Tag Archives: rod

    • Firewall Fabrication and Some Packard Donor Parts

      Now that we're starting to settle into our new workshop and photo/video studio here at the Eastwood headquarters, I've been able to turn my attention back to making progress on Project Pile House. At this point the truck has the silhouette that I've been envisioning, but it just needs a lot more rust repair and final finishing of the body mods, and some more associated work I've got on my to-do list. I've decided I want to take a break from some of the visual enhancements and get back to making the truck closer to being roadworthy. This includes making a new firewall that fits around the Chevy 350 crate engine from Pace Performance and the Chevy TH-350 transmission from TCI Transmissions.

      Our new tech-help guy Mike was eager to help me extract the old firewall. Mike has years of body shop experience and knows his way around a grinder and jumped right on board with chopping up the truck to make it better! Make sure you welcome Mike if you call or email and speak with him, he's a great addition to the Eastwood family.

      Now with the firewall cut out I can start making some templates to make a new smooth firewall for the truck. I'm still undecided if I want to run some beads around the perimeter from 18 gauge or if I want to use some thicker 16 gauge and make the firewall completely smooth. Like a lot of things with custom cars, it'll take some standin' around and eyeballin' things to figure out what looks best. Once I've got a template made up, I'll move on to the real thing out of steel and I'll be sure to post the process here on the blog as I progress!

      I also hit up my favorite local junkyard to rummage around their classic car section and see what sort of goodies I could find for Pile House. I'm not a fan of billet accessories on this build and I wanted a steering column housing and steering wheel that I could customize and keep it looking period correct. I settled on a late 40's Packard column housing that has a cool oval housing and intergrated turn signal switch. I plan to shave the shifter hole (I'm running a floor shifter) and smooth it out before mounting it up. I think I can make a custom steering shaft that fits the S10 steering joint and box on the chassis and integrate it to fit the Packard housing. I've started by gutting the surround and now I can start modifying it to fit into the new firewall. I'm still on the hunt for a steering wheel that grabs me, I feel like I've looked at just about every steering wheel from the 30's-60's at this point!

      Stay tuned, with the weather warming up I'm itching to get Pile House on the road this summer!

      -Matt/EW

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    • Building Door Frames to Match the Chop

      It's been a while since we talked about the roof chop on Pilehouse, but I've been doing a lot of boring work on the smashed up old roof getting it satisfactory. Since then I decided to finally finish building the doors to match the roof. I took some pictures as I did the drivers side to show one way to do it, and I did the passenger side an alternative way to show another way you can tackle this project. We shot the video on the passenger side, but in the photos here you can see the other way to go about it.

      Just like chopping the roof down, we needed to take out some height from the top of the door, split it in half, and add some width to it. That's why it's extremely handy to keep original metal that you cut off of the truck. I started by splitting the top of the door in half so we could mock up the two pieces so that they sat where we wanted them to in the door jamb.

      I started with the rear portion and held it in place in the door opening and closed the door until the post met the top of the door I was holding in place. From there I made a mark on the pillar where the 2 parts overlapped. From there I could cut the excess off of the door. In the front of the door I needed to take the extra material out of the top of the door since that was the straightest part of the upper front portion of the door. If at all possibly you always want to take material out of the pillars, doors, etc where the pieces are straight and the most uniform. Cutting them on a curve makes it VERY difficult to piece things back together smoothly and get your angles correct.

      Once the pieces were cut I temporarily tack welded them to the edge of the roof to get them sitting about where I wanted. With the tack welds I could still adjust the parts without them being permanently mounted. This way I could shut the door and line everything up how I wanted.

      Once the front and rear sections of the door were about where I wanted them I grabbed the piece of the door I cut out of the front. This portion of the door was very close in size to the center and only required minor tweaking to get the backside contours to match up.

      From there I was able to tack weld and adjust everything how I wanted and I could weld the seams all together. On the drivers side I hadn't fully cut and ground the drip rail off so I went about mocking up the door pieces. Either one will work, just be sure to use paint stir sticks or similar as spacers to leave room for seals in the door jam. With the doors welded back together the full effect of chopping the roof is visible. I think this mild chop really made Pilehouse look better. My next plans are to customize the hood and build a custom tailgate, so stay tuned for more updates.

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    • A Kustom Kaiser Catches Jay Leno's Eye.

      Each year when we hit SEMA we try and showcase our favorite vehicles at the show in our coverage here on the blog, YouTube, Facebook, and our other social media outlets. This year a Kustom Kaiser caught our attention on setup day and we were able to catch up with builder Keith Charvonia to shoot a feature on his car. We were blown away by the attention to detail. Keith also told us he was going to be hitting the show circuit hard this year after SEMA.

      Fast forward a few months and Keith sent us an update on Project Drag'n. It turns out his Kaiser has caught the attention of some BIG names in the car world. Recently Jay Leno asked for Keith to come on an episode of Jay Leno's Garage to talk about the car. If you know anything about Jay's taste in cars, he likes the best of the best. Watch the Jay Leno's Garage site for the upcoming feature, but until then you can watch our interview at SEMA where Keith debuted the car below.

