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Basic Car Restoration Tips

The first step in car restoration is to make a list of what needs to be done and to plan out the project, this will ensure that everything is done in the proper order and nothing gets overlooked. You don’t want to forget something crucial and risk damaging a new paint job, or find out that your car looks great but won’t run.
Here are some things to include on your list:

Seats: More then likely your seats will need to be replaced due to the fact that the car is typically over 30 years old and is pretty much a essential.

Headliner: Make sure the headliner is not sagging or torn. You can order headliners for your classic car and install them yourself.

Dash: Cracking is typical for a old dash so it is likely that it will need to be replaced. You can sometimes replace the dash pad and that will be enough.

Rubbers: Check all of the rubber on the car, including the trunk rubber, the window rubbers and the rubber for the hood and trunk. Old weatherstrips are a must for replacing to prevent any leaks.

Dents and scratches: Make sure all dents and scratches are filled in or pounded out. Sometimes it is necessary for replacement body panels to be used if the panels are dented or rusted badly.

Engine compartment: Clean the engine bay with a degreaser before adding any chrome or stainless components.

Engine: Make sure everything is running and working. It is a good idea to do regular maintenance on the engine (oil change, belts, hoses, spark plugs, etc.) at this point.

This is only a partial list, you should inspect your car, write down anything you want to change and everything that needs to be repaired or cleaned up. After you create the list, call local speed shops and auto parts stores or visit websites that offer car restoration parts to price out the items you need.

How to choose the correct custom wheel for your car or truck

How to choose the correct wheel for your car or truck

Shopping for new custom wheels for your car or truck is not an easy task. First you have to decide from thousands of different sizes and styles and that can be down right mind boggling to say the least. So let’s simplify things about and answer a few questions okay.

The first question to ask yourself is what is my budget? This will determine many things such as do I need to stick with the stock size since going bigger means I need new tires as well. Can I afford chrome or do I need to stick with painted or polished aluminum or even steel? Chrome wheels are generally much more in case anyone is wondering.

Once you have figured out your budget it is time to move on to the finish. What kind of finish do I want. If your budget is on the lesser side this will rule out chrome, however it does not rule out polished aluminum as an alternative. Just remember polished aluminum is much more maintenance however with the proper polishes and tools and a high speed drill this can be fairly easy to accomplish when needed. If you have chosen a painted or powder coated rim then remember you want to protect them. Painted wheels should be waxed on occasion to help give them a barrier from brake dust etc.. Another thing you will want to do with painted wheels is keep them clean. If brake dust sets on them they will develop the nasty rust spots that will not come out. Now that you have learned a little bit about the finishes it is time to move onto the next step. By now you should know your budget and hopefully what size you need. You should also have an idea on what finish you want and what color.

So you have narrowed your selection down to a certain size, finish and color. Now you must find the right style that has the correct offset for your vehicle. This is best determined by your rim dealer but here is a brief explanation off offset. A front wheel drive car has a positive offset meaning that the face of the wheel is toward the outside edge. An older rear wheel drive car or truck has a negative offset meaning the face of the wheel is in deeper many times a zero offset meaning the mounting surface is exactly halfway. A modern SUV or truck usually has a mid offset which is more on the positive side such as plus 30 offset compared to a car which may have a plus 38 offset. The numbers are in millimeters by the way.

How to Choose a aftermarket Muffler

How to Choose a Muffler

Your muffler is a crucial component of the exhaust system. The main purpose of a muffler is to quiet (or muffle) the engine sound as it exits the motor. As the sound travels down the exhaust, it enters the muffler and is routed through a series of tubes that control the sound. Not all mufflers are created equal. Some allow a car to make more power and produce a louder exhaust note, while others can be quite restrictive, reducing power and making the exhaust note extremely quiet.


Decide what you want from the muffler. If you are looking for a upgrade, than check out the mufflers from a company that specializes in high-performance exhaust systems like Flowmaster or Magnaflow. These companies make many free-flowing mufflers, often made from durable materials like stainless steel, that will allow your engine to make more power as well as produce a deeper exhaust note from the engine. If on the other hand, you want to simply replace your stock muffler or even replace a performance muffler with a quieter muffler because it’s too loud, than take a look at OEM (original equipment manufacturer) mufflers. These will also usually be cheaper than the high-end aftermarket mufflers and are available from the parts department of the dealer that sells your make and model, local auto parts stores as well as muffler shops.

