Τετάρτη, 17 Μαρτίου 2010

Frame off or not?

Obviously, this text stands only for frame-based vechicles. Other vechicle-types should be treated in particular basis.

The oldest technique for constructing a car is the body-on-frame one, where the body as well as the mechanical parts are mounted on a separate rigid frame. This frame serves as a basis for driveterrain as well, being the only available practise for the automobile companies till the late 40ies. Although the modern car development favors other chassis designs (like unibody, monocoque, etc.), the body-on-frame is still used in building trucks and other heavy vechicles.

For a typical enthousiast, the frame-off restoration sounds to be very difficult and expensive, as far as the vechicle goes off the road, usually for a long time period, becoming unmovable till the end of the restoration process. Furthermore, such a type of restoration presumes a really re-build process by replacing/fixing everything found problematic or damaged, even the last small screw. On the other hand, the frame-off restoration usually aims at the highest possible result even for very rusty or partially damaged cars.

When you decide a frame-off restoration, you have to dissasemby everything. Really everything. This means a huge amount of effort plus very special needs, in terms of space and time. Dissasempling an old car needs very special organization abilities, becausse you have to keep in mind that assebbling follows. Therefore, you must label everything, in order to make your life easier and simpler in the future. Do not hasitate to stick labels on the parts, screws, nuts, ... whatever you disassembly. Put all the small parts in labeled small boxes and keep the safely.

It is important to understand that frame-off restoration means a completely stacked car. Thus, you have to arrange of a lot of transportations. You must keep in mind that you might have to transport long and/or heavy parts of the car (even the unmovable car itself, as a whole) for some urban or suburban distances. A pick-up are (even better) a friend with a pick-up or a small track is absolutely helpful, otherwise the costs will be unexpectable high. Take also care of legal issues for such transportations, since any moving part must be accompanied by the appropriate papers (at least here, in Greece). Tax law is very restrictive ...

For a typical frame-off restoration of a M38A1 Willys, pls. see at the gallery (up-left corner of the page...)

Κυριακή, 7 Μαρτίου 2010

To start with

To provide my advice (whatever it worths...), I 've decided to publish the following for whoever is going to start such a project.

1. The first thing you have to do is to find the car you love to restore. Do not spend you time and money for some car that you are not really in love with; you 'll loose more than you expect to get.

2. Before starting, you must decide what type of restoration you want. There are several options, from the pure originality to the most modified car; it's up to your decision and needs. Anyway, I 'll be back on this topic later.

3. Find the place for the restoration. This is of great importance since you have to do a lot of jobs by your own.

4. After finding the place, you have to allocate the necessary time. This is very very difficult, especially for fathers. Note that car restoration is a very time-demanding and long-duration task, thus you have to scedule your time for the next one two years, at least.

5. A very important point is to find the manuals. All the manuals. Note: the RTFM is the most helpful advice you have ever heard.

6. Make a list of parts providers and spend some time to take a tour in order to have your own opinion about their services and prices. Do not pay much attention to gossips you may have heard about.

7. Spend some extra time to find some experts. Usually, they are other enthousiasts and amateurs who have spent a significant part of their life in restoring cars. Local clubs and assosiations are very useful to this direction.

8. Make your savings, as far as restoration is a rather expensive hobby.

9. You must be equipped with all the special tools being necessary for your car. To indentify them, you must read very carefully the manuals and spend some time to buy them, as well.

10. Buy a high quality camera and take pictures of everything. They will help you in re-assebling the staff, while they are the proof of the work done, something very important whenever you decide to sell the vechicle.

11. Last but not least: read, read, read. Manuals, relative articles, webpages, magazines, whatever sounds relative to the work you are going to undertake.

Good luck.