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Posted by Mike Hornok
March 31, 2017 at 10:54 am

The 10 Best Cars to Restore

1st Gen Ford Mustang Convertible

There are seemingly endless car restoration options available for newcomers and experienced mechanics alike. But some cars stand out from the pack, whether for mechanics, available parts, resale value or available support. The Motor Bookstore presents our picks for the 10 best cars to restore:

1964-1968 Ford Mustang. With its simple mechanics, widely available parts and large support network, the first-generation Ford Mustang remains the king of car restorations and is a great first-time project. 1967-1969 Chevrolet Camaro RS. First-generation Camaros are known for being reliable, fun to drive and easy to work on. These cars share parts with same-year Pontiac Firebirds, and you can even order new bodies. 1971-1972 Pontiac GTO. While all GTOs are great restore candidates, the later second-generation models are more affordable. Interest from collectors is increasing for this classic car, giving it a high resale value. 1968-1970 AMC AMX. This muscle/sports car hybrid was one of the best handling cars of its era. Less than 20,000 were produced, so parts may be hard to find, but the final product is….

Posted by Mike Hornok
February 18, 2017 at 12:20 pm

Automotive Air Conditioner Recharging Steps, Tips and Strategies Overview

When it’s 95 degrees on a July afternoon, the last thing you need is for your vehicle’s air conditioning vents to blow warm air. Tiny amounts of refrigerant leak from your A/C system lines over time, and this eventually adds up to subpar cooling. With this step-by-step guide, you’ll learn how to recharge your existing A/C system and restore great cooling performance.

Do it Yourself Car Air Conditioner Recharge

Source: Haynes 10425 – Automotive Heating & Air Conditioning Guide

WHAT YOU’LL NEED: 1-2 12 oz. cans of R-134a refrigerant (for vehicles 1994 and newer); one refrigerant dispenser with pressure gauge and trigger; one pair of goggles

After putting on the goggles, insert one can of refrigerant into the bottom of the dispenser and screw it in until tight. Locate the fill port for the A/C system. This is usually on the left side of the engine bay, protruding from the firewall, and has a small plastic lid with….

Posted by Mike Hornok
January 23, 2017 at 9:13 pm

Battery versus Alternator: Which One is Bad?

Batteries and alternators go together like peanut butter and jelly, with the battery starting the vehicle and the alternator charging the battery. But if the vehicle suddenly won’t start, how can you tell which one has gone bad? The Motor Bookstore looks at how to test your battery and alternator so you’ll know which needs to be replaced.

Battery versus Alternator: Which One is Bad?

Engine Bay: Photo by BradleyOlin

The battery

You should always start by checking the battery, because this is easier both to check and replace. An early sign your battery is going dead is if you hear a low whining sound when you start the vehicle. If it’s gotten to the point where it won’t start, there are a few diagnostic options. After jump-starting the vehicle, let it run for 20-30 minutes; if the vehicle won’t start again after turning it off, the battery is no longer holding a charge.

Some vehicles have a….

Posted by Mike Hornok
December 19, 2016 at 11:04 pm

How to Tell if Your Fuel Pump is Bad – Tips and Strategies

Having a full tank of fuel doesn’t do any good if it can’t get to your vehicle’s engine, which is where your fuel pump comes in. But like any mechanical part, a fuel pump won’t last forever. These tips and warning signs will help you determine if the fuel pump needs to be replaced on your vehicle.

How to Tell if Your Fuel Pump Is Bad

1986 Bronco II Fuel Pump Assembly – Photo by Marion Doss

You hear a whining or howling noise from the fuel tank. Electric fuel pumps make a clicking or buzzing sound when they’re functioning normally. Whining, howling and whirring are early signs the pump is going south. Your vehicle suddenly “surges” when moving at consistent speed. You’re driving at 35 mph, and your vehicle suddenly speeds up to 40 mph even though you didn’t press any harder on the gas pedal. It could be ghosts in the machine – or a sign your fuel pump has….

Posted by Mike Hornok
December 17, 2016 at 12:56 pm

Vehicle Service Manuals: OEM vs. DIY Aftermarket

So you’ve decided to learn more about your vehicle, and are looking for the best manual you can find. But where do you start? You’d like to get an original factory manual – but is a less expensive aftermarket DIY manual from Haynes, Chilton, or Clymer exactly what you need? The Motor Bookstore examines the upside of each.

OEM Versus DIY Aftermarket Vehicle Service Manuals

OEM/factory manuals

OEM, or “original equipment manufacturer” manuals, offers the most information you can find about your vehicle. They’re written by the company that built the vehicle and are aimed at professional technicians and advanced mechanics. Different types of OEM manuals can include service manuals, wiring manuals, unit repair manuals and owner’s manuals. These manuals are usually hundreds and even thousands of pages. While they can be expensive and harder to find for older vehicles, and the sheer amount of information can be overwhelming for newcomers, they’re an invaluable resource to….

