Friday, April 10, 2015

Coffee Brake: Father-Son Project

Welcome back to another edition of Daily Turismo's cure for alien hand syndrome, also known as Coffee Brake.  In the days before World of Warcraft, one of the better ways to spend time with your old man (or your punk kid) was in the garage, deep in a car project where old techniques were passed on to a new generation. 


For discussion today, I'd like to ask our readers what are the best projects for father-son bonding.  I think that a simple suspension rebuild (or upgrade) on an old classic is an easy way to get the kid interested in cars and keep your dad happy.  What do you think?

25 comments:

  1. I think most of them can relate to a brake job. It's something they can use more often and in the cars kids like now there is a lot more sophistication and not much level 2 or 3 stuff they can do easily.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'd hung around my dad as he wrenched on our various cars, the first job that was mostly mine was around age 11 where I was changing a water pump on our Ford - the day before we were to leave on the family vacation. Got it in and it leaked like a 17-year-old girl on her eighth IPA.

    We pulled the pump back out and found a big nasty machining flaw in the casting that if I'd been a little more experienced I'd have noted before installing the thing but Dad never said one word about it. He spent what seemed like forever sweating like hell filing TRW's crappy casting flat with a hand file, we put it back in, finished up around 1AM if I remember correctly. Never leaked again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    2. My dad was the same way, never gave up or freaked out about seemingly big automotive problems. Just light a smoke and keep working until the old car was back on the road hauling the kids to hockey...

      Delete
  3. Replacing spark plugs. Remember those? :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cars still have 'em..... they just don't seem to need to be replaced anymore! Well, not true, in that I keep cars well beyond their "best before" dates. As a result, I have had to learn the fine art of removing spark plugs that have been in an engine for 100-150,000 km (60-90,000 miles). So far, I have had no disasters, but I have spent 20 minutes on a single plug.

      "You must learn patience, Grasshopper". "OK Master Po, I understand, but can we do it right now?"

      Delete
    2. Patients belong in a hospital.

      So, acknowledging the unfortunate fact that most people see cars as disposable objects these days...the spark plug is ancient alien technology.

      Delete
  4. We bought an old Honda XR80 back when my son was 14. My motorcycle nut friend and my son did some basic maintenance stuff at my friends shop. Replaced cables, cleaned the carb, fitted new tires and sprockets, brake shoes. It worked pretty good to remove the father-son, don't tell me what to do tension; he listened intently to my friends instruction.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nice! My dad bought me an XR75 that we worked on. I wish I still had it.

      Delete
    2. No Joke on the XR75! My dad was a chemist and college administrator with no mechanical skills whatsoever. His brother, my uncle, was a Buick/Pontiac dealer in a very small town, several hundred miles away. My dad always aspired to buy cool cars, but always deferred to the sensible.
      In '71 as I was starting my senior year in high school, he was wearing his tweed jacket with patches as we shopped 240Z, Fiat 124 Sport, used Jaguar XKE as replacements for our dying VW Fastback. A quick trip to PA ended up with him returning home with a bumble-bee Opel Manta. I was sort of repulsed because of what 'could have been' but I thrashed and thrashed on that car my senior year and freshman year and ended up buying it from them a couple of years later when they moved. It was nowhere near as cool as the others but a totally tossable, fun commuter special. I learned nothing from him mechanically, but I now have to make those same sorts of compromises and appreciate what he was going through while disappointing me!

      Delete
  5. This isn't really a project, but one of the most important car lessons I learned from my dad was correctly operating a manual transmission.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    2. Who is TV, PhiLOL? Is that a DT staff member who just isn't around very often?

      Delete
  6. My father is a classical musician but also is into cars. We rebuilt a fuelie 327 when he had a split window and we also built a little screamer 1776 for his speedster kit. Some of my best memories are from my garage with my father + a few beers.

    ReplyDelete
  7. My dad started assigning me garage duties when I was around 6 years-old. He had a 280Z 2+2 and I distinctly remember getting to change the spark plugs and having to sit on the fender with my feet on the valve cover to reach them.

    ReplyDelete
  8. My grandfather used to race speedboats, in New Zealand in the fifties and sixties. With no aftermarket engine parts available, builders would improvise their own. One of my first projects was an old motorcycle. He showed me how they used to weld filler rod around the outside of valves to make them bigger, then use a drill press as a vertical lathe to make them round again.

    ReplyDelete
  9. BTW - where is the picture from?

    That is a hefty spacer

    ReplyDelete
  10. My grandfather was the man in the Neibourhood when it came to European cars And any vehicle really. When I was five or six he showed me how to do crank bearings on my BMW and I was hooked. the first auto related work I had a hand in was a complete body job on his 80 Toyota diesel pickup. It was amazing watching and helping him form metal onto any shape needed with a torch, vise hammer and some handmade pieces. That little truck lasted him four more years and he sold it too a friend who got 13 years from it before the body was sacked again. IIRC the guy who bought it used the engine for a generator.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I say get your son an older low mileage original car. That way it is reliable. Don't buy a popular POS, instead buy an unloved gem. That saves $$$ too now and into the future. Then start with full maintenance and build from there.
    I bought my son a 1977 Pontiac Grand Prix with 38,000 original miles as his high school car. He had to have a dog in the fight. He would not be happy working on the family vehicles.
    First we did all the maintenance and he ran with the detailing. After that he got an after school job and we did the continuous changes to make it HIS car. Audio system, carb & manifold, lowering, wheels & tires, etc.
    We ran it every month during the summer at Milan dragway. It was the slowest car there but over time we got it into the 15's while keeping the stock 7:5 to 1 compression block and stock heads. It was consistent for bracket racing! It was the minor tweaking and mods that kept his interest. It actually handled pretty good too for it's size.
    He still has the car today some 12 years later.
    See the car at the link: 1977 GP

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Check out his old winter college beater car.
      Link here: 67 Catalina
      It had snow tires all around and was snow monster. It even amazed me.
      Same formula here, buy a low mileage unloved car. Today that formula is getting harder to play as older cars have appreciated wildly. So maybe change that formula to look for 10 - 15 year old cars.

      Delete
    2. Rene - Very cool story. Proof that one doesn't need to have the fastest or most expensive car to have a great time. I can't believe he still owns it!

      Delete
  12. Shouldn't dad advise against that scary looking adaptor in your picture?

    ReplyDelete
  13. My first solo was changing oil on a 67 fiat 1100D, I drained the transmission insted of the motor and called for help when the oil overflowed out of the input spout.

    ReplyDelete

Commenting Commandments:
I. Thou Shalt Not write anything your mother would not appreciate reading.
II. Thou Shalt Not post as anonymous unless you are posting from mobile and have technical issues. Use name/url when posting and pick something Urazmus B Jokin, Ben Dover. Sir Edmund Hillary Clint Eastwood...it don't matter. Just pick a nom de plume and stick with it.
III. Honor thy own links by using <a href ="http://www.linkgoeshere"> description of your link </a>
IV. Remember the formatting tricks <i>italics</i> and <b> bold </b>
V. Thou Shalt Not commit spam.
VI. To embed images: use [image src="http://www.IMAGE_LINK.com" width="400px"/]. Limit images to no wider than 400 pixels in width. No more than one image per comment please.