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  #46 (permalink)  
Old 09-16-2007, 12:51 PM
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Something I am finding helpful as I plan my first project is to plan in stages. I know what I want to have done at what point, in what stage, and then I will move onto the next thing later. And after each stage I know it will be a little bit better and eventually be done (at at least in the sense any project is ever really done lol)

I'm not doing an all out build so much as I am doing a work in progress second car "toy" out of an S10 blazer.

I find giving myself some defined stages to the build is helping to make it less overwhelming and better organized.

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  #47 (permalink)  
Old 09-16-2007, 10:04 PM
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That's a very good way to get started. I have my spreadsheets organized into projects. Each one has a 'do' list usually in the order I think is the best. I also have a list of parts required and at least 2 suppliers,of each one. I have a column for cost, estimated time, actual time, cost actual. I keep track daily so the spreadsheets are up to date. By doing this I can go from project to project if I get stalled for some reason. It's all part of the fun of building a car for me.
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Old 09-19-2008, 05:43 AM
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new project

I would ad one more caution, about buying those unfinished projects cheap.
Thats what we did, and the parts were worth a lot more than we paid. But it wasn't unfinished, it was FU. What we thought was a 6 months finish, is now 3 years into a ground up build. Just couldn't live with the screwups and sloppy work.
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Old 09-25-2008, 01:58 PM
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So, where to begin

There's a lot of awesome advise and insight in this thread. Having worked on my 72 Chev 4x4 and just put the body on a 71 suburban, I've just gotten a 1930 Chevy 3 window coupe. I know that this is going to require a frame off, and that I need to box the frame. Also reading through the posts, I see that going to a steel structure and replacing the wood is advisable.

So, my question.... (in a round about way)... where do I start...

Typically a person welds in braces to the body of a vehicle before pulling it off of the frame. When there's wood bracing in place, how do you create the braces? Welding metal with wood behind is only asking for problems, and I'd prefer to not start a fire in my garage....

Is there any special sequence, or things that I need to be aware of when starting this work? There's got to be a lot of advise from guys out there that have done this (right the first time, and right by experience)..

Any bit helps here.....

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Old 09-26-2008, 08:33 PM
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Where to start

Start by reading the article under Bulletin Board, Hot Rod Basics, "Before turning a wrench...."

Other thoughts, plan as previously mentioned, catlog parts as removed.

I'm personally building my first car and did not brace initially, but I had a good floor board in place along with firewall and doors. Once the firewall and doors were removed, I braced and removed. all you can and don't take the opinion of one, but get as many opinions as you possibly can. In time you will know by experience who in cyber you can trust. I've found several on this site, but again read, read, and read....
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  #51 (permalink)  
Old 09-28-2008, 08:37 PM

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I think the article was a great first read for the first timers, the seasoned car hobbyist already knows the value of what was read.
The 5K dollar budget would be very shoe string in fact....good luck to anyone that could keep to that tight budget.

I like to pack things up too, but you have to forget those light weight sandwich bags and step it up a bit, get yourself some heavy weight plastic zip lock bags from a business supply house like Global, they sell every imaginable type and size of plastic bag and they are heavy enough that they don't rip or tear. This works great especially for the larger or more pointed object, me I like to buy the 6" and 12" bags, they seem to cover most object. To save money and address the larger items at the same time, you can purchase plastic rolls in many different sizes, and then use a electric bag sealer to close the ends, I like to do this with items I know I can not easily replace, I know I won't lose anything if the bag is hermetically sealed.

Planing:..... That has to be the real alkalies heel, a great place to start is on your home computer, you obviously have one if your on here, so use it on your build. Programs like Excel allow you categorize the project into small meaningful groups, like interior, engine, fuel system, brakes and so on. With these programs you can easily keep track of the expenses and make notes and shopping list of parts that you need. I use them on every project and they really pay off. I can instantly look up what type part I used on any section of the project, I can find Brand, part number and anything else related by a few keystrokes. This really comes in handy down the road when you might need replacement parts or re-build kits for some of the new parts you installed. It also is a great selling point for those that sell there projects, you can show the buyer what was installed and even give them a copy when they purchase the car for there own files. Why make things harder then they have to be.

