Sunday, July 31, 2011

More Tear Down Progress.

Today was a very busy and productive day out in the garage. I started work at about noon, and before I knew it, it was 4:00. The hours just flew by. I swear, I have not been this focused or entertained by a project since I built my R2 so many years ago. It's a great feeling!

So on with the pics.

My focus when I got started today was to finish tearing off the stuff on the passenger side, which meant the front door had to come off. I must confess, I have new found respect for auto makers. These things go together like a jigsaw puzzle. I believe that it has to be assembled in JUST the right order. It's wild. Getting the front door off was sort of problematic, mainly because the bolts are so hard to reach. I'm sure they have all kinds of specialized tools to make it happen in the factory, but I'm just working with my basic Craftsman kit.

But with a little persistence, I got it cracked.

Speaking of crack, no pipes were found today, but I did take a picture of all the cash I have found inside the Caprice. I'm RICH!

Here is the front door after it had been removed, along with the mounting hardware.

Then there's these little suckers. These are used throughout the car, and as of yesterday, I didn't have the right tools to remove them. I made a trip to Sears and dropped another 200 bucks. I got a really nice torque wrench, a set of super nice work gloves, a set of torx bits (which is what are used to remove these types of bolts) and a set of drill bits for metal.

Here's one of the new Torx bits on top of my wrench.

This set was definitely a "must have," as I started finding these little bolts all over the car.

Next up was the front fender, which was also a total pain, as it was attached to the front bumper on the inside. Again, just like a big jigsaw puzzle.

Here's my stack of parts that I removed today.

Progress seemed a lot slower today, mainly because I hit a few challenges that didn't just unravel quickly. It was still a load of fun, and I'm making good progress. I think I'm going to have to pull the car out of the garage to get at the drivers side. I'm tempted to drive it around the community a bit, just to see what kind of faces the neighbors make as I roll by.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Tear Down Progress, and New Crack Pipe

There was a flurry of activity in the garage today! I got started at about noon, worked for about three hours, and accomplished a TON of work! I'm actually sort of stunned at how fast the tear down is going. Now, seeing as how I have no idea how far along I am, I suppose I'm not really a good judge of progress, but it SEEMS like it's going along really quickly.

Here's how it looked after about the first hour. I got the rear passenger side door off, stripped out all the weather stripping and other mouldings in the back area. I also cleaned up the foot wells.

One of the limiting factors on my tear down will be how much stuff I can fit in my trash can. In about an hour, I had it filled. Good thing pick up is on Monday. I think I'm going to look into getting a mini-dumpster brought around for the big stuff.

I'm sort of just pulling things off at random. Any time I see an exposed screw or bolt, I attack it. Then I'll find myself focused on a particular item, like the seat. I pulled out the passenger side seat in about five minutes. I really need to get rid of this really quickly, as I don't want the neighbors to think I'm going to be keeping car seats in my garage as furniture. We've got standards around here, ya know!!! :)

Here's how she looks with the back door removed, the front seat out, and all of the flooring pulled up.

The view from the back.

And a view INTO the back.

Then I pulled the hood off. I kept getting nervous that it was going to drop on my head and crack it open, as one of the struts is sort of weak. I've been using my chin up bar to keep the hood up. No longer a problem.

And BEST of all, I found another crack pipe! This one was stashed in one of the windshield wiper wells. I'm beginning to think that this car was once an in-service cop car before it was converted into a movie car. Unless there is A LOT of crack being smoked on movie sets. Which could very well be the case.

I think I'm just about done for the day, as I need to head over to my sister's place for a family get together. I think the plan will be to just go as-is, all covered in car grease and looking dirty. I suppose if I really wanted to sell the whole "white trash" side of the party, I'd drive the caprice over!!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Trunk Lid Off, Back Seat Toast.

After work today, I had a little energy left over, so I did a little more work on the tear down. It's actually going very quickly. I've completely stripped out the back seat, and the flat area below the rear window.

I also tore off the trunk lid, and pulled out some of the guts from inside the trunk. I think tomorrow I will pull off the rear bumper and try to get the ligths off. I'm pretty sure I can sell those for a few bucks.

Here's a few shots of the trunk lid. It's for sale if anyone is interested, as are all the body panels from the car.

