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101  General / Open Forum / Re: Dyno Day on: January 30, 2016, 09:14:36 PM
Ah, bummer.

1994 Chevy Caprice
6 speed
stock except for exhaust

I'm hoping to see over 230whp, 310ft-lbs
102  General / Open Forum / Re: Dyno Day on: January 30, 2016, 06:03:04 AM
I'm in and I'm going to see if I can start a trend - guess how much hp and torque your vehicle will make.  I'd like to baseline the truck.

Justin Loehlein
1993 Dodge W350
Cummins, 5 speed
Dually - if the width is a problem, let me know

My guess, without having any clue what these things dyno at is 135hp and 300ft-lbs.

If the truck doesn't fit, I'll run the wagon.
103  General / Open Forum / Re: My Garage Build - The Airboxer Garage on: January 25, 2016, 08:23:53 PM
That's a lot of sheet metal work!  Looks good.
104  General / Autos and Autosport / Re: Hit a deer in the Miata at 50-60mph on: January 19, 2016, 07:09:22 PM
     How many coats of clear did you have on it and how did you go about wet sanding with the 1200, I am worried about going too deep on the Civy.  I too have lots of orange peel.  Also curious .... how do you get the pics to post in the post?
Mike D

I laid 3 medium-thick coats of clear (Value Pro HS Clear) and had a bit left, which I sprayed on the hood and trunk as a light coat, which really messed them up.  To wet sand, I did small sections (edges first, then < 1' square sections).  I used a small DuraBlock scruff pad, wrapped it in sandpaper that had been soaking in water for over an hour, then sprayed the section I was sanding and sanded a little bit, dipping the block and paper back in the water frequently (every 5-10 seconds?).  After a little sanding (5-30 seconds), I would wipe down the section with a towel and look at it against the light.  You can see the low spots because they're still glossy.  I repeated until everything was evenly flat.  After that was done, I had to compound with the denim pad 3-4 times and polish with the foam pad another couple times.  I'm sure others have quicker ways, but it was my first time trying to make anything look nice so I'm learning as I go.  Also - it's easy to take off more, but a paint in the ass to add it back, so I erred on the side of going slowly.

I use the BBCode image tag to post my images, which I host on Flickr.  Flickr also has a share button that has a BBCode option that will give you the code to paste in with some extra junk in it (like a link to Flickr).

This looks very good.

I usually load the spray gun with reducer and spray a mist of it all over what I have painted. That cleans out the gun, and it makes a smooth surface, and leaves no orange peal and no need for sanding and polishing.

But that's just an old German guy does it.


That's a good tip, I can see how the extra reducer would give the paint some more time to flow out.  I'll try it out with the clear on the headlight covers.  I wonder if it would work with a metallic base coat.  I know people have a difficult time getting metallic paint to cover consistently, resulting in visible striping.
105  General / Autos and Autosport / Re: Hit a deer in the Miata at 50-60mph on: January 18, 2016, 02:23:17 PM
Well, made some more progress over the long weekend.  Jeff helped me get all the body panels back on the car and I got to use the polisher Danielle got me for Christmas.  The car looks pretty good.  I did realize that I forgot to paint the headlight covers, so I'll have to do those soon.  I can start reassembling the car now, all the trim, interior and top.  Hopefully it runs when I'm done!

Here is the front end with all the mechanical parts back in place

And the panels back on.  The bumper doesn't line up perfectly, but it's pretty damn close.

It was a lot easier to put the dash in without the windshield in place

So, I definitely learned a lot spraying the car.  One thing I learned is that thin coats of clear = massive orange peel.  You can see the fender and the hood here.  I shot the fender with relatively heavy coats of clear versus the hood.  This is before polishing anything, I almost don't need to touch the fender, but the hood is horrendous.

I saw online that you can use a denim polishing pad and compound to remove orange peel, so I wanted to give that a try instead of wet sanding.

Here is the center of the hood before

And after

I also had to do the trunk, which I sprayed in the same batch as the hood.  I decided to try wet sanding and then polishing.  I used 1200 grit, then polished with the denim pad, and then went over it with a light foam pad and polish.  This was faster than just using the denim pad, though it was easy to sand because it's flat.  The hood would have been more difficult.  On the panels where I had a reasonable amount of orange peel, I just used the denim pad and the car came out well.

