31 October 2011

hammered - bridgestone mb-3

The problem with craigslisting is finding deals that normally would go un-noticed.
I was flipping stuff and came across something that I've been missing for 11 years.
An old bridgestone MB-3 mountain bike.

1990 bridgestone mb-3

I tried to say no even before looking at it,
cause this was a '90 - (tigged-taiwan)
and my old one was a '91 - (lugged-japan)
but it was like a pound dog that ya gotta bring home.
That's why I don't go to the dog pound...


If you click the link,
scroll down to the 19th review - december 6, 2002.
Yep, that's mine.

Everything always looks better on the little craigslist pictures,
and everything always looks better in the dark too!
Luke/Pigpen and I went to go check it out,
the guy had locked it up outside his work for me to see it. (waiter)
I searched for dents and obvious problems like untrue wheels,
and it seemed like a peach for (a little bit lower than) the asking price.

So I brought it to the shop,
and ouch,
it was a little more worn out than I had thought.
I spent a couple hours just cleaning, oiling and tuning it up.
The pedals and bottom bracket were way beyond tuneable help,
and the first generation manitou shock was about useless.
There was so much wear on the cogs or gears,
it was like archeology wondering what this bike went through.

I think that's what made me like my old bridgestone so much.
The thing was so solid,
and so predictable.
The previous owner obviously thought the same about this new/old bike,
just hammered on it.

Well today there happened to be a bi-annual bike swap up in Encinitas.

encinitas bike swap - october

I had been to this location before and knew it was small,
but this was SMALL.
If you're a swapper though,
sometimes these are the best ones.
Good parts, good prices, no buyers. Perfect!

bike swap scores

Fortunately I had studied the replacement bottom bracket beforehand,
and removed the old ball & cup one to compare lengths.
Wouldn't you know it a guy had one for $5!! (shimano un-72)
The next guy had the special tool for $10 - half price new!
(along with some cool brake line wire cutters)
Another guy had the beefy specialized cranks for $10,
how could I say no?
Strange how things fall into place sometimes.

So back home,
tried to replace the bottom bracket.
The kids and I went up to my grandmothers (nana's) house
to use my grandfather's (papa's) old tools.

removing stuck bottom bracket cup

The cup was so stuck in there the easiest way to remove it was with a vice.

While I was at it I decided to lop a couple inches off the seatpost,
every gram counts right?

weight weenie

This is one of his old tool cabinets.

papa's tool cabinet

I remember using these tools as a kid,
so this cabinet has been around easily 40 plus years!

billet hacksaw

I had to take a picture of the hacksaw handle he made.
It's a little billet, a little drillium.

Okay drifted off a little bit there.
Back home again I replaced the gears on the rear deraileur.

a little worn?

Isn't that crazy?
How many miles does it take to wear out one of those gears?

1990 bridgestone mb-3
almost tuned

After a quick couple hours screwing around with it,
the bike had been rejuvenated,
on the cheap - not even $200 in it!
I'm not too sure about the specialized cranks though,
unless I can find a 46 or 48 tooth to replace the 42 tooth it came with.
Part of me is considering ditching the front derailler and just have the 7 rear speeds,
seeing how it'll probably be a city and trail bike.

bridgestone mb-3

I like how the rear stays pinch in tight to the seatpost.
I'm a little taken right now with it,
I'll ride it to work tomorrow!


30 October 2011


if you know what owling is,
than you probably get your news from the internet like me.

So my wife whipped out this costume for Macey,
on her day off last week.


She got all dressed up for a shindig at her school.


how fun it is to be 5.
Almost 5.


Happy Halloween!


27 October 2011

how to - sprucing up the lincoln town car

With our new to us Grand Marquis slowly finding its way as the wife's main ride,
our Town Car is fighting not to be sent out to greener pastures.

1990 lincoln town car
photo by pigpen

I'm on the fence on what to do,
but right now its really in unsellable condition,
especially with those freaky rear brakes.

1990 lincoln town car
another photo by pigpen

This week my work drive has been a daily 30 mile round trip,
which is hard on the van and hard on the $$ for gas.
So I've decided to get the Lincoln to help out with the freeway cruise.
This is a perfect way to help force the choice.

It's not the first time as the workhorse!


The positives to keep it are its only $140 a year for our insurance,
and its probably worth about $500 - 600 on craigslist.
Since its been so reliable it's cost effective to use it till something major happens.

So let's do a "how to" on sprucing it up.

First let's fix that busted up grille.

badly repaired
95 grill on a 90

Back in the day, before our time,
someone had swapped the '90 grille for a more sleek '95.
It isn't something that can be just bolted on,
and there was some huge gaps when we got it.
I ended up shaving the chromed plastic down to match the painted surround,
and it looked really good,
until my wife customized it with the back of some guys bumper.
Fortunately his truck didn't have a scratch so we got off.

