The Car Mod Thread...


A.Goldberg

macrumors 68020
Jan 31, 2015
2,326
7,651
Boston
Anyone have a suggestion for some lights I could mount around my AC/heat/vent controls? The bulb behind it just went out and I don't want to bother getting it repaired because I'll be getting a new car in a few months. Just want something fast to get me through until then.
What kind of car? Generally it's very simple, something like the kobs pull off and the facia plate pulls off. Or alternatively the entire unit slides out- like a radio. Then the bulbs are right there. It's unlikely you need to hire someone. Bring the bulb in to an auto parts store and they'll find you a replacement.

The problem I suppose is if you have an older illuminated LCD screen with climate control. Sometimes those can be tricky to fix without replacing the entire unit.
 
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LumbermanSVO

macrumors 65816
Mar 15, 2007
1,039
130
Denton, TX
A little over a month ago I added a 2010 Miata Sport to my stable:


Here it is with my Bronco:


Within a week I had started modding it, I started by adding cruise control and steering wheel controls for the radio. This was actually really simple, the car is already wired for ALL the options, except for the security system, it's just a matter of adding the right parts. So to add these features I just had to swap the steering wheel and brake switch.

The stock stock steering wheel:


New wheel with controls:


I also swapped out the factory head unit for a Pioneer DEH-P800PRS, voltage gauge, USB charge ports and 12V port:


While at it, I added a Pro-Clip iPhone mount:


Tucked under the transmission tunnel carpet is an ALP1 audio processor and on top of the tunnel is an HDMI audio de-embedder:


Here is how all that works: I have a Lightning extension cable plugged into the phone, it then plugs into a Lightning HDMI dongle. The the HDMI cable plugs into the HDMI audio de-embedder. The audio goes digital from the de-embedder into the APL1, then analog to the 800PRS.

This works well enough, certainly better than the stock setup, but it's not enough. So a couple days ago I swapped the stock 6x9's in favor of some older Image Dynamics IDQ8's. First I had to remove the plastic inner door panel, then cut off the alignment tabs for the Bose 8's:


Next I cut the panels to fit the IDQ8's and mounted them:


Then I tried to mount the panels to the doors. Unfortunately, the magnets hit the window tracks, crap. I had started making mounting rings for these speakers awhile ago, so I did a quick hack job to finish them and they gave me just enough room:


Today I spent some time with the APL Workshop. This it how the system measured with the top up and ZERO tuning:


And the top down, ZERO tuning:


The green line is the actual measurement, the other line is the target.

And a single round of tuning with the APL software i was able to make some dramatic improvements. How it measures with the top up after tuning:


And top down:


Not too shabby.

I also took a couple measurements with APL TDA. This software is quite unique. The x-axis is time, and the y-axis is frequency. The colors are amplitude, the more blue, the less sound power there, the darker red, the more sound power. The ideal situation is to have the dark red in a perfectly vertical line. This would mean that if you were to make a sound that covers all frequencies, that ALL the frequencies would get to the listener at the same time, not an easy task.

So here are my results after tuning:


Up top is with the top up, and the bottom is with the top down. You can clearly see the difference the top makes. This helps to demonstrate why the car is a terrible place to try to reproduce audio, reflections. While things got significantly better with the top down, it's still bad.

I leave for a 4-1/2 week long work trip soon and when I get back I'll have some new speakers to install, plus an amp. I'll be sure to update this when I get those tasks done.
 

LumbermanSVO

macrumors 65816
Mar 15, 2007
1,039
130
Denton, TX
Great work on the Miata!
Thanks! It's my first time having a nice car in 15 years. Today I did a full wash, claybar and wax, I hadn't done that in ages and I'm quite tired now. Thank goodness it's a small car!

Also, my new wiper switch showed up today, this is the stock one:


And the new one:


For some reason the Miata didn't come with variable intermittent wipers. However, the RX8 did have the option and the switch is compatible with the Miata, no other changes need to be made to get this option functioning. It was $35, including shipping, and took less than 10 minutes to swap out.
 

bunnspecial

macrumors 604
May 3, 2014
6,720
3,271
Kentucky
I recently picked this up.

IMG_3936.jpg


These are built by the son of the man who patented the system. I believe it was used as an OEM Bosch component in some Porsches and VWs, but a similar box was also available as an aftermarket part built under the Winterburn patent.

