Last week we pulled out a few parts for the ’57 Bel-Air and prepped them for paint. Paul blocked out the trunk and the doors to ensure they were straight and smooth. We then sanded these parts all on the inside for trim out. Once the were all sanded up, we cleaned them meticulously to ensure a clean paint job. We then sprayed a coat of urethane sealer on the parts to provide uniform color and increase adhesion of the base color coats. 3 coats of Tropical Turquoise was then sprayed once the sealer was dry followed by 3 coats of high solids PPG clear coat. These parts really turned out nice. Its a great sneak peak of what the car will look like. The finished product is going to be very impressive.
This Sante fe is pretty lucky to have made it out with these relatively minor bumps and bruises. A tractor trailer tried to occupy the same space as this Hyundia and this is the result. Because the metal is stretched out and the location of the damage, we will be replacing this panel. The parts were ordered last week and we should get the new quarter panel in tomorrow. We got started today on it anyway to not waste any time. Everything was removed that was needed to do the repair today except the quarter itself. Hopefully we will get into that tomorrow.
This Honda Accord will be in the shop tomorrow to get not one, but 2 new wheels. When the owner, (not mentioning any names) slammed into a pot hole the front wheel and rear wheel was bent. We also had to get an alignment because of a heavy pull to the right. So, yes, we do have access to wheels and can get mechanical things done on your car here too.
The owner of the el Camino had the car lowered 2-inches all around when the car was assembled, using drop spindles in the front and lowering springs in the back. While he liked the stance at the back, he was never happy with the front, claiming the car appeared to be riding nose high. Even though we measured and the car was sitting dead level, it did appear to have a nose high attitude because of lines of the car. But no longer.
Last week the owner showed up with a box. Inside the box were two new front springs, an inch shorter than the stock springs he had installed on the front of the car. After swapping the spring we set the car back on the ground and lowered the lift. The car kept settling, and settling … and settling, until it finally stopped. The new springs lowered the car 1.25 inches in the front, tucking the front wheel up just inside the lip of the fender. You can see the difference between the stock springs, in the first photo and the one inch lowering springs in the second. As the car sits, it has been lowered 2 inches in the back and a total of 3.25 inches in the front.
The owner stopped by today and was well pleased with the new, more aggressive, stance, stating that now the car looks like he always imagined it would look with the 2-inch drop. Far be it from me to disagree with how the owner wants his car to look … especially when he’s right.
While we had the car on the lift, the owner asked that we take a shot of the underside for him as he hadn’t see the car up in the air since the car has been completed. Looks pretty good, if I do say so myself, and with the bedliner coating the bottom of the car, tough enough to withstand anything normal driving is likely to dish out as well.
This week we were able to get some work done on the Chevelle. Jordan has been blocking and sanding on the fenders for the past few weeks here and there, in between other jobs and this week they were finally ready for paint. Early yesterday morning Chris and I slid them into the booth to get some color on there. We started the process by completely blowing them off to ensure there was no dust hiding out. We then wiped them down with a wax and grease remover. We followed that up with more blowing and more dust removal using a tack rag. Once they were good and clean, I started painting with a coat of white sealer. This will help with the coverage and evenness of the color coat. Once we were covered with color, three coats of clear was applied. They really turned out very nice. Today we finally mated the body back to the frame. You can see Jordan and Chris laying down on the job, as usual. They said they were checking the bolt alignment but I didnt fall for that. A little later we did have it wrapped up. I really think the black frame and painted underside looks very nice. Now that we have a post lift in the shop, we will be able to do more of these.
Today the owner of the Chevelle dropped off the new stainless brake lines and gas lines. We carefully matched them up the factory ones, then installed them using the new clamps furnished in the kit. We have the new body bushings and the new body bolts should arrive next week. Once we get those, its back together with the body and frame.
It was back on the Rogue today. Chris got right on it this morning. He built the radiator support and installed the radiator and condenser. We then filled the radiator and charged the A/C system. Once all that was done and tested, we installed the bumper and took it over the the Nissan dealership to install the airbags and the other items associated with that. We sure hope to have this one back tomorrow. The owner is missing her vehicle.
