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!

Under Construction: 1972 Chevy Nova

About 10-12 years ago, my friend Jason had wanted a car that he could drive fast and frighten people with. After some car-hunting with his muscle car fanatic friends, he ended up with a non-running 1972 Chevy Nova. It’s engine was junk, but the body was all one color and it still had a little bit of shine to it. So he picked it up for a good price, and started wrenching. He built himself a reliable 350(ish) horsepower small block Chevy to put in it, a TH350 transmission, and a Posi rear end. He then drove the car like he hated it, making sure to leave two rubber stripes on the pavement at every opportunity.  Over time, priorities in life changed, and his once potent, transmission eating, hell-ride ended up in a derelict state for several years in his parents driveway.  Typical automotive tale right?

Fast forward a few years, and he bought a house of his own. The Nova was transported gingerly from the forgotten driveway to it’s new home in a heated garage with all the equipment to bring it back to life.  The bubbling vinyl roof was removed immediately so that we could view the holes that we knew were hiding underneath. We also knew that the quarter panels had been replaced by the previous owner, but we didn’t realize that the right side was doubled up. Yes, a new quarter panel welded right over the original, both of them rotted and packed full of body filler.  The trunk lid and floors were both rotted, the fiberglass cowl hood was cracked, the lower tail panel was not attached, and the front fenders were fixed poorly from a previous accident.

Here is the simplified to-do list:
1) Replace both doors
2) Replace both quarter panels
3) Replace trunk drop downs
4) Fix the hole in the trunk floor that was meant for a fuel cell.
5) Replace the roof skin
6) Replace both front fenders
7) Replace both outer rear wheel houses
8 ) Replace portions of the inner rear wheel houses
9) Make inner and outer rocker panels and install them
10) Fix the 10,000 holes in the firewall, and straight it out
11) Replace tail pan (the metal that holds the tail lights)
12) Replace the rear section of the trunk where the tail pan attaches
13) Replace trunk lid
14) Fix rot holes in rear deck lid area
15) Fix rotted front body mounts
16) Fix hacked floors that I hastily installed one night when I was young and stupid.
17) Clean the underbody
18 ) Replace front subframe
19) Make custom subframe connectors that look like part of the body
20) Fix the rotted SS hood, and use it because it is cool
21) Make custom gauge cluster or convince Jason to use the stock one with supplemental aftermarket gauges.
22) Slam it to the pavement
23) Make new brake lines that are the proper size.
24) Install the all aluminum 6.2L
25) Do a celebration burnout
26) Do another celebration burnout
27) Finally race it against my truck since we made a bet about 9 years ago that I could build a 4 cylinder truck faster than his Nova.

Most sane people would have junked the car long ago, but when you have a personal connection to a specific vehicle, you can’t just give up on it. You put in the work and bring it back to make it better than ever before, and that is precisely what we are doing. It will be straighter, lower, louder, faster, and better engineered. It will be done right, with no exceptions. It it will be powered by an all aluminum, fuel injected 6.2L Escalade engine (L92 I believe?), backed by a built TH400, dropped several inches to tuck the tires, and have a body-filler FREE body.  If things work out right, it may even have some forced induction, but that is still an unknown at this time.

Disclaimer:  Making this post allows me to be accountable for work getting done or not getting done on his car.  If you fail to see updates on a regular basis, please kick me, and we will pick up the pace.  Ideally we want it to move under its own power in 2010.

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