Although I've dabbled in electronic ignition and have gone back to points, this set-up has appealed to me for a while. For one thing, it is triggered by points. The points, however, switch relatively little current so there's almost no wear on the contact faces(watch the points in a Kettering system and they throw off sparks like crazy). The system ignores point bounce, and within reason gap and dwell are not critical like they are in a pure Kettering system. It can also be switched to Kettering ignition for troubleshooting by just turning the switch on top.

In addition, the CDI system gives a much more intense spark. It's supposed to be able to fire fuel soaked and badly fouled plugs-I'm hoping if nothing else it will help with the dropping idle I get in warmer temperatures that I suspect is the result of the plugs coking up.

Since these were available(albeit in a different case and different brand) in the 1960s, I feel like this is a reasonably period-correct modification to my car.
 
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bunnspecial

macrumors 604
May 3, 2014
6,720
3,271
Kentucky
Alright, the CDI module is installed, although as I'm still sort of in experimental stages with it I have finalized it or prettied up my wiring yet.

Picking the correct terminations for the wire made installation super fast and easy. I used plastic shielded automotive grade quick connect connectors for most of the connections. Since the factory wiring loom is set up to make heavy use of these, wiring was plug and play. Completely bypassing the CDI box is also a straight-forward roadside repair with two pieces of wire(now in my spare parts kit) so I also have that option.

By far and away my biggest hurdle was getting a good ground. I put a spade on the end of the ground wire and ran it through one of the pre-existing screws into the body under the hood. The bad ground would show up as a misfire at high RPMs(where the CDI box draws ~4A) and would disappear when switched over to Kettering ignition(which does not even need the ground wire connected with the CDI box). Finally, I ended up using a wire brush on a dremel to clean the paint and oxidation at my grounding point and then slathered dielectric grease over it after making the attachment. I still want to go back and replace the spade with a ring, something that I think will be a lot more stable over time.

Also, Smiths internal loop RVI tachometers do not work with CDI ignition. Unfortunately for me, that's exactly what my car has. In the stock Kettering set-up, the +12V for the coil passes through the tach. In 1973, MG switched to using a Smiths RVC type tachometer, and through the '76 M/Y it was the same size with an identical gauge face to the stock tach in my car. The only difference in the bezel, but fortunately the bezel simply has a bayonet mount so swapping the bezel is easy.

The stock wiring for an RVC type tach is different than that for an RVI type, and wiring for the RVC is different still with the CDI installed. In a conventional set-up, the RVC tach is supplied with power and ground through the normal behind the dash wiring, and then a signal wire runs from the positive side of the coil to the tach. As I mentioned, on an RVI tach, the +12V side of the coil is powered through the tach, so there is an additional ignition switched(but unfused) +12V wire behind the dash. With the CDI box, the RVC signal wire is attached to the distributor body.

I do not like modifying factory wiring when I can avoid it, so elected to use what I had available. First, I pulled out the old RVI tach. The wiring is not completely plug and play with it. The +12V coil wire is a female bullet, so can be safely disconnected and left dangling without any worried about it shorting. The power wire(ignition switched, fused) is a quick disconnect connector, so simply plugged in. The RVC tach I have is set up to use a quick disconnect for the ground, while my old tach was designed to ground via a ring on one of the attachment lugs. I preserved that arrangement, but if it proves to be unsatisfactory I will run a wire from the quick disconnect lug to a ring that I butt up against the factory ground(the quick connect ground tab is just riveted to the tach body). It's not overly critical, though, as the RVC type tach only needs ground for the light bulb and not for operation. My only other hurdle was the signal wire, which was terminated in a male bullet. The RVC tach also has a male bullet for the signal wire. I though it would be a simple matter of plugging a male-to-male joint on the back of the tach, but ran into trouble as the male bullet in the factory look is smaller than "standard" diameter. I have a temporary solution now for testing purposes, but in the next day or two(once I find my stash of bullet connectors) am just going to solder the correct sized bullet in place. I also need to stock up on bullets-I'm getting a bit low, and it usually takes me about a month to get them from England(they are much less expensive there than in the US).

