BATTLES:…STUFF ( Honda Element Condenser Fan Replacement )

Done some pretty handy stuff lately, but not so much posting. So just giving some highlights..


Two interesting things… I replaced a fan in my element. I used a mix of instructions from these sources:

I don’t want to repeat too much of what these videos cover, but these are worth noting:

    • Take off the splashguard. Removing the clips under the fan(s) is nearly impossible from the top. It takes an extra 10 minutes, but it worth it.Here is what those clips look like. Sorry for the crap video – iphone balanced on my chest while doing this.
    • Clips are confusing…

  • Relays and Fuses are not the same thing.I didn’t know this. When your condenser fan isn’t working – you need to troubleshoot the fan, but you also need to troubleshoot the fuse and the relay. The relay has two connections .. basically when electricity goes to 1 side, it connects the second circuit. You turn on the AC … the dial sends an electrical signal to the relay… the relay then connects the fan to power. Troubleshooting these is pretty easy actually.5986-05184996-1206152 IMG_4095-1200
  • Quit being an idiotIMG_4166


Time spent: 4+ hours  -20 points
Money Spent: $60 ( vs $300 ) +50 points mofo
Extra Screws: 1. -10 points
Broke Car: Negative. +10 points





Campaign: MKIV GOLF UPGRADES pt. 3

VW Golf MK IV cupholderA long time ago, in a garage far far away, I told my girlfriend I would fix her broken cupholder. I knew they just popped in / out, and getting a new one on ebay would be simple. I would be a hero.

So when the replacement showed up in the mail, I marched outside with my tools, easily popped out the old broken cupholder, and slid the new one in. Hrmm.. slight problem though. It won’t slide all the way in. This is confusing to me, because I’ve been assured what I have is a direct replacement part.

But it was not to be. See, she owned a 1999.5 MkIV Golf. And the original cupholder design was Total Shit. VW would replace it the following year. But the kicker is while the new cupholders would fit in the 2000+ VWs, the 1999.5 was special. There was a small piece of plastic blocking it, and I’d need to “Dremel it out”.


Well, the project just jumped from a level 1 to level 3 difficulty. To do this, I would need to pull half of the goddamn dash. Here take a gander at PART 1 of the fucking instructions. Yep. you have to take off the ebrake cover, center console, radio, heating unit, and even the FUCKING GLOVE COMPARTMENT to get the radio cage out.

This was clearly more work that I wanted ( or trusted myself ) to do. I could already picture all the broken plastic tabs, my inability to put things back where they belonged, the horrible and inevitable failure.

Step 1 : An easier way

I mean I really looked. I literally took years to figure this out. I tried finding a replacement part, but all the vintage pieces were either in terrible shape, or would just break again anyway. I looked at upgrade the center console to a newer version ( that contained cupholders by the ebrake )

$T2eC16F,!zQE9s3sqJjfBSCwDmOgIw~~60_35But I couldn’t buy them in beige.. and they had quirky additional requirements like “You have to bend the e-brake” or “replace the ebrake handle”. These seemed either dangerous or again, outside my skill level.

So it sat in my “to-do” list, for a very long time. Unsure how to proceed. Unwilling to admit defeat.

And then 1 day, I came across a guy on craigslist who had just gutted his beige Jetta… and aside from a ton of interior pieces I wanted.. he had the upgraded center console. On top of that he assured me that swapping it wasn’t that hard. Even the ebrake. So rather than finding an easier way.. I decided to just swap out fucking everything. New console, New glovebox, and while I was there, I would dremel the shit out of that radio cage and put in the new cupholder.

Step 2: A bunch of stuff happens

I am not going to go play by play on this. Too much has happened. But I’m going to do some major highlights, and maybe offer some tips if you are trying this yourself.

I recommend starting here, on the Forums. This is a great explanation of how to tear down all the way to the radio cage. Pretty much I followed these instructions, and they walked me through the whole process.

