Around 5 years ago, we had a very “early” edition of the 1A Auto Blog. It wasn’t nearly as fancy as the work of art that you are reading today (wink-wink), but it did have some really great content on it. Unfortunately during the update from the old “Nutts and Bolts Car Blog” to the amazingly awesome “1A Auto Blog”, some content didn’t quite make it all the way over. Luckily, I saved it all! Over time, I have posted a few things from these archives, but today I am sharing quite possibly my favorite post that has ever been on the 1A Auto Blog. It isn’t just a post though. It is a 4 part story written by Janice Green, about a very special 1966 Pontiac GTO. So, I will roll out 1 part per day for the next 4 days. You’ll want to grab a coffee and a comfy chair for this one, it’s quite an incredible true story.
“I should have known what to expect when Merle told me that he had been reading General Motors (GM)/Pontiac literature since he was sixteen years old. I should have known when parting with the 1940 Chevy, which he had tinkered with and driven around the field behind his childhood home throughout adolescence, all but drew tears. I should have known when I was closing out my savings account during the second half of my senior year in college in order to help my then fiancé make a down payment on a bright Montero Red, 1966 GTO convertible. Later, I should have known every time I belted kids into my station wagon in order to trek out into the country to follow some derelict Pontiac home. I should have known when we sold my station wagon, and I began driving my kids around in a 1966 GTO hardtop. I should have known. » Continue reading more of this post…
When you rebuild a carburetor that hasn’t been used in a long while, the jets are guaranteed to be clogged up. There are tools that you can buy to pick all of the crusty nougat out of the microscopic holes, but I have a different method that works terrific. First, I like to disassemble the entire carb and dunk all of the parts into a bucket of carburetor cleaner. They sell these cleaning buckets at nearly every local auto parts store, and most have trays inside so that you don’t have to fish your hands inside to grab the parts out. Once the carburetor soaks for about a day, I begin attacking all of those clogged up jets and orifices. Now, as I mentioned before, we all could buy the proper tools intended for doing this, but my quicky carburetor rebuild tip is to use steel guitar string. It is filthy-dirty-stinkin’ cheap, somebody you know probably has some that they will give you, and it comes in fairly awesome lengths and sizes. I know absolutely zero about guitars, but I do know that the smallest “normal” guitar string easily cleans out carburetor jets. It is firm enough that it won’t bend if you push it, and flexible enough to go around gentle curves in the carb. The only thing you have to watch out for is getting speared by it. It’s basically the size of a needle, so pushing on the end of it will go right through your skin like it isn’t even there. Like every tool in your tool box, you need to fear it. If you do, it will last forever, and reward you with an awesome running carbureted engine.
Got carburetor rebuild tips, hints, or tricks? Share them with us!
Recently I was perusing my favorite car blogs and said to myself “hey pal, reading these blogs is a real breath of garage-fresh air, maybe I should write a 1A Blog post about how awesome some of these other car blogs are! Yeeeaa buddy!” So today, that’s my game plan. After all, when somebody shows you a great automotive blog, it’s like getting a free subscription to a totally sweet magazine, and you can even talk to the people that write it (most of the time at least)! I guess the internet is not just for lolcats anymore! Now where was I? Ah yes! Gearhead blogs! Some of these auto-car-motorcycle-welding-racing-fabrication blogs are more “main stream” you might say, than the others. However! They all provide me with hours of pure, indulgent, gearhead entertainment in the form of knowledge and eye candy. So it’s only right that I share them. Are you ready? Are you all amp’ed up yet? I bet you are, you little rascal. Without further adieu, here are my personal Top 11 favorite and most frequented gearhead blogs, in no particular order…
Just A Car Geek
There was once a time in my life when I believed that I knew a lot about cars. That was right before I began religiously reading the Just A Car Geek Blog. I quickly learned that there were a metric crap-ton of cars out there that I had never even heard of. Since I began reading JACG, my interest and knowledge of foreign cars has grown exponentially. More often than not these days, I find myself pondering if I really do need a 1960’s Simca or a Reliant Scimitar GTE in my life? Maybe I do, err…then again, maybe I better not. Dave, the guy that runs Just A Car Geek, is a fantastically smart and entertaining writer and you should most definitely sign up for his email feed. I guarantee that within a couple weeks, you too will be craving oddball foreign motahs (say it with a British accent) more than ever before! I pinky swear.