      We've also heard some whispers about David Freiburger pushing for a feature on the Kaiser in an upcoming issue of Hot Rod Magazine. I'd say it's going to be a good year for Drag'n and Keith!

      -Matt/EW

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    • A Retired 1953 Chevy Farm Truck Stops by the Eastwood Outlet

      We often have local customers cruising to the Eastwood retail outlet in their classic cars. During the winter the number of interesting cars and trucks that we see goes down considerably, but that doesn't stop everyone. Ray T. stopped by the other day to price out some tools and supplies for his newest project- a 1953 Chevy 3/4 Ton Pickup. His truck is a rare bird in that it's all original and it's farm fresh! The truck spent 99% of its life since new on a Kansas Farm and it only has some wear and tear from being "used". Overall the truck is very solid and it stil sports the original inline six that runs great (albeit a little oil smoke). The only modification currently is a rear end from a more modern 1987 Chevy 3/4 ton pickup.

      Ray's plans are a bit controversial, but he's talking about turning it into a street rod and installing an automatic v8 and some more modern modifications. The purists may turn their noses up for modifying such a nice original example, but he does have a nice solid base to start with! Whatever he decides, our guys in the Eastwood retail outlet will steer him in the right direction to do the job right. If you want to visit our retail outlet and get some advise about your next project or see our products in person, come see us here: http://www.eastwood.com/custserv-store

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    • Building Bumper Brackets To Take Abuse

      I must admit that when it comes to my projects I have A.D.D, especially one as large as Pile House. Sometimes life gets in the way or we have other projects going at Eastwood (like our Project Resolution Mustang), that I can only devote small amounts of time or maybe a day here and there on the truck. When that's the case, it's tough to start or finish projects that take a big chunk of time to accomplish. One of MY resolutions for this year is to finish all the half-done and partially finished projects on Pile House.

      One project I had started a while ago was the custom front bumper build for the truck. I did what many hotrodders have done throughout the years, and hit the junkyard to find a suitable part to modify and retrofit to my truck. The result was a bumper bar that looked close to original.

      front bumper

      Since then I've done a lot to the truck and the bumper has sat under a layer of dust in the bed. The other day I had a spare afternoon to tackle the rest of the bumper project. The biggest task left was how I was going to mount the bumper to the truck. With it being winter here I decided to opt out of another junkyard trip (removing rusty bumper brackets in the snow is NOT my idea of fun). Instead, I took some flat steel and made up a set of mounts. These mounts needed to be strong enough to help support the weight of the front end of the truck when I lowered the airbags down. I didn't want the sheet metal taking the weight every time I aired the truck out, especially if someday the truck will have nice paint on it!

      So I started by cutting some 5/16" steel plate to length. I planned to make a triangulated mount that would help hold the weight when transferred across the front bumper.

      The first piece we needed to make was an "L" shape out of the flat bar stock. In order to get a nice bend in this I used the oxy-acetylene torch to heat up where I wanted the bend, then I used some leverage with some pipe to make the 90 degree bend I needed in the bar. The key is to get the metal "cherry red" hot where you want the metal to bend. With the bends made in the bars, I cut some more 5/16" plate and triangulated and braced the pieces I bent. This will add rigidity to the bracket. In order to get a better fit-up of the cross brace, I sanded an angle into the ends of the brace with the Belt/Disc Sander and finally tack welded it together with the MIG 175 welder.

      With the bracket starting to take the basic shape I wanted, I cut another piece of 5/16" flat bar that I could weld to the backside of the bumper and the bracket. In the end I want to shave the bumper and have no visible mounting holes, so the bracket must be welded to the bumper bar itself.

      Finally, I test fit the bumper and drilled my mounting holes to attach the bumper to the S10 chassis under the body. Once I was happy with the fitment of the bumper, I took it off and finished welding all of the seams on the brackets and the bumper bar with the MIG 175. I then decided to add some additional bracing to the bracket to help combat any bending or flexing of the bracket when the bumper is laid on the ground.

      This left me with a bumper bracket that resembled a jungle gym and I wanted to box it all in so it looked a little more "finished". I decided to take some 18 gauge steel and cut pieces to the shape of the sides of the brackets. Since I was covering the inside of the bracket, I decided to seal up the soon-to-be-hidden areas with some Gray Self Etching Primer. From there I used the Eastwood TIG 200 DC to weld the panels on. Once all of the seams were welded I blended them all together with a flap disc

      Now that the bumper is mounted it really makes the front end look more complete AND I'm not lowering the truck down on the front sheet metal anymore. When it comes time to disassemble for paint I'll blast the inside of the bumper with some rust encapsulator and chassis black to keep them corrosion-free for the life of the truck. With that old project finished, I can now move on to all the other loose ends I have on the truck!

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