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Episode Transcript

(Tommy)>> You're watching Powernation!

(Tommy)>> Today we have big plans for our big body. Fat Stack gets its final touches and it hits the highway. The first thing to do, gotta set the tone! [ Music ] [ engines revving ] [ Music ] [ mechanical humming ]

(Tommy)>> Well we got Fat Stack on the lift to take care of a final detail. Now from the beginning we wanted this car to make a powerful and loud statement, and I guess you can say that we have definitely accomplished that.

(Peyton)>> That's right! We've taken Fat Stack from tired grocery getter to bitchin' big body, and making over 800 horsepower backed by a six-speed manual we really want to give her her own voice. You guessed it, it's exhaust time, and there's several common materials to choose from. Mild steel being the most budget friendly. Mild steel is made from a low carbon steel that handles high temperatures well. Fat Stack would have come factory with a mild steel exhaust. The downside to mild steel is it tends to rust and it doesn't look great. Aluminized steel is a mild steel with an aluminum coating to protect against the elements. It's better than naked mild steel but the welded seams are likely to rust because the aluminum coating burns off during welding. Stainless steel is corrosion resistant and more appealing to the eye. Stainless is what we're gonna go with on Fat Stack cause it's gonna stand the test of time on a timeless vehicle.

(Tommy)>> You know there's a lot of factors that go into laying out your exhaust. One of the first ones that you need to consider is what you're connecting it to. What we've got is a blank canvas. So we're gonna have to choose our best plan of attack here. The next thing could be the obstacles that are gonna be in your way. If you look at our crossmember this thing is actually a dual exhaust crossmember for these cars. Now as you follow along back here toward the car you've got to hang a muffler, and then you've got to route your pipes over top of the rear and all the way to the rear bumper. Now this may sound pretty simple, but when you get into all these crooks and bends and to make it be all seamless looking from front to back it can get a little bit complicated. Now with exhaust we all know what comes out of it, hot air. So you have to be mindful as you route that exhaust that it doesn't get too close to anything. Just think about it. You know what's in this thing. You hyper heat this, things are gonna get a little bit exciting. Another thing that you need to keep it away from and that's the floorboard up there. You get it too close and you have somebody riding in the passenger seat with you that may or may not have shoes on. Well, they ain't gonna wanna touch that floor. As you start your journey of fabricating exhaust from front to rear more than likely you'll concentrate most of the aesthetics up under the car. It's a good idea to tuck this stuff up. Doing it this way not only increases the appearance but it also keeps you from damaging the exhaust cause it's tucked up nice and tight and gives you the most amount of ground clearance.

(Peyton)>> When putting the exhaust system on your project car there's some important things to consider. One of those being who's gonna do it. Are you gonna do it yourself or take it to a shop? If you decide to do it yourself there may be some tools you're gonna need. If you're gonna do just a bolt together kit a simple ratchet and wrench may be all you need, but with a builder's kit like we're putting on Fat Stack we're gonna need some more specific tools. Possibly an expander and/or a welder.

(Tommy)>> Some like it loud, some like it not so much. Me myself I'm kinda one of those people that likes it kinda in the middle. I do enjoy some rumble coming out the tailpipe but I don't like it so loud that it makes it miserable sitting in or driving the car. However, I am a big fan of open headers. You guys want to hear this thing? [ engine starting ]

[ engine revving ]

(Tommy)>> Well we was able to go ahead and get the passenger side exhaust ran, and we're about 95 percent complete. Doing it this way allowed us to go ahead and figure out where we were gonna put our hangers, and also identify any of the complicated spots. It wasn't too bad but now we've got to get the driver's side done. Oftentimes in the manufacturing process when they cut this piece of pipe it leaves a little burr right around the lip of it. I'm just using a flat file and knocking it down. Now exhaust installation is not an exact science. It requires all your senses and an ability to roll with the punches. The offset of that crossmember's different. See what I mean? That one's off by like another inch. If we cut it off we can put it in place, and then see, and then we can always trim more off. To make this simple cut all I'm gonna use is our cold saw. It could be done with a chop saw if you've got one. Whatever you have. If in doubt leave a little extra. It could go a little shorter but not much. Always have a marker in arms reach. About right here. You nervous?