Under the hood, tach wiring was simple. When I'd built up all the connections on the CDI box, I pigtailed a second wire onto the connector running to the distributor and terminated this with a male quick disconnect(again automotive grade, fully plastic encapsulated). This went into the former coil +12V wire that's now the tach signal wire. The tach works, although I think the calibration may be a bit off on it. I'll hook up an external(inductive) tach and see what's going on.

So, the end result of all my rambling-

1. I have a smooth 850rpm idle-something that I couldn't get with points ignition.

2. The throttle response is better. It's not a huge difference, but to someone who has been driving the car as long as I have(and to have not changed anything other than tweaking the idle speed) it's there.

3. Cold starts are easier, and hot restarts are now a LOT easier. There's no more flooring it to get it to start when hot.

4. The plugs look perfect

5. I've learned a valuable lesson-don't hold the HT lead while cranking with CDI engaged :) . Check for a spark with the HT lead held close to a body ground is a long standing technique for checking for a spark in a points-type ignition system. For a system in good order, a pale blue spark will jump 3/4" or so. The CDI spark is bright blue and will easily jump more than 1". The spark also makes a very loud crack-something advertised in the promotional material. Unfortunately, after half a dozen sparks, I found that they preferred to go to my hand rather than the body ground. That was quite an electrifying experience :) . On the other hand, with the distributor body now at 12V rather than the ~300V in conventional points ignition, the bare metal can be touched without "buzzing" you. That makes timing adjustments easier.
 
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bunnspecial

macrumors 604
May 3, 2014
6,720
3,271
Kentucky
Alright, time for some more stuff on the MG.

I have been fighting off doing a valve job for a little while. MGs are notorious for erosion on the #3 exhaust valve, and I've been steadily watching my compression drop off on cylinder #3 since I bought the car. When it hit 110 psi(vs. a steady 145psi for the other cylinders) I thought it was time to do something about it.

I'd bought the exhaust valves, but there's probably a 3 in 5 chance that I'll get my head off and find a crack in it-it's just the nature of the beast. I have a spare head sitting here that is good AFAIK(actually a spare mostly complete engine with a cracked block, but that's another story), but it's the notorious CAM1106 casting that has some other issues.

So, I decided that I'd take a chance to do a performance upgrade. Stock MG engines came with either "deep dish" or "shallow dish" pistons, and with either "big chamber" or "small chamber" heads. Pre-1974 cars had "shallow dish" pistons combined with a large chamber head. This gives them an 8.8:1 compression ratio. In 1973, the engine was redesigned for lower compression(emissions). The pistons were given a deeper dish, and the combustion chamber made smaller. This gave 8.0:1.

That leaves the opportunity for a "magic combination" of shallow dish pistons with a small chamber head to give a C/R of 9.4:1.

So, to that end, I contacted a friend who rebuilds heads, and he was able to supply a rebuilt 12AH2923 head. This is the desirable small chamber "big valve" head used from '73 to '76. He also did some very mild port and polish work on it.

IMG_4179.jpg
IMG_4180.jpg
IMG_4184.jpg


I will have to make some very small modifications to my block, but it's otherwise a drop-on fix. Aside from restoring some factory performance, this will give a nice performance boost. I'm told that the compression boost will get to about 115hp, up from 93hp stock. I know that doesn't sound like a lot, but it's still a 20% increase on a 2000lb car.
 
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three

macrumors 65816
Jan 22, 2008
1,068
192
Washington State
I've done a lot of little things to my 2010 Mazdaspeed 3 over the past month, as the winter has finally passed here in Eastern Washington... Bigger plans in the summer, but for now, little things.

  • Blox Racing 490 Gram Shift Knob in Torch Blue - Amazing how much of an awesome difference a weighted shift knob makes to shifting gears.
  • Hella Optilux Yellow Fog Light Bulbs - The stock halogen fog light bulbs sucked, and I wasn't impressed with the few different sets of LED bulbs I tried. Ended up with these and boy, they're absolutely amazing. (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002E2WMWG)
  • The Retrofit Source ACME LED Switchbacks (White / Amber) - For the "running light" / front turn signals. After getting 4 replacement sets of JDM ASTAR switchback LEDs (kept burning out after 30 seconds), even with resistors! I picked these up and they've been going solid for a few weeks now. I love how clean it looks.
  • Matte Clear Plastidip over Mazda Badge - Found a can of this in my garage, decided to play around with it on the badges and was impressed with the look. Looks kind of satin!
  • Wrapped Taillights - Looks SO MUCH BETTER than the stock clear / chrome lights. :)
Pictures are in the order of the list:
IMG_20170222_151142.jpg IMG_20170311_193320_283.jpg IMG_20170325_220108.jpg IMG_20170328_175407_897.jpg IMG_20170329_133213.jpg
 

jeyf

macrumors 65816
Jan 20, 2009
1,187
540
i have an ap1 Honda s2000
when I first bought the car I was conservative in the mods. At this point still own the car.

