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Cars > 007_SuperCoupe’s Garage > Blog


The Manifold is starting to take life...

By 007_SuperCoupe

Filed under: /blogs/browse/t/vehicle/v//p

As the days of the summer are more rapidly being marked off the calendar, the bird is still sitting in the driveway for what is appearing to be a long-term grounding.

I’ve started diligent work on my new intake manifold. I have discovered that not only will it require a much longer supercharger belt, but I will also have to either relocate my coolant temperature sending unit (for the eec) or tap into the manifold and build the boss where it is on the stock manifold. In addition, I discovered that the thermostat housing is somewhat different than stock, so I will also have to modify that as well. It is all possible, but just adds to the complexity of the overall project. It’s already hard enough to weld to the impure aluminum casting, and this just means more welding. And, because of the nature of the casting, additional welding can potentially cause warping or even cracking of the casting. It will be critical on this project to insure that the manifold does not reach excessive temperatures and that it is not cooled too rapidly to prevent warping and cracking. I guess it’s a good thing that I’m not the one doing the welding, but my good friend who has a number of years (I don’t want to divulge how old this person REALLY is…) of aluminum fabrication. I will always defer to “experts” in certain areas…this being one of them. I’m attempting to limit the amount of welding on the manifold as well by designing a three piece manifold. The design is relatively simple. I have a lower manifold that bolts to the heads. On this lower manifold is welded a mounting plate for the upper manifold. The upper manifold will consist of two parts. The upper manifold is basically an open plenum that feeds the lower which will have runners that lengthen the intake runners of the heads. The second part of the upper is simply the top that will bolt onto the plenum and provide for a place to mount the supercharger in its (relative) stock configuration. I will have to rework the intake plenum that bolts to the upper plenum of the intake manifold and the intercooler tube. Based on my design, I may be able to incorporate it into the upper portion of my manifold. At this point, it is too early to say if I can do that or not as I have other steps that need to be completed prior to that design step.

My current effort is to design the upper plenum of the manifold to have enough volume to adequately feed the high flow capability of my heads without “scavenging” from the manifold. Of course, under boost, there’s really not a scavenging effect, but it can have an effect on manifold pressure and supplying enough air to adequately fill the chambers. The volume of the stock manifold is approximately 1 liter. I have not taken accurate measurements, but estimated based on a few measurements I have taken. Given the approximate volume of 1 liter, each cylinder displaces approximately .633 liters of air. Therefore the manifold does not have enough volume to adequately supply enough air to a pair of cylinders filling at the same time. Considering how fast valves open and close is relatively easy to see how a manifold’s volume can end up starving cylinders of air and as a result leave potential horsepower on the table. I estimate that a manifold volume of 1.5 to 2.1 liters of air is sufficient to provide enough air to fill the cylinders without incurring a large pressure change within the manifold. And, of course, that increase in volume (prior to the combustion chamber) will result in lower boost levels at the same engine rpm. And, given the fact that my new heads flow significantly better than stock or even my ported stock valve heads that will further reduce the overall boost pressure. That is good, because then I will be able to further increase boost pressure further increasing overall performance (although that may take the use of a different supercharger).

Ultimately, I believe my manifold design is on track to provide enough airflow to properly supply my custom heads. Obviously flow testing will reveal that assumption for sure. I still have a significant amount of work to complete before my design is ready for flow testing, but that is a significant portion of the R&D process.

Stay tuned…

Spring Modifications have turned into a Summer Mess!

By 007_SuperCoupe

Filed under: /blogs/browse/t/vehicle/v//p

This will be a short one...

After adding a couple very minor mods to my SC, I discovered that the nice new coil that I purchased maybe 4000 miles ago is bad. I believe the coil was never working properly and ended up allowing for significant detonation in two cylinders. A new coil later, I discovered what the result was. I got maybe .2 mile from my house, yes, two-tenths of a mile, and all of a sudden smoke billowed out from under my hood and out my exhaust. After opening my hood, I discovered that not only did I blow the oil filler cap off, but also the neck that attaches it to the valve cover. Both were still together but no longer on the valve cover. That takes a significant amount of pressure in the crank case. I'm assuming I have a cracked piston thanks to the detonation I presumably had from a bad coil.

So, my modification plans have changed ever so slightly. I already purchased a newer shortblock this last winter and the heads are already being worked over, in a very good way. I'm making plans to replace the stock pedestal mount rocker arm system a mini-shaft system, which, of course, adds to the price of the heads. But in the end, it allows for a much more stable and durable rocker arm system. Oh, and it's capable of up to 8000 rpm, but I doubt I'll take it quite that far...

And I'm going to be hitting the manifold project with a lot more attention as I need to build one capable of supporting the head flow. For you T-bird SC guys, more ino will follow, good or bad. I don't want to spill the beans yet on that project because I don't want to get hopes up for something that may not work. If it works, I'll post up so all can see. Watch SCCoA for more details on that.

So as of now, my 'Bird is officially grounded.

Fuel economy expirements

By 007_SuperCoupe

Several months ago, I started conducting my own experiments on fuel economy. Every three weeks I travel from Lincoln, NE to Houston,TX (and back) for medical treatment. That has given me the opportunity to track real world results in fuel economy tests. I found some interesting results, despite the mechanical issues I had over the course of some of the experimenting.

First off, my test vehicle is a 1998 Buick Regal LS. It sports the naturally aspirated GM 3.8 Liter engine. I purchased this vehicle after my previous car couldn’t reliably make the trip back and forth to Houston any longer. It was a 1-owner car that was driven daily since new. I purchased it with over 113,000 miles on the odometer, so it was more than well broken in. Each trip taken I used the cruise control set at 65 mph unless the speed limit was less. I’ve found that driving over 65 greatly reduces fuel economy (on previous trips). The tires were also inflated to 35-37 psi (slight fluctuation to see if it changed fuel economy, which it didn’t significantly).

The first trip I took with it, I didn’t perform any maintenance other than a can of BG 44K. Not because I didn’t want to, but because I purchased it literally the night before I left on one of my frequent trips. That trip I drove an even 2000 miles and averaged a respectable 28.2 mpg. Once I got back, I began some basic maintenance on it. The first was the air filter, spark plugs and wires. I replaced the stock air filter with a K&N air filter. The spark plugs were upgraded to the e2 plugs which advertise a documented power increase as well as mpg increase. I figured if it worked out on this car, I’d do the same on the rest of my “fleet” of vehicles. But those plugs are rather expensive, so I needed to know for sure that they worked before just dropping that money on all my vehicles.

My next trip showed some improvement, but a failing transmission created a faulty total accounting. While the transmission was fine, I drove 936 miles and averaged a much improved 31.0 mpg, an increase of 1.8 mpg over the previous trip. However, the CE light illuminated almost immediately upon my return trip. It ended up being the transmission. I was able to limp it home the 93x miles, but my mileage fell to a still relatively respectable 27.5 mpg.

After a new transmission was installed I didn’t see much difference between my first trip and the remaining trips. However, this was also over the winter and as many experts will tell you, don’t pay attention to fuel economy during the cold winter months as it is not accurate anyway. Well, including the first two trips with the car (yes, even the trip with a failing transmission), the first 6 trips averaged a still respectable 27.8 mpg with a total mileage of 10,829. So even with the failing transmission, it did not greatly affect the end outcome of fuel economy. It was not even the worst mileage of all of those trips. I believe this was in small part of breaking in the new transmission. I suspect the tolerances of the gears was much closer, therefore more friction was present, resulting in slightly decreased fuel economy.

