Motortopia: Where your passion parks

Motortopia: Where your passion parks.

Why Join Motortopia? So you can post comments on... Forums! Photos! Vehicles! Garages! Journals! Events!

  1. cars
  2. bikes
  3. boats
  4. planes

Cars > redraif’s Garage > Blog


TV Show (7/23) with me and the Stang...Help me find it...

By redraif

So a friend messages us today and says... Hey I saw you and the Stang on TV today. This was at about 4pm.

Of course I asked where, when, what station, time and show. Got nothing but it was on some show covering cars no idea the time. She was surfing. Wow big help! I was told I had my hair short and blond with a black leather jacket on.

Only thing I can think was maybe World of Wheels Atlanta Coverage or the NASCAR preshow from last October?

Anyone else have any ideas? PLEASE Ask around. Maybe I can locate what it was! Thanks!

Sometimes you just wonder about your "friends"

By redraif

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

I mentioned Joe a bit in my "about" section. Well now its time to explain a bit more "ABOUT" the fall out we had.

He and I were friends from 2001 to about October of 2007. We dated from 2001 to 2003. During that time he and I took the car to a whole new level. Honestly I just needed someone to believe in my ideas and show me they could happen with alot of work and time. He brought the mechanical know how and I brought the electrical extras, interior, and body mod ideas. As a fellow f-body enthusiast, I assumed he was helping because he wanted to and shared my vision for the car. I never thought it was only because we were dating, as I later began to feel.

Before my car he was a hard core v-8 guy, but I only had the v-6. As a daily driver, the car could not toss the v-6. I had asked alot of shops to help me with my ideas from body to mechanical, only to be told my car was not worth the money it would cost to bring those ideas to light. I was a firm believer in the little v-6 engine that could, and I would not give up. I decided I wanted to do it regardless of what the shops said. Joe decided to back me up. Alot of my crazy ideas were right on track mechanically. He knew how to make them happen.

So on we went to tackle the unknown and undone. Hie Dad had done quite alot of bady work in the past and even he helped with the extreme body mods, like the shaving. We actually had great sucess and built up quite a rep through the f-body community. The car showed wonderfully. This was because of a combination of our combined hard work to make the mods good quality and the desire to clean the car to a near perfect state. People might not have liked the style, but no one could say the mods were not done well and that the car was not clean.

We made the car what it was. Anything he did I watched and learned and helped. He gave me a good eye for what was good and not good work. Together we would walk through shows to learn more and pick out where things went wrong for other to not duplicate the mistake. It actually made the 2 of us bump up our work ethic and standards. And it definately paid off. (check out the wins in the about section)

As time went on, we took on alot of projects besides the bird. He got a 85 TA with no engine that were were going to make a serious beast. We heard about a 82TA going to the boneyard. He wanted a few parts off it, but I decided to save the whole car since it was a TA. It was engineless as well. I also got a 76 Scout (engineless), an inop Pulsar, and my Dually that ran till the engine was stolen.

All these were our projects. He even encouraged me to get mine so I could learn. We got 2 Cadillac eldorados from the boneyard for the Scout and Dually. Got a new head for the Pulsar. The 82's engine solution came when Joe had a title stolen on a 94 Camaro. He had to part it out and I was gifted for Chrismas with the drivetrain for my 82TA. Things were looking well.

I learned enough that I could have done about any of it alone, except build an engine... that was where the Scout and dually came in... We broke up in 2003, but remained friends and continued to work on the cars till 2006. Though in the end, he became less and less motivated to do any work on the cars. Though the dreams and big talk was still there.

The last project was after the World of Wheels show in 2006. I knew it was finally time to go further. The car was not running right. It was horriblely out of tune and needed that next step to get more power. We set out to further port the intake and heads, only to find I had a crack in my heads. So I set out ot report a new set and go further. Joe set out on my idea to clean up the wiring in the engine bay. There was just too much running all over. We needed to route it cleaning to show case the engine.

Well things took a while and the idea was then to paint the engine bay gloss black and repaint the engine and accessories. So the car go towed to his dad's shop. The 2 week project became 2 monthes. I missed my emission test deadline and registration in May. Still it was in pieces. The paint was not going well in the bay. From bad paint that dry sprayed to good paint that ran. We had a mess. I was being called too picky and the like and the whole thing got bad.

