1957 Chevy Truck project, part 3

1957-Chevrolet-Hot-Rod-Pickup-truck seat base

I found a pair of aftermarket bucket seats on Craigslist and I built these seat bases for them.  I lost the glove box because of the A/C so I installed this lockable drawer under the frame. I is actually a Bulldog gun vault so it is plenty strong. A perfect place for valuables and paperwork.

1957-Chevrolet-Hot-Rod-Pickup-truck carpet in

Carpet in place. The rear wall was covered with sound deadener and then carpeting.

1957-Chevrolet-Hot-Rod-Pickup-truck kick panel

We need tunes and for that we need speakers. The speakers speak the tunes, that’s why they call them speakers. They are permanently mounted in this kick panel made from textured automobile panel. If they were not permanently installed you would call them guest speakers.

1957-Chevrolet-Hot-Rod-Pickup-truck kickpanel installed

Kick panel in place and kickin’ it.

1957-Chevrolet-Hot-Rod-Pickup-truck console between

Cell phone fits perfectly behind the rear cup holder and the charging/AUX connectors. Now I need a tripple latte’

1957-Chevrolet-Hot-Rod-Pickup-truck seats in

A throne for a king.

1957-Chevy-Truck-radio-install

The previous owner had a smoothie attack. The dash was filled…for what? Where am I going to put my tunes?? How about right here!!

1957-Chevy-Truck-tach

The radio is vintage looking but with modern guts. The radio offers AM-FM and it is connected to the AUX jack in the center console. Tachometer is a vintage unit from Dixco.

More later…

High (and Low) Tech: High and low fog lights

“High and low fog lightsHuh??

I think I am being incredibly witty here, follow along and let’s see if you agree.

I admit it: I am a light junkie. I like to see well at night as well as being seen. Washington state offers incredible summers for cruising but the winters can be soggy and dark especially on those two lane black tops.  Also, driving a classic car makes me a bit more paranoid when it comes to other drivers. Being seen early can be a matter of life and …well, not so much life.

I usually upgrade all the lights equipment on my vintage cars to halogen headlights and new reflectors but you can’t really add modern auxiliary lights to a vintage car as it would look out of place. Here is America it is legal to run fog lights with your low beams. I know that is not the case in some countries.

So what do we do to improve a vintage car? How about adding some vintage fog lights? Great idea but yesterdays fog lights are usually powered by a weak incandescent bulb.

How do we fix that?

Here is my solution:

1937 Ford Vintage Fog Light
This is fog light made by S&M Lamp Company in Los Angels. It is a Model 570.

1937 Ford Vintage Fog Light lens

The lens is easy to separate from the old reflector. As you can see, the old reflector is nothing to be proud of. Also, it hosts an weak incandescent bulb. Double Dim!

IMG_2363This is a 5 1/4 inch Hella eCode headlight. Unlike the horrible Sealed Beam lights it has a removable H4 halogen bulb and a very high quality reflector. The H4 bulb has two filaments, high and low beam.

IMG_2372

The plan is to remove the Hella lens from the nice reflector. The H4 bulb only goes in one way so we need to make sure the reflector is clocked correctly.

IMG_2365
The glass is attached with a strong adhesive sealer so in order to remove the glass I have to brake it. Other than fixing things we do like to smash a few things as well. It is also quick and cheeper than seeing a psychiatrist! I filled the light with clean paper towels to protect the reflector.

IMG_2366
Then I put the light in a plastic bag and then…

IMG_2367Ka-Boom!

Some Euro guys with an Alfa or Volvo would probably think this is blasphemy but these lights are from current production and not obsolete by any means. As you can see, the plastic bag prevents any glass chards from flying around.

NOTE: Gloves, protective clothing and safety glasses is a must when performing this part of the job. Safety First!
IMG_2368
I applied some heat to the seam with a heat gun and pried away the rest of the glass. Keep gloves and safety glass on! Clean up the area well afterwards.

