Posts Tagged ‘Harbor Freight’

Radiator Support Repair – Part I

Sunday, June 28th, 2009

The battery really did a number on the driver’s side portion of the radiator support over the years. The piece will have to be repaired since no aftermarket support is being produced for the 81 Trans Am yet. Work started by removing the rusted portions of the metal. All of these pieces were carefully removed from the support to ensure they were’nt bent as these will be used as templates for the new metal.

I find it’s easiest to take sheet of paper and cover to entire area of the old part making sure to follow the contour of all bends then use this to draw out the pattern on the sheet metal. I leave all pieces over sized as it’s easier to trim after bending than to start over if later you find pieces happen to be cut too small. All of these pieces were bent with a cheap 18″ sheet metal brake from Harbor Freight or hammered over some piece of scrap steel with the proper radius or contour needed at the time. No expensive equipment is necessary. With enough time, a piece can be made that nearly exactly replicates the original.

Sub-frame Prep – More Sand Blasting

Saturday, March 21st, 2009

Today the sub-frame was brought out of the garage for sandblasting. It had been completely dis-assembled the week before. A small 20lb pressurized sand blaster was purchased from Harbor Freight. It works really well. I would’ve bought the 40lb for about $20 more but it was out of stock. The only problem is that sand blasting drains the compressor so fast it takes a good amount of time to build back up. I did come up with a decent solution for this. Two compressors were connected together in order to allow a good amount of continuous air. I bought two check valves from Grainger (part # 6D914) for about $9 a piece that coupled to a Tee fitting. The two compressors fed into each check valve and into each side of the Tee fitting. The single Tee outlet went to the blaster. This allowed a continous supply of air without each compressor working against each other. The blaster ran out of sand long before I ran out of air. Blasting all of that grease and undercoating easily swallowed up most of the day. There was still a little time left to wipe the sub-frame down with degreaser and put the first coat of Eastwood’s Rust Converter. Tomorrow I’ll apply the second part Rust Encapsulator so that it can be painted next week.


Saturday, October 25th, 2008

Today’s project was cleaning and prepping the firewall. All of the completed rear underbody was masked with plastic to minimize dirt and grime spreading to finished areas. Attention was then focused on removing all wire harnesses, a/c equipment, brake booster, wiper motor, and other obstructions in order to fully clean the firewall. Most of the original seam sealer was thick and caked on. With a screw driver and scraper it flaked off fairly easily. Small wire brushes (really cheap at Harbor Freight) come in handy in narrow corners and crevices.

With all old seam sealer removed, a wire brush and scotch brite pad removed most all of the loose dirt and surface rust. A small patch of metal was rusted through at the base of the windshield which will be addressed next week after the windshield is removed.

Background – Trans Am

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008

This is my first post detailing the progress of my resto-mod ‘81 Trans Am. I’ll try to keep the blog updated each week as much as possible. First a little background on the car. I bought the car around 2001 for about $2500. I was lucky enough to find a Y84 Special Edition Trans Am (or Bandit Edition as some call it).  The car originally came from Florida and wasn’t in bad shape but not great either.  It had been painted within the last decade or so with a budget paint job.  The paint was faded and all original decals gone, except for some remnants which had started to bleed back through.  After a little exhaust work from a local shop, the clogged cat was replaced and ran decently for a couple of years. It suffered from leaky t-tops as most older Trans Ams do. All that water did a number on the interior over the years. With musky old car smell and tattered seats I didn’t have much money so I drove the car as is, even as my daily driver for about 6 months when my main car died. In ’05 I decided to move away from my hometown to finish my degree in Mechanical Engineering. The car sat idle and forgotten for the next two years.