View Full Version : What modification are you most proud of?

05-13-09, 01:50 AM
Car, trucks or boat letís hear your best modding stories. Paint, mechanical or whatever.

My best was taking an Oldsmobile diesel engine out of a low mileage 1987 Buick Regal. That car was mint other then the engine. At the time the diesel engine was nothing more then a modified gas motor. The previous owner had bought it new, was tired of it cracking block and sold it to me dirt cheap.

The motor was a 350 Chevy motor bored fifty over with a set of Corvette 2.02 heads (double hump) with a three angle valve job. Mild cam, windage tray, double roller cam chain and a few other little mods. It also had a transmission with a Fairbankís shift kit.

Changing the motor mounts was a real bitch. There were brake lines that ran through a hole in the frame. I wound up having to Elmerís glue the nuts to a open ended wrench so I could reach the bolts and so I could put the nuts back on the new bolts for the motor mounts.

Also since a diesel engine doesnít produce a vacuum, the brakes are run off a pump sort of like a steering pump. I had to change the brake booster, master cylinder and brake pedal.

I had two inch wide short headers on there so the exhaust place was able to tuck in the exhaust real tight and use a late model Camaro-like muffler. From outside the car you couldnít see any of the exhaust and it sounded real nice.

Good thing Iím an electrical guru, the electrical system need some serious modification. I used an after market cap mounted HEI coil and that worked out OK. With the exception of the bottom of the wiper arms hitting it but that was an easy fix. I found out the hard way one day when it rained and the wipers stopped midway on the windshield. It made the coil turn too, I thought something had fried when the wipers stopped and the motor killed.

All said and done it lined up and looked perfect. Lined up perfectly with the existing radiator and fan shroud, which was nice due to the three core radiator that comes with the diesel motor. The extra heat control helped since it was bored fifty over.

The tall diesel gears in the rear end were a nagging problem. It didnít run worth a crap in the ľ mile but on the top end it ran like a NASCAR. It was very fast and stable on the top end because of the tow package the previous owner had installed on it from the factory. Front and rear stabilizer bars and heavy duty suspension because of the heavy ass diesel motor put in it. The car sat up about two inches in the front after taking the heavy diesel out and putting a lighter gas engine in it.

The dual battery set up was nice too since I was deep into stereos at the time.

Thereís probably a whole mess of mods that Iím forgetting about. It was a mind twisting bitch of a job to do.

Would I do it again? You bet, but now that I Ďm married with a child, I no longer have the extra money to play with.


05-13-09, 05:58 AM
I've had 2 cars that I modded a bit....guess I can't say they were home-built mods...but all aftermarket kits that I had purchased.

My very first car...a Ford of Germany Capri II. Quite similar to the pic below. All emissions stripped off, larger carb on top of the 2.8L V-6. I put on a pair of Dobi headers and true dual exhaust..each exiting in dual Monza tips. Lowered the suspension an inch, had some mag wheels. Drove that thing to the ground..she spent almost every single day topping 100mph, doing smokeshows...brakestands, could burn through 2nd gear and still leave a few feet of patch hitting 3rd gear hard. Back in the mid 80's when the early F body Cameros came out with their 305s, I could take them 0-60.

Didn't do much to the next several cars...and then I got my first Jeep. I got heavy into offroading with it with a few local 4x4 clubs, we would do lots of trail/mountain climbing runs (fully approved, tread lightly stuff). I installed 2x lift kits myself...first one was a Warn Black Diamond 4" lift kit..very hard riding kit and seemed to settle down quick. I replaced that with a Skyjacker Softrider 4" kit...loved that kit, nice riding, lasted the rest of the life of my Jeep. Also had anti-sway bar disconnects, extended SS brake lines, custom made front and rear drive shafts by 6-States, Optima battery, Jacobs Omni-Pak ignition system, some free flow exhaust system that the name escapes me. Had a set of wagon wheel rims that I had a set of 33" superswamper tires I'd slap on for offroad runs. Replaced engine at 120k miles....old engine got tired and rear main seal went tango uniform.