IMG_2369With very light pressure I used a clean cloth towel to remove any remnants of the glass.
IMG_2370

A screwdriver or knife is helpful to remove the last of the sealer.
IMG_2371

Halfway there…here is a nice reflector ready to be married to a vintage lens.
IMG_2373

Luck has it that the Hella lens have a notch right at the top. Even though we have marked the top position this will help when installing the glass with precision.
IMG_2374
More luck. The old lens also had a notch marking the top position.

IMG_2375
The marriage. After cleaning the inside of the lens we are really to marry the two.

IMG_2376
Fits like it was made for it. Only 60-70 years between the two items!

 

IMG_2377
I have used latex or silicon sealer to install the glass on the reflector in the past. There is always a chance that it can get messy as the sealer can get pressed in to the reflector. In this case I used tightly applied electrical tape. It worked very well and it is easy to remove if I have to replace any part.

IMG_2378

This is when we say: “Ta-Da” or “Look at me!”…or “Damn I’m good!” Well, you get the idea. Vintage look with modern power.

Output

1937 Ford Fog Lights Low

Here is the cool part. In low beam mode (above) it functions as a regular fog light and you can run it together with your low beams. (As always, check your local laws and regulations of course)

1937 Ford Fog Lights High Beam

When you hit the high beam in the fog light will aid your car’s high beam by increasing the output while still looking vintage.

Hydralic Jack Bottle Release Valve made easy (for old guys)

I was going to title this tech post “easy release for old folks” or “easy screwing” but that may be construed as something that should belong in a different forum.

I don’t want to date myself or anything but some aspects of playing with cars can be hard on the old body for those of us that are not getting any younger. These days I find myself checking more than twice before I head down on the creeper to make sure I have ALL tools needed for the job. Otherwise, I have to get back up again!

As some tasks can be harder to do with things like arthritis I always look for ways to make it easy for myself. One thing is fore sure: I am are not giving up my favorite hobby!
I have tried collecting stamps…you know what? It’s not working for me! Curling…kinda sux too. Old cars is what it is about.

Hydralic Release valve

I always found the release function on hydraulic jack bottle less that practical for several reason. As you know, these things are found on the engine hoist, the press and other devices. For one, I have to remove the lever tube from the jack in order to release the pressure and that can make for a lot of back and forth especially if you are for example trying to install an engine carefully. Second, if I try to turn the tiny release valve with my arthritic hands it can be hard or impossible or you end up turning too much or too fast.

Maybe you find this “tech” solution silly but if it can help even one person it is worth it.

Hydralic Release Key Fab

Use a tube with a slightly larger inner diameter than the valve screw body. I then drilled a hole slightly smaller than the pin on the screw.

 

Hydralic Release Key Fab hole

Use a cutting disk to split it just past the hole.

 

Hydralic Release Key Fab handle

Add a handle.

 

Hydralic Release Key Fab Tap

Tap to install.

 

Hydralic Release Key Fab turn easy

Turn with ease.

 

1937 Ford: The car gets more attention

The Flathead Reliability Run is coming up next week so I need to give the ’37 Ford Cabriolet some more love.

1937 Ford Cabriolet blinker

My friend Mark gave me this vintage Auto Signal brand turn signal assembly. It was proudly made in Chicago about sixty years ago. I cleaned it and painted it with Hammer finish but even thought I doused it with paint it still would not “hammer”. However, I like the brown finish so I will live with the end result.

 

1937 Ford Cabriolet blinker tape

Once I figured out the wiring I wrapped the wires in Friction Tape from hardware store. Unlike electrical tape it has a matte finish so it looks very old timey. The black rubber wheel in the unit goes against the steering wheel and it cancels the blinker after the turn. Very cool.

 

1937 Ford Cabriolet blinker clamp

The blinker assembly is held to the column with a hose clamp. I covered the clamp with black shrink tubing so it would not stick out visually and it protects the column from scratches. I did have to add a separate ground lead because of this.

