Building a Fuel Cell Cradle and Feeding Pile House with Fuel

Lately I’ve changed gears on Pile House and I’ve decided to start working on getting Pile House moving under its own power. I decided to order up a plastic fuel cell from Jegs first. Once I began test fitting it at a few different spots on the chassis it was obvious that the only place I could fit it under the bed was behind the rear axle. The original tank on the S10 chassis was just behind the cab, but with how much I’ve lowered the truck the driveshaft would hit the fuel cell now. This meant I needed to make my own mounts for the fuel cell.

I’ve been trying to think ahead more on my builds as I go along and keep in mind that I may need to service the vehicle down the line. For that reason I decided to make a removable “cradle” for the fuel delivery system. I wanted to make something the fuel cell could sit in, the electric fuel pump could bolt to, and I could easily take out by removing a few bolts. I started by taking some 1″x1″ angle steel and welding up a square base that the fuel cell would slip into using the Eastwood TIG 200 AC/DC. I then took some 16 gauge sheet metal and made straps that fit into the grooves in the top of the fuel cell and would bolt together to hold the fuel cell in place. I then TIG welded the base of the straps to the lower fuel cell surround I previously made.

With the fuel cell “contained” I had to figure out how to attach the cradle to the chassis legs in the rear. I decided to use some steel DOM tubing I had kicking around from another project and bend pieces to attach the cradle and chassis. I used a jack to fit the cradle into the place I wanted and used some TIG filler wire to play with the bend I needed to make in the tubing to hang the fuel cell at the height I wanted. I then used the sample TIG wire and the Eastwood Professional Tubing Bender to bend matching radii in the tubing. I once again TIG welded these parts on and was able to hang the fuel cell in place.

Now the I had the fuel cell in place I was able to plumb my fuel system. I stitch welded the bracket for the electric fuel pump to the base of the cradle and hung the fuel pump in place. I then ran the fittings, hoses, and tubing necessary to get fuel to the system. I ran rubber fuel line from the pump to the chassis and then I took one of our Steel 3/8″ Tubing Kits and ran hardline from the rubber hose to just under the firewall of the cab.

After removing the tubing from the chassis I used the Professional Tubing Cutter to cut the tubing down to the desired length. On the engine side I’m also using rubber fuel line to connect to the hardline so I like to put a flare on the tubing to help keep the rubber line seated. I used the Eastwood professional tubing flare tool and flared the first step of a double flare into either end of the line. This makes for a tight fit when slipping the rubber hose onto the hardline and gives a “shoulder for me to put the hose clamp up against to assure the fuel line won’t slip off of the line.

With the fuel system mounted and plumbed I can drill the holes to bolt the fuel cell cradle in the chassis and secure it finally. I plan to eventually build a roll pan that will hide the fuel cell and clean up the rear end of the truck, but that’s down the road a little bit!

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Eastwood’s ‘Shop Talk’, Episode 16: Kevin Tetz Talks Shop With Eastwood Company Insiders As SEMA Approaches


In this episode of Eastwood’s ‘Shop Talk,’ Kevin Tetz chats with Joe Mountz and Matt Murray: two members of the Eastwood Team as they prepare for SEMA, the biggest industry event of the year.

Eastwood’s slogan is ‘Do The Job Right’, which is exactly what they intend to do at this year’s SEMA Show.

Not everyone can make it to Las Vegas, which is why Eastwood will be bringing SEMA to the public. From live tech demonstrations featuring the hottest names in the industry, to breaking news, product reveals, and big name interviews, Eastwood will be providing it all, for FREE!

LIVE Tech Demo Schedule on Tuesday Novermber 5, 2013: 

1:30 to 2:30 PM PST – Ron Covell

3:00 to 4:00 PM PST – Kevin Tetz

Check in with Eastwood on Facebook, YouTube & Instagram, to follow the action and experience SEMA from your computer or smart phone!

