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Second Chance Garage

For the Classic Car Restoration Enthusiast

Second Chance Garage


Second Chance Garage

For the Classic Car Restoration Enthusiast

Second Chance Garage

Second Chance Garage

For the Classic Car Restoration Enthusiast

Second Chance Garage

ARCHIVES

1955 T-Bird Project Wrap Up

55 Tbird
We thought you would like to know how much effort was required to perform our T-Bird frame-off restoration. Here are the stats! …keep reading

T-Bird Car Restoration Project Part 21 - It is Done! Well...

T-Bird Car Restoration Project Part 21 - It is Done! Well...

55 Tbird
We have finished the Thunderbird project. That is, the basic project is completed. Now for some careful test driving …keep reading

Second Chance Garage Tackles A Vintage Harley Restoration

Feature Articles
And now for something totally different! We were recently approached by a friend who asked us if we might be interested in restoring a 1958 Harley Davidson motorcycle. This seemed like an opportunity to put our car restoration skills to use on something a bit different …keep reading

Total Solutions Rust Converter

Product Reviews
We tested Total Solutions Rust Converter to see if it measured up to their advertising claims …keep reading

Car Restoration Tip 36 - Two Problems Solved with One Addition

Restoration Tips
Collectible or classic cars can sit for weeks or months between drives. This can mean lots of cranking before the gas gets to the carburetor. And mechanical fuel pumps can be unreliable …keep reading

1960 Ford Sunliner - The Forgotten Ford

Auto Biography
It was the widest Ford ever produced and probably the widest passenger car ever sold in America. It was a half-inch wider than the gargantuan 1959 Cadillac, so we're talking big, big cars here …keep reading

Car Restoration Tip 35 - Don't Scratch Those Fenders!

Restoration Tips
We have the same problem as everyone else does: Trying not to scratch the fender while leaning over the engine bay …keep reading

The Battery Brain

Product Reviews
Here's a solution for the age-old problem of slow discharge of the batteries in stored classic cars …keep reading

How to Cover Something in Vinyl

Beginners Corner
In the world of theater they say that tragedy is easy but comedy is hard. A parallel truth exists in the world of restoration: leather is easy but vinyl is hard. Here's why …keep reading

T-Bird Car Restoration Project Part 20 - The Electrical Work is Done

55 Tbird
In our last T-Bird project update we left off at the completion of the wiring of the dashboard. Now to continue on …keep reading

Car Restoration Tip 34 - Reassembly: Keep from Nicking Those Newly Painted Car Doors

Restoration Tips
Reassembly of a restoration project always involves patience and attention to detail. One of the most difficult tasks is replacing car doors without scratching the new paint …keep reading

Bad Jobs: Getting Broken Bolts Out

Learn to Restore Cars
A broken bolt or screw is the bane of auto restorers, not to mention anyone else trying to fix any piece of machinery. The job can't proceed until the fastener is removed and, of course, you didn't allow for all that extra time, did you? What to do now? What alternatives are there to get the bolt out? …keep reading

How to Tune Up Your Car

Learn to Restore Cars
While many hobbyists and backyard mechanics have been tuning their cars for decades, very few actually do so in the correct manner. We explain how to go about this most important task …keep reading

Tachometers 101 - Converting From Mechanical to Electronic

Learn to Restore Cars
In the course of our T-Bird restoration we converted the cable-driven, 50 year-old tachometer, to a new electronic unit …keep reading

How Light Bulbs Work

Auto Theory
While light bulbs might seem trivial, simple things to talk about, relatively few people really know the complex physics process that takes place when a lamp turns on. These commonplace items haven't significantly changed since the days of Thomas Edison, but they are nonetheless marvels of science. We thought it appropriate to explain this process in a little detail …keep reading

T-Bird Project Part 19 - The Electrical Work Begins

T-Bird Project Part 19 - The Electrical Work Begins

55 Tbird
The old wiring harness in our '55 T-Bird Project car was in no condition to be reused. 50 years of use and abuse had taken its toll …keep reading

How to Clean and Polish Anodized Aluminum

Beginners Corner
A lot of car trim pieces on older cars were made of aluminum that was anodized. Eventually the metal surface becomes stained or scratched and generally looks dull. Here's how to remedy that …keep reading

Car Restoration Tip 33- Window Installation

Restoration Tips
Installing glass can be tricky. Here's a helpful tip …keep reading

T-Bird Project Part 18 - We Finally Got The Painting Done!

