Posts Tagged ‘Hot Rod Project’

Alright, so I recently wrote about getting my caveman on with all of the hunting and gathering I did for the flat rod build. I also promised you that I would tell you some of the ideas I came up with, there was a caveat that I needed to materialize each project before I spilled the beans…

What was that Jack? You got some beans for a cow?! Can I hold on to them?? OOPS!! I accidentally spilled them!

Project #1 – Buck Saw Windshield Brow

This is not a fold-down, inside the cab visor. Nope, we are going old school Cholo with this idea. I am talking about the above the windshield brow on the outside. I want one made from a buck saw!

As my pseudo-Irish luck would have it (hey, I am a Mac [technically a Mick] after all, even if that is the only Irish that I possess, it still counts! Right??)… Anyway, as it would so happen, my mom and her husband had a buck saw. AND, it happened to be the right kind too!

You see, I needed a long saw that was not tapered to one end, and the one they had was built just right. I made negotiations, and it was decided that as long as I kept it for my own use as a spring board to fame and fortune, I was allowed to have it.



For Free? You heard ‘em right, free. Now, I did not actually plan on using it as a literal spring board, (I do not really think it could hold even my weight). But, I will be using it for this windshield brow / sun visor idea… and they were okay with that.

Cool Mac! So you managed to get a buck saw that you are going to use as a windshield brow. Why is this of any consequence??

Well, for me, it is of great consequence! For one, I was going to resort to buying one from the Craigslist if I was not able to procure one from a shop, and what kind of story is that? But this one was WAY cooler! WHY??

I found out that it was her grandfather’s saw and it could very well be over 100 years old!! That is almost ten decades of hanging out in the world! Plus, do the math for me, as it is not really one of my strong points – Grandfather (1) + Dad (1) + Mom (1) + Me (1) + Mini Mac (1) = equals FIVE generations of family that it has passed through! Well, not literally passed through, but… anyway, you get the idea. Right??

That is pretty impressive! I mean, it was not like that saw thought, when it was just a little buck (Haha! Get it?): “In 100 years, I’m going to be on the windshield of a flat rod named FrankenJeep!” Probably not.


What have we done this time Mac?

Well, nothing was done directly to the little flat rod. As mentioned in the title, I did a lot of hunting and gathering. I also saw some family up in Washington State that I have not seen in awhile.

Great. But what new things have you got for US!

Technically, you are reading it. This is what you get, a story of what I did. Ta-dah!

Haha! Okay, on to some of my findings. As you may have noticed, FrankenJeep sort of has a pseudo military, very industrial vibe to the build and I have been feeding off of it quite a bit lately. While I was a work, I was given a menial and repetitive task that allowed me to think of what I was to do next with the little flat rod. Oh boy did I come up with ideas!

Now, in order to keep them from materializing in the real world before I get a chance to do them, I will only mention these ideas when I have the means to complete their fabrication. But, you will get a full inside scoop of all the projects before the rest of the world sees them, if you can just hang tight.


By the way, there is also a set of teasers on the FaceBox. Yep. I finally succumbed to the biddings of the devil and made a FaceBox page so I can get my twerking on!

Check it out at

Now that you have been caught up on the last few months, what are the plans for the little hot rod? Well honestly, everything hinges on… that is right, getting a truck! Yes, I realize I just told you I got one, but this one is not street legal, yet. That is something I have been working on for the past two weeks. Once I get the truck legal, I will be taking the drop Dana to a welder, and I will be getting my 12 bolt rear end home, then we can start fabbing up suspension.

Until then, hop on over and see what is going on with the J20 Build, I think you may be impressed with the progress that is going on over there.

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…

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…