So sit tight, listen to Kevin & the Eastwood Team chat it up & don’t forget to keep up with Kevin via Eastwood’s Blog & YouTube Channel!

Like what you hear? SUBSCRIBE and listen to Kevin at home, in the garage or on the road!

Have ideas for the show, or questions you want answered on the air by Kevin? Feel free to shoot Kevin an email at, we’d love to hear from you!

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Second Time is a Charm- Painting a 1971 Chevy Camaro

Just about everyone at Eastwood is a car guy or gal in some shape or form, so we all love conversing with our customers about what projects they’re working on. Every now and then we get a really cool story about a project one of you are working on and we want to share it with everyone. This story is from Jeremy B. that recently shared a picture of his first paint project, a 1971 Chevy Camaro. Read along as Jeremy tells us how he got a second chance to build the car he wanted to build as a kid!

To tell the story of my 1971 Camaro we have to got back 20 years ago. 1993 I was a young boy living in a hot rod house. My dad had a 1955 Bel Air, my uncle, a 1956 Bel Air. I had decided that the 1971 Camaro was the car for me. I had been saving money mowing yards and cleaning cars. My dad calls me from work one day and said I found your car in the “Bargain Mart”, the local Auto Trade newspaper. It was a stock Mulsanne Blue 1971. With his help I bought it.

Being a shortsighted kid, I quickly took the car apart with hopes of making a fast street/strip car out of it. Of course I had no money to do such at the time, and by the time I had a drivers license the Camaro was sitting in a corner collecting dust. The car was sold in 1996 for next to nothing. Years went by, cars came and went. Fast forward to 2012, now grown with a child of my own, I had just finished a mechanical restoration on a 1969 C10 chevy, leaving the original patina on the outside. One day while looking at Craiglist I saw a 1971 Camaro, it was Blue with primer and reminded me of my original. The Truck was put up for sale, and before long I was headed to pick up the Camaro!

The truck was my daily driver, so this Camaro had to be up to the task as well. After making the 2 hour drive home in it, I was pretty pleased with how roadworthy it was. However I was not too pleased with its visual appearance. Blue shell, grey doors, black fenders, it did not look too pretty. Because this was my daily driver at the time, and I knew it would get the proper restoration treatment later, I decided to just try a quick, cheap paint job, just to get it all in one color.

Now to say my paint experience is limited would be an understatement! I had never painted a car before, unless you count the 1/25th scale versions! My goal was to get the car painted in a weekend, so I would be able to get to work on Monday. I decided to sand the entire car, do the very minimum bodywork and spray.

I spent a day wet-sanding the car, which was made easier by a rain shower! I did very little body work as the car was pretty straight with new sheet metal on the the front, and doors that were swapped from another car.

I used Eastwood White Epoxy Primer Sealer to get a good seal over the entire car including the jams It mixed and sprayed very well. I sprayed 3 coats.

I then went over the entire car with Eastwood Urethane Mulsanne Blue. This is the same color my original 1971 Camaro was 20 years ago. To say the color brought back memories was an understatement! It was like I traveled time!

The Eastwood paint was very easy to work with as well. The paint laid out very well. No runs at all! Over the next few days everyone in my neighborhood stopped by to check it out, and no one could believe I had never painted a car before! I credit Eastwood paint for a lot of this.

Next on this list is laying out some SS stripes and clear. I have not wet sanded or buffed the Blue paint and it looks great.
Also please note, this was painted in a lean-to section of my garage with gravel floors. In the pics you will see where I practiced adjusting my gun all over the walls!

I hope you enjoyed the story of my 1971 Camaro, this one will never leave the family! For anyone out there thinking of painting, don’t be afraid! With good products and a little practice, anythings possible!

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West Coast Report 31st Edition by John Gilbert

From Here to Infiniti — A Royal Flush — Want to Get on TV?

The phone rang and there was a pretty little female voice at the other end — “Hi are you John Gilbert, this is Christy from Infiniti, and we have your QX50 ready for a test drive.”

