Elantra Done

0814181601As stated in a previous post, I bought a 2015 Hyundai Elantra with the purpose to set it up to be dingy towed. I am happy to report that it is now done!

Of course we picked a hot day. One hour into the project and I was soaked through in my own juices.

First step was to drill out the plate the tow bar attached to. Why it didn’t come with the two holes it needed was beyond me.

Once that was done bolting up the bar was simple.

The fun part of the job was running wires to the back of the car for the lights. I wanted to keep it clean so it will use the car’s taillights instead of magnetic externals.

First find a hole in the firewall the wire can go through, then run it under the kick molding to keep people from tripping on it. Go under the back seat, then strip out the molding in the trunk.

If you don’t have a wiring diagram, you can use a test light to find out what wires power what. If you have a three wire system (one for driving lights, one for brake, one for turn) don’t make the same mistake I did. Leave the turn alone. The tail lights will still flash with your foot on the brake for turns and you don’t want the turn signals to come on when the brake is applied.

8-15-18 (1)The kit comes with diodes that keep power from feeding back into the car, and for some reason (once again) that is important so use them.



8-15-18 (3)Here it is, done. Tie up any loose wires.


8-15-18 (2)Once the car was done and put back together, we made a harness to go from the RV to the car. If you buy one they are like, eighty bucks. I spent enough on this project. I got a seven prong male RV plug and a small six post round male and female.

Using some extra wire and a loom from Napa Auto Parts, we made one for a significant savings.

I hope to soon deliver my first motor home. More to come.

Model Cars

If you enjoy the automotive arts and cannot house or afford the real thing, you may wish to consider models for a cheaper alternative. Or not. You may be surprised to see how much money can be blown through in a small amount of time. 3-8-18 (1)

Other than a kit, there are a few things you will need to make it easier and make it look better. Models come molded in one color, plus clear or red for glass and chrome (um bop a re bop…chrome).  Paint helps make it more than one color.

Don’t use cheap spray paint; it can degrade the plastic. Paint for models is not cheap, nor is quality fizz cans, which will work. You will need some tools. A cheap pair of pliers to open bottles, small set of side cutters to cut pieces off the holders and to trim toothpicks. (More Americans choke on toothpicks than anything else, just thought I would tell you that.)


You will need a razor knife to cut things other than your finger. Paint brushes (duh), and I like super glue over model glue. Model glue has a slower set up time and fails faster. Don’t forget thinner, paper towels or as I like, tissues! You might be surprised to find out what they can remove. Toothpicks are good for putting glue in hard to reach places and for adding small paint details after the point is trimmed back with the side cutters.

Tweezers are good for shooting small parts across the room so you can never see them again, only to hear the crunch when the vacuum finds them…I mean…to install small parts. I have a cheap drill and trust me, it comes in handy, along with a Dremel floating around somewhere. Another good tool is a nail file to remove paint and chrome for gluing.

You will need sandpaper because yes, you will screw up a paint job.

These things I all figured out on my own. I hope that helps you out if you are looking for a new hobby. Right now my workstation, an old desk a friend gave me, hey that works. It looks almost like the insides of some people’s garages, with parts and projects everywhere.

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I am not the best at this, but I am not the worst. Just be prepared for it to try your patience. A lot of the parts are small and hard to handle. Sometimes I have to walk away no matter how bad I want to see something done, for example on those days the only thing I can seem to glue together is myself. Another tip: expect the parts to like you more than their plastic counterparts.

You can be proud of what you do, just be prepared for it to not come out exactly like you want it to. Parts get lost or don’t fit like they should. You can follow all the directions, and something comes out wrong, so I never completely follow the directions. Imagination is key!3-7-18a

Practice makes imperfect but it is mine.

By the way, the chrome comment came from Garfield Goes to Hawaii, which is hilarious.

Zombie Jeep, Part 3 Diesel Cleaning the Engine

Jeeps can be fun in the mud, but not when the engine oil looks like mud. As a working theory, I believe that its pervious owners did not take real good care of their car. I say it is a car because it is unibody. It must have a frame in my eyes to be a truck, in case Jeep owners start hissing at me.

