Saturday, January 24, 2009

Angry Whoppers need not aply

Our Saturday adventure went as expected. The Austin was parked outside, in two feet of drifted snow....

No, we really didn't expect that.

Back up a few moments. We where early and decided to stop at Burger King and threw down some quick chow which just meant we started joking about the Angry Whopper. Sorry, it just sounds wrong to say it, as in cover the kids ears wrong.

After food we did stop at a few UHaul's to check for a trailer only to find they wouldn't allow one if a Chevy Blazer was towing. Fair enough, it is a light duty small SUV but thinking we could stuff a Austin in the back of a 12x6 without a issue we thought it was worth a shot. No, we didn't take a trailer with. I'd rather not look like I am ready to buy something by having a trailer along. We can always take another day to go get the car anyway and considering what we saw, that was a good idea.

Now to the car.

It didn't run, it didn't turn over, it was generally solid. As in frozen to the ground solid. Dan went to work chipping the ice away and shoveling snow which revealed just fender rust and lower valance rust beneath the doors. Troy started snapping pictures which we haven't downloaded yet and talking with the owner. I went for the look over. The underneath (what I could see) was in amazingly good shape. The trunk had not a spot of rust in it and just surface underneath. Engine bay was gritty and greasy but rust free. Floor pans at the feet where GONE but the upper area was solid. What I could feel and poke at on the unibody frame area was surprisingly solid.

We told him when it thawed we would offer $500. He told us he would think about it but then went on and on about two other Austins he had and the deal we could swing if we wanted a package deal. I bit on it and told him to get some pictures together and let us see what he had. I had to wonder how many cars he did have, there was a 80's Corvette with a busted window stuffed between two old fridges. A Malibu that looks like it was fresh off a episode of COPS and a Chevy Truck that seemed ok but was plowed in. I didn't dare ask what was in the garage.

Not sure if seeing 7 cops drive by in 20 minutes was a good thing or not. I need to check google maps and see if a station was nearby. Wait...what? No I don't.

What we could gather the young man worked at a salvage yard somewhere in the Oshkosh area. I didn't catch the full name he threw at me but I'm going to do some searching to figure it out. He also went on and on about other cars he had, but where no where to be found on his property. We also gathered he got the Austins because a buddy wrecked his Camaro that was way faster then the Corvette. Well, no surprise since the Corvette was buried in snow.

Oh well, a solid adventure (some portions left out to protect the innocent) and on the ride home the discussion progressed to looking harder to find the right car while we wait for pictures and a reply to our offer. This one wasn't going anywhere soon, heck, spring isn't for another 90 days and then it will be buried in mud. There where a few out of state cars we found on craigslist, ebay and autotrader that looked much better and maybe even running that would be a better deal.

If anything, we did solve a few issues. We have a new TV show idea. Three brothers pile in a truck and go to find a project car, along the way the cameras capture everything, this of course would air on HBO. Also, The Angry Whopper at Burger King is the greatest marketing idea ever made. Again, portions of the story left out to protect the innocent but I did think about asking the wife if she would be up for a Angry Whopper later that night since the car wasn't coming home with us today.

She said "No, just give me the regular Happy Meal"

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Shelby, Austin Healeys, Road Trip

I normally stay away from controversial topics in the auto industry because frankly I'd rather not get into a Internet pissing contest but I couldn't pass up this story.

Shelby can't stop suing people, Factory Five is next asks the community for help

Now, I think Shelby has made or did make one of the finest cars in history but his antics threw the years make me sick. It is and always has been "all about me" in his mind. In my opinion. If you look threw his history he has never let the opportunity to sue someone using "Cobra" "Shelby" or anything related. In most cases I would be behind anyone suing someone who is infringing on a trademark or idea but with Carroll, he never stops, never gives up and it always seems to leave carnage in the end and the hobby a little worse off. FFR is building great REPLICAS and not trying to convince anyone it is more then that. After the body which looks like a Cobra the comparisons stop there.

There, rant over. On happier fronts we are taking a road trip this weekend to Oshkosh and will look over a 64' Austin Healey Sprite for Troy. This should be a good time because our road trips are always a adventure and some type of trouble will ensue.

Now, maybe once we get the Austin we put a Cobra emblem on it and maybe Carroll will sue us.. :)

Friday, January 09, 2009

Super Chargers, Swear Words and Friday

This has been the never ending week of hell it seems.

To top the week off parts finally came in for the Suburban I have been working on. At first it looks like a normal 2000 Chevy Suburban 5.3L.

Under the hood though someone had the idea a Whipple Super Charger was needed. Hey, I'm all for making them go fast, faster, and turn like crazy so no problem.

It was here because it had thrown a CE light and flagged some codes. The two codes where P0171 and P0174, both bank 1 Oxygens Sensors staying lean. Quick look at the fuel trims confirmed this and then taking a listen under the hood I knew where the problem lied. The EGR tube going into the passenger side of the intake was leaking causing a big enough vacuum leak to flag codes.

