Little Bit of Engine Work
Just got some of the shrouds on.. pretty confusing!

New Speakers
Put some new speakers into the R/T today, and when I mean new.. I mean they are brand new! They were sent to me from a friend that works at a Dodge Dealership. They are factory original premium speakers. Only $30 each!

Neons are notorious for water leaking down the door and causing the speaker to become rusted and the contacts to wear out. So I bought speaker Baffles from Crutchfield for a few bucks a peice to save my investment. I won't know how they sound, but it should be good. (If you do the same thing you need to cut the baffles to fit in the door, they apparently sound horrible if you seal the speaker in).

Power Steering You Are Next!
Today I took a trip down to the Junkyard just to get a few clips for the headliner and side trim. I ended up leaving with an intake manifold, 2 fuel rails, a dozen radiator brackets and 17 brake lights (plus all the screws, clips, and plugs I was after). Not a bad haul.. they had plenty of other good things there, but not very many DOHC cars.

After that I wanted to tackle the power steering issue. It had never worked since I got the car, and we had thought it was leaking. But as was discovered in yesterday's blog it was engine oil. So there had to be something wrong with the Power Steering system and that meant one thing.... the pump.

Luckily I had saved my working pump from my other R/T, and due to some other tricks I created to help with the ease of installation and removal of the pump I had it swapped out in no time. Filled it up as much as I could with the new fluid I had and gave it a try.

It worked!

It was almost scary how different a Neon with working Power Steering feels. I had forgotten it was so easy to turn the wheel. Ofcourse the Neon R/T's 16:1 ratio steering rack makes it turn the wheels even faster.

This car is coming together.. Headliner is next. Then speakers / radio... and finally door panels to seal it up. (oh and maybe it could use a good wash?)
Fixing Sunroof / Oil Leaks
Well I finally got around to working on the R/T again. I was getting tired of having water constantly leaking or dripping down from the sunroof & I needed to fix it. Thankfully I have yet to put in my new headliner, so dropping the sunroof assembly was a sinch. Cleaning up the RTV I so eloquantly put on the system was not!

It took about 3 hours of scraping, sanding and peeling to get the RTV fully removed. I was out to redo the foam weatherstripping that runs along the perimeter of the frame. Oddly enough they don't seal the whole thing.. Dodge trusted the sunroof frame to work as it should to divert incoming water into the drain tubes. With mine, they were clogged and the area for drainage was small... so water constantly overflowed.

I did manage to get it all cleaned up and then apply another bit of weatherstripping. Now water should not drip out and with the RTV cleaned up it ran smoothly to the drain tubes.

Ofcourse... the leak is still there when there is just too much water in the tray. But that is normal, and will actually be recitified when I install the headliner sunroof trim... because guess what... that is what keeps the water from spilling in to the cabin! Who knew?

The other issue was with the oil leakage. We had thought for a long time that it was the power steering fluid leaking out from somewhere, but when it didn't stop, and when I kept loosing a quart of oil... we suspected otherwise. In my rush to get the car back together I had put the valve cover (and gasket) quite slopily. It wasn't quite my intention to do it that way, as I was expecting to put a different valve cover on in a few days anyways.

But that came and went, and the car never got the new valve cover and I had forgotten all about it. But it came to me recently that the oil was probably coming from the Valve Cover area, and I hope I was right. There was plenty of oil located on the edge of the where it was leaking... it has to be from there.

So I put on a new gasket along with a new valve cover & an MSD ignition coil. I think it looks pretty good, albeit my scheme was going to be Red, but I think the wires and coil mesh well here.

Moth@#@$*king Radio
My coveted factory CD player has ceisted to function today. I don't know what happened or why it has happened.. but it doesn't work anymore. The fuses are all still good, and it's getting its power... it just doesn't display anything other than a single line on it's face.

I've taken the radio completely apart, and I am stumped. No resistors or chips look fried. It all looks like it should work like it should.

Looks like I'm in the department for a new radio (and speakers!). I'd love to find another set of stock speakers and CD player for it.
New LED Brake Light In Progress!
I have been developing this brake light for a short amount of time, but it looks like a lot of people are interested in them. It is a circuit board that mounts in place of the factory reflector. Its stuffed with 40 LEDs with a super high output. All plug and play, very cool.

They are being made in China by a factory there. I hope to have them in about a month and be selling them online.

Here is what it looks like:


During the day:

At Night:

Cool LED License Plate Light
I figured with the new plate, I should post a picture with my new license plate light. It is a setup with about 48 LEDs to replace the regular 1 incandescent. Its a direct bolt in and only takes a minute or two to install.

The difference is amazing.. you can see the light in your rear view mirror lighting up the road. I recommend them!

New Plates!
I got my new plates in the mail today for the new R/T. They make more sense when you see the two cars together.

I Believe I Can Fly
For some reason the R. Kelly song "I Believe I Can Fly" was playing while I was writing this. I finally got my sunroof fixed. I found a sunroof motor in the junkyard and that was the ticket to fixing it. The other one just didn't have enough torque to open it all the way.

Now... I Can FLY!

Junkyard (again!?) & Fixed Exhaust
I went to the junkyard again because they had gotten 4 new Neons the day earlier, as well as a 2nd gen! I wanted to grab that center console they have with the two extra cupholders and install it in the new R/T. I paid about $11 for the console and e-brake. Not bad! I had paid $40 for my other one and it was a deal then.

I also grabbed several valve covers, and UNFORTUNATELY grabbed some Cam Shafts. I had assumed they would be very cheap, but they ended up being $40! Because of that fubar.. I spent about $100, but I did end up with a ton of stuff.

After the junkyard I wanted to try and fix the exhaust leak. With some help from I decided that it could have been the exhaust donut that goes inbetween the cat and the manifold.

$30 for the gasket and $10 for new bolts (the Napa guy gave me a set for free!), and I went to install it. The process was fairly simple. Jack car up, remove two bolts and put in new gasket. However, I found that it was a two man job, and needed a little extra help.

The new gasket was the trick though. It fixed the exhaust leak, and the system now SOUNDS GREAT. Easily the best sounding Neon I've ever had, maybe the best I've heard in the long time.

New Brakes
So with the drive yesterday, I found that the brake pads were all completely worn down and all of them needed replacement. I hoped this would fix the problem with the sound of dragging brakes on the rotors. $60 later, and about an hour and I had new pads all around. I kind of got lucky because the autoparts place were out of the cheap pads, so I got the premium pads at the same price as the cheaper ones.

Going for a test drive, and the brake sound was still there. I didn't know what it was, but I should have seen it when replacing pads.

The rear rotor(s) were WARPED. You could turn them by hand and actually see the wobble that they had. So another run to an Autoparts store and $40 later (really cheap!) for rear rotors and I was set to go.

Going for a drive and the only problem now is the lack of power steering, check engine light, and the loud exhaust. Fixes for those will come.

Finishing up the car.
I had finally gotten the car to a point where I could drive it today. Most of the interior was back in, atleast from the front seats forward, and the lights and engine were working. I had spent all of the day doing little tweaks and installing parts. I put in new light bulbs all around, turn signals and headlights, as well as the R/T wheels from my other car.

