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March 31, 2006



what have I done?

the manual calls this, or at least part of it, the #2 clutch hub. It seems to be binding. Makes sense, since the transmission didn't like going in or out of 2nd.
I know new gears are out of the question, so i filed the obviously worn sections to make it slide smoothly.
The other hubs appear to slide freely.

The shift rods are a bit wobbly in the center housing, which could make the shifting want to bind. There isn't much i can do about it at this point.
At least I'm running out of parts to put back together.

Down to just one big part. Finding places for all the little parts was rather tedious, but I managed, thanks to some service manual excerpts and pictures i found online.
It seems everything about this trans wants to make shifting a chore. The main shift rod wants to bind in and out of 2nd, 4th, and reverse. The rear case didn't even want to go on without binding that rod up, but once i recognized the hold-up, i got it to slip on smoothly. Then it seemed to shift fine until i got the bolts all torqued. i might take the housing back off and enlarge that rear shift rod hole a tad and pack it with grease. Once I torqued the bolts and levered it into 2nd, the rod actually took a small chip out of the aluminum at the rear alignment hole. Something is bent, i fear. Either it's the rod itself, or something is off kilter in the rear housing. No more money is going into this trans. Personally, I think the Suprang is better suited to an automatic trans anyway ;)

At least I learned how not to rebuild a trans. Next one needs its own dirt free room, with lots of tables and room to move around whilst working. I tried to keep it clean, but there was a period of time while i had many of the parts supposedly covered while waiting for the right tools to get a gear off. The covering didn't work as well as I'd hoped it would, but it was covered in a fine layer of filth which otherwise would have all been in the trans. There was a lot of cutting and welding going on all around them :(

March 30, 2006

New Project

I just had to share:


Also, please read Coop's blog on occasion for general ummm.... pleasure.

March 24, 2006

more frogs... resting in the shade within their native cardboard environment ;)

March 22, 2006

323turbo II

Here's that rusty pipe now.
pretty ugly,

but not rusty anymore.
I couldn't find a listing anywhere on this pipe for the turbo car, and i dont have a pipe bender, so i just patched it up. I layed down a metal strip, tack welded, heated it up to wrap it around the pipe, and stitched it on. Then i layered more pieces around the bend so i could keep the contour correct. I painted it with header paint. I went down the pipe to another spot which was getting weak too, and gave it the same treatment. It was kinda fun, but not really worth doing in a professional sense. It ought to last a few years though. Muffler tape might have worked just as well, but Carlota and I agree that the pipe stitching is better suited to her upcoming zombiesqueâ„¢ theme.

Anyway, here's the rest of the stuff. Refer to yesterday's entry for "before" pics.
This is the base of the distributor after i cleaned it up. The new seal should help keep it this way.

Here's the front main seal area after cleanup.

Now, lets get the rest cleaned up and assembled with new cam seals & belt tension/idler pullies, and take a pic, shall we?

Now let's utter many profanities as we snap the pic, realizing that much of it has to come back off to get the engine mount bracket in. D'oh.

I was authorized to do a tune up too. The fuel on the inlet side of the fuel filter was black. The distributor cap and rotor button also appeared original, and the cap apparently is made of gold, judging by the price. The only cheap one i could find is made by a brand I now refuse to have anything to do with (GP Sorenson).

The old ignition wires were a bit swelled from the oil leaks. Those also got replaced, and so did the plugs. The old plugs I think Carlota replaced sometime in the last year, because they didn't look really old, but they were Bosch propaganda split electrode types, and IMO Mazdas like their standard NGKs. They were only a few bucks, and i had them, so they went in. The old ones will be kept on hand. I have to return the air filter and PCV valve which I picked up, because those parts were still good. It has a 'performance' air filter in it. Don't let me get started on that topic ;) I kept the timing slightly advanced from stock, same as it was when it got here... I'm told it gives these engines a tad more low end grunt.

I have to say, cars I have seen which receive regular oil changes from day one dont seem to develop these major/multiple oil leaks. i can't blame Carlota for that, seeing as she hasn't had this puppy very many miles, but

Keep up on your oil changes people.

Now if i can just find that special valve cover bolt which fell down somewhere behind the engine...


323 1.6L DOHC Turbo

Nice sleeper. It belongs to Carlota. She brought it here for an oil leak and an exhaust leak, under the hopes of just getting a valve cover gasket and some muffler tape. Poor, poor Carlota.
The oil leak soaked her timing belt. Yes the valve cover was leaking, as was the distributor oring. So were the cam seals and the front main seal. T-belt on this means water pump too.
The muffler tape i could swing, but felt like doing some welding instead, because i was bored and it was raining today.

I got it all apart monday, just before the rain, and discovered it also needs the timing belt idler and tensioner pullies. The bearings in them were quite raspy. I'm waiting for those parts, and a little warmer weather. Hopefully I'll get the parts and have it done thursday. She decided to also do a tune up, and I'm going to inspect the brakes and suspension.

Here's some pics. I might match them up with some 'after' pics later.

March 19, 2006

jon's camaro

Sat, 3/18
Jon brought over his beautiful 1969 camaro for some ball joints, and a spring noise. I found a few other things, but that may be for another time.

The LF spring was rubbing on the frame, making a horrible noise. That is the main symptom.

