Baby, I am so sorry. We are okay, but I rolled your truck and it is not. We are okay, but please do not be mad at me.

That was the message I got one night. I called her up and ensured that she and my son were, indeed, safe and we tried to figure out what could be done about all of this. I had her send me some photos of the truck, and it was not pretty.


So, what did we end up doing with it? Yeah, that is kind of a sore subject.

The wrecking yard wanted $500, plus $40 a day since the accident, if I wanted it back. I was not going to pay over $1000 to tow a truck to someone else’s house, when I spent but $3000 to drive it to mine. They can keep it. What I did not know about, was the fact that I had to turn over my title. I soon got a letter from the state telling me that I was going to have to pay $500 for an abandoned vehicle fee. Well, I sure as hell was not about to pay money to have my truck totaled, so I spoke with the Motor Vehicle Department and they informed me that if the wrecking yard would oblige, I could simply turn over my title to them and not pay the $500 fee.

So, I called up the wrecking yard, and they said they would be happy to receive the title and that they would cease advances on the abandoned vehicle. Great! But there is one more thing; I had to pay for the initial tow – $150. So they got me anyway! I paid the $150 and left my truck there. I was allowed to get only my personal property that was detached, meaning that if I had to unplug, unscrew, unbolt or unwire anything, it was off limits. Well, there goes my Grant Classic GT steering wheel. I loved that steering wheel.

I had not realized how much I needed a truck, until I had one and lost it. Every single one of my plans hinged on having that truck. I was going to camp with the boy and the dog. I was going to move some motors around. I had an axle to get and another one to deliver to a welder. I had so many plans, yet none of them got done.

Insurance was not going to help out because I only had liability on the truck and this was a one vehicle accident with no outside influence to blame. My wife was driving down the road, following the flow of traffic, and the truck got a little squirrely. She corrected, over corrected, over corrected again, and ended up on the incoming shoulder… upside down.

It was up to me to get another truck, and I vowed that I would. I immediately started looking again for another J-truck. I found one in Flagstaff and called the guy on it (Hey Matt!). It was basically my truck, one year older, but otherwise the same. His was a brown J10, but it still looked the same, and he had done everything I wanted to do to mine, down to the Rhino Grille conversion. I spoke with him and told him my story; I told him what I had planned for my next truck. I got him so amped up again about the whole Jeep truck thing, that he decided if I was not going to buy it, he would not sell it. I thought it over throughout the night, and I decided that I would not be buying his truck. I figured that, because I have to emission it, I would have to undo everything he did to the engine, and that just made no sense.

I found another truck in Redding, CA and spoke with Brett, the owner. I went through the same thing with him, telling him my story, and all of my aspirations for my new truck. Again, I ended up practically talking a guy out of selling his truck. But you know what, I do not really mind. I know that these are not simply guys with Jeeps, but these are Jeep guys. These guys were not in a bind and forced to sell, they had only lost the spark to build these pickups into what they deserve to be. Now, both of them are building on their respective trucks. I hope to one day give you an update on both of these guys so you can see what other things are possible with a Full Size Jeep.

Okay, I can already hear you crying to me, “Why did you call it Project: Copperhead when it is clearly not copper?!”

The answer to that question is simple; I wanted to paint it copper. I had all of these plans for this truck and all of that changed so quickly. Twice.

The first time plans changed for the J-truck was when I went camping with the ARIZONAK5.COM club. Before that, I still had plans to make this into a four door. I found that while camping with these die hard Chevy guys, I was getting a lot of compliments, even more than I had ever thought possible.

That got me thinking that I have myself a nice truck right here, and why not make it into a really nice truck? So, my plans went from making a family four wheeler to making a show truck. Well, not exactly a spit-shined-numbers-matching-trophy-winning show truck, but something that was nice; something that I would not be embarrassed to drive to a car show. Something that looked really good when my wife was driving it.

I started thinking of all new ideas to get my truck running well, and looking great. One of the early ideas I came up with was to convert it over to diesel. My idea was to transplant a 6bt Cummins 12 valve turbo diesel, but I found out rather quickly, that was not to be with this truck. As I was told, per Arizona emissions law, a half ton pickup cannot be the recipient of a diesel engine.

One might think this was the second plan change for the truck, but that will come up soon enough.