Trunk before

Wet sanded

Polished with the denim pad

After the foam pad

I'm happy with the way the car is turning out.  Hopefully I can get it fully assembled and running in the next weekend or two.
106  General / Open Forum / Re: God is great, family is good, now I need the best body/repair shop in Richmond. on: January 14, 2016, 12:25:40 PM
Damn, glad to hear everyone is alright.  That's pretty terrifying sounding.

I've heard great things about Burleigh's.  We took the Porsche there when our insurance company didn't think it was totaled and had them dig into it further.  They were very easy to deal with.  I think our 911 was the crappiest car there, which says something.
107  General / Autos and Autosport / Re: Hit a deer in the Miata at 50-60mph on: January 04, 2016, 06:55:57 AM
Yeah, I'll have to spray the floor down next time just to wet it.  That makes sense.  I've got an okay desiccant filtration system and the air line system is setup to pull moisture out (aftercooler, lots of copper pipe).  I didn't see any fisheyes, so hopefully I'm good to go there.
108  General / Autos and Autosport / Re: Hit a deer in the Miata at 50-60mph on: January 02, 2016, 11:35:20 AM
Well, I've made some more progress.  I got the car in paint and am almost ready to start putting it back together.  Just need to clean up the weld seam up front.  I'll do that today or tomorrow.

I used the room in the middle of my garage that is ~20'x20' as the paint booth.  I sealed all of the openings to the room the best I could (caulked the ceiling and paneling joints, put some weatherstripping on the double door, sealed around all the electrical wires) and cleaned it several times.  I knocked a couple holes in the walls on either side and put some air filters on them with box fans blowing outward.  I also put two air diffusers in the ceiling and rigged up this device to blow air into the room.  It does a great job keeping the air clear while I'm spraying.  Unfortunately, it also does a great job stirring up any dust (or lint from my mop) that's on the floor.  I may need to get a speed controller so I can slow the fan down.

I also built a fresh air supply out of a $25 firefighter's mask, a spare Miata heater blower hooked up to a power supply, and a bunch of pool hose we had.

Thankfully, all my small cars (Miata, Civic, Cobra) fit through these double doors.

Jeff came over and helped me prep the plastic parts, like this bumper that has been repainted a couple times already.

I had already sprayed the self-etching primer, so next I put on 3 or 4 coats of primer surfacer.

After that, I moved everything back out and wet-sanded the whole car.  I used some guide coat to help me, it's the black powdery stuff in this pic.

I sprayed gravel guard on the bottom part of the car, like they came from the factory.

After that, I moved everything back into the room and sprayed the base and then clear coats.  You can see the clear coat adds the gloss (second pic).  The base coat paint is much thinner than the primer or clear and I put the first coat on too thick and got some runs, so I had to wait for it to dry and sand it down some.  I ended up using 4 or 5 base coats and 3 or 4 clear coats.  I also shouldn't have used the plastic to mask off the car.  It is easy for the dried paint to flake off and blow onto the wet paint on the car.

The paint isn't perfect, but it certainly looks a lot better than before.  I'm happy with the way it came out and am really happy I painted this before the Cobra.  I learned quite a bit and know what to avoid doing next time.
109  General Category / Ask the Competition Committee / Re: EX35 For Autocross? on: January 02, 2016, 05:54:30 AM
I think if the car is taller than its track width, it's a no-go.  It looks like the EX35 may just sneak by with a 62" height and 63" front track width.

The Competition Committee gets the final say, but that's my understanding.
110  General / Autos and Autosport / Re: Hit a deer in the Miata at 50-60mph on: December 24, 2015, 10:43:44 AM
Well, I tried the Citristrip.  It's much more gentle than the Aircraft Remover.  It smells nice, but didn't really work on the trunk lid too well.  I let the Citristrip sit for about a day and it loosened the paint a little, but not nearly as much as the Aircraft Remover in ~10 minutes.  I wonder if it depends on the type of paint.


vs Aircraft Remover

Got most of the rest of the car stripped with the chemicals

Figured I'd take this opportunity to fix the rust spot on the passenger side of the car in the usual spot for Miatas

Of all my parts cars, I think only one (other than the LeMons car) had a good looking rocker panel.  I cut it out and used some fancy spot-weld cutters to drill out the spot welds.

Surprise!  It's also rusting.  Jeez.

I cleaned it up and threw a few coats of POR15 on it.

