April 18, 2016

Rearview mirror, interior

Why yes, the 96-00 civic (P.N. 76430-S01-A01ZA) interior mirrors do, in fact, fit in place of the discontinued 88-91 Civic/CRX mirrors.

The 1990 Civic Hatch I drive has a mirror which I can't tighten up, and it moves downward over every bump. I have a spare I got from another '90 hatch and it is the same way. I did have one I took out of a 1991 CRX parts car, and it was made differently. It was adjustable, I think. Anyway, it was nice and tight, and I was gonna put it in my Civic, but I ended up putting it in some girl's Civic instead for some reason. <3

So I don't know if there was a plant difference, or CRX/Civic difference, or a change in 1991, but that was a good mirror. If, however, you have a shitty mirror, like I did, the 96-00 Civic mirror, Part Number 76430-S01-A01ZA, is still available, and does fit.

So, I put a 1991 CRX mirror into a 1990 Civic Hatch, then I just temporarily put that shitty mirror in my 1998 Civic hatch, and put the one from the 1998 into my 1990. All fit flawlessly.

I'm going to buy a new rear view mirror, Part Number 76430-S01-A01ZA, for my old 1990 Civic and put the one for the 1998 back in place.

I might buy two because surely they'll be discontinued as soon as I fall into another CRX/Hatch with a shitty mirror.

April 4, 2014

Remembering the 68 FB Parts

I wanted to write down all the things in it that I collected and/or put on my 1968 Fastback Mustang. It's 50th anniversary is coming up. It originally had a 289 and air conditioning with power steering and automatic but I put in a much larger motor.

  • Slotted Aluminum Wheels
  • The mighty 443 short block with Chevy pistons and Chrysler rods
  • C6 Automatic that works but is 50 years old
  • Lunati bumpy camshaft to match the large displacement
  • Elelbrock RPM aluminum heads
  • Edelbrock RPM intake manifold
  • Demon 850CFM carb
  • Holley electric fuel pump
  • Compact gear reduction starter
  • Hooker Supercomp Headers
  • Crane Hi-6 ignition
  • Duraspark II distributor
  • Correct Big Block engine mounts and brackets
  • Aluminum competition driveshaft
  • 9 inch Versailles rear end with 2.75:1 and 3.50:1 carriers and new disks
  • Mercury Monarch front brakes
  • 1" Lowered front control arm (Shelby Mod)
  • New front end bushings
  • New leaf springs 1" lowered
  • New front springs 1" lowered
  • 1" front sway bar
  • KYB white shocks
  • Export Brace
  • Monte Carlo Bar
  • Grant Steering Wheel (black foam, chrome center)
  • New front dash pad

March 30, 2014

Get off my lawn!

I've seen this making the rounds:

I think the article is a lot of wishful thinking. There are some fair points to be sure but a few things stand out for me that are not mentioned in the article.

Millennials don't have any money. Household-Incomes-by-Age-Brackets

While it does look dire, if you compare that to the cost of a new car, you can see that the barrier to entry is that much higher as a percentage of income.

Disturbing as well is why would you invest so much money into a disposable item? That is, why would I put up $22k (close to yearly income) for a base model car that is an actual depreciating liability, but taxed as an asset?

There is also a declining amount of "fun" you can have informally with a car. We do have formal and safe events and that is a good thing, but speeders are routinely caught, doing doughnuts in your cul-de-sac or in the mall parking lot is no longer a "boys will be boys" (or girls) affair. You're going to jail.

Nobody works on cars. Well, we work on cars but the barrier to understanding them is low and we grew up in a culture where you changed your own oil and spark plugs and checked fluids before long trips (and had to sometimes). Now cars are very reliable and the only time you have to interact with your car at this intimate level is when something horrible happens. Overheat your car? The head warps and your car is trashed. Never change your oil? Big deal. The damn thing will last 150K easy and you can unload it on some other poor sot. Even your tires are designed to last 60,000+ miles. You don't get a relationship with a mechanic if you never see one save to give your car last rites.

