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Tuesday, July 26th, 2011
5:43 pm - Daewoo?

If I buy a used Daewoo, am I asking for trouble? The price is right, the condition appears very good, but... the car company is long gone from American shores. I saw one official-looking parts-sourcing web site, but that isn't reassuring enough for me.

Opinions? Experiences?

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Saturday, May 21st, 2011
11:54 am - 13's for $1300?

So someone on performanceforums.com suggested a challenge. The idea is to have a car that is streetable (though not necessarily registered - here in Australia it's near impossible to get away with anything on the roads) capable of a 13 second 1/4 mile drag time, having cost no more than AUD$1300 (currently about USD$1400). Probably an easy thing in the US, but here cars are expensive and performance parts thin on the ground.

I already had a VN V6 commodore here that owed me $100 which I was planning on running on nitrous to see what we could get out of it, so the timing was perfect. A friend and I set about having a go.

Not counted in the budget is safety gear, including wheels/tyres, brakes, seat and harnesses etc. Also not counted is consumable such as oils and other fluids.


Warning, shiploads of images and text behind the link.

current mood: amused

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Saturday, March 5th, 2011
8:26 pm - 1964 Ford Galaxie 500 XL

An acquaintance of mine made this short film. I thought you gearheads might enjoy it.


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Monday, January 10th, 2011
8:26 pm - Transmission?

2003 Ranger FX4. 4.0L V6, auto tranny

Problem #1
Starting back before Christmas, I was noticing what I thought was a hiccup when cruising down the road at a steady speed. It felt as though the ass end of the truck had been hit, or hopped. Sometimes it was mild. Sometimes it was pretty harsh with an audible 'clunk'. It'd only do this when the outdoor temp was below 20F.

I changed the plugs and wires. I cleaned the MAF and IAC. Nothing changed the problem. I went and pulled codes with what Advance Auto has (cheap reader). No codes were found. While talking to the guys, it was mentioned that possibly it's the transmission, and that a fluid and filter change are much needed (I had planned on doing this anyway, I was just hoping for some better weather, ie. Spring time), but this problem is forcing my hand.

Problem #2
Tonight on my way home, I was stopped at a light and felt as though the truck was trying to surge. When I got home (a couple miles away), I played around with it in the driveway a bit. When I shifted from drive or reverse to neutral or park, the idle would drop to 400-500 rpm, and it seemed as though the truck was about to stall out. If I hit the gas, it'd drop back to an idle around 700.

I pulled the IAC and cleaned that tonight, as well as changing the engine oil. After I finished that, I played around with the shifting a bit. This is what I found when I shifted:

1 or 2 --> N/P, no change.
D or R --> N/P, idle dropped.

It almost seems as though the transmission is hanging up and not fully disengaging. Does this sound at all plausible? I know that without changing the fluid and filter, it's hard to pinpoint anything, but is there anything else I should try looking for?

I'm also wondering if both problems are actually just 1 problem, and that the fluid and filter change will take care of it (I hope).

Thoughts? Questions? Comments? Concerns?

current mood: frustrated

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Saturday, December 18th, 2010
4:03 pm

I FINALLY got around to replacing the plugs and wires in my truck. Holy crap they needed it!

Spec for the gab is .060-.068". These measured around .080"!

Hopefully this will get rid of the hiccup/stumble I've been feeling lately when it's been cold.

1, 2, and 3
1, 2, and 3

4, 5, and 6
4, 5, and 6

This was absolutely THE worst plug change I've ever done. It took me roughly 3 hours to get them all out and changed. I miss the days of my old 82 Chevy C-10 with the straight-6. I could (had to) sit in the engine compartment to change the plugs.

For reference, this is on an 03 Ranger with the 4.0L V6.

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Saturday, December 11th, 2010
12:13 am - name this car

Found by a friend in Amsterdam a couple days ago(?)

Any ideas? Renault comes to mind, and the super skinny tires make me think of a Messerschmitt

edit: video of said car

only 790 made, only 27 still exist

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Friday, November 5th, 2010
2:02 pm - this needs to be shared.

A couple friends...

Dave: WTF is wrong with all of the fools liking the *new Lotuses.
bill: kill them all
Dave: A lotus should be a 2000# overpriced POS that falls apart if you look at it wrong.
That's what it is.
There's no shame in that.
BUT NO!!!!
"We want to be Ferrari"
bill: i agree completely
bill: the only way a lotus should even be 3600 lbs is if they decided to get into the "ultra-high performance 18-wheeler" market
Dave: And even then, Chapman would have built the 18 wheeler to come in at only 3200#
bill: exactly
it would last one month beyond the warranty, and it would blow your mind.
Dave: bingo
bill: i hope there's no afterlife
otherwise we have seen the end of everything Colin Chapman worked for and he will likely haunt this world forever.
Dave: And frankly, I'm pretty terrified by the thought of a demon who goes by the mantra "add lightness"
bill: yeah. you should be. it's worse than all of the SAW movies


current mood: amused

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Tuesday, October 12th, 2010
1:56 am - One Wire to Rule Them All

Vehicle: 1971 Lincoln Mark III Continental
Engine: 460 Ford (7.5 L)

I am looking to upgrade the alternator on my thunder-sled. What to buy?