Cut the rotten sheet metal out of the car and also cleaned and POR15'd it.

I rough cut the patch panel with the grinder, sanded it down until it fit, then welded it up.  Looks good enough, especially since it will be covered in gravel guard.

I even got to use my fancy new jack stands to hold the car up since I needed to cut out the section right above the rear lifting point.

While I was doing all of that, I managed to spray a coat of self-etching primer and a few coats of primer surfacer on the doors, fenders and trunk.

The rest of the car is mostly masked off and ready to be primed, as well.  Will get it primed, sand everything, and then try my hand at spraying the base coat.  We'll see how it goes!

111  General / Open Forum / Gave someone a car for Christmas on: December 19, 2015, 05:11:54 AM
Figured I'd post this up since at least I found it pretty humorous.  We had a white elephant gift exchange at work this week.  I was thinking up what the most outrageous gift I could get for real cheap was and had an idea.  I could give someone a car - I have enough of them.  I'm obviously not going to give away a car that still has parts that I want/need, but I've got this shell that is mostly stripped.

Excellent idea - I can give away a car.  Maybe the person will actually take it and Danielle will be happy to have one less car in the yard.  Maybe they won't and I'll get to keep it.  Either way, should be pretty hilarious!  I had to think of a creative way to present the "gift" though, since I can't exactly bring the car into the building and don't really want to go through the effort of loading it onto the trailer just to have it in the parking lot or something.  Decided to make a folder with a copy of the title and the keys, plus some pictures.  Here we go.

Cover.  Oprah, of course.

I put a picture of the title inside and taped the keys to the back of the cover.  The red note says "you sign here upon pickup and take the title and the car together"

I figured at this point, whoever won it would most likely be confused and I should slowly introduce them to what they were getting, so I put a stock photo of a Miata and a picture of what the Miata they were getting used to look like.

Maybe at that point they would get excited - perfect time to show them the actual car and all of it's features.

We put the folder in a box and wrapped it up real nice.  Wednesday, we had our gift exchange and it went over really well.  A girl who just started working at the company in July after graduating opened it up.

When she got to the next page and saw the actual pictures, I think she just said "Oh gosh."  She read all the comments out loud to folks - it was pretty funny.  Some of the team came over to my place after the gift exchange and she got to see the car in person.


I don't think she's taking the car, but we did tear out the rearview mirror for her to keep on her desk.
112  General / Technical Help / Re: Does anyone have a bore camera I can borrow? on: December 14, 2015, 07:12:32 PM
Someone posted a similar question on garagejournal and these (link and link) came up.
113  General / Autos and Autosport / Re: Hit a deer in the Miata at 50-60mph on: November 29, 2015, 05:08:10 PM
Well it's been a busy month.  I got a heat pump installed in the garage, built some more shelving for storage, started organizing my spare parts, then managed to clean out the room in the garage and seal the floor.  Now I can paint in it.  I've made some decent progress on the Miata.  I lost my camera for a weekend or two, so I didn't take pictures of everything, but I went through and freshened most of the mechanical parts: timing belt, water pump, PS pump and hoses, AC compressor, condenser, evaporator, heater core, belts, hoses, plugs and wires, clutch master, slave and soft line, etc.  Might as well make it nice while I'm in here.

Painted up the new front clip

Englebert powder coated my valve cover and intake in exchange for some tires.  Looks real fancy

I noticed a small rust spot around the windshield, took it out and found a few patches of rust around the perimeter.  Cleaned them up and POR 15'd the windshield frame

Because the factory paint is so bad, I decided to strip it off and start from scratch.  Paul and Jeff came over and helped me.  We used chemical stripper to loosen it up and then figured out the pressure washer would just peel the paint of.  It took a long time, but wasn't as tedious as sanding everything.

Used my newly cleaned room and got a coat of self-etching primer on the fenders since we took them down to bare metal.  Need to do the windshield frame next.  I'll sand the edges on the doors and hit a couple spots on them, too.  I need to get some zinc chromate for the hood since it's aluminum.

Lastly, I welded the new nose on.  Will need to clean it up and put some seam sealer on it.

Hopefully over the next few weekends, I can get the car in primer and block it.  Then paint it over Christmas.
114  General / Open Forum / Re: media blasting in central va. on: October 23, 2015, 09:26:45 AM
I've spoken with a couple of folks in Chesterfield who use a silica based media which they say is too aggressive. The soda blast method is shouldn't cause any damage. I'll do another search. Thanks for the replies.

