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Hot Rodding For Dummies

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by themoose, Feb 19, 2012.

  1. I’ve noticed that there are a number of threads on the HAMB from guys who want to build a hot rod and are looking for advice on what’s required to start and successfully complete a project. With all of the how to books out there in the “For Dummies” series I thought that we could start our own HOT RODDING FOR DUMMIES thread that goes through the steps required to plan and build a hot rod. I’m sure you guys can come up with the quite a few do’s and don’ts that could help the novice start and complete a project. I’ll get the ball rolling……..

    Chapter (1)

    Getting started

    It’s wise to inform all members of your family that from now on you will be spending most of your time in the shop and will only be seen outside of that environment on rare occasions.
  2. Hnstray
    Joined: Aug 23, 2009
    Posts: 12,173

    from Quincy, IL

    Chapter 2

    Any disposable income formerly used for not quite absolute necessities will now be re-appropriated for equally non essential hot rod parts......

  3. oakmckinley
    Joined: Jan 21, 2012
    Posts: 241


    I'll add in.

    I am new to restoring older cars (first one), but last xmas the only thing I got for presents were gift cards. Along with notes that read "wasn't sure the exact parts you wanted so I thought this would be best" :p
  4. Understand and use the proper vocabulary and terminology.
    There's a lot of it, and using it wrong only severely hinders the process, research, communication, and understanding of the process.

    An ambitious fellow could copy and paste an entire "hot-rod for dummies" or "hot rod 101" book from the pages of the HAMB. A very ambitious and extremely patient individual who can separate the wheat from chaff; one who has a great ability to wade they the bullshit here could copy and paste a doctorate level hot rod book; right from the HAMB.

  5. Joe Johnston
    Joined: Jun 29, 2008
    Posts: 127

    Joe Johnston
    from Ohio

    Keep all the receipts, but NEVER add them up!
  6. pinkynoegg
    Joined: Dec 11, 2011
    Posts: 1,136


    set a budget that you think you will get you everything you will ever need to finish the project. double that and you might be in the ballpark. again don't keep track. it will only cause trouble down the line.
  7. No matter how big your garage or workshop is, it won't be big enough. Learn to work in confined spaces and practice tip-toeing around all the crap that will be on the floor before you get started.
  8. 48 Chubby
    Joined: Apr 29, 2008
    Posts: 1,014

    48 Chubby
    Member Emeritus

    Beaware of reality.
    If your plan is a 49 Chevy fastback that's chopped, channeled, sectioned, with a Desoto grill, Pontiac front fenders, Cadillac rear quarters, 64 T-bird interior, powered by a Chrysler Hemi, with a Ford tranny, and a Jag rear suspension, you might need more than a Harbor Freight welder and a $30 socket set to get her done.
    There is no kit for this.
  9. rats28
    Joined: Sep 3, 2008
    Posts: 582

    from Louisiana

    Have something to keep your beer cold :)
    Joined: Aug 22, 2011
    Posts: 1,248

    from mass

    I'm with you there Joe...never add up those receipts indeed. And save them in a safe place where the wife can't find them. Things can snowball pretty quickly from a simple fix at a few hundred bucks to a complete re-build and several thousand.
  11. The_DropOut
    Joined: Mar 4, 2008
    Posts: 391


    In order to fully understand Chapter one, we must now delve deeper into the psyche and framework of the Hot Rodder and try to understand the inner workings of this creative and constructive world hidden behind the garage door…

    During Chapter (1) the Hot Rodder goes through a metamorphosis He or She begin to slowly change both outwardly and mentally. In the initial stages black crud gathers beneath finger nails. Soft hands become callused, creased and stained caused by exposure to old oils, greases and ancient lacquered fuels. Clothing will enter the shop neat and complete, only to leave the shop later torn, burnt, soiled, tattered and pocked with holes and metal shavings.