Posted by Mike Hornok
November 5, 2016 at 4:57 pm

Things to Consider Before You Attempt to Rebuild an Engine

Rebuilding an engine can be a great way to keep your favorite vehicle on the road, and also gives you the satisfaction of doing your own repair work. But it can also be a challenging, time-consuming task and isn’t for everyone. Whether you’re a first-timer or an experienced mechanic, consider the following questions before you attempt an engine rebuild:

Rebuilding an Engine - Things to Consider

Does the engine really need to be rebuilt?

There are three primary reasons to rebuild an engine: loss of compression, excessive oil consumption and excessive oil clearances. But like any symptom, there are multiple potential causes. For example, excessive oil burning could be caused by stuck oil rings – or you could just need a $6 PCV valve. Therefore, it’s important to thoroughly test your engine first to make sure a rebuild is necessary.

Does it make sense to fix it?

This is ultimately a personal choice and depends on factors such as the overall vehicle condition, how much longer you want to keep it on the road, and the cost of a….

Posted by K. Michael Williams
July 16, 2016 at 4:11 pm

Muscle Car Clocks Make Great Gifts for Muscle Car Collectors, Rebuilders and Enthusiasts

Muscle car clocks are for the lovers of the Chevy Chevelle, the Ford Torino and the AMC Javelin. Whether you own one of these beauties or spend your time dreaming you’ll have one, I believe a clock that celebrates history’s most masculine vehicles should always be just above eye level. A constant reminder of how beautiful life would be if we could stay on the road.

Lighted Muscle Car Clocks - Nova, Corvette, Cuda, Chevelle, Camaro

If I owned a muscle car about the only thing I’d give it up for is family. And that would be one heck of a struggle. I mean it. If a horde of flesh-devouring zombies were about to put their dirty hands on my dream car (a detailed 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 429), I’d stand my ground, flailing my arms like windmills. As the ghouls dragged me down, as they dug into my flesh, I’d go out pushing the crowd back from the….

Posted by Mike Hornok
February 29, 2016 at 8:48 pm

AAA isn’t the only show in town these days. Thanks to a competitive market and a determination to draw in consumers, everyone and his mother is offering roadside assistance programs, including dealerships, cell phone providers, auto clubs and credit card companies. This is actually great news. Nothing ruins your day more than being stuck on the side of the road with a flat, a stalled engine or being in the middle of nowhere with an empty tank.

How to Pick the Best Roadside Assistance Program

Now, the Motor Bookstore is about empowerment for car owners. Our library is filled with manuals about how to save money and getting yourself out of vehicular jams. But even we’d admit our best Haynes manual can’t help in every situation. That’s why everyone should look for the best roadside assistance program.

But, considering the market, which one? Your dealer or triple-A? The one that costs less but has the tendency of leaving you waiting for hours in….

Posted by Mike Hornok
January 19, 2016 at 10:22 pm

The Toyota Corolla. Believe it or don’t, even in a world of Jags and BMWs, it’s one of the most popular cars in the world. In 1997, the model was the globe’s best selling vehicle, taking the place of the perennial VW Beetle. In July 2013, there were 11 generations of the Corolla and over 40 million people were enjoying them.

Toyota Corolla Repair: 5 Tips to Reduce Costs

It’s a dream machine for anyone interested in a sleek, well-designed and compact ride with exceptional fuel economy and a sizable cabin. Since the mid-1960s and throughout its many adjustments, the Corolla remains an affordable and reliable investment.

Like any car, Toyota Corolla repair and maintenance is a must. The cost and time that goes into the process makes a lot more sense than the cost and time that will be required if you don’t. The repercussions of not regularly managing your car is going to cost you, devalue your Corolla and, at worst, result in one of the thousands of accidents that happen every year….

Posted by Mike Hornok
November 30, 2015 at 10:02 pm

5 Things to Remember For Your 1st Gen Camaro Interior Restoration

Believe it or not, the Camaro was originally and quickly designed as competition to the Mustang and was the automaker’s response to the Baby Boomer’s personal coupe revolution. To everyone’s surprise, the result was a revelation. A car classically proportioned and lean, muscular without being brash, with an European flavor but obvious American expression. No other car before — or since — has had quite the aesthetic as the first generation Camaro.

1st Gen Camaro Interor Restoration - Custom
If you’re one of the lucky few with keys to a first-gen Camaro, you’re probably spending time keeping it classy, especially that cabin. From radios to sun visors and sport seats, you want that interior to shine.

There are two basic projects for the first-gen Camaro interior restoration. For the purist, there’s the original restoration, which is the process of meticulously returning the cabin to the manufacturer designed state. And for the owner that likes to put a personalized spin on everything, you have the….