Things seemed patched, but there were still cat fights where work he had done was throw up in my face like I owed him for it. Not what friends do in my opinion. Might I say he was renting a place in my house, but not paying since he was working on the car with me. The car got towed back home to have things finished up. Well the panit was really too bad and we needed a pro to fix it. Well it sat not worked on from June of 06 till we moved in March of 07. Still he was living free.

Now in March he had to pay in the new place. Well that was it got bad. The car was not touched and he felt he did not have to now unless I reciprocated somehow. I felt he still owed me from all the time nothing was done.

I told him if he would get his camaro going I would help with it. He never wanted to work on it either. How can one reciprocate. Well in the end the Camaro's engine blew so he took the LT1 he gave me for Christmas 2 years earlier for my 82 TA. He took al the goodies and all I had back. He promised to get me something better in the end. Then he wanted to charge me for the time and parts he put into the bird while it was at his dad's. (He was between jobs and short on cash)

Now the worth of the engine he took back came up and things got ugly. In the end I feel I got robbed, mostly because my baby still sat in pieces. Then he got a job and then he was back to promising to work on it since he was the one who took it apart and promised to make it right. I won't hold it over you or charge you since I owe you for living in 06. Well the promises never happened. He was working the night shift and conviently his and my time never worked out.

Then he did not have money for rent and was behind. Now the picking and blaming me again started. Wasting his time on my car when he could be charging people for working on theirs. But He was still not even working on it. Finally out of money and no way to catch up, he moved out in August. But left alot of stuff till October. Now more fights as I could not rent with his stufff there. Still the car sat. Nothing done to it.

So the final verdict, the car sat from Aug of 2006 to Jan of 2008 waiting on the one painter. Well in Jan I had enough and got another guy who were are again waiting on. Once its painted I'm not sure what mess im gonna find. He swore to come back when the car was painted. Funny I ahve not heard from him since October of 2007. What do you think? i'm thinking the help it gone.

From there I guess it will all fall on me to figure out what Joe did to the wiring. There is nothing like stepping in after someone when you have no idea what they were doing. The engine is only half assembled and the brake lines have been cut out and ruined as the plan was to make new ones and reoute them a cleaner way. I hope there is some order when he took the engine apart and stored the hardware.

Will he decide to come back and help fix his mess after the car has paint??? I have no idea. Do I want him to come back and help??? I have no idea. Pride says no, but concidering he was the one to take the car apart and make the mess, I may have no choice!

Not to mention I ahve a dually that is enigneless that we were in the process of building a caddy 500 for. Now it built and I ahve no clue how to get it in the dually... UGH!

2005: Spark plug HELL!

By redraif

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

To stop confusing folks: This happened back in 2005 when we were first getting the car going. Since then the car is doing fine. The repair held and compression was restored

Ok we thought when we were doing the initial tune up that Joe, who leneded a hand with the once over on the fiero, swapped out he plugs. Though after looking at them he might not have. They look like they have more run time on them then 70 miles... and we sure did not install them in this condition...

Here is one that had no gap and its .025 partner.

The 3rd one had .040 gap (its not pictured)

Now here it the one that got beat up royally. What on earth could have caused this? The electrode is bent over and smushed sideways. The side of the plug is all knarled up... I hope the engine did not do this!

So they came out of the head like this:
Condition of plugs driver side to passenger side:
Smashed, no gap, .025, and lastly .040...

First thought was that this was the wrong plug and it was too long for this application....

Here is the number of the AC delco plug...verified to be correct from Advance Auto parts...

I even had them pull other plugs from other manufaturers to be sure there was not a part number mix up and this one is too long. Well all the other plugs are the same depth in the spark plug hole...

So believe it or not the car had been running with the plugs like this, not well, but it ran!

So I bought a new one... gapped them all to .060. Once installed the car finally purs instead up bucking and sputtering.

Well then the real fun began....

I heard a ticking and the car was not running right...

So we got to thinking maybe we need to further clean the air track on the car to be sure a carbon build up might not be the culprit for the sputtering under load. Plus the seafoam clean we planned to use could also point up to the exhaust leak. We had read that the 2.5s tended to crack the exhaust manifolds if water leaked on them when they were hot. So I was concerned was it that or had I blown a gasket???

