Friday, September 30, 2016

"Ms. Swan" On The Dyno

One of the guys over at SupraForum posted all the pix he took of Dyno Day, and here's a couple he caught of Ms. Swan making her run to an earth-shattering 143rwhp.

Vegas Trip Stats

I covered 745 miles door-to-door, used 30.59 gallons of Shell 91 octane "V-Power" (24.35MPG) , and the engine consumed approximately 1/2 quart of oil.

The hotel was $349 for 5 nights, and I didn't keep track of what I spent on food, soda, coffee, and Gatorade/Powerade.

The amount spent for fun and friends?


And a quickie "Thought For The Day" from my buddy Harry over at Self Sufficient Mountain Living....

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.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Back On The Ground

WELL.....after a several week adventure, the suspension work is finally finished. I still have a few things I want to do, and some more parts to replace, but nothing that's on the "Do It NOW!" list like replacing the top strut mounts was.

And since I had to pull the struts and compress the spring to get the Big Nut on the top of the shock absorber insert off so I could change the strut mount, why not just replace the shock insert and springs with the parts I have on hand?

And since the hub and brake disc had to come off, better check and repack those wheel bearings! Whoops...the bearings show definite signs of wear (they're probably the 167,000 mile OEM bearings) better replace those, too. AND, since I have new brake discs, and the old ones are already off, why put the old ones back on?

Gee...the ball joint boot on the lower control arm is split and spilling grease all over the place. Better replace the boots. AND, since the control arm is now on the bench, why don't I just replace those ratty old bushings with my new Energy Suspension polyurethane ones?

AND...gee, the sway bar is disconnected, and those rubber bushings are (quite literally!) cracked, split, and falling apart, so I'd better install that new kit of end links I have in The Big Box Of Supra Parts.

WHOOPS! The front brake hoses are cracked, and the outer jacket is (really!) peeled off in a few spots! WoW! That's a Safety Issue. Sure glad I bought some braided stainless steel replacements a year ago!  Installing the speed bleeders took all of 10 minutes, so I won't discuss that further, other than to say I was absolutely stunned that all four of the OEM bleed screws came out with ZERO drama.

Otherwise I just would have sprung for new calipers.....

I think you get the picture.

If you've been following this escapade, then you already know that I (finally) got the front finished a couple of days ago. And yesterday I completed the right rear refurb, with relatively little pain.

The plan for the rear was never as ambitious as the front was. It was pretty mach always a straight "Spring and Shock Swap", along with the new rotors. Since I had no idea what shape the brakes were in when I bought the car, I ordered the new pads and rotors TWO YEARS ago, and they've been sitting in the garage taking up space all this time.

Today I knocked out the left side rear suspension, having learned a few things in doing the right side. A small bottle jack I bought last night at O'Reilly Auto Parts (they know me by name now, and the young guys always ask how the car is coming along) proved to be well worth the $25 it cost. It saved me at least an hour of farting around with the floor jack, some big wood blocks, and a jack stand when I had to reposition certain things to R&R them.

Here's the left rear, all refurbed and pretty:

Yep, new cross-drilled rotors there, too! Hey, why buy two rotors when for twice the price you can get FOUR?

And as the sun sank slowly in the West, all four (new!) wheels and tires were on the car, torqued, and ready to support the car, whereupon I unceremoniously pulled the jack stands, and let her drop

Here's the famous Car Magazine "Rear Three-Quarter Shot":

Never mind the mess, it's all cleaned up now.....

SO...Thursday should be an "easy" day, compared to what the last 6 weeks or so has been. I (just) have to torque the lower control arm bolts (one on each side, 80ft-lbs, please), and torque the Big Nut on the left and right strut rods to 76 ft-lbs.

Then it's cross my fingers, and take her for an easy drive around the block. Then I'll recheck the torque on the wheel lugs, check everything else I've fiddled with to make sure nothing bad has happened, and call the alignment shop for an ASAP appointment. I'd really like to get at least some of the interior back in, along with the new stereo, but the carpet can wait, as my friend I met at Supras In Vegas last year tells me to allow a good, solid week-end to install the new carpet.

That means a month, considering how dog-slow I work on this stuff.

Time to hit the showers and then go to bed......

