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Worst part of a restoration?


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I agree with others about rust and body work which I dread, however, the area where I always fail miserably is estimating how long I think it will take me to do something.  Ten times longer would be a lowball number. 

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9 hours ago, 60FlatTop said:

Think about it. How many have bought a second project before the first one was done. Or worse, a nice driver. How nice would the car I bought, and still have, 42 years ago had not been interrupted by the 150 transient cars during that period?

 

They said my focus would improve when I reach maturity. But I have been thinking about a GT Hawk with the engine sitting next to it for a couple of days now. Lack of space is the only reason everything in the garage runs, drives, and is licensed now.

Very true. Every bit of your post contributed to the reasons why I just sold two to buy one. I decided I'd better do it now or it would never happen. 

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 2X on gasoline smell on my hands, just hate the smell

Second is pulling it apart and redoing my work. 

Third passing up another beautiful project...

 

Had to pull the brakes apart on my 1929 Graham-Paige only 6 years after going through them completely.  I used antiseize, it dried up and the parts started sticking.  I tell you poor workmanship will get you every time, now I use silicone disk brake grease, awesome stuff almost 10 years now and all good.  also went to DOT5 brake fluid.

 

image.png.39043d2451a0a029fe15dc23a84bfa6d.png

 

Just one more project...1931 Graham it had not run in 40+ years, how do you pass that up?

 

 

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23 hours ago, Trreinke said:

I am about a year into my first restoration project and I wanted get your thoughts on your previous projects.

 

What has been the worst part of your projects? It could be a specific aspect of your car that was really tough or just a general aspect of restoring in general.

I would not have asked this question until your project was DONE!!! 😉

 

It would be the same reason I didn't add up all the receipts of my restoration until AFTER it was completed! 🤑

 

Craig

 

 

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10 minutes ago, 8E45E said:

I would not have asked this question until your project was DONE!!! 😉

 

It would be the same reason I didn't add up all the receipts of my restoration until AFTER it was completed! 🤑

 

Craig

 

 

 

I did it once and got sick to my stomach.

 

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I am purely a hobbyist and do it for personal satisfaction and enjoyment. Time is not a problem (although I wish I could get stuff done much quicker). I have been approached by a couple of people to do some work for them. I always decline, once a dollar gets involved it becomes a JOB. I dont need that extra aggrevation. I used to build a lot of fine furniture, period reproductions and the such. I started doing stuff on the side in addition to my day job. I was building large scale paneled libraries in large custom homes, custom furniture, wine cellars and the such. I ended up working another full time job with my 'spare time'. I made good money doing it, but lost all of the enjoyment of woodworking.

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3 hours ago, 8E45E said:

It would be the same reason I didn't add up all the receipts of my restoration until AFTER it was completed! 🤑

 

 

3 hours ago, alsancle said:

 

I did it once and got sick to my stomach.

 

I’ve done it on several complete or comprehensive restorations of clients cars and it has helped me understand some of their hair loss and teeth gnashing, especially on jobs which expenditures far exceeded perceived “market value”(?) of vehicles in question, although in my defense, no equivalent or exceeding quality examples existed at the time, before or in some cases, since.
In few cases though, clients have managed to recover all or most when selling and some even setting high price watermarks on given make or model.

 

One cost I try not to keep track of is the amount of time I “donate” or  “volunteer”, i.e. choose not to charge during major jobs, as full knowledge of such would likely make me loose what little hair I still have left or perhaps even give me a stroke. 😟

 

OTOH, I’ve never claimed to have been in or gotten into this business for the money...

... as I’m sure there are lots of much easier ways to earn a living. 🤔

Edited by TTR (see edit history)
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Yea, counting the receipt's.

I have a place that I put them, but never total them up and they always get tossed at some point.

I don't do work for others for the money, Usually some kind of barter. And only with friends.

Also I usually make a list of stuff for THEM to go and buy. Of coarse they always ask how I can afford all these cars, cuz parts are so expensive.

All that is winding down now due to age and attitude.

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"also went to DOT5 brake fluid. " - not for early ABS: DOT 3 only, silicone fouls thing up. Anyone else experience this ?  I just use Johnsen's 2232 Synthetic DOT-3 Brake Fluid in everything.

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23 hours ago, keiser31 said:

For me, it's working on stuff alone.

X2.  I have two projects in my garage which I haven't touched in a very long time.  I'm past 70 now and my wife doesn't want to have to deal with things after I'm gone so I need to get on with it but I find working by myself difficult.  