My next trip, I decided to further alter some basic maintenance of my vehicle. For my oil change this time, I elected to treat the oil with BG’s engine oil additive. This additive is supposed to remove engine deposits and generally clean the internal components of the engine. It was also time for my BG 44K treatment. That is the fuel system cleaner that is recommended to be added every 10k miles. I’m not sure if it was due to the warming weather or not, but my fuel economy increased to 30.0 mpg for 1872 miles driven. It was over a 2 mpg increase from the previous six trips.

My next trip I took it a step further. I had a good response from BG’s engine oil additive, so I elected to also purchase BG’s transmission additive during my next oil change. Again, I saw measurable increases. For the first 1159 miles (all the way down to Houston, in town there, then back to Corsicana, TX) I averaged a much improved 31.2 mpg. However, around the Dallas area, I drove through a strong frontal system and from that point on was driving into 25 mph head winds which naturally decreased my fuel economy. However, even after driving for a day and a half into very strong headwinds, I still averaged an improved 30.4 mpg after a total of 1850 miles driven. I would like to say that it was settled as far as the mpg goes for the car, but on this trip, I noticed a miss at idle as well as under certain condition while under a load. It was confirmed that three ignition coil terminals were corroded and not allowing full voltage to reach half of my spark plugs. Although I’m not sure how that affected my fuel economy, I can only guess that it didn’t help it.

I now have all three coils replaced with new ones and am looking forward to seeing what my fuel economy will be for this next trip. I’m hoping I have good travel weather with minimal winds (10 mph or less) so as to get an accurate accounting of mileage on this trip. Stay tuned for further results…

Spring modifications have officially started...

By 007_SuperCoupe

Filed under: /blogs/browse/t/vehicle/v//p

Spring is in the air and many of us are looking forward to getting our beloved cars back on the road. Well, while all you are driving this spring, I’ll be working on what would likely be your “winter” projects! My projects are progressing nicely, but of course, never fast enough for me!

Right now, my heads are at the machine shop getting completely worked over. They are receiving a full port job, new valve seats for larger 1.940” intake and 1.625” exhaust valves. The valves, themselves, are Ferrea 6000 12* Super Flo valves. To compliment the valves I have some Crane dual springs capable of greater than .600” lift. I will be shortly ordering a bump stick with .590” lift with 218*/224* duration. That will really wake up my little supercharged 3.8 as well as taking advantage of the incredible flow that my heads will offer.

I also have in my possession brand new lights for my Super Coupe. These consist, not of the housings, but the actual bulb configuration. I will be installing a competition limited wiring harness that draws current directly from the battery as opposed to through the multifunction switch (known to fail). This not only allows for higher wattage bulbs, if desired, but also allows both high and low beam to be on at the same time. In addition to the comp ltd wiring harness, I also have two sets of HID conversion kits for installation, one for low beam and another for high beam. The comp ltd wiring harness allows for a transition to high beam so I’m not driving for a very short time with no lights and then slightly lower lighting until the HIDs warm up. The same goes for the converse. The HID conversion should eliminate the extremely poor lighting that the stock lights provide on the Thunderbird platform. And with properly aimed lights, there should not be a problem with oncoming traffic as I have evaluated this on other Thunderbirds with HID lights before I purchased mine. I also purchased the “coolest” possible temperature bulbs which are 6000K bulbs. This should match nicely with my PIAA fog lamps (driving lights) which are a slightly cooler 5300K.

In addition to the above, I have also purchased a slightly used rebuilt 3.8 shortblock from a fellow Super Coupe enthusiast who couldn’t leave stock alone! The block has less than 10k miles on it, which means that it’s already broken in and has made over 350 rwhp. It made that power on a relatively small bump stick which has .491” lift with 210*/220* duration. I will need to purchase a harmonic balancer for it and I’m currently looking at a SFI certified balancer for it.

I’m also reworking the stock intake manifold which is very poor at best. Currently I have to top completely cut out of it and will be consulting my machinist (head porter) to develop a flow strategy that will be much improved over the stock capability. Regardless of head flow capability, the stock manifold restricts flow to roughly 200 cfm on each intake port. We hope to remove the intake manifold as a restriction completely. My plan for the manifold is to raise the floor of the manifold so it is closer to the bottom of the intake runners (but this is still up for discussion) and to also raise the top of the manifold to no lower than the upper opening of the intake runners. What may change my plan is if I decide to install velocity stacks inside the manifold to produce a more even flow distribution and better flow into each cylinder head. In that case, I would likely not raise the floor of the manifold as I could better utilize the volume of the manifold. This is where I will defer to the subject matter expert in flow. Therefore, a lot of my final plan will be determined after I talk with my machinist.

To complement my intake manifold, I also have upgraded to a 75mm throttle body and Magnum Powers inlet plenum. This should increase the flow to my supercharger sufficiently to allow for the increase flow of the manifold and heads. I will still likely lose a few pounds of boost, but will pick up dramatically in performance!

I also have a nice set of aluminum under drive pullies that will be ready to be installed on my new-to-me engine. In addition, I’m also planning on getting a nice 9.5” 3000 stall torque converter to install while I’m performing the engine swap. I also have a Lentech valve body awaiting installation that will allow me to manually shift through each gear as well as electronically eliminating OD as needed. No more shifting into OD on the dyno or as I’m about 300’ short of trapping in the quarter mile!

I have many more, but much smaller modifications in mind while I’m swapping engines. I would very much like to clean up the engine bay which means new paint as well as possibly upgrading various lines including vacuum lines, transmission cooler lines, etc to braded -AN lines with the appropriate fittings. I will also likely swap my rack and pinion since the engine will be out and I’ve already got the new one sitting on my shelf!

All-in-all, it is going to be a very busy spring and summer for me. In addition to all the above, I also will have to tune the car which means purchasing the quarter horse and appropriate tuning software that I will have to learn how to use. It looks to be a very busy year for me and my Super Coupe. I’m definitely looking forward to it though as I haven’t completed anything more than regular maintenance for the past 5 years or so!

More upgrades........finally!

By 007_SuperCoupe

Filed under: /blogs/browse/t/vehicle/v//p

It's been nearly two years since I last blogged here. I'm not sure exactly why, as I visit the site often. I guess I really haven't had anything significant to blog about when it comes to my car. Finally, that has changed!

I'm excited once again, because after a 4-5 year pause, I can finally get back to playing with the Super Coupe. It's funny how life has a tendancy to put your plans on hold sometimes and that's exactly what's happened to me. But on to the fun stuff...

My current plans involve aquiring a new(er) engine than my 105k mile mill. I will be purchasing a fairly recent rebuild engine that has less than 10,000 miles on the odometer and has made as much as 375 rwhp on a friend's Super Coupe. That purchase has been in the works for some time. But more recently, I've purchased a go-fast part for my supercharger. That is a redesigned inlet plenum from Magnum Powers that really opens much of the restriction on the intake side of the supercharger. This part alone should allow for more boost which is a direct translation into more power.

In addition to that, I have also started gathering the parts for my heads. Unfortunately for the Super Coupe world, there are NO aftermarket options for heads. Our option is simple, re-work the custom heads as much as possible. Today I took a big step in that direction. I've got a set of ported heads already on my Super Coupe, however, they retained the stock valves and springs which effectively does little for performance. The stock valve springs means that an aftermarket cam can't be used. No aftermarket cam, I can't take advantage of the increased airflow (even with stock valves) of ported heads. Well, today, I ordered my new large valves for my heads and am also ordering some dual springs. The stock valves are small at best, measuring a mere 1.74" on the intake and 1.46" on the exhaust. Those are being replaced with Ferrea 6000 valves measuring 1.94" on the intake and 1.625" on the exhaust, both of the 12* Super Flo variety. The valve size may still seem small to the V8 crowd, but they are a significant increase over stock and are about the largest that can be safely installed on the 3.8 heads. Both sets of valves will require new seats to be installed. That should really increase the airflow, particularly under boost. The dual springs will allow for more than .600" lift, if desired, but the cam that I'll be running for now is a relatively small .491" lift cam. The big performance gain on the cam is the duration. I will be dropping off the heads at the machine shop tomorrow morning for my machinist to have on hand and work with as he has time. I'm in no rush yet, because I still don't have possession of the engine they will be installed on.

