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Stephens Performance
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Tools, Hardware, Shop Supplies

Episode Transcript

(Tommy)>> You're watching Powernation!

(Tommy)>> Today on Detroit Muscle it's a hodge podge of odds and ends. We're all over the place, from front to back, inside and out. We get creative with tips to boot. [ Music ] [ engines revving ] [ Music ]

(Tommy)>> A car is so much more than just four wheels and a bunch of parts bolted together. They have their own identity, and their personal traits need to work together, like interior, exterior, tone, and feel for it to be considered a perfect package. When they don't, well your masterpiece can look similar to abstract art. You know the rides I'm talking about. We've all seen them. They stick out like a sore thumb and kinda cross thread your thoughts, leave you confused wondering what the heck were they thinking? Now there's nothing wrong with making a statement. You just have to realize that every component that you screw or glue into place is a small piece to the big picture. With our Plymouth it's easy to see that it looks more like a delinquent than a model citizen, and that's exactly what we were going for. With its rough around the edges exterior, the dinosaur burning power plant that's in plain sight looking like it could breathe fire at any given moment, and a stance of it's just waiting to pounce. This may be too radical. Your style may be more shiny paint, velour interior, and cruise control.

(Joel)>> Which is totally fine, and if that's the case this Oldsmobile probably right up your alley. It has plenty of pizazz in its own right. With its two-tone paint, bright red pin stripes, and that iconic Hurst Olds banner that just grabs your attention, and if you take a peek at the interior that lightning rod shifter poking through the center console just a multiplying factor of how much fun you can have sitting in the driver's seat. And these are just two examples of why so many people love American muscle. Each one has its own story to tell, and they are far more than just a means of transportation.

(Tommy)>> This next trick that we have up our sleeve is kind of a custom touch that we're gonna add to complement the persona of road burner. A while back we was rummaging around in a candy land of battered and abused Mopars. After checking out a few historic relics and what more than likely is their final resting place we came up with this rustic idea to let a few of them live on as a name plate for Road Burner. We collected several letters with different fonts to spell out the word "Burner" to make our emblem. Now we want this thing to have a creepy feel to it. Kinda like a ransom note. To get a sneak peek of what our end result could look like we're gonna use an art technique called rubbing. All that is needed is some paper and a colored pencil. After that we can cut them out and arrange them to see what it's all gonna look like. Not too shabby! With several of our studs broken off our strategy for mounting these is to use some epoxy. I went ahead and made this little aluminum tray that I'm gonna fill with goo, and them press those emblems into place. And now later after everything sets up, I will bend this thing off. Hopefully, it goes as expected. If not, that tray may end up being part of the artwork. With the post I'm just gonna grind them down flush. I'm also gonna rough up the back of each emblem to help the bond of the epoxy. With everything all mixed up it goes in the tray... [ Music ] ...the emblems take a dip... [ Music ] ...and I can dial in the alignment. [ Music ] I need some steel shavings to sprinkle over the top. So, I grabbed our catch can off the grinder. This will rust up and hide all that glorified glue. [ Music ] [ metal vibrating ] [ Music ] [ wood scraping metal ] [ Music ]

(Tommy)>> This is my momma's method right here. I'm gonna force rust our rear emblem ransom note by using our trusty crusty concoctions. First, I'll hit it with some peroxide. Then a dash of salt. And finally blast it with the heat gun until our logo looks like it's been a part of Road Burner all along. [ Music ]

(Tommy)>> Stick that dude on now. [ Music ]

(Joel)>> Think you can pass glass class? This tip for your ride is free.