Sounds like a good retirement employment opportunity to me!
115  General / Autos and Autosport / Re: Hit a deer in the Miata at 50-60mph on: October 13, 2015, 06:12:20 PM
So, after a couple weekends away, I've made some more progress.  With Paul's help, I got the new front end mocked up and fairly well matched to the existing car.  I've pulled everything back apart and will spend a bunch of time cleaning, taking care of rust, and prepping the car for paint.  I've also got a bunch of maintenance parts (clutch hydraulics, timing belt, water pump, etc) plus all new A/C parts on the way.  Here are some of the pics I took.

I marked off where I wanted to cut, trying to keep to some specific reference lines to make it easy to cut a matching part off the good front end.

I cut one side with a hacksaw, which I figured would be more precise than the angle grinder - I was wrong, what a pain to try to keep straight.  I made the rest of the cuts with the angle grinder.

Spent a bunch of time with some degreaser cleaning a bunch of dirt

Even inside the frame rails

I cut the new front end long so that I could slowly grind away material to match it up.  In order to make that process easier, I tacked some tabs to the inside of the existing frame.

The new section slips onto them and now fits well.  The panels line up properly.

Anyways, time to do a bunch more cleaning, paint the frame, and prep the rest of the car.
116  General / Classifieds / WTB: nice NA Miata front bumper cover on: September 29, 2015, 06:29:00 PM
If anyone has one or knows of one, I could use one for the Miata I'm repairing.  The ones on both of my parts cars are questionable.  If I'm going to go through the hassle of painting the car, might as well put nice parts on it, right?
117  General / Open Forum / Re: Farmboy Fab: 1989 K2500 6.0 LSx swap on a budget on: September 28, 2015, 06:29:03 PM
Hmm, your pictures don't work for some reason.
118  General / Autos and Autosport / Re: Hit a deer in the Miata at 50-60mph on: September 27, 2015, 03:17:45 PM
Thanks, Mike.  I'm always tempted to build something stupid.  We'll keep the white car stock, but I decided to hack up my '95 M today to steal the front end, and now I've been daydreaming of building a tubular front end and turning it into a rally-cross car or something like that.  Hah- if only I had the time.

Anyways, this morning Danielle and I went and looked at my two whole parts cars, a red '93 and a '95 M.  The front bumper cover wasn't great on either and the hood on the M was better.  I ended up deciding to pull apart the M because the red car is basically complete.  It runs, drives (at least it did when I parked it...), and the top doesn't leak.  The M on the other hand may have a cracked block after the previous owner left straight water in the cooling system over the winter.  I bought it for the Torsen and the wheels, now I get to use the front-end, too.

We pushed it into the shop with the wagon and popped the hood.  Danielle cleaned out a nice home somebody made themselves near the brake booster.  After that, the process was very similar to yesterday, stripping body panels, cooling system and AC.

Once it was bare, I decided to cut the front end off as close to the front suspension as I could.  I don't plan on using that much, but I figure it will be easier to pick what I want to cut off the white car and then trim this to fit.  I used a sawzall to go through the sheet metal and then an angle grinder to cut the frame horns because I didn't have any sawzall blades long enough.  I made 90% of the cuts, set the front end down on my service cart, and then finished cutting.

I put the bent up hood on and rolled it back outside.  This is just begging to be the start of some terrible project.

119  General / Autos and Autosport / Re: Hit a deer in the Miata at 50-60mph on: September 26, 2015, 03:49:26 PM
Yeah, I'm glad it wasn't worse and I wasn't hurt.  I'll pull the bumper and hood from one of my parts cars and then cut the front frame horns off to get the whole radiator and hood support assembly in one piece, then graft that onto this car.  I think I'm going to end up stripping the car down and painting the whole thing instead of driving a multi-colored Miata or just spraying the front end.  Should be good practice for the Cobra.
120  General / Autos and Autosport / Hit a deer in the Miata at 50-60mph on: September 26, 2015, 03:06:07 PM
So last Sunday a little before 10pm, I was driving through Amelia back to my house in the Miata.  A truck was coming the other direction, so I was looking down at the road so as to not be blinded by its lights.  All of a sudden, I see a deer in front of me...and I hit it before even having a chance to brake.  Pulled the car off to the side of the road expecting the radiator to be destroyed, but thankfully it wasn't.  I couldn't find the deer on the side of the road and didn't feel like walking through some farmer's soybean fields to try to find it, but it must have been pretty small.