 

1937 Ford Cabriolet blinker finished

After assembly it looks like new.

 

 

1937 Ford Cabriolet blinker installed

Here we are. The color works well with the other colors in the car. The cancelling function works great and the car is safer to boot. Now I don’t have tog o down the road with left blinker on for miles like an old guy!

1980 Chevy truck V8 install progress

You would think that replacing a six cylinder engine and installing a V8 in a vehicle that was originally designed to host such an engine would be easy. Well, it IS easy but there are several items that need attention: Wiring, cables and other fitment issues comes up and have to be dealt with.

1980 Chevrolet C10 truck bay

Engine bay all cleaned up and painted. Not show car stuff but stock looking and neat.

 

1980 Chevrolet C10 truck chrome engine

Wroom-Wroom! (automotive technical term) Chromed up Chevy small block ready to go in.

Headers

It became quickly clear that the flange on the “stainless” headers were not so…ahem…stainless. The manufacturer just welded the tubes to ferrous metal flanges and called it a day…or night depending what time it was.

With the sharp laser cut edges and total lack of corrosion protection all you have to do is walk in to the garage and mention the word “moisture” and they would start to rust.
Maybe to the Chinese manufacturer or the US importer “stainless” just really mean “partially stainless” Hell, it could be a cultural thing that I should really respect.

Also, based on the location of the flange bolt holes it is also very clear that Chevrolet small blocks are smaller in China. Looks like about 1/8 of an inch or so. Maybe they shrink during ocean transport? You know, just like cereal settles in the bottom during transport.

After several hours of filing and grinding the headers also fits the American small block.

 

1980 Chevrolet C10 truck headers black

I radioused the edges and painted the flanges black. I can’t have shiny stainless tubes attached to rusty flanges.

Hood

Since the hood was off I thought I will clean it inside and out.

1980 Chevrolet C10 truck hood

I friend said that I am going down a slippery slope by polishing the 33 years old one step GM metallic. You know what…he is right. Short of clear coating the paint it will dull again. However, my OCD takes over and I can’t leave it alone. So after a polish it’s time for a real world challenge: On the passenger side: Meguiars “High Tech” Carnuba wax and on the driver side we have Nu Finish Polish. We will expose this truck to a wet and crappy Washington fall and winter and we will see if there is any difference.

 

1980 Chevrolet C10 truck hood shinny

After the polish and wax it is almost as shinny as the shiny 1937 Ford in the background.

More later…

Project 1980 Chev Truck: If it is not fast enough…CHROME IT !!

Upgrading to a stock Mr. Goodwrench V8 engine is not much to write home about but it will certainly be more exiting than the completely smogged out 6 cylinder 4.1 liter paper weight that was occupying the engine bay on our shop truck.

1980 Chevrolet Truck old engine

This thing is not only gutless, it is ugly too. Out it goes. It will be recycled and probably melted and made in to an iPhone frame or something high tecky.

I opted for the V8 engine because I need more power when I use the truck for towing. Besides, there are few engine sounds that are more pleasant  than the rumble from the good ‘ol American V8.

One way to get more power out of a stock engine is to add more chrome. The more chrome the faster it will go. I do say on our FAQ page that a tasteful amount of chrome is preferred. This was before I went shopping for SBC chrome. SBC as in Small Block Chevy. I have for the longest time worked with Olds, Buick and foreign engines and just about everything is expensive for them. However, in the SBC world they practically GIVE you the shiny stuff.
I mean, valve covers for ten bucks or an SS-454 air cleaner clone runs twenty bucks.

Because of this I decided to clad said SBC with stupid amounts of chrome. Why? Because I can! Because it’s cheap! Because it’s fun!

Sort of a Small Block Parody!