The test drive was disappointing. I didn't get it ready to go until about 9PM at night. The headlights weren't aimed properly and I couldn't see really well. The power steering was out. The check engine light came on as soon as I got out of the driveway. The brakes were worn out and dragging, and there was a loud wheel rubbing noise. The exhaust had a loud sounding leak.. and the paint was burning pretty badly off of the exhaust manifold.

Looks like this car isn't done yet.

Stranded Beetle & Junkyard.
On my way to the junkyard today I saw a classic Volkswagen stuck on the side of the road. I didn't have time to stop and just kept on going to the junkyard where I managed to score a trunk lid carpet, and several throttle bodies. About and hour later I drove by the Beetle which was still sitting there, and decided to pull over and see what was up.

The guy driving it had been sitting there for a few hours. He was in his 70's and totally had the shakes... but he was prepared to work on his car (even pull the engine and do an oil change right there on the side of the road). He had coveralls, tools, a picnic lunch, and a carpet square to sit on. His fuel pump went out but his daughter was bringing a new one to him.

His car was a great looking and original 74 Standard with a bored out engine, and it sounded like he was an avid VW guy. Said the car was a blast to drive and easy to work on.

I hope you got it running and didn't get stuck for too long!

Brand New R/T Seat.
Thanks to some crafty seat foam swapping. I now have a perfect driver side seat. The seat that we dissected yesterday had perfect seat foam and bolsters as it was a lesser used passenger seat. That seat foam was modified slightly to be put on the R/T seat frame and it all went perfectly.

Here is the new seat foam in question:

Using Zipties instead of the normal hogclips, we put the R/T fabric back on that seat foam and put it all backtogether.

The result?

A perfect drivers seat that will last several more years of abuse.
Car Finally Runs.
It didn't take much to get the car running again tonight. Just a battery and some coolant, and it fired off after a few seconds of cranking. The struggle to get to this point was long and troublesome. It wasn't until after three hard days of work that it was possible.

The car idled very well at 900-1000rpm, I was surprised not to have any Vac leaks and it appears there are no bad exhaust leaks. I did have to watch the painted exhaust peices paint burn a lttile bit, but that is normal.

It won't be able to get an oil change and some other finishing details on the engine until Monday, but it was nice to get it done today. It really was.

It also wasn't the only thing I did today.. I worked on some interior peices and got my turnsignals tinted. These will match more closely than the stock amber signals would have.

The paint is Krylon Stained Glass in amber.
Seat Dissection
With that seat that I had picked up from the junk yard, we decided to dissect it and pull out the foam to repair the sagging driver seat that came out of the R/T. The process is pretty simple to be honest.

Use a 10mm socket and rachet to remove the tracks, and seperate the base from the seat back.

Once apart, the seat bottom has two hogrings on the bottom that need to be removed, and then the 4 fabric channel clips need to be undone. The fabric can be rolled up around the metal frame (which is quite beefy!), but don't go yanking it off. There are a few more hogrings. There is going to be upwards of 9 hogrings between the fabric and foam keeping it all together. You can spend time bending them out, or just cut them with a HD cutters like we did. Make sure NOT to damage the metal rods inside the fabric. Once all of those are out, the fabric can be pulled off. Get rid of the hog rings, as Zipties will be just as effective to use to put back together.

The seat back is a bit easier. Just undo the Z plastic channel, and roll the fabric up. Its held on with Hook and Loop (velcro) on the sides and has 3 hog rings right in the middle of the fabric. Get rid of those and then keep pulling up. Take off your headrest by sticking a small pin in the hole near the base of the headrest. It should come right off, and you can seperate the fabric from the foam and frame.

Thats it for now.

Be careful not to damage the foam, or fabric. If you are reusing it at all. If you don't have replacement foam, you can try to fix the existing foam with more foam and with fabric over it. Sometimes it might just be too far gone to keep.
Coulda Been Done Today
The R/T could have been running today but we ran into a few small, yet major snags. The biggest one being a motormount bolt was not threading in correctly, and completely tore up the threads. I managed to run to the hardware store before they closed and pick one up.. but it ate up about 2 hours of work that could have spent doing other things.

I did manage to get the heater lines run, install booger bushings, intstall the intake manifold, timing belt, tensioner, covers and motormount. Not too bad.. but it all should have only taken an hour and not hours. Pulling the engine completely would have been quicker.

Here is a glamorous shot of the intake and chrome fuel rail.

In addition to working on the engine I started to tint the clear turnsignals with Kyrlon Stained Glass paint. A few more coats and it will match the other turn signals.

I guess with the trip to the junkyard, it has been a pretty productive day. But we aren't done yet.. there is more coming.
Junkyard Haul
I went to the junkyard today for a few hours. It was the best I've ever done at the junk yard, they actually had two DOHC MTX Sports there, that I took quite a lot of parts off of. I ended up spending about $100 and running away with:

-Passenger Sedan Confetti Seat (with Perfect Bolsters)
-7K RPM Redline Cluster (w/ tach obviously)
-2 Automatic Throttle Bodies
-1 DOHC Intake Manifold
-1 DOHC Fuel Rail with Injectors
-Trunk Carpet and Trim
-Spare Tire
-Spare Tire Cover
-Power Mirror Covers
-Dash Vents

Maybe a few other things I can't quite remember. It was a very good day. I will be monitoring the UPull website from now on, and go in whenever they get a new Neon in.

Working on a New Headliner
I really liked the way my headliner turned out in my other Black R/T that I decided I would start out by doing that to this car while I am fixing up the rest of the interior. I plan on fixing the Sun Roof early next week so it will go in once that is completely fixed.

Making a new headliner is really easy to do. It just takes a few simple tools but a lot of time and patience. The material I picked out at the fabric store is specifically for headliners and is identical to the material that I stripped off the old fiberboard (excpet its black!).

This is the basic headliner:

Just pull the fabric off the headliner:

Wire wheel off all the remaining foam:

Get some 3M Super 90 (only the 90 will be strong enough to keep the material from sagging and falling off).

Glue the fabric to the fiberboard, trim and you've got youself a new headliner.

I don't have any pictures of the finished headliner, but I will get them up in a future blog post.
Installing the Head.
Time was spent today working on the new R/T which I will be calling "AJ SLOW" from now on. It will be my normal daily driver of a car, and also my beater in a way. The other R/T that I have will stay insane and will continue to just sit there.

I cleaned out most of the interior of the car. There is a ton of stuff that needs to go, be fixed or cleaned up.

I made sure to take all the brackets I had removed from the car, and the intake and fuel rail... and clean them up and paint them. They should make the engine bay look tons better.

I recieved a new head from a member that was out of a 2.4L Stratus. It looked like it was in pretty good shape, and we cleaned it up a bit. Installing it only took a little bit of time.

But unfortunately we hit a snag, and one of the cam cap hole threads were stripped out, and we had to helicoil it. It really took a good chunk of time out from the work.. not to mention caused a nice $50 extra expense I wasn't expecting!
Just a little bit of progress.
I haven't been getting very far on the Volkswagen this week while I've been ripping apart that new Neon R/T I got. I have managed to paint some of the engine tins, generator and generator stand.

