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If you’ve never read an ETCG newsletter before, you should have! Think of all the things you might have missed. Anyway, 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 of above average intelligence! If you’re not reading it on the website, you are also of above average intelligence because you’re still reading it.**

Past newsletters and the ETCG Blog can be found here.

ETCG July 2018 Newsletter Placecard

Don’t Get Mad, Get Glad

“Don’t get mad, get Glad”. That was a slogan for trash bags back in the day. I suppose the premise is that instead of getting mad about trash all over the floor, you should instead pick your trash up and put it in a better trash bag. That’s the way I see the current state of my Fairmont.

No, I don’t see the Fairmont as a trash bag, but I think the premise of the statement still holds here. I don’t need to get mad that my car broke, I just need to make it a little better so that it doesn’t break again.

Some of you may be aware that the Fairmont is out of commission. I cracked a piston and lost compression on cylinder #8. There’s been some speculation as to what actually caused this failure. I suspect that it was due to the hydrolock I experienced when changing out the fuel pressure regulator a couple of months back. Others have suggested that it was a result of detonation, which is a condition where the air fuel mixture ignites before the spark plug tells it to. This hits the piston hard on the upstroke and can cause broken ring lands, which is exactly what happened to my piston.

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Figuring out the root cause is important with a problem like this. If I’m wrong, and put everything back together without regard for a possible detonation issue, then I could end up right back in the same place with a broken piston, or worse, an engine block damaged beyond repair.

So I plan to make a better trash bag. I’m going to take the opportunity to upgrade some of the systems on the Fairmont. I’ll talk about those more later in the newsletter under #FairmontProject.

Let’s be real here. This is what Hot Rodding is really about. Fixing the next thing that breaks. Fix, race, break, repeat. For now it’s fun. Let’s see how long it stays fun. If nothing else, it makes for great video material. I know I would enjoy watching me fail.

The Ford Nationals Carlisle PA

The second stop on the “Fairmont Tour” this year was at the Ford Nationals in Carlisle PA.

If you want to see my full car show schedule for 2018, check out the June 2018 Newsletter.

For me, it was about a 6 hour drive. It rained a little, and I’m glad I put the work in to making my wipers work properly. I spent an entire day on that by the way. I also RainXed my windshield. Something I strongly recommend on an older vehicle like the Fairmont. Being able to see in inclement weather in your hot rod is not only awesome, but safer.

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I was also happy to have what has come to be called, ‘the loud button’.

This is the term I use for my exhaust cut out. The drive to Carlisle is on the PA Turnpike. If you’ve ever driven the PA Turnpike, you know that there are a few tunnels you drive through. I will confess that there is nothing on this planet that gives me the warm fuzzy feeling of opening up the exhaust cut outs on the Fairmont in a tunnel. It’s a symphony to my ears and makes my hair stand on end every time.

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This was my first trip to Carlisle and the Ford Nationals. As you might expect, Fords, and Ford brands for as far as the eye can see. However, I must admit they could also call it the “Mustang Nationals”. Mustangs have a big turn out at the event. Sure, there were plenty of other makes on the field, some really cool and rare ones, but Mustangs had the largest turn out by far. I’d hate to be gunning for a Mustang award at the Ford Nationals.

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The best part about these shows has been the people I’ve met. I’ve made a lot of new friends this year as a result of my travels, and I’m grateful for it. One of the things I miss most about having a ‘Meet Up’ at the shop is not being able to interact with fans directly. One of the main drivers behind my travels this summer is to make up for not having that annual event. I’m happy to do it because as stated, I’ve met a lot of great people.

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I had a brief stop in Pittsburgh on my way back to Ohio. I miss that city, it always felt like home to me. While there I decided to take some pics of the Fairmont in the Strip District. I think they turned out pretty good.

The Hot Rod Power Tour 2018

I woke up on the second day of the Power Tour 2018 in Chattanooga TN wondering if I should complete the trip. After a night of deliberation, I made the call to cut it short and drive home instead of continuing. I’m glad I did because as it turned out, my engine, Dark Matter Pikachu, was in critical condition.

I had a brief thought that I could ‘baby’ the car for the rest of the tour, but when I realized how far that would be, I decided it would be best to head home to see what the problem was.

As soon as I pulled into the shop, after a brief cool down, I did a compression test and found no compression on cylinder #8. The next day I removed the engine and tore it down. That’s when I found the problem, 2 broken piston ring lands.

Up to that point things were great. Once again I met some new friends and drove part of the tour with them. I also got to see a ton of cool vehicles.

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You’d be amazed at who goes on the Power Tour and what vehicles they bring. I’m sad I didn’t get to do the entire thing, but I’m going to take another stab at it next year. Wish me luck.