In addition to the heads, I'm also reworking the stock pancake intake manifold. The design is poor in regards to the fact that it presents a significant restriction in the intake system. No matter how "good" the heads flow, they will ultimately be limited by the ability of the manifold. I'm working with my machinist to rework the design to eliminate the manifold as a restriction point.

I am also going to be purchasing a new torque converter. I'm not sure what it will be like driving a relatively high stall converter (compared to the stock 1800 rpm) at 3000 rpm, but I believe it will give me what my performance goals will be for my car.

All-in-all, I'm very excited to finally getting back to the work of modifying my car. It has been a long time coming, and hopefully, I will be able to get it to a point this year that I will make it to our annual Super Coupe Shootout.

A story about the true generosity of some...

By 007_SuperCoupe

It has been a while since I blogged on here. This story is a long one, but worth the read. Copied from my cancer blog:

I have another story to tell you all. I will forewarn you all; it will be a long story, so please bear with me. But, it’s a warm-hearted, feel-good story that tells everyone that there are still good people out there in the world and when you least suspect it, they show themselves. I don’t want you all to think this is a story about me. I am part of the story, but I want to make sure that the focus is not so much on me, but the unselfish acts of another.

My story starts a brief four weeks ago. The car that I had been driving back and forth to Houston for my treatments has a few miles on it…over 150,000 to be closer to accurate. The car was given to my wife by her parents. It really wasn’t much of a car but it got really good gas mileage! It’s a 1994 Oldsmobile Achieva SC. The history of the car was long, but we didn’t know all that much about it. All I really knew was that it had a remanufactured engine in it. That was good. But time began to rear its head over the year or so that we had the car. Generally speaking, one thing led to the next. I installed new brakes, alternator, front suspension bushings, front axles, struts, you get the idea. We put into the car more than the car was worth. But it was making the trip back and forth to Houston, so it wasn’t a big deal. Now about four weeks ago now, I noticed a “bell” type of sound coming from the engine compartment. I’m not a dummy when it comes to engines as I actually do most of my maintenance and repair work. But I was getting into a serious time crunch because I left again for Houston in a few days. And what I was really waiting on was some money… I knew it was coming, but wasn’t sure of the exact day it would hit. When I finally found out the money was “officially” on its way, it was the day before I left for my next trip to Houston. As you can imagine, this put me in a significant time crunch!

So that morning, I took the Achieva to my mechanic. I DO use a mechanic when I know I can’t accomplish the task or when I am up against a time crunch. I do it as a hobby; they do it for a living. I know without a doubt that they can get it done faster. And due to the fact that I still have to work, that time crunch is typically that much more compressed. I suspected that the tensioner pulley bearing was beginning to fail and as a result was causing a vibration through the pulley which was making the audible ringing sound. I relayed this to my mechanic and then proceeded to work.

It was about noon when the mechanic called me to tell me what was going on; a practice that is standard before they proceed with any repairs. I was correct thinking it was pulley bearing, I just had the wrong pulley. In fact, it was the air conditioner compressor idler pulley bearings that were failing. In addition to that, the clutch for the air conditioner compressor was badly worn and needed to be replaced. Ultimately that meant a new air conditioner compressor was needed. That, in itself requires a whole new set of parts including air conditioner lines, the dryer as well as new refrigerant not to mention the labor to get that all installed. All-in-all I was looking at a repair bill well over $1000. Now, looking back, I had already spent over $1000 in repairs to get the car to where it was at that point. A quick look at both NADA and Kelly Blue Book showed that in the condition the car was in, it was worth at most $750. So when do you cut your losses? That was it!

I talked to my lovely bride at lunch and we decided that it wouldn’t hurt at all to look around at a few of the dealerships in town to see if they even had anything that would fit the bill. I started my search at the one dealership we didn’t make it to when we traded in our Trailblazer for a Suburban, Sid Dillon Buick in Lincoln, Nebraska. It worked out well. When I arrived I told the salesman who approached me that I was looking for a car that was less than $4000 and was capable of lasting about 8 months making trips to Houston, roughly 850 miles one-way, every three weeks. Of course, through the conversation I revealed the reason I travel to Houston every three weeks; a clinical trial to prevent the recurrence of melanoma for a third time.

The car they showed me was a local trade that had just arrived a couple days earlier. It was a 1998 Buick Regal LS, green in color. I test drove it and it fit the bill I was looking for. The price was initially set at $3900 pending a check-over by my mechanic. I called my mechanic and they could look at the car (by this time it was after 2pm). However, after I got off the phone, I decided to stop by the bank first. I figured the bank closes before the mechanic, so off to the bank I went.

A brief time later, I was approved for a loan for $3900 and had the check in-hand to prove it. I was off to have my mechanic evaluate the car. After their evaluation, there were a few things noted that the salesman at Sid Dillon was not aware of that was wrong with the car. The list of things that needed to be fixed were this: driver’s side inner tie rod end, transmission service, damaged oil pan, front sway bar broken, brakes worn as well as a few other minor deficiencies like a blown speaker. With that knowledge, I went back to the dealership and negotiated a little lower price. The agreed upon price was set at $3579 and the papers were signed. But by this time at night, about 6 pm, most of the rest of the staff were gone. In order to receive the $321 back, I would have to come back the next morning. My plan was to use that money for the tax, title and license for the car. That was no problem because I did need something done to the car the next morning before I began my 2000 mile journey to Houston and back. The most pressing issue was the transmission needing serviced. The fluid had bubbles in which meant that the pick-up was drawing air. On a long trip, this could mean that the transmission could burn up. That’s not something I wanted after just purchasing a car. I wouldn’t have any trouble getting back to the dealership the next morning.

Before I left the dealership that night, the salesman introduced me to his boss, who happened to be part owner of the dealership. He too is a cancer survivor and so we shared our stories for nearly a half an hour. I didn’t think too much about it, because, well, I’m a talker. I tell many people my story and never think anything of it. I headed home in a new-to-me car and proceeded to prepare myself (read: “pack my suitcase”) for my journey.

The next morning my wife and I took the car directly to the mechanic and then all the kids to their respective schools. Shortly after dropping the car off at the mechanic, I received a phone call. It was the co-owner of the dealership I met the night before. Apparently I made some type of impression. The conversation wasn’t that long, and I don’t remember a lot of the details. What I remember was him asking what the check for $321 was for. I told him I was going to use it for taxes, title and license. His reply through me off a little because he said, “We still want to give you the car.” It struck me as a little odd because the paperwork was finalized; I bought the car. He went on to tell me that I could come pick up the check and that they wanted to give me the car. I got it this time. My only response was, “You’re kidding!” That’s right, they GAVE me the car. In addition to that, they still gave me the check for $321 to cover the tax, title and license. Needless to say, I was not only flabbergasted, but completely overcome by their generosity. I couldn’t hardly say anything more than, “Thank you,” repeatedly.

There was only one small snag that day. While test driving the car after flushing the transmission, the alternator went out. Considering the fact that I just received the car for nothing (well, $60.98 to be precise – loan processing fee and a single day of interest) I had no problem fixing the alternator. All that done, I began the adventure that I take every three weeks. But before I left, the salesman and part owner told me to come back to see them when I returned in reference to the things that were wrong with the car.