Parts arrived today for the car as well. Including a new Bosch 009 distributor, wires, and plugs.. plus a few seals that I needed.
New Seats are Here!
Thanks to a local member of the Twin Cities VW club I now have the so needed seats for this Beetle. They are 60's style Low Back seats with a matching style backseat. They will probably be reupholstered with RED vinyl material. Should really offset the green nicely.
Engine Assembly Started
Finally got to work on putting the engine back together with a ton of new parts. Installed new 1680cc engine kit, and some new seats along with a bunch of painted parts. Starting to look good.. should look even better when its done.

Say goodbye to Neon
I sold my 1996 Dodge Neon Sport Coupe today. I have had this car for 8-9 months and it was perfect. Absolutely perfect. Had 196,000 miles and it looked like it was brand new.

Here are the pictures I took just before the new owner came and drove it away.


I had the original window sticker.

I had put in the original quickstart guide that came with the car.

Already have the engine disassembled.
This is the progress for today. Since today was the only day we have slated for it not to rain. I decided I should work on this and put off working on the Beetle's engine.

Amazingly this has been the fastest I've ever done a job on a Neon. I had my Dad working with me on this one, and between us.. we've each done a headgasket and timing belts ourselves. So doing this one together and it was fast.

We pulled the manifolds, belts, headgasket.. etc. In about 2-3 hours. I know some of you can do whole headgasket R+R in that time.. but this was pretty quick for us. (especially on a P/S & A/C equipped Neon).

Also replaced the tails, pulled headlights, and removed the black paint from the wheels.

I put the motormount back on, and the wheel. Its susposed to rain tomorrow and I didn't want them getting rusty. I also put garbage bags over the engine and other open spots so it doesn't get water in it.
Just got another R/T!
I picked up this Neon for $400 (I overpaid) with a broken timing belt. It has every feature except probably ABS, which you don't really need. Lights package, keyless, sunroof, power everything.. etc. I could have gotten it for $200, but the person trying to fix it included a timing belt, water pump, tensioner, and idler. Which I guess is good for an extra $100 (but $200?).

Its a black R/T to match my existing R/T, but debaded and stripeless. The previous owner did a lot of crap to it. Some of it looks good, but is not my style. All the turn signals and taillights have been blacked out. The power mirrors replaced with BMW style manual ones with integrated turn signals. APC projectors.. painted the R/T wheels black.. etc.

It does have a 3.0L intake.. which will be replaced with an Iceman and Battery tray. It has a stock exhaust manifold (uncracked!) to a stock cat.. which goes to a full Flowmaster system with two mufflers and a 3" tip. Hopefully it doesn't rub, and sounds good.. and doesn't leak! Looks pretty nice.

Here are the pics!

After the wheel and hub broke free from the car while it was driving.. the driver kicked the car (as we have heard).

Luckily.. its in the area that will be easy to pound it out from behind. There is one area where it is creased slightly. That spot will hopefully be unnoticeable.. but still there when done.

I don't know why.. but this door panel was broken in half. Perhaps the speaker system he put in for the car stuck out too far and he broke it taking it off.

Getting new door panels from a member here.

Chipdogg will be getting me a R/T wheel to replace the steel wheel that came with the car. They will be stripped of their black paint.. and most likely need to be powder coated.

Sunroof is off the track, or out of alignment. Hopefully just out of alignment. But I am an expert of sunroof repair now after working on them. It would be cool to try that $2.00 sunroof repair on the tracks.
Engine Dissassembled
Well. Rather than pull out the body and start body work, I decided to start on the engine instead. I spent about 10 hours working on it today. I started with the full assembly and got it down to block / rods with only a few problems.

The shrouds were very rusted and it took quite a bit of work to get them all off. Some of the bolts snapped, and they will need to be extracted. The entire thing was packed with cotton and mouse nestings. They had filled up the fan shroud pretty extensively, and it would have been a huge problem had I run the engine like that. I'm glad I decided to tak it apart!

The engine will be getting new pistons and cylinders next week, and all new hardware. Will be going 1680cc with the dual Kadrons and header.. lighter pulleys and a few other performance mods. It should breath new life into this little 60HP engine.
Rear Brakes Rebuilt
Installed new brake cylinders, pads, and springs on the rear brakes today. Nothing special there, but it needed to be done.

Also got the pedals, and master cylinder installed. Ready to run all the brake lines and then get on to working on the body!

Transmission Installed
Got the transmission back on the chassis today with all new hardware and mounts. Also put on the clutch return spring, and new cables and bushings. Then I got the axles back into place after having to rebuild one of them again. Its all buttoned up with new hardware.

Rear End Done!
Everything got buttoned up today. The rear suspension is all backtogether and the chassis is rolled out in the driveway to get some more paint and some seam sealer. I also threw the fisheye lense on the camera to get some cool pictures.

Rebuilt Axles & CV Joints
Been working pretty constantly on the car this week, and have a set schedule of things to do this week. They include: Assemble Rear End, Seam Seal, Paint, Install Transmission, Install Brake Lines & Rebuild Rear Brakes, and then finally start on the body work.

I got the axles rebuilt and painted, and I think they look great! New bolts, boots, and washers, plus greased up the CVs.

Fixed Air Conditioning
So I've been painfully struggling to drive my car in this 95 degree heat + humidity. My car has had a weak and squealing A/C compressor when I try to operate it. The can of refridgerent that I put in it back in June just wasn't enough to make the system work cooly.

I put another can in it, and guess what! It works! But it still locks up the belt ruining the power steering. I have always had a problem with that belt not being on tight enough.. so I went out and bought a gear wrench to work on it. The power steering bracket is very difficult to get at without it.

Once the belt was tightened back up the whole system worked beautifully. Who knew all I needed was a tightened belt and one more can of refridgerant!? I wish I had known that back when we took a road trip to Chicago in the blistering sun.
Rear suspension fully painted
The back side of the chassis is all painted fairly well and is ready to go back together. I think everything turned out really well and its all really clean. I have a ton of new parts from CIP1 that need to go on, like transmounts, axle boots, brakes and rubber bushings.

I ordered a ton of bolts from BoltDepot, to do the reassembly.. but I'm afraid they won't be here until next week. I really want to get this thing knocked out.
Transmission Painted
Got the transmission painted today. It took a lot of work to get all the caked on dirt and grime off of it. Wire brushing, scraping and pressure washing took care of it.. but it took an extremely long time.

I managed to get atleast a coat on, and I think it looks really good. The color is "Cast Aluminum" which is basically what it would look like if it were polished really well. This is easier.

Painted a bit of the rear
Spent a while removing rust in the back section and then painting them with the first layer of Rust encapsulator. I actually ran out so I had to order another quart from Eastwood. The new stuff will be red, so don't let that confuse you.

The rear spring covers were rusted fairly bad, so I ordered two used ones from BFY. Should be here next week along with the paint so I can button this back up. Have a big parts order coming in tomorrow with all the tools, mounts and cv joints to complete it. Hopefully the rear drums don't need much work done to them.
Rebuilt Pedal Assembly
Just spent the day undoing the rear suspension. I managed to remove just about every peice I need to, to clean up and paint and also lower the rear. Unfortunately.. its not going to be easy to put back together. I pulled the torsion bars and don't really know at what angles they should be at.

