’67 Firebird Restoration Project: Part 6 – Engine Rebuild

We’re now up to the sixth installment of the Harbor Freight Tools 1967 Firebird Restoration Project.

Recapping — HFT invited former Rod & Custom editor, Jeff Tann, to restore a First Generation Firebird using only products from Harbor Freight Tools. The car is all original with a 400/325-hp V8 engine, so he’s approaching the project from scratch.

Now in Part 6, we come to the meatiest phase of the Firebird restoration to date– the engine rebuild. The Pittsburgh Professional 1/2″ Drive Click Stop Torque Wrench is pretty much the star of the show, a multipurpose tool utilized throughout the footage. That said, check out the great details and tips employed in this installment. Chances are you’ll see a thing or two you’d like to adopt for your next project.

Whatever your labor of love, if it has to do with tools, Harbor Freight Tools has got what you need– and sends you home with extra cash in your pocket!

Enjoy– and stay tuned! There’s still tons more to come!

 

Boy Scout Does His Eagle Project the Harbor Freight Way

Boy Scout Jack Rickelmann of Westlake Village, CA needed to perform a community service project to qualify for his Eagle Scout Award, so when an opportunity came to restore three benches and build planters for St. Maximilian Kolbe Catholic Church’s preschool, Koble’s Korner, he jumped on it.

As required of the Eagle process, Jack managed the entire project. The first thing he did was employ the help of some fellow scouts and adults, after which he approached Harbor Freight Tools, asking if they would contribute products and supplies for the venture.

The benches were sorely weather-beaten…

 

…so Jack had his crew disassemble, sand and stain them. The metal parts were prepared using wire brushes (#40401) and spray painted black using precision can guns (#94815).

 

The finished benches looked like new!

 

The planters were to be used by the preschool students to plant flowers and vegetables for educational purposes.

The wood planters were stained with paint rollers (#90182) and brushes (#4183) provided by HFT, which gave them a smooth finish.

The assembly was coordinated by Jack as the units were screwed together with guidance from the adults using power drills.

Jack presents a finished planter

One requirement the school principal had was mobility to move the planters so all children could have access.  Jack used two 3″ Cast Iron/Molded Rubber Swivel Casters and two 3″ Cast Iron/Molded Rubber Stationary Casters on each planter.   The sturdy construction of the casters provided by Harbor Freight allowed a fully-loaded planter to move around easily.

Other Harbor Freight Tools items used for Jack’s project included: 100-pack 5 Mil Powder-Free Nitrile Gloves, 50-pack Dust And Particle Masks, and 3-pack 9″ Paint Roller Covers.

Thanks to the enthusiastic help and quality tools and supplies, Jack was able to complete his project ahead of schedule!

The principal was extremely jazzed about the planters and benches. Classes had just started and she couldn’t wait to put them to use. Jack’s remaining project funds were given to the school to purchase flower and vegetable seeds for the planters. All in all, the activity was a resounding success!

If there’s a project you need to do, be it for the Scouts, your church, school, community, or for a particular fundraiser, remember Harbor Freight Tools for your tools and supplies– HFT will keep you on track and under budget!

 

 

Melting a Rainbow

Being a former retail store worker I’ve always associated heat guns with shrink wrapping product. In fact, this was probably my favorite part of any number of retail jobs I had. There is just something satisfying about watching the plastic shrink to perfection. And if I accidentally shrank the wrap too much to where it started to rip, well that just meant I got to rip it off and start over again! It was hard for me to imagine how there could be a more fun use of a heat gun – at least until I started reading about the things people do with Harbor Freight heat guns (I’m serious!). People have been known to use them to do things as unexpected as roast coffee and make nachos (did someone say nachos?!).

1500 Watt Dual Temperature Heat Gun

The versatile 1500 Watt Dual Temperature Heat Gun. Use it to strip paint, loosen fittings, thaw pipes, make nachos, or create crayon art!

