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Hey Members, Tell Us About Your Current (Or Dream) Projects

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Ncbrit
Ncbrit
3 months ago

Oof. Only one project right now. Keeping my daily drivable. Replacing the torque converter this weekend.

Mr. Frick
Mr. Frick
3 months ago

I’ve owned my 68 Charger R/T for six years now and have made steady progress on getting it road-trip ready. It runs and drives pretty well now, but I want to take it on extended trips. That’s what I got it for. I traded my 70 AAR for it. Just swapped keys and titles. The ‘Cuda was nicer but not very comfy on a long ride. The Charger came with factory air, leather seats and power windows.

The remaining items to be sorted are the A/C, gauges and headliner. The headliners easy and I’m saving that for last. Right now, I’m getting ready to pull the entire dash and heat/ac system. I’m going to replace the heater core, miles of vacuum lines, electrical, cables, switches and gauges. Most of this stuff works now (except for the a/c), but if I’m going in there, why not.

NDPilot
NDPilot
3 months ago
Reply to  Mr. Frick

Sounds awesome! Factory air and leather, is it an R/T-SE? Keep chipping away at it and next thing you know it’ll be done. I spent 20 years on my 71 Charger R/T, (posted some pics on Discord if you’re on there), started as a DT worthy rust bucket and now it’s show worthy and a blast to drive. One thing I miss about my youth in AZ is the ability to drive pretty much anything year round, maybe I should look for something like a 66 valiant sedan to drive through the winter….

Angrycat Meowmeow
Angrycat Meowmeow
3 months ago

Our daily’s might count as projects. I’m always working on them and they’re modified. We have a 2017 Q7 3.0T stage 1 APR tuned, and a 2018 S5 IE stage 1 tuned.

The one car I keep coming back to that I’d like to have as a project is an E38 7 series. Cool cars always catch my attention, especially on marketplace…but every time I see a clean E38 my eyes get wide.

Back in the day my dad gave me his 93 Z28, 6 speed, forged internals, 9″ rear etc. He always wanted to make it into a 10s drag car, so it was built for a 250 shot of juice. The fuel pump died and it sat for a few years. I didn’t have the money to fix it and get it roadworthy until last year, so I did and gave it back to him. Now I’m projectless.

Toecutter
Toecutter
3 months ago

That Z28 sounds bitchin’.

Angrycat Meowmeow
Angrycat Meowmeow
3 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

It truly is a Bitchin’ Camaro.

GertVAG
GertVAG
3 months ago

My four own projects (’87 VW T3, VW 67 bug with standard 1200 engine, Opel Ascona 1985, Ford Dexta 2000 ’66) are up and running. The Opel had an issue 2 weeks ago but the fault was luckily and quickly found to be a clogged up fuel filter. So I decided to open my garage for a project of a friend of mine, a rusted out 1972 Lada 2102 (the wagon version). Been outside for 14 years after he bought it in Bulgary and after a year’s use there as a daily drove it back to Belgium with all his belongings. Back then he could already see the road beneath his feet, so I don’t have to use many words to describe the carnage now. But he is emotionally attached, the chassis structure isn’t compromised, it’s all seemingly just flat areas and bodywork and some engine fittling, so we decided to give it a try at restoring it. Hopefully next January I’ll be following a bodywork course. It’s a new challenge, I only did mechanical stuff ’till now and I want to learn to use a blowtorch etc. Fingers crossed !

Gubbin
Gubbin
3 months ago

Oof.
Da F250 is in the shop, still to be determined if she needs head work or a whole long-block. She’s new enough to have an electronic transmission and old enough that nobody has a way to program it. So she shifts like 1…2…[all the gears]
Le Subaru is oop nort’ and behaving itself, knock on wood.
The Frontier is still driving despite the increasing number of parts that really should be replaced.
The Zero has nothing to break. The Buell has nothing worth fixing. The other Buell is still waiting on parts.

Bret
Bret
3 months ago

Oh jeez! You tease me with a picture of a Big Healey (even if it is flipped 180 degrees)? How can I not comment???

My Healey only needs an oil change; it’s super reliable. (Bone stock BT7)

My 986 Boxster needs leaks fixed, suspension refreshed, headlights polished, and my crappy-esque paint job wet sanded (it’s only been 2 years since it was shot).

Our 500 Abarth has just broken its passenger window regulator and needs and an oil change.

The new to us daily Cayenne diesel is due for an oil change too. How is it that all 4 street cars need oil changes?

Keep teasing me with Healey pics and I’ll be forced to become a velour member here (or whatever the cheap Lemons grade membership level is).

Bill Garcia
Bill Garcia
3 months ago

I’m quite to newbie to wrenching – got myself a ‘19 Wrangler earlier this year after lemon-lawing my foray into Jeeps that was my ‘23 4xe…

Anyway, I’m learning to work on my used Jeep slowly and have tackled some electrical, replaced the diff covers and installed a full lift kit so far. Next is replacing the carpet with a better flooring solution and, since it requires gutting much of the interior, I’ll be adding some insulation as well.

It’s inspiring to read about all your adventures, keep them coming please!