I should be able to wing it as I do have a few marks and measurements to go off of, but the suspension might be uneven until I can get the body back on and get some weight on it to readjust.

Also tore apart and painted the pedal assembly, but couldn't reassemble because I broke a spring that I had to reorder and need some new circlips.

Transmission Removed
Here is how I solved the stupid issue of those CV bolts, since I could not find a proper triple square driver. I did manage to get 8 of the bolts out, but had to resort to drastic measures to get about 4 out.

I used up a few drivers, and later bolts that I welded to the nuts in order to get them off.

I'll leave the outer CV bolts for when I get the triple square socket.. then I'll replace all the bolts with allen heads or something.

Got the transmission out today.

Gonna finish cleaning up the frame and paint it.. replace the shock, and lower it a spline.

Painted Bottom Side
I got the bottom of the floor pan painted yesterday. It took about an hour to do because I decided to brush it on. I'll let the pictures do the talking.

Fixed Rust Holes
Here is what we did to fix the problems of rust near the front of the pan. Some plates of 16 gauge steel were cut out to the exact same shape using a template, and then were bent to fit the contours, and welded.

Major Rust Holes
Getting a good look at the underside has revealed some pretty big rust holes in the front frame area. Two of the areas just required a simple square peice welded in with hole drilled. The other however is going to be a much bigger piece with some bends and radiuses.

Otherwise the bottom is getting very clean and will be ready for paint later today.

Cleaning the Underside
We tipped the floor pan up on end in the garage and started to work on the bottom side. There is a lot of undercoating and paint that needs to be removed as well as a little welding to fix some holes, and rust.

I am hoping to have it all cleaned and then painted by Wednesday.

It Rolls!
I put the wheels back onto the pan with the new disk brakes on. For the first time in a few weeks the pan is back outside and in the sun.

With it out of the garage I can clean up the big mess, and then prepare to flip the pan and work on the underside.
Disk Brakes Installed. Back on the Ground.
The brakes / hubs were installed on the spindles today. That means the chassis can finally get back on all of its tires and move around. With the front end back together, and the top of the pan looking good.. its time to concentrate on the underside. I will be flipping the pan and stripping it then painting it in the next few days.

Here are the disk brake install pics:

Ball Joints Finally Done
Well it took a couple of weeks to get these pressed out and in, but they are finally done. Removal required using several different presses and hammers and chisels.. even a welder. But pressing them in was very easy with the help of a ball joint tool from Autozone.

Painted Floor Pan.
Did a little bit of work with the paint sprayer and some Chassis black paint. Layed down a coat.. but I think it might be a little thick. We'll see when it dries in a few days.

Torsion Bars In.. Adjusters Installed.
Finally got that last torsion bar installed into the beam. That took freaking forever to get the think in.. from start to finish it took maybe 4-5 hours of trying. Ofcourse the method that ended up working was to tape the leaves together, and bevel the ends.. and once they caught in the center was to pound it through.

This method worked, but it wasn't easy.

It took atleast half an hour to pound the bar through the beam.. and then end got mushroomed a bit. After a little bit of grinding.. HOPEFULLY everything is back to normal. The suspension adjusters were installed after that. They vary the height of the suspension about 1" lift to 3" lower. I set them to about 2" lower I think.

The pans were finally in a position to get painted as well. Here is the base coat of Rust Encapsulator. Next coat will be the glossy Chassis black.

Finally starting to look good.
Passenger Seat Track In.
Got the other seat track on the pan today. It turned out REALLY well. The plug welds all were thick and solid with perfect penetration.. I'm really happy with how it turned out. If the car were ever in an accident. I'd be more happy to be in the passenger seat.

Now onto those pesky Torsion bars!
Torsion Bars = PAIN IN THE ASS.
We spent more than 3 hours working on the torsion bars tonight, trying to coax them into the front beam. The upper leaves went in no problem it only took an hour of trying...

But the lower ones are being such a big hassle that I wonder if they will ever go back into the center retainer. Who knows if the retainer was damaged or mushroomed out when we were installing adjusters.

We'll have to finish those tomorrow.. as well as get the ball joints done. The rest of the parts to finish the front end off will be here Thursday.
Finally Back to Work.
I hadn't really been working on the car much in the last week. I was hoping to be completely done with the front suspension but the ball joint woes continue on. So far 3 of the 4 have been removed. I think I am going to have to break down and find a professional to do it.

I got the seat track on the passenger side welded in today. It was a hassle, requiring three starts of botched welding. My plug welds weren't holding well, so I tacked it first then ran some beads and plug welded it.

It looks like a mess.. but it works. That seat track aint going anywhere..

On to the other side tomorrow! Plus some bolts from McMaster-Carr will be here for the front beam. I hope they fit!
Started Assembling Front End.
I have been waiting on parts again for about a week. I really wanted to have the front end together and rolling, but I am still waiting on the ball joints to be finished. Thats not the only thing, because I also need the disk brake seals, dust shields, a few bolts, and still need to strip and paint a bunch of parts.

Here is the front end as it sits now:

Avis Adjusters Installed.
Took me just a little while to cut a slot in the front beam to weld on the adjusters. I decided rather than taking out the bearings and bushings, and remove the center retainer.. I would just use the stock one thats in there the same way the Gene Berg kit is.

So I ordered some new bolts that will thread into the existing hole (14mm x 1.5), and will be set when they arrive in a few days.

I also spent some time painting the beam, and floor pan a bit more. Its almost ready for the Satin gloss black paint! I also got a few shipments today of parts, hopefully by tomorrow I'll have 90% of the parts to completely finish the front end.

Now if only I could figure out how to do these damned Ball Joints.
Overheating? Or Gremlins?
So my car has been "overheating" the last few days, and I didn't really think it was overheating. I was right.

The core support ground is bad.. or it is good. All of the Negative power is running through that one wire on the core support because the bolt is beginning to glow red hot.. and the wire is impossible to touch!

Looks like I've got some investigating to do.. I just replaced that other ground that goes to the engine, now I need to see if the one going from the engine to the frame is still there!
Disk Brakes are Here
I managed to find quite a deal. I came across a seller on eBay with a full set of disk brakes for the Beetle. They were in an auction and I ended up winning it. For a little under $200 shipped I got: Ghia Spindles, AC Industries Calipers, Rotors, OE bearings, brake lines, and dust caps.

It was a real deal, seeing as how other sites sell the same kind of kit for more than $300, plus shipping and buying the bearings. These brakes should function a lot better than the drums and will be a lot safer as well.

New Floor Welded In
We got the new Danish floor quarters from OEVeeDub last week. These are the highest quality replacement floor peices that anyone makes. They are almost as thick as the originals were. The original floor section was cut out with a sawzall and cutting wheel on the die grinder, and then spot welds were chiseled out.

The new peice fits in perfectly, and everything lines up. We wanted to recreate the original spot welds with our MIG welder. So holes were drilled every few inches, and then with the floor clamped in, the holes were filled with weld. When ground down, it looks just like it should be in there in the first place.

