Restoration Tips

Is your car squeaking at every stop sign? Could your paint use some touching up? Old Cars Weekly presents tips and techniques for restoring classic cars and parts. Browse our collection of articles from restoring brakes to preparing your car for auto shows. We are your comprehensive resource for antique auto restoration.

Make vacuum leaks hiss-tory

Vacuum leaks can be located with spray carburetor cleaner or a can of WD-40. If the area is obstructed by linkage or hoses, use an extension nozzle to pinpoint the area of the vacuum leak. If the engine speeds up when an area is sprayed, you are close to finding the leak.

Insufficient intake manifold vacuum can be deadly to an internal-combustion engine. It will reduce engine efficiency, causing a loss of power and fuel economy and rough operation, especially at idle. Prolonged vacuum leaks can eventually cause serious engine damage. Here’s how to fix it. More »

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Hub of Motion: Replacing bearings on a full-floating hub system

The inner end of the hub passes through the new brake rotor and bolts in place. Grease is added to fill the void between inner and outer bearings. Then, the felt seal is placed in the dust cover, which is tapped into the outer end of the hub.

Some of the following information and parts sources will be helpful whether you’re working on a British sports car or a Model A Ford. Removing and installing bearings, greasing hubs, brake repairs and tips on tools are pretty much universal, no matter what vehicle you’re restoring. More »

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New brake booster has Saratoga ready to roll again

The original brake booster unit in this 1957 Chrysler Saratoga needed to be replaced. Inevitably, rubber pieces wear out through time, and a Mopar unit is basically a rubber accordion that moves back and forth as the brake pedal is used.

The original brake booster unit in this 1957 Chrysler Saratoga needed to be replaced. Follow these steps to give your car a boost. More »

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Locked and Loaded: Restoring an ignition lock

The restored ignition lock and yoke. While the components are off the car, now is the time to paint and polish them.

The following tips have been learned over the course of restoring 1935-’36 Ford ignition locks. These tips may also be helpful for restoring other early Ford V-8 ignition switches. More »

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Upholstery 101: An armrest project without too much elbow grease

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Fabricating new armrest covers is a fairly straightforward proposition that uses some basic techniques and the existing material as a pattern. We’ll show you how. More »

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King of the Road: Don’t ignore king pins in suspension rebuild

Figure 1: A front axle with all the brake components removed.

Follow these general steps and procedures when rebuilding king pins. More »

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Bumper Bolt-Up: Challenger gets repro bumper

Sean Branson eyeballs the new mounting brackets to determine if the existing holes will work. “A lot of times you’ll have to hog out some holes and maybe do a little welding on the brackets,” he said. “We have an aftermarket bumper and aftermarket bracket, and a lot of times you’ll be just an 1/8 inch off and you’ll have to adjust the holes. This gives you a lot of adjustment left to right, but not as much up and down."

The rear bumper on this Dodge Challenger couldn’t be saved. But Fast Freddie’s Rod Shop in Eau Claire, Wis., had a solution. See step-by-step installation. More »

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Bringing home a ‘barn find’

While many of us in the old car hobby dream of stumbling across a dusty but otherwise all-original vehicle in a barn, it’s a very rare occurrence. That is not to say that it doesn’t happen.

Just about any barn find is able to be transported in a trailer, and many are towable, while a few can actually be driven home. However, sometimes what is towable or “trailerable” (and maybe should be) is transformed into drivable. Here’s how to do it. More »

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Tunable Tension: An ol’ fashioned fitment fix

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Gappin’ doesn’t just happen. When a body on a rotisserie must become reacquainted with the frame rails to which it belongs, or when new mounting pads and a box full of shims aren’t enough to square things up, you’ll likely twist panels and cut parts to get a good gap. Here’s how you can fix it. More »

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Tips and tricks to make your next door assembly easier

The door dolly is used to lift the door to the correct height and roll the door into place so it can be mounted on the two hinges that have also been removed and painted. “You’re eliminating another guy’s labor and now you can raise it, lower it, move it in and out by yourself. When it’s in raw steel (not painted yet), this thing is really handy. You don’t have to worry about the door banging off the cowl and scratching anything because it’s all just raw metal. But it is a time-saver, for a shop anyway. This dolly is really a nice thing to have for a shop,” said Ken’s Klassics shop foreman T.J. Krueger. “Then you can’t blame your buddy for helping you put a door on and chipping something.”

Mounting door hinges and hanging doors is one of those restoration steps that professionals — such as the guys at Ken’s Klassics in Muscoda, Wis. — make look easy. But as many novices can attest, it can be a frustrating job, especially for first-timers, and frought with trial-and-error learning. More »

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