Huh… this is John Gilbert, what’s a X-250, and did you say you’re from Infinity speakers? — “No, this is Christy, at Infiniti automobiles, you contacted us a while back with a request to checkout a QX50 from the press fleet to do a road test article.”

I did? — “Yes, you did… is this John Gilbert, the automotive journalist?” Yes, I’m John Gilbert, and I’m an automotive journalist. “This is Christy at Infiniti automobiles, and you requested an Infiniti QX50 to conduct a road test?”

OK, I think I know what’s happening here. There’s a motor-journalist up in Minnesota named John Gilbert that writes for a newspaper, and does some web stuff . How did you get my cell number, was it through SEMA?  I don’t remember Christy’s reply, but I could tell by her voice she was anxious to get off the phone, and call the other guy.

Now, all of sudden my brain starts to work. Gee, it’d be really cool to get my hands on a new Infiniti test car. Christy, I do road tests how’s about giving me one of those X-250s and I run it up to the Valley of Fire and then over to Death Valley? Hey, the SEMA show is coming up real soon, I could piggyback in an article about that too.

I wasn’t sure I was making a strong enough impression with Christy, so I laid on a little more steam. Christy, I’ve been a magazine editor five times, and have contributed to over 20 automotive titles.

I’ve worked with Ford, Honda, Harley-Davidson, and Victory many times.

I’m sure I’ve got as big an audience as that guy in Minnesota has.

I wish I recorded my phone calls, I’d like to review Christy’s reply, and confirm if I got the bum’s rush, or who knows maybe I’ll be getting an Infiniti QX50 to conduct a road test. I don’t usually get cocky, but my final words to Christy were if you decide you want to do something with the real John Gilbert, give me a call.

I can just hear “Minnesota” John Gilbert when Infiniti reaches him, and imagine if they mentioned they got a hold of me first. “Oh yeah-you betcha, that guy out in California is like an evil twin, a doppleganger to say the least. He’d probably drive your car through the Valley of Fire, over to Death Valley, and then end up in Las Vegas at the SEMA show.”

If anyone thinks once things get archived on the Internet they live forever, guess again “Little” Bubba. A year ago I found Zabriskie Point the movie in its entirety, and watched it all the way through. Today I did a search and all that came up was a crapper full of Part 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10…

Uh, in the interest of journalistic integrity I’ll try the search again, only this time use Google, instead of Bing. Bing-bang, wang-dang, the Klu-Klux-clang. OK, here it is you can find Zabriskie Point in its entirety using Google, yahoo!

Never referred to as a pointy-nosed stink-waffle, or any other derogatory nicknames, “Old Dinah” the steam tractor replaced the 20-Mule wagon train. TV show narrator Ronald Reagan went on to become the Governor of California, later President of the United States, and “Shut Down” was a song performed by the Beach Boys.

Gotta go, I think I hear Christy pulling up with my Infiniti — see y’all in Vegas!

—   John Gilbert

*As a sidebar, I’d like to mention I can’t recall the name of the young lady that called me from Inifniti, so I named her Christy. Also I have a tremendous amount of respect for the other John Gilbert’s work, and I hope he sees the humor in this. Infiniti really did call me first.*

 A Royal Flush

Tips for before Sandblasting

Its not on the newsstand yet, but I wrote a tech article recently for Street Rodder that features the Eastwood Master Blaster Dual-Blaster. The article Blast With Both Barrels was more about informing the DIY guy how to media blast on-the-quick, than it was about how to get your equipment prepared before you start. So, please follow along as I drink lots of coffee, watch TV, and crank out the following story about… Aw crap, where’s the “God stick” I can’t watch TV unless I have my “God stick.”

OK, I’m going to go brew up a big pot, and then we’ll get started. If you ever get a chance go sniff the air around the Folgers Coffee plant in KCMO while they’re roasting coffee. The only that smells better is riding a motorcycle, or driving an open car past a brewery while they’re brewing beer. Those are some of the good smells in life.

