Modifying your car? Please think carefully about what you're doing

Country Bumpkin

Track Warrior
We have had a car on one of the ramps in the workshop, it has been modified and it has won shows. I can't say what the car is, who owns it or anything like that except that it is not a GTO.
It came to us for a mechanical problem which needed fixing.
The reason for this post is just to get your brains working on the way you modify your pride and joy and to actually step back and think about things and their disaster potential.
Here's a short list of some of the faults that we observed on inspection of the car, which in all fairness to the owner, he has been shown and has had them rectified.

The front metal brake pipes were routed through a small hole drilled in each inner wing lower seam, there is not enough room for a correct size hole and grommet which would allow movement to prevent it from rubbing and wearing through. The flexi pipe to the brake caliper was not fixed on either side by a spring clip into it's locator, therefore it was loose, accentuating the movement of the metal pipe through the small hole drilled into the lower wing.
The brake bias valve was just floating near the bulkhead as it was different than the standard one and wouldn't fit on the original locating point. Apart from poorly formed flares on the brake pipes, the bends were almost flat and the pipe would quite soon have chaffed through somewhere, causing the obvious loss of braking due to loss of brake fluid.

The battery had been moved to the car interior, just behind the passenger seat. It had no form of security strap and was just sat on the floor. In fairness, it was at least a dry cell battery. It doesn't take much to imagine this car in an accident and that battery going through the head of the driver or front seat passenger, or an electrical short and a fire through movement of the battery during normal driving.

The fuel tank has been changed to an aluminium one and now sits in the boot, the car is a hatchback and has no rear seats or interior.
The fuel lines are braided but run through an un grommeted metal hole in the floor. The fuel tank neck had been J.B. welded, that means that it has not been welded just stuck together with a plastic metal and the cap didn't fit correctly anyway. The interior of the car stank of fuel, a lot !
Hopefully i don't need to explain the potential problems associated with that lot.

The engine oil cooler pipes were cable tied up but still contacting the driveshafts. The turbo oil feed pipe ran alongside the manifold. The waste gate actuator vacuum pipe was melted through as it had laid on the downpipe.

Incorrect bolts were fitted everywhere, most were not even tight. The job card was a page and a half of safety advisories.
There is so much more but i hope that by now you can see what i'm trying to get across to you.
Ironically the owner had not scrimped on parts financially, the car has uprated everything, it was just fitted by Stevie Wonder.

Please, if you are modding your car, do it properly. Think of the consequences of your actions not how cheap you can do it and that it must be o.k. 'cos your mate with the I.Q. of a hearth rug said it was a good mod. If you have doubts about what you are doing, stop and ask people who do it for a living with a good reputation to match or search the internet. There is a downsdie to internet based advice though, let's say for instance that the owner of the above car was giving the advice, how many people would read it and think it was the way ahead ? Most of the professional garages are happy to give you some advice but please be aware that they have a living to earn. So don't be on the phone every five minutes or try to get a complete car mod list in one phone call, as it may end in a polite decline to help any further.

Trust me, i have seen worse than the above too. What is even more alarming is that some of these cars have even passed a M.O.T. in their modified state.

Enjoy your car, enjoy modifying it but don't mod if you can't afford to do the job properly or don't have the correct knowledge and equipment.
re: Modifying your car ? Please think carefully about what your doing

christ some of that stuff just seems scary
things such as cable tying stuff to driveshafts, the fueltank im not even going to comment on
re: Modifying your car ? Please think carefully about what your doing

im surprized the car didnt fall to bits let alone pass an M.O.T. its a shame that there are many garages that do things on the cheap side just to get busniuss.its such a shame.:(
re: Modifying your car ? Please think carefully about what your doing

Wow! I shudder to think how many similarly badly modified cars are out there!
re: Modifying your car ? Please think carefully about what your doing

MODS! Can we have this story sticky-d or made into an article because I think everyone needs to read it. Best story ever.
Re: Modifying your car ? Please think carefully about what your doing

good story, and good advise people should take on board
otherwise its a metal casket

Re: Modifying your car ? Please think carefully about what your doing

i don't understand how it could have won shows

Because judges at shows don't crawl around underneath cars looking for how it's all put together. To be honest i really don't understand how some of these judges come to the conclusions they do anyway, but that's another discussion.