Here is the current chrome shopping list:

Valve covers
Air Cleaner
Heater hose fitting
Upper and lower alternator brackets
Water pump pulley
Crank pulley
Power steering pulley
Thermostat housing
Balancer
Timing tab
Fuel pump
Fuel pump plate
Fuel Pump Fitting
Plug wire holders
Polished stainless headers

1980 Chevrolet Truck engine bolts

…and of course a pile chrome bolts to install the chrome with.

 

1980 Chevrolet Truck engine compartment

Now I have to detail the engine compartment as well but hey…it has to look good now with the new shiny chromed out engine, right?

After pressure washing it looks like this. Some primer and a coat of GM chassis satin black with take care of this.

1980 Chevrolet Truck 350 engine distributor

I also replaced the water pump and the whole distributor. The A-1 Cardone water pump was twenty bucks and a complete 65K distributor complete with coil was forty nine bucks. Like I said, they give this 350 stuff away.

 

1980 Chevrolet Truck 350 engine motor mounts

A set of new motor mounts where called in to hold on to the V8 with the torque fest starts.

More later…

 

 

Tech: Vintage Heat for your Vintage Car

This is for our new category: Tech Archives. If you want to read just tech articles you can go to the right side column and click on desired category.

I like to fix, repair and refurbish old things when possible as opposed to buy new stuff.
Old American products are usually of very high quality and all they may need is a cosmetic restoration and some inside updates. Some items look great with original patina and some lend themselves to refurbishing. Only YOU decide what direction to go…not your buddies, not the current trend, just use common sense.

This article is about how to stay warm in your vintage car or truck while still looking old-timey.

Washington state offer some great summers for vintage car cruising but we do get a fair amount of lousy and wet weather as well. While some hardy folks can drive an open roadster in the middle of the winter…I am NOT one of them. I like to be comfortable so a heater is high on the list. You can hide a modern heater unit under the dash or seat but I think a good looking vintage heater is the coolest. (No pun there…) I find these at swap meet and sometimes at garage sales. Up to the late fifties new cars and trucks did not come with heaters but there were many manufacturers that stepped up to produce add-on heathers. Allstate, Firestone, Southwind, HaDees and others made aftermarket heaters and many of them had beautiful designs.

1937 Ford HaDees Heater

This Hadees Junior is sporting some serious art-deco design and it will look great restored.

 

1937 Ford Cabriolet heater grille installed This one is part of a larger assembly out of a Ford and I like the crest and simple design. I just kept this rectangle box and it will contain the element and fan. I am debating what color it will be. In the 40’s brown or black wrinkle finish was used. Another favorite coating is the hammer paint. I found the stainless grid at an elevator interior company of all places. It looks like an old radio cloth. Love it! There will be a tech article on this unit down the road.

Today we are going to restore a Tropic-Aire heater:

1930 Ford Model A heater 1

 

Let’s go to work: 1930 Ford Model A hot rod heater 2 First order of business: Dissasemble.  Most firewall heaters are rather deep because they have the fan assembly behind it and also the tubing usually designed to go straight thru the firewall. I usually eliminate that by installing a compact brushless fan or small cooling fan similar to the ones you see on small transmission coolers.

1930 Ford Model A hot rod heater 3 This heater contains a round element with the fan motor in the center. This makes for a compact unit and I will duplicate this set up.

1930 Ford Model A hot rod heater 4 I want the heater core as deep as possible in to the unit so I removed this ridge.

 

1930 Ford Model A hot rod heater 5 I also flattened out the louvers on the side and welded them up.

 

1930 Ford Model A hot rod heater 7

I welded a stud to the outside louver to keep it in place..

1930 Ford Model A hot rod heater 8

Test fit…looks good.

1930 Ford Model A hot rod heater 6

After some bodywork and hammer coat paint we got ourselves a nice looking heater body.

