Monday, January 27, 2014

Ms. SWAN Passed her Smog Test!

Barely squeaked by the 25MPH test with 83ppm HC, vs a max allowed of 83ppm.

The 15MPH test passed with 111ppm vs 130ppm max allowed.

NOx went from 674ppm to 536ppm at 15MPH, and from 569ppm to 459ppm at 25MPH.

Then I drove her down to AAA, filled out and signed the "open" title, coughed up $285, and drove out of there with a valid "temporary" registration card.

The permanent registration card and title should follow in "5 to 9 business days" according to the rep at the AAA.

And then in April, when the tags expire, I get to cough up another $200 or so (based on last registration), but I should be OK with the smog test until 2016.

One thing I immediately noticed as I drove to the smog place this afternoon was how much smoother she ran, so changing the plugs and "fixing" the air leak at the throttle body definitely helped.

AFAIK, she has the original, 29 year old, 167,000 mile, catalytic converter on her, so I'll look into getting a replacement to have "in stock" for when she has to get smog tested again.

But as of today, she's **OFFICIALLY** mine!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Project "Ms. SWAN" Flunked Her Smog Test

But not by much!

First off, they busted me (well...previous owner) for having a piece of heater hose in use as a breather hose. This particular hose goes from the air duct that crosses the engine to a port on the intake manifold, and it's more of a reference hose than an actual "breather" hose. The hose had obviously been there for quite a while, was in excellent condition, and had zero signs of any damage from any oil or crankcase vapors that might have been passing through it.

BUT, it was marked as "Heater Hose, 5/8"" or something similar, so the Smog Nazis of the People's Republik of Kaliforniastan declared it as TAMPERING/MODIFIED, and I had strike one.

The actual "PCV" hose exits from the side of the boss the oil filler cap screws into, and goes to a separator before being vented back to the intake manifold, but since this car is older than the kid doing the smog test, I didn't expect him to understand that.

All the rest of the visual/functional checks passed, and then it was on to the dyno rollers.

She passed the 25MPH test (barely), and while the guy didn't like having to pass the car, the computer told him to, so she passed. The 25MPH HC readings were at 83ppm, and the limit is 83ppm, so since it wasn't over the max allowed, they passed it.

The problem was with the 15MPH dyno run. The max allowed for HC (HydroCarbons) is 130ppm, and the car generated 142ppm, which failed it.

For both the 15MPH and 25MPH runs, the CO and NO numbers were in the middle of the min/max range, so no problem there.

Now I had done a couple of things to her Saturday morning, and drove her around for about 45 minutes to ensure she was all warmed up, and decided to take my chances. One of the things I didn't do was to change the spark plugs, which have god-knows-how-many miles on them, and the other was to fill the tank with fresh fuel, as the half-tank (about 7 gallons) had a "Full Load" of fuel system cleaners consisting of a 20oz bottle of Techron, and two 8oz cans of SeaFoam.

I stopped on the way home from the smog test place to get some "approved" PCV hose and a couple of clamps, and drove around some more until the low fuel light came on, at which time I filled her up with 91 Octane Shell.

I went ahead this morning and installed the new plugs, and the ones I took out were really worn. The specified gap for new plugs is 1.1mm (.043), and some of the old ones were well over .050, with worn, rounded electrodes. Several of them were loose ( ! ), which is NOT a Good Thing with an aluminum cylinder head. I've seen plugs get loose in aluminum heads, and the combustion gases go at the threads like a cutting torch, in some cases causing so much damage that the plug blows out of the head!

At least my new plugs are properly torqued now, with a dab of anti-seize on the threads to prevent them from galling the threads.

ANYWAY.......


Reading the Toyota Service Manual last night, and going through the Emission Control System troubleshooting flow chart, something hit me.

If there are ANY air leaks between the Air Flow Meter and the Throttle Body, the measured amount of air from the AFM will NOT be the actual amount of air going into the engine, and the fuel injection system will improperly meter the fuel. In this car, the AFM is located down behind the air cleaner in the right front corner of the engine compartment, and the throttle body is several feet away, connected by some plastic duct work with rubber couplings between the various sections.




