Thursday, June 28, 2007

Part in my Oil Pan....

Ok, here is the whole story behind the part that I posted a few days ago.

My plan for the weekend was to drop the oil pan on the TR and replace the gasket. I drained the oil then went about removing the oil pan. Not that hard just took a while (I think there where 17-18 bolts holding the pan on) and a few light taps with a dead blow to get the pan off the car. After I got the pan off the car I took it over to my workbench to clean it up. I start taking the remnants of the old gasket off and I notice something in the bottom of the oil pan, uh-oh. Start fishing metal pieces out, at this point I'm in a bit of a panic. Thinking to myself, I'm going to have to tow the car to Decatur, pay a bunch to rebuild the engine ect. The picture shows what I fished out of the oil.

I get back under the car to examine the bottom end of the engine, trying to see where this part may have come from. Crank looks good, counter weights look fine, piston rods intact, bottom of the pistons look good, no groves or scoring in the piston liners....hmmmmm. I dilute the rest of the oil left in the oil pan and filter it through a coffee filter. No small metal shavings, odd. Look through my workshop manuals and parts catalogs, can't find a part that looks like this thing. Decide to call in some help, I e-mail the pictures to a guy I know who races Spitfires and has owned 20+ Triumphs (4, 4a, 6, 250, a few GT6s and Spitfires) and has worked at a Triumph shop up in NC on and off for a while. He calls me back and says this....

"First thing, that isn't from the engine so no harm done. I don't know how in the world it got there but what you have appears to be an old spark plug gapping tool!"

So there you have it, my TR was hiding a spark plug gapping tool in its oil pan. Very odd, at least it didn't say Lucas on it...... ::)

So an hour job turned into a whole day thing with just a hint of anxiety thrown in for good measure.

Monday, June 25, 2007

What the heck is that?

I'll post the story behind this part in a day or so. Until then, can anyone guess what it is/was?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Exxon Valdez in my drive way...

I was changing the oil in the MINI last night, using a new drain pan. Well when I dropped the drain plug onto the drain pan and walked away I thought all was ok. Nope! When I came back out about 10 minutes later there was about a 4 quart oil slick growing out from under my car. Seems the drain plug fell and perfectly blocked the hole in the top of the pan so all the oil overflowed and ended up on the drive way! So I left for a quick trip to the grocery store to get cat litter and laundry detergent. Spread all of that on the spill and I will clean it up in a few days. Hopefully the cat litter will absorb most of the oil out of the driveway.

TR has been running great. Cleaned out the air filters last weekend. Plan on doing the oil and getting the wheels balanced this weekend. I also need to check the rear dif oil level. Right after I changed the oil in the rear dif it leaked alot, I am not sure if I over filled it or if the seal is starting to go bad (Hopefully it is the former). Also hoping the replacing the oil pan gasket will stop some of the oil drip that the car has (who am I kidding, anyone know a 40 year old British car that doesn't mark its territory?). I'll get back with some updates to the work this coming weekend.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

New Look New Plans....

Ok, changed the color and layout a bit. Picked the color because both my British cars are the correct color that British cars should be, British Racing Green. Anyway, just trying something new don't know if it will stick or not.

As for the cars themselves, not much happening. I think I am going to go in a different direction with the MINI and Autocorssing. I am going to sell the Hoosiers that I have (225/45/15s if interested let me know!) and go back to running Falkens. I have not been able to adjust my driving style to the slicks and plus I like not having to change tires back and forth at the events. So, the Hoosiers will be sold, my racing wheels will become my street wheels and my street wheels will stick around to become my racing/to lazy to change tires street wheels as well.

The TR is doing well. The warm weather is agreeing with its state of tune. The engine is running much smoother. I do need to change the oil and oil pan gasket, I'll do that in a few weeks. Also want to get the brake stuff on order, replace the tachometer cable and hunt down a place to quote me on redoing the exterior.

July should be a big month for car reviews. I will be traveling to New York and the mid west. Lots of driving and probably a few different cars. I am also going to try to go to a few baseball games while on the road. Figure to hit the Royals and as many minor league parks as I can.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Chevy Malibu Max Review

Took the MINI in for service this week and was given the choice of a Focus or a Malibu Max. Figured I have driven a Focus, why not try out the Chevy...

Ok, the car I was given has the V6. For a larger car the engine is pretty punchy down low. Has an interesting tiptronic mod to manual shift the auto box your self. Quick off the line, good for passing on the interstate but as soon as you get past about 3000 rpm the pull dies off.

Interior is pretty good for a base end model. Plastic trim is much nicer than the other base cars I have driven in the past. It doesn't really look like plastic. Heck, I think the interior trim in the Malibu Max is nicer than the Corvette I sat at the auto show a few months back. Seat is supportive. There are two neat sunlights over the back seat. Not really sure the functionality but still neat to look at. Driving position is pretty good though the car feels a lot bigger to drive than it really is. One complaint about the driving position yet again is the dead peddle area. Nowhere to really put you left foot. If you put it against the bulkhead then it is too close to your seat, if you move it over towards the middle it ends up behind the brake peddle, not good.

Audio is good and the controls are well laid out and simple to figure out. Same goes for the AC, easy to get the temperature just right. The vent controls are unique and actually work quite well. They use a wheel to direct the flow to the left or right and a neat louver design to direct up or down. Hard to explain in words, you'll just have to go look in a Malibu and see for your self.

Not a bad car. Wish I could give a bit better review but I have only had the car just over 24 hours.

I'll be in Clearwater Florida this week for a conference. I'm sure I'll figure out something to write about while listening to speakers talk about Nuclear Parts Obsolescence....