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Metro Fanatic's 92 Silver Geo Metro LSi HI-FE; Modding 'Bullet' for FE. Lots of pix. Solar Experiment, Body Mods. LEDs, Comments welcome!
Topic Started: Nov 9 2009, 01:11 AM (21,587 Views)
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I'll be using this Project Forum to share my new of my project to fixing up my 'Bullet'. I'd like to get her looking great and go from average MPG to hopefully stellar MPG. I bought bullet in July of 2008 from a very nice hippie lady who lived near Manoa Falls on Oahu. Plans for modding this car aren't extreme but I do plan on trying to use a combination of small modifications coupled with smart driving techniques. I'll take suggestions and inputs as I go.

I've been reading for several weeks now about a Fuel Efficiency (FE) Mod that involves deleting the alternator drag from my mighty 3 cylinder. Some fairly empirical tests have shown about a 10% increase in MPG from simply taking the altenator out of the system. 10% seems like about the single, biggest gain I've seen in improving MPGs and I was interested in trying it. But, like most of you, my car is not just a hobby, it's a daily driving vehicle so removing the alternator seemed a bit risky. Afterall, I work late into the evening sometimes, I'll need those headlights!

What I've come up with is a switch I'll mount in the central console (where my radio used to be) that will disconnect the alternator when I think I can get away with it. This will typically be at cruise (45-60 mph) or down long hills where I'll be coasting anyway and can afford to divert some horsepower to electricity generation. From reading, I knew that our regular starting batteries aren't designed for this type of cyclical deep draining so I wanted to come up with a clean, easy way to supplement the battery to slow its run down. What I came up with was a solar charger coupled with a charge controller.

I found a SUNFORCE 15 Watt Photvoltaic (PV) cell that would fit nicely in the back cargo cover tray area of 'Bullet'. When I bought this car, it came with the high side rear speaker mounts behind the rear seats that also doubled as the support for the option cargo lid that was supposed to deter theft by keeping valuables out of site. Bullet didn't come with the cover so I decided to fabricate my own.

I used some fairly thin plywood that I cut to fit and after a few coats of primer I found a good gray paint that would closely match the interior of my car. I used some excess weather stripping to provide padding under the glass PV cell and under the wood mount to keep this modification silent (no squeaky or loose fittings).

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Plywood cut to shape.

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Primed white and black.

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Painted gray to match the interior.

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Installed with weatherstrip pads added.

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PV Cell in place!

Before I had everthing locked up and screwed down I was able to take the unit out for a test drive. Under driving conditions with the cell mounted high behind the rear seat. I drove several places around the island with the PV hooked up to my Multimeter set to Voltmeter mode. I was supprised to see that even on a rare overcast day I was generating between 17 and 19 watts. That's good considering it's a 15W panel. I found out later that the company underrates their PV cells to ensure people get enough juice. The 15W panel can actually deliver up to 26W under peak conditions.

I hooked the PV cell up to the battery with a 7AMP charge controller in between. This will ensure the battery doesn't get fried. The charge controller feeds the battery anytime it's less that 13 volts and cuts out whenever the battery is >14.2 volts.

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Close up of charge controller, I'll put this near the instrument cluster.

The first step of removing my alternator via controlled switch is complete. Now I'm waiting for a few voltmeters I purchased from Singapore. They'll be part of a electical load monitoring station I want to put in the 5 x 8 inch hole where my stock radio used to be. I want 3 voltmeters there.
- The first will tell me what my solar PV cell is delivering (just for kicks)
- The second will show me the current auto battery voltage
- The third will show me what the alternator is providing.
- If there's room in the panel I'll try to squeeze in a digital clock / inside outside thermometer gadget and a MPGuino.
- It should also have an alternator cut out switch and an overall power switch that will enable me to bypass everything.

The control panel will be subject to another post.

I realize the PV cell, even under ideal conditions of providing 26W won't be anywhere near what my basic load requirement is (I think somewhere aournd 175W for my ECM and to fire my plugs). What I hope to do is be able to smartly disengage the draw my alternator puts on my engine and squeeze out 5 or 6 more MPGs.

75MPGs here I come!

What do you guys think?




Edited by Metro Fanatic, Nov 14 2009, 02:10 PM.
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Johnny Mullet
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Hi-Tech Redneck

I truly think you are on to something. I closely monitor the fuel mileage on my 1998 Metro and with the econo cam from 3Tech and my driving style and other improvements, I have learned that every bit counts when it comes to ultimate savings. Having a really good battery with a full charge is essential for the car, but being able to eliminate the power usage or at least minimize it's use, will net in considerable savings.

Kudos to you man! I hope some others can join in and elaborate their opinions.
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john.
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Great idea!
Can't wait for the results!
john
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tmaxmetro
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I hate being the gloomy kid in class.... but I wouldn't put a PV panel inside my vehicle - too dangerous in the event of an accident.
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iamgeo
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Is that a fact....or just a rumor?

Well written and interesting post.

Can you please post the prices of the various items you have listed.
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nerys
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Grr

considering all the other projectiles I typically have in my car a PV panel would be very low on my radar of dangerous. a nice thin film solar roof would be cool though you might even get 70+ watts from something like that.

as for battery. these are TINY cars with TINY engines and TINY starters. Just put a deep cycle battery in it and be done with it.

I hope to one day eliminate both the water pump and the alternator. Use an electric pump instead (these run really cool so I probably would not even need a very powerful pump) I figure i will LEAVE the water pump and alternator in the car so I can "pop" on the belt in an emergency or if the need somehow arrises (really long drive for example)

I think your measurements are off though. either thatof my 94 xfi uses a LOT less power.

175 is 12.5 amps. NO WAY it takes that much power. I ran my battery SO DEAD (alternator died did not know it) that the battery was nearly depleted even with the alternators minimal output the engine would stutter and die if I even turned on the turn signals.

