Author Archives: bowtie6

2020 Mileage Roundup

Coming to you on a rainy and dreary New Year’s Day 2021, with the previous mileage roundup for the fleet.  Thanks to the pandemic, 2020 was not the greatest to report outings for any members of the stable.  Good for saving money on fuel and wear-and-tear, but cars are made for driving and this was no fun.

I just realized I did not post totals for 2018 and 2019, so i’ll include them here for good measure.

RedRock

This is sad – my 2014 Camaro didn’t see much of the road this year.  With lockdown in place and working from home, didn’t get a chance to get out much…

2014 Camaro SS – RedRock

QuickSilver

Well I suppose this makes my AP1 S2000 more valuable…  It didn’t get driven at all in 2020.  But, I am not quite ready yet to let her go.  Have you seen what nice S2K’s are going for on BAT these days!  Yikes!!

2003 Honda S2000 – QuickSilver

bowtie6

I feel bad for poor old bowtie6.  Hardly driven in 2020.  The RedTop Optima took quite a hit during lockdown – it suffered loss of charge.  So much so, I had to get a battery tender.  I have written about it here:  NOCO Genius10 Battery Charger Review

1972 Triumph TR6 – bowtie6

Finally, some dashboard pictures:

Good Riddance 2020

With 2021 ahead, lets just hope things turn out better for us all.  With vaccines on the horizon I try to be optimistic about 2021.  Sure would be nice to be able to return to some sort of normalcy.  However, the reality is things are still not well not only here in America but in the rest of the world.

Flipping channels last night, I did get to see folks celebrating the New Year in New Zealand where according to the news, covid does not pose a threat.  I reckon folks there had a more unified and caring approach than the rest of us…  Maybe there is hope…

Happy New Year and be safe…

Improve the Factory Triumph TR6 Courtesy Light

LED festoon bulb on the bottom, original on the top

In this article, I’ll describe how to improve the factory Triumph TR6 courtesy light.  On the original 1971 Triumph TR6 there is only one courtesy light – I talked about that in the previous article and now, I’ll show you the results of how to improve the courtesy lights with not one, but two.

I used two courtesy light housing mounted on the kick panels on both footwells.  You can see that in the picture above.  Since I changed all lights on bowtie6 with LED’s, I thought about improving the dim bulbs originally fitted to the courtesy lights.  Sure enough, there are replacement festoon bulbs with LED’s.  The difference is dramatic; the LED’s are just so much brighter

36mm festoon bulbs

Just one note of caution:  there are numerous sized festoon bulbs.  The ones that fit the TR6 courtesy light mount are 36mm in size.  As you can see in the picture above, these even come with a heat sink on the back.  They are so bright I had to angle them down a little towards the bottom of the bulb holder.  They work great!

Wiring the lights

I spent a few hours putting all this together today.  And the result is quite impressive.  I’m pleased…

First, the passenger side.  Here you can see the new light on.  I want to show this picture first because it includes part of interior fuse pane.  You can see the bottom 10 amp fuse; that is new.  When we fitted the Ecotec in bowtie6, I ended up re-wiring the whole car.  This fuse panel holds all the circuits inside the cab.  There is another one in the trunk as well as the main panel under the hood.  I had left one fuse slot with a constant “hot” for the courtesy lights.  And this finally got wired up today.  In case you want to see more about this, check out bowtie6‘s Custom Wiring – Inside the Cab (if you look close, you can see this same fuse panel with the missing circuit!).

Here is the driver’s side with the new light turned off.  This picture is misleading as hell though.  I took these pictures with my new iPhone12 and I must say, the camera is simply amazing.  It compensated for the low light big-time.

Here, we have the new light on.  The LED festoon bulb sure is worth it.  And I must say, they are cheap.  They are just a smidge over a $1 each.

I had these Coco mats custom made; missed the heel pad by a few inches – you can see the wear just ahead of the pad

One more showing the bottom of the dash.  “What is that cutout on the dash for?”, you ask…  That is part bowtie6‘s Tilt Steering.

And, what does the passenger’s side look like?  Take a look…

I need to get new Coco mats! The red dots have faded. Then again, they are about 15 years old…

Yeah, its been long overdue, but the result is pretty cool.

Remember I mentioned the new iPhone12?  Just for kicks, I stepped out in the garage, turned off all lights and flipped the light switch to the “on” position and took this picture.  Note the doors are both shut but the lights are on.  Each light has a little switch.  It took me quite some time to figure this out, but the way I wired this up, the lights will operate in either way:

  • With either door open – so opening the passenger and/or driver door will turn the lights on
  • With both doors closed –  by sliding the switch to “on”.  And if you do this, both lights will light up.

Yeah… That’s an HSR sticker on the back glass of the hard top.