Last edited 3 months ago by Bill Garcia
Shop-Teacher
Shop-Teacher
3 months ago

Last year I bought back the ’74 Buick Apollo I sold in 2015 as a complete car back, but in pieces. Long story short, project creep got the best of the interim owner and it had been sitting for years in primer. After sitting for over another year I my garage because I cannot afford a real paint job, and hearing David Freiburger in my ear saying, “Don’t get it right, just get it running,” I decided it was time to break out the rattle cans, and just put it back together. So that process has begun. I got it running quite easily. New battery cable ends and priming the carb was all it took. I had some friends come over and we put the front clip back on and hung the doors on it. We drove it around the block, despite it having no glass, no bumpers, no seat belts, no license plates…

Oh, and I began rattle canning it flat green. Which will go great with the trim that the interim owner had powder coated black, as well as the tan interior.

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
3 months ago
Reply to  Shop-Teacher

Glad you took it around the block!
Spread out in pieces, it can be daunting, but, once you’ve run it under its own power, it’s way easier to pick an area/system and just do it. That starts adding up
{thumbs up}

Shop-Teacher
Shop-Teacher
3 months ago
Reply to  TOSSABL

Absolutely. I had to get the big sheetmetal hung so I could start working on the little things, as the big parts were all stored on/around it. Now I’m working on figuring out how to put together all the ducts and whatnot under the dashboard. A task that I was really worried about, but has actually been coming together much easier than I imagined. I’ve also brought some parts to my school shop that I can work on there (I teach middle school shop), and install later.

LactoseTheIntolerant
LactoseTheIntolerant
3 months ago

These comments are awesome. I read every one of them before posting.

I bought my 81 Jeep CJ-5 a year ago. Since then I made it reliable, fun, and put about 3,000 miles on it. Considering it sat for 10+ years, I’m deeply impressed with the reliability of the AMC in-line six. It has been my first car project in a decade.

I have so many dreams: fix the rust on the rockers, install fuel injection, replace the springs, toss a sway bar in the rear, rebuild the transmission, and install power steering. Buy another AMC thing with a V8 and manual or Porsche 944…

Reality: Adjust the choke, fix the windshield washer, keep driving it. I realized the experience is pure fun, shiny paint or not. I could see installing the rear sway bar to sure it up a bit.

Extra dose of reality: Car projects are on hold. I moved in with my gf and big things are on the horizon… 🙂 Aside for the “big thing”; we are going to likely build a garage that will satisfy our storage needs AND give me a space to wrench.

Gubbin
Gubbin
3 months ago

I grew up on C.W. McCall and “CJ5 four-wheel drive, with a smokey on my tail.” A CJ5 that moves under its own power in the Year of Our Lord 2023 is something to be appreciated.

Marcos Bello
Marcos Bello
3 months ago

Nice! I may have a CJ5 coming to me as another project. My wife’s boss told her he’ll sell it to her when he retires, less the 3 years away.

3WiperB
3WiperB
3 months ago

So much good stuff here in the comments!

Not much going on here. Winter is coming, so I’m getting my last drives in with the 79 MGB before it gets put away until spring. The brake squeal I was battling last year seems to have returnes on my drive this week, so I’ll probably need to tear those down soon to see if I can find anything out of place with the front disk brakes.

I finished winterizing the Airstream Safari this week, but I do need to do a little more cleaning inside, but there’s no projects that need to be done with that. Our 1966 vintage camper still needs some interior woodwork replaced, but my job has been super busy and I just haven’t had the motivation since getting the new camper. I have all the supplies, but haven’t had the time or motivation. I need to make a goal to get that done and get it out to a rally again next year.

It’s always a bit sad to put the toys away for the winter. I’ll be on leaf duty soon and then it will be time to get everything ready for snow removal.

Shop-Teacher
Shop-Teacher
3 months ago
Reply to  3WiperB

I’m sad I missed the boat on used Airstream values. I could have afforded a decent one when I was looking about 8-10 years ago. Now? Not so much.

3WiperB
3WiperB
3 months ago
Reply to  Shop-Teacher

I bought at the height of prices about 2 years ago, but I still got a decent deal. Not great, but good enough that I don’t regret my purchase. The prices are coming down again. I would still rather buy a 15-20 year old Airstream than a new camper. It’s still an enormously bad investment, but it’s been a lot of fun and I know it will last for as long as I keep up with the maintenance and upkeep. I’m also perfectly happy with a 23′ trailer with no slides, rather than some giant box with a bunch of slide outs. I’m usually there to cook, sleep, and see nearby sites.

Shop-Teacher
Shop-Teacher
3 months ago
Reply to  3WiperB

That all makes sense to me.

Marcos Bello
Marcos Bello
3 months ago

I have a few projects going:
1968 MG Midget, once running and tuned will go up for sale.
1990 Bronco, my off-roader. Rebuilt 5.8, 4 in lift with 35″ tires. Everything works, windows, A/C etc. I wanna update the suspension and add some rock slider and bumpers. Maybe some bodywork and paint.
2003 Ford E350 Camper project, My latest project. Removed seats, built a bed, added some all terrain tires and locker.
1997 Geo Tracker, It has 2in lift and some all terrain tires. I want to add some bumpers and get it repainted.
2000 Honda Insight, bought to commute. It has a ton of miles on it, a bad hybrid battery pack, still get 40mpgs. Needs paint and interior redone. Gonna go up for sale soon.

