“I don’t own the proper tool to replace control arm bushings. Flat out. I don’t have one.” Ok, now that we have that statement out of the way, I’d like you to know that it hasn’t stopped me from replacing them anyway. It is just 47,000 times harder and requires a:
- Serious vice (now damaged)
- Large hammer
- Air chisel
- Variety of hand chisels & punches
- A Sawzall with a new blade
- Every ounce of strength that you can call upon
Once you have all of these items gathered, just forget about doing this job, because it is stupid. Seriously, just go buy, rent, borrow, or steal the right tool for the job. You will be happier because it took zero time, you’ll have less injuries, and your vice will still work.
/ Public Service Announcement,
– Your Friends At The 1A Blog.
Remember the RX8 that I have that doesn’t move in the winter? Well, it totally makes up for all of that in the summer months, until I break it. Well, I didn’t really break it, it broke itself first, then…oh fine, I will just start at the beginning.
Last Monday, I was sitting in a parking lot with some icy cold A/C pumping full blast on my face. It was rather nice considering there was 1 million percent humidity hugging the outside of the vehicle. I then begin smelling the succulent smell of antifreeze. “Oh Noes!” I exclaimed. (So what, I’m dramatic, don’t judge.) I hopped out of the race car into the sweltering heat, and found antifreeze fire hose’ing itself out of a crack in the coolant overflow bottle. Terrific, I thought, this is just what I was hoping to fix after my truck’s recent shenanigans. So there I sat, helpless, because honestly there isn’t much that you can do when this happens except for catching what you can with rags and hoping it stops before the engine is totally empty.
That night I hopped on the internet and searched around for a new coolant overflow bottle. Much to my chagrin, my only option was to buy the exact same crappy, crack-prone overflow bottle from the dealer that had failed me in just 50K easy miles. Great. Not only was I now planning for failure in the future, but I also got to pay top dollar for it. Reluctantly, out came the wallet.
On the following Saturday morning I had the bottle in my hands, and I had just gotten up early so that my wife and I could use her car again. I popped the hood and began removing the items that were surrounding the old overflow bottle. I removed the two 10mm nuts on the top and gently pulled on it so that I could get a look at where my pliers needed to sneak into (one hose clamp is buried deep). SNAP! is what I got in return. My heart then entered my stomachular regions and I had sealed my fate for the next 24 hours minimum. That’s right, I had just snapped the plastic tube off the top of the plastic end-tanked radiator.
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Many of the guys here at 1A have a project of some sort that they are working on. “1ADan” is no exception, and he is racing to get it drivable for our car show on July 31st. That’s still 30 days away though, what could possibly be so hard? Well…. if you want the full story, you can check out his entire build thread on thirdgen.org. If you want the cliff notes, you are in the right place. » Continue reading more of this post…
The other day, our very own Scott Young was needing to remove some fancy factory striping on his 1985 Pontiac Fiero GT. Why? Well, it’s a long and complicated story. Let’s just say that he and I swapped his car from a notch back to a fast back, and we replaced a few lower body panels at the same time. Some panels had stripes, others didn’t, and it looked completely ridiculous. As much as I love stripes, even I knew they had to go. However, I also knew the dangers of removing stripes with heat and a razor blade. I have a nasty scar on my finger to prove it. 11 years later and I still cringe thinking about that hospital trip. LUCKILY! Scott found a much, much better way of handling this task than I did so many years ago. » Continue reading more of this post…
Last week I wrote about how I broke the KM132 transmission in my truck. Luckily for me, I am an auto parts hoarder, and had a couple spare KM132 transmissions “just in case”. My life isn’t as easy as pulling the old transmission out and slapping a spare one in though because the one in my truck was fairly heavily customized. Not only that, but the spare KM132’s I had were intended for a wide block…. You know what, let’s back up the train a bit. » Continue reading more of this post…
The other day I was doing a bit of “spirited” driving in my truck. While in the process of doing a rolling burnout, a slight bit o’ mayhem found its way into my transmission. It drove & shifted perfectly fine, and I didn’t even notice an issue until I was done driving. I dropped the transmission into neutral and heard “WHHIIIIIRRRRRRRR” whenever I let the clutch pedal up. When I pushed the clutch pedal back down, the input shaft on the transmission would slow down, stop, and the sound would go away. So right off the bat I knew it was input shaft related, probably a bearing. Sadly, my guess was wrong.
The first step was to pull the already Frankenstein’ed KM132 transmission out, and toss it up on the work bench. Tada! Some time ago, I decided that I needed a hydraulically activated clutch, so I cut out the bottom section of the ’87 2.0L bell housing and welded in a portion of a bell housing from a 1983 (?) Dodge Ram 50 Turbo diesel 4wd. They had hydraulic clutches, and my cable clutch transmission was very similar in size and shape, so it was the obvious choice. It was by far, one of the best upgrades I have done. The back half of the transmission is from a Mitsubishi Starion because they had the shifter about 3″ further back than the Dodge Ram 50’s did. Since my 4G63 turbo engine swap just so happened to be about 3″ forward from the stock engine location, this tail section put my shifter right where it was intended to be.
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In New England, rust free cars don’t exist. When you buy an old car, a “solid body” means that it will only need doors, fenders, floors, and quarters. Replacing sheetmetal is just a way of life for us. So when car enthusiasts up here see a car for sale that still has good original floors in it, for cheap cash, it sends us into a panic. That is exactly what happened to me this last weekend, and it reminded me of the two most important rules to being a proper gearhead:
1) Buy now, think later.
2) Always….. ALWAYS…. keep an extra spot in your yard just in case you need to bring some rolling stock home on a whim.
I failed hard on both accounts, and can only blame my own procrastination & cheapness. » Continue reading more of this post…