I continued on with my search to beautify the beast. I started out with a face lift and tried many different ways to work the front end.

I began with a simple KC HiLites addition.


Although it looked better, I still had to deal with square lights in a Jeep.

I then swapped out the lights for Chevy circles.


Ah, that’s right! I almost forgot that I got tagged while camping. The AZK5 guys got me good! But that is okay, I have never really been one for superiority complexes. After all, I am a Jeep guy. I don’t do it because it is the best, I do it because – really, how many of these things do you see on the road?

Anyhow, not happy with just the bare radiator look, I tried some other new styles.

The Rhino/Muscle Grille Hybrid:


Although it was interesting, it was not the finished look I was going for.

I had finally decided I would go with the simple, yet always effective Razor grille. I acquired a grille from Jerry, the man I got the truck from, and I started working different angles. I wanted to see what we could do here:


In my quest to change over to proper circle lights, I had found out that those KC HiLites fit perfectly in the pie pan holes on either side of the radiator. So, I stuck the lights in there and I hooked them up to the ignition so they would turn on with the key:


I had also found out that, although Chevy lights worked in a pinch, CJ7 headlights were almost direct bolt in for new circle lights on the Full Size Jeep. I was now pretty pleased with myself and my new look.

I had a hitch in February, and came back in March. I did some more work to the truck, little things here and there, mostly engine tune ups and whatnot; I also put on some 33” tires. I left for a hitch in April, and that first weekend away, I got a message from my wife.

I got back home in February and went to pick up my tools.  I made Jaiden come with me, as I had a surprise for him. We managed to get all of my tools picked up, with the exception of one package – Jaiden’s toolbox. I had bought him a roll away toolbox to have for himself, and it was the last package to be received. We finally got his tools figured out and we set for home. I spent the next few days cataloging and organizing my tools.

Shortly after all of this, I picked up the 12 bolt rear end for the hot rod, and also got a Chevy small block 400.

Wait, let me clarify – I paid for my axle and engine. That is right, I will be rocking a 400/400 in this thing!

I also made a few calls to some cam shaft companies:

Me: “Hi, I have a bit of a project, and I need a cam…”

XXX Cam Company: “Great! What do you have, and what are you looking to do with it?”

Me: “Well, that is just the thing. I really do not need a bunch of horsepower here; I just need it to sound the part.”

Them: (disappointedly) “Yeah. Okay, well…”

Me: “Look, I am the last person to think I would ever hear those words come out of my mouth, but I have a very light project and a Chevy 400… Do you have the interweb at your fingertips?”

Them: “Yeah. Why?”

Me: “Good. Look up ‘flat rod jeep’.”

I hear typing… “Oh! I see. That thing is bad ass! Now I get it! Yeah, we can help you with that!”

I have yet to purchase anything for the Chevy 400, or the 12 bolt rear end, but I did buy them. I will be working with all of that very soon here. I also found another welder that is excited about doing a project that you do not see every day – the Dana 44 drop axle. I cannot weld it at my house because I do not trust 110v MIG welding on a front axle; so, I have been looking for someone to weld me up with an arc welder. I have found a few shops that are willing to do it, but I am getting quotes in the thousand dollar range, and well, that sort of contradicts the meaning of “budget build”. If it really comes down to it, I will take it to one of them, but I am trying really hard on keeping this thing on the cheap.

The hot rod lay stagnant due to needing some key parts for it, mainly axles. The Drop Dana had not been built, and we still had much to do with the Chevy 400. So, I turned my attention to other things – piratey things. We continued to build on the Pirate Ship because there was a deadline. We had to get it done before the first weekend of April, and there was still so much to get done.

In the midst of my tools frenzy and such, I made time to pick up a new (to me) truck! I got myself a 1980 J10.

80 J 10 [2] 006-20141216-14354723_180 J 10 [2] 004-20141216-143540652

Now, I do not really believe in a Jeep with square headlights, and that was my next task to tackle. I had to see what it would take to convert this guy over to a proper set of eyes. Unfortunately, that meant that the hot rod was going to be put onto the back burner… temporarily. So I told myself.

It’s Been Awhile

Posted: September 23, 2015 in Uncategorized

Don’t worry; I am not going to break into a song number for you. I will, however, be able to shed a little bit of light on the happenings of the last few months.

