Phase 2 mainly consisted of increasing functionality. First, the tires rubbed something awful when turning. So I took a giant hammer and bashed back the metal inner fender near the firewall about an inch. Now it only rubs a titch at full lock. Next, I realized that the radiator support was the lowest point on the car, and the bottom half of the radiator was extremely exposed. Not good for off-roading. So I used some scrap steel roofing and fitted it from the metal bumper to the bottom of the support. It’s actually quite strong and will nicely deflect rocks and trees away from the tender radiator. I had to do some extra trimming on the plastic bumper to get it back on.
Next you’ll notice in the picture that the belts were extremely exposed. I could just picture throwing off the alternator or power steering belt because they got all packed with mud and debris. So using the same material, I fashioned an L-shaped skid plate that separates the pulley system from both the wheel well and the ground. I failed to get a picture of this, so just use your imagination to conjure up an image of what is a brilliant feat of engineering.
Also I changed the oil. The couple that had the car before me told me that it had sat in their yard for a couple of years, and only recently when their other car broke down did they get it on the road at all. It pulled through for them in a pinch! But this story combined with the lack of any sticker in the window tells me that it was probably long overdue for the most basic of maintenance.
Then I set off for the woods. It was only about 15 degrees F today, so there was no mud to contend with, but it handled the fields and trails wonderfully. Off-roading pictures and videos never quite capture the intensity, but be assured that in this video the EchoLOL is effortlessly climbing a very steep hill. Wait for it.....
Also, my son failed his driving test today by hitting a cone and came home quite bummed that he didn’t get his license. But, he got to learn to drive a stick in a hilarious one-of-a-kind vehicle in a field. So overall, still a good day.