Archive for the ‘backyard builder’ Category

Oil slick.

Posted: June 21, 2010 in backyard builder, Hot Rod

Look!  More vital fluids, this time limited slip gear lube, puddled under the Fordillac!   I should have taken a picture of the entire back-end of the car COATED with it, but, I wiped it off before I thought of taking a shot.

What happened was, the right rear axle seal let go on the way home from the Fathers Day car show at Charlton Park, unbeknownst to me.  This morning I discovered the puddle, and the coating of gear lube on the outside.  Again, it couldn’t have happened at a better time, made it home before the rear end seized up for want of lube.  There was still a lot in the diff, of course most of it ran down my arm and dripped on my shirt taking the cover off…

A call to my buddy Ron, to find out how to get the C-clips out, and a couple of hours later, the new seals are in and the diff refilled.  No worries, and now HOPEFULLY I can drive the car somewhere without creating my own little environmental disaster area.

The reason for going out to the garage this morning was to put more insulation under the carpet.  The car is (was) like riding around in a convection oven.  The floor would get hot, and with very little air moving around the cockpit, it got VERY hot in the car.  I put Dynamat on the whole floor, which I hope will help cool things down a little.  Or, a lot.

So, that’s all for now.  More news when it happens…

…but, the truck is done!   Well, at least the cab and frame are.  Now, the equally tedious job of cleaning all that silica sand (which makes fish eye’s in paint) out of every nook, cranny, crack and crevice can begin.   And, there are LOTS of crannys, nooks, and hidden spaces just packed FULL of sand.  Including my ears.

I’m pleased with how it looks bare, and no more surprises showed up, like the holes in the driver’s door.  The culprit here turns out to be tar paper sound deadener which pulled partially loose, trapping moisture (in the desert of So Cal?) between it, the door skin and a sheet metal brace.  I’m tempted to just try to braze the pinholes full, rather than cut a patch panel.  We’ll see.

More photos when the frame is painted and the engine in…

I know, it looks like nothing has happened since my last post, but wait, behind that partially stripped cab, you’ll notice a de-skinned box, which is also partially sandblasted! 

Actually, much more isn’t visible in this admittedly bad photo.  The interior of the cab has been completely blasted and cleaned, including the floor boards.  The frame is stripped and needs only a little touch up work to be ready for primer and paint, likewise the suspension and rear axle. 

That little bit of progress was two days of dirty, gritty work sandblasting, re-cycling sand while my little compressor wheezed and puffed trying to catch up.  It actually works pretty well, I did all this with 3 bags of white sand, and have most of it left.   It’s easy where the paint was still on, i.e. the cab and interior, but the frame rails and suspension stuff, where there was no paint and rusted, are a big job for my little outfit.  The upside is that the low pressure, low volume of abrasive doesn’t warp sheet metal.  Plus, I’m not paying someone else to do it.

I hope to have the chassis finished up and painted today, with fleet enamel from Tractor Supply.  I decided to paint the chassis black, as it was originally, after finding that under the red paint on the frame behind the cab (under the original flatbed) was covering the original black.  So, black it is. 

While there buying the paint, we found a really nice diamond plate aluminum storage box, shown here, on clearance for 1/2 the original price.   The lock had been jimmy’d, but a new one was included.   Took about 10 minutes to fix it.   We plan on mounting it on the tongue of the “Tini-Home” trailer, but it does fit the DT box perfectly.

Also bought a single diamond plate trailer fender, which I’ll cut in half for wheel houses for the box.  I won’t be able to have quite 48″ between the wheel wells, but since they’re flat on top, I can make a couple of other “ledges” for the box sides to lay sheets of plywood, or whatever,  as modern compact trucks have.  It’ll also keep stuff off the varnished exotic hardwood floor. 

I think it’ll look nice, and will keep with the theme of the diamond plate interior of the box.  Diamond T, diamond plate, it all fits, right?

Last night I rolled the engine/trans out and power washed it.   In order to save a little time, I decided to just roll the engine on the cart out into the (gravel) drive, rather than load it onto the  utility trailer and clean it up on that.  Great idea, except that when I was about half way through, the cart, being on the now wet gravel, sank in, and of course tipped over, dumping my engine over in the dirt.  Great. 

Happily, nothing got hurt, aside from a slightly bent stud on the left side exhaust manifold, so all’s well.  I picked it up with the cherry picker and finished with it hanging from that.  The end result is much better than I’d hoped, with the hundred thousand mile engine cleaning up very well.  Thank goodness for aluminum heads and valve covers, they, the aluminum accessory brackets and plastic intake all look like new.  The oil pan likewise is cast aluminum, so I think my “detailing” is done aside from a little spray bomb work on the pulleys and maybe polishing the valve covers.  I’m happy.

