September 2016 Newsletter
Welcome to the ETCG September 2016 Newsletter!
If you’re reading the email version of this newsletter, it’s not the full version, there’s so much more! The email version has been trimmed down to just the main topics. Click on an image, or ‘read more’ link, and you will be taken directly to the topic of choice on my website where the full newsletter is displayed. Go ahead, give it a try. It’s free!
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Past newsletters and the ETCG Blog can be found here. (those are also excellent)
Thanks for reading!
I suppose everyone feels their vacations are too short. That is, if they get them at all. I worked for years without them before I started taking them. Now that I do take them, I’m getting better at ‘relaxing’. Truth be told, I don’t think I’m cut out for that sort of thing, relaxing. I’m happy working although I will admit I get a little crabby after I’ve been working for too long. Hence the need for vacations.
This year I worked for a really long time before taking a break. A little more than 6 months of non stop action. It’s just how things worked out, but I have to say, I’ve missed my time off after this vacation more than any other.
What did I do? I spent time with my family in upstate NY. I drove the new Odyssey more than any other time since we got it last year. It’s my wife’s vehicle. I have 6 vehicles of my own, 3 of them on the road, so I don’t need to drive it. Besides, she loves that thing. She hates to admit it because in a way that makes her a little more like me when it comes to her vehicles. I think she’s bothered and amused by that all at the same time. Only took 13 years and the right vehicle to wear her down.
I must say the Odyssey handled a family vacation very well. The ECO system took a bit of getting used to. It’s a system designed to shut down some of the cylinders while you drive to save fuel. You can feel it going in and out, and sometimes it can get annoying, but I got used to it, and I learned to drive it so it didn’t cycle so much. I have to say the system works because we averaged 25mpg with 4 people in a fully loaded van. I’d say that’s pretty good.
Yes, I’m aware there’s a system out there you can install to defeat the ECO system, but like I said, I got used to it and the fuel economy was excellent.
Outside of that, I enjoyed my fair share of Canadian beer, grilled food, had a nerf war with the kids where I got shot in the eye. My eye hurt for a week after the nerf war. I strongly recommend safety glasses the next time you get into a nerf war.
Wish I had taken just one more week, but no rest for the wicked as they say.
Don’t feel too bad for me as much of my work these days consists of building this awesome car.
Honestly, I haven’t done serious work on the Fairmont for about a month. There was the time I needed before the #ETCGMeetUp2016, then the ‘Meet Up’ itself, then cleaning up after and preparations the week before I went on vacation. Then I went on vacation and it took about a week to get caught back up. For lack of a better phrase, I’ve been busy and haven’t had time to work on the car.
Also, when last we left the project, I was facing a few issues. In the next section, I want to talk about some of the solutions to those issues.
After talking with Jack Hidley of Maximum Motorsports I realized the suspension I was running wasn’t going to work out as well as I’d hoped. Jack is an engineer with Maximum Motorsports and has been designing, building, and testing suspensions on Fox bodies for years. He’s a person I’m more than happy to listen to when it comes to the Fairmont’s suspension.
I originally contacted Maximum Motorsports to see if I could get another set of control arms for the front of the Fairmont. Some of you may be aware that at present, the wheels are pretty far forward and coming into contact with the front fenders when I turn the wheels.
After talking with Jack, it seems the K member I’m using may be the cause of this. Instead of moving the wheels forward 3/4” like the Maximum Motorsports units do, mine seems to be moved forward about 7/8”.
Some of you might be scratching your heads here. Why would I want to move the front wheels forward? The simple answer is for better weight distribution and handling. With the front wheels moved forward, the weight of the engine is moved back further toward the center of the vehicle. This makes the car less nose heavy and more predictable in the corners.
The fix for my current problem would be to replace the K member, front control arms, and convert the front suspension to coil overs.