(Peyton)>> It's just a lot.

(Tommy)>> Ideally an extra set of arms. I'm gonna add a little more just for giggles. Definitely bring a sense of humor and a whole lot of patience. You're gonna need it.

(Peyton)>> About a half long.

(Tommy)>> I'm gonna wiggle this around to help make it match.

(Peyton)>> That's about perfect right there.

(Tommy)>> Your end has to go up. With any luck you'll be in the ballpark. We can tack these two together and see how off we are. Fat Stack is large and in charge. You know its voice is going to be the same way!

(Peyton)>> We're gonna start by just tacking these two pieces together. We don't want them set in stone yet. We're just trying to check fitment. That'll do donkey! A set of good exhaust jacks are a super handy tool to have when you're laying out your exhaust system.

(Tommy)>> You don't want to put the muffler straight against the bottom of the car. I use that little two by four as a spacer if you will. It also helps to keep it up there and not falling in the floor. Now we can move this thing around and adjust it exactly the way we want it. We're gonna build this dog leg piece of tubing. What I've done is take this tape measure. Measure the center of here to the center of that one. That tells you your offset. What we've got is right at five inches. On this side we actually built it over on the table. What I did was take this piece, cut it off so it's at a 45, use this piece at the 45, and then just put a section in the middle. Once you clock them around it gives you that transition that we're needing.

(Peyton)>> Now if you're thinking exhaust building is tedious work you're right. Just something else to consider when you decide who's gonna build your exhaust. You want that lined up with your finger?

(Tommy)>> Yep, that pretty close?

(Petyon)>> Yep!

(Tommy)>> Slide into there.

(Petyon)>> After what seems like forever of placing, measuring, and double checking various angles of pipes it's time to lightly tack weld them into place. When tig welding stainless you want a good fit up because you don't want to have a bunch of gaps, highs and lows, cause that can cause holes in your welds. See how we have a nice fit up here? There's no hanging of the rod. All we have is a slight chamfer that Tommy put on the ends of these pipes. Remember, we're just tacking this for fitting it in the car. We're not gonna weld anything solid yet.

(Tommy)>> This is kind of an awkward.

(Peyton)>> Three handed job?

(Tommy)>> Kinda like working with me, just awkward.

(Peyton)>> I'm just trying to get the bottom of these pipes level. So when you look under the car, which the car sits so low most people won't see it, but it's the little things that matter. We're about three quarters of an inch higher.

(Tommy)>> Now Peyton just mentioned about leveling the pipes, and that's all swell and good, but you've got to make sure the car itself is level because if those two were off one would be straight and one would be crooked.

(Peyton)>> Speaking of crooked, make sure your parts don't move. We'll be using this U-shaped piece to get over our axle to take us out the back of the car. First we need to mock it up, see where we need to cut it, and where we need to join another piece to it. When you're putting an exhaust over an axle you need to make sure you leave plenty of room for suspension travel. We also have some control arms, and our coil overs, and a fuel tank to work around. We definitely don't want any heat on our fuel tank.

(Tommy)>> We need to trim about another three eighths of an inch off of that dude.

(Peyton)>> A few more cuts and a few more tack welds and we're in the home stretch. Boy does it feel good!

(Tommy)>> Oh yeah, we're real close there. We tack that one onto that tube. We should be able to line these other ones up. We're pretty much ready to start fabbing up our hangers. Now some people like to put them up here in the front, and that works but one of the issues that you can run into is if the motor moves around a lot it puts a lot of pressure on them. I prefer to put them back here behind the mufflers. Then all the way or pretty close to the end of the tailpipe.

