10,000!!!

Ry The Car guy just made it to 10,000 subscribers!

If you are here reading this then you are more than just an average viewer. You are what makes this channel special and I cannot thank you enough for being such a huge part of this.

A few years ago I bought an SUV that had a lot of issues. I knew that I could not be the only one experiencing these problems so I grabbed my (cheap ass) camera and just recorded the first few jobs. I remember being so excited after posting those videos and getting my very first subscriber. I could not believe that someone was interested enough in my content to actually want to watch more! Now those same few videos have close to 300,000 combined views.

I know in the grand scheme of things on You Tube 10,000 subscribers is relatively small but it’s still a great milestone. It means that the channel is growing and is as healthy as ever. I cannot wait to keep making content that entertains, educates, and excites all of you.

Thanks again and keep a look out for the next video!

If you want to go back and take a look at my first ever video here it is. It was recorded three years ago as of yesterday… enjoy!

 

Taking a Short Break

A while back I mentioned that I need to move back to Florida. If you watch my videos you know that I just cannot stand the cold winters of Michigan. So a few months ago I started looking for a place down south and signed a lease about 3 weeks ago in the Orlando area. I have been creating content and stock piling it so I can release it during my move. I hope to only have a few weeks of gap while I get settled in and will hopefully be back to making videos on a regular basis shortly.  Below are some things that I am hoping to accomplish in future videos:

– Painting the trim on the X

– Painting the rims on the X

– Installing off-road lights on the X

-Install seat heaters in the X?

– Vinyl wrapping parts of the 300

– Cabin filter replacement on the 300

– Radio install on 2005 Mustang

– More radio reviews

– Car Review of the X

I am really looking forward to returning to the tropics. I will be able to make videos throughout the winter and not be stopped any incredibly crappy weather. I’ll be making the move in just a few more weeks and I hope to be seeing you soon from down in sunny Florida!

RADIO GIVEAWAY

For the month of June I will be conducting my first ever giveaway! This is something that I have been working toward and hope to continue to do in the future.

Now, I know its nothing fancy this time around but the main goal of this first giveaway is to create the infrastructure to support this and future giveaways. I was really surprised to find out how much goes into these things. You need of course a submission form, a full list of official rules, and a website privacy policy. You need to create all of this while following the giveaway rules of YouTube and any social media platforms that you promote it on.

On the bright side now that I have this built I can quickly create new giveaways for your guys to hopefully win!

This time around it is the radio that was in my Xterra. I recently bought a new radio and created a comprehensive video on how to install it into the X (you can find that here). The radio that’s was in there is in excellent condition and I decided that instead of selling it I should give it away to my viewers!

If you are interested in this giveaway you can find all of the details here. Sorry but this one is only open to US residents over 18 mostly due to dealing with international giveaway rules and also international shipping.

Thanks so much for being part of RTCG and good luck!

VVT Soleniods (and regretting past decisions)

Not too long ago I created a video on replacing the valve covers on the Xterra. While I was making that video I was trying to get a nice clear shot of the mating surface between the cover and the top of the motor. To do that I removed the Intake Valve Timing Control Solenoid Valve. What I didn’t realize at the time was that I was creating a huge problem for myself. When I took off the valve I saw that the gasket was in bad shape.

The problem was not that the gasket was bad. It was that I reused it….

Now hear me out, I know that its a cardinal rule to never reuse a gasket (unless they are reusable) but these are not the types of mating surfaces you can quickly throw some gasket maker onto and call it a day. This gasket was small, intricate, and could only be obtained by custom order. So in the moment I had my engine torn apart, cameras and lights all set up, and a video to finish. I decided to cross my fingers and put it back the way it was.

Fast forward a few months, I am driving down the road and I can smell burning oil. I knew almost immediately that my poor decision had caught up with me. I get home, park the X, and see that its smoking!! I quickly open the hood to make sure that its not actually on fire.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was happy to find that it was just some oil smoking after dropping onto the exhaust manifold, however I knew it was time to stop driving the X and get these gaskets ordered and replaced. I found what part I needed by heading over to https://parts.nissanusa.com and searching for valve solenoid. I found what I needed pretty quickly.

I called Nissan and I determined that they were only $1.31 ! I was pleasantly surprised as I was expecting it to be like 20 bucks.. So I bought a few, just in case since they are the same for both sides anyway..

