Ug! Or: Please consider trade school, dear writer.

Dear Creative Writer,

I haven’t an iota of interest in your mind, heart, experiences, or delusions.  That said, please do not consider my lack of appreciation for your life’s blood an indication of the generally pointless pursuit of relentlessly polishing your creative writing toolkit.  It will surely serve you well in the future.  Just keep working at it, and never let anyone tell you that you’re not worthy!

You rely on inspiration because nothing else in life tells you that the choices you’ve made are right.  Your conclusions seem reasonable.  You entertain yourself with your own thoughts; few outside of the canine kingdom are really capable of doing this, so you should find reasonable solace and joy in this ability to make a party in your pants when no one (of any measurable substance) is watching.  Your mom/roommate/grandfather should be really proud of the efforts you make when you see the red mist of the writer; given the average writer’s proclivities for smoking and cirrhosis of the liver, the mist is actually probably more of a yellow, but you go, writer!

There’s a definite future for you.  Many writers have made it big over the past century; the fact that the names on the list of ten or so only change every 50 years should not deter your momentum.  Stay on that track, and you might just be the next John Steinbeck or Nora Roberts.  Granted, it takes a special person and a bit of luck to become one of the ten.  One should take the time to consider other opportunities in life that offer better odds at having a reasonably successful life:  fucking the U.S. President as a prostitute with a knack for covert video construction; winning any state’s lottery or Powerball; getting an MLS soccer player contract, just like that British douche with all the bitchin’ tats; discovering and monetizing a cure for just one of an endless array of cancer types (you might need some med school first, but just for this one opportunity).  Keep on writing, you soldier of the Underwood!

Maybe, just maybe, when you’ve been accepted by a publisher as a writer of compelling fiction, you will be awarded a contract for one to three books of your very own blood, sweat, and folly.  This publisher may offer you genuine money for the products of your overactive mind.  That money, quantitatively, will sound quite impressive when translated into Mexican pesos, which you should not see as such a bad thing; with the American dollar, you may not find the joy you’ve so mercilessly sought; you probably won’t be able to pay rent in Fresno, let alone Atlanta.  Find joy in the peso, then use whatever extras you have left, after moving to a country (Mexico is convenient and reasonably priced) that you can afford as a legit, published author, to buy some quality body armor (work from the top down, based on your income level) and with whatever you have left, if anything, enjoy some tequila.  Don’t bother paying extra for the “good” stuff, as it’s still just tequila, which is like what happens when they make pruno in a desert, where white bread doesn’t grow naturally.

Here’s to your success!  Don’t stop rubbing the letters off those keys; Hemingway and Stephen King made it, so you can, too!

Yours Truly,

Dearest Reality

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The Tank

I made a place for the gas tank to sit. In the interest of continuing to push weight toward the middle of the car–this is as close as English majors get to engineering-speak–I put the tank between the wheels. It’s sitting mostly behind the pumpkin, but the front few (six?) inches of the tank are right over the differential and the axles (with u-joints).

I have no intention of putting a fuel cell in this car–there is no point, as they are too temporary for my needs (whatever the heck those are–mainly psychosis). The tank is a simple Tanks Inc. (they really need to learn to use the apostrophe correctly) universal pick-up truck unit called the UTN2T (16 gallons, I think). This is the same tank I used in my summer Ranchero time-wasting experience, and I liked it for a couple of reasons. The first is that it has an EFI pump tray in the bottom–it’s like a dog bowl for the pump pickup; the second is that it also has a baffle/wall near the middle of the tank, which is the method fuel tanker trailers use to cut down on fluid surge when they try to stop or go. I ran the Ranchero literally bone-dry driving enthusiastically on my twisty road without a trace of unsipped fuel.

In the tank will go the basic Tanks Inc. goods (pick up and sender, with their screw-top filler neck, to be filled by opening the trunk) and a Walbro 255. On the gaskets will go the Permatex Aircraft sealant gunk.

Most of the 1×1 square tubing you’ll see is .065, but I’ve used .120-wall at key points, including the crossbar (and junctions) at the front of the frame–this ties into the roll bar down tubes and the structure for the rear firewall. Above the axles’ inner u-joints, I welded in a rectangle of 16-gauge sheet I had sitting around, just in case. Thicker stuff, while I have it, seemed like overkill. On top of the tank, for the final securing of the thing, I’ll use basic removable (C4 Corvette) tank straps.

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Interiorizing

To continue sheetmetal hell, I have reached the point of Corvette invisibility on the inside of the Falcon.  Some people spend their time figuring out how to make more money, be in charge, take over territories, cure diseases, or other useful things.  I just burn metal . . .

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Sheetmetal Hell

The Falcon needed some updating here, since I sullied the blog with so much other crap in semi-recent history.  The Ranchero moved to Tennessee, hopefully to a new owner who’s not too pissed off at my dumb ideas/executions.  I did get the Ranchero running and driving decently, so that was a valuable exercise in the whole wiring/computerizing area–nobody likes pictures of wires, though, so it won’t be seen here.

On to the Chevy that Ford never made, but with some clarifications.  The interior is intended to resist twisting in the body, for the betterment of suspension functionality and tire contact with the ground.  What this means is that when you see the tubing in the transmission tunnel (backbone) and the firewalls (front and rear), it is there to provide torsional rigidity; much of the tubing in the rear firewall area (not shown now, but later) is actually only there to lay panels on, but there is some resistance functionality present as well.  This approach makes the panel work somewhat easier, but then again, not so much.  Much of the (firewall and backbone) tubing is very light, .065 to .095, so what you’re looking at is not a tank in the making.  There’s a good month in this shite.