It is just as sturdy as the original had been. It will last quite a long time with a coating of Rust Encapsulator and Chassis black from Eastwood.

Front End Disassembled
The front end was completed disassembed today. The torsion arms, torsion bars, steering box, tie rods, and spindles have been removed. So now it is just down to the frame. It will need a lot of cleaning as it is covered in dirt, and it has some pretty severe rust damage as was seen in the previous blog.

I put in a pretty big order with one of the VW parts suppliers out there for just about everything I would need. I am going to replace: Ball Joints, Tie Rods, Seals, Spindles, Shocks & more. One kink I found while taking it all apart was in the brakes! One of the hubs is seized up or stuck pretty good.

These cars have 4 drums on all the wheels, and personally I hate the idea of having to rebuild wheel cylinders and bearings.. plus the spindles look horrible.. so disk brakes will be in the future!
Cleaning up the Pan.
With the body off, there is a ton of rust and dirt that needs to be cleaned off of the floors, frame head and front torson beam. We rolled the chassis out in to the backyard and spent some time pressure washing all of the dirt and crud off of it.

Once back in the garage we used the angle grinder and spent hours of wire brushing the rust off of the floors. It looks like the driverside floor is too far rusted to save, so it will be replaced next week.

At this point, we have the front end of the car sitting on a dolly and wood blocks so the front end can be removed and dis-assembed. Its just an easy four bolts, and two brake lines that need to be taken out to get the whole front end off.. Not Bad.

The torsion beam front end however, has some serious rust problems that will need to be cut out and patched. Luckily we have some replacement plates that will work perfectly as this type of rust is common, and replacement is common. The front end needs a complete rebuild.

Body Off.. Wasn't So Hard.
We got that body off today.

I had expected it to take a ton of effort, and 4-5 people to do it. With all of the fenders, deck lid and hood off with no interior and it only weighed about 250-300 pounds. It only took 3 people to manhandle it up and over the frame. I imagine if it had more body peices on it, it might of needed more.

We finally got a chance to to look at the rust damage on the bottom plate of the heater channel, and they both should be replaced. All the replacement sheet metal should be ordered and here in the next few weeks.
Ready for Body Removal.
I got all of the bolts out of the frame last night with sucess and an impact gun. Luckily none were stripped and none were broken. I was able to lift the body off myself for a few seconds just to make sure it was able to come off.

I hope to be able to lift it off with a few people to help.
Engine & Dash Out.
I spent most of the day outside and working on the Beetle. 11 AM to 9 PM. I started by removing all the stuff that once again has been placed inside the car for storage. I wanted to get to work on the dash modifications that I had read about on The Samba. I tore the dash pad off carefully and forcefully to reveal a classic 60's metal dash underneath. Unfortunately VW had to place an ugly foam cover on the original dashes in the US because of DOT safety regulations. It looks a whole lot better without. The holes and radio spot will need to be welded and filled.

I got to work trying out some chemical strippers on some of the body panels to try and get it down to bare metal. I found that a combination of paint stripper and a wire brush on a grinder works really well. The rear engine decklid is now close to being bare metal and ready to paint! Now for the rest of the car.

While prepping the car to take the body off, the engine needs to be removed. That was also done today. We used a series of jacks to lift the car up, and a motorcycle jack to hold the engine. Early VW's are interesting in the fact that they drop the engines out the bottom. Its really easy.. a few wires, fuel line, throttle linkage and 4 bolts is all it takes. Now the engine is out, and removing the body from the pan can begin soon.

Fenders off. Ready for fun.
The fenders and gas tank came out of the car today. It totally has that rat rod look going for it now. But ofcourse that will not stay. The fenders are all in pretty good shape, and will be reused.. a few of them have some dents but are otherwise in pretty good shape!

An angle grinder was also taken to some of the undercoating and paint to see how difficult it would be to remove. Not too bad, the metal looks like its in good shape underneath. Certain areas of the car are rusted out though and need to be replaced with patch panels welded in. We will get to that once the body has been pulled from the frame, and we know what needs to be done.

I have done a bit of planning as far as what I would like the Beetle to look like when its finished. The green color will stay (albeit repainted), and it will be lowered 2-3" with white walls. Should look pretty good!

Take that Dents.
A bit of time was spent today dollying out some of the dents in the hood (or bonnet), amongst other areas on the car. Its starting to look better.. but will no doubt require a final thin layer of body filler to fill in any impurities.
Just got the Beetle.
Well I finally found it. I have been looking for a car like this for months and months, years and years... and I've finally found one and laid the money down for it.

The car is a 1971 Standard Beetle. Manual with a 1600cc, and not too much rust. It isn't running right now.. but that might be because of a lack of fuel, amoung other vital fluids.

Today we started to disassemble the car in the driveway into bare form. Bumpers were removed along with seats, and any remnents of the interior, and any previous owner installed amenities. We will be pulling the body from the pan in the next few days and begin restoring the chassis.

Stay tuned.
Engine is Crap.
There is no compression what-so-ever. Sure.. I can feel air getting pushed and pulled through the engine, but there is no sealing for compression, and there is no combustion. Looks like I'm gonna take it all apart again.. the good thing is.. these engine can be taken apart and put back together in like half an hour.
Engine is Rebuilt
Just got done rebuilding the Scooter engine. It was pretty straight forward and only took a few hours. The new crankshaft is in, along with the 80cc kit (72cc). Just waiting on the carb rebuilt kit. Hopefully that thing will fire up and be ready to ride tomorrow!!

I bought it broken, so it will be the first time for me since I seized the engine up trying to start it last time.
Running Fine.
I finally am able to say the car is running fine and without hassles. I have almost put 200 miles on the car since the new radiator went in with no overheating, and no leaks that I can see. The car actually has a bit of A/C charge left in it to, so the air is cold when I need it to be.

The O2 sensor went out.. not sure about which one yet. Probably the one on the manifold, because that is cracked. It could just be the crack that is causing a poor O2 readout.. who knows.
Radiator / Headlights / Intake
Put the TYCs on it. They look amazing, especially with the amber bulbs which I didn't have / try on the R/T. Also installed an Iceman intake / battery tray, booger bushings (thanks Jeff/Tony), and a radiator from the R/T...

The battery connections are having problems. I know the battery has a charge but I cannot get it to do anything but click (jump starting works, and it runs fine once its started).. I've had the terminals off a few times now, cleaned everything and tried to seperate them. I cannot get it to make a better connection than what it already has. The nuts are pretty well rounded off... can I get new hardware? Or should I try some new connections?

I put a non-holy radiator into it, and I might have botched that up. I am noticing a bit of a drip from where the lower radiator hose goes. I'm not sure if its the clamp being too loose or the hose being punctured minorly... probably have to replace them both. Its okay... I'll be a radiator/coolant champion soon.
Overheating! ARG!
The car has been having some problems with overheating. It all started when the return coolant line from the heater core popped off and drained the radiator all over the engine. Luckily I had the tools to secure the line and enough fluids to fill it back up.

