Saturday, September 24, 2011

Baja hit the ground running!

I decided that this was the week the baja would get up and running. Then, I got sent to Tucson for 3 days and I thought I would have to push it off. I got lucky today and was able to spend some time in the garage and get everything ready so we could try to start the engine. I bypassed the voltage regulator and then I temporarily zip tied the coil up because I was too anxious to fire it up. I will do a better job mounting the coil. I just had to see if it would run. It took awhile for the fuel to get through all the lines I had replaced and fill up the float bowl but it eventually did and started up. It ran pretty bad until I was able to mess with the timing and tune the carb. It runs pretty good now but I still need to do some tweaking before it will run great. I am running an 009 distributor which sucks but it is what I have at my disposal and price range. It has a flat spot I am trying to work out of it and I will eventually change to a same SVDA distributor I have on my other bug when some funding comes through. anyways, It was fun to start and drive around. This engine is a lot louder then my other bugs and Ellie really didn't like the noise. The boys liked driving around in it and Dixie tolerated it for a minute then she had enough. I get the feeling she doesn't like it much. She did mention that the ride was a lot nicer then Ed's. It's definitely softer on the bumps. It takes a lot of skill to drive Ed because you have to think ahead to avoid any debris or potholes that may come your way. I have come to know and learned to avoid where all the bad spots are on the roads I travel regularly.

 I had to get some gas in some cans so I wouldn't run out. I still need to paint and install the back bumper.
 It shifted pretty good and went into reverse just fine. I think it can use a shift rod bushing replaced and maybe the coupling but other than that it should be a good driver. I still haven't checked the heat out but I can always get that going later.
 It is really running in this picture. It's hard to tell but trust me it is. I have the picture to prove it just below.
 See, every time I would start it up, Ellie would scream. Did I mention the exhaust is pretty loud. I will have to baby it out of the neighborhood when I go to work.
Well, now that I know it drives and shifts, I think I will take the time to paint the bumpers, powdercoat the wheels, fix a couple front end issues and look for some real cheap tires to throw on it. Should be a fun, cheap winter car.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Just the Baja and a Hippie Girl.

I have made lots of progress on the baja. I cleaned out the fuel tank, metal fuel lines, and replaced all the rubber lines. I also repacked the wheel bearings on all 4 axles and installed the engine. I am about ready to start it and see if it runs. I have to rewire the  voltage regulator because the new engine has an alternator instead of a generator. With the alternator it has an internal voltage regulator so you have to by pass the original one that is under the back seat. I also have to mount the coil on the firewall and finish wiring the engine up. It went together pretty well, but I had high hopes of driving it this weekend. I guess that won't happen. Maybe this week I can get it going. I don't have many pictures of the work done. I lost track of taking pictures but I have a few. As you can see Dixie got booted out of the garage once again. It has been threatening rain and someone already tried to steal my roof rack so in the garage it goes.
 I removed all the wheels on the baja so I could strip and powdercoat them but then I decided to make sure it will run and drive good before I remove the tires and go through all that work. It still gave me the time to repack the wheel bearings and they needed it.
This is on Friday. It was raining pretty good throughout the day. It's a perfect day to spend in the garage!
 Here is the new seal for the trans. This seal can be a real pain in the butt to get out unless you have a good seal puller. It's worth buying one if you don't have one and need to pull this particular seal.
 Here is the seal puller I am talking about. Make sure you get a good one and that the head is movable. It helps to get the right angle and pull it out. This one is a Matco brand one.
 Thanks to my friend Dee, I had a new throwout bearing in my stack of parts and it works perfect for my clutch set up.
Got the engine in and bolted up. Almost ready to start. I am so hoping it runs as good as Ed does. If it does I am in phat city!
 It's amazing how easy it was get this engine in, especially with the body cut out around the engine. It went in without a hitch. I just need to get the wiring finished up and hopefully Wednesday or Thursday I can take it for a test drive.
 At the end of the day I decided to get a picture of Ellie in the bug. One day Dixie was shopping with Ellie and Ellie started laughing and making noise when Dixie held up this outfit. I told Dixie it looked like a hippy outfit so I got a picture of Ellie in the bug with it.

