C) Tools


Disassembly and Assembly: 

It seems that the disassembly of a vehicle requires the use of every tool in the shop plus some you wish you had.  

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 Hand hack saws are ok if power metal cutting saws and air cutting tools are not available but the latter will save a lot of grief and time. An oxyacetylene cutting torch is quick but often destructive on parts that are to be saved for later use. A torch is not recommended if the gasoline tank is still on the vehicle. These cutting tools with the exception of the torch are also used for body and fender work. 

Pry bars are useful in separating pieces and are good as well as the awls in lining up pieces during assembly.  

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A wide variety of screw drivers and wrenches is a necessity in the disassembly or assembly of a vehicle.

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1/4", 3/8" and 1/2"  socket sets with associated flex, torque and ratchet handles as well as various lengths of extensions speed up the work as well as getting at fasteners in hard to get at places. An air ratchet can speed up the work even more. 

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The engine crane (cherry picker) is good for picking up engines/transmissions etc. slow and easy and has good maneuverability. The electric hoist is more abrupt, and it's movement is only along the I beam, however it's fast and saves a lot of work when used correctly. A chain hoist also can get the job done with a little more effort.  

Identification and Storage: During vehicle disassembly a part identification and storage system should be used. This makes the replacement of warn or damaged parts and reassembly of the vehicle go a lot smoother.

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Zipper bags and plastic containers can be used to store small parts, larger parts can be identified with tags. A permanent marker is used to label the bags, containers and tags as to what the parts are and where they came from. Bakery bread pans on shelves are handy for storing the contained and labeled parts.  Larger parts can be tagged and stored on shelves.

Brake Line: Cutting brake line lengths and prepping and flaring the ends requires special tools. The following is the assortment of tools I've acquired. (under construction)

Machine Tool: At present I have only a 6" lathe which I consider Invaluable, a bench drill press and a floor drill press.  A small milling machine would certainly be a nice addition, but for the present it's on my wish list (list of those things I'll acquire when my ship comes in). (under construction)

Body and Fender: Body and fender tools are used to repair or modify metal. It's a good idea to analyze the project  well before starting the actual work and then choosing the tools carefully. As you use the tool, you need to observe what the tool is doing to the metal. 


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This I call a fender rack which holds fenders and other parts in place for repair or modification. There are 4 arms, each 1 can be adjusted up and down, in and out and can rotate 360 degrees. I fabricated it after taking the measurements from a friends  rack.

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The photo on the left is my collection of body hammers and dollies I started with 1 hammer and dolly, and added to these as need dictated over the years. I still find myself in situations where a different shaped hammer or dolly would do a better job. Most of the hammers and dollies are Martin which have good balance, keep their shape and are excellent for body and fender work when used correctly. These can be purchased from Eastwood or from a Martin tool distributor.  

The photo on the right is a bull's eye pick which is designed for precise angle picking in blind areas such as the under side of a fender. The blunt nose tip is on the tool which is used for bumping, the pick nose tip is shown unattached. I use this tool with both tips as much or more than the hammers and dollies. It can be purchased from Eastwood in 3 different sizes.

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The photo on the right is of a stainless steel 9" shrinking disk that I purchased from Sunchaser Industries. The disk is attached to a Milwaukee grinder.  The disk is passed over an area that has been roughed out and shaped with hammer, dolly and /or bull's eye pick.  This heats the high spots, then cold water is applied with a cloth rag which shrinks the highs. The process is repeated until the metal is smooth.

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 Layout dye (ink) and 80 grit sandpaper on a flexible sanding board are used to determine how smooth the metal is. The area is sprayed with layout dye, once the dye is dry, the area is passed over lightly with the sanding board which reveals the highs. 

Once the area is passed over a few times with the stainless disk, additional smoothing can be achieved by using an 80 grit sanding disk and a wet rag.

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Using the stainless shrinking disk is described and demonstrated in the 2 videos shown on the left that can be purchased from Sunchaser.

I have used a lot of resources in teaching myself metal finishing, some of the most used are shown on the right, "Metal Bumping" can be purchased from Eastwood, the "Metal Fabricators Handbook" from HPBooks or Fournier Enterprises, the "Basic Techniques for Working With Steel" from Covell Creative Metalworking and the "Hammerforming Techniques" from either Fournier or Covell. I also attended one of Covell's workshops which I found to be quite informative and useful.    

Welding: Most auto restoration and modification requires at least some welding on the body, fenders and sometimes the frame.

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This 110 volt Millermatic welder provides for most auto welding needs. The suggested size wire is .023" or .024" for body and fender welds, .030" works well for floor board and frame welds. The welder has presets for wire size and metal gage which is quite handy, however I find that if I adjust the wire speed and voltage I can still have welds that penetrate through the metal but require less or no grinding. Also I can make short continuous welds without burning through thin metal such as 16 gage. 

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Once in a great while a particular situation will require an oxyacetylene set up for gas welding, brazing or torch cutting.

An auto darkening welding helmet saves time and energy and allows for more attention to welding. Various types of clamps and locking pliers are handy for holding work to be welded. For grinding and power wire brushing welds, 4 to 5 inch electric or air grinders and air die grinders work quite well. When grinding or wire brushing a face-shield provides protection for your only 1 set of eyes. MIG Welders Pliers are used to clean and remove the MIG tip as well as cut the MIG  wire to correct length for welding. The hand wire brush (not shown) is always needed no matter what other tools are available. Gloves should always be worn when welding to protect the hands from heat burns and ultraviolet rays which can also burn.

Priming and Painting: The first thing I do when beginning a body and/or fender project is to remove all the old finish and clean the surface leaving bare metal. There are several ways to remove the old finish, media blasting, dipping in a stripping bath, stripping by hand (with gloves) using paint remover, and sanding with a 50 ->100 grit sanding disk on a 4",  5"or 6" electric or air grinder. If a 6" grinder is used a 4" will probably still be required for the tight places. 50 grit maybe too aggressive for some applications, 80 or 100 grit may be more desirable.         I used paint remover, paint brush, wire brush, paint scraper, putty knife and sand paper to remove the finish on the 40 Ford fenders. When all was said and done, it was very messy and time consuming so I haven't tried that process again.                                                                                                                                                                                               Sand blasting was used to remove the paint finish on the GMC pickup, this worked ok for removing the paint. Close attention to how the metal is being affected by the process. Sand blasting can heat the metal causing distortion, or the metal to become work hardened.                                                                                             The method I prefer is to use a grinder with a 80 grit disk to remove paint and old filler being careful to remove paint and fller not metal. This method is the fastest for a do it yourself type and can be cleaned up with a broom and shop vac.

Next is to prime the bare metal with epoxy primer with catalyst such as Eastwood's item # 14759ZP (quart with catalist).