 
There are three large rubber "cuffs", or "couplings" between the various solid parts which are made of fiber reinforced plastic, and the final rubber coupling, at the throttle body, was split!


It had been wrapped with ooey-gooey black electrical tape in an attempt to fix it, but the tape had degraded to the point that there were gaps in the rubber with daylight showing through!


I had a massive air leak, and it's amazing the car ran as well as it did!

This part is also an excellent example of Fossilized Rubber from the Disco Era (mid 1980's), and was a real PITA to get off the throttle body, as it was crumbling away as I pried it off, witness some of the missing chunks on the outer edges.

I carefully peeled away all the electrical tape ( ! ) that was trying to seal it, and scrubbed it with lots of hot water and dish soap in the kitchen sink (yes, I cleaned the sink when I was done) so that whatever method I chose to use to seal it all back up wouldn't have to try and bond to a 30 year collection of grease, oil, and road dirt.

After it was completely dry, I fit it back on to the plastic piece that connects to the throttle body, and proceeded to wrap several layers of self-fusing silicone rubber tape around it.



This stuff is absolutely amazing, and I've been using it for years to seal things and weatherproof them. It's only recently caught on in the consumer market as "Rescue Tape", but if you buy that stuff, you're paying about 5 times what it costs if you carefully shop for it.

Once I had it wrapped and slid back on the throttle body, I noticed that while I had the coupling sealed on the outside, the split in it made a channel from end-to-end that would still leak, so I forced some black RTV sealer into both ends of the channel, smoothed it out nicely, and reassembled the whole air intake system.

She started right up, and seems to idle smoother, but since I didn't get her fully warmed up and drive her, I won't really know if my "fix" worked until Monday afternoon when I take her back to get retested.


Oh, and I installed the new "breather" hose so that the printing indicating it's "PCV Hose" is clearly visible......

Sunday, January 19, 2014

YUK! FLU!!! AND An Update On The New PC

Groan, was out for two days last week. Got really ill Tuesday night, and stayed in bed all day Wednesday. About all I could keep down was chicken soup and bread, and not much of that.

Stayed home Thursday as well, and still didn't fell 100% when I went back in on Friday, but not wanting to get a Doctor's "excuse" to stay out three days, I went back in. My wife says they've been sending home 3 or 4 students a day from the high school she works at, so something nasty is floating around out here on the Left Coast.

Anywhoo....here's a breakdown on the new PC I recently built. It's still not online as my Daily Driver as I have a whole bunch of files to transfer over, and I always run a new PC 24/7 for at least a week before I entrust my data to it.



When I decide to build a new PC, I start first by deciding which processor I want to use.

Since I do some video encoding on this PC, I went with an Intel Core i7-2700K "Sandy Bridge". I chose the Sandy Bridge over the later Ivy Bridge, as the Ivy Bridge units have a reputation for running hot due to Intel's decision to use a different Thermal Interface Material between the die ("chip") and the Heat Spreader (outside of the metal case), which results in a lot of heat being trapped in the die. Since heat will kill semiconductors, and I prefer reliability, I opted for the Sandy Bridge version.



Since the provided heatsink/fan with these Intel processors is widely regarded by the "hardware guys" community to majorly SUCK, I went with a ZALMAN CNPS8000B cooler. Zalman is another company I've very good results with.



This cooler has a solid copper baseplate to suck the heat out of the processor, four heatpipes to carry it up to the "fine fin" aluminum dissipator, and a 92mm slow turning fan that pumps a lot of air, and runs very quietly.



Next up is the motherboard. I've had excellent results using both GigaByte and ASUS motherboards, but this time I went with an ASUS P8Z77-V PRO motherboard.



This motherboard has more bells and whistles than I'll ever use, including a little WiFi module that's still in the wrapper in the box. Since I rewired the house a few years ago, and pulled a Cat6E Ethernet cable to every room, I see no reason to use wireless. Even though our wireless router is locked down about as tight as I can do it with the hardware provided by our ISP, I still don't care to use wireless when there's a network cable available.


For memory, I went with 16 GB of G.SKIL "RipJaws" DDR3 "X" series, which is another vendor I've had very good results with. I remember when 16 Gig was a good sized hard-disk, and now I'm running that much memory!