Stay focused......Why do you think there are so many projects for sale??? To many people get involved in the sport only to realize they bitten off more then they can mechanically or financially chew. Be realistic, you can't build a trophy winer on a beater budget.
Have a plan......Every time you change your mind on something it cost real money. Make a plan and stick to it, unless your capable of absorbing the hit, but be sure it will cost you, something else down the road will be effected.

What is your limits.....Many guys and gals are mechanically inclined, they are capable of doing many sections of the project, are you?? Make a list of what you can do and what needs to be farmed out. Be realistic, and also be aware that many specific task require specific tools and or equipment. So budget for the needed tools. Most everyone can do something to help lower the cost, even if you can't weld, you can certainly have all the pieces cut, de-burred and ready for welding, this will lower the cost because the welder didn't have to stop and do it himself. This same theory goes for all aspects of the car, you might not be able to do the upholstery or engine, but you can have the items clean, and ready for those that can. Think about it, and read as many books on the subject as possible. I continually read, I have over 25 monthly subscriptions each month and have a complete automotive library to draw from. The phrase, "A minds a terrible thing to lose" is the truest one I know, and ignorance can be over come.

Be Smart....Every car has a certain time table and order. Don't waste money buying wheels when you first start out, in fact don't buy anything like that till you have to. Fenders, bumpers and things of that nature are OK, but wheels, tires, paint, most trim and engine goodies can and should Waite till they are needed. Why? because there is a good chance something in the build will change what is needed at the finish. These items are usually bought to make the owner feel good, like they are one step closer to being finished, but as it usually turns out, you are just that much more in the hole. Unless you have a solid plan, don't buy high ticket items till they are needed, things like axles, brakes, and anything specific, that way you are not left with a bunch of parts you can't take back, and when sold on the market, you'll be lucky to recover 50% of your money.