The car performed great on the trip. It averaged 28.2 miles per gallon which was less than 3 miles per gallon less than the 4-cylinder Achieva. But once I got home, I left immediately again for another week to help my father with some work. Now, I’m only home about two weeks between each trip to Houston. That meant that this week now was the only week I was actually going to be at home to get some of the work done on the car. I could do a lot of the work myself, but not all of it. I went back to the dealership and was told to make a list of the things that needed to be done, parts cost and labor costs. I did that, but didn’t include a lot of things on the list. All that was on the list was the tie rod ends, the sway bar and the oil pan. And Wednesday, as you all know, was Veterans’ Day. That meant I had the day off work. And because I am somewhat handy with a wrench, I spent the day working on the car. I performed the basic tune up, plugs, wires, air filter, and oil change. I also replaced the brakes; front rotors and pads and rear pads. For the most part, that was the extent of my abilities given the time constraints of my next trip to Houston. A quick phone call to my mechanic scheduled the tie rod replacement for today. I was planning the sway bar replacement when I got back and the oil pan in a trip or two from now.

You’d think this might be a decent stopping point to my story, but there’s more to tell. It was shortly after lunch today when the dealership called me. It was in response to my list of work that needed to be done still on the car. I explained that I had the car in the shop for the tie rod ends currently, so that was getting completed. During this phone call, I explained that the most critical parts were the sway bar and the oil pan. The sway bar was next on my list and the oil pan would come sometime in the future. That was when the same part owner offered me some of the parts to fix the car. I figured to this point that the “implied” offer was that I may be able to get the parts at cost. This again amazed me! He gave me the front sway bar, the oil pan and the oil pan gasket. If I had to purchase those parts on my own (two of which are dealer-only items), I would have spent over $400. This ends my story.

There are several reasons I told this story. The first and foremost is my way of saying “Thank you” to Sid Dillon Buick of Lincoln, Nebraska. Another reason is to show that there are still wonderful people in this world. I never doubted that those people were out there. I just never expected that I would find anyone so generous. One thing I do have to say is that Sid Dillon now has a customer for LIFE! I would encourage any who might be live in the area to consider getting your next car at Sid Dillon. They don’t carry a single brand of car that I ever considered driving before, but that’s the only place I will shop for another car!

I never asked for any assistance nor did I expect any. I must have made a significant impression on the people at Sid Dillon though because of their offer. I didn’t go there with my hand out asking for anything, yet they offered. I want to again say, “Thank you,” to Sid Dillon Buick for the kindness they have shown me.

One thing leads to another...

By 007_SuperCoupe

Filed under: /blogs/browse/t/vehicle/v//p

Ever wonder why people just give cars away? I'm not talking about those charity auctions or anything like that. I'm talking about someone who says, "I've got this car sitting. It runs, but I'm not driving it anymore. If you want it, come and get it. It's yours." Do you ever wonder why? I never did, but I was on the receiving end of that offer a few years ago. I took the car, made a few fixes and drove it. I drove it until the alternator went out. Had that rebuilt, then I drove it until the engine mounts broke. And they broke so bad and seemingly suddenly that they also took out the heater core. So the car sat over the winter until I could get to it to fix the heater core and mounts. I was feeling good once the new heater core was installed and the new engine mounts were in. I drove it back and forth from work which is less than 10 miles from home. Then I decided to take it on a road trip. I have to regularly travel to Houston, TX from Lincoln, NE. One trip, I decided to take this car. After all, it gets much better gas mileage than any of my other cars. It performed nearly flawlessly on the highway. Over the course of nearly 2000 miles, it averaged a nice round 31.0 miles per gallon. Although, the mpg fell off slightly on my trek back home as I averaged an impressive 32.6 mpg to Houston. During the trek home, I also noted a significant shake had developed. It began around 55 mph and got increasingly worse as I turned to the right. My first inclination was that an inner CV joint was going bad and I should replace them both. After all, the car does have 146,xxx miles on it! Pulling the front suspension apart revealed that my hunch was correct. All the suspension parts are OEM, factory installed. In the process of the 1/2 shaft replacement, I noted that the inner lower control arm bushings needed to be replaced as well as the sway bar end links. No big deal, took me a couple days as I was avoiding the heat of the day and had only hand tools to use. After the replacement, I took it on a short test drive to see if the driving had improved. I noted a significant improvement in ride quality, but the "shake" was still there at about 55 mph and above.

The plan had always been to get an alignment once I replaced the bushings, so an appointment was made. A brief drive with the mechanic revealed the shake to him and they vowed to find it. Turns out both front struts are shot. They are shot to the point that the inner portion of the strut and the outer housing move at different rates, creating the shake that is felt when driving.

It doesn't surprise me at all that the struts are gone. It does have 146,xxx miles on it. But I just find it interesting that when you take one part off the car, all of a sudden two, three or four other parts are then instantly revealed as needing to be replaced. I know it is the way with older vehicles with high mileage. I'm just glad that the car was given to me instead of me purchasing it and still needing all this work!

Still getting it ready...

By 007_SuperCoupe

Filed under: /blogs/browse/t/vehicle/v//p

Got just a tad more done this weekend on my SC. I replaced the tensioner spring on my jackshaft tensioner with one that is MUCH stronger to help prevent additional belt slip. I was having some issues when I last had it on the dyno. I also decided to modify another tensioner (same tensioner) to see if my modifications would work.

Basically taking the stock tensioner, cutting it apart about mid-way on the arm and lengthing it by about .670". There were two reason I wanted to do this. First was to try to get a tad more belt wrap on the crank and jackshaft pullies. The other reason was to maybe be able to install a larger pulley onto the tensioner. I've got my eye on an idler pulley from Billet Flow, but in order to even install it on the tensioner, I had to lengthen it. I'm not sure that it will work though because there's not a ton of room down there. I only have about 3/4" or so (not measured, just eyeballed) clearance between the tensioner pulley and the crank pulley. So my goal is to first see if by lengthening the tensioner, it will still fit. Then I'll have to see if I have clearance enough for one of the 2 pullies that Billet Flow offers. The jackshaft pulley I have on there right now measures 75mm in diameter. I would love to be able to install the 100mm diameter pulley that they offer, but that seems unlikely at this point. They also offer a 92mm pulley that may fit the bill just a tad better. I'm not sure though as I first have to see if it will even work with the stock tensioner pulley on there... It's just another custom project that I decided to try on my car. Anything to improve performace (or consistancy in performance) is a plus. Since I had an extra tensioner available, it was an easy thing to try.

Going to try to get a socket today so I can change my O2 one that is located high up on the manifold and can only be reached by to get that special one that allows for the wires.

The tires still need to be mounted and balanced, valve body installed on the transmission, brakes bled, O2 sensor replaced, fuel filter replaced and along with the valve body, a transmission flush. Then I'll have to take it to the mechanic (because I don't want to hassle with this stuff) and get the power steering flushed, a boot replaced on the rack and pinion, a 4-wheel alignment and I think one other little thing that I can't remember right now for the life of me. :)

It's so close to being road worthy! I've got a baseline dyno coming up in May as part of a larger dyno tune, so it's got to be ready by then...and it will be...I can't wait to drive it again!

It's been nice weather the last couple days...

By 007_SuperCoupe

Filed under: /blogs/browse/t/vehicle/v//p

I had yesterday off and it was such nice weather both yesterday and today, that I decided to go ahead an get some more work done on my car. It's getting very close to driving down the road again.

Yesterday I changed the old oil that had been sitting in there for a couple years now and put in fresh oil and a new filter. I also installed one of two O2 sensors (the one that I didn't need the special socket to remove/install), and then started taking my engine back apart. Yes, you read right...just days after I got it back together after a year and a half, I started taking it back apart. The goal was to retape some of those wire looms that had the factory tape falling off and just plain looking like crap.