It beat up the front bumper, buckled the hood, tore the headlight cover off the passenger side and bent the hell out of the fancy dual headlight setup that's on there.

Opened the hood and found that the support was bent up.  It was touching the radiator in the middle and got twisted to a weird angle.

Oh well, time to start pulling everything apart.  Danielle helped me drill out a bunch of spot welds and we pulled the front radiator and hood support off the car.  I'll pick through my Miata boneyard tomorrow and figure out which of the cars I want to chop up for a replacement.

121  General / Autos and Autosport / Re: Factory Five Cobra Build on: September 26, 2015, 02:51:21 PM
Well, it's time for another update.  I've made some progress on plumbing the cooling system.  Unfortunately, I hit a deer in the Miata last weekend, so the Cobra will have to wait until I fix that car.  Here's where it's at now though.

After painting the radiator mounting brackets, I laid everything out on my workbench.  Instead of using the corrugated flexible pipe that Factory Five supplies for the radiator hoses, I got some 1.5" aluminum tube, mandrel bends, and some radiator hoses with a bunch of bends in them that I could hack up.

Jeff came over to give me a hand and we started mocking stuff up.  The upper radiator hose/tube was basically perfect just using two 45 degree bends.  I didn't even have to cut them.

The lower is more complicated, we cut a 180 degree bend in half to get a 90, then a section of straight pipe, then another 45.  Taped it together and then took it out of the car for Paul to weld.  Note that the blue masking tape leaves much less residue than the regular.  Should have used that on the lower, too.

Paul welded everything up and I bought a real coolant expansion tank rather than the one Factory Five provides with the kit, which some people claim is too small and results in air being sucked into the cooling system on a regular basis.  Now I just needed some way to bead the ends of the tubes, that's what the Vise Grips are for.

I don't have the best picture, but I copied some other folks on the internet and welded a washer onto one jaw of the Vise Grips and ground a notch in the other jaw.  Running around the soft aluminum tube, it's pretty easy to create a raised bead so the hose doesn't slip off once clamped on.

The plumbing looks good in the car.  I may have to lower the radiator cap fitting some, we'll find out when I put the body on.

122  General / Classifieds / Re: 3.4L Boxster for sale on: September 18, 2015, 06:36:01 PM
Well, Summer is over and I've put another 2k miles on the car without any new issues.  I've contemplated just putting a standalone ECU in it or swapping in all the wiring and ECU from the 996, but don't have the time.  Now that I don't need a car with A/C anymore, it's time to get rid of this so I can put heat in my garage.  New price of $10k.
123  General / Autos and Autosport / Re: Factory Five Cobra Build on: September 11, 2015, 02:59:16 AM
Yup - still not sure what to do with it.  I'll likely just part it out after selling the Boxster.
124  General / Open Forum / Re: My Garage Build - The Airboxer Garage on: September 10, 2015, 05:51:47 PM
I like the rotisserie.  How much you think the shell weighs?
125  General / Autos and Autosport / Re: Factory Five Cobra Build on: September 07, 2015, 03:38:25 PM
Well, I made some progress on the Cobra this weekend.  Got a bunch of small stuff done to finish up the brake lines and mounted the radiator.  The radiator sits at a 51 degree angle and the Factory Five-recommended radiator mounting method is to just bolt the top of the radiator to a 3/4" square tube and leave the bottom unsupported.  That's pretty sketchy, so we bought a kit someone sells to support the bottom.  Now to take it all apart and paint it, then figure out how to route the hoses.  Paul and Jeff were over, so I've got some ideas.

We also made progress on Jeff's F500 car this weekend, though as we were rebuilding one of the carbs we found that the pilot jet was clogged AND stuck so we couldn't get it out.  Even after heating the thing with MAPP gas and soaking it in Kroil, it was stuck.  We ended up breaking the tip of a screwdriver off in it trying to get it out.  Time for new carbs.

We also used some time to move some cars out of the yard and back to the garage.  Now we've just got two left in the backyard.  One Miata missing a front-end and the donor Mustang missing the rear end.  Will have to figure out a good way to move them.

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