55 Tbird
The bodywork took quite a while. Now to make this 'Bird shine …keep reading

SCG Troubleshooting Checklist - Noises that are not engine noises

Troubleshooting
Here's what to look for when trying to resolve problems with all those non-engine noises …keep reading

Car Restoration Tip 32 - Keeping Track of Flaws

Restoration Tips
You don't want to miss any of those minor flaws that seem to show up like a sore thumb after the final coat of paint is applied …keep reading

T-Bird Project Part 17 - We Rebuild and Upholster the 55 T-Bird

T-Bird Project Part 17 - We Rebuild and Upholster the 55 T-Bird

55 Tbird
Aside from the fact that our original seat was turquoise and the new upholstery would be red, we knew that 50 years of use had taken its toll on the structure itself …keep reading

Studebaker Avanti

Studebaker Avanti

Auto Biography
In 1961 the Studebaker company was in financial peril. The Board of Directors hired Sherwood Egbert to take over the struggling company and bring it into competition with the Big Three. Egbert loved fast cars …keep reading

Cars Retrieved From Floods - Is There Hope?

Feature Articles
The hurricanes in the Gulf Coast have left thousands of homes, factories, schools and vehicles under water. While we understand that there are more pressing issues than their classic cars for those less fortunate, we have offered some thoughts on how to save a flooded classic …keep reading

Car Restoration Tip 31 - Don't Just Pull That Tape!

Restoration Tips
Help in getting that tape off freshly painted surfaces …keep reading

SCG Troubleshooting Checklist - Carburetor Problems

Troubleshooting
Here's a checklist of things to look for when trying to solve carburetor problems …keep reading

Dabney Gets Bubbled

Dr Crankshaft
Dabney experiences an unusual paint problem...tiny bubbles...millions of them …keep reading

1950 Ford

1950 Ford

Auto Biography
Although all Fords looked nearly identical during the 1949-1951 model years, there were drastic differences underneath. The 1950 Ford was a vast improvement over the 1949 version …keep reading

How to Install a Padded Dash

How to Install a Padded Dash

Learn to Restore Cars
Installing a padded dash can be intimidating to a lot of car restorers. Our '55 T-Bird restoration project has given us a great opportunity to show how it's done …keep reading

How to Use a Caliper

Beginners Corner
Vernier calipers are incredibly useful devices. Once quite expensive, reasonably accurate ones are now available from a number of sources for under $20 …keep reading

SCG Troubleshooting Checklist - Rear Axles (Non-Locking Differential)

Troubleshooting
Ring and pinion gears must be adjusted to mate together within very close tolerances. Otherwise problems arise that include noise, premature wear and vibration …keep reading

T-Bird Project - Part 16: Back to the Body!

T-Bird Project - Part 16: Back to the Body!

55 Tbird
We didn't attack the doors until the rest of the body was reasonably straight, since they were handier in place...they helped keep the body straight. But now we do the doors …keep reading

Dabney Gets a Ticket

Dr Crankshaft
Or why things always change and why they always stay the same …keep reading

1967 Alfa Romeo Duetto Spider

1967 Alfa Romeo Duetto Spider

Auto Biography
Anyone who ever watched Dustin Hoffman in "The Graduate" knows what an Alfa Romeo is. Many hadn't heard of the marque before the movie, but Alfa Romeo goes back a long long way …keep reading

How A Spray Gun Works

Feature Articles
Pneumatic spray guns, when properly adjusted and operated, produce consistent and smooth paint surfaces that can't be achieved any other way, but to use it effectively, you have to know how it's supposed to work …keep reading

Car Restoration Tip 30 - Welding Safety Is No Accident

Restoration Tips
When welding there are many things that cannot be overlooked. This is one of them …keep reading

Understanding Second Chance Garage's Vintage Auto Engine Specs

Feature Articles
We've received numerous requests for explanations of what the many entries in our Vintage Auto Engine Specs mean. Here's a glossary of terms that we think will help …keep reading

1960 Plymouth Valiant

Auto Biography
In 1957 Chrysler management heard about Ford's upcoming Ford Falcon and Chevrolet's planned Corvair. so plans were launched to produce a competitive "compact" car of their own …keep reading

Welding Part 2 - What actually happens in the bright light and how to set up your welder

Feature Articles
In this installment our animation shows you exactly what takes place once you pull the trigger. We also go over how to properly set up your welder …keep reading

SCG Troubleshooting Checklist - Battery Problems

Troubleshooting
Batteries can fail to inadequate charging, electrolye chemical imbalances, shorts, age and a host of other things. Here are some ways to check for major problems …keep reading

