Cars

My mechanic

Floor shift
My mechanic is awesome. I mentioned earlier that the panel truck had blown a power steering hose. Being new to LA I contacted the only hotrod person in the area I knew, which led me to Morgan Auto Service. It’s within 2 miles of my house. I took the truck in, they replaced the hose, gave it a much needed oil change, and got it back to me within the day. Much better than the epically bad service I received in Vegas.

While in the shop, Dave pointed out that it looked like the shifter was about to break. I told him that it actually had broken and he was looking at the repair. I didn’t have time to fix it then. About a month later the headlights went out (the electrical system is the weakest part of this build). I took the truck in and had them fix the lights and investigate the shifter linkage. The whole column would have to be replaced… or we could convert it to floor shift. I went the floor shift route. It’s an automatic so I chose a short shifter and had them put it as far forward as possible. I think it turned out really well and they even recut the custom floor mats to fit perfectly.

The panel truck maybe problematic, but it’s a huge relief to finally have competent mechanic close by.

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Cars

I have a project

When I purchased my truck I told my people I wanted to buy something ‘done’. I had an ’68 Mustang in high school that was far from perfect; this time I wanted to get something that I could just drive and enjoy. Well I’ve ended up with a project again…

Last night I had trouble getting the truck started. Putting the key in the ‘on’ position didn’t power anything on even though the starting position did. I spent the night at my friends house where my truck was parked at and investigated the problem today. Rotating the key moves a long metal bar back and forth. That bar actuates a multi-position linear switch at the base of the steering column. I thought it had gone out of adjustment, but it seems really fidgety; it worked better when I LOOSENED the mounting bolts. I’ll have to look into it further the switch may still be at fault. I did manage to get it to start…

It was then that I noticed the voltage was really low. I popped the hood and discovered that the engine was missing all of its accessory drive belts. The A/C and alternator belts were lying in the street intact, but the power steering belt could not be found. I assume the P/S belt broke, got caught under the other two belts, and forced them off. It must have happened right as I parked because I didn’t notice any steering problems last night. John helped me get the alternator belt back on and I man-handled the truck back to my house.

I’ve decided not to sell my Subaru because of this. The truck will be much less stressful if I’m not relying on it. So, tomorrow I’m headed back to the DMV to get the car reregistered and then it’s to the parts store to guess at what length belt I need (and probably buy an ignition switch too).

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Cars

Truck, one week

ChanneledI purchased the truck Friday a week ago. Got it registered on Saturday and then drove it to LA Sunday. I had described the rear end as “wallowing” when starting off to a friend. I checked the tire pressure before heading to LA… 15psi… aired it back up to 32psi. That solved that.

The trip was 270 miles (I’ve done it a couple times already). The truck has a 30 gallon tank and used 19 for the trip: ~14.2mpg. I think that’s pretty good for a 350 in a big truck. 30 gallons means it could go 425 miles nonstop. I cruised at 70mph most of the time. With the 3.25 rear end that’s ~3100rpm. The water temp didn’t get above 200degF the entire trip.

The electrics worked fine when I went for the test ride, but there has been lot of weird quirks since picking it up. Most of the problems are the result of the “wireless” door-jam connections. They’re not properly adjusted so the connections are either weak or non existent. Right now the switch for the rear door doesn’t work. The key-less entry wasn’t working either… which is a problem on a car with no door handles. The truck only starts in neutral, but the sensor doesn’t always realize it’s in neutral. Continue reading

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Cars

War Wagon!

New ride
I picked up my new truck today. It’s a 1957 Chevy panel truck. The engine is a 350 with a Holley 600 4bbl. It has an automatic 350 transmission with a 9″ Ford rearend. The rear suspension is a four-link with coil over shocks. The front suspension is from a Camaro. The rear is tubbed with large Mickey Thompson drag tires. The lowering and frame notching means I can’t put the motorcycle in the back like I had planned. It has disc brakes all around, A/C, shaved handles with power locks and windows.

I naturally have a heap load of buyer’s remorse…

I plan on mitigating that by heading to LA and working with Ryan’s friend Jeff get rid of some of the electrical gremlins and start building a functional interior. If you remember, I wanted to build a vehicle like this as Hack-A-Day’s flagship, so we’re going to cram this with as many monitors and as much WiFi gear as we can muster. I’m hoping the final result will be a mobile work space with enough amenities to put most home offices to shame.

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Cars

War Wagon?

1960 chevy panel truck
I’ve often joked that Hack-A-Day needs to get an armored truck or some other sinister vehicle to haul around WiFi gear in. One of the forum members is selling this 1960 Chevy panel truck which I thought looked pretty interesting. If I switch my motorcycle to bar end mirrors, it will only be 43″ tall and the rear door is 44″. I’d just need to add some rails and I would have something I can haul the bike in to track days. I’m not sure if I need the project though. 1960 isn’t the best year either; many more bolt on parts (rear disc brakes, etc) are available for ’63 and above. Here’s a restored 1960 Chevy panel truck, a rodded 1965 panel, and a pimped out 1957 panel (sold on eBay for 40K). I’ll be out of town for a week, so I’ve got some time to think about it. What do you think? Should I go for it? (I could get the mural I always wanted)

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Cars

More right

google map
I used to warn people coming to my house that Google Maps shows through streets that aren’t there and non-through streets that are. They’ve recently pushed an update to the streets. Only problem is that it is routing based on the old map as you can see in the upper right.

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