Old Cars/Trucks Restoration and Modding

greenpondmike

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How many of you out there are not only modding or restoring flashlights, but are also in the process of restoring or modding an old vehicle? I'm driving a 1971 chevy c10 with only 72,683 actual miles on it. The body is decent with some rust in the driver's side rocker panel to which I need to give some attention to soon. I also have a 1975 Ford f150 ranger I'm fixing up. In 75 "ranger" was a package option, not a small truck. Got a 1985 Ford f150 (bullnose)short bed pickup that is just sitting around waiting for me to do the final touches to the engine and electrical before I can crank it and a 1980 Ford LTD coupe waiting on me to replace the freeze plugs and coil. They all need batteries unless I can desulfate the ones I have.
 
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raggie33

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not a fan of older cars my freind. old carbated and point systems . i recall them trying to make a carberated clean running crazy complex carbs . i do like the looks of classic cars
 

greenpondmike

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Ah man, yeah raggie33, the way they look...it's like smelling that good smelling coffee in the mornings, but when you go to drink it, it doesn't taste as good as it smells.
There are some goodies out there though and the challenge to make them run and drive good plus get decent mileage is fun. If I had a perfect vehicle I would be bored with it.
Now that I'm older though I want to make for sure that my vehicles don't let my down. It's a good feeling I get when I rebuild a carb and the vehicle runs good and burns rubber when I stomp the gas instead of hesitating or stumbling.
 

Chauncey Gardiner

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1974 3/4 Ton 454. My father was the original owner. I inherited it when Pa died. The plan is to pass it on to one of our sons someday.

The restoration started with wheels and tires due to safety concerns and that purchasing tires that fit the original wheels is/was next to impossible. Future work is waiting on funds.

KU3Fels.jpg


My my! The stories Red Horse could tell if he could talk. :sssh:
 

greenpondmike

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Whoa, that is one fine custom deluxe 20 you got there Chauncey. The original tires were probably bias ply 78s weren't they?
 

raggie33

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i do wish i had a car im to old for walking every where in this city that has no sidewalks. but car is out of my budget so im saving for a chiease motor scooter
 

greenpondmike

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I know a fellow that has a chinese dirt bike and he likes it. Yeah be careful raggie33, it is easy to twist an ankle on roads that don't have a sidewalk. At least it is for me.
Also, there are a lot of bad people out there doing dirty deeds.
 
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raggie33

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it sucks every once in a while i see open manholes . or them golpher holes. the chinease scooters copied a honda design. there decent if you know how to fix them . im lucky i can fix most everything
 

greenpondmike

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it sucks every once in a while i see open manholes . or them golpher holes. the chinease scooters copied a honda design. there decent if you know how to fix them . im lucky i can fix most everything

Honda makes some good stuff. I've had a dirt bike from the big three, but I've had more hondas than the other 2. The worse crash I've ever had was on a honda xr80. A weiner dog ran in front of me and I went over the handlebars and hit the pavement at around 30-35 mph, so please watch out for dogs.
Knowing how to fix stuff is a good talent to have.
 

greenpondmike

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Thanks much, GPMike. I don't remember what they were, but I'll never forget how slick they were on wet roads. Crazy scary when not even trying!
Mine had those tiny and skinny tires on it when I first got it. I've got P225/75R15 goodyear wranglers on it now mounted on the factory style mag wheels with the trim ring and center caps. My brother in laws and I had to beat the original smaller rims off with a sledge hammer. Ol truck sat up most of its life.
 
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bykfixer

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Hey CG, there are genuine sized tires out there with new formula rubber compounds. My (now retired) boss restores old cars and many are what are called concoures where every item on the car is factory original and minty. But he has a few that he buys reproduction parts for like original looking cases that go around a modern battery to appear oem or redline tires that appear original. Take a drive around your town one nice Sunday morning and you may see an impromptu "coffee and cars" car meet at a Hardees or that sort of thing. Those folks are walking encylopedias and love to pass on the know how. Best of all you being in line of the original owner you may get volunteers to assist your endeavor.