Funny, But Sadly True

Just taking a quick break during the disassembly of the right rear suspension....

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Rear Suspension Work

Well, I'm shutting down for the night. I didn't get as much done as I had hoped for, but then that's nothing new for me....

I followed the TSM, and dropped the outer flange for the half-shaft, and as soon as the shock was loose at the top, I lowered the jack, and the spring about fell out.

The upper isolator/cushion was in pretty good shape for being 30+ years old.

 But, WOW...the bottom one was toast!  I'd say it deserves retirement after 30+ years and 167,000 miles of faithful service.

 Had to do some finagling to get the shock installed, and it really would have helped if I'd had an extra floor jack, or a bottle jack, but I finally got the shock installed, and all the hardware tight.

 I also replaced the top bushings for the sway bar end links. They were really shot, and you could rattle them around a good 1/4"!

Some info on the new and old springs for those that keep track of this stuff.

The OEM springs are wound from wire that's .570" / 14.5mm in diameter, and have an overall free length of 14.25" / 360mm.

The new Dobinson C59-059 springs are wound from wire that's .604" / 15.3mm in diameter, and have an overall free length of 12.6" / 320mm.

Bigger wire, and a shorter OAL equals a stiffer spring, so even though it's specified to drop the car about .75", the rate should be higher. I know from my "bounce test" the other night that the front seems a lot stiffer, but I won't know for a day or two until I drive the car.

Final picture for the night I'm going to call "3 Down, and 1 To Go!".....

At this point all I have left to do is a preliminary bleeding of the brake caliper using the MityVac, and recheck everything to make sure all the hardware I touched is torqued properly. I'm playing hookey again from the Iowa on Wednesday (sorry, guys...) so I can get the left rear knocked out. As with the front, now that I've done it one time, the next time will be easier.

Onward...To The Rear!

Tail end is up and on jack stands.

Notice "Inspector Pebbles" checking my work to ensure proper safety standards are being followed!

And yep, I've either got a spot of something on my sun filter, or the sensor in my Nikon needs cleaning.

Initial inspection shows the rear pads and rotors to be in excellent condition, but man.....the rear spring lower isolators/cushions (kind of like a big rubber ring) are TOAST!

Theyre both cracked and split, and it's a Good Thing they're one of those parts I ordered long ago because I suspected they might be a bit worn after 30+ years, and 167,000 miles.

The factory shop manual says to remove the rear sway bar end links, remove the rear shocks, and the springs should come right out if the suspension is hanging free, like it is.

As far as replacing the rear rotors with new ones I have, all I should have to do is remove the bracket that holds the caliper in place, and the rotor should pop right off if the emergency brake is released.

I'm not going to replace the rear control arm bushings at this time, as it's pretty involved, and I'll do those, along with the subframe mounting bushings, and differential mounting bushings, after I get back from Supras in Vegas.

Doing all that, along with replacing the steering rack, is probably a several week project at the rate I work at.

Monday, September 12, 2016

She's On The Ground!

Scrubbed all the grease and glop off the power steering hose assembly, and then rebuilt it with the new high-pressure hose, and a length of "SAE J189 Low Pressure Power Steering Return Hose".

And I used the same hose on the short piece that connects the outlet of the cooling loop back to the reservoir.

Then I spent a couple of "pleasant" hours (I must be deranged...) putting everything back together. Actually, it wasn't that bad, as it's always a good feeling putting nice, clean, freshly rebuilt stuff back on the car!

Filled the reservoir and started the car, carefully checking for leaks.

WHOOPEE! No leaks!

So then I ran the steering wheel from lock to lock a few times, and watched all the foam in the reservoir build up and dissipate, indicating the air was getting bled out of the system. Topped off the reservoir, checked all the fittings for tightness after I shut the engine down, and all was good.

Fired up the engine again and bled the brakes by cracking open the speed bleeders, connecting them to a small jar to collect the expelled fluid, and slowly pumping the pedal a few times, checking the fluid in the master cylinder reservoir to make sure it didn't get too low and suck air.

Got a few more bubbles out of the brake system and decided it was bled.

Rolled out one "left" and one "right" wheel/tire for each side (the tires have a directional tread pattern, so there's a "left" and a "right"), got out my new lug nuts and wheel locks, and "hub centric rings", and immediately noticed a problem.

