I’ll be honest: I’m a terrible mechanic. I’ve got a scar on my forearm from the last time I changed the brakes on my Mini. Any repair work I’ve ever done has been a financial decision, not a leisure one. But! Even someone like me, who has the dexterity of a drunken penguin, can do basic motorcycle maintenance.
I just spent twelve [REDACTED] hours trying to remove my [VERY REDACTED] cylinder head from my [PLEASE MOM DON’T READ THIS] 1948 Willys Jeep engine. And it was a total nightmare.
There I was, happily chugging up I-40 on a clear Arkansas night when—cough cough sputter clunk—my car decided to die. Was I filled with shame? Was I filled with terror? No. I was prepared.
It had somehow narrowed down to hours, how I was measuring time. It wasn’t a question of days or weeks anymore. I was doing hour and mile calculations to see if I’d make it back in New York by the time I needed to be back for work. And stuck on the side of the road again, New Mexico heat all around, it felt like I’d…
The good news is that my Baja Bug is up and running again. The bad news is that it shoots fireballs.
I glanced down at my phone to double check the directions Google was giving me and I looked up, at highway speed, and the road in front of me disappeared. I didn’t even have time to shit myself.
I don’t have a lot to contextualize just how horribly my cross country drive in my new 1974 Volkswagen Beetle started. Hell, I don’t think anyone has ever driven to their own tow truck before.
It didn’t occur to me at the time quite how ridiculous it was. I was staring at my new car, its engine out and sitting on the driveway, and I planned on driving it across the country to New York City the next day.
Well, the Baja’s broke again. But after so many breakdowns, this one doesn’t even bother me. Let me tell you why.
You could make a strong argument for Southern California as America’s capital of car culture. Since moving there I’ve learned most apartment garages forbid automotive maintenance and it damn sure ain’t allowed on the street. So where’s a propertyless cretin like myself supposed to do an oil change?
Every so often I wake up and remember that I once bought a Lexus for $600, fixed it up, then almost immediately destroyed it with 48 hours of rallycross.
It was supposed to be an easy fix.
Truck suspension has come a long way in the last 100 years. Just kidding! It hasn't at all, so this excellent instructable video on how to lift 1969 Jeep Wagoneer with new shocks and springs is probably applicable to your rig.
The weather is looking up, which means project car season is coming. Read this before you start your crazy build.
There are lots of potential problems that every person runs into while stuck in the midst of their first project car. How did you get past them?
It's amazing what you can do with duct tape, zip ties, shoe laces, pantyhose, logs, coke bottles, and a bit of Macgyver spirit when it comes to fixing your car.
You don't become a nine-time world rally champion by letting other people do all the work for you. Even when, you know, you shatter your suspension.
There was a particular moment we realized it: this car was going to the junkyard.
Sometimes you have an idea that's so bad, you just have to do it.
You want to spend time with your lover and introduce them to your hobbies, but initiating somebody into the often-frustrating and always-filthy world of wrenching on cars can be a tough sell. Don't worry, It Can Happen. With the right approach y'all will be having fun getting greasy together in no time.