Charge It Up

We like cost-effective solutions, especially those that involve a bit of DIY. When we heard about a very inexpensive way to put together a trickle charger with multi-vehicle capabilities, we dove right in. Assuming you have soldering equipment laying around, total cost is under $15.

Tools

Supplies

We always start by laying out our items on our workspace.

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Then its simple cutting and soldering. First, prep all the wires by removing the alligator clips, then separating and stripping the wires. This is the standard red-to-red, black-to-black arrangement. Our charger-side wasn’t colored past the alligator clips, so take care to do one color at a time to avoid confusion.

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Soldering is a simple affair. Always remember to add your heat shrink tube first! We then warm up the iron, apply solder, then use our Helping Hands to hold each side. We use a simple 180 degree twist on each side to join the pairs. Apply your iron to the joint, add solder until sufficiently connected, then let the solder cool.

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Once finished, we used a lighter to close up the heat shrink tube. Next we would attach the ring terminals to the appropriate points on our vehicle’s battery, then plug in the charger when it is needed. Easy!

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Mishimoto Catch Can Install and Review

Recently we picked up an Associate Sponsorship from Mishimoto. We’ve been a big fan of what Mishimoto has done in the automotive space; specializing in the intake, cooling, and oil control fields. We knew that running our Stealth Bomber at high RPM out on the track would cause excess oil consumption, so our first addition from the Mishimoto line was their Compact Baffled Oil Catch Can. We chose the two-port variant and installed it on the driver-side valve cover PCV hose. Here is the engine bay before the install.

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Installation was fairly easy. Besides the catch can, we sourced some 1/2″ fuel/PCV line from a local auto parts store. We inspected our potential mounting areas and found the location of our oil pressure sensor array to be the perfect spot. We located those sensors underneath the air filter, out of the way of any major heat sources and moving parts.

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Then, we removed the existing PCV line by turning the green levers and removing the hose. We then used a razor blade to slit the hose end, allowing us to remove the OEM fittings.

The 1/2″ fuel line was proving extremely hard to fit over the OEM fittings. We used an old hot rodder’s trick, soaking the line in hot water to soften it up, then slipped the hose over the barbed ends. We then drilled two holes in an OEM bracket on the strut tower, mounted the Mishimoto Catch Can mounting bracket with the supplied hardware, then installed the included 3/8″ NPT 1/2″ hose barb fittings in the catch can, using a bit of plumber’s tape to ensure a leak-free fit.

We then installed one end of the hose to the intake manifold, then routed it to the catch can, using a silver sharpie to mark our desired length. We then removed the hose, and made a straight cut with a razor. We then mounted the intake hose to the Out port on the catch can. We performed similar steps with the valve cover hose, routing it to the In port on the catch can. Our installation was complete in less than an hour. The mounting bracket features slotted holes, allowing for a precise clocking of the catch can to fit your vehicle.

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We love this kit’s dark aesthetic, and feel it gives the installation a near-OEM look, which fits the overall feel of the Stealth Bomber perfectly. After a few weeks of driving we opened the can and had a bit of oil caught at the bottom of the container, proving that the catch can was necessary and works as designed.

BMW E46 Yaw Sensor Replacement

What is a BMW post doing on a Mustang racing site? It’s one of our daily drivers, and one of our favorite road trip/parts runner/carry-all cars. Our particular example is a 2001 E46 wagon in classic Alpine white, featuring a manual transmission, coil-overs, OEM Euro clear corners and taillights, DIY Plasti-Dip shadow-line trim, tinted windows, and Alpina 18×8 wheels.

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The particular problem we’ll address today with our little BMW is a yaw sensor failure, with revealed itself by the ABS/TCS system grabbing the passenger front caliper for a millisecond, then illuminating the ABS and TCS lights, indicating an error in the system. This happened within minutes of driving the car, and was quite noticeable and alarming. Scanning the code with our OBDII reader showed a yaw rate error, leading us directly to the yaw sensor itself. We researched online, and came across tested yaw sensors on eBay, part number 1166003. $59.99 later, we had a verified good sensor sitting on the workbench.

First, we gathered the necessary tools for the job:

  • 3/8″ Ratchet
  • 3/8″ 16mm Socket, Deep
  • 1/4″ Ratchet
  • 1/4″ 10mm Socket
  • 1/4″ 1-1/2″ Extension
  • 1/4″ 1-1/2″ Extension, Wobble
  • 1/4″ Universal Joint
  • 1/4″ Driver
  • 10mm Box-End Wrench, Ratcheting
  • 5mm Hex/Allen Wrench
  • Wire Cutters
  • Magnetic Helper
  • Pry Bar
  • Flashlight
  • Matador Surface

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The sensor is located in the floor, just in front of the driver’s seat. We unbolting the driver seat, with two 16mm nuts under plastic covers up front, and two 16mm bolts out back.

We tilted the seat back, without disconnecting it’s wiring harness. Underneath the seat, a wiring harness is zip-tied to a plastic bolt. We cut it with the wire cutters, then turned the bolt by hand to remove.

Next, we used the pry bar to pop the lower inner door trim plate. This plate is held on by 4 plastic clips and was very stubborn.

We then pried the front section of the carpet back, exposing the bracket holding the yaw sensor.

The bracket is covered by a wiring harness, which we moved to the side, using the seat stud to hold the harness out of our way. The bracket is held on by four 10mm bolts, two of which are visible at the top of the bracket, already removed in the above picture

The lower bolts are quite difficult. The first bolt, on the outer side, can be accessed by removing the ground point with the 10mm box wrench, then removing the 10mm bolt on the bracket with the 1/4″ drive and both extensions, using the wobble extension to get the 10mm socket on the bolt. The last bolt is impossible, in our opinion, without doing a little demolition work. We used the pry bar to cut through the Styrofoam, to allow for us to use our extensions and the universal joint to get the socket on the bolt.

 

The bracket itself was then able to be removed, and the sensor unplugged via a simple push clip. We used the 5mm hex/Allen wrench to remove the two bolts holding the sensor to the bracket. Installation, as they say, is the reverse of removal. We bolted the sensor to the bracket, and the bracket to the body. We reconnected the ground point, and placed the chunks of Styrofoam back in place. Then fold the carpet back down, screwing in the plastic bolt, using a new zip tie to hold the wiring harness in place. Replace the lower inner door trim, then re-position the seat and bolt it back into place.

A quick test drive showed no more errors, and after a few trips with the car, we’ve declared the problem completely resolved!