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Author Archive for EMC

Of Mice and Mold

No, this is not a story of the adventures of Lenny. Rather, many Classic Car owners are faced with the age old problem of storage for their pride and joy, until warm weather reappears. Two of the big problems facing a car during the storage period, are Mice and Mold or mildew.

Mold is a pretty ugly entry into the interior that can ruin any future driving experiences. Sometimes by sickening odors, and in bad cases, by unhealthy contaminates. It is far easier to prevent mold or mildew, than it is to remove it. Ultimately, storing your car in a climate controlled environment with plenty of clean air circulating, is the best. Baring that, inside with little moisture and some air circulation helps. Moisture absorbing products, such as those found at the boat store, are very effective.

What if you already have mold or a mildew problem? Well, a proper cleaning is the best way to begin. A thorough treatment, either by an Ozone generator or with an aerosol anti-fungal, seems to be effective in eliminating mold.

There are a few good Detailers and Mold Specialist companies who can help eradicate the Mold problem in your Porsche. You might also try a product from Biocide Labs, (www.biocidelabs.com) an aerosol product. Wear a good mask and follow the technician’s instructions on the use of this product.

OF MICE – the little four-legged creatures who love to take up residence in your vehicle. They nest in your seats, eat your electrical wires, and other unpleasant things.

I once was told that the soap “Irish Spring” worked better. So, I went out and bought all the Irish Spring on the shelves and put 2 or 3 bars in each car. Well, the mice love Irish Spring either as a snack or for Sunday dinner. None of the bars were left next spring – only the typical droppings!

The best mouse protection is to keep your vehicle inside an area that is mouse proof. I have heard and seen all sorts of “mouse proof” areas. Working with a tight as possible garage, and using and checking good old snap traps regularly, is a pretty darn good approach. I don’t recommend mouse poison bait. A lot of the bait ends up inside your car before it kills the mouse. Other things, like moth balls, herbal concoctions, soap, commercial sprays, powders and gels help, but are not in the 75% or better “sure fire effective” area. I would say they can’t hurt.

Pretty good results seem to be coming from the Electronic Repellents, or ultra sound generators, that plug into the outlets in your garage. The newer ones hook up to your car battery and install inside your car. They go where ever your car goes. They are a low draw, so should not result in a dead battery. However; a battery tender for long un-used periods would be a good addition.

If you have a few good ideas, or things you know will solve the “mouse” problem, send them to us at sales@eastonmuscleandcustom.com. We will share them in our next eLetter.

Leading Basics

Leading Basics and Installation Guide
by Troy Smith
Body Mechanic/Fabricator


In this article we will be taking a closer look at some leading basics on a restoration project vehicle.
The purpose of this article is to explain how to professionally install and finish lead repairs using proven techniques. This can be the difference between a quality repair, and a repair that could fail in the future.

Disclaimer: Before we begin, all standard safety precautions should be followed when working in a shop environment. Common sense rules the day!

In Image 1, you can see that the area we will be working on is the factory seam where the rocker and the quarter panel meet, just above the jack post. This area has been cleaned, prepped and is ready for the lead work to begin.

Image 1

In Image 2, you can see the seam on the left but you can also see on the right, that the rocker edge is below flush in relationship to the quarter panel and the bottom door edge. We will be addressing both of these issues during this repair.

Image 2

In Image 3, take notice of the 3/32” gap, that at just few feet away looked negligible, but up close looks clearly out of place.

Image 3

Image 4, shows some of the basic tools we will need to do our lead installation. From left to right, we have a smoothing paddle, tallow, our lead, a brush and Flux­-N-SolderTM (the tinning product, which will be referred to simply as flux for the remainder of this article) followed by our heat source.

Image 4

Image 5, I have already applied flux to the area making sure to flux a larger area then the repair requires in all directions (more on this later). Now, in this image I am heating the flux just enough to reach its melting point ­ around 612°F. The propane torch that I’m using here burns at around 3600°F. So finesse is key from here on out. Taking my time I warm small areas with the torch until the flux flashes. Then I message the flux with a
wire brush to ensure 100% adhesion through out. This is the most important step of this type of repair. If the flux does not stick properly, then contaminants like paint or fillers are likely present. These contaminants can effect the finish of this repair and even the finish of the final paint job.