Repeat business is GREAT! It tells you that you are doing the right thing and your customers are happy with what you are doing. This customer has hit a piece of tire on the highway and it completely destroyed the front of this Elantra. We disassembled it first thing this morning, made a list of all the parts needed and got them ordered. Front bumper cover, radiator, radiator support, a/c condenser are a few of the bid items that need replacing. All the parts should all be here on Friday so we will get back on it then and get it back to the customer as soon as possible. Watch out for those tractor trailer retread tires on the highway. They will do way more damage than you think.
Thursday we started the project El Camino up for the first time and the motor sounded like a deranged gnome was inside pounding on a piece of metal with a hammer. Kelly and Josh Murphy arrived and diagnosed the noise as the crank hitting the oil pan. If you want to hear the noise for yourself you can see the video on my youtube channel here. The video is only 90 seconds long, but let me warn the petrolheads out there … the sound will make you cringe.
We don’t do heavy mechanical repairs like this here at JMC Autoworx because we simply don’t have the time and I don’t have the inclination. I’m a painter not a mechanic. However, on Friday Jordan, a former employee that long time readers may remember, volunteered to replace the oil pan for the customer for some additional Christmas money. The owner of the car agreed and a deal was struck between them. I allowed Jordan to do the work in the JMC AutoworX shop since it was a customer’s car and he was a long-time and valuable employee, but the caveat was the car had to be done by Monday morning so we could move it around in the shop like normal.
I don’t know all the details, but I do know that there were a couple of very long days involved because the engines didn’t give up the oil pan willingly. You can see in the first picture that a engine hoist was involved, which is never a good sign. What you can’t see it the rest of the car scattered around the shop. Jordan told me that the transmission had to come out first, then the bell housing second, before the engine could be raised enough to get the pan out from under the engine. Jordan claims that if the Murphy’s put the engine and transmission in the car in one piece (which they did) the are decedents of Harry Houdini because he couldn’t figure out how they did it.
The really scary part of the work is there was no way to know for certain that the problem was in fact the crank hitting the oil pan, but as you can see in the next two photos, it was. In the second picture you can just see a mark at the front of the oil pan. The third photo shows the mark better. The mark, the silver looking dash near the center of the picture, is where the crank was hitting the pan. The mark is about a ½-millimeter deep, maybe one across and perhaps six wide.
We started the car again today. We still have a problem with fouled fuel-injectors and the clutch still isn’t working properly, but the deranged gnome? Jordan took away his hammer so he left. Once we get the car running properly we will have a new first start video … one where you can actually hear what the car will sound like when everything is working properly.
The three pictures to this point were taken on Saturday. The next five photos were taken today.
Picture four shows the car with the header panel installed. We had to fuss with the hood, fender and header panel to get decent gaps all the way around. These older cars, especially with replacement sheet metal installed, don’t have tight gaps like modern cars do, but I still try to get them as tight and even as I can.
In picture five all four head-lamps are installed and the bezels are attached. Now the car is starting to look like it should.
In picture six Chris (left, in black) and I are mounting the front bumper. Most of the trim and chrome work on this car is either reworked original pieces or NOS (new old stock … original replacement parts that were never installed), including this bumper. Because this is an original General Motors bumper it is heaver than a dead preacher, but it will last, and will look and fit better, than any after-market bumper ever could.
The last two photos, numbers seven and eight, show the car with the complete front end installed. We still need to hook up the turn signals, you can see the wires dangling under the bumper, plus there are a couple of other small jobs to do, but the car is basically assembled. And brother, does it ever look sharp.
The car still needs an interior, the clutch is going to have to be sorted, and the owner is going to have to get some new wheels and tires for the car, but the JMC AutoworX stuff … that’s nearly done.
It is supposed to rain most of the week … but if we can catch a nice pretty day we are going to have to get this thing out in the sun so we can truly see what we have wrought. I think it is going to be a real looker myself.