Eastwood Chatter

  • Light as a feather, strong as a bull. Carbon Wheels the next auto modifying craze?

    I find myself reading many automotive blogs during my free time. Normally I am strictly a vintage European auto enthusiast; although I feel reading and learning about the many different aspects of the auto industry can give inspiration to even the "little guy" like me that is just tinkering with old Euro "clunkers".

    Yesterday I was quite amazed at this new automotive feat I found being offered for "free". Only catch is that you need to buy the $740,000 Shelby super car. This is the first time I've found a full carbon wheel being put into production (even if it is on a nearly untouchable super car). There has been many prototypes and even a few companies working to make split wheels with carbon outer "hoops". The wheel is apparently being manufactured by a Australian company named Carbon Revolution for Shelby SuperCars. It features a 9 spoke design with about half the weight of a similar aluminum wheel. "Why does this matter?" Well, it means essentially that the engine is turning less unsprung weight first of all. Also because of how strong/stiff carbon fiber is, it removes some of the flex/give found in the common aluminum wheel (read: better handling/road feel).

    After reading some feedback on this subject, it has raised a few questions. Carbon is known to shatter, not just bend/crack like a common aluminum wheel would do. Such as if you say "hit a pot hole going downtown for some drinks with the wife". This is a bit scary to think of! Although I have a feeling 99% of these cars will spend more time on display in a "collection" versus actually being driven around. So this may make that a null and void point. Carbon Revolution has gone through 5 years of development on these wheels, so one would think they would have tested driving them over some pot holes or speed bumps at excessive/dangerous speeds. I envision a test driver just mashing the pedal and speeding over a sequence of speed bumps at 100mph. All while having a grin on his face knowing he is allowed to try and break a set of these priceless wheels.

    So what does everyone think? Bad idea? Dangerous idea? Motorsport masterpiece? I'll just sit back and see what happens before purchasing my set (ha!)

    Thanks to http://www.carbonfibergear.com for the story and pics.

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  • Testing 1-2 1-2

    Repetition makes for the best final product. This is why our R&D department is always buzzing. From testing new products that are under development, to reviewing current products and seeing how we can make them even better. This at times can be a bit frustrating, but in the end we feel this what makes Eastwood products stand out from the rest of the industry. Here is a little insiders view on what we've been up to in R&D the past couple weeks.

    One exciting new product we are very close to releasing is a product that is best described as an "inner frame coating". Often times when restoring an old car or truck, you do extensive work to treat the exterior of you frame/chassis for rust. But, what about the inside of the frame? Many older vehicles actually rust from the "inside out". This product is specially formulated to coat, neutralize, stop and treat the rust or corrosion found in those places you couldn't reach with normal methods. This product is slated to be available in an easy-to-use aerosol can with a special "wand extension". This "wand" has a machined brass tip on the end that has been designed to give a broad "fan-like" spray pattern (check the pictures below for a sample of what the spray pattern looks like). This is the key to fully covering the inside of the frame. You can even see in the pics below how there is a fine "green" mist of the frame coating coming out of the bottom holes of the frame as Mark is applying the product. Throw away everything your tech ed teacher taught you when painting something; with this product you WANT the coating to be dripping out of the frame. Seeing that will tell you that you are getting a nice thick coating inside the frame.

    Keeping on the same wavelength of chassis and frame restoration, we have another product in the final testing stages. This product is being dubbed "After Blast" It is pretty easy to figure out when this product is to be used.. but to those that are unclear, it is a cleaning product sprayed on any part you have blasted. You simply spray  it on after blasting your metal clean and wipe down with a clean rag. I was amazed at how much contaminants it pulled out as Mark sprayed and wiped the chassis down numerous times! This is just another product that backs the belief that "prep is the most important step" when coating/spraying or restoring. Check out the pics below of Mark blasting the frame clean with our Eastwood exclusive Master Blaster Dual Blaster then testing the "After Blast" on the freshly blasted frame!

    As many would guess, one of our best selling product lines is Powder Coating. Because of that, we are constantly testing and perfecting our powder coating products. The past couple weeks it has been the powders themselves being tested. First was our High Temp Silver powder. We were testing a couple different samples for 1.) how they sprayed out 2.)How they cured and flowed out 3.) How well they handled the high temperatures that we guarantee them to.

    Also here are a few photos of some cool items being coated this past week at the Eastwood headquarters with some of our favorite powders! My personal favorite is J.R.'s vintage go-kart shot in our Starlight Blue Powder. Look at how all the "flake" shows up in the direct sunlight!