I find it VERY hard to believe these consume 12.5 amps just SITTING their doing nothing but running. Did you verify this number?

I LOVE how you mounted the PV. I really want to do something like that! I love that shelf so much I am going to build one (it seems it was only available 95 and up would the 95 shelf FIT my 94 or are they just too different?)

Convert all but headlights to LED. that will drop a massive number of watts at night. Don't forget your dome light. pick the right fixtures and you should be able to keep it just as bright as the incan. I plan to try it this weekend if I can find some warm white arrays (I hate the cold blue white)

I am also considering high power LED or lower power headlights in TANDEM to my regular headlights so when I am city driving where there really is plenty of ambient light I can turn off the high power headlights and use the low power secondaries to meet the legal requirements and be safe :-)
Edited by nerys, Nov 13 2009, 12:24 AM.
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Metro Fanatic
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tmaxmetro
Nov 12 2009, 10:29 PM
I hate being the gloomy kid in class.... but I wouldn't put a PV panel inside my vehicle - too dangerous in the event of an accident.
I appreciate the safety facet to this issue but in the case of Geo Metro, especially the pre Supplemental Inflatable Restraint Gen II models (89-94), I think we can worry ourselves to death. Any additional 'anything' within the occupant compartment of course is another potential projectile when large, rapid changes of momentum occur. I've tried to mitigate this somewhat by using the 4, 2" stainless steel screws that came with the panel to mount it to the cargo cover supports. It's also velcro'ed down along the left and right sides. The PV unit weighs in at 9.8 pounds and that is something to be concerned about...no doubt about it.

SUNFORCE also makes a 2 pound, foldable PV cell that has more Watts. I wasn't able to figure out how to get that in place effectively and still have some aestethic appeal of this PV.

Your point is well taken. Any home mod has a lot of unknown and untested safety consequences.

Wish me luck!

Metro Fanatic
Edited by Metro Fanatic, Nov 13 2009, 11:40 AM.
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iamgeo
Nov 12 2009, 10:33 PM
Well written and interesting post.

Can you please post the prices of the various items you have listed.
IAMGEO, Thanks for the complement.

Prices weren't as bad as you may think. If you assume you have to buy everything, the mod will run you about $125. When this total mod is complete (voltmeters installed/alternator cutout in place) and assuming an optimistic 10% increase in mileage, it will still take about 50 gas tanks to realize any savings.
The good side to this is that there really are no consummables to this set up. By that I mean that unlike new tires or a fresh crank case full of high end synthetic oil that begin to lose their effectiveness almost immediately after implementation, the solid state / plug and play attributes of this set up can be moved to another metro without too much adieu. With this outlook, the ROI is a little more achievble (see Ma, my MBA isn't totally useless!).

Here are the #s.
PV Cell & Charge Controller ($90)
14 gauge wire ($5)
11/32 plywood (2 x 4 sheet) ($5)...got this 50% off because of a cracked corner (always ask for discounts)
Alligator Clips for battery hook up ($3)
1 x 2 x 8 for spacers and legs ($2) Spacers required to let air flow under the PV cell to keep it cool...they're more efficient when cooler.
Velcro ($4)
Weather Strip ($4)
Killz Primer ($8)
Gray Paint ($3).
Small Hinges (that allow the support legs to fold up when I need the cargo space ($3)

This list assumes you have no supplies around the house. Cheaper if you can improvise.

Hope the details didn't bore you.
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Woodie
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Metro Fanatic
Nov 9 2009, 01:11 AM

I've been reading for several weeks now about a Fuel Efficiciency (FE) Mod that involves deleting the alternator drag from my mighty 3 cylinder. Some fairly empirical tests have shown about a 10% increase in MPG from simply taking the altenator out of the system. 10% seems like about the single, biggest gain I've seen in improving MPGs and I was interested in trying it.



No way 10%. It takes about 12 hp to keep a car rolling at 60 mph. 10% of that is 1.2 hp or around 900 watts. The maximum output of our alternator (which it almost never puts out) is less than 700 watts. So in the unlikely event that your running along at a constant 60 mph and your alternator is charging just as hard as it can, then it's approaching 10%. The other 99.9% of the time, it's far, far less than that.

Good idea and nice work, but it's not worth 10%.
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nerys
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Grr

sometimes its JUST FUN to do and any gains are cream on top :-)
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Manny
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Yes! a Costa Rican member

Definitely one of the greatest ideas around fuel economy, most likely when sun these days is too hot,

by doing that are you able to fully disconnect the alternator from the system then?

will be interesting to establish a kind of priority, where solar cell acts first and if no sun, engage the alternator automatically.

Just an idea because the alternator don't create that drag all the time,
it does not use to work 100% of the time at full workload.
Edited by Manny, Nov 13 2009, 10:52 AM.
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nerys
Nov 13 2009, 12:21 AM
considering all the other projectiles I typically have in my car a PV panel would be very low on my radar of dangerous. a nice thin film solar roof would be cool though you might even get 70+ watts from something like that.

as for battery. these are TINY cars with TINY engines and TINY starters. Just put a deep cycle battery in it and be done with it.

I hope to one day eliminate both the water pump and the alternator. Use an electric pump instead (these run really cool so I probably would not even need a very powerful pump) I figure i will LEAVE the water pump and alternator in the car so I can "pop" on the belt in an emergency or if the need somehow arrises (really long drive for example)

I think your measurements are off though. either thatof my 94 xfi uses a LOT less power.

175 is 12.5 amps. NO WAY it takes that much power. I ran my battery SO DEAD (alternator died did not know it) that the battery was nearly depleted even with the alternators minimal output the engine would stutter and die if I even turned on the turn signals.

