December 28, 2011

And now, for something completely different....

Life can't only be about cars (unfortunately!). But being a creative sort, I try to make as many things as I can. Last month we finished a major renovation of our bedroom,main/en suite bath and I built Mrs. E-tek a walk-in closet and changing area. For Xmas, I promised her a closet ironing board. This way she doesn't have to  run to the laundry area (downstairs) to iron stuff to wear.

To make it fit the overall theme, I bought a door that matches the wall-set that I installed earlier in her closet. I wanted it to be bigger than a "travel" size board which are barely big enough for her undies, but still small enough to be hidden away - and be out of the way - when it's not in use.

First things first -  cover up the cars in the shop!

 I cut down a pine door jamb to make the box - no MDF here. This will locate the door hinges, as well as the board itself. Glue and brad nails made it solid.

The door makes the entire thing look pro. No more college-style living for us!

The ironing board portion needs a leg that folds out to hold it up. Making it all fit was going to be a challenge... and making it all fir, even more so. What I did was locate a hinge on the underside of the board for the leg and then, to make the leg long enough to reach the ground, I'll have a second leg piece hinge off the first with a piece of heavy fabric (leather?).

Here it is all mocked up.  Tomorrow I'll sand the filler I put in the staple and screw holes, then attach the hinges. I need to have it installed in the closet before I go pick Mrs. E and the kids up at the in-laws!

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December 27, 2011

I had some calendars and posters put together from the photo's we took in the shop.
 Kinda the best case scenario - I get to put cool pictures of women in the shop
 - and Mrs E-tek doesn't mind them (too much!) 

Don't forget to check out the website at ! Special thanks to and !

December 26, 2011

Lots to do!

Drove back from the in-laws farm where the family continues there Christmas traditions: eating, visiting, playing, snowmobiling, walks in the snow.....

Me? I'm back in the shop - finishing the Chevrolet for the Crozon's, building a wall-closet ironing board as part of Mrs E-tek's Christmas gifts and maybe, just maybe, doing some work on my Galaxie!

Put all the fender braces on the Chevrolet. Much harder than I thought it'd be too. Once I figured which brace went where, I had to drill holes that disappeared when new metal was welded in, then weld up on that broke when remvoed:

Then I finished tearing down the FE, which I bought as a 390 but turned out to be a 330....oh well, on the bright side it's in incredibly good shape!

Which is MUCH more than I can say for the SECOND early-style flathead block I bought as a donor for my 46 Merc truck...the first one had BADLY rusted deck faces and this one has holes in it where a piston let go of the crank. Talk about buyer beware....or, don't buy blocks in the dark!

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Merry Christmas to all!

MERRY CHRISTMAS to everyone!!!!!
I hope everyone got what they want this year or, at the very least, has a decent day - because compared to so many people, in so many parts of the world, a decent day for us is a gift so many people are wishing for.

I got 'almost' everything I wished for this year: Time with my family, the health of (most) of those around me, the means to give my family the gifts they wanted, and the continued Love of those around me. I say I "almost" got everything I wanted because ever year I still, niavely, wish for my son Colby to "get better"....

December 23, 2011

Lots more details on the 56 Chevrolet tied up today:

First up, back to this trim piece that fills the space between the dash and windshield. This is the 3rd time at it, trying different clips, different methods to make it look right....and this time, adjusting the clip receptors to hold the filler trim a little more evenly. Sometimes getting things to look right can be a major PITA!! ;)

Next, I needed to remove the front bumper gain, to get the front plate bracket bolted in behind it:

Of course once I got the bolts out I decided they too could be spruced up a notch, so I resprayed, then cleared them.

I said earlier that one of my favourite parts of a build is the application of the decals at the end. As much as I want to do them earlier, I wait until it's nearly out the door, so they stay perfect looking. The decals make the vehicle look dealership fresh - like the day it was purchased.

Above: Oil filter decal is clear so the writing looks painted on.
                                     Below: The oil breather cap on the valve cover. Behind it you can see the valve cover decal  - I need to double check whether it goes on the top or side....