Hard disks are a pair of Western Digital "Performance" (formerly their "Black" series) 1 TB drives running as independent (NON RAID) drives.

  Since this is a Linux machine, I run an NVidia video card in it. The Intel Core i7 has built-in "High Definition" video, and this motherboard supports it with DVI, VGA, and HDMI video outputs, BUT I've never liked using onboard video, as it's usually a "Lowest Common Denominator" type of video solution, and from what I've read, the Linux support for the Intel video is fair to middlin' at best.

I'm not a gamer, so I don't need a video card with eleventy-zillion polygon renderings per nanosecond, so when I buy a card, I look for something in the $200 range with an NVidia chipset on it. Even "low end" video cards have astounding graphics capabilities these days compared to when I first started building PC's. The card I chose for this machine, an EVGA "02G-P4-2663-KR (whew!) has an NVidia GTX660 core, 2GB of special "GDDR5" video memory, and outputs for running up to FOUR monitors at once!

 

 

And, a new case to stuff it all into! I greatly prefer Lian Li all-aluminum computer cases, as they're extremely well made, very light, and all metal, which helps keep any computer generated RFI down to manageable levels.

HOWEVER, I also prefer the desk-top style of case, which is basically a flat box that I put my monitor on top of, which saves valuable real estate on my desk. These cases have been getting harder to find, leading me to build my last couple of PC's in a "Home Theater/Media Center" style case. BUT, these cases are now getting hard to find in a size that will accept a full-size ATX motherboard, and Newegg has been Out-of-Stock on my favorite Lian Li case for quite a while now.


SO, I went with a brand I'd only used one other time, Silverstone, and bought a model SST-GD08B aluminum and steel Home Theater case.


 

It's an "OK" case, but not made nearly as well as a Lian Li, Only the front panel is aluminum, with the rest being painted steel. And I'm not too sure hoe the paint is going to hold up compared to the hard-anodized aluminum of a Lian Li case.

It does have nice filters in it, and plenty of large (120mm) slow turning fans that move a lot of air, and are very quiet.

 

To power this guy up, I went with am EVGA "SuperNOVA" (I really hope it DOESN'T live up to it's name!) 1000 Watt power supply, with modular connectors for all the cables, This way, if you don't need six cables for hard-disks, you don't have to put up with all six being permanently attached to the supply; you just plug in the cables you need to power up what devices you have. Makes cable management inside the PC much simpler.

I've also had good results with EVGA video cards, so I thought I'd try one of their supplies, even though I usually buy PC Power and Cooling supplies.

And to finish this build, I loaded the latest version of OpenSUSE, 13.1, which really screams on this PC

 



Hopefully I'll get all my files transferred this week after the "burn in" test is complete, and then I'll be able to retire this PC, after 5 years of faithful service.

Monday, January 13, 2014

AAR on the Sunday "Fun Shoot"

Got together with 7 of my friends yesterday for a "Fun Shoot" at the local indoor range.

My former manager arranged it so she and her husband-to-be, along with some of their friends, could rent different guns to try, and get a little instruction from yours truly.

We went through The Four Rules before we went into the range, and I talked to each person about previous firearms experience. Some had shot before, and some hadn't, but all were looking forward to getting some range time.

All the classes I've had, and the classes I've helped teach, came in handy, because this was the first time *I* was the only "instructor" with the group.

We started with determining what their dominant eye/hand relationship was, I explained all the controls on the different pistols I had brought and my friends had rented, and then we worked on stance, sight picture, and proper grip.

After that, we hung some targets and proceeded to put holes in them!

Like a lot of beginners I've seen, most of them tended to lean back, rather than lean into, their firing position, and most of them weren't properly gripping their pistols.

So, after correcting their stance and grip, and explaining the sight picture to them again, the improvement was immediate.

They all went from being all over the target, to being solidly "in the rings", with percentage of "in the black" rising sharply.

A little more "fine tuning" and explanation, and all of the new shooters were 100% "in the black" at 25', and the experienced shooters were "8 ring or better".

