Tag Line

"Built Dam Strong!"

08 December 2013

Has anyone adapted this yet?

I was cruising through Harbor Freight and saw this:

I'm curious if that would make for a good set of det cans for tuning. Thoughts? 

I started working on something a little crooked yesterday.

So, a friend bought a Civic coupe that had been hit in the front. Surprisingly, it drives pretty straight. The shock towers are square, as far as I can tell. 

I got the come-along hooked up:

And the car started dragging. LOL! That didn't work out so well. I'll take another crack at it soon with a tree involved.

06 December 2013

Making lollipops, or my least favorite job at work.

Every couple of months I have to do something I'd rather not do. Ever. But it needs to be done so I don't complain about it (while at work). What does that have to do with lollipops? Read on to find out!

This is the kind of lollipop I'm talking about:

I don't recommend trying to consume one, even if you are iron deficient! This is what I'm using these for:

That is a hot galvanized tube with a vent hole in the end cap plate. Hot galvanizing is,  well, it's HOT! It is hot enough that the air inside a tube that is capped tight will get uncomfortable and seek more accommodating climes. Explosively. So, to prevent the tubes from popping when it's hot, the vents are added. The problem with this is that these aren't one way vents. These tubes are outside in the weather, so water can get in them, freezing and blowing the tubes apart, even with the holes. Therefore, the holes need to be plugged, and this is my least favorite job.
Welding on galvanized steel sucks. It is a dirty, nasty, painfully annoying process. The zinc pops, sending molten metal everywhere, and even covered up completely, you'll get burned. The welds look like crap, but you have to grind the flush, which is good for looks but annoying to actually do.
Here is the plug tacked in place, slightly "proud" of the surface:
Keeping it sticking out a bit helps when welding on this crap surface so the new metal you are blasting in has something good to "bite" to, then melt off any zinc crap left (well, it usually explodes off in metal flames) and then finally it decides to melt into the plate. Yeah, it's that fun. 

Anyway, I am getting ahead of myself. The next step is to simply break off the stick:

Zap zap zap! All the way around:

Yeah, it's ugly. Closeup:

Wash, rinse, repeat ad nauseum:

That's only a small part of the current bunch. 

After everything is ground flat, there are usually some undercut areas, from the zinc resisting good fusion, so you have to go back and fill in: 

Ad then grind again. This is what you should have when you're done: 

The little spot you see is mostly exaggerated due to lighting. It will also be filled in with the final stage: Paint! The paint we use is industrial cold galvanizing zinc paint. The can is mostly zinc, and each can weighs almost a full pound and is about half the height of a normal spray can! 

The paint goes on thick and covers up most small imperfections:

While it is a very good coating for corrosion protection. it doesn't exactly match the finish of the hot galvanizing process:

But that's OK. It works and works well, even if it is annoying to get to the end point.  

More manageable arbor plates

The arbor plates I cut before from 1.5" thick steel are fantastic but heavy and a bit awkward for much of the pressing I do for small parts. So, I took the drops from the last cut and sliced off 8" long sections  to use, then cleaned up the edges. Easy peasy.

04 December 2013

Project Lazarus: Front Suspension Rebuild, Part 3

As you saw in Part 2, one of the upper control arms still had a ball joint installed in the arm:

It took some scraping of road grime, but I finally uncovered the snap ring holding the ball joint in place: 

I drafted my mom to help pop the snap ring over the lip of the ball joint, as I needed three hands (no vise!) to hold the thing, operate the inside snap ring plies (with the tips on the ends of the snap ring) and prying with a flat head screw driver. Here is the result: 

Man, my HF 20T press is getting a workout: 

Yes, the arm is sitting on one of the hubs: 

The ID of the hub was just about perfect for supporting the flat part of the UCA while pressure was applied to the ball joint to pop it loose! 

I do see why the fancier presses have assisting apparatuses for moving the saddle (is that the right term? I am forgetting at the moment) up and down. I really need to cut some thinner arbor plates. LOL! 

Here is the displaced ball joint:

It pried loose easily once it reached that point. I love press fit things!

Here is what the ball joint looked like when the boot was removed:  

Holy crap! That is really terrible. It felt ok with the boot on! The boot really made it feel substantial. That is pretty scary that it was that bad. I am wondering if that is how bad the joints on my CRX are right now . . . 

I want to find out what this coating is: 

Whatever it is, it sealed the joint between the ball joint and UCA very well:


Hundreds of thousands of miles of road gunk. I am not looking forward to cleaning all that off . . . 

Getting ahead start: 

I scraped off a lot of the crud after it warmed up and was easier to scrape. I am letting both of the UCAs sit in the bucket overnight. I'll get the bucket filled up again tomorrow with hot soapy water and keep on scrubbing, if I feel up to it. (I'm coming down with something. Blech.)  

