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AAZCD-Jon (Forum Supporter)
AAZCD-Jon (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
10/7/21 5:09 p.m.

*I have enough open build threads that I'm Not going to keep making new ones every time a car comes along. This is my consolidated Dirty/RallyX/Gambler car thread*

A couple years ago I became interested in Gambler 500 Rallys after reading Mazdeuce-Seth's write-up about doing one in Texas. Since then I have had a lot of fun creating and destroying a couple New Beetle Gamblers. First the Dung Beetle, then the Turbo Dung Beetle. I think I'm done with Beetles now. I have sold (nearly gave away) what I had and have bought a rough, but hopefully reliable 1998 Honda CR-V. As I understand it, the original concept of 'Gambler 500' was to take a $500 vehicle on a rough 500 mile navigation journey seeing sights, picking up trash, and not being a dick. It has expanded from a small group in Oregon to a large loosely-affiliated international collective. It's not a race, but there are various awards and trophies presented. Anyone and any car can participate, but I like the concept of a car that is arguably worth around $500 and the more inappropriate, the better. In doing a few rallys, I found that the water crossings and mud are my favorite parts and also hardest on the cars.

The CR-V is a bit of a compromise. As an AWD SUV it feels like cheating compared to a New Beetle. Mrs AAZCD rides along with me. I really like having her support and interest in these things, so a measure of comfort and a vehicle that is more than likely to survive 500 miles is required. We have had a few CR-Vs in the past. I know them well and still have a few parts in my stash. They are reliable, easy for me to maintain, and comfortable enough to spend a weekend traveling across the back roads of Mid-America.

I bought this one with a salvage title from a Copart Auction. I could have found one cheaper on Marketplace, but for the condition - appearing to just have some cosmetic issues, I was happy with it. Our next event is the Okie Gambler on Oct 22nd. Not much time for major repairs and modifications while I have a busy work schedule.

AAZCD (Forum Supporter)
AAZCD (Forum Supporter) Dork
10/7/21 5:30 p.m.

After I had the car at home and did a post-purchase inspection, I found that the frame was bent significantly enough to make the camber pretty far out of alignment on the left rear wheel. Fortunately, my 'pretty much son-in-law' works at a collision repair shop and was happy to help out on a Saturday. We put it on the frame machine and did enough pulls to make the frame right without worrying about the sheet metal dents and bumps.

 

Since then I have scraped off some old Bondo repairs and done some rough sanding and painting. I'm happy with a rough looking body, but cracked and flaking Bondo makes me sad. The plan is to paint it mostly Chalkboard Black with some Sand/Tan highlights. Some 20mm wheel spacers just arrived in the mail today and I'm going to figure out tires over the next few days. Other than that I'm hoping to get a light bar, winch, and snorkel added to it before the Okie Gambler 500.

Loweguy5 (Forum Supporter)
Loweguy5 (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
10/7/21 6:08 p.m.

I drove an early manual transmission CRV in the snow many years ago and instantly understood why they were popular.  Since then we owned a 2018 with the turbo engine and all the comfy bits, but it wasn't nearly as fun as the old one.  I'm excited to follow this build.

AAZCD (Forum Supporter)
AAZCD (Forum Supporter) Dork
10/9/21 3:02 p.m.

The Okie Gambler group asked for 'Team Intro' videos, so I put this together since it was a slow morning at work.

 

AAZCD (Forum Supporter)
AAZCD (Forum Supporter) Dork
10/16/21 12:19 a.m.

A little progress on some rainy days. 30" tires fit with 20 mm spacers and some minor adjustments with the Sawzall and a sledge. I may do a slight lift later, but no need for now.

I slagged a winch mount together and put a 5500 lb winch on front. I realized that I'm going to want some kind of skid plate and maybe a brush guard.

The FR lower control arm bushings were completely shot. I found my old Honda ball joint tool and used it to pop off the lower joints for the arm.

Spray with oil and loosen the nut. Insert Tool (handle of 1/2 inch ratchet wrench that broke 10 years ago) at ball joint with car on the ground.