This is an opportunity to address another problem I have which is hood clearance. With the turbo and carburetor set up, the top of the engine sticks up about a half an inch too high for the hood to fit properly. The fix is to install spacer plates between the new K member and body to drop it down about 1/2”. Since the engine is bolted to the K member, dropping it down will also drop the engine down. Maximum Motorsports has these spacer plates and I’ll be installing them when I install the new K member.
I’ll also be adding a thicker stabilizer bar to go with the new set up in the front.
The rear suspension is a different story. At present, I’m running the stock 4 link design with tubular control arms. Some of you may be aware that my new differential mounting points for the upper control arms are slightly off from the ones that were in there to begin with. The spacing on the old Fairmont differential was about 14.5”, the new differential spacing is 13.3”. This put the upper control arm bushings in a bind which I partially corrected by turning the bushings around. I did a Premium Member video about this.
Jack suggested a completely different approach. Instead of running the 4 link, he thinks it would be much better if I swapped that out for a torque arm and pan hard bar set up.
The 4 link design is OK for regular street use, but when you’re running serious horsepower like I am, you need something a little more predictable.
With the new set up the rear suspension will virtually be locked into place and a lot more predictable to drive. It’s a lot of work, but in the end, the car will be safer and more fun out on the road.
I’ll also get some great installation videos from the swap. I did some searching and couldn’t find anything with any real detail on this work so I think these videos will be a welcome addition to my library of videos.
Through a strange set of circumstances I made friends with the good people at QuickTrickAlignment. They make ‘at home’ alignment kits. With them you can perform alignments on any level surface. Once I’m done with the Fairmont suspension, I plan to try one of these kits to set up the alignment.
I posted this picture on my social media and it seems there’s a lot of interest in this. If an opportunity comes up before I finish the #FairmontProject I’ll certainly make a video of my efforts using this new tool to share with you.
It was a few months back when I mounted my new Mickey Thompsons on the P71 wheels for the #FairmontProject. I got the wheels from an online company for a very reasonable price, >$300 for all 4 wheels. Those wheels were made by Dorman.
When I had the wheels on the balancer, I noticed they weren’t quite ‘round’. In fact there was a great deal of variation in the wheels that was cause for concern.
I finally got around to editing the video I did where I installed the tires and decided to share it with Dorman. We had already been in communication about other projects. After watching the video, Dorman stepped up and sent me a set of 4 brand new Ford wheels as a replacement for my Dorman wheels. They asked if I could ship back the old wheels so they could run them through quality control to try and find out what went wrong.
Last week I mounted and balanced my tires on the new Ford wheels. Guess what, they were equally ‘out-of-round’. Just as bad as the Dorman wheels.
I’m concluding one of 2 things here. It’s just the nature of steel wheels to be out of round, or it just doesn’t matter. I suppose I’ll find out when I finally get the car on the road. I’ll definitely keep you posted on that one.
The take away is that Dorman customer service is awesome. At least it was for me.
I know I said it would be a while before I started making videos with my new GSR, but I’ve done just that and I’ve shot several videos with the car.
In the past couple of weeks I’ve shot videos on Honda Power Antenna Repair, Rear Electronic Latch Repair, Exhaust Header Installation, Hood Cable Replacement, How To Remove the Front Bumper Skin, and a Premium Member video on the Headlight Restoration and How I Repaired My License Plate Holder on the front bumper.
Some of these videos will be fast tracked so you can watch them in the near future. Others I may keep for a rainy day. Honestly I’m curious about what you viewers want. More #FairmontProject videos, or a little break with some GSR videos. Send me an email and let me know. eric@EricTheCarGuy.com.
I do plan to make a ‘project’ out of this car at some point, but right now, I’m just enjoying driving it. It’s a very fun car to drive and now all the ‘little issues’ are fixed.
Don’t get too excited. Although the 2002 Acura RL was one of the best cars Honda ever made, I just don’t have room in my ‘fleet’ to keep it. In fact, the car is already sold to a friend of mine who is very happy about getting it.