I find it VERY hard to believe these consume 12.5 amps just SITTING their doing nothing but running. Did you verify this number?

I LOVE how you mounted the PV. I really want to do something like that! I love that shelf so much I am going to build one (it seems it was only available 95 and up would the 95 shelf FIT my 94 or are they just too different?)

Convert all but headlights to LED. that will drop a massive number of watts at night. Don't forget your dome light. pick the right fixtures and you should be able to keep it just as bright as the incan. I plan to try it this weekend if I can find some warm white arrays (I hate the cold blue white)

I am also considering high power LED or lower power headlights in TANDEM to my regular headlights so when I am city driving where there really is plenty of ambient light I can turn off the high power headlights and use the low power secondaries to meet the legal requirements and be safe :-)
Nerys,
Inputs like yours are what I love about these forums. They give me other ideas and let me reexamine my assumptions. The whole idea behind a switchable alternator gives me the freedom to use as I go...without having to pop the belt back on. Time will tell if it works...still waiting for components to arrive in the mail.
I'm curious, how did you come up with your minimum power consumption figures? Did you have a tool to measure the amperage out of the alternator while the battery was disconnected and the engine running? I'd use my multimeter but I'm pretty sure that would fry it.

I'm a bit hesitant at this point to tap into the rotor field control wire anyway. I still have to figure out the correct gauge of wire to use and if I want to step it down at all with intermediate switches between the alternator and the control panel in the passenger compartment. Not sure how reliable a switch is with all the juice running through it (switch dependant I guess).

Do you know of a non-intrusive amp type meter?


The cargo lid option was available on all LSi models of the Gen II Metros (89-94). It will definity fit your 94.

Appreciate the LED idea but I'm ahead of you on that one. I've already done the math and figuring on night driving I can roughly save around 1/2 a HP worth of watts. Can't wait for real LED headlights though. Oahu however is a poor place to buy OTS parts. Our auto stores are fairly small and lack selection. I will experiment with some high vis LED running lights that I can embedd in my plexiglass air dam project of the future some time.

Thanks for the input and great ideas. Hope you can help with my questions. Other techies feel free to jump in!


Dan (Metro Fanatic)

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Manny
Nov 13 2009, 10:48 AM
Definitely one of the greatest ideas around fuel economy, most likely when sun these days is too hot,

by doing that are you able to fully disconnect the alternator from the system then?

will be interesting to establish a kind of priority, where solar cell acts first and if no sun, engage the alternator automatically.

Just an idea because the alternator don't create that drag all the time,
it does not use to work 100% of the time at full workload.
Manny,

I won't fully disconnect the alternator. It will still be hooked up via the pulley and belt. Essentially a free turning wheel. I know there is still turning resistance to overcome but much less so if the alternator is not under load. I chose to do it this way for simplicity...I didn't want to have to go under the hood to move belts.

The completed project will have control panel inside with the driver being the 'smart chip' that will adjust the priority you speak of. With full sun and max wattage, I can switch off the alternator and monitor the battery voltage. When I think it needs charging I'll engage the alternator again. From an efficiency standpoint, it's best "ON" when decelerating or descending a grade - the same times regeneration is active in hybrids.

Look back for future progress and more pix.

Thanks for the comment.

Metro Fanatic (Dan)


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iamgeo
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Is that a fact....or just a rumor?

Please take plenty of pics and make a technical "How to Guide" on implementing the various items.
I'm all for getting as many MPG's as possible.
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Coche Blanco
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Woodie
Nov 13 2009, 08:24 AM
Metro Fanatic
Nov 9 2009, 01:11 AM

I've been reading for several weeks now about a Fuel Efficiciency (FE) Mod that involves deleting the alternator drag from my mighty 3 cylinder. Some fairly empirical tests have shown about a 10% increase in MPG from simply taking the altenator out of the system. 10% seems like about the single, biggest gain I've seen in improving MPGs and I was interested in trying it.



No way 10%. It takes about 12 hp to keep a car rolling at 60 mph. 10% of that is 1.2 hp or around 900 watts. The maximum output of our alternator (which it almost never puts out) is less than 700 watts. So in the unlikely event that your running along at a constant 60 mph and your alternator is charging just as hard as it can, then it's approaching 10%. The other 99.9% of the time, it's far, far less than that.

Good idea and nice work, but it's not worth 10%.
http://ecomodder.com/forum/showthread.php/test-alternator-vs-no-alternator-10-gain-70-a-98.html
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bogs
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Duct tape heals all wounds

Boy, lot of good information in that thread at Ecomodder :thumb and there were lots of good thoughts on replacing the charge back from the alt, although I didn't see anyone mention regen braking as a possible, where the recharging motor would kick, for instance, when the brake is applied at a certain level.
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Woodie
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That test proves what I was saying. At 43.5 mph steady, you can gain 10% for that exact instant. At any other speed or if you find you need to accelerate, or brake, the percentage will plummet. I'd be very surprised if you could gain 3% in real world use. Notice that his base line mpg was over 70, when was the last time you got 70mpg for a tank? There's nothing realistic about that test.
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That's a worthy goal and not too far off. My baseline is 60 mpg now. With only minor driving technique improvments and some mods like removing external mirrors and wipers. But it will be interesting to see what I can gain.
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91xfi1.0


Hi guys, Honda has already done this in some of their cars. I believe the gains were minimal, but enough that they did it. The solar panel is a good idea. While it will not maintain the car going down the road, you will be able to drive without the alternator and then park it in the sun to charge up the battery.

I am not a electrical guy, but what happens if someone hooks up a relay or something that could cycle the alternator on and off rapidly? In theory the alternator would only be on part time (hence saving fuel), but it would keep the battery charged?