Determine what size your existing exhaust is. Before purchasing any muffler, whether it’s a high performance one or a stock muffler, first find out what the diameter of your existing exhaust system is. This will ensure that you purchase the right muffler that will fit properly on your exhaust system without having to use adapters. The best way to determine your exhaust size is to measure the diameter of the exhaust pipe with a ruler or a tape measure.

Choose a muffler based on your budget. There is a wide range of prices when it comes to mufflers. The high end mufflers from Magnaflow usually run around $60 or more, but you can buy a Flowmaster steel muffler for much less, usually $35 or under. If you are simply replacing a rusted muffler with a new muffler but do not desire any performance upgrade, then stick with a more inexpensive muffler. If on the other hand you have budgeted more money for your new muffler, than get the best part that you can afford. Not only will you get better performance, but the muffler will also likely last longer than a cheaper one.

What does an Exhaust X-pipe do?

What does an X-pipe do?

X or H both are balance tubes which are meant to help the scavanging effect of your exhaust system. X-pipes are less invasive towards flow and tend to yield better Peak HP…H-pipes actually cause a bit more turbulence but to the effect of netting slightly more backpressure increasing TQ.

Honestly I think all too oftern both are arbitrarily placed where they fit best over wher they work best by most exhaust shops. On my  ImpalaSS I had the H pipe welded and removed 4 times until I had the best location. The best location for it proved to be a place not very accomodating to ground clearnace but still netted almost 6 RWHP more over the original location which best “fit” under the car.

I know professional race vehicles spend hours of dyno tuning and complicated math to find the “best” location for these balance tubes.

Poly Bushings VS Rubber Bushings


Poly vs. Rubber

We all know what it’s like to suffer from sore joints. Even if you’re in good physical condition, without enough cushioning between your bones, ordinary motions can be difficult. Now, apply that same concept to the suspension on your old car or truck. The bushings found on the control arms, leaf springs and various mounts are like the cartilage between your joints. The manufacturer normally equips a vehicle with rubber bushings, which provide a soft ride. Over time, however, the rubber begins to wear from oil and other contaminants under your vehicle, and the suspension components start to bind. That’s when the automotive equivalent of arthritis sets in, and your vehicle’s performance suffers (not to mention your own level of ride and handling comfort). Worn bushings are one of the major reasons for road wander. Rubber bushings may crush down before the suspension can respond to a bumpy road, allowing for play or wobble.

Benefits
For more precise handling and firmer control on your resto project vehicle, installing polyurethane bushings can make an enormous difference because they help to maintain the right alignment of caster, camber and toe, even on rough or uneven pavement. Polyurethane bushings can be used in a wide variety of suspension components and also in mounts for the body, engine and transmission. They can be used on virtually any type of vehicle, domestic or import, and despite their small size, they can have a big impact on your resto-mod project.

Another advantage of polyurethane bushings is that they’re virtually impervious to oil and other road contaminants. These units will not crush down or wear out like rubber bushings, and are designed to be free-floating, rotating 360 degrees, so the suspension can articulate fully without binding. In contrast, rubber bushings are often bonded to a metal shell and sleeve, and function with a twisting action that, when pushed to its limit, binds up instead of rotating freely like urethane units. Rubber bushings can even induce wheel hop from the spring-like action of the rubber twisting back and forth.

Tools & Tips
What does it take to install polyurethane bushings? All you need are some common automotive tools and a basic knowledge of auto repair. Polyurethane products usually install just like their rubber counterparts. Depending on the product, it can be installed in as little as a half-hour, but may take as long as four hours in some cases. And, of course, an automotive repair shop can also do the installation as well.

By the way, when a vehicle is raised or lowered beyond its stock specifications, the original rubber suspension bushings are at greater risk of failing. The OEM/stock rubber usually can’t withstand the forces of a vehicle setup at a non-stock riding height. Polyurethane bushings are better suited for the weight transfer and shift characteristics of raised vehicles. Depending on their application, polyurethane bushings can be formulated to a specific “hardness” (known as durometer). By formulating different levels of durometer strength, they can be designed for specific needs, be it a street rod, off-road truck, sport compact, or even a hopping low-rider.