Let me see, I last spoke with you on… Dec of 2014!? Shame on me for not writing! Well, there is (sort of) a reason for it.

Here, I will start nearest that time.

I got to the drillship, in Mauritius, and we set sail for Trinidad. Upon my arrival in Trinidad (Superbowl Sunday), there was much drinking to be had, so much in fact, that I ended up leaving my Maui Jim sunglasses in the hotel room. But that is not the reason for my lack of communication, read on to find out more.

Here I am, on my way to work, and it is just a few days after Christmas. I left home on the morning of the 26th. It is now the 28th, and I just left Dubai, I am currently in Mauritius, approximately 11,339 mi (18,249 km) away from my Jeep… but, I was able to get some new goodies for the build before I left. Check out some of this stuff!

IMAG0515[1]  IMAG0513_1[1]  IMAG0514[1]  IMAG0512[1]

(Thank you Rick! You have been a great asset to the build!) Rick stopped by and dropped off a truck load of stuff for me! This is just a select few of the things he had to give me, I apologize for the MTV photos … I did not make time to properly showcase any of this, as I never meant to even post these pictures, they were only taken so that I could show Nathan and Tony the cool new toys I got. There is something about that steering wheel, that I really like! I think that it is the fact that the leather is all worn and perfectly patinaed. That big ol’ radiator fits perfectly behind my grille, and we are going to make the Hurst shifter handle longer, so that it comes up higher. In case you are wondering, I got two of the side-by-side seats. I plan on covering them in a seabag green canvas, but I will probably pay someone to do that, as I do not have a proper sewing machine in order to get these done they way they should be. If you are wondering what “seabag green” looks like, just think of any United States military member in transit. Or, you can check out this stock photo of one.


What now? Since it is going to be some time before I get back to the garage, I will try and get my administrative duties taken care of while I am not so distracted with all of that garage business. Although, once I do get home, I may need to hold off on the Jeep build, as the Pirate Ship will be requiring my attention due to its restrictive timeline. I will be focusing time and energy to that, until I can put it to a proper stopping point. The Pirate Ship is due to set sail the first week of April, and that means I have a lot of welding to do there. It should not take me too long though, as my welding projects are short, in nature – I just need to weld up the wench’s deck and the poop deck (the aft seating). But all of that is for another blog, this one here is for the FrankenJeep build!

I have most of what I need to make the front drop axle. (Thank you Jerry!) He provided me with the cut up Dana 44 so that I did not need to go chopping up a perfectly good axle. He also hooked me up with the trailer drop axle. Now, I just need to get a hold of some 220V welding, and I can get to axle fabrication! I would show you some pictures here, but the problem is, I do not have it in a comprehensible state. What I mean is, even if I did have photos for you, they would make absolutely no sense, as I only have half a Dana 44 with outers (there is no center to it), and an eight foot trailer axle. I will ensure to get some build pictures for you though.

I do have a new idea, a more concise idea, on how to do the fuel tank/gauge system. I am still going to utilize the 30 lb gas gauge,IMAG0574_1[1] I have just refined its use. You see, I was trying to figure out how turn the flange 90°, so that the gauge faces outwards, towards the rear, instead of sideways. Instead of doing that, I will just mount it to the side of something back there, say… a Jerry can.

I will mount the fuel gauge to the Jerry can, like shown in the photo, and then hard mount the can to the bumper, so it is sturdy. Next, I will grommet the can through the tub of the Jeep, connecting it into the fuel cell. This does multiple things for me. Among them, it solves the fuel gauge dilemma. It gives me a fill point, in order to actually fill up the Jeep, without having an unsightly gas cap cover. It also provides me with a guaranteed five gallons of fuel, and that is good.

When I get home, I should be able to go and retrieve all of my tools. That is a very good thing! I am pretty stoked about that. I should have a fairly decent stock of tools that should get me started, at least I will be able to have most of the tools I need in order to make my jobs easier. I do not know if you are aware how difficult it is to even do maintenance on a vehicle, let alone build one, when you only have a 285 piece tool set (thank you Wes!) and an Estwing claw hammer. My brother hooked me up with a nice tool set a few years ago for Christmas. I have been using the crap out of it, and keeping it clean, ever since. The problem comes when I have more than one person working on the vehicle, and when I need two wrenches, or when I do anything electrical. So, I got a tool box and some tools coming to me, and they should be ready for pick up when I get back.

