The Mahoney-Tong Car Blog

ZX Door Lock

Whoever designed the zx door lock needs to have their head examined. While it’s not necessarily a bad design, it’s a PITA to access. The 240z’s door handle is equally bad if not worse. Anyway, my genius dad was getting ready to prime the door again when he realized he hadn’t changed the door lock. It still had the lock cylinder from the car that was parted out, so we had to switch it with our car’s lock.

- Jon Tong

Just Gaze

You really have to gawk at this unique beauty. While I’m not 100% sold on natural gas since it’s just another limited fuel source on our great planet Earth, this dude’s damn crafty. He’s managed to handcraft a work of art that looks as unique as it operates. The natural gas powered engine was torquey enough to push him from one side of the country to the other. I didn’t even know that was possible in the USA. It’s pretty common in other countries like Peru where it’s cheaper to convert or hybrid your car to accept natural gas and gasoline, but I had assumed the 80s natural gas movement in the USA was dead. This just goes to show the infrastructure is still probably there.

- Jon Tong

Bayline Gathering - Aug 2, 2014

I’m a few car show posts behind, but this was the last show I was in. My 240z is the last car of the video, and the event was pretty damn chill at the Oakland Marina.

- Jon Tong

Bikes Bikes Bikes

My motorcycle interest has been waning as of late with VW interest picking up and since I’ve been so busy lately. On the other hand, I’ll find a page on Facebok and spend hours cycling through their previous bike shop’s work and just admire everything they do.

- Jon Tong

Dragging Skyline
American Graffiti asked the famous question, “Where were you in 1962?” Even though it had to be taken at least a full decade later, where were you when these two Skylines were setting up a drag race?
- Jon Tong

Dragging Skyline

American Graffiti asked the famous question, “Where were you in 1962?” Even though it had to be taken at least a full decade later, where were you when these two Skylines were setting up a drag race?

- Jon Tong

Impress… with this Bentley Engine Bay
I took this screenshot from one of the latest Motortrend articles on my phone. I realize Bentley owners probably don’t really give a flying hoot about what their engine bay looks like, this is just damn ridiculous. Like who seriously inspected this engine bay and was like “Yup, that’s definitely 200,000 bucks worth!”? We all know car lovers like tuck jobs to eliminate unsightly wires from sight, but really?… This is just damn overboard.
- Jon Tong

Impress… with this Bentley Engine Bay

I took this screenshot from one of the latest Motortrend articles on my phone. I realize Bentley owners probably don’t really give a flying hoot about what their engine bay looks like, this is just damn ridiculous. Like who seriously inspected this engine bay and was like “Yup, that’s definitely 200,000 bucks worth!”? We all know car lovers like tuck jobs to eliminate unsightly wires from sight, but really?… This is just damn overboard.

- Jon Tong

Functional Vintage Motorcycle

I’ll admit that sometimes dealing with old school things aren’t fun. Points are a great example for classic cars. I hope I’m not alone when saying I really hate adjusting those pesky little ignition buggers.

Anyway, the thing that discourages a lot of people from buying or even trying out older vehicles are the nuances of archaic technology. I have a few friends that won’t mess with anything without a computer or fuel injection. “Carburetors?,” they ask, “That’s just crazy.” Meanwhile, I’m sitting there asking what is so dumbfounding about a metal box with a few holes to meter air and fuel. It’s practically the same concept as an AFM, except it’s all mechanical and no computer.

The point is that people are finally making a business of retrofitting modern tech in old era vehicles. Disk brakes on any vehicle are a must in my opinion. The same goes for electronic ignition. This Titan is just the perfect blend of an old school bike with new school tech.

