Tag Archives: eastwood company

  • How To Install a Tri-Flow Radiator

    How To Install a Tri-Flow Radiator

    The new Eastwood Maxx-Power Tri-Flow aluminum radiators have been proven to keep a car 24 degrees cooler than a regular OEM brass and copper radiator. Their 3 pass design cools better than typical single pass aluminum radiators too. Getting this added cooling is easy though, thanks to their well thought out design features and easy installation.

    Maxx-Power Tri-Flow radiators come in 3 sizes, one of which will fit most American cars. Sturdy 11 inch by 2 inch mounting tabs TIG welded to the side tanks allow you to drill mounting holes to match your existing radiator support, or anywhere you prefer. Aluminum shrouds are specially made to mount an electric fan to each one, for a clean, simple all in one cooling system. A universal add on automatic transmission cooler is also offered, which works better than the old OEM internal cooler, for longer transmission life.

    Here’s how to find the right Tri-Flow Maxx-Power radiator:

    If the car has been running, be careful taking measurements as parts may be hot, and remember even once the engine is off the radiator can boil over and spray hot coolant.


    Tri-flow radiator 1

    Measure the existing radiator from edge to edge on the outside of the tanks.  This one is about 29 inches.

    Tri-flow radiator 2

    Then measure the overall height of the core, this one is 19 inches.  You also want to take into consideration the size of the opening where air gets to the core. The tanks are typically about the same size, but the core and tank dimensions are on the Eastwood site, if you click the “Download Full Specs” button.


    Tri-flow radiator 3

    Amazingly enough, just 3 sizes are enough to supply the majority of  American cars from the 50s through the 80s. Eastwood item #20152 is almost an exact match size wise for this Firebird.

    While ordering you should also consider getting the matching shroud and electric fan at the same time, though these radiators can be made to work with the factory fan and shroud as well.

    Besides a cooling system that isn’t cutting it, the 2 biggest causes of an engine running hot are too lean a fuel mixture, and retarded ignition timing. If those 2 things are not right the biggest radiator in the world is just a temporary fix to hide the problem. Make sure the mechanical and vacuum advance are functioning properly at the distributor. Make sure the engine doesn’t have an air leak from a disconnected vacuum line, or a leaking gasket. Look at the spark plugs for a lean mixture indicated by a light colored electrode.


    Now let’s put in the new radiator:

    For the sake of safety, you should be absolutely sure the engine and coolant is cold before you start messing with the cooling system. This is the sort of job that is best done in the morning, after the car has sat overnight.


    Tri-flow radiator 4

    Start by draining the coolant into a bucket, and disconnecting the hoses. Use a clean bucket because there is no reason not to reuse the coolant if it is clean.


    Tri-flow radiator 5

    Make things easier for yourself by removing anything that may get in the way: The battery, any core support braces, filler panels, the fan and the fan shroud. Disconnect and plug the line from the automatic transmission cooler, if you have one.


    Tri-flow radiator 6

    Now you can just unbolt the 4 to 6 bolts and remove the radiator. Sometime there is nothing more than 2 clips holding the top of it. Every car is different, but it’s pretty obvious how it comes out.


    Tri-flow radiator 11

    Test fit the new radiator and mark off anywhere that the mounting tabs will interfere with other parts or bumps in the radiator support.


    Tri-flow radiator 12


    Tri-flow radiator 13

    An easy trick to cut out rectangular shapes is to drill holes in the corners first with a bit about the size of your jigsaw blade. Then you just cut straight lines, and turn at the holes. Now you should be able to get the new radiator in close enough to mark off where your mounting bolt holes should be. You can also just put 4 new holes in the mounting tab and radiator support if you have to.


    Tri-flow radiator 15

    To make drilling the holes in the right spot easier, start with a small hole, then make it bigger.


    Tri-flow radiator 16

    Deburr the holes and edges with a file, the smooth them all off with a Sanding Disc on an Angle Grinder.


