IIf you weren’t lucky enough to be raised in a hands-on gearhead family, your first Project Car can be a difficult task. So, on our backs Young Street Machine of the Year Contestwe thought we’d put together some quick and easy workshop tips that newbies will find useful when spinning spinners on their rides.
One guy who has the most projects on the go is Scott Barter, whose ‘56 Chevy Pickup Featured in Sm 2020 Yearbook. Here, he shares his biggest hacks for newbies, and we’ll add a few of our own.
1. Hang it up.
Keeping your work area organized is a key part of a successful build. A clear workspace means you’re not tripping over stuff trying to cut some metal to fit the doohickey onto the watset. It’s also a good idea to keep measuring and marking tools and your personal protective equipment (PPE) nearby.
If you have a workbench where most of your work will be done, you’ll want to hang all the supplies you’ll need to grab in a pinch. Attaching a welding mesh to your workbench is a great, inexpensive way to solve this, as it offers versatile mounting options.
If you’ve got a solid spot above your workbench that you can mount a 4×2 of wood to, that can be a great place to hang a jar to hold screws, nails, staples, and other small fittings.
These jars are kept in Scotty’s shed within easy reach for when he needs to make a tool or fasten something.
2. Fully primed
Every engine needs oil pressure before you dare it, Barry, and it’s easier than you might think to make your own oil pump priming tool.
I made this piece by MIG-welding a sacrificial half-inch socket for a broken distributor I got for free. He let me slap a drill through the top and build up oil pressure in the Pontiac engine that I rebuilt but then let sit for a few years.
If you are working with an engine of unknown date, installing an oil pressure gauge at the port and cranking the oil pump will ensure that you are not at risk of dry bearings in the event of a fire.
It’s also a good idea to remove the spark plugs from the old mystery engine to get a little bit of auto trans fluid into each bore. Let it soak for an hour before attempting to crank the engine by hand. This reduces the risk of the piston ring sticking in the bore and the slug breaking off.
3. Pitch perfect
If you’ve bought someone else’s disassembled mystery boxes, you may find that you have a lot of mix-up bolts and nuts. A quick way to find out what your own nut and bolt checker is, which will let you quickly check the size and pitch of the fasteners you’re handling. This way you can sort things into groups rather than lumping them together in one big bucket.
A good set of metric and imperial taps and dies is also something anyone getting into project cars should have under their workbench.
4. Simple siphon
At some point, you’ll have to deal with the scourge of stale fuel. This stinky stuff will make your car rougher than two-grit sandpaper, so Scotty came up with a brilliant, quick and mess-free way to drain the petrol tank. He simply drilled a hole in the 90 degree brass fitting elbow.
When it’s time to siphon the fuel, he runs one hose from one end of the fitting into the fuel tank (keeping the elbow below tank height), and another hose from the other end of the fitting into the bucket. Is. He then begins the process of quickly inhaling compressed air into the elbow hole.
Engines that have been sitting around since Jesus played fullback for Jerusalem often suffer from worn gaskets and hoses. Chasing a vacuum leak is about as much fun as picking a broken nose, so make your own leak tester using a jar, some plastic tubing, a bicycle pump and a cheap soldering iron.
Drill three holes in the lid of the jar to fit two bits of tubing and a soldering iron. Make sure they fit perfectly into their respective holes to form an airtight seal. Connect one tube to the bicycle pump and run the other tube past the throttle blade into the engine’s throttle body or carburetor. Make sure it forms a seal as well.
Soak a rag in mineral oil (baby oil is a cheap, unscented option here), put it in the jar and put the lid back on (with the tubes and soldering iron in their holes). Fire up the iron, and once it’s hot enough, the inside of the jar will smoke like Keith Richards on a Friday night.
Use a motorcycle pump to pump the smoke up the tube, and as long as you have the system sealed, eventually your leak will start to smoke.
6. Future planning
If you’ve never taken a car apart yourself, take a tip from your friendly local pirate and pull up a map. You can lay out steering, electrical or brake system components and create a schematic of how they all fit together. That way you’ll have a reference when you start putting your car back together months (or years) later.
7. Save your back.
Most major hardware chains sell small moving dollies, which are perfect for moving and storing heavy, bulky items like engine blocks or transmissions. In this shot, Scotty has added a layer of security against tip-overs by running bolts and washers through the bell housing and into the trolley bed.
8. Soften the Multiplier.
If you can’t get a mallet where you want to hit, put five or six layers of masking tape on the face of the hammer to soften the blow. Taping a double microfiber rag to the end can also work in a pinch.
9. Buy two grinders.
If you will be doing a lot of work, invest in two grinders. Scotty has his own setup for cutting, while another has a flap disc for smoothing edges, welds or surface coatings of the strip he’s about to weld. This means he doesn’t have to worry about switching different discs on and off a grinder – a handy time-saver when you’re building an entire car. Likewise, keeping your drill bits in a toolbox drawer makes choosing the right size bit quick and easy.
10. Power up
It is almost impossible to have too many power outlets in your shed. Scotty thinks hanging the power outlet on his fab bench was one of the best things he did to set up his shed, as it meant he wasn’t tripping over extension leads and Neither is looking for a spare outlet.
Well, here are ten tips! Here’s a bonus:
11. Soak your bolts.
Rusty, round, snapped or threaded bolts and nuts are probably the most frustrating, time-consuming problems you’ll encounter with a project car. Loosen rusted fasteners by spraying them liberally with a high-quality penetrant spray like Ionic Black or PBB Laster and leaving them to soak. Also, try to override them with a six-sided socket on a long breaker bar instead of using power tools.