In one of our last posts we gave you some sneak peaks of the custom running board project we've been working on for Project Pilehouse. During the process we documented the full build and shared some of our secrets to help you build a similar project yourself for cheap. After a some editing, we have the video chopped down and ready for your viewing. Check out the DIY video below and see some of our great Eastwood tools in action!
Tag Archives: Rust Repair
When we last mentioned how we were lengthening the bed of PileHouse we had just cut the bed apart and braced it to fabricate the new panels. This was not an easy task, but it was made much easier after the project had spawned some new prototype products.
Many of our new product ideas here at Eastwood come from working on our own projects and chatting with customers about theirs. Once I split the bed on Project PileHouse I was at a bit of a loss on how exactly I was going to make the bed extensions to match the original embossing. Even though we have a professional grade metal brake in the shop, it still couldn't do the bends as close together as needed to create the shape we wanted, and making a buck to hand form the embossing would be extremely difficult and time consuming. This prompted R&D guru and product designer Mark R. to mock up a new vice-mounted (or bench mount) metal brake that has a removable fence that can allow you to make bends as close as 1/2" apart (exactly what I needed for the embossing on the bed sides!). Within a day's work with the Eastwood MIG 175, TIG 200, and a pile of fresh steel, Mark had a working prototype made from scratch and we were ready to test it out on the bedside patch panels.
This and a new slip roll Mark designed helped make the bed stretch project go pretty smoothly and our replacement panels were dead matches to the existing bedsides. Check out the video as we go into full detail about the process and keep your eyes on Eastwood.com
in late August when these new metal working tools hit our site!
Some of the best craftsmanship often times comes from the shops and builders that aren't bragging at every cruise-in, swap meet, car show, and local bar. They are too busy cranking out quality pieces of automotive art and let their work speak for itself. This is exactly the way things seem at Pollock Auto Restoration, they are situated in an old part of town in Pottstown, PA (just miles from Eastwood headquarters) in a building that could easily be missed if you were just passing by. There aren't signs miles away, rows of cars out on the street, or any other things you see at other shops that attract customers. The cliental and cars that come into Pollock Auto are there because they know the shop reputation and its long history of building and restoring extremely rare and unique vehicles.
The business and the building itself have a long history in the antique and classic car world and although the exterior hasn't changed much over the years, the inside of the building has. This location was originally a coal yard until the early 1900's. The building was constructed in the early 1920's as a silk mill until Levitz Furniture took over. Mr. Bill Pollock took over the second level of the building in the early 1950's and it became the home for his "showcase" of rare cars, a museum of sorts. Mr. Pollock had a ramp and industrial winch system built into the building (you can see it in the picture above) that allowed him to pull his cars to the second floor and easily rearrange cars in the building. To this day they still use the original winch and ramp system he had built!
Ralph DeStefano started working for the Showcase in 1981 and Mr. DeStefano began operating "Pollock Auto Restoration" in 1995. Ralph and crew were master metal workers and quickly the business gained a reputation for their high quality of work. Fast forward about 13 years and the shop was taken over by Michel Engard who has been running his other shop "Ragtops & Roadsters" successfully since 1990. Michel and crew have managed to keep a lot of the vintage tools that came with the building and you can still almost imagine how things looked inside many years ago. The shop is extremely clean, every corner you turn and door you open, you'll see another line of extremely rare cars waiting their turn.
We were lucky enough to get to learn about how they functioned smoothly in such a huge space. We even got to see some of their vintage, industrial-sized metal working tools in action like the PullMax and English Wheel. Amongst these tools we spotted an old Eastwood Shrinker Stretcher that they use regularly to this day! They also were happy to show off some of the retired tools that were left behind in the building. Sadly the bits from the foundry the previous owner built have since been donated to surrounding auto museums, but it was still neat to see some of the one-off antiquated tools around the building.
