m4ff3w UltraDork
Dec. 17, 2012 7:13 p.m.

On 8/23/2009 I found an ad on CL here in SATX, for an 84 Maserati Biturbo. The guy who posted it wasn't the one who had it for sale; I think he was trying to get a "finder’s fee". I went and looked at it; it had been sitting for a LONG time. It had awesome OZ racing 15x7 3 piece wheels, a Momo steering wheel, rough but not terrible interior, and rust free exterior (this IS Texas) The car was at a small repair shop. I talked with the owner of the shop, he told me the owner had died while the car was in the shop and they'd gotten a mechanics lean. The car had been at the shop, stored inside since 2002. It came in for a valve adjustment when the adjustment was done, it developed a leak in the clutch slave cyl - the owner of the shop didn't want to touch it anymore, then the owner died. The car was last registered in 1994.

The shop owner told me the owner had been a good friend of his and had the fuse box repaired at some time in the past. It didn't run, the fuel system was all gunked up and the fuel pump was seized. I made what I thought was a fair offer - $700, but the shop owner's wife said no. I called back every few months, but was always told no.

I tracked down leads whenever I could, actually looked at a couple that popped up, but they were massively overpriced POSs. $3500 for a disassembled car and a non-runner with horrible interior and exterior that the owner thought was worth its weight in gold.

Then in Sept of '10 a guy posted in an old herethread about Biturbos, who happened to be local. I told him the story of the 3 Biturbos I knew of and he went and looked at the one I described. He asked if I minded if he made an offer. I said of course not, they turned down my offer. He offered the same $700 I did, but the mechanic told him if he gave him $1000 he's prove it runs. He replaced the FP and cleaned the carb/lines and it was sold. I was sad, but also glad it would have a chance to live.

* Incredibly flattering photo.

The guy who purchased it leaned on me for knowledge, but never got it driving well. He offered it to me for what he had in it. $1325, with new tires, new clutch slave (which didn't work), and some other small bobbles.

I purchased it on Feb 14 '11. My Valentine's Day present from my wife.

Below is what she looked like in my driveway.

I got the replacement slave on the 17th of Feb, but it didn't work. The bleed nipple wasn't bored properly. The replacement arrived on the 21st and I got it running/driving that day. It was AWESOME. The electronic boost control setup didn't work - much like my XR4ti, but that's ok, it just means more/harder BOOST! I drove it to work on the 2nd and then up to Ft Hood (almost 350 miles round trip) on the 23rd. Had to stop and put in new spark plugs, but the trip was uneventful in a good way.

The car was great fun. Nail the throttle in 3rd and the wheels spin (not to self - need stickier tires) and the seats are super comfortable.

But then on March 14, something horrible happened. I was making plug wires to replace the old ones and unknowingly dropped a piece of a plug wire into the belt system. When I started the car, that piece of plug wire wedged itself into the belts causing the a/c belt to jump - it ended behind the timing cover and between the timing gear and timing belt. Disaster! Bent valves in 3 cylinders on bank 1.

I'd sold the Alfa Milano and Merkur XR4ti in the two weeks prior, so I had to buy a normal car to commute in - a Saab 900 V6. Blah.

The Maserati sat for a long time. In Feb of this year I purchased a 2.8l fuel injected engine from an '89 Maserati 430. It was $750 and I think I paid $200 to get it shipped from VA. I was so excited. When it came in, I was preparing to do the timing belt and noticed it didn't turn over quite like I thought it should. Turns out - 3 bent valves in bank 1. Le sigh. Luckily, 6 of the intake valves are the same size as the original engine - the Biturbo has 18v - 12 intake and 6 exhaust. I contacted the guy I purchased it from and told him I'd be happy if he just purchased a head gasket set for me. I got the valves lapped in - but damn setting valve clearance is a bitch. The two intake valves are operated by the same bucket - the ride on the edge of the bucket. So you have to shim the valves to the height of the bucket and then shim the bucket to cam clearance. After 40 or so hours of work I got all but the last two shims set. I had to get larger shims for those than I had. Ducati Desmodronic shims are the same.

Sadly, I haven't touched it since buying the shims from the Ducati dealer in April. I'm just sad every time I look at the car. I want to drive it again - but I have a truck (well, Mitsu Montero) to finish and a Volvo to put back together as well.

My wife had major surgery in May which is hasn't fully recovered from yet - so that put me further behind.

Le sigh. That's my sad story. I wish I could get my ass in gear and finish - though there is lots left even after it is in - megasquirt, intercoolers, etc. to sort.

