05 January 2011

chief and old grand-dad - double whammy sweet spot

Sometimes I have to trick myself into getting stuff done,
and this past Sunday night really paid off.

I had gone to the shop earlier, but with the kids going to school the next day,
figured it would be good to go back home to eat dinner with them and return for a short work night.
You know how it is once you get the comfort of home though, its tough to leave,
especially at 9pm!
My oldest son Jaxon helped me out,
 telling me his school project was on the flashdrive I use to transfer music to the shop computer...

So now its about 9:45pm.
I'm at the cold shop, wondering if I should try to reclaim my earlier momentum,
or just drive home and be bummed in the morning that I didn't get anything more done.

This is where Old Grand-Dad came into play...

Old Grand-Dad 86 proof whiskey

I had found this bottle at our new local BevMo for $10!
The idea was to have a cheap shop bottle,
something that if Luke-Pigpen drank up I wouldn't be too upset at the replacement cost!
For a bottom shelf bottle, it's  pretty good stuff if you like whiskey straight,
way better than Jack Daniels and other mid or even top shelf bourbons.
Supposedly the 100 proof is even better - but you do the math -
2 bottles for $20 or 1 bottle for $20...

Anyway where was I.
Ok so now its 10pm and its cold.
The only way to not puss out and drive home was to make it wrong to drive,
and all I needed was a little taste,
by 12 or 1am my breath would be clean and I could go home...

chief's floor template

In the middle of december I had made a template for the new floor.
The original aluminum road-sign floor was basically unuseable with the new subrail.

It sat like this for over a week.

new old road sign floor

I had been looking for some old donor road signs,
which don't have that brushed surface that the new ones have.
I had priced out new aluminum but it still had that brushed surface,
which made it easy to accept the use of the road signs lying around the shop.
Way overthinking it as usual.

shiny floor

After not even an hour of cutting, wow,  a shiny new floor.
It sat like this for, dang, almost 2 weeks!

Each piece needed to be fit and cleaned up,
very tedious - in and out, back and forth with a grinder and files.
this is what I had done earlier that Sunday.

All I had planned to do now was make some holes,
tap the frame holes, and shave and hammer that center hump piece.
2 hours tops.
fitted floor

Fortunately I had also finish welded those seat hinge pieces and painted it black,
so after a quick install, the interior was really buttoned up.

But what the heck,
now its only about 12:30am, the "sweet spot" is comin up and I'm on a roll.

How about another hour working on another lingering project?
Good Old Grand Dad...

Good Old Grand Dad

Not much, just a taste.


Another back-story
old steering arm

Chief has cowl steer, so the steering arm is really steep for the angles to be right.
This was supposed to be temporary but it lasted for years.
I can't believe it didn't rip out, that's why the cross!
Originally there was no center gusset, man that thing was a flimsy piece of shit.

template + SS scrap

At one of the real Paso shows ('04 or '05) I had seen a really cool steering arm,
it was a flat plate one and it was chromed out, never saw it again.
I really like the use of grade 8 bolts holding it on too, instead of the threaded rod.

One thing about boat work is working with stainless steel -
no need to paint or chrome, although way tougher on the tools and time.
We had some 1/2" thick scrap which seemed perfect for the piece.

holy chit

This thing took forever to cut out and grind.
And the 1/2"SS, way too thick probably,
even the spindles backing plate is barely 1/4" thick.

This was done  the first week of December,
and it sat until, holy chit, almost the last day of the year.


By then Chief was covered in the dust of other projects.
It was time to figure out how to bend this thing.
I didn't think of using the press until this section of course.
The first bends were made with heat,
and beating the shit out of it with a hammer in a vice.
There were marks all over it, really crude.
The section pictured above would not budge with a hammer and torch,
and than it dawned on me that we had a press,
and with a little heat it was like taffy.
Unfortunately there were even deeper marks from the sharp metal blocks.


So it sat like this for almost a week.


The main problem was there needed to be a 7 degree tapered hole for the tie rod end.
The price at speedway was over $80, and a snap-on version was $50.
With the stainless I could imagine it lasting for just that one hole.

Now that its 1am, I decided to at least start hand filing the hole...
magic grinder

3 hours later and I'd gotten lost in the grinding and filing.
I don't know if it was old grand-dad,
or the crispy sounds coming out of that Realistic Amp!

stainless, cardboard, chit

It was tricky to get all the hammer and press marks out,
but I have to say it was really satisfying watching it clean up.
I'm still thinking of putting that hole in the middle like the template,
but it could end up whistling in the wind !

Since the bolt tabs are flat, the steering arm starts its angle above the bolt holes,
so its not as angular looking as the old version.



That tapered hole didn't come out too bad.
I'm on the fence about getting the reamer to finish it off,
I had used red Dykem and a tie rod end as a guide for the high and low points,
so it's not wobbly at all.
The concern is not being able to remove the tie rod end later.


Most importantly the angles of the radius rod and drag link seem correct.
The goal was to have them parallel or at least closer in the rear.
The arm isn't bolted down so the front will raise up a little bit more.

So much more to do!

Next time...



  1. BARBARA much? heard touch of grey today on shity fm with a mehki who doesn't point out all the strip clubs.... so it's alright, cuz i will get by and i will survive.
    here we go.
    keep it up.
    padres suck.

  2. Funny you mentioned it,
    when grinding on that steering arm,
    that $1.25/barbara carried me through to the wee hours of the morning.
    I knew strip clubs were a ho-town thing,
    good thing you know how much a song costs now!