The lug nuts I bought have the correct 1.5 thread pitch for the wheel studs on the car, but the wheel locks I ordered were a 1.25 thread pitch.....RATS!

Fortunately I have more than enough lug nuts, but now I'll have to order some matching wheel locks in the correct thread pitch!

Drove the hub-centric rings into the back of the new rims with a soft mallet, and mounted the new front wheels and tires on the car. Dropped her down on the ground and torqued the lug nuts, and I'm done for the night!

Tuesday morning I'll do the final torquing of the lower control arm bolts, and the large nut on the end of the strut rod, and other than a front end alignment, the front of the car is (finally!) finished.

Say "Goodnight, Gracie".....

Sunday, September 11, 2016

"Grease Pit" Work.....

Didn't get much done on the car yesterday. I was on the Battleship Iowa from 1230 to 1715 helping guide a tour from a local radio club down into "The Bowels of the Ship".

Well....not all the way down, but two decks below what most people get to see, where the Transmitter Room is located.

I did make some good progress today, though. I now have the sway bar end links installed, the new bellows boot for the right side of the steering gear replaced, and both hoses for the power steering off the car. I needed to replace the high-pressure hose as the place I originally took it to for smog said the hose was "Leaking fluid and spraying it EVERYWHERE!", and refused to work on it citing safety concerns. I could never find evidence of it leaking any more than a very small amount of fluid, and suspect they really don't want to work on 30+ year old Japanese cars. Oh well....

I pulled both the pressure and return hoses as an "assembly" because they're held together by clamps every 6~12", and by removing two small bolts, they came out as one piece once I had the fluid connections disconnected.

 I found it MUCH easier to replace the hoses (if you're going to do one, you should probably do BOTH...) if I did the following:

1) Remove the air cleaner assembly. This gives much better access to the low pressure return hoses going to/from the loop of tubing Toyota laughingly calls a "cooler". It's better than nothing, and I do plan on replacing it with a real cooler. I had a cooler from a Cadillac on my 1973 Trans Am, and it made a noticeable difference in how the steering felt on hot days when I was autocrossing the car.

2) Slurp out as much power steering fluid as possible from the reservoir, unless you like a waterfall of fluid going everywhere as you're laying on your back under the car when you pull the hoses from the rack. -OR- you can plug the outlet of the pump as soon as you pull the high pressure line. Keep in mind the lines themselves are still full of fluid, but at least you won't have the entire reservoir take a dump on you!

3) Disconnect as much as possible from the top first. Pull the flare nut fitting from the pump, and pull the hose going to the cooling loop.

4) Remove the two 10mm bolts holding the clamps to the steering rack. These clamps holds the supply and return hoses together. Wipe the area down before starting to remove the bolts, as you won't get as filthy actually pulling the parts out.

5) Disconnect the flare fittings at the rack, making sure you have a drip pan, and/or plenty of paper towels (see #2 above!). Undoing the return line first will allow you much better access to the high pressure line.

6) Pull both hoses together as an "assembly". This will allow you to look at them out on the ground so you get a better idea of how to install the new ones, and give you a chance to easily clean off all glop that's covering all the various bits and pieces. Mine seemed to come out easiest from the bottom, but YMMV!

7) Put your new hoses together using the old clamps, and route them the same way as the old, dirty, filthy rotten ones were. Tape up the ends of the new hoses to keep crud out of them!

8) Install your new, clean hoses as an "assembly". Fill the reservoir with Dexron or equivalent, and bleed the air per the TSM.

If you try and do them one-at-a-time, you'll be pushing, pulling, and fighting the old hoses out, and the new ones in, and using more than a few choice words. I spent probably way more time than I should have looking at how these were installed in the car, what held them down, how they were held together, and what had to be removed to do this the easiest way I could.

Face it, I'm "lazy", and I'd rather spend some time figuring out the "easy way" (as long as it's also "correct") to do something before I start on it, rather than have a D'OH! moment half-way through the job where I see a better way of doing something.

There's NOTHING in the TSM about removing/installing the hoses other than the cryptic "Remove the high-pressure hose", and "Remove the return hose".

