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The Care and Feeding of Frogger

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Still working on Suspension refurb. Got the rear done and bolted back together. Ordered new Sway bar pivot bushings from IE last week and waiting on them to come in. Pulled front subframe and got all the bushings replaced, got to finish up struts and bolt back together.


Today will be transmission, diff, steering box fluid change and buttoning everything up. Hopefully full alignment saturday and it's back on the road.


Front subframe before:






nasty strut insert



steering box before



steering box after some quick wire brushing:







fitting new rubber bushings on control arms



what was left of the castle nuts inside the pitman arms under the struts. this hasn't seen the light of day since it was assembled in Germany. The ball joints were riveted in. amazing what 42 years of water will do to unprotected metal.




freed up and cleaned out.




More today.

Edited by dasfrogger

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After putting 24 hours over 4 days into the car this giant chunk of project is done. We worked until about 2 last night to get everything buttoned up. This took way too long, everything fought us to come apart and go back together. The rule of double your expected time and costs definitely applies here.  I can take some comfort in knowing that I will never have to do this job again - this will be my kid's problem. I definitely couldn't have done this without my buddy Ben. He did a bunch of work to get this job completed.


I was bad at taking pictures last night. I was tired and more interested in getting the car back together than documenting the process.


The steering coupler was unplanned. The rubber coupler didn't look that bad, but it lost one of the metal sleeves which left it essentially destroyed. Luckily i had a new ireland engineering coupler installed on the 1600-2 and i was able to scavenge that. Crisis averted. I'm amazed by how much more responsive the steering is now (new bushings etc help a lot too im sure). It's really easy to turn the wheel when parking/slow speeds. really smooth. I wish i'd done the coupler a lot earlier.



I had trouble finding GL-4 Gear oil locally. This sta-lube was the only heavy weight i could find online. the only Redline i found was 75w90. luckily this stuff was 23 bucks for a gallon where redline is 18 for a quart.



As soon as we got everything back together and the alignment roughed in we took it out for a test drive. Noticed the lights flickering a little when the car is in drive, and the temp gage is all messed up. It reads full hot almost all the time, but as the car warms up it will bounce down to an equivalent range as if it’s inverted. I’m hoping that it’s just in need of another ground, but I have no idea why this issue would crop up now. we didn’t mess with any of the wiring.


The official what was done list


New front subframe bushings - rubber

New upper strut bearings

New Bilstein HD strut inserts

New Tie rods, Center link, Ball joints

New IE urethane steering coupler 

Ireland Engineering swaybar

New rubber motor mounts

Reinforced control arms

All installed on freshly (but not beautifully) painted subframe with both Ireland Engineering reinforcement plates welded in

Flushed steering box fluid (GL-4 85w90 hyphoid gear oil)



Rebalanced/refurbished Driveshaft (new ujoints and center support bearing)

New transmission mount

New Guibo

Flushed ATF



New Trailing arm bushings

New Suspension Carrier bushings

New Ireland Engineering Swaybar

New Bilstein HD's

All installed on a freshly painted subframe

Flushed Differential (GL-4 85w90 hyphoid gear oil)



I'm pretty afraid to total up the costs for this job and update my tally. I’ve had the bulk of these parts in storage for awhile, but there were still a few things I had to buy along with some labor/food/beers. EDIT: just tallied it up. Total Parts, Labor, Supplies for this job was $2,383.76. I'm glad that I've been collecting parts for this since 2012 and that i didn't have to buy it all at once. For anyone looking to buy a 2002 - finding a car that has had a lot of preventative maintenance like this is worth the money.



Now the to do list is to:

Install another engine ground

Have professional Alignment done

Install cap and points, set timing

Dig into carb tuning

Install Stereo


So close yet so far. 20 days till i leave for Mid America. Maybe 3-5 days out of those 20 to finish the list.

Edited by dasfrogger

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Update on the to do list:


Alignment: Done saturday by Tire Discounters. They were running a buy one tire, get a free alignment deal so I paid too much for a new spare (long over due) and got the alignment done at the same time. They say it's in spec, but it pulls to hard to the right. I'm gonna drop it off one night this week for them to work on again.