Some things I learned:

  • Don’t trust the dude you bought stuff from. Even if he seemed nice, and used to run his own shop. He probably broke plastic tabs taking the parts off, and there might be parts missing as well. I ended up having to purchase a few black parts for the beige replacement console. Luckily they look pretty good.IMG_0095
  •  Take the time to disconnect the battery. Once you start messing with the glove box area.. you spend a lot of time with your face pressed against that passenger airbag. Would suck to have it go off. It also makes it easier because you can move the shifter around if you are using an automatic. This makes it much easier to slip center console on / off


  • If you decide to upgrade your glovebox to a newer version, be prepared for some frustration. 1999.5 comes with a metal support brace that needs to be removed, and it was a bitch to get out. Tight area, lots of force needed. Also… you don’t need to rekey the lock. Your current key VW key will open a new glovebox.


  • Try really hard not to break plastic parts. Getting everything to fit back together was a challenge, made even more difficult when broken plastic tabs were no longer there to hold stuff in place. I’m looking at you..uh.. metal bar under the ashtray.IMG_0091
  • Just buy a new ebrake. Don’t mess around with the “Bending” it crap. It costs like $20 on ebay, and fits much nicer. MAKE SURE YOU BUY THE RIGHT MODEL NUMBER. 1JM 711 303 You want the one that is for later model MKIVs. It is the “bent” or “angled” model.I did a video on how to get the  ebrake cover off. Looking back though, I wish I’d just left the black leather. probably would have looked better, but hey. Here is my video anyway on how to change the cover for an ebrake.


  • Have the right tools. Definitely need 13MM socket head, Power drill driver for all those damn T20 bolts, Additional interior lighting ( I used a lamp + flashlights as needed ), and plastic tools for prying stuff off without damaging the surface.


Step 3: Scoring

Time to complete : 2 years. yeah really. Like that girl isn’t even my Girlfriend anymore. -100
Time spent: Maybe 8 hours? Have definitely lost track. -10
Broken Plastic Shit: -10
Cost: $100 total. Less once I sell off old parts. +30
Completed?: Hell yezzzzz. +shitload


I’m still pretty amazed this all worked out. Looks solid too.

IMG_0098 IMG_0095 IMG_0096-1000all KINDS of cup holding going on now.



Campaign: MKIV GOLF UPGRADES pt. 2

I am back to report a minor victory in the overall campaign.

A necessary aspect of the upgrade was replacing the old 1999.5 MKIV emergency brake with a newer version. I think it is like 2004+ MKIV’s have the brake and it is slightly angled to fit the new center console I’m using.

Despite several online forums suggestions “Just grab the ebrake and bend it”, I was dubious. This is such a common solution, that someone on fucking ebay even suggested it when I tried to buy their ebrake. “Oh dont buy a new one, just bend the old one”.

I tried this a bit and

1) It didnt work that well and
2) Bending it just seems like a dumb idea, and something that would probably come back to haunt me at the trial.

So…. bought the new brake, and had to figure out how to remove the black leather hood, and replace it with the current beige one.

On reflection I should have probably just kept the black leather, but w.e.

TIME SPENT: Minimal. maybe an hour or so. 5 pts
COST: Minimal. $20 on ebay. 5 pts
SHIT BROKEN: The leather hood. I gave up and just cut that fucker off. -5 pts
BONUS VIDEO: I made a fucking video. enjoy. +5 pts
WORKS?: Hell yeah it works. +20 pts



Green VW MKIV 1999.5 Golf

It has been about 2 years in the making. A series of failed attempts, research, and a lucky CraigsList buy. Each issue I thought I solved raised another issue. Each solved issue raised a new possible upgrade.

Typical example: Bought cupholder, find out that it only works on 2000+ MKIVs. To make it fit I need to dremel out the radio cage. No problem, right? Oh wait, to do that you have to take out THE ENTIRE CENTER CONSOLE, and even then you are only halfway to getting the cage out. Well, how about a center console with a cup mod on it? Ok great.. but to make that work I have to BEND THE FUCKING EMERGENCY BRAKE. Nothing in this bullshit is simple. So… here we go…

It is time to fix a whole series of issues with a 1999.5 MKIV Golf.