The job itself was not that big of a deal on the driver side bank. The other side required that I remove the intake manifold which if you have ever done it then you know what a huge pain it can be….

In retrospect its easy to say that I should have just left my car in 50 pieces, ordered the part, waited for it to come in, then replace it when finishing up the other job. However, sometimes we gotta do what we gotta do. But hey, look at the bright side, it was another opportunity to make video for all of you out there!

Thanks for reading.

I Think I Need To Move Back

A year ago today I was driving up to Michigan from Florida. Schlepping all of my earthly possessions across the country for the sake of being with my family again. I grew up in Michigan and spent the majority of my life here. The state has a ton to offer. Amazing cities, great culture, and if you have not been in the great lakes then you are totally missing out. Additionally, I told myself that I knew how bad it could get here in the winters because I lived though 26 of them. All I can say now is how easy it is to forget when you are away for a few years.

Now I know that Florida has its faults. Like tons of completely crazy people, traffic of biblical proportions, and things like hurricanes. However, none of that compares to spending more than half of your year in a depressingly frigid winter wasteland. Michiganders will try to convince you that the winter is not that bad or that it does not last that long. In response to that I would like to show you this photo I took of my back yard on April 10th. 

That’s right! APRIL 10th.  I would like to humbly remind you that April is the 4th month of the year. Michigan has had shitty weather from November to April. Aside from annoying the hell out of me this weather presents me with another, much bigger issue.

Making car repair videos in this weather is just terrible…

My garage is filthy, soaking wet, and 0 degrees when I try to go work on cars. Not only does this completely sap my motivation but it make jobs 10 times as difficult. Since it is now April and the weather is still complete shit, over a quarter of 2018 is gone and I have only been able to eek out a few videos. Add that to the multiple months at the end of 2017 and almost half a year has gone by and I’m simply not able to create content. Personally I hate this. I absolutely love making videos and helping out the automotive community. I really need to live in a place that is going to be conducive to making videos and not in a place that is constantly fighting against it.

Therefore I think I need to move back to Florida. I don’t know when its going to happen but I know that its going to be before next winter. I love my family but at the end of the day I cannot willingly sacrifice my happiness and productivity for 50% of the year, every… single… year….

So to all my Florida fans and friends, I’ll be seeing you soon! Thanks for reading.

Now here is a few amazing things about each state!

Michigan

Florida

  • St. Augustine – Americas oldest city (not kidding). Packed with culture, breweries, distilleries, and a fort! http://www.oldcity.com/
  • Key West – Home to some of the weirdest and most awesome people in the world. Shipwrecks, beaches, lost treasure?! What more do you want? http://keywest.com/
  • Disney – You don’t need to be a kid to appreciate this place. Tons to do, tons to see. Just an all around great place. Oh, and if you think you’ve been to Disney because you went to Disney land in Cali, I’m sorry but your wrong… https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/
  • Beaches – Frequently rated as the best beaches in the country, FL has over 800 miles of them and they are great http://www.visitflorida.com/en-us/florida-beaches.html Oh and people are STILL finding buried treasure on them from old ship wrecks, how cool is that?!?

Adjusting Your Headlights

Sometimes our headlights get out of whack. Whether its because you got into an accident and need to replace the lamp, or maybe you just lean against it too much while drinking beers. Regardless of why, adjusting your headlights is a pretty simple task in the Xterra. The hardest and most important part of this job is ensuring that you set the job up correctly. Here’s what you will need.

  • Your Truck…
  • Some sort of adjustment screen that you will project your lights on. This could be a garage door, a wall, or something you create (like I had to)
  • a long flat area next to your adjustment screen (40ish feet of it)
  • A ratchet to adjust the lamp
  • Tape

When I say you need a flat area I mean it needs to be FLAT. Like completely, utterly, totally level. If you do not have a level surface to place your truck on then you might want to wait until you find a place to perform this adjustment. The reason this is so important is that the adjustment length alone is 25ft. So if you truck is just slightly tilted or on a slope, that tilt or slope will be greatly exaggerated over the distance of the adjustment area. In fact, the manual I am using says you need to fill the gas tank, make sure the fluids are filled to the proper level, tires are inflated, spare tire is in place, ensure there is no additional load in the truck, and that the equivalent weight of the driver is in the drivers seat. Now technically most of these things should already be accomplished. You should always be checking your fluids and tire pressure, and your spare tire should always be in place. I do understand the fuel tank since its in the rear of the truck the difference in weight could make a difference. Anyway, moving on.

