From the Darkness: Honda Hawk GT NT650 Motorcycle Project

Over the past weekend, I pulled my motorcycle out of its multi-year outdoor / indoor hibernation, and it was not a pretty site. The once shiny motorcycle was corroded, rusty, and covered in dirt and debris. It was down right neglected. The sad truth is that this isn’t the first time that this bike was in such rough shape. I guess I shouldn’t have treated it like I did.

Throughout my entire youth I had worked on and ridden dirt bikes, so I had a fairly good idea of how to ride (and crash) on two wheels. It was some of the most fun that I have ever had, but ultimately, four wheeled vehicles were really where my heart was at. The feeling of sliding two rear tires down the street closed course, is just unmatched. However, about 9 years ago, all of my friends had bought motorcycles, and I didn’t want to be left out of the fun. It was peer pressure I guess. At the time, I didn’t know which kind of bike I wanted, but I knew it had to be custom and unique, because stock is boring. After some research, a bizarre series of events, and a fair share of good luck, I ended up purchasing a basket case motorcycle project off eBay. It was missing the gas tank, seat, rear cowl, subframe, exhaust system, and misc other stuff. Unlike my family and friends, I could see the hidden potential for greatness behind all of those missing parts. After all, it was a 1988 Honda Hawk GT NT650, which was a unique bike in stock form. Once customized, it could really be spectacular. For those of you that are unfamiliar, this bike is somewhat rare and odd in a variety of ways. It was designed with a V-twin engine, single sided swing arm, and a very short wheelbase. They were only made between 1988 and 1991, but many riders believe that they were way ahead of their time.

The first step in the resurrection process was attaining & building parts that it was missing. Over the course of a few weeks, I acquired the necessities, and built the rest out of fiberglass, steel, aluminum, and spare ’64 Chevy Impala parts.  I spent many long, cold, wintery, nights working on my soon-to-be dream bike, and I thoroughly enjoyed every single minute.  It was genuinely relaxing.  Eventually the Viper yellow paint went on with the white pearl stripes and I had completed my bike project, for the time being at least. This is what it looked like.

1988 Honda Hawk GT NT650

I then rode it periodically over the next few years, added a few new things, life took place, and it was stored in a variety of terrible places, including uncovered outside. Yesterday when the bike came out of its latest storage, it was disturbing, disheartening, and discouraging. » Continue reading more of this post…

Did You Know That Molasses Is A Rust Remover?

One of the most old school tricks in the book for rust removal is using molasses. Yep, deliciously sticky molasses. It is just as easy as you would want it to be. You mix it with water for around a 7:1 water to molasses ratio. Then you drop the rusty parts into the bucket o’ goo, and forget about it for a month or so. When you eventually return, you remove your previously rusty metal to find ….viola……rust free metal! How great is that right? Oh….I see…..You want proof….fair enough.  Over on killbillet.com, a member named “2.3Turbo T” recently did a great pictorial of this exact rust removing process.  The best part you ask? He did it to the entire body of his car.

He started with a relatively complete ’27 T roadster body.

27 Roadster Body

He then completely disassembled it. » Continue reading more of this post…

Projects & Builds: A BMW E30 4G63 6-Speed Drag Car Build.

Volkswagen owners are typically quite dedicated to their brand. Getting them to switch brands is usually tough, and often impossible.  Matt A. is clearly not a typical VW owner though, because, he didn’t seem to think twice about it.  Maybe it was all of the fire that made his decision easier….

Fire VW

Anyway…. one day a few years ago, Matt noticed a 1987 BMW 325i sitting at a friends shop.  It had been there quite a while and the owner of it didn’t seem too enthusiastic about fixing its mysterious electrical problem.   Matt inquired about it, and bought it with a devilish 4G63-inspired plan in mind. » Continue reading more of this post…

So You Want To Plow With Your Trailer Hitch…..

You have a Jeep Gran Cherokee with a trailer hitch, a mini-winch, an old plow, a sawzall & a welder.  Hmmmmm…..

Hydraulic Clutches Are Just Better, So I Swapped It.