Jack the car and the joint pops out.

After I replaced it, the steering wheel was canted about 30 degrees when I drove straight. I used my Longacre Toe Plates and tightened up the right tie rod a few turns. No math was used, but it seems to be aligned to Gambler Spec now. 

The car is rough sanded now and I think I'm going to do lots more painting tomorrow....

Lof8 - Andy
Lof8 - Andy GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
10/16/21 6:23 a.m.

I love it!  I was eyeing 4wd small SUVs for my gambler rig for a bit. But then realized something even smaller would let me tow it inside my small toy hauler/camper and give my wife and I some shelter at the Gambler events. So my current Gambler is a smart car. Ha!  Rear engine/RWD gives it pretty decent traction  

AAZCD (Forum Supporter)
AAZCD (Forum Supporter) Dork
10/16/21 8:26 p.m.

In reply to Lof8 - Andy :

That's cool. I love smart cars, but they can get too bouncy - HooptieX near Wichita last year:

 

AAZCD (Forum Supporter)
AAZCD (Forum Supporter) Dork
10/16/21 8:45 p.m.

Progress with some paint this afternoon. There's going to be more painting still, but it's finally starting to look more Gamblery.

Mrs AAZCD keeps reminding me to make the snorkel, so that's probably going to have to happen soon. I've seen a few guys put Toyota snorkels on these and Civics. I'm pretty sure mine will be PVC pipe and odd scraps from around the garage.

AAZCD (Forum Supporter)
AAZCD (Forum Supporter) Dork
10/18/21 12:14 a.m.

I gathered up my junk and laid it out on the driveway. I thought I had all the right stuff for a snorkel.

What I could put together came out skinny and short. Mrs AAZCD is not impressed.

AAZCD (Forum Supporter)
AAZCD (Forum Supporter) Dork
10/18/21 11:59 p.m.

Mrs AAZCD is satisfied with my plumbing now. Three inches thick and long enough to go as deep as it gets.

...and getting her to tell me I should spend some money on a project car is always a win.

AAZCD (Forum Supporter)
AAZCD (Forum Supporter) Dork
10/20/21 10:50 p.m.

There is so much more I want to do, but we head to the Okie Gambler on Friday. Basic maintenance would be nice; oil change, timing belt, water pump, valve adjustment, trailing arm bushings....  Mods; heavy duty skid plate, fabricated bumpers, mild lift. Maybe I'll target that stuff for the Mexico Gambler in May.

As it sits tonight: Wiring is done for winch and light bar. Soft skid plate installed. Basic cosmetics done (no stickers until I get there and do some swapping). New AT tires on front and mud tires swapped to the rear (front mud tires were too noisy). Rear bumper cut to fit 30" spare tire. Three of four doors have good latches. The cabin filter that had ( apparently ) NEVER been changed has been changed.

Need to: Make sure dipsticks and distributor are safe for short term immersion. Make phone/tablet/camera mounts. Cut extra key. Organize interior space use. Consider last minute exterior cargo capability.

2002maniac
2002maniac Dork
10/21/21 11:28 a.m.

The CRV is coming along nicely.

That Mexico Gambler looks AMAZING! Depending on gas prices and roadworthiness of my gambler I may be interested in making the 20hr drive there from Utah. Right now it shakes something awful over 55mph

Billy_Bottle_Caps
Billy_Bottle_Caps GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
10/21/21 2:04 p.m.

Looks awesome!

AAZCD (Forum Supporter)
AAZCD (Forum Supporter) Dork
10/23/21 8:28 p.m.

The CR-V is doing great. The only problem we've had was that the cone air filter got ripped off by a low branch and lost on a trail. Someone else gave us a huge one that fit just fine with a little duct tape.

It would be good to add a little more power to sustain speed up the hills with the big tires. I'm going to put an Integra intake and throttle body on later to see how it does.

 

AAZCD (Forum Supporter)
AAZCD (Forum Supporter) Dork
10/28/21 12:12 a.m.
OHSCrifle
OHSCrifle GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
10/28/21 5:08 a.m.