For heaven's sake, you're not even allowed to look under your hood anymore. Open the hood? Well, there's another hood underneath your hood with a few labels that while they don't say "no user serviceable parts inside" they are also not inviting.

April 25, 2013

clutches are cute and shiny

Also they cry or protest when abused. Click pic for full picture.

This was on the back of an Exxedy clutch cover (pressure plate) box for a 1998 Ford Ranger

March 31, 2013

How To: remove uncaptured alternator sleeve

This method is also handy to slide the sleeve over a bit for an easy install. In that case the sleeve will slide back as you tighten the bolt while reinstalling alternator.

So, to remove. You need a bolt which slides through the sleeve. It has to be pretty long because it has to fit through the sleeve, two sockets, and still have room to put the nut on the end.

Choosing your sockets: The sockets will be used both to push the sleeve out, and to catch the sleeve. (note- they need not be sockets, but I can usually find the right size socket before I can find something else suitable.

One is the receiver. It must be just slightly larger than the sleeve. The sleeve eventually will end up inside it.

The other is the pusher. It must be slightly smaller than the sleeve so it can go through the hole without getting stuck.

Most sleeves i've done this with have belonged to 10mm bolts. The one pictured below is from a suzuki and had an 8mm bolt. So I had a bit of a time finding a pusher socket which would both fit on my bolt and fit through the hole in the alternator. I ended up drilling through an old Taiwan socket. I have also ran into setups where I had to grind one side of the receiver socket flat.

Okay. So slide the bolt through the receiver, through the alternator, then the pusher, and start the nut. Tighten it up, and if everything is straight and the right sizes/shapes, the sleeve should make a small snap sound and then easily push all the way through into the receiving socket. Voila: click on pic.


OH- and if all you want to do is move the sleeve over, place the receiving socket on the side which you want the sleeve to move towards, and just use a washer to get the sleeve flush- eliminating the need to find the pusher socket- or the right length bolt-

January 30, 2013

size matters


New 3/4 drive T-handle and ratchet head along with some other tools for relativity.

December 1, 2012

Big and shiny


My friend Russell has this big truck... well, it's a 1 ton dually so i consider it to be big. Normally i try to avoid heavy stuff like this at home, but it's for Russell.

I used my transmission jack to lift the brake drums on and off, but i still had to balance them on it as I did it.

So the truck was losing brake fluid and the left rear had seized up one time. I replaced the leaking master cylinder, rear wheel cylinders, left park brake cable, and all the rear brake hardware, shoes, and adjusters.

I also found a N.O.S. (new, old stock) parking brake switch on ebay for this 1985 Chevy so now the little red light in the instrument cluster lets any and all drivers know that the parking brake is set. Of course, that feature still only works if you actually pay attention to it.

November 7, 2012

oops. engines need oil?


Contents of oil pan. Not pictured ~ 1 gallon of antifreeze confetti slush. Strangely absent... oil.

November 1, 2012

Red Oil Light


With very few exceptions, this light means you have no oil pressure. Without oil pressure your engine will die a horrible death.

Trying to drive "just a little while" with this light on is to your engine as getting dragged through broken glass for "just a few feet" is to your naked body.

If it flicks on around a corner it does not mean anything other than you are killing your engine. This is the most common, and generally means a low oil level... so there are many many people who get lucky and just add oil, or worse... think this just means it is time for an oil change. Stop. Shut off the engine. Check the oil level or call someone.

If it comes on and stays on... STOP and shut off the engine. Call someone.

The same goes for the temperature light- or if the temperature gauge needle goes all the way up. Think "I now need a new engine and maybe a new transmission, or maybe a new car" if you continue to try to drive it like this... oh, and a tow.

If your experience differs consider yourself lucky. Or, like me, a bit knowledgeable about what exactly you are driving and how it works.