    Hope you all enjoy this recent "insiders look" at what we have going on here at Eastwood! Let us know if there are any products you would like to see as a DIY or blog entry.

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  • Eastwood hits the "Big Time".

    Recently we were contacted by an automotive T.V. show by the name of "MotorWeek". They asked if they could bring a project car in for some of our experts' opinions on it. They also wanted to do some segments on Eastwood's history and a bit of information on what we have going on with some of our products right now. We agreed on a date and waited patiently.

    Well, yesterday was the big day and a big truck and a larger trailer showed up. Many of us gathered to see what this "project car" looked like. As they dropped the gate on the trailer, the first couple things we all noticed was 1.This thing is big! 2.Its a Cadillac, and 3.It doesn't run.. (insert a group sigh knowing we have to push this thing around) After a group effort and a little bit of good old fashioned manpower, we had the car in place in our garage and we could climb all over it and assess the damage.

    After climbing around the car a bit, we learned the car was inherited by one of the show affiliates and was owned by his family for many years before being parked indoors. The car had a 1988 PA inspection sticker on it, so you can just guess how long it has been out of commission! To our surprise, the car was fairly solid for the age. The majority of the damage was in the corners of the rear quarters and the bottom seams of the doors. With the use of many of our Rust Solution Products they could easily, stop, remove, and treat the major issues with the body.

    Sadly, we couldn't inspect this classic all day, and we had to get to work setting up the shots for the film crew and doing our best to be quiet during filming (a lot harder than you think!). First, the crew shot an interview with our fearless leader Curt Strohacker giving a quick history of the company and also some details on our current product line. This went off essentially without a hitch, Curt is a natural in front of the camera!

    Next up was the shots MotorWeek had planned in our R&D department with the Caddy being the star of the shot. (if not anything, by default due to how huge it is!) Just to show how easy it is to spruce up this car, and also give the guys at MotorWeek a kick start, we went ahead and removed, blasted, and powder coated the left valve cover the original Cadillac Blue . They were so impressed with the ease of this process, they decided to film J.R. shooting the powder on! After the powder cleared and the camera lenses were dusted off (sorry Mr. Camera man!) They began shooting a segment in which our R&D and restoration guru Joe, explained some of the best ways to spruce this old Cadillac back up and which of our products would suit each job. After a few outtakes, Joe got the hang of it and they shot all of the angles they needed.

    All in all, this was a great learning experience for everyone involved. After their time spent here, the MotorWeek crew was seen loading a few of our popular products into the trailer. Namely, our new Master Blaster Dual Tank Blaster. Here's hoping those products are just what they need to get the Caddy back to its former cruising glory! Thanks again to the MotorWeek crew for being so patient with us, and we can't wait to see the finished episodes!

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  • Hobby, Addiction, Profession? You Decide!

    Recently we were contacted by Terry of Tbird Specialty Powder Coating to praise us on our products. After hearing his story, I decided I'd do a blog entry on him. I feel his attitude/story epitomized the philosophy that drives us here at Eastwood. Many people go at restoring and modifying cars differently. Some of us will just want to tinker and are satisfied with the little changes we make to our ride on a Sunday afternoon. While with others it becomes our livelihood and takes over just about every aspect of your life. For me the exact instance I realized I was the latter, was the day I was caught by my girlfriend boiling a pot of  bolts in degreaser on the stove. I was trying to explain it was for a set of multi-piece wheels I was refinishing and "I read on the Internet boiling softens and removes the old clear coat". Needless to say, some angry words were thrown my way and I realized......maybe, just maybe I was into this auto restoration/modifying thing a little "deep".

    Now Terry is a 3rd of these categories and he turned his hobby into a career and is still as enthusiastic as he was on day1. This should be a inspiration for us all, and I felt some of our readers would enjoy this small glimpse into Terry's story.

    After getting out of the Army in '75 and going to commercial art school, Terry worked as a Industrial painter. He was given the task of spray painting Waukesha engines (see pic below for reference) and associated parts. As you can imagine the precautions for breathing the fumes were not the same as they are today, and Terry had the foresight to move on from this position. He then worked in the auto body field, sanding, prepping, and learning the trade. This surely gave a great foundation on understanding how to prep parts for powder coating as he does daily.

    After dabbling in powder coating as a hobby and honing his skills, Terry began doing it professionally in 1999. This was the birth of "TBird sand blasting and specialty coating". There he was focusing on many aspects of auto restoration. Terry told us he loves his original Hot Coat Gun and also uses our (now discontinued) Pro gun from time to time as well. After a number of years of powder coating, Terry has found that he  really enjoys working with our Hi Techcoatings such as the metallics and translucents. He also indicated he had pleasurable results with the Reflective Chrome on the '36 Chevy grill he restored. He even went as far as to quote on his website "I Only Use Eastwood Powders Because Of Their Consistent Quality !"