Just A Car Guy
Although it is a similar name and acronym to the above auto blog, the Just A Car Guy blog is very different, yet equally awesome. This car blog is like a massive museum of fascinating mechanical greatness. I can’t even begin to imagine where Jesse finds the photography that he posts up, but it is an endless supply of everything that you have ever wanted to stare at (okay, almost everything). There are beautiful photos of classic motorcycles, hotrods, trains, planes and just plain everything with wheels. Jesse also often has fresh pictures from major gearhead events that you can only dream of attending. That means that like me, you can live vicariously through him and his photography. Does life get any better? Unlikely. Be sure to click through the different categories on the right side of the Just A Car Guy Blog page. Be careful though, I have been known to get sucked in deep and lose multiple hours at a time. It’s addictive! Go there now. Thank me later.
Silodrome is one of the cleanest
blogs websites that I have ever witnessed, and I’m sure that you will wholeheartedly agree. It is filled with truly outstanding vehicle photography, amazingly thorough and interesting articles, and wildly talented writing. Vintage motorcycles are the primary subject, though there are plenty of cars, planes, boats and car enthusiast gear to go along with them. James, Luke, Benjamin(?) and their crew are great people, and deserve more internet traffic than I could ever provide them with. If you are a gearhead, you are already a fan of Silodrome. Trust me. Don’t even bother wiping the bugs from your goggles or the grease from your hands; just grab your leather jacket, and roll there now, do not walk. It’s better than human words can describe.
If you are a car-guy, you already know what Hemmings Motor News is. If you don’t, you need to hit a local book store or library immediately. Yes, I’m talking about the big brick building in the center of town, with the shelved rectangle things inside. Maybe you have seen them in your grandparents house? No? Anyways, not only does Hemmings publish outstanding books and an absolutely legendary monthly magazine, but they also have a classic car blog that will remind you of how much you love your project car. Their blog is always filled with educational history lessons, dreamy barn finds, and the rarest of rare collector cars. They have quite a few writers that passionately contribute to the automotive cause, and each one of them seems to have their own niche. This always makes for a fantastic automotive cornucopia to feast on. They also have a newsletter that you can sign up for so that you never miss out on the newest Hemmings Blog updates.
Much like Hemmings Motor News, the Eastwood company is a staple for every do-it-yourself’er that is knee deep in an auto restoration. Without them, you likely wouldn’t have half of the cool restoration tools and supplies in your shed, garage and basement. Their blog is unique in the fact that it is written by their employees, many of which have ongoing projects that you can follow along with. Not only that, but you also get to see how Eastwood products actually work in real life. For me, that’s a big deal because I don’t often read the directions on the can, but I do like to know how to use the products. Between ongoing Volkswagen and B-Series hotrod Dodge truck projects, it’s a place that you will want to frequent regularly.
Ah yes, Hooniverse. Something about the name of this automotive blog make me feel like I’m saying a swear, even though I know that I’m not. I like that. Go ahead, say it yourself out loud – Hooniverse, Hooniverse, Hooniverse. It sounds wrong, but oh-so-right. Am I right? Well, not only is the name of this car blog entertaining, but the content is too. See, Hooniverse is comprised of an enthusiastic bunch of real-deal car people that truly love writing about the strange and exciting automotive universe. You’ll find automotive news and reviews, plenty of 24 hour of lemons coverage, and then there are times when they post treasures found in the junkyard. No matter what it is though, it’s always a great read! Most of these blogs that I’m sharing with you today have RSS feeds that you should sign up for as well, Hooniverse is no exception.
