Wednesday, May 23, 2012



So there is something to be said about going out and working on your own vehicle. Whether it is simply changing the wiper blades to washing the car or even doing a brake job. There is some satisfaction in knowing that you did the work yourself. This is doubly true for me. I know most of you are going to be like "yeah but you were a tech...of course your going to do it". Well I was working on cars well before I was ever a tech. Granted going professional definitely helped my tool collection and my confidence, but the same satisfaction is had every time  I do something to mine/wife's car. It is even enjoyable when I am doing side jobs. Most of the people that have come to me are people from the forums. These are usually people that I have never met in real life, but sometimes they drive incredible distances just so I can work on their car. For example, When I was living in Florida, I would have people come up from Miami, some 200 miles away, and yet others would come down from Georgia. One Tiburon guy actually came down from North Carolina, so I could do his suspension. Why? Because it was cheaper and they got to hang out with me! All joking aside, I would show them how I was doing it so the next time they were able to do it themselves.  For some it was just cheaper to come to my house and have me do it. I am incredibly cheap, especially when I was able to get OEM parts for dirt cheap. I think I strayed slightly from my original topic. What I am trying to express about working on forum member's cars is that even though it was not "my car" it is still therapeutic to do the manual labor and to know that I am saving them a bit of cash. Getting to know people in person is always better than the "over the internet" thing anyway.

It is a dirty job...

My oil pan has been leaking for probably a good 20k now, but it has been way to cold to work on it. I must also admit that my lack of motivation has not helped the situation. Today was a gorgeous day. So I skipped over to the Hyundai dealership in my pop's 2012 Accent ("Cheap seats"...if you have not read it yet) to pick up some RTV or gasket maker as most know it as. I also stopped by my local Wal-Mart (I hate going there but they sell my oil for cheap) to pick up my Mobil 1 10w/30 and some brake clean. I was ready to go. I opened up my mp3 player on my phone and started playing some of Mistress Trance's mixes (if you do not know who that is...go to youtube and look her up!) They are mixes about an hour or so long. This way I do not have to touch my phone while my hands are greasy. I jack the car up using the pinch welds just aft the wheel well. Please, always use these points for jack stands or lifting the car. I also use the front sub-frame as a jacking point. On the XD/XD2 Elantra it has a box sub-frame so it is ok to use it to lift the vehicle. After jacking the car up and putting the jack stands in place, I removed the exhaust system. This also entails removing the exhaust manifold. There is a bracket that attaches to the front of the block and the two 14mm bolts are inaccessible from underneath. So taking off the manifold is a must. I then drained the oil (I purposely waited to do my oil change because I knew I was going to be taking the pan down). I removed all of the 10mm bolts and the three 14mm bolts that go to the transmission. Then using a rubber mallet and a pry bar, I was able to pry it off. Afterwards, of course, I found a spot that you can actually put a bolt in and pry it from the block. That probably would have been easier, but hitting things is much more therapeutic. Once removed you have to clean, clean and clean more. I personally use a razor and scrap off the old RTV and use brake clean to clean out the pan. You then have to clean the RTV off of the bottom of the block. I then spray some brake clean on some paper towels and wipe the block portion clean. Your hands, obviously, are going to get filthy. I really should wear gloves to keep my hands from interacting with the harsh chemicals, but I do not. I need to feel the bolts and make sure they are going the right way. With gloves on you do not have the same "feeling" with your fingertips. Apply the RTV to the cleaned oil pan and mate it up to the block. The cool thing about the OEM RTV is that it gives you this metal piece that slides onto the end of the tube and when you twist it the RTV comes out in a nice even bead. It works really well!

OEM only please...

Bottom end is looking pretty good for 225k!
Once you mate the pan to the block. Start putting in the 10mm bolts. You will want to try and line up the bolt holes as your putting the pan on, this way the RTV stays in place. Start in the middle and criss cross the bolts. Only make them hand tight as you will have to go around and tighten them with a 10mm ratchet later, in the same order. Side note, the oil pan bolts near the transmission are longer and need to go back into their specific holes. The others are all the same size. Once all the bolts are in and hand tight, go around with the 10mm ratchet and snug them up. The torque to tighten the bolts is very little. I gripped my hand at the head of the ratchet and twisted till I felt it was snug. tells me that they should be about 7-9 ft/lbs. For me that means snug them up and be done. I  then put everything back together. While I had everything out, I rotated the tires and did a quick brake inspection. I also put in a new fog lamp. I used Silverstar H3's about two months ago and one of them blew out. If it blows out again early, they are gone and I will be purchasing my PIAA bulbs again. I'm kinda partial to the PIAA bulbs because they were yellow and much brighter, but this time around I did not get a chance to order them. I needed them quick for my inspection.

Three and half hours later...

I was done. The RTV needs time cure, but by the time you put everything back together it is fine to refill with oil. I  think the total cure time is something crazy like 24 hours, but that is nonsensical. Twenty to thirty minutes and call it a day. Drive the car around for a little bit and make sure you have no leaks. If no leaks are present, you are good to go. Please remember to bring the oil to a place that will recycle it. I normally go to Advanced Auto or the like. They take it for free and you do not have to worry about it sitting around or spilling. Please do not dump it in any random locations either.

Feels good when I'm productive. Especially on such a gorgeous day. I think the back of my neck is starting to pay the price though, it is feeling a little warm to the touch. Not to mention the road rash on my back because I had to do the whole thing in the parking lot instead of a nice cozy garage with a cement floor. The towel on the pavement is just not the same as having smooth cement. My next project is going to be tearing down my transmission and replacing the second gear syncros, but I am not doing that till I have a garage or perhaps another car to drive. It will have to wait. Till next time.
Almost looks like I have a fresh paint job! Damn Florida bugs.

More articles...

There has been some debate on a couple of the forums that I think I am going to address in the very near future. I am definitely no expert on the subject matter, but I have dealt with it in the past and I will be happy to voice my opinion. So be on the lookout!

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