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Want to know what's up with Project 33? This area is updated monthly to let you know where we're at with the project. The latest Articles are featured in the What's New? area of this site and are in reverse chronological order. To follow the build up  from "day 1", go to the From the Start link and keep clicking on "Next Article". To view Articles on a particular subject, use the Search option of this site with the area you wish to explore as your keyword.

   12/23/03 Update

Let me take this opportunity to wish each and all a very merry Christmas and a the best for the upcoming year! Thanks for sticking around and telling your friends. This has been an exciting ride and I'm really looking forward to meeting some of you and placing faces on user names and e-mail addresses when the car hits the road. We're approaching the final year of the build! We better be anyway! happy-face.gif (76 bytes)

The number of people who visit this site blows me away! I remember when the stats reached 20 users a day and I though that was pretty cool. Now there's been over 15,500 people on the site in a single day! One night when I checked the web stats there were 662 people viewing the site at the same time! Mind boggling, isn't it? Keep telling your friends and thanks again!

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More Tools!
This was a good month for tools. There's now a nice Milwaukee cut-off saw in the garage (from Mineral Creek Tool - I'll give them a plug, they deserve it) and my brother lent me a cool tool that I just have to tell you about!

This is a code reader. A couple weeks ago my wife was sitting in her `97 Pontiac Grand Am, waiting for our youngest daughter. It was cold outside so she had the engine running, heater, stereo, headlights, etc. The engine had been idling for quite some time when it shook a few times and the "Check Engine" light came on.

All the gauges were reading okay, good oil pressure and temperature, so she drove it home to have me look at it. I checked all the fluids, plug wires and electrical connections and everything seemed alright. The car even ran great but that damn "Check Engine" light loomed on.

I remembered that my brother recently mentioned that he bought a diagnostic scanner for 1994 and newer domestic cars so I gave him a call and he said I could borrow it. Now this was my first experience with one of these and let me tell you - I'M IMPRESSED!

I plugged it in, (below the dashboard on the driver's side) hit the "Read" button and it came back with one code error reading "misfire number 3 cylinder". Too cool!

Since the car had a recent tune-up and seemed to be running fine now, I chose to take the easy route. I erased the error and I'm waiting to see if it happens again before pulling plugs, etc. It's now two weeks later and all is well so far. Engines can sputter when they've been idling for a long time (even if they haven't). It could be moisture in the fuel or who knows, but it doesn't mean you have to tear the engine down.

A tool like this one runs about $140 new and could save you that much the first time you use it. Without it, you'd take your car into the shop and they'd charge you around $40 just to read the code. Then, depending on how honest they were, they'd suggest what should be done to correct the "problem". Very few places would tell you to do nothing and see if it happens again.

Those who argue that computerized cars are so difficult to work on, probably haven't used one of these. The car actually told me what went wrong. Granted, if it were a non-computerized car it wouldn't have a "Check Engine" light to begin with, but hopefully you see my point. Technology can be great.

Tools for Loan!
Remember the metal template I used to cut the opening for the 3rd brake light?

A guy contacted me the other day and asked if he could borrow it. I sent it to him and asked only that he reimburse me for shipping and send it back when he's finished.

After I shipped it to him I started thinking... I bet there are several guys out there with fiberglass bodied cars who could use the tool. So, here's the plan;
If anyone would like to borrow it, e-mail me. If someone else has it, I'll hook you both up (exchange e-mail addresses) and you can work out sending it  directly to the next lender. All I ask is that the instructions stay with it (yes, I wrote some instructions) and that it finds it's way home someday. It ships great in a Priority Mail envelope. Let me know if you need it!

Hey, it could be a great way to meet new friends with the same common interest! What a concept! :)

Important Info:
This template is for a 5-3/4" x 3/16" opening. The light I used is a "GEARHEAD" brand 3rd brake light. Yogi's part number MOS3L. Make sure your lens requires this size opening before requesting the template.


Until next time - Keep the shiny side up and Happy Holidays!


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