Hey Oppo,

So it's that time of year again, the time where the crazy takes hold and you decide to do things that you may / may not regret in the morning. I, of course, am talking about modifying your car!

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Today I decided to do two simple things to my Koup I've been putting off all winter, because both involve things I don't particularly like doing.

I installed a whole new set of aluminum shifter base bearings, to reduce some of the wobbliness of the shifter. Then, for good measure, I installed new linkage bushings as well, so my shifts go snerk-snerk-snerk all day long! I only drove for a minute, but it just feels stiffer. Well worth it, in my opinion.

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The second is the more interesting of the two. It's a common mod on these, and a few other cars that share this block (Lancer, GenCoupe), and in fact, it's the same part for all three. I installed a new aluminum crank pulley, again to take some of the softness out of the way the car drives. The stock pulley is around 4 and a half pounds. This one weighs in at around 1.1. Reduction in weight is never bad, and in reality, it makes the car more responsive, making shifts faster, if a little more work, as it does drop revs easier.

Here comes the fun part. I am happily wrenching away, and had already taken the old pulley off, torqued the new crank bolt on, and am getting ready to do the worst part, the serpentine belt install. Remember, small little 4-banger, so the clearance for the belt tensioner is about two inches to the engine compartment's side, and you're basically working blind. I did cheat a little, and didn't take the belt off anything but the crank pulley so this should have been easy. Well, here comes my sister and her boyfriend coming up the driveway (I live across the street from my parents, so this isn't uncommon) and he asks if he can lend a hand. I'm ready to get a move on here, so I say "Sure!" and grab him a beer.

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I'm coaching him on how to hold the belt near the power steering pump so I can get my wrench on the tensioner, and guess what he does? Takes the belt off the alternator, water pump and three other rollers for no reason. No big deal, I'll just look at the sticker, ... wait ... where's the serpentine belt sticker? It's not in the manual either? Hold on, I'll go online. Wait... this isn't right! What the hell! So, after an hour of finagling my hand into this spot as big as two of my fingers, trying to get the route right, I finally nail it. Turns out the new pulley is about 3mm wider than the old one, so after a bit of fun with the tensioner, holding the tension with the belt and moving the wrench for more leverage, I finally get it on.

I take a victory ride down to the gas station for some ice cream. The attendant takes one look at me, and shouts "looks like you had a rough day". My sister takes a look at me and tells me that I wouldn't make an attractive black man. We all share a laugh and eat our ice cream. All I could do is smile.

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I have massive respect for people that work on cars all day for a living, because after two jobs that should have taken a total of 3-3.5 hours (add one for the serpentine belt fun), I'm beat. Anyone else have fun wrenching today?