Saturday, August 18, 2018

Relatives In Town - Light Posting Ahead For A Few Days

My wife's granddaughter and her boyfriend came in today for a few days. We haven't seen them in almost a year, and of course, Pebbles The Wonder Dog went absolutely bonkers when she saw them. They're good kids; she's 21-ish and works at Target, and he's 28-ish and is a substitute grade school teacher for LAUSD and LBUSD in SoCal. They both want to get outta the Lost Angeleez area, but aren't sure where they'd like to live.

So, another trip down to DIA or DEN, or whatever, and back. I finally have it burned into my WETROM where to park (top level) in the parking structure, and what aisles to look for (J and K are good) so I can hop out of the car, and head straight to the baggage claim area to meet my visitors. And it only took SIX freaking trips there to get it through my thick skull where to park! The only airports I knew pretty well up to now were LAX, LGB, and ORD. Now I get to add another one to the list.

And even though there weren't any accidents, the traffic was c r a w l i n g along at 0 to 25MPH for large stretches.

Amazingly, it was clear sailing through the "Crossroads" area, and the Rte 34 interchange. Just lots of people out on I-25, in no particular hurry, exercising very poor lane discipline, and slowing everybody else down.

Left at 1245 and got back at 1600, so including a 20 minute stop to pick up the passengers, I averaged something like 43MPH.

Not sure what we're going to do, but for 'young people' stuff they can hang with the son and DIL, while the wimmenfolk have some serious shopping planned.

Back in a few.....

Thursday, August 16, 2018


Fredd mentioned something about headlights the other day, so I dug out the ones I'll be replacing the sealed beams with.

These are "NEO-940" units, sometimes called "940CEH4", made by a place in India called "Neolite Products", and they produce clones (or knock-offs, if you will) of various High Performance automotive lighting items made by other companies.

Before you scream too loudly about "Counterfeit Products!!", from looking at their product line they seem to specialize in "classic" designs that are no longer produced by the original manufacturer.

They seem nicely made.

They take a standard "H-4" 50W/65W halogen bulb.

And they're functionally equivalent to the Cibie model they copied.

I'll probably go with a different bulb, since these things came with "no-name" bulbs, and the box isn't marked with country of origin. Daniel Stern Lighting has replacement bulbs that are rated "+50", "+110", etc, similar to "+P" loads in a hand gun.

The reviews on these low cost replacement are quite good. The pattern is excellent on low beam, and they really light up the road on high.

Hopefully I'll get to try them this summer!

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Rain, and Other Things

Finally got some nice rain yesterday, after watching the last couple of storms slide around us.

Started as just light sprinkles, and then over the course of the next couple of hours turned into some heavy rain for about 30 minutes, and then a nice slow drizzle for a couple of hours.

So since it was raining, and the humidity shot up to >60%, I didn't want to sand down the other fog lamp reflector and expose clean, bare metal to high humidity. The other reflector is bagged up with some desiccant, so no worry there.

Last night's project was to remove the headlight washer nozzles and tubing, and to remove the last bits of the headlight "whiskers" from the car.

The "whiskers" are trim pieces that fit between the header panel and the headlight bucket, and they snap into some punched holes in the sheet metal header panel, the panel that goes between the headlights at the nose, as you can see below. The "whiskers" are soft-trim items, molded from a somewhat flexible plastic, but after 30+ years in the Kalifornia sun, they turn hard, brittle, and start to warp and curl between the attachment points. Then they crack, split, and fall apart, or shatter when you try and remove them, leaving the clips and chunks of plastic that look really bad.

This one one of them, new-in-the-bag from Toyota. 

And the 20mm plastic hole plugs I bought for the "rear wiper delete" also fit perfectly into the holes vacated by the washer nozzles.

While headlight washers are a nice idea, the only ones I've ever seen work really well are the ones on old Mercedes cars. Besides having a "fluidic" nozzle that sprayed an oscillation pattern of fluid on the lens, they also had a wiper blade to clean it off. Typical Mercedes Engineering, and it probably added $1000 to the price of the car. The ones on my 1969 Corvette sprayed fluid on both headlamps, but that's all it did. And I didn't think it did much to keep the headlights clean.