Today I finished that up, installed my new brake accumulator (so I can stop!), cleaned my air filter and did a general detail of the engine. It had a couple years of dirt and dust build up on it that I wanted to get off. I also swapped a couple pullies (which was a real pain) and had to fix a section of wiring that has become brittle over the years.

The final result is as you see in the picture. It's back together (although I didn't start it tonight as I want to go ahead and bleed the brakes before I pressurize the accumulator. Attached is also the album so you can see before and after shots of the engine as it was reassembled. Enjoy.

She started today!

By 007_SuperCoupe

Filed under: /blogs/browse/t/vehicle/v//p

Well, it's been over a year, my treatment for cancer has come and gone and finally I got my car running again today. It's been a long haul to get here, but now it's here.

The DIS heat sink is working 100% as is the new coil. My IC fan wiring harness works great. I can't believe that gas that's a year and a half old is still good either.

Now, I just have to get the tires mounted and balanced and then I can take it for a test drive. I can't wait! I've been way too long without being able to drive it. Now that it runs, I just want to drive it. But I've got to wait just a tad longer. I've got to change the oil, drop the tranny pan and install a new valve body, install new O2 sensors and get those tires mounted and balanced. Then I'm good to go for a while. I've got a couple other little things to do, but nothing right now. I'll be plenty happy to just drive it for this year... More mods will come next year... :D

It's almost ready to start...again...

By 007_SuperCoupe

Filed under: /blogs/browse/t/vehicle/v//p

I took advantage of the nice weather today and made some significant progress on my SC. I got my IC installed, new wiring harness installed (awesome I might add), replaced the #1 plug that had a broken electrode, installed the supercharger top and upper IC tube, installed my DIS module with a custom heat sink under it for increased cooling, found a couple bolts that I dropped in the engine compartment last fall, fixed a couple wiring issues that I had found while digging... I think that's about it. I know that's a pretty long sentence, but you can deal with it. :)

Now, to get it running, all I have to do is install a new battery. I've got a good one coming tomorrow so I will be able to find out then if it'll start up. I'm a little concerned because it's been sitting for so long. I'm sure the fuel in the tank is not good anymore. I just hope it's good enough to get me the mile up the road to the gas station.

I also need to install my new O2 sensors before I try to start it. And a quick check of other things like oil, coolant, etc needs to be done before I just crank it over. I know I'm low on coolant and am due an oil change. I'll hand crank the engine over to make sure that everything is still moving (if it's not, that's really going to suck!). I'm pretty sure it is because the engine was turning a little when I was tightening up my alternator pulley.

That's about it. Wish me luck. I'm hoping to at least get it started tomorrow...

Well, my to-do list got shorter...and longer...

By 007_SuperCoupe

Filed under: /blogs/browse/t/vehicle/v//p

I'm happy to have made some progress today on my Super Coupe. Not sure if I had blogged about it yet, but I sent the bolts for my alternator off to the chrome shop to make my alternator jump out just a tad more. They came back a couple bolts short. After a search, the bolts were not located. Unfortunately one of the bolts was the main mounting bolt that runs through the accessory bracket, through the alternator back to the accessory bracket where it screws in. No big deal, right? Apart from the fact that it took me some time to locate my spare one (believe it or not I did have one) and that it's not chromed, it wasn't too big of a deal. So today, I finished up installing the alternator, re-installing the coil, plug wires and belts. I wish I had a better place to store my car because there's quite a bit of surface rust on all the pullies now that it has set as long as it has. Now to my "to-do" list...

It got shorter because I got that stuff done. But I also received my M112 this week. So now my list is that much longer. My list now includes:

To drive my SC:
o Replace #1 spark plug
o Replace O2 sensors
o Re-install intercooler
o Re-install supercharger top and upper intercooler tube
o Replace two wire failing grounding connector and one for my intercooler fan switch
o Re-install DIS module with custom heat sink
o Purchase and install new battery...Optima type
o Replace brake accumulator
o Mount and balance new tires

Things that I need to get done soon:
o Install Mark VIII spindles and brakes
o Install transmission valve body-flush transmission fluid
o Install the rest of the front suspension, lower control arms, upper control arms, tie rod end links, sway bar end links, rack and pinion...etc

New things added to my list now that I've got the M112:
o Modify M112, inlet plenum, intake plenum, lower intake manifold and fuel rail to make M112 fit
o Purchase 60 lb injectors
o Purchase 75mm throttle body (currently have a 70mm)
o Purchase OD jackshaft pulley
o Purchase intercooler core (going to build a new front mount IC)
o Purchase aluminum tubing for IC piping
o Purchase quick change pulley set for M112
o Purchase battery relocation kit
o Purchase larger radiator (with front mount IC, I'll have room for a much larger one)
o Purchase additional IC fan for use with front mount IC
o Purchase air dam to funnel air into lower bumper cover (flow over IC core)
o Possibly purchase BBK valve covers-for use with front mount IC. Routing of IC pipes will be different, requiring use of n/a 3.8 valve covers
o Purchase cam and valve springs (and hardware) to take advantage of M112
o Install all of the above mentioned items

Then there's always the want to have items on the list:
o Purchase new wheels
o Purchase tires to go on the new wheels
o Plan for a custom paint job as soon as next winter
o Replace exterior trim as part of paint job

So the list got shorter, if only for a moment before it got longer again. I have the opportunity to finally get some nice wheels for the car, but I also have this M112 now too. There's a lot I need to purchase for that as well and could put money towards making it work...or get wheels. I'm torn because I've started the M112 project officially now, but have the opportunity (and permission) to finally purchase some nice wheels for my ride. I may bite the bullet and get the wheels, then work feverishly on the M112. Money is the big set-back at this point. It costs money to go fast. Unfortunately it's getting harder to come by lately....

Man I got to get some TDY for work...

Upgrading the supercharger

By 007_SuperCoupe

Filed under: /blogs/browse/t/vehicle/v//p

Well, I have finally found a good deal on an Eaton M112 supercharger. This particular model is from a Jaguar. It will require a lot of custom modifications to get it to work, but it's nothing that I'm not ready for.

I have not yet actually sent the money for this, but as soon as I get my tax return (any day now) I will be sending the money out for it. I can only hope that the seller hasn't decided to sell it out from under me. It didn't sound like he would do that, so I'm optomistic that it will be there still when I'm sending the money.

One thing that I'm going to do for sure is to open up the inlet to match the Magnum Powers MPx style opening. This greatly increases the efficiency of the supercharger at higher rpm. It allows the rotors to fill more completely with air which is required if you want to make more power. I know of a couple of these already on Super Coupes out there and they are making impressive numbers. Especially torque numbers...

This project will likely be a long one, not getting finished until sometime next year. I've got a few other things to do as well, like rebuild the shortblock, install a decent cam, get my large valve heads on there, etc. I think I may put this on my current engine while building another for serious power. I just can't see doing a lot of work and then letting it sit for who knows how long until I get my performance engine built.

This has altered my plans for wheels slightly though. Instead of purchasing them now, I'm going to wait until later in the spring or summer before buying those. I just hope I can keep my wife happy enough to let me get this stuff for my car!

Alternator finished.

By 007_SuperCoupe

Filed under: /blogs/browse/t/vehicle/v//p

Well this last weekend finally saw my alternator finished. I received my bolts back from the chrome shop. I have to say that the difference is fantastic. I knew the old bolts, even though they were clean, just lacked the luster I was trying to get going in my engine compartment. The chromed bolts add just a touch of refinement that is the start of something much larger. I haven't yet snapped any pictures of the alternator in its finished form, but will when I get home tonight, and I'll post a pic of it then.