One of the things I pointed out was that this was a perishable skill, and that if they bought handguns, they should try and make it to the range once a month, just to keep their motor skills from fading, and the stay "comfortable" with the operation of what ever firearm they bought.

We "tested" my Kimber 1911, My SIG P226, my S&W TRR-8 revolver, a couple of Glocks, and a Springfield XD.

Most people remarked about how "easy" it was to fire the XD, and how controllable it was. BUT...the XD was the only pistol in 9mm we had, while the rest were 38/357, 40S&W, or 45ACP, so I had to explain to them the differences in recoil caused by the cartridges having different weight bullets, and different muzzle velocities, resulting in different amounts of "Action-Reaction" caused by the bullets going down the barrel at different speeds. They pretty much "got it", but it occurred to me that it would be nice to have the same gun in different calibers so they could really get a feel for what just changing the cartridges does.

The only way I could show them that was to let them fire some "range ammo" in my revolver, Kimber, and Sig, and then switch to some factory loads I had with me.

The Kimber and Sig were significantly different between the range ammo and some Golden Sabers I had brought along, but the biggest difference (boom vs BOOM!) was between 38 Special range ammo, and full-load 357 Magnum I brought in my wife's revolver.

After that drill they began to understand that maybe it wasn't just the pistol that was so "controllable", and that the ammo used had quite an influence on how the pistol handled.

And then I brought out my good old Remington 870!

The range was pretty quiet, and the first round of Wolf 00 buck I let loose really woke things up.

Since we were there to help people decide on pistols for home defense, I figured it would be a Good Thing to bring along a serious home defense weapon, and explain it to people.

And yep, had plenty of stereotypes to put down, like the classic "You Don't Have To Aim A Shotgun" myth. They got to see that at 20', a shotgun still has a pretty tight pattern, and how just "pointing" it could easily result in a miss.

It was also the first time I'd fired it since I installed the "reflex" sight on it, and it few turns of the Adjusting screws to get it "on target", but the reflex sight was a great hit among those who elected to send a few rounds of 12ga downrange!

So all in all, we had a great time, I think I helped a few people, and I know I made a few friends, and people who will want some private instruction.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Another In House Dog Altercation......

Been an interesting few days......

Right before I was going to get cleaned up for a retirement party for a buddy of mine that I worked with at both Hughes Aircraft and DirecTV, or dogs had another tiff, and this time there was blood drawn.

The circumstances leading up to The Latest Confrontation have happened before. Our dogs just go berserk when the mailman walks up puts the mail in the slot. We've learned to get the inside door closed when the mail is due, +/- 30 minutes, or have them both outside. We have one of the dog beds in a corner of the living room, near the front window. It's a somewhat small area, and when the mailman cometh, they both try to get up to the window to bark at him. Well, the area is small enough that with both dogs in there at the same time, there's not much maneuvering room, they both want to use the little step stool to look out the window, and doggie tempers flare. The big dog has snapped at the smaller one several times, and while she yelps and backs off, as far as we know, he's never really chomped on her.

This time was different, and the small dog went after the big dog. She took a chunk out of one of his ears, clamped down on his left foreleg hard enough to break the skin and cause quite a bit of swelling, and bit him in several other places hard enough to draw blood. He had her by the scruff of the neck, and he really showed restraint because as big and string as he is, he really could have hurt her.

She has some fur missing by her collar, and a couple of small bite marks, but no major damage compared to what she inflicted on him.

The whole battle lasted about 5 minutes, with my poor wife holding on the the big dog, while screaming for me to come help. I grabbed a large glass of water, and that broke them apart and stopped the fight for about 500 milliseconds. I lunged for her collar and missed, and she went right back at the big one, and off I was to the kitchen for more water.

This time I hit them both in the face with it, and was able to grab the little one's collar, and drag her outside.

We spent the next fifteen minutes cleaning up the mess, both on the floor, and on the big dog, and treating his wounds as best we could. We wiped him off with peroxide, applied some triple antibiotic ointment, and got him cleaned up and calmed down, and gave him three 81mG "baby" aspirin. The animal rescue guy we got both of them from says he thinks she's getting old enough to want to challenge his Alpha status, and the dog trainer we took them to a few months back had warned us of the same thing, and that young females were more likely to challenge the other dog.