When I saw how they were clamped together, and the clamps not only held them together, but held them in place, I figured it was easiest to just call them an "assembly", and pull them out together.


The connections on the right side go to the steering gear:

 and those at the upper left go to the pump, and fluid cooler:

Monday I'll scrub all the glop off the hardware, assemble the new hoses, and put it all back together. Then it's down to putting the wheels and tires back on, dropping it to the ground, and doing the final torquing of the suspension bolts, which requires the weight of the car to be on the suspension.

Then it's on to the rear, where my friends who've done this before assure me that even at my snail's pace work speed, I can swap out the springs and shocks in about 4~6 hours.

Then to the alignment shop, and a week of "shakedown" cruising to make sure it all works right!

Friday, September 9, 2016

Loose Ends......

Always seems to be that the "last 10%" of things to get done on a project always take more than 10% of the time!

Spent the whole day (so far....) farting around cleaning up various bits and pieces of The Great Front End Rebuild.

Like the bellows boot that covers the inner workings of the right side of the power steering rack and pinion gear.

The boot was torn in half when I bought the car, BUT unless you were looking right at it, or the wheels were turned full lock to the left AND you were looking right at it, you didn't notice it. The only evidence at the time was a few drops of liquid under the right side of the car. The boot had been ripped long enough that dirt and grit got at the seal on that end of the steering gear, and wore them enough that now it drips.

I have a rebuilt steering gear waiting in the box in the garage, but I'm not going to swap it out until I get back. Yeah, I know I'll have to eat the cost ($85) of another 4-wheel alignment after I change it, but the one in the car now doesn't leak much fluid, it'll be another "Big Deal" to swap it out, and it's NOT a safety issue, as the inner tie rod ends are (still) tight, and there's no slop in the steering, so the dirt only got to the outermost seal.

The "hardest" part of swapping out the bellows boot today was removing the outer tie rod end, and getting it back in exactly the same position it was in so that it didn't throw the existing (unknown quality) front-end alignment off.

I painted a stripe on the inner tie rod end, and used the "Edd China Method" of removing and replacing it.

I counted the turns until it came off, and then screwed it back on the same number.

Simple and effective, and will work more than "good enough" to get me to the alignment shop next week.

One more item crossed off The List.....

The last thing I really have to do other than doing the final torquing of the lower control arm bolts and the strut rod nut, is to replace the power steering high-pressure hose. This is the item that my "original" smog test place said was "Spraying Fluid EVERYWHERE!", and refused to smog the car on safety grounds. Even though I could only see a very few, very small droplets of fluid, I grudgingly accepted their decision as I had a power steering hose blow on me once. And because that car (another Toyota Celica, no less!) also had a cracked exhaust manifold on the same side of the engine as where the hose was, the fluid lit off under the hood with rather spectacular results. One of my neighbors saw it happen as I was coming down the street and said he thought they were filming some kind of action/adventure movie, and I was part of the special effects......

So, yeah, that hose has GOT to be replaced!

And while I'm down under the car in GreaseLand, I'll also replace the return line.

I was planning on starting the hose replacement Saturday, BUT "duty calls", and I've been asked to help provide some help escorting some visitors on the Iowa, so this gets put off (le sigh...) until Sunday.

On the plus side, I've lost 12 pounds since I started actively working on the car (again), and I can now bend over and touch my toes again.

Which might come in real handy if The Hildebeast sneaks in to the White House this fall.....

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Brake Bleeding

Got the front brakes bled today.

Between the Russell "Speed Bleed" screws, and the MityVac, it's a one-man operation!

I started by slurping out as much fluid as I could from the master cylinder reservoir with the MityVac, and then wiping out the reservoir with a clean shop towel.

The fluid that came out looked like VERY bad coffee, and the plastic reservoir was filthy with rusty colored slime.

Took most of a quart of new DOT3 fluid before it was coming out clean from the bleeder screw on the caliper, and the drivers side is the closest to the master cylinder.

Generally, you start bleeding at the brake that's furthest from the master cylinder, usually the right rear, but I've done it different ways at different times, and it never seemed to make a difference where I started from.

So, one more item crossed off the list!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

New Shoes for Ms. Swan.....

The new rims are "XXR-531", and the tires are Toyo Proxes T1R.