Unfortunately, though, it has caused me to look a lot closer at the rest of my engine compartment. There's a lot of work that needs to be done. I'm trying to approach it with the concept of making it really nice, show winning in fact, but I don't want to go overkill. No offense to anyone who has done this, but an engine compartment that is all chrome looses some of its luster. Everything tends to blend together and detail is hard to pick out. The same thing happens with people who color their engine components to match. So I'm approaching it from the perspective of making it really nice, in a conservative way, with accents of color and chrome. People say that the small things make the biggest difference. I guess we'll see about that. I've got a lot of planning on the small stuff. In fact, some of the big stuff, I'm still not too sure what I'm going to do on some of the big stuff, but it will all come together in the end.

I'm looking forward to working toward my end goal of a nice show winning car that can perform at the track as well. So far, I'm very happy with the results, but I've got a long way to go. I have very high expectations...

So how many of you out there are like me?

By 007_SuperCoupe

I just thought I'd find out how many of you are like me. I'm married, got kids, a mortgage, new SUV payment, hefty daycare bill, rising fuel prices, etc...All that just eats away any money I would ever think about spending on my car, or SUV for that matter. The bills never stop coming and neither does stuff that needs to be done, like vehicle maintenance...just dropped over $1k on my Trailblazer, flushing the tranny (replaced with full synthetic) both differentials, transfer case, plus 4 brand new tires...all in December, the worst month of the year to spend that kind of money when you have 4 kids like I do!

Now, even though I make a decent wage, and so does my wife who is an RN. That's not to say that there's extra money, because there really isn't too much of that. Like most of America, I think we spend what we make, and when we have extra, we have a little fun, because it doesn't happen too often. That however, has put a serious crunch on my modifying my car. The only real splurge we have is our cable and internet. I think we grossly over pay for those, but when there's not really any competition, what do you do? And that's our ONLY extra expense besides the required stuff. So there's not much that we can cut out of our daily living expenses in order to finance my car hobbie. The result was looking at getting a part-time job. Yeah, who really wants a part-time job on top of a full time job? Not too many people want it, but many people need it. I was in the same boat.

So what does a guy do, when he really wants to play with his toy? Believe it or not, my wife came up with a pretty good idea. Instead of working for minimum wage (pretty much an insult when you have as much schooling and training as I have) at a local fast food joint or large "jack of all things" stores, she suggested a paper route. Yeah, a paper route. I had one when I was 13-15 or so. It wasn't too bad. I never did like getting up in the morning at all. But the paper was advertising for routes earning up to 650 a month. I called, got a route paying over $600 per month. Yes, folks, that's an extra $7200~ a year. Yeah, I do kind of feel like a early teenager again, when that was my "job." But it's really easy getting up knowing that just by putting in a relatively easy 2 hours a day, I can earn an extra $600 a month to pay bills down, get some go-fast goodies for my car, or even finance a family vacation (did I mention that I have 4 kids?). Now, I'm not planning on keeping this route forever. But if I can keep it for the next 3 years or so, it should pay for a lot of things like outstanding credit card bills, that trip to MA and ME this summer for my sister's wedding and even some go fast or look good parts for my car.

The really good thing about it too, is that it's not just me doing it. My wife is out there every morning with me and usually one of the older 2 of my kids likes to help too. Yeah, I've got to pay the kids a little wage, but then they've got a "job" too that they can earn money and start saving now too.

So if any of you out there are like me, consider something like a paper route. It's easy work. It's independent work, and best of all, it makes considerably more than minimum wage does.

What to finish up this winter

By 007_SuperCoupe

Filed under: /blogs/browse/t/vehicle/v//p

Well, I'm making my check list and checking it twice to see what I need to get done before spring so I can enjoy by car to the fullest extent possible. Some things will have to wait until Spring as I have elected to suspend my insurance coverage on it (meaning it's "in storage" for the winter months). So now it has comp only on it just in case the neighbor's tree falls on it. So I'm waiting until March or so to re-activate the insurance on no driving until then. That said, here's my list:

o Install new alternator (currently waiting for chromed bolts)
o Install repaired IC and fan
o Install new O2 sensors
o Replace spark plug on cylinder #4 (there's a story behind it)
o Replace fuel filter
o Install Lentech valve body (Would really like a torque converter too, but we'll see)
o Install Mark VIII spindles and brakes (need to drive it to the shop for this one)
o Reinstall misc engine parts disassembled to replace alternator, spark plug, coil, etc
o Get tires mounted and balanced
o Get 4-wheel alignment (preferrably after Mark VIII spindle install)
o Replace rack and pinion
o Replace the rest of the front suspention besides the rack and spindles
o Install PIAA fog/driving lamps purchased over a year ago

I think that's about it as far as my "To-do" list for the SC. I've got a couple other things like replacing the tensioner springs and installing a better inlet plenum, but I'm not 100% sure I'll get that done. Sure would be nice though! Those two things could add as much as 25 hp at the wheels. That would be significant and could push me within striking distance of 300 at the wheels. That's very impressive considering I still have stock valved heads as well as the stock cam and bottom end. Underdrive pullies will help getting there too...There's always something, isn't there?

Got to tackle some wiring today.

By 007_SuperCoupe

Filed under: /blogs/browse/t/vehicle/v//p

Well, I decided to put my birthday present to use today (only one day after my birthday) and decided to finish the wiring harness for my intercooler fan. Long story short, it was already in my SC, and working. Then it stopped some time ago. I got sick, the car sat, and this winter I finally was able to get back to it. My accessory belt had worn through a wire. Simple fix. Well, since I had to remove my IC to get my alternator out (issues there too) I decided it would be a good time to re-do the harness with OEM style water tight connectors and just make it look professional. My birthday present was the crimping tool to use these nice connectors. I played with it a little yesterday, but went all out today. Attached is an album of my "in progess" stages. I didn't get really any pictures of what was, but what little I did get you can compare it to what I have now. There's really not a comparison at all. The only thing I have left to do is connect the switch to it. Since it was all hard wired before, that's all in the car right now. I do need 2 more single wire connectors to finish it off the way I want it to be (one for the switch and one for the ground from the fan).

I used Painless Performance's Weatherpack connectors. They offer a variety of connectors ranging from single wire all the way up to a six-wire connector. The crimper tool and pin extraction tool (if you goof up) are available from MSD Ignition. I purchased all of the parts from Speedway Motors since they are right here in Lincoln.

I have to say that I couldn't be happier with the way this turned out. My soldering skill leave much to be desired and since my SC is slowly becoming more show-worthy, I felt it an appropriate time to upgrade the pitiful wiring I attmpted before. The terminals crimp on very easily and are secured plenty strong enough. Now the entire harness snaps together making it much easier to replace parts, remove the IC/fan or simply tracking where the wires are.

Now that I've got this under my belt, I've got a couple more wiring projets to complete... :)

Join my enthusiast group!

By 007_SuperCoupe

I'm trying to promote my enthusiast group. It's a group of car enthusiasts who want to help fight the fight against cancer. Brief background, about a year and a half ago I was diagnosed with cancer, stage 3 metastatic melanoma. If you don't know what that is, it's the most deadly kind of skin cancer you can get...and the fact that it's stage 3 of 4 means that it is considered advanced melanoma. Since then, I've been fighting my fight. I formed an enthusiast group to combine my love for cars with my fight against cancer. Now my treatment has finished and I'm getting back to my normal self. I won't know until next month how effective my treatment was, but I can say that I haven't felt this good in a LONG time, so I think it's done its work.

