplied those after a little welding work. Or cut the head off the bolt and I have a stud that I need to mount something where a bolt wouldn’t fit. In the picture, not only does it inspire me to get on with the paint jobs that I need to complete but the simple idea of pulling the wheels, putting the body up high on jacks so you can be more comfortable painting the bottom areas, blocking the bottom with cardboard to keep paint off the bottom of the chassis and the lighting mounted amidships in the shop are all excellent ideas. I see things like using cardboard to mask the car in some areas rather than trying to use paper and tape. If you have ever masked off areas on a car that are open holes basically, you know the pain it can be – the cardboard is just too simple!

Lastly as to inspiration, this picture stays as my laptop background until I get moving on the paint projects I need to complete, mainly so every time I work on my laptop it will be reminding me that those projects are patiently waiting on me.