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Category: Samurai

Dedeckera Canyon

Tested another version of the swivel mount during the first day of the year, this time using a wheel-bearing assembly (razor scooter), instead of a wheel caster. I thought it would get rid of a lot of "shake" I was getting from engine vibration, since there is a lot of play in the caster wheel. Looks like it didn't really make a difference, and most of the excess vibration from the too-stiff motor mounts was getting absorbed by the new Hero 4's super wide angle anyway. Next project is to replace the motor mounts back to rubber from poly, to smoothen out the bone-jarring idle we started getting after doing the 1.6L 16v motor swap. Or, what about getting a gimbal? $!

Look at my Rack

Installed a new roof rack from SMP Fabworks last night with the help of Fil! Looks great, and was a cinch to install. Can't wait to ride on top of it while Kat drives!!!

Exhaust Headers



I did the work a month ago before I left for a business trip. I started by taking it to an exhaust shop and had them fabricate new 2" pipes from the cat all the way to the back, and slap on a turbo muffler. To save money, I opted to install the header myself a few weeks later, which eventually meant I had to drop the entire exhaust system, and drive it back to the shop to have the collector welded back to the cat. Driving with the headers disconnected from everything else, I expected it to be loud, but loud is an understatement. I felt like I was driving a machine gun. I got a thumbs up from the guy mowing the lawn, and dirty looks (I imagined) from everyone else. I'm a Leo and bask in attention, but never the bad kind. I was sweating balls until I got to the shop.

Have a lot more things I am working on, and the bucket list for the Shitzuki is getting longer. Almost done with a little suspension work. I put in heavy duty shackles, and replaced all the stock shock absorbers (one was totally shot). I just need to torque it up and tear up some pavement with my 1.3L mini motor!! And I need to sleep. Now.

Sand Between Your Tires

Pismo Beach Sand Dunes

I made this a few months ago but never got around to posting it. Toying around with iMovie for the first time, and slapping on a little track I recorded on GarageBand.

Keeping Cool

Thermostats help you keep cool.

The problem was, it was too cool! Ever since I had the Shitzuki, the temp gauge would always hover below the midline and took forever to warm up the engine. Then a week ago, it started barfing coolant into the reservoir tank - so much that it inched its way past the 'max' line and eventually started spitting out of the reservoir bottle altogether. There were fears of a blown head gasket pushing the coolant out of the radiator, but the coolant looked clean, so hopefully it was a thermostat issue which would be an easier fix than open top-end surgery. So I took the thermostat housing off at work and found the culprit, stuck in the wide open position. Fifteen minutes later, everything is good and well. So far. I'll know for sure when I make my way back home.

Keep it cool, kids.

Saturday Shenanigans

I've been thinking a lot about why I haven't been writing as much lately. Let's see if I can try to change that. It's harder to keep an open mind and trying to hash out coherent thoughts that are worthy of posting, and I always feel like I need to put myself up to higher standards. That, and a lot of same old, put a damper on things. But on rare occasions, I actually feel like writing down what's been happening.

It was a very interesting day today. I started by replacing a leaky distributor housing o-ring of the Shitzuki, which was causing it to tinkle oil whenever it sat asleep. As expected with automotive matters and the fact that my mechanical knowledge pretty much just consists of being able to use a socket wrench, the projected time it took to complete the task at hand was tripled, but thankfully successful. So far. The o-ring was hard and flattened, and shattered once I took it out of the bugger. I just need to clean the oil spill after surgery, then I can see if it cures the drip.

Later in the afternoon Nickel and I decided to don my "Paul and Kat" hat, and hiked out to the Renegade Craft Fair to say hello to our crafter friends (and help Jon sell t-shirts). Thanks to Carmageddon, we tore through the 101 in 2 seconds. Apart from the usual awesome that accompanies attending these craft fairs, Jon pointed out something that I haven't thought much about, but quickly realized as a profound truth. We were exchanging stories about how our dogs came into our lives, and he mentioned that he believes you simply cannot 'choose' your dog, but they should somehow come into your life fortuitously on their own, however it happens. I could not agree more!

I type a lot when it's 4am.

I spent the rest of the night trying to take pictures of Carmaggedon, and met two random people on the bridge. One was a guy who makes videos on Youtube and took pictures of themselves planking on the median of the 405, and the other was a hobby photographer who traded some excellent photo tips.

I'm getting tired.