(Joel)>> Well you can see clearly now our glass is gone. The windshield in our old Road Runner was in pretty rough shape. So, it had to go. The general condition of automotive glass can be classified into three different forms. You've got the good, the bad, and the ugly. When it's nice it gives you a clear perspective of all obstacles in your way, but when it's crummy it can be blatantly obvious and seem impossible to repair. However, I do know a few tricks of the trade that'll help take your glassware from fowled up to fabulous. A while back Tom and I disposed of Road Burner's weathered and cracked up old windshield. The gasket was all tore up, it was taped in place, and between all the fractures, swirls, and pock marks visibility was no guarantee. So, the best thing for that old hunk of laminated glass was to just toss it into file 13. Now obviously running this car without a windshield is not an option. Not only is it illegal in most states but some would consider it cruel and immoral to risk the possibility of messing up Tom's hair. He works really hard on it, you know? So, what are your options when it comes to sprucing up the glass in your ride? Well for us it was just a matter of tracking down a brand new windshield and getting it delivered to our front doorstep courtesy of Stephens Performance. However, some of you may not have that same luxury for a variety of reasons. For one, you may be running into the supply chain issues that we've touched on in the past and can't get a proper replacement in a timely manner. Or you're just one of those chalk mark guys that want to ensure some authenticity to the vehicle you're restoring. For example, these old Mopars actually have date coded glass. You can tell by the inscription here we have the trademark Chrysler Pentastar as well as the number six and eight, indicating this vent window was manufactured in June of 1968. Now this may not pertain to those of you who look at it as just another piece of glass. And for the rest of you, it's just as important as the numbers matching on the engine. Using this raggedy old windshield as our guinea pig I'm gonna be running you guys through a few techniques that I know of that's gonna restore some optical clarity back into your whip. I'll mask off three different sections that will work as a divider between the different applications. The far one on the end will remain dirty and grimy so that we can reference it later. The middle section will get a bath with some Sonax glass cleaner. What we've noticed about this Sonax formula is that not only does it penetrate the surface and wash away a lot of residue, it also leaves behind a streak free shine that deflects a lot of future debris. Sonax glass cleaner is even safe to use on your household windows so you can soak in the rays of a bright sunshiny day. Now for this last section on the end I'm gonna be doing something that may seem a little unorthodox but it's a tried and true method that really works. All you're gonna need is some quadruple or triple ought steel wool and some distilled water. [ Music ] Distilled water works as a purified mineral free lubricant to help the steel wool glide across the surface. Similar to wet sanding a body panel. It scours the area just enough to polish it but not damage it. The end result is a silky exterior that's smooth to the touch. I'm sure you're all very familiar with what happens when that rubber gasket on your windshield wiper gives up the ghost. Starts moving back and forth and making God awful noises similar to nails on a chalk board. Not only is it irritating to the ears, but to the eyes as well. To help simulate this optical interference I'm going to scrape the surface with some 600-grit sandpaper. Then we'll rejuvenate it using this glass polishing kit we got from Summit Racing. To start off simply dump a few ounces of the supplied diamond fast powder into the lid of the container. Add in some distilled water a few drops at a time and mix until you get a consistency similar to that of toothpaste. Apply a thin layer of paste over the surface of your pad before finally using a variable speed drill to polish the work area. Spray the distilled water as you go to help reduce friction heat and avoid unpleasant swirl marks. [ buffer humming ]

(Joel)>> Last step, clean with ammonia free glass cleaner and declare victory. [ Music ] Depending on the extent of the damage they amount of time it takes to elevate your glass to first class may vary, and in all reality these methods really didn't require that much sweat from our brow, and this was in pretty rough shape. Knowing what you know now, just imagine what you could do if you have a decent piece to begin with. Won't know until you try. [ Music ] Excuse me, is this seat taken?

(Tommy)>> Under the hood, check! Cool stance, check! Interior finish, nope, not yet! We've been making some good headway and we're getting dangerously close of calling old Road Burner finished. One of the last things that we need to do to check off the list is some seats. We wanted to carry over that racy vibe of our old Plymouth into the interior. Normally with a car built for the track everything in here gets gutted to save weight, but with our ride it's gonna be a lot more street than strip. So that's why we wanted a full interior. Road Runners rolled off the assembly line with a tasteful but usually basic upholstery. So, a little dressing up and a performance touch would go a long way.

(Joel)>> This old park bench just wasn't gonna cut it. It's heavy, was gonna require a ton of work, not to mention it's ugly. We were okay with the seats making a statement, but it needed to be right one. We wanted an aggressive appeal without anything looking out of place. So, we had to get a bit creative. After ordering a pair of aluminum bucket seats from Summit... [ Music ] ...we sent them out to our buddies at Blast from the Past for a subtle custom touch. Then Gill from Speed and Design worked his magic.

(Tommy)>> This is what we have. A set of jet-black seats front and rear. These buckets give you a pretty indication. You get an opportunity in to Road Burner. You sit back and hold on, the fun's about to start. To hold the front ones in place there's a whole bunch of options that you could go with. The kit that we have is very universal. It has multiple holes in the brackets to make adjustments on all four corners.

(Joel)>> We also opted for the sliders. Now if it's just you that's gonna be driving your pride and joy you may not need them. This is just a basic upgrade, and it's only missed when you need it. [ Music ] Now there's several things you have to consider when you're installing seats in a car, but the most important stuff is right here in the driver's seat.

