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Fapping doesn't count as a secret project...

What a freakin day. I'm exhausted. Finally got it. What a pain in the ass. Took me another 3 hours today. Use the crane and jack to see-saw it into place. It was like playing Contra. Up, up, do

Got the head gasket, head bolts, and flywheel in last week. Unfortunately my internet was out so no updates. No big deal though because the website has been down for the past 3 days for me, thanks C

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Noise wasn't there prior to the trans swap, odds of a bad wheel bearing are very low. I'm using a junkyard trans and junkyard axles. The car likes to go in and out of coasting and engine braking effect which creates a slight bucking motion when the noise happens. I've done some research on how differentials work and seems that the clunk, grinding, and bucking are directly in line with a differential issue. Bad diff would make a lot of sense, the symptoms fit. Really sucks that I went through all the trouble of the swap only to replace a bad auto with a bad manual. :( Going to have it inspected by a professional when I get home.

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lol, mega hoarder's lifetime supply of dashboard trims....and somewhere there are 4 folks out there who are trying to find a replacement, cuz theirs is actually cracked, and are cursing the guy who took 'em all out of spite.

I still have like 5 ECUs laying around in a box, a JE-50 VAF, and an adjustable FPR where the fuel pressure gauge melted.

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lol, mega hoarder's lifetime supply of dashboard trims....and somewhere there are 4 folks out there who are trying to find a replacement, cuz theirs is actually cracked, and are cursing the guy who took 'em all out of spite.

I still have like 5 ECUs laying around in a box, a JE-50 VAF, and an adjustable FPR where the fuel pressure gauge melted.

Im 99% sure that i am one of maybe 3-4 people in the entire country who care about the 626 cars enough to change a broken dash trim, and to have OCD enough to try and find a mint set of doors, because mine has a small scratch :D

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I'm still looking for a good dash. Zepticon right now you're probably the owner of the most 626 dashes in the world. Hoarder yes but it's just a matter of time before your dash cracks and will need to replaced especially if you do a lot of work behind the dash.

I've checked gear lash by playing with the tire and yes I believe the backlash is out of spec. I don't have any way of measuring it, need a dial gauge for that kind of thing. Not sure if a ruler and level would be good enough. The axles are snug in the diff but they have in/out play. I believe that might be normal. Will have to wait and see what the trans shop says.

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Yeah, but you could have easily damaged the wheel bearings during the swap; you have to remove the axles, and removing the axles means removing the axle nut. That nut is what keeps the wheel bearing races from separating.

If you didn't torque the axle nut down enough (or waaay overtorqued it), your wheel bearing might be damaged.

I've had numerous experiences with bad wheel bearings over the past 1.5 years, and I was real nervous at first that it could be a diff/tranny issue due to the way the vibration sounded and felt (not the typical "skateboard down a sidewalk" sound people often use to describe a bad wheel bearing...more of a rhythmic thrumming & vibration you could feel in the floorboard that would only happen above ~55 mph).

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lol, mega hoarder's lifetime supply of dashboard trims....and somewhere there are 4 folks out there who are trying to find a replacement, cuz theirs is actually cracked, and are cursing the guy who took 'em all out of spite.

I still have like 5 ECUs laying around in a box, a JE-50 VAF, and an adjustable FPR where the fuel pressure gauge melted.

i was one of those people who needed some trim lol, i actually found my old 6 at a pick and pull near henderson. made me sad to see it with nothing inside it. D:

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  • 2 weeks later...

Been a while since I've done anything to the car. Got the bug tonight and spent about 6 hours working on the tail.

Rust hole causing water in the trunk. Finally found it. Used rust converter, then primer, then a dab of silicone (until I can get some Bondo).

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Decided to finally swap in the 96/97 license plate panel. I wanted the chrome bezel so to me this is an upgrade. :)

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In order to get that piece off the car first you have to first remove the tail lights. Might as well take advantage of the opportunity to shine them up. The gasket completely separated from both tails and the license plate trim. Took a while due to drying time.

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Used Meguire's Plasti-X to shine them up.

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This stuff works fantastic! There is a technique to it. Apply liberal amounts and do at least 2 separate applications for best results. Now that is some serious shine!

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Fitment is pretty good. Actually it's slightly better than the 93-95 because the 96/97 had minor variation in the design that although inconsequential to the fitment actually looks a little better and I'm not talking about the chrome bezel. I have a video coming soon that details the differences. The differences don't have to do with where the nuts and bolts are aligned. Hardware is all identical.