Image 5

Image 6 shows the entire area has been fully “tinned” and is ready to accept our lead.

Image 6

In Image 7, you can see that I have already started applying the lead. Like before, lead has a very low melting point so I work in small areas making sure not to over heat the base metal or the lead. Too much heat will warp the surrounding metal and the lead will simply liquefy and drop off.

Image 7

In Image 8, I have taken the smoothing paddle with the tallow as a lubricant, and smoothed out the lead making sure that I have slightly over applied lead in all directions. Over applying will ensure a complete repair during the finishing stages of this repair. Now I will repeat this process down to the end of the rocker, doing an area of about 6”each time.

Image 8

Image 9, shows some of the basic tools we will need to metal finish our lead installation. From left to right we have a hand block, 2 body files and 2 inline sanders. Note: lead is a contaminant and is not intended to be sanded. Most of the finishing will be done with the body files to keep the dust down. The sanding is used only as a visual guide to locate the highs and lows, like you would when doing traditional body work.

Image 9

In Image 10, I have started to file down the area while checking for any potential imperfections along the way.

Image 10

In Image 11, you can see the repair is almost complete. Most of the extra lead has been removed and the lead has been feathered out in all directions. Now we need to double check the accuracy of the work done so far.

Image 11

In Image 12, we are taking a closer look at our accuracy. We can see the the area that was the lowest in the beginning is now slightly too high. This will better match the natural contours of the door, but does require a little more filing.

Image 12


In Image 13 and 14 , the metal finishing has been fine tuned to match the shape of the body and our repair is now complete.

Image 13
Image 14

Some closing thoughts… Controlling the heat is key to this type of repair. Once heat control is mastered, lead work can be done on vertical surfaces like this and in this case in particular, slightly over hung or upside down.
Thank you and good luck on your own restorations…

Paint Removal Techniques

As our El Camino Resto Mod Project finishes up on the pre-final paint processes of, “apply stuff and sand it off” over and over again;  A common query is, “ What is under all the stuff and how did you get it to that point?”

Before we begin our paint removal techniques session, let’s have a point of understanding. Do we really need to take this baby down to bare metal to refinish it? Look, it is your car. You do what you think is best. In my opinion, you have to go to bare metal to do the job right. Why? Call me if you really don’t know.

As you may recall in the last issue, we tackled the rust paint removal on the frame. As for the body sheet metal, the process is the same – but it isn’t. The thickness of the frame metal is much more forgiving than the body sheet metal. Older pre 50’s cars had a standard 12 to 14 gauge metal which handled more aggressive grinding and blasting. The 16 to 19 gauge modern sheet metal bodies are not as forgiving.

Improperly prepped sheet metal will eventually start to rear its ugly head and begin to show signs in the final paint. It may take months or years to show up, but it will show up and there will be no question of why you are seeing blemishes under the final paint. Blemishes in the paint are another issue.

Forget all of the “possible” approaches to get down to bare metal. As far as I am concerned, you only have two options. Only one if you are going to do it yourself.

1st option, or the only DIY option: Blasting with sand or broken reconstituted glass. These are the only media that will cut the rust down to bare metal properly. Both methods can cause metal distortion. Glass generates less heat. Keep the blast nozzle at a low angle to the work piece. Coming at the metal with the nozzle at 90 degrees or sightly less is going to create problems. Try to finish the body blasting in as little time as possible. Then coat the bare metal ASAP with Epoxy Primer ONLY.  Remember primer is not the same as Epoxy Primmer. If you can’t finish all the body parts in one day and coat them, do one part today and another tomorrow. This is more time consuming due to paint clean up, but you will be happier with the results.

2nd method – Dip Bath, with dip neutralize bath and sealed with E Coating. E coating is that black paint stuff you get on factory new parts.

