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April 23, 2018

If you’ve never read an ETCG newsletter before, here’s how it works.

For the full newsletter click here, or click the title image below. If you’re just interested in one topic, click the image in that topic, or click the “read more” link in that section and you’ll be taken directly to that part of the newsletter on EricTheCarGuy.com.

If you’re reading this on the website, you’re already reading the full newsletter, and you are above average intelligence!

Past newsletters and the ETCG Blog can be found here.

ETCG May 2018 Newsletter placecard

Summer Car Show List

I’m still working on it. In fact, I hope to have it wrapped up in the next couple of days. I’m feeling quite behind on this. The days have been getting away from me lately. I’ve gone back to shooting and editing videos right after. This takes a great deal of my time and it’s difficult to do more outside of that. Especially making lodging accommodations all over the country. I need an assistant. Bad.

So far I’m thinking of attending a few local shows in Ohio as well as the Power Tour. I might be a bit late on that one and as a result, I think it’s going to be hard to find accommodations during that trip. I don’t mind camping, if it comes to that. If I can, I’ll get on that after I write this newsletter.

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Keep an eye on my social media. I’ll also see if I can post something on the website notifying everyone where I’m going to be this year.

The Mini Series

I’m almost done with the car! I’m looking forward to starting this thing up for the first time. Quite possibly, tomorrow.

I’ve done a substantial amount of work to it at this point.

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I’ve fixed the oil leaks and installed new supply and return lines to the turbo. The supply line is an updated steel braided one that I got from Detroit Tuned. I’ve also replaced the timing chain and guides, installed a new clutch and flywheel, and I have a new valve cover and oil pan that I’ll be installing this week.

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While I had the engine out, I decided to take a look at the intake valves. The N14 is a direct injection engine. Direct injection engines are famous for carbon buildup on the intake valves because the fuel is not there to help clean them.

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Removing a few fasteners from the intake manifold was all I needed to do to have a look. What I found was a lot of carbon buildup. It took a couple of hours, but I managed to clean off all the gunk. It should run nice and smooth now.

How does this happen? Well, as I mentioned, many direct injection engines seem to have this problem. Direct injection means that instead of the fuel injector spraying fuel on the back of the intake valve like on most fuel injected engines, it sprays it directly into the combustion chamber like a diesel engine. This is great for efficiency, but not great for keeping the intake valves clean since they never see any fuel with this system. As a result, deposits collect on the intake valves and eventually effect airflow into the engine causing performance issues.

Another contributing issue with the N14, which is the alpha numeric designation for my Mini’s engine, is a poor PCV system, or, Positive Crankcase Ventilation system. Anytime you have moving parts in an enclosed space, like inside an engine block or transmission, you need a vent to atmosphere. Without a vent, every seal on the engine or transmission would fail and leak because of the positive pressure buildup inside during operation.

I’ve come to understand the N14’s PCV system is somewhat flawed. It’s a self contained system within the plastic valve cover. Some might say install a catch can, which is designed to capture any oil vented from the engine and keep it from going into the intake, but my research shows mixed results with this set up. Not to mention the added expense at this point puts me well outside the profit zone.

Anyway, the fact that the PCV system on my engine seems to be supplying my throttle body with a fresh supply of oil as the engine runs, makes it the prime suspect for the buildup on the valves. I’m hoping the new valve cover, with a fresh PCV system, will help prevent this from happening in the future.

I also took some time to recondition the headlights since they were removed them from the car anyway. The 3M kits I have work great. I’m told they were looking into shipping the kits with UV protectant to help prevent the haze from coming back. I’m not sure if thats the case yet or not.

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The interior is also back together, but I have to remove the center console again. It seems what I thought was a bad rear brake caliper has turned out to be rusty parking brake cables instead. I plan on replacing both. I already have the parts, but as stated, I’m going to have to remove the center console again to install them.

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It sucks to take the interior back apart. I just cleaned it! Well, I suppose I’ll have to work carefully, and not stay dirty when replacing those parking brake cables.

Once the engine is back in and the brakes are fixed, it should be ready for a test drive. Keep in mind I’ve never driven this car. I’m looking forward to it.

