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The "great-life-lesson-on-limits-and-not-cheapening-out" Syncro
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4Gears4Tires
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 25, 2020 11:34 am    Post subject: The "great-life-lesson-on-limits-and-not-cheapening-out" Syncro Reply with quote

I figured I was overdue at giving all of you a chance to criticize my work. Laughing

So this Syncro was cheap. The guy originally wanted 11k and I said I wouldn't pay a dime over 6k and I hadn't even seen it yet. Once there I tried for 5k but he wouldn't go for it, oh well. It seemed to run around just fine, even though it had a 1.9l carb motor in it. I figured at 6k it's worth the Syncro parts alone even if I could poke fingers through the body. And besides, hadn't I always wanted to learn body work and not ruin one of my e30s while I'm at it? Yes, this Syncro is perfect me. I will learn all about welding, painting, and spending more money than if I had just bought a better van to begin with. And if I do a terrible job, I want to take this into the forest and if it's perfect I'll be sad at every pinstripe, so bad work is even preferable! Yeah, that's the way!

Here's the van at the sellers place. Doesn't look terrible.
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Looks like the front clip had been replaced and the whole van terribly repainted at some point. Lesson 1 learned, don't buy a vehicle with a terrible repaint.
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Driving it home.
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And home at my recently built garage. I don't even have a driveway yet. The 4wd really helped when it was muddy.
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and inside the garage! hey it looks pretty ok, right?
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And here is what I bought the van for, I didn't really want to buy a pick up truck but I still need some utility vehicle. Sheets of rigid foam for the garage. As soon as it changed owners it developed a habit of dying when coming to a stop. Since I know nothing about carburetors, this was really annoying. The van came with a brand new carb, but this was useless to me without the requisite knowledge. (Only recently I figured out that this was because the seller had taken out the locker actuator to show me that the diff locked up, because it wasnt working by the knob. And he left the vacuum lines open. Oh well. If I had realized then, it would have saved me a lot of trouble.)
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Insulating the garage.
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The lady's Explorer, the van, and one of my e30s
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Here's the mysteriously dying at idle motor
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Well, out with that garbage. Let's get a 2.1 wbx instead of doing something more reasonable. Like a subi swap.
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I decided to investigate around the engine bay and look behind the gas tank. Oh no. This is not good. I guess everything has to come apart and I have some rust repair in my future. The better idea would have been to just fixing the dying idle issue and have a van to run around in. Lesson: keep it simple, stupid.
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But before I can go back to the van, I need a driveway. I rent a small excavator and made everything flat and sloped away from the house. I got a dump trailer and put gravel down. And finally, a non muddy driveway.
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I bought a life and installed that. With how much cars are my hobby, this tool was a must have. If you consider future medical bills from 30 years of crawling on your back, the $2.5k for a lift is peanuts. I'm in my 30s now, I have to consider my 40s, 50s, 60s.... I won't be young forever.
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So out comes everything and honestly, the rust behind the gas tank isn't that bad. The areas where the studs attach are gone and so are the straps, but that's not a huge deal.
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What is a huge deal are the outer areas that the trailing arm locates at. They are swiss cheese. I start cutting.
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Honestly, I went overboard here...
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Realizing my mistake on the other side, I made a much smaller cut on the other side.
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A little on the front passenger, but not too bad. Interestingly enough, the center of the van is totally fine.
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In preparation for the task at hand, I bought a new welder. The $100 flux core I had was not going to cut it.
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Didn't it look ok before? I took a scraper to it. Definitely not ok.
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Going through propane tank a weekend motivated me to finish up the hydronic heating. It holds pressure! Time to fill. Warm feet while working in the garage is truly a luxury.
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Back to the van, I am starting to rebuild the rockers.
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The more I flap disk stuff, the more metal falls apart. Lol.
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Success! I hung the panel and tack welded it in place! Done for the day.
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Next day I come in. Oh shit.
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Cut all the tack welds and the top strip of the panel off. Retack it.
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Ok that looks better.
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Drivers side rocker
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Welds look terrible, I should have cleaned the area better.
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Tuning megasquirt on silver e30 and wondering why I get bogged down in so many projects. It's to keep the existential dread at bay, right?
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Inside of the passenger fender
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Finally closing up the drivers side rocker
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Not getting enough heat in this welds, I think I got tired of so much burn through everywhere. Oh well. Kicking the can down the street.
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Went off roading in Big Red, I wonder if the Syncro will be able to keep up in the future.
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From rust to black, 3M Mar-Hyde... I really cant speak enough about it.
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Gas tank strap studs welded in
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Undercoat everything
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Throw some seam sealer in the edges
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More Mar-Hyde on surface rust
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We went down to TN to pick up a TT for the lady. Coffee stop and pic of our cars!
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The damn van is taking forever and I'm realizing why the tune is not sticking consistently on the silver e30. Bad compression 2 cylinders. So I have to use the cherry picker to do an engine swap. With the transfercase it's a really long drivetrain to pull in one piece. The van needs to get off the lift! It's hogging it!
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Engine coming in.
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Engine finally in.
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Hole in the pipe
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and back out
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and back in... -_-
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I turned on a shift knob for my friends BMW 2002
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Front suspension needs to come apart and be done
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On a trip to Cleveland, I saw exactly the inspiration I needed in Cuyahoga NP.
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Pressed in new ball joints
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New shocks
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Of course everything gets coated in Mar-Hyde. I probably should have painted it too.
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Over a year later.... what it's on the ground! Does it look high to anyone else?
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I just realized I didn't add any fuel tank pics to this... hmm. I'll find those. The tank was fully cleaned, resealed, new lines... and new fuel pump.
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POR15 on some parts
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Buttoned up
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and she runs!
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And then I promptly overheated the motor because I had the coolant lines switched.
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Yay.
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dobryan Premium Member
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 25, 2020 11:46 am    Post subject: Re: The "great-life-lesson-on-limits-and-not-cheaping-out" Syncro Reply with quote

