Eastwood Chatter

  • Bit by Bit

    From time to time you may notice that we have an old Mustang that we use to test products on and also do photo shoots for ads with. We figured that there was no better way to test one of our new mig welders, than to do a common task many of you would be doing with your mig. This may look all too familiar to any vintage Mustang guy.. rear quarter panel and inner wheel arch replacement. Never a fun or quick job, but often times necessary, as they seem to always rot from the inside out. During this process, I decided to shoot some photos along the way, and document some of our products that made this job a bit easier.

    First task when doing this process was to expose any and all factory spot welds and brazes. We began by using a combination of different abrasive/sanding discs, including our 80 grit flap discs around the seams to quickly expose any weld points on the rear quarter.

    Once the spot welds were located, we grabbed the drill and a Spot Weld Drill Bit and went to town detaching all of those old spot welds. Once these were drilled out (this is possibly the least fun part of this job in my opinion), Mark made quick use of the Electric Metal Shears. After a few minutes with the shears, the panel was dangling from the last little bits of original rusty metal and a couple quick zips with the cut off wheel, and the cancerous panel was off. You can see a interesting thing Ford did from the factory in the last picture below. They seem to have run the body wiring harness in the rear quarter panel on top of the inner wheel arch. Because of the rust forming between the arch and the quarter, the wiring began to be effected by the corrosion of the metal it was laying on. This surely would have caused a major issue, had it shorted out!

    Once the old panel was off, we were able to assess the extent of the rust and rot. Luckily, only the inner wheel well and the inner trunk corner were the major areas of concern and we had planned ahead and had them ordered up ahead of time! First thing was to clean up and straighten any of the seams where the old quarter panel had been attached. Inevitably when removing old body panels like this, some of the attachment points may get a little tweaked. Below you can see Mark is fixing this by using the Hammer and Dolly set. After some more cutting of the old inner wheel arch and the inner trunk corner, we were ready to begin cutting and mocking up the new replacement panels. Using a piece of painters tape, we were able to mask off a nice straight line on the new panel as well as the body of the car so we could cut the replacement panel at just the right spot. Again using the shears, Mark cut the new panel to match. After some minor tweaking, we were ready to call it a day and begin installation the next day.

    After a good nights rest (for some of us), everyone jumped right back into it. First thing to do was get the inner wheel arch welded in place. Regardless of how rusty the area was, Mark was able to dial in the 175 welder and get a nice weld on the arch. Since the area around the new inner arch was so "scale-y", we decided to brush on liberal amounts of Rust Converter. You can see in the one picture below a perfect example of converted surface rust. The Rust Converter turns almost a purple-like color once it has neutralized and converted the rust. Neat stuff to watch on such a large surface like this! After lining up the replacement quarter we used an item that is life-saver if doing a large panel like this by yourself or with limited help. These "Blind Grip Panel Holders" or Clecos go through the spot weld holes we drilled out and match up with the spot weld holes in the new panel. this perfectly aligns the panel and holds it to be spot welded around other portions of the panel. These were an eye opener to me, no more propping blocks of wood or using jacks and large clamps to hold a large piece in place when you can just install these panel holders quickly and the panel is aligned! These are definately on my list of new "must-have" tools. Finally Mark jumped around tack welding the panel to the car, being sure to go from end to end to avoid heating the panel up too much. Even though this is a test vehicle, we still have pipe dreams of some day fully restoring and painting the "Ol' Girl", and it would be a headache to try and smooth out warpage in that large of a body panel. Lastly we treated and spot primed the areas we welded and the car is now ready for our next job on it. Bit by bit this old car may just see the road again!

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  • Parking lot Gems

    As the weather gets nicer, we find ourselves driving our projects (both finished and unfinished) to work. I love walking through our parking lot occasionally and checking out some of the neat rides we regularly have parked here on a nice warm day! Below is 2 I spotted yesterday and thought everyone might enjoy.

    First up is one of our "R&D" guys, Mark Robidoux. When he isn't brainstorming, testing, and designing; you can see him cruising around in this fully restored beauty that he built from the ground-up in 1991. For those not familiar, this is a 1968 Camaro Convertible. Mark replaced just about every body panel with new as he was putting it together, as with most of us.. he didn't want to have to restore this car twice!

