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What are the top 5 things you learned from your first build?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Sam Navarro, Oct 13, 2010.

  1. Rodshop
    Joined: Sep 14, 2003
    Posts: 455


    If you are debating with yourself about doing it again, or trying to do it better- then do it again and try to do it better.
  2. Spend good money on quality parts, and you'll only cry ONCE!
  3. Von Rigg Fink
    Joined: Jun 11, 2007
    Posts: 13,426

    Von Rigg Fink
    from Garage

    Make a plan
    stick to the plan

    take care of family, and the house

    the project will be there for you when you are there for it

    cant enjoy it if you let your health, or family go.

    Live life, laugh, and drink beer

    make time, for friends and family

    it WILL take more money than you thought..and or..more than you have

    help a brother out

    get out there and drive the one you got done

    dont start more than one project at a time
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2010
  4. jackjohn
    Joined: Mar 10, 2010
    Posts: 24

    from mineola tx

    1. plan
    2, plan
    3. plan
    4. plan
    5. have fun, if it feels like work, layoff a few days, it's supposed to be fun!
  5. Nope, that's the way I've come out everytime. I spend more by starting with a poor base, than I do when I just pony up and buy the cleaner vehicle. Again just me
  6. 1. over estimate budget
    2. leave well enough alone
    3. do a little more research
    4. pick a plan and stick with it
    5. buy better gaskets
  7. PATIENCE! haha
  8. BillyM
    Joined: Feb 9, 2010
    Posts: 144


    Enjoy the's not a race!
  9. Window Licker
    Joined: Apr 18, 2009
    Posts: 288

    Window Licker

    if im not mistaken you said A < B (meaning B is the better route) i think you meant A > B (where A is the better route)
  10. Francisco Plumbero
    Joined: May 6, 2010
    Posts: 2,531

    Francisco Plumbero
    from il.

    I would pay to see someone shit snowballs, but only if they come out round white and crisp looking, other wise it would be a catastrophe.
  11. mrpowderkeg
    Joined: Mar 11, 2009
    Posts: 178


    Buy top quality parts, cheap china knock off parts come back to bite you in the ass (as learned from my cheap ass friends)

    Go big or go home, I build street/strip cars, I still am kicking myself for buying the little afr 165 heads for one of my engines

    always run a 100 amp or more alternator.

    a performance tunup starts with ignition, and ends at carb tuning.

    if you cannot feed the fire, you cannot make hp, most street/strip cars I see have inadequate fuel systems
  12. flathead A
    Joined: Mar 11, 2006
    Posts: 197

    flathead A
    from michigan

    1.start out with the best body you can afford,unless you're a body man (in my opinion) this takes the longest.
    2 never ,never throw any thing away,somebody will need it (trade or sell after build is done)
    3 ask questions ,here on the hamb or if its an old ford your working on, the ford barn is great also.
    4 do some reading there is a lot of literature on traditional hot rods and engines.
    5 patience goes a long way don't rush
    6 swap meets, auctions ,estate sales,even garage sales can be golden for parts.
  13. 1) Don't cut the entire floor and firewall out of a cab and expect the windshield to survive...
    2) Learn to weld FIRST
    3) Make sure you put the rotor back in before the cap goes on...
    4) If it won't start, STOP cranking it and find out WHY (see #3)
    5) "Fix it faster. If it breaks with a 4 barrel, go dual quads, if that blows up, inject it." ...Immortal words, and ones I have actually lived my life by...
  14. Andy
    Joined: Nov 17, 2002
    Posts: 4,740


    Never believe anything posted or written. Verify!!
  15. 1. Just because they've painted a few nice cars, doesn't mean they will do the same for you
    2. Cheaper is not always better.
    3. Bring a magnet when looking at a used car. (bondo checking)
    4. "Little Rust" is almost never little
    5. Don't pay too much upfront when getting work done.. they will just take the money and let the car sit.
  16. Hey, I think you might have something there...:rolleyes:

    Don't buy anything that is close enough* to the part you actually need/want, or you'll be buying it, and the one you actually need/want or you be spending 3 times as much on adapters to make it work.

    Make sure you have a friend there the day you need to bolt things to the firewall.

    NEVER do anything involving throwing sparks less than an hour before you shut off the lights and leave the work area.

    Buy extra 7/16", 1/2", 9/16" and 5/8" wrenches and sockets...

    Buy a collection of bolts and nuts and screws from a fastener shop and a nice organized rack to put them in BEFORE you start... trust me...
    - The hardware store and Home Depot will nickel and dime you to the poor house ($.89 for 3 5/16" nuts)
    - Your daily will smell like the locker room (are you gonna shower when you need that bolt at 4:50 pm on a Saturday to finish up?)
    - How long does it take to do a round trip to the closest hardware store including standing in line to pay? how many bolts, nuts and screws are in a hot rod?

