Saturday, September 25, 2010

Radiator problems

So this is a pretty common problem on many old cars.  After a long drive, I would turn off the engine of my car, and it would sound like the water in my overflow tank was boiling.  I thought it was strange because my engine wasn't getting overly hot.

So I did some research.  It can be one of two things.  First, and this is probably 95% of the time, it's the radiator cop.  Second, it may be the head gasket.  How do you know the difference?  If it's your head gasket, you'll hear a strange sound while driving, and the fluid in your radiator will be exceptionally nasty looking.

For me, it was the radiator cap.  What causes this is the lack of a seal on an aging radiator cap.  When the radiator gets hot, the fluid expands.  This pushes some fluid into the overflow tank.  When the fluid cools, it condenses, and the vacuum that is formed reclaims the fluid from the overflow.  When you have a faulty cap, air is pulled in by the vacuum, and then is pushed out through the overflow (causing the boiling sound). 

Long story short, I bought a new cap.  A nice billet chrome one.  I'll get pictures up soon.  For the record, this is the first bit of chrome in my engine.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Charger

So I wrote a big long post about the '56 Ford a while back.  A couple days after writing that, I realized I hadn't done one about the Charger.  I found it odd, mainly because this entire blog up to this point has been about the Charger.  So here it is:

First off, it's a 1973 Dodge Charger.  It is pretty much completely original.  It has the 318ci small block v8, which is supposed to put out around 120 horses straight from the factory.  So it isn't all that powerful, but it makes a good sound, gets 9 miles to the gallon in town, and 13 on the freeway.  All in all, a great cruiser car, not a racer.

So, the back story.  It was my grandfather's before he died 12 years ago.  After that, it sat in my grandmother's garage for about 8 years.  Then, for the next 2 years, it sat in my uncle's driveway.  It has minimal rust on most parts, but the underside, and a couple minor spots, have a fair bit of rust.  About a year and a half ago, it became mine.

So, when I got it, it ran for about a week, and then died.  I didn't know much about cars, so my uncle came over and helped me fix it up.  New air filter, new thermostat, new hoses, new belts, and a complete fluid change got it running again.  So then the work began.  We took it to the local garage and had the blower motor fixed.  It has factory air conditioning, and I had to have that working if I was going to justify all the extra weight that adds.  All the joints were creaking, so those all got greased to hell.  Then my passenger door wouldn't close if you opened it too far, so we greased that too.  That was the initial work done on the car.

A couple months later, we started fixing some other things.  Me and my dad have done all the work since then.  First thing we did was replace all the shocks.  Air shocks in the back make for a nice lift on the back.  The radiator developed a huge leak, so we had to replace that.  Sadly, they didn't make my original radiator.  So we got one rated for my car.  Turns out it was way narrower.  We ended up having to build mounts for it out of a piece of aluminum straight edge.

Then came the sound system.  It is amazing.  Alpine Type S midranges in the front door, tweeters, 2 alpine 6x9s in the back window.  The deck is an Alpine CDA-9886.  Why not a touchscreen nav deck?  They don't put out as nice of a sound.  In short, the inside is all Alpine.  They're run by a Kenwood amp, 400watts.  Then there's the subs.  JL Audio 12" woofers.  They're powered by a different Kenwood amp, 600 watts.  The subs are in the trunk, so I get that wonderful thump and feel, without the incredibly low sounds destroying your eardrums and drowning out the rest of the music.  It is about the cleanest sounding system you'll ever hear.

After that, I had the headliner redone.  It was ripped, falling apart, and sagging down.  It would touch my head while I was driving.  Right now, it looks brand new.

After that, the fuel gauge decided to break.  I don't have a lift, and the gas tank is a pain in the ass to get off while it's on a jack.  So I bought the part and took it down to the high school across town with the auto-tech department.  They took it and fixed it for 25 bucks in about an hour.

Then there was a long hiatus on work.

Then I got a huge coolant leak.  My heater control valve had decided it wanted to start leaking.  That had to be completely changed out.  I couldn't do it because of my arm, so the local mechanic got my business.

Every once in a while, the car would be leaking gas pretty badly.  I said I could see the leak and it was the fuel filter.  I had just had my surgery though and couldn't change it.  He said he couldn't find a leak on the fuel filter, but he said my carb needed to be rebuilt.  What the hell, I wasn't paying for it.  Rebuilt carb.

The leak continued.  It was the fuel filter.  I freaking told everyone.  My dad helped me (still gimped from shoulder surgery) replace it.  4 dollar part, 10-minute fix.

That was the last thing we did before I started my blog. 

I love this car.  It is my baby.  I named her Molly.  I beg with her to start on cold mornings, I apologize to her when I call her a bitch while I'm working on her engine.  She is my significant other.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The '56 Ford.

Alright, well if you read the description of my blog up top, you'll know that I have a highly modified 1956 Ford f100.  I figured I should take some time and describe it a little more.  First off, It now sits about 200 miles away in a shop.  It sat for quite a while, and me and my dad are having a friend fix a few exhaust leaks.

So, the story behind it.  About 10 years ago, my grandpa bought it from an old man who didn't know much about it.  The truck was his kid's pride and joy.  The old man said the kid went to college.  Everyone in the town is pretty sure the kid died.  My grandpa then promptly put it up on the lift in his garage and never drove it.  Me and my dad bugged him forever, and about 2 months ago, he finally agreed to sell it to us.  That's the backstory.

Now the fun part.  What the hell it actually is.  It's a '56 Ford f100 basically body only.  The original hood was replaced with one of the fold forward show hoods.  The front suspension is from an Aerostar van to support the weight of the engine.  The paint is a matte black (eventually it will be a candy red).  Now, my favorite part.  The engine.  It is a monster.  It's a Ford 390 with an Edelbrock 4 Barrel carb on it.  But that's not it.  Oh no.  The kid who originally did it had the engine bored out.  Now here's the best part.  Nobody knows exactly how big that bore is.  We *think* it's around a 426.  The original 390s (w/ the 4Barrel) were rated at 320bhp.  Some mustang ones were rated at 335bph.  Now the 426 Hemis were rated at 425bhp and 490ft/lbs torque.  Now this engine is not a hemi, but it should be pushing real close to 400bhp and 450ft/lbs torque.  In a pickup truck.  With no weight over the rear wheels.  It.  Is.  A.  Monster.


So this weekend I'm going to replace the points.  Other than that, there's not too much I can do until I get paid.  I might do the "chrome saver" strip on the front, just like I did the back, but that requires some serious epoxy first.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Paint: Complete

So I did a little more than just the headlight housing.   What do you guys think?




Wednesday, September 8, 2010

This weekend

This weekend I will be painting the headlight housing.  Matte black with clear coat.  Should add a bit of sharp contrast to the front end.

8-ball cigarette lighter

So I went to Autozone today and bought an 8-ball cigarette lighter.  Sadly, it wouldn't fit.  The ashtray door will not close over it.