1930 Ford Model A hot rod heater 9

A good coat of a maroon color and some polishing yielded a nice looking louver.
1930 Ford Model A hot rod heater Tropic-Aire

I polished the stainless trim piece and painted the letters in gloss black.

1930 Ford Model A hot rod heater Tropic-Aire 2

Hubba-Hubba !! (technical term) That looks pretty snazzy. Let’s attend to the inside components now.

1930 Ford Model A hot rod heater Tropic-Aire 10

This is a 12V clip on fan from that big box store. It set me back a whopping ten bucks.

 

1930 Ford Model A hot rod heater Tropic-Aire fan

I removed anything that did not look like a fan from the clip-on fan and I made a back shroud based on the diameter of the fan blade.

1930 Ford Model A hot rod heater Tropic-Aire11

This is the mesh from the fan I bough. I welded it to the back shroud to protect any toes that may find themselves behind the heater.

1930 Ford Model A hot rod heater Tropic-Aire 12 Here it is, all ready to go together. The fan motor squeezed in very nicely inside the core. I used some silicone glue to keep it in place.

1937 Ford Cabriolet heather valve

I use a stand alone heater valve from any parts house. I like this kind with the cable bracket in the same unit. That way you can attach a remote cable without having to secure the heater valve to anything. It can just be in line with the hoses and cable operated without tugging on anything.

 

1930 Ford hot rod heater

…and here it is. Installed in our latest project build, a 1930 Ford Model A Hot Rod.

Note 1956 Chrysler gauges, custom sub dash and vintage style Euro square weave carpeting. Look for this car at the NSRA event in Ridgefield, Washington, June 28-29th.

 

Project ’37 Ford Cabriolet, exhaust

Project 1937 Ford Cabriolet came with a stock single exhaust and it was hitting the frame so I had to remove it anyway. I decided to start from scratch.

1937 Ford Cabriolet exhaust flanges

These are the old pipes, they look a bit tired.

 

1937 Ford Cabriolet  exhaust flange new

I kept the flange and went to work.

1937 Ford Cabriolet spagetti

Look, a 1937 Ford exhaust. What, you can’t see it?? Well, let me show you.

1937 Ford Cabriolet exhaustThese are the smallest Thrush glass packs I could find.

Thrush had an ad in the sixties that said: Put a Thrush on your pipe and…smoke it! I doubt we can smoke anything with this stock flathead but I am counting on some good flathead sound emanating from the dual pipes.

I could not resist adding for the electric cut-outs. I am sure with these small glass packs I will have a nice rumble out the rear but there might be a time when an uncorked flathead will be music to ones ears. Off road of course. They come with wiring and one switch that opens both simultaneously. Yes, I did test them, they work on 6 volts as well. The switch looks like a modern power window switch so obviously I would have to hide it under the dash.
1937 Ford Cabriolet Exhaust work 3

The angle iron: Your best friend when making exhaust.

1937 Ford Cabriolet Exhaust work

It is great to line up tubes when you are going to weld them together. I tacked everything together first and then did a test fit on the car.

 

1937 Ford Cabriolet exhaust cut outs

The exhaust cut-outs are designed for 3 inch exhaust pipes. The dual system I am building is based on 1 1/2 inch pipes so we have to be a little creative.

1937 Ford Cabriolet exhaust set up

The mufflers and exhaust cut outs needed to be compact so I came up with the idea of cutting down the muffler and insert it in the Y-pipe.

 

1937 Ford Cabriolet exhaust set up finished

Here is the compact solution, the world famous Super Sonic Muffler Cut-Out Device.

1937 Ford Cabriolet exhaust tip polish

The last 36 inches of the exhaust is stainless so I polished it to chrome finish. Now I don’t have to worry about adding chrome tips.

1937 Ford Cabriolet exhaust paint Once all welded up I coated everything with high temp paint. Yes, I wear a respirator even when painting with spray cans. Most paint spray cans contains nasty stuff. You only have one pair of lungs.