When I was doing Hondas the geezers did not mind me pulling into the lot because mine were generally restored to factory original or tastefully modified. Heck I even aided a couple of dudes who had squirrel troubles dealing with wiring being chewed on. I passed on links to where they could have a brand new harness made or showed them how a simple flat head precision screw driver could be used to pluck pins out of clips and replace sections of wire without any splices.

When my oldest boy was little I was working on old jalopies, trying to keep them going. My favorite luxury hot rod was a 77 Cutlass Brougham that could pass everything but a gas station. I always admired the "hot rod Lincoln" type car but my finances kept me driving stripped down versions of sports cars. At one point I had an old 66 Mustang with factory air. It was so sweet to pull up to a red light on a hot summer day and have the windows rolled up.

When my son was of age he was into cars but he too was on a low budget. I was trying to convince him of older big engine cars and he was stuck on smaller cars with high rev engines. He bought a Prelude with pop up headlights one day and the day I drove it I understood what he was so excited about. It was like a go kart with plush seats, electric windows and a/c. As he got older his process evolved to the point where he now likes the "hot rod Lincoln" type car but it's "hot rod Lexus" instead. He has a super sweet Accura with cornering technology developed in the 97 Prelude I worked on for a while, all wheel drive, goes 0-60 lickety split and rides like a dream.

Actually I snatched up that 97 Prelude before he could because I was afraid he'd end up killing himself in it. Eventually the two of us built up a 2001 he got real cheap. But later he wanted to go the Toyota route for some super duper turbo ability with a V8 capable of 1000hp. I was intrigued. He ended up with a Lexus GS he wanted to build and turn into a Toyota of the same body but much faster drive train. But then he found a genuine Toyota from Japan with the drive train he wanted to start with and slowly tweak. Yet as he gets older the idea of 1000hp has become less appealing.

The Lexus and Toyota are both a "hot rod Lincoln" for the new age with all those electronic gadgets and sensors. Working on Preludes we learned a lot about that aspect of the car and why they matter. While our friends in the community were hacking up wires and bypassing all those gizmos and gadgets we were learning how to repair the car properly. With that came reliability. So while our friends in the community were scratching their collective heads why this or that doesn't work anymore we both enjoyed reliabilty year after year.

The other day my son said "hey dad, want the Lexus?" So here I go again. Geeking out on schematics of a 2004 luxury sedan with plenty of giddy up n go. This time I'll be in a vehicle more suited to get my stiff carcus in and out of instead of needing a hoist then limping the next 50 steps. If all goes well I'll spend more time enjoying instead of fixing it. But then again it is 17 years old and has around 1000' of wiring, electric everything and plenty of other things that can go wrong. So time will tell.

97-C4984-A-CBE9-4473-AE5-A-2-BEE1-D1-E60-A7.jpg

Ball cap enroute. Here we go again……


I still have my mind wrapped around a stripped down 66 Mustang coupe with straight 6, 3 speed auto tranny and no power anything. But the 1 car garage has a late model Japanese made hot rod Lincoln in it with a Fiero GT waiting to go in there next. By mid 1965 over a million Mustangs had been sold so there's time to wait on that.
 
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Chauncey Gardiner

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Hey Lexusfixer, Thanks for the information. When I started shopping for tires I wasn't really wanting to purchase new wheels. However, when the manager of Titus Tire & Service informed me there was only one tire being manufactured that would fit the original wheels and how much they were ..... well, it was a no-brainer to purchase new wheels and a different size tire.

Red Horse has always been a work horse and will continue to be as long as I'm able to unload / shovel his cargo. I want to R/R all the rubber seals and plastic lenses, new brakes and have the leaks remedy. Replace then body panels where needed and then have it painted. I also plan on doing away with the plastic bed liner for one of the new fangled spray-on liners.
 

bykfixer

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3M head light restorer is great for plastic lenses. You start out by sanding it……yes, sanding it with a drill. Yikes! But you repeat using higher and higher grit until like 3000 grit and next thing you know, your lens looks like new glass.
Shin Itsu silicone grease is fabulous for rubber restore like window seals and like Bril Cream, a little dab-l do ya. I did 3 cars with about 1/2 a tube. I use it for flashlights these days.