Air cleaner decal:

Early on, a decision was made to buy the Plain-Jane tailgate, without the Chevrolet insignia. It was a for a variety of reasons, owing mostly to availability and cost, so I decided to buy and apply the CHEVROLET decal and see if that was a decent compromise.

After measuring and centering, I applied the letters, each one separately.

As the day winded down I decided to once again run the engine and check the dwell and timing. I can't say it enough -  this was the MOST DIFFICULT  starting rebuild I have ever come across! The owners sent the long block out for a full rebuild so I have no clue as to what - or if - that has anything to do with it at first. The fogging agent they used was tough to burn off for sure, but that was only part of the problems encountered!
Today however, the truck fires up and now idles nicely at just over 700 RPM. The dwell is a little shy, at 22, so I'll have to adjust that up a titch. The carb now works well - after a rebuild and a re-look. And the fuel pump pumps fuel, but oddly the filter has very little fuel going through it. Normally, these plastic filters look half full, but with this one I can barely see fuel going through it. The oddities of General Motors products! Most importantly, the engine produces good oil pressure and it registers nicely on the original oil-fed gauge.

Next week - after Christmas with the family - I'll be back at some electrical work under the dash and a final polish. Delivery is December 30th!

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December 22, 2011

Tearing down Ford 390FE engine

I bought this 1967 Ford 390FE engine, which I had to pull out of a Camper Special Truck, to rebuild and add either a turbo or supercharger set-up and then stuff it into my 1967 Galaxie 500XL. The Galaxie has it's original 390FE mill still and - although it runs good  - is getting a little long in the tooth....

Today I started on the tear down:

The engine's internals turned out to be in VERY good shape. Barely any cylinder ridge, all the bearings where nice, no scratches on any journals - I mean, it barely needed a tear down - but how do you know? You don't - so you do the tear down, check all the parts, do a full cleanup and rebuild it even better than it was....

Of course the 56 Chevrolet is still here, and there's a few minor items left before I can deliver it. This being winter - and the owners not really having anywhere to store it yet - I can take some time to get these items done. Today I detailed the wheels and tires:

In addition to touching up the wheels with some flat black, I cleaned the tires. For the white wall stripe I used Wax and grease remover, which is a light solvent and takes an grease and grime off, then some Spray 9, to make them shiny white. For the black portions I used WD40! This stuff has thousands of uses and leaves a perfect sheen to tires. I see I forgot to take a photo of the entire thing, but will tomorrow.

Lastly, I ran it up again and did some more tuning. This time though I found my exhaust ducting and ran it out the door. You can see that it's nothing more than flexible dryer ducting. It's not very durable, but if you take care of it, it'll last a while - and at $10 for 6 feet, I can buy a lot for what a length of real shop rubber exhaust hose costs, which is about $200. Still, much better than filling the shop with fumes then running it out the wall fan.

Don't forget to check out the website at for lots of "How-To" and some new photo's of Mrs E-tek!  ;)

December 20, 2011

Next up at the E-tek compound......

A lthough the 56 Chevrolet truck still has a few days of finishing work before the keys can be truly handed over to the owners, I've already been thinking about and lining up my own projects, as well as a special purchase that will help me move some of my mechanical skills into the 21st Century!

First, let's have a look at some things already in the E-tek compound:
Above: a 1971 Datsun 240Z on the rotisserie. This was originally purchased as the spare/parts car for E-tek Racing's IP2 effort that Mrs E-tek (Chili) raced out of Westwood in Vancouver, BC
                   Left: I pulled this Ford 390FE Engine from a 1967 Camper Special . It'll make up the base for a twin-turbo engine I'm building for our '67 Galaxie 500XL Convertible.

The Galaxie currently has a 390-2bbl which MAYBE maxes out 250HP. With a full rebuild, bumping the compression closer to 9.5, a dual plane intake, 4 barrel carb and a power-adder, I would hope to net something closer to 450, maybe even 500HP.