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Also took the opportunity to reseal the license plate light housings with clear silicone. Also used Plasti-X to shine them up. I don't have any before images but suffice to say they look better now. Half of the lens has a diffuser so that the lights aren't too bright making it hard to read because of the reflective text on license plates. It's not a defect in the lens that's the way it's designed. It has a weird shape to it. Made a separate video just on how to reseal the license plate lights.

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I want to thank ND28 for keeping an eye out for a gold 96/97 license plate body panel for me. We spent a previous trip working on a green one just to prepare for the day we spotted a gold one. We never did figure out how to remove it without breaking it. It's slightly more metallic than my Sahara gold. I'd have to look at the 96/97 color codes to see if a more metallic gold was introduced. It's close enough that you can barely tell and I'm fine with that. Thanks Andy! I figured out how to remove and install it the right way without breaking it. The trick is to remove the center tail lights first! Have to watch out for rusty studs on the tail light housings (same way the fog light studs are). They tend to rust in the same way fog light studs do too and I sheared one off. Nothing you can do about rusty studs. Used anti-seize when putting everything back together. You don't want to over tighten tail light nuts. Being barely hand tight is perfectly fine. Go any more than hand tight and you'll end up shearing off a stud in the future. Treat the tail light studs like you would a fog light stud. Be very gentle with them.

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Man, I'm sorry about your paint.

It's a bummer having bad clear coat or fading paint, then taking off a license plate or interior trim piece and seeing perfect virgin paint underneath it.

"Oh, that's what color my car is supposed to be"

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I'm sure I'll get it resprayed someday. Not too worried about how the paint looks. As long as I can keep water tight seals and exterior components looking good then it will look superb after a paint job. Paint is the final step in the restoration. I pray that I can get it to that point. That would be nice. Still dealing with the transmission crap right now. I've had to deal with one thing after another this week that prevented me from taking the car into the shop. Yesterday for example I jumped in the shower all excited that I was finally getting ready to drive it to the transmission shop after I got out of the shower. Then the water cut out mid-shower. I was soapy and sticky and pissed off. That took an entire day to get sorted out. Ended up being a clogged filtration system. It's been one crisis after another every day this week. Hoping tomorrow will be different.

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Swapped out the 93-95 license plate panel for one from a 96/97. I like the chrome bezel and it's a direct swap. All of the hardware and mounting locations are exactly the same. The only difference is the bottom of the 93-95 has a V groove which you can see in the video. It's not there on the 96/97, it's flat all the way on the bottom which makes for a little nicer look when the trunk is open and is one less space for dirt and debris to enter the trunk area. Another difference is the 96/97 has an arrow molded into the back which is a superficial difference but a difference nonetheless. Other than that both panels are identical.

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I'm just shining up my tail lens covers for the hell of it since they are already out of the car during the previous project. This video was shot during the middle of the license plate panel swap video. Pretty simple process for shining up the tail lens covers. I wanted to document how I did it and the results they yielded. It's all about the level of grit or cut that you need in order to get them shiny. If you have deeper scratches then you'd start with rubbing compound and then gradually step down the grit to polishing compound and then to PlastX. If you have scratches that are deeper than rubbing compound will get out then I'd use 2000 grit wet sand paper. If you need more than 2000 grit wet sandpaper then it's probably best just to find some junkyard replacements in better shape. The 626 tail lenses hold up very well over their lifetime. Mine are 18-19 years old so chances are very very good that you can find some high quality replacements. The finish on these things usually don't go bad.

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I don't know how others would approach re-gasketing the license plate light lenses (the lights that shine onto the license plate) but here's what I did. Removed the thick RTV compound with a flat head screw driver, cleaned it of dirt/grime with a household cleaner, then used PlastX to bring out the clear shine. Then to re-seal them I used 100% waterproof clear silicone caulk. You can find that stuff in just about any hardware store. The stuff I try to get is bathroom silicone since it's designed to be used in high humidity environments and usually has anti-mold agents in it.

The trickiest part of this job is installing the lens without getting silicone everywhere. Try not to get it on your skin, it doesn't wash off, remember it's waterproof. If I do get it on my skin I go outside and wipe my hands in the dirt/sand. Citrus cleaner and GoJo work ok but it will take multiple cleanings to get it off. It turns into a gooey gel like mess if you just try to wash it off with regular soap and water. Get dirty if you have to. It's easier to clean off dirt and sand then it is silicone.

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I would love for a bit more text, or a quick sum-up of each video in the post if that is possible. I mostly read the forums while at work, so it not that easy to get the content if i have to watch the video :)
But as allways, quality work! :)

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