If your junkyards are like mine they are called recycling centers these days. Meaning a vehicle goes out on the lot for 90 days then to a crusher. And if your recycler center is like mine they have an email wishlist where you fill out a form with the vehicles you want parts from and they email you when one arrives. Bonus, they'll pick parts for you for a fee. Now you probably don't want to pay to have a headlight removed but……if a truck of that body comes in rust free, you request them cut a panel for you. They give you a piece of wax keel and you draw the area you want cut. The fee in my area is like $30 and the panel part is cheap. I found really rare rust free panels on a Prelude that cost $600 each for new. I got both sides for $150!!

And a place called "roadkill customs" is a recycle center depot that can hook you up with junk yards coast to coast, many of whom will mail you the part you seek. Just type roadkill customs in your favorite search engine.

Info like that was why the Prelude community called my son and I Sanford & Son. We found parts galore for all kinds of people's projects and mailed them at our cost (plus shipping). There were clubs named POG for Prelude Owner Group for towns, and states. We were known as S&SPOG. And I even had swag made up like stickers and t-shirts.

A3-FE5-E51-4-BCD-47-E2-AE42-A05984913-E11.jpg

Each package we'd mail out included a vinyl sticker
 
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greenpondmike

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Wow! Thank you bykfixer. You just gave out some precious information that could rival anything gleemed from any car forum. I was going to use LMC truck parts for the hard to get stuff. Have you ever had any luck with the "pull a part" junkyards where you can pull your own part or pay someone there to do it?
 

bykfixer

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I have indeed used parts from junkyards on many occasions.
The wishlist thing I mentioned above yielded enough emails to restore a couple of cars to much better condition simply by obtaining 'better' parts n pieces from recycling centers. Many parts that could not be had new anymore.
I spent a lot of time researching cross match parts too. Example, my 1984 thunderbird used the same alternator as my 1966 Mustang. Or "impossible to find" Honda parts were re-named with a new part number years later.

What brought me here to CPF was when I wanted to add a dome light over the back seat of a car like a European version had but not the US version. The circuit was all incan bulbs and was already taxed so I began looking for a way to add an inline LED bulb to the system since they did not pull much amperage. Searches kept bringing me to CPF so one day I joined and frankly forgot all about the car I was working.

A6455-EDD-246-F-449-A-BAA4-8026-F5993-F39.jpg

This car was restored using junkyard parts to replace many sun faded or just scuffed/broken or missing parts.
It came with a broken engine and was refurbished stem to stern. About 95% through the project I gave it to my son. He finished it and sold it to a collector.
 

Poppy

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Around 1973-4 I bought a 1967 Cougar off a used car lot. I got it for a good price because there were some little problems with it that the dealer didn't want to deal with. It had Hide_away_headlights, that winked. They were vacuum operated, and there was a vacuum leak, a quick fix. It pulled to the left, due to a leaking brake wheel cylinder on the front right (about a $3 fix), and the sequential rear directionals weren't working. I found that there was a little motorized contraption in the trunk that spun three sets of points on three cams, like a music box. Two of the three points were corroded, and a quick filing with a points file, and it was fixed.

I ran that car for a couple of years and sold it for a little more than what I paid.

I continued to buy used cars and do my own repairs until 1980, then I started paying mechanics to do my work. I didn't open the hood, other than to check the oil after that. Until... in 1983 I brought my Plymouth Sapporro in for a tune up. It came back purring like a kitten, but really lacked the pep it used to have. I brought it to a different mechanic, who assured me that it was running fine. I brought a friend's Challenger (the Dodge version) for him to test drive, and he agree that there was a significant difference, but didn't know why.