    Feeding and wizz breaks are not the most common reasons for leavening the garage. In fact, eating is not something that a Hot Rodder does on a routine basis. The fevered mind of the Hot Rodder considers the project first and foremost, hunger and malnutrition seem like mere afterthoughts. Only after the project is complete or nearing absolute exhaustion will the Hot Rodder stop to ingest calories and high energy nutrients to allow for rapid recovery. The number one reason a Hot Rodder must leave the garage to make parts runs. It is essential that the Hot Rodder have the proper equipment, tools, supplies, hardware and spare parts needed to keep the project moving ahead. Sometimes these parts can be had at the local hardware store, other times the parts can only be found after a days drive. How and where to source a part is the one thing that occupies the Hot Rodders thoughts 90% of his waking life. This is one of the main reasons behind the annual pilgrimage to the Swap Meet. The gathering of Hot Rodders and spare parts, to a Hot Rodder, has no equal. This is Mecha.

    During a projects early stage of getting started, the Hot Rodder will carefully study the new blank canvus of shaped stamped steel. During this mental observation of the project car the Hot Rodder will enter into a meditative state. Observations of metal condition, problematic rust spots, broken or missing parts are rushing through the mind a such a fast pace the Hot Rodders mind does not have enough capacity to carry out any other task. Ideas begin to well up into his or her mind; How to chop, what to swap, when to lower, where to shave, why not add more power.

    This is the beginning stage. Hot Rodders somehow know that this transformation has actually been going on for a very long time, since inception, for some. It is not a gene, not a chromosome, not a particular part of the DNA chain. Hot Rodders know that it goes much deeper than that. It is apart of the core of the spirit of their life. Its either there or it isn’t. When and where it finally takes hold of all mental ability to comprehend a life without a hot rod is unknown. But when it does, the Hot Rodder will know that it has begun and there is no going back.
  12. Don's Hot Rods
    Joined: Oct 7, 2005
    Posts: 8,319

    Don's Hot Rods
    from florida

    The biggest mistake I see first time builders make is they want to start building the frame without having any idea what body, engine, etc they will be using. The FIRST things you should have are the body, a motor of the same make and model you will be using, and some wheels and tires (if possible, the actual wheels and tires you will end up using).

    You need those parts on hand so you can mock up the car where it looks good, then start planning what frame you will need to make that look happen.

    Another rule is that it is going to cost 3 times what you thought and take twice as long to build. :D

  13. D-man313
    Joined: Mar 17, 2011
    Posts: 1,161


    Never go to autozone for parts, always find an old school parts store. Autozone you'll just get mad, leave without the parts, and come home and make a post on the HAMB about how stupid the parts kid was at autozone.
  14. Buy something that you can drive for a while. Then make small changes as you try to determine what direction you want to go. Bringing home a pile of parts and expecting that you can be driving it in a few weeks is a real project killer.
    OH NEVER MIND JUMP RIGHT IN! Because if everyone did that the rest of us would not be able to find half finished projects for half price.
    It's better to drive something for a season just to make sure that this is something you really want to undertake. As we all know it really is a labor of love
  15. Smiliesafari
    Joined: Aug 11, 2011
    Posts: 15


    Lets start with just the basics.
    1... Have the skills to do it.
    2... Have a place to do it.
    3... Have the tools to do it.
    4... Be prepared to spend more money than you ever imagined.
    5... Know that your wife and kids will miss you. Your every spare minute will be spent
    in the shop.
    6... Have more patience than you ever imagined. This will take a very long time.
    You guys can add to the list. I know there's more.
  16. Bar Ditch
    Joined: Aug 1, 2011
    Posts: 272

    Bar Ditch
    from Tacoma

    Make sure you have a fire extinguisher and first aid on hand, things can get messy. And yep they sure do cost 3 times as much and take twice as long. Wear PPE, how the heck you gonna drive that roadster if ya can't see where your goin.

  17. Very very helpful if you successfully complety torn down to its single parts and rebuilt a better and usable item.
    A Bicycle
    A lawn mower,
    A minibike or go kart
    A single cylinder internal combustion engine - complete rebuild including the carb and ignit.