I thought everything was fine, but today coming home the temp gauge spiked up. Hopefully its nothing bad.. I've got a new coolant temp sensor to check that its not just a defective one.
Brakes.. ON FIRE!
Well... the brake line must have collapsed because the caliper has seized. The pads were pressing against the rotor on one side and heated the brakes up pretty good! Looks like the car will be getting new calipers, rotors, pads, and lines soon! Luckily.. those things are pretty CHEAP!
3.0L Intake and the future.
Got the 3.0L intake on the car today. It was trickey.. I don't see how people can just cut the battery tray and get this thing in here. It doesn't help that the filter was like 2" in Dia better than the inlet. I ended up taking out the driver side radiator fan, and just putting it in the front there (off towards the battery tray a bit too).

Took a bit to figure out why the car wouldn't start / get power. Had to redo the connections on the battery a few times till I realized the ground to the core support wasn't hooked up! Doh.. I sure hope this car doesn't gets ALL of its ground from just that little strap to the core support.

The car has a bit of a high idle (~1200 RPM). The IAC might be bad, because I can't seem to notice any vac leaks.

Ran a bit of Seafoam through it.. gonna let it sit til tomorrow and we'll see how much it smokes!

Also.. ordered a set of window stabalizers and a new driver side window track.

Gonna need to look up a new Bobble strut (the engine has quite a bit of movement), and I don't know about the other mounts.

This car is gonna be great.. Quiet. Reliable. (I hope!) Smooth. (the ride is amazing). Working A/C! Factory CD player.. Lights.. etc! I don't think I could let this one go!
UDP Pulley Installed!
Put on the UR (okay.. its a Cosmos) UDP on today with new belts. What a pain in the ass..

The actual removal and install of the crank pulley was easy. Getting the PS belt on tightly was impossible. Its still a little loose, but its as tight as I could get it (and I used the breaker bar in the hole for it). The Alternator was easy.. I'm glad they designed that one better (though it still was a pain!)
Finally done with the Timing Belt
Buttoned it up tonight.

Had some major problems that made it take forever.

First, the engine mount had to come off again because the bolt wouldn't thread into the tensioner. So that had to be untensioned and the bolts loosened. Had to rebolt it up straight.. then put everything back on.

Second. The valve cover gasket sucked.. Even with RTV it wouldn't stay in its groove. So I ended up redoing that several times. Then I lost some of the bolts and washer and spent half an hour looking for them.

Third. I decided as long as I have the coolant drained that I should do the thermostat and the pressure cap. While removing the water neck.. broke a bolt off. Not a big deal, my dad used an easy out to remove it. Then he somehow managed to break a hardened steel tap in there. It took like an hour and a half to get that out..

After that.. it went smoothly. Power steering was a bitch to get back on.. the crank was surprisingly easy. Did oil, coolant, spark plugs.. etc. Several new hoses.. The only thing I didn't have was a new 2" section of hose that went to the PCV. Thats the only thing that hasn't gotten back on..

Stock intake system went back on. I still need to get a filter for the 3.0L intake. (I ended up ordering one off of eBay).

With the exception of the PCV having a vac leak. It runs perfectly.. needs some adjusting of the brakes with the new pads put on. Maybe needs a simple bleed.. all fluids are at good levels.

Runs pretty smoothly.

Timing is a pain in the Ass!
Its a real pain to get the belt onto these mechanical tensioners. I've been undoing the bolts in order to slip it over. There isn't much room either and the PS line keeps getting in the way. Its annoying! I think I'm gonna go finish that and slap the timing cover on so I don't have to look at it!

It ended up taking me a bit of time before I figured out how to get it perfect. Ended up moving it back one tooth (instead of the 1/2), putting it on the water pump, idler then gears. Turn the crank to TDC (mark) then managed to slip it over the tensioner (which was loosened). Tightened it up, and checked.. everything is perfect.

Got the motor mount on with two bolts. I think I got the wrong ones on there so they have to come out. Jacking up and down the engine makes it easy to get them in.

Worked on the turns a bit.. fixed the runs I put into them. Wetsanded and they are getting a few more coats. Look really nice I think.. We'll see if its what I want to do. I could put the Euro tails on this car instead of the R/T.
Timing Belt Change
The inner timing area is COVERED in timing belt!

Yeah. The timing belt was seconds / minutes / hours / days away from breaking. Chunks were missing, it was cracking at about every tooth. The goo was the timing belt.. fibers all all, turned into a pretty good sludge.

Got just about everything off now..

Cut up the stock battery tray to prep it for the 3.0L intake. Pulled the valve cover to get to the cams. Took off the cam gears, idler, tensioner.. etc. Ready for the water pump to come out, and the inlet tube. Needs a good cleaning though first..

Motor Mount Frustration!
The side motor mount on the engine is REDICULOUS!

This thing is on there, and I can't figure out how to get it off. I've got one bolt left and its pressing against the frame rail. Its twisting a bit.. so I think it just needs a bit more turning.. Also trying to push the engine to the side but its pretty hard.

Got a ton of the pin striping off.. found a good method that didn't take but a few minutes for each section. The quartz molding was pretty loose on the doors. I just pulled moderately gentlly and it came off. (fender and rear quarter is still there). I think its gonna look good without it.. should look like a 95 ACR or something..
Timing Belt Change Prep
The lugnuts were a bitch to get off. Impact would not do it.. had to use the breaker bar and REALLY hit it hard. Everything on this car has been rusted together and has been harder to take apart than any other one I've worked on. The wheels needed to sit with some PB all over them.. it was pretty well rusted to part of the rotor/hub. After sitting a few SOLID knocks broke it loose.

Drained the Oil and Anitfreeze. It was not milky or anything.. so I feel like the headgasket should be good. The anitfreeze had just a bit of a rainbow on top, but since I drained it into the oil drain pan.. it probably was just leftover. The oil had a tinge or what must of been airated or bubblely oil. I know when I checked it, it was at or just above full.

Spent some time buffing the turn signals. Took my old headlights from the R/T and are working to clean them up (they are already REALLY clear compared to the SC's). I'm probably gonna do some test amber stained glass paint technique to alter the extra set of signals I have.

Took the crank pulley off.. it was a bitch. I have the right tool for it.. but didn't have the right length pin so I had to find one. Ended up just cutting the belts because they were pretty well rotted and cracking.. figured could just get some new ones. Few steps left til the timing belt and water pump can come off.. just a ton of side projects going on now.
Rusty Wheels!
Debadged looks REALLY GOOD. I should do the hood emblem as well.. I dunno about the side molding yet. I could always put it back on if I take it off.

Working on prepping the car for a new timing belt, water pump, tensioner, and idler. The wheels are STUCK.

The lug nuts were near impossible to take off. We needed to use a huge breaker bar and the impact wouldn't do it.

Now the wheels are pretty well RUSTED to the rotors. I sprayed a good amount of PB blaster and am letting it sit. I have spent a good amount of time pounding on the tires.. hope they come off soon!

Also pulled off the exhaust heat shield (took an hour!) and see that the manifold has a little crack in there. I don't think its leaking yet but we'll see what happens. Gonna do a 3.0L intake the junkyard let me have for free today.
Window Track / Fog Lights / Badging
Turns out the window frame or guide rail is snapped in 3 places. Its about a $50 part from the dealership. After that the driver side window should be fine. Also replacing some of the door panel clips so it shouldn't come off again.