 This is the first time Ellie has ever been in the bug. She loved it and threw a fit when I took her out. She did not want to get out!
 Here is the aftermath of the tantrum she threw. She was an unhappy camper for awhile. Hopefully Ellie will have more time to spend in the bug in the future. Who knows, she may be driving it to school someday!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Peach Days 2011

Well, we didn't decide until 8 in the morning on Saturday that we were going to go up to Brigham City for Peach Days. Peach Days is a celebration in Brigham City where there is a parade, car show, bike show, a bunch of carnival like rides and many vendors selling stuff. We wanted to hit the parade that started at 10 so we piled in the van and drove up. I had been asking all week who was going with me and Isaac was the only one that would commit. Saturday the whole family wanted to go so we ditched the idea of driving the bug up and took the van. I had a blast up there. Dixie told me she probably wouldn't go next year and I think the kids had a pretty good time. Hmm, well we will see next year. Maybe me and all the kids will cruise up in the bug and Dixie can have a day off. We got there at the perfect time because we found a good spot on the street and the parade started right after we sat down. It was a long parade lasting almost 2 hours. The truck behind us here is a city truck. We set our chairs up in front of him and a cop told us we had to move in case they needed to bring an ambulance in there. The guy from the city talked the cop into letting us stay. Thanks to whoever you are. The seats were awesome.
It was really sunny but that was OK. Ellie had a good time but wanted to get down and crawl around on the street. It was too hot for her to do that so we held her against her will most of the time. She really liked the music from the bands and floats and would dance every time they came by. She hated the loud sirens from the fire trucks and police cars though.
 The first thing that came down the road right after the flag was a real live tank. I have never seen a tank driving in my life and the boys went nuts. It was a cool site.

 This was about an hour into it. It was a long parade.
I was kinda intrigued and bummed at the same time I saw these. I like the work involved in shortening them but I wish they wouldn't of done it to a split window bus. They actually had 3 of them.
 This was Isaac's favorite one of the parade.
 Here is a very nice Chevy. One of the last cars to drive in the parade.
We went to lunch and then headed over to the car show. Steven had a friend hitch a ride with him a few times that day. He must have a dragon fly personality.
 This was Dixie's favorite of the show. She liked the big light on the top.
 This was my pick for the coolest car at the show. The owner was cool enough to let my boys get in and Isaac even put on the fighter helmet and goggles.
 Here is a picture of the whole side. It was a home built car with an aviation theme. Something I have always wanted to do. It was really cool. I loved it.
This is Stevens favorite of course. Look at the machine gun up top, how can you not think it's cool. This one also drove in the parade right after the tank.
 Coolest Baja there. Isaac asked if his baja could be like this one. I told him to get a job, he's gonna need it!
 Another person let my boys sit in his car. This is another rat rod. This guy was super cool and even let Isaac start it so we could hear how loud it is. The rat rod culture sure has my interest. They make cars out of various parts from all sorts of cars. I think I am going to have to build one someday. The people are really cool also. I guarantee you will never get a guy that trailered his car to a show let 2 boys get in and have their picture taken. Very, Very COOL. Gonna have to build one! This one actually was Isaac's favorite one of the show.
 Another rat rod. Can you tell that I really like them?
We didn't even make it through half the show, but the family was hot and tired so we decided to call it a day. I heard that there were 952 cars registered at the show. Wow, that is huge. I think it is bigger then Logan's show and it's free to get into. I think this is my new favorite show. Next year I will enter the bug and spend more time at the festivities. On our way home we were pleasantly surprised with a car that pulled behind us. It was my favorite of the show. It was too cool to see it drive down the road. Here it is behind us.
 and on the side of us. Hey, where's his cool fighters helmet and goggles?
 And in front of us. I had to go real slow so he would pass us. I would totally drive this to work every sunny day there is.
A very fun weekend that I was able to spend with my family doing what I love to do. I am lucky they want to do it with me.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Cheap progress.