I believe this is a trick used for battery operated machines to extend their range.
Edited by 91xfi1.0, Nov 16 2009, 12:00 PM.
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91xfi1.0. That is an interesting idea. You said the solar panel wont run the car. I agree. Do you have an idea what a normal load would be for let's say cruise at 50 mph?
Thanks for the relay idea, it will give me some more to think on. Right now I'm in the day dream phase waiting for parts!
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Woodie
Nov 16 2009, 07:57 AM
That test proves what I was saying. At 43.5 mph steady, you can gain 10% for that exact instant. At any other speed or if you find you need to accelerate, or brake, the percentage will plummet. I'd be very surprised if you could gain 3% in real world use. Notice that his base line mpg was over 70, when was the last time you got 70mpg for a tank? There's nothing realistic about that test.
I don't see where the baseline comes into play. It's strictly a percentaged based number. BTW, my baseline is 60! (proud hypermiler!)
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Woodie
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Okay, let us know if you gain 6 mpg by turning off the alternator.
Edited by Woodie, Nov 24 2009, 07:34 AM.
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nerys
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Grr

well he can't. he is driving a 91 that means NO ODBII that means no scangauge and no "real time" fuel figures. he has to go tank by tank and as was noted the 6mpg gain IF it happened would only occur at steady state. once you factor in braking acceleration etc.. its all out the window.
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bogs
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Duct tape heals all wounds

He could, however, tell us if he goes further per tank. I would imagine that any improvement on the highway would show up in the distance traveled. If he only went one mile further, thats not a lot. If on the other hand, he goes 40 miles further per fillup, that would show a signicant addition per its subtraction of gals required to get there.
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Woodie
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nerys
Nov 24 2009, 10:06 AM
IF it happened would only occur at steady state. once you factor in braking acceleration etc.. its all out the window.
And that is EXACTLY what I said, 12 days and fifteen posts ago.

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bogs
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Duct tape heals all wounds

And you don't think that it would contribute to overall mpt? I am sure it would, if thats the only thing different and he saves a gallon per fill up consistently using it, i.e. 40 miles more distance traveled, I would think it would prove out the theory. Bonus points if its 2 gals per tank :)
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Woodie
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Maybe a quart per tank, more likely a pint.
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Metro Fanatic
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Okay, I've got the solar panel installed and I'm STILL waiting for a couple of gauges before I can put together the charge monitoring control panel with 2 switches. 1 switch to disengage the alternater and the second to bypass the gauges. The second switch will keep the interior of my car from glowing TRON blue at night when I'm not using their data. I figure anytime I can avoid having an empty car in the driveway glowing, that would be a good thing. Not to mention that would make bullet a thief magnet.

Posted Image

I put a note out on the tech help page asking what the typical alternater output range for a gen II G10 engine is. If you know...shout it out here. My complete guess is between 5 and 50 amps.

Edited by Metro Fanatic, Nov 27 2009, 11:24 PM.
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bogs
Nov 24 2009, 12:21 PM
He could, however, tell us if he goes further per tank. I would imagine that any improvement on the highway would show up in the distance traveled. If he only went one mile further, thats not a lot. If on the other hand, he goes 40 miles further per fillup, that would show a signicant addition per its subtraction of gals required to get there.

I have in fact gone further on a tank of gas since the installation of the solar panel. This tank averaged 61.65 MPG. That's up about 1.75 MPG. That gain is across the gamut of driving / environmental conditions as Woodie stated. In fact, the last 2 weeks, the trade winds have picked up considerably and driving conditions have been poor here (much more wind than normal).

Still an increase of 1.75MPG with JUST the solar panel assist may be something. Just the 15-28 watts I'm generating (that the alternator doesn't have to) seems to be paying some dividends. I am still waiting for a couple of gauges that will allow me to complete the Alternator Interrupt Switch. When I get that installed, I can actually begin lightening the load on the engine even more.

With luck, more MPGs to follow.
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Bad Bent
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Facetious Educated Donkey

I have not seen the sun in two days. :die
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Metro Fanatic
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BB too bad. On the plus side....your skin must look young! Where is McCall? I used to play up by Coeur d Alene (can't recall the spelling)....beautiful area.
Edited by Metro Fanatic, Nov 28 2009, 02:21 AM.
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Bad Bent
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Facetious Educated Donkey

Good spelling... :thumb
McCall is two hours north of Boise, about 7 hours south of Coeur d' Alene. Yea, we almost moved up there, very pretty. This is a long valley, mountains, but the town it's self is by a lake, sunk in a hole- No views. Hey, I sort of have a job and our boss pays for our DSL. Our dog was rescued and we got her in 2003, that's one saving grace. I miss geckos. :lol
What did you play?
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nerys
Nov 24 2009, 10:06 AM
well he can't. he is driving a 91 that means NO ODBII that means no scangauge and no "real time" fuel figures. he has to go tank by tank and as was noted the 6mpg gain IF it happened would only occur at steady state. once you factor in braking acceleration etc.. its all out the window.
I have good reason to believe that Santa is bringing me a MPGuino this year...that will go on my center console with my alternator disconnect/battery load/solar input meter control panel. Whew...gotta come up with a cool acronym for that mouthful.

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bogs
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Duct tape heals all wounds

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I have in fact gone further on a tank of gas since the installation of the solar panel. This tank averaged 61.65 MPG. That's up about 1.75 MPG.

See, I count that as a consistent measurable gain, about the equivalent of adding skirts, lets say.
...Frankly, I think some put far too much emphasis on the "LOOK !! I'm getting 67.92 mpg COASTING DOWN THIS LARGE HILL FOR 2 SECONDS" baloney of instant measuring. Sure it helps adjust your driving methods, but its a fraction of the whole picture.
...Something that gives you the ability to go 1 and 3/4 mpg further consistently and over an entire tank of gas, even though small, is an improvement that shouldn't be over looked. Good job :thumb now get that up to 40 miles over the tank you lout :lol your halfway there :thumb
Edited by bogs, Nov 28 2009, 09:37 AM.
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It's been awhile since an entry! Maui vacation, Christmas company and now a pending move! Jeez. This will probably be the last entry until spring when I get the cars shipped to Maryland.

