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Topics - Haystack

Engine Tech / Strong engine stumble
Driving normally at highway speeds, this past week I have picked up a strong stumble. So much so, it feels like the fuel pump or ignition is shut off.

Being as I picked up a cheap fuel pump from Craigslist, I assumed that was the cause. Hooked up the gauge and I have a perfect steady 42 psi with vac line off and about 34 with it on. Preassure rises with throttle, so everything seems to check out.

I run codes, I get a 91 (lean drivers side) 34 (get out of range) and a air injection code.

I pulled the egr off since its really easy to get to, and its stuck and has a ton of black gunk. Cleaned it up, and minimal preassure moves it in and out. Looked at the smog pump, and I have a missing hose clamp. Whoops, wonder how long its been like that. Hooked that back up.

Unfortunately, engine was too hot to do the o2 sensor, so I let it be for now.

After messing with the egr and smog pump, I ran codes again. They still show up, havent cleared them yet. I then ran an engine cylinder ballance test. The motor isnt running smooth, but I had just ran codes and figured why not.

Got a 90 the first time and a number 5 the second.

Now obviously the o2 is going to affect the car running well and that is in the works for tomorrow. Ive noticed a drop in gas mileage too, so if thats all it is it would make me pretty happy.

So the plan right now is to swap that o2 and see where I am at tomorrow.  Ill probably pull the number 5 plug while I am there and make sure it looks okay, but the plugs aren't that old.

The real question here, I've lucked out pretty good on o2 sensors. The only time ive really had to replace them was for emissions. I never really noticed a big difference in how the car ran. Can a bad o2 cause my bad stumble?
Suspension/Steering / Front suspension rebuild
Front suspension rebuild.

Any tips or pointers?

My 86 tbird has 220k miles on it now, 100k since I bought it 3 years ago. I drive the crap out of it, pizza delivery and a ton of highway.  Last winter I hit a bad patch of ice/snow and spun out. Straightened it out right before hitting the guard rail. Luckily it pretty much only rubbed on the tire but it bent the tie rod. I adjusted it out a bit just to get by without killong tires.  Before that, the alignment was perfect.

But with all these miles on it, I lost a ball joint on a dirt road a while ago, and really haven't trusted everything else on the car since. I want to pretty much replace everything on there, including struts up front.

I would like to get as much adjustment as possible to fix a bit of caster/camber incase I bent something when I hit that guard rail.

As much as I would like caster/camber plates, I do not plan on lowering the car, just a basic stock rebuild. I was thinking about getting "crash bolts" to make sure everything is as good as I can get it, but I have no experience with them.

Every alignment ive gotten, the steering wheel ends up crooked or even upside down and they refuse to adjust everything as long as it is "in spec". I am going to try to do a drive way alignment after I replace everything to get everything as close as I can before I end up taking it somewhere to make sure its all as straight as I can get it first.

I plan on spending good money on balljoint. That one was pretty scarey. I'm glad I was under 10 mph on a dirt road when that one let go.

Any tips or tricks I need to know before hand?
General Fox T-Bird/Cougar Discussion / Ready for this one?
Dead battery. No biggie. Got a jump box and cables. Pop the hood and jump it fires right up. Unhook the cable and she dies hmm... Check alt, plug wire totally melted. Try to up plug connector and both charge plugs from the alt break off.

Now I'm usually pretty well prepared. I even had spade connectors. Figures I was just gonna splice in a new spade connector so the battery would charge and then drive home.

The joys of daily driving a 30+ year old car I guess. Worst part, my work is 70 miles from the nearest town. 35 from cell service. So I use the gaurd shack phone and call the girl friend who's just getting off work.

Think I'm just gonna hook up the jumper cables till the battery is charged up then try to drive it back to the freeway. Then I can run home and grab a spare Alt off my 88 xr7 and try to get it home.
General Fox T-Bird/Cougar Discussion / Cracked my windsheild
So I was vacuuming out my 86 tbird. I had my window scraper in the front seat kinda wedged while I was vacuuming out the back seat, went to mean the front seat back forgetting about the window scrapper. Went to pull the window scraper out not realizing it was jammed and it kinda popped out, straight into the windsheild.

Big giant star on the passenger side.

Yeah, trying to be quick to save another $.75 I busted a $200 windsheild.
Lounge / Hit a guard rail today.
Just want to remind everyone to slow down a bit.

I was driving my 86 bird on the freeway today. Hit a patch of snow doing about 55mph and the car got sideways. I had decent tires, there were cars in front of me driving faster, but luckily no one next to me. The car went left almost completely sideways. I held it sideways for a while, but I was getting closer and closer to the center cement barrier.

I decided that I would be better to go to the empty right lane then hit the cement and overcorrected a bit. I got the car straightened out on the shoulder, but the momentum kept me moving to the gaurd rail. I barely contacted it doing about 20mph.

There are a few scratches mainly on the fender trim. There was some rubbing on the outside of both tires, but doesn't look like more then a scratch on any body metal.

