I attended the Meguiar’s Motorex 2014 car expo today and I must say I was impressed by the amount of quality builds on display. Although all very centred towards the muscle car V8 types there were also a few exotics on display. I didn’t get to see any hot hatches (I probably didn’t try very hard to find them thou) but there were a few Japanese imports. Overall a good show and an impressive selection of cars, but I was disappointed that there were not more customised hot hatches on display. The only ones were in the audio section with massive sound systems sticking out of the boot and in the paint / designer wrap display part of the expo. Below are some pictures of cars that stood out for me. I tried to take different pictures of cars on display, I didn’t see the point of taking untold pictures of Commodores or classic Fords as they were in abundance. The ones that stood out for me were the unique cars that you don’t get to see too often.
This Studebaker was excellent, I like the lines on this classic, the unique curved nose was a standout for me, it looks so much like a beak of a hawk. Excellent lines, excellent paint and so low.
This beasted out 69 Toyota Corolla was so cool, I wish there were more of these types of cars being done up, but I do live in Melbourne where the only 2 brands that matter to the majority of car enthusiasts are Ford and Holden.
Another classic, this one was left raw with no paint. Very cool.
The cleanest engine bay I have ever seen
A couple of cool modern Jap cars
What cars? Who cares about cars?
A fully sick Capella
And I got to meet Karen from RPM Jewellery, a talented lady with loads of great jewellery on display, can’t wait to get my Opel ring.
I started working on the brakes yesterday with a friend and only got the front ones done when the usual Melbourne weather turned dark and rainy. It makes it much easier and faster when there is an extra pair of hands working with you as things just seem to get done faster. Changing the front brake rotors and pads was pretty straight forward, only hitch was having the right size allen key to loosen the bolts holding the caliper to the rotor – so off to supercheap auto we went – this is a given when I work on cars, there is always a last minute stop to an auto shop to buy something, today we got a set of allen keys, some brake anti squeal compound and got back to work. I fitted some RDA slotted rotors to replace the OEM ones which came with the car when I bought it, I doubt if they had ever been changed as the bolts holding the calipers in place were so tight we almost used a full can of WD 40 just to loosen the bolts.
Today we started working on the rear brakes, again the bolts were so tight but with a bit of WD 40 and perseverance we got the bolts off, nothing a bit of brute force and leverage can’t overcome. Once the bolts were off everything was easy to put back together until it was time to push the piston back in so that we could get it over the new brake pads (which were twice the size of the old ones) – no amount of force on the G-clamp seemed to work so I went onto www.opelaus.com to search for an answer – needless to say you needed a special rewind tool to wind back the piston while pushing it back in – SO AGAIN off the supercheap we went – the tool was relatively cheap at $15.95 and much needed for this particular job.
It was a strange little thing – you fixed it onto an extension and then onto a rachet which made the rewinding so so easy – seriously I cannot recommend this tool enough if you are going to do your own brakes, especially the rear brakes. We got it all done today so now with the bedding in.
Well I got most of the priority work done so this week I may visit some wreckers to see what other bits and pieces I can get for the car, I have spotted an Astra turbo in a wreckers recently so I may go out and check if the leather seats and door trims are still there, if I can pick them up for cheap I may have yet another project to do. I also bought a set of headlights on Ebay, the Audi style ones with the DRL strip on the bottom, I will be waiting eagerly for these to arrive.
this is the way I use the spanners to loosen really tight bolts
The holiday break is nearly over for me – I can say that I spent it quite productively, I got a heap of small jobs done to my car and I am happy enough with the way the car is shaping up. Over the last few weeks I have spent a few days here and there tinkering with the aesthetics of the car, all the things I wanted to do have been accomplished. I’m pretty happy with all the jobs I have done, however small they may be it has made a difference to me. It has made my car a bit different to the 100s of others out on the road and to me that is what counts. Along the way I have learnt a few new things, and I’ve also learnt to do it right the first time around (or else face the consequence of having to do it again).
