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Episode Transcript

(Narrator)>> Lifted, now lowered. Once four wheel driven, now sports all-wheel drive. Today on Truck Tech "Project RedTide" returns for LT's custom stainless exhaust, with an exit that'll raise eyebrows. Plus Austin shows how to get your shine on.

(Austin)>> Hey welcome to the shop guys. Today we're gonna be working on two old Chevy short bed trucks 23 years apart and two totally different body styles.

(LT)>> Over here we have "Project RedTide". Our 1988 Chevy K-1500 that's been converted to all-wheel drive and lowered down to the ground, and it now identifies as a GMC thanks to the front end conversion that we picked up from Classic Industries. Now mechanically this truck's about 95 percent done. We've got a few odds and ends to finish up to get it road worthy and a custom exhaust is one of the last items that we need to build.

(Austin)>> Now this front grille came out really nice and it updated the truck well, but the rest of the truck's still a little worn and faded. So I'm gonna show you some paint correction techniques to help get this single stage "Victory Red" shining like new. And after that we'll tear into our newest project, this '65 C-10 that we're gonna nickname "Project Lo 'n Slo".

(LT)>> We just got in some new suspension parts that are gonna lower this truck even more and tighten up the handling. So we'll start by cleaning up the frame to accept those new parts, but first we'll get "RedTide" up in the air and start on that exhaust. [mechanical buzzing ]

(LT)>> Our exhaust system is gonna start at the back of our long tube headers, which have a three inch V-band that's been welded on each side to make removing the exhaust system much simpler. Because we have a transfer case and a fuel tank that are mounted on the driver's side, this pipe is actually gonna run down underneath the transmission pan and up into the space between the trans and the frame. There it will meet up with the other pipe from the passenger side header and they'll both run into an X-pipe that'll sit right here, which will help scavenge exhaust gas and give that five point three a really unique exhaust note. The pipes are to run further back where we'll mount the muffler in this big open space right here, which is actually where the factory mounted their muffler. Now we could dump the tail pipes straight out the side, or even dump them straight down to the ground before the axle, but we're gonna continue further on, run the pipes around the shock, over the axle, and out towards the rear. Now on this body style of truck guys will often run the exhaust tips out to the side or straight out the back. We have something a little bit different in mind which we'll show you later on. We're going to be building a 100 percent custom stainless steel Magnaflow exhaust system. So we started out with a three inch builder's kit that has enough material between the straight and the mandrel bends. Those will get us all the way from the headers to the rear bumper. We also picked up this muffler that has dual three inch inlets and outlets. It's made from stainless steel and it's 22 inches long, which will give our five point three a really aggressive sound. We also grabbed this X-pipe that has a low profile that'll fit nicely in the space between the transmission and the frame rail. And to cap it all off we grabbed a bunch of stainless steel V-bands to make all of the connections. Our first task is finding a place to get this X-pipe mounted up to the headers. Since the X-pipe has to sit between the trans and the frame I need to first build an offset bend.

[ saw buzzing ]

(LT)>> Once my cuts are made I'll fire up the tig and tack the two pieces to each other. Then fully weld them together using some 308 stainless filler. Then I'll attach the ring for the V-band clamp.

Looks pretty good. Let's hope it fits.

Attach the pipe to the header. [ drill spinning ]

(LT)>> And then slide on the crossover.

Call me crazy but my absolutely 100 percent favorite thing to do when working on a car or a truck is building a custom exhaust system. There's really just something kinda liberating about being able to take this thing that you've designed and thought of in your brain and turning it into a working part. It's just you, your hands, your tools, and you can transform a box of raw materials into a fully functioning exhaust system. Now there's a couple of things I always like to consider when designing and building exhaust. Number one, there's a certain amount of visual symmetry that you have to plan into the exhaust because it just looks great. And number two, you have to have it function as well. So always plan adequate clearance around things that might be sensitive to heat. So keep you exhaust far away from fuel lines, electrical wires, or any other hoses. Now number three, you have to have ground clearance, especially on a lowered vehicle like ours. So I always keep the exhaust system above the level of the frame rail so you never will drag it on the ground or anything like that, but the most important part about building exhaust, well it has to be removable from the vehicle. I like to keep as few joints as possible. Parts that come apart, so the exhaust stays as big as possible. That kind of helps minimize leaks, but there's really nothing worse than finding out later that you have to cut your brand new exhaust in half just to service the transmission. It's really just a simple matter of planning four or five steps ahead using your hands, your head, and your tools, and you can build something that you'll be proud of for many years to come. And that is how it's done.

(Narrator)>> Next bringing a dull finish back to life.