I really think if I would have had either snow tires or slowed down another 5-10mph I wouldn't have hit anything.

It seems like I might have bent the tie rod on the driver's side. Steering wheel is a bit crooked. Looks like I only need a new tire on the rear, it looks like it got cut up a bit on the outside of the guard rail and a bit on the sidewall. Made it home no problem, and no one got hurt.

Just a reminder to slow it down a bit. This is the first time in 15 years over actually hit something in my car, and I am really bothered by it. To be honest, I was really glad I was in a car I was so familiar with. I was probably sideways for 500 feet. I didn't panic or slam on the brakes. The Ballance of the car was really neutral overall, and I am honestly surprised I was able to keep it from flipping around.

Be safe out there
General Fox T-Bird/Cougar Discussion / The days are numbered
Think I'm going to have to find a new car to daily drive. One of my requirements in beater us being able to fix it easily and getting parts. I have a stash as well as a few parts cars.

But something changed today. I just went to 6 different parts stores looking for brake pads. I ended up special ordering them and it will take 2-3 days to get here. At this point, I am probably better off ordering online.

Its been a good 15 years or so, but I think I'm at the point now where I am going to have a weekend cougar/bird and a boring 4 door daily like everyone else. Been a good haul, but I think I'm done abusing these cars. Delivering pizza, camping, going off roading, and messing them up.
Lounge / Small town service
So my buddy has a 98 nissian, the alt randomly died on him. Get to messing with it today, and the alt plug is broken, someone broke the tab on the connector, taped it up and left it hanging. Hit a bump and the plug comes off.

No big deal, drove down to the local AutoZone. Nothing on the shelves, when I did my 3g, they had half an isle full if random alt plugs, bought them for quite a few cars helping people out over the years. No big deal, go to the counter.

Tell the guy I need an alt plug pig tail and the guy just says, "nope we don't even carry those, never have can't even order them". Won't even type into the computer and look. Pissed me off, so I take off to orileys.

At orileys they were at least nice, tried looking up a few different connectors, says he can special order one but its a week out.

So we take off and hit Napa. Napa tells me "We don't carry parts for anything older then 10 years old" and won't even type in the computer or pull out a book. By this point, I'm sick of getting the run around, and ask for a manager.

Manager is nice, but "won't be able to find anything for a Japanese car that old" and really half asses it looking at parts, just thumbing through paper catalogs, not even with electrical connectors.

Pissed off I go out to the car Google "98 maxima alt pigtail" and get a part number. Click the link, shows AutoZone and says its in stock at the local store. So I go back with a part number, and the kid behind the counter can't even figure out how to search the part number.

Long story short, ran out of time and ended up ghetto rigging it to get by for a day by throwing zip ties around the alt over the plug to keep the connector in.

I am the nicest guy in the world when I get to the counter at an auto parts store. I also deliver pizza, and tons of the guys behind the counter know me by name, I bring them pizza all the time.

What pisses me off, I feel like I am just getting the run around because they assume ill have to go to the city anyways, and they'd rather not go through the effort of ordering it.

Now before you say it must be a rare connector or might be hard to find, dodge, nissian, mitsubishi and Hyundai used them on a ton of cars all the way up to 2007. I can understand not being able to get it same day, or ordering it or even picking it up from the warehouse, but instead they would rather not bother and hope I just go away.

Its no wonder all these stores are going away. I just ordered the part online at Amazon. It will cost me $7 shipped. I did the standard 2 day shipping. Ordered at 3:30pm local time. I just got a conformation email saying it should it shipped at should arrive at 9am tomorrow morning.

I probably spent $7 in gas driving out to the parts stores to get the run around
Body/Appearance/Interior / Quick door hinge question
I have a bunch of play in my lower door hinge. The upper is easy enough to swap out, but the lower has the spring and roller to hold the door open.

My plan was to pull the hinges and fix em on the bench with one of those Dorman kits, but while I was junkyarding to get a spare, I realized the bottom hinge has two regular bolts and the third is obstructed.

Looking at it, it looks like there is some sort of rivet or something? Any easy way to remove it?

If its possible to drill out the hinge with it installed, I can do that I guess, but it would be much easier on the bench.

General Fox T-Bird/Cougar Discussion / Road trip
Possibly going to pick up a buddy in L.A. in the next couple days. Anyone along I-15 or southern Cali wanna meet up? Think ill be driving straight through Vegas. Gonna be in my 86 tbird.
T-Bird/Cougar Parts & Cars FOR SALE / Parting out an 88xr7 in utah
I have an 88 xr7, white but most of the body is no good, painted over rusty bottoms.

The console is in place, so is the floor shifter. Ill be keeping the seats. Rear end was swapped to a 7.5". I think I have the frame brackets for the quad shocks, everything else is gone.

Let me know what you want, I need it gone soon. I can remove and ship anything you want to pay for.

Preferred check or money order for payment, but I can probably work something else out if needed.

Texts welcome, 435-two24-9968.

Thanks, Kevin.
Lounge / Yeah, that's about right.
First real snow fall of the year, and my driveshaft broke. At work, on a delivery.