  • Remove and replace damaged cloth on weather stripping
  • Replace broken glove compartment
  • Replace broken Dash Cupholder
  • Replace center console with additional cupholder mod
  • Replace interior handles / a pillars / etc

Much of this was made possible by a Craigslist Ad, where some guy was swapping out all the beige items in his car for black ones. His car was in amazing condition, and I was able to get some great pieces at a low price.

So lets kick this fucker off.



Battle: Honda Element 2006 Window Regulator!

Sitting at a stop in my 2006 Honda Element, and hear a nice loud crack – glancing quickly to the right,  I see my passenger window slide down into the door. I press the up/down button and just hear a metallic hum. Shit’s broke.

This is apparently a common honda problem. Which means there are plenty of tutorials and other online help on how to fix it. This video was very helpful, and pretty clear walk through.

My experience only differed in a few areas.


Door handle clasp. Although shown in the video above at 1:20 – pay extra attention to how this rotates.

door handle clip

The metal will then lift up out of the purple plastic clasp.


I was not able to easily lift out the front panel as shown in the video.   Trying to “gently” pull the plastic panel out led to 2 plastic cracks. This is one of the most frustrating parts of car stuff – and I always fuck it up.

IMG_9116-1000There are  a number of plastic screws that need to be gently popped up. knowing where they are will help you from accidentally putting pressure in the wrong area. Use a plastic pry tool from harbor freight.

image_20820This is where the pop screws are located.

IMG_9117-1000Minor detail:  The thin plastic wrap pulls of easily, but not all the way across…there are areas where the wiring is woven through it, so I left mine draped to the left.

I followed video instructions on unscrewing the window from the regulator, and then the regulator from the door.

EDIT: just break this fucking orange thing. it pops out from the back, and your regulator comes with a new one. Unplugging the regulator power cable was a perfect time to break another piece of plastic – it is mounted to the door… but I got lucky.  Push DOWNWARD and it slides off the orange mount


After that the whole regulator slid out nicely.

Took longer than expect, and the usual broken plastic. Frustrating, but ok. We will see how the rest of it goes later this week.



Welp. That was pretty simple. Not worth another page.. so this has been downgraded from PART 1, to just.. well. nothing. Picked up the part at local dealership for $130. Could have gotten cheaper on line, but needed the car working by today. A few things to note:

  • Get a 10mm socket + attach it to your drill. Speeds things up quite a bit.
  • Parts went in ok – a bit cramped, and follow the order they do it in video. I tried bolting in the motor first, and then couldn’t get the rest of regulator in place.
  • Watch to make sure your motor powercord is against the metal of the door, and not wrapped around the mechanism cables

Seeing the sad stock speakers, I have been motivated to try and upgrade them. I have a set of component polks that will fit. I WAS waiting until I could try and do a fancy amp install, but I think I can put in the speakers myself, and then get an expert to install the amp under the car seat.


Project Completed: +20
Money Spent: +10 ( could have gotten a bit cheaper if I had ordered online  – but overall saved about $150 bucks on the install
Fallen Allies: 0
Damaged Plastic: -10
Time Taken: 3-4 hours counting driving time for parts

Final Tally: Not too shabby



BATTLE: WIPER HOSE! [ MKIV Golf Windshield Wiper Hose Replacement ]

Windshield Wiper Hose Fitment and Hose / Tube ReplacementThis one has been a long and drawn out battle. This is probably BATTLE FOUR, but I can’t even remember when the first one was.



Right – so some shit was broken. fixed it. found more shit broken. fixed that. And at the end, while I have the nozzles spraying ( more like spurting ) water onto the windshield, the fluid is leaking. from where? well, pretty much everywhere. Because I was intimidated by the thought of replacing all those fixtures and hoses, I just electrical taped the shit out of everything. This did not work, and I now have the hypothesis that “Tape is only used for keeping things out, Not in.” Words of wisdom that will surely grace my gravestone some day.


I struggled with this. There are any number of threads online that discuss this, for example:

When I did find threads discussing replacing all the hoses they basically went like this:

“Oh I just replaced it all with surgical tubing” or “I replaced it all with vacuum line, it’s easy!”

Shit I wanted to know:

  • What diameter ( inner and outer ) tubing I should get
  • What fitments will I need, and again, what sizes
  • Where can I even buy the damn fitments

This culminated with me calling my local VW dealership, and asking about specs. They replied:

“Oh – that old corrugated plastic? Just replace it with Vacuum tubing!”