In conclusion, check your fluid levels, watch your gauges and lights, and read your owner/operator manual.

sorry so many rants lately.


September 19, 2012


This is Matilda

Matilda is a 1999 Toyota RAV4 who was punched in the nose. My friends John, Lewis, and Geneva delivered her to me for a song.

After a few parts (her radiator and adjacent parts were pierced, bent and broken) and some welding, she is sound and presentable. I've never much been one for bodywork and paint though.

I only need to do a few more things for her to get on the road. All in all this makes me happy. All I need to do is sell her. I would keep her, but I really need a pickup truck instead.

2 pics after jump

Continue reading "Matilda" »

July 22, 2012


This weekend i replaced the timing belt on Jenipher's 2004 Tacoma Prerunner 3.4. She fed us curry chicken and built me a tool creeper pallet out of recycled parts, which is awesome. The cats took some notice.

But I have to mention this new tool I bought for removing and installing seals for the camshafts and crankshaft.



I bought it, along with the crank holding SST (special service tool)for the 3.4L and the cam seal remover/installer commercially available for Toyota V6's, all to make this job go smoothly.

And it did. It went almost terrifyingly smoothly. This truck is so lacking of the usual corrosion it gives me pause.

Also i really like my new tools... some of which I plan to use at least 10 more times -- but for the one I gave the link to.... That GDMF is the bomb. I will use it often. It works better for me than any other recommended SSTs from Toyota or any other manufacturer who has no recommendation for a SST or even any details on how to perform service....

Detailed directions=
Disconnect negative battery cable, remove part, install part.
So that may be a slight exaggeration, but often it really isn't.

But I still really like this new tool kit.


Jim and I watched a marathon of Frisky Dingo.

June 2, 2012


If you know me, or follow this blog, you know i tend to procrastinate. You may also know of my box of new Honda parts with a 2009 receipt date.

I decided to install some of them today, along with a few other parts I recently purchased.

I had to remove my camshaft to replace some oil seals allowing engine oil to soak into my spark plug wires. I tried to take lots of pictures, but my camera was acting weird, and it only saved one 'before' and one 'after' picture, along with the one shown above.

So if you just saw the pics, they say "oh look, new spark plug wires". Rats. I worked on this car for 7 hours today. Here is the list of parts I installed:

Camshaft holder o-rings
Distributor o-ring
Timing belt & tensioner bearing
Camshaft seal
Crankshaft seal
Spark plug wires
Water pump
Valve cover gasket, tube seals & grommets
All 3 drive & accessory belts
also I adjusted the valves and set the ignition timing.

Except for the camshaft holder o-rings and plug wires, I replaced all those parts 70K miles ago in August of 2006 when my mother still owned the car. If I had thought about those o-rings at the time, i could have put this off another year or two, but oh well.

Still in the 2009 box are one inner and one outer tie rod end. I forget which side they go on, but my tires know. They are showing inner edge wear because of my procrastination. It's not like i bought the best Michelin tires I could find though... oh wait. Damn.

just under 240,000 miles so far on the original engine and transmission. YAY!

May 3, 2012


It's a thing. It has a name and you can buy it. It's in brake pads and other friction materials, gaskets, cutting wheels, and apparently rope. It is in the air i breathe and on my clothes.

I know (if you read the fine print) you're not supposed to breathe it, touch it, or wear your clothes home after exposure.

So what is it? Well, it's definitely not asbestos. It says so right in the name.

The tests I took after lunch today conclude that it's 38% caramelized ketchup, 12% crystalized catsup, 27% natural and artificial flavorings and 17% glycerol ester of wood rosin, with less than 2% soylent green.

March 22, 2012

Dorman = do not buy!

There is an aftermarket parts company called Dorman. Sometimes they have parts no one else has... not even the dealer. They have been around a long time.