And between the suspension rebuild and the mods, she ought to be able to really dance now....

The OEM wheels were 14x7, and the tires were 225/60-14.

The new hardware is 16x8, and 245/45-16.

Here's a "top view", kind of, of the OEM vs new:

The new tires are 20mm wider, about .79", and are "45 series" instead of "60 series".

I picked this size tire as it has the same "rolling radius" as the OEM tires, which means the speedometer should read the same.

HOWEVER...they look a little "shorter" to me, which means my "optimistic" speedo will be even more so. Oh, well...makes it harder to get a speeding ticket when the speedo indicates 65, and you're really doing about 62, as it is now.

The tires are also much newer technology even though they're both radial construction.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Right Side Strut Installed!

Geez....things are going so good today that I'd better find a BIG piece of wood to knock on!

And at the top, I installed the other mounting plate for the strut tower reinforcing bar:

I'll mess around a bit with installing the Raptor Racing braided stainless steel brake lines, and fix a screw-up on my part.

I accidentally installed the anti-rattle spring clips on the driver's side caliper upside down.

I didn't notice it until I was starting to rebuild the passenger side caliper, and as soon as I pulled the old pads, it smacked me right in the eyeballs.

I don't have to pull the entire caliper. Just remove one bolt, and pivot the caliper up just like I was changing the pads. Then remove the outer pad, flip the spring clips round, and put it all back together.

Right Side Lower Control Arm Installed!

And plenty of daylight left to get the strut in there!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

"Driving Ms. Swan....The Adventure Continues....."

Well, here's another update on things.

The right side strut has been completely refurbished with a new top mount, a new coil spring, and a new KYB shock insert.

The hub has new wheel bearings and a new seal, and the mate to my left side StopTech "Sport Rotor" is mounted.

Then I put the hub/disc assembly on the spindle, adjusted the wheel bearings, and put in a new cotter pin, and tapped on the dust cover, followed by installing the caliper with the new "PosiQuiet" ceramic brake pads, new Russell "speed bleeder" screw, and braided stainless steel line.

The lower control arm has been refurbished with a new Energy Suspension polyurethane bushing, and new polyurethane cushions for the strut rod, or "Lateral Locating Link" if you speak American cars!

I'm beat, as I've done all this work in the last couple of days, compared to taking two weeks to do it the first time.

It's nice having all the tools, AND the knowledge gained doing it the first time.

Final assembly of the right side will start Monday. I should be able to get the lower control arm and strut reinstalled in just a few hours this time, compared to a couple of days for the left side.

Then I'll flush the brake system and bleed  the front brakes, put the wheels and tires back on her, drop her to the ground and bounce her a few times, and then do the final torquing of the lower control arm bolts and strut rod nuts.

Then on to the the rear.....

Saturday, September 3, 2016

L.A. Fleet Week

Had good crowds down at the Iowa yesterday. The US Navy has two ships open for tours, and the US Coast Guard has one.

The USS America LHA-6, and USS Wayne E. Meyer DDG-108, represent the Navy, and the WMEC-618 Active is there for the Coast Guard.

Friday was kind of the kick-off day, and Saturday, Sunday, and Monday are expected to draw about 100,000 people for the 3-day weekend.

If you're headed down there, get there EARLY, as parking will be absolutely insane.

As much as I'd like to, I just can't be more active for Fleet Week this year. I'm under the gun to get the Supra finished by next weekend so I can get the front and rear ends aligned, and have some "shakedown time" driving here to make sure she'll be ready for the trip to Vegas.

The strut from the right side of the car has now been completely rebuilt, just like the left side, and today I'll pull the Lower Control Arm and get started on it. I would expect the right front to be completed by Sunday evening. Then it's bleed the brakes, drop the car to the ground and do the final torquing of the suspension bolts, and on to the rear.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

SpaceX Loses One On The Pad

Been there, done that with NSS-8.

Being a launch provider is a risky business. You WILL lose a vehicle and/or the payload once in a while.

Good to hear no one was injured.


We now know why...(courtesy of Irish)...

Been Busy....Follow-Up Post Coming Soon To A Browser Near <i>YOU</i>!

 Been a week since last post. Been busy herding grandkids, playing with the dog, yard work, house items, and working on all manner of stuff....