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35 minutes ago, TTR said:

 

 

 

One cost I try not to keep track of is the amount of time I “donate” or  “volunteer”, i.e. choose not to charge during major jobs, as full knowledge of such would likely make me loose what little hair I still have left or perhaps even give me a stroke. 😟

 

I keep track of it, my daily labor sheet details what I did, problems etc and how long it took, in a seperate note I detail non-billable time and what was done during that period.  The total of bill list 'X' hours of billable and 'X' hours non-billable so the customer is fully aware that we took the extra step without expectation of renumeration.  Such nonbillable time would include things we were curious about and investigated above and beyond the original scope of work; things we did that we felt took us too long because we had to redo it or made a mistake; the replacement of things during the 'punch out' phase where we'd have to replace/repair something we installed. 

I just feel its a considerable part of every project and deserves to be acknowledged.

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14 hours ago, Laughing Coyote said:

 Daytona?

Yes, one of several I've restored over the years (have 3 in the shop right now, including pictured, although it's finished now). 

Most of the panels or sections on the ground were custom fabricated (by yours truly) to repair some collision and/or corrosion damages.

Other replacement panels/sections missing from the photo are most of the inner structures for both doors, including things like hinges, their pins w/grease fittings, etc  and new "skin" panel for one of the doors, which was the only (semi-finished) pre-formed panel I used, but it was so inadequately made, I should've started from scratch with that too.

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Just now, Matt Harwood said:

Worst part of any restoration is selling it to some jellyhead who wonders why that part that isn't quite perfect isn't quite perfect.

 

 

That same imperfect widget allowed you to buy it under market value, didn't it? You should have found it first. 

 

 

Edited by 1937hd45 (see edit history)
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I have attention deficit disorder specifically in this one area (project cars/motorcycles). Before I finish something I’ve started, I fall in love with some “treasure” I stumble upon and buy it and drag it home and forget about the earlier “love of my life”, as I head into the next thing.  Truthfully, sometimes I haven’t even started  the previous project that I “had to have”, and go running after the next seductive project.  I am 55, unlikely to change, know this is a weakness, yet live out my hobby like a 6 year old boy in his first year of Tball playing right field and chasing a butterfly and losing track of the game I started earlier. 
 

Not sure this is a fixable problem.  My wife has mastered the look of pretending she is listening to me and understanding with sincerity as I explain why I need the next project. 

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1 hour ago, ojh said:

I keep track of it, my daily labor sheet details what I did, problems etc and how long it took, in a seperate note I detail non-billable time and what was done during that period.  The total of bill list 'X' hours of billable and 'X' hours non-billable so the customer is fully aware that we took the extra step without expectation of renumeration.  Such nonbillable time would include things we were curious about and investigated above and beyond the original scope of work; things we did that we felt took us too long because we had to redo it or made a mistake; the replacement of things during the 'punch out' phase where we'd have to replace/repair something we installed. 

I just feel its a considerable part of every project and deserves to be acknowledged.

While I generally agree with you, but as a one man team doing +/- 80% of all aspects of restorations (and shopkeep) myself, I can only afford to spend so much time on administrative duties.

With my extensive (OCD ?) photo-documentation, detailed reports and invoices, my clientele is quite aware of getting much more than they're paying for and don't question my charges. 

Some even occasionally bring/send pretty generous bonuses/gifts to show their appreciation, so I guess I'm doing enough as it is.

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36 minutes ago, dictator27 said:

X2.  I have two projects in my garage which I haven't touched in a very long time.  I'm past 70 now and my wife doesn't want to have to deal with things after I'm gone so I need to get on with it but I find working by myself difficult.  

To add to what I said here, I also have a physical condition called an "essential tremor". Why it is called essential I don't know, I just know that it affects my fine motor skills.  I have to use both hands to put a screwdriver in a slot, particularly a.blade type.  It is hereditary and gets worse when trying to do very small work.  My cousin no longer texts me on her phone because her hands shake badly.  It is not Parkinson's.

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My least favorite part of a restoration is when you are closing in on some task or milestone, then have to stop and wait, because you either forgot to order a part, or got the wrong part.

 

Right now, I'm at all stop on getting the engine back in my Packard, because I forgot to order a new throwout bearing when I first pulled the engine.

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a) If I billed the hours, I couldn't afford me.

b) Periodically I run into a two person job that have to build the tools for one person. Building a hoist for an Allante hardtop now.  Don't consider a bad thing, just necessary.

c) Worst thing I remember is lying on my back with a Saginaw on my chest (heavier than a Muncie) trying to muster the strength once more to try to get the input shaft to slide into the clutch disk. (Corvair input shaft is wonderful for aligning a 10 spine clutch disk).

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Back in 1994 I asked my restorer if I had spent 10k in repairs yet.........on a Pierce Arrow he was working on for me. He let out a huge laugh.......opened up his computer and said you paid me over 50k already. That was when I stopped asking about restoration costs. That was twenty five years ago.....it’s ten times worse today.