Speaking of smells, should I do a stain resistance test on the Infiniti seats by spilling Souvlaki sauce from the Mad Greek in Baker, CA? It’ll be on my way to Pahrump, to pickup a small-block Chevy motor, and throw it in the trunk. Dang it Skip, you said you drained the oil out of that motor. OK, no problem. Procedure #3812S, stain removal from an Infiniti trunk mat, adjacent carpet, and check for conspicuous absence of drain holes. Can you soda-blast carpet to get it clean, we’re gonna find out. (Mad Greek Baker, CA. Skip’s ’36 Plymouth behind my ’05 GMC)

I’ve been using this air-compressor to run a bead-blasting cabinet since it was new. The most voracious consumer of compressed-air amongst pneumatic tools is media blasting. So that means you have to make sure your air-compressor is up to the task, or you’re going to blow it up. Blowup means either you’ll burnout the electric motor, or cook the air pump because the air-compressor is undersized, or it hasn’t been properly maintained. If the air-compressor you have doesn’t meet the minimum output requirements specified by the blaster you intend to use get ready for some aggravation. The V-Twin direct-drive air-compressor shown here I’ve owned since 1983. I attribute achieving 30-years of trouble free performance to proper maintenance… most of the time.

Its not a good idea to put just any lubircating oil into the sump of an air-compressor pump. Back before the age of Internet searches I figured Mobil 1 10W-30W synthetic would work fine as a lubricating oil. I always kept clean oil within the Red Bullseye, and things worked great. In preparation for the Street Rodder article, and my recent acquisition of the Eastwood Master-Blaster I knew I was going to push things to the limit. I found the oil specifications for Campbell Hausfeld compressors online, and was pleased to discover that either Mobil 1, or Royal Purple was recommended by Campbell Hausfeld. Automotive oils that are not synthetic are not recommended. Royal Purple advertises its products reduce operating temperatures, so I dug out my Craftsman digital thermometer to see if I could prove, or disprove its claim. This photo shows the cylinder head at room temperature.

Here’s the cylinder head temperature at its highest point before the oil change.

My compressor is set to shutoff at a touch over 150-psig. Just before the compressor shutoff I took the temperature reading shown above.

There are lots of good reasons to drain the moisture (bilge water) from the air-compressor tank (receiver) every day that it is used. Tank corrosion (rust), and the increased odds of contaminated air are two reasons.

All that’s needed to change compressor oil is a tool to remove the crankcase drain plug, and a funnel to pour the oil back in.

As things go this is not a lot of moisture to be drained from a properly maintained air-compressor. Get ready for a flood if its been awhile since you drained your compressor. Have a bath towel ready to mop it up.

Why guess at it if the oil you chose will be sufficient? Royal Purple refines a lubricating oil formulated exclusively for air-compressors.

It looks easy here, but its a royal pain to pour oil into a Campbell Hausfeld Freedom II compressor. Draining it wasn’t a lot of fun either.

Overfilling the crankcase of an air-compressor pump results in excess oil being pumped into the air tank thusly contaminating the air. Thusly, I like that word, it sounds like Something a guy named Sylvester would say.

Not exactly a UL Lab, I’m not sure my test methods were as controlled as they should have been, but here’s my highest temperature with Royal Purple in the crankcase. Higher cylinder head temperatures generate more condensation in the air supply. When it cools off it turns into water, and that’s where the water you drain out comes from.

I’d owned this Webster regulator / moisture trap since I bought it new at Silver Automotive Ltd. in Calgary in 1973. In my attempt to overdrive the Master Blaster, and see what happened to cylinder head temperatures I blew the poor thing up, RIP. It whistled like a bloated roadkill cow gut-shot with a Savage 30-30. I disassembled it, and discovered a ruptured diaphragm. I checked with Grainger if they sold replacements. No chancee Nancy, the sales guy offered me the most expensive SOB I could have ever imagined, and I damn near plunged through the glass door running out of the joint.