Wow! That is a shite ton of work. Applause Applause Very Happy
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 25, 2020 11:52 am    Post subject: Re: The "great-life-lesson-on-limits-and-not-cheaping-out" Syncro Reply with quote

Crazy impressive! Until I got to the end I was thinking you did this all in one weekend. Shocked
I bet a lot of us have vans that look scarily similar under the paint. Not sure I ever want to find out.

4Gears4Tires wrote:

I bought a life and installed that.


Tired of being told to "get a life", I'm saving up to buy a life too!
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 25, 2020 11:54 am    Post subject: Re: The "great-life-lesson-on-limits-and-not-cheaping-out" Syncro Reply with quote

I enjoyed your story. Looks like you got plenty of body work practice.
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 25, 2020 12:08 pm    Post subject: Re: The "great-life-lesson-on-limits-and-not-cheapening-out" Syncro Reply with quote

Love it! Keeping the existential dread at bay is no small feat... Wink
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 25, 2020 12:12 pm    Post subject: Re: The "great-life-lesson-on-limits-and-not-cheapening-out" Syncro Reply with quote

Two E30s, a $yncro, and an old Audi TT... you're a serious glutton for punishment! Laughing Razz

Wow... props on all that resto work.👍 Is the 2.1 salvageable after the unfortunate overheat?😕
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 25, 2020 12:24 pm    Post subject: Re: The "great-life-lesson-on-limits-and-not-cheapening-out" Syncro Reply with quote

Shocked so much work!


nicely done though, looks like it was worth rescuing
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 25, 2020 12:54 pm    Post subject: Re: The "great-life-lesson-on-limits-and-not-cheapening-out" Syncro Reply with quote

Congratulations on saving an original Syncro. Tons of work!

And smart move on installing the car lift. When we built our home and garage I didn't plan for a lift thinking they were too expensive (without even looking into the costs) and couldn't be fitted into the budget. Looking back at it now and what a huge mistake. I'm in my sixties now and crawling under the van gets less enticing every day!
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 25, 2020 1:57 pm    Post subject: Re: The "great-life-lesson-on-limits-and-not-cheapening-out" Syncro Reply with quote

Impressive amount of work, I decided that was not the syncro for me. Glad it went to someone willing to rescue it. Bravo.
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 25, 2020 2:05 pm    Post subject: Re: The "great-life-lesson-on-limits-and-not-cheapening-out" Syncro Reply with quote

Look twice before buying a Jersey car!