So, between the work on the Pirate Ship, and the (anticipated) short stay home, I fear that I will not make too much progress on the Jeep when I return, in February. I will ensure that I give you any updates on the projects that I do complete, and I hope to see you here again soon…

I am sure those of you that have been perusing these pages maybe have wondered who, or what a Mad Mac is. Or maybe you have not even noticed. Then again, it could also be that you just do not care. Regardless, I can assure you that it is not a diseased pair of all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun.

It is, however, another crazy build conglomeration that was suggested by my youngest son, Jaiden. Actually, it would be the crazy build that started it all. Maybe to say he literally “suggested” that I build a 2004 Chevrolet Impala 9C1 (General Motor’s designation for the police package) into something that would find itself comfortable as a car seen in the 1979 Australian dystopian action movie, Mad Max… well, that may be stretching the facts.

— Hang on! We are going to jump into our Delorean, and see if we can get this baby to 88 mph! —

Mad Max has been one of Jaiden’s favorite movies for quite some time now, (second to the sequel, The Road Warrior). It was 2011, and Jaiden was just four years old when he first saw these movies. Immediately, he fell in love with Max Rockatansky’s highly modified 1973 Ford Falcon XB GT Coupe, an Australian made car also known, in the Mad Max Universe, as the V8 Interceptor.

V8 Interceptor


(read all about it here –


It was during our first father/son viewing of Mad Max when a four year old Jaiden excitedly called out, “Cool cop car, Dad! Like yours!”, and that was the beginning of Mad Mac’s. I suppose it was not necessarily what Jaiden said, as much as what I interpreted his words to be, that caused the beginning of the end…


Meet Mac. I confess, he does not have the flair of Max’s V8 Interceptor, but he does have… character.

As I mentioned before, I was planning on this car to look as if it were to play a part in catching the bad guys after World War III happened. So, I started in the front, with the lights and the bumper. I took headlights from three different vehicles, and spent 18 hours fabricating those bug eyes.

And, what Pursuit Special would be complete without a supercharger?


I took an Eaton M90 Series III supercharger and top end off another vehicle, and put it somewhere more deserving… a retired police car.

The conversion was not as difficult as I thought it might have been, basically a direct replacement, plug-and-play. However, it was shortly after this same time that the AZ summer was coming up, and 114°F was going to be commonplace during the day.

I started having engine issues – the motor would sputter quickly and die. Minutes later, it would let me start up again, and it would drive normally, until it would sputter a few times and die. After all the checking, rechecking, and replacing of parts, I found it was the stock coil pack computer that was bad. It was “cold soldered”, and when the heat would get to it, the electronics would separate from the board, causing an incomplete circuit.

Unfortunately, Mac was to meet an early demise, and I never got to finish this project. But his name lives on infamously, this build started a whole new thought process on the way I do vehicle builds. From this one on, all vehicles built under the Mad Mac namesake, was going to be very comfortable in a post-apocalyptic setting.

Much has gone on here since I last wrote. Actually, this is a milestone at Mad Mac’s! This is the first post I will have written with real followers (that is you!).

Every post prior to this, was written with the hopes that someone may stumble across my little (mis)adventures. But you here, have already done so. You have decided that my story is worthy enough to occasionally fill a slot in your inbox. I thank you for that.

If you are not yet a circus goer, but you like what you have seen here, look to the left and click the “Join the Circus” button. All you need to do is fill in your email, and vi-ola! you only get emails when a new story comes out. So, come on! Support the clowns, and join in on the debauchery!

If for some reason, this is your first time, and you have managed to land yourself here… Well, it is safe to say that you are no longer in Kansas anymore. So, hold tight onto your little dog, look to the upper left corner, click the “Start at the Beginning” button, and prepare to be launched forward, straight into the past! As the saying goes… “The best place to start, is at the beginning.”


As I was saying, much has gone on here since I last wrote. In fact, I have gotten one Dana 44 axle and my Dana 20 transfer case traded for a hopped up TH400 automatic transmission (thank you for the hook up, Rick!). I sold the AMC 20 rear end to a guy that was a day late to buy my NP208 transfer case (sorry Jerry, your buddy Tad got there a little bit before you did, but I do appreciate the hook up with that vacuum operated D44 and the trailer drop axle*).