(Austin)>> While LT continues working on that exhaust I'm gonna address the finish of this truck's "Victory Red" paint job. I'm sure you have a daily driver or a project truck at the house that the road has taken its toll on, and it can be chore and a half to keep it looking new. This here is the hood from "Project RedTide", and if you look close you can see scratches, imperfections, and even poor paint quality from the previous paint job, but that doesn't mean we need to repaint the entire truck to make it look new. Sonax makes high performance car care products for the average DIY'er and car care professional. Which means you don't need to be an expert to get that show quality shine. They make everything from polishing, buffing pads, waxes, coatings, and even interior cleaners. We're gonna begin with the Sonax cut max, which is an aggressive abrasive that won't damage the paint. We'll then move on to the EXZero-Four-Zero-Six, which will begin with a medium cut and finish out to a high gloss. We'll finish up with Profiline Polymer Net Shield to seal in that shine. I always begin any polishing project by starting with a freshly cleaned surface. I'm gonna lay out some tape so we can eyeball the before and after. Looking at this finish I can tell this was recently painted. Cut Max is a heavy cut abrasive that I'll pair with a red hard pad. I'm using a dual action random orbital polisher, which won't create as much heat as a rotary polisher. It's a good idea to pre-load your pad. Three dime size dabs is all it takes to get started. I like to begin in the lowest speed setting. Basically all I'm doing here is spreading the polish out into my working area. I work in a two by two foot area at a time. After it's covered I bump the speed up to about three or four on the dial and slowly make horizontal then vertical passes while overlapping about 25 percent on each pass. For this stage I apply slight pressure but not too much. Once I cover the panel section it gets wiped down with a microfiber so we don't cross contaminate the abrasives. For step two I'll use Sonax EXZero-Four-Zero-Six the exact same way as the Cut Max but with a medium hard pad. The Zero-Four-Zero-Six is a final abrasive which can also be used as a one-step medium cut finishing polish. This stage removes any ultra-fine scratches left over by the cut max and gives the paint the highest level of gloss with no swirl. All of Sonax polishing compounds are water based, meaning no dust is produced during polishing. This makes for easy cleanup and prolongs the life of your polishing pad. After about two passes each way I speed the polishing up to max speed with no pressure applied. Simply keep the polisher level and allow it to do all the work. This is where the abrasives will begin to break down, and fine tune the paint for an awesome end result. Don't worry if you see your paint color transfer over to your pad. This is a single stage paint. Therefore that means the polisher's doing its job. Now if you have a base coat clear coat system and you see paint color transfer that means you burned through the clear and that's not what you want. We will then seal up the paint and protect it with the Profiline Polymer Net Shield Sealant that will quickly and easily intensify the color and amplify the drip off effect for up to six months. Well there you go. Even in the small taped off section you can really see the results of the before and after. This just shows that with the right products and a little work there's a shine under there just waiting to be revealed.

(Narrator)>> Next LT plays with his new toy.

(LT)>> When it comes to joining stainless steel together there are several different processes that you could use, but for the cleanest look and smallest weld bead nothing beats a tig. So to weld together the finished exhaust on "Project RedTide" we're going to be using our Forney 220 AC/DC tig. Now this is an inverter based machine that plugs into 230 volts of single phase power, and it will output anywhere between 10 and 200 amps of power, making this the perfect general purpose machine for any fabrication projects you might run into when you're building a custom car or truck. Now even though this will weld up to quarter inch thick aluminum on a single pass we're really only going to be using a fraction of its power to weld our stainless steel exhaust. With the machine fired up we can go over some of the options. There are 10 pre-programmed settings for each steel and aluminum, making first time setup very simple. Just use the provided chart to make your selection, and if you want you can store your own custom settings as well. You can control the duration of both pre and post weld gas flow, which is especially important on stainless steel. It also has a built in pulse feature to help control heat input into thinner materials. The Forney 220 AC/DC comes with 12.5 foot leads, a gas flow meter, ground clamp, and of course a foot pedal to control output current. It also has high frequency capability, which means you can have clean arc starts without having it contact the tungsten to the base material. Stainless steel is a somewhat tricky material to weld properly as it's sensitive to heat. My rule of thumb is to keep your travel speed as fast as you can comfortably move. Quickly roll into the throttle with the pedal and get the metal just hot enough. Make your weld and then get off the heat as quick as you can. Also you'll notice I'm running a larger number 12 cup and gas lens to keep a larger weld area shielded by the argon. And also don't forget to let the post flow cycle complete before moving the torch away from the weld area. On a stainless exhaust pipe I set the post flow to eight seconds. When I mocked up this crossover pipe underneath the truck I actually used a mig welder with mild steel filler to tack everything in place. Now that's a quick and easy way to get your exhaust system locked down, and when I finished welded with the tig I could have gone right up and over those tack welds. The problem is that little bit of mild steel can actually cause the rest of this stainless steel exhaust system to rust out.

I'm using a Forney dual sided flap wheel on the 80 grit side. I'll carefully grind the tack welds flush with the base metal, working with as small as an area as possible to keep the finished product looking good. Then I'll come back in and tig weld over the gaps using the same 308 filler as the rest of the exhaust system. Then I can reattach the crossover to the header and tack weld the other end through the X-pipe. The front half of the exhaust system is pretty much done, and I'm real happy with how it's turning out. Now the X-pipe is mounted fairly close to the frame to clear the transmission, but if I took my two pipes and I ran straight back the muffler actually wouldn't fit because it would be pushed over too close to the frame rail. So I made a pair of these little offset pipes that slide into the X-pipe and it'll jog the muffler over about two and a half inches, which is just enough room to make it fit. Now the next part that I need to figure out is get a way to hang the rear of this muffler. Now luckily there's a crossmember right above where it stops. So I have a great place to attach these rubber isolators that come with the kit. Yeah somewhere in there.