    Powering this beauty is a rebuilt original 327cid motor. Some highlights to this power plant are: port/polished 202 heads, balanced rotating internals, performance Cams, etc.  Years later, Mark designed and perfected our extremely popular HotCoat Powder Coating system. As with anyone here at Eastwood at the time, Mark went "hog-wild" and powdercoated most anything he could fit in a "household" oven. Using a number of our Standard Hot Coat Colors he coated all suspension components and even went as far as disassembling the transmission and cylinder heads and powder coating them! 70,000 miles later and this restoration is still looking as fresh as it did the day Mark finished it!

    Next up is Nick Capinski our "Beetle Guy". The day I took these pics he had driven his 1975 Super Beetle Convertible. Nick repainted this car himself a number of years ago. He used our full line of Sandpaper/Abrasive Discs. Then to smooth out any minor imperfections Nick found the Evercoat Z-Grip Body Filler went on quite easily and was a treat to sand out. Along any body seams our Seam Sealer Kit was used to seal and protect those joints/seams in the body and chassis. Lastly, Nick gave the engine bay a nice look by applying Eastwood's Underhood Black.

    As you can see this beautiful spring day, convertibles seemed to be the trend here in our employee lot! Stay tuned for more cool rides that roll through Eastwood this summer!

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  • Carlisle Spring Swap Meet

    This past weekend was the much anticipated Carlisle spring swap meet and car corral. This was a perfect excuse for some of us here at Eastwood to get out of the office and do a little shopping... err I mean "Market Research" (shhhhh don't tell the boss!). I wasn't lucky enough to find anything I "had to have", but I did have a great time wandering around snapping photos and chatting with some fellow motorheads! For anyone that hasn't been here, this event is HUGE! You can spend days just walking each swap meet aisle, and another day or two walking through the car corral looking at all of the cars for sale. From fully restored frame-off resto's to rusty project cars waiting for some love; this is the place to find your next ride. As I walked around, I saw tons of cars with Eastwood products, from engine paints to powder coated bits, it was great to see our stuff on such beautiful cars! Enjoy some of my pictures and hope everyone that went found something for them!

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  • Another Bug.......newest project!

    Although my wife told me I wasn't allowed to bring another Bug home until I finished some of my projects, I bought one at last fall's Hershey show.  It was one of those deals I couldn't turn down.......plus it is for our daughter (who just turned 1). 

    Here she is.......a steel VW Bug body that I found, at the end of the day at Hershey, right before we were ready to leave.  It was only the body, so I am in the process of building a floor and getting the wheels/ride height set.....notice the rear wheels are cambered just like a real Bug that is lowered. 

    First on the list is making sure it is safe for my daughter to ride around in.....no sharp edges, box in the wheels, etc....  Once I have that tackled, I'll be repainting it, adding carpet, and installing some lights.  Stay tuned as I make progress on the latest project.

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  • If it isn't broken, try making it better anyway!

    Here is another sneak peek into what we have been testing, designing and developing in our R&D department. Lately the shop has been buzzing, and I was able to snap off a few pictures and hold the guys down for a few minutes to get the scoop on what they were up to!

    Recently our first batch of new Eastwood Welders have hit our warehouse and we have been working on getting these out to all of our customers that had pre-ordered. Because of this, we decided we'd break open a welder and do some more "real world" testing. We decided to build something that one of our customers may work on themselves. Below is a few shots of one of our R&D guys Mark welding up a roll cage from local roll cage provider S&W race cars. This thing went together nicely and was a treat to weld! Mark laid out some quick beads and the pile of tubes started looking like "something" pretty quick! The production welders performed flawlessly, just as all of our test units had done. We are excited to hear some reviews on these new welders and check out some of your handy-work with one of these!

    With it getting to be show season, a big thing people are doing is polishing all the shiny bits on their ride. We have some additional/new buffing pads coming available in our catalog shortly. These are just in time for "polishing season"! Below you can see the assortment that Joe is trying out on a painted test panel. You can see how well the test piece shines with just the small portion he had done. Keep an eye out for these real soon! I know I'm excited to try them out on the lips of my new (to me) multi-piece race wheels I am refinishing!

    Here at Eastwood many of us are as much enthusiasts as our customers. Because of that we are always looking to hone our skills and learn as much as possible about any product we currently sell. Today we had a master auto body technician come in and do a tutorial on some important techniques when using our spot welder. I found this very informative, especially when it came to the correct time to use each of the accessories for the spot welder. We hope in return we can pass some of this knowledge to our customers when you may have any questions or concerns. We also filmed this stud welding class and we are planning to edit this into a comprehensive video that we will be hosting on YouTube and also on our site. We hope that you can benefit from these tips as much as we did!

    As always, thanks for reading and let us know if there is anything you'd like to read about or any topics you'd like more information about!

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