I went through the garage, like a tornado, and cleaned up a lot of the clutter that was congesting my work area. IMAG0474

Those bins were empty when I started cleaning.

I have a few items left over from the Transmission Shaft Swap Calamity, which I am hoping to relieve myself of very soon, (mainly the two TF727 automatic transmissions). I still have various Jeep parts, and that damn Nissan motor, lying around. I do have some guys coming over to swap and trade with me, so that will also help open up the garage a bit.

Some things I had, I was not able to swap for anything worthwhile, except cash. But that worked out really well too, because I was able to get a jump on some of these killer Christmas deals and buy Mad Mac’s some tools!

Jaiden was telling us that he did not want anymore tools, when he got presents. When we went to Sears and walked into the tool department, that was remedied quickly… “Woah! Look at this tool box, Dad!” he said, grinning. “Ooh! Can I get these?!” he asked, excited. Since then, he has been dropping me subtle hints that he wants a tool box, “Are we going to Sears to get me a tool box?” he asks as soon as we are in the car. And I have to tell him, “No, Jaiden. We are just taking you to school. It is Monday. You have class today.” That kid is hil-arious!


Chris got me welding on the Pirate Ship… Oh, why the hell not! Here you go…

Some spy photos of the Patina Cantina:

IMAG0495 IMAG0493

If you remember correctly, I mentioned something about this in June, in the Getting Started post. If you do not remember, this was Christian’s idea. He had a 1969 Chevy 1 ton flatbed pickup truck laying around the yard, and started drinking. When a thought came to him… like lightning – “What if we drank on the bed of the truck? No… What if there was a bar on the bed of the truck? Yes!” And, we went to work, like little busy bees, or carpenter ants! As I was working there, doing whatever it was I needed to do, his wife Liz came about and exclaimed, “Oh, a pirate bar! Cool!” When asked why she thought “pirate”, she simply said, “Because you look like a pirate, Jon!” and there it was: the Buccaneer’s Bowtie was born.


Now, I have told this tale to many a man, and nary a one can wrap his brain around such a daunting feat. There are those that still wish to contribute. These Kings of their various lands give what they can, to support a just cause… Belligerence and pilfering? No, not that one! A kickass pirate ship bar! (Thank you for the pirate recruiter’s flag John!)

You see, Chris supplies the truck and the rum, he also does all of the wiring and specialized engine work (but that is secondary in importance to rum). Sean works the carpentry, and spacial engineering (spAcial, not special). I am there to provide positive pirate imagery, I also do some welding and metal work. We even got Nathan in on the pirating! He got to weld some seat brackets in the aft end (we are on a pirate ship you know, there is no back end), Nathan even came up with some new ideas for the Wench’s Deck, up forward. Hopefully, he will be around when we christen it for its maiden voyage. I think that will be the perfect time to break out my stash of 30 year old Captain Kidd rum that I got in Gran Canaria.


I got a proper (i.e. running) 350 motor, from a 1984 GMC truck (that other one was in pieces, plus it had an electric fuel pump), and I still have that 12 bolt rear end. Now, I still have yet to put them in the garage, but that is actively in the works, and I am hoping to have them in my possession before I leave for my next hitch.

Let us see what materials we have: Motor? GM 350. Check! Transmission? TH400, with a street/strip shift kit and a kick down. Check! Axles? 12 bolt rear / Homebuilt trailer drop/Dana 44 hybrid. Check! and Whoa, not quite! Frame notched? 18 inches. Check! Air bags? Got ’em! Suspension? Same as the ‘bags – got it! Steering? Nope! Tub/body? It’s thereWiring and electronics? Not even a thought yet! 

Yeah, I think I have everything under control!

*I am sure you were curious about the little asterisk after the shout out about the axles. No? Surely you noticed it! Well I shall explain it anyhow… because I am dying to tell you!

You see, hot rod guys like to use a front axle that drops the suspension, keeping the front end low – a drop axle.