As it has come to be expected from this corner of the intarwebz, pictures soon to follow. :)



I have no more time to keep monkeying around, lest I get fired (!).  I think I've done what I can (except check the lines for further blockage... which I hope is an easy fix to just flush the line out).  I've taken out the new fuel pump and put it back together, changed all rubber fuel lines, and replaced the fuel filter.  Crank the engine but the lines are still bone dry. The fuel filter is dry and empty, nothing is sucking up the gas from the tank.  I was already starting to drain the battery and my sanity, when I figured might as well spend some reasonableness and have someone with a clear mind take a look at it.  And so now I'm here at a local Border's, probably the only one left in the San Fernando Valley, waiting for word on the Shitzuki situation.. Le sigh.

I'm Late for Work


Free cookie if you can spot what's wrong.

Thirsty Engine

The Shitzuki bailed out on me a few weeks after his maiden voyage into the depths of Death Valley last year. He turns over but refuses to fire up. I haven't gotten around to figuring out what's ailing him.

And so with a little advice from Alex my co-worker, we figure out that the engine ain't getting no juice since he coughs up to life when you pour gas straight into the carb. Possibly a defective fuel pump. I finally got around to replacing it this morning and with bright cheery eyes I turned the ignition but was met with the cold sputter of a thirsty engine. No dice, no gas.

Thirsty Engine

I reroute the fuel line to a water bottle so I can drink the gas myself when it comes out of the pump, but when we turn the engine the only thing that comes out are rudimentary curse words not suitable for my mouth. Mother effer. I'm changing out all the gas lines and the fuel filter tonight. The Balls of Steel offroad team has a trip scheduled for the weekend, and in true Lovine fashion, we like preparing at the last minute to increase our chances of encountering so called 'adventures' of the spontaneous kind. Le sigh.

Prepping for the Desert

Haven't had the chance to sit down and write lately - been spending a lot of time in the temporary man-cave I setup in the garage. I took all the cars out and parked the Samurai on jack stands while I spent the last week (trying) to swap out suspension parts, and other doo-dads in preparation for this year's Death Valley excursion. I am by no means a mechanic, which pretty much explains a 5 hour turnaround last weekend to remove 3 tires. Wheel threads were all seized up and one stubborn stud broke free from the rear drum so it was rotating along with the nut. I had to drill it out. Fun times.

Last night I installed new window channel guides, new window regulators, and cleaned up the muck on the windows using Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. That stuff is truly magic, I took out a LOT of paint overspray on the glass from the previous paint job. Hopefully I get around to doing the same to the windshield, there's a lot of paint I want to get rid of, and this Magic Eraser deal really just rubs it out without damaging the glass at all.

I'm expecting more parts to come in through the mail (thank you Low Range Offroad), and should hopefully have the Samurai back on wheels tonight or tomorrow afternoon. Other stuff I need to do is replace the defective thermostat (taking it to a mechanic for that one, I don't want to drain anything from the cooling system), wire back up the cigarette lighter assembly, scrub the muck and grease off the flooring, pack my stuff, and of course, plan our route around the desert!

There's nothing like heading out and away from the familiar city. Samurai, you shall be my mountain goat. Hehe.

Throttle and Transfer

Finally installed a new throttle cable and a new transfer case bushing on the Samurai. A few weeks ago, the throttle cable snapped on the firewall, and while playing with the transfer case for a flat tow, I managed to get the t-case stuck in neutral (again). Got the parts while I was out in Oregon, and swapped them on earlier today - perfect since the day was uncharacteristically gloomy for the valley.

Test drove it to a body shop for a paint quote ($$) and a late lunch, and it's running great.


I need to stop obsessing over finding a cleaner tin-top than what I already have. All I really want is a (very) clean interior and a few performance mods to make it ride better than stock. Debating if it might be easier to just wait for a cleaner car to come along to build on. I've been scouring Craigslist and Ebay every 5 minutes, and it's driving me nuts.

Hopefully I'll have my act together by early November, when we are planning to have our yearly desert excursion to forge into the depths of the 4WD routes of Death Valley.

Technical Difficulties

Was in the Samurai getting off my exit at the 101, waiting at a light. As soon as I made my way across the intersection, I heard a big SNAP and the accelerator pedal suddenly lost tension and hit the floor. F-balls!! Fortunately, I was right outside an apartment complex and managed to work the clutch and inch my way up the lot. Right as I pulled up, another white SUV behind me conked out and had to be pushed into the adjacent gas station.

Then, while waiting for the tow truck to arrive, another car, this time a VW bus, is being pushed by the same group of guys that helped the SUV 5 minutes earlier. Seriously, this intersection is cursed. As we loaded up the Sammy into a flat bed, the LAPD bomb squad showed up en route to Studio City. I knew from the news this morning about a burning car found in an underpass of the 101 and a body discovered inside the car. The driver told me that they apparently found some wires strapped on the body which might have been rigged up with explosives, hence the arrival of the bomb disposal unit.

Talk about terrible Tuesdays. Stay safe, kids!



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