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Dan Woods is a familiar face around Eastwood and he's actually made some appearances in powder coating posts here before. Dan runs his own powder coating business he calls D&W Motorsports. Dan's partner in crime is a long time Eastwood employee. Amanda and Dan are both really into classic cars and this is the story about their 1968 Mustang Fastback show car turned racer.
Dan tells us "This story actually started back in 1967 when my older brother came home from Vietnam. He bought a Highland Green 68 Mustang fastback. I loved that car so much that someday I was determined to have one of my own." In 1995 Dan was searching for his own 67 or 68 Mustang. He had his heart set on finding a Fastback, but so did everyone else, so he wasn't having much luck finding one. He broadened his scope and found a 1968 Mustang Coupe that had been sitting on a trailer for some time. He then did what any classic car fanatic would do and left a note asking to buy it. This method is always hit or miss and this time owner didn't want to sell the Mustang coupe and Dan's search went dry.
Just when he thought the '68 coupe was a dead end, Dan got a call from a gentleman asking if he was still looking for a '68 Mustang. He went on to tell Dan he'd been at the bank chatting to the teller about selling his and she mentioned Dan had just asked to buy her sons coupe! Phone numbers were exchanged and Dan was now on the line with the seller of a '68 Fastback GT with a four speed.
Once in the presence of the potential project car, it was apparent the car was in a bad state and the current owner obviously wasn't much of a mechanic. Dan agreed to buy it and drug the car home to disassemble. He decided to go through EVERYTHING the last guy had done to it. During this time Dan was going through a rough divorce and he used the Mustang for therapy. He spent his "therapy sessions" learning to weld as he finished replacing the floor pans.
The plan from the beginning was to install a 500+ HP big block, so all of the the rust had to be addressed and additional bracing added for the power. He fabricated new patch panels for the spring towers, fabricated new torque boxes out of 3/16" steel, modified some Chevelle ladder bars and made custom frame connectors. The car at this point was 100% disassembled and he began tearing into the exterior of the car. Rust repair was needed on the quarter panels and other parts of the body, so Dan had to learn how to do body work with some coaching from a friend.
After tackling the majority of the rust repair, bodywork, and suspension upgrades, he began customizing the car a little more to his tastes. Dan used a Shelby trunk lid and quarter extensions, but did away with the some of the chrome on the rear of the car. After all of this work the car was ready for paint and Dan had a local friend paint the car what he calls "Steve Mcqueen Highland Green". After reassembling the car he had the makings of a really nice custom '68 Mustang Fastback GT.
Just like the car, the engine had an interesting story and involved Dan exchanging $100 for a 428 block, crank, and chicken lice... Luckily Dan solved the lice problem quickly and he was able to build the engine he had planned from day one. The engine got the full treatment and was decked, bored .020 over, ARP bolts and studs on the bottom end, Aries pistons for 11.5:1 compression, and everything fully balanced and blue printed. He mounted a set of Edelbrock aluminum heads, three Holley 2-barrel carbs, MSD ignition components and finally upgraded to a Tremic TKO 5 speed transmission.
Dan debuted the car at his first cruise night (Chesterbrook) in May of 1998, three years after he started building it. The car turned a lot of heads and people flocked instantly. Dan and Amanda met and shared the love of classic cars and they showed the car together for some time, winning over fifty awards. During that time Dan was hooked on powder coating and in 2001 he opened his custom powder coating business. Dan's handiwork (and love for Eastwood products) shows all over the car including Eastwood under hood black in the engine bay and under the car, chrome w/ gloss clear powdered oil pan and coil springs, Ford light blue powdered strut rods, Ford dark blue powdered front sway bar, Mirror blue powdered trans case, bell housing, and timing chain cover, mirror red powdered front calipers and ladder bars, gloss black powdered front rotors and rear drums, and smoked chrome powdered rear housing and back plates.
Eventually shows and cruise nights became mundane and Dan began thinking of racing the car after meeting some local guys racing in a nostalgic super stock series. Amanda helped him make the decision by saying "you've been talking about going drag racing again since I've known you why don't you do it!". So like that they quit the car show and cruise night scene and began prepping the car to race. Dan replaced the 406 Tri-power with an Edelbrock Victor 427 intake and a 750 cfm HP Holley carburetor and ditched the five speed with a C-4 auto transmission.
Dan hadn't raced since 1975, but he was confident in his car. Dan and Amanda entered the car for an episode of the TV show Pinks!. After two days of racing Dan made it to one of the final tiers and got to race with host Rich Christianson dropping his arms to start the race. In the end Dan didn't make it onto the show, but he got very close! After that Dan and Amanda joined the 422 Allstars Super Stock racing class and were instantly hooked. Quickly the car began getting some "old school" touches to give it a 1960's drag car vibe. With some retro sponsor decals, pin striping, and a change in wheels and tires, the car really fits the "look" of a drag car from the 1960's now.
Dan's first and second season he placed 16th overall in points. Each year they've refined the car more and more. Dan and Amanda are a true classic car couple and she has as much wrench time as some of the guys out there! She's helped pull the engine, bleed brakes, start the car initially after a tear down, load and unload the car from the trailer, etc. She's even working to eventually be a track specialist and data recorder for the 422 Allstars. Needless to say, it's obvious the couple that wrenches and races together, wins together!