- Jon Tong

Decklid Stand-offs
Big surprise, Leah’s bug is still overheating. After much research, it’s pretty annoying to find out that VW fully well knew that 2 sets of slots on the decklid were not enough to properly dissipate heat from their 1600cc boxer. It might well have been more than good enough for the smaller boxers but not for their “big” flat four. It also doesn’t help that we’re still right in the middle of a California Summer.
Before we fiddle with the thermostat and air/fuel ratio of the carbs, I decided to go for a slightly custom yet functional mod. It’s fairly common among VWs but we personally like the decklid stand-offs, and in the same hot weather have seen the oil temperature go down dramatically.
Just as a reference for anybody wondering how hot their air cooled VW motor should get, this is what I found repeatedly:
Below 180F is too cool.
180-210F is just right.
210-230F is warm and not really ideal.
Above 235F is too damn hot and can start pulling out studs, warping heads, etc.
I’ll update everybody on our thermostat adjustments in due time. From what I hear, many people just leave them off the car now, but I still want to make the stock system air cooled system work.
- Jon Tong

Decklid Stand-offs

Big surprise, Leah’s bug is still overheating. After much research, it’s pretty annoying to find out that VW fully well knew that 2 sets of slots on the decklid were not enough to properly dissipate heat from their 1600cc boxer. It might well have been more than good enough for the smaller boxers but not for their “big” flat four. It also doesn’t help that we’re still right in the middle of a California Summer.

Before we fiddle with the thermostat and air/fuel ratio of the carbs, I decided to go for a slightly custom yet functional mod. It’s fairly common among VWs but we personally like the decklid stand-offs, and in the same hot weather have seen the oil temperature go down dramatically.

Just as a reference for anybody wondering how hot their air cooled VW motor should get, this is what I found repeatedly:

Below 180F is too cool.

180-210F is just right.

210-230F is warm and not really ideal.

Above 235F is too damn hot and can start pulling out studs, warping heads, etc.

I’ll update everybody on our thermostat adjustments in due time. From what I hear, many people just leave them off the car now, but I still want to make the stock system air cooled system work.

- Jon Tong

For All Occasions

Once upon a time, the English really had the market on sporty roadsters. I don’t know if it was a typo or somebody trying to be clever, but MotorTrend’s latest list of top 20 convertibles of all time stated the Miata was the best English roadster you can buy. I’m not kidding; go check it out.

The Miata is a good car because it was designed around the English roadster formula, but let’s get one thing straight. It’s not an English roadster. Pick up an MGB, Sunbeam, Austin-Healey, Triumph, Jensen, or Jaguar if you really want an English sports car in all senses of the concept.

Sometimes, my girlfriend and others complain about getting into an old car and dealing with all the classic amenities like roll-up windows or no air conditioning. Jay Leno said it best when he said older cars just have a more intimate experience. We all know older cars are not as easily equipped to handle all conditions like more modern cars, but why not have a small collection to swap out for certain occasions?

This guy was no doubt influenced by his dad’s love of England, but his preference of three drastically different classics are awesome.

He’s got an MGB that’s light and nimble with that 1800cc four cylinder. This is an English roadster.

He’s got a Sunbeam Tiger for that lightweight, good handling, but ferocious V8. This is his Hot Rod.

And finally, He’s got a rally ready Volvo with SU carbs. This is his daily driver.

- Jon Tong

Sold on German Parts

Yo, enough with the cheap Chinese parts prone to failure. I’m usually not one to condemn Chinese parts since I buy so much on Ebay, etc, but the Chinese selection of VW parts are absolutely fucking terrible. I’m still in utter disbelief that after not even 1000 miles, we had to switch out the bearings again.

The first time I screwed up ‘cause I didn’t torque the axle nut properly. Excuse me for not realizing that a VW axle nut is supposed to be torqued to at the very least 217 lb ft. That’s ridiculous in itself but whatever. I skimped last time and needed to get “cheap” bearings and fast. In total both Chinese bearings off of Ebay cost a whopping 20 bucks. In this case, they lasted a matter of months and never felt good from the start.

This time I forked over the hefty sum of 40 something bucks for one and another 20 something for the other “FAG” bearing. Yes, “FAG” is the German brand for these stock bearings. One is manufactured in India and the other is from Korea. From the get-go though, you can already tell the difference. For the first time since we have owned this VW, that rear wheel actually feels smooth.

I stopped taking pictures of this process because frankly, I was over it. I just wanted the job to be done and even had to make a special trip to ACE hardware (the closest to my house) just to get a 4 lb sledge hammer that was overpriced. I almost wasn’t even going to blog about it, but I decided it would be best to help spread the word about cheap Chinese parts. Don’t get them.

- Jon Tong