Once you have your truck and screen in place, measure the distance between the ground and the actual blub in the lamp. Once you have that measurement you need to mark that same height on your adjustment screen and put the top edge of your tap at that height. When you are ready, turn on your low beams, find your adjustment screws on the back of the lamps and make sure they are at 0 degrees. They will be on the lower portion of the light.

Then, take your ratchet and adjust your beam until the top of the beam is on the top of your tape line on your adjustment screen. This means that for the first 25 feet of your light beam should be exactly level. Here is the layout from the manual.

 

 

 

 

 

  • 1 is the wall or screen you are using to project your beam onto
  • 2 is of course the blub in your lamp
  • D is your distance you want to be from your screen which again is 25 ft.
  • C is the point at which the top of your beam should lie on your adjustment screen (the same height as your headlight from the ground)
  • A and B are the variance you can have once you start getting past 25 ft. here are the variances
    • A  Minimum -3.3 mm (-0.13 in) 0.025° up
    • B Maximum 36.6 mm (1.44 in) 0.275° down

As far as the horizontal adjustments I have some bad news. There are none.. If your lamp is shooting light way off to the left or right then there is something wrong with your lamp (or the sub frame it mounts to).

So that’s it! The set up of this job is twice as difficult as the actual adjustment but all in all its pretty easy. Not to beat a dead horse but again just make sure your tuck it LEVEL. That’s the most important part of this job. If everything is level then your adjustments should be good!

One more thing. If you live in an area where they love to regulate every little tiny thing then you might want to refer to local regulations in your area as it pertains to headlights.

Thanks for reading!

RTCG Car List

Not too long ago I mentioned in one of my videos that I would share the list of vehicles that I have owned in my life. Its no surprise that I am an avid car buyer, however some of the choices I have made in car buying might surprise you. Allow me to show you the list and I’ll explain some things after you have gotten to chance to take a look at it.

Make 

Model 

Year 

Audi TT 2001
Buick Lesabre 1998
BMW Z4 2009
Chevy Cavalier 1994
Chevy G 10 1982
Chevy Aveo 2006
Chevy Cruze 2017
Chrysler Cirrus 1998
Chrysler 300 2012
Chrysler 300 2011
Dodge Neon 1996
Dodge Stratus 2002
Dodge RAM 2500 2005
Ford F150 1993
Ford Mustang 1995
Ford Ranger 1999
Ford F150 2014
Ford Festiva 1991
Ford Fiesta 2014
Honda cb750k 1980
Honda GL 1100 1980
Honda Rebel 2006
Honda CB 500 2013
Honda CB 500 2013
Hyundai Genesis 2013
Jeep Cherokee 1994
Jeep Cherokee 1997
Jeep Commander 2010
Jeep Wrangler 2006
Jeep Wrangler 1994
Jeep Wrangler 2004
Kia Soul 2013
Lexus Rx330 2004
Lincoln Zephyr 2006
Lincoln Town Car 2004
Mazda Miata 2000
Mercedes GLK 250 2014
Nissan Xterra 2005
Nissan Leaf 2013
Plymouth Neon 1995
Plymouth Neon 1998
Porsche Boxster 2001
Saturn SL 2 1994
Scion Tc 2006
Scion Xb 2008
Suzuki Kingquad 1984
Suzuki Quad Runner 1982
Toyota Rav 4 1996
Toyota Truck 1980
Toyota Yaris 2008
VW Jetta 2009
Yahama xs 650 1978
Yahama Zuma 125 2009

This list is a bit long to go through one by one but here are some fun facts.
– 53 total vehicles
– 22 different brands
– I have owned sedans more than any other style of car by far
-The brands I have owned the most are Ford and Jeep. 6 of each brand.
-I have owned slightly more domestic cars at 29 domestic and 24 foreign (I counted Mazda as foreign).

Next I want to talk about the top 3 cars that I have loved and why.

-My all time favorite car that I have owned is the Chrysler 300. You may have seen the article I wrote on it. Ever since it came out I have been in love with this car. I feel like it has an excellent design, plenty of power, its packed full of features, and its not crazy expensive. 

