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

OEM vs Aftermarket: Are Auto Parts Created Equal?

Being in the aftermarket auto parts bizzz, I often find myself verbally battling with guys that are hardcore OEM auto parts only.  They usually say “I only buy OEM auto parts because “aftermarket stuff” never fits, works, lasts, etc.”  They usually have an example of a part that they bought from a local auto part store that didn’t work out for them for whatever reason.  Fair enough, we’ve all been there.  Now, I have absolutely no problem with OEM parts by any means.  In fact, before working for 1A Auto, I was a technician at a Cadillac dealer using all OEM parts.  Needless to say, I’m quite familiar with a wide range of auto parts.  Do bad OEM parts exist?  Absolutely! (Just ask anybody that has owned a Cadillac Catera (Sorry, I had to…))  Do bad aftermarket auto parts exist?  Absolutely.  However, not all auto parts are created equal. So let’s talk about it.

We’ll start our examples with a company that does really exist and everybody knows of them because they make absolutely fantastic suspension products.  I’m leaving the name out because the auto parts that they build are more relevant than their name.  For now, let’s call them “Company X”.   Now, the way I understand it, about 50% of the suspension parts that Company X produces are OEM parts for brand new cars.   Naturally, they also produce extra’s for the car dealer’s to stock in their parts departments.  It would be in an OEM brand name box, but it is actually built by Company X.  When the OEM’s need a part produced, Company X  is given specs by the vehicle manufactures and as you may guess, they build these auto parts to the exact specifications that they are given.  The OEM engineers really only need these parts to last as long as the car’s suspension warranty, without compromising safety or their own brand name in the process.  All the parts function as they are designed to, but long term, some parts are better than others.

The other 50% of the auto parts that Company X produces are what I call “high quality aftermarket auto parts”. They are Company X’s aftermarket brand, built to their own specs, which are vastly improved over the OEM parts (if they need to be).  They find the faults of the original designs and they correct them for their aftermarket brand because Company X wants them to last forever.  Everything is greaseable (as suspension parts should be), and engineered to be better than the OEM’s originally wanted. It may be a visible change in the look, or it may look identical and be internally changed. In some cases the OEM part doesn’t need to be improved upon, and the high quality aftermarket part brand is the same exact part as OEM but without the part numbers marked on them.

On the other hand, there are the cheaper options available out there which I call “low quality aftermarket auto parts”. These are typically the ones that can give “aftermarket parts” as a whole a bad name.  The reason that they are the cheapest price is because they are the cheapest to produce.  Being the cheapest to produce rarely equals the highest quality.  The unfortunate truth to these parts is that you don’t really know if this is the part that you are buying until you attempt to attach it to your car. Before long, you need torches and welders to make it fit, and you need a new one in a few weeks.

Now you can’t talk about OEM vs Aftermarket auto parts without talking about price.  Here’s the way it works.  Since the average consumer can only buy OEM parts through car dealers,  the dealers can charge a premium.  There is typically minimal price differences between dealers because their doesn’t need to be.  They control the flow of OEM parts.  Aftermarket parts are different because you can have multiple manufacturers of similar products.  You can count on all of them being priced less than an OEM part from a dealer, but the quality can vary greatly.  High quality aftermarket parts are priced far less than the dealer, but sold from a variety of different outlets which means competition and a super high quality part at a competitive price.  Then there are the cheap (and I do mean cheap) low quality aftermarket parts.  They will be priced the lowest, and may or may not be what you want when you open the box. “EEEK! What is that!?”

So although my opinion may appear to biased because of my position, I’ll give it to you anyway.  I prefer the high quality aftermarket parts over OEM because I know what goes into them, and the price is right of course.  Want more? Ok, fine. Recently I installed some new ignition coils in my wife’s RX8 as a general maintenance procedure.  I took a few pictures for OEM vs aftermarket comparisons.  The new ones were perfect in  every way, and the RX8 is happier than ever.  (OEM’s are on the left side of the picture, and the 1A Auto coils are on the right.)

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