So for now the front spoiler is done, I also replaced the washer jets with Insignia washer jets (the ones that fans the water out as opposed to the stock Astra ones which shoots out two streams of water). I also finished spraying the rest of the centre console today so now I have a colour matching centre console with the rest of the centre pieces and given the car a good cut and polish.
Now to save up money for the real things I have to do – which means having to go back to the grind of work. There are a few more things I would like to do to the car – actually I can’t really say that, I’m always finding other things to do to the car… lol. But the most important thing would be to do the brake rotors and pads very soon.
Well now – the Christmas shenanigans are over, the food has been eaten, the gifts unwrapped, the relatives you don’t really want to see has gone away again for at least another year, it was time to do some dirty work. It took me a day to finish attaching the front spoiler to the bumper – it has added a sportier look to the car but now I have already decided to look for a whole new front bumper….lol … it was bound to happen… as soon as I attached it I was already thinking that a whole new bumper would look better than what was on it. I found one on Ebay Australia from a local dealer which looks pretty good and is relatively cheap ($400). To me it looks like a Chinese knockoff of an OPC front bumper but it does look good thou. I would have to replace the grills for the fog lights as my car didn’t come with them.
All this being said it will have to get in the back of the queue thou as I have to really get the rotors and pads done first. Luckily a friend will be helping me out so I will be able to save some money on labour. Looks like the front spoiler will be staying on for a while (or until it falls off during a drive..lol). I won’t go into what I used too much – let’s just say I used a hell of a lot of double-sided tape, a bucketload of Sikaflex and 2 screws at the ends to hold it in place. The Sikaflex adhesive bonds really well and I hope it will hold it there – I just have nightmare visions of the front spoiler falling off on the freeway as I am doing 100 km/hr. OK so here are some pics.
Overall I am pretty happy with the job, it was my first attempt at putting on something like this to a car. It does make a little difference to the look and as soon as I get to lowering it, it will make the front look sportier. It could have been a bit better as one of the corners keeps popping out, I don’t think it will fall off but it is just a bit annoying that the rest of the spoiler seems to sit fine and just one corner keeps lifting from the double-sided tape. It only lifts up slightly but to my eye it annoys the hell outta me. I can’t really do anything about it now as the adhesive has set and if I were to take the whole spoiler off and restart again it would mean another couple of days trying firstly to get the Sikaflex off and then re-bonding it. No thanks, it will do for now.
So what’s next on the list??? Well before I get back to work I really want to spray the centre console the same colour as the car, this will mean at least a days work of ripping out the centre console, priming it and then spraying it red, wait for it to dry and then re-mounting it. I will have to wait until I have enough funds for the rotors and brakes, then I can start thinking about the suspension. I also want to get angel eye headlights and after that I think I will be done with the car (for a long while anyways).
On a side note my daughter gave me this for Christmas – she’s a good girl I have trained her well..
Meguiar’s Paint Restoration Kit
So it’s that time of year where you are meant to get presents you actually want and not just socks and underwear. As you get older Christmas time does not feel like it does when you are a kid – when mum and dad would get you what you wanted and it was great to wake up in the morning and open up all these great gifts. Nowadays I am lucky to get anything, not that I really care because for me it is time to spend with family and now I play the role of gift provider for my kid who gets everything during Christmas. She gets gifts from both grandparents, aunties, uncles and even the neighbor next door. I on the other hand get nothing. So this year I decided to get myself some goodies – well they are more for the car than me – but you get the gist.
(1) I finally got the front spoiler sprayed up because one of my readers mitfaka suggested that color coded parts look the best – I was going to carbon vinyl wrap it but I do agree it does look good. The spray painter did a great job and I can’t wait until all the Christmas shenanigans are over so that I can spend some time putting it on the car.
(2) I finally bought the Remus exhaust I wanted – It was the Powersound Sports Exhaust. It has a brand new valve control system from Remus which allows you to tune the power and sound to your individual requirements. Very easily, you can decide how high the power and sound level is set at. I have it closed at the moment and the sound is great – It has a deeper growl than the stock exhaust without sounding too loud.