In addition to tightening up the suspension, polyurethane bushings provide improved turn-in and cornering response. Also, polyurethane body mounts can help to reduce body roll, a real plus for lifted trucks. In some applications, they can be used to provide extra clearance for larger off-road tires, with or without adding a suspension lift.

So whatever type of “joints” you have on your vehicle, consider upgrading them with polyurethane bushings—they’re a sure cure for your vehicle’s aches and pains

Can I run an overdrive transmission in my car without a computer

The answer is YES.

Vehicles that came from the factory equipped with these transmissions did not use a computer to control the transmission. The confusion comes from the fact that the computer in the later models controlled the 12v circuit to the transmission for converter clutch lockup.

You do not need a computer to run one of these transmissions! You will however, need to get a lockup wiring harness. We make a very simple and easy to use harness that can be installed in 15 minutes and will provide the lockup operation.

Can You Tell classic car Clone From The Survivor?

The muscle car clone is on the left but do you know what that means? The survivor is on the right. Both are beautiful muscle cars. Do you care which one you buy?

Here are just some of the common words you will find when reading classic car advertisements or talking to used muscle car sellers.

aftermarket – parts made for your car by manufacturers other than the original manufacturer; for instance, putting an Interstate battery or a Fram air filter in your muscle car is using an aftermarket product, aftermarket products are often used in resto-mod projects

car corral – a section at a car show where individuals and/or dealers are selling classic american muscle; a great place to find a muscle car clone or a survivor

clone – a car that has been modified to replicate a muscle car, an example of a muscle car clone would be turning a basic Plymouth Satellite into a Plymouth Road Runner or a basic Pontiac into a Pontiac GTO Judge; the modification can be as simplistic as using exterior details such as badges and stripes and adding hood scoops or it can be completely re-building the basic car to meet the factory specs of the target classic car; these are also referred to as tribute cars

daily driver or grocery-getter – a classic muscle car that is driven and enjoyed on a regular basis; typically not a high value low-volume vehicle that had limited production or is worth lots of money

NOM – not original motor, generally this indicates that the original motor was replaced with either a period correct motor from another car or a newer motor; some muscle car buyers would not pay as much for a car that was NOM

NOS – new old stock, original equipment manufacturer parts that were made specifically for the vehicle but that are no longer available through the manufacturer; these can be found at car shows in the swap meet area or online through eBay and parts sites and are sought by people who are doing a restoration project or even building a muscle car clone

numbers matching – a term that means the engine, transmission and other important components are all stamped from the factory with numbers that match the VIN to prove that the car is all original; be careful with this one…some sellers say “numbers matching” when only one component is actually original, for instance, they engine may be a replacement (NOM!) but the transmission is original

OEM – original equipment manufacturer, this term is generally used when describing parts on a muscle car that are from the original car manufacturer, not aftermarket or NOS

restoration (frame-off restoration) – a car that has been disassembled completely and returned to original factory specs usually including the correct parts numbers and components for the vehicle as it would have come from the factory; lots of time and money spent here but a highly rated restoration is probably worth the price you pay

resto-mod – a combination restoration and modification (or modernization) of a classic car, it typically means that the car has been modified to incorporate some of today’s technologies in the areas of steering, braking, handling, and comfort/convenience such as improved guages or sound systems; it’s not a muscle car clone or a survivor

survivor – a factory original car that typically has low mileage, original engine, drivetrain, paint, and interior components; these cars often bring the most money in the collector car market

Classic Car tips for storing your car,

Freezing temperatures naturally dictate that anti-freeze be used. But even if it’s not freezing, put it in. Many of the newer ‘coolants’ have excellent corrosion inhibitors that will help protect and lubricate your cooling system. A 50/50 anti-freeze/water mix is fine. Again make sure to run the car so it’s mixed throughout the entire system.

Change the engine oil. Dirty oil is contaminated with acids and water that can cause premature bearing failure and rust inside the engine. If the car is likely to be left for a very long period of time unattended, remove the sparkplugs and liberally squirt some form of ‘upper-cylinder lubricant’ into the cylinders before replacing the plugs. This will help stop the piston rings from rusting to the cylinder walls.

