West Coast Report — 15th Edition: By John Gilbert

Don’t Mickey Mouse it — Do The Job Right

Buenos Dias, or as they say it in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin — Buenos Nachos. Loosely translated into English the expression means, Good Day with a crispy little cheese covered tortilla chip thrown in.

This week’s West Coast Report isn’t about cheese or tortilla chips, but I will delve into the different aspects of doing the job right, versus doing it cheesy. Wisconsin has the best rep for cheese, but California in addition to Mickey Mouse and Disneyland, is known for its cheese, wine, fruit, and nuts… Almonds, pistachios, and TV star religious zealots in particular. Here’s how the front of my garage looked before I started. Organized with shelves for storage, but at the sacrifice of floor space. What’s worse was my tools were stored in different areas of the garage… some places real inconvenient to get to.

What got me on the Do The Job Right kick ignited while I was getting my garage ready to begin work on the Hot Rod to Hell, Track T. The T is going to be featured in an upcoming road trip story in Street Rodder. It became obvious before I was going to be able to do a proper job on the T, my garage and tools needed to as organized as possible. I just kept investing more time, and days into tearing the place apart when I found myself tempted to Mickey Mouse some things to be able to move on. Then I spotted the Eastwood Do The Job Right banner spread out across my rollaway top, and had second thoughts. The spirit of Eastwood’s slogan means the crew at Eastwood have everything needed for pros and DIY guys alike to obtain the best results possible, but it was another interpretation that I recognized.

Beyond a job well done, I adopted Do The Job Right as a battle cry to persist until I had my working environment as perfect as I could make it. Not to stop until I was absolutely satisfied with the results. This meant ripping out all of the old wood storage shelves and making room to group all of my tools in one spot. It took an entire day to rip the shelves out, and find a new place to store everything. The next job, sorting out tools and stocking each rollaway was real time intensive, before I knew it I’d spent over two weeks. Although I’m glad I did it because it was worth every minute being able to have everything where I can find it. Not having to search I’ve already started to make up for lost time, and now I don’t feel so uptight every time I need to hunt for a specific tool.

John Gilbert

Green With Idiocy

California Cool Paints Initiative Wasn’t Cool

Gee, how time flies. It was back in 2009 the California Air Resources Board came up with this beauty. I’m guessing the idea must have proven so moronic, and embarrassing to the other state agencies that CARB is no longer allowed to use California in it’s name. These days the agency is simply known as ARB. The acronym ARB; it kind of sounds like a viral moisture wart that would flourish in between one’s butt cheeks doesn’t it?

A good way to describe life in the 21st century is it’s like being an actor in a poorly written episode of the Twilight Zone that’s televised on a continuous loop that can’t be turned off. Let’s temporarily forget about the Wall Street crooks that get paid multi-million-dollar retention bonuses to stick around in case they’re needed to bankrupt their companies again, and move on to issues that are closer to the hearts of automobile enthusiasts. I’m talking about the contrived energy crisis, and all of the related baloney that goes with it. If there really were such a thing as impending doom from greenhouse gases the solution offered up by the powers that be would run on a more urgent timeline.

Think about it, instead of pouring millions of tax dollars into subsidizing hydrogen-powered vehicles that might prove out in 20 years how about an effective change that could be put into action before the sun sets tonight? Zeroing in on a specific example brings me to the state of California’s “cool paints” initiative introduced on March 12, 2009 to ban black paintjobs on automobiles and trucks. The trouble stems from the California Air Resources Board. CARB wants to mandate the phase-in of non-existent heat-reflecting paints on vehicles starting with the 2012 model year, with all colors meeting a 20 percent reflectivity requirement by the 2016 model year. You read it right, the technology doesn’t exist for automotive use.

The premise behind the black paint ban is to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions and improve fuel economy by keeping vehicles cooler on hot days and decrease the amount of time California drivers turn their air conditioning on. The folks at CARB are operating on the conclusion that air conditioning robs engine power and hurts fuel economy. The CARB brain trust concurs if vehicles have reflective paint, interiors will be cooler and drivers will use their air conditioning less, the A/C compressors won’t have to work as hard and this means less gasoline will be consumed.

Oh goody-goody, and all of this by 2016, that’s wonderful, but if CARB really felt there was a problem there’s an instant solution available. The folks at CARB could wake up tomorrow morning knowing they made the world a better place to live if they yanked the fuse out of their state-owned automobile’s air conditioner. Imagine the instantaneous beneficial effects realized by disarming California’s fleet of what must amount to thousands of vehicles burdened with air conditioning. Them CARB fellers better not let governor Jerry Brown hear my suggestion because he’s the kind of guy that will make them do it — Imagine that, bureaucrats forced to take their own medicine.

The undeniable proof California’s green movement is a bunch of hooey is the existence of gasoline-powered leaf blowers in California. With over 35 million people in California there has to be millions of leaf blowers burning hundreds of thousands of gallons of gasoline on a daily basis. There are some counties in California where leaf blowers are banned, but it’s because of noise pollution and has nothing to do with gasoline consumption or what effects leaf blowers might have on air quality. If CARB really believed there was a problem I’m sure they would come up with a replacement technology that hasn’t been invented yet. Something like a big stick with whiskers on the end that could be used to sweep dirt into a flat thing with a handle on it. I think I’ll patent the concept, and give it a name like broom and dustpan. Acting as a responsible global citizen the gardener after using the broom and dustpan could then throw the leaves and garbage into the trash instead of blowing it into a neighbor’s front yard. In my neighborhood, the gardeners like to show up on different days and then take turns blasting dirt and rocks onto my trucks. Thankfully water conservation has never been an issue in California, so I can flood the dirt off with water anytime I so desire. Besides who cares if their vehicle’s paint job is getting chipped and scratched.