My dream project is a ’30’s Ford Tudor hot rod project which, is next on my list, and a Smyth Performance ute conversion. I haven’t decided which one. Depends on what I can find at the local impound auction.

Toecutter
Toecutter
3 months ago
Reply to  Marcos Bello

2000 Honda Insight, bought to commute. It has a ton of miles on it, a bad hybrid battery pack, still get 40mpgs. Needs paint and interior redone. Gonna go up for sale soon.

This is an ideal EV conversion candidate.

Sensual Bugling Elk
Sensual Bugling Elk
3 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

Where do you buy your EV conversion parts? I’m mostly done with a grad degree that essentially focuses on speccing and analyzing various power systems (including EV drivetrains), and my first project when I’m back to making not-grad-student-money is almost certainly an EV conversion.

And there’s often an Insight with a bad battery on Craigslist around here.

Toecutter
Toecutter
3 months ago

I got mine from a large variety of sources, mostly used/2nd hand, as when I was first putting it together as a broke college student I had very little money. My motor came out of an 11-second electric drag motorcycle and cost me all of $500.

Below are all sites you can buy parts, but of them, I’ve only done business with evsource and EVTV.

-store.evtv.me (highly recommend, at least when Jack Rickard was still alive)
-https://www.evwest.com/catalog/
-http://manzanitamicro.com/
-www.go-ev.com
-evsource.com
-https://cafeelectric.com/
-https://amprevolt.com/
-cloudelectric.com
-thunderstruck-ev.com
-https://evparts.com/
-goldenmotor.com

And for ebikes:

-ebikes.ca
-goldenmotor.bike

Last edited 3 months ago by Toecutter
Sensual Bugling Elk
Sensual Bugling Elk
3 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

You’re a good one. Thank you! Love your project updates too. All four are very cool.

Toecutter
Toecutter
3 months ago

Also, I forgot to mention batteryhookup.com for finding cheap(if not questionable) EV batteries.

The 1.5 kWh battery used for my electric trike over roughly 25,000 miles was obtained with parts from there for all of $200. It still works to this day 2.5 years later, albeit I now have a 1.7 kWh pack of Molicel P42A in it purchased new from another vendor at considerably more expense and work involved as I had to build the pack from the ground up. You better know what you’re looking at if you order from there, this all being said. Especially make sure what you are about to purchase can handle the amount of horsepower you are going to demand from it. Whether it works well and lasts or ends up being an $XXX-X,XXX paperweight is probably a crap shoot since most of what they sell is refurbished or new-old stock, but I’ve never been wronged by batteryhookup yet.

I bought the Molicel P42A from https://www.18650batterystore.com

Last edited 3 months ago by Toecutter
Marcos Bello
Marcos Bello
3 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

Good to know. I only know of the bigger names like Hypercraft, EV West, ElectricGT. Which are big $$$. This motivates me to look into converting a 1972 Honda CL450 I have in pieces into an Ev.

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
3 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

I thought of you as soon as I read that—remembered your recommendation of these. I certainly don’t need another car, but it would be fun to see how far I could take it with simple modifications.

Toecutter
Toecutter
3 months ago
Reply to  TOSSABL

plasmaboyracing.com has an example of an Insight conversion with a 400 mile range per charge at 70 mph, and 200 horsepower on tap.

The owner also built an electric Datsun 1200 conversion that was once the fastest street legal EV on Earth, running 10s in the 1/4 mile.

Marcos Bello
Marcos Bello
3 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

Possibly, I did think of that or a K20 swap. Just haven’t figured out if it can be street legal in California.

Toecutter
Toecutter
3 months ago
Reply to  Marcos Bello

The EV conversion most definitely could be street legal.

The K20 swap would still yield you 45-50 mpgs with the hybrid system removed, and you’d be doing 0-60 mph around 5 seconds with a 1/4 mile time in the upper 13s, IF you can get the tires to hook up without destroying your CV axles. Getting that legal in your state is indeed a giant question mark though.

Last edited 3 months ago by Toecutter
Arrest-me Red
Arrest-me Red
3 months ago

The dream is to find my first car and bring it back to life. last i knew it was a farm truck on my great uncle’s place.

Marc Fuhrman
Marc Fuhrman
3 months ago

At the start of the month I wound up buying two project cars within days of each other, and they couldn’t be more different.
The first one is a ’83 AMC Concord sedan I picked up at an auction for a total of $960.
https://d3hrnetf5izp16.cloudfront.net/optimized/4X/e/9/d/e9d5e6ce0511ae34f933dde3c7801254bc2d265d_2_666x500.jpeg
It’s a complete base model car, manual steering,non-assisted brakes, four speed manual. The only options were an AM radio, tilt steering column, a spare tire, and a block heater. It was in the same family for forty years. Unfortunately, it’s been parked since 2006, so mice have gotten into the interior and it needs a bunch of rubber bits (tires, vacuum hoses, brakes). But I was able to flush out the gas tank and get it to drive around the yard.