Pictures will show brake mounting place (3/16 plate for dual Wilwood masters/pedal), some steering gear mounting (part of which is temporary–the donkey dick), seat mounting structure, more tubes, and obvious sheetmetal.  Yes, I mounted the lower steering bearing to a 2×3 tube.  It’s flippin’ sweet, especially since there’s barely any angle to the rack.  There’s also an exhaust mid-section welded up in there (3-inch single from two 2.5″ pipes off the headers).  There’s more to come . . .

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It’s a blog post!

There will be more Falcon-based stupidity in the near future:

fseat1, but in the mean time, it’s an advertisement for something else.

Because the world needs another (folk or any other kind of) singer like it needs another gaping hole in its overtaxed head, the following is here to save you:

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Finally!

Wolf Parade

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Ford Falcon Chassis Stiffening 2.0, or Rusted Floor Kung Fu

After trying to commute in a Corvette (see Falcon that ate it), a pickup truck (tool, not car), and a BMW 528i, I found that leather seats and bouncing my ass off were not things that I wanted to have for extended periods of time.  This brought me to obsessing over an old Ford Ranchero for some time, the 1960-65 sort that is, because, well, there’s no accounting for taste.  Much like the Falcon, which took me, on some level, several years to stumble across, the Ranchero I recently acquired was probably at least 1.5 years in the searching and pondering.  It’s a shit brown 1963; it came with a 302 and C4, which were nearly the only parts on the car worth keeping.

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Being overly enthusiastic, and shopping in the rain, like a dumbass, I didn’t really look at the thing too hard.  The front, rear, and sides looked okay, and it ran really good, and it had all the basic v8 parts, like an 8-inch (not 9, like the ad said) rear and 5-lug drums.  For rain in CA, that was okay.  It was relatively cheap, too, given the reality that we’re in the age of the $20,000.00 Falcon.

I drove it home, and that was about it.  It was a deathtrap, and upon further inspection, I came to realize that the suspension was shot; one of the rear leaf hangers was broken, and the coils were not located in front.  It all had to go away.  I put in some stock Mustang parts in front, with a wedge kit, cut 600-pound coils, and Koni classics; I had to make some coil spring locators out of some Speedway Motors parts and some old F250 3.5-inch exhaust tubing.  I put some Speedway slider boxes in the rear, and did away with the shackle fiasco completely.  Then I threw away the hideous bench seat, and got a look under the carpet.

Bondo, rust, more rust, roofing tar, more rust, riveted and screwed-on, galvanized sheetmetal pieces, more Bondo, and more rust awaited my sad eyes; wait, I forgot to mention the randomly scattered bits of fiberglass that were embedded in some of the Bondo.  It all had to go away.  Out came the (Milwaukee) Sawzall and the DeWalt angle grinder.  (On a side note, or perhaps as a preview to another blog post, I’ve found that age has given way to fewer and fewer Harbor Freight power tools; they’re usually good value, but breaking shit sucks.)

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Eventually, the only parts of the floor that made it were the seat pans and the bit of tunnel between them.  Once this was done, I knew that just sheetmetal could not go back.  This thing hadn’t even come with front torque boxes from Ford, so it was an opportunity to take a theoretically better approach to subframe (if you could call that crap subframes) connectors and lateral support.

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Initial support would come from .095 wall 2×2 tubing run/welded (not continuously, but in 1.5-inch beads alternately spaced, top  and bottom) the length of the rockers–it was also butted to the remainder (cut out most) of the rear torque boxes, just ahead of the front leaf spring mounts.  Just above that, crossing just behind the door sill would be more 2×2, humped up in the middle for drive shaft clearance.  You can’t really see it much in the pictures, but under where I stopped cutting out the partly rusted, corrugated rear bulkhead, I welded in a piece of .120-wall 1×1, which would be far easier to attach sheetmetal to.  Once sheetmetal was applied, all of these tubes would become boxed, providing considerably more structure than any stupid point-to-point subframe connectors could ever dream of being.  More would be added as I went.

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I added some .120-wall 2×3 at the front of the rocker tubes, and cut and welded the sections into the original “frame rails.”  I then, based on my new transmission choice, moved the original upper crossmember back about 3.5 inches, then added some lateral 2×2 into that to add a bit more heavy-duty.  Note the additional 1×1 I welded into the back of the seat pans/tunnel; it’s .120-wall, and it butts directly into the rocker tubes.  Then I started experimenting with my ghetto sheetmetal brake . . .

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I threw in a couple more tubes, in practice for putting a floor in the stupid Falcon at some point.

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Admittedly, some of my tunnel looks pretty heinous–this is partly due to the fact that the radius decreases way more and way more suddenly from where it used to with the old crossmember location, and partly due to the fact that I don’t know shit about working with sheetmetal.  I’m okay with it, because paint, seam sealer, sound deadener, and carpet, beotch.

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It should be pretty sturdy, and actually resist twisting a bit without a roll cage in place.  Unfortunately, during one of the multiple times I’ve had to install the new engine (free, because I sold the one it came with for the same amount), I’ve had to cut out part of my new floor–there was also some shock tower carnage, but I may address that in another post.

This car is getting a Ford Exploder 5.0 and a 4r70 automatic.  I’m trying to change as little as possible . . .

Oh, and I’ve not addressed the frontal bed area yet (aside from cutting out rusted crap), but Ford should have taken a community beating for the most moronic, water-trapping idiocy ever for that pit.

 

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