Yeah, so fuck it, right? Let’s just go buy some shit and return what we don’t use.


I had hoped to follow this process:

  • Find out what I need
  • Order it
  • Wait to take car apart until parts arrive

That seemed sane to me. But with the lack of available info, I went with:

  • Open car
  • Break out parts
  • Cut pieces out that look important
  • Take them all to Auto place

Guy at Autoplace was really helpful. Pointed me to vacuum / wiper hose they had in the back. He cut me off a 2 inch piece so I could go find matching fitments. I guess I just got lucky because the tubing matched up perfectly with the pump I brought in. I tried to keep track of how many connectors / elbows / y splitters I would need – but ended up buying more than that. Annoying : I had to buy everything in “multipacks”  – so now I have 5 different Y-Splitters I don’t need. but w/e, overall I spent $15.00.


Since I can’t seem to find this shit on the internet, hopefully this hard info will be of use to someone else. In order to replace the cracked corrugated Windshield Wiper Fluid Hoses, I recommend purchasing :

Items you should purchase, because you will probably break them while taking them out:

  • Nozzles. You will break at least one of these fuckers while you learn to get them out. Besides they are probably clogged , or melted, or whatever.. and they are cheap. $6


ok, tomorrow, onto the doing stuff like this… replacing outdated / beat down / corrugated tubing with new flexible full of life and verve vacuum tubing.


Replaced Damaged / Old VW Golf Mark IV Tubing with Vacuum Tube

Replaced Damaged / Old VW Golf Mark IV Tubing with Vacuum Tube









Headlights on this 1999.5 VW Golf are heavily clouded. I’ve been planning on replacing / restoring them for quite a while. I saw a pair on craigslist that were a match, and jumped at the chance!




well, not much to add there. I bought a used pair of Jetta ( not Golf  ) Headlights. I wish I had a good reason for that fuck up, but I don’t. Typical lack of attention to detail.


ok, so now these are going to be “practice” lights, so I can try and polish them up BEFORE I attempt to do it on the real lights. This is an ok idea. The basics of polishing headlights are

  • Tape off, or remove, headlights
  • Wet Sand your way from 600 grit to 2000+ grit.
  • Polish / Buff
  • Admire work!

There are plenty of youtube videos on this, and they are all pretty similar, and it looks pretty easy, right?

Here is a cool McGuires one, that talks about using their cutting / polishing agent at the end.


After watching a few of these, I started running into videos where people talk about using 600 grit at first to get all the Clear Coat off. However none of the videos I was watching talks about restoring the clear coat afterwards. That is a red light.

Reading up on a few forums, I saw people asking about how to clear coat. apparently if you DONT clear coat, your lenses fade/haze again super fast. I don’t know if I am missing something in the previous videos, or if the companies selling these headlight restoration kits are deliberately leaving off the clear coat at the end.


Ok, so now I’m looking for clear coating videos… This seems pretty easy, dude just uses a spray can

But I see a lot of bitching about just using a spray can clear coat – poor application, runs, burns off easily, etc…. So what is the best way? Which product to use? Time to enter the forums…

oh look, a 100 FUCKING PAGE THREAD ON THIS METHOD, that spans several years. No quick answers here. But I do at least find a summary of 2 methods here:

And… this is where I start to tap out, when we talk about mixing custom urathane and what not. I do find a nice video showing some pros restoring headlights, and adding some clear coats.. however my inability to understand some of what they are saying, scares me off. This is probably the method I want to use – remove lights from car, hand sanding, then pressurized sprayer to get nice even coats. But it is looking like a fucking production by this point.


So rather than spending an entire afternoon mixing up different batches of clear coat, setting up a spray area, etc etc.. how about I just replace the lenses! I don’t even need to swap out the whole thing… just some nice new snap on lenses.

Lovely video on how easy that is!

Heat gun! Silicone Caulk! yeah I’m out.


Simply too much work, when I can go buy a NEW, already clearcoated, ready to go set of Bora lights on ebay for $80 shipped. But what I thought would be a simple, and rewarding project has turned into a complex mess, with lots of room for me to fuck things up.


