• Project Pile House- Shaving the Door handles

    Since guys have been customizing cars, shaving the door handles has been one of the most common modifications to make the car look as smooth as possible. This process can be a pretty simple process, but there are a few things that can make it go smoothly. I decided to show the process on Project Pile House.   Click Here To Read Full Post...
  • HVLP Spray Guns FAQ

    What size compressor do I need to run this? How many PSI? How many CFM? – This will vary from gun to gun, and even with what tip you are using on the gun. For the most part HVLP guns need more air volume, and less air pressure than a conventional gun. Eastwood offers guns that use as low as 29PSI and 4CFM

    What guns are good for clear coat? – Most guns good for general finish spraying are good for clear coat too. The important thing is to size the nozzle/needle properly for the viscosity of the paint so it goes on uniformly and with the proper thickness.

    Which guns can spray water based paints? – Waterborne paints tend to cause more corrosion than oil based. Guns to spray these paint are either all stainless steel internally or have coatings to resist corrosion.

    Why do I get streaks in my paint jobs? –
    Streaks in the spray pattern, especially heavy bands at the outside edge, is an indication of low pressure at the tip. Turn up the pressure control knob until these bands are eliminated. If the sprayer is already at maximum, you may have to use larger diameter hose or shorten the length of the hose to reduce the pressure drop. Also, make sure any paint filters in the system are clean, because there will be a pressure drop across a restricted or plugged screen. Sprayers are rated for a maximum tip size. Using a tip that is larger than the maximum size or a tip that is worn larger will cause low pressure. The tip should also be the proper size for the type of material being sprayed.

    What size needle and nozzle should I use? -
    Although every job may have slightly different requirements, for most materials it is best to choose a mid-size, or No. 3, needle and nozzle. If your paint is thicker than standard oil-based enamel, you may want to consider a larger size. Remember that there is no one tip that is perfect for all jobs. Needles and nozzles are quick and easy to change out. So try different sizes until you find what works best.

    Why does my gun spit a small stream of paint after I release the trigger? -
    The cause of the problem is that the needle is not seating properly in the seat. You will need to either purchase a kit for the gun needle and seat or you may only need to clean the needle and seat assembly. Residue or debris may cause the needle to move off to the side before seating.

    How often does a gun need to be rebuilt? How can I make it last longer? -
    This depends on what material you're spraying and how many gallons sprayed per day. For example, with lacquers, guns don't need rebuilding as often because lacquers don't have solids in them. In contrast, the high solids in blockfillers are abrasive and require more frequent gun rebuilding.

    One way to increase gun life before repacking is to thoroughly clean your gun at the end of every day. Be sure to trigger the gun before removing the diffuser and when installing the diffuser. If you don't, the diffuser will score around the ball on the new needle which can lead to premature wear. Your gun will develop a leak and this will cause spitting.

    What is tip wear? How can I compensate for it?  -
    Tip wear is gradual, usually over days or weeks. The operator will attempt to compensate by doing the following:

    • Increase fluid pressure (an attempt to achieve an acceptable pattern). This will increase fluid delivery even more.
    • Back away from the part (an attempt to achieve a larger pattern). This may result in a dryer spray pattern.
    • Increase gun speed (an attempt to prevent runs and sags).

    Why do I get “Orange Peel” when spraying HVLP?
    “Orange Peel” happens when the paint on the surface starts to dry before paint under it. The main causes are: Paint applied too thick due to too much or too little air pressure, paint viscosity too heavy for needle/nozzle, holding the gun to close to the painted surface and weather causing the paint to dry too fast.

    What is the difference between conventional style spray guns, HVLP and turbine guns?
    Conventional spray guns typically operate at 40- 60PSI out of the gun. Typically they atomize paint better, but loose more than 50% of the paint to overspray. HVLP guns use more air at a lower pressure usually around 10PSI. They produce a smaller spray pattern, and don’t atomize as well, but deliver nearly 70% of the paint to the surface. Turbine HVLP guns don’t use an air compressor. They have their own turbine based air supply to deliver higher volumes of air at lower pressures.

    Why am I not getting a good paint flow at the tip? –
    Is the tip plugged? Is the pressure set too low? Are the filters plugged? Is the paint too thick for the gun to spray easily?

    What do the numbers 1.0, 1.2, 1.4, 1.8 mean? –
    That is the size of the hole in the tip of the spray nozzle in mm. Larger holes are used for thicker paints, like primer. There is typically a corresponding sized needle for each size nozzle.