Except for making the picture smaller, this picture has not been edited.  It has been a good day.

Stay safe people!

Triumph TR6 Courtesy Light

The factory Triumph TR6 courtesy light is originally installed on a plinth, mounted on the driveshaft tunnel cover between the seats, toward the back.  Unfortunately, the new driveshaft cover in bowtie6 is different from the original and the plinth does not fit so well.

Since the two floorboard kick panels are scratch built, I figured why not mount a courtesy light on each one.  I had this all working after I wired the car up for the first time, but when I installed the Ecotec, all that came out because I had to build a new fuse panel.  I left the lights on the kick panels, but never wired them up.

 

The reason I never wired this back up was the lack of a proper 12v source to test with.  Sure, take the battery out, put some leads on it and test away.  Too much trouble.  Well, remember that NOCO Genius 10 Battery Charger that I bought earlier this year?  It has a setting that supplies 12v to the terminals.  You can see the little red 12v light below…

I wired up the circuit and voila, after a few tries, got it working…

You can see in the photo above, the terminals, my buggered up wiring and the two lights in action.  Job done!

Well…  Not so fast.  Two problems came up.

First Problem

My original wiring worked well, but my initial solution did not take into account the fact you can flip a little switch on each light to turn it on when the doors are shut.

Duh!  After scratching my head a little, all it took was a few tests with my multimeter and now I have the proper wiring on paper.

Second Problem

When I wired bowtie6 up, I used WeatherPack connectors for everything.  All terminals were crimped, soldered and covered with shrink wrap (where necessary).  You can see the three terminal WeatherPack connector in the photo above on my kick panels.  All this was put together at my cousin Jim’s shop – he has a whole array of wire, connectors and terminals.  Since I have a few other circuits to rework, I needed a small kit of Weather Pack’s rather than ordering in bulk.  This is where I found CustomConnectorKits and placed an order for one of their smaller kits.

If you are a regular here, you know I very seldom “plug” anyone.  These folks were gracious enough to send me my kit priority mail (I did not ask for that) so this is my way of thanking them for the super fast service.  I will have my kit in the next couple of days!  This is highly appreciated.

The next step will be to add a new circuit to the fusebox with a constant 12v supply and make up my connectors using my new Weather Pack ends.  In the middle of doing my research, I found replacement LED festoon bulbs – they will be certainly brighter and won’t get hot.  There is a set of these bulbs on the way too.

I have some time off from work in the next few days, so I’ll be putting this all together next.  I’ll have an update article soon.

As always, be safe…

Habanero Pepper Jam

For the past few years, I have been planting a small garden in my back yard.  I started with a small planter box and through the years, i’ve added three more.  I don’t get too elaborate, mainly eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini, squash, herbs and a few hot pepper plants.

This year, thanks to Covid the majority of the plants came from Burpee – they were shipped a little late because everybody in America decided on planting a garden but it was all good. The Burpee plants did very well, but I still needed my hot peppers.  The peppers came from Lowe’s, where I bought one Habanero pepper plant, one Tabasco pepper plant and one Havasu pepper plant.

One of my favorite hot peppers are Habaneros – they are hot as hell and they really make you feel alive when you cut one up and added to some salsa or eat it in tiny bites.  This year, I planted my Habanero plant in a small pot, with some fresh potting soil.  This little plant has been awesome:  I’ve picked dozens of peppers and they are especially hot.

But, what to do with a bountiful harvest of Habanero peppers?  Well, the answer is Habanero Jam. I found a great Habanero Pepper Jam recipe that really works.  I won’t go into all the details because they have already been covered in that link – but suffice to say, the result is amazing.  The Habanero pepper jam comes out with plenty of kick.  Very satisfying, just hot enough to make you come back for more.  So far, i’ve made three batches.  The first two batches I made according to the recipe but I deviated a bit on batch number three.

The “base” recipe yields four 8-ounce Mason jars of goodness.  You will have a little bit extra, enough to be used the day you make the batch.  The recipe calls for 1/2 pound of Habanero peppers – about 15-20 peppers depending on size.

But first, some words of CAUTION.  Habaneros are weapons-grade peppers.  You must handle them with care, in a well ventilated area.  I cut mine in the patio, wearing disposable gloves.  The peppers must be cut and cleaned before cooking – I removed all seeds as well as the inside membrane.

To make things exciting, I’ve added a handful of Tabasco peppers.  You can see in the picture above, the little red peppers.  These peppers don’t have the kick of the Habaneros, but they are quite hot.  I also removed the seeds by cutting the tip and pushing them out.  Basically, they add a little red to the end result.

And finally, I added three Havasu peppers.  These peppers taste like bell peppers but have a small kick of heat.  They add color as well.

