March 2018 in review

Welcome back to another installment of the monthly blog! March was all about engine swaps at Stew’s Self Service Garage. We had four different cars all do engine swaps this month, which is our highest amount of swaps in one month to date. We always love seeing engine swaps happen as they are deemed one of the more complex jobs for one to DIY. One of the swaps was even live streamed on Twich, which was certainly cool to be able to check in on and see the progress happening live.

We have been working hard since January on bringing the single biggest update to Stew’s Self Service Garage since opening. I am going to leave you guessing as to what’s going on here, but this is the reason as to why we have a CNC router at the shop. The white tables in the middle that are under the large grey object are vacuum tables that we designed ourselves. To be able to fully hold the material down we had to use vacuum to keep the material from pulling up in the middle off the machine table. I’ve spent the past 3 months spending over 60 hours per week learning CAD (computer aided design) and CAM (computer aided machining) to keep to our true spirit of DIY. You’ve likely seen a lot less of me lately because I’ve been so focused on getting this working. After months of testing, we are finally ready to start cutting into the actual material. 

I am expecting that you will be seeing the big reveal sometime in April or early May. So be sure to stay tuned to Facebook to see the reveal as it happens! I will also be taking you on an in-depth behind the scenes tour on how it happened. 

I of course have to briefly talk about the McLaren 570gt that was in during the month. I was super excited to get this car onto our new Challenger 2 post because I was confident we would be able to get it onto the lift without needing to drive onto blocks. No blocks required, and we just spun the pucks right up onto the jack points, which was super easy! The McLaren was in for just a quick inspection, but it was certainly a brief distraction for everyone. 

Like I mentioned in the last blog, I not only want to take you behind the scenes of happenings at the shop, I also want you to know me a little better. This means I need to talk about Mariners baseball returning as Opening Night was the 29th. I have been a huge baseball fan since as long as I can remember, and I played baseball through high school as well. I became a Mariners season ticket holder in 2015, and have attended more than 50 games each season. I also will attend my 1000th MLB game later this season, which I am excited about. My goal is also to visit each of the 30 MLB stadiums before I turn 30. Last year I went to St. Louis and Atlanta for baseball to check off 2 stadiums. This year the plan is to attend games in Arizona and San Diego when the Mariners travel there in August

Also in March Formula 1 returned! My other favorite sport is the pinnacle of auto sport. I’ll watch every race, and a few of them live even when they are on at 5am. I am not at all a morning person, so waking up at 5am for anything, let alone a race is pretty rare. I of course have to cheer for American Team Haas, but my favorite drivers are McLaren’s Fernando Alonso, and Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen. I think Team Haas is likely a year or two away from being serious competition to the top 3 teams, but they have been competing better than expected as a new team. I’m debating trying to attend the USA Grand Prix in Austin in October, if you’ve been to an F1 race, convince me to go!


That’s it for this blog post! Check back next month for another update, and hopefully a real behind the scenes look at our biggest update since opening.

The First Ever

The First Ever

That’s right, the first ever blog post from Stew’s Self Service Garage. Why? Because now I have time to do a monthly blog post. Why should you care? I’m going to give you behind the scenes looks at Stew’s Self Service Garage, insight into who I am, what I do, and why I do what I do. I’m excited to start doing this, and I hope to provide you with something new every month you can learn about Stew’s Garage. 

Pleased to Meet You

Many of you have met me at this point, but for those who haven’t I’d like to introduce myself! I’m The Stew of Stew’s Self Service Garage. I’m 24, I like cars, and I’m a passionate member of the car community. I’m mostly known for my specialties in modifying BMWs as noted by our Fordenstein and the GMW. The Fordenstein was a ’98 BMW 323is swapped with a ford 302 motor and turned into a cobbled together race car. The GMW is a LS3 swapped ’98 528i that you’ll see hanging around in the shop. I’ve always worked on my own cars as well as friends cars. I’ve always had a can-do attitude when it comes to things I’m interested in.

After I started school in the Fall of 2012 at Central Washington University, I needed to replace the suspension on my 2001 Toyota Tacoma since it was very worn out. This was in December, which means it’s snowing, cold, and windy. These are not ideal conditions for working on a car, especially when I have a limited tool selection. The idea for Stew’s Garage came up sitting in my dorm room with my buddies brain storming on what to do about my predicament. After writing a business plan, doing financial projects, and doing a lot of convincing people to believe in me, I finally was on the path to making my dream a reality. I dropped out of school after 2 short quarters, and moved back to Bellevue. In October of 2014 we finally opened our doors to you all after working for almost 2 years to make it happen. It’s been a spectacular journey, and I’m excited to start to share more of the future journey with everyone.

To get to know me a little better personally, I’m a huge baseball fan. If you don’t find me at the garage I’m probably at a Mariners game during the summer. I attend roughly 60 home games per season, and I’ll catch a couple road games as well. My goal is to visit all 30 MLB stadiums before I turn 30. I’ve attended nearly 1000 games at Safeco Field in Seattle, and I’ve also been to Busch Stadium in St. Louis as well as Sun Trust Park in Atlanta. The plan is to visit Petco Park in San Diego and Chase Field in Arizona this season when the M’s travel there for a couple of the NL West series. If you like baseball, tell me! I love talking about the game, and I’ll try to not talk your ear off about the M’s. 

Enough about me for this post, I promise there will be more to come. For now check out some of our new additions to the garage!

What's new at Stew's?

Lots of things! Since the start of the year we’ve replaced one of our 2-post lifts with a brand new Challenger CL-10v3, which is a very high quality lift. What are the main differences between this and our Bendpaks? To get into the nerdy lift details, this lift has superior clearance for low cars, the lift is taller to accommodate taller vehicles, the lock release is easier to operate, the lift goes up and down faster, it’s USA made, and it offers great flexibility. We are excited to see how this lift works for everyone, and we will be taking notes on how it performs compared to the Bendpaks.

New Impact Guns

New impact guns in every bay! These guns are a major upgrade over our Ingersoll Rand impact guns we had. Not only are they stronger, they are lighter, quieter, and smaller. They’ll fit in tighter places, and pack a powerful punch! We love these new impact guns, and so far the reception has been nothing but positive.

A CNC Router

Put this in the category of new toys. We are super excited to start turning out some cool new additions to the shop with this machine. Eventually we will open it up to select customer use, but for now it is a tool we use to make your experience in the shop better. Stay tuned for the first parts coming off the machine in the coming month.

That’s all for this installment! Check back next month for the latest, and a little bit more about me. What’s to  come in the future are more behind the scenes looks, highlights of new additions, and more! Feel free to let me know your thoughts in the comment field below!