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Timeless Innovations: The Jubilee Clip, a.k.a. The Hose Clamp


The mail is slow to reach my part of rural North Essex. The March 8th 1957 issue of The Autocar has just turned up, and as I sat in my listening chair, coffee and biscuits to my left, magazine on my lap, I chanced upon an advertisement for an item that I had never really put much thought into.

The Jubilee clip. Not just any jubilee clip, but a genuine Jubilee clip.

For the benefit of several readers, let’s honour this wondrous item with a brief history lesson.

The idea for a screw-tightened pressed metal sealing strap was masterminded by one Commander Lumley Robinson of the British Royal Navy. He was granted patent on the clip in 1921.

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What Kids Need to Learn These Days


Growing up, I enthusiastically wanted to help my parents pump gas into their cars at the gas station. Over the years I continued to both teach myself new automotive-related skills, and learn them from others. It absolute baffles me when first time drivers, don’t know how to put gasoline in their car or  get what a parking brake is for? I’m puzzled at how many people in their twenties still don’t know how to properly jump start a car, change a flat tire or know what to do if your car needs more oil. “Can I just buy  a bottle and  and pour some in?” Yes, you can. It’s time for a massive intervention.

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Hooniverse 101- Let’s Do Drum Brakes (Part Two)


Hooniverse 101 is intended as an introduction to auto maintenance and function, so as to give inexperienced car owners a leg up on either tackling simple maintenance tasks themselves, or being better informed when going to a shop, potentially helping to not get ripped off. Today, in part 2, we are wrapping up our discussion on the function and maintenance of the drum brake.

Out With The Old, In With The New

When we last left our poor Datsun 240Z, it was up in the air with its shoes pulled off. Now that we’ve completed our inspection of the wheel cylinder and bearing surfaces, we’re going to start reassembling the brakes, and will  be replacing a number of parts.

If everything looks good then it is now time to lube up and dive in with the new shoes. In the case of the Datsun, you’re expected to put a little high-temp grease on the supporting blocks on the backing plate (there are three on each side, looking like little dashes) as well as on the pivot points.

Once that is done you’ll need to decide which spring goes where in re-assembly and this is where pictures and the properly assembled other side become invaluable. In my case, the black spring with the s-shaped ends proved to be the one that is impossible to install with the shoes in place so I slotted that in while they were off the car. The spring and shoes combo then gets put in place, with the bottom of the shoe correctly slotted into either side of the wheel cylinder.

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Hooniverse 101- Let’s Do Drum Brakes (Part One)


Stopping your car is almost as important as making it go, and whether you’re a left- or right-foot braker, it’s safe to say you want to make sure your car’s clampers are up to the task. For our next installment of Hooniverse 101, we’re going to dive into the function and maintenance of those most mysterious of brake types – the drum brake.

Now, as a reminder, Hooniverse 101 is intended as an introduction to auto maintenance and function, so many of you will be ahead of the curve when it comes to much of what we’ll discuss. Your input on the discussion, in the comments below, is well appreciated.  After all, this is for those of us who don’t know how their vehicles work, but are eager to learn the basics.

When I did the last Hooniverse 101, on oil changes, I got a lot of feedback that Drum Brakes would make for a valued topic, so here we are. It should be noted however that due to the number of minor differences between various makes’ and models’ drum brake designs, you shouldn’t tackle this job without a good manual or detailed instruction for your own particular car. This however, will hopefully give you a good preparation for what you could expect.

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Wrenching Tips: Shop Safety

Ok, this is a boring topic, but we felt it definitely deserved a place in this series. If you have spent any considerable time working in the garage, shop, driveway, carport, or parking lot, you have probably cut some corners when it comes to safety. You may have even had a close call or two. Stop doing that. Here are some tips that will help to keep the doctor away.

You can dance if you want to…

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Wrenching Tips: Road Trip Tool Kit

Tim agreed to let me have a crack at his excellent Wrenching Tips series.  Today, I’ll address those tools I always hope to not use – the road trip tool kit.  I don’t have enough tools or money to have a complete road trip tool kit assembled and at the ready, so I assemble and disassemble it each time I head out.  For that, I usually use these basic guidelines.

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A EuroTrash Junk Yard Adventure

It was a cold northern Ohio weekend when a co-worker of mine invited me on a rusty car spotting trip.  Hitting a number of locations, be they closed dealerships, scrap yards, sales lots, or repair shops, there was just a little bit of something for everyone.  To be honest, I was drawn in by the promise of decrepit Porsches, but I kept going to see rotten X1/9s and tattered TR-7s.   

By the way, this article could also be subtitled “: What Ohio does to cars”

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What’s Up In Utah With Those Crazy Intersections?

Dogs and cats living together... mass hysteria!

Those of you that have driven in the great state of Utah know that things are a little different here.  The streets are generally wide, the blocks enormous and the drivers all have four wives someplace to be right now.  The first two can be traced back to Mormon leader Joseph Smith’s plat for the city of Zion – a piece of city planning that recently won an award from the American Planning Association.  When the Mormon pioneers settled in Utah, they implemented that plan in nearly every settlement from Logan to St. George. 

From a planning point of view, the plat has good aspects and bad – the good being the easy access to all points of the city because of the regular grid pattern – the bad being the utter misery inflicted on pedestrians by massive street crossings and lengthy blocks.  

Of course, as in many American cities, the plan kinda fell apart as suburbs developed.  Big blocks became HUGE blocks – a mile or more in length – and the streets in turn became congested as all traffic funneled onto a few major roads.  

But the pioneering nature of Utahns seems to have found a few potential solutions.  Well, pioneering if you mean stealing ideas from other places…

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At Least They’ll Find You Handy: Homemade Tools

Ever felt like you wanted a nice car door dolly or planishing hammer, but you just couldn’t afford one? Ever want to build a chassis for your hot rod from scratch, but you just didn’t have a frame jig?  Well, you are in luck, there is a new online resource that will help you accomplish that project you’ve been working on.  Although, it will likely result in a few new projects of its own.  

Click through to get your Red Green on.

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In Search Of The Perfect Parking Spot

Ostiusionophobia:  <Late 20th-c.  From L. Ostium “Door”, L. Sionem “Dent”>  The irrational fear of door dings.  I may have made up the name of the condition, but the condition itself is real.  I know because I am afflicted with it.  I don’t see it as abnormal, but those who ride in my car certainly do.  You see, I am willing to go to most any length (or walking distance) to avoid door dings – or the very possibility of door dings.  Hit the jump for some helpful tips on how to avoid mankind’s worst blight.

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