Fair enough, I suspect when the Whipple was installed the tube was "tweaked" a little. Normally this is a straight forward job if the bolts come loose on the exhaust manifold and the head but the Whipple had to be moved so a few new swear words where introduced when things where going back together. I can't complain too much since I haven't the experience with Super Chargers to say this is the best kit or the worst kit. I can say though I would rather had liked to see them put slots in the rear mount for the SC to the passenger side head where the EGR assembly bolts in also. It would have made placing everything back together easier. With the notches you could have just lowered the SC down onto studs, slid the EGR block in place and tighten things down. With this setup bolts are used, four to be exact, two on the head and another two just below the pulley on the SC. Getting everything to line up took some patience. I think at one point I drop a few bombs but overall it went back together and all the skins on the fingers.

After that, put all the SC items back on, fire it up and watch the trim numbers go back to normal. The test drive, it has a TON of extra power compared to a stock 5.3L. You can really feel the boost of the Whipple when you get on the throttle. I would have to say the money spent is worth it for the power added.

Beer o'clock now. It's been a long week

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Green Cheese of Death

If you've worked on cars long enough you have encountered the "green cheese". Other people may have a different term they use, corrosion comes to mind, my favorite is people that use scotch locks to make electrical connections which will always be guaranteed fail and I kindly refer to them as shit locks because your always going to end up in it using them.

The wonderful part about the green cheese is it normally causes headaches, frustration, anger and a overall pissed off attitude about electrical problems on cars. I'm sure the seasoned veterans that may spend time reading my rambling thoughts are nodding in agreement and know exactly what I am talking about.

This particular case in point was on a 92 Chevy 2500 4x4 5.7L with a "cranks but won't start". On arrival we verified it had good spark and injector pulse but no fuel pressure. I went underneath with a test light and verified I had voltage. Mind you, I didn't say battery voltage. With that I assumed we had a dead fuel pump. We dropped the tank, removed the rusted sending unit and pump and then bench tested the pump after removing it. Nothing, the pump wasn't responding to any voltage sent to it. Case closed right? Wrong. We installed a new pump and sending unit. Plugged the tank back in, cleaned and tightened the ground and then fired the truck up. It took off right away. We figured we had it licked. I backed the truck out, let it warm up and then took it for a test drive. Everything seemed fine until I returned. I shut the truck down and tried to restart it, nothing. It then restarted, ran for awhile and started running "rough" and died.

Oh crap.....

We brought it back in and I again checked for voltage going to the pump and I had it. But again, I used a test light. Then a little bulb (or my common sense) went off and I said to myself "How much voltage?" Upon checking with a DVOM I only had 7 volts. Off to the races and I started checking the wiring where I found this little monster in the harness

The Green Cheese. I spotted a section that was repaired at some point. It was about halfway between the firewall and tank. It was also placed back in the harness and the section looked unmolested. I just happen to start testing and spotted it. What happened? Someone repaired a section of wire by just wrapping the two wires in tape. No solder, no heat shrink, nothing.

I cut the section out, repaired it properly by soldering then heat shrinking it and then dropped the truck down and it fired right off and ran perfect. A constant battery voltage at the tank. I suspect the pump has been fighting for its electrical life for awhile since it hasn't been getting good voltage I would assume and then it finally had enough and died. My taking the tank down most likely stretched the harness to the breaking point. It had enough to start and run but then after a rough drive it just gave up. I'm just happy it happened for me and not after the customer took it. That's why test drives after the work is done is just as important. It's not just me going for a joy ride ;)

Lesson learned for me, trust, but verify. I should have grabbed the DVOM to test for voltage but the test light is always fast and handy. The only problem is if you don't have a full 12 volts the test light can still light up. Mine will at 7 volts :) I think it means time for a better test light, one that is not going to lead me astray again.

Anyway, there is the green cheese. Remember it, hate it, do everything in your power to stop it before it drives you nuts.

I do deserve the Miller Lite tonight.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Bored Shopping

I really need to back away from the PC during the weekends. Sometimes I start thinking of things I "want" instead of things I "need" and I found this to purchase.

KAT Matrix 3-Axis Accelerometer

I read a few reviews and think for the money I'll take the chance. If it works, cool. If it doesn't. Then I have something else to complain about.

Nackers had a much better Accelerometer I could use if I like but our paths haven't crossed yet this winter but I did appreciate the offer. If this one is a epic fail then I'll be bugging him to borrow the one he has.

On the car front for Troy. Not good. We took a look at what we thought was a AMX but on closer inspection turned out to be a 70 Javelin. $1500 for the car, it is complete but needs a full on resto. From the road we swore it was a AMX, the front end just screamed 69' but once we started walking up I knew something was amiss. Oh well, better luck next time. I had found a 70' Camaro complete but needing a ton of work on Craigslist but Troy wasn't hooked. He doesn't have the muscle car itch, more something that handles and looks old euro. Troy has been searching every day. Hopefully a car catches his attention.

Until next time!