There are three (3) important elements of this approach. Don’t take short cuts even if the guy who might do it says,  “it ain’t necessary.”

Body and parts get submerged in a bath that removes everything but the metal. (It will remove the metal if you leave it in for too long). Body and parts are submerged in a second bath. I said submerged, not sprayed or rinsed. The 2nd bath neutralizes the chemical in the 1st bath.

If you don’t neutralize the 1st bath, it will work out of crevices over time and attack your paint – I speak from knowledge.  Finally, have the body and parts E Coated for ultimate rust prevention. As an acceptable alternative rather that E Coat, an Epoxy Primer coat immediately after stripping is OK. You can’t wait until you get it home to do the Epoxy Primer.

That’s it! A good solid base for the re-birth of your classic!

Got a question? Give us a shout or send an email sales@eastonmuscleandcustom.com
443-266-8321

The Rusty Frame Problem

During the planning stages of every properly done restoration project, what to do with the underbody or frame, demands consideration.
The 1970 El Camino resto mod is no exception. You guys and gals didn’t think we were going to bolt on a lot of cool stuff and not properly detail the frame did you?
Over the years, we at Easton Muscle and Custom have explored, and even tried some approaches, to what are we going to do with the rusty frame. Some things work. Some things work really well, and some things don’t work at all.
The real honest approach to the “rusty frame” problem is very simple: You only want to do it once – and you want it to last.
The car frame, or underbelly, takes the most wear but needs to look great on an outstanding car. It is the foundation for your project.
I am not going to discuss all the possibilities we have considered, like soda blasting, rust converters, or Por15. If you want to discuss these options with me, send me an email: sales@eastonmuscleandcustom.com

What works for us:
The rust and scale must be removed down to bare metal. The best, less time consuming and least expensive way to do this, is by blasting the frame with sand or glass. Easton Muscle and Custom started with very inexpensive equipment which has evolved over the years.

1. A common inexpensive approach is with a gravity feed blasting unit. The media hopper is filled while gravity allows it to flow into a mixing valve where air pressure forces out of the hose and nozzle onto the work piece. This approach gives good results, but is more labor intensive than the upcoming equipment choices. Pluses for this method are; low equipment costs for the blasting and air compressor units.
2. Small Pressurized blasting units and a higher CMF Compressor. Similar to the above, but the hopper is pressurized which forces the sand or glass down to the mixing valve in greater volume. This type of equipment provides a greater flow and higher nozzle pressure, which cuts to bare metal faster.
3. Commercial grade Pressurized Equipment with a large CMF compressor.
Strictly a volume upgrade to the unit in #2. High volume at high pressure reduces completion time.

The choice of sand or broken glass for frame blasting. Which ever one you choose will work well. Why? Unlike other media choices, blasting sand or reconstituted glass is sharp edged and durable to cut through the rust to bare metal. Both can be used more than once, if properly screened to remove all debris. Sand is a little more dirty and causes an elevation of heat friction. It is also hazardous to the operator and environment. Broken glass product has all of the pluses of sand, but is less hazardous and causes less heat. Note: blasting heat is not a concern on the thick frame material. Thin sheet metal is a different story. We use “Fastblast 40-70” reconstituted Glass. Check with several material suppliers to see what they recommend for the equipment you are using. I say “several” suppliers, because they may recommend what they have in stock, not what is best for your equipment. You can always bounce it off us at Easton Muscle and Custom.

Please make sure you use the proper safety and protection gear when blasting. This stuff can hurt you or a bystander.

Finally, get the bare metal covered with epoxy primer or powder coating as quickly as possible, especially in high humidity areas. Bare metal will start the rust phase in a matter of hours. There are very few options that prevent rust on bare metal. For cost and the ability to do it yourself, nothing in my opinion, is better that Epoxy Primer. Other things can be better or cheaper, but not both.
Epoxy Primer, not to be confused with regular primer, look alike but are not the same. Epoxy Primer seals the bare metal from the elements. Regular primer does not.
Next best is powder coating. Not only does it prevent rust, you can also choose colors for a real custom look. Powder coaters often prefer and will do the blasting part as well. If you are leaning towards this approach, check pricing with your Powder Coater.
Best option, in our pinion, is E Coat, a specialized approach to preventing rust on your frame for a long time.

