May 2019 Newsletter
April 22, 2019
If you’ve never read an ETCG newsletter before, I won’t hold it against you, but you’re about to find out what you’ve been missing.
For the full newsletter, click here, or click the title image below. If you’re only interested in one topic, click the image in that topic, or click the “read more” link in that section and you’ll be taken directly to that part of the newsletter on EricTheCarGuy.com.
If you’re already reading this newsletter on EricTheCarGuy.com, do nothing but read on.
Crunch time doesn’t begin to describe it. I still have a ton of work to do on #ETCGDadsTruck before the end of May, including building the engine. Did I mention I don’t have the block back from the machine shop yet?
Yes, I am stressed, but I’m also optimistic. I’ve gotten a lot done on the truck as you’ll see later in the newsletter.
Still, the pressure is on, and I’m feeling it a bit. If I didn’t love it, I wouldn’t do it.
I’ve made a lot of progress since the last newsletter. The rear suspension and rear disc brake conversion are done. The differential is done. The front suspension, steering, and brakes are also done. Although not without difficulty as you’ll see in upcoming videos.
I’ve also pulled the engine and transmission. I stripped the engine down to the block and sent it to the machine shop. I was sad to find that the block was just a 2 bolt main, but that’s OK. This truck is not being built for abuse at the track. It’s just going to be a nice truck with a little ‘punch’. It’s going to be a ‘Dads Truck’.
The dash is apart and ready for modification. I’ve already installed the new radio and speakers. Still waiting for the custom gauges to show up so I can build the custom bezel for the dash.
I’m also replacing the headliner. I hadn’t intended on doing it now, I was going to wait for a later date when I had the time to do the entire interior, but when installing the hands free mic for the radio, I had to pull the headliner down. Such is life. BTW I’m also getting new sun visors. Old sun visors look like crap against a new headliner.
While waiting for the engine, I’ve gone through the wiring harness in the engine compartment and stripped out all of the wires that went to the old engine management system. The old ECU has also been removed.
I’ve also cleaned and painted the engine compartment and frame.
I’m now building the wiring harness back up with new circuits, including the new ECU harness. I’m trying to make it so that all I need do is drop in the rebuilt engine and plug everything in.
I still need to drop the fuel tank, or raise the bed, and replace the fuel pump. The new fuel pump is getting new wiring, and I need to connect the fuel sending unit to my new gauge in the dash. I’ll also need to sort out my fuel lines. I’m still thinking on that one, but I might have that sorted out soon.
In short, everything is apart, but starting to go back together. Will I be able to have it all together and running in the next 14 shop days? Well, I’m sure going to try. If I have to work some late nights, I’ll work some late nights. If I have to work extra days, I’ll work extra days. The biggest downside to working late nights and extra days is that I won’t be focusing on making videos of the process so much as getting the truck done.
I’ll know more by the time the next newsletter drops. In fact I should be just about done by then. If I’m not, I’m in real trouble. I hope I’m not in real trouble. That would suck.
Just after I stripped down the truck engine and took it to the machine shop, I pulled the Fairmont engine and got to work.
The Fairmont engine needed a little love. New lifters to be precise. The adjuster nuts on the new shaft rockers I put in last summer worked loose at some point and did a number on the lifters. The extra clearance caused the push rods to beat the crap out of them and they got pretty noisy as a result.
Why did I need to pull the engine to replace lifters? The only way to remove the old lifters was to remove the cylinder heads. That’s something of an undertaking in the Fairmont because of the exhaust and turbo. Pulling the engine is just easier. In fact, I can do it in about an hour and a half. I designed it that way, just in case.
I’m happy to report that the engine is much quieter now, but not as quiet as I had hoped. I’m still hearing some noise from those shaft rockers and it’s starting to worry me. I’d hate for them to work loose again, so I’ll be checking them as soon as I get the chance before I take it on the Power Tour.
There was one other addition to the #FairmontProject this month, fuel injection. Yes, I finally bit the bullet on that one and ditched my old carburetor.
Is the Fairmont better since I switched to fuel injection? Yes, and no. Yes it starts up better than ever. The engine is also smoother throughout its power band. Also, the idle stays put when I turn on the AC, or if the cooling fans kick in. But there are times where I step on the clutch as I’m slowing down for a stop, and the engine dies. It seems a bit more tuning is required.
I will say this, tuning the new EFI system is way easier than tuning the carburetor. No more fuel spilled on the intake for starters. I can also sit in the drivers seat while I do it. I can get used to this.
By the time you read this, a little mini series of videos will have aired about the new set up, including an installation video. I look forward to your comments on those.
The system I installed also works with an ignition system Holley makes, the HyperSpark system. I plan on installing one of those later this year. With that, I’ll be able to control timing curves as well as fuel delivery, all from the same interface.
Last summer I installed a hood vent to help get some heat out of the engine compartment. I used a vent from an 86-89 Dodge Turbo Lancer. It worked great. When cutting the hole in the hood, I screwed up and scratched it. I ordered some paint that was suppose to be the factory color, but it was way off. 40 years of fading in the sun changed the color from original.
