Some tool definitions

What these tools really do:

(Mike, Gordon and Fixer, please share your additions or observations!)
Tool Definitions:

Drill PRESS: A tall upright machine useful for suddenly snatching flat
metal bar stock out of your hands so that it smacks you in the chest
and flings your soda across the room, splattering it against that
freshly-stained heirloom piece you were drying.

WIRE WHEEL: Cleans paint off bolts and then throws them somewhere
under the workbench with the speed of light. Also removes fingerprints
and hard-earned guitar calluses from fingers.

ELECTRIC HAND DRILL: Normally used for spinning pop rivets in their
holes until you die of old age.

SKILL SAW: A portable cutting tool used to make studs too short.

PLIERS: Used to round off bolt heads. Sometimes used in the creation
of blood-blisters. The most often tool used by all women.

BELT SANDER: An electric sanding tool commonly used to convert minor
touch-up jobs into major refinishing jobs.

HACKSAW: One of a family of cutting tools built on the Ouija board
principle. It transforms human energy into a crooked, unpredictable
motion, and the more you attempt to influence its course, the more
dismal your future becomes.

VISE-GRIPS: Generally used after pliers to completely round off bolt
heads. If nothing else is available, they can also be used to transfer
intense welding heat to the palm of your hand.

WELDING GLOVES: Heavy duty leather gloves used to prolong the
conduction of intense welding heat to the palm of your hand.

OXYACETYLENE TORCH: Used almost entirely for lighting various
flammable objects in your shop on fire. Also handy for igniting the
grease inside the wheel hub you want the bearing race out of.

WHITWORTH SOCKETS: Once used for working on older British cars and
motorcycles, they are now used mainly for impersonating that 9/16 or ½
socket you’ve been searching for the last 45 minutes.

TABLE SAW: A large stationary power tool commonly used to launch wood
projectiles for testing wall integrity.

HYDRAULIC FLOOR JACK: Used for lowering an automobile to the ground
after you have installed your new brake shoes, trapping the jack
handle firmly under the bumper.

EIGHT-FOOT LONG YELLOW PINE 2X4: Used for levering an automobile
upward off of a trapped hydraulic jack handle.

TWEEZERS: A tool for removing wood splinters and wire wheel wires.

E-Z OUT BOLT AND STUD EXTRACTOR: A tool ten times harder than any
known drill bit that snaps neatly off in bolt holes thereby ending any
possible future use.

RADIAL ARM SAW: A large stationary power saw primarily used by most
shops to scare neophytes into choosing another line of work.

TWO-TON ENGINE HOIST: A tool for testing the maximum tensile strength
of everything you forgot to disconnect.

CRAFTSMAN 1/2 x 24-INCH SCREWDRIVER: A very large pry bar that
inexplicably has an accurately machined screwdriver tip on the end
opposite the handle.


TROUBLE LIGHT: The home mechanic’s own tanning booth. Sometimes called
a drop light, it is a good source of vitamin D, “the sunshine
vitamin,” which is not otherwise found under cars at night. Health
benefits aside, its main purpose is to consume 40-watt light bulbs at
about the same rate that 105mm howitzer shells might be used during,
say, the first few hours of the Battle of the Bulge. More often dark
than light, its name is somewhat misleading.

PHILLIPS SCREWDRIVER: Normally used to stab the vacuum seals under
lids and for opening old-style paper-and-tin oil cans and splashing
oil on your shirt; but can also be used, as the name implies, to strip
out Phillips screw heads. Women excel at using this tool.

STRAIGHT SCREWDRIVER: A tool for opening paint cans. Sometimes used to
convert common slotted screws into non-removable screws.

AIR COMPRESSOR: A machine that takes energy produced in a coal-burning
power plant 200 miles away and transforms it into compressed air that
travels by hose to a Chicago Pneumatic impact wrench that grips rusty
bolts which were last over tightened 30 years ago by someone at Ford,
and instantly rounds off their heads. Also used to quickly snap off
lug nuts.

PRY BAR: A tool used to crumple the metal surrounding that clip or
bracket you needed to remove in order to replace a 50 cent part.

HOSE CUTTER: A tool used to make hoses too short.

HAMMER: Originally employed as a weapon of war, the hammer nowadays is
used as a kind of divining rod to locate the most expensive parts
adjacent the object we are trying to hit. Women primarily use it to
make gaping holes in walls when hanging pictures.

MECHANIC’S KNIFE: Used to open and slice through the contents of
cardboard cartons delivered to your front door; works particularly
well on contents such as seats, vinyl records, liquids in plastic
bottles, collector magazines, refund checks, and rubber or plastic
parts. Especially useful for slicing work clothes, but only while in

DAMMIT TOOL: Any handy tool that you grab and throw across the garage
while yelling “DAMMIT” at the top of your lungs. It is also, most
often, the next tool that you will need.

Dart update!

The life of a weekend warrior-

I dragged Mike the Mechanic into another long day working on the Dart….

My ’72 Dart had massive carbon buildup in the crossover passages of the intake manifold. This kept the exhaust gas from heating up the intake manifold and the choke so #1- the thing never hit peak efficiency (which isn’t great even then in a 318) and #2- meant that the choke spring never actuated and the choke remained closed. I was having some trouble with it stalling out at traffic lights because it was running so rich and I was spending a fortune on gas. A friend who had converted his stock 2bbl 318 over to a 4bbl said “Here, take this stock intake and get it dipped and then just give me your old one when you pull it off.”

So, I had that intake dipped and then it rode around in the trunk for a few months. I have been super busy- i work two jobs and play in a band. Long story.