SO.........we kept them apart most of yesterday, alternating them between the one wire frame kennel I brought back in the house, and the little one was confined to the kennel for sleep last night. I had a private shooting party to tutor at the range today, so I was gone in the afternoon, but kept in touch with my wife, who said they had "made up" and were being civil to each other.

As of this evening, Swisher's (the big dog) wounds appeared to be healing OK, the swelling on his left foreleg has gone way down, and he's pretty much stopped limping and favoring that leg.

At least my poor wife isn't suffering (shakes, nausea, cold sweat) like she was the time the neighbor's dog and Swisher got into a confrontation, and I joked with her about this being her second time in "combat", and that she was handling it better.

I bought two of the "soft" muzzles to put on them while we're out of the house tomorrow, so hopefully if they get aggressive at each other while we're gone, they won't be able to do any damage to each other......

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

OOOOPS!

Well, I was going to write a post about the new PC I built for my Christmas present to myself, BUT...got home from work late, then had dinner, then the dogs mugged me to take them for a walk, then had some Radio Club biz to take care of, then my sister called........geez, hectic night!

It's a screamer, though. Intel i7 Quad Core, 16GB of memory, a pair of 2TB SATA 6GB/s hard drives, NVidia 660 graphics card, running the newest version of OpenSUSE, 13.1.

And everything worked out-of-the-box, after I finished installing the OS.

Linux sure has come a long ways!

Later......

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Been Busy.....

Tinkering on the "new" car. So far I've changed the oil and filter after adding some Bardahl "Motor Flush" and running her on the highway for about 30 minutes, changed the transmission lube to Red Line Synthetic "MT-90", changed the differential lube to Red Line Synthetic 75W90 with 4 oz of Red Line friction modifier for limited-slip differentials, trouble shot and replaced the rear speakers (one had an open voice coil, and the other had broken wiring), troubleshot and got all the interior lights working (blown fuse; no shorts anywhere), troubleshot and got the power mirrors working (another blown fuse; no shorts), and gave her a really good bath. Scrubbed the rims twice to get most of the crud off, but they'll have to be pulled and individually detailed.

Now that she's clean, I found about half a dozen good sized stone chips that need to be touched up. NONE of the auto parts stores around here had Toyota paint code 040 "Super White" paint, so I ordered a couple of the little Dupli-Color paint "pens" to touch up the nicks.

Today I pulled the battery and cleaned out all the (very minor) corrosion that I found. Treated the metal with some rust encapsulator, primed it, and then painted it with the only can of the correct color paint I was able to find.

Installed a new battery of the correct size (the battery in there was about half the size of the correct one!) after the paint dried, and took the wife out for a late afternoon cruise.

Next week I'll get her smogged, and head to AAA to get the registration updated.

After that, I'm waiting on all the parts I've ordered to rebuild the front suspension. The passenger side boot/bellows on the steering rack is split and needs replacing, so as long as I have to tear it down that far to replace the boot, I'm also going to change both front struts and the top strut mounts, all the tie rod ends (inner and outer), and replace all the bushings with performance oriented "Poly" bushings. I'm also going to replace the rear shocks, but even though I ordered all the replacement bushings, I'll hold off on that a while.

Also received my new FUNCube Pro + dongle, so I'll be playing with that one and comparing it to the original FUNCube dongle I have.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New Project For The New Year!

Yeah, as if I didn't enough "stuff" to keep me busy all the time.....



For the last year or so I've been dreaming of a Project Car to get me back to my Hot Rodding/Racing roots, and with the approval of my loving wife, I started seriously considering different cars that I've known and loved, along with my modest budget consideration.

1967 Mustang fastback with a small block and 4 speed?

$25k minimum!

Same with Camaros, Firebirds, Barracudas, and other Pony Cars.

Totally out of the question......

I tossed around the ides of maybe a Toyota MR2, or a Mazda Miata of certain model years. One of my ideas was to get a Miata, and put in a small-block Ford (they're several inches narrower than a small-lock Chevy), but then I ran afoul of Kaliforniastan's arcane smog laws.

