Category Archives: Chassis

Our (Mis)Adventures Painting the Horsepower Monster Project Camaro

Patina is popular these days, but the kind of dead silver paint, road rash and random rattle-can primer that came on our $2,200 Camaro was just plain ugly.

Camaro LeadStill, our 1978 Camaro is a project car, and the beginning of a project is no time to invest in an expensive paint job. We originally thought about simply wiping down the body, spray bombing it in primer and hoping for the best. The problem with primer for paint, however, is it isn't UV resistant and it starts turning chalky within a few months. Instead, we found Eastwood's single stage paint to be the perfect compromise between high quality and low cost.

Eastwood's flat black comes in a kit--either in quart or gallon size--which includes both the paint and activator. It is UV resistant, 50-state compliant and does a good job covering minor flaws in the bodywork. Two coats provided ample coverage for the entire Camaro--including the underside of the hood and trunk, door jambs, wheel wells and inner fenders--and we ended up using approximately one-and-a-half gallons. Among several color options, Eastwood offers two different versions of its flat black. We chose the Rat Rod Satin Flat Black one gallon kit (pn 21857ZP) but if you want zero shine they also have what they call the Dead Rat Flat Black kit (pn 51075ZP for the gallon). You save money because you don't have to spend money on clear coat, plus clear coat is also the most difficult part of the paint job to learn to do well. You can see the final product in the shot above, and we think it looks fantastic.

Camaro Chin SpoilerThe great thing is the paint job not only looks great, but because it's a single stage paint, touchups will be much simpler if any body panels get damaged during the buildup (and they most likely will). So hopefully, the old Camaro will remain halfway decent looking throughout the builup. Afterward, we'll decide if we want to stick with the flat black or go with another color, but there's no doubt we'll be sticking with Eastwood after the good experience we had the first time around.

Of course, there's more to a good paint job than simply spraying on the top coat. In the video we show you the process that we took with the Camaro, from soda blasting the old paint to re-installing trim pieces. The car always had a nose-high look, so to help with that we also installed a Z28 chin spoiler from Classic Industries. The three-piece spoiler installed just like it should, makes the front of the car look more agressive and even helps improve the proportions. We couldn't find any documentation that the chin spoiler showed up before the 1979 model, but we're not making any apologies for putting it on the '78. It's obvious we aren't trying to stay period correct anyway.

So check out our progress on the project Camaro in the video up top. I'll never claim to be a painting expert, so you will see the value of having friends with skills you can call on. And not all of it was pretty--or even perfect--but getting this Camaro into its new black suit sure was a lot of fun.

Camaro Paint

How to Properly Set Your Throwout Bearing Clearance

Too often a failed clutch isn't the result of shoddy workmanship or--the excuse heard all too often--excessive horsepower.

Quite often the real culprit is as simple as improper clearances. This is especially true with the hydraulic throwout bearing. The throwout bearing is used to activate the clutch. When you depress the clutch pedal, the throwout bearing extends, pressing in on the clutch fingers.

The problem comes when the throwout bearing is too far from the clutch's fingers, then you are shifting gears when the clutch isn't fully disengaged. Or you can have too little clearance which keeps the clutch from getting full engagement with the pressure plate. Neither scenario is ideal.

But properly measuring correct throwout bearing clearance is relatively simple and easy. You can mock everything up and make your adjustments on your workbench or even while the engine is in your car. And then you will have the peace of mind knowing all your horsepower is actually making it to the rear wheels.

Remembering NASCAR Great Cotton Owens

Cotton Owens was a NASCAR Hall of Fame driver and car owner, but few know about the '69 Charger 500 he owned that was the wind tunnel mule for the development of the Dodge Daytona.
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U.S. Legend Cars’ New Dirt Modified Racer

US Legend Cars' new Dirt Modified is an all new race car that has been designed primarily by the legendary crew chief Ray Evernham. Here, he gives us a behind the scenes look at his thinking for this new racing chassis along with some great on-track action.
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Race Car Repair Behind the Scenes

It's amazing how hard a hit stock car racing chassis can take and return to action within a couple of weeks. Hess Racing Products allowed Horsepower Monster into its shops to show you just how its done.
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Applying Ultra-Tough Underbody Protector

Spray-on truck bedliners aren't just for pickups anymore. You can use the technology behind this stuff to apply a super-protective underbody coating to your musclecar that is tougher and better looking than anything else available on the market. Part Two Printable Instruction Sheet Parts List & Resources
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