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xFactor Reader
7/3/12 9:18 p.m.

I modify Jeep JK Wrangler engine harnesses to work with 4bt diesel swaps...yang yang yang yang...(4bt sound effects)

later, matt

motomoron Dork
7/3/12 9:42 p.m.

I turned a set of limiters to fix a design flaw inherent in a particular brand of aftermarket adjustable lower control arms for e36 BMWs, and with no plan of selling them, mentioned the part in a thread on bimmerforums a while later. I ended up selling about 15 sets @ $47.50/set, shipped. Once the lathe was set up to make them it took about 10 minutes a set and $2-3 material. The problem is waiting 'til you get enough orders to justify running parts, and dealing with kids.

I did the same thing w/ skateboard trucks for slalom racers from about 2003-2008. I became the Carroll Shelby of modifying trucks, and it paid for the beginnings of my machine shop.

In the end I quit doing paying work that's associated with my hobbies. My "me" time is too valuable anymore.

RexSeven SuperDork
7/3/12 11:03 p.m.

I've been considering buying up old ECUs for the 2nd. gen. RX-7 and refurbishing them. The FC3S had a bunch of individual PCBs controlling different parts of the car besides the main ECU. Stuff like the windshield wipers and hazard lights would be on one PCB mounted in a switch cluster, horn and brake lights on another PCB in a separate ECU box, etc. The old 80s relays will overheat or get clogged with dust and solder joints will go bad over time. Soon your brake lights will stop working when you hit the brake pedal, or the front wipers will only go at one speed, if at all. Replacement parts from Mazda (when available) are ridiculously expensive. Even with the Mazdaspeed Motorsports discount, the switch cluster that contains the front and rear wiper switches and hazard lights is almost $600! A gentleman from the RX7Club with the handle "Icemark" used to have a side business like this, but he passed away recently.

My main worry is that I'm only good for soldering, not testing the parts, and my electrical knowledge is limited.

Curmudgeon MegaDork
7/4/12 7:56 a.m.

Icemark was THE FC guru. Sorry that he passed.

I've never done this, but I understand there are some folks out there who have made nice little niche businesses this way. Jensen Healey 3 core radiators that fit perfectly in the stock location, cooling fan shrouds and rebuilt steering shafts come to mind.

IIRC there is someone rebuilding the FC power window switches because they are unobtanium.

dean1484 GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
7/17/12 10:48 p.m.

Well to update this. I have sold a couple of these by just talking in some web forums. I even sold one to some one in Canada that will be sending me his steering shaft as he has a manual rack and the cores for those are made from unobtainium never mind getting used ones that are in working order. I know of one in the country and the seller will not separate it from the steering rack as it is a popular conversion for 944 spec racers.

The bigger news is I am in the process of working out a deal with a prominent on line Porsche parts company to sell them for me. I was on the phone with them today discussing things and I am quietly optimistic that we can come to a deal that works well for both of us and keeps the final price where I would like t to be. I am hoping this works out as one of the big things that they will do is take care of the core's and collecting the core fees and what not. Yes I have to give them a cut but they will be doing the part of this that I really don't want to do. The fact of the matter is they are geared up to Handel the distribution / sales of the parts and the core's and core fees end of things. Dealing with that end of things takes a lot more time than people probably realise. I am looking at it as they are going to get paid to do what they do best and I am going to get paid for what I do best and in the end the 944 community wins!

We will see where this goes but to date things are looking up.

Javelin GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
7/17/12 10:51 p.m.

Sounds like you are doing great Dean! Keep it up!

Trans_Maro SuperDork
7/17/12 11:46 p.m.

Sounds like a good way to go Dean.

The customer part of my deal can be the part I like the least and it is quite unfair of me to say that.

The problem is, 99% of my customers are great and 1% of them are impossible to please asshats. Unfortunately, the 1% waste so much of your time and resources that they become the ones you remember most.

One thing I have found is that, once you have one good idea, you will have others. This might branch into a tidy little business for yourself.

Good luck man!


SyntheticBlinkerFluid SuperDork
7/18/12 12:20 a.m.

My uncle builds brand new magnetos for antique cars and tractors that are actually electronic distributors in disguise. He builds them to customer specs. We've built them for two cylinder tractors to 4-cylinder Fire Trucks that had 4 spark plugs per cylinder.

dean1484 GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
7/18/12 9:38 a.m.

We will see where this goes. I told my wife that I my commandeer the dishwasher as a parts cleaner. Her answer was that if it pays for a new dishwasher AND a new fridge AND some remodeling in the kitchen that she was good with it.

dean1484 GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
7/20/12 4:49 p.m.

Just freakin amazing. I order the parts from the other side of the world. They are shipped on the 17th. I get them today. DHL rocks!!!

I order HG set, Head bolts and a water pump from Rock Auto. Everything is in stock coming from a single source and it is going to take a week+.

Funny how this works.

dean1484 GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
1/19/13 5:39 p.m.

