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HoonTruck: This raggy joint

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Steering is generally considered an important piece of the automotive puzzle. When your steering goes bad, things can go wrong very quickly. I recently had the pleasure of experiencing what happens in an old truck when the steering coupler decides to give up. Thankfully, it was at its worst when I was only two miles from home and the major direction of travel was straight.

Still, it was like driving a slow, shitty boat trying to keep the truck tracking where I needed it to go. So, with a quick order placed into LMC Truck for a new part, it was time to get dirty under the HoonTruck hood.

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Project Audinary: Getting One’s Swagger Back

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The effect that a new shirt can have on you is staggering. A night out is transformed through the simple expedient of knowingly looking fly, especially if you’ve gone through an extended period of being somewhat down at heel. To catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror, looking smarter, crisper, fresher than you remember being before often leads to a renewed optimism, a boost in confidence and a spring in your step. So when you get to the club you’re far more likely to cast your line and go fishing than to sit on the shoreline and collect whatever rubbish is washed up.

The same is true with cars. Also true is that it sometimes takes a catalyst to get you off your arse and actively start doing something to pick yourself out of the doldrums. For me, a few weeks ago, it was the misery of experiencing a blow-out on my way into work.

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Project MR2: Background & Introduction

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A free car is always a good car.  A free sports car is an even better car.  And a free sports car that runs and drives is the best car.  Such is how the dreams of myself and my friend Dan are finally coming together.  And by “coming together,” I mean that the car needs some love.  A lot of love.  What will be a low-budget build, moderately capable of any kind of racing (within reason) we dare throw at it, has to start somewhere, and for us it’s with a free 1991 Toyota MR2.

The following is an introduction to our project car and to what we aim to do with it.  The future promises a lot of time spent wrenching which will hopefully reward us with much more time spent racing, but first let’s back up to day one…

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A Caturday of a Different Kind

Miata catalytic converter waiting for installation

When we last left off with our little red friend, Roadster, the Miata, it had run for two years with a slightly rough idle surge that had suddenly gotten much worse to the point of stalling at the end of September. After weeks of research, I was convinced that I knew why it was stumbling to idle correctly and why power was down so significantly.

The idle was rough and the car felt like it hit a head wind at 4000rpm where it would struggle to reach 5500rpm and would then refuse to go any higher. What seemed like choking, I reasoned, could only be caused by a clogged catalytic converter. There were no apparent vacuum leaks, and the spark plugs and ignition wires were practically new, as was the timing belt, which I had installed only a few months prior.

All of the inexpensive alternative solutions seemed to be ruled out, so it seemed that it could only be the cat. Being a little thin on cash when these symptoms appeared, I examined my options. The search for the right cat had begun.  … Continue Reading

The Hooniverse Dream Car Garage: Chevrolet Corvette Reimagined By Kapra: A Singer-Esque Take On An American Legend

Bradley Brownell February 17, 2016 Project Cars

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I’ve had this idea for a long time, at least 2 or 3 years, as far as I can reckon. It was brought back to the foreground recently with an innocent enough tweet. Friend of the ‘Verse Alex Roy asked his followers which car they would like to see ‘Singerized’.

There is only one other car that I can thing of that could take the “Porsche 911 Reimagined By Singer” formula and continue it with any kind of success, and that is, of course, the C3 generation Chevrolet Corvette.  Follow along with my thin logic and mediocre business sense strategy after the jump.

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LeMons Ranchero Update: Better Breathing, Sparking and Sliding

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When we last left the Ranchero, we’d finished up Arse-Freeze-a-Palooza “victorious” in class F against Top Gear USA. (By the way, how long do we think it’ll take them to get that episode on the air? Surely one of their legion of regular viewers will let us know). We’re all set on the fuel issues that held us back, so for February’s Sears Pointless we’re seeing what we can do to wring a few more ponies out of our 200ci straight six. After all, we spent most of our running time posting laps on par with the Corona and the Geo-on-520-treadwear-Primewell-tires for bottom-three lap times.

The to-do list for this past weekend:

  • Replace crapped-out leaf spring shackle mounts with sliders (then trim fenders to accommodate lower stance)
  • Swap in a 2-barrel carburetor (and adapter and build a linkage from scratch)
  • Fix exhaust leaks (then just give up and install a header)
  • Swap in Duraspark electronic ignition and higher-voltage coil (despite not having all the wiring to do so)

Click through to see how it went…

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Hooniverse Asks Bonus: Help Me Wire our Wipers

falcon two speed wiper wiringWe’re back in action, working on our (Class F winning!) 1962 Ranchero LeMons racer. We’re diving into a huge to-do list (more on that later), but could use a hand setting up some simple wiring for a newly acquired electric wiper motor. This is a two-speed unit, wired as you see above. Click here for a full-resolution version of the circuit diagram. Unfortunately, all we have is the motor and immediately attached wiring, but no factory switches or squirter stuff.

Based on what you see above, how should we wire a simple single “on” switch to run in low? It’s not clear to me what’s actual power and what are weird loop-backs to help with the squirter circuit. Bonus points: how to wire a triple-throw switch for high/low/off operation?

Just as a bonus, here’s the latest on the car: last weekend we took care of a number of leftovers from the first race: finally painting the whole cage, changing the oil, cleaning up janky gauge wiring, etc. The biggest upgrade was installing a wideband O2 sensor for future tuning and carb debugging utility. Still to-do are swapping in a non-fogged windshield, the two-barrel carb, electronic ignition and repairing the broken shackle mount (more on that in a different post). According to The Internet, this motor will bolt up right in place of our dead vacuum motor and the linkages all just work.

Justy Little Project Car: The joy of a good machine shop, and a rogue Nissan Axxess

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I don’t understand it. Even though I live near the birthplace of speed and some kind of important race track, engine machine shops are hard to come by. I drove 40 minutes one way to the machine shop when I rebuilt my WRX’s engine, and they even had to send the crankshaft out to another shop to get serviced because its journals were too small for their machines. My co-workers at a car magazine at the time had no suggestions.

I expected triple the hassles when rebuilding an abandonware 3-cylinder, but shortly before I tore my Justy’s engine down, I managed to find a more local shop. A friend stumbled across a pamphlet of theirs that listed a bunch of services and standard prices. When I saw lightening and balancing, crank knifing, and head work services all at attainable prices, visions of a high-revving, high-compression, 100-horsepower Uber-Justy danced in my head.

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HoonTruck: Let There Be Brakes!

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It was time for HoonTruck to go under a larger knife than I could supply. A few fixes were in order, the holidays were approaching, and [insert excuse C here], so I wasn’t up to the myriad tasks at hand. On the docket for my ’65 F100? Address the driveshaft, upgrade the braking situation, secure the radiator with something beyond zipties, and dive into the electrical situation.

So to help mitigate and undertake those needed fixes, I turned to Friend of Hooniverse Rick Radcliffe. The car went out to his Norco High School shop… and here’s where we stand so far.

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Project Miata: New Year, New Garage, New Challenges and Opportunities

Miata in the new garage

Do you ever miss an old friend who you haven’t spoken to in a long time? That’s how I’ve felt about my Miata for the past two months. Every time I drive that car, my hands have a wonderful chat with the steering wheel and shifter. I can’t help but smile as pedal meets floor. For weeks, we had a blast together flying across the Howard Frankland Bridge to St Petersburg, Florida, for Monday night classes; but then one night, my old friend developed a cough.  … Continue Reading