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Bought a really bad project- so now what?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by aggieforester, Aug 29, 2010.

  1. aggieforester
    Joined: Aug 29, 2010
    Posts: 37

    aggieforester
    Member
    from DC metro

    Howdy. Been ghosting here for a while, I appreciate all the hard work and knowledge y'all share with the group. I bit off more than I can afford in a project and would appreciate your opinions. Bought a 34 Ford 4 door sedan, supposed to be a 90% complete project. I have a few tools and limited skills, was looking for a semi-finished project that my daughter and I could just clean up (i.e., seats and interior, maybe minor welding and sheetmetal, not a chassis or engine swap).

    Short of it- I screwed up and am over my head and potentially way past my budget. I've been looking for a mild street rod daily driver. Knew there was a front end problem on this one but the builder said everything else was correct in his build. Exterior is in good shape but I couldn't see much of the chassis and took him at his word. Should've got it up on a rack- my local shop in Culpeper, VA said it's "the worst hack butcher build they've ever seen."

    So I'm $8k into a good body that's probably worth $2-4k- that needs probably a $10k complete new chassis. What's the best way to have a safe daily driver for my kid? I can't afford a $10k ready built chassis plus a rebuild on engine and tranny (both out of '89 Aerostar). S-10 chassis swap doable? I'd hate to start tearing this one down to correct the current geometry problem in the front end, patch all the hacked up frame and then find it's not drivable/salvageable... Thanks!

    Aggieforester
     

    Attached Files:

  2. maniac
    Joined: Jul 11, 2005
    Posts: 539

    maniac
    Member

    S-10 really not workable on that early of a car, hacked ain't the word on that.

    Of course it could be fixed, but at what cost?

    You would be better off getting another chasiss and doing it up right and then just swap the body over.

    What ever you do don't drive it the way it is !

    Who ever built that mess should get an asskicking
     
  3. UnsettledParadox
    Joined: Apr 25, 2007
    Posts: 1,107

    UnsettledParadox
    Member

    that thing will kill you, no doubt about it. whatever you do dont drive that pile of parts. its too bad you are so far into this thing because i would say the only thing worth anything is the body of the car. i agree, whoever built this car needs to be beat to death
     
  4. Wheelie
    Joined: Nov 26, 2008
    Posts: 234

    Wheelie
    Member
    from Dallas

    Your better off cutting your losses and get what you can from it. Or be prepared to throw another 8-10K and still may not have a running project. It will nickel and dime you to death these days unless you know where to look to find the deals. I would find an already running and driving vehicle which should be had for around 5-7K. Maybe someone would do a partial trade with you.
     

  5. missysdad1
    Joined: Dec 9, 2008
    Posts: 3,015

    missysdad1
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    The good news: You can't make it any worse!

    The bad news: Everything else.

    :(:(:(
     
  6. bulletproof1
    Joined: Feb 23, 2004
    Posts: 2,080

    bulletproof1
    Member
    from tulsa okla

    wow !!!! this has to set a record....as stated get a nother frame and start from there.
     
  7. Xdrag48
    Joined: Mar 1, 2009
    Posts: 470

    Xdrag48
    Member

    Sorry to hear about your problem.I agree the only thing to do is use another chassis.I copied your picture to post on here,hope you don't mind...

    Steve
     

    Attached Files:

  8. big bad john
    Joined: Aug 11, 2010
    Posts: 4,727

    big bad john
    Member

    Guess if you really like the car....I would buy a new frame and start over......at least it would be safe to drive.........otherwise take the lost...1934 fords are nice rods and hold their value if done right.....whoever done this SHAME ON THEM it just shows that it takes more time to do a shit job....that to do it right..........Bet if you look at the body.......its F..........K up too. Next time do more research......lots of help out in Hot Rod World... Best of Luck,,,,Big Bad John:D
     
  9. If the title isnt already in your name, do that first. Then you have the option to a.} sell it, or b.} do a clean trade and add some cash to someone who has something more to your level of ability to repair and be a project for you and your daughter. option c.} is start looking for someone or a shop to repair it properly. Sad to say, this is a "Live and learn", you bought some lemons, you have to find a way to make some lemonade. Sorry, and I wish you the Best of luck.
     
  10. Rpmrex
    Joined: Nov 19, 2007
    Posts: 664

    Rpmrex
    Member
    from Indiana

    I would take the body off and see things alot differently. All the bad can be changed. Maybe look at it one thing at a time. It could turn into a money pit if you let it.
     
  11. belair
    Joined: Jul 10, 2006
    Posts: 8,717

    belair
    Member

    Unbelievable.
     
  12. Abone29
    Joined: Mar 20, 2007
    Posts: 234

    Abone29
    Member

    Wow man that is a hack job.Is that front frame stub held on with bolts and bubble gum? Probably need to do what Wheelie said and get what you can out of it or trade it for something a little more roadworthy.Good luck.
     
