Automotive Mad Science: Sparking in the living room.

I like wiring, electricity, cars, and the magic that happens when you combine all three.  Last week I was modifying a wiring harness to install a turbocharged 4G63 engine  (from a 1991-94 Mitsubishi Eclipse, Talon, Laser) into any vehicle that I want.  It is a time consuming process and when it was done, I needed to make sure it worked properly.  Massachusetts in January is an absolutely frigid place, so I was not about to go outside.  Then it dawned on me that I could test it in the comfort of my own living room!  Before I knew it, the spare battery, ECU, CAS, injector resistor, coil pack, and power transistor, arrived on the premesis, and viola!  We have ignition!

AUTO NEWS: Toyota Gas Pedal Fix!

The Toyota Press room is reporting that they now have a fix for the gas pedal sticking problem.  They will be adding a “precision-cut steel reinforcement bar” to the gas pedals to reduce friction within the pedal that on rare occasions, could cause the pedal to stick.

Drive-by-wire failure was inevitably going to happen at some point, it was just just a question of  which manufacturer it would be.  Toyota was the unfortunate winner of this fail-contest, but their immediate reaction (from what I saw) is commendable in my opinion.  They not only halted the sales of the effected models (huge money lost), but they even stopped production on new vehicles until the solution was in place (massively huge money lost).  So although this issue was clearly a serious one that affected a lot of people, Toyota deserves a pat on the back for locking down the problem and correcting it in timely fashion.  Maybe I would have a different opinion if I owned a new Toyota with a sticky gas pedal. Though, I think would probably just push in my clutch pedal, instead of crashing 😉 Call the “precision-cut steel reinforcement bar” a shim if you want, but hey, if it works, it works.

Image from the Toyota Press Room.

Subaru Wagon: Plaid is Not Just for Lumberjacks Anymore.

You drive a 96 Subaru wagon.  Clearly you are aware of the greatness lurking under its discrete wagon skin.  Before long, an EJ20 will power the beast to bring new life back into her old soul.  However, for right now there is only one thing on your mind. It is the most wonderful fabric on earth through your eyes, better known as Plaid.  Sleep, plaid.  Breakfast, plaid.  Lunch, plaid.  Work, plaid.  Subaru, plaid….. Subaru, plaid… Wait a minute.

Greatest Tow Vehicle: Lincoln Town Car Limousine

What does one do when one needs to arrive in high style, yet also needs to do a little 4 wheeling?  You guessed it!  Simply add a tow hitch and declare yourself the coolest guy to ever hit the streets of New Hampshire.  Let us pause for a quick moment to appreciate the extraordinary amount of greatness that is going on here….

Yes. Very nice.

1994 Lincoln Town Car Limo + Mud = Best day ever.

Replacing a Grille and Headlights on a GM Full Size Truck

Chances are good that you or somebody you know has one of these beautiful trucks.  That’s because they are awesome in nearly every category.  They have reliable small block engines, rugged drivetrain parts, comfy interiors, and dashing good looks.  The Suburban’s hold about 47 people, the 4×4 trucks are great fun when stuck in mud, and the 2 wheel drive trucks looks fantastic when slammed to the ground on 22’s.  Let us not forget the 2 door Tahoes, Yukons and full size Blazers though.  I mean what is better than a bohemouth of a vehicle with only two doors?  You are left wondering “am I in a 4×4 monster truck or an exotic sports car?”  No matter which model Chevy or GMC full size truck you drive, you could benefit from watching this video.  Our own supermodel, better known as “Mike”, proudly displays the best way to swap out the grille and headlights.

Brake Fail: Smashing your Rotors off with an Axe.

 

Broken Brake Rotors

A simple task that you’ve done a million times before can often take a horrible turn faster than you can say, “where’s my biggest hammer”?   I really thought this brake job was going to be a quick 30 minute pad and rotor slap, like it should be.  Not so much, let’s review.

Step 1: Jack up the vehicle in a safe manner. “Check!”

Step 2: Remove the wheels. “Check!”

Step 3: Remove caliper & caliper bracket bolts. “Check!”

Step 4: Tie up calipers with mechanics wire to prevent them from hanging from the rubber brake hoses. “Check!”

Step 5: Slide the worn out rotors off the hub. “Umm, not sliding. What the heck is going on here?”

Step 6: Clean oily substance off new rotors, and slide new rotors into place. “Whoa….back it up instruction guy! We need to hop in the Delorean and zoom back to step 5. These rotors are stuck, no joke.  What now?”

Step 7: Compress the caliper piston and replace the old brake pads with new brake pads.  Don’t forget to lube the sliders.  “This hammer is not nearly big enough.  Does anybody know where my axe is?”

Step 8: Slide the caliper brackets and caliper over the new rotor and reinstall the caliper bolts. “Ok guys, the rotors are really getting destroyed now. We need torches, cut off wheels, grinders, and a sawzall!”

Step 9: Reinstall the wheels, and torque the lug nuts to your vehicle’s torque specifications. “Hello? instruction guy….I hate you. This is the Worst job EVER!”

Step 10: Before starting vehicle, be sure to recheck brake fluid level and pump the brake pedal to set the pads in place. “……….disappoint………”

You want to see an Engine Explode at High RPM?

Last week we discussed the Top 3 Most Awesome Ways To Destroy Your Engine.  This week, a video popped up in front of me that documented a very special event.  It was as if the video was saying “Hey Jeremy, I was just reading your totally radical automotive blog and I would like to share a video example of something on your Top 3 list”.  Well, thank you Mr.Awesome Video, I accept your greetings and your offer.  The only thing missing in the video is the super high speed camera slow-motion replay button.