Sometimes vehicles are just not made the way that you want them to be, so you are forced to take matters into your own hands and correct it.  Today’s blog is one of those situations.  See, my truck came with a cable actuated clutch, which works absolutely great for a stock clutch.  Unfortunately, I inserted Frankenstein into the equation and ruined all chances of clutch cable survival.  To be honest, I feel like all clutches should be hydraulically actuated. I know, I know, mustangs are yadda yadda, and they work fine. I know, it’s just my opinion.  Anyway, the firewall of my truck was not up for the challenge of a cable pushing harder than normal on it.  The truck is likely made from recycled beer cans (sometimes the truth hurts), and would have destroyed itself if I had used it that way much longer.  Not to mention, my left leg was getting an unnecessary workout, which made driving in traffic miserable.  I knew that there was a better way – hydraulics.

I started by commandeering a hydraulic clutch system from an early 1980′s Dodge Ram turbo diesel (yes, they really existed).  This pile of parts included a bell housing cutout that would need to be hacked into my non-hydraulic bell housing.  Cool right?

I knew that the only way to keep ambition high all day was to start off with easy stuff.  Naturally installing the clutch pedal and clutch master cylinder was the first step.  The cool thing about this was that the firewall already had a spot for the clutch master cylinder to be mounted because the V6 models came with hydraulic clutches. Sweeeeeet Action!!  Some drilling, grinding, and bending happened, and Poof!  It was done.

Next up was the transmission itself.  I pulled the transmission out, and chased it around with a sawzall and a cut-off wheel.  The TIG welder made a brief appearance on the scene, and then two pieces of aluminum became one.  It was as if it was meant to be.   The next issue was that factory 2.0L KM132 transmission didn’t have a spot for a pivot ball to be mounted.  Uh Oh…. Luckily I had some old 2.6L transmissions hanging around waiting to be stripped of their valuable parts.  Off came the front case that can be seen in this picture, some grinding ensued, and VIOLA!  Pivot ball in place  Hydraulic lines were plumbed, and fluids were topped off.  Time to celebrate? Nah.

Once wrapped up, the clutch felt better than ever before.  The pedal was about 100x easier to push down, it engaged and disengaged perfectly, and sure enough, the firewall no longer flexes at all.  I will officially declare this as the 2nd best upgrade that has been done to the truck.  The only thing that it falls behind is the engine swap itself.

Chalkboard Paint, Please Say Hello To Hyundai Tiburon.

On the day before Thanksgiving 2010, the 1A Auto Blog obviously needed something really clever.  I knew that there was really only 1 option….

Meet Todd’s car.  It’s a 2003 Hyundai Tiburon. Pretty clean right?

» Continue reading more of this post…

Car Projects: Do You Have a Frankenstein Too?

July 2010_1

Over the past weekend, while making a new alternator mount for my truck on the wrong side of the engine, I began thinking ….. just how many vehicles have donated parts to this Ram 50 truck project?  Hmmm, maybe I will start a list?

The Truck:

1989 Dodge Ram 50 macro cab.

The vehicles that have donated to the truck & their donations:

1983? Mitsubishi Mightymax Bellhousing Cut-out, Clutch Fork, Pivot Ball, Slave Cylinder, Clutch Master Cylinder
1985 Mitsubishi Montero Limited Slip Differential
1986? Mitsubishi Starion Transmission Tail Section & Shifter
1987 Dodge Ram 50 5-Speed Manual Transmission & Manual Steering Box
1990 Mitsubishi Eclipse Ignition Coil
1991 Plymouth Laser AWD 4G63 2.0L Turbo Engine
1991 Mitsubishi Eclipse 2.0L Front Wheel Drive Flywheel & Pressure Plate
1991 Mitsubishi Mightymax 2.4L Waterpump (modified)
1992 Mitsubishi Eclipse 1.8L Thermostat Housing Cap
1993 Honda Accord Wagon Bucket Seats.
1993-96 Mitsubishi Mightymax Grille & Front Bumper
2002 Dodge Viper Front/Rear Brake Calipers, 13″ Rear Rotors, Brake Master Cylinder
2005 Cadillac CTS-V Front Cross Drill Rotors
2006 Mitsubishi Evolution 16G Turbo, Exhaust Manifold & Intercooler
2007 Cadillac Escalade 18″ Wheels

Got A Frankenstein’ed car or truck?  I want to know about it!  Post a Comment or Send Pictures & Info to me at blog@1aauto.com

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