So, some additional work was accomplished last night, and since it's drying out now, I can get back to Other Things to work on.

Monday, August 13, 2018

MKII Supra Fog Lamp Restoration, Part III Subsection "A"

Couldn't get to the #2 donor unit until tonight due to some homeowner stuff I had to do/wanted to do.

Had some things to trim and cut back, some things to spray, and some stuff to just generally clean up.

Put an illuminated light switch on the stairway leading to "The Dungeon", aka "Radio Room and Electronics Workshop" because if there's no lights on down there after's dark! And I could never find the light switch. Maybe I'm losing it, but it seems the light switches in most of the Colorado homes I've been in aren't where my muscle memory says they should be. They seem to be located on the other side of the stud, and I wind up slapping blank wall space and fumbling to find the switch, usually resulting in me getting my damn flashlight out to find the damn switch so I can turn on the damn lights, if you know what I mean.....

The first one had a little "ILLUMINATED" sticker on the side, the box said "Illuminated", and as soon as I flipped the breaker back on....NO illumination. It worked fine (it's a 3-way switch), but was a black hole. Swapped it out with the other one I had, and it lit up fine. Means taking another trip back to Home Depot tomorrow, but that's OK, as I forgot to stop by the CVS when I was over that way today.

Then I took down the 33' vertical, and dragged everything back in the garage. It didn't work as well as I had hoped for, and it made it a pain to mow the yard, so back to the drawing board. I have plans for a MKII version with elevated radials, and that might get finished this summer.

Then I did the Weed-N-Feed thing on the back yard, had some chow, and went out to the garage.

The reflector/lens from the #2 donor unit was a very pleasant surprise when I pulled it out of the bucket:

Wow......pretty clean considering how corroded the other one was! There's one "medium" rusted area. Looks like the flap wheel would make that vanish.

And one edge of the housing where the lens fits in is rusty, but I can't see any pitting, just light, bright orange, surface rust. The little buffer wheel will make this edge look very good.

And the other edge has no rust, like the majority of this one. The flash plating that was on it (probably zinc with a chloride/chromate dip) saved the metal from rusting.

These should clean up in an hour or so. 15 minutes with the flap wheel on the rust, and then spend 30~40 minutes going over it with the little "ScotchBrite" buffer wheel.

Stay tuned.....

Sunday, August 12, 2018

MKII Supra Fog Lamp Restoration, Part II

After spending 5~6 hours cleaning the first reflector up, this is how it looks:

Quite a change from the "Before" picture:

It's not perfect, but all the heavy rust is gone, and probably 90% of the pitting. Any remaining rust will be stopped by the Metal Prep stage of the refurb. The Metal Prep solution contains Phosphoric Acid, H3PO4, which chemically converts Iron Oxide, primarily FE2O3, into Iron Phosphate, FEPO4.

Iron Phosphate is cool stuff because it won't promote the formation of further rust, and readily accepts paint, or oil. Parkerizing is a type of Iron Phosphate coating, and it's pretty durable. The Metal Prep solution also contains Zinc Phosphate, ZN3(PO4)2, (I really need to learn how to do subscripts and super scripts...) which reacts with "clean" iron to bond a light Zinc Phosphate coating on the steel.

ANYWAY......the surface is almost ready, and I'll hold off on the final cleaning of this one until the other unit is cleaned up, and then I'll hit them both with a ScotchBrite pad, clean them with the POR cleaner/degreaser, do the Metal Prep application, and then after they're dry, apply the first coat of POR.

These are the WMD's used in the process. The photo shows them in order, from most effective, to least.

On the left, the 80 grit flap wheel and sanding drum were outrageously good at blowing off all the heavy rust, once I had wire brushed all the scale and loose stuff off.

In the center are little "buffs" of synthetic stuff like ScotchBrite. They're great for getting into tight areas, as when you bear down on them, they conform to the surface enough to get into crevices. They wear out pretty quickly, but they sure work great.