    Tri-flow radiator 18

    If you need to drill new holes in the radiator support sticking a strip of masking tape on it first will make it much easier to mark where to drill. You can use the hole you already drilled in the radiator mounting tabs as a template.


    Tri-flow radiator 17

    Installing the electric fan to the shroud is so simple it really doesn’t need explaining. The holes are already there, and the hardware is included.


    Tri-flow radiator 20
    Place the radiator in the bottom groove of the shroud, then just pop the top groove over the top of the radiator, and it clips into place. A line of RTV sealer along the top and bottom groove will keep it even tighter, and quiet any metal on metal rattles.


    Tri-flow radiator 21

    Put another line of RTV along the sides as well by gently prying it away from the tank.

    Tri-flow radiator 8
    If you are replacing a mechanical fan with the electric one you will need to replace the bolts that hold the fun/pulley to the motor with much shorter ones.


    Tri-flow radiator 9

    Use a dab of thread lock to keep them from loosening up, and snug it all back in.


    Tri-flow radiator 22

    Now you can bolt the radiator/shroud/fan unit into the car, and start reassembling anything else you took apart. Of course if you didn’t have an electric fan before you will need to wire it up, and likely with a temperature switch and relay.


    Tri-flow radiator 23

    Don’t forget to fill the car full of coolant!

    After swapping out the old single pass aluminum radiator, and mechanical fan for the Maxx-Power Tri-Pass set up and electric fan the car hit the streets and was cruising at 25 degrees cooler than before. Instead of a temp gauge in the 230 degree danger zone, it was now safely in the 210 to 215 range. 


    Tri-flow radiator 24
    The specially designed, divided tanks send the coolant through the core 3 times before it goes back into the motor to pick up more heat. It is no wonder that it cools so much better than old style one pass systems.


    Adding a Tri-Flow Radiator to your ride will ensure your engine is running cool no matter how hot it is outside.



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  • Taking Pictures During Disassembly To Save Time Later

    We've all been there, you're getting ready to put your project back together but you have no idea what goes where.  Running into a problem like this can set your project back and even sometimes cause a loss of motivation.

    Today almost everyone has a smartphone or cell phone with a camera, the easiest way to remember exactly where everything goes is to snap a few photos before, during and after disassembly.  Now you know exactly where everything goes and wont have to browse the internet to find a car similar to yours.  The key is to take pictures at different points during the process.  Sometimes I'll even print the pictures out and write some notes down on parts I know I'll forget.

    Here is an example of pictures I took while disassembling my car before painting it.


    The first picture Is of the door panel with only the trim off.  I will use this in the end a reference to how the inside of the door should look when it is completely done.



    The next picture is with the door panel removed. As you can see there are many electrical connections all with similar plugs all going different directions.  Now I will not have to worry about which wire goes to each connection, all I have to do is reference these pictures and I'm good to go.



    Last I took a picture after the inner door was removed.  I may not end up needing it but it doesn't hurt having it around to reference in case a part goes missing or something gets broken.

    Taking pictures also helps if your project spans a long period of time.  You may think you'll remember where everything goes but its worth the extra time to take a few pictures because you never know what may happen.

    Check out the Eastwood Blog and Tech Archive for more How-To's, Tips and Tricks to help you with all your automotive projects.  If you have a recommendation for future articles or have a project you want explained don't hesitate to leave a comment.

    - James R/EW

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  • Properly Store Your Air Hoses So They Don't Kink - Quick Tip

    Air hoses can be a pain especially if you don't have a retractable hose reel, but its important to take care of them if you want them to last.


    If you're not ready to invest in a Retractable Air Hose, here is a quick tip to increase the longevity of your hose so it wont kink or crack.



    The key to storing air hoses is twisting the hose and allow it to wrap itself.  This will create a coiling effect that won't put any extra strain on the hose.  When you forcefully wrap an air hose it stretches the rubber and can create cracks over time.


    Once its all coiled up you cant just leave it on the floor you need a way to mount it.

    bike hook

    A bicycle wall hook like this works great to hang the hose, because there is more than one point of contact on the hose which allows it to keep an evenly coiled shape.  You can find these very cheap at your local home or hardware store.



