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Everything but the same old cars

Archive for May, 2009

Replace Fuel Pump

Posted by Mike Bumbeck On May - 29 - 2009

fuel_pump_leadAs most all of us have discovered when the tank ran dry, an engine requires fuel to run. As this fuel is flammable and generally explosive, it is kept in a tank away from the combustive action going on inside the engine. This setup presents the problem of how to get the fuel from the tank to the carburetor or fuel injectors that feed the engine fuel. Enter the fuel pump. The fuel pump draws fuel from the fuel tank and delivers enough to the engine to keep things moving.

When cars used carburetors, the fuel pump was usually a mechanical deal bolted up to the side of the engine. Carburetors are now about as common as console black and white console televisions with built in hi-fi phonograph and stereophonic sound. Fuel injection is the fuel delivery standard. A modern fuel pump is capable of maintaining the pressure and flow required by the electronic fuel injection system, itself powered by electricity created by the alternator. If the fuel pump quits? Game over.

Step-by-Step Gallery with E-Z Captions

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Tool of the Week: Magnetic Tray

Posted by Mike Bumbeck On May - 29 - 2009

magnet_tool_trayFrom the tools that support the use of other tools department comes this week’s featured tool of the week – the magnetic tool and parts tray. While there are dozens of different shapes and styles of this useful shop item, the simple yet effective concept is one that works as it should. Magnets attached to the bottom of the tray keep wrenches and errant nuts, bolts, and other fasteners in one place while working on your bucket. These same magnets allow for E-Z placement of the tray anywhere where there’s some steel or iron. On an engine stand. Under the lid of the toolbox. On top of a fender cover. And so on. One drawback of the magnetic tray is an unintended result of its awesome powers. The hours of mystery spent wondering where on freaking earth the 12mm box end wrench went can often be solved by turning the magnetic tray upside down. Oh – there it is.

Tatra 603 Breakfast

Posted by Mike Bumbeck On May - 28 - 2009

tatra_603_frontGetting to breakfast in the City of Angels most likely always includes travel by automobile. On a recent trip to Los Angeles, the Clunkbuckets arrived for ham and eggs Politburo-style in a 1970 Tatra 603. The delicious breakfast came hot off the griddle at Nicks. Transportation was supplied by Paul Greenstein and his other privately-owned Tatra sedan. Most Tatra 603′s came in black, and were supplied only to the big wigs of the the Soviet industrial-political complex. This Tatra came to Paul by way of a friend about ten years, ago and had been on the roads ever since. Nick’s Cafe serves up some famous breakfast and lunch east of Chinatown. Neither the Tatra or the pancakes disappointed. 

Enduro Dirt Mayhem

Posted by Mike Bumbeck On May - 23 - 2009


The rules spelled out to the drivers and crew before the running of the Crash Nationals were simple. No drinking of any alcohol, and don’t leave any junk in the pits. This junk included destroyed cars. The race? 200 laps. No breaks. No yellow flags. Fire – was the only thing that would get you and your car towed off the dirt oval. Breaking down in the middle of turn three meant sitting there until getting knocked or pushed off. What ensued was a 200 lap spectacle of greatness, a rollover contest, and a destruction derby for anyone that needed a few more dents. At the end of the evening what was left of the very stock cars were loaded up to make the the next race in Chico, California – the Silver Dollar 200 Enduro on Memorial Day. When there’s no dirt around, the track is soaked with a slippery mix of soap and water to keep racing interesting. Next time you see a classified ad for a 300-dollar 1978 T-Bird, you know what to do.

Support your local race track! More information at West Coast Enduros, the Petaluma Speedway, and Silver Dollar Speedway

Tool of the Week: Flare Nut Wrench

Posted by Mike Bumbeck On May - 22 - 2009

flare_nut_leadThere are moments in the do-it-yourself automotive world where one truly wishes something didn’t just happen. One of the more famous of such moments is stripping out or rounding off a fuel or brake line fitting. Finding out that these fittings are often made of a softer metal the hard way is not fun. Since these fittings are captured by the flare on the steel line or tube itself, stripping either the threads or nut sides means far more work than planned. The easiest way to prevent stripping fuel, brake, or any type of in-line fittings is with a set of flare nut – or line wrenches. A few sawbucks invested now can save an enormous amount of time down the road. Most of them come in 2-in-1 configuration with both popular sizes on one wrench for bonus utility!

Jack and Stands

Posted by Mike Bumbeck On May - 21 - 2009


Working on any car sometimes involves getting safely underneath to spin wrenches, or swing hammers. A floor jack and jack stands are the right tools for the job when it comes time to working on an automobile with more than one of its wheels removed. Choosing the right floor jack and jack stand set depends on the weight of your automobile. There’s no need to get a 12-ton set if you drive a 1982 Toyota Starlet. Conversely, an economy stamped steel 1-ton set won’t hold up a full-size pickup or SUV. Ground clearance, or lack of it, is another factor. Low-profile floor jacks will squeeze under most stock body cladding. A set of ramps are the answer for getting the floor jack under super low rides.

Step-by-Step Gallery with Bonus Captions

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Laugh it Up

Posted by Mike Bumbeck On May - 20 - 2009

nate_tynanWhy is this man smiling? Not only is he driving a big ‘ol Plymouth Satellite, but he also won a bunch of rounds on his first time out to the drag races. Longtime Gearhead Magazine scribe Nate Tynan is the proud owner of this full-size 383 big-block powered ’66 Plymouth. More than a few Wednesday nights ago Nate pulled up to the beams, zoned in on the tree, and let the three-speed TorqueFlite transmission do the shifting to put more than seven cars, including a fearsome 11-second Chevy Malibu – back on the trailer. Deep-fried cheese and A&W root beer float were the reward for this string of 14.90 second elapsed time victories on the 1320 feet of the quarter mile. Amateur drag racing is alive and well, and counting on you to keep it that way. Thanks to the system of bracket racing, everyone has an equal chance to win. Fast or slow. Big or small. Bring 20 bucks or so gate, a few bucks for food, and a lead foot for the win. Follow along with the gallery captions for EZ how-to tips for successful drag racing action.

More: Find and Support your Local Drag Strip

Motorhome of the Future

Posted by Mike Bumbeck On May - 19 - 2009

gmc_motorAs a large part of the nation’s energy savings begin at home, it would seem twice as great an idea to combine home and transportation into one self-propelled futuristic automobile. If we could send men to the moon, we could most certainly motor around our great nation in a modern home! But wait – don’t we already have recreational vehicles? Not so fast. Rolling like space-age fiberglass and aluminum Conestoga wagons into a ’70s-conceived future that never arrived are the legendary GMC Motorhomes. While it’s fun to think the automakers can tool up and produce an atomic-powered RV of the future in the time it takes to update the Facebooks, there’s a lot more engineering to it than one might think. The model shown here appears to be  a 1977 23-foot Birchaven. To learn more read this account on the development, testing, and production of the Oldsmobile V8-powered front-wheel drive pie-wagon that eventually became the GMC Motorhome.

More: The GMC Motorhome by William Bryant

Tool of the Week: Fiat SST

Posted by Mike Bumbeck
Sep-3-2010 I 1 COMMENT

Replace Window Regulator

Posted by Mike Bumbeck
Aug-28-2010 I 1 COMMENT

Five Tips for DIY Automobile Repair

Posted by Mike Bumbeck
Jul-21-2010 I 8 COMMENTS