Rat Rods…… Yes.

1930 Chevy Rat Rod 3 Window Coupe

Rat Rods are cool, and I am here to tell you my top 10 reasons why:

1) They are cheap to build – You don’t need rust free metal, so you are often able to put cars back on the road that never would have been restored otherwise.
2) You can build it yourself – It gives you an amazing sense of pride to drive something that you built, and even more when you get a “thumbs up” from a fellow gearhead.
3) Lowered cars and trucks are cooler – That’s just a fact.
4) Raw metal – Unpainted metal is a great way to show off your fabricating skills.
5) Simplicity – These cars work off the bare essentials. Windows, heat, seats and suspension are optional.
6) No Fear – You don’t have to worry about parking your clean car in a grocery store parking lot. If somebody swings their caravan door into it, it doesn’t even matter!
7) Wiring – All you need is power for the ignition coil, alternator, lights, and a horn. That is like 8 wires. Anybody could handle that.
8 ) Typically a two seater – This means you don’t have to cart your friends around all over town. “Can you give us a ride to blah blah somewhere place?…….” “nope sorry, I only have two seats….”
9) Exposed engine – Watching mechanical things move is awesome on every level. There is no denying it.
10) Part availability – All parts that you will ever need can be found in a junk yard, swap meet, home depot, or convenience store.

Picture borrowed from eBay Item number: 18049680146

Favorite Food While Wrenching on Cars?

Imagine it is summer time and you are doing an engine swap with a few friends in the driveway. Lunch time finally arrives, and you need to decide what the perfect food to compliment car-wrenching is.  For me, in the summer, it’s gotta be a delicious home-made cheeseburger.  Heck no, we don’t do frozen pre-made stuff, we have a legit recipe of our own.  Here is an amazing burger that my greasy handed friends and I often devour during a summertime wrench-fest.

Ingredients to make a burger as awesome as ours:
Ground Beef
Jack Daniels Original #7 BBQ Sauce
A-1 Extra Thick Steak Sauce
Land O’ Lakes American Cheese
Martins Potato Rolls
Red Onions
Ketchup

Optional:
Bacon (Let’s be honest, it makes every food better, but its a lot of work.)
Heinz Sweet Relish (I’m the only one that likes it on my burger.)
Marie’s Blue Cheese Dressing (Dip the burger in it, I know, strange…. just try it.)

Instructions to make a delicious burger:
1) In a bowl, combine the beef and some BBQ sauce together. Add BBQ sauce in small portions so that the meat doesn’t lose its ability to hold itself together. You only have one chance to do this right, so take baby steps. Once you overdose the beef with bbq sauce, you fail, because the burger patty falls apart on the grill, leaving you with a bunch of crunchy beef morsels. This is not what we are shooting for.
2) Combine the beef & bbq sauce into ~ 1/4 lb patties. Lay them on a plate with wax paper between layers of patties, that way they don’t stick together.
3) Heat that grill up! Turn it on in advance, and make sure it is hot when the burgers land on it.
4) Drop the burgers onto the hot grill, and let them sit that way until the tops of them start “sweating”. When that begins to happen, flip them. If you flip them early, you burn the outsides, and have a uncooked center. Nobody wants a burnt burger right?
5) IMPORTANT NOTE: Don’t press down on the burgers with the spatula at any point in time. People that do this squeeze all the deliciousness out of them! Sure watching the grill fire flare up is fun, but eating a flavorless, dry, hockey puck is not.
6) When the burger is almost cooked to your liking, dump some A-1 Sauce on it, and then drop the cheese over it. This locks the A-1 steak sauce in with cheesy goodness.
7) Let the cheese melt for a few minutes, and then place the burger onto a potato roll.
8 ) Add diced onions, bacon, relish, ketchup & blue cheese to your liking. I recommend adding the first 4, and then dipping it in blue cheese for the ultimate Nutt’s & Bolt’s Burger.

By no stretch of the imagination is this burger healthy, but it is delicious, and really hits the spot at lunch time after a hard morning’s work.

So what’s your favorite food to eat while wrenching on cars?

Images from:
http://ayahfoods.com/products/_pics/BBQ%20Chicken%20Wings%201kg.jpg
http://www.watchmojo.com/blogs/images/pizza.jpg
http://www.streetsedge.com/images/cheeseburger.jpg

Love It or Hate It: Newer Acura Grilles?

I pulled into the grocery store parking lot the other day and as I parked, I unwillingly came nose to nose with something quite questionable.  Initially I thought that somebody had parked a chromed-out version of the Merrill-Lynch bull in the parking lot.  However, upon further inspection I realized it was just a new Acura with it’s giant bumper and chrome grille.  I thought about moving my truck because I didn’t want to leave it to stare into the Acura’s bulbous nose, but I didn’t want my truck to develop an ego either.  Maybe I am being too harsh on the Acura.  Should I embrace these futuristic beasts for being outside the box, or hate it for being 90% grille & bumper and 10% “rest of the car”?

Do You Love it or Hate it?

Images from:

http://www.Acura.com

http://brandireland.wordpress.com/

If you had this car: What would you do with it?