The dash electric control and generator disconnect is coming along. I've got the Generator disconnect switch installed and working. (the large silver toggle). Of the 3 electric displays, 2 are working, the top is the trickle charge from my solar panel mounted where the cargo cover used to go. Full sunlight gives me up to 23Watts (rated at 15W so Hawaii sun is a bonus). The bottom right display is the current battery voltage. When I disconnect the generator via the switch I can keep an eye on the battery's voltage to make sure I don't let it drain too far. The bottom left display is my generator voltage display. This is currently INOP. I crossed wires installing it and it blew. A new on is on the way. No real value to this display other than I can watch what sort of voltage the generator produces at different speeds and electric loads.
The blue toggle switch turns the diplays on and off so my car doesn't look like a TRON movie at night.

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bogs
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Duct tape heals all wounds

Man now that is just plain cool.
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December 27th.

I took a 40 minute test drive this morning with the sun up and using the alternator disconnect. I was pleasantly surprised that I could run about 75-80% of the time with the alternator disconnected. Battery voltage slowly dropped but very slowly and actually stabilized around 12.2V with the solar input to offset loss. This definitly opens the door for longer daytime trips without the generator online. Peak voltage input from the PV cell was 23.9V today.
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Dec 29th
Seafoamed Bullet
After reading about Seafoaming and watching all the youtube vids I finally got a chance to seafoam my 'Bullet'. I bought the can a while back but wanted to wait until I was nearer my scheduled oil changes so I could remove any detritus that the seafoam breaks free or disolves. I was worried and curious to see how this would affect my 17 year old, 118,000 mile engine. I've only had this car about 10K miles but I was relatively sure it was driven kindly over the years. So I wasn't expecting any big clouds of smoke.
I put a third of the can in both the gas tank and crank case 2 days ago. This morning I sucked the last 1/3rd of the can in through a vacuum hose. I ran the car on a 10 mile drive first to warm her up. When I put the hose to suck up the seafoam, we almost killed the car. Liz had to hop in and keep her RPMs up. Pretty quickly after introduction we got some smoke coming out the tail pipe. After revving the engine a bit, the smoke thickened but I was happy we didn't get the huge volume of smoke. We let the car sit for 5 minutes after sucking up all the seafoam. After 5 minutes, we started it up again and just a bit of smoke came out of the tail pipe. I did see some smoke come out of the exhaust manifold where it goes in to the tail pipe. Perhaps I need a new seal or gasket.
I hopped in the car about 45 minutes later for a quick 5 mile test drive. I'm not sure if this was all in my head or not but the car seemed peppier and smoother. I was quite pleased. We'll see how the oil looks when I change it later this week (at only 2K since I'm going up to Mobil 1 0W-30.)
I'll post pix later. Seafoam seems like a winner.

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Jan 2, 2010
Bullet set a new record for MPGs with the last fill-up. 62.93MPGs. Woo Hoo!

I'm getting comfortable with the generator disconnect operations. No negative effects noted.

I'll be upgrading my oil in a few days from Wal-mart 5W-30 to Mobil 1 0W-30. Also when I have her on the lift I'll change my transmission fluid (5spd, standard). I've only put 10K on Bullet since I bought her but don't have service records so I'm resetting the bar. I'm thinking of using Pennzoil Syncromesh. We'll see how that turns out.

I'll also drain my radiator (been running water since I had it) and will be going to about 70/30% antifreeze (I was going to go 100% antifreeze until I read in the 92 service manual that anything above 70% actually increases the freezing point.) It's official, I accepted a job offer on the Mainland. Maryland here I come! Once I crate Bullet, I'm not sure what route the carrier will take to deliver the vehicle and how cold it will get, better safe than sorry.
Edited by Metro Fanatic, Jan 3 2010, 09:20 PM.
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Will
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Victory is mine!!!!

Fantastic Project. Great reading.
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Woodie
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You should absolutely put in Synchromesh, it's the best solution for our cars. It's thinner so it will save you gas and work better in the cold you're about to experience, 15 degrees here at the moment.
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6 Jan 2010
Finally changed oil from Wal-mart 5W-30 to Mobil 1 0W-30.
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While I had bullet up on the lift I also took the opportunity and changed out my manual transmission fluid. I intended to use pennzoil synchromesh but I could only buy that in a 5 gallon pail on Oahu. I went with Royal Purple Syncromesh instead.

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This was the first time I changed transmission fluid on any Geo I've ever owned. Results were Instantaneous! Before the tranny oil change, I had no noticeable issue with my shifting....everything seemed fine. After the oil change, WOW! The difference would be like trying to ice skate on sand first, then switching to a perfectly level sheet of ice. The machine shifted so smooth! Again, I had no issues before the change but I'm amazed at the difference after. The engine seems quieter too.
The Mobil 1 seems to have positive results too. I seafoamed about 500 miles prior to this but the oil didn't come out that black (must have been lucky w/ a clean engine). I do notice now that the car temperature gage is noticeably cooler at cruise. I also noticed the other day cruising to work that it seemed like I had a tail wind when I coasted...which is frequent on our long stretches of up and down interstate...it seemed to take longer to lose speed. I kept looking at trees and flags to see my tail wind...but there wasn't one! Yoo Hoo! I'm attributing that to less internal resistance translating to a more efficient ride. I wont fill up for a few more days but it will be interesting to see the numbers!
Edited by Metro Fanatic, Jan 12 2010, 01:37 PM.
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Johnny Mullet
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Hi-Tech Redneck

Coming along quite nicely! Good job!
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Jan 12, 2010
Good results from using the higher end motor oil and transmission oil. I changed the oils about 1/2 way through the tank of gas (actually 177 miles before the next fill up) and MPGs increased. New record. 63.673MPG! I'm very happy with this increase especially since I did cart around an extra 200#s (in the form of my daughter's boyfriend who came out for Christmas (awesome....grrrr)) for about 100 miles on this gas tank.