Slow-forward two days, and here’s the cheapest thing I could buy locally. I got the thing from Harbor Freight, appearance wise its crap compared to my old Webster, but its rated to 160 Psi.

It doesn’t matter how much trust you have in your air-regulator there should always be a shutoff valve in place to relieve air pressure from the regulator diaphragm. Notice I installed a quick-connect that bypasses the regulator to deliver full-pressure.

Capable of mixing, or switching from soda to abrasive media merely by opening and closing valves the Eastwood Master Blaster comes standard with a built-in moisture separator. Moisture from any source in the air supply causes clumping of the media. Think of clumped media as you would constipation.

Eastwood offers a selection of funnels with built-in screens to filter media before as its poured. This 8-inch top funnel works great for pouring media into the blaster.

Larger top and bottom opening; this funnel works perfect for pouring media into storage containers at a faster rate than the 8-inch funnel featured above. Please note it is important to store media properly so as not to attract moisture, or other foreign elements that will diminish the enjoyment of Eastwood abrasive blasters.

Want to Be on New Gearhead Reality TV Show?

Auto Designers here’s your chance to compete on a new reality TV show, and follow in the footsteps of famous designers like Chip Foose, Harley Earl, and Homer Simpson, creator of the Homer. The producers of the show “Project Runway” and creators of “The Real World” and “Keeping up with Kardashians” are currently casting for a new show with the working title of “Revved Up.”
 Revved Up will feature approximately 10 skilled auto designers as they compete to impress one of the country’s leading car manufacturers. The winning auto designer will receive a six-month consultancy with a specialty-vehicle manufacturer, a new car and a $100,000 consultancy payment. 
Please note: you must be at least 21 to enter this competition.

Want to Be on New Gearhead Reality TV Show?

If you wish to enter, e-mail, along with your name, phone number and city in which you live. To be considered, all submissions should include several recent photos showcasing your auto design work and a short bio. E-mail submissions must include “CITY” in the subject line.

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Packard Institute restoring old car to restore lost souls

Raynard Packard in driver’s seat of the 1948 Packard Victoria Convertible being restored at the Packard Institute. (Photo courtesy Mike Cardew/Akron Beacon Journal)

A recent Akron Beacon Journal article showed us how automotive restoration projects can be a bridge to a more productive life for troubled youngsters.

In some ways, the 1948 Packard Victoria Convertible is a metaphor for the kids who will be restoring it: a treasure hiding beneath the visible dings and dents of a hard life.

But as with all the various “therapies” used with at-risk teens at the Packard Institute near Akron, turning the hunter green auto that’s currently missing its ragtop into a shimmering silver head-turner will teach them about the power of second chances.

Packard Institute, a Highland Square-based nonprofit that works mostly with young people struggling with substance abuse, took possession of the car with the intention of making it the “flagship” of the organization. The institute’s founder, Raynard Packard, is a distant cousin to James and William Packard, who founded Packard Automobiles in Warren, Ohio in 1899, “so it’s only fitting,” he said.

“About three years ago, we started getting these antique automobiles,” Packard said. “It’s a lot of fun, and the kids learn a skill set, but it’s really about building relationships. The car is a fun by-product of the relationships.”

Among the volunteers who have worked with the youngsters is Greg Delagrange, a Barberton, Ohio car restorer and Packard auto expert. “Greg has given $50,000 worth of hours with these kids,” Packard said.

“Some of these kids come from homes, let’s just say they aren’t the Cleavers,” Delagrange said, referencing the “Leave It to Beaver” sitcom from the ’50s and ’60s. “Sometimes I think they’re like this car: They get dumped and abandoned.” Others have attentive parents, but end up turning to drugs for a variety of reasons.

For more of the story, please read the complete article here.

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