New tools, new lens.

I have a few new purchases to write about, so here goes. On the less-impressive side, I picked up a couple spools of tape that I will be using to mark different connectors on the inside of the car when I pull the thing apart.

As mentioned in the last episode of ROTMM, here is the new wide angle lens and microphone I purchased for my camera.

I put together a little test video for Art over on the RPF to demonstrate how effective the lens is. Check this out:

Lastly, here's the shop vac I promised to pick up in the last episode. Now I can remove all the junk from the bottom of the seat wells in the Caprice!

Crack Pipe Found!!! (Episode 4 of ROTMM)

A very interesting episode of Rise of The MattMobile just went up. Please check it out and let me know what you think.

And remember, don't do drugs!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

WOAH! I Think I Fixed The Over Heating Problem!

Right after work ended, I headed down to the auto parts store (where they now recognize me) and picked up a few things.

I was very surprised to learn that the coolant capacity for the Caprice is almost five gallons, so I picked up a few more gallons. I also got a drainage pan, which is a much better substitute for the mop bucket I used last night. I also got a decent floor jack, which will make raising the car a LOT easier when the need arises. And most importantly, I picked up a new thermostat and a new water pump.

The thermostat would be first, seeing as how it's a much smaller job, and could very well be the culprit.

A lot of the work that needed to be done to access the thermostat was stuff I did yesterday, so this was not new ground for me. I proceeded with caution, but with confidence.

After about ten minutes, I had the thermostat cover off, and the old one removed.

Really the most time consuming part was cleaning the gasket gunk off the lid and the housing. That took about 20 minutes. The actual removing of the thermostat and replacing it with the new one took literally one minute.

Here's the new thermostat in place, all ready to be sealed up.
Once it was all put together, I added some more coolant, and took it for a spin. The temperature gauge BARELY moved!!!!!! I must confess, it is an IMMENSELY satisfying feeling to complete a job like that on my own. Though frankly, I did not do it by myself. Without the help of my friends over at the Replica Props Forum and Chicks Love The Car, I would probably still be dead in the water. Huge thanks and kudos to everyone who participated in this work, provided insight and expertise, and most of all the motivation to keep on chugging. Thanks guys!!!

Caprice Radiator Replaced

Yesterday was my first ever non-trivial car repair. I'm very happy to say that it went off very smoothly. I'm also happy to say that I finally got to use my Craftsman tool set on an automotive project! Everything went wonderfully.

For starters, here's a picture of the leak in the radiator. You can see where the coolant has been leaking out onto surrounding parts. It's the red/rust colored stuff.

First step was to disconnect a bunch of stuff, and drain the coolant out of the radiator.

Here, the radiator has been removed.

Comparison shot between the old radiator and the new one. They are SLIGHTLY different, and different in ways that sort of matter. The new radiator doesn't fit quite right into the car, but I don't care. The reason I don't care is because all of the housing around the radiator will be stripped off for the MattMobile, and won't matter in the final build. Right now, my focus is on fixing the overheating problem.

Lastly, here's the new radiator installed.

As mentioned, I'm sad that this did not fix the problem. I've still got a few things to check before I'm at my wits end. I'm going to replace the thermostat next. Then the water pump. All of that can be done for about 60 bucks, so that's cool.

ZF1 At San Diego Comic Con

Propstore of London was kind enough to bring a screen used ZF1 to Comic Con. Here's a youtube video featuring Stephen Lane:

And here are some screen captures from the HD video I shot of the gun:

ZF-1 Parts Arrive!

It's a very exciting day over here at the Munson household, as a package arrived all the way from Australia containing a number of parts to the ZF-1, one of my all time favorite props, from one of my all time favorite movies, The Fifth Element.

These parts, combined with the work I have already done on the shell, put me VERY far down the path to completion. I still have a ways to go, but even if the earth stopped spinning today, I currently have more accomplished on this piece than I have ever had before. So I'm happy.

Here's the raw parts as they came out of the box.

A close up on the nice lathe work done for the mag light caps.

The elusive turn knob that is used on the back of the scope.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Radiator Crack Detected

With the help of my buddy Brian and his diagnosis expertise, I have discovered that there is a crack on the side of the radiator, from which coolant spews!

