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Rat Rod Rust Bucket K11 project

#1
Hey all,

I'm a few months away from actually starting this project but my mind has been on it a lot lately, a lot of plans and ideas and thought I might as well get some ideas from you lot before I go ahead.

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A little bit about me:

My name is Patrick, I am a 25 year old working in the film industry in New Zealand, I work in art department which means my job as a contractor involves prop making, set decorating, set construction, set painting, art directing, costuming... all sorts. My personal background involves a lot of hand on work - and I used to be a mechanic and worked in small workshops and also Toyota service center. I've owned many Japanese cars - my favourite car I've ever owned is a 1985 Toyota AE86 Levin - which a turbo charged drift car with adjustable everything. I know my way around cars quite well. We have a huge car culture in NZ which ranges from everything from JDM to American Muscle to Hot Rods and racing from all sectors of the culture... I used to be heavily involved in the JDM car culture but got sick of the fact that cars are a very expensive hobby. For the past few years, I've drove a 2000 Celica, a lifted Toyota Surf (4Runner) on 32" mud tyres... and now have a very sensible 2012 Hilux along with my trusty pocket rocket Micra. I'm not interested in power and speed etc.

Pictures of the car I miss the most:
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Goal:

Rat Rod inspired, covered in rust, slammed with modern 'stance'. MAD MAX inspiration - lots of little details that tell story - practicality, up-cycling, lots of welding. I love details in something where you see it and go, 'ooh that's what that's for!' In film, details tell stories, they contribute to the main story in some way or tell something about the relative character. If you haven't seen MAD MAX fury road, hopefully you'll get what I mean... I've already got a backyard job roof rack made from steel rebar and others, which is rusting out real nicely. This project will not be about achieving power etc. 95% of these mods will be aesthetic. The main challenge here is to achieve the look without doing anything unsafe or illegal, which can be a big challenge sometimes.

BODY:

Before I begin, our laws in NZ mean my car has to go through a warrant of fitness check every six months, this is called a 'non intrusive' inspection, meaning nothing is to be removed for the inspection. Our rules regarding rust means no rust is to be found in structural parts of the car, pillars, chassis, door hinges...

The bonnet, quarter panels and rear door will be rusted by removed the paint using a heavy duty paint stripper. Once I'm happy with the rust, it will be coating with a standard poly-urethane.

Paint stripper: https://www.bunnings.co.nz/poly-4l-paint-stripper_p01718022

The front and rear bumper will be painted matt black, and the rear quarter and roof will be painted with DULUX RUST EFFECT paint (really cool stuff) which is a two step paint system which creates REAL rust - meaning the rust will sit on top of the factory car paint without seeping into the car body.

Dulux Rust Effect: https://www.bunnings.co.nz/dulux-design-500ml-rust-effect-paint-step-1_p08906925
Video of product:

Here is some research I found on our national HONDA forum site:

https://nzhondas.com/topic/167437-civic-ratrod-style-project-moar-rust/?page=8
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here is the result of using the Dulux Rust Effect paint on the rear quarter - looks nice, but very flat - no drippage or inconsistencies which is the only thing I am not a fan of, but I'm thinking there should be a way of making some drippage using potentially some dust which comes from skimming brakes (Back when I used to work as a mechanic, we'd skim brakes and the dust would end up on the floor. within minutes, if there was water on the floor as well, the dust would turn into rust, as you can imagine is the same as when you wash your car and get water on your brake discs and start to develop rust just minutes after)

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WHEELS:

So as we all know, there aren't as many options in 4x100 as others, especially in 13 and 14", and on top of that, NZ being a small island at the bottom of the pacific ocean, we don't have as much available as the rest of the world. So I am going with banded steelies.

The plan is to get the car on stands, take the SPRINGS out of the car, put a shock back in, put a wheel back on the hub, stick a jack under it and lift it up until I am happy with where the wheel sits, then I will measure how much of a drop that will be, and at the same time measure how much band I'll add to the steel wheel.

I'm looking for a way to make some BABY MOON HUBCAPS, if you don't know what those are, they are the chrome domes that are normally found on VW Combie vans. Thinking stainless steel mixing bowls from the local shops and fixed on to the wheel with some sort of clips...

