Tag Archives: versa cut
We often brag about how great our local automotive enthusiast scene really is, but we are really lucky to have our retail outlet here at the Eastwood headquarters so we get to see in-progress and finished vehicles rolling through the lot on a daily basis. The other day I wandered outside after the retail outlet called to let me know a nice little Ford street rod rolled into the lot. I stopped outside and instantly recognized the Blast From the Past Street Rods "Shadow Rod" truck. Blast from the Past has been one of the top street rod shops in the area for years, and they've been long time customers. We've even used their shop and cars for testing and photo shoots in the past. So we're no strangers to owner Bill and his crews' creations.
This truck is a based off of a Shadow Rods body that is a modernized replica of a '27 Ford. Bill and crew at Blast from the Past took this body and gave it their special touch to give this rod a really cool custom look. This truck has been given the full treatment with every part painted, new, and detailed, it's no wonder it gets so much attention at every event they take it to!
While I was snapping pictures of the shadow rod, I had a chat with Bill (owner) of Blast from the Past. He decided to cruise the truck out to Eastwood to pick up some new consumables for his Versa Cut Plasma Cutter he purchased a few months ago. Bill explained that he had Snap-On and Hobart plasma cutters in his shop previously, but after his snap-on malfunctioned and the repairs were close to the cost of a new plasma, and his Hobart died on a Saturday, he ran down to try out one of our Versa Cut plasma cutters. Bill and his shop aren't new to Eastwood products, but they were still surprised by how well the plasma performed and he mentioned it blew their old snap-on plasma away in performance (and of course cost!). Judging by the bag of consumables that Bill had in his hand, they are definitely putting the versa-cut through its paces!
As always it was a pleasure to see a nice custom rod like the shadow rod roll through our lots, and we hope you enjoyed the pics. Planning to hit the Eastwood Retail Outlet in your ride? Shoot us a message and we'd be happy to shoot some photos and give you a little feature on our blog!
With all of the S10 suspension and steering components up front replaced with new Proforged parts, we needed to make the rest of the chassis and suspension look as good as the parts we put on. We decided to remove the stock Chevy V6 drivetrain first. We got some help from one of our friendly forklift drivers in the Eastwood distribution center to lift it out. The removal went pretty smoothly, but the cleanup was another story though!
With the engine out and the mess cleaned up, I could now check tire clearance when lifting and dropping the air suspension. It quickly became evident that the tires were contacting the front cab corners when dropped. To make room, I made notches in the cab corners with the Versa Cut Plasma Cutter. With those rough cuts made, the suspension now has its full range of motion. Later on I will be making mini-tubs in the cab corners that close up the notches I cut, but still allow the tires to tuck when dropped. More on that project a little later down the road.
Next we rolled the truck outside so we could clean and detail the chassis. I started by removing the steering box and giving it a good clean and detail with the help from Chassis Kleen and Detail Gray.
With all of the bolt-on parts removed from the front of the S10 chassis, I moved on to cleaning and prepping it for paint. The hero of this job was our new Rust Brushes. Once I had them hooked in the drill it only took about 15-20 minutes and 2 brushes to get all of the scaly rust and messy grease off. I also found it was handy to keep the "worn out" brushes and use the pointy ends to get into the hard-to-reach spots that a fresh brush couldn't reach.
With the major debris cleaned off, I hit everything up with Chassis Kleen, and PRE before applying Rust Encapsulator. The Encapsulator will stop any of the light rust left on the chassis from growing, and also gives a uniform finish to build off of. I then applied some Satin Chassis Black for the final tough finish. Even though I use Chassis Black quite frequently on other projects, I'm still amazed at how well this stuff sprays out of the can and how tough it is. Only problem now is that it makes all of the dirty, original parts around it look worse! I just have to keep reminding myself this is just a driver and not a show car build!
Now that the front clip is detailed, I can move on to test fitting the mockup block and V8S10 conversion bits. Watch this space for more on that here shortly. Thanks for following!
We know everyone loves videos as well as pictures, so to supplement Part 2 of our Front Suspension Project we decided to show you how we went about installing the new front Proforged suspension and steering parts, as well as the custom air ride suspension in this video. Although it looks pretty straight forward to build and install in the video, I must have had the front suspension apart at least 5-10 times! Enjoy the video and make sure to follow our next episode where we show you how we built a new set of running boards from scratch!
In the last entry we showed you how to disassemble the front suspension on the S10 chassis that sits under Project Pile House. Once we had it all apart we began fitting the front air suspension. Air bags will allow the truck to drop all the way to the ground and lift to almost stock ride height. This will give us the looks AND function I want out of the truck.
A warning for anyone starting an air ride build--it will NOT be a bolt-on job! It can be nearly "bolt" on with some of the expensive kits out there, but most won't get you much lower than a set of drop spindles and some lowering springs/drop blocks. To get the "slammed" or "laying frame/body" look that many want, you will need to cut, weld, and fabricate. But for me, that's the fun of building a custom car or truck!
I started with a cheap eBay S10 "bolt-in" front air ride kit with the larger 2600 bags. They really use the term "bolt-in" loosely, as the lower mounting plate for the lower control arms were completely wrong and I binned the idea of using them pretty quickly! Regardless of 2500 or 2600 series front bags, you will need to cut the spring pocket to make room for the bag when deflated. If you don't cut the pocket the bag can rub the opening and put a hole in it quickly, not something you'd want to happen on the highway! I set the bag and upper mount (which mounts through the OE shock hole) into the truck to get an idea what needed to be cut. I then pulled out the Eastwood Versa Cut Plasma Cutter and made quick work of the frame notch.
Once I found that the cut around the spring pocket was large enough to tuck the air bag inside, I moved on to fitting the bag to the lower control arm. This is where it was evident that the lower bag mount plate wasn't going to work and I decided to plate the control arm myself. I first outlined the bag so I had an idea of the minimum area I had to plate to support the bag. Next I cut out the "humps" in the control arm with the Versa Cut (mini truck guys call it "dehumping") and welded in a plate to make the top of the lower control arm more flat. A plate was then added to cover the top of the lower control arm and welded it in with the Eastwood MIG 175. Lastly I drilled a hole in the plate to mount the bag to the lower control arm. The final outcome is now a bolt-on job.
With the hard fabrication work done, I moved on to removing the old tired steering components. These were just as bad as the suspension components! Pile House will never be a daily driver, but I plan to take it on long drives and it may even double as a tow vehicle once in a while. For this reason I want the suspension and steering components to stand up to a lot of abuse and function well with the lowered stance and added power it's getting. I decided to call up the folks at ProForged Severe Duty Chassis Parts and see what they had to offer. Zack and crew came back with just what I needed; severe duty replacement steering components, drilled and slotted rotors to help stop the truck better, and my favorite, extended travel ball joints. These ball joints are right up my alley, they were designed to eliminate ball joint binding when a GM chassis is lowered. Ball Joint binding can happen on vehicles that are lowered (even with small drops!) when they hit a bump and the suspension compresses (lowers) and the stock ball joints go past their optimum point of travel and bind. All of this GREATLY decreases the life of the parts and can cause them to fail prematurely. Best of all ProForged offers a Million-Mile Warranty on all of their parts!
From here we test fit all of the parts and made sure the truck was sitting how I wanted when dropped. I did have to cut the height of the upper bag mounts to get the truck to sit flat on the ground in the front, but only a minor job compared to the all the other work that's been done thus far! Now that all of the major fabrication was done, we could move on to installing the ProForged parts and begin cleaning and detailing the front suspension. Stay tuned for the next entry where we detail and assemble it all.