The engine oil looked like mud. There can be several different reasons for this:

  • bad head gasket that lets the oil and antifreeze mix
  • lack of proper changes that cause the oil to get dirty and watery
  • water condensation from sitting

Lucky us, the head gasket is fine, so it is a combo of lack of maintenance and water condensation. One way to fix this problem is what I call the “diesel treatment.”

2-21-16 (2).JPGAfter the oil is drained and the cheapest oil filter possible is put on, pour about a gallon of diesel fuel into the oil fill. Yes, I said the oil fill. Relax, it is an old school trick for cleaning out a dirty engine.

And say hello to Rob. This is his rust bucket anyway.


2-21-16 (4).JPGFind the coil and disconnect it. The engine must  not start while you are doing this. On this Jeep, the coil is located on the right front of the engine. Crank the engine over for a while then let it sit. The diesel fuel will be pumped around the engine and begin to loosen up the sludge. After about a half an hour crank it some more, then let the crap settle into the oil pan before draining.

2-21-16 (10).JPGAir can be pumped into the oil fill by plugging the hole with a rag and that will make more of the crap come out of the pan after the first drain. This can be done several times, depending on how bad the engine is. After you are satisfied with how cleaned out the engine is, change the oil filter again because it too will be plugged with crap. This was a new filter,  but not anymore.

Fill the oil like normal and see how much cleaner it is. It may not be perfect, but it will be a lot better than if nothing was done. Consider changing the oil in about 100 miles because all the diesel will not come out and will continue to loosen up crap in the engine.

Any who…I am pleased to report that the brakes are all done and bled, the rear shocks are replaced, and did I mention that the oil change is done?

2-21-16 (13).JPGThe crossmember is now in. Nuts where welded inside the channel for the bolts to go through like stock after the inside piece was made and two holes where drilled. And then…weld weld weld, and walla! The transmission his held up by something other than automotive cancer. It is not the prettiest thing I have ever seen, but at least the tranny won’t fall out.

Zombie Jeep is going to sit for the week, and possibly we will visit it next week end and hopefully finish the job, if Rob ever stops buying new parts.


Zombie Jeep, Part 2

DSC_0014Nothing was done to the Jeep last weekend because it was just two cold and nasty out. But after putting the jumper pack on it fired up no problem. Of course it sounded like a Sherman tank because of the lack of exhaust, and that will get worse before it gets better because the Y-pipe will be coming off.

We did not just dive into the frame work. We moved around keeping things in motion since many different things are planned and Rob bought a lot of parts. I didn’t fib on one point-we are bringing it back from the dead.

DSC_0001.JPGThe left front fender had a nasty hole in it where mud, salt and rocks get thrown at it. The first step is to remove the dum-dum, or factory undercoat around it along with dead metal. I would suggest wearing a facemask. The entire shop was filled with the smoke from that dum-dum.

Using metal cut from the hood of a junk car, a patch is made that fits over the hole. Once the outside of the hole and the patch is down to bare metal I used a metal bonding adhesive from Lord called Fusor 110B. 2-20-16 (5).JPG

Put a generous amount of glue around the outside of the patch, place it over the hole and attach it with self tapping screws. It will harden in 2 hours, then the screws can be removed and reused later, or left in. I mixed up some body filler and put that over the patch.

2-20-16 (7).JPGAfter it hardened I ground it down some and then we sprayed it over with undercoat. Some people may have done a better job, but it is hard to tell we were ever there, unless you really look, and it keeps the carpet dry.

The brakes are all brand new, as you can see from the picture to the right, there is a bag over the new rotor, caliper and pads to protect them from over spray and dust. The oil is drained at this point and that stuff was just mud. I am not sure what we plain to do about that right now, so look to future installments to find out.

We got out an old bumper jack and placed it under the transfer case to hold up the trans once the crossmember is removed. The bolts came out on the driver side without a problem but the passenger side was so rotted out that it had to be cut out. Once all the bad metal was removed, the first of the new pieces was fabricated and tacked in. 2-20-16 (11).JPG

As you can see there is not much left and we have a job and a half cut out for us. Tune in later, same Jeep time, same Jeep channel, for the next exciting installment.

Windshield Washer Pump Change on 1500 Chevy


cropped-12-30-15-2-171.jpgI have had this 1997 K-1500 Chevy since 2005 and everything on it works (almost), except the windshield washer pump. It hasn’t worked at anytime in living memory, so it is time for it to. Unfortunately because of deadlines, it had to be changed outside on a minorly chilly February day. But it is a quick fix.