 

-My next favorite was the Jeep Commander. The car was a relative failure for Chrysler but there was just so much to love about it. It looked like the Cherokee on steroids,  sleek industrial design on the interior,  the immaculate HEMI heart in it, you can jam yourself and 6 other friends in it when you need to move the masses, and it was still a capable off road vehicle. Damn it, I loved that car.

-The next would be the Wrangler/Cherokee. I am putting these together because I have owned 5 of these cars and they all had the same drivetrain and legendary AMC straight 6. These are a incredibly capable vehicles, really fun to drive, and with the wrangler you can take off the top! What more could you want?

 

Honorable mentions: The Nissan Xterra, the Nissan LEAF, and the Mercedes GLK250.

Next are 3 cars that I HATED didn’t love so much and why.

-First on this list would have to be the Toyota Yaris. Now I cannot say this was a terrible car. We never had any mechanical problems with it and it drove fine. However it felt so cheap, tinny, and generic that it was downright boring. Combine that with the horrific buying experience we had at the Toyota dealership and the constant decline of Toyotas design and quality makes me pretty miffed with Yota. No picture here, trust me you don’t want to look at it. 

-The BMW is second on this list but for very different reasons from the Yaris. The BMW drove great, felt well built, and its a seriously good looking car. The one we bought was only a few years old with less that 60k on it. However, 2 days into ownership it developed a oil leak. This was the beginning of a chain of problems that ended with the BMW dealership refusing to take the car in on trade!! We owned the car for 40 days. during those 40 days the car was in the shop for 19 of them and I ended up dumping the car to third party dealership for a huge loss. Frankly, the car was a total piece of shit and BMW is completely dead to me…

-In the same “dead to me” category is Lexus. The number one most hated car I have ever owned is the Lexus RX330. Back in the day we bought a 2004 RX330 as a CPO with less than 30k miles on it. Shortly after purchase the transmission started having issues shifting into gear. After MONTHS of problems and countless visits to the service center Lexus agreed to put in a new transmission. It was a $10k job that the CPO warranty covered. The car drove fine for about 3 weeks and the problems started right back up. Long story short, we ended up going through the arbitration process with Lexus and losing. After less that a year of ownership I ended up dumping it for a $14k loss and the dealer who we traded it into said “you know.. there is something wrong with this transmission…”

Not so honorable mentions: Chevy Cavalier, Lincoln Town Car, and the VW Jetta.

All in all I don’t regret most of the above purchases. I learned so much about how to work on a wide array of cars. It also allowed me to experience what ownership is like on a myriad of different styles and brands of cars.

So how many cars have you owned? Which ones were your favorite? Which ones were your not so favorite?

Let me know in the comments below.

 

 

Why I am done bringing my car to repair shops!

About 5 weeks ago the wrangler wouldn’t start. It was 3 degrees outside and all it did was crank and crank. We tried a few times and decided to forget it and deal with it later. Well, as we waited the temps kept getting lower and lower. The idea of diagnosing and repairing a car in sub zero temperatures sounding like pure torture.

So I hopped on yelp and looked for the highest rated car repair shop that was close by. I found a place that I was happy with and called a tow truck company. A few hours later the Jeep was off to the doctors to get all fixed up.

A few days later I get a call to let me know the diagnosis. He said that he got it to run but repairs need to be done:

The spark plugs being used are not correct for this type of motor. This lead to it not starting in the cold. Since you tried to start the motor a few times you flooded it out. Since you flooded it out there is now gas in the oil and there is excess gas in the cylinders. Also, the wrong spark plugs damaged you coil pack and that needs to be replaced now. You total will be $1350.

$1350!!!!! that’s dollars, not pesos!

So unsurprisingly this was quite a shock. How could trying to start the car a few times do this much damage? Also, What was I supposed to do? I was not about to hire a tow truck driver to go pick up the car, bring it back, and still pay hundreds in diagnostics fees to the repair shop!

So the first thing I did was ask him to itemize the costs. He told me that it broke down something like this:

Diagnostics:  $200
Towing:          $80
Oil Change:    $50
Spark Plugs : $300
Coil pack:       $700
Fuel Inject cleaning: $50

Now the standout on that list is obviously the coil pack. 700 dollars for the coil pack and install? For the record all you need to do is take 4 bolts off of the pack, pull it off the plugs, and reverse that. Its arguably the easiest install of a coil pack in the world… Not to mention I feel like its odd that “incorrect” spark plugs can blow up a coil.