Start with the frame, sense it's the basses for everything that follows, get it right then start adding additional pieces. Make sure you are certain of the types of suspension systems you will run, then stick to that decision and work your way up from there. Once the frame is done, then you are pretty locked in on the parts you'll need to finish your ride. Then you can start to acquire parts. Not to sure about the rest of the guy's, but I purchase most of my parts On-Line. This is a great way to shop for new and sometimes used parts, but I must caution, never, never buy anything electronic used. There Are just to many things that can be wrong with the item and you'll be stuck with a useless broken part, even new electronic parts are none returnable if the packaging has been opened, just something to think about......The internet is a great source for new parts, I buy approximately 85% that way. The benefits are lower prices and no sales tax, I have found that I can usually stretch my dollar buying power by 50-65%, buy purchasing parts this way. Not bad when you look at the big picture and see that your $10,000 budget, can buy $14-15,000 worth of parts!!! I do this all the time, so don't tell me it can't happen, I have been buying approximately $45,000.00 in parts and equipment every year for the last 6 years like this, it works and makes your money go further. Look for dealers that have many of the parts you will need, you can save even more it you make it a habit of buying more from one source, it cuts down on shipping charges and you can always ask the owner for a quantity discount. I know this is dependent of funds, but save up till you have a sizable amount then buy your parts, you can make it go further this way then buying 1-2 parts here and there, and from different places. One other great place to shop, is a national Hot Rod show. These are great places to do business, and you can save a ton. I went to the US Nationals in Louisville of 07, and made several great purchases, while I spent over $11,000.00 I saved almost $4,000.00. How, The dealers were ready to sell and I had cash on hand, there was no tax and no shipping charges. I also purchased the big ticket items, that normally would have been very expensive to ship, like front fenders, bumpers, tank cover, bumper brackets, air conditioning kits, rear fenders, running boards, grills and so forth. Fenders are very expensive to ship, they have to be crated, and shipped truck, so it is very easy to spend 2-300.00 for shipping of items like these. Take advantage of the major shows, they are cheap to get into, and have hundreds of vendors right there. You can compare parts, ask questions, and make deals in one large room, plus you are surrounded by thousands of people that share a similar interest.
Stay away from the fluff....That means while you are building the car, try and avoid the pretty stuff, instead buy the hard parts that you need for the build, and get the sparkley things late on. Now I don't mean that while your building the frame, and need the rear end, that you purchase a plain Jane, then later on buy a better one, no not at all. What I mean is buy the parts you need at the time they are needed, if your going to use a Winters Quick-Change rear end, that is definitely a pretty piece, but get that because thats needs, I'm mainly referring to items like billet aluminum trim piece, chrome this or stainless steel that. Those items are fine, but they should come latter on in the build, the first half should be devoted to main stream parts only.
Plan, Plan Plan......I don't think I can infancies it enough, you have to plan every move, and a good planer will always keep themselves 4-5 steps ahead on the actual construction. Buy doing that, you will have the materials there, then you reach that stage of the build, and you won't be waiting on anything that can slow you down. Also, don't forget the small items, I know it's very easy to do. The frame portion of the build is one of if not the most important sections there will be, it set the tone and direction for the build, so think not only of the large items like rear-ends, engines and transmissions, but also of the engine oil coolers, transmission cooler, fuel pumps, and fuel filters, radiators, fuel tanks, brake system, how you are going to run your wiring, and if it applies, items like Nitrous systems, Inter-Coolers, Water cooling systems (Turbo and Supercharged Engines), oil accumulators, drive shaft loop Exhaust hangers,brake line mounts and lift pads. Most would not believe it, but on ,many early model chassis, the last thing anyone would consider is the lift points. But it has to be addressed, I'm there on my current build, a 1933 frame with a triangulated 4-bar rear suspension and Winters Quick-change rear axle. because of the 4-bar configuration, and the Winter axle and low stance and running boards, there is no way to lift the car on a 2-post lift. While most might say so what, what happens it you need work while on the road, what if I simply what to work on something at my own garage? The car is to low to simply lie down and bear it, and who wants to do that anyway. The point is to think outside the box every once and a while, not just on the things at hand.

Common Sense......I know it's not as common as it should be, but lets face it, there are many stages of a build that can be very harmful to the body. Welding is terrible on the eyes, and even with proper equipment, most old welders have vision troubles. Breathing....always were a dust mask while sanding, sand blasting or even cleaning out an old cars interior. You only have one set of lungs so protect them.
PAINT, PAINT!! I know it's a fun stage, and many like to spray there own projects, but be very careful, the 2-stage urethane's are simply deadly, the fumes are very dangerous and can kill your kidneys and poison your system. Even mixing paints is harmful enough that it should be done with fresh air supply systems in place. No Hot Rod is worth dieing for, if you don't' have the proper equipment to paint your project then get it or don't' paint it yourself. Proper equipment, isn't some $40.00 respirator, you need a complete fresh air system, and full length painters suit and a hood and shoe covers. Is this expensive, sure you'l need about $900.00 to purchase a beginners set, if this sound high, stop to think for a minuet just how high modern Hospital bills are....what's your kidneys worth to you, your health??


Last edited by yknot; 09-29-2008 at 10:52 AM.
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  #52 (permalink)  
Old 12-07-2008, 03:29 PM
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VERY nice thread.

