Monday, September 26, 2016

Back Home and NO, I Didn't Watch The Debate

Back in town safe and sound.

BOOOORING drive, though. And thanks to the advice from one of the Supra guys who drives from SoCal every year, I took the 210 freeway to the 605 instead of staying on the 10. The 210 runs much further North, towards Pasadena (where that "Little Old Lady" is from....), and isn't nearly as crowded. I probably saved at least 20 minutes.

But man, was it HOT! It had to have been at least 100* where I was driving through, and with no A/C, it was brutal. The car ran nice and cool with no "extra" heat load from the A/C condenser in front of the radiator, but the driver came pretty close to overheating a few times!

I was just glad I'd loaded my cooler with Gatorade and lots of ice before I left Vegas, where it's only been in the 80's all week.

And the wife and I watched about the first 15 minutes of the debate, and then switched the channel.

I can't stand watching the Hildbeast talk, although she seemed somewhat "normal" tonight, and I thought Trump kept going off topic.

But then we only watched about 15 minutes of it.....

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Quiet Day, Headed Home On Monday

Had a great time yesterday at the Show-N-Shine on the grounds of the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Mostly just hanging around with my friends, looking at (a doing some slow drooling) the other cars, and talking with other "People of the Car".

The weather was pretty nice this year, about 10* cooler than last year, pretty windy early in the day and settling down to a nice breeze, but when you're standing around on an ocean of asphalt it still gets pretty warm.

The Car Culture is a lot like the fabled "Gun Culture" in that these are true enthusiasts who are pretty well immersed in the hobby. And just like you have little pockets of interest in the many types of firearms, Car People also have different groups for trucks, sports cars, street machines, drag cars, and all the different variations of anything with wheels and an internal combustion engine.

And just like you'll have groups within groups (Les Baer vs Kimber vs MilSpec 1911A1), you have the same with cars. Even among the Toyota Supra Clan you have the Mark-I people, the Mark-II people, the Mark-III people, and the Mark-IV people. We all have Toyota Supras, but the people owning and driving the different Marks are different.

It's pretty interesting to get back to this stuff after a decades long layoff, and to find that while the cars and technology have changed, the people are still pretty much the same.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Dyno Day!

Got to All Access Tuning about 1000, and signed in by 1030. I was #10 to get on the dyno, but car #8 was front-wheel drive, so he bumped to last because they have to reconfigure the dyno for FWD, and car #9 had some "Technical Difficulties" (blown fuse on his boost controller), so he wasn't ready.

Got the car strapped down, the dyno run began, and the final results were 142.9 HP to the rear wheels, and 161 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels.

It's anybody's guess what the loss in the transmission and differential are, but running the Red Line synthetic lube like I do lowers the loss, freeing up a few HP, and the Accepted Wisdom / Tribal Knowledge for these cars is that you lose around 10% in the driveline.

So, considering the original horsepower for this engine was 161 bhp at the flywheel, and factoring in 10% loss, the car should have put 144 HP to the rear wheels.

I have no idea how/when/if the dynamometer we used was calibrated to any traceable source, so I'll just take the readings they gave me, and accept them.

All I know is that it runs really well, gets better gas mileage than I thought it would, and is a pleasure to drive.

I'll take that!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Supras in Vegas Update

Well, the car fine just great driving here. I stopped in Barstow for fuel and a bladder break, and then drove the remaining 200 some miles to Vegas.

I most probably could have made it here on one tank (16 gallons) of gas, but would have had to stop for a bathroom break anyway, so I stopped in Barstow.

I got here about 1830, checked in to get my room key, and then drove over to our reserved/patrolled area, and parked the car about 1930. Wound up meeting several of my friends that I hadn't seen since last year, and we all spent the next four hours catching up, showing each other our cars, and what we'd done to them in the last year, so I was pretty tuckered out by the time I got back to the room, and just went 'lights out'!

Today was check-in, and our Scenic Drive. We drove up to Mount Charleston, crossed the 8500' pass, and then dropped down to 7500' at the visitor center. We were supposed to have a burger and hot dog BBQ, but with the wind whipping up to 30+knots up there, and the fire danger at "High", the park rangers asked us to NOT light up the BBQ pits 'cuz if things got the slightest bit out of hand, you'd be hearing about a wildfire in Nevada on the 11 O'Clock news!

I left the hotel with approx a half-tank of gas, but by the time we got the the visitor's center, it was showing less than a quarter, and the low fuel warning light had come on several times during the climb up and over the peak.