Anyway, the thing got some surface rust on it, so when I finally got a couple of days off after Christmas, I took it and pulled off my valve covers and went to Christopher’s house where we spent the day playing with the sandblaster. Everything came out looking very nice and clean. I primed it and the next day it started raining. I don’t have a garage- have to do everything in the yard, so the primed intake and valve covers went into the barn for two weeks.

Then, I finally had a clear day, went out and discovered that the primer hadn’t stopped the rust…

I am a halfwit, I know. Should have predicted that. Back to the sandblaster with the intake, and then I ran out of time AGAIN. But not before I primed and painted it and the valve covers.

Another week and a half goes by, and I finally get a Saturday to myself, so I give everything a sanding to get rust off of the various surfaces that didn’t get primed and painted (it’s rained pretty much nonstop here for two months) and Mike and I set to bolting everything back together.  Everything went back together surprisingly well. Even the distributor fell into place without any wrestling.

The last thing I did was bolt the coil back on, only…. there’s one coil bolt missing… and we had left it on the firewall over the engine…  Maybe… maybe it fell down into the engine… no, it couldn’t have.  What if it did?

I searched all over under the car, but remember that this isn’t a shop. It’s my driveway, which isn’t paved. I am 97% sure that the bolt hasn’t fallen down in the engine, but there was a long hard moment where I thought about tearing everything apart again to make sure it wasn’t sitting in the valves waiting for me to turn the key.

We finally decided to proceed, only to discover that my NEW intake doesn’t have a water pump bypass hose nipple. The old one does, of course, so it’s just a matter of… crushing it with a pipe wrench trying to get it loose.

So, off we went to do the late Saturday afternoon tour of autoparts stores. NAPA closes here at 12:30, so it was AutoZone, O’Reilly’s, etc. You can imagine how that went. Finally found what I needed in the plumbing department at Lowes. Nice brass part, threaded on one end and barbed on the other. AND it was less than $5.00. Don’t mess with me, folks….

So, we got it all put back together and cranked it. Loads of crap burned off when it first started. It settled into a nice idle, but when I ran the RPMs up, it was running really, really rich and it sort of stumbled a little bit.

Unfortunately, it was getting dark and cold really fast, and yesterday it was raining and cold again, so dawn breaks on another Monday with the Dart up on ramps. Still.

I think that I may have sealed a vacuum leak that someone had previously compensated for by enriching the mixture ridiculously. My suspicion for the primary culprit is the old carb gasket that I threw away. It was really shot. I think that the new one may be way more effective at blocking air. I would have started playing with the mixture except for two things-

Mike noticed that the points were pretty much shot when I had the dist. cap off. I don’t have a timing light of my own, so I couldn’t really change the points and start playing with it until I had gotten points, condenser, light, etc.

I am hoping that no one claims next Saturday before I can get to it!

I am also hoping that I do not discover that the carb needs to be replaced or rebuilt, though it wouldn’t be the end of the world.

Hey, Fixer….

Oh, man. You have to check this out:

On June 15, 1957, a new gold and white 1957 Plymouth Belvedere Sport Coupe was buried in a time capsule in downtown Tulsa, OK. The time capsule was part of Golden Jubilee Week: Tulsa‘s celebration of Oklahoma‘s semi-centennial. The car is buried under the sidewalk in front of the Tulsa County Courthouse, approximately 100 feet north of the intersection of Sixth Street and Denver Avenue.

The car was seen as a method of acquainting twenty-first century citizens with a suitable representation of 1957 civilization. According to event chairman Lewis Roberts Jr., the Plymouth was chosen because it was “an advanced product of American industrial ingenuity with the kind of lasting appeal that will still be in style 50 years from now.”

The contents of a women’s purse, including bobby pins, a bottle of tranquilizers, cigarettes and an unpaid parking ticket, were added to the glove compartment of the car shortly before burial.

How handy are you with a jackhammer? Wonder if we can tunnel in there and snatch that thing before anyone notices…

First cars

Michele is blogging about First Cars. Here’s mine, a 1969 Chrysler Newport Custom.

Just saying the words “69 Chrysler Newport Custom” makes me think of nine or ten punk rock kids piled into that thing to go see Suicidal Tendencies at the Metroplex in 1987.

Good times.

I spy with my little eye….

Something that starts with “HELL, YEAH….”

I live in a sleepy little town. There’s less than 240 of us, I think was the last count.

SO, there’s a little house right next to the post office, and I don’t know if I have mentioned it before, but there’s a ’71 Dart Swinger that someone really loved at one time- it’s got the Bee stripe and some nice tires, now all flat… it’s under a tarp, just kind going south in a hurry. I have banged on the door a few times to see if the guy will at least let me pump up the tires and drive it around the block to keep it from going completely to hell. He hasn’t ever been home.

Until today.

Today, we was out washing his OTHER car….

I got some pictures with the phone. Sorry for the quality, but that’s camera phones.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the OTHER car:

Drives it once a month to give him an excuse to wash and wax it.

It’s CHERRY, too. 440 and all. He even cranked it and revved it good just so he could watch my eyes glaze over.


You can see the Dart under the tarp in the very, very back of the first photo. See the blue bump?

Wave of deaths blamed on eBay

I got this email today:

“Your Chilton’s Manual was shipped Monday sorry I haven’t replied as I had a death in the family. Thanks!


It’s been three weeks since I won that auction. No email, no phone call, nothing.

I wonder of everyone who used “I had a death in the family” as an excuse to have not mailed stuff suddenly lost a relative, would the CDC move in and shut down eBay?