My next Jeep I didn't mod that much, she had a 2.5" lift, I did the AS quick disconnects again, she had a locking rear, custom front 'n rear bumpers, extra skid plates below, my favorite add-on for that Jeep....a Borla SS header 'n full to the rear exhaust system. Lovely sound, added some nice bottom end nut too.

05-13-09, 11:09 AM
Before and after. Everything was sanded down and polished by myself. Took a very long time. The engine is torn down at the moment for a H/C/I swap. I'm just about ready to pull the old intake, heads, and cam out.


05-13-09, 01:38 PM
I guess I should be proud of my ZX-11 too. I spent months of teeth grinding and hair pulling getting it back together after I wrecked it. It started out life with a black body and a silver frame. I did all the black paint at a friendís body shop and he did the burgundy.

I put in an aftermarket set of cams, degreed them in myself. Different rear sprocket, braided steel brake lines and a Dale Walker Power Shifter ( http://www.holeshot.com/shifters/ps2.html). That enabled me to shift under power without pulling the clutch in. A left handed Muzzy exhaust and a ton of carb work. That bike was plenty fast. Too fast it seems now.

Us PC techs/old gearheads are a rare breed indeed.


05-13-09, 01:42 PM
CoolJ, that Z car will be worth a pretty penny one day.

Stonecat, my first car was a $50 Chevy Vega. :D

05-13-09, 01:54 PM
Changed out the CV Joints on a '84 Jetta. (rented the press etc). Boy was I broke in those days.

05-13-09, 02:10 PM
Changing out CV joints can be a real bitch of a job indeed, be proud of yourself that you accomplished that. Iíve done it before.

I thought a thread that would allow gearheads to brag of their triumphs would bring people out of the woodwork.


05-13-09, 03:09 PM
I strapped on a Jap-spec turbo from a MY 2001 STi Spec-C car onto my WRX. Along with that went injectors, bigger IC and some underdrive/lightened pullies. Re-mapped ECU and all that jazz. Made it a fairly potent little car (290 @ WHP), god knows what that means at the crank, but it's likely around 400, give or take.

Now mind you I did NOT do this work myself. I hired a guy that builds Group N rally cars to perform the work and wideband sensor tuning. We sat down together and came up with a package that met my wants and desires and he used his race proven solutions to make it all work. 80+ thousand miles on that level of tune and all it needs right now is a clutch. It's as reliable as the stock car, but with a near 100% boost in go-go-go (and stop stop stop).

05-13-09, 03:30 PM
CoolJ, that Z car will be worth a pretty penny one day.

Stonecat, my first car was a $50 Chevy Vega. :D

LOL, mine too. I stuck a 302 z28 crossram engine in it.

05-13-09, 04:20 PM
Stonecat, my first car was a $50 Chevy Vega. :D

Heh...my parents had one of the twins...a Pontiac Astre.
2.5L Iron Duke lazy 4.

When I got my license, a buddy of mine down the street got a cousin to those cars...the Chevy Monza hatchback..."Spyder" edition (hideous huge decal on the hood)....upgrade to the 3.8L v6...but it was bogged with emissions, actually a wimpy engine back then.

Ever see those Cosworth Vegas?

05-13-09, 05:20 PM
Ever see those Cosworth Vegas?

I found a guy not far away from me at the time, he had a Cosworth Vega sitting in his yard rotting away. I couldnít get him to let go of it for nothing in the world.

05-13-09, 05:25 PM
Brembo: That sounds like one powerful ass engine, no matter who built it. Sometimes it is better to let those in the know put things together for you.

Sid: It was a wet dream of mine as a kid to stuff a 350 Chevy motor in there but that never did happen.

05-13-09, 06:03 PM
I found a guy not far away from me at the time, he had a Cosworth Vega sitting in his yard rotting away. I couldnít get him to let go of it for nothing in the world.

Those were pretty peppy engines for that era, as far as smaller American sports cars went. Think it was the only 4 valve per cyl at that time made in the US. Well, if you could call that 1/2 US 1/2 UK engine "made in the US".

05-13-09, 06:41 PM
I put in an aftermarket set of cams, degreed them in myself. Different rear sprocket, braided steel brake lines and a Dale Walker Power Shifter ( http://www.holeshot.com/shifters/ps2.html). That enabled me to shift under power without pulling the clutch in. A left handed Muzzy exhaust and a ton of carb work. That bike was plenty fast. Too fast it seems now.

i always wondered about them power shifter deals, so they really do work for a street/strip bike, are they hard to setup/adjust ?