Install extra ground straps: As stated earlier the temp gauge needle had been jumping around and reading very hot. I suspected a grounding issue likely due to the motor mount ground not being sufficient. I started by adding an extra ground from the back of the cluster.





This got me a more steady needle and a reading in the correct range. However it was sensitive to other instruments, and even what gear i was in. Excuse the poor narration.



I ended up adding another ground from the timing cover to the body and it solved the problem. rock solid needles. Of course during all that i knocked the tachometer wire off and now i've gotta pull the cluster again to fix that.


Carb Tuning: i leaned the mixture out a bit and it seems to want to cold start better. I'm not super happy with how it runs, i may reset the idle and mix screws to baseline and start from scratch.


Horn: when i pulled the horn button off for the alignment guys it destroyed itself. I knew i had a spare horn button to swap in, but upon inspection, the tab for the power lead to attach to was destroyed. Having the spare did show me how to properly reassemble the spring on my original button. A pair of vice grips and 5 minutes later the horn button was reassembled with nice non sticky action. Initially i didn't have any horn, but after adding the extra grounds the horn came back to life.  Really glad i fixed it, i almost got hit TWICE on my first test drive. if not for the horn, this would be a very different post.

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I put a ground from the negative battery post to the body - the stock set-up is that way, but that "pigtail" from the negative battery cable was gone on my car.  Between adding that, and that gauge cluster grounding bit, the needles are really solid.  


Keep up the good work - you are getting a lot done!



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Wow!  Jake, you are moving at a blistering pace on two cars.  I can't keep up the pace on my one car.  Great job.

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Wow!  Jake, you are moving at a blistering pace on two cars.  I can't keep up the pace on my one car.  Great job.


Well....to be fair, i haven't done much of anything on the 1600-2 since I started getting the '73 ready for Mid America. Being under the gun really helps with keeping pace. But I really appreciate the compliment!


I put a ground from the negative battery post to the body - the stock set-up is that way, but that "pigtail" from the negative battery cable was gone on my car.  Between adding that, and that gauge cluster grounding bit, the needles are really solid.  

I'm hoping this will be the last of it. Everything has worked nicely for the past few days. I'm sure that when i pull the cluster to reconnect the tac i'll mess something else up. Ha!


Either of you two heading to FUEL! Saturday? I think I'm gonna make the trip up

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I took advantage of this beautiful day to ride up to Cincinnatti to FUEL! Cars and Coffee. It was a good excuse for a shakedown trip in Frogger and to see some of the RGB folks. It was an awesome event and absolutely packed with enthusiasts and their cars. I had planned on taking pictures, but once again failed miserably.



The trip was relatively uneventful with one exception. During a fuel stop on my way the wire from the ignition switch to the starter popped off.


Aaaand i couldn't get it to go back on and stay there.


After about 10 minutes of trying and cursing I just hotwired the car to get it started again and got back on the road to FUEL!. I posted about the experience in the RGB facebook group...I thought Scott's comment was hilarious (maybe I'm the only one) so I'll share



I had planned on fixing the problem at FUEL in the parking lot but the harbor freight connector kit i had in the car didn't have any female spade connectors for a 10 awg wire. Womp. Jason dropped some knowledge about points gaping and checked the timing on Frogger.  My checklist for the ignition system is done.


Got home with no other issues. Got a lot of crazy looks at a gas station when i popped the hood to start the car. #OldCarProblems


Once home i set about fixing the starter lead and working on tuning the carb.  Here's a (bad) photo of the starter:



I knew that the car would start via hotwire by touching either of the male spades on the left or right of the bottom post, or the post itself. I figured since i had so much trouble with the spades, why not attach a ring connector to the threaded post? Here's a (better, but still not good) photo of how that looks




Wrong. This is horribly wrong. Don't do this. Ever.


Things were good for one crank. then the starter just made a terrible noise and wouldn't turn the motor over. Why this is a terrible idea still baffles me, but it was back to square one.


In the end i got a 1/4" female connector on the terminal and hooked that extra section of wire to the original harness. I'm not very happy with this solution and expect it to break again soon. I will probably dive in on this again soon to come up with something better. 