The other car is a 1992 Saab 900 Turbo.
https://d3hrnetf5izp16.cloudfront.net/optimized/4X/3/e/f/3efb60478637265668061dcf2bc99b9cd2944ae9_2_666x500.jpeg
It too seems to have been parked for a while, my guess is 2013-2015 the last time it saw some attention. And it’s quite high mileage at 190k. But it does seem to be in really great condition for the most part. The interior hardly shows it’s age and everything works, apart from the radio due to me missing the security code. The body is in great shape as well, with only a little rust in the bottom of the doors. The engine seems to run fine, but it looks like something is leaking, the entire transmission is coated with old oil and grime. The electrical system and a pretty bad parasitic draw and will drain the battery in a weeks time. And the brakes are slightly locked up and I’m still dealing with some title issues.

So I’m likely to have a busy winter ahead of me.
https://d3hrnetf5izp16.cloudfront.net/optimized/4X/f/d/3/fd30a3f3ec81bb1101b7ac4a499b5e2525b0209f_2_666x500.jpeg

Sensual Bugling Elk
Sensual Bugling Elk
3 months ago
Reply to  Marc Fuhrman

What a great pair of projects! What’s your vision for the Concorde?

As for the Saab (be still, my beating heart): it might be worth paying for a couple hours of your friendly local Saab specialist’s time to get a full laundry list of what needs work on the car. I did that with mine, and he caught a ton of issues that I didn’t, including ones which would’ve left me stranded roadside if I didn’t address them. I do all my own work, but it was incredibly helpful to get a to-do list, along with a ranking of priorities, from someone with more knowledge and experience than me.

Marc Fuhrman
Marc Fuhrman
3 months ago

To be honest, I’m not sure where the closest Saab specialist would be. There used to be an excellent shop north of the Twin Cities that worked on them, they helped me with my last one, but they closed like 8 years ago. I plan on digging deeper once I officially own it.

As far as the AMC, I’m not sure what I’ll do with it. Giving it a proper restoration simply isn’t feasible. I’m not attached enough to spend like 20 grand on a 5k car. But it isn’t rough enough to just let it get sent to the junkyard. So maybe I’ll hot rod it?

Sensual Bugling Elk
Sensual Bugling Elk
3 months ago
Reply to  Marc Fuhrman

My first disappointment of Saab ownership was finding out that Euro specialty mechanics don’t even want to touch Saabs, even the ones who work on Volvos. Wishing you luck on finding a good mechanic, if that’s the route you take.

Why not turn the Concord into a rad track car? I’m talking open lapping days and the like, so no roll cage. I just love the idea of seeing someone hooning what looks like a great-condition stock Concord. Fresh brakes (maybe an upgrade to boosted), some sticky tires, and some sway bars should have you set to jet.

OrigamiSensei
OrigamiSensei
3 months ago

Some unrealistic dream projects:
1) 60s vintage Dodge D200 4×4 Crew Cab given the Icon 4×4 treatment, but with a twist – coachbuilt into a 3-row Suburban killer.

2) 1981 Imperial given the sleeper treatment. In order to maximize the silliness it would not use a Hellcat crate motor; no, this calls for a Viper engine. Bonus points for bordello velour interior, probably in blue on blue.

3) If I ever get my hands on the ’68 Dodge Dart convertible my cousin owns I’ll be looking very seriously at an EV conversion. Failing that perhaps a Spitfire or some other British sportscar. That would be taken on in partnership with my son.

Huh, it’s coincidence but those all happen to be Mopar products.

Toecutter
Toecutter
3 months ago
Reply to  OrigamiSensei

1981 Imperial given the sleeper treatment. In order to maximize the silliness it would not use a Hellcat crate motor; no, this calls for a Viper engine. Bonus points for bordello velour interior, probably in blue on blue.

If you keep the exterior with all of its rust, peeling paint, and any missing trim pieces going unreplaced, this would be total chef’s kiss…

Spitfire

This would make a great EV conversion. It won’t cost much money to go fast or far relative to other donor choices.

Last edited 3 months ago by Toecutter
Sensual Bugling Elk
Sensual Bugling Elk
3 months ago

I’ve banged on about my shitbox Saab 9-5 here before, so I guess it’s time for an update:

Two weeks ago, I get a text from my friend who’s perma-borrowing it that reads “hey, I just parked at the airport from my trip, and reverse gear is gone. I can’t get the shifter into reverse.” Keep in mind this is a Saab, which means if reverse is gone, your ability to extract your key from the key cylinder is about 90% gone too. A few days later, I get another text from him. “I just got back from the airport. Lost fifth on the way home.”

The day after that, I showed up to his place with tools, to be informed that the car is now stuck because 1st and 2nd gear had also vacated the premises.

Turns out the Saab’s shifter is a series of short plastic one-piece tie rods with a ball-and-socket joint on each end, and one of the tie rods responsible for translating the side-to-side motion of the shifter to the transmission had just…fallen off. So 3rd and 4th were the only remaining gears.

The fix was just to shove both my hands through the nest of vacuum hoses in the engine bay and yank the tie rod back onto its joint, but I’m still befuddled. How does one of those linkages just fall off?