1937 Ford Cabriolet exhaust finished

Here it is. A complete 1937 Ford dual exhaust system.

1937 Ford Cabriolet exhaust insulation

It is tight on the drivers side because of the steering box. I have to dip down below the frame and that makes part of the exhaust close to the master cylinder. I added insulation to the pipe to keep the heat away from the master cylinder.

1937 Ford Cabriolet dual exhaust Here is a side view of the exhaust.

1937 Ford Cabriolet exhaust tip

Well, here we are. All done. A drive around town confirmed a nice mellow note. Also the restored plate is in place and a vintage frame adds the finishing touch.

Ready for the up-coming Ford Meet.

Make your modern battery look vintage

Todays modern dry or gel cell batteries are usually more dependable and powerful than the old style flooded batteries. Also, they are safer without the corrosive acid.

However…BIG PROBLEM…for us who like old cars; They sure don’t look sexy in the engine compartment of a vintage car. It is OK if they are hidden but if they are visible in the engine compartment it just looks wrong. We need to come up with a solution. Working on our Project 1937 Ford Cabriolet we came up with the following:

Battery-in-a-box-solution

1937 Ford Cabriolet Vintage battery fix

Here is my ugly but good 6 Volt battery.

 

1937 Ford Cabriolet Vintage battery fix2

Here is a plastic box and top that looks like an old timey battery that I found at the swap meet.

 

1937 Ford Cabriolet Vintage battery fix3

Here is the modern ugly battery in the box.

 

1937 Ford Cabriolet Vintage battery fix4

Here is the box with the ugly battery hidden by the lid. Looks old-timey to me.

Problem solved.

I may add some faux lead connectors on top of the box if I have time, we’ll see…

Vintage heaters

“I like to be comfortable”

That includes not being cold! Cars did not get heaters installed from the factory until the late fifties in most cases. They showed up even later in trucks. Our Project 1937 Ford Cabriolet did not come with a heater and while top down cruising in eighty degree weather is…FABOULUS…but…it is NOT fun to be cold in a car. What’s the point if you are not comfortable in your favorite ride?

I really wanted a roadster next but here in Washington state you have few days when you can be comfortable without side windows. The 1937 Ford Cabriolet with roll up windows changes all that. Go with top down when you feel like it but top and windows up when it is nippy or wet out there. The best of both worlds. So how are we going to heat the cabin on those cold days?

With a cool (actually warm) vintage heater of course. These can be found on swap meets starting around ten dollars. They usually comes with a 6 volt fan motor and thru the firewall plumbing.

1937 Ford Cabriolet heater Corvette core

This is the actual heater box from a mid fifties Ford truck. I cut off everything that did not look like a heater and ended up with just the box. The heater core I also found at a swap met and is supposed to come from a Corvette. I paid fifteen dollars for it and it appears to be new and never installed.

After trimming off the tubes the core fits nicely in the old Ford box. My initial though was to install a flat brushless fan in the back but I think I need more capacity knowing this is a convertible. I will probably use an external “turbo” fan. More on that later…and when I find one.

This heater and many others needs a nice grille of some kind. I was looking on-line for some sorts of expanded metal or grid that could be polished. Nothing…so let’s put the thinking cap on. Where do we see cool materials used? Mmmm. Elevator interiors have always fascinated my as they have such cool material and a lot of it is stainless, that may be something to pursue?

I found a company close to work that makes elevator interiors. How about that?

1937 Ford Cabriolet heater grill

A quick drive and a box of doughnuts later I had this in my hand. It is a stainless wowen grid. How perfect! It reminds me of the cloth used on the front of old radios.

Let’s give it a try:

1937 Ford Cabriolet heater grille installed

Oh Yeah, Baby! That works! Looks like the material was made for this project.

Now I have to figure out what color to paint the box and front trim. I am thinking a mix of hammer paint and wrinkle. Stay tuned and you will find out.

More on this later…