It feels good to have gotten something done on the truck after a couple of months of life getting in the way.  The goal now is to get the chassis painted, firewall bodywork done so I can paint the cowl and get the engine in and wired up.   The body can then be shot with epoxy primer, and I can get the chassis plumed, brakes rebuilt, and get it running before cold weather sets in.   We want to get a spot cleared for the “Tini-Home” trailer and get it, and the truck done for next summer.  Seems reasonable, yes?

That’s all for now, more news as it happens…


The hood isn’t on yet, nor the floor installed in back of the seat, but the new radiators are in, the system is filled, burped, and topped off.  Idling in the shop, it now runs cool enough that the fans will cycle on, then shut off.  Lets hope this bodes well driving it in the heat, as we’re headed for Indy and the Goodguys show there in a couple of weeks. 

The core is thicker than the original Mustang radiator, but the water pump pulley still clears the front fan.  By about 3/8’s  of an inch.  I had to trim the shrouds on the new rear fans a little to tuck them under the lip of the brace under the floor, but they clear fine now. 

The new position of the rear radiator will keep it out of harms way, and the rear axle upper control arms, the cause of the demise of the orignal one.  Actually, I’m sort of glad it happened when and where it did.  Could have been REAL inconvenient.

So,  our son Craig will be home tonight from Las Vegas, and we’ll put the hood on tomorrow so we can go for a little cruise.   I’m excited to have the car back together so he and I can go for a ride while he’s here, it’ll be fun. 

Now, the hard part is cleaning up the shop of spilled coolant.  Hopefully some of the Red Squirrels which have moved into the attic will lap the spill…

Untill next time,


All the hard work, last-minute crisis’, and unprintable foul language spouted in the shop were all worth it, as the trip to Milford with the trailer behind the ’51 Woody was effortless!  The suspension work on the car totally changed its manners, it’s as stable and comfortable towing now as the pickup!   We rolled at 60-65, all the white knuckle moments felt before are now non-existant.  No sweat, no sway, no worries.

The weekend was fun despite the rain, which came down in buckets on Friday night, and continued thru Saturday morning.   By noon the rain stopped, and the sun came out for the open house.  We saw several little “canned ham” type trailers that had been built using nothing but the chassis of the donor trailer, and the builders imagination.  Very inspiring for our “Tini-Home” project!

The trailer above was perhaps the coolest, due in part to the builders liberal use of faux woodgraining for the interior trim and the accessories, like the little beer kegs shown above.  He even woodgrained the flat screen TV!  This trailer is ALL new, the only remaining bit is the door’s window frame, and it’s turned on it’s side.  Trailers are hip!  I’ve got some ideas for the Tini-Home…

The neatest tow vehicle had to be the stunning ’36 Packard 3 window coupe with a Paxton supercharged straight eight, complete with fuel injection, electronic ignition and disk brakes hidden behind the original backing plates.  Why didn’t I think of THAT?  Now, where’s the hitch, Diane?

On Saturday night I got to play and sing with Gary Grimm around a campfire.  The smoker you drink, the player you get!  I guess we sounded good, at least, nobody threw beer bottles at us…

I’m told Hardy and Terry have purchased a new 5th wheel trailer frame, and a new “Wayzalot” is forthcoming.   Rumor has it the new name will be “Wayzalot-less”.  Waiting for details…

Hoping to get the ’36’s new radiator(s) and cooling fans mounted by the weekend, so Craig and I can do a little cruis’n!

Got the new front radiator yesterday for the ’36, less than 24 hours after the eBay purchase!  It looks like it’s good quality, much thicker core than the original style Mustang one I have in it now.  It’s two-row, 1 inch tubes, so it really does look like it has much more capacity than what I have.  I’m still going with the rear mounted Neon radiator as well, since all the plumbing is there for it, and I bought it and the new fans, which haven’t arrived yet.  I may put a couple of vents in the floor for a “heater”, since the car doesn’t have one.  Worlds biggest heater core…

The Spartan is all ready, I just got home from my ACLS (advanced cardiac life support) recert class, and am going to have the wagon all hitched up and ready to go when Kim gets home.  We’re looking forward to a fun weekend in Milford with our TCT friends.

In the back of the truck are two cabinets salvaged from an office remodeling project at work, which I’m going to put in the garage.  My goal is to get the place cleaned up, these are HUGE, and should swallow all my tools, nut and bolt bins, misc. crap and stuff now piled on the benches and in corners.  Most of it probably never to be seen again…