Last year I was working on my friend's 1999 Camry, and I replaced many things. Dorman was the only aftermarket manufacturer at the time who I found sold both the oil pump seal and o-ring gasket in a kit, so I bought it. It's just rubber seals right? No big deal. Who can screw that up? Everything seemed fine.

Fast forward a few months. I put a Dorman upper control arm on my friend's Civic because it was very inexpensive (her choice) compared to the others available.... like 1/4 the cost. I should have known better, but it's just metal and rubber, right? Who can screw that up?

Well, that control arm makes a very disturbing knock noise over minor bumps. I think the interference fit between the arm and the included bushings is not so great, since that's where it seems the noise is coming from.

So... back to the Camry. Here it is just over a year later and the Camry has a terrible oil leak. By terrible I mean a quart an hour while the car is running. ONE QUART EVERY HOUR!!!!

After some investigation I have found it to be.... you guessed it.... the very same oil pump seal and gasket I replaced 13 months ago. Both are leaking. I had also replaced the crankshaft front oil seal and camshaft oil seal with Fel-Pro parts, and they were fine, but the Dorman parts only lasted 13 months... possibly less, as the leak was only brought to my attention when I was about to change the oil ("oh yeah- we meant to tell you we've been adding oil")

13 Months! They should last at least 7 years. The original parts lasted 11 years... and even then it was just the gasket leaking a little, and the seal not at all.

I've run into other parts manufacturers whose electrical parts seem to fail in 13 months. BWD is one example. Neihoff is another.

So I guess if it lasts a year, that's good enough.!?!

I spent 2 hours cleaning coked up oil off of timing belt cogs.... not to mention the time to replace the oil soaked timing belt (also only 13 months old)... and the amount of down time for the car. Now I'm waiting for the dust cover gaskets to arrive via USPS. The oil leak deteriorated the adhesive and compromised the gaskets.


March 8, 2012

diesel madness

Lewis starting the cold engine (with no power to the glow plugs)

Me talking and playing (also no glow plug power, but Lew had already warmed it up)

December 5, 2011






continue for more reindeer pictures. click here for the alligator

Continue reading "robo-reindeer" »

November 10, 2011

squirrel cage


This is the HVAC blower motor and fan from a GMC. I'd always heard the fan called a squirrel cage. Now I know why. I've also heard it called a hamster wheel, but I never found evidence of a hamster... though I did find a mouse once.

November 5, 2011

national security

My friend Lewis bought a military auction HMMWV (humvee) engine... 6.5 liter diesel.
It came in a big military crate, vacuum sealed with a dessicant bag, ready to be drop shipped from 10,000 feet.

well, sort of.

I guess they found a problem and that's why it was for sale.

We made it run inside the crate. That was awesome.

Comments are under pictures. The right sides of the pictures got cut off but if you click on them they should come up in a pop-up (disable that blocker for now).


HUGE intake manifold! There's an EPA sticker which mentions a national security emissions exemption. I'll try to get a pic of that later. done. click here for sticker pic


We ran 24V to the injector pump (help me out here Lewis) and 12V to the starter. 4 batteries in all.


...about the starter. The military crate needed slight modifications to accommodate it.

more after jump

Continue reading "national security" »

October 22, 2011

somewhere in a sweatshop


I had to change the thermostat in Althea AGAIN. Above you see two thermostats... one ~18 month old thermostat made in China, and one new one next to it made in Japan. Can you guess which is which? They are both for the same car. Weird huh?


I did not choose to put a cheapo unit in my car last time so much as my car ran hot and the cheap one was available within the hour. This time when Althea ran hot I waited a day for delivery, waited 5 days to install, and paid three times as much. I expect it to last 10yrs this time. Totally worth it.

A more important event took place today but is completely unrelated to cars. My friends Lewis and Russell came over and fixed the rotten part of my roof facia. They are awesome and have probably bought me another 3yrs before I need to replace my roof.

August 27, 2011

damn the Swedes

picture from 1998 volvo service manual