Here are some pics of the problem and cure. It is supposed to be centered in the frame pocket, but it wasn't. Now it is :D

Of course, i had to remove the spring entirely to fix that, and saw that the noob who installed it thought that stapling some innertube rubber around the end coils was a good idea. WHAA??? Good for trapping dirt and moisture maybe. It actually has a good theory behind it, in reducing spring noise, but in practice it is unnecessary, doesn't work on this car, and is actually a bad idea... especially with the thin rubber used.

I took that crap off. I did put a little water repellent moly lube on the top coil and bottom pocket. Maybe it helps. maybe someone will call me a noob. The factory left them dry.

So then I did the left side ball joints. The lower one was loose. They also have a wear indicator where the grease fitting is. If the indicator is flush or recessed into the body of the joint, it is time to replace, loose or not.

This is late saturday/early sunday as i write. I'll finish both the car and this post later.
Sunday 3/19, 7:23PM

sooo verrry tired............

i finished the camaro, then did ft brakes on Eric's camry, and took a quick look at carlota's 323, which i should be working on tomorrow. On the camaro, i just did the same thing to the right side as I did yesterday to the left, plus fixed a missing sway-bar-to-frame bolt, untwisted a brake hose, relocated a brakline slightly, lubricated caliper slides, and diagnosed sticking calipers..... The rt side coil spring was in upside down... at least it was in its upper pocket, kind of. it had that goofy stapled rubber too. here's a few pics. Batteries went dead in camera again.

out of bracket
missing bolt/bent bracket
notches indicate top
that's all better, plus the ball joints.
old ball joints
View image


March 18, 2006

saturday adventures II

More welding on Eric's Dane Chariot. No pics of that yet. We put some shocks on the back of Matthew's F350. No pics there either.
Here's a good pic. I'll likely post more on this project tomorrow. It belongs to a man named Jon.

pretty 69 camaro / click for bigger ;)

March 15, 2006


Jim&Pher came by today to fix our mailbox problems. So far it's just temporary, and the final assembly will be next. Here is the pic of Sean and Jim, riveting a decorative bug on top. I'm just an observer. Tres Manly.

Suprang transmission

These are some of the parts from inside of the original transmission of the Suprang.

The main section of the trans is not pictured yet, but may be on another entry. Right now it's wrapped in plastic and balanced on a bucket, making it not very photogenic.

It's a Toyota W55 5spd, if anyone cares. Anyway, it supposedly shifted OK except when doing quarter mile runs, or otherwise under a hard load. Then it didn't like shifting much, but it did like grinding. This, I'm told, is typically from worn synchromesh gears, which are the softer brass transitional gears that assist the transmission to go from one gear to another without grinding. Makes sense. Very logical. So we got some synchros for it, and dissassembled.

The old synchros look fine. Go figure. The shift forks look a little worn to me. Everything else looks good. I hope to have the new shift forks in a couple weeks, and reassemble with new forks and new synchros, checking all clearences.

Then we just have to install it in the car, and wait for Sean to test it under load.

The transmission in the vehicle right now was supposed to replace the one on the bench. It's the same kind (W55), but it suffered catastrophic failure during a run, and now wont shift at all. The consensus is that a shift fork broke. Before that happened, it had the same hard shifting problem as the one it was supposed to replace.

If the new parts dont fix the problem, it should still be a good street transmission, but useless for racing, and the Suprang will get a C4 automatic trans :D

The old shift forks might go into the broken trans, possibly making it useful for casual street use as well... or maybe all the parts will just be used for art.

March 8, 2006



March 5, 2006

Margaret's Timing

Today Margaret came by to do some maintenance on her AccordLX. First i got the maintenance light to turn off. Hoorayy!! (it was easy)
Then I checked the engine chirp, which i felt sure would be the water pump, but it turned out to be coming from the A/C compressor. I dont believe it could cause catastrophic failure, even if the compressor eventually goes out. It spins freely & w/o endplay or runout... just chirps occasionally.

Anybys... we decided to go ahead and do the T-belt and H2Opump according to scheduled maintenance, to avoid the catastrophic failure those parts can sometimes cause when they fail... especially on the Honda interference type engines like this.

It all went smoothly except...

the crank pulley would not budge, even with my air wrench which is rated at 600ft/lbs of reverse torque. After many trials and tribulations... I busted out the oxy/acetylene and heated that bad boy up. It slipped right out.

Here is the hot bolt. If you look closely you can see the smoke rolling off of it :)

Here's Margaret showing me much deserved worship ;)

And here's a top view of the T-belt & balance shaft belt under the timing cover.

The whole thing took about 5 hrs, about an hour of which was wasted between trials of failing to remove aforementioned bolt, and later, waiting for the thermostat to open up when i was otherwise finished.

March 1, 2006


Dick M. came by today for struts, shocks, and front brakes. The brakes were almost to the metal, and the van rode all mushy. He still needs to take it to get aligned since i cant do that here. It all went smoothly except the RF strut. A spring compressor slipped off and scared me half to death. Luckily i had another pair of compressors. They were much higher quality, and i dont think i'll be using the other ones anymore. Using all 4 compressors i was able to get the spring compressed enough to put the strut back together. Dick said "That looks deadly." It is.
Maybe someday i can get a wall mount compressor.
new parts
old parts
scary parts