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Hitachi RB 24EAP Leaf Blower

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6 month old Hitachi Leaf Blower

I’ve had enough of the 90th Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade.  Anticipating company that will soon be arriving I decided to fire up my 6 month old Hitachi leaf blower and clear out the driveway, front walk and back patio – after all, Thanksgiving weather is in low 70’s today, here in the Upstate of South Carolina.

And sure enough the damn thing refused to start.  On close inspection, the reason for the failure appears to be the carburetor is not priming.  Press the rubber bulb, right?  Well sure.  But the grommet leaks and fuel spills out instead of getting pumped into the carburetor.

img_4133And here is that grommet I speak of.  It has two rubber lines coming out of it, and they are just press-fit in the two holes on the grommet.  Of course, when one pumps the bulb, fuel spills out through the little lines.

And yes, I have followed the recommended fuel requirements:  this blower is using 100% straight fuel (or at least that is what the pump said) instead of that ethanol laced crap sold today.

Of course we all know the reason for this:  today’s fuel is just not what it used to be.  All these rubber parts are made of the cheapest materials.  The grommet pictured above should be made of Viton so it would be impervious to today’s fuels.  But no.  This stuff is mass-produced and this part would eat at the bottom line.  That CEO at Hitachi would fail to get his bonus.  Instead us consumers get the shaft.  Again, this blower is only 6 months old.

Fortunately, these parts are available online.  I just placed an order for a new grommet and fuel lines because you know the minute I go replace this those lines will be brittle and start leaking themselves.  Oh but here is the kicker…  These parts totaled about $8 bucks with a $7.95 shipping & handling charge.  Go figure…

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Mopeds, Trucks and Mustangs

img_4128My friend Jeff sent me this photo just a few minutes after leaving work yesterday, November 22nd.  I suppose this is as good an example of “necessity being the mother of invention” as any…

Interesting how mopeds are becoming more and more prevalent in our busy streets.  The sad part about this is that these transportation conveyances are so non-regulated.  Then again, this is why they are so easy to acquire and to ride.  Catch 22 for sure.

Don’t take me wrong, I am not scorning folks driving these machines on city streets and highways but some of these folks certainly go to extremes at the expense of their own (and others) safety.  And adding insult to injury with no regard to basic laws and driving conduct; ie., driving in the left lane, hogging the road or hauling a keg of beer, etc.

img_3947While on the subject of mopeds…  I took this photo several weeks ago.  It shows two extremes in transportation – a sign of our times.  On the left a fully loaded $60k Ford pickup and on the right another moped.  Two chariots providing the same basic concept – moving from point “A” to point “B” – but with different levels of safety, comfort, status, and the list goes on.

Finally, a short story on the silver high-dollar truck shown in the picture:  The truck was a “loaner” given to a co-worker by a local Ford dealership  Turns out several months ago my friend had bought one of the new Mustangs with the V6 engine.  Said Mustang developed a voracious “appetite” for engine oil and eventually started making strange noises.  The dealer took the engine apart, put it back together and that yielded more strange noises.  After weeks that turned into months the good folks at FOMOCO did like Tammy Wynette standing by her man and in this case, stood by their steed:  they sent a brand new crate engine replacement.

All is well now after the engine transplant and my friend is back on the road enjoying his Mustang.  I guess this must have been a bad omen though…  FOMOCO has ceased production of the V6 engine Mustang…

So happy Thanksgiving 2016 to you all.  I for one have much to be thankful for and with much optimism that America will be made Great Again.

 

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Triumph Bonneville T120 Black

img_4085Since the weather was just perfect last Friday, I walked over with a couple of my co-workers to the small barbecue restaurant down the street from my place of employment.  They have a Friday “special” on the menu for a BBQ sandwich, slaw and beans for five bucks.  Not bad and it was just “enough” for a quick lunch.

