Should I Buy a Modified Car? Tips to Avoid Buyer’s Remorse

modified car buyer beware

 

Hello, fellow car enthusiasts! Today, I would like to go over some key points for purchasing a lightly modified to heavily modified car. Relieving some of the stresses of these purchases can make for a more entertaining car hunt. This post will be geared towards a turnkey purchase, requiring little work when first purchased. We will also cover purchasing basics.

Take Your Time

When purchasing a modified car, it is key to take the process seriously. When dealing with modified cars of any sort, whether it be a show or a track car, you need to understand what you are buying and what risks may come along with it. Many times, first, second, or third-time purchases can end in disaster. It is very easy to find a car you want, but be aware that it may have flaws. When searching locally, it’s best to be cautious. Letting your desire get the best of you can result in a bad purchase.

Research and Know the Car

Going into a purchase blind is not a good idea and a common mistake. When you do find a car you want, approach it with every question you can think of—really cover everything. A little internet researching can return great results for problems with a certain car, mod, or part. When dealing with a car producing large horse power numbers on a stock rotating assembly and valve train, you should always know what it is capable of. Forums and even performance shop pages and websites list all sorts of reliable information about builds.

Understand the Vehicle’s Current Modifications

People can hide poor work. Wiring nests can be hidden behind dashes, poor engine tuning can wreak havoc, and a bad suspension setup can be dangerous. Have a clear understanding of the modifications done to the car. Sometimes internet listings can stretch the truth or exclude work done. Car enthusiasts do a lot of work at home. This is not a bad thing, some of us are more talented than others and can produce amazing work. When you meet the owner, ask who, where, and when these things were done. These cars can change owners frequently and by the time the current owner has it, sometimes there’s little known information left about the car.

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The Road to a 750HP Home Built 2V Mustang

Hello all you Mustang fans and 2V enthusiasts, I am proud to share a quick breakdown and story of my good friend Daryn’s current 665 horsepower, built, 2V 4.6 Mustang! There is a lot to this build and I would like to cover some of the finer details on what makes this a rock solid build compared to others.

Daryn’s mustang started out, like many relatable projects, relatively stock, and horsepower-by-horsepower reached the end of the factory rotating assembly’s capabilities, hitting failures around the 400-500hp mark. He did not stop there, though, doing an entire rebuild complete with an Eagle 4340 crank, Manley rods, and Wiseco pistons, topped with a set of Trick Flow Twisted Wedge heads. Daryn constructed the engine itself in his own personal garage, sourcing his machine work from Bernie Thayer of Thayer’s Automotive in Hermon, ME. The whole project consumed about 1.5 years. The most difficult part of building this fire-breathing 2V was fitting the 8 rib pulley for the Vortech V7 supercharger.

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Beginner Car Tips You Need to Know

Starting your first car project can be a tall order, even for the smallest of tasks. Here are some tips you’ll wish you knew before you started.

1. Start Small, Take It Slow, and Go One Step at a Time

Project cars take time you don’t have and money you aren’t comfortable spending. If the day comes when you decide to build a purpose built race car or restore a ‘55 Chevy, the budget and time frame you have in mind won’t cut it. It all takes time, patience, and an understanding of your goals.

We’ve all seen ads online of projects being sold by the dozen—“Lost interest;” “No time, could use the money;” “My loss, your gain… need garage space.” The ever-so-common broken dream project that you thought would take one year is now going on its third, and it cost you a small fortune and at least one relationship.

My best advice for a first time project is start small, especially if you have a perfectly good car you want to tear apart. Nothing is worse than partially building a car that ran and drove until you touched it and are now selling it for a fraction of what you purchased it for. Instead, do small bolts-ons or visual modifications, and slowly move towards more time consuming projects. Complete your initial work before deciding to take on a “while I’m in here, might as well” type attitude. When you go down that rabbit hole, you will not come back.

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Formula Drift: The Next King of the True Grassroots-Gone-Mainstream Motorsport

Ryan Tuerck’s Toyota FRS at NHMS
(Ryan Tuerck’s off season Toyota FRS at NHMS during an HIN event)

Drifting is an uprising motorsport that has grown enormously in the past five years – a sport that has made a handful of professional driver’s careers and furthered the reputation of others. Drifting has a large presence within the younger community, bringing regulated off-the-streets motorsports back into a common youth sport. The Formula Drift league has a firm grasp on its media presence, live-streaming current-season events, and threatening to take air time from other cable television motorsports.

You may be wondering why I call this the next true grassroots motorsport. Other basic motorsports, like autocross and drag racing, have always been open to the public; however, taking your car to the next level while feeling like you are competing at a near professional level without large brand funding has never felt farther away, at least until drifting gained traction. The use of mass production chassis and rules on suspension and drivetrain orientation make it seem like the car in your driveway has a chance against the pros’ cars. Don’t let this fool you, though. Major brands still back the budget on those big name, tire-shredding monsters you see on your screen during the season.

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How to Tear Down a VR6 Long Block Engine

This is a 12 valve 2.8L VR6 engine out of a 2001 Volkswagen Jetta. This engine can be particularly complicated to tear down due to the rear engine timing and the need of a few special tools. Having a rear timing camshaft makes for some difficulties when removing the lower timing cover. For this, there are stand adapters for the mounting points to be moved to the side of the engine instead of using transmission mounting points. In this article, we will be using a regular transmission mounting point.

Tools Required:

  • Basic Metric Socket Set
  • Large breaker bar
  • Impact gun for balancer bolt (optional)
  • 5mm Allen key
  • 6mm Allen key
  • 12mm deep triple square socket
  • 10mm triple square socket
  • 27mm Socket (For the timing chain tensioner & harmonic balancer bolt)
  • Dead blow hammer or rubber mallet
  • Permanent marker
  • Plastic zip lock bags of various sizes
  • Flat head screw driver

Step 1: Index, Tag, and Organize the Engine Parts

To start, you want to simply remove all accessories, pulleys, and other pieces to get the engine down to just the long block. Then drain all the fluids.

NOTE: The intake manifold uses a 5mm hex bolt (i.e. Allen head bolt). You will need a 5mm hex socket driver with extension or a long T-handle style hex driver to remove these.

Once your block is reduced to a long block, you are now ready to tear down your engine. Before writing this article I had already reduced this engine to a long block, so all photos were taken after that point.

Before you start unbolting things, most overhead camshaft engines will have a particular order for removing parts. It is not as simple as going from top to bottom. The first step is to get your permanent marker and plastic bags. The most important rule for an engine tear down is to index, bag, and tag everything you remove. This is particularly useful if you plan to re-assemble it in the future. This is also a good time to loosen your crank bolt with an impact gun. Having the resistance of the rotating assembly and valve train will aid in getting that bolt loose.

Step 2: Remove the Valve Cover

The front of the engine will have two long studs, and you will need a deep socket or an open-end wrench to loosen them. These VR6s have the plastic version of the valve cover and can be brittle depending on the engine’s age. Use a soft mallet to tap on corners of the cover in conjunction with plastic pry tools if needed.

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