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November 8,2012- Firestone WinterForce...

The Nor'easter heading our way brought 40º temperatures with it. This meant more rain than snow. Still, we were glad we stopped by Town Fair Tires on Tuesday for four new snow tires.

Snow tires are not just for driving around in the snow. They are formulated to be flexible when the temperature dips below 45º. If we had left on the Hankook Ventus V12 summer tires, they would be as hard as rocks at those lower temperatures. The summer tires would soften up a little after a while, but handling, cornering, and stopping characteristics would be... [more] -Firestone WinterForce


November 6,2012- Boxster Winter Prep...

The Winter prep for the Boxster is a ritual we have been performing for over ten years. Prep consists of: swapping the summer tires for winter one; checking the brake pads; and installing the hard top. We have been putting off the changeover because the Fall has been so warm. However, now that we are into November, and with a Nor'ester predicted for Wednesday, we knew it would not be wise to put things off any longer.

This year's prep was a little more involved as we had a few additional maintenances to complete before the car would be winter-ready: rotor replacement; changing air/cabin filters; purchasing new snow tires. Our go-to source for Boxster project parts is Pelican Parts. They usually have what we need in stock, have great prices, and ship quickly. As with all Boxster projects, our reference sources are... [more] -Boxster Winter Prep


October 19,2012- Front Rotor Replacement...

The last time we replaced the front rotors was six years and 50K miles ago. While most of those were highway miles and the rotor thickness was still within spec, it will probably fall below the minimum thickness after another few thousand miles. As we were in a rotor-replacing state of mind, we decided to replace the front ones now instead of next Spring.

With our recent experience replacing the rear rotors, we expected the front replacement to take no more than a hour or so. Unfortunately, things did not go exactly as planned. As with the rear rotor replacement, we removed the wheel and hooked the caliper onto the spring using the hanger in preparation for freeing it from the rotor. The first problem we encountered was... [more] -Front Rotor Replacement


October 18,2012- Rear Rotor Replacement...

The rear rotors of the Boxster needed replacing last Fall. We meant to do it this Spring, but things kept getting in the way. With the cooler temperatures here, we thought we should do the replacement before the weather makes things less pleasant to work outside.

For the details of the rotor replacement steps, we refer readers to two excellent sources. The first one is Wayne Dempsey's 101 Projects for Your Porsche Boxster. The second is the Bentley's Porsche Boxster Service Manual. They both have good, clear, step-by-step instructions. We always reference both because there is no such thing as too much information :-) Of course, there is nothing like actual experience in learning the tricks and tips that... [more] -Rear Rotor Replacement


September 28,2012- Drill Doctor 750X...

Making a hole is one of those tasks everybody needs to do once in a while. It is also a task anyone one can do with the proper tools. All anyone needs to make a nice, clean hole in any kind of material (metal, wood, masonry, etc.) is a drill and the right bit. A powerful drill will get the job done faster, but a sharp bit is essential to getting the job done well. A sharp bit will cut faster, cleaner, and put less stress on the motor of the drill and the bit. All of which translates to a better outcome. Many DIYers view drill bits as disposable items, something to toss when they became dull. As a result, most tend not to buy quality bits to use with their drills. That is understandable, as sharpening drill bits is skill which is beyond that of many craftsman and undoubtably most weekend DIYers. So imagine our excitment when we came upon the DAREX Drill Doctor.

DAREx has been making tool-sharpening systems for over forty years. They have heavy-duty units for industry, but they also cater to the smaller professional shops and craftsmen. The Drill Doctor line, while rugged enough for the pros, is also suitable for the home DIYers. Like their professional sharpeners, the Drill Doctor line is... [more] - Drill Doctor 750X FirstLook


September 7,2012 Boxster Fall Prep

While cooler weather is fast approaching, there are still plenty of top-down days left in the year. To ensure that our ride is always performing up to its potential, we like to do periodic maintenance at the beginning of Spring and Fall. The two preps are similar:

  • Hardtop: Off in the Spring (as early as possible), on in the Fall (as late as possible)
  • Tire swap: Summer tires on (typically by mid-May), Winter snow tires on (definitely before Thanksgiving)
  • Brakes: pad check (Spring), rotor check (Fall)
  • Filters: air, cabin (Fall)
  • Wipers: check/replace (Fall)

When we swapped out the Winter tires last Spring, we checked the rear rotors and realized that they were getting close to the minimum acceptable thickness. While they would likely last at least through the Winter, changing the rotors now would be easier than next Spring, since we have to... [more] - Boxster Fall Maintenance Prep


July 17,2012- Master Mechanic Cordless Drill Kit..