Reset the carb to baseline settings and tried to tune again. I have the idle screw a little over half a turn in and the mixture screws at 1.25 turns out. Seems to run ok, but the idle speed when i'm in gear is still pretty low. I need to keep messing around with that, I'm interested to see how it cold starts. I really wish i had a wide band right about now...maybe after the trip.


Something worth noting - if you convert a 38/38 to manual choke, the conversion plate will block screw driver access to the idle speed screw. This is annoying, but you can still use an 8mm wrench on the screw. If i ever take the choke off, I will probably try to drill a hole for a screw driver to access that screw.


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My wife and I took a trip to our first MidAmerica 2002 Fest this past weekend and had an absolute blast. Met some awesome 2002'ers, Drank lots of  beers, and only broke down once.


Left Louisville early and made a stop in St. Louis for a few hours. Got to visit the arch and the world famous Imo's pizza.





We hadn't planned it, but we met up with Eurotrash just outside of St. Louis



Not much later I lost engine power on I-44 at about 80MPH. Revs dropped to zero, all the dash lights turned on. Got safely pulled over and Gipson came back around to help assess the situation



While my wife enjoyed the scenery....



Found out that my BRAND NEW Cap had coil contact snap off. I had the old cap with me, but still no dice. Dug a little deeper and found that the points weren't opening. The block that rides the cam had snapped off! I didn't have the old points with me and Gipson didn't have a spare. My goose was cooked.




Luckily, out of nowhere a third 2002er pulled up.



And he had a spare distributor. The points were opposite mine, so we just switched distributors out and got back on the road. Amazing. Pete is an all around good guy, and while I wish we'd met under different circumstances, I'm really glad we met.





The car didn't feel quite right above 3,300 RPM so we stopped at the next exit to check timing. All was right, perhaps the curve on the distributor was a little wonky. Aside from stumbling and the occasional backfire we made it another two hours to the hotel.



After a good night's sleep and a delicious breakfast we geeked out hard. Saw a presentation on 5-speed transmissions by Mike Pugh and a presentation on the 123-ignition. Oh, and a lot of really great 2002's....



Like this 67 1600 that i drooled over all weekend. Can't wait to have mine done!



Or these Baurs!



Then Pete came thru again! He found out that Dave Mason had a spare set of points for my distributor. We got my distributor and new points installed and timed the car again. Big big thanks to Pete and Dave for the expertise and parts to save my  bacon once again




With new points installed it was time for the group drive thru the ozarks. It was awesome. Beyond words awesome, so i'm just gonna post some pictures.










The next day was a car show. I'm pretty sure I was the only owner who didn't wash their car. No shame. Frogger made it, and that was good enough.







A wild Eastsidebimmer appears:


Al Bluedevils fixing some sticky seatbelts on a baur. Way cool.



Sunday we joined up with a caravan home. Had 6 cars from Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Michigan. Stopped for some lunch outside st louis before splitting off.




After running over 4k all day we made it home to Louisville.



1,369 miles round trip and only one major issue! If you ever have the chance to go to MidAmerica, i highly recommend it. I really appreciate all the work Bo and his team did to put this event on for the 15th year.

Here's a link to all the photos i took over the weekend if anyone's interested. http://s590.photobucket.com/user/johndmetz/library/Mid%20America%202002%20Fest%202015

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My car has been running terrible all week. So badly, that i could notice it getting worse each time i drove the car. As it turns out my distributor has finally given up the ghost.


A buddy and I took a look at things this morning to try to get the car to run right. When we started it was idling really poorly, like it was only running on 3 cyl. After some investigation we realized that cyl # 4 wasn't doing much of anything. We were worried that there were some compression issues and decided investigate further to narrow down the culprit. 


Checked valve clearance. The #4 valves were a little tight, but not too bad. re adjusted and moved on. We swapped coils to eliminate that variable. With no change we swapped back and then lost spark all together. Awesome. Pulled the distributor cap and found out that the points weren't opening. Luckily the points didn't break this time, Unluckily the distributor shaft has tons of play and wasn't opening the points. Swapped in an unknown condition distributor from a parts motor and it immediately fired up and idled well. We timed it by ear and took off for a testdrive. Frogger feels 100% better, it found a lot of the torque it was missing. I guess that the original distributor shaft was just so worn that it wasn't sending enough spark to the #4 cylinder. Could have been that the dwell angle was changing all the time with the wear and not charging the coil properly either. Either way, it's better but not great.