Well I just wanted to update this as it has been 6 months. I have been selling these things here and there over the last couple of months. I have not been doing much advertising just the occasional blurb in a web forum and I put up a web page on my web site explaining just about everything I can think of.

The actual rebuilding process has got a lot quicker now that I have done a bunch of them. It takes about an hour from starting with a nasty core to being ready for a fresh coat of paint. A mile stone was when I sold my 3rd unit and it put me in the black with respect to cash outlay for parts and consumables. This made my wife happy.

Since I have been squirreling away the moneys from the sales I am actually looking at getting a small sandblasting cabinet to make the finished product even better and the cleaning process faster. I am also looking at a small manual bench press and fabricating some jigs to make the installation of the new U joints even easier.

One of the things I have learned is be accessible. I call every person that contacts me about a purchase to discuss there needs and to explain the rebuilding process. I also send personal emails when I ship and when I get confirmation of delivery. I also publish my cell number and encourage people to call with questions. So far the response has been very positive.

chandlerGTi Dork
1/19/13 6:17 p.m.

Awesome, congrats!

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
1/20/13 1:54 p.m.

I'm going to wear my British Motor Trade Association chairman of the board hat: Come check us out. Even though our group specializes in British cars, lots of our members are cottage industry shops. Whether serving Porsche or MG owners, a lot of the basics are going to be the same.

More info: http://www.britcar.org/

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
1/20/13 1:58 p.m.

By the way, one member to check out is http://www.advanceddistributors.com/. Jeff, the owner, saw the need for a product. So he found someone who could make it for him. And, as they say, the rest is history. Now he's the go-to guy for distributor rebuilds, and he's not limited to Lucas units. I believe he's going to talk about his business at our upcoming meet-up.

dean1484 GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
1/20/13 2:58 p.m.

Intresting. What does a MG steering shaft look like?

2002maniac HalfDork
1/20/13 4:07 p.m.

I sell big brake kits for E30s that use inexpensive 280mm rotors and RX7 4-piston calipers. It started out as a group buy on R3vlimited for brackets only but now I keep full kits in stock. It's fun and brings in a little money to pay for hobby stuff.

dean1484 GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
1/20/13 5:07 p.m.

I did a major revamp of my web page today.


I specifically added a detailed description with photos of the rebuild process. I also added quick links at the top so people can get to the various places on the page quickley. The page was getting to long so I thought that the quick links would help people get to what they wanted faster.

Billy_Bottle_Caps HalfDork
1/20/13 6:34 p.m.

In reply to dean1484:

Congrats Dean.

patgizz GRM+ Memberand UberDork
1/20/13 6:47 p.m.

step 1: fix spelling errors on your site. on the same page in consecutive sentences you spell it "yolk" and "yoke" then later "yolk" again.

looks more professional when stuff is spelled right.

oldtin UltraDork
1/20/13 7:41 p.m.
dean1484 wrote: Intresting. What does a MG steering shaft look like?

For MGs (chrome bumper cars I think), there is a heavy and long bronze bushing the steering shaft fits into in the input/rack that's NLA. Bearing wear starts the slop. Once the bronze is out of shape the solution is a new rack - even though $10 in bronze, a few minutes on a lathe and a couple of fresh bearings would put it back to new. The shaft/u-joints seem to hold up well. New racks are around $200.

dean1484 GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
1/20/13 9:53 p.m.
patgizz wrote: step 1: fix spelling errors on your site. on the same page in consecutive sentences you spell it "yolk" and "yoke" then later "yolk" again. looks more professional when stuff is spelled right.

HUGE thanks for catching that!!!! I corrected it on the whole page. I also found several other spelling and grammar issues.

Javelin GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/20/13 11:30 p.m.

Great looking site Dean! (Although I personally would ditch the 997 photo for a 924/944/968...) I'm glad to here your business is taking off.

Trans_Maro SuperDork
1/20/13 11:56 p.m.

Brake fluid, not Break fluid.

Burrs, not Burs.

Warranty, not Waranty.

Dremel tool, not Dremal tool.

Just trying to be helpful.

Website looks good man, keep up the good work and good luck to you!

dean1484 GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
1/21/13 8:37 a.m.
Trans_Maro wrote: Brake fluid, not Break fluid. Burrs, not Burs. Warranty, not Waranty. Dremel tool, not Dremal tool. Just trying to be helpful. Website looks good man, keep up the good work and good luck to you!

This is a huge help!! The more stuff you find the better. I have corrected everything you noted above (Find and replace is a wonderful thing)

Seriously If there are any corrections needed please let me know. I really appreciate it. (Autocorrect only makes me look like a bad speller instead of the complete spelling idiot I really am)

dean1484 GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
1/21/13 8:40 a.m.
Javelin wrote: Great looking site Dean! (Although I personally would ditch the 997 photo for a 924/944/968...) I'm glad to here your business is taking off.

Ya I have thought about that. The photo is one I actually took at an ALMS race (no copy write issues). Although this page / car part is 944 specific the other things I am involved in are not. I probably should add some 944 specific stuff at least to the menus and main pages to help guide the 944 owners to the page.

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