Welcome to Editor’s Garage where it seems like time is standing still while the outside world spins wildly out of control. I’m not going to dwell on all the weird crap that’s taking place on the planet today, instead, please join me as I escape into my garage and have fun organizing my workspace in preparations for a high-end 1966 Chevelle build.
There is a sad note to this week’s Editor’s Garage, I lost a valued friend a few days ago and it was all my fault. Not to worry it wasn’t a human being, but a plumber’s tool I learned to use many years ago. It’s called a closet auger or in slang terms a “snake.” My dad, who made his living as a steam fitter, tired early on having to unstop the family toilet I had plugged tighter than a drum.
My dad was a WWII and Korea Vet with what I now believe was undiagnosed PTSD. He was a nice guy with a real bad temper and not very patient as a teacher. There was a lot of loud swearing while I was learning the ins and outs of operating a snake.
When I left home after graduating high school mid-term in 1969 my dad gave me two gifts. He loaned me $680.00 to buy a 1959 Corvette and I left with the closet auger. As a part of my training how to use the snake, my dad included teaching proper maintenance. After many years of keeping the 1957-year model snake in perfect condition it was my failure in recent years to observe all I was taught that brought disaster. Rule Number 1 was do not let the snake rust; let it dry thoroughly and keep it well oiled; it only took 60 years to learn why.
Like a head bolt or a valve spring rendered unusable due to rust, rust embrittled the steel-coiled snake and allowed it to snap in two. Come to think about it I lost two friends that fateful day the snake and my trusty 1962 American Standard toilet. The 1962 American Standard was a prized possession that escaped California’s 2013 mandate for state residents to install low-flow toilets in their homes. Like smog device technology of the mid-1970s low-flow toilets were counter intuitive because they took three flushes in order to work.
Instead of adhering to the seemingly nonsensical law, I hot-rodded my 1962 American Standard with a turn quick shut off valve and a high-flow rebuild kit sourced from a high-flow toilet tuner exiled in Canada. The broken snake flailed and destroyed the 1962, rendering it junk. I was all set to install a NOS (new old stock) 1978 American Standard I had stashed away when my wife told me our son in-law bought me a brand-new Kohler Elliston K-12767 with the elongated bowl and office chair seating height.
I’m not a plumber, but I am a plumber’s son and I swear my dad is there in spirit when I have to tackle a plumbing problem. The install went without a hitch and the Kohler Elliston K-12767 with the elongated bowl and office chair seating height is absolutely incredible!
On the box Kohler claims its “Powerful flush leaves nothing behind — Plug-free powerful eliminates clogs.” I accepted that as a challenge and I’m happy to report the Kohler Elliston keeps its promise every time. Think of the Kohler Elliston with its 21st Century high-tech toilet technology as a factory hot rod in the sense of a Tesla Model S P100D with Ludicrous Mode in comparison to muscle cars of the last century. This doesn’t mean I’m trading in my 1932 Ford highboy roadster or 1966 Chevelle in for a Tesla. What it does mean is no more time spent unplugging toilets and a lot more time to work on the hot rods.
1966 Chevelle Project Update / ZZ454 On Its Way
In spite of a terrible current world situation, our 1966 Chevelle project continues to move forward and it wouldn’t be so without the help of some great friends. The Vintage Air air-conditioning kit is here, and Classic Instruments Black 1966-1967 Chevelle Package is on its way. Also, we pulled the trigger and bought a ZZ454 crate motor, so the next call is to American Powertrain for a five-speed transmission and 1966 Chevelle installation kit. Induction will be FITech fuel injection complete with a FITech / Tanks Inc. Chevelle gasoline tank kit complete with a FITech electric fuel pump. Current spray paint inventory Eastwood 2K urethane and VHT engine enamel from Eastwood. The target date for completing the 1966 Chevelle is a few months prior to SEMA 2020. I have inquired about getting a space inside the SEMA 2020 show for the Chevelle but don’t have a yes as of yet—and here’s to hoping there will be a 2020 SEMA Show.
Classic 1962 American Standard Toilet / Recycling the Past
I wish I could be posting a constant barrage of tech articles here on Editor’s Garage, but plumbing problems that can’t be ignored keep popping up. And since HOT ROD’s motto is Hot Rod Anything! why not write an article on the latest in factory built hot rod toilets. The warning sticker “DANGER Do Not Stand at or above this level. YOU CAN LOSE YOUR BALANCE” on my 1962 American Standard toilet was part of customizing to suit my humor with a Cal/OSHA sticker. To find out the year made for most toilets look inside the lid and inside the tank. It’s a habit I picked up many years ago staying overnight at America’s Motor Courts.
Powerful Flush Leaves Nothing Behind
I’m the old guard here at HOT ROD and I’m sure the rest of the team are getting a real kick watching me slowly evolve into enjoying the simple joys of modern technology. I do pay close attention to alternative powertrain sources, but it never occurred to me things as mundane as a toaster or innocuous as a toilet were under constant research and development. At the heart of a Kohler toilet is the innovative Aqua Piston flush engine. After a little research I discovered folks can find the most powerful flushing toilet reviews on the internet. —HOT ROD Anything!
Zero-Waste Paint Shelf Renovation in Progress / HGTV Garage?
The Do’s + Don’ts of Paint Shelf Design; what are they? Recycling and salvaging building materials is nothing new to me. I could put on a mask and gloves to go wait two hours in line to search inside Home Depot or Lowes to check if they still have what I need on the shelves; but I would rather spend the time working. The one change in habits I have made while confined during the lockdown is reusing woodscrews. DIY guy tip: Buy the kind of screws with a Phillips or Torx head instead of pounding in nails and reusing lumber will be a lot easier. Notice the cabinet to the right had to be moved to make room for the 42-inch flat screen T.V.
Shelf Renovation and Redesign Without Spending a Dime
Using every inch of board length without creating scraps dictated the height and width dimensions for the spray can shelf. The drawbacks were the top two shelves were limited in height and not all that useful. Removing the top shelf and spacing the shelf farther away from the wall opened up storing two rows of spray cans in instead of one row. The shelf overhanging from the front of the workbench doesn’t look good in design terms, but form following function, the unsightly overhang puts more spray cans in reach without getting a stool. I was in hopes of having the spray can shelf and wall painted and stocked with spray paints but ran out of time.
4-inch Thick Lath & Plaster Walls Defeat WiFi Signal
I can hardly wait until I can watch the MotorTrend App streaming on the 42-inch flat screen TV in front of my workbench but the 4-inch thick lath and plaster walls of my 1957 mid-modern house will not let the WiFi signal through for the Roku box. I’m using the cheapest Roku box one can buy I have an order in to Walmart for the best Roku box and will see if that makes a difference. The gloves in the next photo are Dickie’s mechanics gloves and they are best I’ve found so far. Although no glove seems to work with an iPhone and forget about trying to mumble through a gas mask.
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