Project Completed: -20
Money Spent: $40 for used headlights, $15 for a buffer, $80 for a new set of headlights
Time Taken: 2-3 hours of watching videos

So yeah, it’s looking like a bad loss, but if I had moved forward It would have looked like this:

Project Completed: +50
Money Spent: $40 for used headlights, $15 for a buffer, $70 for misc rubbing compounds, polishes, clear coat.
Accidental scratches on car from shitty job taping it off: yes
Times spraying own face with new air compressor toys: 2
Toxic Fumes Inhaled: +.0005% cancer
Quality of final project: Maybe Meh, Maybe Awesome? Will never know!
Time Taken: 8 hours or more

So it is hard to walk away, especially with those stupid headlights I bought and can’t use, but fuck this. Hopefully installing the new lights won’t be nearly as much of a chore.







god. dammit. I give up.

I’ve been trying to bleed my Juicy 3 brakes for .. well a long time. I think this is attempt #3.

My Bike has this pretty cool hydraulic brakes, much like a car:


I took my bike out, after a period of storage, and found that the front brake was not releasing properly. In the past I have fixed this by taking the tire off, pressing the brake pads open, putting tire back in, and squeezing the brake lever. fixed.

This time, however, was not to be! Brake pads are not retracting fully, which drags on the tire. A bit of online research suggests I need to bleed my brakes. I order a bleed kit online  , wait a week, and then get to work!

I use this video as a guide:

have numerous problems. Cant seem to get past bleeding the caliper. Shit I’ve run into:

  • threads on my syringe don’t want to match up with brakes – I think one thread is bent slightly, so it keeps popping out
  • try and suck air out, only to run out of room in the syringe
  • not having a real bike stand, so occasionally bike falls over on me, inducing rage
  • pressing brake fluid out of syringe, slow…slowly…TOO FAST and shit sprays everywhere

It’s been about 3 times now, and I’m done. Hosed the area down ( water neutralizes the brake fluid, or washes it away or whatever ) and will go pay the bike shop to do it.






Aftermarket Stereo Install for my 2006 Honda Element part 2

Continued from…lement-part-1/

Ok – so the first thing I do as part of the installation is unplug my car battery. I don’t want to accidentally short/fry anything.

With the front trim panel off, I remove the 4 screws shown in the previous video, and the factory radio slides right out. I unplug the factory radio and set it aside. I then plug in my own harness.


When I pulled the radio out, it was screwed into a small frame, along with the under radio pocket. I was able to just unscrew the old radio, and screw my new one in. Very straightforward. I then plug the white harness into my stereo.


For the most part I can just push these cables back in place, and be ready to roll. However I need to figure out where I am going to put the USB cable. I have a few feet to work with, and I’m going to try sticking it in the glove compartment.

I take off the glove co, and use a nifty tool I got with a scoche wiring kit. It is designed to make wiring RCA cables earlier, but it will work for this as well. Starting in the glove, I push the long orange wire up into the dash opening.


Hook it around the USB wire…


And pull it through…


I then slide the radio unit into place, attach the battery cable for a quick test:


Looks good, so I screw the 4 screws back in, and pop on the panel.


The radio at the top is flush to the trim…  It rests a few MM more forward than I would like, but I think that it is designed to “bulge” outwards a bit.


  • Device is Functional: +15
  • Parts Damaged: Trim: -5
  • Parts Damaged: Plastic snaps: -1
  • Time Spent 300% estimate: -1
  • Additional Parts: Under $50: +1


  • Took way longer than expected ( 3+ hours counting re-reading tutorials )
  • Trim tools + RCA wiring device were very helpful
  • Last minute harness purchase cost twice as much since I bought it at Best Buy
  • Buying better trim tools from ebay, or Harbor Freight. They are cheap, and seem like good things to have around. Especially a metal puller of some sort. I’m going to mess around with the audio more in the future ( install amp / speakers )
  • I really need to get better at removing trim, I don’t want to scratch the hell out of my interior working on the amplifier/speakers.

Much thanks to . Amazing resource, and very friendly people.