Lately, I’ve been finding crafty people around the internet using heat guns to make melted crayon art. This relatively simple idea is a great project for older children or a way to get some vibrant color into any room. To get an idea of the how-to and final product of melted crayon art, check out this finished piece from makoodle.com.

Melted Crayon Art from makoodle.com

Made with Harbor Freight Tools! Learn how-to at makoodle.com

Over at loveandlaundry.com they turned melted crayon art into a rainbow of teacher appreciation. Now Mrs. Wilson and Ms. Dawson will have fancy colorful name plates for their classrooms!

Personalized Melted Crayon Art

Personalized Melted Crayon ArtAlso made with Harbor Freight Tools! Learn how-to at loveandlaundry.com

So tell me, dear readers, how do you use your Harbor Freight Tools heat gun?

’67 Firebird Restoration Project: Part 5 – The Underbody

Welcome to the fifth installment of the Harbor Freight Tools 1967 Firebird Restoration Project.

Recapping — HFT invited former Rod & Custom editor, Jeff Tann, to restore a First Generation Firebird using only products from Harbor Freight Tools. The car is all original, with a 400/325-hp V8 engine, so he’s approaching the project from scratch.

In Part 1, we were given a tour of the original vehicle, inside and out, and presented Jeff’s challenge. In Part 2, we followed the body-dismantling process and introduced the U.S. General 700 lb. Capacity 5-Drawer Rolling Tool Cart, which housed the Pittsburgh Professional 301-Piece Mechanic’s Tool Kit. Also in this segment, we saw how Jeff made quick business of the job with a Central Pneumatic 3/8″ Professional Air Ratchet and 1/4″ Mini Air Ratchet Wrench. In Part 3, Jeff lifted the engine using a 1-Ton Capacity Foldable Shop Crane and then removed the tranny from it with a Central Pneumatic 1/2″ Twin Hammer Air Impact Wrench before he mounted it on the Central Machinery 1000 Lb. Engine Stand, and proceeded to take it apart. Part 4 took us to the exciting first step of transformation– sanding and priming the car. For the stripping, Jeff used a Central Pneumatic 6″ Dual Action Air Sander and the Jitterbug Orbital Air Sander.  He then laid down the primer like a rock star, using the Central Pneumatic Professional HVLP Gravity Feed Spray Gun.

We now come to Part 5, which involves the pressure-washing, sandblasting and undercoating of the Firebird. Using a Pacific Hydrostar 4 HP 2000 PSI Gas Pressure Washer and a generous amount of heavy-duty degreaser, he heavily coated the underbody to break down over 45 years of grease, oil and dirt, and then washed it off with water using a high-pressure nozzle. Once the underbody was scrubbed clean, he sandblasted the rust spots with a Central Pneumatic Portable Abrasive Blaster Kit, using highly effective Medium Grade Armex Soda Blast Media, and as a finishing touch, covered the surface with Rustoleum Professional Undercoating Spray.

Whatever your labor of love, if it has to do with tools, Harbor Freight Tools has got what you need– and sends you home with extra cash in your pocket!

Keep watching. There’s still a lot more ahead!

’67 Firebird Restoration Project: Part 4 – Strip & Prime!

Welcome to the fourth installment of the Harbor Freight Tools 1967 Firebird Restoration Project.

As we shared earlier, HFT invited Jeff Tann– car enthusiast and former Rod & Custom editor — to fully restore a legendary First Generation Firebird using only products from Harbor Freight Tools. The car is all original, with a 400/325-hp V8 engine, so he’s basically tackling the project “from scratch.”