The #FairmontProject

As stated, the Fairmont engine is in pieces and scattered all over the state of Ohio at the moment. After tearing the engine down, I took the cylinder heads to Kevin and Justin at Kalvinator Engines in Wapakoneta OH. I also brought the broken piston along with it’s connecting rod. I wanted them to inspect it to make sure it wasn’t bent.

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I was lucky in that the piston didn’t come apart during any of my driving. I was also lucky that there wasn’t any damage to the cylinder walls. All of the other pistons and rings look good. I consider myself very lucky.

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While I have the engine apart, I’m taking the opportunity to do some upgrades. First, a shaft rocker system. The Fairmont engine has always been a little noisy. I had thought it was a lifter issue. Perhaps brought on by the 2 time loss of oil pressure. Both times the feed lines going to the divorced oil filter came off spraying oil everywhere. Running your engine without oil is never a good thing, and it’s usually the top end that suffers first because it gets it’s oil after the crank and rods do.

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That’s the reason I suspected the lifters were the cause of the rattling nose. Turns out I was wrong on that. The nose appears to have been coming from the roller rocker arms. It’s also possible they were damaged when the oil pressure was lost. It could also be normal for these rockers. Bottom line, when I removed the valve covers I found what I considered to be a lot of movement and some noise from the roller rockers, I decided it was time for an upgrade.

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I’ve never really liked the set up I had for the lifters and rockers. Not saying it doesn’t work, because it did, quite well in fact. What I didn’t like was how things were set up. You have to spend a lot of time setting the push rod guides to get the rockers into the proper position over the valves. In fact, I ran through the entire process again after the machine shop did it because things still weren’t lined up to my liking.

That’s a long way of saying that I’m switching to a shaft mounted rocker system. You don’t need to worry about rocker arm position with this set up because it’s fixed on a shaft, hence the name.

It’s also much stronger than stud mounted rocker arms because the forces placed on the rocker are spread across the entire shaft instead of on a single stud. It’s also considerably more expensive.

But this is how Hot Rodders roll. We throw money at our machines all day long and then tell our wives to buy the cheap toilet paper so we can afford it.

I’m also upgrading the lifters with what I believe to be a better set up. My original roller lifters used a special ‘guide’ for keeping the lifters from rotating. Unlike flat tappet lifters that are actually designed to spin during operation, roller lifters absolutely cannot spin around during operation. If they do, catastrophic results will occur. So they use different methods of keeping the lifters in place during operation.

My original lifters used a guide as I mentioned. Because my engine block wasn’t stock, these guides had to be heavily modified to work. The new lifters won’t use guides. They’ll have a special brace that holds 2 lifters together to keep them from spinning.

The divorced oil filter housing is also getting scrapped. That thing has leaked since day one. Not to mention the hoses coming off as I had previously mentioned. Don’t get the divorced oil filter housing from On3 if you’re installing one of their turbo kits on a small block Ford.

Instead I’m replacing mine with a simple 90º oil filter housing that attaches directly to the engine. I hope this will eliminate all the leaks and make for a simpler set up.

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I’m also taking the opportunity to replace the exhaust manifolds once again with the stainless steel option. On3 is giving me a break on this since I’ve had so much trouble with the steel versions. I’m having these sent to the machine shop so that they can ensure a good seal between the headers and the cylinder head. I’m so over exhaust leaks at the cylinder head.

Lastly, I’m considering a slightly smaller turbo, 67mm. The reason, this one has ceramic ball bearings and is a much better turbo overall. If On3 is willing to work with me on this, I’m going to pull the trigger.

Right now I’m in ‘hurry up and wait’ mode. Kalvinator engines is busy this time of year because it’s racing season. I’m willing to wait.

I’m traveling over the next couple of weeks anyway. The car will still be there when I get back, but I’m hoping to have it on the road so that I can drive it to the Iola WI car show in mid July.

Summit Nationals Peak Social Media Take Over

I was at the Summit Nationals in Norwalk OH last weekend. My first ever NHRA event. Life changing is how I would describe it. If you’ve ever stood next to a top fuel nitro-methane powered funny car while it does a burn out, I suspect your life would also be changed forever.

The immense power these cars put out cannot be underestimated. It not only shakes the earth beneath you, but it moves the air around you in ways you hadn’t previously imagined. You can literally be knocked over by it.

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I also got to sit down with John Force. We did a Facebook Live together on Peaks FB. He’s a really cool guy that also owns a Chevy truck. I had so much fun hanging out with his team while they worked. Did you know they do a complete tear down and rebuild of the engine and transmission on a top fuel car between runs? Well, they do, and it’s beyond impressive.

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Special thanks to Peak, Scott Emalfarb (PR guy for Peak), John Force, and the people that work on his team.