Cancer is much more widespread than people think. I don't think that there's one person out there who has not in some way been affected by the ravages of cancer. It could have been someone you work with, a friend or a family member. I ask that you take a moment to look at my group. If you feel so inclined, join it. I don't ask anything for you joining, nor do I expect anything. If you feel the need, you can, of course, donate to the fight. All donations go directly to the American Cancer Society and are 100% tax deductible.

So again, please stop by my group: and join if you like. Thanks for taking the time to read this blog. I hope everyone has had a great Christmas and will have a happy New Year.

New Wheels

By 007_SuperCoupe

Filed under: /blogs/browse/t/vehicle/v//p

Well, I haven't actually purchased them yet, but I have decided on a new set of wheels for my Super Coupe. Yes, they are the wheels pictured here. I'm planning on getting the 18 x 8.5 for the fronts and 18 x 9.5 for the rear, chromed, of course. They have a very significant (and in my opinion, very nice) lip on the wheel. I have always liked that. The original wheels I wanted to purchase were manufactured by Zenetti and cost $100 per wheel more than these do. And, they are discontinued as well. These are the only other wheels that immediately jumped out at me. So I'm not going to sit on them at all. They are manufactured by Ruff Racing and are the R930 wheel. They are brand new wheels, so they should be around for a few years at least. I don't plan on waiting that long though and will get them next year sometime. Tires will have to wait, just because of the price involved in wheels and tires. The tires cost almost as much as the wheels which puts the overall purchase over $2k when it's all said and done. I just can't wait to get the wheels...even if they sit in my garage for a year!

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas

By 007_SuperCoupe

Now it's the day after Christmas and everyone is trying to figure out what to do with the leftovers and how exactly are those credit cards actually going to get paid off? Well, I'm no different. It was an enjoyable Christmas for my family. The kids all got what they wanted and we had a huge turkey dinner.

It wasn't really a Christmas present, but I was able to get a daily driver for me this last weekend. I had always been hoping that I'd find that killer deal and it seems I got one better. I got a '94 Olds Achieva SC from my wife's parents, basically for free. They weren't driving it any more and let the registration expire so they offered it to me and my wife. It's a car that has seen better days for sure with 136k on it and a failing interior. However, it does have a remanufactured engine with less than 1500 miles on it. That in itself is worth something. So no longer do I need to worry about driving my Super Coupe in bad weather, or even on a regular basis any more.

I also received an addition to my garage. I finally got a good tool chest to put all my tools in. Up until now, they have been scattered here and there in different tool boxes, but now I have a consolidated place to put all my (car) tools. That's great!

Again, I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas!

Winter is no longer trying, it's here...

By 007_SuperCoupe

Well, I think winter is finally here for good. We had a couple days that I was able to get out and do some work on the car. Now it appears as though the work for the winter is done. I won't rule out the possibily of working on it if the weather is nice, but I don't think we'll see too many of those days between now and spring. I could be wrong though. It's been a wierd last couple of years with weather in the 60s in January, so maybe I'll get to work on her yet.

The electrical saga continues...

By 007_SuperCoupe

Filed under: /blogs/browse/t/vehicle/v//p

Well, I took advantage of the relatively warm weather today. I took another step closer to getting my SC back on the road. I went out and got it up on jackstands since I hadn't done this yet. I've got 4 new tires for it to put on anyway. I got my intercooler removed and discovered why my fan on it didn't work. Turns out the belt or the power steering pulley wore right through the negative wire and part-way through the positive. Yes, that was probably contributing to my electrical woes. I also took a look at the relay. Looks like I need to re wire the whole mess of them. The wires are all breaking off. I believe this was due to the fact that I pulled the wires very tight in an effort to keep them out of the way of the belt and power steering pulley...apparently that didn't work! LOL! I also got the battery removed as well as finished getting the alternator removed. Now I just need to get it disassembled so that I can get the bolts/screws/nuts chromed.

However, I am now again at a stand still in this project as I have to get the small stuff chromed before I can put it all back together. On a better note, I did locate some better water tight plugs that I can use for any of that engine compartment stuff. The plugs I've been using are fine, but they are not that high of quality or appearance. Problem is justifying the crimping tool to my costs nearly $50 for a very seldom used tool...

Winter is trying...

By 007_SuperCoupe

It seems as though winter is finally trying to take hold of the region. Besides a dusting of snow a few days ago, this is the most significant winter weather we've had so far this season. It's been unusually warm this year. Typically we've had several significant snow storms by now...

There was a good 1/4" of ice on everything this morning with freezing rain forcast through the morning. I wish I had a nice heated garage to work on my car...

Not sure why it has taken me this long...

By 007_SuperCoupe

Filed under: /blogs/browse/t/vehicle/v//p

...but I have finally added this vehicle to my garage. I purchased it new over 3 years ago as the "family" vehicle. We had a '01 Chevy Malibu before this one. We basically outgrew that car in a hurry, with 2 kids and a 3rd on the way. Now we have 4 kids, so it's a darn good thing that we got the EXT with seating for 7. We occupy 6 of those seats and have a puppy that we often travel with as well.

This SUV will remain mostly stock. I may do the intake and exhuast at some point, but right now I'm content with the K&N air filter that I have in it. The only other mods I'm planning are a 2" suspension lift and a tune. Other than that, this SUV is pretty much staying stock...Some cosmetic stuff may follow like a brush guard, etc, but it's going to remain mostly stock.

The Alternator is done...almost

By 007_SuperCoupe

Filed under: /blogs/browse/t/vehicle/v//p

Well, I got my alternator back today. I have to admit that I think it turned out rather nice. The color I picked is not everyone's cup of tea, but at least it's not jump-out-at-you fog visible yellow or anything! Although now that I have it finished, I find myself wanting to do just a tad more to it. So I have decided to have the visible bolts, screws and nuts chromed. I'm not a fan of a completely chromed engine compartment, but do like chrome for accents. So that's what I'm going to do now. Suck because now that winter is setting in, I'm not going to get to drive it. Once I get to drive it again, nearly 18 months will have passed since I last drove it. I guess it's not that big of a deal, because I'm keeping the miles off of it. I sure do miss it though...

Alternator Fix

By 007_SuperCoupe

Filed under: /blogs/browse/t/vehicle/v//p

Well, I took a significant step towards restoring my SC to working order today. The alternator failed marvelously last year and as I haven't had to drive it, I haven't done anything with it yet. Now as winter is ready to set in, I find myself wanting to get it running again. Go figure! I think it had something to do with my medical situation the last year...

At any rate, I took my spare alternator in to a rebuild shop to see if it was good. Turns out it wasn't (good thing I didn't just throw it on my car!). So a rebuild was in order, not only because it was bad, but also because the alternator for this car is an odd one, so finding a replacement is difficult. I figured that while it was apart, I'd have the case powder coated. This is my first step in making my engine compartment looking much better than stock. I had it powder coated a dark gray color that almost looks like a smoked gray.

I also had to fix the wiring on my harness as the previous alternator had burnt the wire and actually melted it and severed it. I used a negative battery cable (15" long, but cut down obviously) so that I didn't have to try to attach an eyelet onto a 4-gauge cable. I spliced it with an aluminum splicer with two set screws that could splice up to 4-gauge cables. That done, I wrapped it in electrical tape and will put a small wire loom around it for looks.

I should get my alternator back tomorrow so it can then be installed. Not sure if that will happen though as the weather is supposed to turn bad on Wednesday here...Welcome winter.

I need to get a garage!