In Part 1, we were given a tour of the original vehicle, inside and out, and presented Jeff’s challenge. In Part 2, we followed the body-dismantling process and introduced the U.S. General 700 lb. Capacity 5-Drawer Rolling Tool Cart, which housed the Pittsburgh Professional 301-Piece Mechanic’s Tool Kit. Also in this segment, we saw how Jeff made quick business of the job with a Central Pneumatic 3/8″ Professional Air Ratchet and 1/4″ Mini Air Ratchet Wrench. In Part 3, Jeff lifted the engine using  a 1-Ton Capacity Foldable Shop Crane and then removed the tranny from it with a Central Pneumatic 1/2″ Twin Hammer Air Impact Wrench before he mounted it on the Central Machinery 1000 Lb. Engine Stand, and proceeded to take it apart.

Part 4 takes us to the exciting first step of transformation– sanding and priming the car. For the stripping, Jeff used a Central Pneumatic 6″ Dual Action Air Sander and the Jitterbug Orbital Air Sander.  That done, he then laid down the primer like a rock star, using the efficient, low-price Central Pneumatic Professional HVLP Gravity Feed Spray Gun.

You might be asking, why is Harbor Freight doing this? Because they can! It’s their way of saying they have everything you need to complete this job– and do it like pro– for a fraction of the cost other tool stores would charge you!

So, keep watching. There’s lots more ahead!

 

’67 Firebird Restoration Project: Part 3 – Engine Removal!

Welcome to the third installment of the Harbor Freight Tools 1967 Firebird Restoration Project.

For first-time readers: HFT invited Jeff Tann– car enthusiast and former Rod & Custom editor — to fully restore the legendary muscle car using only discount tools from Harbor Freight. The car is all original, with a 400/325-hp V8 engine, so he’s basically tackling the project “from scratch.”

In Part 1, we were given a tour of the original vehicle, inside and out, and presented Jeff’s challenge. In Part 2, we followed the body-dismantling process and introduced the U.S. General 700 lb. Capacity 5-Drawer Rolling Tool Cart, which housed the Pittsburgh Professional 301-Piece Mechanic’s Tool Kit. Also in this segment, we saw how Jeff made quick business of the job with a Central Pneumatic 3/8″ Professional Air Ratchet and 1/4″ Mini Air Ratchet Wrench.

This time we follow Jeff as he lifts the engine, using a 2-Ton Capacity Foldable Shop Crane. It’s probably the first time the 45-year-old engine’s been taken out since it was on the assembly line, so it’s not gonna be pretty. Jeff then removes the tranny from the engine with a Central Pneumatic 1/2″ Twin Hammer Air Impact Wrench before he mounts it on the Central Machinery 1000 Lb. Engine Stand, and proceeds to take it apart.

Welterweight Welder

Maybe you’ve been thinking about getting into welding. Perhaps you’ve had a run-in  or two with a home or car repair where you thought a welder would be just the thing. Or maybe a buddy recently modded a grill or trailer, or made a cool metal rack on the cheap with his handy-dandy welder, and you thought, ‘Dang… I’d like to do something like that.” Well, join the club. But before you go out and get the coolest, top-of-the-line welder, you need to hang on and know a few things.

  • Practice

Welding–like any craft– is a skill . It takes a lot of practice to get even close to being competent. When you first take hold of that welder, for heaven’s sake, don’t use it on something you don’t want ruined. Practice on LOTS of scrap metal– preferably around the same thickness as what your first project is going to be. You should be able to find some good stuff at your local metal or welding shop. Get used to the action and the way the metal reacts. Work on avoiding “bird poops” (the unsightly metal globs you sometimes see on rough welding jobs), and start feeling comfortable with your developing “technique.” Then, use some scrap to make something you don’t care about, like a homemade grill for a fire pit or bookends out of 350 engine pistons. Only after you’ve gotten a handle on that kind of stuff should you attempt a project that does matter.