I added one more ingredient to today’s mix.  A couple of nice mangoes…

All this goes in a food processor and that gets pulsed a few times until you have a smooth consistency.  Again CAUTION:  the fumes after processing the peppers can take your breath away – just be careful.  This mixture is potent!

From here you follow Canning 101 steps…

  • Sterilize the jars
  • Fill them up using a wide funnel (can’t do this without it)
  • Handle the jars with special tongs

Adding the two mangos increased the yield – this time I got 7 jars instead of just 4.  It also gave the jam a fuller body.  Adding the mango turned out just great!

I’ve tried the jam on baked salmon – it was awesome.  Also tried it on a pork chop and it was really good.  Finally, take a Ritz cracker, add a little bit of cream cheese and top it off with Habanero jam, for a real treat.  
Finally, one last trick:  Once the Mason jar lids “pop”, start turning the jars end over end a few times.  Do this until the jam sets up and it will ensure an even distribution of the contents.  Otherwise, the bits will tend to float to the top.

All that is left, is enjoy!

As always, hope all is well with you during these weird times.  Be safe!

2014 Camaro Tail Lights

My 2014 Camaro SS

The 2014 Camaro tail lights are mounted in a way to allow water on either side of the trunk to freely flow and exit under the rear bodywork.  Two plastic covers finish off the installation and give a nice appearance, however their design is piss-poor.

But first, why did I remove the rear tail light plastic covers to begin with?  Turns out, I recently washed my 2014 Camaro SS and noticed not only a handsome scratch but also a dent on the tip of the rear driver’s side fender.

That should buff out…

Thanks to Covid, my driving has been reduced dramatically and I just can’t place where this damage happened.  I am very anal when it comes to this type of thing, so I made a few phone calls and found a local paintless dent repair shop not far from my home.  I visited the shop and after a few minutes, the fellow said “no problem, we can fix the damage”.  I was not too thrilled about the price, but hey, the fellow at the repair shop has to make a living.

Back to the plastic covers…

Here is the driver’s side covers before removal.  They are held in place with three of those expanding plastic tabs – the damn things are a pain to remove.  As you can see, the plastic cover is designed to direct water (and any debris) to flow under it.  And there lies the design issue…

This is what the cavity looks like, and you can now see the problem.  This area is a magnet for dust, debris, pollen, you name it.  I pulled out two good hand fulls of crap from here.  I can see in the future one day, folks finding major rust areas in this cavity.

And so, i’ve learned the hard way to keep this area clean.  I will make a point to keep this area clean by removing the covers more frequently.  After a quick search on eBay I found a vendor that sells the plastic clips for not much money.  Those things are so easy to break. so I will have a few replacements going forward.

How did the dent removal go?  Pleased to say it was worth every penny.  They found a couple of other places that needed attention and I could not be happier.  Amazing what they can do!

Life continues in our new “normal”.  F1 is back – yay! – sure is nice to watch it again.  There is some close racing, just wish some of the other teams were closer to the Mercs.  HAM is great but it would be nice to see others reach the podium.  Then again, there is some great racing in the midfield.

I just finished reading “Countdown 1945: The Extraordinary Story Of The Atomic Bomb And The 118 Days That Changed The World”.  Once you get past the opening pages, the book reads very fast and is amazing.

Here are in no particular order some take aways…

Harry Truman had no clue of the Manhattan Project at the time of FDR’s death.  After assuming office, Truman meets with War Secretary Henry Stimson and General Leslie Groves (director of the Manhattan Project and incidentally overseer of the construction of The Pentagon) and in in 45 minutes is briefed about the tool that will end WWII.  I sincerely doubt modern-day politicians would have the ability to do that.  And on top of that, the ultimate decision to use the new weapon in 118 days.  Think about that…

Of course, the book explains in detail the 509th Composite Group and the man in charge of it: General Paul Tibbets.  Quite a few years ago, Paul Tibbets hosted a talk here in Greenville SC.  I made it a point to attend and after the presentation ended, I took the time to stay so I could shake his hand.  I remember he talked about the effort and determination on what had to be done and how that altered the course of the war.  As a result of the talk, I made it a point to go see the Enola Gay as well as Bockscar.

And finally, the book discussed the predictions the War Department made regarding casualties from an all-out invasion of Japan.  This hit very close to home…  My Dad didn’t talk much about his service during WWII but every now and again, he would break his silence.  A few years before he passed, we took a road trip to the AirForce Museum at Wright-Patterson AFB and that is where we saw Bockscar.  On the way back home, Dad explained how he was on leave in mid-1945 after serving in Germany.  He had been told by his superiors to enjoy the time off and get his shit together, because if needed he would be part of the invasion force against Japan.  Dad then told me the casualty predictions were better than 50%.  That is what this book mentioned.

I’ll have another update soon on my next book…  Stay safe.