    Where do you order repair and replacement parts from? –
    Right here. Eastwood carries a full line of parts and accessories for all the guns we sell.

    Do all these guns come with an air regulator with gauge? –
    Not all of these guns include the regulator/gauge at the air inlet of the gun, but Eastwood sells them separately in both analog and digital gauge versions.

    What are the signs of tip wear? –
    Flow rate increases - As the tip wears, the physical opening in the tip increases. An increase from .015” to .017” (two one-thousands of an inch) may result in a 33% increase in flow rates. How quickly this happens  depends on the factors listed above.

    Pattern size decreases - The tip will wear out in the top and bottom portions of the tip opening. This will result in a smaller pattern size. It will continue to decrease in size as the tip wears.

    What parts of the gun need periodic lubrication? -
    The fluid needle packing A, the air valve packing B and the trigger bearing screw C require daily lubrication with a non-silicone/nonpetroleum gun lube. The fluid needle spring D should be coated lightly with petroleum jelly or a non-silicone grease (i.e.. lithium). Lubricate each of these points after every cleaning in a gun washer.

    Can I get different sized tips for these guns? –
    Eastwood carries all the parts and accessories for all the guns we sell. If different sized tips, needles and air caps are available you can get them from us.

    What sort of storage does this come with? Does it have a plastic carrying case? –
    Many of the guns we sell do come in storage cases. We also carry an empty case specifically for DeVilbiss gravity feed guns.

    What is the best general purpose HVLP spray gun?
    What’s the difference and purpose between the DeVilbiss Starting Line and Finish Line? – The Starting Line series are designed to cost less and be more entry level friendly, but they still feature all DeVilbiss’ years of spray gun expertise and will give years of reliable service. The Finish Line series is a full on professional gun designed for years of heavy usage when your livelihood depends on it.

    Which guns can use the DeKup system? –
    Eastwood has adapters to fit the DeKups, Gunner and 3M PPS systems for most guns.

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  • Wire Mesh Grill On A Budget


    A lot can be said about a car just from the look of the front end. If you’re looking to ditch those boring vertical or horizontal plastic slats for something that really stands out, there is an easy way to get that sporty wire mesh look without having to shell out the cash to buy a full grill. Here is a solution that will look amazing but not break the bank.  I was able to achieve this by using a piece of rain gutter guard for keeping leaves and sticks out of gutters.  It measures 7" Tall X 36" Wide, making it plenty large enough for most grills but for larger grills a different material will be needed.  I found the gutter guard I used at a local home improvement store for about $3, it was already coated so rust wont be an issue.

    Project time: 3-4 hours

    Results: Priceless

    What you’ll need
    Under $25
    • Wire mesh rain gutter guard $ 3
    (Local home improvement store)
    • Contour Glazing putty $ 13
    • 2 Part Epoxy
    (Any will do, I used Gorilla Glue 2 Part Epoxy $4)
    • 4 inch black zip ties >$2

    • Eastwood Straight Cut Tin Snips
    • Flush cut, wire cutters
    (Heavy duty scissors may work)
    Sand Paper
    o 100-150 Grit
    o 220-280 Grit
    Pneumatic die grinder or dremel
    Burring bit
    Cut off wheel
    • Razor knife or exacto knife with fresh blade
    • Aerosol Spray Paint of Choice (Eastwood 2K Aero)
    • Flat blade screw driver
    • Needle nose pliers
    • Soldering Iron may be needed depending on specific grill*
    • For a more professional job Eastwood Hot Stapler Plastic Repair Kit



    The first step is to remove any trim or emblems you will be reusing and do not want to get damaged.  For this grill I removed the center emblem using a flat blade screw driver to release the clips holding it in, I also removed the outside trim which was attached the same way as the emblem. Next I used a cut off wheel and tin snips to completely cut out the center section of the grill.  I made sure to not remove too much material and damage the plastic inside of the grill, it could have caused more problems later.  By doing this I just wanted to remove the bulk of the plastic, this isn’t the final cut so you do not need to go crazy with being exact.



    This particular grill had its own set of challenges because the areas where the horizontal cross pieces where is now hollow which will need to be filled later.