The engine has to be the same year, or newer, than the car it's going into, and the completed vehicle must have all the smog equipment for the car, and for the engine.

Exceptions are possible, but either inconvenient (convert it to run on propane or 100% ethanol and you get a pass), or very expen$ive to accomplish.

Now mind you, this will NOT be my daily driver car....it'll be a week-end/nice day/warm summer evening car, and will maybe get a few thousand miles a year put on it. Considering I only drive about 5,000 miles a year normally, I doubt I'd come anywhere near to "a few thousand miles", but the Smog Nazis don't care about, and have no reasonable provisions for a Special Interest Vehicle.

Never mind that my cars are always properly maintained and tuned, The Smog Nazis of The People's Rebuplik of Kaliforniastan has no place in their stone-cold hearts, or their little reptilian pea brains, for a "fun car" that's rarely driven. No, in the fine bureaucratic spirit of  "It's For The Children!!", we simply can't have citizens driving around in unregulated cars.

The cut-off date for "smog exempt" cars used to be a "Rolling 25", but they've since capped that to "1975 or earlier", coinciding with the general beginning of the Catalytic Converter Era. This has driven the price of pre-1975 cars through the roof out here.

So, I started thumbing through old car magazines, and old memories, and came up with a list of what I considered suitable vehicles.

Well, anyway.....I've wanted a "MKII" Toyota Supra ever since I first saw one. The Mark-II was first released in 1982, and was supposed to be discontinued for the Mark-III at the end of the 1985 model year, BUT the new Mark-III wasn't quite ready, so Toyota keep the production line rolling until about half way through 1986, when the Mark-III was introduced as a "1986-1/2", similar to what many other car companies have done.

The 1985/86 cars were the  best sorted out ones of the genre, with the highest horsepower and torque figures, and all the bugs worked out of the electronics. These cars are right on the verge of being recognized as "Classics" due to their design, features, build quality, and low numbers, but the car collecting world hasn't quite gotten hot on them yet..

I started looking about 6 months ago, using eBay, Craigslist, Auto Trader, and Google, and found that what I considered "good ones" were getting hard to find. Almost all of the ones I looked at had trashed interiors (and "soft item" parts are difficult to come by), had been wrecked and poorly repaired, had been turned into a "Drift Car", were way overpriced for their condition, or had 300,000+ miles on them (Toyota reliability!) and needed a complete overhaul.

A couple were "All of the Above".

And then I found this one. The original owner in Riverside/Redlands, California had it from April 1985 until June of 2013. I don't know why he sold it (possibly estate sale?), but he sold it to a woman who was planning on using it for a gift/bribe to her son if he finished high-school, got a job, and straightened himself out. He didn't, and after months of keeping the car, she sold the car to the third owner, the guy I bought it from. He only had it three weeks during which his girlfriend gave him unmitigated grief over "You have too many toys now, we don't have a place to keep it, your grandma is getting tired of your three motorcycles and boat over there, my car has to sit on the street because even our driveway is full of your stuff, and if you don't get rid of SOMETHING, I'M leaving!".

After contacting him via Craigslist email, we finally made arrangements to meet on December 31st. My wife drove me to his grandma's house, where I spent a good 30 minutes crawling over it with a flashlight waiting for him to get there. Finally after 30 minutes I called him, and he was "Oh SHIT! What time is it? I just upgraded my iPhone, and now the clock is off!", which I believed as the same thing happened to my son.

My wife thought he probably didn't want to sell the car, but from his emails and phone calls, I thought he was serious about it.

SO....the wife and I spent another 20 minutes going over the car together waiting for him the arrive. She thought it was an exceptional car for being almost 30 years old, although it definitely showed the effects of sitting in the high desert for 8 months, and being a high-desert car from it's "birth".

It "only" has 167,000 miles on it, not bad for an almost 30 year old car, and only about "half used up" for a Toyota of this vintage.

After he got there we talked a bit, he got the keys out of grandma's house, and after connecting the battery, it fired right up, and within a few minutes the idle was coming down, the water temp was coming up, the oil pressure looked good, and the tach was steady.