Next mod is simple and may only bring on small gains...but cumulatively the effects will be real with other improvements. I'm looking for LEDs to replace the following 6 lights, front running lights (X2), rear running lights (X2) and license plate lights (X2). These are alway on in darkness and I can save about 98% of their electric load by going LED. Every bit helps!

Edited by Metro Fanatic, Jan 13 2010, 10:46 PM.
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Jan 17, 2010
Not really a project today but rather minor upkeep. I noticed the other day that the top bracket for my radiator had broke off and the radiator had a fair amount of bounce to it. I'll JB Weld it, see how it works. I'll edit w/ before and after pictures when complete. Anyone have luck with JB Weld?

Edited by Metro Fanatic, Jan 17 2010, 09:35 PM.
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Bad Bent
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Facetious Educated Donkey

I have not used it but have used similar epoxy type stuff. Should work, if not it's an inexpensive gamble, eh.

A chance to say congrats on the 63 mpg! :thumb :thumb

I tried the LEDs, used red with the red filter, and it's OK. I live with hyper-flash. Only the 1157-24 LED bulbs were not as bright as the original 1157s. I'm looking at a pair I keep on my desk that I'm not going to use. :-/ Well, maybe some day or as emergency spares. :dunno

Good luck with the project! :D
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20 Jan 2010,
I did the true shade tree mechanic fix the other day. JB Weld. I had a broken radiator mount. The 'L' bracket had broken off the radiator. I applied a little 4 minute set JB Weld, let it sit overnight and retightened the bolt.
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Ta Dah.
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Bullet's ride is a little more smooth. I love it.


Edited by Metro Fanatic, Jan 24 2010, 09:16 PM.
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Just a note to myself here. Explore an interior, corded temp gage for the air temperature of the engine compartment. Use as a part of the future grill block mods (to be complete with adjustable (from the drivers seat) opening panels, louvre like)).

Also need to build a simple battery insulation kit.

Edited by Metro Fanatic, Jan 25 2010, 10:11 PM.
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I actually did this mod a few months ago, back in November 2009 I think. I posted this on ecomodder but forgot to bring it up on our forum. This was a quick and simple mod to streamline Bullet a bit more.
Since Bullet's an LSi, she's equipped with composite headlights, an aerodynmamic plus. I noticed however, that when the hood was down, there was a gap between the top of the headlight casing and the hood that in some places measured up to 5/16 of an inch. This gap ran the entire headlight / hood line. I had some extra weatherstripping (1 inch wide, 7/16ths thick) that I ran on top of each light.

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Now when the hood is down, the weather stripping is slightly compressed and the previous gap is sealed nicely. I've had this in for about 4 months and the material is still in excellent condition.

Cheap and easy and may save a few ml of fuel for you hypermilers out there.


Edited by Metro Fanatic, Jun 18 2010, 08:05 PM.
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Okay, nothing to do with modding my Bullet here. Just a crazy note. I've been getting some quotes from Auto shippers to move my two Metros. You know you've got the GEO bug bad when you're footing a ~$4,000 bill to get 2, 1992 Geo Metros shipped from Hawaii to Maryland. Gotta love these cars!
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Facetious Educated Donkey

That's :wub:

A cross country road trip: 3000 miles=7 tanks(fill at end)@50mpg@$3/gal=~$210, plus motel(wife)@$70/6 nights=~$450 plus food@$40/day/2person=$200=$850-$900/2 people - 1 car. Rounding up for calcs. Not counting ocean mileage. So $3000 for 2 cars and a 5200 mile road trip?

Google maps says it's 2,200 about to L.A. They recommend taking a kayak across the ocean and if you walk, there might not be sidewalks. :smackface I kid you not...

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Edited by Bad Bent, Feb 3 2010, 01:49 PM.
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I've seen the Kayak thing before. Funny! Your math makes sense but somehow we'd have to insert 3 dogs (2 Jack Russell Terriers and an apricot poodle) into the mix. Can't leave Sam, Parker or Lady behind! And that, my friend would turn a road trip into a smelly endeavor I can't do!
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Feb 3 2010, 02:30 PM
I've seen the Kayak thing before. Funny! Your math makes sense but somehow we'd have to insert 3 dogs (2 Jack Russell Terriers and an apricot poodle) into the mix. Can't leave Sam, Parker or Lady behind! And that, my friend would turn a road trip into a smelly endeavor I can't do!
Thus, like, totally justifying the shipping expense! ;)

I've suggested http://www.dogfriendly.com/?
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Woodie
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Ouch. I'm thinking about taking my Metro to England, not good to hear that it costs that much.

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Not so bad Woodie. I got it for $1,750. Bullet leaves on Wednesday. Ruby ( my 92 basic) leaves friday. You may still want to ship yours to England. We're flying to Dallas for the dogs sake (has to be at least 45 degrees to ship pets), then driving up to Wisconsin to see a house I got a few years ago ( and see my XFI)...but a 2 day rental is a killer...like $400!.
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Well, only one car and England is closer than Hawaii, so maybe it won't be that bad. Now if I can just figure out how hard it will be to get it legal to drive in England, I could make a decision. Just think it would be cool to have a North American Swift over there where they were never sold.
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Okay Metro Fans, I'm back! Finally getting settled after uprooting the family and dragging them 5,000 miles from Hawaii to Maryland. Found a nice new homestead in a little town called Bowie outside the beltway. I'm not in Bowie proper, but in an old rail station called Huntington that's been annexed by Bowie. (Seems like the town of Red Bud from the Chevy Chase movie "Funny Farm").
I just had the second 92 metro shipped in last Friday so I'm almost ready to start tinkering again. My first project however is to get my 90' John Deere Riding Mower up and running. I may have to ask for some non-metro assistance from you all on this one. It's good to be back!
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Hey! Welcome back! Yes, grass, looks are everything.
I occasionally put some Lucas gas treatment in the snowblower, maybe some Seafoam?