    In closing, I couldn't think of a better way to sum up his great attitude, than to let Terry say it himself "I enjoy restoring old stuff and making it look new when I was a kid I didn't have the way at all to do it right NOW I DO! I Like powder coating because its durable and being an old spray painter it has none of the hazards of paint." In the end, in the most basic form, this is what a lot of us are after with this hobby "restoring stuff and making it look new". Just some of us get a little more addicted/involved than others and let it consume their life (and for me, my kitchen too!)

    Check out some of Terry's work he submitted to us below, and also feel free to contact him directly through his website if you'd like some work done! T-BIRD SPECIALTY POWDER COATING

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  • Year In Review.

    2010 is well underway and we’re already off to a good start. While the world remains an uncertain place, I find I can still get away from it all by taking a “garage break.” Our projects are still there (in a variety of running and non-running forms!) and I am encouraged by the market in general. Classics of all shapes and sizes continue to trade well on Ebay, at swap meets, and in the local classifieds. It’s good to know that in a time of uncertainty our hobby exudes a sense of permanence. Old cars, trucks, and bikes aren’t going anywhere, and neither are the people that work on them.

    That said, all the more reason to get on those projects so that they’re cruise night ready! We have a whole bunch of products I’m particularly excited about – for any skill level, and any budget. Last weekend I was in the garage getting organized and finishing up a brake master cylinder overhaul on my ’63 Austin Healey. It’s an older restoration and I was getting tired of less than adequate pedal performance, not to mention the safety issue!

     We used the master cylinder as a good test of our Eastwood Brake Gray, a tough coating that comes in the form of an epoxy ester resin combined with a pure stainless steel pigment. Best part is that it’s not just for metal – it can be used on ceramics, wood, and even leather. The stuff is tough as nails and refused to fail even after constant exposure to DOT 3 brake fluid. It also “looks” good too – it’s the same color as our Detail Gray. The fluid reservoir in the Healey is also a trouble spot – they originally painted them black in the factory and as you can imagine over the years, brake fluid does its best to eat the paint, especially when yours truly cheats and tries to top off without a funnel. I know, not smart. In this case I used our 2K Ceramic Chassis Black to ensure a durable finish that would stand up to DOT 3.

    On another note, one of the kids who lives down the street recently got his first car, an ’81 Chevy Caprice Classic wagon. Hot ride! I think it belonged to a family member, so he got it for the “right price” and has been busy trying to trick it out on a pretty tight budget. The alternator gave up the ghost last week and I suggested that he replace it with one of our Maxx Power alternators –we have recently started carrying starters, alternators, and even distributors that are completely new (no refurbs here) and in every aspect better than OEM products. They’re perfect for both reliable daily drivers and performance engine builds. The job was a quick swap – it bolted right into place, and with a fresh belt, he was good to go. At $200 bucks, you can’t go wrong. What’s more, this unit puts out 105 amps, much higher than original equipment, and also has a higher output at idle, which will be important once this kid puts in the stereo system he told me has plans for.

    Ancillary engine parts are just another way Eastwood can get you on the road quickly, deliver the performance you’ve always looked to us for, and do it without breaking the bank. I’m pretty excited about this new line of products. 

    Before I sign off, I’ve got to mention how impressed I am with our team for combining two great products into one portable unit. I am of course, talking about our Master Blaster – The Eastwood Dual Blaster.Now you can effortlessly switch medias or even customize your own media mixture – sand, abrasive, whatever you want! It can be done on the fly with our exclusive mixing valve and can cut blasting times in half. Impressive stuff. I was cleaning up a grimy, painted, set of extra wire wheels I have for the Healey and used a relatively strong mixture of crushed glass. That same day, my son wanted to strip the bottom of a small fiberglass boat he has. We simply set the mixing valve to pure soda (which was in the other tank) and he went to work. The soda was strong enough to remove multiple layers of thick bottom paint (from what I understand that stuff is pretty brutal), but delicate enough not to etch the skin coat covering the fiberglass laminate. Best of all, when we were finished, we rolled the Master Blaster back into the shop!

    I’m certain your experience with these new products will be as rewarding as mine.  Let us know, and remember, you can always read what the Eastwood Family (you!) has to say about the products here on the site and also in the forums.

    Drop us a line!

     Best, Curt     

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