This is actually pretty good news, as the radiator replacement process seems like something I can handle. I've already ordered the new radiator from the auto parts store. With any luck, it will be available tonight.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Overheating Caprice Work

As promised, I'm slipping into my schedule of doing an hour of work on the car per day, three days per week. With my newly purchased work lamps in hand, I went out and poked around under the hood.

I'm using my Haynes guide as reference for debugging the overheat problem. The first thing I did was check the coolant, which was indeed low. It was topped off to the appropriate level, but was still having the problem. I then checked the serpentine belt, and it is in great condition. So no problems there.

It was at this point that I reached out to a local pal of mine named Brian who was recently revealed to me to be a "Big gear head." I've been shooting emails back and forth with him in an attempt to diagnose the problem and isolate it, so that I don't do more work than is necessary.

I checked inside the oil cap to see if there was any grey residue, which according to Brian would indicate a head gasket leak. Fortunately, it was clean.

I then fired up the beast, and let it run for a few minutes. After about three minutes, the temperature guage rapidly rose to the half way mark, but sad there steadily for the next 7 minutes. The car was just idling, not being driven.

After shutting the engine off, I checked the upper and lower radiator hoses. Both were cold, as was the coolant return hose.

Brian believes, based on this information, that the problem is the thermostat. Fortunately, this seems like an easy enough repair.

Unless I hear differently from Brian within the next few hours, I will pick up a replacement thermostat for the caprice tomorrow.

Work Lights Purchased

A minor unexpected expense today. I picked up a few lamps so I could work on the car while its in the garage.

San Diego Comic Con Recap. Part 1.

Another Comic Con has come and gone, and I have to say this was by far the best one I've ever attended. I think my first con was back in 1987, back when it was all about Comic Books. While it has turned into a far different creature, it's still a great deal of fun, with many amazing things to see.

I'm going to be writing a series of blog posts about my experiences there, mainly just to keep track of it all in my own mind. So much happened, and I met so many great people, it's already hard for me to keep it all straight in my head, and it's only been over for one day.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

First Pieces Removed!

Though not huge progress, it's progress! Today I took my first baby step in the tear down of the Caprice, and removed the two spot lights from the front doors.

Now don't worry, I don't plan on documenting EVERY SINGLE LITTLE detail of the build. But this is an exciting one for me, as it's the first step.

Here's the stuff I pulled off:

Here's where the used to be:

I'm going to put these lights up on ebay shortly. Keep your eyes peeled!

Rise of The MattMobile: Episode II

Forgot to post this! Not really heavy on content, but it's a good walk-around of the Caprice before the tear down.

Caprice Is In The Garage. Tear Down To Begin.

Now that I'm essentially settled into my house, and unpacking has reached a point where it's livable, I've turned my attention to the MattMobile. The Caprice has been sitting out on the street for the past month, much to the chagrin of my neighbors, no doubt. There's no denying it: It's an eye sore. But hey, that's OK! One day, it'll be the pride of the neighborhood!

Organizing the garage was actually a really huge undertaking. I had a ton of stuff that needed to be sorted, and stored. This meant buying a few sets of shelves, going through all the stuff, etc.

Anyhow, long story short, the Caprice now has a home in the garage where I can work on it. I'm going to film the first step of the breakdown, just for posterity.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Garage Clean Up Continues

The garage is still a work in progress, especially after the influx of the FINAL load of stuff for the move. I'm just about finished distributing the stuff throughout the house, packing it away, throwing it away... whatever.

I really want to get it all finished (again) by the end of the weekend so I can pull the caprice in and start working on it. As mentioned before, the first order of business will be to fix the overheating problem.

I also have another episode of my youtube show coming out in a day or so. It just needs to be uploaded. I'll post a link here when it goes live.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Caprice Is Overheating

Looks like the Caprice has its first mechanical challenge. It is overheating. I've got a few things to look into, and I see this actually as a pretty cool challenge. There's about five things that it could be, as far as I can tell, and I'm going to start with the cheaper ones first.

Also, my garage is all cleaned out and ready for the Caprice!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

COMPLETELY Not Prop Related...

But amazingly cool. Check out this video on lifespan vs. income over time.