I have seen lowered cars where the springs have been gas axed, even in situ on more than one occasion.
Some of the "modifications" are mind blowing on some of the cars out there.
Re: Modifying your car ? Please think carefully about what your doing

i have seen some sites as well
once had a merc in and had some big old wheels on it and did look wrong on the motor
but to fit them he cut half the top ball joint nut and thread off with a grinder so he could fit the wheels
and then wonderd why i would not pass the mot on it

but as for the mot's on these motors half the mods people do to there motors dont come into the mot test is sily really as its all saftey

seen a lot of cut down springs i always like that fail they do it to save money but really it saves nothing
Re: Modifying your car ? Please think carefully about what your doing

these are crazy mods, certainly something to think about but cant understand what goes through some peoples heads - metal rubbing against metal, something is going to break sooner or later!
Re: Modifying your car ? Please think carefully about what your doing

good advice,if you are going to do it do it right,dont cut corners
Stripping Cosworths to sell has thown up some scary mods. I bought a Sapphire that had a Quaife ATB diff fitted. Hooned around for a week until the tyres hitting the arches drove me mad. When I got under the car to remove the rear axle I discovered that over half of the CV bolts were coming undone, a couiple were over 10mm out! I only used a ratchet on 2 of the 24 bolts!

An RS Sierra I bought had all the correct bits - A1000 fuel pump fitted into a well made aluminium box, Aeroquip hoses and fittings everywhere - looked good. When I came to take the fuel tank out the union fitted to the tank was held on with araldite!!!

Number one rule. If you buy a modified car, check it over VERY carefully before driving it.
yeah if its no good cutting corners,peoples life could depend on it!,the person bodging it would survive,an inocent person would be the casualty.
in new zealand, if a cop finds something wrong with your car the will put either a pink or green sticker on ur windscreen, pink is for a dangerous modification (worst one ive seen is a screamer pipe sticking out of the bonnet) and green is for something less serious like in adequate certification for exhaust noise. as for cut springs, thatd be a definite pink sticker.
been in a car with cut springs, went around a corner and the spring in the front passenger side (i was the passenger) popped out and made a hell of a noise.
have also seen a driveshaft fall out of a van on a motorway.
This is certainly an eye opening post. I got lucky with my car as I brought it off a mate with only a few Mods and I got him to drive it to the garage I work at to have it checked before I bought it. And every mod I do I get the MOT guy at work to certify it as safe.
thair are certanly dodgy people out thair my nomber 1 thought when buying a used car for any purpouse or reason is why are thay selling the car to beguin with luckly my car is new off the shop floor and safe thairs nothing wrong with a used car in general iv had manny an all have had thair miner issues but nothing that drastic
repairs may not be much better. i had to have my rear diff replaced but it was replaced with an open diff which required longer drive shafts due to it being narrower as it doesnt have AYC. the garage first smashed both rear wheel bearings then told me they have bent the hub. i sourced a hub and hub carrier and took it to an engineer who is a mate of a professor of engineering that saw my posts and decided to take steps for me. this guy took the old hub carrier off and on tracing the ABS lead, discovered it wasnt plugged in as it just fell down then examined the work done and found a round metal bush was now oval with evidence of heat treatment. its was crabbing so badly that it took 3 attempts to get the car straight on his ramp and this was the reason for it.
i now have a decent mechanic who is safety concious. he had major issues with the work he was tasked with when replacing my front wheel bearings and fitting the brembos but he will not do a half arsed job. he may not necessarily bother about MOT standard but he certainly will not allow someone to drive around in a death trap. he will only do work that will result in a safe car regardless of the trouble that may be or he just wont do it. for example, i suggested drilling my V6 discs to 5 stud as a temporary solution for a couple of days just to get the car on the road and he took them to an engineering company to ensure the holes matched up perfectly rather than do the drilling himself. he wasnt keen on this but he knew i would only be going to work and back then getting tyres fitted to the EVO alloys to enable him to complete the brembo upgrade. i got the car late thursday night and he got the car back on saturday night to fit the brembos and custom HEL braided brake lines
I very much liked the sound of the prize winning hatchback. However, I think I can beat it.
This was a rad I had to fix a while ago.
I have seen a spring that someone had changed & it wasn't seated correctly & was bent. Presumably when the car was moving up & down, rather then compressing the spring must have just been bending.
I know someone who was half way through a job on his own car which involved removing a calliper. He needed to drive somewhere, so he clamped off the brake line with plumbers gripps & put wheel back on. Ended up crashing the car.
I have just had my modified rear uprights/hubs approved and mod plated by a Government approved engineer and he spent 30 minutes or so taking pics and checking the makers specs as well as the pics from a race car with the same top secret factory part that is now unobtanium hence the reason that my parts had to be cut and shut and gusseted to replicate the TS parts.