Oh yeah, and after having the parts sitting around for a year, I finally replaced the clutch and rear main seal on the 1990 Miata! It was my first time ever removing a transmission, and no catastrophic mistakes were made, somehow. Well, no immediately catastrophic mistakes…

Last edited 3 months ago by Sensual Bugling Elk
Jack Trade
Jack Trade
3 months ago

Has to be seriously satisfying to Macgyver a solution to a seemingly catastrophic problem like that.

I wonder if the plastics were starting to subtly deform (on a domestic, they’d long ago have simply broken, so go European cars in this case …)

Sensual Bugling Elk
Sensual Bugling Elk
3 months ago
Reply to  Jack Trade

The 9-5 isn’t just an Opel that shops at Ikea, but it does have a couple GM bits and bobs on it (hello Delphi steering column!). The transmission and shifter are Saab, but I’m unsure if anything in the linkage between them is GM’s work. I’m sure rootwyrm can tell me the PNs from memory, but my personal knowledge isn’t that deep.

The other possibility is that the engine ran slightly hot a few times this summer because the thermostat was stuck part-open, and that accelerated the degradation of a bunch of already-tenuous plastic and rubber parts. I’ve had some small failure come up almost every week since August, and the root cause has always been some rubber bit near the engine.

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
3 months ago

The nylon(?) sockets in 80s water-cooled VW transmissions were like that. Little socket with a fold-over arm at the base that clicked into place. When the clearance became too large, I was able to temporarily put tiny hose clamps on them which held the balls in until I could get the correct replacements.
-though it sound like you may not have room to do that.
I wish you the best of luck—and don’t forget to keep us updated!

Sensual Bugling Elk
Sensual Bugling Elk
3 months ago
Reply to  TOSSABL

Oh, great idea with the tiny hose clamps. If I start losing gears again, I’ll go with that solution. If felt like I didn’t have room for any more serious fixes at the time, but I was also doing the fix in an apartment parking lot as the sun was setting and my patience for this car was at a low, so with some more time and patience I imagine I’d have just done a better job of making space for better access to the shifter linkage.

That said, you’d be impressed by how many repairs on the Saab have required 18″ ratchet extensions. Heck, the brake booster needed 2 feet worth of wobble sockets.

The other alternative is to try 3D printing replacements, if only for the fun and the challenge. I printed PETG door bushings for the Miata (for 3% increased chassis torsional rigidity over rubber! If the forums are to be believed), and they’ve held up surprisingly well. Of course, they don’t heat cycle the way anything in the engine bay does.

FlavouredMilk
FlavouredMilk
3 months ago

Ignoring the fact that I’m one of those fools who makes a long term project out of their daily. There’s not a massive roadmap for the MX-5 it just sort of grows, so I won’t get into it, but there’s a few up my sleeve.

I’ve got a Honda CRF Del Sol that I swapped the underpinnings of an Integra DC2 VTiR into, so it has the B18C and bigger brakes, however I lost steam around the point in time of hooking up all the hoses and lines and replacing the fuel tank, so it’s sat half stripped/half assembled for around 2 years now, but I’m determined to make a start on it before the end of the year. I just want it roadworthy and drivable, no massive modifications.

There’s also my ’85 HDT VK which is trapped in my parents shed 12 hours from here that I’m desperate to get back on the road for the first time since my dad deregistered it back in 2007. In reality, it could use a full restoration, but I’d like to do the basics and get it on the road for awhile first so I have a chance to enjoy it before it goes into the big sleep that comes with restoration work.

Dream projects? I’d love to pick up something rotary to rebuild and drive for awhile, I know they’re a temperamental thing, but I love the idea of them and I’m going to feel robbed if I go through life without owning one.

Toecutter
Toecutter
3 months ago

Four projects underway.

1) Triumph GT6 EV conversion. Don’t currently have reliable access to the workspace needed to finish it, but it currently has a Prestolite MTC4001 series DC motor, a Soliton 1 controller, and a 208V 100AH pack of CALB CA100FI LiFePO4 batteries. It’s had all rusted body pieces replaced and has been primed in hotrod black, and will be getting custom pieces added to improve aerodynamic drag. This configuration is good for about 120 horsepower. Currently weighs about 1,850 lbs. Longer term plans are to upgrade to a Tesla Model 3 drive system with a transmission delete, and moving the batteries where a transmission tunnel and driveshaft would have been, possibly upgrading to Panasonic NCR21700 batteries in the process and repurposing the CALBs for an off-grid solar system.

2) The Minion, a custom-built 3-wheeled electric race car able to seat 1. I just obtained an out-of-production 6-phase PMDC motor called the Hubmonster for the rear wheel. When complete, this vehicle will be under 400 lbs, and will have 100 kW peak on tap with a 10 kWh battery pack. This vehicle is a test bed for a friend and I to try our hand custom-building a car. We’re going to find out everything we did wrong when we drive it, and everything we did right, then use that information to build a version that’s much more streamlined, based upon C. Michael Lewis’ record-setting Electrathon car, and that will possibly have AWD and a smaller pack, weighing under 300 lbs, but will still have 100+ kW and aero so slippery only 1 horsepower will be needed to hold 60 mph on flat ground.

