Sunday, October 30, 2016

Getting down to business. Hobby car projects are like sharks, they either move forward , or they die. While I've had a lot of fun talking the talk it's time to walk the walk.

photo source: white shark

I'm going to be doing what I had advised against, renting a storage unit to get the junk out of my garage. Then I will have enough room to work on my car. There was a time when I used to be able to work in my garage but somehow I let the garage get filled up with my Wife's artsy stuff. I was looking for one of those "one dollar the first month" move in specials. I've got lots of experience with these, we moved my Wife's stuff every couple of months to take advantage of these deals. I know a car part vendor who told me that this was his whole business plan.

You know that you can't beat working in a garage, especially your own. Sometimes you can use your parents or grandparents garage for awhile, but it depends on how far you have to go. Back in the days when I was renting my shop I had plenty of room to work. The shop was almost an half an hour away. This was a great workspace but the business ended up being a huge money pit. Maybe someday I'll share that experience. Back to the topic at hand... At home you can use any small amount of time to work on your car. Especially if you can leave it up on jack stands, partially dis assembled during the process. One piece of advice that I read on the H.A.M.B. (Hokey Ass Message Board) was this: To complete a long range project, try to do something on your car everyday. Good advice.

My main goal is to swap out the transmission in my XJS. I do have another plan, to fix what's wrong with the front suspension of my '96 Mustang, probably the ball joints. I need to check a few things on the XJ6 too.

I've got mostly all the tools that I need. I recently bought a new jack at Harbor Freight tools. I'm thinking of getting a couple of pairs of wheel ramps. I can jack up the car, place it on the ramps and gain more room underneath to move around. I've got to buy an engine support bar. This straddles the under hood opening and will hold up the motor when I remove the transmission. These are commonly used with front wheel drive powertrains. I used to just put jackstands under the motor, but this will again give me more room to work underneath. We'll see. It all depends on how high I can raise the car, I may even have to build some wooden platforms to place under the ramps to gain more height. I will have to rent a transmission jack too, having a 200lbs transmission fall in your lap isn't much fun, Don't ask me how I know! When I pulled the tranny from my '56 Cadillac I had to put a three inch platform under the jackstands to achieve enough height to remove the transmission.

I've got to clear out the garage and see how well the car will fit in there. I think that I probably have to remove my workbench. I'm getting my lighting situation squared away. I got a new Craftsmen pull down power cord which I put up to replace my old J.C. Whitney unit. As you enter your "Golden Years" good lighting is really important.

Today I start clearing out the garage. And it is raining.

Luckily I have a truck. I bought this specifically for my parts business so I bought a full size long bed F150. During this model run Ford decided to give all their truck models an "Access Cab". This is an 18 in. storage compartment behind the eats accessed by a couple of clamshell doors. This is handy to stow things hidden under lock and key and it even more importantly, allows longer seat travel and the ability to tilt the seats back. It's got the base V6 and it'd been enough for almost every task. Except for pulling my XJS home on a trailer going up Cuesta Grade near Paso Robles. Still it made it, and that's all that counts.

It aint pretty but it works.
Cheap, crude and easy, pick all three.

I built this "poor man's" rack for the bed. The roll away metal tonneau cover rails cover the stake bed holes. I made this knock down rack out of 2x4s with some metal joist connectors. It has served me well for almost ten years. The best part is that it fits down in the bed and is not directly connected to the truck. I built it for my '07 but I also used it in my '66 F250. It was cheap and easy to build, and can be tailored to your specific needs. I may even get around to painting it one of these days. I think that it is worthy of a later "how to build it" post.

I just read on my Jaguar Forum (Jaguar that a local member just bought a couple of rough XJ6 coupes. He and his buddy have erected some kind of heavy duty, tent like structure to house the car while they work on it. Can't wait to see pictures of that!

Cue the theme music from "Sanford and Son!"

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