Local hardware stores have disappeared across much of the United States. They have found it difficult to compete, price-wise, with the giant warehouse players like Home Depot and Lowe's. To be clear, we love going to Home Depot and Lowe's. We love the low prices, huge selections, and efficiency of it all. However, we also love competition. Because without it, we would have complacency, a "take the customer for granted-ness" mentality, and eventually, higher prices. It is because of that and many other reasons why we are happy that we have True Values hardware store in our neighborhood.

True Value is different from the big boys in many ways. First, True Value Company is a retailer-owned hardware cooperative with over 4,500 independent retail locations worldwide. Second, members of the True Value cooperative own their individual stores and operate independently of True Value Company. Third, the stores are smaller and generally in located right in town. Thus, they are an active part of the neighborhood, anchoring other businesses around it, and helping support the local ecosystem.

Communities are beginning to remember the value of "smaller." However, being "smaller" does not mean being less competitive with the big boys. As a cooperative, the True Value Company tallied over $1.8 billion in revenue in 2010, offers over 60,000 products, and has 12 distribution centers. This all adds up to a lot of leverage when it comes to buying from wholesalers. This is the reason why True Value's prices are very competitive. All they need to do is to get traffic into the stores.

One of the ways to get customers into the store is to offer them something they can't get anywhere else. The Master Mechanic 18-Volt 3/8-Inch Variable-Speed Reversible (VSR) Cordless Drill is one such item. At $70 for the kit (drill, 2 batteries, charger, tote), this has to be one of the... [more] - Master Mechanic 18-Volt 3/8-Inch VSR Cordless Drill Kit FirstLook


June 6,2012- Hankook Ventus V12 evo K110...

When we swapped out our Winter tires for the Summer ones a week or so ago, we noticed that the inside edges were quite worn. In examining our Summer tires, we noticed that they, too, had a similar wear pattern. The wear was not anywhere as bad as the snow tires, but enough that we decided to get things checked out.

After a bit of online investigation and chatting with Boxster owners on PedrosBoard, we have a better idea of the possible causes and potential solutions to the problem. Some PBers feel that the inside wear on all the tires was normal due to the negative camber of the Boxster. Others felt that the problem was not the camber, but the toe. Those unclear on the various alignment terms (camber, toe, caster, etc) should reference the excellent article posted on the Pelican Parts site. We could have the alignment checked, but would it matter given the current state of the wear? After some deliberation, we decided it was better to... [more]- Hankook Ventus V12 evo K110


June 5,2012- Kryptonite Stronghold ITW...

Locking things up on the streets of Boston is necessary if you want it to be there when you return. These days, the same is probably true everywhere. In 2008, we purchased a Vespa scooter to pop down to the village center. To secure the Vespa when it is parked outside the office, we installed a Kryptonite Stronghold above ground anchor into the concrete landing at the front.

Four years later, the Kryptonite Stronghold is still going strong. It is as secure as the day it was installed. The steel loop is rust-free and shiny. The NY Chain and the Evolution Series 4 disk lock have been outside right along with the Stronghold. After four years of daily exposure to the... [more]- Kryptonite Stronghold InTheWild


May 31,2012- A/C PRO FirstUse...

Yesterday we took a FirstLook at the A/C PRO recharger from IDQ. After consulting Bentley's Boxster Service Manual and Wayne Dempsey's 101 Projects for the Porsche Boxster , we felt we could easily tackle this project. Today, we are going to see if recharging the A/C system of our Porsche Boxster will bring back the chill.

The various air conditioning components (compressor, temperature sensor, evaporator, etc) are distributed throughout the car. Some of the components, such as the blower and the compressor, can be difficult to get at. Fortunately, the refrigerant connections are... [more]- A/C PRO FirstUse


May 30,2012- A/C Pro Refrigerant...

Now that the Summer tires are on and the brake-wear light is off, the Boxster is almost ready for the top-down weather. We say "almost" because back in March when we had that mini heat wave, we noticed that the car's A/C was not really performing up to par. Apparently, to prevent the seals from drying out, we were supposed to run the A/C system once in a while if the temperature got above 50º. Never knew or ever did that. After 10 years, it was not surprising that enough refrigerant had leaked out of the A/C system to render it ineffective.