3) Rebellion, a vehicle I custom built that has the functionality of a microcar, but the legal status of a “bicycle”. It has a custom aerodynamic body shell that allows me to pedal it to 35 mph on flat ground with the motor disabled. Currently weighs 91 lbs. Using the electric motor, a Leafbike 1500W 3T wind paired with an ASI BAC4000 controller running off a 1.7 kWh pack of Molicel P42A batteries, making 13 peak horsepower, it can accelerate faster than most cars to 30 mph and top 50 mph(voltage limited). It took a V6 Dodge Charger to 30 mph in a stoplight drag before the Charger finally overtook it. With the body shell installed, currently gets 8-10 Wh/mile at 30-35 mph cruising speeds with light pedaling effort, resulting in a consistent 150-200 mile range in that use case. It is undergoing a series of upgrades, possibly to AWD, and will be able to exceed any US speed limit when finished. It will only need 20 horsepower or so to take off like a Dodge Charger Hellcat if I get AWD, and assuming I can get enough traction with the Mitas MC2 tires on each of three wheels. The new body shell in progress is based upon a Milan SL velomobile in my possession and will be extra slippery to the air compared to the one it has, plus will have a roll cage and safety harness to keep from being a total deathtrap. Goal is a 400 mile range at 30 mph, and a 100 mile range at 60 mph, using the same battery. 150W of solar panels are also going on it.

4) Milan SL, a velomobile I purchased used. I’m converting this to electric soon. It will be getting a custom 3T-wound Grin All-Axle rear motor with a 1.5 kWh battery pack and Phaserunner controller. Should be able to reach 80 mph on only 2 kW peak power and get a 300+ mile range at 35 mph, and a 100+ mile range at 60 mph. Without using an electric motor, I can pedal it to 50 mph on flat ground in a full-effort sprint, and holding 30 mph is easy.

Last edited 3 months ago by Toecutter
Ricardo Mercio
Ricardo Mercio
3 months ago

I’m currently saving up for a house so I can have somewhere to build a project, but once I do, I’m importing a Brasilia 1600 for the nostalgia. Contrary to popular belief, it’s actually built on the Karmann Ghia platform, with a wider track than the Beetle. It’s designed by Márcio Piancastelli, designer of the SP2, with some pretty clear influence by the Mk1 Golf, which came out in the same year. Brasilias were often the target of carjackings in Brazil due to their dual-carb 1600cc engine being the most desirable Volkswagen unit in the domestic market. I want to use it as a tinkering bed, something to modify so that I can spare the daily.

Fun fact: when Volkswagen do Brasil ran the Paris-Dakar with a Brasilia, they had to post guard around their tent at night so that Volkswagen Deutschland’s engineers couldn’t come snooping around for what made it outperform their beetles. I suspect it’s the stiffer body shell, designed in the 70’s instead of the 30’s. Even today, Brazilian buggy builders prefer Brasilia pans over Beetle pans whenever they can find one.

Voeltzwagen
Voeltzwagen
3 months ago

My ‘73 Squareback has been on hiatus for a minute, mostly due to: buying a house; opening a business; having a kid…

I’ve mentioned this in the past, but my original plans were to build out a turbocharged, mega-squirted EFI, 1776cc engine. I have 90% of the parts I need, but have recently started to consider an EV build instead.

I’m barely a novice with the EV conversions, but am also in no hurry. I guess my wife would love to see the roofless ‘71 Squareback parts car removed from the garage so she can park in there, but that might also make a cool fun toy some day (Okay. That one should go).

Last edited 3 months ago by Voeltzwagen
Toecutter
Toecutter
3 months ago
Reply to  Voeltzwagen

What are your goals and budget with the EV conversion? I might be able to help you come up with a parts list.

Voeltzwagen
Voeltzwagen
3 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

Thank you! I sincerely appreciate your input!

Due to at least two of the aforementioned constraints, the budget is basically nil at the moment. BUT, that’s also why I said I’m not in a hurry. I’ve also accumulated other A/C VW parts I can sell to help fund the EV conversion.

A complete drive unit under the rear floor where the engine lives would be ideal; then I don’t have to deal with the automatic transmission. Plenty of real estate for other components under the rear seat, rear floor, and frunk.

This would be a non-salt-weather commuter, so 100 miles range would be fantastic, but could realistically get away with less (or more!!!).

Last edited 3 months ago by Voeltzwagen
Toecutter
Toecutter
3 months ago
Reply to  Voeltzwagen

How about performance goals? 100 miles range at what speed?

With the stock body, this car will require roughly 300 Wh/mile at 70 mph using a modern motor set up as a direct drive with a transmission delete. You have quite a bit of physical space for batteries in one of these, but keeping it below GVWR will be the main issue.

Voeltzwagen
Voeltzwagen
3 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

I wasn’t really planning on this being a fast car by any means, though I was anticipating needing to upgrade brakes and suspension for what the turbo EFI engine would’ve been pushing (90-110hp?).

Weight is something I hadn’t considered at this point. I was mostly just thinking about making the go-fast bits, stop faster.

Toecutter
Toecutter
3 months ago
Reply to  Voeltzwagen

Once you cross a certain price point in an EV conversion, say $10k, any additional performance beyond that price point is inexpensive. It will likely be heavier than stock, so you will certainly want the ability to stop harder than stock.