Here's my dilemma. Ideally, I would like to replace the ~65 amp externally regged unit with a ~100 amp internally regged one. However, I am really not sold on the idea of a self-exciting one-wire alternator like so many performance stores sell. I'd vastly prefer a unit where the regulator is switched on by IGN power, and the voltage at the splice is read by a sensing wire which adjust voltage output appropriately. Many GM 10si units are like this, I retrofitted one to a Studebaker, but I have a lot less choice with this old Ford. One wire units are functional, but much less precise. I have doubts about whether they charge as well at idle.

A few I'm considering:



Yes, one-wire, its seems unavoidable if i want internal reg aftermarket. Both also appear to be modified GM 10si case, although the descriptions are unhelpful as to whether "one wire CAPABLE" mean one wire exclusively, or whether I can still hook up an IGN feed to the often-exposed regulator spades.

The belt routing on this car is already a small nightmare (Four v-belts) so the right case style is a plus, I'd really rather not ride the Washer-Stack Express to I-tossed-a-belt-ville.

The existing external regulator harness is a real patch job and I'd like its ugly sparking ass out of my engine bay. I also have reason to believe the stock alt's diodes are bad, which is why I'm so eager to replace everything.

current mood: tired

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Saturday, September 18th, 2010
11:56 pm - Weight Loss Clinic


current mood: amused

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Wednesday, September 8th, 2010
9:04 pm - tomos mopeds

Does anyone have experience with these things? As near as I can tell they are a slightly warmed-over version of the exact same thing they were building in 1970 in Slovenia - stamped metal frame, 50cc carburated 2 stroke, 30-35mph top end with 2 speed auto tranny.

Except that you can still buy them new in the US, with that same feature set. This thing is exactly what you dreamed about doing to your bicycle when you were 14 years old, and they usually run $300-500 used. The top tank model even looks like a tiny toy-sized cafe racer: http://www.tomosusa.com/pages/model/lx/54 or with different handle bars http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3231/2956333153_3e825fa53e.jpg?v%200 Apparently they're fairly reliable too - not much to break and what does break can usually be fixed with a screwdriver or replacing a $30 part, and needing a rebuild after ~5000 miles.

Anyways, they seem fairly popular in the midwest (ohio, michigan) but it's almost impossible to find them as far south as Dallas. Besides Craigslist, Ebay and MopedArmy does anyone know where to buy one used? $1500 new seems a little steep...

(1 comment | comment on this)

Friday, August 27th, 2010
10:28 pm - Bottom end help

Back story:

My father-in-law "sold" my wife and I his old boat when he bought his new Chaparral. The boat's a 1987 Four Winns 190 Horizon with the Merc 165 (4 cylinder, 470 block, Ford 460 heads). He's the original owner, and bought it brand new back in 1987. Roughly 12 years ago, he rebuilt the motor after one of the wrist pins let go.

At the end of last year, one of the pistons broke, and we pulled the motor and rebuilt it this past spring (bored to +.030", decked the head and block, did a valve job, and turned the crank). Got it back together, in the boat, and she ran like a top...until a couple weeks ago. We pulled the motor, only to find piece of copper sitting in the oil pan, and a bunch of smoked crank bearings. The top end and cylinders look fine, so at least the damage was contained in the bottom end.

The big question, now that we know WHAT happened, is HOW this happened. The believe right now is that the o-ring that seals the oil pick-up tube to the oil pump was too loose. When we pulled the bolt out holding the pick-up end of the pick-up, the tube practically fell out. Since it was such a loose fit, we're thinking that it sucked air, and foamed itself up and starved the bottom end.

Any other thoughts on what could have happened?

(1 comment | comment on this)

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010
7:58 am

So last night my father-in-law and I swapped out my driver's side CV shaft on my 03 Ranger, as the boot has been torn for 6000+ miles, and I was noticing a roar around 20mph, and again around 70+. The boot band got dinged at some point, and I'm pretty sure it was when they shop replaced that bearing, but I can't prove it, but that's beside the point.

The problem is that the roar didn't go away, unfortunately. I'm not trying to figure out what could be the problem. The only things left are the passenger side CV shaft, bearing, or a U joint.

Any thoughts on what it could be, or what I should look for to test each component?

(4 comments | comment on this)

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010
8:20 pm - Hey, remember me?

Originally did these on a forum... suffice to say that the 13B peripheral port got "finished". And is currently apart again to fix a water leak. Was going to go in my street car, but why not break it in in the race car?

