March 7th, 2013 < by Mike >
The flex pipe on this 2000 VW Passat was damaged on a speed bump. Local muffler shops wanted over $100 to replace it. It made a nasty noise.
We obtained a replacement pipe from Summit Racing for $13:
This joint was exactly the same size as the original.
I used a reciprocating saw to slice out he old joint cutting through the welds on each end. I then used a grinder to open up the gap until the new joint was a tight fit. Leaving the original welds in place added thickness to the pipe making it easier to weld without blowing holes in the thin pipe.
I used a MIG welder to weld the front of the pipe in first. Then I had to force the rear pipe into alignment with the flex coupler while I made a tack weld. Then, I finished off the weld around the pipe.
The repair was surprisingly simple once we found the right replacement joint. It was not available at any local parts store. I already had a welder but I could have bought one from Harbor Freight plus the joint for what the muffler shops wanted to charge to make the repair.
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March 6th, 2013 < by Mike >
Recently I had my Check Engine Light came on in my Jeep. I pulled the codes and got a 22 which translates to the ECT is out of voltage range. The Coolant Temperature sensor is located in the thermostat housing on my Jeep. I first tried cleaning the contacts as they light come on intermittently. That did not work so I ended up replacing the sensor.
First,I removed the wire. Then, Loosened the radiator cap to make sure all the pressure was gone. I also prepped the new sensor with some sealant on the threads. I used a 19mm wrench to unscrew the old sensor. I quickly swapped in the new sensor with minimal coolant loss. I then topped up the system with coolant to replace the little I lost during the swap. I reconnected the wire and called it done.
No more check engine light this morning.
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February 8th, 2013 < by Mike >
Spare axle storage in an XJ
After watching several fellow Jeepers break axle shafts in their Dana 30 front ends and having broken two myself I like to carry spares and the tools to swap them out. I think our record time for swapping an axle shaft on the trail is 14 minutes.
However, I have had trouble finding a good place to store the spares. They are heavy and tend to bang around if not secured. They would be a severe hazard if unsecured in a roll over.
I found both short and long shafts will fin inside a length of 4” PVC pipe that can lie cross wise in the rear floor up against the roll cage main hoop in my Cherokee. I don’t have a back seat in mine.
To make the storage pipe, I bought a 10 foot length of PVC sewer pipe. It is about half the price of regular PVC pipe. I also got two caps. The caps for sewer pipe are about a third the cost of pressure caps.
I cut the pipe with a hand saw just long enough to accommodate the two axles overlapped in the tube. It just barely fits between the sides of the XJ. I did not make a separate hold down bracket as I sat the spare tire on top of the tube and secured the tire with two ratchet straps. I don’t think it is going anywhere.
I then used the rest of the pipe to make a sleeve to keep my HI Lift, and axe together. For about $15 I have cleaned up the storage area of my Jeep and hopefully reduced the things that could hit me in the head in an incident.
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February 5th, 2013 < by Mike >
1975 Toyota Celica wheel cylinder repair
Our Chump race car in progress made its way back to the shop from the roll cage fabricator this weekend. However as we loaded it on the trailer the rear brakes suddenly failed. I am glad it was while loading on the trailer and not in a race.
Back at the shop, I inspected the car and found evidence of a fluid leak at the left rear wheel. I found this odd as I had just installed a new wheel cylinder on that corner before sending it to the shop.
To remove, I first removed the wheel. Then there is a Phillips head screw that has to be removed. I remember that the first time I removed this screw, I had to use vise grips to avoid stripping out he crossed recess. This time I used a Phillips bit in a ratchet to get it loose.
I used two 8mm bolts in the provided holes to jack the drum off the axle hub.
With the drum off, I could see that the new cylinder was indeed leaking.
I used a 10mm line breaking wrench to loosen the brake line and then removed the two mounting bolts that also have 10mm heads.
I then wiggled the cylinder out from between the shoes.
I pulled one of the pistons out and then the rubber seal behind it. I checked the rubber closely for cuts or notches. I then inspected the cylinder itself. There I found a lot of debris. Possibly rust from the old brake line. I was able to clean the cylinder and replace all the parts. I reinstalled the cylinder and bled the brakes. It is holding for now, but I suspect we need to do a full brake line flush before we race the car.
Update: The brakes were still soft so there was still air in the lines. I set up my pressure bleed system and completely removed the bleeder screw. I ran several ounces of fluid through and got some nasty stuff out. I put the bleed screw back and bled some more fluid before sealing it off. For now I have a firm pedal again.
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February 4th, 2013 < by Mike >
VW Passat Glove Box door repair
The glove box door on the 2000 VW is a rather complicated affair. It seems really sturdy with a heavy metal layer sandwiched between the two plastic parts. However, the handle and the inner workings are actually quite fragile.
The common failure points are the plastic supports for the hinge pin on the handle and the hinge supports of the two bell cranks inside the lid.
The first task to making the repair is to get the box open. If just the handle is broken, you can reach in with a finger and press down on the two tabs of the bell cranks. This will release the lock pins. On this example however, the bell cranks were also off their pivots. I had to reach in and grab the detent in the slider and pull the pin out. Pushing in on the glove box door reduced the tension making it easier to pull the pin out.
With the lid open, the two halves are separated by removing the torx screws. Two required a short bit and a ratchet while most could be removed with a standard screw driver style torx tool. The outer cover will still be attached to the base but it can now be opened enough to make the repair.
I began by putting all the parts back where the belonged. I discovered that none of the parts were actually broken just the bell cranks had come off the pivots. I used two sheet metal screws to secure the two bell cranks on the pivots.
Next I focused on the broken handle. There are two pins that com in form either side. The small recesses in the handle were completely broken away. I made a new pin by cutting a 3 inch long piece of 3/32 welding rod. I then drilled a 1/8 inch hole all the way through the handle. I then threaded the welding rod through all the holes making a more secure mount for the hinge.
I carefully pressed the two halves of the cover back together making sure to properly align the tab on the handle with the hole between the bell cranks. Once the screws were replaced the repair was done. The door now opens and closes smoothly and will be much stronger than in original form.
Considering the door s sell for $200 new and even used ones are going for over $60 this was time well spent. And since I used material I already had, there were no material costs.
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