Well, I’m getting towards the end where I need to wrap things up, but before I do I’d like to turn the folks at CARB onto a neat product I saw advertised on early morning television. It’s called the Window Weasel and it’s a solar-powered device that attaches to a car window which is slightly opened and circulates fresh air from the outside and keeps the car’s interior much cooler while parked. The benefits advertised were more about creature comfort than energy conservation, but it offers a realistic solution to the problem. It’s too bad the CARB folks don’t get up real early like me and watch television, they would have known about this thing. Only time will tell who is right, me with my new K-Tel Window Weasel or CARB with their ban on black paint jobs.

—John Gilbert

Outlaw Rodder

Raising the Hot Rod to Hell

I’m on a real tight deadline, and there’s a lot of things that will need to be done to this ’27 Ford before it’s ready to hit the long road to Hell, Michigan. I want to tear the T right down to the bare frame right now, but it would be a big mistake not to set some things up before that happens. The two most important upgrades that need to be done is to rework the front suspension from friction shocks to modern telescopic shock absorbers, and redesign the interior so I can fit into it comfortably. Ordinarily for an in-town  “cruise hopper” the friction shocks, and cramped seating would be bearable, but not for the long haul. It looks like I can get a head start on the front suspension by sourcing a universal shock mount kit and chrome Bilstein shocks from Speedway Motors in Lincoln, Nebraska. The word universal means I’m going to have to do a little fabrication, and welding, but that’s not a biggie. The T’s driving position has to be stretched as far front to rear as possible. Not only stretched, but the toe board (floorboard) needs to be widened, so my left foot won’t be trapped under the brake pedal, and the gas pedal can be depressed without twisting my foot sideways.

Beauty is only skin deep. The front end, in fact the entire car is a perfect candidate for the Eastwood treatment. This car was constructed with top-quality parts, but five years of sitting outside has sent it’s Fordly good looks out to lunch.

I’ll be using Eastwood’s new 2K Aero-Spray paints to bring the T right back to show-quality, magazine ready condition. A quick cleanse with Eastwood PRE painting prep, and then Eastwood 2K Aero-Spray Chassis Black will do the rest.

The rusty bits (spindles, rearend, etc.) will be treated to a protective polymeric coating using Eastwood Rust Converter, followed directly with 2K Aero-Spray Chassis Black. I’ll show how when the time comes to get this thing in color.

The beauty of Eastwood 2K Aero-Spray paints is they offer all the durability of a professional quality gun-sprayed urethane finish combined with the pure convenience only a spray can, can offer. Additionally the 2K nozzle just like a professional spray gun can be adjusted to a vertical, or horizontal fan.

This is as far torn down as the car needs to be for now. The engine and trans need to be in place to configure a new exhaust system, and to determine how much can be cut out of the toe board.

Trying to handle disassembly without being able to see is a guaranteed way to miss a screw, or hidden bolt. Not having to mess with an electrical cord is great. I’m really starting to appreciate the Eastwood 30 SMD LED Worklight/Flashlight.

I like this light, so much that I’m going to fabricate a bracket to utilize it as a map light, or remove to use as a trouble light. It comes standard with a 110-volt charger, plus a 12-volt charger that plugs into a cigarette lighter socket.

There’s no way I’m going to drive the T 6,000 miles with only this much foot room. My new Nikes look just like a pair of ugly feet huh?

Instead of marking with a Sharpie, I prefer to use bright colored masking tape to draw my cut lines. The tape is much easier to see, plus makes straighter lines.

For sheer power this cordless Makita drill kicks ass over my pneumatic die-grinder. Using a worn-out, meaning smaller cut-off disc fits better into tight spots. The lack of an electrical cord, or air hose helps to move around easier.

Fiberglass is tougher (stronger) than it looks. I had to make sure the cuts went all the way through before the area to be removed would drop out.

Checkout how much room there is between the bell-housing  and the floor. My next step is to make cardboard patterns that will turn into a new section of fiberglass floor… and you guessed it, the materials are coming from Eastwood.

I’ve had that engine hoist since 1979, its amazing how long tools can last if you take care of them. I wish the same was true for my teeth.

For a lightweight car the cheapie wheel dollies work OK. For now the Hot Rod to Hell has been slid over to the side of my garage to make room for an upcoming tech feature on the ’79 Chevy C10 seen here in the background. That said, the T is on a tight deadline, so I’m going to tear back into it ASAP. The next tech to appear here will be on how to make templates and turn them into a fiberglass part.




  1. They did ban gas powered leaf blowers in Los Angeles, so the gardeners started carrying cans of alcohol, since it was hard to prove what was actually in the gas tank of the blower without probable cause to search it. I don’t know if the ban is still in effect.
    On another note, I saw on the news this morning that the Peterson Museum is having a pickup truck exhibit right now. That might be worth a visit for gearheads in the Los Angeles area. They showed off some cool rides.

  2. What year was that? I did the research on this piece back in ’09 when the CARB folk tried to pull this crap.

    Yeah, i got a press release stating the Peterson was running a pickup exhibit. Maybe I’ll run it on here as an event.

    Thanks, for the comment Kit, I was starting to wonder if anyone was reading this stuff. You’d think a viral butt wart would have drawn some kind of feedback.

  3. Kit,

    I looked the law up. Leaf blowers aren’t illegal in LA they can’t be used within 500 feet of a residence. And all you have to do is look and you’ll see the law isn’t enforced all that strict. Yeah, like the police don’t have better things to do with their time than issue tickets to people driving black cars.

    Uh, what was the issue?

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