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Trashwagon Tech

The technology behind Trashawgon

So you got yourself a hashed out wagon. Its a little ugly. Lets make it something special. Spray paint is not going to depreciate a 200 dollar car!

Spray Paint
Painting Techniques

Painting a Trashwagon

First and Foremost trashwagon characteristic is of course, the paint job. Spray paint is a cheap and efficient means to color a car. Various brands and qualities acieve different results. Cheaper dollar cans are cost effective while higher priced cans leave a good finish. A mix and match of different brands and types will do according to application.

The dollar cans of primer work rather well for laying a coat of grey for the paint to stick to. Krylon brand paint is a little more expensive but holds up and lays good. But i find it to be non-resilient to gasoline. Plasticolor Duplicote i have found is resistent to gasoline, and comes in colors closer to OEM manufacturers paint numbers. But this would be of the more expensive aerosol paints. Rust-oleum type paints are good to use on rusty surfaces and under wheel wells, suspension components and the like where a smooth finish is not necessary. But these paints take a long time to dry so be patient!. Epoxy "refrigerator paint" wold be the most expensive, and is best for wheels because it leaves a hard thick finish

Interior Lighting

The secondmost important trashwagon characteristic wold be the interior. A full package includes carpeted interior panels such as the doors, headliner, and dash. Other accessories include Gauges and Interior Lighting.

A carpeted dash not only gives the car a cozy feel but it allows objects to sit on the dash without sliding around. Pens, loose change, a dried-up toad, it stays put! Carpet on the headliner and doors compliments the cozy plush of the ride, and also covers any worn or faded surfaces, since afterall, you are making a Trashwagon! Gauges are important to have to monitor vital engine functions.

Temperature gauge is singly the most important gauge, as a hot motor will cause the first thing to go wrong. Oil pressure would be the next most important gauge, as if your car would leak or consume oil such as a 79 Pinto with no cam seal. When the pressure drops to zero, its time to add another gallon of chainsaw bar oil! Interior Lighting completes the package.

At night its too dark to see your nice carpet or to scramble for loose change at the drive-thru. Strategic placement of lights will fill in any dark voids and giuve the car a spectacular ambient glow. Best placemet for lighting is the foot wells on the floor, the edge of the doors where they open, the side of the center console and the most trick place, inside the vents! Interior lighting also makes up for burned out instrumentation bulbs, so you can see how fast you're not going.

The Cherry Bomb
Exhaust Theory and Design

Now that you got your car looking like a Trashwagon time to make it sound like one. The Cherry Bomb or similar glass-pack type muffler will open up the exhaust a littla and cive it a classic sound. These mufflers come in all sorts of length and diameter, so you will want to chose one according to your application, exhaust setup, and enging performance characteristics. Installation is most durable when welded, so as to not fall off when baja'n railroad tracks behnd industrial parks.

Exterior Lighting
Lighting installation and Wiring Schematic

Exterior lighting is ideal for any kind of driving environment. From inclement weather to late night Baja'n, a 3 point lighing system is modular to any degree.

Amber fog lights are good for fog, rain, and to light up the edge of the road. They are effective on a full moon light where you can drive with the head lights off, and still see the road! Location for these lights is best under the bumper, and smaller lights are more ideal as to be tucked away deep under the car as to not be shorn off in rough baja;n terrain.

Bumper mounted lights are ideal for late night county road rallying, you can see signs plain as day and blind deer a mile away. A pair of 100 watt flood lighs are perfect for this application, and best located on top of the bumper. In off road situations, wether it be tall grass or a farmer's field, the headlighs or bumper lights can be covered by tall vegetation, thus impairing your visibility. This is where roof monted lights are ideal.

Roof mounted lights are best located at the B-pillar, as if they are too far forward they will glare on the windshield. Aiming of the lights is best to just in front of the car, and 55 watt power rating. Any more forward ahead all you will be lighting up is the sky or the tops of trees, so local light is wht you will need to see whare you are going.

Additional lighting can be mounted on the roof, to point out the side of the car. Alley lights we will call them.These lights are ideal for making tight maneuvers down atv trails, junking on trash day, or making off the side of the road repairs. They can be wired to a main swithc to power both sides, and also have individual swithcing for either side at a time. Also rear mounted bumper lights are ideal for reversing off road, for tying up tow straps or hitching up trailers, of for tailgating in the woods. These lights can be wired to be on, off, or to come on with the reverse lights only.

Suspension and Tires
Tires and Rim
Home made Lift
Suspension Upgrade

Proper Tires will not only give you traction, but ground clearance as well. Some makes of cars will allow you to bolt on a larger wheel/tire combo, whereas other models such as Subarus you can modify the lug pattern on larger wheels to replace the stock 13's. Mud and Snow tires are ideal for 13 inch wheels, and a larger size for a 13 inch wheel can give you 3/4 inch ground clearance without compromising gearing.

Larger tires such as going from 13 inch to 14 or 15 inch will allow a better selection of off road tires. Excessively large tires can compromise gear ratio, but that can be made up for with vehicles equipped with a low range transmission. And larger tires of this sort can increase overall ground clearance by several inches. For addition al lift one can fabricate a lift wether it be body or suspension.

A Body lift will retain the same suspension geometry but allow for larger tires to be installed, so that they clear the fenders without modifying the fenders themselves. Suspension lifts will allow for greater wheel travel, which is ideal for either articulation for unevet terrain, or for travel to allow for high speed baja'n and for catching air on the trail.

Engine and Driveline Modifications
Engine Swap Upgrade
2wd to 4wd Conversion

Looking for more power? You can go from installing a hotter coil and re-gapping the spark plugs, to complete engine swaps for a more powerful model. Simple and basic things would involve installing a beefier coil, to handle the load of increasesed spark plug gaps. This will allow a more complete combustion, especially if more fuel is introduced, and to keep sparking thru higher rpm's. Advancing the timing will pick up power in the higer rpms but compromise low end pulling power. But the timing can be varied according to driving environment.

More complex modifications would be to install a larger carburetor, port and polish the heads, install different exhaust systems, and to convert from carb to fuel injection to turbo. An alternative to extensive engine modifications would be to swap in a larer motor in its stock form, for more grunt. and then you can make extensive modifications to it! Some makes of cars can be retrofitted with 4wd.

Some makes will offer the parts in different vehicles such as trucks and suv's, and other makes such as Subaru will offer 4wd for the same model. In the case with Subaru, if you found yourself a front wheel drive automatic, you can convert it to a 4wd driveline with little or no modification. Also different suspension components can be swapped in to allow for more travel, larger brakes, or different wheel combinations.

Again as with a Subaru an 83 wagon can be retrofitted with xt6 knuckles and legacy struts and axles and allow for retrofitting of brand new top of the line models, using the right combination of stock parts with little or no modification

Copyright 2005 Miles Fox, The Fox-Head Network