So I ask him about that line item. I say “that seems REALLY high for a coil pack.” He says “yea, they are expensive. I cannot source the OEM part for another few weeks but Delphi is an OEM provider and they have one for $600, the install is the rest of the cost.”

Being a person that works on cars regularly I had some healthy skepticism about that price. So I said, “if you got it to start then the coil pack must work to some degree.” He told me “yes, you could still get more life out of it but it might not last long.” So I immediately decided that as long as they get it running I can bring it home and do the coil pack myself. As for the rest of the repairs, if he’s being honest and says there is gas in the oil then I definitely will not want to drive it and the spark plugs should get replaced anyway. So I tell him to go ahead with the rest of the repairs so I can bring it home. That way the price only ends up being $650 and I can deal with the rest later. A few hours after getting off the phone I hop on the internet to shop for coil packs just taking his word that it needs to be replaced. I find the Delphi for $70. Yes, seventy US dollars brand new, shipped to my door in two days for free…. Immediately I get that sinking feeling that this guys is completely screwing me over. I understand that they mark up items for a profit but come on, really?

So they are already doing the repair, they finish and I go pick it up, and it drives great! Starts right up, idles super smooth (as smooth as those motors can get), and accelerated nice and strong…. for a few days…

Then about 4 days later it wouldn’t start again! WTF man! At this point I am pretty pissed off because the ink on my $650 check is barely dry and the Jeep is right back where it was a few days ago. After my head nearly explodes I know that I am not going to send this thing off again to spend a bunch more money. Not to mention I will not give that guy the satisfaction of knowing he was right about the coil pack.  So trudge out there in the 9 degree weather, fresh coil pack in hand, to take a look. I open the hood and immediately I see this:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are you kidding me!?!

They never actually secured the coil pack to the motor! It was just flopping around on the spark plugs! This is incredibly dangerous. Where do I even start? That could be the way the coil pack grounds. It could have shorted out the ignition system trying to start it, inflicting who knows how much damage to the electrical system. The car could have lost power at any time! In the winter time you lose a lot of road shoulders, the roads are already dangerous and all the sudden you can lose spark! Not to mention we take this on the freeway. Could you imagine driving down the highway at 65-70 and all the sudden your motor dies? What about the bolts? What if they shook right out of the motor? The coil would just fall to the ground while driving and rip the electrical right out with it?

So naturally I am pretty pissed off at this point. However, I had the new coil and the old one was already uninstalled for me so the new one went on in about 6 minutes. Unsurprisingly, the Jeep drove great and has been fine ever since.

I actually decided while writing this to send an email back to the repair shop to see what they had to say for themselves. I would share the email but is basically this blog post in the form of an email.

I am writing all this not to shame the repair shop (didn’t even use their name) or to scare you off of using these places. I am writing this because I want you to be vigilant, when someone gives you a repair quote, research it and ask questions don’t just instinctively say yes. Also, when the work is done do your best to check it. Had I simply just opened the hood of the Jeep in the parking lot of the repair shop I would have seen that the job was not done.

If you bring your car into the shop for something like an alternator, power steering pump, brakes, etc. its easy to take a quick glance and at least see if the part looks new and is securely fastened to the motor. I think when people send something to “professionals” we assume that it will be completed flawlessly. As the above post explains, that’s obviously not the case.

Keep your eyes open, protect you money and your assets to feel good about the decisions you make.

Happy New Year.

The Merch Store Is Now Open!

Other than the obvious car questions that I receive, I get two questions more than any others.

One – Where can I get that T-shirt that you wear in your videos?
Two – How can I support your channel?

Well to be clear, just watching RTCG videos is support enough. I appreciate everyone who comes to check out my channel and I would never expect more.

However, for those of you who want to do something more to support the channel, I have created a store on Represent.com. Here you can find official RTCG t-shits and sweaters for purchase. Represent.com handles all money transactions, inventory, and shipping and RTCG gets a percentage of the sales.

Race on over to https://represent.com/store/ry-the-car-guy and get your RTCG swag today!

Thank you for your support!