Unexpected Improvements

By 007_SuperCoupe

When is that when you feel like working on your car something else comes up? Before I get too far into my narrative here, I want to give you some background to my situation. You will have a much better understanding this way. It starts off over a year ago when I noticed a lump painfully growing under my skin on my upper arm...Long story short, August of '06 I was diagnosed with stage 3 melanoma. Five surgeries later, I was declared cancer free. Great, you think, right? Well, you can take a look at my age and take into the fact that I have 4 kids ranging in age from 2 to 13. My Dr told me that there was a treatment that could prevent the recurrance of the melanoma. It is not overly successful, but statistically it does reduce the chance of recurrance. Without hesitation I agreed to the treatment. I have entirely too much to live for, obviously, anything that will give me a better chance, I'll do. I started the treatments the last week of October of last year. The first month, the treatments were daily (Mon-Fri) via IV, then after that the treatments went to a Mon-Wed-Fri schedule for the next 48 weeks. Yes, that's right, a total of 52 weeks of treatment. Any of you who have had some exposure to cancer knows that chemotherapy does not follow this schedule. I was not receiving chem, but a bio treatment. In a way it was worse than going through chemo. I didn't lose any hair (other than what's already gone...), but I was just wiped out. There was a long period of time that I literally didn't get out of bed. It was really that bad...and I adjusted well to the treatment. Most people can't handle it like I did. Needless to say, I received my last shot about a month ago. I'm finished with that stage of the treatment. Now I want to get into how it applies to my car hobbie. Last November, I was having some charging issues. When I started taking things apart I discovered that my alternator was completely shot. Now you can see how the timeline is working's about the same time that I started treatments. After the first month, (even including that month) I was physically, emotionally and mentally drained. It didn't take long for the treatment's side effects to set in. I didn't feel much like getting out of bed, I certainly wasn't going to go outside in the cold Nebraska fall/winter to work on my beloved car. So it sat..and sat...and sat some more. And it even sat longer than that. Now, keep in mind, this car is also my daily I need it if I want to go anywhere. Today is now November 8th...a year almost to the day of when I parked it, and it still sits. The difference now is that I want to drive it again. Especially before the snow flies, because I don't drive it then. I've got a list of things that need to be done...alternator replaced, new O2 sensors, new idler pulley, new valve body, entire new front suspension...well you get the idea. Most of these parts I have in my garage, ready to go on the car. I've just lacked the energy to think about it. Well, folks, I'm fast recovering from the effects of my treatments. I've had an explosion of energy as compared to the last year. You'd naturally think that I'd be working on my car, right? Not so. My wife, one day two weeks ago, moved the couch to vacuum under it. Now it's a heavy couch (2 recliners are part of it) and the way she moved it, I thought she was re-arranging the room. So I jumped in to help. So the re-arranging of the living room led to painting the living room, which led to re-arranging the computer room, which somehow led to painting the upstairs and downstairs hallways, which led to outlets being replaced and light switches replaced, etc. So for the last two weeks, I've been working around the house when I'd like nothing more than working on my car. Now, I'm not complaining. In reality a lot of these things are things that were started in some capacity before I got sick. Now they are on in full force! But yet, my car still sits. I hope to have all the home improvement stuff done this weekend. Weather permitting, next weekend, I'll be getting my car driveable so I can work on it in a warm shop.

It was a long story, so thanks for reading. Before I sign off, though I'd like to say that I'm very glad to be back (not that I ever left, but I felt like I did). Now, I've got to get back to the home improvement stuff....more painting to be done today!

Pleasant surprise!

By 007_SuperCoupe

My dad surprised me this last weekend. Of our family, I'm the car nut. My dad builds houses...not cars. In fact, his mechanical ability can be summed up in a story of how he was performing a tune-up on a riding mower...and forgot to put oil back in the engine...but that's a story for another time.

So I'm the car guy of the family. I've been tinkering with my '92 Thunderbird Supercoupe for a few years now trying to improve on Ford's design. All the while, I've thought about how much fun it would be to build a kit know, my dad, me and my sons. I'd like it to be a family project car (as my wife wants to help out as well...) I've got 4 young kids, so I know that unless I win the lottery...I'm not financing it. So now that my parents no longer have kids at home, I thought I'd start dropping hints that it would be a fun thing to do. This was probably a year and a half ago. Almost a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer and I suspect that's what has motivated my dad.

So back to the story now...this last weekend we were home visiting my parents and my dad mentioned building a kit car. It was a very casual inquiry and I interpreted it as nothing more than a thought of "yeah that would be cool to do." He did sound as though he had given it some thought...but not too much thought. I mentioned to my wife that I thought he might be serious about it. She also expressed her doubts since my dad is really not into cars at least not more than saying, "That's a cool car." The weekend continued and I really didn't give it too much more thought. Well, Sunday morning before we left he again brought up the topic about building a kit car...he even took it a step further saying he has some money right now that he could spend on getting some parts for it. This totally took me by surprise. He said that the main kit would be a couple years off before he'd be able to purchase it, but that we could start buying parts for it engine, tranny, etc. Basically he agreed that we could start purchasing the parts we want to put on the car.

Now on to the really cool part...the car he wants to build. He has selected the '65 Cobra Mk3 kit from Factory Five Racing (pictured above) as the kit car he would like to build. He told me his motivation is something that we can build as a family and keep it in the family for future generations to enjoy. I also think it has a bit to do with the fact that his only son has been diagnosed with cancer. It's a realization that life is short so don't take it for granted. I'm the car nut and I think he just wants to do something that we can both enjoy and spend some time together. Life is definitely too short to not have fun along the way.

That was my surprise this weekend. I didn't give my dad enough credit for being serious about this. But once he starts showing money, that means he's serious. Needless to say, I'm pretty excited about this. For a long time I've wanted to do something with my dad...Now we can get down to business!

Rating my car...

By 007_SuperCoupe

Now that motortopia has added the "top" lists to the site, I'm starting to realize that people just don't get that much into rating others' cars. Example in point, my "Silver Thunder" is the 5th top car viewed with nearly 3200 views to date, yet it has only been "rated" 17 times. In addition, I've got over 50 "friends" yet my rating stays low (in the vote count). I've tried requesting that fellow enthusiasts rate my car on other car related sites in addition to here. I just don't know what to do to get people to rate my car. And I don't just see it as specific to my car. There are very few cars that even have over 20 votes.

I personally make an attempt to rate other cars. I've rated 100s of them to date, but it doesn't seem like too many people do likewise. Some people leave comments, but don't take the 2 seconds to rate the car. If someone rates my car, leave a comment, and I'll rate your car(s) as well. Most people just don't take the time though to view a car in detail unless they are in a challenge with that vehicle or they've got a direct interest in that car.

What do you guys think? This journal entry is the last thing I can think of to increase the vote count for my car. I'm not looking to be the "top" car, but it would be nice to have more ratings than I have currently. Like I said car has nearly 3200 views, but only 17 votes. I'd really like to see more votes!

So if you feel the same, please take a close look at my car, Silver Thunder and let me know what you think. Like a lot of people on this site, I've put a lot of time and effort (not to mention money) into my car. I would just like to know what others think about it.

Thanks for visiting...

Motor Sports Task Force Survey

By 007_SuperCoupe

For any of you who may be interested, Lincoln, NE has been trying to build a drag strip for a couple years. Although there is known to be very high interest in this, the powers that be refuse to believe that there are more than a couple dozen "rednecks" who are interested in drag racing. A survey was developed through the Board of Commissioners by the Motor Sports Task Force to determine the level of interest. It doesn't take into account every event that could be held at the proposed drag strip, but it does a pretty good job of helping to determine interest in it. The survey takes all of about 5 minutes to complete. Please take a few moments to fill out the survey. Even if you don't live here, and are interested in national events, you should support this measure. Americruise is a regular in Lincoln and the developers are attempting to get NHRA sanctioning for at least one national level event. Please take the 5 minutes to fill out this survey.
The survey is here:

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