(3) I also got new pedals – New MOMO pedals
I also bought more stuff from Jom again and hoping it will get here sooner than later. Last time it took a month so I’m thinking it will be here by the end of January. Well I hope everyone has a good relaxing break during this time – I hope you get everything you want and if not well do what I do and buy it for yourself…. lol
Finally got around to tinting the taillights I bought a week ago. This was my first ever attempt at tinting and all I can say is if you want this done to your lights PLEASE do not get me to do it for you. This is my guide to how NOT to do it.
First of all there are 2 main ways to tint lights – they are: (a) using a tint film or overlay or (b) using a clear coat spray paint. I decided on the film because of the fact that I could remove it if I didn’t like the tint or got bored with having dark taillights. Spraying a tint on the clear plastic is practically permanent, it can be removed but would entail many hours of sanding and buffing – Let’s just say that after my effort of buffing and polishing the taillights last week I’m not doing it again if I don’t really have to. I may still spray the taillights at a later stage if I get bored with the film (or it starts peeling).
OK on with the HOW NOT TO guide.
(1) DO NOT buy cheap no name brand tint off the internet no matter how cheap it is. As they say you buy cheap stuff you get cheap stuff. Again I resorted to Ebay and well guess what – the tint was rubbish. It came rolled up in a tube with no instructions or packaging, basically the seller just cut some off a big roll and sent me a portion of it. The film was quite thick and the backing side with the adhesive was way too sticky – in hindsight I would think a tint which is made of a thinner micron would be better to use, It would be easier to apply as well as heat up and mould to the right shape. The tint I used was moulding to shape but as soon as it cooled down it went back to its former shape, especially around curved areas. Below is an example of the bubbling that occurred after the film cooled down.
(2) Make sure you get quality branded product. If I do this again I will be sure to buy 3M brand or something similar.
(3) DO NOT get me to do it for you
For my first attempt it wasn’t a bad effort I guess. Up close is where you see all the bad workmanship but from afar it looks fine. I only really tinted the taillights as it had a few small scratches and cracks in the plastic. As I said I will live with it for awhile until I get bored and remove the tint and/or buy new taillights.
I also replaced the clear side repeaters with smoked ones today to match the taillights
So again I bought some more things online. This time I got a set of tail lights for the Astra. The guy I bought it from did show me a picture of the condition the tail lights were in and he thought that water had seeped into the inside of the plastic cover. After looking at the images I thought I could work with it – maybe putting a smoked vinyl tint over the lights to hide the blemishes, so I did the deal and bought them for $90 – brand new they are $200 so I thought it was a good deal.
As you can see they are marked with something that looks like paint, water and maybe some oxidation – it didn’t look too bad in the pictures but when I got them they looked hideous. I examined the plastic lens and saw that the marks were in fact on the outside of the plastic lens… THANK GOD FOR THAT !!! – It would have been a helluva mission to get the plastic lens off as they were glued onto the back of the casing.
I got some wet and dry sandpaper 800, 1200 and 2000 and my trusty bottle of Meguiar’s PlastX plastic polish and cleaner. I sanded the lens with the 800 grit paper first and got most of the stains off, then hit it with the 1200 grit in an up-down direction to smooth out all the roughness. Cleaned the lens off with some water and then hit it with the 2000 grit in a left-right direction – the 2000 smoothed it even further and left it quite smoked and hazy. At this stage I thought I had killed the tail lights and thought to myself “what a watse of $90” – so I got out the PlastX polish – I applied it on with a foam applicator in a circular direction and then in an up-down direction. All I can say is “WOW” this stuff really works!!!
I have used many waxes and polishes in the past but nothing has worked as well as the Meguiar’s range of products – It was amazing – the tail lights looked brand new. Please know I do not work for Meguiar’s (or any of the companies I have recommended in my “Stuff I Use” page) but after using this product I am a total Meguiar’s convert… It seriously DOES WORK !!
I may still tint it on the weekend to give it the dark smoked look as there are a few scratches I could not get out with sandpaper – I just hope that the tint will not make it too dark – I will put up more updates on the weekend once I have tinted them and mounted them on the car…
OK this is the stuff I used – try it for yourself
Meguiar’s PlastX Clear Plastic Cleaner and Polish