Well, on the way there in the parking lot I saw this awesome, modern Triumph Bonneville T120 Black.  I am not a big motorcycle enthusiast, I have always considered them as the next best thing to what Tony Montana labeled as a “first class ticket to the Resurrection”.  But, that does not mean I don’t appreciate a gorgeous machine when I see one.  This is one of those cases…

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Across from this Triumph’s  parking spot, is a meat-and-three restaurant and sure enough, the motorcycle’s owner was seated next to the window.  I noticed him smiling as I took pictures and I gave him the thumb’s up.  I think he was pretty tickled!

Pretty awesome motorcycle, huh?

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Honda S2000 Organizer

img_4100Every time I drive my 2003 Honda S2000 it puts a huge smile on my face.  This car is just awesome.  If I have a bad day, all it takes is to drive a few miles and just marvel at the F20C engine as it revs its way up.  Once 6,000 RPM’s hit, its VTEC time, yo!  And the F20C still has 3,000 RPM’s left to go.

Impressive!  After all, this is F1 DNA shit; this technology hails from the glory days of McLaren/Honda and Ayrton Senna.  It took none other than the boys from Maranello to build an engine that would produce more horsepower per liter than the F20C.

But I digress “big league” as a certain trained monkey would say (and for the record, the other trained monkey isn’t worth a crap either).  What I really wanted to share today is a nifty trick I found.  The one thing I don’t like to do in my S2000 is drive with the top down and have my wallet and iPhone in plain view on the passenger seat.  What to do?

One answer is use the storage compartment between the seats.  Fair enough, the lid has a lock and key but it is awkward to use.  I want something more convenient.  After some research on eBay, my gamble paid off:  as shown in today’s featured image I bought a center console storage tray for a 2010-2014 Mazda 3 or 6.

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Part number for a Mazda 3 or Mazda 6 center console storage tray

Soon after I acquired my S2000, I bought a pair of extended length floor mats.  These mats are longer and cover the reinforcement beam in the floor of the S2000 protecting the factory carpet.  One drawback is the colour is a little off, but who cares?  I rather protect the carpet from wear and tear.

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Extended length S2000 carpet mat

As you can see, the little tray fits perfectly…

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Reinforcement beam and the Mazda tray

As you can see in this picture, the tray fits just perfectly between the reinforcement beam and the seat frame pad.  This little tray will now prevent my wallet and iPhone from sliding under the seat.  Added benefit is this all fits under the carpet mat and is within easy reach.

img_4096I need to get some stick-on Velcro on the back of the tray and that will lock it down for good to the factory carpet.  But overall I think it is going to work just fine.  Oh and the part was about $14 on eBay.  I think this is a keeper!

 

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1980 Corvette

img_2349I am constantly in search for a new restoration project and this weekend I took a closer look at this 1980 Corvette.  According to the owner, it has  been stored for a decade and is in need of serious restoration.  Yes, it is a basket case but…  It is a C3 Corvette and it is red!

The 1980 Corvette is not known for anything close to “high performance”.  Instead, this is the start of the last body change for the C3 Corvette.  For 1980 through 1982 Corvettes, the nose received a re-design as well as the rear fascia modifications.  Regarding the engine, well, that is another matter completely.  These poor cars became neutered victims of government emissions restrictions and thus, the California equipped engine produced something like 180hp, the standard engine produced 200hp and the high-performance version did at best a whopping 220hp.  Oh how things have changed in 35 years; contrast that with my 2014 Camaro packing 400hp of electronic fuel injected power.

So what do we have here?  According to the build decal on the driver’s door,  this car is vintage October ’79 production of a 1980 Corvette.  The paint is past its prime, the interior is nasty and the engine is not original.  I have no idea how the engine is because it is not running.  This is an automatic transmission car and it has power widows.  The red paint is very faded but I think it must be the original color because there is not evidence of any other color in the jams.  I tried to look for the plaque with the color code but did not find it.

In other words, this 1980 Corvette is in need of a full body-off restoration.  However, as the following photos will show, there is some good:  wheels are original aluminum options, it has original T-tops and the body panel gaps (especially the hood) fit exceptionally well.  I found the spare tire and all glass is intact including trim pieces.

Front Nose

Since this is a 1980 Corvette, the nose section features the improved aerodynamic design.  In my opinion, it is easier on the eye but not as nice as the chrome-bumper version.  I suppose this is a plus for this Vette.  You can also see what I mentioned earlier, the body gaps are all very nice indeed.  Just by looking at the surface this indicates no earlier collision damage, otherwise why would all this fit so well, right?