It looks something like this: yhst-92388287498660_2253_13408816_1

When it is placed on the car, it looks something like this:Screenshot_2014-12-10-20-39-00_1

My goal is to use a drop axle from a trailer, splice it and weld the spindles on from a Dana 44. That should make a Jeep-worthy drop axle! It should be pretty burley when it is finished. I must remember to get before/after (AND during) photos.

Well, that is what I have for you, as of now. I will get some more pictures once the garage is cleaned up better.

Until next time…

Yes, you heard right… ANOTHER ENGINE REVISION! As it turns out, there are a lot more logistics to building a hot rod than just “Slap it together and let her rip!!”

As I mentioned last time, there is a shop in town that specialized in AMC, and that is true. But after doing more research, I found out that it was going to cost me anywhere from $3-10k to get where I wanted with the AMC 360. If you remember correctly, that brought me right back to the problem with the 4BT, I didn’t want to spend $3000 on an engine for this build. I have other builds in store for a 4BT, but this one was supposed to be more along the lines of a “budget build/rat rod”, and dropping $3 gees into a motor just does not make a lot of sense.

So, I will be going the way of General Motors. Yep, the tried and true Chevy 350 / TH400 is what will make my little rod go VROOM! I know, I did say I had an AMC 360 and I also have a TF727 (an AMC automatic transmission). The problem came when I went to the parts stores looking for… Parts. I could not find any off the shelf, anywhere! So I asked around to see what I could get delivered. An example follows:

[Me to the guy behind the parts counter at the auto parts store]: “Do you guys have a gasket rebuild kit for an AMC Torqueflite 727?”

[Parts guy taps away at his computer]: “… Nope. We can order one. It is $120.”

[Me]: “Man, $120! For $150, I can order a shift kit from Summit, and have a hop-up kit delivered to my house!”

[PG]: “Yeah, I know. We just don’t carry anything for that. I am sorry.”

[Me]: “No worries, I get it. What about parts for an AMC 360?”

[PG]: “Um… Spark plugs, wires, Oh! An alternator…”

[Me]: “Never mind, I get it. Thank you anyhow.”


That was the beginning. In case you didn’t know, my TF727 came out of my 1984 Wagoneer. The same Jeep I got my AMC 360 from. That Jeep was 4WD, and I need a 2WD transmission, so I started looking for a 2WD Torqueflite. None were to be found, at least none under $300. Then I find one on the Craigslist: “TF727 – $150” and I go check it out.

Of course, the first thing I notice is that his is a Chrysler, and I need an AMC. The starters are opposite. But after some calling around (which we won’t even get into the incompetence I encountered with that call) we finally found out that yes, TF727 is TF727, whether it be a Chrysler or an AMC. All you have to do is switch out the shaft. Sounds easy enough!

IMAG0379 Same lengthIMAG0376 Same tail bolt patternIMAG0378[1] Same shaft

It was about the same time that I got as far as taking off the tailshaft housing on the 2WD Chrysler, when I found this on the interweb, from


Do you see all those little itty bitty parts and pieces? Now multiply it by two, and try to figure out which goes where! I am not saying that it is impossible, but… Why? And, Really??? Is it really worth it to go through all of this, just to make my transmission work? NOPE. Why not? Because after all the trouble I put into making this transmission work, I still need to order parts from a catalog, or get them second hand. Neither of which I want for a flogging machine.

“Well, you are still going to spend money on a Chevy 350!” You are right, but… I got a Chevy 350. For free!! Yep. That beautiful backwards luck of mine, hard at work again. And, I got a 2WD TH400 for $100. And, I sold my AMC 360 for enough to cover the cost of a transmission. AND, he didn’t even want the whole engine, so I ended up with more parts to sell in the end. Thanks Larry!

Since I have converted to a complete GM system (with the exception of my front end), I can go to the grocery store and buy parts for my engine and transmission. Okay, maybe not the grocery store, but those of you here in The States understand what I mean… For those of you abroad – GM, Holden, and Opel are basically the same company. I hope that helps you understand that a bit more. Parts are cheap and plentiful, but still quality. That is why I will be going with the Chevy 350/TH400 set up.

Now, my good friend, Nathan, brought up a good point: “A slap-stick auto, huh? Wouldn’t you rather have a 3 or 4-speed, with overdrive?” Well, Yeah! But, I have a right hand drive, and that makes manual transmission linkages difficult. Yes, I could get a hydraulic conversion kit, but there I am again, spending money where it need not be spent. I will, however, be hanging three pedals, and all of that will come at a later time. Right now I need to get back into the garage and start grinding!

