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Hot Rod Garage ep 25 and why it was good, just not perfect.

It’s been some time since I watched an episode of Hot Rod Garage from the Motor Trend Channel. However, episode 25 really perked my interest. Their idea of doing a 12v Diesel Swap into a '73 Dodge D200 really seemed like a cool idea.

After watching the episode, I thought they had done a pretty good job of covering the content. Of course, there were a few things that I thought could have been done better, or a bit more realistic.

First thing I’d like to say is, they did a great job of being realistic about the time frame necessary. They never tried to make you think they were doing the whole swap in one day. Which would have been pretty unrealistic. Especially for just two guys. Even in as nice of a shop as they have.

Another good aspect of this episode, was that they took the time to show one of the main points of failure for this kind of motor. Because, no one likes to lose a motor over something so simple as not retaining a dowel in the block. Not only did they mention the problem, they also showed how easy it is to fix it. This is really nice since it's such a major problem that could potentially kill your motor.


Honestly, it’s a very rare occasion that you’ll find a direct bolt in motor swap for any vehicle. Especially, when converting a vehicle to a Diesel motor from a gas motor. This of course, means some Fabrication is required. Even in this aspect, I thought that they did a good job. There was enough detail and description in the Fabrication work done, that you could see how to duplicate it, while not boring you to death with hours of cutting, beating, welding, and heating.

I do feel though, it would have been nice to see a bit more detail on the floor panel stretching/modification when they had to use the hammer. Still, I also understand that that’s hard to show in camera. Plus, a lot of that kind of Fabrication and modification is very specific to the personal application, so it’s hard to put a rule on it. At least they left us with the fact that the floor pan had to be re-shaped.


Even though, the over all episode was very good, there are a few things that I didn’t particularly like. One of them is, they didn’t show us how they decided if the motor was good or not. Was the diesel running when they purchased it? Were they able to crank and run it before they bought it? Are there tell tell signs that you can look for, that indicate better, if the motor is probably good? I think it would have been nice for them to mention this stuff for the newer viewers/enthusiast. (I may write an article on this soon.)

As an automotive journalism company, Motor Trend has also followed a relatively common trend in the industry today, (One that I don’t care for.) in this episode of Hot Rod Garage. What is it? It’s the trend of depicting an unnecessary need to use Tig welding in Fabrication of custom welded parts.

True, Tig welding has it’s place, it has it’s uses, it can be incredibly beautiful, and you can control it (if you know how) better than most kinds of welding. However, it’s something that is not within most people's grasp. Not only that, it's more likely to fail if not done by someone with training and experience, and typically a hole lot more expensive. Personally, I thought it would have been a bit more encouraging to enthusiast to see the fab work being done with some nice Mig welding on the project.

So was the show bad? Definitely not! It was actually a really good show. They just had a few things that I have liked to be a bit more explained. Better yet, a few things that I thought would have made the show a bit more realistic for the average DIY vehicle modification enthusiast.

Once again, don’t get me wrong, I’m not hating on Tig welding. I understand all the pro’s. However, I also understand a lot of the cons. Having been around welding for sometime, I also know, that all of what they did could have been done with a $300 Arc welder. Would it have been as pretty? No! Would it have lasted a lifetime? If done well, yes! That’s my point.

Just remember, all of the shows are doing what they can to make it sell-able to a wider public. So, they add aspects that attract the experienced hobbyist or industry professional, and don’t show the simplest options. That being the case, take the ideas they are teaching you, make a plan, consider a budget, the tools you can afford, and use that knowledge in the form that fits your abilities. Whatever you do, don’t get in over your head, if you can’t do it safely, wait to do it until you have more experience. Remember, "patience is a virtue." LOL!

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