    To remove the remaining pieces of the horizontal slats I used a pair of fine flush wire cutters, these can be purchased at your local hardware store.  I use these because the cutting jaws are very sharp and are great for precision work like this.  be careful though because the blades chip easily so plastic and thin copper wire are about all these can be used for.  try to cut as close as you can while using the wire cutters, it will save time later when sanding.



    Using a pneumatic grinder or dremel with a carbide bit or a grinding stone, remove any remaining plastic.  You want to take it down slightly below the surface, this will allow you to achieve a smooth finished surface once you fill the areas.



    To deal with the openings left from the hollow cross pieces I used my Eastwood straight cut snips to remove a flat piece from the old plastic to be cut into triangle shapes to fill the openings.



    To attach them to the grill frame I first put a piece of masking tape on the inside, the tape will hold the pieces in place.  I used a soldering iron to melt the plastic back together, this way there is only one material in use.  Using some form of an epoxy is always an option but you run the risk of the glue not having the ability to be sanded if it were to run on to the clean side.



    With both sides now melted together the inside of the grill frame must be addressed.  I tried to cut the filler pieces as close as I could to minimize the amount of filler needed.  I chose to use Eastwood Contour Glazing Putty, although some of the crevasses were a little deep the structure behind them was strong enough that I didn't have to worry about the filler cracking.  When applying filler to plastic make sure to roughen up and thoroughly clean the area, the filler needs something to attach to or else it will flake off.  Something to watch out for when using the Contour Putty is that you can easily put too much hardener in since so little material is used.



    Once the filler is on it only takes a few minutes for it to harden enough to start sanding. Using 120 Grit sand paper slowly remove the filler until it closely matches the original shape of the grill frame. I then used 280 grit paper to level off the filler to exactly match the shape of the grill.  I was able to achieve this with only one pass of filler but in some cases another layer of filler and a second round of sanding will be needed to get the finish you want.





    To make the wire mesh easier to work with I laid it over top of the grill and using my snips I roughly cut the shape of the grill. Doing this allows you to visualize what the grill will look like.




    After trimming off the excess mesh I used the zip ties on the top and bottom to temporarily mount the mesh into position. Before using the zip ties I reinstalled the grill trim to make sure everything was set in position, in my case the grill frame did twist slightly.  If I had mounted the mesh without putting the trim back on the final alignment would have most likely been off and the grill may not have fit correctly.



    On the top side of the grill drilled small holes along the top edge and used the zip ties to mount the top permanently to the grill frame.  Although some may say it looks tacky to have exposed zip ties the location these are in relation to where it will be on the car makes them nearly impossible to see without looking up on the grill from the ground.  The zip ties also give the mesh two different types of adhesion to the grill frame, chemical with the epoxy and mechanical with the zip ties.



    It's close to completion, only a few more steps!  Now that the grill is held in place on the top and bottom the sides can be bent in to lock in the position of the mesh.  To do this I cut the over hanging mesh into 2" wide sections, this helps to bend it around any complex curves the back side of your grill may have.  Depending on your specific grill smaller increments maybe needed to form around the frame.



    With the mesh bent around the grill frame it is time to attach the sides,  a general purpose 2 part epoxy will work in this situation since it will not be the only way the mesh is attached. Along the bottom edge I put a drop of epoxy every couple inches to attach the mesh.  The construction of this grill made the bottom edge difficult to work with but the epoxy is more than strong enough to keep it in place.  The epoxy set time was only 5 minutes but I let it cure for about 20 minutes before removing the lower zip ties.



    In order to paint the grill trim needed to be removed as well as the outside edge needed to be taped to cover the trim mounting holes.  After two coats of matte black spray paint and about 2 hours dry time the trim can be put back on and your sporty wire mesh grill is complete!  Its up to you if you want to put the emblem back on, but if you like that clean de-badged look it's done.




    before grill pic1




    A project like this does take a good amount of time but in the end it is all worth it.  Aftermarket grills can cost several hundred dollars and most of the time they are made of inferior materials. Doing it yourself not only saves a ton of money, it also allows you to make your grill the way you want to and not have to settle for a generic design.