The Doctor Discusses Seat Belts

Dr Crankshaft
Your car restoration project is for show, and you want it to be perfect and true to the original. But if you're going to drive it, there's one modification you must make …keep reading

Car Restoration Tip 29 - Don't Stray Far from the Soap

Restoration Tips
Wet-sanding can be tedius, but it is of the utmost importance. Here's a tip that can make this job easier …keep reading

Sanding Made Simple

Beginners Corner
Many believe that "sanding is sanding." That is; all you need to do is grab a piece of sandpaper and start rubbing, no matter what the surface might be that you are trying to smooth. As with many car restoration processes, there's more to it than what meets the eye …keep reading

1955 T-Bird Restoration Project Part 15 - And Now for Something Completely Different!

1955 T-Bird Restoration Project Part 15 - And Now for Something Completely Different!

55 Tbird
During the planning stages of our '55 T-Bird car restoration project, we included air conditioning as a "must-have" option. This, of course, requires a few modifications to the dash …keep reading

Combustion Chambers (and a little engine theory)

Auto Theory
The combustion chamber is the area inside the engine where the fuel/air mixture is compressed and then ignited. This article discusses some of the combustion chamber designs that greatly effect your engines efficiency …keep reading

1965 Chevelle SS 396

1965 Chevelle SS 396

Auto Biography
After the introduction of the GTO, Ford and Chrysler struggled to get out competitors to the Pontiac supercar as quickly as possible. Meanwhile, at GM's other divisions things were heating up …keep reading

SCG Troubleshooting Checklist - Disc Brakes

Troubleshooting
Checklist for troubleshooting your disc brake systems …keep reading

Upgrading Your Disc Brakes - Installing Pads, Calipers and Rotors

Learn to Restore Cars - By Tom Benford
GM introduced 4-wheel disc brakes with the 1965 Corvette. While the originals were head-and-shoulders above the old drum brakes, brake technology has continued to improve over the last 40 years. Better stopping power is always worth the effort …keep reading

T-Bird Project Part 14 - We Engineer a Shifter

T-Bird Project Part 14 - We Engineer a Shifter

55 Tbird
The T-Bird originally had a 2-speed automatic. We've installed a 4-speed that has completely different linkage considerations...not to mention clearance problems …keep reading

The Doctor Tells the Seatbelt Story

Dr Crankshaft
You won't find many pre-1955 cars with seat belts in them...but it did happen! …keep reading

The Tachometer

Auto Theory
Tachometers have been around for a long time. Devices to count revolutions were used on water wheels, steam engines and many other rotating machinery devices for the purpose of maintaining safe speeds …keep reading

Troubleshooting Checklist - Drum Brakes

Troubleshooting
Quick reference guide for troubleshooting conventional hydraulic drum brake systems …keep reading

Eastwood's Brake Tubing Pliers

Product Reviews
In 35 years of car restoration, we've bent a lot of brake lines and certainly have kinked (and ruined) our share of them. So we checked out Eastwood's brake pliers …keep reading

How to Remove Glass from a Window Frame

Beginners Corner
In car restoration, some "simple" projects can seem daunting, especially when it comes to glass. Here's how you remove glass in the most efficient manner …keep reading

1955 T-Bird Car Restoration Project - Part 13 - Where, Oh Where Does the Radiator Go?

55 Tbird
When you change out the entire front frame to accommodate a rack-and-pinion steering system, clearances for other items are going to be affected. Adding a modern aluminum radiator tends to complicate things even more …keep reading

Car Restoration Tip 28 - Flatten Metal the Right Way

Restoration Tips
Every once in a while it's necessary to flatten a thin piece of metal. Here's a tip that might help with this difficult process …keep reading

SCG Troubleshooting Checklist - Excessive Oil Consumption

Troubleshooting
Things to look at when troubleshooting Excessive Oil Consumption …keep reading

Dabney's Chattering Rambler

Dr Crankshaft
Dabney's 1966 Rambler wagon's transmission made a chattering sound when backing up. The Doctor, being a clever guy, instinctively knew there was something abnormal going on inside the Rambler's drivetrain …keep reading

Body Filler - What Is It?

Auto Theory
Ever wonder what Bondo (the body filler brand name turned generic), is made of and how it works? We did a little investigating into its makeup, and here's what we found …keep reading

MIG Welding Part 1: The Basics

Feature Articles
The welding method of choice for most car restorers is MIG welding. It's the easiest to learn and the equipment is relatively inexpensive. Learn more about this essential tool for all car restoration projects …keep reading

The Corvair

Auto Biography
Much has been written about the Corvair. Ralph Nader's book had nothing to do with the demise of the car. GM cancelled the product line 18 months before his book came on the shelves. Here's the true story …keep reading

How a Fuel Pump Works

Auto Theory
How a mechanical fuel pump is deceptively simple. Our animated diagram helps you see how it works …keep reading

T-Bird Restoration Part 12 - We Do the Brakes!