SUSPENSION:

So with our laws, installing adjustable suspension is an expensive practice - to buy a set of adjustable coilovers will cost around $1500NZD (800 pounds)... then you have to have the CERTIFIED which is another $500 (264 pounds), a process in which a certifier inspects the installation, and if agreed that it is safe, makes a special plate that states the certified modifications which that plate is riveted to firewall inside the engine bay. Definitely not keen on this route, especially considering the coilovers might not even get my goal height.

Here is my plan, which I've barely seen anyone on the internet do. It's quite naughty but it's far safer than simply cutting springs:

Our national spring manufacturer (Chaimberlains ChCh) provides a service of re-setting springs for $140NZD(73 pounds)/pair - this means they take the spring and heat it, and set it to the right height and then cool it at the right length of time, giving the spring the same spring rate at a new overall length. We all know how 'boaty' a k11 is due to soft springs, and I actually wish the springs would go harder in this process, but I'm considering harder springs later in the future.

rear suspension:

I understand that when the car drops, the rear will move to the side as the cross bar will push it that way. My old drift car had an adjustable one so this wasn't a problem. I am thinking of shortening it by cutting and welding it. If you've done this before let me know!

Now with our laws, the spring must be 'captive', meaning the spring must sit in the coil seat without moving around when shock is fully extended. We all know how silly cutting springs are without having them sit nicely in their spring seats is anyway, and I've done it before. Here's the clever part...

SHOCKS will be cut at the top near the thread, to just enough that the spring sits captive and the shock has maximum travel distance. Before you go commenting on the dangers, a friend of mine has trialled and tested this with much success. He has only advised to leave at a minimum of 50mm travel. The bump stops will cover the welds so this won't be seen without having to dismantle the strut assembly. Here are photos:

1. Mark off the cut
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2.cut it
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3. taper the cut to prvide maximum weld contact
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4.weld the bastard.
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5. Voila! Nice toes Chris!
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BEFORE:
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AFTER:
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WHEELS & TYRES

I was contemplating on 13 or 14 inch banded steelies, but based on the photos I've seen, I think I'm more a fan of 13". The goal is to be 100mm off the ground at the sills, and the idea is that 13s with maybe 155/55's will do the trick whilst keeping a decent amount of clearance at the front arches. (If you have photos of wide wheels with extreme low please comment!) We're not allowed to have stretch in NZ but I'm willing to risk having a little bit of stretch. Planning to paint the steelies some playful colour like baby blue or purple... or potentially a glossy brown with some sparkle... still not sure how wide the steel wheels will go, but I'm keen on stagger... slightly wider rear - the factory wheels seem to stick further in at the back.


I'd love to here from you. Have you seen a rat rod before? what did you love about it? have you been through any of these processes mentioned? Do you have widened steel wheels? Do you have any car mod ideas that you think might suit this? Do you have mad wide wheels and stance? Do you think pineapple belongs on pizzas? have you done flares over your guards?
 

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#2
I like the rat rod thing, it suits me better than a shiny paint job and means I'm not as precious about my car as I would otherwise be (don't get wrong Spot (mini) is beautiful and I love her) but there is something of a story about it, sort of like Mater and his dints.

That said Spot is an 'honest' rat rod, I've not promoted rust in fact the spots were some of my efforts to get rid of it!
I don't like the rust for rust's sake or rust as a paint job look, rather I think it should look like it happened naturally. A whole panel with no paint on it, just rust, doesn't do it for me. That said a more modern car is harder for the look to suit...

Here's a video on this guy's technique.

Spot's appearance has sort of happened by accident, and this I think was the start of the rat rod thing, people who wanted quick cars but didn't have a lot of money so they concentrated on the practical stuff not appearances.
IMO a 'rat' car looks best when it reflects this pragmatic approach.

You might be able to to do a bad boy bonnet on one side only, of have some bog or primer near the corner, like it got done but never got around to painting it.
I think a sense of fun with it adds to it, like bandaids on dints, or a chalk board bonnet with chalk scribbles, mine had a shopping list on it for a bit in chalk cause it amused me...

I think the widened steel wheels are a good idea, I've seen them each done a different fluro colour.

Re the panhard rod there are adjustable whiteline? and others, if you want a lower key solution perhaps add a threaded section to the standard item at least until you get the rest of the suspension dialed in then you could weld it up.
 
#3
I like the rat rod thing, it suits me better than a shiny paint job and means I'm not as precious about my car as I would otherwise be (don't get wrong Spot (mini) is beautiful and I love her) but there is something of a story about it, sort of like Mater and his dints.