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  • How-To Repair a Damaged or Rusted Exhaust System


    Unless your car has a factory stainless steel exhaust tubing it is only a matter of time before the elements compromise the integrity and functionality of one or many parts of the whole system.  Nothing is worse than the constant ticking sound that is the most apparent symptom of a damaged or broken exhaust system.  From the factory many cars are equipped with what is called aluminized steel exhaust tube, this type of tubing is much better than mild steel tubing because the infused aluminum helps resist corrosion and rust from forming.  The tubes themselves do an “ok” job of resisting rust but more often than not the welds joining the aluminized pipes to mufflers, resonators, flanges, etc. are done with mild steel welding wire and are not treated to resist corrosion.  The exposed steel welds become much more susceptible to rusting once they come in contact with water, salt, mud, or anything else you may drive your car through.  These welds can hold for years but eventually, like all steel does, it will rust out.

    You may also encounter exhaust issues when buying a used car.  It is tough to know everything that has been done to a car by the previous owner/ owners.  I encountered this issue when this car was purchased claiming to be “stock”.  The seller was not lying because it did have the factory exhaust but what made itself very apparent is that the factory installed muffler spent some of its life off of the car.  The car slowly became louder and louder until eventually it sounded as if there was no muffler on the car at all.  At some point one of the previous owners must have installed an aftermarket exhaust system in place of the stock unit and when it was time to sell the car a quick repair job was done to re-attach the factory muffler.  The fix was done very poorly and slowly but surely it rotted away, leaving the muffler suspended by the hangers, completely disconnected from the rest of the exhaust system.

    In this article I will show you step by step how you can repair a damaged or rusted out exhaust system so it will be able to withstand the elements and be able to drive without the worry that sooner or later you will need to fix your exhaust system.


    As you can see here this exhaust system was not mended once but twice, both times improperly.  Once the weld from the original patch job broke a band style clamp was put over the pipe to reconnect the pieces but neither repair was a success.  Fixing your exhaust system like this may work temporarily, but in the long run it will always come back to bite you.  When working on cars its always best to take your time while doing repairs because when a repair is done correctly it will never appear again allowing you to be worry free when driving your car.


    To tackle this exhaust repair I first had to get the rear portion of the exhaust system out from under the car.  This was done be removing the factory band style clamp which is in front of the resonator and also by two hook style hangers which were holding up the muffler and exhaust tip.


    With the pieces on the table I was able to get a much better look at the condition of the pipes as well as figure out the best way to fix the problem.  As you can see here the rust is very bad and in order to properly fix it the entire section must be cut out an a new piece of pipe will need to be welded in.

    measurement 1

    Before I started cutting away the rusted pieces I clamped the resonator down to my workbench and held the broken pieces together in the correct orientation.  I then used a metallic permanent marker and straight edge to draw lines the length of the area that needs to be replaced.  Not shown in this shot, I also drew lines on either end intersecting the first lines; I then measured the distance between each of crosses and wrote them down for use later.  This is very important because without these marks as a guide it is nearly impossible to make the repair and maintain the correct angles so the hangers will line up and the exhaust tip will sit square and even in the bumper cutout.  (Make sure the alignment marks are far enough away from the repair area so that while cutting out the rusted pieces you won’t damage or destroy the marker lines)

    measurement 2

    After I have all my measurements down I began to cut off the old repair by using a cut off wheel on an electric angle grinder to cut off the rusted patch piece then a grinding wheel to smooth out any rust or metal that is still remaining.

    measurement 3

    With all of the old repairs removed I then cut a new piece of exhaust tubing that fills the gap between the old pieces and also allows the two pipes to slip inside.  (In this case the outside diameter of the original piping was 2 ¼” and the new piece had an inside diameter of 2 ½”) this creates a small gap that can easily be filled with a MIG Welder.


    Using my Eastwood MIG 175 I tacked the new piece to one of the two sides and using the alignment marks and measurements I had written down earlier I was able to fully weld both sides of the joint without worrying that the now solid pipe was in the wrong orientation.


    After both joints were fully welded I went back to see if there were any pin holes in the welds.  Next I took a wire brush and cleaned off the welds and surrounding metal to be painted.  In order to properly paint any parts of an exhaust system you must use paint that is rated to a very high temperature, this rules out your standard off the shelf spray paint.  For this job I used Eastwood’s High Temp Factory Engine Coating which is rated to resist heat up to 1400 degrees


    Now after the exhaust is remounted under the car the exhaust tips sit evenly inside the bumper cutout without having to make any adjustments.  This is possible because the measuring and alignment that was done earlier ensured that once the new piece of pipe was welded in the whole exhaust system would maintain its original orientation and once done appear as if it was never damaged in the first place.

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