Tag Archives: electric

  • We have a Brake Pedal and The Firewall Becomes Three Dimensional

    In the last update I was working on cutting out metal to make the firewall and mocking up my new brake pedal setup from Speedway. Since then I've been pretty busy making something from nothing. I had to initially tackle how I was going to mount the brake booster and pedal assembly under the cab. The first problem was that where the pedal bracket needed to live the S10 chassis started to pinch in and put the pedal on a weird angle. This kit was made for an earlier frame that's mostly straight/flat and like anything with a custom build, I had to get creative.

    I first used some jack stands to hold the brake assembly in place and eyeball up the position it needed to be in. I then traced out the area that the mounting pad for the pedal bracket needed to sit. I decided I could make a "cheese wedge" shaped mounting box that I could sink into the frame rail so that the pedal bracket would sit straight and everything would jive. I used 1/4" plate and copied the mounting holes to the base plate and welded the mounting bolts to the plate since they'd be hidden once the box was built. I used our Small Magnetic Welding Jig Set to square up the pieces and welded them together with the TIG200 DC Welder. The result was a strong mounting box I could sink into the frame and mount to the pedal box. I made my cuts in the chassis and mounted the box into the frame. Once I was sure it was square, I tack welded it into place with the MIG175 Welder.

    Now that I had the shiny Right Stuff Brake Parts mounted in place I dropped the air suspension and checked my clearance when aired out. The booster sits a couple inches below the chassis, but even when the body is sitting on the ground the booster has 4 inches or more of clearance. I'd probably rip the front end off before the brake parts were touched. That would be a BAD section of road even here on the east coast!

    My celebration of having a brake setup was cut short when I slide the Speedway brake pedal on and found that the brake pedal landed where my throttle pedal should be. I like to heel-toe my brake and throttle when driving.. but this was unacceptable! I decided to cut apart the brake pedal arm, shorten it, brace it and move the pedal over a few inches so that it sat where a brake pedal should. I also had to "clock" the mounting tab for the linkage under the pedal so that the pedal sits up high enough that it won't contact the chassis when I am pushing the pedal. I again used 1/4" steel plate and the TIG200 DC to box and brace the pedal to handle the force of pressing the brake pedal. Don't mind the rough floor in the photos, we just welded that in temporarily to keep the cab from flopping around while we worked on the roof chop and the firewall.

    With the brake parts mounted in place I could finally turn my attention back to the firewall and engine/transmission tunnel. I started by making the back side of the firewall setback. I used one of our Adjustable Profile Gauges to transfer the radius of the top of the TCI Auto Transmission to the panel. After tracing out my pattern I cut the rough shape out of 16 gauge steel with our Electric Metal Shears. Now the electric shears work really great for cutting laser straight lines and gentle curves, but when you need to make a tighter radius cut those shears are out of their element. I decided to mount up one of our Throatless Shears to make the cuts I needed. The nice thing about the "throatless" shear is that you can go as slow or fast as you want so that you can make some really clean, accurate cuts. I cut out the top curves to match the top panel I made on the english wheel, then cut the transmission tunnel radius and I had my second panel of the firewall made.

    Now with the back panel of the firewall channel made, I decided that I wanted to ditch the panel I made on the english wheel and form the panel out of one piece. I decided to use 18 gauge steel and form the piece using our Shrinker Stretcher Kit to make the panel match the radius of the main portion of the firewall we had made already. I cut a piece of 18 gauge a little longer than I needed and broke a 1/2" bend on each side of the panel. These edges will allow me to work them with the stretcher to get the radius I need on the panel. This panel was a little more difficult to make as I had to evenly stretch each side little by little as I went to get the shape the same on the entire panel. I actually went a little far when initially stretching the shape I needed and I had to work backwards with the shrinker in a few spots to get the panel back into shape to match the panel. That's the nice thing with metal is that you can always undo what you've done if you stretched or bent the metal a little too much. Once I got the shape close, I used the hammer and dolly to match the rolled edge we made earlier match with this new panel. Then I used Cleco Clamps to hold the pieces together.

    Now that I have the pieces in place I can start to see everything taking shape. I need to tackle making the wheel tubs for the front wheels and the transmission tunnel next. I'm hoping I'll be able to start melting all of this metal together with an Eastwood Welder shortly! Thanks for watching!