Voeltzwagen
Voeltzwagen
3 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

Let’s say performance isn’t a concern (I mean, anything will likely be an improvement over stock).

I don’t NEED 100 miles of range, though it would be nice. 50-75 miles would also be doable.

Toecutter
Toecutter
3 months ago
Reply to  Voeltzwagen

100 miles range suggests a 35 kWh pack, accounting for some buffer so you don’t fully discharge the pack to do that 100 miles. This range would be increased with low speed driving.

With all new components, this is all doable for under $20k. With this kind of budget, it could also be very fast. Significantly cheaper is possible if you get components from salvage yard EVs and can figure out how to make them work. Range is much more expensive than performance, although the former generally enables the latter without added cost depending on the type of battery used because drive systems don’t vary too widely in price, but vary greatly in power/torque output.

Voeltzwagen
Voeltzwagen
3 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

I can picture the car, silently whirring along, while turning heads.

I dig it.

I can also picture the sound of a little turbo spooling up on a muffler-less boxer engine.

This is my dilemma.

Toecutter
Toecutter
3 months ago
Reply to  Voeltzwagen

The EV can be powered by solar panels and wind generators. The ICE can be modified to run on homemade ethanol or methanol. Take your pick. Being as independent as possible regarding your transportation is a good strategy to save money in the long run, and can make your access to transportation resilient to disruption by civil strife and economic turmoil should it arise.

Diana Slyter
Diana Slyter
3 months ago

There are the projects like the Golf4 TDI (runner), Yamaha MX250, Guzzi Quota, Ranger (runner but apart) and their is my lifelong project…

’66 Mini Cooper S!

Owned since ’76, daily driver ’til I could afford a new Golf, last driven in ’89. Moved with me half a dozen times, rust everywhere, tore apart during COVID, couldn’t get parts, now shipping is more than the parts cost. I ain’t gettin’ any younger and need to get this Mini together and racing… Any suggestions?

Skmini
Skmini
3 months ago
Reply to  Diana Slyter

Is the Mini a motivation problem, a time problem or a money problem? Or all of those? I tore my ’79 Mini apart right before COVID and put it back together during COVID, which included a lot of welding, bodywork and painting. I can’t help you with the time and money, but I found checking out “Ben_O”‘s restoration threads on theminiforum helped with the motivation and confidence to get it done.

Diana Slyter
Diana Slyter
3 months ago
Reply to  Skmini

Retired so plenty of time, but the sheer size of rebuilding a whole body shell is intimidating. I can afford the parts and even shipping, but can’t bring myself to pay the ridiculous prices!

Skmini
Skmini
3 months ago
Reply to  Diana Slyter

You can do it! Compared to most cars, Mini body parts (even after shipping from the UK) are fairly cheap. I bought a mig welder and a spot welder and learned how to use them while rebuilding the body. About the only original panels left are the front bulkhead, dash rail, A and B pillars above the waist line and the roof rails.

Widgetsltd
Widgetsltd
3 months ago

My latest project car is a 2013 Fiat 500 Abarth. A friend of mine picked it up pretty cheaply with no compression in cylinder #3. It’s a nice car – black metallic paint, sunroof, black leather interior, etc. He lost his storage and sold the car to me a few weeks ago. I ran a leakdown test last weekend and found 90% leakage in cylinder 3. The exhaust valves aren’t sealing. Cylinders 1, 2, and 4 tested very well with barely measurable leakage. A cylinder head would fix it, but I might go with a complete (used) engine to save time for not much additional cost. After it’s fixed, the car will be up for sale.

One of these days, I should fix the racecar. It’s a ’99 Plymouth neon with a 2.4L engine from a PT Cruiser (with some mods) swapped in. Everything was going fine until it tossed a rod through the oil pan in turn 8 at Willow Springs. If/when I build another engine, we can go endurance racing again with thee Lucky Dog Racing League.

Andrea Petersen
Andrea Petersen
3 months ago

I got a free X1/9, stripped it, and have an engine partially in it, but it kinda got back burnered during Covid, then my Lancia showed up and sent it out to storage where I have no tools to work on it. In any case, the engine going into it is the unit out of my first 500 Abarth, the one which I kinda sorta flipped at autocross. The long term dream is to take it to Boneville and try for a record as the fastest Fiat-powered Fiat. Honestly, all I want is my name somewhere in a book next to the word “Fiat” and that seems like a good way to do it.

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
3 months ago

“…kinda sorta flipped at autocross.” *does double-take*
C’mon, Andrea; you can’t just drop that on us without expanding!

Andrea Petersen
Andrea Petersen
3 months ago
Reply to  TOSSABL

Well, I guess it wasn’t a kinda sorta, it was a whole ass 360. Combination of driver error, course design, very stiff car and a patch of bad pavement. I was fine, nbd

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
3 months ago

Wow. Thanks.
I can’t imagine how much adrenaline you were flooded with.
Very stiff, indeed

Andrea Petersen
Andrea Petersen
3 months ago
Reply to  TOSSABL

It all happened so fast that I didn’t even really have time for a big adrenaline hit. Mostly I was irritated with myself. Not the end of the world though, stiff upper lip and all that

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
3 months ago

Uh, just to be clear, my above comment was honestly about how stiff the car was. It could perhaps be taken wrong coming upon it cold: I was a bit in awe at your badassery and casual attitude about it.
Anyway, I sure hope things work out and you get to run the salt!
I look forward to reading that article for sure.