  13. hellonwheels
    Joined: Jan 16, 2007
    Posts: 674

    hellonwheels
    Member

    Wow, thats the worst hack butcher build I've ever seen! Sorry, I couldn't resist. I can't even count how many points of failure would occur on the first bump in the road. As said, that guy needs a serious beatdown for putting you and your family in danger like that.

    But, from the pics it looks like the original frame is intact. I'm not seeing anywhere anything is cut, looks like he just booger-welded and bolted stuff on. If the original crossmembers are there, seems like you could yank all the crap he put on, clean up the frame and put a straight axle and leafspring setup in the front and a banjo and transverse spring in the rear. That would hardly cost $10,000.
     
  14. aggieforester
    Joined: Aug 29, 2010
    Posts: 37

    aggieforester
    Member
    from DC metro

    Thanks for the help. A local shop that I had look at the front end (didn't know at first if it was alignment, geometry, etc) when I got it said "the frame is fine, but take it to another shop to get the front end done." So I drove it home (yes, made it home 10 miles alive). So Chris and the folks at Carworks Auto were recommended to me. They gave it a thorough look and gave me the pics. I have to talk with them next week. Maybe I can get lucky and find someone who will trade with me- my 34 body + cash for their running project. I'd like to have something on the road by next summer and don't want to waste money on a forlorn hope- and y'all are right, this thing looks like a money pit. Did I mention that the builder used home extension cord to run to the tail lights? Guess I'll make some good lemonade. I've got a kid in college and the economy sucks- my wife won't let me spend $10k when we agreed to a budget of $10-12 max...and no way am I going to sell this to the next chump (first one was me) as a working auto. I do have the title, just have to go pay the taxes on the sale (ouch, that hurts even more) and get clean paper on it.
     
  15. jxnslotcar
    Joined: Apr 26, 2009
    Posts: 321

    jxnslotcar
    Member

    $8k,Aerostar engine? and then the pics of that front end? that front end is very scary to say the least. It could be fixed at a reasonable cost if you do the work yourself. Look at it this way,you could pay someone to do it or do it yourself and the money that you save-buy the tools and equipment that would be needed to do it. After that,you will always have the tools and you will have learned something along the way.Building it is 1/2 the fun of owning it. It would be a great father/daughter project. It may take a year or 2 but I can think of a lot worse ways for you to spend your time and yu would be spending it with her. that is if she is wanting to be involved. It will make a lifetime of memories. When you get it done,then both of you would be able to take it to car shows,ect. have fun and good luck. Don't forget,you have a great resource here for information that i am sure many guys here would be more than happy to give advice to help you down this road.
     
  16. trailer-Ed
    Joined: May 15, 2002
    Posts: 1,784

    trailer-Ed
    Member
    from JC, MO

    Yes you F---ked up! And yes you will not come out on top on this one. But the learning experience is priceless. We have all done some sort of bad deal, some just won't admit it. Sell the car/ trade it or whatever, but I would definately bail on it if funds and experience are not up to it. Be honest in your description etc, so you don't do this to another guy. It will take some reall $'s and experience to fix this one. I've seen some bad shit, but this is WAY at the top!
     
  17. hellonwheels
    Joined: Jan 16, 2007
    Posts: 674

    hellonwheels
    Member

    Are all you guys on crack, or just blind?!? Look at the pics again. The 'builder' didn't cut the crossmembers out, what's with telling him he needs a new frame? Have you priced an original 33/34 frame lately?!? The frame under that car actually looks to be in good shape, it just needs to have all the bullshit ripped out and start over. No big deal, it happens on this site everyday!
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2010
  18. aggieforester
    Joined: Aug 29, 2010
    Posts: 37

    aggieforester
    Member
    from DC metro

    Thanks for the info, Hellonwheels. I'll ask my shop guy on Monday what it would run to pull it off, refurb the existing frame and get a Mustang II or similar front end and put a working rear in. I can't tell if the existing frame is shot- he's just got so much crap welded and bolted on, can't tell if he's notched it anywhere. He sure didn't box the frame but I'm worried about how strong it is. Current engine is 1989 Ford Aerostar 3L V6 with the matching 4 speed auto A4LD. Shop says the engine isn't in straight, either- not sure if that means bad motor mount or just wasn't hung correctly.
     
  19. missysdad1
    Joined: Dec 9, 2008
    Posts: 3,015

    missysdad1
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    This is truly a heartbreaker.

    But, as I'm sure you've already shared with your daughter, there are lessons to be learned as we go through life...and some are more painful than others.

    I suspect, however, that there may be more than one HAMBer who's already putting together an offer to help take the sting out of this error. A guy with some experience and a few good flathead-type parts could put your sedan together fairly quickly and inexpensively.