How do yall revive motivation for a project you love?

turboswede PowerDork
Dec. 17, 2012 7:36 p.m.

5 minutes a day. Break the projects up into small pieces. Tackle the small pieces whenever you can and schedule larger chunks of time to tackle the bigger pieces.

For me, I drop the wife off at work at 6:30am and since I don't have to be at work until 9am, I'll go home an work in the garage for an hour or so. It's the only way I can progress lately. This morning I gathered up stuff to sell and took pictures with my phone. Then I tackled changing the melted front control arm bushing which led me start looking at why the header is hitting the control arm, I'll work on sliding the engine sideways tomorrow morning.

On days I work from home, I'll have her take the car and get a little more time on the projects. If I have a conference call where I'm not the leader, I'll take the laptop to the garage and work on polishing a piece of aluminum, wet sanding the paint, or laying out a pattern, etc.

It's hard, but sometimes the first step is to just go into the garage and look around. Just organizing tools/work space can be a huge step towards finding motivation.

corytate SuperDork
Dec. 17, 2012 7:46 p.m.

The thing I like the most about your story is that your regular commuter car is a saab 900. Far from regular for most people, but you did have an alfa, a merkur, and a maser lol.
I struggled with (and lost) motivation on the z car and I'm trying very hard not to lose it on the mr2.
I don't get many opportunities to work on it because it is at someone else's house and I have 2.5 hrs of commuting in addition to my 9 hr work day, and my tools are, by necessity, at work, but I plan on getting a few hours a week doing something to it at least.
it's hard, but keep on it. I've been planning on buying a dry erase board to put up in the garage outlining what needs to be done on the car because I feel that erasing something off the list once it is done will be a huge motivator.
Oh, and do up a build thread on it and keep up with it!

Ian F PowerDork
Dec. 17, 2012 8:14 p.m.

Having to take my normal DD off the road for scheduled maintenance finally pushed me to finish some tasks on my E30. Having to drive a car I really don't like serves as inspiration to finish the TDi tasks.

My god I don't know how some people drive E30's as DD's... Unfortunately, I type this from my g/f's house where I'm installing a ceiling instead of being at home wrenching.

rollinchicane
rollinchicane New Reader
Dec. 17, 2012 9:31 p.m.
m4ff3w wrote: How do yall revive motivation for a project you love?

There was a thread on this a while back that finally got my butt in gear to revive my stalled Miata project. I have a small pile of parts in the garage taking up space but had no motivation to get out there and do something with them. I felt like I have no time (kids, holidays, work, boob tube, build threads on GRM to keep up on). What I had we're a bunch of excuses.

The first thing that helped that TurboSwede mentioned was to start by doing something small. I took a half hour to put her up on jack stands.

I found an hour here and a half there and a surprise 2 hour wrenching marathon on Sunday! I'm almost done with stage one of replacing the busted motor mounts and cracked manifold.

The other part was to set a goal. It was easy once the car was up. I have to be done by Xmas morning. I want to come home from our holiday travels on the morning of my last day before I head back to work and see this.

Finally, I have a good friend who has a Jeep CJ and is in the same boat as me. His transmission has been out for a while. We text each other and complain about the snags we hit, pics of our successes, brag about how badly we injured ourselves. It is fun to commiserate and it motivates me when he gets something done. I need to respond with progress of my own.

Hope some of this helps.

moparman76_69 HalfDork
Dec. 17, 2012 9:36 p.m.

I found this in the junkyard last Friday, don't let yours end up this way.

Yeah it's as rust free as it looks.

HiTempguy UltraDork
Dec. 18, 2012 1:15 a.m.

When will people learn only ONE PROJECT AT A TIME?

And make sure you have a car that isn't a project that makes you happy.

Life becomes pretty simple then. Personally, 40 hours to shim the valves? Probably would have paid someone else to do it. With 40 hours of actual time invested, I could buy and sell two cars and pay someone with the profit to do the shimming (and not lost my sanity).

Woody MegaDork
Dec. 18, 2012 7:44 a.m.

Holy crap, it's flat where you live!

JThw8 PowerDork
Dec. 18, 2012 8:09 a.m.
HiTempguy wrote: When will people learn only ONE PROJECT AT A TIME?

Never! Granted I'll admit that I have 4 project cars (2 active projects) which is a bit much. But I find having more than one means if I'm at a stand still either for parts or being stuck with a problem or I just need to "walk away from that b@tch" Then I have the other one to keep me busy. Staying in that routine of doing something on a scheduled basis is a big part of getting things done, so having another project to maintain the routine during those stuck times is good.