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Welcome to the neighborhood, Dan. Right down the street, but I guess you know that, having already spotted my car. :-) Used to buzz through there all the time, before they built the "bypass", 197 used to go through there. I lived at 197 and the BW Parkway, and my best friend lived in Bowie.

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Thanks Woodie,
It's taking longer to get settled that I thought it would. We moved to Hawaii to raise the young kids and put a lot of stuff in storage...now we're still going through all that stuff...and having garage sales, slowly selling it on Craigslist and eBay but it's taking forever. The good news is that the traffic here in MD is very nice. DC is pretty good too...heard bad stories about it but nothing comes close to Hawaii traffic. I'm still able to get ~56 or 57 MPG without tinkering with bullet yet. This morning...after this post, I'm hitting the garage to unclutter there.
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Purely a thought - if you have a solar panel, why even bother turning the alternator off? Surely the solar panel's input would reduce the work the alternator has to do, which is effectively the same as disconnecting the alternator's charge lead?
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It would take a lot of solar panels to help with that load (look at how low the amperage of most panels are compared to the ~10A@12V that these cars take to run the engine) you'd probably loose any gain to the increase in weight. New solar panel tech is coming out that is greatly reducing weight while increasing efficiency, give it 10-20 years and it will be feasible (during a sunny day anyways)
Edited by mcmancuso, May 30 2010, 01:56 PM.
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bogs
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Duct tape heals all wounds

Was reading about some new solar panel in paint form as well, so if THAT takes off, maybe time to repaint the car :lol
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StevieC
May 30 2010, 01:28 PM
Purely a thought - if you have a solar panel, why even bother turning the alternator off? Surely the solar panel's input would reduce the work the alternator has to do, which is effectively the same as disconnecting the alternator's charge lead?
Good question StevieC. There's a strange fixation in the hypermiler community with installing manual switches to do what the car already does automatically. Turning off the alternator (the standard way of controlling an alternator's output since 1960 or so) or cutting off fuel supply during deceleration (a standard feature of fuel injection systems since the mid 80's). While you may be able to make more intelligent decisions about such things once in a while, the program built into the PCM does it with a safety margin, and more importantly, does it every time without fail.

I "improved" one of my early cars by installing an electric radiator fan with a dashboard switch in place of the wasteful mechanical fan. Sure enough, I fell asleep in the car one night and when I woke up (freezing), the engine was seized and the radiator blown. One of my first lessons in why it is often best to not F with it.

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nerys
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Grr

hmm in the winter my electric fan NEVER turns on no matter how long I idle.

man your crazy. I don't think I would ever leave Hawaii for any job if I actually had the means to live in Hawaii. I would kill to live their!
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StevieC and McManCuso,
The switch does perform a function. It completely disengages the alt, lessening the load on the engine until it's turned back on. I understand the alt feeds the engine and battery as required, (and at varying levels) but I'm forcing the system at times to run completely off solar and battery power. By having the displays in the cabin, I can switch the system on to recharge the battery and power the electrics. As far as weight concerns go, it's a wash for me. The unit is light to begin with (I'll have numbers once I get my shop set up again...soon I hope!), and I took the radio and speakers out when I installed the display unit. If anything, the net weight delta is negative.
Now, as we all know, the true value of a switch (especially for men) is the modicum of control it gives the switcher. "Switching" as it turns out, is more than objective, there is definitly a subjective aspect to it....it's fun....it's another gadget.
Thanks for the replies. Can't wait to dedicate more gray matter to Geometroforum.
Edited by Metro Fanatic, Jun 16 2010, 08:14 PM.
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19 June 2010, No actual work done today. Moving essentially is taking about 5 months of my life. There is light at the end of the tunnel though. Tonight I got both 92s in the garage. I'm still competing for space with a spare TV and an extra washer/dryer set...but we're close! First thing I need to do is get bullets exhaust patched. The last 6 inches of tail pipe broke off where it connects to the rear end of the resonator. I've been enjoying a bit of a boost in MPG because of the lessened back pressure (last tank was 59.42mpg) but the annoying loud muffler is wearing on me.
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Edited by Metro Fanatic, Jun 18 2010, 08:06 PM.
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6:59...off to Home Depot for mulch and more potting soil, then off to CRAZY RAY'S Junkyard (or 'parts garden') to check out their Geo stuff. On the way back I'll hit harbor freight....never been there....they weren't in Hawaii. Gonna be a great day! Gotta go!
Edited by Metro Fanatic, Jun 19 2010, 06:02 AM.
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nerys
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Grr

your so screwed. For your first visit I would go easy. Don't take any credit cards and don't take more than $100 cash. You will spend it all. Hehehe
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LOL yeah what nerys said :) Sounds like a fun day.
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If you're going to the one in Laurel (in the George Wallace shopping center) stop in Chuck E Cheese and say hi to my wife, she's the roundish English woman.
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nerys
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Grr

just don't say "are you the roundish english woman woodie told me about" or he is a dead man when he gets home.
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Ha....good advice! I didn't see your Chuck E Cheese note until just now....well after my field day.
It was a good day. I checked out Crazy Rays....lots of fun. Not a ton of older metros...only 1 actually and nothing I needed.
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The 3 newer metros (to me, the newer metros are the 95 and up body styles) I looked at were okay....the only things I were really looking for were trim bezels and an odometer linkage from a 13 inch metro that will make my speedometer and odometer read accurately when I update from 12s to 13s on Bullet. The only things I scored were an extra shift knob, a stock AM/FM radio (the kind with the "GEO" emblem on it). I also got a small geo emblem from a Prism. Fun morning though.
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Harbor freight was cool. I had a good coupon so I would up getting a 3gallon oilless air compressor and accessory kit. I priced a bunch of stuff too. I think the next trip I'll walk out with a set of Body hammers and some bondo. Bullet's long overdue for a facelift.
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Edited by Metro Fanatic, Jun 21 2010, 06:52 AM.
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Harbor Freight, Chuck E Cheese, quite a difference from living on the island, eh. :-/