You are probably wondering why I have yet to finish the grinding. Well, mid-frame, I got the idea to start working on the transmission. I stopped grinding and… Well, you got some of the story up there. I ended up with an open engine and three open transmissions. Not really a good place to be sending thousands of red hot little tiny pieces of metal. So that put me in pause mode, then there was the Mazda 6/Neon fiasco.

—— Explanation of Time Lost (a.k.a. The Great Stereo Debacle) ——

Tony is not allowed to drive his car any more. It (the car) is scary. It has 300+,xxx miles on it, the wheel fell off, and it makes too many moans and groans when moving. Basically, he needs the whole subframe of his Mazda 6 replaced. So, he is now driving the Neon, and since I have started work in the Canary Islands, it sits more than anything.

Anyhow, his Mazda 6 did come with a Bose stereo system. We thought it would be cool to have that in the Neon. “This shouldn’t be hard at all… a couple of speakers, some wire, a head unit, stock amplifier…

Uh, no. Not at all. After 20 hours of stripping out the two vehicles, the only thing we got accomplished was a good vacuuming of the Neon. Chris came over and asked what we were doing. We told him, and he laughed at us. Later on, he needed speaker wire, and I asked what gauge he needed. “I am wiring my sub” he said. I took him to the Mazda and showed him the speaker wire we retrieved from that system. He decided it would work and asked what the speakers laying on the floorboards were. “Those are the Bose speakers? Mind if I…” Have at it dude. We are literally going to throw them in the dumpster.

Very long story short(er), Chris ended up with a kick ass sound system in his K5. We learned that it worked for him, because he had an aftermarket amp and was powering the speakers with it, where we were trying to swap the whole system into a vehicle nearly ten years older and failed to realize the Mazda stereo was wired through the car’s computer.

Now, we could have powered the speakers with the aftermarket head unit, but that was not the only issue we ran into. His Bose speakers were too deep to fit into the front doors, and it kept the windows from rolling down. Until we converted it over to electric windows, we couldn’t make the rings come out enough to compensate for it, without hitting the window crank. Then, the rear speakers, for the Bose unit, are 5″x7″. (Actually, they are not. But they are close enough to stay out of an argument over semantics.) The rear speakers for the Neon are 6″x9″. And then we found out that you cannot run the subwoofer, unless you have the stock amp, which does not run without the stock head unit, which you cannot run without the Mazda 6 computer…

Between the Great Stereo Debacle and the Transmission Shaft Swap Calamity, I learned that if you are not going to swap same for same, and use the whole system… Well, stand by, because it will be a bumpy ride!


So, now that I have buttoned up all of the transmissions, and sold the engine, I can now continue on with my grinding. I have one more weekend before I go back to Spain. I will let you know how far I got, with pictures for proof, before I leave.

Until we meet again…


[Edit: I ended up having to pack up earlier than I thought. We did not get done with everything for the frame fabrication, but we did get a great start! I do have a few pictures of the boy doing what he likes to do best – GRINDING!!]

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I finally got back from work, and it has just started to cool off here. It was in the high 90’s today.

My plans for this month:

1) Prepare the frame for suspension – This means that I will be grinding smooth all of the welds on the frame, in order to make it presentable to the public.

2) Get my 12 bolt axle home so I can mock up the suspension – Pretty self explanatory here. The axle currently resides at a friend’s house, it will serve better purpose in my garage.

3) Prepare my engine to go to the shop for upgrades – I have found a shop that is close (enough) to me and is willing to do my engine work. Actually, this shop has greater plans in store for my engine! I was going for a 383 stroker, but he talked me into a 409, I am not complaining. Of course, this here, is the guy that was talked into supercharging his Impala! All that took, was my neighbor buying me a 3800 Series III top end with supercharger using the money I gave to him to buy me some new heads. Eh, who am I to turn down a supercharger? Also, who am I to turn down a better engine build?

As you might have guessed, more horsepower is not a difficult sell to me.

Anything new? But of course!