Make sure the Brake and Clutch master cylinders are full of brake fluid. Brake fluid can absorb water very quickly. By reducing the exposed surface area of the fluid, the water absorption can be reduced. If you can, bleed the brake and clutch systems. It is recommended that you do this on an annual basis anyway, to purge the system of old and possibly contaminated brake fluid.

To inhibit rust in the engine area, use a lubricant spray such as WD40 to coat all exposed metal surfaces. The volatile carrier in the WD40 will soon evaporate leaving a protective film on the hose clamps, coils, carb bodies etc. ‘Wax-oyl’ is good, but you’ll want to hose it off at a ‘car wash’ in the Spring.

Wash the entire car and apply a good wax. Don’t forget to clean the inside. Do this early in the day to give it plenty of time to thoroughly dry before putting it in storage.

If you have a convertible top, leave it up and the windows and vents closed. A convertible top can develop nasty creases when folded for long periods, especially in cold climates. Treat Vinyl tops with Silicone or similar. Keeping the windows and vents closed keeps small creatures from entering. But buy some desiccant sacs from a storage supply house ‘Dry Pac’ for example and place them inside the car on the floors. This will keep moisture from damaging the interior if it is damp or humid where you are.

Ensure that the boot is clean and dry, The boot seal is not always positive and some moisture can collect and condense in the inner fenders and floor. Air it out well for a day or so, then place a desiccant sac in here too before closing it up.

Finally, take the car on a good 30 minute run. This will evaporate all the moisture in the exhaust and in the engine. Then park the car with the hand brake off and either ‘chock’ the wheels or leave it in gear if necessary. Over inflating the tires can help guard against flat spots. Disconnect the battery.

The best thing to do for a stored car is to visit it once a month and take it for a short drive. This keeps everything in good shape, preventing things from getting corroded and seals drying out. At the very least have some one start it up periodically. If you are going to cover it use a proper Cloth car cover, not a Plastic one. If you find the concrete floor in your storage unit gets damp or ‘sweats’ use cat litter, or lay plastic beneath the car to prevent the condensation from reaching your floor pans.

 Make sure your gas tank is full. This will reduce the amount of water that can be absorbed by the gasoline and it also slows the rate at which it turns to varnish. Use and additive like “Sta-Bil”, “Dry Gas” or similar. Make sure it’s well mixed and run the car for a while to make sure it’s in the entire fuel system

Soda blast vs Sand Blast

You have options for stripping paint from a car, including sand blasting, which is a messy, abrasive process that warps metal, roughs up the car surface and scratches useable panels. You have to be careful to make sure you don’t get sand in certain areas of the car, especially where there is moisture that can lead to rust.

The time for a sandblasting job compared to soda blasting is significantly longer because you have to cover or remove every part you don’t want stripped. With soda, you can have direct contact on mirrors, rubber, glass and chrome without worrying about permanently changing or damaging the surface.

With sand, you have to disassemble every part and component of the car that you don’t want to blast because the sand will alter, damage and rough up the surface. The time you spend prepping, covering and removing parts to protect them could be spent on something else when you choose soda blasting.

The actual cost of sandblasting might be cheaper, you need to think about what your time is worth and if you would be better off doing other tasks (and making money) while someone else blasts the car and strips it in one shot. Even paying someone to prep that car before sandblasting is generally not a feasible solution either because of the high cost of labor and over-head involved.

The after-blast mess is no walk in the park either. It’s a physical process that can

take a lot of your time away from other projects or cost you in labor to have

someone else do the task for you. Sand is a hard material that doesn’t wash

away easily like soda (sodium bicarbonate) does.

Why use Zink In your Oil?

Passenger car and truck oils are formulated to reduce emissions and provide longer drain intervals. This has been done by increasing detergents and reducing anti-wear additives, but your race engine operating under high load and high RPM conditions needs high amounts of anti-wear additives (Zinc and Moly) to create a sacrificial additive coating that prevents metal to metal contact in your engine.

Modern Engine Set-up:
Decreased anti-wear (i.e. Zinc)
and more detergents: Read more »