T-Bird Restoration Part 12 - We Do the Brakes!

55 Tbird
As we contemplate painting the car, we decided to work on the brake system. This should always be done before painting to insure against spilling brake fluid on the finish …keep reading

Dr. Crankshaft Shows Some Chemistry

Dr Crankshaft
Dr. Crankshaft's "better way" to shine up his old aluminum dash trim will allow Dabney time to make coffee …keep reading

Car Restoration Tip 27 - Ever Punched a Hole in Your Shot Bag?

Restoration Tips
Anybody who owns and uses a shot bag for bending metal has done this at one time or other …keep reading

Removing and Installing Hog Clips

Beginners Corner
Virtually no upholstery work can be performed on an old car without the use of hog clips …keep reading

Car Restoration Tip 26 - Is That Old Car Too Noisy?

Restoration Tips
Wonder why new cars are so quiet? Maybe there's a way to add some of this quiet to your restoration …keep reading

T-Bird Project Part 11 - We Build a New Steering System

T-Bird Project Part 11 - We Build a New Steering System

55 Tbird
We removed and discarded the old worm-gear steering box, Pitman arm and linkages. Our new front suspension included rack-and-pinion steering, so all we had to do was connect the rack to the steering wheel. Over 20 photos show how we accomplished this task …keep reading

How To Install a Hose the Right Way

Beginners Corner
Coolant hoses are very much like the blood vessels of a car. If a heater hose or radiator hose fails you only have a few minutes to stop the engine, after which it's often too late. Hoses fatigue and wear out, of course, often failure is caused by improper installation or removal …keep reading

The Case of The Pacer's Tail Lights

Dr Crankshaft
Dabney (the heir to the Doofus paper clip fortune) owns well over 240 cars. As everyone also knows, people who collect cars don't necessarily own vehicles that others would desire, and vice-versa. In Dabney's case, one of his more "eclectic" possessions is his 1978 AMC Pacer …keep reading

How A Car Horn Works

Auto Theory
A car horn is (well, it was before the age of electronic devices) a very simple electromechanical device that uses the principle of electromagnetism to create noise …keep reading

Spin-On Oil Filter Conversion

Learn to Restore Cars - By Tom Benford
If you have a 1956 thru 1967 Chevrolet V-8 you know what a messy job changing your oil can be due to the OEM canister-style oil filter. Using a less expensive and infinitely more convenient spin-on conversion can ease your pain …keep reading

Ford Falcon

Ford Falcon

Auto Biography
Robert McNamara once was quoted as saying, "Everyone in America should be driving Falcons." Lee Iacocoa, however, had a different vision …keep reading

What You Need to Know about Classic Car Insurance

Feature Articles
We asked the insurance companies the questions you need to ask before buying insurance for your classic car. Look at the answers - they may surprise you! …keep reading

SCG's List of US Automobile Manufacturers

Feature Articles
The more avid car restoration enthusiasts are not only interested in the make of car they're currently restoring, but all cars in general. So, to help in that area, we decided to compose our list of US automotive manufacturers as a reference …keep reading

How to Jump Start A Car

Beginners Corner
The idea behind using jumper cables is simple. What you are doing, in effect, is using the charged battery in another car to start your car …keep reading

Car Restoration Tip 25 - Don't Struggle with That Hose!

Restoration Tips
Sometimes putting on a new radiator hose can be a monumental task. Stretching and pushing the hose end over a water pump bib or radiator outlet can take all the energy you can muster …keep reading

T-Bird Project - Part 10 - The Body Work Continues

55 Tbird
After a reassessment of our progress, we decided on a course of action that we hoped will get us to the paintng stage by spring '05. (Article was written Sept. '04). So here's what we decided …keep reading

Product Review - Heavy-Duty Tumbler System

Product Reviews
Rust removal and cleaning small parts can be tedius when done by hand. This tumbler system may just be the answer …keep reading

Dabney's Darting Dart

Dr Crankshaft
Dabney had just finished doing a thorough lube job on his 1965 Dodge Dart. After he finished he noticed it wasn't steering straight. …keep reading

