Progress Bar – R32 Part 2: Starting Out
In the previous Progress Bar post I talked about the good and not-so-good aspects of my R32 and it was clear that although the base car is solid there were quite a few issues that needed sorting. As of this writing I've had the car about two months and begun the process so here's where it stands currently:
- A lot of basic preventive maintenance has been done. Since the car's service records consisted of naught and zilch it was just common sense to assume the worst and do all appropriate services as if they hadn't been done at all. To that end I changed the oil and filter and swapped the spark plugs pretty much as soon as I got the car (and will do a DIY on those once I get a chance). I had a shop I trust swap out the gearbox and diff fluids for Redline stuff (without a lift at home it was just more convenient for me to have them do it). I have a new fuel filter, belts, and new timing belt pulleys waiting to go in as soon as the new water pump I ordered arrives so it can all be done as once. The coolant will be swapped then too. Brakes are inspected and fine for now but I plan on rebuilding them in the future. Since preventive maintenance would be an important thing to do if you buy an R32 and want to keep it running well (you do right? You're not just in the market for weird lawn art I hope?) I'll do a post summarizing basic maintenance needs in the near future.
- Switching to Redline Heavy Shockproof in the transmission fixed the grinding of fourth gear and it shifts much better now. Great stuff that Heavy Shockproof.
- AC has been inspected and sure enough the vent mode actuator had gone south. It's a common problem on these cars and there are several possible fixes but the surest long-term one is to get a new actuator so I have one on order from Australia. It wasn't that expensive or hard to get so I decided going for a new one was best. For now the vent flap was fixed in the cool position instead of the hot setting it was stuck on so I can enjoy cold air until the new part arrives.
- Headlight bulbs have been swapped for new ones.
- I cleaned out and thoroughly defunked the interior. The stains on the seats have been cleaned and they look almost new now. The car even SMELLS new now – more on that in a later post where I'll try to go over the voodoo that I do to make a car interior look great – or at least better than it was.
Before and after pics of the driver's seat. I'll tell you how I got those soaked-in stains out in a future post
- The DoLuck brace is out and I'll probably put it up for sale while the ugly bracing in the trunk was removed and binned. My friend who owns a race shop did it for me and cleaned up the areas where the ass-tastic welds were so that you can hardly tell they were there. Once I get replacement trim back in the trunk it'll look like new again.
Back seat area looks much cleaner without the Do Luck brace cluttering things up
Before and after of the trunk. Many thanks to my friend Dan for the great work cleaning up the weld areas and making them look like they weren't even there.
- The old wheels and rotted tires are gone and replaced by new Volk TE37 SL 18-inchers wrapped in fresh Michelin Pilot Super Sports. TE37s may not be the most original choice but they just fit this car and the Double Pressed Black ones I got are a less commonly seen variety. The old Regamasters weren't bad wheels, just not to my taste. I'll be selling those once I get the old tires removed.
TE37s just look RIGHT!
- Alignment has been redone. The original alignment was off quite a bit. Even after working on it my friend isn't happy with the aggressiveness of the Cusco parts on the car. Since he does suspension development work for Hotchkiss I'll be working with him on figuring out the best combo of parts to replace them with in the future.
- The idle has been adjusted so the car doesn't sound like a badly riced-out fart can-equipped import. Now it just LOOKS like a badly riced-out fart can-equipped import.
And that's it so far. Overall, I think it's a good start. The car still runs well I'm happy to say and is slowly beginning its transformation to the well-kept state it deserves to be in. I hope you'll check back for more developments in the future.