So first let's use some zip ties to get it back in place.
The chrome really offsets the smacked up fairing part and missing lens covers.
At least the lights work.

Next on the list is fixing the sagging headliner.

flying carpet

These cars already float on the freeway like a flying carpet.
The billowing headliner really adds to the effect.
My wife is short enough where it was not an issue.

quilted look

With the help of a couple thumbtacks,
problem solved!
I need to find some more so it doesn't look as much like a circus tent.

those are the easy things.
The big problem is the brakes.
The rear wheels will lock up on an emergency stop at speeds.
Its fine around town though,
and only started happening gradually recently.

So today I got some rear shoes, (drums)
since it felt like the rear was grabbing before the fronts.

rear drum brakes

Well wouldn't you know it the shoes were fine and the drums were fine.
There was alot of dust though inside,
and I messed up and didn't take a picture.
I think I might have found the problem though.

lincoln town car rear brake,
with ABS system sensor

Well the magnetic sensor for (i think) the ABS system,
that little post that is inline with that circular thing with the holes in it,
was totally covered with steel particles.
Really wish I had taken a picture it was easily twice the size.

After cleaning both sides,
the brakes seem to work fine!
I'm thinking the sensor was proportioning the brakes too much to the rear?
The pedal is also much more firm,
it had seemed a very spongy.

Please wish me good luck on the drive south...


10 years yesterday - happy birthday jake!

Not much marks the passing of time better than kids.
I can't believe 10 years has already whisked by.

happy birthday jake!

We had a good night,
a dinner at Pho's restaurant and a cheesecake made by his Auntie Lisa.
Really rare is this photo of all 3 kids smiling with there eyes open!


Happy Birthday Jake!


23 October 2011

brand loyalty?

After weeks of craigslist hunting,
we finally bit the bullet.

My price range was extremely low,
under 3 g's,
which made it easy to search by price rather than model.
Yep, 3 g's...way under actually.
To me thats the price point where you don't get trapped by the car.
It's nice to have the choice to either ditch or fix.

I compare looking for craigslist deals like those guys on the movie "the matrix".
There's a pattern that emerges when you know what's been for sale for a while.
Alot of the junk and overpriced cars bubble up to the top,
relisted over and over again.
Than there are the deals that are so good they don't last an hour.
Those sting a little,
but there's always the next deal.

1999 mercury grand marquis

My wife will say I bit the bullet which is true.
She still has a thing for our ailing lincoln town car.

1990 lincoln town car

I was trying to justify fixing it up,
but the stuff that is not working isn't the fun stuff to fix.
- only the drivers window rolls up and down...
- there's a rear seal leak in the engine that drips oil on the exhaust,
when going uphill anyway...
- one of the rear brakes locks up during emergency stops!!
 (experienced this on the way to look at the mercury - holy chit!)
-front window seal leaks,
so when it rains the water leaks in, onto the headlight switch,
so the headlights will go on even when parked at night.

The problem is this thing will run forever.
I'm tempted to fix the rear brakes,
register it temporarily "non-op" at the DMV
and save up some time and money to go on a one-way road trip.
How far would it get?
Canada? Panama? The Arizona desert?

The other option (other than selling it)
is keeping the 5.0 engine and AOD tranny for a project.
The engine runs really sweet,
a perfect donor...

i love craigslist

Like I said I searched and searched craigslist for deals.
Toyota Camry's, Honda Accords, Nissan Maxima's -
that's what normal people want.
Tons of Cadillacs out there for cheap too.
The thing that sucks about (affordable) Caddy's is they need super gas.
Lincoln Town Cars are out there but they're usually the high mileaged TCP taxi's.
Then there's those cool Police Interceptor Crown Victoria's.
The bummer with those is they have no rear door openers or window regulators.

Then this Mercury popped up.
Since Mercury folded a couple years ago,
I'm thinking people are a little sketchy about the name.

However, it's a Ford "Panther" based car,
with the 4.6 OHC engine,
same as the crown vics and the town cars.

1999 mercury grand marquis

This was a well cared for car.
New tires, smog check, working windows, runs great!
There were enough dinks in it to scare off the super picky,
some cigarette burns and some little dents,
but we actually got it a little cheaper than the asking price.
I love it!
I'm gonna try to find some police rims though.

One thing I'll miss is those leather-ish seats of the town car.
And the computerized fuel efficiency monitors.

Other than that,
we'll see how it goes.

Thanks Tom, Richard and Hannah!
Hope you have fun with the g20 van trip!


22 October 2011

chow down

The kids and I went to Hodad's in OB,
 our favorite hamburger joint last (early) night.