Project Lazarus: New shoes for the winter

Yes, it is a terrible photo, but it gets the point across. Civic VX rims with Bridgestone Blizzaks. I'll pop the center caps on tomorrow.

Thanks, Ed!

Initial impressions are okay. Steering is easier, braking is less firm. Traction is very good in the chill. Ride quality report after my commute tomorrow.


01 December 2013

Project Lazarus: Front Suspension Rebuild, Part 2

So I left off having done the hard part yesterday, taking off the hubs. Today started off with a bang. Literally. Smacking the rest of the bearing out with a hammer:

For the record, I hate pine needles and working around, or specifically under, pine trees. Geez. 

Don't forget to pop the dust shield off the back of the knuckle when removing the lower ball joint (again using a hammer since I was there and it was easy):

I managed to strip a few of the screws that hold the dust shield in place: 

They will get drilled out and replaced. I want to pull EVERYTHING apart and clean it all off so I can paint the whole knuckle. I want to do this once and do it right.

Speaking of cleaning, I busted out the WD40 and a green Scotchbrite pad and went to town on the bearing race of the knuckle: 

This is what the other one looked like before I started: 

The second one after the treatment: 

It makes a good bit of difference! But, notice all the exterior gook that is going to have to come off. Not too tasty. Someone had lost an axle boot sometime previously. 

I also cleaned up the bearing retaining rings: 

So, I have two brand new bearing:
What's a guy to do? Take them apart! Wait . . . what? WHY? Because racecar. I had found a very interesting post on a forum detailing how to repack bearings with superior grease. I did some research on this and talked to a few people who race Honders and found that the smaller civic bearing hubs have issues when racing (with big, sticky tires, bigger brakes, blah blah blah) unless the grease is replaced with something designed to handle the higher heat input to the bearings. I was convinced enough to go through the trouble and the risk of breaking something I've never tried before. On with the pics!

The Timken bearing is actually a reboxed Nachi. I thought this was a good thing since Nachi seems to be a good name in bearings and it is made in Japan.  

I decided to take apart the Koyo bearing first, so these next few pics of of the Koyo. I popped the inner races out: 

Pried out the balls and kept them together in the Nachi/Timken bearing for safe keeping: 

Then my fingers got really greasy so I didn't take a lot of pics, but I cleaned out the original grease as much as possible and got ready to repack the bearing with this: 

Looking at the test reports for this grease, it is very evident that it is REALLY good without being ridiculously expensive or hard to come by. It was recommended highly by many several racers and I think it will serve me well. It has a very interesting texture. It isn't as waxy as the original grease and when you pull a glob out of the container, it leaves very, very long stringers almost like taffy, but much thinner. 

I don't have ay pictures of the bearing after it was repacked, but, basically the grease is red instead of white. I didn't have any issues with it at all! Yay!

I was feeling pretty good and moved on to the Nachi: 

Woah! I know it might not be easy to tell, but this bearing had VERY LITTLE GREASE IN IT compared to the Koyo. So little I was kind of concerned. I didn't really need to wait very long to have my concerns made moot by the fact that the first ball I popped loose also took part of the plastic cage with it: 

Cue trombone: Wah wah waaaaaaah!

So, I won't be using THAT bearing. I've already ordered another Koyo. Live and learn. But, based on this, I will NOT be recommending Nachi bearings. The low amount of grease in the bearing from the factory is a huge concern to me, anyway. 

Another view of the broken cage and also showing how little grease is packed in with the balls: 

Since I didn't have any more bearings to bother with packing, I busted out the cheap wire brushes and set about cleaning up the hubs. Autozone wire brushes: 

Clean and shiny hub, and also showing a bit too much aggression with the bearing seperator:

It's mostly just a surface blemish, it isn't a deep scratch. I'm not really worried about it at all. 

I am going to take a powered wire brush to the hubs to really get all the rusty crud off before painting. Since I have to wait for the new bearing, I might as well clean and paint everything as best I can. 

That leads to the next question: are these upper control arms for a CRX? I am terrible at playing this game. I can't easily compare them to the ones on my car, and they might just be from an Accord. Does anyone happen to know?

The last thing I did before I called it a night was to test fit my lug nuts on the new wheel studs. I figured it would be better to check BEFORE they get pressed in. Sure enough, one of the studs has an odd spot on it that really binds the lug nuts. I don't know if you can really see it in the next two pics, but it is a very slightly darker colored spot: 

These don't break the bank. I will buy another one soon. I don't need it until I do the rears, which is likely a few months away yet. 

That's about it for now!