And in last place......we have the rotary wire brushes. They were kinda-sorta OK for getting most of the really heavy stuff (mostly scale) off, and getting dirt and discoloration off, but a hand held wire brush was faster.

I don't think it will take nearly as long to clean the other one, as I know how to do it effectively. I spent a couple of hours just experimenting, and trying different tools, before I learned what worked well.

If I had a bead blaster, these would be a 15 minute job, and have a much more uniform surface finish. Since it's getting painted, and will be inside another assembly, surface finish can take a back seat to rust removal/rust prevention.

I'll have to see if there are any "Maker" places out here that will rent time on things like bead blasters.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

MKII Supra Fog Lamp Restoration, Part I

Actually more of a quickie refurb to me, but compared to some of the "restorations" I've seen on TV, this almost qualifies for Pebble Beach.

Both of my fog lamps have broken lenses from being hit by rocks, and besides the fact that it's a 33 year old Toyota, the lenses were never a "Service Item", as they're glued into the reflector assembly with God's Own Glue, and are very difficult to separate. There were some clear, smoked, and colored replacement polycarbonate lenses available from Japan, but I think even they've dried up. And there are numerous tales-of-woe on the Supra websites about what a gigantic PITA it was to get the glass lenses out, and glue the replacements in. Horror stories of heat guns, pots of boiling water, and well insulated glues abound.

So your options are limited to living with broken fog lights, replacing them with some type of current aftermarket unit, or finding some unbroken used ones to clean them up.

I chose to go that last route, and bought some used ones from a forum member. When I bought these 3-1/2 years ago, I opened the box, inspected the lenses, then sealed it up and put it OTS.

When I took them out last week, I noticed they were a bit rusty....

Since my "buckets" (the stamped steel brackets that mount the lamp assemblies and lamp adjusters to the car) were in better condition, and the reflector/lens lamp assembly was the only thing I needed, I started taking things apart.

Oh.....about that rust? Here's the reflector/lens assembly removed from the bucket.

The top side:

And the bottom, where the water collects:

The backside of the reflector/lens assembly. Top of picture is bottom of housing as-installed in the car:

OUCH! Look how much nicer the reflector/lens from my car looks:

The brown color is not rust; it's dried road dirt, and wipes right off. Too bad it's such a PITA to remove the lens from the reflector.

And my buckets are in far better condition. You can still read the OEM stamps applied by Toyota. Real Hard-Core restoration people salivate over having such "pristine" 33 year old ink stamps! Every time I've run across ink stamps, color stripes, part number tags, and writing on the backsides or insides of assemblies, I've taken a picture of it, and made notes about it. This car was 95% untouched when I bought it, so each and every one of these marks was placed there and untouched since the car was "Made In Japan" in March of 1985, making it one of the 28,475 Supras produced that year.

These are the buckets that were in the car.

And these are the buckets from the donor units.

Taking them apart involved removing the two screws that hold the bezel on, which secures the reflector/lens in place, then removing the bezel, and finagling the wiring a bit, and presto!, one disassembled 1985 MKII Supra fog light. Oh....and my retaining bezels are also in far better condition than the donor ones.

If my donor units were in as good a shape as my OEM units, I'd be done with this by now, but they're not, so how we gonna clean this mess up, huh?

With lots of Dremel attachments for one of my Dremel tools.

I'll probably go with my AC line-powered Dremel with the flexible shaft attachment, as that lets me hang the tool on the pegboard backing my workbench, and the flexible shaft is easier to control than having the whole battery-powered Dremel in your hand.

Once I have them cleaned up, I'll use this POR-15 kit to rust-proof it, and then spray it with some satin-black Rust-Oleum.

This will be the first time I've used POR-15 even though I've known about it for years. It's expensive, and requires a top coat, but people I know who've used it swear by it.

If it works acceptably well here (ease of application, good coverage) then I'll use it in the jamb area of the hatch, and the underside of the hatch on the leading edge. I'll use Toyota Paint Code 040 "Super White II" paint for the topcoat there, so what little of it that you can see will be the correct color. No, it won't be "Show Quality", but unless you take the car apart like you're watching me do, you'll never see it.

