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Hooniverse Garage: DIY Installation of a Leaf Spring Lift

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This week we’re kicking off a series of DIY maintenance, fixes and upgrades to my 1969 Jeep Wagoneer with the installation of a four inch lift from Hell Creek Suspension. With leaf springs front and rear, this is about as simple as suspension modifications get: jack it up, unbolt the old springs and shocks, bolt the new ones in. The simplicity of this job makes it a great first “major” modification to a car to attempt. In fact, I got my start performing this very install on my 1991 Jeep Wrangler as a junior in high school. Because the Wagoneer has a spring-under-axle configuration up front and spring-over-axle out back, what we cover here applies to modifying any leaf-sprung vehicle, either lifting or lowering.

You can see the the video that things go pretty straightforwardly with only a minor snag when it came to the U-bolts and the new mounting plates. There’s no movie magic there, I did it all in my driveway with basic tools and it took a whole day instead of half like I was hoping. You can even see my neighbors walking their dogs by.

There are only two points not pictured, but worth mentioning. One, I soaked every bolt in penetrating oil the day before, which really speeds up the unbolting process. Two (and there’s a hint of this at the very end), the added height had my driveshaft drooping down and rubbing on part of the gas tank skidplate. That skidplate was a previous owner add-on that mostly just collected oil, so I removed it.

This is the first of what will hopefully (*cough*) be a long series of DIY features using our project cars as examples. Sound off in the comments about what what you’d like to see more of, less of, or other projects you’d like us to work on.

Hooniverse Garage is brought to you by Valvoline. We’re already fans of the brand, so teaming up to bring you focused wrenching content is a no brainer. Enjoy!

HoonTruck: Adventures in wrenching…

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Now that I have the truck in my garage, it’s time for me to get my hands dirty and turn some wrenches. I’ve picked my first test and for most of you it would be considered a simple one. I want to change the thermostat. This means draining the coolant, removing two bolts, and then popping the one thermostat in.

Sounds easy, right?

You clearly don’t know me very well…

… Continue Reading

HoonTruck: The Video Intro…

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You’ve met her in pictures, but now say hello to HoonTruck in video form. I’ll admit there hasn’t been much progress yet, but we have many parts now in the garage. So I had to get off my ass to shoot this so I can start diving in and getting some parts put on the truck.

Our new friends at LMC Truck have helped us out with a slew of items. There’s a new RF fender, rollpan, steering wheel, and a truck cover. Additionally, I’ve sourced a Retrosound radio from them, which looks old school but features bluetooh connectivity and USB inputs in the rear. Also, the truck has a set of Cragar D Windows (or Daytonas) ready to go on once the new rubber arrives.

The first upgrade we’ll be doing? New eyes! Our friends at Peterson lighting sent over a set of new seven-inch round lamps that allow us to get rid of the stock lights. These new units are LED and will throw a greater beam while drawing less energy.

On the mechanical side, there’s a new (and correct-facing) fan under the hood, and I’ll be changing the thermostat this week. Stay tuned for much more soon…

Project Audinary- So close, So, So far

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Last year you were introduced to my erstwhile daily-driver turned nothing-to-lose street weapon. Project Audinary, a 1998 Audi A4 1.8t that I have owned for seven years. It’s covered seventy thousand miles in my custody, and at 120K elapsed is due its second cam-belt change.

My intention was to kill a whole flock of birds with one stone.  I know there’s something awful going on concerning the oil and the coolant and the fact that they seem to be on rather better terms with each other than I’d like, leading to disgusting emulsified yellowness in the expansion tank. So I’d like to get to grips with this first, and the cambelt. Once I’m satisfied that the car is healthy enough to be a sensible proposition to have money thrown at it, I can start looking at far sexier things like remapped ECU’s, uprated injectors and higher-PSI turbos.

For now, I’m having a go at walking before even attempting to run.

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Project Miata Roars Back to Life

Miata at golden hour

There have been many ups and downs with this project and it’s great to say that we’re starting the year off back on an upswing. It took some work to get here but take a look after the jump and you’ll see how far we’ve come.  … Continue Reading

Project Subaru Justy: It Could Be Zero

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Old cars break. I keep forgetting this fact.

I’ve been chasing a rough idle and rich running condition ever since I bought this Justy in… October. Alright, a few months isn’t forever, but I am a little disappointed to have bought a rolling restoration that gets 20 mpg instead of a finicky-but-economical daily driver.

I had changed the spark plugs, cap and rotor, and bought a new fuel injector for cylinder No. 2. None of this made a difference, so, I thought, there might be a problem within the distributor or somewhere else in the engine. It came time to run a compression test and discover the exact “somewhere else.”

It’s just a compression test. How bad could it be?

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Project Subaru Justy: Sorting a Sloppy Shifter

Alan Cesar February 4, 2015 Project Cars

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Finding gears in my Justy was a guessing game. The shifter was sloppy and vague, with long throws between gears. There had to be some way to improve this. It was diagnostics time.

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Project Subaru Justy: Bad Omens and Junkyard Luck

Alan Cesar January 29, 2015 Project Cars

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Put the car in gear to pull away from the stoplight. Slowly let up on the clutch. A moment that feels almost like forward motion is followed by grinding. Feel that gut sink. Try again with same results. Open the window, then the door. Step out. Reach in and turn the wheel. Put a shoulder to the door frame.

Push the car off the road and onto gravel. Call a friend who hopefully has a tow rope, and while waiting, try to imagine the best and worst-case scenarios for what might be broken. Then consider the possible solutions when dealing with an abandonware car purchased for $1,300.

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Project HoonTruck: Let’s take a look at what we’ve got here

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I pulled up to the stoplight.

Third gear was still a mystery to me, but I was working on it. I’ll figure this truck out sooner rather than later, but I was still stuck in the getting to know you phase of our relationship. The brakes were stiff, but I knew that already. Regardless, they worked and the nose of the truck wasn’t 3 feet farther into the intersection than it should be.

The idle was a bit high, but I could fix that now. Besides it was at 1,200 at the moment and not 2,200… I could hear myself think. I could also feel the eyeballs of the car next to me. The lady, who was in her later stages of life, was driving a third generation Ford Explorer. My windows were already rolled down, and she brought hers to the same level.

“What year is it?”
A ’65 I answered back.
“It’s wonderful, are you going to restore it?”
I replied that I was planning on it leaving it pretty much as it looked, and explained as much as one could over the course of a traffic light.
“Well good… because it’s gorgeous as it is.”

My smile lasted four more days…

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Project Subaru Justy: Itty Bitty Wheels and Tires

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My Justy’s previous owner sold the car to me with a brand-new set of tires mounted on alloy wheels. He said he had spent a good amount of time finding wheels that were the right size and period-correct. It was clear the man loved the car and was interested in taking good care of it, but that also meant the Justy rolled with balloons on the same sort of wheels I’ve seen on dozens of Pontiac Grand Ams.

… Continue Reading

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