    If an attempt on the above has led to a box of junk parts or a half finished project - don't even try a whole car.
  18. 32Gnu
    Joined: May 20, 2010
    Posts: 538


    When your 10 year old tells you "you love your car more than you love me" at 10 pm after grinding away..
    Take a break for a couple days...
  19. adam401
    Joined: Dec 27, 2007
    Posts: 2,554


    If your building your first car and your on this website your already ahead of the game. I learn something new and cool every time I'm on here. Heres some stuff I know about cars that may help some first timers.

    You need a welding machine. Some may say you can get by without one but people say all kinds of stupid things which is also something you will learn while building your first hot rod.

    Early Ford parts are expensive but very cool. All early cars are cool but Fords done with taste appeal to a huge cowd. A modified built from an unkown cowl and doors may look badass but will require the same work as a clapped out model A coupe body and only be worth 1/2 the money. I have made this mistake. Feel free to look in my photos to see the cut down coupster I built from parts from 8 different rotten cars. This car was fun but almost valuless(bad parts plus no attention to detail equals shitty car) You will probably sell your first car to buy a cooler car so this matters.

    Parts that aren't pitted to shit (like backing plates etc..) make the quality of your build go way up. It may not seem like a big deal but it is.

    Don't waste time spray painting the body different colors and propping shit up in the garage to stare at with your friends. If you use your time wisely you'll get your heap done in a timely manner and be on the road which is way cooler than you even think it will be.
  20. mixedupamx
    Joined: Dec 2, 2006
    Posts: 513


    A dismanteled car will take up an incredible amount of space so blow 2 apart at the same time so you can have car parts in every free inch of avalible space in your world.:D
  21. tommy
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 14,757

    Member Emeritus

    Don't even start if all you are interested in is getting into "the club". Not sure if this is the place for you? a lot and post little until you figure out what we are all about. If you don't have the passion, you won't understand. Find out what that passion is. If and when you are over run with the passion for what we do then you can help to spread the gospel as Ryan has laid out and not try to change it to your ideas or passions.

    If you decide you want an old time hotrod without A/C and P/S then there is a lot of help for you here.
  22. Absolutely!!
  23. Hnstray
    Joined: Aug 23, 2009
    Posts: 12,173

    from Quincy, IL

  24. APV60
    Joined: Feb 13, 2012
    Posts: 2


    LOL ! That's so true.
  25. Taff
    Joined: Mar 14, 2006
    Posts: 360


    read and memorise the Unwritten Rule Book. especially page's 17, 45 and 132.
  26. Hot Rod Grampa
    Joined: Apr 25, 2011
    Posts: 83

    Hot Rod Grampa

    I have seen too many guys get in way over their heads. They suddenly decide to build a hot rod from scratch and have never even swapped a motor, have no real tools and no safety network to help them out. They would be well served to find other rodders in the area, help them with their projects while learning and developing the needed skills. This is the essence of the HAMB in my opinion. Like minded people sharing the building experience and passing the torch to the next generation. That's one of the reasons I joined.
  27. EnragedHawk
    Joined: Jun 17, 2009
    Posts: 1,085

    from Waco, TX

    Hey! Me! That's me! I'm that guy! Meh... worth it.
  28. Leebo!
    Joined: Nov 22, 2005
    Posts: 800

    from Yale OK

    My advice, Buy the most complete project you can afford, or save the money till you can.
  29. Donut Dave
    Joined: Jul 9, 2007
    Posts: 393

    Donut Dave

    No matter the size of the project, have a plan...don't deviate...stay focused... If you don't you will only waste time and money. Remember you are building the car for you, not the likes of someone else or the latest fad.
  30. Find a bunch of "old guys" who are into hotrods. Take the cotton out of your ears and put in your mouth. Only remove the cotton to ask a question. If your post the aforementioned question on the H.A.M.B. , were nomex underwear, a thick skin and keep good sense of humor.

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