The wife and I took it for about a 20 minute test drive, and she was impressed at how smooth it ran, rode, and how much "pep" (her words) it had. I was pretty happy with it, and she told me that after all the other junk we'd looked at, she thought this one seemed like a good buy, but "Offer him $2500 and see if he takes it"!

Since it was advertised as having "new tires", and it didn't (they have 6,000 miles but SIX YEARS on them! Sidewalls have some cracking, but they have plenty of tread), I tried to negotiate him down $200 to cover about 1/3 the cost of a new set.

No deal. He told me he had over 100 emails from Craig'slist, and several other people waiting with cash-in-hand, and while he'd rather see it go to me than to some "punked out kid who'll race it and destroy it", money was money, and he wanted $3000 FIRM. He reminded me that he'd already stalled several other people so I could get first dibs on the car if I wanted it.

I paid him the three grand, and drove it home.

Here she is, getting her first oil change in God-only-knows how long:


Yes, the hydraulic lift cylinders are shot, requiring a piece of PVC pipe to hold the hood open, but new ones are on the way.



All original, NO leaks:




DOHC Toyota power!




No corrosion, but LOTS of desert dust!




More under-the-hood originality. The tops of the strut mounts are cracked, but since I'm planning on replacing the front struts/rear shocks with KYB units, all this will be replaced:




There was black plastic cladding over this stainless door beltline window molding, but they were so cracked and split I peeled them off and tossed them. They weren't salvageable at all.

Notice all the sand/dust that was trapped under the molding:




Same with the windshield trim. All the black coating is peeling off, and looks terrible, for now. IF I can get OEM or good used parts, that's what I'll go with, but since some of these items are now 'unobtainium', I may just take the trim off, clean it of all residue, and have it powder coated:




The Supra "billboard" decal is really faded, as is the rear sunshade (it's not a spoiler!), but the decals are available on the aftermarket. I'll hold off on those until I decide if it needs to be painted or not.

And IF I paint the car, all the glass and interior trim is coming out, and almost everything that bolts on to body (mirrors, bumper covers, etc) will also come off so the new paint job can be properly done. I already have new gaskets to hold the windows in. One is a high-quality reproduction, and the others are NOS parts.




NO rust where the spoiler attaches to the hatch, a common point of rust on these cars:





The bottom of the hatch is also clean, a very common "rust out" point on these:





The inside it quite good, considering most of these cars from here on the West Coast have the dash pads all cracked and split:



The carpet on the driver's side has some extreme discoloration, so I'm not sure if I'll try cleaning it, or of it will have to be replaced. I have to pull the driver's seat and door sill to fix the gas door/rear hatch release mechanism where it came loose from the floor, making it a bit inconvenient to get the gas filler door open. I'll price out new carpet before that, as I want to pull the seats and console anyway to do a deep cleaning of the interior.

I originally wanted to get the seats recovered with leather, but man, these fabric seats are just soooo comfortable compared to the leather ones in my Jeep, that I'm thinking I'll just save that money, and clean these  really well while they're out. The chrome plastic trim you see around the seat backshell in the above picture is cracked on the passenger seat, and a chunk is missing on the driver's seat, but that's an aftermarket item (about $25 for both seats) that's on the way, and is more easily replaced while the seats are out.

And the shift lever boot and center console armrest are in deplorable condition and need to be replaced and recovered.

I've got a two page list of things I need to fix, like all the interior lights are out except for the radio and instrument cluster, the power antenna is either jammed or miswired to the radio, the rear speakers don't work, and the front ones sound terrible, and so on, but they're all pretty minor compared to RUST and major mechanical problems.

It has new clutch master and slave cylinders, but the clutch doesn't fully release, so they either weren't properly adjusted, or bled, or both.

But it shifts smooth, brakes great (no pulling or noise), goes straight with your hands off the wheel, idles smooth, and pulls like a freight train that's running behind schedule and driven by an Engineer with a hottie waiting for him at home!

And in a sly kind of way, I reminded my wife that all the crawling around, stretching for things, moving equipment around, and keeping busy in general, will help me to lose weight.

Toyota.....from the days of "Oh, What A Feeling!".......