Well, I have been working on the baja's engine slowly and cheaply. My goal is to get this car running for very little money and it's been going really well so far. I took the bumper and the exhaust into work so I could strip the paint and rust and see what kind of shape they are in. Turns out the bumper is good, but the exhaust had some issues. I stripped them and found a few holes in the process. I got them ready to weld and burned some bigger holes in them. Luckily I was able to find some decent metal on them and slowly built up the weld so I filled in the holes and I think they will work. I got some very high temp paint and put a fresh coat on them and we will see how they do when the motor heats them up. I also removed both pressure plates and clutches from the engines and decided to stick with the clutch that came with the motor I bought. It's in almost new shape and the other one was wore out. I also looked through some of my parts I have collected and found a brand new throw out bearing a buddy gave me. It won't work on Ed but will work perfect on the baja. I replaced the front main engine seal on the engine and reinstalled the clutch and pressure plate and I am ready to install the exhaust. I will then put on the carb and the motor will be ready to go in. I still need to flush out the fuel system, repack all the wheel bearings, and check the brakes and it should be ready for the road. Here are some updated shots. I found 3 holes on one and 2 on the other. Only this hole pictured gave me trouble.
 I didn't want to remove a lot of material but the hole ended up being about 3 times this size. I did eventually build it back up and I filled up the tube with water and it held. It should be good for a little while at least.
 I lost my camera so I missed out on some pictures along the way. Right here I have the seal in and the clutch and pressure plate bolted on hand tight.
 Here is the main seal I replaced. It looked OK but since I was this deep and I had an extra one on hand I figured why not just change it anyways.
Here I have the alignment tool through the clutch and into the gland nut. I bought this tool because it's really cheap and I will use it a few times I'm sure, but a broom handle or something similar will work also.
 All bolted on and torqued down. The front of the engine is ready to be installed now. When building a VW engine an engine stand is nice because you can install the clutch and flywheel and pressure plate while it's still on the stand as seen here.
 Here is the exhaust after I prepped and painted them. They should look OK for a beater baja..
 I am curious to see how long this paint holds up. It's made to use on BBQ's so I think it should hold up to exhaust.
 Just need to install the exhaust and get rid of this fuel filter on the engine. Don't want an engine fire!
I thought I would show the tank I use to clean all my rusty old parts. This is an ultrasonic tank and has a chemical in it that is equivalent to Draino. It is heated up in the tank and it is truly amazing how well it strips paint and rust off steel parts. I have the bumper sticking in it here. This eats aluminum quickly so you want to make sure you don't have any of that.
 I flipped the bumper and you can see how it removed everything to the bare metal. This stuff is awesome. Just don't get it on you cause it burns pretty good.
Well, hopefully the exhaust and carb will be next and the motor will be ready to be put in. I think I am going to remove the wheels and tires and clean them up. That's not expensive and I have a bunch of high gloss white powder coat I can use. They are really rusty right now and need some sprucing up.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Mystery Machine is good for another 100,000 miles!

Well, I spent Friday working on Dixie's van. It has almost 100,000 miles on it so it was in need of a new timing belt, water pump and spark plugs. I have a good friend that was a mechanic for a few dealerships and he said he would help me get it done quick. I was glad he did because if you are off just a little with your timing belt you will mess your engine up and have to get a new one. I didn't want to have to do that. Anyways we met at the engine shop where I work and did it there. (It is air conditioned and has good lighting!) It went great and wasn't really too bad to do. Simon is a very meticulous guy and made me feel really guilty for my lack of maintenance on the van. We found out that some mice had took a liking to the engine in the van and made a nest on the intake manifold, the power steering fluid was low, the oil was a 1/2 a quart low, the spark plugs were due to be changed and he said it was pretty dirty. I told him I don't drive the van much and he should check out the engine in the bug. He's from England and mumbled something in proper English that I didn't understand. I told Dixie that she needs to take better care of the van and she said it was my job to do that. Hmm, Oh well, I guess I will do a better job. As always here are the pictures of my Friday. So, if your going to do a timing belt on a Honda odyssey you need to get a timing belt, water pump, a tensioner, both serpentine belts and 2 gallons of coolant. I would get these parts from the dealer. You may spend a little more but the parts are better quality. If you can get a discount on dealer parts all the better. I spent $316.00 with a discount. It's about 400 without. Still, it's money well spent. Honda's have an interference fit engine so if the belt brakes, you will be buying a new engine. Here are the parts ready to be installed.