After that there are a couple of minor repairs to complete. At least I hope they’re minor. I need to repair the rear hatch so that it actually latches. I also want to see what I can do about the vanity mirror on the drivers side. I might just glue that back together. Sure, you’ll never be able to replace the bulbs again, but how often do you replace bulbs in a vanity mirror?

Personally, I don’t think I ever have.

I’m hoping to get all this done this week. That way I can drive the car for a bit to see if there are any other issues. Ohio offers a 30 day temporary registration that I plan to take advantage of for this purpose. I figure that should be plenty of time to shake the car down to see if there are any other issues.

The Fixing it Forward Civic, A Change of Plans

After I finished the Mini, the plan was to bring in the Civic to get it fixed up to use as a ‘loner car’ for Fixing it Forward. I have since changed my mind on that.

ETCG Gets a 1999 Honda Civic 850

I originally bought the Mini as a car for my oldest son to drive. Right now he’s not happy with the fuel mileage in the pick up he’s driving. I thought the Mini might be a cool, more efficient replacement. Unfortunately when he looked up the insurance cost for the Mini, he found that he would have to pay more than the car is worth to insure it.

After working on the Mini, I’m glad it didn’t work out. If anything were to happen to the car, it would cost him a fortune.

After talking with my son, who lives in western New York, I live in Cincinnati, hence the reason he can’t just stop by if something breaks, we decided that I would finish fixing up the Mini, sell it, and give him the profits to purchase a car he can afford insurance for.

After dropping $1300 on a new clutch and flywheel for the Mini, the profit margin all but evaporated. Since then I’ve been trying to come up with a solution to put my son in something more fuel efficient.

My solution is to take whatever profits I get from the Mini and invest them in the Civic. It doesn’t need much from what I remember. Once the Civic is up and running, I’m going to give that car to my son to drive. Honestly, I feel this would be a better choice. Much easier, and cheaper, to repair if something goes wrong.

I still plan to get a loaner vehicle for Fixing it Forward, it just wont’ be the Civic. Honestly, this may work out better. I think a mini van would be a better choice for Fixing it Forward anyway. Easier to get in and out of, as well as transport kids.

The #FairmontProject Videos

Still working on this. I’ve sent the footage to the new editor and we’re set to talk later this week. I’ll find out what he’s capable of doing and take things from there.

I might just have him help me with some Mini Series edits first. I don’t want to lose my weekly video posts. It’s been hard to keep up with weekly postings to EricTheCarGuy, ETCG1, and Premium Member videos lately. The extra help will be welcome.

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Either way, I’m hoping he can eventually help with the #FairmontProject videos. This way you get to see all the cool work that went into the car. There’s still so much more to show you!

The #FairmontProject

I haven’t done much with the Fairmont since I got back form Georgia. It’s earned the rest after such a great first outing. Also, the lift has been taken up by the Mini for the past few weeks.

I’ve got to be honest, I haven’t missed working on the car. What I have enjoyed is driving it! It’s so nice to just jump in and drive it without having to worry about something leaking or catching on fire.

Driving the Fairmont is a feeling I can hardly put into words. Therefore I’ll just say I love driving the car, and I plan to do a lot more of it.

I do have a wish list of fixes though.

First, I’m on the hunt for a new set of 15” wheels to go with my new drag tires from Mickey Thompson . I’ve also got a new fender roller form Eastwood to make room for the new tires.

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If I learned anything at the track last November, it’s that I’m in dire need of better traction. I’m hoping these new tires do the trick. In fact, I’ve been in contact with the people at Mickey Thompson about how to properly install and set up drag tires. It’s a lot more involved that I originally thought. I think this information will make for some great video.

I’m also going to exchange the stock Ford transmission mount for the polyurethane one I took out of the Mustang. Using a rubber mount instead of a polyurethane mount was recommended by the people at Modern Driveline who sold me the TKO600 transmission that’s in the Fairmont. My issue is that when I let off the gas at speed, there is a clunk from under the vehicle which I’m sure is coming from the transmission mount. The rear end is locked down via the torque arm and can’t go anywhere, but the transmission can move up and down on the rubber mount from Ford.

