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Hooniverse Garage: 1969 Jeep Wagoneer Interior Fix Prep

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Let me introduce you to the concept of California Rust. Out here, we don’t kill our vehicles via road salt (because 98% of the state gets no snow), but we have our own version: the sun cooks weatherstripping and rain leaks in all winter and spring, sitting stagnant under the carpet. Repeat for a few decades and plenty of vehicles with pristine frames, rockers and quarter panels have Flintstones-grade floors. Such is my Wagoneer.

Welding makes great footage, but really makes up about .0001% of the hours of any body work activity. The rest is grinding and sanding. Today, we’re going through some of the basic setup to exorcise the ferrous oxide demons from my floors. Roll down your sleeves and put in your earplugs; it’s about to get sparky.

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!

Hooniverse Garage: 1969 Jeep Wagoneer Intake Manifold Fix

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We’re back in the garage again, working on the Wagoneer. It’s well known that Jeeps leak oil, but there’s a spectrum from “marking their territory” to “British Leyland” to “Exxon Valdez”. My Wagoneer was leaking so much down the undercarriage it’d actually blow up the back of the car and accumulate an oil slick on the tailgate after any long drive. Good for rust prevention, bad when parking in friends’ driveways. It leaked from the rear main and the timing cover, but the biggest emitter was the back side of the intake manifold. Time to rectify that…

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Easter Sunday Ranchero Resurrection

All it needed was points and a condenser. Of course, I came to that conclusion after throwing a bunch of other parts at it first (and leaving the points on the counter as I walked out the door the first time). That raucous exhaust note comes courtesy of a massive crack in the exhaust manifold and a really high idle. After a little fiddling it runs like a car with a bad exhaust manifold that needs a carb rebuild.

With that box checked, it’s time to address wiring to impart such luxuries as starting the motor from inside the vehicle and functional stop/turn signals. Following that it’ll be time to address the translucent floors, hopefully with a solution that can tie the floor, future cage landing spots and subframes together as one. But the in the mean time, I’m pushing towards that first around-the-block drive.

Exploring the Hooniverse Mountune Focus ST

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Our man Jason Connor typically handles driving duty when it comes to the camera car. What do we use for said vehicle? Why Jason’s own Mountune-modified Focus ST. It’s a car that actually deserves its own video… so that’s what’s happening here. In fact, we’re going to let Jason tell us all about it.

Mr. Connor took a stab at shooting and editing this whole this as well. It’s his first go at it, and we think he did a pretty damn good job for his first go ’round.

1962 Ranchero Makes a Predictable Entrance to the Hooniverse Fleet

1962 ford falcon ranchero project car lemons hooniversePlease welcome my new 1962 Ford Ranchero to the fleet! The image you see above marks the fourth vehicle that’s been towed to my driveway in the last four years. This fine example of the Falcon platform’s versatility sports a 170ci straight six, a three-on-the-tree and…not much else. Power nothing, non-functional window rollers, rusted-out floors and a few good dents in the body. However, it only weighs about 2500lbs and shares a number of key parts with all other Falcons, Mavericks and early Mustangs.

That parts interchangeability should come in handy as we build it out to be our next LeMons racer. Things than many people throw away (like 200 and 250ci I-6s, 8″ rear axles, floor-shifted three speed transmissions and drum brake spindles) constitute upgrades for us. Not only that, but it can haul its own spare parts!

Well, it could, once it’s running…

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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…

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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


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


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