I flew from Guam to Los Angeles. After a year on Guam It was strange seeing curbs and a 5 lane interstate. :O
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nerys
Jun 20 2010, 11:17 AM
just don't say "are you the roundish english woman woodie told me about" or he is a dead man when he gets home.
Thanks, Nerys, might save me some glares. I may survive though, she's pretty cool about it and it's heading the right way. She calls Weight Watchers her "fat class", so she's got a sense of humour.

Dan, that speedometer drive you need is where the cable goes into the transmission. Think it's just one bolt that holds it in.

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Thanks Woodie. I'll head out next Sat to pull it from a 13 inch model. Once I swap tires, that should be all I need to get accurate instrumentation right?
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Woodie
Jun 21 2010, 06:40 AM
nerys
Jun 20 2010, 11:17 AM
just don't say "are you the roundish english woman woodie told me about" or he is a dead man when he gets home.
Thanks, Nerys, might save me some glares. I may survive though, she's pretty cool about it and it's heading the right way. She calls Weight Watchers her "fat class", so she's got a sense of humour.

Dan, that speedometer drive you need is where the cable goes into the transmission. Think it's just one bolt that holds it in.

Anyone have a picture of one on or from a 13" wheeled Geo?
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My next small 'mini-project' has been annoying me for quite a while. Sometime before I brought Bullet home, a previous owner must have pulled the steering wheel and put it back on slightly cocked. When I'm running straight and true (perfect alignment), the steering wheel is off by about 10 degrees. That's easy to fix. The more annoying part is the SQUEAK. I backed bullet out of the driveway, and power-off coasted around our Cul de Sac. Check out the youtube video and turn up your speakers. I'll try to get the fix sometime after work this week.



I'll also put a new "metro" emblem on the horn cover.
Edited by Metro Fanatic, Jun 21 2010, 08:39 PM.
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Woodie
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Some good pictures here: http://www.teamswift.net/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=38891&p=292885&hilit=speedometer+leak#p292885 you want the white 17 tooth gear, preferably from a newer car so you don't need to worry about the gear oil siphoning up the cable into your lap. Just get one from any 95-01 Swift/Metro and all will be perfect.

That wonky steering wheel might be from alignment, if you find that one spline over on the wheel doesn't fix it, could be that the tie rod ends need to be screwed in or out to get it all balanced.

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Excellent pictures thanks. "wonky"? You have spent time in Britain!
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22 Jun 2010. Getting set for some body work. I picked up a new set of body working hammers today. Also got a new respirator for sanding. Now all I need is a little filler and a lot of time. Can't wait!
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As I'm relaxing for the night, I'm pondering actually taking a hammer to Bullet. I know there's a lot of minor blemishes to fix up on her, but this will be my first body work attempt. Any body working advice out there?
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Woodie, tell your wife to stop doing weight watchers. You can eat your "points" in snickers...lol
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It's working for her, I'm not going to mess with success. She might tell me to "bugger off".

I use all sorts of English expressions, sometimes accidentally write labour or colour too.



Edited by Woodie, Jun 23 2010, 05:40 AM.
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bogs
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Duct tape heals all wounds

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Jun 22 2010, 09:39 PM
As I'm relaxing for the night, I'm pondering actually taking a hammer to Bullet. I know there's a lot of minor blemishes to fix up on her, but this will be my first body work attempt. Any body working advice out there?
It would depend on what types of blemishes we're talking about. Also what kind of hammer. Can you shoot a few pics?
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Bogs,
My hammer set is pictured above. I'll try to get some shots of the damage areas. Eventually I'll have to sand the entire body in preparation for a nice new paint job...right now...it's just control and the first baby steps of getting used to a new skill (being optimistic here). It will be a few hours before the pix though, tonight I get rid of a spare washer/dryer set that's been sitting in the garage. This is the LAST of the MOVE-Related stuff. WOOO HOOO!!!!
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Facetious Educated Donkey

Well, I 'm glad the move is over.

Learn a new skill?

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Just referring to my soon to be developed body working skills (again being optimistic). Thanks for the motivation!
Bullet's in fairly good shape, but several years in the Hawaiian sun (without garaging, we turned that into a game room / home theater) took its toll on her finish. I need to hammer out some dings, sand down some minor finish/surface oxidation, pull all the windows so I can replace the molding which is in terrible shape (again from the tropic UV). Then repaint. Oodles to do! I'll add pix later.


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Here are the pix!
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Door trim in rough shape.
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Top fading bad!
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Need to seal the antenna hole.
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Edited by Metro Fanatic, Jun 23 2010, 07:45 PM.
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Finally got my garage space back! I can now start working on catching up on just my day to day maintenance backlog. Little steps first. Last night, I replaced a tailight (I know I can do that in the driveway, but it's nicer in the garage) and scraped the oceanic shipping sticker off the window. Also, got to liberally armor all the dash. Feels good!
Edited by Metro Fanatic, Jun 24 2010, 06:05 AM.
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