Electrical Gremlins 101.

Recently I acquired an automotive engine wiring harness that needed some serious love and attention.  The previous owner had apparently stirred the dirty pot of electric gremlins, allowing them to surface from the deepest, darkest bowels of the vehicle.  After seeing it with my own eyes, it became my obligation to write a “how-to” on how to successfully breed automotive electrical gremlins.  The previous owner of this wiring harness had perfected this lost art, and I didn’t want the information to become lost again for all eternity.

Step 1) Use Scotch Locks to splice a few extra inches of wire in.  That’s not what they are intended for but hey if it works, it works.

Step 2) Now solder some frayed wires together with zero flux or penetration.  If possible, just “plop” a dab of solder on the 2 wires, but not too much, this isn’t not meant to hold for more than a few days.

Step 3) Cut open a few important wires, run them through a blender, then leave them open to the elements.  This will allow for sparks, fire, and other forms of excitement.

Step 4) Add T-Taps, lots of them.  The goal here is to damage as many wires as possible, and this will get you well on your way.  Remember that moderation is not a word in your vocabulary.

Step 5) Find a connector that goes to something important, like a Mass Airflow Sensor for example, and cut it off.  Now, ever-so-gently twist the wires back together.  As soon as that is complete, pull them apart again, and lightly twist them back together in the opposite direction.  Don’t bother shrink wrapping them or taping them, it won’t be necessary.

Step 6) Your car won’t run soon anyway, so why not start early by ripping off the fuel injector connectors.  One? Nah, go for 2 or 3, at least.

Step 7) This is the final step so pay very close attention.  Find a ground loop connector, preferably with multiple wires going to it.  Now grab the nearest pair of wire cutters, and cut the entire thing off.  Quickly put the loop in your pocket, and do whatever you need to do to make sure it is never associated with the wiring harness again.

If you want to successfully breed electrical gremlins in your own (or maybe a friend’s car), these are the steps you need to take to complete the process.  Completing every step won’t be necessary because just one of these steps will cause endless hours of enjoyable electrical gremlin chasing.

How To: Replace an Alternator in a Chevy / GMC Truck

Replacing an alternator in a Chevy Silverado Truck (GMC Sierra Truck, Suburban, Yukon, Tahoe) is easier than you may think.  In this video, we show you exactly how it is done so that you can do it yourself and save a bunch of money.  We currently have over 70 how-to videos that you can view on our 1AAuto Youtube Channel.  Everything from headlight and taillight replacements, to door handles, to controls arms and weatherstripping.  Check them out, Subscribe to our youtube channel or add us as a friend, and let us know what you think!

Metal Lathes are The Bees Knees.

Over the weekend, I got to be a part of something extremely awesome that every gearhead needs to check out at some point in life.  I brought a 66 pound round cut of 4130 steel to my brother-in-law so that he could machine it for me.  Hey, that doesn’t sound that cool! I know, relax. Let me explain.

When you think of a metal lathe built in 1942, the first thing that comes to mind is “heavy”, and that is for good reason.  It weighs around 4200 lbs and looks like an absolute man eater, but it has a gentler side as well.  If it were an animal, it would be an agreeable triceratops with a luxurious fur coat.  To give you a little perspective on what 4200 lbs feels like; just imagine the heaviest thing in the world.  This particular lathe is at least 46 times heavier than the heaviest object that you just imagined. Yes, it is that heavy.  The strange thing is that when it is in motion, it looks like smooth rotating perfection.  Everything spins with surgical precision, and all the rotating parts intermingle with each other to create a beautiful symphony of metal cutting goodness.  At the risk of sounding like a wimp (too late?), I found it to be quite soothing to watch.  Then again, I love metal.

Let’s back up the story a bit, because you don’t even know why I’m doing all this work.   I am making (really my brother in law is… :) ) an upper wheel for my English wheel.  I wanted to have the greatest upper wheel in history, but I didn’t want to pay for it because I’m cheap. Thus, I am dead set on making it “myself”.  We started with a round cut of 4130 steel that was about 3.5 inches thick by 9 inches in diameter, and weighed 66 lbs.  The wheel will end up being as big as my English wheel can handle, which is totally awesome.  By the time I am done, I will probably have a few hundred dollars into a really nice set of upper and lower wheels (called anvils).  This sounds like a lot of cash money, but when compared to buying a nice set already built, I am saving hundreds.

In any case, we stuffed the giant hulk of steel into the lathe and got it spinning.  The first thing to do was to face it, because it was apparently last cut with dull rock, an axe, a sledge hammer, or a maybe a grenade.  “Rough” was the nicest way to describe it.  Several hours pass and the face of the metal was like a mirror, absolutely flawless.  Then we began on the outside of the wheel, which was apparently cut with the same prehistoric tools.  Shortly into this cut, the cutting insert that we were using became dull, and we had run out of spares.   So, we wrapped things up and made a game plan for Metal Day 2, which will take place in a few weeks.