(Narrator)>> Next can a Corvette inspire our pickup? Find out!

[ saw buzzing ]

(LT)>> Progress continues on the custom exhaust for "RedTide", and we're working on finishing up the tailpipe section. There are a few obstacles we need to work around. Namely the passenger side shock and the rear axle. So I'll keep the pipes as high as possible and leave at least an inch of clearance between any part of the frame. My process is fairly simple. I'll just eyeball the correct angles, make a square cut on the chop saw, deburr the edges with a flap wheel and a die grinder, and when I'm happy with the fit I'll build the tailpipe section by tack welding on one bend at a time. I told you guys we had something pretty special in mind for the exhaust exit on this truck and here it is. I took four 90 degree mandrel bends and a I built a custom quad tipped to resemble a CFive or a CSix Corvette, and we think it's gonna look and sound pretty great. So the last thing we have to do to finish up this exhaust is connect the over the axle pipe to the tip, add a few more hangers, and we're done.

(Austin)>> Whatever you guys are working on in your own shop there is a chance you will eventually need to paint something. Whether it be bare metal, car or truck parts, or an entire vehicle, there are many different paint systems you can choose from for your specific application. So today we're talking paint, from single to multi stage and what works best where. Everyone has picked up and sprayed something with a rattle can at some point. It's just about the easiest and least expensive way to get pigment on anything. Now even though we have a professional spray booth next door spray paint still has a place in our shop. It's a one part system, meaning that the paint cures via air dry and no chemical reactions occur. We often use it for engine parts, interior items, and undercarriages. Any surfaces that don't have direct contact with the sun. Although you can additionally spray on clear coat for extra protection. Single stage means the base and clear coat are mixed together. This was used in vehicles off the assembly line up until about 1980. Additionally it requires the use of a catalyst to promote the curing process. We utilized single stage on "Project RedTide", where our "Victory Red" required an activator and hardener to make it more durable and provide a high film build. Because single stage paint is a one step process requiring no additional clear coat, it makes it more cost effective and a quicker process altogether. Many restoration shops also use single stage to mimic and try to reproduce the old classics we all love. Lastly is a two stage paint system. This typically means a base coat for the first and a clear coat for the second stage. Now the base coat does not provide any strength or durability. It's applied for color coverage only. The clear coat is a second stage, which is strictly applied for strength, durability, and shine. The base coat can be a one part air drying cure while the clear coat is a two part requiring a hardener or catalyst for the curing process. Base coat clear coat systems are often used, especially when spraying metallic. This allows you to spray the base properly to ensure the metal flakes stand up and eliminate blotching. This one can be one of the more labor intensive and expensive processes. As you can tell there are many different paint systems out there. Each one has its own pros and cons but all work great when applied correctly. So when choosing the right paint for your project refer to your local automotive paint supplier and they'll be happy to point you in the right direction. So hopefully all this will help you to begin your research in choosing which process will best suit your needs.

(LT)>> When restoring a classic truck like "Project Lo 'n Slo" it's finding the small parts that can make your life difficult, but Brothers Trucks makes it easy. They specialize in '47 to '87 Chevy and GMC, and for our '65 Fleetside these are solid state l-e-d replacement taillights, marker lamps, and headlights. They're brighter than stock, they come pre-wired, and they'll slip into a stock or a replacement bezel. Find out more and download a free catalog at Brothers Trucks dot com.

(Austin)>> We would be lost in our shop without a heavy duty impact, and with the best in its class torque output the Matco three-eighths drive air impact boasts an impressive 625 pound foot of breakaway torque. It only weights two point eight pounds and has a one hand button operation for forward and reverse. You can also feather the throttle for variable speed, and has a reinforced clutch mechanism for improved durability. Visit Matco Tools dot com for more.

(LT)>> There are certainly much quicker and much more affordable ways to build a custom exhaust, but this vehicle is one of a kind. So the exhaust deserves to be just the same way.

(Austin)>> This was a pretty hot debated topic on the exit strategy of the exhaust but if you ask me I think all your long hours paid off, and that about wraps up this project.

(LT)>> Absolutely, you know the quad tip thing is kinda love it or hate, but I just think it looks like it belongs. We started off with a four wheel drive truck and then we lowered it down to the ground. We did an engine and transmission swap, and finally we converted "RedTide" to all-wheel drive. So really the last thing that we have to do is fire it up and listen to that exhaust. Man hit it! [ engine starts ]

(LT)>> Beautiful, rev it up a couple of times! [ engine revving ]

(LT)>> You just can't beat the sound of a healthy cam'ed American V-eight.

(Austin)>> Yeah next time you see this truck it might be on some terrain you may not expect, and probably even get a little dirty.

(LT)>> That's for sure. For more information on "Project RedTide" or any of the other trucks that we build check us out at Powernation TV dot com. Thanks for watching Truck Tech, and we'll catch you next time.
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