Makes me wish I would've had a more solid plan when starting my cars. Now I'm on my 4th or 5th plan...
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  #53 (permalink)  
Old 01-01-2009, 09:54 AM
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New project? Before turning a wrench, get oranized!

posted by yknot;
Stay focused......Why do you think there are so many projects for sale??? To many people get involved in the sport only to realize they bitten off more then they can mechanically or financially chew. Be realistic, you can't build a trophy winer on a beater budget.
Have a plan......Every time you change your mind on something it cost real money. Make a plan and stick to it, unless your capable of absorbing the hit, but be sure it will cost you, something else down the road will be effected.
You also need to be sure of where you are in your life. Are you through having children? I can't tell you how many times I pulled a "project car" home only to have to bail out later because she was "that way" again. This is the main theme to my answer. Is your daily driver good enough to carry you through the project? One guy said he kept rescuing cars from the scrap yard and keeping them running so that he could stay on his project (rather than have car payments). All this slows you down. The longer your project takes, the harder it is not to bail out. Along the way there are other distractions. Maybe you went to a cruise-in and saw a car like your project that was done differently from your plan and you liked it. Like when the "Pro-Touring" craze started. Maybe you were planning a "cruiser" and it's only a couple of thousand more to go the Pro-Touring route. This really turns your goal upside-down, as you are changing the course of your build. You may have just lengthened your build another year or two. Then if that fad goes away, or another one comes along that catches your eye, you're giving your project yet another set-back. Staying focused will be your biggest challenge, more than the physical aspect of the build.
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  #54 (permalink)  
Old 01-01-2009, 06:07 PM
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wow lots to read
ive had my car for 7 years and have not started on it because i knew iwas not ready in both time and money
ive been collecting major $$ parts slowly as i find the good deals
because i know when i get started its going to cost more than you plan for on everything
however ive had a change in the way im going to approach this when i start
i was glad to read it here
im going to work at getting it on the street as fast and cheap as i can
then come back and upgrade as $$ allows-driving your toy does alot to keep the fire burning
ive had jeep type projects that ive lost interest in because i didnt have money to it the way i wanted the first time so it took to long to finish i it died on the vine
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Old 02-25-2009, 12:14 AM
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great info,tryn to make this happen,wanna stay with my intrest for ol cars and trucks,and gettn organized is gonna be on my to do list. your thread was worth reading twice,in for tha long haul.
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Old 03-05-2009, 06:30 PM
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Brass air fittings

Now that is a lot of brass air fittings there is just about every type
of air fitting that you could want. Wholesale prices too. I guess these could be used as small water pipe fitting also. I
used some of the parts to make my babington wvo burner.
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  #57 (permalink)  
Old 03-16-2009, 10:14 AM
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centerline's post is wiki worthy... I'm sure it'll help a lot of people out there!
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Old 03-18-2009, 04:25 PM
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Great Advice

After reading your post I realized that my brother and I need to follow your guidelines very closely. Fortunately, we were lucky enough to buy a '41 Chevy sedan from a streetrodder who said he would help us with the build. We are going to turn it into a ratrod and we hope to have it completed in 6 months. We realize that is a very aggressive goal but I think we can get there. If not, then we will just keep plugging away at it.

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  #59 (permalink)  
Old 04-14-2009, 11:48 AM
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I am SOOOO glad i joined this site! I used to be part owner of a shop in so. cal chopping tops & building custom bikes-along with prep-work for "paint by molly"(our shop was next door) that was way back early 70's. have '63 chevy carryall paid $300.00 in '86 installed 350-350 been driving it about 20 years now. I picked up a '48 dodge 4 door chopped top nova front clip no motor or trans paid $300.00 about 2 years ago,found a wrecked '86 chevy van $50.00. I was going to start selling off my last projects that i probably will ever build. I'm 55 now with 3 kids &1 grandkid unemployed 15 months. site gave me new hope!!
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Old 06-18-2009, 01:42 PM
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well im 19 and my first car was a 85 camaro w ttops and a fuel injected v6. after the fun i had w it in high school i recently sold it and got an 81 el camino with a built 350 ( very aggresive lunati cam with edelbrock performer rpm manifold,edelbrock 600 carb and a great header/true dual exhaust system. i only paid 1500 and theres almost no rust! i rlly have always loved hot rods and now im starting with my first project. thanks to all the help from this site iv been able to do most of the minor tweaking and work myself!
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