Gambling looks like a fun event

Billy_Bottle_Caps
Billy_Bottle_Caps GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
10/28/21 1:49 p.m.
OHSCrifle said:

Gambling looks like a fun event

I have done 2 and let me tell you, it is. Cool people, nice vibe, and cars that shouldn't be able to do what they are doing, is really entertaining.

 

BBC

AAZCD (Forum Supporter)
AAZCD (Forum Supporter) Dork
10/28/21 7:17 p.m.

Up next is the 'Texas Carnado' in February (drive on the 5th). It looks like it will be some very good terrain and trails in Southeastern Oklahoma and into Arkansas. If you're in the TX, OK, AR area, Do it!

AAZCD (Forum Supporter)
AAZCD (Forum Supporter) Dork
11/9/21 4:23 p.m.

During the Okie Gambler, the cone filter above the roofline turned out to be a failure point on forest trails. If I hadn't noticed during a stop, I could have driven for hours on dusty roads without an air filter. My solution was to re-install the factory airbox atop the snorkel tubing.

I did some license plate origami to mount it firmly in place. With the intake hole facing aft, I still want to add a forward facing cowl to direct air around for positive pressure when driving.

AAZCD-Jon (Forum Supporter)
AAZCD-Jon (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
12/26/21 6:21 p.m.

A month ago doing some daily driving I noticed a little puddle under the CR-V. It was a coolant drip from under the crank pulley - Bad water pump. I stopped driving it and ordered parts including the timing belt, water pump, cam seals and front crank seal. I finally had time to install it all on Christmas eve.

I'm not sure if I mentioned it earlier, but I noticed especially during the Okie Gambler that the CR-V had no power. I had to manually shift to (1) to get up some of the steep trails. I thought that it might have been from the big diameter wheels and restricted exhaust, or maybe the valves needed adjustment. When I replaced the timing belt, I'm pretty sure I found the problem. The timing belt was off by a tooth:

It made a big difference in power having it set correctly. It had ran smooth and idled well with the bad timing, so I hadn't expected that. I don't know how it could have got that way or how long it's been like that. At 180,000 miles now, it could have still had the original timing belt from the look of it:

Note to self... Always change the timing belt on an unknown engine before doing a 500+ mile road trip.

AAZCD-Jon (Forum Supporter)
AAZCD-Jon (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
2/1/22 11:29 a.m.

There's a Gambler event this weekend, Texas Carnado '22. I've been too busy to spend time checking over the CR-V until today. There's been a rattle up front and it felt like it was wandering a little on the highway. After a quick look taday, I think I found the issue. Hopefully I can get some new inner tie rods on before the weekend.

 

 

Snowdoggie (Forum Supporter)
Snowdoggie (Forum Supporter) Dork
2/1/22 11:51 a.m.

Wow. Mrs. Snowdoggie has a brand new one of those. If I ever told her I wanted to make it into a replica of my Cherokee XJ she would throw me out the window. cheeky

Billy_Bottle_Caps
Billy_Bottle_Caps GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
2/1/22 12:03 p.m.

Hope you make to the event this weekend-please post up pics or video :) 

 

BBC

AAZCD-Jon (Forum Supporter)
AAZCD-Jon (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
2/3/22 8:44 p.m.

There's been ice and snow across Oklahoma and Texas, but the Carnado is still going on. I'm not going to camp on Friday night, but get up early and drive down on Saturday to meet before they roll out.

There's a lot of stuff that I want to do to the CR-V ...and it's not going to happen before Saturday. Today I went to a heated hangar and got the tie rods replaced with my new tool from HF. Pretty good for ~$45 if you expect to use it a few times.

Now the front wheels turn at the same time and both point in the same general direction. I ordered a 2.5" lift kit last week, but it didn't get here in time.

 

AAZCD-Jon (Forum Supporter)
AAZCD-Jon (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
2/5/22 9:14 p.m.

That. Was. Awesome.

...I'm getting a coffee and then driving 2 more hours home. Amazing pics later...

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