I need to remove the transmission anyway because my rear main seal is leaking. That’s something else on my ‘todo’ list.

I’m also looking to modify the down pipe coming off of the turbo. This pipe not only covers up the spark plugs on the passenger side of the engine, it also requires that I remove one of the AC lines when I remove the pipe. Not only is this a pain, but I haven’t charged the AC because of it.

My solution will be to cut the pipe so that I’m able to take out just the section above the spark plugs when I need to get to them. This way I won’t have to evacuate the AC system every time I want to get a look at my spark plugs.

I have done one thing to the car since I got back from Georgia. I installed a new accessory socket. It appears my radio was not capable of charging my phone. Now I have a dedicated 15amp accessory socket to use on whatever I like. This means I can charge my phone AND GoPro batteries at the same time.

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Lastly, I need to sort out the steering. It’s stiff. Too stiff for power steering. I’m not sure if it’s the rack or an issue with the fluid. I wasn’t sure what fluid to run, so I just used power steering fluid. What leads me to think of the fluid is that it’s starting to steer better now that the weather is warmer. That’s what has me thinking it might be an issue with the fluid and not any of the components in the system. Further research and testing is needed.

There’s plenty to do, I just need to find the time to do it. Likely I’ll jump on this after I finish the Mini and the Civic.

Fixing it Forward

Fixing it Forward helped someone get their vehicle back on the road last month. Thank you!

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This is a long and sorted story that I don’t want to bore you with again here. I covered it in last months newsletter if you want the written details.

If you don’t like reading, and that would be weird at this point in the newsletter, here’s a video link to the story on ETCG1.


You can learn more about Fixing it Forward here.

Premium Member News

Special thanks goes out to my Premium Members this month. In one of my most recent Premium Member videos, I asked for some feedback on what Premium Members would like to see more/less of in the future. I got a lot of great input. I plan on taking those suggestions and making the Premium Memberships at EricTheCarGuy.com even better.

Last month Premium Members got 3 Exclusive Videos: “Shop Update April 4.2018 (Exclusive Video)", “Mini Series Update 4.10.2018 (Exclusive Video)”, and “Mini Series Update 4.19.2018 (Exclusive Video)”.

Shop Update April 2 2018
Mini Series Update 4.10
Mini Series Update 4 19 Exclusive Video

As you can see, Premium Members got a lot of behind the scenes stuff this month. As a result, Premium Members have a window into what is happening at the shop on a daily basis.

The Premium Member (Exclusive Video) library is growing every month. As of now there are over 200 (Exclusive Videos) for Premium Members! That’s like having an entirely new ETCG channel to watch.

Premium Members get up to 4 exclusive videos per month. They also get additional perks on the website, and they help support the site with all of it’s useful, free, repair content.

But wait! There’s more! Premium Members now get a 5% discount on all orders from J&B Tool Sales!

Get your membership today! Details on the new Premium Memberships here.

In Closing

I get the impression that things are about to get busy. Partly because lately I’ve been uploading videos almost as soon as I shoot them. This is more stressful than having a stock of videos I can pull from, but my most recent videos seem more ‘in the moment’ than they have for a while. I consider this a good thing, and I think many viewers do too.

It still feels better than a real job. Sure, I’m a busy guy, and some days I wonder how I’ll get it all done, like today. Once I get to work, it’s head down and do my best to make it happen. Just like any other job I’ve worked in the past.

Here is the part where I thank you for helping to put me where I am today. My ‘not so real’ job, puts food on my families table and I enjoy doing it. I hope that’s always the case with both the food and the job.

I also hope that you continue to watch my videos and support what I do. Views are important! Keep watching.

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None of us are perfect, so if I can do something better or differently, please let me know. There’s a suggestion box on the website, or you can comment to my videos or social media directly. I’m listening.

Doesn’t matter if you make suggestions or not, I appreciate you either way. Be as silent and supportive as you like.

Thanks for reading!

Latest videos below.

Be safe

Have fun

Stay Dirty


Related Videos:

Carpet and Seat Removal R56 Mini Cooper:

2007-2013 Mini Cooper S (R56) Battery Replacement:

The Take Away, My Lift:

A Mechanics Worst Nightmare:

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