I got a new (to me) gas gauge! Nothing in this world is truly free, and my “free” gas gauge was no exception. We could look at it like… I spent 336 hours working it off – not including the 30 hours, and 11,050 miles of flight time! Or, we could look at it like… I went on a working vacation and made new friends, obtaining a gas gauge in the process!


My plans are to strip off all of the paint, and then mount this to the rear of the tub, facing outward, and plumb it directly to the fuel cell. I will need a lot of reinforcement for this gauge, as it still weighs over 30lbs!

On our maiden voyage, I will just fill the cell until it is topped off, and then I will drive the hot rod until I run out of gas. After I figure out how many miles I got out of the tank, I will subtract 25-50 miles, and just drive by my odometer.

When you have owned as much crap as I have (of the 30 something vehicles I have owned, maybe ten of them had 100% completely functional gauges), you find it very easy to work around not being able to use things that many people take for granted. Things like fuel gauges, and air conditioning, and steering wheels.

Okay, well I suppose I never had many issues with my steering wheels. Nope, I lied! I had a ’72 Ford pick up truck that had steering wheel problems – the retaining nut came off and so did the steering wheel. So there you are, crap!

Anyhow, I must give a shout out to Elvis Ramirez Torres, and Luis Yavé Ortega Hernández from Las Palmas, Gran Canaria. For if it were not for Elvis, I would have not been able to get this top cap welded on, and if it were not for Luis, I would not have been able to tell Elvis that I needed to get this top cap welded on!

You see, while I was at work, I was removing an oil tank. I saw this level gauge, and thought it would make a kick ass fuel gauge. What I didn’t take into immediate consideration is the fact that the gauge weighed about 90lbs!

True story.

Well, I talked with the welder and his interpreter (Elvis & Luis), and we figured out how to cut it up and re-weld the cap to it. I got all the cutting and grinding done, so that Elvis just had to come in and weld it all up. He told me that I need to be careful with it, because it was delicate. He said he tried a different electrode, and the cap just fell off! So he got this one working, but was afraid it might still be too fragile. I tried to explain that it was just a vent cap, and that it would not see any pressure or stress, but he insisted on warning me to be careful with it.

Hell, what do I know? When someone is that adamant about their work, and they are explaining the precautions to you in a different language (than what you are used to speaking), I find that you generally go along with it.

Don’t worry Elvis, I will be careful with it. I would hate to have to go through the airport with that gauge again if I broke it! (Luis, would you please translate that for me? ¡Hola, Por Favor Señior!)

So, I suppose it is time for me to get off the computer, and into the garage. We have a hot rod to build! I will keep you posted on my progress soon.

Until then…

I recently got a comment that, at first glance, started as an honest compliment. It reads as follows:

I read a lot of interesting posts here. Probably you spend a lot of time writing, i know how to save you a lot of work, there is an online tool that creates unique, SEO friendly posts in seconds, just type in google…

Upon further inspection, I quickly found that it is actually just cut and paste spam. Here is the thing, it was only a ploy to get me to use artificial intelligence to create a new form of copyright infringement. I have deleted the name that they had referred me to search, because I believe that you, my audience, deserve better, and I refuse to further their cause.

In actuality, I do spend much time writing, and even more time thinking about what to write. I do so as therapy. Consequently, I do not need to “rewrite articles” to pass off as my own. I write to tell a story, and I do not think that you would appreciate such laziness and blatant acts of plagiarism. If you feel the need to flog yourselves with such atrocities, you can go to the local cinema and pay to see what rehashed ideas Hollywood has again come up with.

Writing helps me collect my thoughts, and it keeps me honest. Every time I write here, I create a record. Through my words, anyone can recollect that record. This means that anyone can look through here and call me out. Therefore, what I write here must be the truth. If I write that I am going to do something here, I must do so. This keeps me accountable. You keep me accountable. Otherwise I am just putting out the same rubbish and pointless drivel that you can find most anywhere else on the internet.

Of course, you might not know either way, but I would, and that is enough for me to put out the truth. Plus, what are you to me, if I cannot write the truth?

Everything you see here, is a product of this chapter of my life. I recycle Jeep parts, there is no reason for me to tell my tale from recycled words. This is my story, and I do not need word robots to rewrite somebody else’s account, just so that I may be spared a few moments of time.

You are my audience. You mean more to me than that, and you deserve better.

-Mad Mac