The expanses of WolfWings' land scratched on the wall for all to see
September 15th, 2004
September 15th, 2004
September 15th, 2004
September 15th, 2004
September 15th, 2004
04:57 pm - Well... after several tanks of gas...
...I average about 32 MPG in mostly stop-and-go City driving, and that's when I'm driving on the Acceleration side with high RPM's and late shifting, which is rather wasteful of gas. This next tank of gas I'm going to be driving for economy, and see how good my milage gets then. Doing some quick math however, shifting 'on time' instead of 'late' should push me up nearly to 38 MPG for the same driving. If I can get the time, money, and tools to locate and install a 5th gear from one of the 'HF' manual transmissions for the same year car I have currently however, I could well hit 45MPG for highway driving, which would let me get to the Bay Area on a single tank of gas, since the car holds just over 11 gallons.
So, yeah, bay area and back for $35? That's pretty decent. :-)
Now to save up the $150 to replace the driver-side CV boot and axle. The CV boot's got some damage from being left unprotected against the elements on a mostly non-moving vehicle for years, same as the tires themselves had when I got the car.
Once I do that, the only outstanding work needed or desired is:
Get some sheet-metal and L-corner metal welded into the back to deepen, seal, and extend the existing 'spare tire' area far enough to hold two full-sized spare tires, two small compartments to either side for things like tire chains, and seal off the area forward of the wheel wells to the back footwells as covered 'trunk' spare with fold-up covers, so the back area can be used for medium-capacity storage and transport of tools, parts, and similair. ($200-$300 by current estimates between me and Stalking Cat, who I'd pay to do all the welding and metal-work since I both trust him, and can't think of anyone I'd rather pay to do work like that)
Flush the radiator system, not just drain it, but FLUSH the whole thing. ($30-$45 depending on where I go)
Replace the passenger-side front brake calipre ($75, extremely slow leak, only a permenant damp spot that if you wick off the fluid with a paper towel you can verify is brake fluid)
Near-identical issue with the master brake resevoir ($150 for that)
Neither of the above are pressing, and both can be handled by keeping a $5 bottle of brake fluid in the car that I check the resevoir with every time I get an oil change, in fact both might just be non-issues resulting from the car sitting out for so long
Replacing the oil in the entire car with straight 30W, transmission and engine both, since they are both rated to run on that, so I'll be able to keep a unified oil supply for the vehicle ($30 or so for my next oil change, also need to look into a source to get recycled 30W from)
Replace the windshield ($200 new, or a LOT less if I can pull one from a junkyard, may explore other options to replace the windshield with, such as plastic-coated lexan or similair further down the road)
Complete suspension system overhaul, mostly for a softer ride and (again) improved traction when dealing with rough, dirt or snow-surfaced roads. (Cost unknown, haven't looked into it. Definately need the work though.)
Replace the rims next time I buy new wheels, plus-sizing by 1 or 2 steps to get into a more 'standard' size tire, and away from the 13" rims the car came stock with. This is actually a non-performance purchase. 13" tires can cost as much as 200% of what a 14" or 15" tire can cost, in part because so few cars use them anymore, and in part because they require VERY high aspect ratios, meaning they need heavilly reinforced sidewalls on the tires, making them more expensive. It will also let me get tires approximately 30-40mm wider than the original stock 165/70/13's the car came with, for highly improved traction when on dirt roads or on ice and snow. (Around $350 for the set of tires AND rims, compared to $325 for JUST the tires for 13" rims, and that's for the cheapest 13" tires CostCo sells)
wolfwings - 07:20 pm
No, no photo's yet. And I just over-drafted my bank account to $-175 to buy the parts needed to pass smog, and lived off the leftover cash until my insurance was cancelled and I got $250 dropped into the account. So all said and told, I have $50 in the account now, and the car passed smog. =^.^=
As for the order... the CV boot and CV joint are the only pressing items, after that it's as I can afford things. The 'trunk-work' is the one I want to get done first, after that the suspension work, about that time the tires will have worn out, so I can replace the rims and the tires all in one fell swoop.
The rest is just catch as catch can. :-)
And for a rough idea of the final 'trunk' area... here's the rough layout, sans lids:
Now, the 'narrow' compartments will have simple sheet-metal covers that slip under a lip on the left, right, and front sides, and bolt down to a hand-screw on the back edge. Jack, tire iron, spare fluids, jumper cables, etc, go in there. The 'grooves' will be inset, with the actual cover made of two sheets of sheet-metal layered so the top level will remain smooth when closed.
The 'middle' compartment in the back holds two full-size spare tires. Why two? So if I'm going somewhere there might be snow, I can just carry two snow-tires, instead of having to 'chain up' my drive wheels. Easier to change the tires than chain them up, IMHO. And more dependable traction. That, and it gives me the option of picking up unidirectional tires (I.E. If they're mounted on the left, they have to STAY on the left side of the car) and still have a 'live spare' instead of a 'temporary' spare tire. It will have another hand-screw to hold the hinged lid in place. Hinge will be mounted on the inside of the lid, to keep the upper surface smooth.