Rear and Side Panels

The rear of the car also fits well.  The plastic tail lights show some serious discoloration and weathering but the rear glass is in good condition including the rear de-fogger.  The black trim is all in place, but it has peeled a little on the driver’s side.

T-Tops

Oh yes!  T-tops are de rigueur on a C3 Corvette and this one has T-tops.  I did not see any damage to the T-tops although I did not try to remove them.  There is no telling how long ago it has been since they were last removed.

Interior

And now really ugly part:  the interior.  This poor Corvette has not been treated very nicely and consequently the interior is in very poor shape.  The carpet is expired, ditto for the seats, door skins and dash.  The console is also in poor shape.

The knuckle in the tilt steering is broken as well as the outside plastic trim on the steering stalk.  I am not sure if the cloth seats are “original”, perhaps they were re-upholstered at some point in time but they will need full restoration – they are nasty!.  Funny thing though… If you look inside the glove box, on the left are slots for 8-track tapes.  Gotta love the 70’s!

What Next?

A basket case like this is not a deterrent to me.  After all, when I first purchased bowtie6 many years ago, it was in very bad shape.  Prior to bowtie6, I restored a 1984 Jaguar XJ6 which I drove with Corvette LT1 power for 16 years.  It too, was in bad shape.  Finally I have my cousin Jim’s machine shop and his ability to restore cars.

Since the engine is not original in this 1980 Corvette, my plans would be to replace it with a new LSx engine with a matching automatic transmission.  My preference is always a 6-speed but that would need a new pedal box and that would add complexity.  In my opinion the existing engine is just not worth it; instead an LSx will offer enough power to make this Corvette perform to modern standards.

Paint and body work don’t scare me either; I have access to paint guns, and a paint booth.  Granted, I have never worked on a fiberglass body but the fiberglass on this car does not show any serious cracks or missing pieces.  There will be a great deal of work preparing the body for new paint but that is mainly hard work and patience and even more hard work.  Finally, there was a little damage to the tip of the edges on the hood near the windshield, but I can almost assume this is a common issue with these cars.

When we inspected the car yesterday, the area under the windshield wiper mechanism looked in very good shape and there was no evidence of poorly repaired collision damage.  Again, the body panels fit very well.  I also inspected the inside of the rear fender wells and there was no evidence of rust.  The rear roll-pan where the spare tire does not show any collision damage either so all-in-all the car looks solid.

One more concern is that both door latches did not work so well.  They appear to be gummed up because the mechanism did not release very well.  The door latches did release but not smoothly.

The interior will be the most challenging aspect.  I did notice the speedo looked odd.  From what I have researched Corvettes of this vintage had the dreaded 85 MPH speedometers installed.  This one did NOT have that; it was a normal speedometer.  Not sure what that means, perhaps this is because it is an October 79 production run.

The seats seem to be intact but the outside cover trim pieces are cracked.  I am not sure what availability of these pieces will be.  As for the rest of the interior, well I suppose that will need patience and a lot of work.

In Conclusion

I did not make an offer on the car.  Unfortunately the owner did not have a clear title and without that, I will not buy the car.  However I think there is potential.  Needless to say, we did not talk money yet but I am sure this car can probably be purchased at a low price.

OK.  I am a firm believer in buy the best car you can find.  However in a case like this, there is potential and if I were to buy this for a reasonable price then all for the better.  These are not super desirable C3’s but this is a C3.  I have always liked the aero treatment and I think they just look bad ass…

Finally I am going to reach out to you and ask for your opinion.  If you have owned (or currently own) a late C3 like this and would like to add any words of wisdom, please let me know in the “Comments” section below.  I also would welcome any advice on what you would consider a reasonable purchase price.

I have seen so many pictures of late C3’s this weekend my head is spinning!  And what makes this so hard to figure out is all those pictures are stunning!  A 1980 Corvette rebuilt is a looker for sure!

Thanks and look forward to any info, suggestions, etc.

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