I got the fog light out today. It was a pain in the ass because it has cruise control. I had to remove the vac box, to get to the bolt. But it was in there so bad.. I ended up having to air chisel the fog light.. then it took 15 minutes to get the 1 bolt back into the vac box! I would have hated to change out the foglight bulb!

Also dedaged the trunk. I wasn't a fan of the Purple Sport Coupe bading.. might remove the Dodge emblem on the hood as well. We'll see.. this car also has pinstriping.. I'll have to figure out how to get that. Might just use a big art eraser and see how that works
Pictures from Mopars in the Park
Its just about done.. I need to add a muffler (I'm running nearly straight off the header...) And fix a few things.. here are pics from the car show I just showed at:

Engine IN!
Its 2:40 in the morning.. and I'm tired.

Almost Done.
Here is what we got done today.. Cam Gears.. STILL NOT DONE.

I'll let the pictures do the talking..

Could it be going in?


Finally Sees Sun Light.
I got the suspension all done and installed today.

The car came out of the garage for the first time in a long time.



Struts Done
Here are my struts.. finally got new bearings and finished them.

Gonna get the ball joints installed today, then hopefully the car will be back to a rolling chassis tonight or tomorrow.
Powder Coated Silver Hubs
I abandoned the knuckles and hubs I was going to use. Seeing as how the bearings for those are like $40+ each.. I decided to go a different route.

I bought some silver knuckles and hubs, already powder coated with bearings installed for $25 EACH! They came off the beautiful Evette's car.. the silver is a tad bit different, but you won't be able to notice really

Intake Manifold / Fuel Rail Done
They turned out great.

Head Installed.

It is so ugly compared to everything else.

Crane 18's:

Springs of all Kinds
So mopar high rates are really short compared to stock springs! I did not know it was that severe.

Took apart the shocks.. and working on painting them. I decided to replace the bearings in them as well. They are only $25 a peice..

Here is my head. Uptownsport had it milled at Cheetah, and it is taken down about .041" off the stock surface. Really radical stuff.. I will probably also take the layer out of the headgasket.. that should give me something like .065 fully taken off the head and a compression ratio of 10.75:1... 47cc chamber size.

Installing the valve springs sucks. Took about 3 hours to do all of them. Some took minutes or seconds, one took about an hour.

This is the compressor I borrowed from Vitor. Its the real deal made by miller.

Then installed the lash adjusters and the rockers.

If I had more time today, the head would be installed on the block.
Started Reassembly.
Then I have some work done on the block to get it all reassembled. Here are 3 pictures of the oil pan, and 2004 mechanical tensioner I installed on it.

Then.. I powder coated the dipstick tube...

... and the power steering bracket...

Powder Coated Oil Pan
Got my oil pump and water pump back on tonight, along with the newly powder coated oil pan. Looks pretty nice.. I wished the pictures showed how good it looks. The bolts are painted black to clash with the silver oil pan.

Painted Transmission
Oh you naughty little tranny.. what are you doing sitting there on that peice of cardboard.

Oh.. you want to be grinded on?


What are all these newspapers for?

No wait! Don't do it! Don't do it!


Painted tranny.

I think the fumes are getting to me.

Parts Parts Parts!
Got about 8 boxes this past week. I ordered about $300 worth of parts.. this was way more than I expected it would cost. But I think in the end it will be worth it. New water pump, oil pump, timing belt, headgasket, tensioners, timing gear.. should hold up for a long time. All this on an engine that only has 75,000 on it.. and has had a timing belt and head gasket done to it already (atleast).

I removed the head from the engine yesterday. Took like 20 minutes to do just about everything on it. Really amazingly easy once the timing belt is off.. I hope reassembly goes as easily.

Looks nice?

It will get about .030" taken off the surface to up the compression.. hopefully this next week so I can start the rebuild next weekend, and possibly even drop the engine back in the car.

It took about half an hour and 2 trips to the hardware store to get the crank gear off of the crank. It was rediculous.. we ended up taking a flat blade and cracking the gear so it was easier to take off. This was ofcouse after we broke several bolts and everything. It was near impossible to take off any other way.

Painted the block:

Now it looks like once the paint is dry on the block, I will be installing the new oil pump and maybe a few other parts onto the face of the block. Not much I can do otherwise.. I did pick up a can of high temp silver paint as well.. anyone have any idea what I'd do with that!?! (*cough* transmission *cough*)

Also.. Todd (venomm) was over today, and mentioned that it was like.. freaking impossible to get around in the garage, and was really dirty. So I went in and picked up everything and organized stuff so I knew were it was.

Bottom End Disassembly
This is the new plenum that I have been working on. It has been ported to about 55mm all the way through into the main chamber. We still don't know if it will clear the transmission or what. I really hope it does.. I bought it off of the board here, but it was apparently used on a 2.4 swap. Maybe I should go pick up a 2.4 bottom end?? and throw my head with crane 18's on it?? TURBO?? Nahh.. I don't think thats in the cards right now. Never know.. I mean if I came across a perfect 2.4 bottom end for like $100 I probably would.

Here is the oil pan after some light sanding. I am working to clean it up so its ready for powder coating. But thanks to the strengthening fins.. it is very hard to get into the crevaces.. and sand blasting with my lame compressor would take forever.

Here is the crank on the engine. I was able to check the slop in the rods, and well. There is just a little bit. I don't know how much would be bad? Like its maybe a very small fraction of an inch side to side. Didn't check front to back..

Prothanes Here.

I have no idea where most of these go.
Engine Out!
I had plans on being further than this.. but I have a really bad cold.

Getting closer to remove engine.
Its about there!

Since my engine stand has yet to arrive, I find myself stripping more than I was planning to. Seriously.. if its not here tomorrow I think I will take the tranny off, maybe even the head and timing belt. Look at all my parts!!!

Anyone want anything? TOO BAD! Most of its going back in.. or sitting in a box.

Here is the exhaust Tony welded up for me this Spring. I never took any pictures of it all together, so here it is. I'm gonna need to get some parts of it adjusted, I'm either going to borrow a welder or see if Tony can work on it when hes back at his parents house next. PRETTY PLEASE TONY? I need to fix the cuts we put in the end of the glasspack, and would like to weld in a flange off of the long tube so its seperable.

Here is the intake manifold I've been working on. Its pretty decently ported out, lots of casting flash has been removed and some minor adjustments. Its not quite done, but should be great with my Crane 18s.. ALSO. When I took my existing manifold off, it kinda looked like or felt like my existing head has been ported.

NO EGR into the Plenum!
Engine almost ready to come out
Only got the alternator, and header off. I found that one of my wiring harnesses was rubbing on the axle, and it may be pretty close to rubbing the wires. Also saw that one of the metal lines that runs on top of the steering rack is squished and flattened.. anyone know about that? Bad???

Tonight after work I will try to do the radiator, and fuel rail.. got the stand coming in the next few days.. so I want to be ready!
Little bit done.
Well I got a bit done on the car yesterday.

Drained oil, mtx fluid (ATF!!!!!), antifreeze, and removed the muffler and piping.