If you’re a gearhead and ever have the opportunity to hang out in a machine shop, be sure to jump at the chance, because you may enjoy it more than you think.  There is something oddly intriguing about giant machinery that effortlessly rips metal apart.  Maybe I am alone here, but this stuff gets the adrenaline going for me.  Just remember that if you don’t respect the agreeable & furry triceratops, he will gobble you up before you can say “Cool Lathe!”.

Seriously. Just Throw Your Clothes Away.

A long day of wrenching....

Once in a while at the end of the day, instead of washing my clothes, I just throw them right in the trash….because there is just no saving them….

Let’s slow it down and start at the beginning. You have a big day planned with your project car, and you will finally make some long awaited progress on it. You buy all the supplies you will need and come up with a game plan for a full day of activities. After much anticipation, the day finally arrives and it is now “go time”. You wake up before the sun rises, and you throw on some “work clothes”. Your “work clothes” were your good clothes last week, but you ruined them “just checking something real quick” under the car. You forget to eat breakfast because you are on an automotive mission and can’t be bothered. There is definitely no time for food, drinks, or banter of any kind, because it is Saturday and it is going to be intense. » Continue reading more of this post…

Colorado Speed Supercharged LS7 Drift Truck

coloradorendering

The guys at Hitman Hotrods and MBRP Inc. are building what appears to be the most awesome Chevy Colorado known to mankind.   As if tubbing and caging a basically new 2007 Chevy Canyon wasn’t cool enough, they went ahead and stuck a supercharged LS7 in it, backed by a T-56 6-speed.  Drool. Multipurpose racing with 1000 horsepower is the intention, and they appear to be on the right track.  Let’s see how it performs on the 1AAuto Blog Pure Awesomeness list:

- LS7 engine that has no business under the hood? Check!
- 1000 horsepower? Check!
- Manual transmission? Check!
- 10 second quarter mile times? Check!
- Massive front AND rear tires? Check!
- 6 (yes 6) Brake Calipers? Check!
- The stance of absolute perfection? Check!
- Ability to scare people with the engine off? Check!

Hate your Automatic Transmission? Swap it to a Manual!

Each day of the week, you shift your car from “P” into “D”, feel the thud of your tired automatic, and cringe at the thought of letting a car shift for you.  When you originally bought the car, you thought the automatic would suffice, but you’re an automotive enthusiast for god sakes, and driving an automatic just isn’t the same as ripping through gears at an rpm of your own choosing.   I too was once in your shoes, and I have shared in your daily suffering.  Don’t worry, you are not alone.

It began when I noticed an ominous amount of written warnings from the local law enforcement accumulating on my refrigerator.  Obviously not my fault though; it was due to my car being far too enjoyable to drive, and thus not allowing anything but spirited driving.  Bottom line: I needed something slow(er) and boring looking, which is where my story really begins.

I hunted around a bit and found myself oddly attracted to the fine lines of a 2000 Mitsubishi Galant.  I can’t explain it, so don’t bother asking, or making fun of me.  The only downfall was that they all came with automatic transmissions.  Ah well I thought, and I bought it anyway. I knew that if it got too boring to drive, I would find a way to get a manual transmission into it.  Well, that boring point came on quicker than expected, and before long transmission parts started arriving at my door.  It turned out that “3G” 2000-05 Mitsubishi Eclipse’s were built on the same platform as “8G” Galants and did come with manual transmissions.

Flash forward a couple of months.  I had run through the 5 speed transmission swap in my head about 1 million times and double checked that I had every part that I would possibly need.   I didn’t want to have the car non-driveable for more than a day. (I also had a bet with a friend that I couldn’t allow myself to lose.)

That special Saturday finally arrived, and as crazy as it sounds, the swap was as easy as removing all the old stuff and bolting in the new stuff.  It was smooth, and trouble free, likely due to my obsessive planning.  By the end of my 8 hour non-stop wrench-fest, the swap was complete.  Overall, I couldn’t be happier with it.  Not only did my love for my daily driver improve 10x over, but I gained 5 mpg!  Did I win the bet you ask? Well, I claimed that I could perform the swap in 4 hours, and my friend said 1 full weekend.  8 hours solidified the tie. Ah well.

How-to: Replace an S10 Truck or Blazer Door Handle

For those of you that like to handle your own automotive work, or if you want to try it out for the first time, 1AAuto is here to help.  In our videos we guide you through the entire process of replacing a part.  In this case, we show how to replace an S10 Truck Door Handle (which is the same as a Chevy Blazer & GMC Jimmy).  With this video, you also get the door panel removal, so if you want to replace your speakers, or anything else behind the door panel, you are half way there!  If S10′s aren’t your thing, we have 40+ other how-to videos that may be of assistance, and we are adding more every day! You can see them all on our 1AAuto Youtube Channel.

Let us know what you think!

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