Pictures and not very well organized text follows!Collapse )

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Sunday, May 2nd, 2010
10:28 pm - power loss while driving

For once I would like to post something about my Nova without it being a BAD THING...today is not that day.


Sudden power loss when driving -- what can cause it?

I have already replaced all the belts (they were worn, and I suspected that the alternator was not getting power because of slippage, which would cause the car to die right?) and I'm sure that it's not out of gas.

It seems to happen more often when the car is wet. Sometimes it is damn near impossible to restart (especially when it is raining or I've been driving on wet roads) and sometimes all I need to do is pull over and put it back in park and restart the car.

Moisture in the distributor cap? Bad spark plugs? (I am pretty sure I know what a 350 would sound like running on 7 cylinders.) Wet starter causing a short? (Is this even possible?) Bad alternator? Fuel pump issues? Intake issues? Any and all of the above?

I need to check and see if there's any moisture or a crack in the DC before I do anything else, but unfortunately it WON'T STOP RAINING here in Kentucky and I don't have a garage...


cutCollapse )

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Monday, April 19th, 2010
10:10 pm - Broken Pistons

So the end of last summer, my boat started to make a knock. My father in law checked it to see if it was a lifter knock (sounded similar). It wasn't....it was deeper that than. Over the weekend, we pulled the motor, and started tearing it down last night to see if we could figure out what it was. He initially thought it was a broken wrist pin, as this motor is known for them seizing (he had to rebuild the motor once because of it). There was little sign after removing the head of anything being wrong.

Tonight, we dug deeper. After flipping the motor and removing the oil pan, we found the culprit: #1 piston is broken. The bearings showed a little sign of discoloration, but no grooving or anything.

We decided to pull the rest of the engine apart so we could deck the block and head (there were signs of a slightly leaky head gasket). When we pulled the other 3 pistons, they all showed signs of cracking in the exact same spot that the broken piston broke.

Does anyone have any ideas what might have caused this? All 4 pistons breaking/starting to break in the exact same spot on each cylinder.

If it matters, the motor's a Mercruiser 165 from a 1987 Four Winns 190 Horizon. When the wrist pin broke, it was bored out .020", and everything else was left stock.

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Tuesday, April 13th, 2010
9:28 pm - Do want!


One of very few Giocattolos ever made. Alfa Romeo GTV body using a mid mounted 5.0L V8 and ZF transaxle.

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Wednesday, March 17th, 2010
5:49 pm - Finding brake pads and rotors

I was wondering if anyone here has a car that's not a US/Euro Spec that the successfully found parts for. My dilemma is finding brake pads and rotors for my J-Spec 1997 Subaru Legacy GT-B. I was browsing EBC's catalog, and they list my model car for both types of parts, which is great. However, I was thinking of going with Hawk brake pads because the prices are cheaper than EBCs, and I had them on my Civic and I really liked them a lot. Now, Hawk doesn't list my particular model of car, however Hawk and EBC do list the dimensions of their brake pads. Is it safe to assume that I can use EBC's dimensions to find Hawk pads?

The same dilemma carries over to the rotors, but I have yet to find a different manufacturer to look at other than EBC. Any suggestions?


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Sunday, February 28th, 2010
11:21 am - thinking about my next vehicle.

my car will be paid off in a year, if i continue on the plan i've worked out. the other loan i have will be gone in about a year and a half. i'm starting to shop for my next car, so i can finally park the Subie and start working on her.

so now i'm thinking...lease or buy? new or gently used? i'm definitely going with something quirky, and i'll be able to work with about $17k, give or take $500, thanks to my awesomesauce credit union and their great loans. i'm hoping to have about $3k to put down on the vehicle. might have a little more if i fix up the bike and sell it.

this is where i ask for suggestions. i'm not looking at Toyota or Honda - Toyota lost my money when they killed off any fun cars, and Honda dealers in my area are douchebags. i will consider a domestic, but it's gotta fall under that dollar amount. i want quirky, i need automatic for commuting and long road trips, i want decent fuel economy, and i want either 2 doors with an easily-accessible hatch, or a sedan. also, i NEED a warranty. oh, and my partner's gotta fit comfortably. he's 6'4" with a long torso.

things on the list of possible cars:
gently used Mini, still under warranty
new Cube (this is at the top of my list right now)
new Golf
gently used Golf TDI (don't know if they'll be within my price range by then, but i like'em.)
gently used Mazda 3 hatch
new Mazda 3 sedan
Ford Fiesta/Mazda 2 (the Fiesta will come in MAGENTA. OMG.)

i know he'll fit in the Mini and the VWs. I've seen him in them. he also fits in the Mazdas, but not quite as comfortably. i think he'd make a concession for how nice their interiors are, though.

beyond this list, i haven't a clue. got any tips?

current mood: curious

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Thursday, February 25th, 2010
10:43 am

Do want!!


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Sunday, February 14th, 2010
9:15 am - Mount Panorama production touring car race

is on LIVE right now!


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