05-13-09, 06:53 PM
i always wondered about them power shifter deals, so they really do work for a street/strip bike, are they hard to setup/adjust ?

It kills the spark for a microsecond while you shift. If you set the duration for too short of a time it wouldn’t be too hard to blow second gear. You still need the clutch for leaving first gear.

05-14-09, 04:41 PM
My favorite was my 78 Chevy P/U. It was a truck from where I worked as a Svc. Mgr.- (fire truck dealership), and had a service body on the back. Had the Olds 350 Diesel, and on its 2nd engine (since they always blew at about 75k). Boss bought a replacement chassis w/the new GM 6.2, and swapped the service body onto the new chassis. He gave me the old chassis for free. I needed a box, since the original was long since gone, so he sold me the box of the new truck for $500. It was literally brand new, we removed it the day the truck came in, to mount the service body. Colors were the same- both red. So, I removed and scrapped the Olds 350, had a line on another 350 gas, but that fell through. Only thing I had was a rust bucket 74 Cuda I bought for some parts the year before, that had a mint 318 with a 904 Torqueflight.

Did some quick measuring, realized they were almost the identical length, and even the motor mounts aligned close enough to bolt it in. Had to relocate the tranny crossmember, but that was just drilling a couple holes, and make a bracket to bolt to the tranny tailshaft. Took the front yoke off the Cuda driveshaft, brought up to a U-Joint shop in the city, where they chopped the original GM driveshaft, welded in my Mopar yoke. 904 was longer than the Turbo 350, so I had extra length to play with- perfect.

Wiring wasn't too tough- not much to worry about back then except ignition and charging, temp sensors, and oil pressure- easy. The hardest part was fabb'in the shift linkage for the column shift lever to hook to the mopar. That was a little tricky, but got it done to clear the firewall, and shift the tranny. We had tubing benders in the shop, and I can TIG weld, so voila- new exhaust was a snap.

The truck turned out to be a great truck- I drove it almost 2 years daily, never a problem. My Chevy C20 Diesel with a Mopar 318 :rotfl: . Only real gearheads knew something was up when they heard me start it- the Mopar starter whine on a GM??? :eek: hahaha.

Then I took on a part-time sales job as well at the company, selling rescue trucks, which meant I had to travel evenings to meetings, etc., and thought it was time to get a car. I also bought my first cruiser up in the Islands, and didn't relish 200 mile one-way trips in the buckboard pickup. So I go to our local Plymouth dealer, and strike a deal on a new 86 Reliant (yes I know... a K-Car- LOL). So the saleman says "the truck looks like it's in real nice shape but I need my service manager to look at it". So now I'm sweating, thinking here we go- they'll crucify me for the Mopar engine. The Svc Mgr comes out- old fart- says "hey, this was a diesel. What did you repower it with? A small block"? I looked at him and said "yep- a small block". Well, hey- it wasn't a lie- a 318 IS a small block. Honest to God- the guy opens the hood and looks at it, nods his head in approval. Keep in mind, I never even repainted this motor- it was still Mopar blue! He starts it up, never comments about the starter, gets in it drives it around the block for a few minutes, comes back and tells the salesman that it's a nice truck. They gave me $2,400 trade on my new car! hahahaha

A week later, I get a call from the service manager. He says, "Hey- what kind of crap are you trying to pull? This is a Mopar engine! We can't get squat for this at auction". I said "Um.... yeah, it is. YOU looked at it, and drove it! You even drove it home the night I picked up my new car. The engine is blue. Are you an idiot??"

It was the one and only time I ever got the upper hand on a car dealer.

05-14-09, 05:02 PM
Installing a stereo in my car. I was very impressed with how I managed to read all of the instructions before I got started. :D

05-14-09, 05:15 PM
twwabw, now that you mention it I had to change the crossmember too, luckily the original driveshaft fit perfectly. I had a Monte Carlo as a donor car though. Same chassis and all GM so I didn’t encounter the problems you did.