Got a question? Give us a shout or send an email sales@eastonmuscleandcustom.com
443-266-8321

In the next issue we will discuss paint removal on the sheet metal body and preparing for metalwork.

Beers and Gears 2018

Come join us at the 2018 Beers and Gears Event.  Saturday October 27, 2018.

Easton Muscle and Custom will be a vendor at the 2018 Beers and Gears event at Delaware Park. Our display will include examples of our workmanship and creativity so please stop by and meet the crew.

Beers and Gears Event

EMC at the October 2018 Beers And Gears in Delaware

1970 El Camino Resto Mod

1970 El Camino Resto-Mod

1970 Chevrolet El Camino Resto-Mod
Our shop was recently selected to undertake a project that was started but was discontinued after some disassembly. After consulting with out new client regarding his vision for the car,  we recommended a variety of options to enhance the overall project.
We are very excited that out client agreed with some of our suggestions to advance this project to a new level. This new direction will include a big block engine, 4-speed transmission, after market suspension, 4-wheel disk brake conversion, Vintage air conditioning and SS badging,  as a few of the long list of items planned for this project.
The following photos show the very early stage of this El Camino before its arrival to our shop. Stay tuned for updates as our staff begins the process to Rejuvenate-Restore-Transform.

1970 El Camino Resto-Mod
1970 El Camino Resto-Mod
1970 El Camino Resto-Mod
1970 El Camino Resto-Mod

 

1974 Datsun 260Z Stage 3

To view the beginning of this project see 1974 Datsun 260Z LS-1

In this installment of the 260Z project we began to focus on the fenders, and especially the quarter panels where custom fender flares will be installed. When the uni-body was media blasted, it was very apparent all the panels had been replaced some point in the past. It was the methodology used to replace these panels that will be an impediment to proper fitting and finishing future metal components.
 
Gaps between the fenders and door panel were incorrect regarding width measurements and vertical alignment characteristics of the door relative to the contour of the quarter panels. Further inspection revealed the previously replaced panels were lapped-over and spot welded. Over lapped panels not properly sealed will eventually invite moisture with corrosive issues and quite possibly bubble the paint. While this method is considered acceptable by the industry, proper fit and finish is better accomplished by butt welding the seams, and smoothing the metal for a seamless appearance. See Photos 1 & 2

Photo 1

Photo 2

In Photo #3,  the passenger side new rear quarter panel is butt welded and the fuel door is also covered. We offered our client choices regarding fuel cell and fuel pumps especially given the choice of a LS engine. The fuel cell with components and its placement will be in a future article. Stay tuned.

Photo 3

In Photo #4, the driver door is attached for alignment purposes and gap measurements before we begin the process of finishing the newly attached rear quarter panel. This procedure is critical because it establishes the defining lines of the car. As the rear quarter panels and front fenders are finished and massaged for an aesthetic appearance, then the door will be hung for final adjustment.

Photo 4

In Photo #5, the driver side door was not repaired adequately as is revealed in the lower portion of the photograph. After sanding the door, locating the highs and lows of the door skin,the holes were sealed and the metal finished. In the upper portion of the photograph, the repaired door is correctly installed with even gaps and uniform alignment to the front and rear quarter panels.

Photo 5

 

1974 Datsun 260Z Stage 2

To view the beginning of this project see 1974 Datsun 260Z LS-1

After a complete disassembly the Z uni-body was carefully media blasted especially in confined areas of factory overlapping metal. As is typical with any uni-body design, the passage of time and the invasive power of moisture, can cause serious levels of metal degradation.

In picture #1 and #2 the floor pans clearly are prime candidates for replacement. Some portions of the floor pans were so rusted that the metal flaked-off under minimal pressure. Fortunately, the transmission tunnel was in very good condition which will be helpful when modifying it for the LS-1 engine and new transmission.