    If you want a unique look, mount an old car rim to the wall.  Its a creative way to give your garage some character while keeping your air hose protected and off the floor.



    While these are all great ways of keeping your air hose safe, the best way to keep your air hose safe is with an Eastwood Retractable Air Hose.  After you are done with the hose, give it a slight pull and it will retract back onto the reel.  If you are ready to make the investment for a Retractable Air Hose, don't hesitate, you will never have to worry about  your air hose again.


    Check out the Eastwood Blog and Tech Archive for more How-To's, Tips and Tricks to help you with all your automotive projects.  If you have a recommendation for future articles or have a project you want explained don't hesitate to leave a comment.

    - James R/EW

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  • How to Prep Metal For Welding - Quick Tip


    The key to any good weld is clean metal, but what is the best way to clean metal before you start welding? Depending on the tools you have and the overall goal of the project there are a few ways to prep your metal to get a nice clean weld every time.

    The best welds come from pure clean metal to metal contact,  any foreign materials in the welding area can cause welding imperfections.  Even brand new metal must be prepped before it can be welded because there is usually a coating put on new metal so it does not rust or oxidize during the shipping process.  This is a factor that is often overlooked and will always result in a weak and ugly weld.  Be mindful, once you remove this coating the metal is exposed to the elements,  if left out unprotected steel will begin to rust, even indoors.

    To start, the type of welding you are doing will determine how you prep the metal. Inherently MIG welding steel does not need the metal to be perfectly clean. On the other extreme, TIG welding aluminum requires contaminant free metal to create a strong clean weld.  In all of the examples below you can see the difference the dull color of the "new metal" (left) compared to how it looks after it is properly prepped (right).


    Angle Grinder with Flap Disc

    Using an angle grinder with a flap disc works great to prep steel for MIG or TIG welding.  Mild steel does not require the surface to be super clean to get a good weld.  In the picture above you can see the left side is brand new untouched steel, it may look clean but it has a thin coating like stated earlier.  Once you remove the coating with the flap disc, all it takes is a quick wipe down with Low VOC PRE or Acetone and you will be able to make clean and effective welds. This method works great for heavy welding on chassis parts, this area is always exposed to the elements which will build up contamination over time.  Take the time and clean the metal, you'll thank yourself later.

    Be careful a flap disc will remove a lot of material so don't use this on thin sheet metal, it may compromise the metals strength.



    Sand Paper

    Similar to using a grinder this method will work great for MIG and TIG welding steel or stainless, but it can be time consuming and does not always remove all of the coatings. Like using a grinder, you must wipe the metal down with Low VOC PRE or Acetone before welding.  In the picture above I used 80 Grit sandpaper,  it worked well by removing the coating but also left deep scratches that may not look good.



    Abrasive blasting

    If the metal you will be welding is very rusty and is not suitable to be sanded or removed with a grinder another option to prep the metal is to blast it.  After blasting the metal may look clean but it will still need to be wiped down with Low VOC PRE or acetone to remove and chemical contaminants.  The abrasive material can sometimes trap pieces of other metals that can cause the metal you are welding to rust or corrode.  Never rely on a blaster to prep aluminum for welding, it is very sensitive to contaminants that can get trapped even after wiping it down.



    Cleaning for aluminum TIG Welding

    When prepping aluminum there is a slightly different process that you will need to be mindful of.  Aluminum is very susceptible to contaminants therefore the cleaning process must be done in reverse to produce clean welds.

    First you must wipe down the metal with Low VOC PRE or acetone, this will remove any oils or grease on the surface.  The next step is to remove any oxides on the surface of the metal.  To do this use stainless steel wool or a stainless wire brush on the area to be welded.  Make sure that the Steel wool or wire brush is used exclusively for aluminum to avoid contaminants from other metals.  Once these tools come in contact with mild steel they can transfer steel bits into the aluminum which will eventually create rust.  Finally wipe down the metal with Low VOC PRE or acetone with a clean cloth or rag, from here you are ready to weld.