 Out at the farm, my father-in-law has a 351Windsor engine just waiting to be saved, as well as this 38 Ford truck shell. Not really restoration material, it does however lend itself to a rodders dream effort.

If the frame is solid we can use it, otherwise we'll just build a frame from 2x4 tubing and cut the shell down to look the part. Something along these lines. The term "Rat-Rod" is thrown around a lot, but well built examples aren't much different than the "rods" that graces the tracks and road ways of the 40's and 50's.

Lastly, and certainly way out of the box around here, I'll be picking up this 2003 Porsche Boxster S come spring. As much as I love classics, big engines and muscle, I also love the intricacies of driving,  the technical highs of well-made 21st century marquees. I have always wanted to do some to hone my driving skills with racing and auto crossing and the Boxster S is a nimble, sure-footed and hard-braking example of German technocracy. As well, I'll be able to move m mechanical skills into the future by learning more about the newer hardware and software out there.

Of course, it won't hurt to have something that can compete with Mrs. E-tek's Mini Cooper, especially since she wants me to put in the smaller pulley kit that increases boost from her supercharger 17%!

December 18, 2011

Like Father, Like Son....

My 8 year old son Colt has been into LEGO for years now. But these aren't the (boring) blocks we all used as kids - now LEGO comes in more pieces and sets than Detroit uses to build their fleets! Not to mention the characters: including LEGO StarWars people of every iteration, LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean, LEGO Ferrari sets, there's hundreds and the boy has gotten many for birthdays, Christmases and many purchased using his own allowance.

Of course in these days of cross marketing, there are also LEGO Video Games for the various consoles. We have aWii and the kid has had the LEGO StarWars Game for a while, then got the newest LEGO Batman game. Interestingly though, LEGO doesn't make the Batman characters yet - but that doesn't stop a creative mind!

So last week Colt asked me for my shop SHARPE markers. He went out and got a few, then made himself busy upstairs. A little while later, he showed me his new LEGO Batman and Robin Mini-figures. Then again today, he called me to come see his latest creations:

The green one, well none other than the Riddler. The white one? Two-Face....and the blue one is Mr Freeze. Later he made Poison Ivy and some other villains I don't know.  One thing I do know - the new world is full of incredible new jobs that kids like Colt will be able to chase. It's a far cry from Policeman, Fireman or Tradesman.....

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December 17, 2011

Hot Rod TV just RUINED Corky Coker for me! (See UPDATE below post!)

At the E-tek household, Saturday mornings generally start with several cups of Java, while my son Colton and I watch car shows. Powerblock TV, Two Guys Garage (I still miss Sam Memolo!) and Hot Rod TV, a TV show from the guys behind HotRod Magazine, every cool-car guys bible.

This morning I'm watching what could have been an awesome idea for a show, a special, heck I'd even pay $10 to see it as a movie. The idea was to have a host cruise around looking for "barn-finds" - cool old iron hiding out in sheds, garages and shops across, in this case, the south. A great idea for a show for sure because every car guy has heard about - and dreams of  - coming of across a rare model that was parked long ago and can be hauled home and returned to it's original glory.

The host for this particular iteration of "Barn Finds TV" was none other than Corkey Coker, the multi-millionaire son of Harold Coker who started re-manufacturing old-style tires from his BF Goodrich tire store for the masses of cars being restored around the world. Over the years I've read a lot about Corky, as HotRod Magazine and other print media have featured him in many articles owing to his interest in all things automotive.

 In print Corky rocks, with his bushy, curled under moustache and his penchant for finding, restoring and using classic cars of every size, shape and vintage. The millions he's skimmed off the profits of Coker Tire has also allowed him a lifestyle coveted by car-guys around the globe and when I see or read about people like that, there's always a part of me that hopes the guys is a decent sort, someone who knows how lucky he is and cares about the cars and people involved and maybe, just maybe, treats them with one-tenth the respect that people deserve to be treated, even if they don't travel in the concours de'elegance crowd of a Corky Coker.