(Peyton)>> For exhaust hangers we got some pre-made ones that are stainless steel and made for three inch exhaust, but the car side we had to fabricate ourselves. If you're anything like me your project car is never finished. We're going to be adding a V-band clamp to the back side of the muffler between the tailpipe. That way we can remove the tailpipe section if we ever need to modify or upgrade something. Having good fitment on a V-band clamp is good way to prevent exhaust leaks.

(Tommy)>> Months, and months, and months of labor. Hundreds of hours and we are dangerously close to the finish line.

(Peyton)>> Next we fully weld our exhaust, but first we'll do a second pass of heavy tacks to secure everything in those tight spaces under Fat Stack.

(Tommy)>> We're finally ready to install our exhaust tips. We left these things a little bit loose so that we could get it down on the ground to dial them into perfection. Need to put this one into place and we'll be ready to get it where it needs to be.

(Peyton)>> Well Tommy you ready to fire this ole girl up?

(Tommy)>> I'm gonna let you do the honors if you think you can fit.

(Peyton)>> Now you're speaking my language.

(Tommy)>> You think it's gonna sound aggressive?

(Peyton)>> I think it's gonna sound really aggressive. It's hard to tame 840 horsepower. [ engine starts ]

(Tommy)>> Got a good rumble to it. [ engine revving ]

(Tommy)>> I think that's what they call crisp.

(Peyton)>> It definitely has a good snap to it.

(Tommy)>> This is where I tell him this is as close as he's gonna get to driving it. [ Music ] What do you think?

(Peyton)>> I think I'm ready to take it for a ride.

(Tommy)>> What does it take to build something of this magnitude? Let me break it down for you.

(Tommy)>> Some might ask, why in the world would you build a '71 Caprice? Truthfully my statement is, just because. These cars are cool , they've got some shape to them, and really there's a lot more people that connect to them than you might think. A lot of people had these old biggie bodies cause their mom, their dad, their grandfather, their grandmother, or aunt had one of these. Me myself I tore up a bunch of those cars driving demolition derby. Yeah it was a unique feel restoring one instead of tearing one up. I did that for several years, and it was a whole lot of fun, but that's all in the past now.

(Tommy)>> I have to say I want that thing behind us. Fat Stack is definitely a lot of work. The car we started with, the car we ended with a completely different ride. That car was in a condition that most would look at it as disrepair, and I would agree with them. But I knew it had something in it. You may not be into big body cars, but that car has everything that everybody wants in every other car. We knew we needed to take it apart considerably, including the trim, the body, the exterior, the underside. What is unique about this car is there's a lot of components that aren't available aftermarket wise. When you disassemble this car you really have to take care in how you take it apart. You don't want to destroy something that is unattainable. One of the most difficult components would have to be the side trim on this car. Belt line trim that goes down the side, the lower rocker trim, you can't buy them aftermarket. There's no one that reproduces that stuff. Those components are actually what makes a '71 Caprice a '71 Caprice. We also wanted to bring back that luster and the effect that chrome has to brighten up the side of a car. Going to Advanced Plating is always fun because that's where magic happens. Over the course of several of these little hot tub situations comes out a miraculous piece. Another iconic piece to this particular car is the egg crate grille in it. These things are as rare as hen's teeth. If you happen to find one of these you can take a vacation if you sell it right. We wanted this car to make some serious power. So that's the reason we went LS. They make good power and adding that supercharger, we just elevated the build. We wanted to upgrade all the suspension. With that we put coil overs all the way around, put some big, gnarly brakes on it, and with that enhanced power under the hood this was really a requirement. Also with Fat Stack it's got a six speed in it. That's normally what people would not do. Put a big standard shift in the car like that, but that's just a stick inside that car that's got six times the fun it. With Fat Stack there was one thing that you've got to do with a car like that. The paint has to speak for itself. Our car originally rolled off the assembly line with some green on it, and it's hard to make green sexy unless you throw candy on it. It's got five coats of candy on top of it. Pearl, metal flake, candy, it's perfection. One of the things that I was most impressed about this whenever we did our first walk around was truly the condition of the interior. We wound up redoing the seats cause they're always nasty and worn out. Put fresh carpet in it and a dash pad, and then with a little help of some dye here and there we definitely made a dramatic improvement. Now to hold all that power we had to put a pretty hefty rear axle under it. Some people have also gave us a little hate mail talking about you're gonna twist that car up. You're gonna do this, you're gonna bend it. It's got enough tire under it to let out plenty of the amount of smoke that we're planning to do. That may or may not be seen on camera. It makes plenty of power, it's got the fun stick in it, and yes, we're gonna ring it out. What would you say for the final words of Fat Stack? Plentiful and powerful.