Okay, Speedhunters is flat out hot stuff. You will likely not find more vibrant and exciting automotive photography anywhere on the internet (other than a couple of the other blogs mentioned here). Speedhunters has automotive photography totally locked down, double stamped, and Vise-Grip’ed in the winners circle my opinion. As you can logically gather from the name, it is primarily focused on cars that go fast, or at least look fast. I’d also say that it tends to lean heavier on the import vehicle scene, though you will occasionally find some sexy hot rods, lead sleds and customs peppered into the mix. The written content on Speedhunters is always highly professional, and highly detailed. You rarely, if ever, walk away with additional questions about the cars that they feature. In fact, if you are like me, you may end up reading the articles a few times to make sure that you took it all in. Needless to say, if you enjoy going fast or looking fast, Speedhunters is a great place to hang. Oh, and they also have free desktop wallpaper that will change your life. Go. Now.
The CarGurus Blog has the automotive news that you don’t see on every other automotive blog out there. I can always find a plethora of posts about interesting new automotive technology, and fancy new concepts that I haven’t seen elsewhere. Being a website primarily focused on buying and selling cars, there is also a ton of great information about doing exactly that. I’m not talking about sales pitches either, I’m talking about real clever sales ideas that an actual gearhead can put to use in their own driveway. You do like buying cars cheap and selling them for maximum cash right? Check. It. Out.
There isn’t a car enthusiast on earth that doesn’t love a great build thread. I mean, I literally join forums just to stalk other peoples build threads. Is that wrong? Maybe. The Build Thread blog is entirely … you guessed it! BUILD THREADS! Awesome automotive projects are submitted by people like you and I, and the best ones are featured on the site. It may be a build thread on a drift truck, a stanced Datsun, a supercharged hotrod, or a full out drag car, there is absolutely no limit. If it is an addictive or elaborate build thread, you’ll probably see it featured here. I cannot get enough of this place. Seriously.
Everybody has heard of Autoblog because it’s sort of the go-to for breaking automotive news. I personally like it because since they are an authority in the automotive world, so they often get to test new cars and give real world opinions on them. They also have crazy amounts of spy shots as well, which is something I will never have the sneakiness or photographic skills to do. As you can imagine, the writing is top notch in professionalism, and the photography is crisp magazine-quality. Reading AutoBlog makes me feel more adult and professional than I really am (shhh!), and real journalism makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. Whenever I wrap up a good Autoblog article, I have learned a lot about cars, the people that drive them, and how to be a better writer.
Jalopnik is another that you probably already read because it’s chock full of great stuff. It is sort of like Autoblog (Gasp!), but more relaxed, with slicked back hair, and a package of cigs rolled up in its tight sleeve. While it is always filled with terrific automotive news coverage, ridiculous for sale ads, videos, car racing, and everything in between, Jalopnik has been known to ruffle some feathers with their stories from time to time. One of the best parts about Jalopnik is its fan base. It’s comprised of enthusiasts like us, who comment on the articles, and take it all to the next level of knowledge and sarcasm, both of which I appreciate thoroughly. For several years now, it has been one of my go-to automotive blogs to give me my mechanical fix on a wintery day. If you aren’t already reading it, check it out, and I recommend “blog view” at the top of the page. It is a spectacular car blog as long as you can take a joke, and if you like the 1A Blog, you will probably enjoy Jalopnik as well!
So there it is, my official top 11 list of car blogs worth reading, other than the 1A Blog of course. You don’t have to check them out now, but I recommend that you do visit them at some point in the near future. I grab inspiration regularly from each and every one of them. Hopefully some of the extraordinary talent that the writers of these car blogs have will rub off on me some day. If you know of any other great blogs for gearheads, leave a comment and tell us why it’s so great.
Until next time…
It’s a known fact that working on cars can instantly turn good intentions into horrifying mistakes. You know, like when you snap a piece off of your plastic radiator by accident, when you spend an entire day failing at everything, or when you light yourself on fire. Yes, it’s times like these when you just want to roll your entire tool box into a giant smelting-hot volcano. Within minutes, your arsenal of tools collected over decades would be nothing but a gooey ball of liquid hot magma. Then you would never have to touch a stupid wrench again. Sadly, most of us don’t live near a liquid hot magma filled volcano, and if we did, we wouldn’t have the strength to push a tool box to the summit. So, we are forced to find viable solutions to these horrific mistakes as we wrench our way into the sunset.