Love the dealership part though. :D

05-14-09, 05:52 PM
Yeah, it was really pretty funny. I didn't lie... just didn't disclose :-) . But the svc mgr was a complete moron. Reading your story made remember some of those trials too. Power brake was a HydroVac. Slick setup actually. On my truck, I left it all in place. It was in fact driven off of the power steering pump, so it was just a bracket fix.

Those Olds diesels really were junk. We actually had 4 of them I think- 2 in pickups, and 2 in Olds 88 wagons. In the wagons, the cars actually ran great- solid performers, with awesome mileage. Right up to the usual 7-80k miles. Every single one of ours failed, and had to be replaced. All 4. As I recall, no cracked blocks- but they would snap the cranks. They were miserable starters in the cold NY winters too- the glow plug setup they used was crap- very low heat, and on a timer as I recall. You'd crank and crank before they'd sputter to life. That's something the fixed when they came out with the real-diesel 6.2.

My boss had a diesel fetish. Started I guess in the oil crunch, and odd-even gas rationing. He bought Mercedes 240D's for the sales guys, cause they could run all the way to WI on a single tank. So we had Mercedes diesels (great, but way underpowered); a VW P/U with a diesel (pathetically slow); the 4 GM 5.7's; and then as the years passed, 3 of the little Chevy Luvs, that were actually Isuzus- they were so underpowerd they were dangerous; a couple of the new GM 6.2's in PUs, and a van; a couple Fords when they came out with the IH based V-8... 5.9 L I think?? And then a couple Volvos. I got so sick of the winter plug-in ritual, the diesel fuel stink, and the stench of diesel exhaust I never want to be around another diesel vehicle as long as I live! hahaha

05-14-09, 06:53 PM
The early GM diesels were basically gas blocks with diesel heads slapped on them. The higher compression would snap cranks and crack blocks quite often. It was an abortion of a motor to say the least.

Early Ford Rangers were made by Mazda (I think). Maybe the American manufacturers sought out Japanese manufacturers help since they were much more proficient at little trucks at the time.

Oh, as far as the dealer is concerned, they checked the truck out, they drove the truck and if they couldn’t tell that was a Dodge starter whine then it was their own damn fault.

I’d be scared to ever let that dealer work on a car of mine.

05-14-09, 07:12 PM
i still have my old school '74 kawasaki mach111 500, 2-stroke triple.
had the frame raked 7 degrees, bought a 4" longer swingarm, made my own struts.

motor has fast-by-gast stage1 porting, pistons, carb plates and pipes, 34mm mikuni power jet carbs, undercut transmission, beefy clutch, new crank, ect.

i was in the process of making a fiberglass tail section for it, but never really finished it.

i guess all it needs is body work and paint, then it would be finished, i ran it for awhile with my homemade tailsection, but it does look pretty ghetto IMO.

someday i will finish it and then sell it to a collector LOL

05-14-09, 09:37 PM
Those old triples were insanely quick when they hit the powerband, a friend had one of those when I was younger. After he flipped it over on his head a few times, he put it away. He wanted to give it to me years later but where he set it up the rain was getting in the cracked engine cover.

Those bikes fetch a pretty good dollar in the collectors market if they are in good shape. Especially the 750ís.

05-14-09, 11:48 PM
I modded a 56 F100.

I dropped a 390 in it that I build myself.... 428 heads... I had the oil lines in the block modded so I could get a bit more oil flow....

I had an automatic. Really it was almost a bolt in deal. I took out a 312 Y block....

I sold it quite a few years ago and damn I wish I hadn't have.

05-15-09, 10:19 AM
I did an image search on that truck. I bet you do wish for it back, thatís a classic American made truck. With a big block at that, I bet that old heavy-ass truck moved.

02-02-10, 09:27 PM
i have an 2007 Yamaha R1 and have Yoshimura exhaust , and some inside tricks lol

02-09-21, 04:13 AM
With each new model, the equipment of the car and its modification are improved. For example, my 2018 Honda Pilot is 3.0L, 249HP, but the newer [spam link] car has a 3.5L V6 Gas and 9-Speed Automatic, an economical engine. Manufacturers are trying to match the motor ... to the price of the car)