  • Start Small

You wouldn’t learn how to ride a motorcycle on a Harley Fat Boy or start target shooting with a Tac-50. The same goes with your first welder. Welding is not a low-cost activity, so before you know you it’s something you want to get into, starting smaller and cheaper is the way to go. An ideal model with which to “get your feet wet” is the popular Chicago Electric 90 Amp Flux Wire Welder. It’s easy to set up, can weld metal up to 3/16″ thick and is perfect for small projects around the house and garage. A quick browse through the 90 amp’s customer reviews will give you an idea of what it’s capable of. Here are a few comments:

“I’m a former auto technician and have welded hundreds of times over the years using various machines. I was hesitant to purchase this item… but after doing so I am thoroughly pleased. It’s was very easy to set up. Made numerous repairs to an existing metal decorative fence. It handled the 12 ga metal without hesitation and I decided to attempt it on another project that was heavier metal. It worked flawlessly producing strong welds on 3/16 metal… Overall a great machine at a great price. I’m completely pleased!”  DennisF – Temple, TX

“Very easy and fun to use. Fabricate anything I need to my (on) trucks and machinery. Very happy!”  Landscape Designer – NJ

“Wow, this is nice. How could you go wrong with the price, well worth the money. I’m going to buy one for my boy who has never welded before. Thanks for a great product.”  Boonie – Mt. Vernon, IL

“I needed to do some light welding on my car. I figured it was either hire someone or get my own welder and teach myself. I bought this with a 25′ #12 gauge extension cord and an auto dark helmet. I had never used a welder before, I don’t even have a book except the book that came with this welder.”  Mike – Hollywood, FL

“It’s a awesome welder and works great, can’t ask for much more. I love it. I made prerunner bumpers and skid plates, also welded up a few exhausts. I even made a welding cart and welding table with welder. Overall, buy this welder and make stuff with it and sell the stuff you make well worth the money!”  T-Man – redneckville

Once you’ve mastered your 90 Amp Flux Wire Welder, you can expand to bigger projects and maybe move up to a Chicago Electric 170 Amp MIG/Flux Wire Welder or 180 Amp MIG/Flux Wire Feed Welder for more power and thicker metal.

  • Safety

Obviously, the foremost thing to keep in mind about welding is safety first. Most of it is common sense, but for the sake of health and property, keep in mind that welding can be dangerous. Welders throw sparks, they can cause fire. Be sure to remove anything flammable from the area you’re working in, and if you’re welding on the grass or near bushes, it’s probably a good idea to wet down the ground. Also, wear a long-sleeve shirt, pants without cuffs, and long Welders Gloves. Of course, also get yourself face and eye protection. I particularly like the Chicago Electric Auto-Darkening Helmet with Blue Flame Design.

Once you get the hang of it, working on welding projects can be a blast– for the home, the car and all kinds of hobby projects. And Harbor Freight’s got the perfect, low-cost way to start!

The HFT ’67 Firebird Restoration Project: Part 2 – Disassembly!

Welcome to the second installment of the Harbor Freight Tools 1967 Firebird Restoration Project. As previously noted, HFT invited Jeff Tann– car enthusiast and former Rod & Custom editor–to fully restore the legendary muscle car using only low-priced tools sold at Harbor Freight. The car is all original, with a 400/325-hp V8 engine, so he’s basically tackling the project “from scratch.”

In Part 1, we were introduced to the vehicle, inside and out, and presented Jeff’s challenge. In this segment we watch the dismantling process. As Dr. Albert Hirsch had to break down David Webb before he could build Jason Bourne, so Jeff has to take apart the old, battle-weary Firebird before he can build… a classic, hotter Firebird!

To get the ball rolling, his garage was equipped with a U.S. General 700 lb. Capacity 5-Drawer Rolling Tool Cart, which was stocked with a Pittsburgh Professional 301-Piece Mechanic’s Tool Kit. Also used in this segment, the Central Pneumatic 3/8″ Professional Air Ratchet and 1/4″ Mini Air Ratchet Wrench.

During the display, it was suggested that you should keep the bolts, nuts, washers, etc., for each portion together in ziplock bags– and who doesn’t have a horror story that supports that?

Stay tuned… the best stuff’s still ahead!

What Kayak Canoe Put On a Utility Trailer?