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4 hours ago, dictator27 said:

To add to what I said here, I also have a physical condition called an "essential tremor". Why it is called essential I don't know, I just know that it affects my fine motor skills.  I have to use both hands to put a screwdriver in a slot, particularly a.blade type.  It is hereditary and gets worse when trying to do very small work.  My cousin no longer texts me on her phone because her hands shake badly.  It is not Parkinson's.

Same here! I have had to deal with it my entire life. There are some tasks I simply won't attempt anymore, others I have had to adapt creative methods.

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3 hours ago, padgett said:

a) If I billed the hours, I couldn't afford me.

b) Periodically I run into a two person job that have to build the tools for one person. Building a hoist for an Allante hardtop now.  Don't consider a bad thing, just necessary.

c) Worst thing I remember is lying on my back with a Saginaw on my chest (heavier than a Muncie) trying to muster the strength once more to try to get the input shaft to slide into the clutch disk. (Corvair input shaft is wonderful for aligning a 10 spine clutch disk).

Just skip the Allante' HT. The hardtop is likely worth more online than the car! I speak as a 4 Allante owner. So no disrespect. I still would have 1, but,,,,,,,, too many glitches.

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1 minute ago, padgett said:

Decided I wanted an 89, wound up with two, both have hardtops, both are red. Do have one of the carriers.

I was so enamored with the Allante' at the concept stage, right thru the production end. What ended my affair was total brake loss due to the crappy system and almost hitting broadside another car. The dealer response was the final nail in the coffin. 

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Is third time I've considered an Allante but this time were so cheap I could not resist. Agree, it should have used the Teves Mk II like the rest of GM. Are a number of strange things the Allante did that were unlike other GM cars. Fortunately a number of Reatta parts fit. Good thing, I bought the second one with cash from the ATM (60k miles, runs good, cold AC, did need an ABS relay but have plenty so really cheap). I like computer cars. Have pulled the PROM code and am disassembling.

Picked the 89 specifically for no early air bags but had peppy 4.5 engine. Have many ways to talk ALDL.

 

Each came with both a owner's and a service manual but already had a complete authorized .pdf service manual from eBay.

 

Do wonder what it would be like with an LFX  DOHC-6 and an Aisan 6 speed manual from a XTS (horrors). Have reprogrammed a Reatta for a L27 and a Getrag before so no big.

 

Prolly should be a different thread but just responding.

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1 hour ago, Ed Luddy said:

I was so enamored with the Allante' at the concept stage, right thru the production end. What ended my affair was total brake loss due to the crappy system and almost hitting broadside another car. The dealer response was the final nail in the coffin. 

Which is more desirable?  The Allante, or the XLR for two-seat Cadillacs?

 

Craig

XLR_Ext.jpg

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9 hours ago, TTR said:

Some even occasionally bring/send pretty generous bonuses/gifts to show their appreciation, so I guess I'm doing enough as it is.

I am on of those people.  I will send food or a tool I know he desires or even a bottle of wine to the contractor or workman who has gone above and beyond.

Its worth it and I find they do a better job the next time.

 

Bernie, you have to have a nice driver while working on a project.  In my case the wife likes to ride and get irratble when we cant (as I do) so having a good running car in reserve helps.


Bill

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     I am 77 now. Five years ago I had five days in the hospital with a serious gut infection. I came home and recovered completely. What was missing was my ambition for doing the work on my projects, a 40 LaSalle convertible sedan and 37 Cadillac coupe. Neither has what I call problems (rust) . They run and can drive, they have their needs, I am so glad they are not in pieces as some I have bought have been.  

     Oh wait, there is my 1942 9N Ford tractor I have owned nearly 50 years 1/2 restored but now back in a corner, pushed out by another project. I do want to finish that, it gave good service to me for 40 of those years. An old friend from when I was young.

     The realization had clobbered me with the fact I had a lot of " new " work to do and my ability to do that work would diminish sooner or later and "bringing them back " was something I had to let go of. Time for an old car that wants love and maintenance and driving rather than brakes, wiring or whatever. Enjoyable before, but now I look for the Studebaker GT I can just get in and go and find proper caretakers for the pre-war cars.

      I am still busy, projects at daughters house, I work up 10 cord of wood a year for our long winters in New Hampshire. I recently designed and built a wood elevator, a flintlock pistol from scratch, art knives and so on but where I used to find time for it all, now prioritizing has become # 1 important. 

      Some of you seem to be in similar situations in some respects.  It is good to realize I am not the only poor devil waking up to their reality (age). It would be great to go back some years to reset my automotive resurrecting ambitions and do more driving and less knuckle busting.   

      The wrenching all came easily enough, it started with my first car to keep it running 60 years ago and never went away as with many or most of us here I am sure.    Jim43

  

     

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