Going to an auto shop to have the A/C system recharged typicallys cost between $100-$200. However, we were curious as to whether we could do ourselves at the RainyDayGarage. According to Bentley's Boxster Service Manual, the access ports for recharging the system are on the passenger front side of the car. While the manual has detailed diagrams on how to... [more]- Boxster A/C recharge: A/C Pro refrigerant


May 29,2012- Boxster Summer Prep...

The weather was kooky this Spring. With the temperature almost hitting 90º in March and then cooling and raining much of April (and most of May), we weren't sure when was the right time to swap out the Blizzaks: it was Memorial Day Weekend and the Winter tires were still on the Boxster. As the chances of 40º nights are pretty low, given that the earth still revolves around the sun and that whole axis thing, we thought we should have the interns throw on the Summer tires. We got them the Tire Totes to make it clean and easy to haul out the tires from storage, how much easier could we make it?

We have been doing this seasonal swapping of the tires ever since we got the Boxster. Having the right tires for both Summers and Winters gives the car better handling characteristics. This was especially true during Winter times: we got up hills slick with ice and snow when even SUVs had problems. Also, taking the tires off twice a year gives us an opportunity to... [more]- Boxster Summer Prep


May 8,2012- True Value: Swift Driver ...

Just when we thought there couldn't possibly be anything new in the world of screwdriver technology, the Swift Driver from Master Mechanics showed up at the RainyDayMagazine office. The screwdriver is one of the most basic tools in the toolbox, and one of the most-often used. Because of its utility, the screwdriver has been a favorite item for those looking to create a "better mousetrap." There are at least reasons for the pursuit: there are a lot of different types of screws, which implies the need for a lot of different screwdrivers; and the desire to improve the physical act of driving the screw. The first reason led to the development of interchangeable tips, the second to the development of various types of driving mechanisms, both electric and manual.

The Swift Driver is of the latter type. It is a ratchet-based manual screwdriver which uses a patent-pending dual-drive gearing technology. It is both faster and more precise than what's used by... [more]- True Value: Master Mechanic Swift Driver FirstLook


April 9,2012- NYIAS 2012: Pure Electric Vehicles...

One thing is certain, oil is a finite resource and one day it will be gone. With $10/gallon gas possibly in our future, electric-powered vehicle's time may come sooner rather than later. Car makers have been demo-ing pure electric-powered vehicles (PEVs) at NYIAS for many years and show goers have been teased with futuristic concept cars and prototypes, but none of them were available to the consumers. Last year, a few (Nissan LEAF, Chevy Volt) companies finally began selling models which can actually purchased.

While each generation of e-car has seen significant improvements in battery life and driving range, there are still many issues (cost, refueling time, etc) to be addressed. As the majority of commuters drive less than 50 miles total each day, electric cars builder such as Ford have made the 100-mile range their... [more] -NYIAS 201: Electric Vehicles


April 5,2012- NYIAS 2012: Porsche Boxster...

The Boxster (Type:986) was introduced to the world in 1997. Even though the Boxster is an entry-level Porsche, it was a chance for Porsche engineers to start with a clean slate. What emerged was a two-seater sports car suitable for year-round driving, even in New England. In the intervening fifteen years, this affordable Porsche has developed a large and devoted following. There are car clubs and online forums (986, PedrosBoard) dedicated to the mid-engine roadster. The appeal is understandable. The Boxster is great looking, well-engineered, and incredibly fun to drive. We have had ours for over 10 years and can't imagine driving anything else.

The Boxster has seen a couple of significant updates since its introduction. The first (Type: 987) was back in 2005. With a bigger engine and some cosmetic and mechanical refinements, the 987 addressed some of the requests and lessons learned from the 986. A more powerful engine gave the car more snap off the line and agility when maneuvering. At the start of 2012, Porsche unveiled the next generation of Boxster (Type: 981). This time around, Porsche went... [more] -NYIAS 201: Electric Vehicles


April 4,2012- NYIAS 2012...

The RainyDayGarage folks make the trek to NYC every year for the New York International Auto Show (NYIAC). While the show does not open to the public until Friday, they drove down on Tuesday to catch the two-day press-only event.

Attending Press Day is a much more enjoyable way to see the show for a couple of reasons. First, as the show hasn't officially opened, there is no wait to get inside, and once you do, the floor traffic is very light. Second, the vendors are... [more] -NYIAS 2012


March 27,2012- Craftsman Tool Chest...