All the hard work paid off and in 2012 they placed 7th overall, boasting a best 1/4 mile time of 10.95 at Maple Grove Raceway.
The car still makes appearances at some local shows and events (it attended the Eastwood Summer Classic this past year), but these days it usually turns heads first when it starts up. This is a perfect example of a love affair with a car and the ways you can still have fun in your classic car when things get boring. Dan and Amanda are getting some more engine work done this year and going through the transmission. They hope to break into the top 5 this year or maybe better!
Check out Dan and Amanda's '68 Mustang Fastback in an upcoming issue of Modified Mustangs & Fords Magazine. Some of the photos throughout this article are actually teasers from the feature by John Machaqueiro!Click Here To Read Full Post...
It's a known fact that a set of wheels can make or break a car. We've seen some of the biggest "junkers" become legendary with a nice set of wheels and a ride height adjustment. The opposite can happen when you have a nicely restored vehicle that has dirty, beat-up, or badly finished wheels. It can ruin the overall appearance of the car or truck. We're here to show you how to make your rolling stock look as good as your ride with these 10 tips to powder coated wheel perfection.
1. Preparation Is Key!- Powder Coating, like traditional paint, requires a clean, dry surface for the best results. We suggest to media blast your wheels down to bare metal for the best powder adhesion. Powder coating is a "high-build" coating that will fill the texture left by media blasting. Eastwood offers DIY Media Blasting Kits that make it a pretty affordable option. The other option is to remove the finish chemically or mechanically. Both methods can be quite messy and time consuming, but they do the job. Once the wheels are free of any old coatings, wash them down with a solvent like PRE or After Blast to remove any grease, dirt, or grime. At this point we'd suggest wearing clean rubber gloves. The oil from your skin can transfer to the surface and actually cause imperfections in the powder during curing. Remember, the cleaner the better!
2. Pre-Bake Wheels- The wheels on your vehicle are subjected to some of the harshest conditions on your vehicle. They see extreme temps, brake dust, grease, grime, salt, and anything in between. No matter how often you cleaned the wheels (especially cast wheels), they'll still have some residue or contaminants baked into the metal. Those contaminants can release when the wheel is heated up. If that happens when baking and curing your powder, it could cause popping, bubbling, or even a fisheye effect in your cured powder. We suggest to bake your wheels at 350-400 degrees for 30 minutes to an hour to assure that you have released and baked out the years of contaminants in the metal. This way when you apply the powder and cure it at a similar temperature, those contaminants would have already been released.
3. Assure you have a good ground connection- Grounding your wheels to the powder coating gun is very important. Most wheels have some tight corners and crevices that can be difficult to get the powder into. The static charge that is created by grounding the wheels and charging the powder is what helps the powder cling into every crevice. Without a good ground the powder won't stick in these spots and you'll get an uneven finish. We've had luck by running thin metal wire around or through each wheel and then connecting the ground to the metal rack the wheels sit on for coating and curing. This allows you an easy spot to clamp your ground clamp to the rack or even the wire under the rack.
4. Hot-Flock you wheels- "Hot-Flocking' is a procedure where you preheat the part and immediately coat the wheel. The hot wheel will help the powder "stick" to the surface easier as the powder may begin to melt as soon as it hits the surface. This technique takes some practice to perfect. You will need to be quick with laying the powder down so the part doesn't cool too much. Also be mindful to avoid laying too much powder during this method as you can get "runs" or "clumps" of powder that will collect in one spot.
5. Use High Temperature Masking Tape- Use this high temp tape to mask off lug holes, hub bores, and any other areas that have a tight tolerance and could cause issues when refitting the wheels. You can also use this tape to mask off portions of the wheels to apply a second coat of powder for a custom application.
6. Apply Clear Coat Powder- Use your choice of clear powder to add an extra layer of protection to your wheels and make cleaning brake dust and road grime off easier (high metallic and textured powders especially hold dirt and grime!). Additionally our high gloss clear powders really give your finish a "deep" "wet" look.
7. Protect the inside of the wheels- One of the nice things about powder coating is that it helps seals the metal and keep your wheels from corroding. We have found a good practice while powder coating your wheels is to apply a layer of powder on the inside barrels of the wheels to protect them from corrosion. The inner barrels or hoop see the harshest conditions. You can make the coating as basic as satin black powder or go full custom and use an eye catching Translucent or Candy Powder.
8.Remove anything that shouldn't be coated- If you don't want it coated or it can't handle the heat, you must remove it before starting the process. This includes valve stems, sealing rings, trim pieces, lug covers, hubcaps or center caps, etc.
9. Use metal or high temperature filler on damaged wheels- Have a wheel with some "curbing" or damage? Use an all metal filler like Lab-Metal to fill and sand imperfections smooth. Powder Coating can have some filling properties, but heavy scratches or gouges need to be filled. Alternatively you could use an AC/DC Tig Welder to weld and fill major damage.
10. Use a Quality Powder Gun- As mentioned earlier, powder coating wheels can be difficult with all of the crevices and tight areas you need to coat. Not all powder coating guns are created equal and you need to make sure you use a gun that has the ability to switch to a lower voltage that allows the powder to cling to those hard to reach areas. Our Dual Voltage Powder Coating Gun is one example of an adjustable voltage gun.
If you follow these tips and take your time, you can make your wheels look as good as the rest of your ride and last just as long too!Click Here To Read Full Post...