On TV however, the way someone is portrayed - due largely to editing - can make or break the show and, of course, the host or person being featured. The way some editor decides to cut the shots, the things the get  people say and the decisions as to what makes it into the final edit can seriously affect the personalities featured. In this case that personality  was Corky Coker and that 20 minutes was enough to make him look like a cheap, grind you for $500, self-serving southern dufus!

The guy was so brutally portrayed, that that one show was enough to make me hate the guy! Poor rich bastard. Now I'm sure Corky Coker, or the editors of HotRod TV, didn't mean to make him look like the kind of guy that grinds you for $200 on a $10,000 car while holding $50 grand in his wallet, but that's what happened!  And it's amazing to me that they - or anyone involved in the production of this episode - wouldn't have seen that having some rich guy cruise around finding rare old metal that any of us would beg, borrow and maybe even trade our kids for, then grind the owners down from $7500 to $6700 would be good for the guys persona! Poor rich bastard indeed.

Well, so much for always giving people the benefit of the doubt (and blaming editors!).....

I posted thisblog  entry on and not 2 minutes later another member posted a link to (excellent site) where they explain how Corky made himself out to be even (much) worse than he was portrayed on the HotRod TV episode! My aplogied to the editors of HR-TV!!!

Maybe Corky Coker really is "like that"!

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December 16, 2011

There sure is a LOT to do when it looks finished!

If you've been following, you'll know I called it nearly finished some time back.... I mean, it LOOKS done - right?

Even the lights work!

Of course if you've been following you'd also know we spent a TON of time troubleshooting the fuel system to get it running. It was like one of those Troubleshooting Tests where they hide some problem and you try to start it up.... Well, our "hidden" issue was a kink in the flex line from the tank line to the frame line - about 4" long and tucked up under the cab. So about 15 hours later I finally thought to check it. Kinked like a folding table. So I rebent and adjsuted the steel lines and relieved the pressure on the flex line portion. Fuel is now flowing!

Regardless, it still needed the carb to be rebuilt. And it needed a new fuel pump. Really, it needed.....a  ton of LOVE I guess! So after all that spilled gas and wrenching, it was time to re-clean all the components that got all that love and attention.! First up was re-applying the Golden Cad from Eastwood, which does a good job re-creating the cadmium plating carbs got.

Dropped it back on - all tuned and measured, the floats now set and finally - had it running! Can you tell it's running at about 2500 rpm in this pic?

Now here's where the "issues" start appearing.... A while back, when I was doing the rear brakes, I got around to the front and noticed when I removed the Left Front wheel and drum that the shoes where new-ish and the brake cylinder looked good. the owners son happened to be there, so I asked if I should leave them as is and he said "yes", so I did...... You KNOW where this is going.... ;(

So, when working under the truck a few days back, we noticed brake fluid coming from the  RIGHT front wheel. Now that the thing is running I decided to pull it and see...and sure enough the brake cylinder was gushing fluid . Another thing that needs resto and shoulda been done! Now it is. Once the wheel went back on, I put a light coat of semi-gloss on the wheel and left it overnight to dry. Perfection. So, that leaves the LEFT front corner the ONLY bit on the entire truck that wasn't completely restored. That'll happen tomorrow for sure.

What else needs doing you ask? Well, the rear signal lights, turn signals, horn and more are all on that steering column harness that was so unceremoniously cut off - so I'll try to find one of those connectors. Once the engine gets run up you find a lot of leaks, and while we dealt with most, there's still a couple pesky ones - one at the heater core (I hope it's not the core itself...), so I'll deal with those. Bought new window cranks- that's take a few minutes. As well, the front licence plate holder has to go under the bumper - so I have to remove the entire bumper to get that item on. a bunch of other wiring to - the accessory block and heater fan come to mind.

Once all that is complete, I'll machine polish it, detail it and then hand the keys over to the owner. I'm sure I'll be sad to see it go.

Don't forget to check out the website at ! Special thanks to and !