Project Car SOTU: All My Other Stuff

Outside of Project Toyolo, everything else has been mostly inconsequential. Two of my cars are project car series for other outlets, so I won’t go into super detail on what I’ve been doing to them here, but some links will be provided where applicable. I recently had a bunch of work done to the commuter mobile Mazda3, I’ve done a bunch to my Audi S6 since the last installment, and Project Boxster Clubsport is rocking and rolling. Unfortunately Project Hoonda, my Supra, and my 68 Mustang have all been neglected a bit too long. I hope to rectify that soon.

Project Funf Zyl –
Project 1 – Brakes
I recently spent about a week updating the brakes on the S6. The Stoptech Big Brake Kit on the front needed some balance so I found a kit that allowed a larger rotor in the rear. At the same time, I figured it would be a good idea to install new rotor rings on the front, and throw some Hawk HPS pads on all four corners. Here’s the cliff’s notes version.
The little aluminum bracket comes from a guy called Thuppu on the Audi S2 forums. He’s based in some crazy Scandanavian country (Antti, YOHB?). It pushes the stock caliper up and out from the stock location, allowing a larger rotor to be fitted to the rear. My stock rear calipers were also having issues with seized pistons, so I decided to replace them with rebuilt units from Rock Auto.
The rotor used on the rear is now the larger piece from a D3 A8 or a Volkswagen Phaeton. I’m pretty happy with the outcome.
On the front, I painted the StopTech calipers black (red calipers are too much for me). and installed new rotor rings and bobbins. The rotor rings are stupidly expensive, but hopefully I won’t have to replace them again for quite a while. The Hawk HPS pads and new ATE Typ 200 fluid makes a huge difference. It doesn’t exactly stop on a dime, but it’s pretty good for a hefty 20 year old sports sedan.
Project 2 – Timing Belt
These cars have a really long belt life, supposedly 100K miles. I was told that it was changed at 110,000 last, so I decided that 190K would be a safe time to change it. I’m really glad I did, because it looks really old and cracked.
This project was a bitch and a half. Someone used Loctite Blue on the crank pulley bolt, so we broke a series of ratchet handles, sockets, and bent breaker bars trying to get the thing off. Eventually a LOT of heat was applied and liberal use of a cheater pipe helped break it loose.
Project 3- Coolant Hose Upgrade
Shortly after the timing belt was fixed, I was driving home from work and noticed steam coming from under the hood. Temperatures were still good, so I pulled into the nearest grocery store parking lot to investigate. It turned out to be the upper radiator hose had split right at the coolant expansion tank pipe. I cut it off with some snips I had in the car, and I bought a roll of Gorilla Tape so I could get it home, then topped up the system and squeezed out as much air as I could manage. That evening I ordered up a full set of silicone hoses from 034 Motorsport. They went on pretty well, some of the fittings are hidden and difficult to reach, but an afternoon of swearing and I had them installed.
Project 4 – Quattro Decals
Audi puts Quattro decals on some of their new cars as an option. I liked the look, so I bought a set from ECS Tuning, and popped them on. It took 10 minutes, and the decal set even includes an alcohol wipe to clean the area beforehand. I dig them.
Project Hoonda –IMG_8219
Last fall I got a wild hair and decided to get this thing up and running again. Fill up the battery, make sure the tank has fuel in it, shake it up well, and kick for what seems like an hour. Kickstarting didn’t work, so I started push starting it. A handful of times doing that and it was running like a top. Took it for a ride around the block and it felt down on power for sure. I think I need new reed valves, they feel like they’re not sealing well. I might fiddle with the gearing some as well. With some work and a light re-assembly, I can probably get this back on the road in short order.
The seat has developed a couple of tears, so I “fixed” it with shoelaces.
Bought a new tail light lens (mine was busted in the move out west, a new reed set, and an intake manifold gasket, because why not? The guys at Treatland are excellent, and they probably have all the parts you’ll need for your moped/small bike. I’ve bought from them a number of times, and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them.
Project Boxster Clubsport –
I really love this car so much. Recently the car has had some sport suspension bits installed, and some interior components swapped out. It’s a fun project, and even more fun to drive. Read all about it over at
Project Mazda3 The Wifemobile –
I recently spent a very exhausting evening installing new front struts on this pig. I hated every minute of it. The car laughed at my struggles. I think it enjoyed my failures.
The front left drop link was completely seized in a way that made it impossible to remove from either the strut housing or the sway bar. In order to get the strut housing out, I cut the thing in half. Moog makes a new drop link that is grease-able, so I put a pair of those on. This was the worst part of the project, and from now on I will take the car to a pro. Shortly after the new struts were installed, the car developed a really bad pull to the right, so while it was in for an alignment, I had them look into the problem. They diagnosed a lower ball joint failure (integral to the lower control arm), so an $800 service later and we had the car back. It drives fine now, but I just hate it all the more.
Project House –
On January 1st, we moved into our new home. It has been taking up a lot of my time trying to update some things here and there. It’s a ton of work, and I don’t really recommend it. However, the house came with the shop pictured below (and in the Mazda picture), so I guess it’s not all bad.
The picture below depicts our yard how it looked when we moved in. Above is what the lawn looks like now. Desert living is awful, because your yard is full of terrible deep root weeds and any time it does rain, they spring up about a foot and a half. Trying to keep them at bay is impossible. We got some free sod by chance, and we tried to put that down. Watering it every day only does so much when it’s over 100 degrees for a week and a half. It’s putting down some roots, but it is really ugly right now and needs a ton of work. At least the inside of the house is nice.

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  1. #JailTruck Avatar

    I thought you said the Mustang wasn’t drivable. I can manage a road trip in that.

    1. Bradley Brownell Avatar
      Bradley Brownell

      LOL, it hasn’t run in our lifetime…

      1. #JailTruck Avatar

        No faith!

  2. rumblestrip Avatar

    Field turf and embracing desert landscaping are in your future

  3. desmo Avatar

    S H O E L A C E S ! ! ! This is one of the worst and crappiest “repairs” I have ever seen.
    Not only did you ruin the seat cover, but also the foam – only to save a few cents on some staples and a replacement cover. I hope you will sell the old Audi and Porsche asap. Otherwise they might not survive your savage ideas.

    1. Bradley Brownell Avatar
      Bradley Brownell

      OMG RUNED!
      Chill man, you might have an aneurysm. The seat foam was not hurt even a little. Even if it were, who cares? These seats are on ebay for under 100 bucks any time I want one. Frankly, I like mine with a little wear and tear better anyway. Besides, its my bike, I’m going to do with it what I please.
      Oh, and before you blow a gasket, the Boxster is already ruined by my “savage ideas”.

  4. salguod Avatar

    Your struggles with the Mazda3 are interesting. My 2005 hatch has gotten new struts & control arms in the recent past (last spring and this spring, respectively) and neither was the battle you describe.
    I was shocked, actually, at how easy the control arms were. At nearly 10 years in Ohio and over 170K miles, I was ready for a battle. It didn’t happen, I was done in under 4 hours.
    It’s been a great little car for me. I love the 318ti, but I miss that Mazda and get a grin when I get to drive it (my daughter does now).