Over the weekend I came across a vehicle that was clearly built for ultimate world domination.  It is so tough and burly looking that it would likely make Chuck Norris nervous.  I would imagine it was built for delivering mail or something very mundane, but I guarantee that somewhere in it’s exhausted memory, it has some great stories to tell.  It would be impossible to own a vehicle like this and not test its limits (of which there likely aren’t any).

If I were to buy this as an early birthday present to myself, and it wasn’t irreplaceable, I would take it through mud, lots of it.  Not shallow mud, the really nasty deep stuff, at high speeds.  When I am done driving the beast, I would want to have a mud line near my elbows at a minimum.  I want to get home, and have somebody think that the skunk ape just broke into the house.   If I can’t find any mud, I would want to cruise up to a drive-up window with a top hat on like everything is 100% ordinary, and order a delicious iced coffee. Then cruise away leaving the drive-up window people wondering if they just had a really messed up dream.

What would YOU do with it?

Hydraulically Actuated Clutches FTW!

A few weeks ago, I began preparing my truck for future upgrades because when I start making real horsepower I don’t want it to explode into a million pieces.  Project #1 was upgrading injectors to larger ones (650cc).  I won’t actually be using this extra fuel yet, so for now I had to tune out about 30% of the fuel to make it run at a normal air/fuel ratio.  Once the injectors were in and tuned properly,  I took it for a ride down the street.  Much to my surprise, my truck felt amazing!  It felt that way right up until the clutch started slipping and smoking. 🙁  I knew that I was getting close to the limits of my clutch, so I immediately started project #2, which is where this story really begins….Continue Reading

Clever Sales Pitch: Armor All Wheel Protectant.

Yesterday,  a co-worker asked if I had seen the new Armor All wheel protector stuff, because it looked quite impressive.  I told him that I hadn’t, but I’d like to see it because cleaning wheels is the most miserable job ever.  He pointed me in the direction of this video, which I found pretty darn impressive.  Surely, neither you nor I will be spraying honey on our wheels anytime soon, but it’s nice to know that we can without having to use brake cleaner to get it off.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CkW0STlkDHw

Has anybody used this stuff before in real world conditions?  Maybe I will buy a bottle of this and put it to the test….

Step one: Drive through a pool of maple syrup.

Full Disclosure: I have absolutely nothing to do with Armor All.  I don’t sell it, I don’t get it for free, and I don’t have any reason to promote it other than it being a clever product advertisement.

How To Survive: Automotive Forum Acronyms

If you are a member of an automotive forum / message board of any sort, you are no stranger to acronyms, abbreviations, and bizarre automotive lingo.  Noob’s are often left overwhelmed and confused for weeks as they are hit with the automotive slang learning curve.  Since I too was once an automotive forum newbie, I feel like it is my duty to share some of this slang with the masses.  If you are so bold as to become a member of an automotive forum / message board, it will make your experience 10000x more fun and educational.  Here we go…….

Engine names and sizes – Could be displayed in cubic inches, liters, or factory engine code.  Engine code is typically a mix of letters and numbers.

General guidelines: Old cars = use cubic inches, newer non-performance cars = use liters, newer more performance-oriented vehicles = use factory engine codes.

Cubic Inches Examples: 289, 292, 307, 331, 348, 350, 401, 409, 429, 454, 472, 502, 572………etc….
Liters Examples: 1.8L, 2.0L, 2.2L, 2.4L, 3.0L 4.3L, 5.0L, 5.3L, 5.7L, 5.9L,  6.6L, 7.3L…..etc…..
Factory Engine Code Examples: LS1, SR20DET, 4G63, D16Y7, 13B-REW…..etc….

Transmissions – Almost always a combination of letters and numbers.

Examples: TH350, TH400, KM132, T-56, T5, C6, R-154, 4L60-E, 4T45-E

General Chat – These could be used for normal everyday terms

AFAIK – As Far As I Know
BBK – Big Brake Kit
BOV – Blow Off Valve
BRB – Be Right Back
BTDT – Been There Done That
BTW – By The Way
CAI – Cold Air Intake
CEL – Check Engine Light
DBW – Drive By Wire
DIY – Do It Yourself
FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions
FF – For Free
FS – For Sale
FTL – For The Lose
FTW – For The Win
FWIW – For What It’s Worth
GB – Group Buy
HID – High Intensity Discharge (Headlights)
HTH – Hope This Helps
IAC – Idle Air Control
IB4TL – In Before The Lock (When you know the forum moderators are going to lock the thread, you get in fast!)
IIRC – If I Recall Correctly
IMHO – In My Honest/Humble Opinion
ISC – Idle Speed Control
LMM – Losing My Mind
LOL – Laughing Out Loud
MAF – Mass Air Flow Meter
MHH – My Head Hurts
OBO – Or Best Offer
OEM – Original Equipment Manufacturer
ROFL – Rolling On Floor Laughing
TB – Throttle Body
TGFTT – Thank God For This Thread
TIA – Thanks In Advance
TTT – To The Top (Used to move your thread to the top of the page)
WOT – Wide Open Throttle
WUT/WAT/WHUT – What?!
WTB – Want To Buy
WTT – Want To Trade
YMMV – Your Mileage May Vary
YRMV – Your Results May Vary

As I come across more of these, I will add them to this list, so you can always reference it in a time of need.   Acronyms FTW!