That said Spot is an 'honest' rat rod, I've not promoted rust in fact the spots were some of my efforts to get rid of it!
I don't like the rust for rust's sake or rust as a paint job look, rather I think it should look like it happened naturally. A whole panel with no paint on it, just rust, doesn't do it for me. That said a more modern car is harder for the look to suit...

Here's a video on this guy's technique.

Spot's appearance has sort of happened by accident, and this I think was the start of the rat rod thing, people who wanted quick cars but didn't have a lot of money so they concentrated on the practical stuff not appearances.
IMO a 'rat' car looks best when it reflects this pragmatic approach.

You might be able to to do a bad boy bonnet on one side only, of have some bog or primer near the corner, like it got done but never got around to painting it.
I think a sense of fun with it adds to it, like bandaids on dints, or a chalk board bonnet with chalk scribbles, mine had a shopping list on it for a bit in chalk cause it amused me...

I think the widened steel wheels are a good idea, I've seen them each done a different fluro colour.

Re the panhard rod there are adjustable whiteline? and others, if you want a lower key solution perhaps add a threaded section to the standard item at least until you get the rest of the suspension dialed in then you could weld it up.

Hi Fuzzy Haired Man,

I agree, the details should tell stories. In set decorating in film and TV, every detail on set should tell a story, and the same goes for this project.

I do plan to leave spots of paint left behind, but because the car is currently silver, it wouldn't look so good in comparison to say, blue, red, etc. I do plan to paint spots on to look like it was the colour the car used to be, but I think I will go with some sort of baby blue, a colour that suits the body and co-ordinates with the brown rust colour. I also like the rust drippage and inconsistencies that make it look natural, hence why I don't like the flatness of the rust effect paint, but it's still a better option that real rust on the structural parts of the body. I love bandaids etc, but I think I'll take my time on the very small details - repairing dings, cable tie stitching, etc. for a more organic look to the details. I'm also thinking of doing a rear tow hook made of a piston rod welded to the rear existing tow hook. Maybe do the same on the front.

Paint:

I'm quite a big fan of the details found in war planes, I want to do the shark mouth found on the WWII P-51 fighter planes, the military look like the codes painted on the sides of the vehicles etc. and then sanding it down to look worn out and old. This might look a little aggressive on the baby faced K11 PFL, so I'm thinking of slightly changing the design to a D/C comic JOKER inspiration, or perhaps Barney the Dinosaur...

I've been researching the history of rat rods and I love the story of youngsters with no money, but with enough skill to pull something together. It reflects very much on my own life as well as NZ culture we call 'Number 8 wire'. I love upcycling, and I love working with 'what you got'. It's a humble morale...

Panhard rod: I'm not too knowledgable on adjustable parts available for the K11, my AE86 corolla had an adjustable panhard rod to correct the rear diff. I wouldn't imagine it be too difficult to shorten the factory one anyway.

Priority number one is to get this thing low and on wide wheels, I'll have the wheels widened and when they come back, I think I'll go down the route of cutting springs and cutting the shock shaft down to relocate the mount. I've seen a picture posted up by Mark Bognor of his shock where the spring has been cut at the top, it looks like it sits quite nicely in the top spring seat so I'm quite confident in going down that route. His one has stainless steel cable holding it in place even more, but I'm hoping to avoid that as it may alert an inspector.

Here's a picture of Mark Bognor's shortened shock and cut spring combo:

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Loads and loads and loads of ideas on this car, it's going to be difficult to know when to stop once it gets going.
 
#6
A few things that I really enjoyed and got attention was the steps on the back, bull bars and the intake made from cat food tins

Sent from my SM-G920F using Micra Sports Club mobile app
Hey MadYax

Great build! I love it! love the upcycling!

I have a roof rack I fabricated out of steel angle and round bar, will upload pics soon. Quite rusty now as I didn't paint it but looks cool and super strong!

You must tell me about that bullbar!
 
#7
bull
Hey MadYax

Great build! I love it! love the upcycling!

I have a roof rack I fabricated out of steel angle and round bar, will upload pics soon. Quite rusty now as I didn't paint it but looks cool and super strong!

You must tell me about that bullbar!
the bullbar is 20mm steel conduit (same as roof rack) just bent the four corners and welded two supports to the bottom 90 degree bends. The tubing is drilled and bolted to the top of the chassis. by chance fit nicely though the bottom "vents" in the bumper. I wouldn't want to hit a deer with it but it was enough to hold the aux lamps and dry towels on.
 
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