Good work!
Keep updating.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 25, 2020 2:19 pm    Post subject: Re: The "great-life-lesson-on-limits-and-not-cheapening-out" Syncro Reply with quote

djkeev wrote:
Look twice before buying a Jersey car!


Oh crap, I agreed to buy an NJ Westy after a single look. Advice always come a few days too late Shocked
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 25, 2020 2:48 pm    Post subject: Re: The "great-life-lesson-on-limits-and-not-cheapening-out" Syncro Reply with quote

dabaron wrote:
djkeev wrote:
Look twice before buying a Jersey car!


Oh crap, I agreed to buy an NJ Westy after a single look. Advice always come a few days too late Shocked


Knowing this..... I posted this for your benefit! Laughing Laughing

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 25, 2020 4:15 pm    Post subject: Re: The "great-life-lesson-on-limits-and-not-cheapening-out" Syncro Reply with quote

ledogboy wrote:
Keeping the existential dread at bay is no small feat...

I want to know which bay he parks the existential dread in. It looks like he's running out of space.
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 25, 2020 5:06 pm    Post subject: Re: The "great-life-lesson-on-limits-and-not-cheapening-out" Syncro Reply with quote

kamzcab86 wrote:
Two E30s, a $yncro, and an old Audi TT... you're a serious glutton for punishment! Laughing Razz

Wow... props on all that resto work.👍 Is the 2.1 salvageable after the unfortunate overheat?😕


Don't forget the Exploder. Regardless of what I do, that thing leaks every single fluid it can. And it has about 15 exhaust leaks, including a bad one at the manifold. At least the E39 and the Civic behave nicely.

The 2.1 block itself is probably salvageable.

Overheated engine out.

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The heads would not detatch from the cylinders (I posted this before) so they came out as well. You can see the disgusting chocolate milkshake below. I realized I had the coolant pipes switched at the coolant crossover tube because all the coolant still in the van was nice, clean, and green. It never circulated because it was pushing against itself. It couldn't flow in a loop. I still have hope I can clean this up and reassemble it.
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They finally came apart with a lot of hitting.
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Bearings had wear, but all surfaces looked pretty ok otherwise
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Time to clean things up
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Crank looks good
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And here is where it starts going down hill. We find cracks in the heads. Which, according to all of you, are totally ok. I'm still not sure I buy it! But with your reassurance I said screw it, I'll reassemble it.
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And then disaster struck. I didn't tighten the piston ring clamps enough and when my neighbor hit the piston down with a mallet handle the rings shattered. Rolling Eyes Welp... time to dig out the old 1.9...
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Stripped down and cleaned up. I'm not even attempting to crack this one open! I know it seeps a bit at the jackets, I don't care. It's going in! I did replace all exterior gaskets and seals, except the rear main because the flywheel bolts would not come off.
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Reassembled. I bought the RMW silicone coolant kit (ss pipes and new radiator also, but not installed). Putting all the 2.1 stuff on the 1.9 kind of is the same, but it's surprising the small differences. The intake didn't quite fit, needed to slot the manifold bolt hole. And the oil cooler doesn't fit either. I wonder if the transmission had been rebuilt at some point because it's been painted.
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A lot of time was then spent bleeding it, rebleeding it, tightening hose clamps with a rachet because those silicone hoses don't like to flex, bleeding it more, and quadruple checking temps everywhere with an IR gun. Seems like it's not overheating anymore but now the issue is once it gets fully up to temp it runs so rich it chokes itself out.

So I ordered a coolant temp sensor.
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 25, 2020 7:01 pm    Post subject: Re: The "great-life-lesson-on-limits-and-not-cheapening-out" Syncro Reply with quote

djkeev wrote:

Knowing this..... I posted this for your benefit! Laughing Laughing


detailed post coming soon. unless i wise up.

the OP has the space, skill, and time to turn a "for sale ad great looker" into a real runner (except for the self inflected stuff...). i'm glad you've been able to bear and grin it. can i move into your garage? i have a "project" coming.