Don’t worry, I’m not letting it leave the shop without shooting some videos with it. In fact I shot an introductory video about the car for ETCG1 as well as a video on How To Diagnose and Repair a Broken Transmission Mount. A very common problem with these vehicles and it’s predecessor, the Acura Legend.
Fear not, I did say I had sold it to a friend of mine which means it will be back in the shop for future repairs that I’ll also be shooting videos on.
Not much has changed on the Fixing it Forward front since last month. I’m setting up a meeting with my accountant to fill out the paperwork to apply for non-profit status next week. Once the paperwork is filled out, there will be some waiting for it to go through. It’s estimated it should be completed by early next year.
In the mean time I’ve been talking with Joe and Susan Mikos about how to move forward with the program. You may remember them from a couple of newsletters back. They were the inspiration behind my visit to the McEachern Ministry Car Care facility to get ideas on how to grow the program.
I’m hoping we can start getting things off the ground before the non-profit goes through. I’m very excited to see where this ends up. It’s going to be great and help a lot of people in a lot of different ways.
In many ways I see Fixing it Forward as the legacy of EricTheCarGuy. Long after I stop doing this, I want Fixing it Forward to go on helping people. That’s been a dream of mine since I first began to think about it.
There’s still a GoFundMe for Fixing it Forward. If you feel inspired to donate, know that all proceeds go to the project.
I found out recently that G+ is going to be shutting down hang outs on air in mid September 2016. This means I won’t be able to do my live shows on G+ anymore. I’ve looked into YouTube live and believe I can pull that off. I just need to figure out how I’m going to set up the Q&A part of things. I’m hoping to have that worked out before the next show on September 7.
Finally!! We got our new streaming service! Many Premium Members have already commented that they love the new player and that the videos look better than ever. Just as good as YouTube as some of said. Some still claim they have issues with playback, but up to this point all of those issues have been solved by clearing their browser caches. If you do have issues with Premium Member content, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Premium Members got 3 exclusive videos last month. “Moving the Fairmont Driveshaft”, “What I Did With the Old Fairmont Engine/Transmission (Exclusive Video)”, and “Swapping the GSR Tires”.
Premium Members get up to 4 exclusive videos per month (maybe more) in addition to early releases of all ETCG and ETCG1 videos. They also get $2.00 discounts on VManuals. Memberships are now $4.99 per month and $14.99 per year. To get more info and sign up, click here.
Listen up, this could save you some serious money if you’re considering becoming a Premium Member of EricTheCarGuy.com. At the beginning of October there will be a significant price increase to all new Premium Memberships. Mainly due to the increased hosting costs we now have for the new video player. That said, if you’ve thought about getting a Premium Membership, now is the time. Otherwise, you may end up paying a lot more later on.
Well you’ve made it through another ETCG Newsletter. Well done you. I hope it was an informative and enlightening experience. I had fun writing it anyway.
It’s nice to look back on the month and recall all the cool stuff I did or am about to do. It’s a good life I have as ETCG. I plan to ride this wave for as long as I can and I’m taking you with me in the form of videos and social media. After all, I wouldn’t be doing it without you.
So, tune in next month for the continuing adventures of ETCG. I promise it won’t be boring, and if it is, you can always read something else. 😉
Thanks for reading. Latest videos below.
New Tires and Wheels #FairmontProject:
How To Install a Fox Body K Member #FairmontProject :
EricTheCarGuy Answers Questions Live #72 (AMA) 8/24/2016:
Video Title: September 2016 Newsletter -EricTheCarGuy Video Description: If you’re reading the email version of this newsletter, it’s the full version! Click on an image, or ‘read more’ link, and you will be taken directly to the website where the full newsletter is displayed.Thumbnail: http://www.ericthecarguy.com/images/newsletter/Sept/2016/September-Newsletter-Placeholder-850.jpg