I was a bit freaked, as there's NO service stations on the road leading back to Nevada Route 95, and it's several miles down the highway to the nearest gas. I had visions of getting stuck on the peak, with no cell service, trying to flag somebody down to give me a ride! turns out the "back way" out of the visitors center is a straight shot down the mountain to Route 95, and the reason we came up the other way was because, you know, that's the "Scenic" route to take.

Since we couldn't cook up there, and the temperature was in the low 60's, nobody wanted to hang around in the (relatively) cold wind, so we all decided to head back to the hotel.

I punched in "Excalibur Resort" in the GPS, and it led me out the back way, which is where everybody else was headed. After a very minor climb, I put the car in neutral and let the engine idle, and coasted the 16.8 miles downhill to Route 95, using just the breaks to moderate my speed.

The "back way" out was also several miles shorter to Route 95, so that helped save gas.

Made it to a Shell station, and filled the tank, taking 11.7 gallons with a stated tank capacity of 16.1 gallons. Figuring that most of the time you can't really use the last gallon or two, I figured I still had about 3 gallons of usable fuel in the tank, enough to get me 70~75 miles driving conservatively on the flat area we were in.

I guess it's "better" to have a gas gauge that gets you worried earlier than one that lets you completely run out of fuel showing there's still some in the tank!

Tomorrow is "Dyno Day", and I'm putting the car on the dyno to see how much power gets to the rear wheels. I'm thinking 125~130 rwhp, while others here are saying 135~140 rwhp.

Guess we'll find out!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Real Busy and Real Tired....

Interior is 95+% back together. The "missing" things are cosmetic, and don't affect the function of the car.

Stereo is installed, and it works.

Laundry is in the dryer and I'll finish packing when it's dry.

I took a break and went to the closest Radio Shack in the area that's still open so I could get a three-way splitter for the cigarette lighter socket. Say what you will about Radio Shack, they do have a lot of useful stuff there that's hard to find at other brick-and-mortar stores.

The car only has one receptacle, and I'll need to run both my GPS and Valentine One on the drive there.

And I'm trashed. I have bruises in places I forgot I had, my hands look like I went three rounds bare-knuckle and lost, I have scrapes on my knees like a ten year old gets, and I'm sweaty, grimy, and beat.

And the car needs to be washed. At this point, I'm just going to clean the windows inside and out, and drive it there crummy.  I don't care what other people think. They don't know the effort I've put forth over the last month or so, so screw 'em!

I'm going to Vegas in the Supra.......

I'll post again after I get there.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Alignment Passed!


I was afraid I'd either done something wrong, or there were worn parts that I'd missed, or that Murphy would exact his revenge, but everything turned out GREAT!

My setting the caster adjustment on the front strut rods was spot on, so close in fact, that the young guy didn't want to adjust it, as he said he doubted if he could get it any closer.

The "specified range" is 3.69* to 4.69*, and my shade tree measurements wound up giving me 4.19* on the left side, and 4.29* on the right side.

Front toe specified range is .09* to .16*, and I had .39* on the left, and .29* on the right.

After adjustment it was .14* on the left and .12* on the right.

Front camber measured at -.25* left, and -.30* on the right, the result of dropping it.

At the rear, the specified range for toe is -.09* to +.09*, and mine measured .13* on the left and .12* on the right.

After adjustment I have -.02* on both sides.

Rear camber measures -2.14* on the left, and -2.22* on the right, also the result of the drop.

So, the alignment is probably as good as it's ever going to be, and I'm cleared to go to Vegas!

Gonna have a bite to eat, finish up the adapter plug/wiring harness for the new radio, and then get back to work so I can have most of the interior back in the car.

One thing I noticed when he was pulling the car on the alignment rack is that one of my brake lights was burned out. So, I stopped at the O'Reilly's store I always go to and bought all new bulbs for the rear.

The bulbs I took out were "Koyto" brand,made in Japan, and might very well be the original bulbs that came with the car.

The young guys at O'Reilly's came pouring out of the store when I pulled up, and were all smiles, thumbs up, and hand shakes/fist bumps to me.

 They've been hearing about the car for two months now, and really flipped out over the wheels/tires and stance.

They were amazed that all the bodywork is straight, that the paint is original, and none of the flares are cracked or broken.

More to come.......

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Interior Work Today

Got my new 3-1/2" "Kicker" speakers installed in the dash panels today. It took a little "Precision Dremel Work", I had to flip the speed nuts around 180*, and use some other screws with washers I scrounged out of "Jim's Stainless Hardware Emporium", but I got them solidly mounted.

The original 30 year old speakers were still in the dash when I pulled it apart, and I tell you....tin cans and string would have sounded better!