    -Matt/EW

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  • An Electric Restoration- Part 3 Putting Some Color on the Body

    Since the last time we checked in with Wayne he has turned his attention to the body work and paint on his Chevy S10 electric restoration project. Luckily Wayne spent the time to find a rust-free and nearly dent-free base for this project, so with a little sanding and minor body work he was ready for some Eastwood Buff Tan Urethane Primer Sealer Surfacer to seal and level the body with. After some block sanding Wayne (and his wife of course!) decided on Eastwood Pin Up Red Urethane Paint or as he calls it "lipstick red". The paint went on with little hassle and Wayne has been busy assembling the firewall and wet sanding and buffing the body. We can't wait to see some proper photos of the truck fully assembled and sitting outside the shop, that red REALLY pops!

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  • An Electric Restoration- Part 2 Installing an Electric V8 Killer.

    Since our last update Wayne of Electric Blue has been busy finishing up the suspension and brakes on the S10 Chassis. He finished off the rear, front suspension and brakes with the help of more Eastwood detail paints.

    With the chassis all buttoned up Wayne moved on to the heart of this project; the electric engine. Recently he received the power plant from the manufacturer and went right to work. He machined custom adapters to fit the engine and the stock transmission together. Wayne does pretty much everything in-house including machining up the adapters necessary to fit electric engines into most any vehicle. Wayne doesn't really care what it is, he can make it environmentally friendly AND faster than your neighbors gas guzzling muscle car!

    Now that everything bolted together Wayne mounted up the new electric drivetrain into the Chevy chassis. It's pretty amazing to see how small the electric engine is compared to the original AND how simplistic it looks! Even though it may look like something out of the inside of your washing machine, this bad boy should surprise most any street car. Next up is outfitting the truck with the batteries to power the engine (Wayne has a custom trick for this) and continue freshening up this unique project. Stay tuned for smokey, QUIET electric burnouts here soon!

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  • An Electric Restoration- Electric Blue Restores a Chevy S10

    Wayne of Electric Blue isn't a bandwagon kind of guy. He didn't buy a Prius and fill it with stickers to shout how environmentally conscious he is. Wayne's interest in electric conversions and environmentally friendly vehicles goes back to the first oil embargo in 1974. As with anything, he began by using what he had laying around; a 1959 Morris Minor and the motor from a Clark fork lift he had sitting around at his job. He spent his nights after work completing the project. Converting the Morris Minor wasn't easy, he didn't have the help of how-to articles, discussion forums, or manuals, he just had to "made it work". Wayne then got experience on the restoration side of things while he owned a European Restoration shop. He explained he's been using Eastwood products since 1980, and they make their way onto all of his projects. After making some electric vehicles for himself, things "snowballed" and he had a small part time business going while running the restoration shop. Years passed and Wayne has decided to turn the "hobby" into a full-time business these days. He's done about 400 conversions since the Morris Minor and we decided to follow his most recent restoration and electric conversion project.

    Enter the base, a tired, well used 1983 Chevrolet S-10. The upsides are that it's pretty clean with no accident damage or heavy rust. It just needs some light rust prevention and a ton of cleaning. Wayne plans to install a custom interior, restore the body and then install an 11-inch electric motor that's capable of 550HP at 9,000 RPMs, with a whopping 1,200 lb-ft of torque. He figures even at the detuned 350 HP @9,000 RPMs and 600 lbs of torque, it should keep any speed-freak happy!

    Wasting no time, Wayne stripped the S10 down to bare bones. Not only does he like to convert the vehicle to electric, he likes to give these vehicles a nut and bolt restoration when possible. He plans to restore and detail everything as it would have come from the factory. With the bare chassis up on the lift he could get to cleaning and painting it.

    Since the frame was pretty straight and free of major rust Wayne only had to clean it and apply a few coats of Eastwood Chassis Black. From there he restored and detailed the suspension and brakes using chassis black and Detail Gray to give everything a factory-fresh appearance.

    With the suspension, steering, brakes, and chassis all built and detailed, Wayne is just about ready to pick up his electric power plant and control board. He tells us that he will be machining his own adapter plate to run the electric engine on the stock S10 transmission and rear end. He also mentioned he is playing with color schemes right now, but a silver or burgundy are in the running. We can't wait to see how well this thing moves with that monster electric engine!