[ organ music ]

(Tommy)>> Art can come in different forms. It's fascinating how one's creation can grab your attention and cause your mind to take a stroll down memory lane. You may wonder is this real? Your eye is saying yes while your conscience tells you the opposite. Many artists are hopeful to transport you to a different place. It's up to you to determine if your journey is coming to an end or just beginning. What do you think about this stuff Peyton?

(Peyton)>> It's definitely more than just paint on concrete.

(Tommy)>> I really dig this kind of stuff. Gotta get your thought processes maximized.

(Peyton)>> It's definitely some impressive art.

(Tommy)>> Looking at this thing it reminds me of what's going on today. We don't really have a destination but we're headed somewhere. You feeling something for food, right?

(Peyton)>> Big cheeseburger, some fries.

(Tommy)>> You know, a minute on the lips, days on the hips.

(Peyton)>> Hey I'm a growing boy.

(Tommy)>> I'm not judging you. ♪ Always want a bad boy. ♪ ♪ They make me feel good. ♪

(Tommy)>> Months and months of sweat and grit. Bleak and profound, that's an understatement. Our playground is the pavement and it's time to roll. Well Peyton, today's the day. All of our hard work has paid off. What are you doing?

(Peyton)>> Danger is my middle name.

(Tommy)>> That ain't the word I would say. This old car rides pretty good. Seat's pretty comfy.

(Peyton)>> Definitely like having a lazy boy in here.

(Tommy)>> Probably kinda wet on your side. [ ding ]

(Tommy)>> It truly puts a smile on my face with all the grins, and points, and thumbs up we've got today.

(Peyton)>> We're the only ones that have seen it for the past however many months. Now we're getting to share it.

(Tommy)>> You digging the sound of this big body yet? You will!

(Peyton)>> You get the snap, crackle, and pop. [ engine revving ]

(Tommy)>> You just gave me a flashback of Ricky Bobby's wife. [ engine revving ]

(Tommy)>> I swear Ricky Bobby's wife is in this car somewhere. [ Music ]

(Peyton)>> 22.2 million dollars!

(Tommy)>> What makes Fat Stack so great? A lot!

(Petyon)>> The big wheels, big motor, loud paint job, loud exhaust, spacious trunk. Speaking of which, I think I need to haul some garbage off later.

(Tommy)>> Yard clippings?

(Peyton)>> Does pretty good on the old fuel mileage as long as you keep your foot out of it. That means it does pretty bad on fuel!

(Tommy)>> Good thing about it is fuel for it's relatively cheap and the tank is huge. Another reason why we called it Fat Stack is you need that just to ride around a lot. [ trilling ] ( )>> Nice ride! This is super nice here.

(Tommy)>> No matter where we went Fat Stack grabbed attention. Numerous street lights, thumbs up from cars on the road. Heck even pumping gas. Feels good showing off all the long hours spent at the shop. And her drawing a crowd confirms we did good. [ Music ] What kind of goodies you get us?

(Peyton)>> I replaced your peanut M and M's I ate the other day.

(Tommy)>> Today's a great day for a car ride bro. Car building is similar to creating art. You start with a canvas and a vision. With a steady hand, splash of some color, and a watchful eye paying attention to detail the next thing you know you have yourself a masterpiece. All created from what once was nothing. [ Music ] So would you call this a success? I'd say absolutely!

(Peyton)>> I'm ready for some fine eatin'.
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