We hope folks will look here for hints on restorations, and offer some of the benefits of their own experience to others. Email your hints to us at Helpful Hints

Put "Hints" in the subject line.  Not all hints will be published. We will use the safe ones, and try to remember that most of the restoration world is not made up of professional mechanics. Detail is best, and pictures help a great deal.

Just because we publish a hint or modification does not mean it is completely safe, or sanctioned by any authority. No one can know, or control how you might use this information, or what your skill level might be. Use common sense. Get more than one professional opinion before doing any modification to any part that may compromise safe driving!

                                  It May Save Lives!

 

Make a plan before you start!

Most restoration happens by necessity, not by intention.

You take the wheel off Dad's old '47 pickup, and find the brakes are shot. Next you check the rest, and they are not much better. You go to get new parts, only to find that the parts computer does not know what single piston wheel cylinders are, have never listed a riveted brake shoe, and the 17 year old behind the computer has not actually held a book since he last looked at a comic! No mouse! They still have parts books! Then it gets to be a chore, more expensive than your new 4x4, and you have to put it on blocks for a season. The new baby arrives, next thing you know, you need a bigger house. The one you can afford has no garage for the truck, so it can sit outside, or it has to go! Neither are good ideas if you really hope to restore it.
 Most attempts fail due to lack of ability, shelter, information or finances. Seldom is it due to lack of willingness to try. So many quite restorable vintage autos and trucks end up as failed projects. It all needs a little planning.
The single biggest restoration nightmare is a missing title! Try as you might, this is one piece you can not weld up, or hammer out!
 Many states and provinces have gone to purging the DMV registration data base of vehicles not registered, and licenced in the last ten years. Title is worth as much as the vehicle, and may cost much more to trace down and replace. 

Decide what kind of vehicle you want to restore. Many factors figure into what you get. Have a place for at least 2 years of safe dry storage, where you can do work as well. Most mini storage setups don't allow that! Research the actual vehicle, and make sure that you have clear title to it, and put it in your name. Will you have the knowledge and skill to do the work, or will you need to farm it out? No harm in beginning something you never did before, but some of the pain could be avoided for a small fee.  Where is the money coming from? Check costs. Paint prices have recently gone somewhere in the region of Jupiter's orbit. You can learn about your next step on the internet while doing the last step to completion. Some days are rainy! This will be a great skill builder. You don't need to be an electronics tech to wire an old truck, but some basic electrical knowledge is critical. Nothing is beyond learning about, but some skills come more naturally to some folk. Tools cost money. Good tools cost more, but break less, and are guaranteed. You might even sell a quality tool after you have little further need of it. Use resources around you. Many of your buddies will be happy to pitch in and show you some little trick. You may actually find out who your friends are.....! If you intend to actually drive and show the vehicle, you must be picky. If you let too much go, the authorities will have the last laugh. You don't get prizes for the most tickets gathered on the way to the car show! Do it once, right! Cheaper, and much more effective. Modifications are seldom reversible, or at least cost a bunch to do so.
Measure all winter, and cut once.

Good luck.

As the site grows, advertisers, and a list of resources for restoration aids will be added. Feel free to suggest new ones. Something you have tried, and can recommend.