    If the body of your '34 is any good at all, you can probably trade it...maybe even straight-across...for a nice, clean '50s 4-door sedan. There's the makings of a win-win deal here, trust me.

    Suggestion: Post a few photos of your '34 in the HAMB Classifieds, asking for trade offers. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised...

    Good luck!
     
  20. Sell it/trade it, be honest and disclose everything, its just GOOD karma. The clown that sold it to you has to look over his pathetic shoulder forever. Theres a good and safe hot rod in store for you and your family, within your budget, probablly right here on the HAMB. Remember its a buyers market. Think positive, learn and move on. BDM.
     
  21. Butch11443
    Joined: Mar 26, 2003
    Posts: 353

    Butch11443
    Member

    Another otpion is to contact some of the hot rod shops and see if any of them have a frame & axels from a 33-34 that has had a custom frame swapped in. Would make using this 34 a little more feasible.
    Butch
     
  22. You need to post that builder's name in bold letters.
     
  23. aggieforester
    Joined: Aug 29, 2010
    Posts: 37

    aggieforester
    Member
    from DC metro

    Thanks, Missysdad1, I'll give that some thought. Maybe my local shop will be able to pull a miracle...or I'll get lucky in a trade. My kid and I are both really into 30's and 40's cars, she prefers the boxy early ones and I like coupes, maybe we'll find a good trade. I've done lots of minor maintenance over the years, never tackled something anywhere near this big- so it would either be fun or very expensive. I've seen some projects cars that never got finished due to failure in time, planning, money, etc, don't want to set myself up for a frankenstein (well, worse than the one I have already!).
     
  24. Strange Agent
    Joined: Sep 29, 2008
    Posts: 2,879

    Strange Agent
    Member
    from Ponder, TX

    You're a brave man, buying an old car for your daughter to drive to and from college like that. I hope you weren't looking for a car in a pinch.

    I'm with hellonwheels, undo the bad and see how much new stuff you'd actually need to put on the frame.
     
  25. goodgarb
    Joined: May 29, 2007
    Posts: 113

    goodgarb
    Member
    from TACOMA,WA

    Sorry for your loss
    Its never to late to fix a wrong but like everyone has been saying at what cost?

    This has to be the worst mess i have ever seen, driving this anywhere would certainly result in someones death.

    Concidering the frame and running gear condition, have you had someone look to see that the body hasnt been treated to the same skill level? I am worried for you, find someone local here on the HAMB and ask for some help to determine what the next step should be.

    Good luck with this one and dont give up.

    Mark
     
  26. I SMELL SMOKE
    Joined: Mar 6, 2008
    Posts: 1,527

    I SMELL SMOKE
    Member

    i would call the guy that sold it to you and ask for a refund. if the worst case i would start looking for another frame and build it up one piece at a time. you are more capable than you think and i would bet you could do 100x's better than the other guy.
     
  27. geezerkat
    Joined: Mar 12, 2005
    Posts: 71

    geezerkat
    Member

    I agree with hellonwheels. If the original crossmembers are there trash the scabbed on parts and go back to original style suspension, patch the jerks boltholes & etc.. New tranny member. Shouldn't be too bad if the frame is good. Dropped front axle, buggy spring rear with good shocks, will look good and handle good.
     
  28. I SMELL SMOKE
    Joined: Mar 6, 2008
    Posts: 1,527

    I SMELL SMOKE
    Member

    i think you may be right other than the x member the frame does look to be salvageable. now you just have to rip that junk out and find a front and rear end
     
  29. Belchfire8
    Joined: Sep 18, 2005
    Posts: 1,541

    Belchfire8
    Member

    I'd talk to a lawyer and have the mechanic who looked the car over describe to the lawyer what's wrong with the car and have a letter sent on the lawyers staitonary to the seller to the effect of "selling you a known defective and dangerous car" and demand a refund or a day in court. That work is just criminal, that guy could not have been building that to drive himself.
     
  30. hellonwheels
    Joined: Jan 16, 2007
    Posts: 674

    hellonwheels
    Member

    Aggieforester, the frame under that car is plenty strong, you don't have to box it unless you put in a motor with some power, and you certainly don't need a Mustang II under it either. Look at all the Fords on this site, most have straight axles underneath!

    If you feel overwhelmed and you want to ditch the car, I certainly understand, you got screwed and that sucks. But don't think that you have to drop 10k to fix that frame, no where near it if you did some of the work yourself. It looks like the 'builder' bolted a subframe (Aerostar?) to the outside of the original and did a few booger-welds, be thankful he wasn't more thorough with making it permanent (talk about lemonade from lemons!)!
    Good luck with what you decide and caveat emptor!
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2010

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