I can say i am SORRY I MADE MOST OF THE MODS.
 

D.T.

macrumors G3
Sep 15, 2011
8,919
6,734
Vilano Beach, FL
If I install a cold air intake on my MK7 GTI, am I bringing on any warranty or reliability concerns? I'm looking at this one from Integrated Engineering.

https://www.performancebyie.com/ie-mk7-gti-golf-r-golf-cold-air-intake-kit
Reliability issues? Probably not, that's a pretty minor modification. Warranty concerns? Well, you can't have your warranty "voided" (so to speak), however, depending on the mod, if there's a failure that could be correlated to it, then they could refuse warranty work. Remember, the dealer has to get reimbursed, so they're not going to perform work that bites them in the rear.

A CAI, intake tube, [dry] aftermarket filter, you're more than likely fine, and in the event there was some major failure, that's easy enough to reverse. You get into a little more radical changes that are hard to reverse, or traceable, have a catastrophic engine failure, then it gets a little more concerning.
 

arggg14

macrumors 6502a
Dec 30, 2014
674
1,753
Reliability issues? Probably not, that's a pretty minor modification. Warranty concerns? Well, you can't have your warranty "voided" (so to speak), however, depending on the mod, if there's a failure that could be correlated to it, then they could refuse warranty work. Remember, the dealer has to get reimbursed, so they're not going to perform work that bites them in the rear.

A CAI, intake tube, [dry] aftermarket filter, you're more than likely fine, and in the event there was some major failure, that's easy enough to reverse. You get into a little more radical changes that are hard to reverse, or traceable, have a catastrophic engine failure, then it gets a little more concerning.
I figured that was the case, thanks. It's easy enough to just hang on to the OEM part in the event I do need to take the car in.
 

elf69

macrumors 68020
Jun 2, 2016
2,316
482
Cornwall UK
old thread but not gonna create new one:

I have a 2001 hyundai tiburon (in US) and here in UK it is a "coupe" yes that is the model here as well as body style.

My mods:

17" alloys
USA imported black euro spyder tail lights as cannot buy here.
hydraulic rams for bonnet/hood
Halos fitting to headlights and insides painted black.
black front sidelights.
front and rear dash cam.

more mods planned but funds low.
 

elf69

macrumors 68020
Jun 2, 2016
2,316
482
Cornwall UK
yes made a 1300 variant.

It is an 1972 austin 1300 vanden plas princess.

black with lime flower green interior and automatic transmission they made 3, only two know to still exist.
I have one!

it is undergoing restoration and in lots of bits.
 

bunnspecial

macrumors 604
May 3, 2014
6,720
3,271
Kentucky
Very nice! Guess I wasn't too far off :)

I know BMC/BL auto boxes are sometimes few and far between. MGBs are my main interest, and there were VERY few made with the BW35 auto-surprisingly most of them went to the home market and not to the US.

I did drive(and consider buying) an MGC GT(pale primrose) with the factory BW35 a while back. In contrast to the MGB, I think roughly have the MGC GTs that came to the US had autos. I was actually somewhat pleasantly surprised at how nicely it drove. MGCs are more touring cars anyway(I was afraid to throw it around like I do my B), and the auto was a nice match with that.
 

elf69

macrumors 68020
Jun 2, 2016
2,316
482
Cornwall UK
MGB very common over here.

but the early chrome bumper models are getting hard to find in good condition.
There are lots of the awful rubber bumper models around though.

I also have a 1966 austin 1100 and a 1969 riley elf, all automatic as I am disabled.
none are on road all are in various states of repair.
 

jeyf

macrumors 65816
Jan 20, 2009
1,187
540
i am having issues finding parts too (5th gen Honda) that is totally enjoyable to daily drive to the grocery store.
car-parts.com
Majestic Honda //maintains an on line pdf ordering system