I ordered a 123 ignition (tune) distributor Friday and it should arrive Monday. Tuesday night will be fun - Brand new distributor, recheck valve clearance and if we're lucky swap jets and retune the 32/36. With any luck it'll be like a whole new car! Crisis averted.


I guess I learned the hard way that 90% of your carburetor problems are in your ignition. I'd tried to make the ignition system kosher, but no dice. I wish I'd have known the extent of distributor issues and just bought the 123 ignition a few weeks ago instead of a 2nd carb. I like the manual choke on the 32/36 though, so I'll be selling the 38/38. 

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Excellent adventure story and accompanying pictures!  Glad you're wife put up with the ride to NW Arkansas and back.


BTW - you're not the only one drooling over Meg's 1600. 



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Got the 123 ignition installed. It's fantastic.


First impressions: it comes in this really terrible packaging. Packing does the job, but I've never bought anything so expensive in such bad packaging. Funny.



After 'unboxing' you can tell that this is a quality unit. feels great, everything looks really nice and well made.




The mini USB port hides under a metal screw cap. Here's a shot of it removed:



Out with the old:




The instructions are good. They leave a little to be desired, but certainly don't leave you stranded. The wiring is pretty simple too, just 4 wires and the diagram is straight forward. We wired the dizzy to be easily removable in case of failure. The 12v switched power for the tune switch runs to the factory harness that for the condenser. We also built a mount for the switch out of some spare tin. Not super pretty, but tidy and functional.






You can see in the last photo the plug installed to cover the mini usb port. we were able to position it for easy access in the future. Installing and telling the dizzy where TDC is was simple and it seems like it has a great seal.


Dizzy installed and hooked into the computer. I had pre loaded two tunes before install:




I'm running tomebonetoo's fancy curve with really nice results. I programmed a bosch curve in and i don't like it nearly as much. I plan to use tomebonetoo's curve as a base line and fiddle with it to try to get the best curve possible. Maybe i'll succeed, maybe i won't. Either way, i'm way better off than i was before.


My buddy that helped with the install was very skeptical about this gizmo when i told him the price. After installing and seeing it fire right up and idle great he was intrigued. after driving a quick lap he was convinced and nearly raving about how good it was. It made a convert in less than an hour. It's that cool.


The old dizzy was so bad to make my car run i had to have the carb adjustments way out of wack. I can actually tune my carb now, which is exciting. I'll play with that some this weekend. I need to do a compression test too to scratch my curiosity itch.


After all that (we had done a valve adjustment too) it was pizza time. Tasty tasty pizza. If you ever find yourself in Louisville, let me know and we'll go to Spinellis.




Oh, this baby subwoofer showed up in the mail today....





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Scratched the compression test itch tonight. Tested 112, 110, 105, 112. Pretty low, but I'm hoping that could just be the Autozone rent-a-tool being off. I'll probably test again with a different tester in a few days. At least everything's consistent.


Decided to go out for a drive after dinner on some of my favorite backroads near the house. Turned the corner off a main road and spooked a deer grazing in the narrow shoulder. I saw deer face then deer tail as it turned to start running in my lane. I locked up the brakes and slammed on the horn (like that was gonna do anything) and was able to swerve halfway into the oncoming lane. Luckily no traffic and luckily the deer was accelerating a little faster than i was decelerating. I swear i felt a bump on the passenger side of the bumper, but no damage. Had there been oncoming traffic i would have run the deer down and this would be a very different post.


I wish I had my go pro on. Would have made for some awesome footage.

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Well, It's officially summer, the RGB spring drive has come and gone. Headed up to Cincinnati, OH to meet the RGB folks at FUEL! coffee. From FUEL! we headed to the Hofbrauhaus the long way....back across the river to enjoy some twisty Kentucky roads before enjoying our giant beers. It was a beautiful day and a great event.


Frogger did the 375 mile round trip wonderfully. The 123 ignition has made a huge difference in performance and economy. I used to average between 15-18MPG and this trip returned a solid 22MPG. I think it's time to find a new set of tires though, I noticed my tires loudly protesting the twisties.


Days like this are what all the pain in the ass work and dealing with problems is for.








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