1974 Datsun 260Z

Photo 1: The floor plans are prime candidates for replacement

1974 Datsun 260Z

Photo 2

Before the new floor pans are fabricated, custom made frame support bars were designed and installed to reinforce the existing frame from twisting under acceleration from the potent LS-1 torque levels. Pictures #3 and #4 illustrate the placement of the frame support bars running parallel under each side of where the new floor pans will be installed.

1974 Datsun 260Z

Photo 3: Custom made frame support bars were designed and installed to reinforce the existing frame.

1974 Datsun 260Z

Photo 4

With the supports in place our metal shop crew measured, designed and fabricated floor pans with a heavier grade of steel than those available from after market panel manufacturers. When a project has multiple phases in the metal shop we will consult with our client with options that are OEM designed versus those that take it to a more serious level of restoration; hand skilled custom fabrication. Picture #5 displays the custom made passenger side panel ready for installation.

1974 Datsun 260Z

Photo 5: Our metal shop crew measured, designed and fabricated floor pans

The combination of thicker floor pans and frame supports adds a stronger dimension to the structural integrity of the Z uni-body. In picture #6 driver side and picture #7 passenger side, the metal work is near completion.

1974 Datsun 260Z

Photo 6

1974 Datsun 260Z

Photo 7

 

1969 Chevy C10 Resto-Mod Stage 4

We begin this installment of the C-10 resto-mod with focus on the cab and replacing the rusted floor pans. Depending on the condition of the floor pan and the desired level of restoration, multiple options are available for any budget consideration. After discussing some options, our client selected a full floor pan replacement which will compliment the detailed fabrication already completed and other areas targeted for replacement in the cab.

Picture 1: shows the original floor pan and its deteriorating condition especially around the perimeter where the metal overlapped the lower walls of the cab.

1969 Chevy Resto-Mod rusty floor pan

Pic 1: Rusty Floor Pan

Picture 2: new painted/coated heavy 16 gauge steel preformed one piece floor pan ready for installation.
Preparing for the floor pan install, structural bracing was fabricated in our metal shop to align the C-10 cab to fit precisely to the new floor pan. This step is critical and not to be underestimated.

1969 Chevy C10 Resto-Mod's new pan

Pic 2: New Pan

Picture 3 : bracing attached to the cab and ready for the next phase of the install.

1969 Chevy C10 Resto-Mod's cab with braces attached to it

Pic 3: cab with braces attached to it

Picture 4: new floor pan pictured behind the cab and ready to be attached to it.

1969 Chevy C10 Resto-Mod's new pan seated behind car

Pic 4: new pan seated behind car

Picture 5: C-10 cab on lift with braced floor pan positioned underneath on rolling dolly to ease placement of both components.

1969 Chevy C10 Resto-Mod's cab on lift, new pan on dolly underneath

Pic 5: cab on lift, new pan on dolly underneath

Picture 6: the new floor pan was perfectly aligned to the cab and then attached to it with ease. Use of the bracing was instrumental and guarantees a better than factory fit.

1969 Chevy C10 Resto-Mod's new pan attached

Pic 6: new pan attached

Stay tuned for the next stage!

To follow along with the previous Stages, see Stage 1, Stage 2 and Stage 3.

1974 Datsun 260Z LS-1

1974 Datsun 260Z  LS-1 Resto Mod/Truck Car
This particular project has all the characteristics of a customized car where the owner envisions a contemporary classic with various body and chassis modifications utilizing after-market components that incorporate the latest technology for high performance applications.

The classic profile of this Japanese designed early model Z-class sports car coupled with Detroit horsepower and innovative, race proven products puts this car in a unique class of automobile performance.

As this project begins the creative talents of our metal fabrication crew will focus their efforts on fuel tank design, fender flairs, roll bar, transmission tunnel, engine/transmission mounts and other areas of metal customization.

The previously published photographs on EMC’s web site offered a quick glimpse of the disassembly stage and some smaller details of metal restoration. In the months ahead, we will post updates which will include greater detail of the metal fabrication process. Stay tuned!
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