We scored the window seats which is sheer luck.
As you can see Macey was extremely excited.

I shoulda shot a picture of the monster burger.
So tasty.
Double bacon cheeseburger.
So good.


It was fun to get out with the kids and walk around OB.
Too bad my wife missed out!


21 October 2011

Wasp MX Sidecar - runs!

Mark's been powering out on his Wasp sidecar project.
Basically it's changed from a project to a running bike, or trike.
He's been battling electrical issues and finally won.

Wasp MX sidecar w/kawasaki w650 engine

Of course he only sent me one picture!

I really like the (almost) finished look of it.
The frame was originally nickeled with a bad coat of primer over it.
He scrubbed it off and it really looks cool,
especially with the aluminum fenders and custom stuff he let me build!
He said the engine is loud but its quick and sounds like a Triumph.

He and his wife Kathy have been tuning it up,
practicing for the race in November .
(i think at willowsprings, I'll edit this if I find out more)

It's always good to see a project progress and not stall!
Click the WASP link below if you want to see what it started like.


18 October 2011


See anything new?

same old same old?

Yeah it's hard to see,
prolly cause you're so far away.

After sundays surprise thrash,
there's not much I wanted to do more than work on the 40.
So today played a little hookie,
and wow it always surprises me how fast I can do stuff that doesn't pay.

messy table

This is the door,
the other one is just like it
Last year or more I had made the bottom extension and that diagonal brace,
but at the time the measurements were a little different,
and those little hinges were just to find the right pivot.

junkyard dissection

I haven't been utilizing the outside area of the shop much.
It is so much nicer doing the dirty stuff out in the air.
I'll have to make some kinda bench and shade now.

Not too much was left of the door after the cut,
but the important part was left.


This door was a tight fit.
I find it easiest to actually tack the door to the body.
There was a fair amount of time fixing the front and rear gaps,
as well as the rear door jamb gap.

There was also a lip needed to support the front sheetmetal,
since it was also rusted away.
I didn't take a picture of it though.

But here's the good part.

passenger door!

This has been a long time coming.

open passenger door

It was really cool to see the door swing out.

So let's see it again.

passenger door closed

I have to say there was a little concern that the door wouldn't open enough.

passenger door open

But there is plenty of angle.

This had taken a good part of the day,
and I was jonesin' to do the other side,
as it is questionable when I'd have the time.
So with less than 2 hours before kid duty...

Here's that new lip that held on the front sheetmetal.


It's hard to see.
It is that temporary strap that held the hinges in position earlier,
now a permanent part of the door box.

junkyard dissection II

Quick cut and grind of the drivers door.
Way faster knowing where to cut.

door tacked in place

Here you can see how tight the gaps were.
At least the frame itself wasn't as tight like the other side.


I just did a quick cut and some quick welds to hold the skin in place.
Later on I'll have to finish it off.
No I didn't take any closeup pics of the new gap...

But I did take pics after the door was welded to the hinge box.

driver's door closed

This door skin was a little rougher than the other side.
At least the reveal line lines up.

driver's door open

It was such a cool feeling to see the doors hold themselves up,
I would have loved to drink a beer and just stand there and look at them.
But I had to go.
At least I have the pictures til tomorrow.

1940 ford chopped sectioned coupe with working doors

The door skins are still missing the bottom 10 inches,
and there is a ton of finish work.

And latches...


Cracker - I see the light.
1993 vs 2008


Hi Pop!

Happened to be in the area of where my Dad's Dad (papa) is buried,
so we dropped by to say hi,
and clean it up a little.

Papa's gravesite

Creepy when your grandmother (nana) is already chiseled into the headstone!

We'll have to make it up to my Mom's Dad (baba) soon.


17 October 2011


Okay where were we.
perich brothers (and sister): bang bang
Last time I had just finished the main hinge pieces.

It was either bolt the hinge to the door,
or bolt the door to the hinge.


Only one thing helps me fall asleep at night faster than visualizing a project.
I decided on bolting the door to the hinges,
than the inside of the door would be flat,
alot easier to make,
other than notching the door to slip the hinges inside.

First positioned the hinges with some temporary flatbar.

mocked up

Than cut out the real door piece and drilled some holes...

the door begins

The hinges laid out much better with the new door piece.
The best thing was the hinges actually swung.

2nd door piece

The door part of the door jamb was conveniently waiting,
so eyeballed a gap and tacked it on.
There was just enough clearance to not rub on the body when opening.
What a relief.


Than some gussets were cut out and welded.
This really stiffened up the door hinge box.


After some quick welding...


And grinding,
the doors were ready for a semifinal fit.


They didn't warp,
and the welding made them even stiffer.


Now all there is to do is graft the old rusty door on the new shiny hinge box.
Sounds easy!