This brings me to bleeder screws. OMG! But how?! Well, I am fairly certain that bleeder screws are the leading cause of the current economic crisis, 98% of failed marriages, and the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. Bottom line, bleeders are a black hole of happiness, and they will crush your soul. The reason for this is simple. They are made of steel, which rusts, and breaks off when you desperately need it. Every. Single. Stupid. Time. Okay, fine! To be fair, it’s more of a rust thing. It isn’t the bleeder’s fault that it rusts itself solid and becomes one with the caliper. It’s the damp weather, neglect, and road salt. LOTS of road salt. Mix iron, aluminum, salt, and time together and you have a simple recipe that encourages you to push your tools into the tar pit full of Woolly Mammoths.
That being said, there is apparently a new god-like solution to rusty bleeder screws that I found on YouTube. A solution so great that Zeus himself would rub his chin with his hand, lean back, and with Shawn Connery’s voice declare “Not bad“! It’s called the “Phoenix System 4001 Brake Free”, and it may be the best $40-ish bucks that you ever spend if it works as well as it appears to in the video. If not, then you can write your favorite offensive word on it, and then heave it into the nearest river for satisfaction.
Here is the way it apparently works:
– You insert this tool into the business end of an air hammer.
– You then slide the bleeder-screw-sized impact socket onto the end of the tool.
– Place the air hammer and “Brake Free” tool onto the potentially (always) stuck, rusty bleeder screw.
– Crank up the air hammer, and then spin the “Brake Free” with a 3/4 wrench.
– BAM! The bleeder spins out without any danger, swearing, or hassle. Life is great am I right?
Now, the guy that made this video is a regular car-guy that makes videos as he works on cars. I’ve never met him, but he makes a fairly entertaining video for sure. I can’t speak for him, but I know I’m not getting paid by the tool maker to show it off. Mine is set to arrive in the mail today, so I will be sure to report back my own results, whether they are good or bad. If you decide that you are convinced by the video already, like I was, then you can buy your own over on SummitRacing.com like I did. That also happens to be where I borrowed the above image from. Anyway, as you can see in the video, the guy takes a VW brake setup from his back yard after it had been sitting ~20 years, and with the help of this tool, he pops the bleeder free on the first try. The whole thing makes no sense, and yet makes perfect sense. It is an automotive emotional roller coaster that I don’t want to end. Does it really work? Is it a scam? I will let you know in the very near future. Looks like I’ll need to find a sacrificial caliper for the cause…
Can’t see the video? Here is the Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RMVV51gyoPU
That’s exactly what happenend to a guy named Jeff in Stockbridge Massachusetts about a year ago. He built himself a dream garage in 2005 to store and wrench on his own cars, and last year his neighbors decided that they weren’t having it. They were upset that he had so many friends with “high end” cars visiting his house. They then had the town slap a cease and desist order on him. Obviously Jeff & his friends knew how completely unreasonable his neighbors were being, and he wasn’t going out without a fight. » Continue reading more of this post…
I bought some new thread sealant recently, the same brand that I have been buying forever, because it is genuinely a really great product. I popped the cap off, poked a hole in the seal, and started squeezing with expectations of thread sealant coming out. Then I squeezed some more. hmm. Still nothing. More squeezing occurred along with more squeezing, and I still didn’t have any thread sealant. Finally when I got to the 50% flat point on the tube, I was met with what I had yearned for – new thread sealant. Then I started thinking – “Oh my god, this tube is almost empty already, and I haven’t even used it yet! I should go buy more!” Alas, I had been duped! Or had I? » Continue reading more of this post…
There are two states in the country that come to mind when you talk about extraordinarily strict vehicle safety and emissions inspections, California and Massachusetts. I have never been to California, but I have had the pleasure of living in Massachusetts my entire life. This means that I have always had my cars
failed tested for emissions, and a variety of other interesting laws. I have also had the distinct honor of being a Massachusetts state vehicle inspector, so I am quite familiar with the rules. Today, I wanted to cover a few things that may be helpful to you or possibly even entertaining to talk about. » Continue reading more of this post… |