Diy | My Black Brick

My Black Brick

Keeping a '92 Volvo 240 Wagon on the Road & Other Automotive & DIY Musings

My Right Bearing

Back in the summer of 2011 I changed the bearing on my left, front wheel and made a note to myself that the process was easy, but messy. I figured I’d get around to the right bearing soon afterward. Well, I finally got around to doing the right wheel two years later.

The process is pretty straight forward. You can see a good step-by-step on the Brickboard so I’m not going to bother documenting it here. I will say this, however: be careful not to get any of that bearing grease on your brake pads and/or rotor. I thought I had done the job well but apparently I got a little glob onto the rotor. Once I got the wheel back on and started driving I noticed inconsistent braking and long stopping distances. I swapped in new pads and cleaned the rotor and that fixed the problem.

Everything is nice and tight now and I’m rolling smoothly. Maybe now I’ll finally get around to putting on my front shocks since it’s been over a year since I installed the rears!


Change your Spark Plugs

I change my plugs, cap and rotor last weekend and had a little bit of help. I documented on video so you can do it too. Please consult a professional as I can’t be liable for anything you break.


At least my nose is clean

The weather was pleasant this weekend for checking out my oily crank. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to enjoy a leisurely cruise down the boulevard because of the mega oil leak.

I await a call from DB Volvo on my minor catastrophe. I drove the brick cautiously along the inner loop of the beltway from Braddock Rd. to Route 66 and Don Beyer Volvo, belching plumes of smoke whenever I went over 40 MPH or 2000 RPM. After a short wait I was told none of the mechanics who worked Saturday would be able to service and I’d need to wait till Monday. I was fortunate enough to get a ride from my mother back up to NJ w/ the kids.

Here are shots of some of the work I did. I got plenty of “before” shots but was so beat at the end that I didn’t get a good pic of the new seals and timing belt. I did get one of the old and new covers though.

Here’s a view of how the seals looked when I took the pulleys off, then after I’d removed the seals and cleaned the front end. At least I’ve got a new tension roller.


Why Repair When You Can Replace?

Todays NY Times has an article about the “trend” of people holding on to their cars and appliances longer than usual. They report average length of car ownership is at a record 52 months, or just over 4 years.

It’s funny how people in the US have developed a mindset where it’s considered normal to dispose of things out of boredom, rather than lack of function. The Times interviews a Jaguar driver who had the habit of buying a new car every 2 years. Economic adjustments now have him driving a 1999 Jag into the ground. He says “it’s a question of shifting values” and that he reassesed the need to constantly have new things.

I think it’s sad that the norm is to toss things out that are still functional. Keeping and repairing is seen as an aberration. According to the Times, consumers are “yearning to favor brands, fashion and novelty over practicality.” For many companies, obsolescence and disposability is part of the business model, at the expense of continuity and longevity.

Pic via There, I Fixed It


Riding in a Wagon is Utter Humiliation

My hatred for the latest Toyota Highlander commercials knows no bounds. Yes, children, you should feel humiliated if your parents can’t afford to buy the latest, super-ginormous monster truck laden with electronic garbage to tote your entitled asses to and from your rich suburban school.

While Jalopnik protests the disparaging remarks made against the Corvette-engined Buick Roadmaster, Sociological Images nails the underlying shame the ad is intended to invoke: “If you’re too poor to buy a brand new mid-range SUV, you suck.”

Another ad in the series, entitled “Kid Cave“, is particularly disgusting because it tells kids they should just plug in their headphones and cut off all communication with their parents, as if it’s a good thing. The scene of the wedding-singer parents is funny, but in my car it’s rare that I get to listen to my own music with the kids.

Rather than enjoying listening to music TOGETHER, I guess I should be isolating my kids by covering their ears with headphones and listening to whatever I want. Seems the Toyota ideal is to have all the members of the family walk around plugged into their own electronic devices, silent on the outside and ignoring each other.

BONUS: More analysis on Hipster Runoff


Salty Brick

The car above was “just visiting” and not attempting to race the Bonneville Salt Flats at 200+mph. Still looks cool tho.

A tip from a reader sent me to the site of “Stealth” and his “Streak“, a 1984 242ti. Lots of useful info and photos of RWD turbo projects.


New Blue Springs

sportspringsThe ipd Sport Springs are installed now and they ride great. At left are the driver-side springs, new and old. I can’t believe how much shorter the new spring is when they’re unsprung. It made installation easier than removal because we didn’t need to compress the coil. The new spring was so much shorter that it slipped right in without much compression. On the ground the car now rides only about 2″ shorter in the front, not nearly as much difference as these uninstalled springs look.

New springs on all four corners took a little more than 3 hours with 2 people. My buddy Andy has a good set of jacks and stands and we used his dad’s impact wrench to tighten up the coil compressor. It was an uneventful installation; luckily there weren’t any stripped nuts or rusted bolts to contend with. I shot pics and video.


Control your car with your iPhone

Waterloo labs set up a bunch of motors and remote controls to allow them to run an Olds Delta ’88 while standing on its roof. I guess that’s if you wouldn’t be caught dead behind the wheel of an Olds Delta ’88.


Can you fix your car?


Seeing as I drive a 17 yo POS, I have no idea what the experience of getting a new car repaired is. Apparently many car companies demand that drivers only get their cars fixed through them. They do this by using computer codes that lock the mechanics of the car to anyone other than the dealer. This hinders the ability of smaller mechanics to make a living or provide alternate diagnosis. Ultimately it limits owners from having control over their own cars. What a scam.

From the Right to Repair site:

The need for Right to Repair legislation has become a necessity in order to protect the rights of car owners to decide where and how they have their vehicles serviced, whether at a new car dealer or an independent service facility. Right to Repair ensures that the person who bought the car and not the car company, can decide where that vehicle is repaired and maintained.

You can support the Right to Repair legislation by contacting congress here:


Been Peened?

In the ongoing saga of my transmission shifter, I discovered the retaining ring I installed isn’t the right fix. It snapped off at some point, and I was left back where I started. Actually, it was worse, because I had to shut the car off while it was sticking 1/2 way into the street with no ability to get out of gear. While I biked to the hardware store my wife had to deal with a local cop, who demanded the car be moved off the street. I got back and quickly put on a new clip, only to have that one pop off 5 minutes later.

Obviously the retaining clip doesn’t work so I posted an inquiry on the Brick Board. Art Benstein posted some great pics and it was explained to me that I either needed to weld the end of the rod adjuster to a washer, or flare the end around a tight fitting washer. I chose the later and here’s the result.


I’m hoping that this fix, plus new bushings for the shift levers and a new transmission mount, will solve the shifting problems. Because I don’t need to be stuck in reverse in a parking lot with no way to park.