Tag Archives: howto

  • Shaving the Column- Custom Steering Column Mods

    I had previously covered in a few steps how I had come up with the steering setup on the truck. To make it short, I'm using a Packard steering column housing, a custom column shaft, and a Ford steering wheel. To make all of this work together took a bit of work, but I've got it all bolted up and it should all jive pretty good when done. Now I need to finish up the small details that will make the column not only look good, but also work smoothly together. I'll be covering the latter in another post, but for now I decided to show you how I went about shaving the unneeded holes from the column housing.   Click Here To Read Full Post...
  • Preventative Maintenance on Mirror Polished Parts for your Ride

    Everyone loves a well done vehicle with some nice polished parts on it. It really makes things pop and gives your car, truck, or bike a classy look. While it does look amazing, it takes a LOT of hard work to keep mirror polished metal parts looking as good as the day you installed them. I've been building and restoring classic race wheels for some time now and I've found that the best solution to keeping the mirror polished lips looking perfect is to periodically apply some Eastwood Metal Protect. Our R&D team worked hard to make a coating that is semi-permanent, self leveling, and nearly invisible once dry. I recently did a set of polished aluminum wheel lips for some Ronal Racing wheels that I had painted with our Eastwood Vintage Race Wheel Paint and I decided to shot a couple photos. You can see in the pictures that even when you're very close, the coating is nearly invisible. Metal Protect allows me to just spray the wheels down with some detailer or when washing the car and they'll look as good as the day they were polished. No need to hand rub them all the time! Save yourself some time and apply Metal Protect to all of your polished parts!

    -Matt/EW

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  • 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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  • Forming The Firewall and Gathering Steering and Braking Parts

    After getting the old swiss cheese firewall removed from the truck I started making the new firewall for Project Pile House. I started by having one of our tech advisors Sean help me make a cardboard pattern. Once the pattern was made we scribed out the shape onto our metal using a pick from the Eastwood 4 Piece Puller/Scraper/Pick Set. I decided I wanted a smooth firewall for a "cleaned" look. Because of that I won't be running beads in the firewall so I opted for 16 gauge sheet metal.

    I wanted to make clean cuts in the metal so I decided to put our Electric Metal Shears to the test and make the majority of the cuts with them. I know we only rate them to 18 gauge, but I had heard rumors that these were actually tested up to 16 gauge with no issues. I was pleasantly surprised that the shears (with well-used blades even!) cut right through the 16 gauge with no issues. I can't say how pleased I was to make those long cuts quickly with the shears. I then fired up the Versa Cut 40 Plasma Cutter to make the cuts for the radii on the tunnel notch and top outer corners. I made the cuts in a single pass with the machine on 110V at around 18 Amps and 60 PSI.

    Now that I had the basic shape of the firewall cut out I did some minor trimming to make space around the headers and the valve covers for engine movement. I next made some "witness" marks in the firewall and the truck to have a quick way to match up the firewall each time I fit it. I want to make the transition into the firewall tunnel as smooth as possible so it gave me a chance to try out some new prototype tools we've been testing. We're currently working on a set of universal vice-mount T-dollies that I thought would be perfect to tip the edges of the firewall where transitions into the tunnel. The trick with these is to allow the metal to hang just over the edge of the dolly and use your body hammer to form the metal around the radius of the dolly. The result is a smooth bend in the sheet metal. Look for these to be out sometime in May or June!

    By tipping and rolling the edges on the transmission tunnel transition I also added some additional rigidity to the panel that I could feel instantly after I was done hammering. I decided to test fit the panel again so I could mock up the top panel of the tunnel next. The top panel needed to have the same contour as the opening we cut in the firewall and the only good way to make that was by using an english wheel to roll the contour into a piece of sheet metal. I began by making a pattern to match the cutout in the firewall so that I could check my progress as I went. I used our new prototype Eastwood English Wheel to roll the mild curve into the panel and after a few a minutes I had a piece shaped appropriately.

    I then used a couple clecos to hold the top panel in place. The fitment is pretty good and it should all blend together pretty nicely once it's welded. I still need to tackle the rest of the tunnel and begin mocking up the steering column and brake pedal before I can finally weld the firewall in place.

    Just today I got some steering column parts and a frame mounted brake pedal assembly from Speedway Motors, so I should be able to steer the truck from inside the cab shortly. I've already got a nice chrome Right Stuff Detailing GM mini brake booster and master cylinder sitting on the sidelines ready to mount up once the fabrication is done so I can make Pile House stop too! Stay tuned, things are getting interesting!

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  • Project Resolution Phase 3 Teardown

    Since our last post we've been busy working on disassembling the car down to just a rolling shell. This meant we had to removed the entire drivetrain and start deciding if we were going to keep the original or get a replacement engine. The engine and transmission came out pretty easy when using the Folding Engine Hoist. We then separated the engine and transmission and put the engine on a Ford Small Block Rolling Engine Stand so we could easily move it around the shop.

    Meanwhile, some of the other members of the team worked on sanding the fenders and doors down to bare metal using the Eastwood Stripping Discs and then sprayed them with Eastwood Fast Etch to keep them from flash rusting while they wait their turn for bodywork and shiny paint.

    After looking over the engine we decided that this engine had been neglected for quite sometime and even the original waterpump was still on the engine! When Tim went to remove the bolts out of the waterpump just about every single one broke off. This is going to cause a lot more work as we now have to extract each broken bolt. This task will include removing the harmonic balancer on the crank and the timing chain cover to get to the bolts that broke. Let's hope this doesn't require some serious surgery!

    Once we were tired of fighting with broken bolts we moved on to removing the front radiator support on the car. This is NOT an easy job even on the best day. First of all you have to drill out numerous spot welds and the number of spot welds on each side of the radiator support are not equal. It seems like the spot welder in the factory just did however many felt right that day.. or two guys were spot welding on each side and one did way more than the other. The other problem we had was that the car has been hit in the front and some of the metal was bent and damaged. We took turns drilling spot welds with the Eastwood Spot Weld Cutters and slowly we were able to peel the old radiator support off of the front of the car. We'll have to do some hammer and dolly work to the remaining parts on the front end, but so far the CJ Pony replacement radiator panel seems like it will fit pretty well.

    Next up we will have to remove the damaged inner fender skirt panel and mock it all up to make sure the front sheet metal will sit correctly when we're done. Soon we'll be firing up the MIG 175 and the TIG 200 to weld these panels in place. Stay tuned, we're just getting warmed up!

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