Usually when you go to Harbor Freight for a trailer to haul your canoe or kayak, you’d probably look for the Haul-Master 600 lb. Capacity Boat Trailer. Makes sense, right? Not to everyone. It’s not that the boat trailer isn’t pretty great, itself– it IS, as the customer reviews can attest!– but what if you want something different,and still keep the price nice and low?

I recently found a slew of canoe/kayak mods made from Haul-Master utility trailers, and I thought they were so cool– and share-worthy– I decided to post them here:

On TexasKayakFisherman.com, a forum member who goes by the handle “G-Man” purchased a Haul-Master 1090-lb. Capacity 40-1/2″ x 48″ Mini Utility Trailer, extended the tongue and added two sets of bunkers for two kayaks–

– and then, shortly thereafter, he modified it again!

 

Florida resident “venice” also shared his solution using the 1090-lb. Mini, adding a 6-ft. 2′ x 2-1/2′ piece of steel and a couple of kayak carriers.

He offers a detailed account of his project, including multiple pictures.

“The eyebolt in front is used to use a “Dog holder Y” which we used with our Golden, two clips attach to front of kayaks and the third to the eye bolt… this forms the “Y” I mentioned, the point of it is fast stop, etc., this restrained any forward movement of the kayaks. Overkill, I know, but…”

No apologies, buddy. Overkill is underrated. You found a sweet solution!

 

And as a final example of the 1090 lb. Mini, … this is the best build using a Harbor Freight trailer as a base with no welding that I have seen so far! Check out MattD’s post, once again compliments of TexasKyakFisherman.com.

“It started as a Harbor Freight trailer, a pile of SuperStrut and some scrap steel from the dumpster. I added a couple of coats of spray-on bedliner coating and a recycled battery box for tie-down and tools. “

 

Also on TexasKayakFishing.com, “smitty24,” a Washington state resident, modified his 1720-lb. Capacity Super-Duty 4′x8′ Utility Trailer–

 ”I welded some square stock to the side, slid a larger piece over it and mounted a flat piece of steel and the yakima carriers to that. I made the tongue movable, but I need to cut a foot or two off. I’m planning on adding a coffin type box in the middle so I can carry everything inside and keep it locked, but I want it to be removable too, so I can still use it as a regular trailer to haul stuff. It was actually pretty easy to do…”

You can click here to see additional photos of his work.

 

Finally, check out Marcel Rodriguez’ modification of the Haul-Master 870-lb Capacity 40″x49″ Heavy-Duty Utility Trailer:

Marcel replaced the tongue with a 14-ft. two-piece square steel tube, which he ran from the rear of the trailer, and created the rack from steel tube stock. The trailer can fit four boats comfortably and “could accommodate six.”  In the category of getting the most out of little space, this baby takes the prize! To really appreciate what he’s done, you need to go visit his site.

 

That’s it for now. But, explore the aforementioned sites, yourself– and Google others– for the awesome examples of kayak and canoe trailers made from Harbor Freight utility trailers. There’s no shortage of them– in probably every configuration imaginable– including the one that best matches your needs.

 

The HFT ’67 Firebird Restoration Project: Part 1

How good is Harbor Freight Tools, really? To find out, Jeff Tann– car enthusiast and former Rod & Custom editor–will fully restore a 1967 Pontiac Firebird using only tools sold at Harbor Freight. Starting today, we’ll follow his progress.

In the first installment of this 12-part series, let’s look at the muscle car as it was originally presented to Jeff. As you can see, the Firebird– all original– isn’t in terrible shape, but definitely has seen the wear of time and use. Even so, we’re looking at an American classic, and wouldn’t it be awesome to see it return to its 100% perfection?


Each week we’ll cover another phase of the project, until we see it through to its completion. Starting next week, we’ll start with removing the engine.

Follow with us and witness firsthand how the affordable, quality tools at Harbor Freight perform in this most challenging exercise.