But as others have noted, find time, set a routine and set a goal. I hate working under a deadline, but I have no doubt the Wartburg would have never been finished in the time frame it was if I didn't have that deadline.

92CelicaHalfTrac MegaDork
Dec. 18, 2012 8:27 a.m.
moparman76_69 wrote: I found this in the junkyard last Friday, don't let yours end up this way. Yeah it's as rust free as it looks.

LOL i saw that thing in there about 2 weeks ago. Doesn't look like anyone has pulled anythings since i was there. Nobody even wants the PARTS off of these things.

m4ff3w UltraDork
Dec. 18, 2012 10:26 a.m.

Are the parts prices reasonable at that junkyard?

Hopefully I'll spend some time with her this weekend.

92CelicaHalfTrac MegaDork
Dec. 18, 2012 10:29 a.m.
m4ff3w wrote: Are the parts prices reasonable at that junkyard? Hopefully I'll spend some time with her this weekend.

Yeah it's a Pull A Part.

Raze SuperDork
Dec. 18, 2012 11:12 a.m.

drive a boring daily that is super reliable and never needs anything more than oil, occasional belt and tires, maybe brakes every 60-80k. Then only run one project, that way you have no choice, believe me, after 2 years with the Fiat in various stages of repair, running, getting parts, dis-assembly, repair, reassembly, dis-assembly, reassembly, it does frustrate me sometimes, but then I walk away for a month and get bored and itchy, so I go work on it again...

Dec. 18, 2012 11:32 a.m.

A little of all of these.

Go stand in the garage for 5 minutes. I dare you. Try to just stand. I bet you can't do it (I can't). You'll wind up tracking down the missing sockets from the set on the workbench ("cause that'll only take 5 minutes, I'm pretty sure"), and an hour and a half later, you'll realize that either a) you've got a cleaner garage b) you've started working on the project c) you've found something else you meant to take care of but hadn't yet. Take this momentum and RUN WITH IT.

Also, go on a media diet. Spend an hour on the internet every evening? Cut it to 20 minutes. Couple hours in front of the television drooling on yourself? Cut it to once or twice a week. Video games? Cut it. You don't have to cut these things cold turkey, but cut 'em and spend that time in the garage (see above). I feel a hell of a lot better after an evening of busted knuckles and grit in the eyes than I do after an evening of PS3 or forum surfing.

Ian F PowerDork
Dec. 18, 2012 12:25 p.m.
Raze wrote: drive a boring daily that is super reliable and never needs anything more than oil, occasional belt and tires, maybe brakes every 60-80k. Then only run one project, that way you have no choice, believe me, after 2 years with the Fiat in various stages of repair, running, getting parts, dis-assembly, repair, reassembly, dis-assembly, reassembly, it does frustrate me sometimes, but then I walk away for a month and get bored and itchy, so I go work on it again...

That's sort of my plan: Have my TDi which is pretty reliable, although I do all of the scheduled maintenace on it, so it gets "needy" every few years. Then I'll have my GT6 to tinker with, but in reality, I don't plan to fiddle with it too much after I get the stereo installed and transmission sorted. My 1800ES will be the long-term restoration project. I'm hoping to replace my truck with another conversion van which I don't plan to wrench on at all other than maybe oil changes - maybe. The garage I've gone to for years will get that.

The hard part for me will be weaning my g/f from me doing all the work on her cars. After about 10 years now, she's gotten used to free labor. Her 850 wagon will be the first step. I'm done with that car. If anything breaks again, it goes to a shop.

If I can manage all of that, it'll be easier for me to find time to work on fun projects.

pres589 SuperDork
Dec. 18, 2012 6:45 p.m.

Yeah, maybe you need something cheap, simple, and really common in that driveway for a change. Focus wagon or something like that; easy on gas, get anything fixed anywhere, basically don't think about the thing and if something breaks, a dealer will actually help if needed.

moparman76_69 HalfDork
Dec. 18, 2012 7:20 p.m.
m4ff3w wrote: Are the parts prices reasonable at that junkyard? Hopefully I'll spend some time with her this weekend.

On some stuff, that trip I spent 23 bucks a piece on bucket seats but 29.99 on a 4 cyl throttle body. Figure that E36 M3 out.

The car is ok body wise, the grill and exterior trim is all gone, some of the interior bits are there but the cluster is gone, engine is there but the upper intake is gone, pretty sure the exhaust manifolds and turbos were gone.

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