Archives for 2017

Clean Wheels The Cheap Way

Dollar General Wheel CleanerDirty WheelClean WheelColby bought another car to hold him over until he can afford a new car. It’s a nice car that needed a little TLC, but it’s a good driver and will serve the purpose for now. The previous owners obviously weren’t in to detailing their car that much, probably a simple drive through the automatic wash from time to time. Giving the car a good wash made a world of difference, but the wheels were baked with brake dust. Prices for wheel cleaners vary, ALOT! Some are as cheap as 7 dollars and some are as expensive as 21 dollars. I thought this would be a good opportunity to try a cheap method just to see if we really needed to spend a lot of money to clean the wheels. A quick trip to the Dollar Store (the yellow ones), $3.50 for the Dollar General brand of wheel cleaner and the test began. It states on the front that you just spray it on, then hose it off. But I knew right away that this wasn’t going to work. I couldn’t even scrape the brake dust off with my fingernail, this stuff was baked on! But for the sake of argument, I did what it said. I applied the cleaner to the wheel, let it sit for about 5 minutes, then hosed it off. Yeah, it took a bunch of the loose stuff off and the wheel did look better, but there was still plenty of baked brake dust left behind. So, I did it again. Soaked the wheel with the cleaner, let it sit for a couple of minutes, but before I hosed it off, I took a small wheel cleaning brush (in the pic) and scrubbed the wheel lightly. That’s when the brake dust melted away. Just needed minimal elbow grease. Repeated the process on the other wheels and now they look so much better. So, how does this compare with the 21 dollar wheel cleaner? I don’t know, I’d never spend 21 dollars for wheel cleaner. But it does prove that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get good results. The whole process of cleaning all of the wheels took about 15 minutes.

Mabel Oil Change (repost)

Ready For Oil ChangeDirty EngineOil UsedOil Change KitClean EngineToday was the day for Mabel to get her oil changed. There’s always a huge argument about which kind of oil to use in these old cars, but we won’t get into a debate about that, I’ll just let you know what I use and what works for me. I always start with getting the car as level as possible, running the engine long enough to get the old oil nice and warm so it’ll drain easily. I remove the oil drain plate (10mm) and let the oil drain into the oil catcher. I’ll let the oil drain for at least 30 minutes or so. This is also a good opportunity to tidy up the bottom of the engine, removing any oil and dirt from the cooling fins. I also like to give the oil drain plate a fresh coat of paint, just to make it look nice. Oil changing kits are readily available and pretty cheap. Most will come with new copper washers, gaskets and a oil strainer. If you’re re-using your oil strainer, just clean it good with a degreaser and make sure there isn’t any sludge in it. I usually use the strainer twice before replacing it with a new one. When you put your oil drain plate back on, make sure you use the correct washers and have the gaskets in the correct place. Do not over tighten the nuts that hold the plate in place. Just hand tighten them. My engine requires 2.65 quarts of oil, your engine probably requires the same amount. I use 2.15 quarts of Rotella T 15w-40 and .5 of the STP oil additive. I use the oil additive for its zinc content. Your air cooled engine will love this combination!

Hot Wheels Spectraflame Red Challenger (How To)

Spectra Paint Hot WheelsSpectra Paint Hot WheelsSpectra Paint Hot WheelsSpectra Paint Hot WheelsSpectra Paint Hot WheelsSpectra Paint Hot WheelsSpectra Paint Hot WheelsSpectra Paint Hot WheelsSpectra Paint Hot WheelsSpectra Paint Hot WheelsSpectra Paint Hot WheelsThe original spectraflame color Hot Wheels are some of the most sought after for collectors. Spectraflame is the name used by Mattel for the metallic finishes sported by their original “Hot Wheels” cars in 1968 through 1972 and also on Super Treasure Hunts. The finish was not the standard paint used on normal cars, but rather a transparent lacquer applied over a polished zinc plated casting. This resulted in a surprisingly realistic metallic effect, similar to the appearance of real cars. Spectra paint is still available and can be a little costly and difficult to work with. I’ve come up with my own method for reproducing the spectraflame look cheaply and with surprisingly great results. For this demo, I’m using a Hot Wheels 2015 Dodge Challenger from the Muscle Mania series. To begin, you’ll need to drill out the rivets that connect the body to the chassis. Be careful not to drill to far into the post. Drill just enough to remove the head of the rivet. Once the head of the rivets are removed, the body should separate from the chassis with ease. Next you’ll want to separate all of the parts of the car, notice how they come a part so when it comes time to put them back together, things will be much easier. Some cars have many parts, some have just a few. Next, you’ll want to strip the paint from the body. I forgot to take a picture of this step, but I use spray on paint stripper. I spray the stripper on the car, let it sit for about 2 minutes, the use compressed air to blow the paint away from the car. Easy and no mess. To make the spectraflame paint really pop, you want the body of the car to be smooth and shiny. There are a few methods for doing this, some people use automotive polishing compound, some people use steel wool and some people use jewelers rouge. On a new car, the metal is probably not oxidized, so a less intrusive method is recommended (polishing compound or jewelers rouge). On older cars, if the metal is oxidized, steel wool or rubbing compound can be used to remove as much oxidation as possible, then gone over again with polishing compound or jewelers rouge. I use jewelers rouge and a dremel with a polishing head to buff the metal. Only takes a few minutes. If the body is in very rough condition, so much so that steel wool and rubbing compound doesn’t work well, you can give the body a base coat of chrome paint before applying the spectraflame. The key to applying spectraflame paint is to do it in light coats, allowing time to dry in between coats (about 15 minutes). For this particular project, I gave the body a total of 4 coats, but you can apply as many coats necessary to achieve the look you want. I also painted the interior a satin black as the bright orange interior just didn’t look right. Once everything is dry, you can take it a step further and apply a couple coats of clear gloss if you want. I believe that not applying a high gloss gives the finished product a look closer to the originals. Now you can put everything back together and display your custom Hot Wheels. I’ll do another “how to” in the near future about securing the body back to the chassis.