In January, we acquired a Craftsman stainless steel GripLatch tool chest for our workshop. We had some reservations about fitting it into the shop as the chest was 41" wide. However, it was so nice and shiny that we thought we would give it a go. Try as we might, we just could not find a good location for it. In the end, we decided to replace it with something more appropriately sized for the space we had available.

Fortunately for us, an auto mechanic was looking to offload a Craftsman tool chest combo he no longer needed. After a bit of online negotiation we were able to come to a mutually satisfactory arrangement. After all was said and done--selling the stainless steel unit and buying these two pieces--we actually came out a couple of... [more] -Craftsman 26" GripLatch Tool chest


March 20,2012- Spring Cleaning: Zerust ...

Today it is the first day of Spring. It is also the start of our Spring cleaning around the office. One of the projects we really want to complete is the reorganization of our workshop. We have quite a few tools and we have been conscientiously organizing them so that they would be easier to access. However, there is still quite a bit left to do. Last year, the interns spent a lot of time and effort scouring Craigslist for a workbench, tool chests, and other workshop-related storage so we could have a place for everything. They have been very successful. Now it is time to put everything in its place.

However, since the workshop is in the basement, we want to make sure there won't be rust problems from the humidity, especially during the Summer months (when we need a dehumidifier down there). We could spray the metal tools with a light oil to keep the moisture out, but the approach is not appropriate for every tool. In January, we told readers about the Vapor Corrosion Inhibitor (VCI) infused drawer liners and capsules from Zerust. The liners were exactly what we needed for... [more] -Spring Cleaning: Easy Rust Prevention


March 2,2012- LimoLiner...

What is the best way to get from Boston to NYC? Google Maps recommend taking I-95 all the way. MapQuest suggests going to the Mass Pike, take it to I-84, then switch to I-91, and finally pick up I-95 in Connecticut. Having driven both routes countless times over the years, we would actually recommend just taking the LimoLiner.

The LimoLiner is a luxury bus which goes between Boston and NYC three times a day. The seats on the LimoLiner are just like the... [more] -LimoLiner to NYC


January 26,2012- Zerust FirstLook...

When we posted the review of the Craftsman project cart, we mentioned that lining the drawers was a good idea. Padding keep the tools from shifting and protect the drawer bottoms from getting scratched. Little did we know that we would receive a slew of suggestions for alternatives to using commercial paddings. Some folks line drawers with bubble wrap, others use carpet reminants, some even made custom-fitted liners with expanding foam! While we are as DIY-minded as anyone else, protecting our tools is one area where we don't mind looking for a professional solution.

A few readers suggested we check out Zerust. They offer drawer liners with a chemically-based rust inhibitor integrated into the material. In checking out the Zerust site, we noticed they offer the Zerust Vapor Corrosion Inhibitor (VCI) technology in a capsule form. We thought both were... [more] - Zerust FirstLook


January 25,2012- Craftsman GripLatch Series...

Proper tool storage is essential for both the organization and the protection of the tools we use for our projects and repairs. As we are constantly acquiring new tools, we are always on the lookout for good tool box deals. We have had enough experience with tool boxes and tool chests to know what to look for when we go shopping for one on Craigslist.

A few weeks ago, we came upon a listing for a "like new" 41" Stainless Steel top chest at a price which we just could not pass up. After a bit of haggling, we came to an agreement and are now the owner of a tool box from Craftsman's heavy-duty GripLatch series. The last Craftsman tool chest we acquired was the Rolling Project Center from their QuietGlide line. Having both in house enabled us to... [more] - Craftsman GripLatch Tool Chest


January 12,2012- Headlight Restoration...

Plastic headlights can yellow and dull from UV exposure, resulting in a dimmer beam at night. Dim headlights at night can be dangerous. A few years ago, one of the editors tackled the problem with a "home-brewed" method. The result was pretty good, but the haze came back after a year or so. This time around, she decided to see if a commercial product would give a better or longer lasting result. The product she picked for the job was the Meguiar's Heavy Duty Headlight Restoration Kit.

We took a FirstLook at the kit last March. We just never got around to using it. The Headlight Restoration Kit comes with all of the bits (two different grades of sanding pads, a liquid polish, AND a wipe-on UV protectant) needed to sand, buff, and polish the plastic cover back to clear. The biggest difference between this restoration and the first one may be the... [more] - Headlight Restoration: Meguiar's





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