I wanted to do it right and be legal as well as stay alive and not be a danger to anyone especially me ;) :lol:
Have tracked down the rear suspension mod in the FIA homologation paperwork where it is called a strengthened part and it was a welded part.
There is no mention as to weather they altered the geometry.
What concerns me is the practise of of line sellers advertising standard plumbing fittings as brake parts. For example, compression fittings with olives. Brake lines MUST have properly formed double or bubble flares. Compression joiners with olives can fail under pressure and the result is NO BRAKES!
The issue is, that car owners tend to do the modifications themselves and unless they are very skilled mechanicals, these modifications will not be completed correctly. We have a professional shop to handle all our our installations. If the tech tells me it wont work etc, then it wont work and would not be installed. So far everything I've brought in a researched for our project has worked and been installed on the van. So when they tell you "Never attempt this at home" they mean it. Then the part thats really scary is that the car owners does theses installations and decides not to keep the car, trades it in to an unsuspecting car sales and sold again to someone who don't know what was done to the car.
Another issue - related to the above, in a way, is that the age of the car often reflects the age of the owner. For example, a fast Ford from the 'eighties will likely be restored by a younger person than 1950s and 1960's cars. Many pre WW2 era cars are now far less sought after than they once were as their elderly owners pass away with the march of time. Where the younger person may be keen to learn and enthusiastic about what they can do with - and to - their cars, the older person may be more experienced but perhaps with age comes memory problems. The biggest problem I have is remembering where I have put something down or stowed it away for safe keeping. I seem to spend more time looking for stuff than doing things. I can also be a danger to myself sometimes.!

Having said that, there are plenty of old guys out there who are not loosing their marbles; far from it. The man I bought my car from is 86. He knew he had a problem with the brakes leaking fluid... but rather than tell a buyer about it, he chose to pack the wheel cylinders with grease. As it happened, the brakes failed as I was getting the car on the trailer. I should have demanded my money back there and then but at the time I didn't realise what he had done. Ba87trd.:eek:
I always found some of the modifications people do to be frightening. What is the point of doing this? I mean they spend time and money, and what do they get in the end?
For some guys it is all about the folding stuff. Personally, I take a more relaxed attitude than most; after all, no matter how much you make, you can't take it with you.
I always found some of the modifications people do to be frightening. What is the point of doing this? I mean they spend time and money, and what do they get in the end?
I watch various car shows on TV like Kendig customs ,Texas metal etc and am astounded by the mods carried out and the skills involved BUT am left wondering if there is any requirement for them to be checked by a state or county authority before they are allowed on public roads. Some of the ridiculous suspension lifts that require a ladder to get into the cab come to mind and they would fall over so fast if they were to try "the moose test" at any speed faster than walking pace. Another thing is that when I see the say 23 inch wheels on most cars there is the tiny stock brakes that look out of place.
I always found some of the modifications people do to be frightening. What is the point of doing this? I mean they spend time and money, and what do they get in the end?
Do you like to wear the same clothes as everyone else? or want to be a little different?
Do you want your phone or computer to be just as powerful as it is from factory or did you want to slap a i9, 4080Ti and uprate it?
Do you want to go on a track and so on and so on, different for everyone.

For me, I like to be different, I want to be faster, and, hate to say it but I do want to show it off considering the sweat,blood and £££ spent on it (but not obnoxiously at 3am with a straight pipe in front of the neighbours) :)

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