    It doesn't matter what kind of welding you are doing its always important to take the time to clean your metal before welding.  Not only will your welds look amazing they will be a lot stronger which is always an added bonus.


    Check out the Eastwood Blog and Tech Archive for more How-To's, Tips and Tricks to help you with all your automotive projects.  If you have a recommendation for future articles or have a project you want explained don't hesitate to leave a comment.

    - James R/EW


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  • Applying Filler and Glazing Putty Really Is Easy - Quick Tip


    One of the scariest aspects of vehicle restoration is body work, especially when it comes to filler and sanding.  The worst thing to do is avoid it until the end, then be forced to pay someone else to get the work done.  With help from Eastwood you'll, learn all the correct steps to basic body work, save money, and feel more accomplished in the end.


    Pic 1

    Above you'll see the small dent that I'll be repairing, very similar to a door ding you may get in a parking lot.


    Pic 2

    1. First clean the area you will be repairing, use PRE or acetone to remove any contaminants from the panel.


    Photo Aug 06, 12 05 14 PM

    2. If necessary use a Hammer and Dolley and rough out any dents.  Depending on the severity of the dent this may not be required.  Filler should not be applied more than 1/4" thick, any more and there is a risk it will crack.  With that said, any damage less than 1/4" deep may not need to be hammered out.


    Pic 3

    Pic 4

    3. Sand the area about 5 inches on all sides of the dent with a 80 Grit Sanding Disc on a DA Sander. During this step do not worry about getting the area completely smooth, just remove the paint to expose bare metal around the dent. If you don't have a DA Sander, a 120 Grit Flap Disc on an Angle Grinder can be used.  (Be careful, Flap Discs tend to remove a lot of material, very quickly.)

    Pic 5

    4. Using 80 Grit Sand Paper, hand sand the edges of the paint removed area so there is a smooth transition from clear, to base coat, to primer, then to bare metal.  Do not use anything finer than 80 Grit because the sanding scratches allow the filler to mechanically bond to the panel.


    Pic 6

    5. Mix and apply Contour Body Filler, make sure to use even pressure while applying.  This will reduce the need to go back and apply more after you have sanded the first layer.  While mixing make sure to follow the correct mixing ratio.  If too much hardener is added you will not have enough time to effectively apply the filler evenly.  Additionally make sure to use something other than cardboard to mix on.  Small cardboard fibers can get into the filler and contaminate the mix.  If you don't have Quick Sheets, take a 1'x1' piece of sheet aluminum and bend one side 2" up to 90º.  File the edges smooth and now you have a reusable mixing board that wont rust.


    Pic 7 Pic 8

    6. Use 80 Grit PSA on a Sanding Block for initial shaping, then 120 Grit PSA for finer smoothing. Then use an Blow Gun to remove sanding dust. During this step do not worry about getting the surface perfectly smooth, Glazing Putty is still to be applied.


    Pic 9

    7.  Wipe down the panel with PRE or acetone to remove any contaminants and oils.


    Pic 10 Pic 11

    8.  Mix Contour Glazing Putty making sure to follow the correct mixing ratios like stated above.  Glazing Putty should be applied very thin because it's purpose is to level any small imperfections still in the panel after the filling process.


    Pic 12

    9. Sand down the putty in an "X" pattern using 180 Grit PSA on a Sanding Block to get your final finish.


    Pic13 Pic 14

    10.  Blow the sanding dust off using a Blow Gun, then spray the panel with a heavy coat of PRE. The heavy coat will help you detect imperfections.  If the repair looks good wipe it down with a prep rag and you are ready to prime and paint.


    Unless you are a pro, sanding blocks are the go to tool when leveling filler.  You may see others using a DA Sander but this takes a lot of time and practice.


    Check out the Eastwood Blog and Tech Archive for more How-To's, Tips and Tricks to help you with all your automotive projects.  If you have a recommendation for future article or have a project you want explained don't hesitate to leave a comment.


    - James R/EW


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