We were delighted to get a tour around the shop and see how they truly were a "one-stop" restoration business. Nothing needed to be shipped off to other shops, they could do it all from mechanical to body/paint and even interior. Each department had a seasoned expert in that field that focused on that part of the build. This approach really lets everyone perfect their part of the process on each car and make sure it leaves as good or better than it would have from new! Check out the picture gallery below for a virtual tour of the facility and make sure you visit their site and like them on Facebook!
We regularly brag about the fact that we test, design, and dream up new products in-house here at Eastwood. Testing products requires a good rotation of test vehicles and we've had a number of wrecks we've used in the past. Recently the "powers-that-be" agreed that we should buy a new test vehicle that we could restore as we tested and designed new products. The ideas started flying immediately, "We could` test out a new welding attachment while we replace a rusty lower fender" or "Test a new cleaning product on weathered old vinyl", etc. So the hunt was on!
After weeks of hunting Craiglist religiously, one of our product developers Joe R. came upon a great deal on a local fox body Mustang for sale. The owner brought it by and we climbed all around it looking for the signs of a good Eastwood project vehicle. Our criteria was like the list of things most would shy away from. We wanted rust, dents, body damage, weathered interior, faded bumpers and paint, etc. Needless to say the seller was a bit confused as we commented on the imperfections the car had "Oh cool, the seats are quite worn!" or "Oh nice, it has been in a fender bender at some point", "Oh look it has some rust in the rockers!". Luckily it wasn't April Fools yet and the seller finally understood why we were acting that way. We struck a deal and the car became ours!
Fast forward a week and we are now starting to brainstorm where will start on the new addition. We plan to stay pretty conservative in this build, keeping it fairly original (or so we are telling the bosses right now!). But we are always looking for your opinions on what we should do to bring this car back from its beater status! Keep watching the Eastwood Blog as we update on the progression of this Mustang.
Replacing door skins, quarter panels, and other patch panels can take a lot of practice to get perfect. We have found that there are a few little tips to make a seamless repair much easier. My favorite is the use of a "backing strip" to connect the new and old metal. Below is a crash course on how you can use some thin backing strips from our new Patch Panel Install Kit to make a seamless repair that will last the lifetime of the vehicle.
First make your cut just above the damaged area. Be sure to clean the work area to bare metal and smooth out any sharp edges where the cut was made.
Next, take a one inch backing strip out of the kit, and cut it to the length you need. Then use the supplied 3/16" drill bit to make evenly spaced holes in the original metal (do not drill holes in the backing strip).
Now that the holes are drilled, take your backing strip and slide half of it under the original metal and clamp the two pieces together. We suggest using our Plug Welding Pliers. They have a copper support pad on them that helps reduce heat into the panel and helps avoid blow-through when making spot welds. The "V" in the top of the pliers makes it easy to pinpoint where you need to plug weld with the helmet down.
Next you can plug weld the backing strip to the original metal. You may want to practice a few times on some scrap metal to get a nice flat spot weld. You should only be holding the trigger for a few seconds when making a spot weld. The result of setting up your MIG welder properly will yield results like below. Remember, the flatter the plug welds you make, the less final grinding and filler you need to do!
Now that you have your backing strip in place, you can begin test fitting your replacement metal. Below you can see another reason why these backing strips are necessary in panel replacement; we can't always cut a perfectly straight line. Without a backing strip here, you'd have a tough time filling the gap without adding a small piece of metal. Trying to fill the void with weld would have caused major warpage in the metal.
Once you have confirmed your replacement panel will fit correctly, you can drill plug weld holes with the 3/16" drill bit in the replacement metal. Refit the panel and plug weld it to the backing strip. Once the panel is attached, you can now slowly spot weld the seam between the new and old metal. Remember to jump around from end to end when spot welding. This will help keep the seam from warping and causing more work to get the repair area straight.
Once you have the seam welded up, you can grind any "proud" welds down and proceed with sealer or filler. Use Eastwood Quality Flap Discs to properly blend the welds into the seam. No matter how small of an area, using this procedure when butt welding panels together can really make the difference in the final outcome of the repair.