Catalytic Converters

Auto Theory
The first cars that first started using catalytic converters are now 30 years old, making them easy candidates for "antique" or "collector car" status. Since some of us are now - or will be shortly - collecting these vehicles it's high time we explain how the converters work …keep reading

Plastic Steering Wheel Restoration

Learn to Restore Cars - By Tom Benford
Over time plastic steering wheels are prone to cracking especially when they have been subjected to extreme temperature changes. Here's on of many ways to repair them …keep reading

Porsche 356

Porsche 356

Auto Biography
Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, an Austrian, worked for Mercedes-Benz in the 1930s and was responsible for design and development of the KdF car for Nazi Germany's quite-mad rulers. The KdF (Kraft durch Freude, or Strength through Joy) car eventually became the Volkswagen and we all know where that led …keep reading

Car Restoration 101: Do Your Homework

Feature Articles
There's plenty of enjoyment to be had in restoring cars. But to get off on the right track, there are many things to consider …keep reading

Oldsmobile at 100 - The Early Years

Oldsmobile at 100 - The Early Years

Auto Biography
The year 2001 marked the 100th (and, sadly, the last) anniversary of the Oldsmobile brand. The cars from Oldsmobile were always interesting, often innovative and proudly owned by millions. Before they go away entirely, we thought it would be a good idea to recall the early years of these great cars. …keep reading

T-Bird Car Restoration Project - Part 9 - We Start the Bodywork

55 Tbird
With the near-completion of the chassis now out of the way, we decided to turn out attention to the body …keep reading

The Kaiser

The Kaiser

Auto Biography
Henry J. Kaiser was a west-coast sand & gravel & cement magnate who had successfully handled the Hoover Dam project and went on to build Liberty ships during WWII. He also was a lover of cars …keep reading

Corvette Alternator Replacement

Beginners Corner - By Tom Benford
The alternator is an essential component in the electrical system of any car manufactured since the early 1960's. Replacing them is fairly straightforward. So we thought we'd start you out on a '67 Corvette …keep reading

Car Restoration Chemicals: What Are They and When Do You Use Them?

Auto Theory
A general discussion of the common chemicals used in car restoration: their composition, use and safety considerations …keep reading

T-Bird Car Restoration Project Part 8 - We Install the New Drivetrain

55 Tbird
After the successful outcome of '55 T-Bird car restoraton project's new front suspension, it was time to install the rebuilt engine and new AOD transmission …keep reading

After a complete rebuild, it was perplexing when Dabney didn't get any oil pressure...

Dr Crankshaft
After rebuilding Dabney's 283 V8 out of his newly purchased 1959 Chevy Impala convertible, the Doctor and Dabney were both perturbed about the lack of oil pressure …keep reading

The Experimental Garage - How Close is Close Enough?

Feature Articles
We tried out an idea to restore a chromed pot-metal emblem to avoid buying an expensive repro. Do you think it's good enough? …keep reading

Crosley's Mighty Midgets

Crosley's Mighty Midgets

Auto Biography
By the end of the 1930's, Powell Crosley Jr. had distinguished himself in the business world as a highly successful creater of radios and refrigerators, both bearing his name. For most of his business career, he wanted desparately to produce the "ideal all-purpose" car …keep reading

Dabney's Mysterious Oil Leak Byline:

Dr Crankshaft
Dabney's XK120 engine leaks oil worse than a grounded tanker! The Doctor figures out the reason, but Dabney's reaction is a little out of the ordinary …keep reading

Take It Off, Take It All Off...

Product Reviews
We tested some popular chemical strippers to see which one was best. It was messy and smelly, but we've got the results! …keep reading

How Manual Transmissions Work

Auto Theory
If you think gears slide around when you shift, you've got it all wrong. Find out how transmissions really work by reading this …keep reading

How to Use and Interpret a Vacuum Gauge

Learn to Restore Cars
It's the "magic elixer" of automotive troubleshooting that only takes a few minutes to learn to use. If you don't own a vacuum gauge, go out and buy one. In the meantime, check out our animated "Virtual Vacuum Gauge"! …keep reading

Let's Create a Carburetor!

Auto Theory
An inside look at your carburetor helps take away any apprehension you may have about digging into these little beasts …keep reading

Second Chance Garage Goes Shopping

Feature Articles
Things aren't always as they seem. This article shows some insight as to how to go about selecting your next project car …keep reading

Carburetor Rebuilding: No Big Deal, Really

Carburetor Rebuilding: No Big Deal, Really

Learn to Restore Cars
This in-depth discussion of how to rebuild your carburetor(s) will help guide you through one of the more intricate projects associated with your restoration …keep reading