Archive for the 'Cars' Category

Levelling Up in Auto-Mechanics

Monday, May 2nd, 2005

I never really feel like I own a car till I’ve done some half serious work on it, so I’m noting down here, as it’s as good as anywhere, some of the work I’ve done on the Green Tuna in the last 3 weeks. While the kids have been grinding levels in EUO I’ve been grinding “Real Life” (RL) levels on the car. I think I’m about a level 3 now.

Engine stalling after starting, runs like crap, blowing smoke out pipe, smoking under bonnet!
Smoke from under the bonnet - sounds terrible! What a demoralising thing to have happen to your new car. The engine stalling, smoking & running like crap made me panic so I rang the NRMA. NRMA guy says change points and all should be sweet. Also notes that smoking from under bonnet fixable by cleaning or replacing PCV valve, which I do, which indeed stops the engine smoking. I also put in new points. By co-incidence, and not design, the car runs ok for 2 weeks (not that I ran it much), but then the same old nasty happens again: stalls after starting, runs like shit.

One thing the NRMA guy did do was test all my electrials, and apart from points, it was all good (ie coil, spark, etc). The thing the NRMA guy failed to notice (and what I failed to notice properly) was that the carb had flooded petrol all over the manifold on top of the engine. NRMA guy said ‘ you should fix that leak’ but didn’t deduce that that was the cause of all my problems! So 2 weeks after NRMA guy, when she starts playing up again, I open the hood and lo-and-behold: the carb has flooded terribly and petrol is everywhere. I take proper notice this time, and think; carb flooding probably due to sticky needle valve or faulty float.

Check manual: sure enough, correct symptoms. Quickly take top of carb off, remove float and needle valve, clean replace. Float chamber is dirty as. After re-assembling the carb hasn’t flooded but now engine misfiring - I must have stirred up some crap from the float chamber and sent it into the jets. Nothing for it but to take carb off, strip it and clean it properly (or at least remove jets and clean float chamber). Too bad all my tools got stolen with the other car.

Anzac day (april 25): after some shithouse CS:S Maxwell (Allah bless him) invites himself over and brings his 13mm open end spanner, what I need to get carb off. I remove carb and strip and clean it and re-assemble it on loungeroom floor while Adam watches Half Life Done Quick. One hour later, put carb back on and car works perfectly, and has done so all week. Have done about 70 trouble-free miles since cleaning carb. Fingers crossed. Only thing I didn’t like that the carb had a slight petrol leak after replacing - possible one off - all other carbs I’ve had had leaked a little. Definitely no sign of flooding tho! Later in week replaced fuel filter.

Summary: carb needle valve sticking probably due to 30 years of crap in float chamber. Engine misfiring after aforementioned crap gets into jets. Smoke from bonnet fixed by cleaning PCV valve.

High pitched whine in distributor
After replacing the points the dizzy starts making this annoying ass whine that would come and go. Turns out it just needed a bit of oil under the plate that the points are mounted on. I don’t believe in co-incidences but maybe the dizzy squealing from being a bit dry did have nothing to do with the new points, or the way I put them in. At first I thought it might have been faulty points, or that they needed a bit of oil on them (which I also thought was extremely unlikely) or the more likely scenario that the cam that the points ride on needed a bit of grease. Oil inside the diz under the points mounting plate fixed whine completely.

Annoying squeak in dashboard, crappy lock on glovebox
Removed glove box and found the noisy dashboard mounting peg. Applied light oil, squeak gone. Glovebox lock oiled. Glovebox lid not aligned properly, so loosened all mounting screws, aligned lid properly, retighten, lid fixed.

mileage: 67970 (also replaced air filter)

Things left to do

  • change oil & filter
  • replace noisy fan belt
  • change spark plugs
  • check points gap, drop to 0.016″ (the max spec, it’s about 18 thou now)
  • try and fix fuel gauge (which will probably be a slut)
  • fix clock
  • secure centre console
  • strategicly place some stiches in carpet just to tidy it up


Sunday, February 27th, 2005

stolen HK Monaro
old car :(

HQ Prem, the Green Tuna
new car :)

