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Showing posts from 2017

Some Very Cool Tools.

At, there is a boatload of information concerning military radio restoration. Included is a cornucopia of information on the tools used to do this. Fascination stuff for a radiohead or a toolhead.

Above is a 1965 Hardinge HLV-H used for manufacturing missing parts from military aircraft radio equipment. The author of the site also has restored some of the machinery he employs.

Additional tools can be found here.

Retrofit Hydroboost Brakes

Traditional power brakes have used engine vacuum to reduce the physical effort required to stop a car. Some high performance engines, because of the design of their camshafts, do not produce enough vacuum to used vacuum-powered brake power boosters. One alternative is to add a vacuum pump to the accessories driven by the engine. Another is to use the hydraulic pressure supplied by the power steering pump to power the brake booster. This device is called Hydroboost and it replaces the vacuum-operated brake booster. It provides more than twice the pressure than a vacuum diaphragm booster.

There are commercial kits to use a hydraulic booster, like Vanco. They offer kits to match the car you are modifying. The most complete kits provide the Hydroboost unit, a new master brake cylinder, a power steering pump and the appropriate hoses with fittings and they are priced at around $900. You can see the parts of the kit by visiting this link. A nice step-by-step installation of the Vanco hydra…

The Miracle of 12V Relays

Do you want to wire your car so that the Accessory circuit stays on until you open the door after you have turned off the ignition, like many modern cars? Built your own remote start system? Control headlights with a latching relay?

This page at The 12 Volt explains how to do that with standard 5-pin 12-volt relays. The entire site is dedicated to similar "tricks of the trade".

At, this page provides an overview of automotive uses of relays. This page also offers links to other useful pages, including headlight relays, assorted car wiring diagrams, auto wiring basics and a fix for power windows that use those stupid "wiring eliminators" in the door jambs.

Here, mechanical latching relays are explained.

GM-style power window switches are Dorman 901-018 or 49243 and the special pigtail is ACDelco PT185. A wiring diagram is found here.

A 12-volt latching relay is here.

Neutral Safety switch operation, wiring and installation information.

O-Ringing the Block and Heads for Higher Compression Engines HOWTO

I found some useful advice in this forum thread from user AK's REX.

"To my understanding o-ringing the block or the head prove to be about equally effective. That said I would say it depends if you want to have receiver grooves machined. The most conventional method is to machine and o-ring the block, then machine receiver grooves opposite the o-rings in the heads. I guess it can probably be done in reverse fashion as well.
As far as the receiver grooves are concerned, it not only helps in high compression and or boosted applications, but helps wet motors from losing fluid which is a common problem with copper head gaskets. It allows the o-ring to literally push the gasket into the receiver groove to provide a better seal. Speaking of copper gaskets here is a bit of info from SCE regarding this stuff;
O-ring grooves may be cut in either the block or cylinder head. When using copper head gaskets thinner than .050, O-ring height should be no more than 25% of gasket thickness. F…

A Heat Insulation Spray-on Coating Alternative to Lizard Skin.

One of the well-known spray-on heat-shield products is Lizard Skin. From their website, “LizardSkin Ceramic Insulation (CI) is an advanced spray on thermal coating that consists of a water-based composition of high-grade acrylic binders with ceramic insulation particles to create a thermal barrier.” The Material Safety Data Sheet (commonly referred to as the MSDS) can be found here.
This sheet shows the composition of Lizard Skin as:
1 - Water 7732-18-5 40-50% 2 - Resin Polymer 00-00-00 20-30% 3 - Trade Secret Insulation Media 10-20% 4 - Carbon Black 1333-86-4 5-10% 5 - Extender Pigment 1317-65-3 1-5%
It’s relatively expensive at $200 for two gallons. They sell a special gun ($120) to spray it on although it can be applied with a brush or roller.
Substitutes It's possible to make your own for much less cost.
1 – High solids white latex ceiling paint.

2 - Acrylic Polymer Resin - increases paint flow and durability. One source is Acri-Flow from up to 1 pint …

A more efficient fan shroud

Volvo has developed and patented this idea for their over the road trucks, but there's no reason it can't work on smaller vehicles. The ring surrounding the fan is fixed to the engine block so the ring can be much closer to the fan blades and so i more efficient. Not obvious from the diagram is that the fan shroud is a flexible material, sealed to the radiator and the ring.

Preventing Over-heating and Corrosion In Your Car

For hotrod, sports cars and older cars, especially cars that are infrequently driven, overheating and corrosion are all too common problems.

Many people are surprised to learn that the traditional 50/50 mix of water and anti-freeze is not the most efficient way to cool your engines. Water alone is the most efficient medium, but there are two problems associated with water as the only coolant. First, water will freeze in the winter and usually cracks the engine block. Second, antifreeze includes corrosion inhibitors and water pump lubricant, both necessary for you cooling system.

Here's how to get around those problems.

Replace your drain petcock with a sacrificial zinc anode or have an appropriate-sized bung added to your radiator. These anodes are commonly used in marine engines and - surprise - the hot water heater in you house uses one. It's proven technology and you can buy them at boating supply stores or Amazon. Add a surfactant like Water Wetter, available at auto parts s…