So we started the car and ran the seafoam thru the Throttle body. Well I got smoke from an exhaust leak, but I was having trouble pin pointing it! So I looked closer and notice a plug wire was laying on the exhaust. It was all charred. I thought great the leak had toasted the wire. Well I got to looking further and saw the sparkplug was a mess as well. Thought great a big leak. Still was not pin pointing the leak. So I shut the car down & let it cool so I could check out the plug.

When I went to remove the plug it was horribly loose in the head. I thought WTF??? I know I tightened it down! Well when it came out I got my answer!

So over to the parts store I went, plug in hand. Well tom my parts guys was amazed. He is and older guy who has been working on cars as a hobby all his life. Well he took a look and said he had never seen this before. Well then a retired mechanic buddy came in and he also had not seen this before. So Tom figure what must have happened is the electrode in the spark plug got damaged somehow. (I'm thinking it was the one that the gap was closed on then we regapped) Well when it got damaged it started to spark out thru the side of the plug and ground on the head. Thus melting the plug....

My theory...This melting of the plug allowed for vapor to escape out beside the spark plug. This loosened it further in the head and allowed it to move arounf enought to damaged the threads, thus allowing even more vapor to escape.

So the plan was, get a new plug, obviously... Then compression test the car, to be sure the threads were not TOO damaged. So I did just that. A healthy cylinder tested around 120, this one... 50. Yep threads are bad! So it was off to Summit for a spark plug tap and heilicoil kit. Well I vasolined the tap per the guy at summit and tapped away! Then for further clean up I used a telescoping magnet to get any metal out of the cumbustion chamber. Next came instaling the heilicoil with high temp RTV per the instructions. SO I used Ultra Copper. Once installed I installed the plug per the directions and waited 24 hours for it to cure!

So then I fired up the car and poof, no exhaust leak! Go figure. Amazingly the plug wire was fine, but the boot was charred. Just to be sure I got all new ones that were swapped out.

The repair list to date

By redraif

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


Oil Change
New belts
New pcv
New Air filter
New Valve cover gasket
New used valve cover
New TB gasket
New vacuum lines (red silicone)

New battery (4)
New dist cap and rotor button
New wires
New plugs
New starter (2)
New coil
New grounds, cleaned all mounting points
New ignition switch
Fixed previous owners rewiring disaster of all power wires and cut A/C wires

Cooling system...
New coolant hoses (all)
New radiator cap
New thermostat cap
New thermostat
New temperature sensor (ECM)
New temperature gauge and pod to hold it (original broken even with electrical repairs made)
New water pump after it sprayed like a volcano out the weep hole
New coolant (obviously) LOL!
Rigged fan to run on ignition hot to bypass bad switch

New fuel filter
New fuel pump

Transmission (manual)
New clutch
New slave (2)
New master cylinder
New fluid
New used clutch arm and petal
New driver’s side axle

New EGR gasket
New O2 sensor
Cut off defective water logged stock catalytic converter & water logged stock muffler
Replaced with 2.8L (1.5inch) Firebird piping, 1.5inch cutout, and Flowmaster muffler

New front calipers
New pads (all)
New rear rotors
New stainless braided brake lines
New park brake cables and equalizer
New prop valve
New master cylinder
New fluid
Adjusted rear caliper's parking brake arms to make PB function properly (still INOP)

New shocks
New struts
New passenger side front lower ball joint
New passenger side cv axle inner boot

Body stuff
New used spoiler (original split and was full of water)
New used trunk carpet (original water soaked from leaky spoiler)
New used tail lights (original melted)
New used rear view and side mirror
New inner and outer dew wipes
Lubed and cleaned power window motors and switches
Replaced busted door lock inner rod connector
Drilled holes to help w/ sunroof leak per GM service bulletin
Replacing ribbed body side molding with smooth.
Patched holes in the floor and firewall

Replaced headliner fabric
Pepaired headliner board
Replaced and or cleaned all interior panels
Repaired radio console, center console, and internal framework

Getting the car running right (the never ending saga)

By redraif

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

When I first met the car it would not roll one bit. It was drug and pushed on a trailer by 3 guys, 2 girls, my Mom and I. The crappy calipers that GM used commonly seized when they sat for along time. The seized brakes meant all new flex brake lines at the calipers, along w/ new calipers and a fluid flush. So while I was at it, what the crap, throw on new shocks and struts.