Laurence Rogers
Laurence Rogers
3 months ago

Currently there’s a few things I need/want to do on Project Cactus to be ready to drive it to Brisbane in a couple weeks.

About the time the anniversary article came out, Cactus had the ignition coil die. Considering it’s probably a 30+ year old coil that came off my Charger it wasn’t unexpected.

I’m considering converting to electronic ignition, as ignition points and parts for that system are starting to dry up. Bosch discontinued a bunch of product lines during Covid, points and condensers especially.

Cactus doesn’t run a ballast resistor because of us having to bypass most of the ignition circuit during the build. I’d rather not burn up the few points I have left when my ute (‘Lenny’) is all-original.

I’ve got an Ebay HEI distributor and an NGK non-resisted coil ready to go, hope to put it in this weekend and test.

Toecutter
Toecutter
3 months ago

The videos on this vehicle were top notch. I enjoyed every minute. Especially watching David make some Strong & Bitey friends with some soft, furry, 8-legged cuddleballs.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
3 months ago

I do my projects a bit different. The project is a 1978 Fiat 124Spider. It ran when I bought it I tested it but since it had original tires on it I assume low miles and all kinds of updating. But my approach is to pay for the project with FB and CL deals. I bought some pipe for a wood stove in my garage to do the project. I then checked with my insurance company and heard no insurance on anything. So sold pipe for $300 over what I paid. So Bing tires. It makes it interesting to pay for the project by FB.

LTDScott
LTDScott
3 months ago

I have a few cars that need work, but in general I try to only work on project at a time and just rotate them around as priorities seem fit. Here’s what’s on my plate in order of importance:

-2004 Toyota Sequoia. Bought it back in February as a cheap camping/adventure/tow rig and plan to go camping with it in 2 weekends from now, so I’ve been busy getting it ready. Just got a 2″ lift with new shocks installed and I built a platform in the back that will allow a full size mattress to fit. Need to drop the fuel tank and replace the flaky fuel level sender this weekend.

-1985 Ford LTD LX. Have owned it since 2001. It wasn’t demanding of my attention until it failed California smog check a few weeks ago. Long story short I think I fixed the problem (vacuum line popped off, and fuel pressure at the regulator was incorrect causing it to run rich) so I’m going to try again on Saturday.

-2015 Mazda 3. Bought it in July as a pragmatic daily driver. Needs some minor work like a tune up and pulling the crappy window tint but it’s fine for now.

-1987 BMW 325, aka “The Homer.” My 24 Hours of Lemons racer that I’ve been racing on and off in the series since 2008. I pulled it out of mothballs and raced it for the first time in 4 years a few weekends ago. Everything was going well racing until the last 10 minutes of the race (after nearly 15 hours and 980 miles of racing) when something in the engine or trans started making an ugly knocking noise and we decided to call it quits so I could still drive it on the trailer. After that I pulled it off the trailer and parked it in my garage where it’ll probably sit untouched for a year as a giant rolling shelf until I decide to figure out what blew up and what it’s gonna take to fix.

Sometimes I wish I was normal and “what car do I need to work on today?” didn’t cross my mind every weekend.

Last edited 3 months ago by LTDScott
Mike Harrell
Mike Harrell
3 months ago
Reply to  LTDScott

“…’what car do I need to work on today?’…”

What car? Singular? I’m having trouble relating to that.

OrigamiSensei
OrigamiSensei
3 months ago
Reply to  LTDScott

Oh man, getting pre-OBDII cars smogged these days is painful. I just had to smog my ’88 Jag XJ6 a couple of months ago. I had to call around to about a dozen smog places, many of whom would only do OBDII testing, and a bunch who claimed their gear wasn’t working. I finally talked a shop into it that had done it four years ago. Not a happy time, even with a car that passes easily like mine does.

Last edited 3 months ago by OrigamiSensei
LTDScott
LTDScott
3 months ago
Reply to  OrigamiSensei

I’ve been going to the same smog guy for 15+ years. He does legit smogs, no under the table business, but he knows me and the car. I’m always prepared when I go and have a full binder of all of the CARB EO #s that apply to the aftermarket parts on my engine plus the BAR sticker for my engine swap means he just has to scan a bar code.

I was talking to him and he told me he recently had to spend a pretty penny to replace the dyno. I was kinda surprised he did and I asked how often he used it. He said on average twice a day. So, worth it to him apparently, and I am thankful for it! I send anyone I know with an older car his way.

While that I agree that smogging older cars is getting more difficult in general, in this case the smog test did exactly its job and identified that there was a problem with my engine. Spark plugs confirmed it was running rich after passing smog 2 years ago easily, so I did some diagnosis and found a problem. Fixed the problem and so far the AFRs seem to be much better per my gauge, will wait and see if it actually passes on Saturday.

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