When I removed the engine, I took the hood to a painter to take care of this ‘on the side’. The job he did was adequate, perfect for my needs. I wasn’t looking for show quality, just one color. One problem, his color match was worse than what it was before. Even though I’m not happy with it, at least the hood is all one color. At some point I’ll find someone who actually knows how to color match and have it redone.
Lastly, I tried to install the new wheels and drag tires but hit a snag when the brake lines hit the back of the new wheels.
At least I got a fender rolling video out of it. I’ve ordered new, “low profile”, brake lines and hope that solves the problem. As soon as I get those new tires fitted I plan to head to the track to see what this car can really do.
Last month I reported that I’ve been on a 6-day-work-week-burn for a while now. I usually work 6 days a week, but not at this level. It’s starting to wear me down if I’m honest.
Despite the fatigue, I’ve been cranking out the video. In fact, I have the next 5 weeks of ETCG videos uploaded and ready to go. If I can ratchet that up to 6 weeks, I’ll be golden. If I can achieve 8 weeks, I’ll be able to take a break after my car show season winds down. I’m really hoping for that 8 weeks of videos.
No matter what, I’m happy to be in this place with my videos. Having a stock of videos like this makes it so you still have videos to watch every week while I travel.
Premium Members got the usual 3 Exclusive Videos in April. “GMT400 Rear Disc Brake Conversion (Full/Extended Version) #ETCGDadsTruck”, “Last Ride in Dads Truck with the Old Engine (Exclusive Video)”, and “Full Suspension Footage #ETCGDadsTruck (Exclusive Video)”.
I actually have 2 more Premium Member videos in the cue ready to be released in the coming weeks. In addition to getting ahead on ETCG videos, I’ve also been working hard to maintain the monthly videos for Premium Members of EricTheCarGuy.com.
The Premium Member (Exclusive & Extended Video) library is growing every month! As of this writing there are over 200 (Exclusive Videos) for Premium Members! That’s like having an entirely new ETCG channel to watch.
I did drop the ball on an early release during April. I’m not sure how it happened, but there was never an early release of the “Test Drive & Tying Up Loose Ends #ETCGDadsTruck” video. I’m very sorry about that Premium Members. I will work to correct this issue so that it doesn’t happen again in the future.
Premium Members get up to 4 exclusive videos per month. They also get additional perks on the website, and they help support the site with all of it’s useful, free, repair content.
But wait! There’s more! Premium Members now get a 5% discount on all orders from J&B Tool Sales!
Get your membership today! Details on the new Premium Memberships here.
Recently, I’ve had some comments to my videos that go something like this: “Eric, I really appreciate the videos you’ve made over the years, especially the ones about Hondas, but this most recent direction with your channel is something I can’t stick around for. I’m not building or modifying a car or truck, and I just can’t relate to what you’re doing anymore.”
That’s a fair assessment, and I appreciate that feedback. It means a lot that you’re taking the time to share that with me.
Here is how I’m responding to this:
When I started the #FairmontProject I had intended to teach how each automotive system worked in a performance context. I failed miserably in that attempt. Instead, it became, “This is way more work than I intended, I hope I’m able to pick up the pieces and create some usable content out of this footage”.
I’m still working through that footage, all 70+ days of it. I don’t feel it was a waste of time, but I also feel that that footage is not what’s going to bring back former ETCG viewers.
Here’s the conundrum. I want to do what I enjoy. I enjoy building things. I love the challenges building a vehicle brings. Just read through my past newsletters and you’ll see that’s where my passion is.
I’m sad that my original audience doesn’t share that passion with me. I feel in some ways I’ve let you down, and I apologize for that.
I hope that one day I’ll be able to bring a new audience into the fold that enjoys what I’m doing now, and doesn’t lament the days I used to produce ‘repair’ videos.
For those of you that have stuck with me through all of this, words cannot express how much I appreciate you. Thank you.
I’m not saying I’m never going to post repair videos again. I’m saying that’s not what I feel passionate about. I feel passionate about sharing the knowledge I have through video. Lately, that knowledge is about how to build a vehicle over repairing it.
I would like to point out that if you understand how a system works, you’re much better equipped when you go to service or repair that system. In my experience, you get the most intimate, first hand, knowledge of a system by building it.
In my view, I’m still sharing automotive knowledge, just not in the same way that I used to.
I never intended to leave anyone behind. I’m sorry if I did, but I need to move forward, and if that means some of you move on, so be it. I won’t hold it against you. You like what you like, and the internet is full of other videos to watch.
For those of you that are into what I’m doing, past, present, or future, I look forward to brining you more of it. Thank you for watching!
Latest videos below.
How To Install a Holley Super Sniper EFI:
Holley Super Sniper EFI Unboxing:
Test Drive & Tying Up Loose Ends #ETCGDadsTruck:
My Son Gets His Learners Permit:
The #FairmontProject Gets Fuel Injection:
Video Title: May 2019 Newsletter -ETCG Video Description: The #FairmontProject gets a major upgrade and a crappy paint job. #ETCGDadsTruck is in pieces with 14 shop days to go. Will I finish in time?! #ETCGNewsletter }