Ok so it would roll, now for the clutch issue. A new clutch rod lead to a new slave cylinder and clutch petal. The clutch petals in this particular year liked to bend over time and eventually the car would not let the clutch disengage when the petal is depressed.

After a full tune up, oil change, and all new coolant hoses and fluid, it was time for the first start up... Well It was a no go. I had a bad starter too. For ease, the stock cat was cut off to get the starter out easier. Well the whole exhaust was FULL of water, so off it came too. When the new starter went in we discovered a landmine of red 10 gauge wire leading all over. There was wire wrapped around the suspension. I cleaned it up and removed 10 feet of access and we were in business, or so we thought. Seems someone did the big no-no. They must have taken all the plug wires off at once and then did not know what order to put them back. They were so off.

So once we go that sorted out... and after a few minutes of run time, we noticed the radiator fan would not kick on. After some investigating we noticed a odd looking rigged up switch on the fan. I was not about to try to figure that rigged up mess, so I just straight wired the fan and off we went.

So finally, its first voyage... to the muffler shop and alignment shop. Well it made it only a few miles to throw its new v-belt. Well once the alternator was tightened up the belt stayed. Then as we attempted to continue on it would not go into gear.

This time it was the clutch. We installed the new one in, but it was defective, so then we had to do it all over again. All seemed well, but then the master cylinder went out, followed by another new slave cylinder (Autozone crap).

So the car was engaging fine. We were finally done and then tried to start the car. Now the fuel pump is not priming. So now a new fuel pump, ugh! Drop the tank, new one in, but now there was no spark. Traced it out.... It needed a new coil.

Finally it ran, but wait...what's this, the water pump gushed coolant after 20 minutes of run time... Ok replaced it, then it needed 2 new coolant sensors to fix the fact that it idled at 2x the RPM it should. That and replacing the TPS and a few rotten vacuum lines.

Now it ran OK. I drove it a few weeks and boom... it went nuts. I was driving along and the check engine light came on and the car just started bucking and stalling with the CEL on. I got it pulled over at a gas station and tried to pull the code. The CEL light would then not come on at all. So I let the computer cool down. I had once heard that would work in some cases. The car limped home and I replaced the ECM. While I was in there I added a temperature gauge and fixed the rigged up wires and hole in the firewall.

I still needed to clean up the engine bay to be sure there were no oil leaks as the Dukes had a rep for having engine fires. Well the car got pressure washed to get most of the crap out. The firewall's heat shield padding had to be removed as it was oil soaked and torn up. Well I confirmed 2 leaks. The passenger side rear axle was bad and had to be replaced. I found grease due to the torn boot.

After the cleaning I found the valve cover was leaking horribly. I tried to use a gasket, but this was not going to do it. The cover leaked more. Research showed the 84 cover was meant to use RTV and had dimples in the cover. I got a new cover. Tamped out the dimples used RTV, and the flat long load spreaders off my Firebird's valve cover. It worked. I had to also replace the rubber grommets in the cover as well and no more oil leaks.

After driving around sounding like a deranged go cart, I finally got the exhaust sorted out. The final trick was to cut up the Firebird's old exhaust and piece it together for the Fiero. It actually worked great. The Flowmaster gave it a great deep sound for a 4 banger.

Finally a driver... only thing I still have to work out is the darn intermittent starting issue I have. I fixed the neutral safety switch as well as replaced the ignition switch. The starter went bad again and was replaced under its lifetime warranty. Whew! My best guess it that it leads back to the rewire job the previous owner did to the power wires. He eliminated the fusible links and straight wired everything. Like I said earlier the wires were wrapped all around the suspension and had to be sorted out.

So to start I replaced and cleaned up all the grounds. I think I will add a few more and check the ones up front. Then it on to replace the power wires and add back either fusible links or some type of fuse block in the engine bay. Now If I could just get the info on what the correct sizes are for what system and how to convert that into fuse sizes...

Cars > redraif’s Garage > Blog

Print your passion at (