This week I decided to buy another car. This decision had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that my original, and most precious car, a 1968 HK Monaro, was flogged from outside my apartment the night after Valentines day. The STOLEN posters I printed up at work and plastered around Stanmore hadn’t done anything, and those destitute weirdos in the Yahoo Monaro group were no help at all. For all I know those dirty middleaged vultures were in on the conspiracy. Bits and pieces from my beloved HK are probably adorning these losers’ shitboxes right now. And of course the useless inner-Sydney cops are too busy riding their pretty horses, or telling responsible citizens like us to turn their stereos down 9:30pm on a Saturday night, to be out looking for my car. Society as we know it is fucked.

So naturally the first place I checked for a new car was Ebay, and sure enough Ebay came through with the goods. For four and a half grand I picked up a very nice 1972 Holden HQ Premier wagon, with a small v8 and 3-speed auto on the tree, aftermarket air-con and power steering, the sort of car I’ve actually been thinking about buying for a while now - a true Australian icon. And as my good friend Boothy might have said, although the green-cyan paint is a bit ‘gay’, it offsets the car’s natural manliness. We all know the last thing I need is to have my car looking more manly than my own good self.

The dude I bought this Green Tuna from picked me up from Manly wharf in his girlfriend’s Barina, a tiny car into which he could barely fit. I was almost completely dwarfed. Volumetrically, Andrew, a diver in the Navy, was about twice the size of myself, and I’m most certainly not implying that he was a large fucking fatass. Even if fat does float, they don’t let obecities like Pavarotti and Kim Beazley squeeze into wetsuits to set themselves loose, knives in teeth, armed with spearguns and MP5’s, on heroic underwater search and destroy missions.

When we got to his place, he backed the car out of the garage, and after a good look over and an extended trip around the block, I retired back to Stanmore to mull over the situation. A couple of days later there was still no news of my stolen Monaro, and no better cars for sale in the paper or on the internet, so myself and Andrew agreed on a price and I travelled across the harbour once more to pick the Prem up Thursday afternoon.

The car needed gas and Andrew wanted to take it for one last drive around Manly. Why not, I thought. He was only selling the thing because he was going to sea for god-knows-how-long the next week, to help defend this great country from countless unnamed threats abroad. The least I could do is let him drive his own car down to the petrol station; the Last Goodbye.

The Green Tuna’s 10-stacker CD player was already loaded with Andrews favourite tunes. “Let’s put some Ministry on,” he said. I nodded contently. Al Jourgensen would totally approve, I thought to myself. A couple of good old boys tooling down the strip at Manly in a prime specimen of Australia’s own King of the Road, perving at Manly girls in pink bikinis, rockin to the nasty industrial groove of New World Order. But it wasn’t to be. Instead, the awful stench of (what I assume was) some terrible blonde’s voice came assaulting through the speakers. “I love Ministry of Sound,” mused Andrew. “That chick sounds so hot.” Indeed she does.

Anyway the deal was made. After I gave Andrew the money he turned to have a final look over the car. “She’s going to miss Manly,” he said. “She loved going to the beach.” Don’t we all. Hell, this car has a better suntan than I do. It’s a good thing he left the Free Parking in Manly sticker on the windscreen, you know, in case she ever feels the need for one final roll around the Corso. Unfortunately he removed his Navy parking sticker. “I can’t leave this on,” he said with a grin, “in case you’re a terrorist.”

How these Times They Are A-Changin’, with the constant threat of terrorism and whatnot. You can’t trust anybody anymore. I can just imagine us now; Booth, Tone, Maxwell and myself at the wheel of the Green Tuna, rolling straight into some Naval base at night with the lights off and the engine cut; all camoed up and balaclava’d from head to toe and armed to the teeth with an assortment of illegal weapons and blu-tack that we’d bought with the money we earned on our last bombing run. Those mounted pony bitches had really been asking for it. But who’s funding this violent exercise? It doesn’t matter, because we’d get away with it, since Andrew left his Navy Parking sticker on a car that he sold to a nerdy terrorist. And you thought that crazy homeless arab in the brown gorilla suit harassing the teenage girls on Dixon Street, Chinatown was trouble.