Perfection is the enemy of "Plenty Good Enough".

This car will never be a "100 point car", and I never intended to make it one. I'm trying to "preserve" the car, correct any nasty issues that are lurking in there, and spend my money wisely on the items I have to address.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Engine Compartment Cleaning

Did something today I've wanted to do since I bought the car on New Year's Eve, 2012, and that's do a "proper" Old Skool Engine Bath!

I started on this the other night by pulling off my strut tower brace. Then I figured out how to get the windshield washer reservoir out of it's bracket, which involved pulling the electrical connections for both pumps (one pump is for the headlight washers), which let me lift it out far enough to undo the hose connections.

This was quite fun because 1) it was full of washer fluid and 2) it holds a GALLON of the stuff.

It's a huge reservoir for an early 1980's car, and juggling the plastic reservoir full of fluid almost took another pair of hands. But it came out yesterday, so last night I put some cardboard under the car, and proceeded to liberally apply an entire can of "Gunk Heavy Duty Gel" engine cleaner.

This stuff is GREAT! I've been using Gunk for degreasing things since I was a kid. Lawnmowers, then go karts, then automobiles. The "Original Formula" stuff works well, but it runs off if you really spray it on. The gel hits, spreads out, and STICKS! It didn't run down the firewall or the frame rails and drip on the floor. This means it's just sitting there, slowly soaking into the grease and glop, in my case, about 12 hours worth of sitting.

Got out my "SunJoe" pressure washer, hooked it up, and experimented with the different spray heads it came with, finally deciding to use the "20 Degree" spray pattern head.

I've had this little guy for something like three years, and this is the first time I've used it.

It worked very well, except that it doesn't seem to meter anything from either of the two "soap" dispensers, so I'll have to look into that.

This is one of the areas that had grease and glop on it so thick it looked like undercoating!
You couldn't read the label on the EVAP canister, and I had thought the gold alodyne cylinder was painted black.

I made sure I cleaned out the front ahead of the radiator and A/C condenser, as that area collects a lot of bugs, leaves, and Other Road Trash.

So, she's much cleaner under the hood now. So much cleaner that now the areas I missed jump out at me. I'll do it again in the next day or two.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Hot Rod Humor

Swiped from a friend on FarceBook......

After some Googling about, these are apparently body kits that "fit" a Smart For Two car.

These kits are possibly the only reason to buy a "Smart" car.....

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Kid Stuff and Summer Nightime Noises

When I was moving what mt wife calls the "Pack and Play" and I call "the playpen", I spent some time looking over the mechanism that allows this thing to collapse completely to a small bundle, and yet pop open and be rigid enough to contain a three year old. And the nylon "ballistic mesh" the side are made from has even withstood a run-in with Pebbles. Very clever arrangement of over-center latches and jointed legs. Cool stuff.

And the car seats today are so far advanced over the one we brought my son home in way back in 1986, that I almost hesitate to call them "just" car seats. With all the additional padding, webbing suspension, and multi-belts with a hit-to-release buckle, they're more like "Escape Pods" from a B-58 Hustler or XB-70 Valkyrie.

Took us nearly an hour to get it installed in the wife's little Hyundai, and that was only after I dragged it in the house to carefully examine. Once I found the Secret Handshake I was able to fully adjust it so The Little Guy fits in the seat snug, and the seat would several ounces of C4 to get out of the car. The Hyundai was designed for seats like this, and the seat has some features that enable it to be very securely fastened down.

And while out in the backyard with the dog tonight, I noticed something again that made me smile.


Chirping away quietly in the background with practically no other noises not made by nature.

And it's Saturday a "College Town", and our neighborhood is dead quiet.

Save for the crickets.

And the occasional All American V-8 going up through the gears.

Just lovely here!

Friday, August 3, 2018

Trump Crossing The Swamp

Found this over at Irish's place where he's using it for a header.

Too good to pass up, and as his headers rotate frequently, here it is in all it's glory........