Today I will remove stuff like the fuel rail, header, alternator.. and radiator.
Powder Coated Wheels
I've started doing basic work powder coating the wheels, they will most likely be done on Jan 1st or Jan 2nd. I would like to pick up my engine stand this week and get the engine ready for pulling.. like drain antifreeze, the oil, battery, battery tray. Might as well remove the radiator to fix the fans and possibly replace it with a silver radiator.. I also will need to get under the car to remove the exhaust (we welded the cat and a glasspack to the header with a flex pipe big mistake! gonna cut that and weld a flange in).
Last Day. Plans for the Winter.
Today was my last day with my car, it has been packed up fully, and slipped into the garage for storage. Along with it have gone some awesome goodies that I will be working on and installing during the winter.

Now coming this winter the car will see a complete overhaul. It will be a masterpeice inside and out, and UNDER! I will be ordering a full professional powdercoating system, with sandblaster, lots of colors, and an oven to bake parts in. The whole suspension and engine compartment will see some new bright and shiny powdercoated parts.

The car has a lot of parts that need to be put in, as well as many to be taken off. I am going to go through the engine compartment and remove all the un-needed (and probably unworking) emissions systems.. and replace a bunch of parts as a prevention for them breaking (timing belt, water pump, oil pump, and tensioner).
TYC Headlights!
I got the new TYC Headlights installed. These things are amazing, awesome light output and an amazing price (around $100 shipped!). I am also one of the first cars on the road to get these! Everyone else will be waiting months until production gets ramped up.
TB and Subs
I got a rebuilt 52mm (or whatever size, larger anyways) Throttle body installed on the intake manifold. I have also gotten a new Intake Manifold from the junkyard to be Ported and Polished out. That should deliever some good gains once it is all done!

I've been working on my Sub set up, and that will be happening over Spring Break in about a month. For now I've purchased a 4 gauge wiring kit, and will be working on wiring that up in the next few weeks, as well as moving the computer to the trunk, and the screen to the dash.

Then in April I will fiberglass the rear trunk for 2 subs and possibly 2 amps! Check back for updates often!
Dress Up and Electronics
Well some new stuff! I got a kit to dress up the engine compartment for pretty cheap on eBay so I threw that over all the wires in the engine, it looks better but needs some more added. Also, the colors don't match some were a light grey, and some a dark grey.. but it looks ok. I'm looking to get an Avenger Valve cover, and a new intake manifold to port and polish.

Also, I made a AMP rack holder out of 1/2" MDF to hold my future subs, and other trunk accessories. I am thinking of relocating my computer inside the box as well. It will be carpeted in the future, to match the trunk.

I am also moving my computer monitor to where the center dash vents are, it will be molded in and made to look like it belongs! I have other plans, for it as well, but for now it is out of the car until I have some warmer temperatures to work on it.
Rice Busters and Carputers
The car has been worked on on and off over the past month. I have been working to maintain the cars snow worthyness by making sure everything is in good mechanical order. Winter driving is nothing like Summer driving, all the little problems start to bleed out.

I have removed my Rice pedals and Taillights. I will probably replace the pedals once the spring hits, as well as fix the sunroof. (Neon sunroofs are awesome, but they all break). I am starting on a new project for the car during the current Winter break, and on and off during the winter during school. I was intrigued when I saw a Neon with a LCD screen built into the dash while connected to a computer. I stumbled upon the world of Carputers and have already laid down $500 dollars just for the few parts.

Today we removed the passenger airbag, and most of the dash trim. The airbag has been blown by one of the previous owners, in the cars accident. We took the cover of the airbag and taped it (will be glueing and riveting) the cover into place so it look stock. Where the airbag once sat is the perfect place to intall a 6" x 6" Mini-ITX motherboard, and harddrive. I ordered all the parts off the net, and expect them in a few days.

I also purchased a 7" Widescreen VGA monitor, with a built in touchscreen mouse. It will be connected to the computer with software (MediaEngine), to play MP3s and DIVX movies. I have yet to decide if I will purchase a DVD-ROM drive to play DVDs. I will need to find a spot to install one, or buy an expensive slim drive. I am also looking at GPS solutions, the recievers are quite inexpensive ($50) but good software can cost and arm and a leg (almost more than the computer itself) The widescreen monitor will be mounted up on the top of the ceiling. I have designed a position in the car where the current sun roof control sit. Those will be moved a few inches to another spot.. I imagine the whole thing just working together amazingly, but know there will be many setbacks on the long journey of creating this system.
Finished installing the rear strut tower braces, the car handles amazingly. With the R/T suspension, and the braces it takes turns with ease, no more body roll (there was little to begin with). I also got my Booger Bushings and got those installed, its like an all new shifter! Tighter and shorter throws, its very good.. looking for new tires for before winter now.
Strut Tower Braces
I got my front and rear strut tower braces in the mail today. They look great, and hopefully will work with the R/T suspension to give me more rigidity. I didn't get around to installing the rear one, as it started raining, and this daylight savings has cut into my afternoon sunlight. I will try to do it tomorrow.. I also ordered my booger bushings today. I am looking into getting tires before winter. Thinking about Kumho Ecsta HP4716s. Tell me what you think!
Iceman Intake
My Iceman Cold Air intake arrived in the mail today. I started ripping though the engine compartment removing the old one, and the battery tray. After those were removed we found some problems underneath, but were easily fixed with some coolant and new hoses. The Iceman came with a open element racing filter, and increases horsepower, and torque quite a bit. I fabricated a custom battery hold down, and got it all put in.
Reverse Glow Gauges
I recieved my reverse glow gauges in the mail today, and worked for hours to get them all in and powered up. I still have a few glitches with the needles sticking, and making sure they are in the right positions.

I spliced into the main interior wiring, so when you dim the lights for the rest of the car they also dim. They work right off of the headlights like the original gauges. There is an external switch that transfers from green and blue and also dims. It is sticky taped under the dash and is in the perfect location.

Tomorrow I will probably get my Scoshe install kit for my stereo. That will also get some cool blue LEDs lighting it up.
Switches and Neons
I have found the perfect things to put in those little holes above the center console of the Neon. I got these little switches at Autozone that are pretty small, and the perfect 3/4" size to fit in the 2 holes. But 2 switches that don't do anything is pretty tacky.. and after all these do light up blue too.

So I went out and bought some blue Neon to put under my seats and in my dash. (I got 1 tube free from Sony, so I thought why not just go with it). I placed a 15" blue glow up above the pedals in the perfect area up there.. and 2-3"ers under the driver seat. It is all controlled by the switch on the left. The switch on the right doesn't do anything for now, but I'm thinking of doing some visual mods on the outsite of the car. Here is a good shots of the pedals.. nothing else turned out good.

I am getting a Scosche stereo install kit with the cd pocket in the mail from, so once I get that I will post another update. I plan on putting 2 blue LEDs inside the cd holder to make that glow blue as well. I have placed blue LEDs in the dash to light up the center console while still being hidden. I will probably place them around to accent the tweeters, and A/C vents. I am also rewiring the fog lights, and rear defroster switches to light up blue instead of green and yellow. I have some reverse glow white faced guages in the mail as well. Those also light up blue, so my car will be glowing soon... now when can I start on my performance mods.

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