The rears had been replaced some time ago with some junky off-brand speakers (IIRC, they were "Spark-O-Matic"!), but one was blown out with an open voice coil, and the other sounded really scratchy, so essentially I had NO sound system in the car until I replaced both rear speakers with some decent Pioneer units I got on sale at Best Buy.

As of right now, the passenger side of the interior (dash, kick panel, door sill) is back together, and the driver's side is partially together (kick panel and door sill), but I needed to take a break.

I'm pretty sure I can get the dash panel installed tonight, but I have to hit the hay early as I have an 0800 (groan.....) appointment with the alignment rack that I can't miss.

I've got my fingers crossed (founding member of the "Crossed Fingers Workgroup" here!) that all goes well with the alignment, because if it doesn't, I'll be pretty upset with myself for not being at this point six months ago, when I would have had enough time to rectify any problems before heading off to "Supras In Vegas".
Hopefully all goes well with the alignment, and I can finish up plugging in the radio with the harness I'll be making shortly, and installing the rest of the radio surround and console Monday afternoon.....

Saturday, September 17, 2016

"Minor Repairs" Day

Did some minor repairs today.

Pulled the driver's seat so I could get at the lever assembly that operates the gas filler door and the rear hatch release. They'd been "broken" since I bought the car, and while I could get the door and the hatch open, I had to hold both levers together, while pulling on the one I wanted to open.

Sure enough, the bolt had come out, and was right next to the mechanism under the carpet. Put it back in place and tightened it down, and one more item crossed off the list.

And since the driver's seat was out, it makes it a whole lot easier to get at the clutch pedal to measure and adjust the pedal height and free-play adjustment.

The pedal height was "in spec", but the free-play was waaaay off.

The car had the clutch master cylinder replaced some years ago when it failed and dumped the contents of the fluid reservoir (standard brake fluid) into the interior, and all over the carpet, ruining the carpet.

I don't think they bothered to set the free-play when they replaced it because it was always a bit reluctant to go into first gear at a stop (typical "crunch" when you put it in gear), and I could always feel it "snag" a bit when shifting. The clutch still feels a bit "soggy", so I'll put the car up in the air on Sunday and flush the fluid and bleed the system like I did for the brakes.

BTW...the fluid that came out of the rear calipers when I did the flush and bleed a couple of days ago was actually worse than what came out of the front!

I'm not putting in the new carpet kit before I leave for Vegas as it's just too much work. One of the guys I met there last year has the same carpet kit, and agreed that it's very high-quality. He also said it's cut very "generously", and he had to trim 4~6" of carpet from the door sill area, and about the same at the top front where it goes up against the firewall. He told me it took him two full weekends, plus an hour or so per night between weekends, to get it installed really nice.

I'm sure the carpet installation will be another whole series of posts.....

Small Block Chevy Time Lapse Rebuild

Yeah, yeah, yeah....I know I've posted this before.

I like it. It's cool. Watch it again.

Pretty low-perf engine they started with. Two-bolt mains, cast iron crank, cast pistons, pressed-in rocker studs, no push rod guide plates (only used with screw-in studs), and a two barrel intake manifold.

But they rebuilt it properly, with an overbore and hone, decked the block and surfaced the heads, installed hardened valve seats and a roller-type timing chain. The intake manifold and carb they used are Edelbrock street performance types, and I bet that little motor just purrs......

Friday, September 16, 2016

Maiden Voyage......

Well....She's back on the road!

Cleaned the windows, and took her around the block a few times.

Brake pedal is rock solid, and the steering wheel is straighter than before I started.

NO pulling to either side, and she tracks straight down the road, hands off the wheel.

So, since things seemed OK, I kept driving her, and went out on the streets around here. Ride is very nice, definitely a bit stiffer than before, but no more floating or wallowing in turns.

Tires barely rub at full lock and going over a bump.

Called the alignment shop and he said "Bring her down". Drove down there, and he was expecting me to drop the car off. Since I didn't make arrangements for a ride home, he said he'd call as soon as the alignment rack was open, and I could wait while they did it.

And he knew quite a bit about the car.

SO...I took the long way home, and enjoyed driving her a bit.

Post alignment follow up to come.....


The alignment shop couldn't get me in today. As the guy said "Fridays are NUTS!".

So, I'm scheduled for a 4-wheel alignment on Monday, at 0800.

There's not much that's adjustable on these cars. The front only has toe-in and caster, and the rear only has toe-in. Since the front adjustments interact somewhat, you go back-and-forth as you're doing them. The manager at the shop is well-versed in "Old Jap Cars" as we both called her, and says their alignment guy has been doing alignments for over 20 years.

This place isn't cheap, but they do superb work, from complete "frame off" restorations, to general body and paint, and collision repair.