(Tommy)>> Is comfort your main focus? If that's the case you just need to get everything dialed into that sweet spot that makes you feel good, but if you're more of a driver than a styler, you're gonna have some different specs. Commonly the steering wheel is in a 20 to 30 degree angle to give you optimal control. Adjust the seat so that when you're sitting with your shoulders against the seat back your arm is practically straight and your wrist is just forward of the back side of the steering wheel on the top. Using this setup positions your body in a location that allows you to steer comfortably and helps to reduce fatigue. Also, with the pedals you don't want your legs to fully extend when you press them down. If the seat is too far back this will be an issue. What you're looking for is a slight bend in your knee when you mash them to the floor. It's all about the details. If you look close the pattern on the front cover matches the rear seat, and we also use the same two different vegan leather materials to make sure it was accurate. From the beginning what we had wasn't much. It's easy to say that our interior was picked to the bone, but with some parts and help from some good friends along with a little sweat and effort on our part we was able to transform this empty shell of neglect back to what it once was, a prideful piece of Detroit muscle. [ Music ] Next, we make some connections. Will they put us in a bind or will sparks fly?

(Tommy)>> Road Burner's almost finished. One of the last things often times a person tackles on their project is the exhaust system. You could take it down to your local exhaust shop and have them take care of things for you or you could buy yourself a pre-bent kit like oftentimes we do. Either way the process is basically the same. You start here at the headers and begin to make your way toward the back of the car. After you hang a few pieces of pipe you're just forward of the rear axle, and this is where your normally gonna mount up your mufflers. Finally, you're at the back of the car. Then you get to weld on a tip or get creative with a cool slice to doll things up. An exhaust system is made using multiple pieces connected together. That connection can be had several different ways. Let's talk about the most basic one first, clamps. There are several different styles and depending on your goals would help you determine which one to use. Now this one is the old school two piece style and is often times found on classics. It requires one piece of pipe to slide into the other. With it in place just tighten the nuts up, and it compresses the outer onto the inner. If you're in the middle of a restoration of some Detroit iron and going for that o-g look, there's a really good chance that this is what you'll be using. This one is what's referred to as a band clamp style. It works really well whenever you're trying to join two pieces of pipe together that are the same diameter. [ Music ] You just slide it into place... [ Music ] ...tighten everything up... [ drill humming ] [ Music ]

(Tommy)>> ...and it's good to go!

(Joel)>> A much more permanent solution to building your plumbing is through welding, and when it comes to the alloys involved I've got a few different options, including mild steel, aluminized, stainless, and even some exotic ones like titanium and Inconel, and to fuse those pieces together you're either gonna be using a mig or a tig welder. Now with mild steel and aluminized a smaller mig setup like this will do the trick, and you can use a bigger one if you want but it's a little bit overkill. We're not exactly building a skyscraper here. Another advantage is the wand size. Not only will it help you get into those hard to reach spots but it'll also get the job done quicker. Now with stainless steel you can use a mig welder but if you're gonna go that route you've basically got two options. One, you could weld it with a standard steel wire but your beads are gonna be more prone to corrosion. Or two, a better way is to swap out your steel wire for stainless along with the proper shielding gas, which in that case would be helium. Not only are you gonna have the convenience of a mig welder, but your welds aren't going to be as prone to corrosion. If you really want to dress up that exhaust and take it that extra mile a tig is the way to go. You can weld all those exotic alloys I mentioned earlier. Just make sure you use the proper filler rod for the material you're working with. For our application all we need is the trusty mig welder.

(Tommy)>> Just like everything else on this Mopar the tune coming out of the exhaust is gonna be easily noticed and obviously aggressive. So let me introduce you to the American Thunder series exhaust by Flowmaster. We make some pretty good power with that Hemi. So, these three inch mandrel bent pieces of automotive perfection will allow our power plant to breathe easy. That combined with a pair of Super 40 chambered mufflers will generate a deep and powerful sound to perk up the ear of any red blooded throttle pedal junky. This kit should fit right up under Road Burner, but we may have to do a small amount of massaging to accommodate that four link rear that we're running from Reilly Motorsports, but that's just a stone for a stepper.

(Joel)>> You know what they say. A hot rod is never truly completely done, but after some mandatory optical improvements, some stylish enhancements, and a one of a kind accessory it's just about time to take this old girl out for a night on the town.

(Tommy)>> We still have a few other loose ends that we're gonna have to tie up, but the next time that you get to see this piece of Detroit muscle there's gonna be plenty of fire and smoke. Emphasis on the smoke!
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