The two 'forward' compartments will have diagonally-mounted hinged from outer-middle to middle-forward positions, with the 'lid' composed of the top diagonal section and the front and outside walls, so I can 'open up' the compartments and fit something full-sized in them, from either side. Again, hinges mounted on the inside of the compartments to keep the upper deck as smooth and flat as feasable. Locks will be installed on the floor, much like the 'locks' used to keep traffic-pillars locked down into sidewalks and similair.
So, when I'm done, I'll have the entire 'rear seat' area as full-time storage, with easy-access, lockable storage in the front half, and simple hand-screws holding down the panels where I store the spare tires (hinged lid so the compartment won't have any lip on the inside that the tires could get caught on) and other parts (inside lip to slide the lid over isn't a problem there) in easy access. Basically, a 'trunk' inside the hatchback. And the 'top half' from window height up will remain loadable with cargo on top of that, for hauling purposes.
Make more sense now? :-)
Oh, and it's a 1985 Honda Civic 1300 Hatchback California Edition (Yes, California got their own version, to pass smog.)
lionman - 10:13 pm - Cars.
Mmm...overdraft bad. Shame on you, puppy. Am I reading that right, you don't have insurance on the car now? :-/
Your CV Boot does seem to be the most important item to deal with, certainly the one that's not overly expensive, but could be a performance issue over the short term. Wise choice there.
What sort of suspension work are you wanting done? Replace the shocks, or something more than that? If they've never been replaced before, then depending on what you're looking at about $40/shock, plus the mounting...so, probably in the neighborhood of $55/shock, or so. Maybe a little less.
I think your diagram and description make more sense now to me. But, one thing isn't as clear..will this mean, once this is installed, that you'll really only have a 2-seater, and the 2 seats in the back won't be useable for anything but storage? If so, that's fine, I'm just not clear on it.
Otherwise, your planning sounds pretty keen, and reasonably well thought out. :-)
wolfwings - 10:51 am - Bingo, and bingo.
I'm actually looking to replace the back shocks with quick-adjustable gas shocks, and get a different pair of gas shocks for the front, and installing a small auxilliary pump so I can just flip a switch one way if I need to stiffen the rear shocks because I'm carrying a heavy load, or another switch to soften the rear shocks in the rear when the cargo area is empty. The front shocks will be carrying a nearly-constant load, engine and myself, so they won't need to be adjustable like he rear ones.
And yes, the car will be a 2-seater then. It already is, as the back seat was broken in a non-repairable way, so I removed it. Right now the back of the car looks very much like a 4' long section of pickup truck bed, what with the floor ridges and wheel-wells exposed since I had to remove the plastic interior panels to remove the back seat, and figured I might as well just toss them out since I wasn't going to be using them in the long term. :-)
A semi-secondary plan is to possibly remove the rear side windows, and replace them with metal panels that fold down like shelves, and set up short lengths of rack-mount (maybe 4U or 5U worth) behind them on secondary fold-down hinges, so I can mount equipment accessable from the outside easilly like a UPS, or similair.
Long-term, this car is meant to become an all-purpose sport utility vehicle in the true meaning of the term, able to do sporty things like trail-climbing, camping, and so-forth in it, while still having enough utility to act as a primary vehicle for a service and/or support tech. Think of it as a 2-person ultra-fuel-effecient SUV, rigged up with tool compartments and as much storage as is feasable to install. :-)
One minor plan to work towards that future actually is to mount a 1000W(1500W peak) inverter, wired directly into the engine battery (and made to only be mounted like that, though 'battery' will become two 'batteries' before I do that), with each of the two outlets integral to the inverter run to a switch-box, then to a UPS rack-mounted plug strip on either side of the car, some outlets pointed inside the vehicle, some outlets pointed outside at the side or rear windows. So the car will be able to be used as a generator for a few hours at a stretch. And there's a reason for having the seperate UPS mounted between the switch-box and the gear. The switch-box will allow for linking to shore power, but in lieu of shore power can provide it's own power for a while. :-)
lionman - 11:07 am - Re: Bingo, and bingo.
Wow, those sound like big plans! You've thought alot about this, haven't you? I like the way you think.
I think a RAV4 or a Element would be a better selection for doing these sorts of mods you're talking about, or rather wouldn't need quite as many of the mods, but I suppose they're a horse of a different color, aren't they?
wolfwings - 11:23 am - Re: Bingo, and bingo.
They probably would... but they'd cost money to get in the first place. This car didn't, and it's special to me for numerous sentimental reasons. All the changes I'm doing won't affect the outside of the car at all, and most (if not all) of them will give me chances to improve the vehicle, or at least 'clean it up' since it had been neglected for a while. :-)
That, and yes, I'm somewhat enamoured with the idea of having a little sub-compact car that can park in a space not much bigger than a kitchen table, that (for one use I can think of) is able to get anywhere a movie production or fire camp could end up, and provide internet, TV, fax, modem, and telephony service on-site less than 30 minutes after arriving, and that even provides it's own power and can serve as a secondary generator if the need arises. Something of a 'proof of concept' vehicle to prove you don't need a pickup truck towing a massive trailer to do all of the above. :-)