The pump is rather inexpensive too at only $17, plus the cost of Smurf juice. That stuff isn’t cheap, do you have any idea how many Smurfs have to be ground up to make a gallon? They are not that easy to catch either, just ask Gargamel. (Ok, washer fluid is normally blue, hence the joke).

DSC_0012The tank is not hard to find. It is in the front of the left inner fender and the neck is by the upper coolant hose were it goes in the radiator. Only two bolts hold it in, one right by the filler cap that is 8mm and one by the inner fender that is 10mm. Once the bolts are out, the tank will pull out, but it is a bit of a tight squeeze. Pull on the part farthest from the fender to get it out.

DSC_0017.JPGAfter that comes removing the plastic cover that protects the pump from the cold blast of air made by rocketing down the road in sub-freezing temperatures. It is held on by snaps that come apart quickly. Remove the power wire, and the pump just pops out of its holder and slides out of the tank. Remove the hose by turning the pump to loosen it up then pull.

DSC_0019.JPGSince I did this outside, I had to use lung power to make sure the lines were intact and not plugged. If they are broken the fluid won’t go where you want it to, if plugged nothing will come out and put extra strain on the pump, or fly over the windshield and that will just annoy you.

Now assembly is just the reverse order of what was already done. I slid the pump in after putting on the hose and clipped in the power wire. By now, my hands were getting cold, so putting the lines back into their groves was a bit challenging. The plastic cover just snaps on, but make sure to check the back side with your hand. I would like to say slide the tank back in, but it is more like cram. Don’t worry too much about that ground wire on the fender, once the tank goes in, it will be out of the way.

DSC_0023After reinstalling the two bolts fill the tank and try the wipers!

After all that, changing the wipers just makes sense. New ones can set you back $20 or more but they are easy to change. Most have a hinge on them, and the little plastic clip that holds them on is between the arm and the blade. Sometimes they can be stubborn add require a smack on the end to get them to slide off. New ones just click in.

DSC_0014.JPGThis is just one example of some small projects that most car owners can do themselves, but varies from model to model. Some jobs that are easy on one car can be major surgery on another, so know if you should seek help before doing something on your own.

Oh…and making silly faces isn’t always a necessity, but does add to the fun.


Zombie Jeep, Part 1

Some may ask, why have a Blog about hot cars and then start off with a Jeep. Well, every gearhead knows this full well in New York. When you have a hot rod, that means you need a winter car, or a beater if you prefer. Some of us really don’t care what we drive in the winter, as long as it is cheap so more money can be spent on the hot ride. That is why today we will talk about bringing this Jeep back from the dead.


It is a Jeep Cherokee Limited that was made on 4/98. It has a 5.2 liter V8 with 112k on the clock. The black leather interior has almost no rips, 6 disk CD changer with cassette. It was picked up cheap for only $300 with descent tires on it.DSC_0134.JPG

Only one little problem. The passenger side frame is gone to rot and the front axil is falling out. What you see hanging is the trailing arm. After smashing it with a hammer to find all the weak spots, the offending meat was cut out with a plasma cutter. I have a hole in my palm to prove it from a piece of hot slag.

While I did this, Rob cut out new frame rails out of 4 inch U-channel buy cutting them to length then splitting them down the middle. After a while we decided that the exhaust was in the way and had to go, along with the heat shield. Luck be with us, the exhaust was put on recently, so heating it made it come apart with relative ease, minus the blister on my thumb.

We started in the back and worked our way forward, replacing the rail from the rear axil arm mount to the cross member. As I welding in the first rail, the sudden desire came to me to quote Shakespeare. I still don’t know why.  Not that it was relevant, because it wasn’t.

I guess it just takes a real man to weld a truck together while quoting Shakespeare. “A dog of the house of Capulet moves me.”

Once that piece was in and Rob hung from it to prove it was going no where, the other piece was put in so it over lapped the first and welded in. DSC_0142.JPG

If you look in front of the new stuff, you can see the rot hole under the cross member. We have our work cut out for us. That will come in Zombie Jeep, Part 2. Once it is done, everything will be under coated so for the most part you won’t be able to tell.

After that comes mess clean up, and this is just a small part of the dust and rust. The other pile I had already done was much bigger.