 Here is the Honda just as I pulled it in. I was surprised to see how dirty the engine was. I need to do better with that. I actually sprayed it off before Simon got there. I can't imagine what he would of said if he saw this mess.
Here it is sprayed off and I thought it looked pretty good. You need to jack it up and drain the coolant and remove the passenger front tire.
 So this is the first thing Simon saw. It's the mouse nest under the intake. He lectured me on how bad mice are on wires and that they like to chew on them. I quickly got my pliers out and removed the nest and I had to text Dixie about it. She told me to be quiet and I was telling her too much stuff she didn't want to know about.

Remove the plastic foo foo stuff that Honda puts on so the engine looks good and then you will need to remove the power steering pump. That is what is seen on top of the engine. Do not unhook the hoses, just remove the bolts and put it on top of the engine. You also have to remove the front engine mount. Make sure you support the car on a jackstand and then put your jack under the engine to support it when you remove the mount.
 Here is Simon. He is giving me a lecture on how to properly maintain a vehicle. He is an awesome guy. I really thought I was pretty good at maintaining vehicles but compared to Simon I suck. He is like the monk of mechanics. If you have ever seen monk you will know what I mean. I was completely amazed at how fast Simon was at wrenching. He was explaining the job as he was doing it. I actually was going to blog out the whole job with every detail, but I couldn't keep up with Simon. He was like a surgeon.
 Here you can see the first peek at the timing belt. the aft cover over the cam is removed. The forward one is still on.
 Here is a shot of the van and how it is set up. You have to remove some of the bottom plastic fairings and the jack is under the engine here supporting it while the mount is out.
 OK, here is the timing belt we are replacing. The water pump is in the very middle and the tensioner is on the left side of the picture. It's just bolts from here.
 Before you remove the belt, you want to put the engine at TDC on the 1st cylinder. This engine has 2 cams. Here is one cam. If you look closely you will see 2 marks that line up. It is important to make sure these marks are aligned. You will have one on each cam and one on the crank pulley and gear. When the engine is at TDC, all these marks will be aligned.
 Looking down the engine, you will see the crank pulley mark and the triangle on the block pointing to the mark.
Here are the water pump and the tensioner that have been replaced. You can reuse the tensioner but the majority of them are leaking. It's good security to just replace it.
 Here you can see the water pump. This is the new one and Simon is using it as a diagram. He likes to put each bolt in the same position it came out so as he removes the bolts he puts them into the correct hole in the new pump.
 So we really fast forwarded here. It is all buttoned up and put back together. It goes together pretty good and you just need to remember to refill the coolant after you have put the drain plug in. When you start it up, turn your heater on full heat, vents only at fan speed 2. When you do that it will bleed the coolant system. Run it until you have heat coming out. If you have a rear heater system like the vans do make sure you get heat out of your rear system also.
 It run like a top and on the road again. Simon reminded me I needed spark plugs so I promptly drove to the dealer and picked up some steering pump fluid and 6 spark plugs. I headed home so I could put them in.
For some reason the next 3 pictures turned sideways on me but they still show what I mean. Changing the plugs on this van is a piece of cake. Just remove the wire connection for the coil.
 Next remove the screw with a Allen head bit and the coil pack will just lift straight out.
 No spark plug wires here. Just remove the plug next. There is plenty of room to remove them. That is very nice because a lot of new cars don't have much room for regular maintenance items.
 Here is the new and old plugs. These plugs are iridium so they cost a lot but they will last 105,000 miles.
Make sure you put spark plug anti seize on the threads.
 This shows you how much room there is on the firewall side. It was plenty to get the plugs out and in. It actually was easier to get them out then the front ones by the radiator.
 So , here it is all put back together and cleaned. I vowed to keep it in tip top shape so Simon won't have to lecture me anymore. He made this job go so easy, I couldn't of done it without him.