4Gears4Tires if you want to unload that 2.1 case, i'm your huckleberry. i'll trade you a set of clean, no crack heads.
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 25, 2020 7:31 pm    Post subject: Re: The "great-life-lesson-on-limits-and-not-cheapening-out" Syncro Reply with quote

I can't decide if I want to use it to build a 2.2 or a 2.3 or something. On one hand, I would like to do that. On the other, a 2.5 subi swap just seems so much better.

Unfortunately I don't have any process photos of the gas tank refresh. But I ordered GW's kit to do it. Here's a pic of the tank reinstalled. I reused the old insulation, just can't beat the old pre-EPA regulation asbestos matting. Rolling Eyes
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I forgot this string of pics, one of my end links snapped during the front end suspension refresh. They are fairly expensive for a solid piece of metal and I figured I could fix it in 30 minutes. Faster than shipping a new part in! I cut a bolt head off to replace the threads.
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Beveled the edges for good penetration.
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Welded, ground back, and then cut the threads down to the correct length.
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One of wheelbearings was bad so I replaced both. The brake rotors were also seized to the hubs. So this was the time to replace all of that. I used a press to push the hub out of the bearing, separating the bearing in half. Then, removed the circlip and used the hand press kit to remove the rest of the bearing. I usually use only the press to do front wheel bearings and I'll be honest, the hand kit makes things a lot easier. You don't have to make a crazy contraption of arbor plates to set things level.
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Bearing out
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Coated the back of the hub with Mar-Hyde
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Pressing the new bearing in
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Circlip in and rubber gasket in
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Pressing the hub in
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The rubber gasket flange contacts nicely
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Back gasket
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That's a broken 3 jaw puller in the background. This rotor did not want to come off. The passenger side took 5 minutes of hitting, this side... why..
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Cutting, hitting, chiseling, and an hour later it's removed. At some point the rotor disc detached itself due to the abuse.
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Look how thin that wall is. Scary.
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On to the next one. Cut a slit most of the way through on the pressed out hub, then use a chisel to split it. They slide off easy after that.
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Mar-Hyde...
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My friend taking over the racheting. This hub was a real piece to take apart since all the hammering had really smashed the ball bearings into the races. It did not want to come out.
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Pressing the new bearing in
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Mar-Hyde is dry-ish
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And the second is now done.
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And that's pretty much caught up. Somethings are missing of course. For example, I replaced all the brake lines with hand made copper nickel lines, I'll try to snap some pics next time it's on the lift.
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Steve M.
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 25, 2020 8:13 pm    Post subject: Re: The "great-life-lesson-on-limits-and-not-cheaping-out" Syncro Reply with quote

dobryan wrote:
Wow! That is a shite ton of work. Applause Applause Very Happy


Yep, took him all day to post the photos! Laughing Laughing Laughing
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 25, 2020 8:22 pm    Post subject: Re: The "great-life-lesson-on-limits-and-not-cheaping-out" Syncro Reply with quote

Steve M. wrote:
dobryan wrote:
Wow! That is a shite ton of work. Applause Applause Very Happy


Yep, took him all day to post the photos! Laughing Laughing Laughing


boom, headshot.
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 26, 2020 12:06 am    Post subject: Re: The "great-life-lesson-on-limits-and-not-cheaping-out" Syncro Reply with quote

dabaron wrote:
Steve M. wrote:
dobryan wrote:
Wow! That is a shite ton of work. Applause Applause Very Happy


Yep, took him all day to post the photos! Laughing Laughing Laughing


boom, headshot.


only in jest! It's a great job and I am jealous of his garage!
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 26, 2020 6:50 am    Post subject: Re: The "great-life-lesson-on-limits-and-not-cheapening-out" Syncro Reply with quote

But it's true! It did take me all day! That's why I've delayed doing it for so long. And it's still not complete.
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