Die Cast Haul (Beach Bomb)

Die Cast Haul (Beach Bomb)

Variety VW Die CastSam Walton Ford F1501946 VW BeetleFillmore VW BusBeach BombBeach BombBeach BombBeach BombAdded some new die cast to the collection over the past month or so, some common, some not so common. Of course, my favorite of the pick is the pink Beach Bomb. (looks maroon in the photos above, but it’s actually very pink) Of course the pink Beach Bomb is the most expensive Hot Wheels ever sold. It recently sold for $125,000! Yes, $125,000. The Beach Bomb I have is not that one. Mine is a limited reproduction run from 2002. A new tool and die was created for this run, but they were modeled after the original 1969 Beach Bomb. One noticeable difference is the missing side windows that the original had. Not many of the 1969 Beach Bombs were made and only one pink. They were top heavy and didn’t perform well on the infamous orange hot wheels track. The next year, the surf boards were relocated to holders molded on the side of the bus. This lowered the center of gravity and allowed them to roll better on the Hot Wheels track. So, I’m going to put this 2002 reproduction aside and hope in the years to come, it will become more collectible. When you can find them, they’re currently going for anywhere between 40 and 60 dollars. Below is a pic of the original 1969 Beach Bomb that sold for $125,000.

HEMI Badge Install

Hemi Badge InstallHemi Badge InstallHemi Badge InstallHemi Badge InstallThe Challenger has a lot of real estate up front. We felt that it needed a little something to break it up without going overboard. I believe these HEMI badges do just that. The previous year Challengers were offered a HEMI badge, so I didn’t want to go with the previous year model badges, I thought they were a little too big. These are smaller and show just enough to break up the front fenders.

Camaro DRL Install

New DRL InstallNew DRL InstallNew DRL InstallNew DRL InstallNew DRL InstallFinally got around to installing the new DRL’s that I bought for the Camaro. I’ve been wanting to do this for over a year and now I wish I’d done it sooner. The pics really don’t do it justice. The stock DRL’s looked yellow compared to the white light of the headlights. It’s hard to tell from the above pics, but there was a huge difference. You can also see the difference from the stock bulbs and the replacement bright LED’s.

New DRL InstallThe install was very easy. Six screws to release the fender liner so it can be moved out of the way for easy access to the light assembly. You don’t have to remove the wheels, but I did because I needed more access to install the last rivet that was part of the splitter install. I knew that I’d eventually replace the DRL’s, so I waited install the last 2 rivets so I wouldn’t be doing this twice. I thought it was going to be a lot harder than it really was.

Splitter InstallSplitter InstallAs you can see from the pics, the last 2 rivets were needed to pull the edges of the splitter against the fascia. I really shouldn’t have driven it as long as I did without these rivets. But they installed easily and really gave it a nice, finished look.

New DRL InstallNew DRL InstallIn the pic on the left, the drivers side DRL has been replaced, but not the passenger side. Again, the pics don’t do it justice, but you can tell that there’s a difference. The pic on the right was taken after both DRL’s were replaced. Now they match the white brightness of the headlights and look so much better. Whole project only took an hour or so. Again, you don’t have to remove the front wheels, but I did for easier access to install the last 2 rivets for the splitter. Happy with the results.

Ruby’s Getting Some New Lamps

Ruby’s Getting Some New Lamps

I’ve been disappointed with the fog lamps on the Camaro since we’ve had it. They look yellow compared to the angel eyes and the halos. So, after putting it off for a year and a half, I ordered the bulbs to correct the issue. Alla Lighting High Power 4014 54-SMD Xtremely Super Bright 6000K Xenon White LED. Best part is that I got a really good deal on them with my Amazon Prime. Looks like a new weekend project. You wouldn’t think that changing a bulb would be that big of a deal, however, to get to the fog lamp assembly, you have to remove the fender liners. I’m sure that cussing will be involved, but I’m anxious to get them changed. I’ll post some before and after photos.