    *If you want a 327, don't buy a 307, wheels with the wrong bolt pattern of offset, etc.
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2010
  17. mustangsix
    Joined: Mar 7, 2005
    Posts: 1,297


    1. it's always cheaper to buy a completed car than to complete a project
    2. you will never make money at this
    3. If you have to borrow or rent a tool three times, might as well buy one.
    4. if your buddy has to borrow a tool from you more than three times, sell it to him instead.
    5. no matter how much blood, sweat, and tears you put into the damn thing, it will never love you as much as your dog does.
  18. rockable
    Joined: Dec 21, 2009
    Posts: 3,391


    AMEN to that!
  19. atomickustom
    Joined: Aug 30, 2005
    Posts: 3,402


    Lots of good ones here.
    The best: if it isn't quite right, STOP AND DO IT OVER. When the car is on the road those little "good enough" jobs will drive you nuts!

    One I didn't see: if in doubt, REPLACE IT. That fuel pump or water pump or master cylinder that seemed okay WILL fail, at a really inconvenient time and/or place.
  20. As my first attempt at building a car(1933Hudson coupe)was when I was 16(more years ago than I care to remember)the top 5 things I learned were:

    1)If your grandfather(whose house was where the car was)lends you his tools,make sure they get back and they are clean.

    2)Make sure you have a good first aid kit.

    3)Make sure you have someone who KNOWS how to weld.

    4)Make sure that you build it in an area(NOT the lower back yard)where it can be easily moved out when you are ready to move it.

    5)Make sure you DO NOT go out and buy 2 gallons of gasoline to pour down a yellow jacket's nesting area and then try to set afire unless you like blowing out windows in the back of the house,bringing the fire department on the run,and incurring the wraith of one very pissed off grandfather!
  21. Von Rigg Fink
    Joined: Jun 11, 2007
    Posts: 13,426

    Von Rigg Fink
    from Garage

  22. Master of None
    Joined: Dec 18, 2009
    Posts: 2,279

    Master of None

    Biggest tip I tell people starting a first project. Get yourself a few boxes of zip lock freezer bags and some sharpies. Label everything, put as many parts you can in bags and put them in a safe area where they won't get mixed up.
  23. 1) It will cost twice as much as you thought

    2) It will take twice as long as you thought

    3) Don't believe everything you've read or heard

    4) When your friend welds up the chassis for you on brand new concrete, even though your looking the other way close your eyes cause your still gonna get welding flash really bad for a day and a half. ( 27 years ago and it hurts to think about it !!! )

    5) Although at times through out the build you get frustrated, pissed , hurt and or laughed at, in the end it all was worth it and has lead to a life long addiction. Yep that about covers it

  24. MercMan1951
    Joined: Feb 24, 2003
    Posts: 2,654


    Top 5 from my first build, hmmm. Well...

    1) You do know more than your parents think you do about 'old cars'.
    2) Clean up your mess so Mom can park her car back in the garage at night.
    3) Always wait until your parents go on vacation to paint the whole car in their garage.
    4) Make and keep your car 'shiny'.
    5) Never add up your receipts or show them to anyone. Give "ballpark" figures, and sell it for a profit.
  25. PhilJohnson
    Joined: Oct 13, 2009
    Posts: 906


    My first "build" was a 65 Rambler. I replaced the entire driveline from engine to rear end. A few things I learned were

    1. Leaving your car in your friend's parents machine shed for months on end is a bad idea. Always better to have your own space to work on stuff.
    2. Don't run the car down the road with no radiator just because you really really want to take it out for a quick ride (blew a head gasket).
    3. Weld motor mounts with the transmission and engine mounted together.
    4. Don't overtighten wheel bearings!
    5. Have patience.
  26. whid
    Joined: Jun 20, 2008
    Posts: 452


    thanks safariknut, I've had a rough day and this made me laugh out loud......whid
  27. Energy
    Joined: Jan 30, 2010
    Posts: 156


    1. "It'll be ok like that" guarantees it won't!

    2. Your arms/fingers are too short, and you don't have enough of either (and your elbow bends the wrong way).

    3. Ask many questions, and ask several different people each one if possible.

    4. Swivels, extensions, and (sometimes) sockets that attach with a pin (rather than a ball) help you avoid buying more of them, and creating permanent rattles cause you can't get it out of where it fell to.

    5. You'll find out who your real friends are. Kibitzing and drinking your beer is NOT "help".

    6. (for me at least) just go ahead and buy 5-6 5/16 and 3/8 wrenches/sockets before you start. You can buy more later.

  28. Zombie Duck
    Joined: Oct 6, 2010
    Posts: 101

    Zombie Duck

    1. One project at a time.
    2. It's not as bad as you thought... It's WORSE!
    3. Don't be surprised if the guy on Ebay/craigslist leaves out a few minor (IMPORTANT) details about the car, until after you drive hundred's of miles to pick it up.
    4. Do it right the first time.
    5. If you are unsure about something ask someone first, no need to make things harder on yourself.
    6. Team lift, your back will thank you later. ;)
    7. Make sure your cousin that's helping you load your newly bought project isn't a LAZY WORTHLESS #$&@%* SON OF A @%#&*!!:mad:
  29. lorodz
    Joined: Jul 26, 2009
    Posts: 3,728


    build it your way
    settle for nothing but the best
    keep it period correct
    take your time
    extra hands are always needed
  30. In Tx. , the snow will melt. First build, no garage, in front of parents house, laying in the street in one of the rare snow storms, trying to rig up some mufflers. Snow gone a day later.
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2010

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