The Mini Series

F&*@ that car. I’ve put so much time, money, and effort into that thing and I have yet to see a return.

The latest happened last week. I figured I’d put the Mini on the road while the Fairmont was down. I got the insurance, paid the registration fee, and put on some fresh new tags. It’s totally legal to drive on the street now.

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Then I took it for a drive down the road. Everything started out great, but then it started to misfire. The check engine light came on next. I brought it back to the shop and pulled the codes. Misfire on cylinder #2. I thought it might be a bad coil pack so I decided to pop the hood and swap #2 and #4 coil packs to see if the misfire would move to cylinder #4. This would tell me I had a bad coil pack. I never got that far because when I tried to open the hood, the hood cable came loose and the hood didn’t open. I must have pissed off the hood cable gods at some point in my life.

The Mini is now parked in the back of the shop with a hood that won’t open. I’ve been driving the Integra GSR since that day and it runs great. Air works too. F&*@ that Mini.

Premium Member News

I cranked out 3 exclusive videos for Premium Members last month. I actually have more than that in the cue ready to go, I just need some time to finish the edits. My latest driving adventurers provide great material for Premium Members. In fact, here are the exclusive videos I offered them last month.

Carlisle PA Drive Time-lapse 2018 (Exclusive Video)”, “2018 Carlisle PA Tunnel Drives (Exclusive Video)”, and “Kevin Fires Up His Vintage GoKart (Exclusive Video)”.

Carlisle PA Timelapse Exclusive Video
2018 Carlisle PA Tunnel Drives Exclusive Video
Kevin Starts Up His Vintage Kart Exclusive Video

As I mentioned, I have a lot more exclusive footage to share with my Premium Members from my travels this summer. I’ll be working to get you those videos ASAP.

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

Things have changed dramatically since I started EricTheCarGuy almost 10 years ago. I’ve changed, the videos have changed, YouTube has definitely changed, and some of my audience has changed too.

Lately I’ve been looking for a new direction with EricTheCarGuy. I’ve tried a lot of new things over the past 2 years to try and build up the views on that channel.

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What I’ve discovered bothers me a little. It seems that the general public has lost their taste for ‘traditional’ repair videos on YouTube. What they watch instead are videos that answer to a specific question, or raise one.

I think the best way to describe these ‘successful automotive videos’ is they are topical and discussion based over step by step instructions. It’s not just me that’s seen a decline in views because of this trend. Other channels that produce traditional repair content have suffered as well.

In part this is due to the change in YouTube’s algorithm. I suspect another part is due to the changing YouTube audience. No matter what the cause, the result is the same, declining views for auto repair videos.

What I have noticed is that my videos gain views over time. Rather than getting a bunch of views on the day they come out, views creep up over a few months. I think this is because the information is specific to the people that are looking for that information.

Popular videos are featured by YouTube and show up in suggestion boxes more often. Useful repair videos are only useful to the people that need them and don’t really show up until someone searches for them.

This has me thinking about the future videos I’ll be producing. Should I give up on producing step-by-step repair videos that are, quite frankly, difficult and time consuming to produce, and instead start posting infomercial style videos that are designed to get lots of views? It’s a difficult call because my livelihood depends on it. My audience too. It’s not lost on me that the 2 are closely related.

My current thinking is to do a mix of videos. The problem with this is that I’m maxed out on the time I can spend producing and editing content. Keep in mind I produce weekly content for 3 channels if you count Premium Member content.

To add more to that would require finding the right people to help out. In the last newsletter I mentioned that I had hired a new editor. So far that hasn’t saved me the time I had hoped. Granted, there is a steep learning curve to what I do, but if this is any indication of the road ahead, I’m concerned for repair videos on ETCG in the future.

In summary, I’d like to continue to do what I do, but the world is changing. I can either change with it, or be ‘that guy’ that’s still doing something few people are doing just to keep a handful of audience members happy.

There’s an answer to this problem somewhere. I just need to ask the right questions. In the mean time I’m going to continue doing what I do, but I’m also going to make the effort to go out into the world to continue to meet the people that enjoy what I do. I’m learning more and more about my audience as a result. I also think that’s where the answers are. With the people that put me here in the first place.

Thanks for reading! Sorry it’s so long this month. I had a lot to cover.

Latest videos below. 

Be safe

Have fun

Stay Dirty


**Intelligence is not based on your ability to read the EricTheCarGuy newsletter or how you read it. This was meant to be a joke. If you didn’t get the joke I apologize if you were offended. It’s an interesting world we live in these days where trolls can say whatever they want, but if you’re an ‘influencer’ like me, you have to choose your words very carefully or risk losing everything. We are now a nation of pansies. Also a joke! Have a great day!

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