Today I took a step back and realized that the me of three years ago would never have believed himself capable of doing all the projects I’ve tucked under my belt. Somehow, my little roadster has become a *cool* ride that gets compliments from practically everybody. The feels, man.

Tackled a lot of small projects on the first day above sixty degrees this year. To be sure I had plenty of motivation and wouldn’t pack up my gear and head inside, I drove from my perpetually-shady condominium parking lot to a sun-drenched elementary school. That school is now my absolute favorite wrenching spot. The parking lot is flat, there’s sun all day long, blackberry and wine grape bushes provide some free substance, and the locals are all nice and thought it was “downright responsible” to be doing work on my car out there. Bitchin.

First item on the list! Try to squeeze out a few extra millimeters of ride height! Unfortunately, despite my clear memory of picking up my hex keys, they were nowhere to be found. No hex keys, no undoing the set screw on the lower spring collar. I wasn’t about to head back home for them, so I just moved on. Probably for the best, since I didn’t have anything to clean my coilovers with and the absolute worst thing I could do would be to screw up the threads...

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So no change in ride height, but I did take off the fender liners in the front. Won’t make a difference with my current winter setup, but it should help a lot with clearance issues once switch to summer rubber.

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TThis is why I need a bit more ride height! One front fender is fairly chewed up.

Next on the list... Check out the underbody damage sustained on the last snowy offroad adventure. I’d put this off for weeks because I hate laying out in cold...

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That plastic engine undertray above? It’s supposed to be one big piece. I managed to take out an anvil shaped chunk, with the long side measuring in at almost two feet. Yikes. It’s no wonder I couldn’t make it out of the snow, with the broken off piece acting as a scoop, funneling heavy packed snow unto my engine bay up to the top of the radiator!

Removing the whole thing would have been easiest, but this tray not only protects the underbody, it also comes up about eighteen inches to protect either side of the engine and smooth airflow. It may be awhile before I can replace this, so I decided to salvage what I could. But my luck had ran out...

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I broke my favorite pair of left-handed scissors. Nooooooo! (this wouldn’t have happened if they were full tang blades, but whatever Fiskars, you do you).

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Here it is. About 70% of the underbody protection is no more, but at least I don’t have plastic hanging down half an inch from the ground anymore. Oh and... In this and all the other pictures, FEEL FREE to mention anything that looks dangerous/in need of replacement/wonky/etc. Your eye is probably better than mine for this kind of thing!

Next up, giving the underbody a good look over. My car still squeals like crazy on startup, and I think these belts might be the culprit. Maybe. I don’t know. But uh... Also, that’s a lot of oil all over... Shit.

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And more oil on the bottom of the oil pan... Yikes.

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Opening up the hood.... Okay, well here’s one of the many places oil is leaking from. So... Would Changing the valve cover gasket fix this? There’s oil leaking from so many places, but it’s very slow. Losing less than half a quart every oil change.

Oh right. I forgot my brake fluid has a slow leak. Huh. I’ll top that off when I get home and hopefully not forget about again.

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Downpipe: much rust. Very small diameter. Okay guys, what is the plug? Is that... An O2 sensor???

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Okay... Lets look further down the exhaust. Well shit! My rear most resonater is smashed! Offroad casualty of war :/ so much for having a good condition super rare exhaust to sell to help fund my turbo back exhaust. This doesn’t actually bother me too much though. Doesn’t leak, still sounds amazing, and... More clearance for the next time I go offroading!

After that I got the car back on the ground and and decided to finally wire up my voltage meter. T-taps, an edumacated guess on which wire was the ground and which the power (50-50 shot!), absolutely zero trim removal, and about twenty minutes gave me a readout of my battery’s output. Super Bitchin. Some super strong industrial double-sided tape and BLAM. directly in my line of sight, right where I want it.

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So... How is this supposed to work? I want to see 12 all the time? And... Uh... We’re talking “volts” here, right? Okay, I’m just going to use volts from here on out and hope for the best.

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When the engine is on, the readout displays 14, or 14.1 volts. Turning on too many accessories might lower it by .1 or .2 volts. When the engine is off but the key is in the accessory position, the display shows 12 volts. Is that... Good? Is that ideal? I wired it up to my cigarette lighter if that matters.

Oh, second question. With this wired to the cigarette lighter, can I still use the cigarette lighter normally?

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So yeah. This was a great day. Some things went perfectly, some things, not so much. All-in-all though, fantastic wrenching. And I celebrated with a six pack of Rhubarb cider, which will be my first drink in 60 days. Yum

Oh and I got zero pictures, but one last thing. I tried to remove my stock front tow hook. It’s attached via 4 big bolts, and three came off without issue. The 4th bolt would spin either direction, but after a point wouldn’t loosen or tighten. So... The tow hook is super loose, but can’t come free because for some reason the bolt won’t come loose. Any thoughts? It’s in a tricky place so there’s zero chance of getting a cutting wheel in there without removing my entire front clip AND radiator. No one thanks. I don’t think I could even get Dremel tool in there, although I’ll probably be trying that next. There’s no way to see what the bolt threads into. I assumed it was a captive nut or something, but that wouldn’t let the bolt spin right? I’m stumped.