Monday, September 16, 2013

All we've got right now is this box of one dozen starving crazed weasels.

A few weeks ago while I was working on Grace, I got asked a funny question. Mary, my roommate's girlfriend asked "How do you know what to do? Do you have a manual?" The question kinda made me laugh because only slightly unstable people want to put a noisy, old turbocharged 4 cylinder into an even noisier, older sedan. And if that wasn't enough, I am crazy enough to spend the money on a completely new front and rear suspension and brakes. All this on a 62 Falcon 4 door? There is no manual for that kind of insanity. I should probably get my head checked. But I digress. The question made me stop and think about how I had learned what I know about cars.

I've had interest in engines from a very young age. I remember my brother being in a small engines class when he was in high school, so I must have been about ten. He had a textbook from the class that I picked up and read because I thought engines were cool. At some point during my childhood I took the cylinder head off the lawnmower because I wanted to see inside an engine. Luckily it still ran fine when I put it back together. When I was in high school my parents made me be financially responsible for my own car repairs. I soon learned that doing my own repairs would make me a lot less broke.

Just before my senior year I got an old Ford Ranger, which overheated on the way home from the dealership. I soon found that this truck was painfully slow. I wanted more power. I got on the internet and discovered forums. Prior to this I had never really used the internet for much more than napster (to download Weird Al Yankovich songs of course). I did some research on and found that I had two options for more power. Option 1 was to turbocharge my ranger. Option 2 was to swap a V8 into my Ranger. Option 1 seemed more economical and more interesting, so started gathering parts and signed up for an account on . That old beat up Ranger forced me to learn so many things that I don't think any one specific object has had more influence on my life than that truck. It was what made me realize I wanted to work in the automotive industry, the things I learned while researching and working on it got me involved with senior projects as a freshman, and they are what set me apart when interviewing for an internship with Toyota.

Now that I'm done rambling, I'll show you what I've done. I found a place on the way to work that does sanblasting, so I stopped by to see if they could do my axle. I walked back into an old rundown looking corrugated metal building and saw an old guy sleeping at a desk. I woke him up and found  his name was Bill. Bill looked like a hilbilly character in a movie, and talked like one too. We agreed on him sandblasting the axle by that evening for $50. I have to say, he did the work just as I expected and I'd be happy to go back any time.

Brake line bulkhead.

Braided Stainless line installed.

That night I finally got to working on some brake lines. I ran braided stainless hoses from the calipers to a bulkhead which was welded to the housing. Then I ran a copper nickel alloy tube to the top of the differential at which point I added a tee fitting that will connect to a line running to the master cylinder.

Bending tubes.

Finished brake lines.

I discovered that I really enjoyed running brake lines, so long as I was not rushed. It was actually very relaxing.

During the week I called wilwood because I felt that my clutch pedal was too close to the brake pedal, that it was angled and it made for an uncomfortable driving position. They agreed to provide me with new pedals at no cost. I asked if they would be willing to let me upgrade to the pedals with adjustable pads if I paid the difference. They were willing to oblige, so I got me the coolest thing to put your feet on besides a liger skin rug.

I also went to a hardware store with the best selection I've ever seen. I found some parts I needed for my brake caliper brackets which I couldn't even find on the McMaster website. I needed a threaded spacer to center my rear calipers over ther rotors properly, and at this store I found the perfect piece for the job, after a little magic with the grinder.

Blingy drilled brake pedal pads are proven to stop your car  impress girls car nerds 50% better.

I bought this lil' bastard. <snicker>

Full spacer in my hand, spacer cut to size on the bracket.

One spacer welded to the bracket, one waiting to be welded.

Complete rear brake system.

Proper Schports car pedals.