Had a bit of a vibration at 75mph. If I sped up or slowed down, the vibrarion went away. I planned on replacing it, I even have another driveshaft with new u-joints in storage. Oh well.
Electrical Tech / Sometimes I really hate electrical
So my 86 tbird has done this thing where the dash lights and heater randomly go out. Its been like that since I bought the car last year. When I first bought it, if you tugged on the steering wheel or pulled on it too hard, the car would die.

I thought no big deal, get a new ignition switch, call it a day. Drove it home no issue, and swapped in an extra switch. Couple of months down the road, hit a speed bump and the dash lights go out. Take the switch out, and the connector is melted. The dash is still readable barely, and it didn't really bug me, so I just kinda ignored it for a while.

Now that its getting cold again, I am running my heater alot, not to mention how much I drive, and I do pizza delivery, so I like to keep the heater going as I am mainly doing short trips, in and out constantly and its been in the low 20's, so a warm car isn't a bad thing.

One day the dash lights go out, and so does the heater. I special ordered the ignitions switch "pigtail" when I knew mine was melted. As I was getting ready to splice over the whole switch, I realized I didnt need to splice all of them. So I unpinned each one, looking really carefully for anything that's burned or melted. I don't find anything, nothing at all.

As a matter of fact, all the connectors look pretty much brand new. After putting it all back, everything seems to be fixed, I figured it just must have been the slightly melted connector.

Now remembering I hit a speed bump, or tug on the steering wheel, randomly it dies again. Well today it died all together. If I kept the heater off the dash would barely light up, so I left it off or low for the whole night.

Now when I get off work, its 16° and I've been cold for most of the night. I had another new switch and some 40 amp relays plus some wire I bought specifically to splice them in and slave everything.

I pull the ignition switch off, carefully pull each wire trying to decide which one is melted and needs to be slaved to a relay. The switch still looks brand new and all the wires and connectors are still perfect.

I spent two hours trying to figure out which wire was bad and found nothing wrong. About to give up, I tossed down my test light down in the console cubby thing, and I see a flash of light. After poking around a bit, the grounding part of the cigarette lighter is powered. I hadn't even noticed, but every time I turn on my heater, my cigarette lighter dies.

To test it, I clip on an alligator clip to the outside lip of the cigarette lighter then ground it to the colum. Instantly the heater comes on, as well as the dash light. After poking around, the whole s902 grounding point seems to be dead. After another hour or two of trying to figure out where a "centered on the I/p panel" is, I stumble onto it and realize its somewhere near the radio bolted to the side of the dash.

After poking around for a bit trying to trace back to it from the cigarette lighter, I gave up, and added a t-splice to the lighter ground and bolted the other end to the dash brace on the steering column.

I feel like an idiot for blaming the ignition switch this whole time when it was just a random ground, probably just loose or dirty somewhere under the dash.

First warmish day i have off, I am gonna go any try to find that ground and see if I can replace it.
General Fox T-Bird/Cougar Discussion / Got rats...
So last night I'm driving my car and I hear what sounds like plastic being cut with a hand saw. I was driving by active construction zone with the window down so I kinda just ignored it.

Couple hours later, I go out to my car to smoke (im the only one in my family that smokes so I keep it outside) and I keep hearing something in the car. I figure its a moth or bug, so I roll the Windows down and turn on one map light hoping it will fly out. Out of the corner of my eye I see a rodent drop down from under the glove box and fall in the middle of the foot well then scurry off.

What's the best way to get rid of this thing? My first thought was to poison it, but obviously that's gonna kill it somewhere in the car.

My next thought is to put a mouse trap on the floor.

In hoping that this came from the tow yard my car that was recently wrecked at. Its just starting to get cold and I took a bunch of stuff out of my car that my buddy had in there after it sat outside with the one door open in a field. I actually keep my car pretty clean for a smoker, I vacuum it out several times a week and I try to wipe everything down at least once a week. I'm just hoping I don't have any holes somewhere they are getting inside the car at.
Lounge / Another one gone
My buddy wrecked my 83 cougar today. He's okay but the cars probably scrap.

Borrowed it to him when his girlfriend kicked him out so he could drive to and from work. Guy ran a yellow making a left hand turn and tboned him. He went to the hospital but is gonna be fine. Just sore, nothing broken and maybe some soft tissue damage.on the plus side, his girl friend took him back home.

Wheel was pushed in pretty far, windshield is smashed in. Floor and steering column stayed put. Had to use jaws and take a fire axe to the drivers side tires to get the door open. Said it took over 45 minutes to get the door open. Car was pretty clean, old paint but barely a dent on it and only around 110K miles.

We require insurance, my car had state minimums with a high deductible, other guy (newer car, I didn't see it) had no insurance.

Moral of the story, get a lower deductible, don't borrow your car to a friend, and I'll think harder at full coverage next time. Think it was only $25 more a month. Should have $25k uninsured coverage if I remember right, should cover hospital bills. Other driver wasn't hurt.