So... my brother and I opened the hood, and found a disconnected vacuum hose. Only one barrel of the two barrel carb was opening up. vroom vroom :)

I learned a lot about computer controlled engines on my son's 1990 Bronco, and that got me into working on my aging '98 Windstar, and '99 Crown Victoria that I bought new. There was a time here, that I would buy a new flashlight just so I could talk about it, I started doing repairs so I could talk about it to others on a Ford Forum. I actually became a moderator at one of the sites. I'd help others troubleshoot electrical and computer problems. It was fun, and fulfilling.
 

bykfixer

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When I lurked car forums the staff would hold weekly meetings to vote on whether to ban that bykfixer character. One day I got a pm from a moderator who wanted to chat outside the forum. We still communicate to this day.

See, the forum was an enthusiast forum run by folks who'd dedicated their lives to making their cars go zoom better while my philosophy was learning what the folks in lab coats had in mind when they engineered them and either expand on that or just appreciate how far forward they were thinking when the cars were new. I did not have a problem with that but my philosophy was apparently rubbing some the wrong way.

Many new members would ask new owner questions that plagued the cars. Now often the subject had been covered a thousand times in stickies, kinda like here. Yet their the typical attitude was not very helpful. Being an old fart I understood the old way of diagnosing issues without computers. Often I would provide a basic explanation. Idea being give a man a fish and he eats for a day. But what rubbed some the wrong way was when my philosophy was teach a man to fish and he'll eat forever. To me it did not matter if it was a Honda radiator, a Ford or John Deere, they all work pretty much the same way so even though I was a Honda novice, I knew what goes wrong in general. That was met with "hey new guy, you don't have the right to tell people how to fix their radiator"……

The moderator I spoke with outside the forum said the moderators voted weekly to ban me but his no vote meant a unanimous vote did not happen. After about a year 'management' had grown comfortable with bykfixers way of helping others after I did numerous how to threads. Eventually there was only one yes vote from a moderator who had said he was building an engine with zero back pressure. I challenged his theories with old fashioned facts and he held a grudge.

The thing is that nearly every leader had built up their cars to go fast but mine was nearly as fast without being loud or looking like a space craft. As time wore on their cars fell apart while one my son and I built ran well year after year. They'd brag about replacing an engine in a weekend while my son and I took 3 months but……we triple checked everything and at times would disassemble something after checking it a second time. So after 7 years the car still has zero defects and zero fluid loss. There were incidents where even the original design was tweaked due to time showing it would fail.

All of the cars are gone except the project my son asked me to help him with. We had experts come in one weekend and they rebuilt the drive train. They arrived Friday night and left Sunday morning working non stop. As much as I appreciated their expertise, but after they left I set about redoing some of their work simply because they were punch drunk after about 18 hours so there were a number of things I was not satisfied with. But that was why a project begun in August resulted in the first attempt to crank the car in October. Not expecting the car to start right off I told my son to crank it no more than 5 seconds then lets check for fuel leaks. He turned the key for like two seconds and Vrrrrooom. So the youtube video has me shouting "shut it off, shut it off"……btw no fuel leaks were present.

When his car was done mine started giving me trouble so I set about fixing it for a while until the day I told Mrs Fixer "I hope space junk lands on this thing while I sleep"……
 
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greenpondmike

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This is some good stuff that is packed with wisdom. Thanks for sharing. Please keep on sharing. Those japanese were wise in their designs as compaired to the domestic builders- at least up to the late 90s. I think some of the best vehicles to modify were the full sized domestic ones up to around 86-87 and the mid sized on up into the early 80s. I think the Japanese stayed wise on up to nowadays, its just that the domestic designers also got wise.
On an old project I want durability to be the foundation with economy second and performance third. I think Ford trucks are the ultamate vehicles, but I also like the square body chevies (73-87). I don't know what year they started having problems with the frame cracking where the steering box mounted, but my 85 did that. I didn't know anything about it before, but after I heard it was a common thing if you put tires that are too large on them. Not talking about a little larger than factory- just after that. Tires that are 70-75 series 215-225 should be fine and maybe 235s IMHO. As close to factory specs as possible is best and that is what the gearing and speedometer are set for. My 225s have my truck going 5mph faster than what the speedometer is showing.
 
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