    For more information about Electric Blue check out their website and watch this space for more updates about Wayne's S10 build.

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  • Patching Fender Rot

    It seems like all we talk about when working on Project Pile House is the rust and body damage it has.. but again today we're covering the repair of more rust that's on the truck. This time it's on the sides of the fenders where the cab mounts attach to the fenders. Originally they sandwiched multiple pieces of metal together and riveted the mount through them for additional support on the fenders. This spot is very prone to rusting on these trucks and should definitely be addressed. On Pile House both fenders were rusted badly and the rot was covered with a heavy coating of body filler to hide the damage. In my effort to clean up the exterior of the truck, I wanted to get rid of the rust and rivet heads when making the repair. In the end, I modified the cab-to-fender mounts so I could spot weld them to the fenders after positioning the fenders to get an even gap where the doors and fenders met. This was pretty boring, time consuming, and hard to photograph.. so I'll save you the winded post about that process in this update, and focus on repairing the rust and smoothing the fenders.

    The first thing I do when making a repair like this is to use painters tape to mark out the area I want to remove and repair. I usually tape off just a little further out than the rusted area so I can be sure that I'm into good metal when welding the patch panel in place. It's really difficult to weld thin, heavily pitted metal, so it's best to remove a little more so you can get a clean area to work with.

    The other nice thing about the painters tape is that it gives a nice straight line to follow as you cut out the area you're repairing. I chose a 4 1/2" Electric Angle Grinder with a cutting disc to make the cuts. I just put the edge of the cutting disc against the inside edge of the tape and followed that as I made the cut.

    Once I had the cancerous areas removed, I cleaned the area surrounding the hole with a flap disc. With the area prepped, I could then make a pattern of the patch panel I needed. I chose to use a manila folder as my pattern, although you can use thin cardboard, chipboard, construction paper, or any other thick paper product. Chipboard is often the best to use as it behaves the most like sheet metal, but construction paper or a manilla folder will work ok as well (and is easier to find). Once I traced and cut out the patterns for each patch panel, I transferred the pattern to the metal and cut the rough shape from 18 gauge steel with the Electric Metal Shears. Once I had the rough shape cut, I could then trim the piece to shape with a set of Eastwood Aviation Metal Snips. After I had the patch panel close to the size I needed, I used the curvature of the fender to give the patch panel a slight contour to match the fender. Alternatively you could use a pipe form, a Slip Roll, or even an English Wheel to shape the panel. But in this case, the curve needed was so slight, using some muscle and the fender as a form, gave me the shape I needed.

    On this repair, I chose to use a set of Intergrip Panel Clamps to gap and hold the patch panel in place. Then the Eastwood MIG 175 to weld it all together. The key with using the intergrips is to use the aviation snips to carefully cut the panel just a bit smaller than the opening so that the mounting plate for the intergrips can slide between the old and new metal. This allows your welds to bridge and fill the gap.

    Once the new metal is clamped in place with the Intergrips I used a flathead screwdriver to get the panel centered in the opening and began laying a few quick tack welds to attach the new metal in place. From here I like to move my intergrips around and tighten them in place after each tack weld to get the patch panel flush with the surrounding metal. On a curved panel like this it's important to make sure the curve of the seam matches. Once the patch panel is tack welded in place and lined up correctly I removed the Intergrips.

    Now that the patch panel is tack welded in place, I began stitch welding the joint closed. I like to jump around the panel making quick, hot welds. On a patch this small I had to be careful not to introduce too much heat into the panel and warp the metal. I like to keep a blow nozzle from the compressor handy to hit the welds and metal with cool, compressed air every few welds. I make sure the panel is warm or even cool to the touch before I continue laying stitch welds. If the metal is too hot to touch with your bare hands, you shouldn't introduce anymore heat into the panel until it cools. After some time I ended up with fully stitch welded patches that didn't have any major warpage.

    After I've made sure the panel is fully welded, I used the flap disc on the angle grinder to grind the proud welds down. The key is to grind across the welds so they're flush with the surrounding metal. If ground too much, the weld joint will be thin and weak. With this repair method you should be able to grind the welds pretty much flush with the surrounding metal. I then used the Eastwood Pro Hammer and Dolly Kit to bump up any low spots from welding. For now I sealed the repair area with Eastwood Self Etching Primer until I'm ready to lay body filler, primer, and top coat.

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