Grandma Day 17: Batteries & Rust Bullet

It’s been a little while since we have updated you on our lovely Project Grandma, our 1979 Chevy Malibu powered by one nasty 555 cubic inch Edelbrock/Pat Musi monster. We can tell you from personal experience, it has not been due to lack of work. We have been so busy here in the powerTV Garage with Granny we have found that finding the time to sit down and write about her has been extremely hard to come by.

We found the time, and thus, it’s time for an update, courtesy of XS Power, who are getting Grandma all charged up with 16 Volts of Goodness, and Rust Bullet, who provided the rust-destroying paint for our frame. Follow along!

We last left off with good old Granny sitting on her brand new shoes – a set of Billet Specialties Street Lite wheels and Mickey Thompson 295/65 Drag Radials that is. Mike Ryan, better known now simply as as “The Fabricator,” finished putting in the rear floor in, and it was time to start working on wiring and paint.

We were lucky enough to have the resources of Bob Lapp from Spaghetti Menders to handle the wiring of our Malibu with one of his custom-made Spaghetti Menders wiring kits, but there were a few things we had to get ready for the wiring master. We will have more on this system in a later blog as well as a full article covering Bob’s stunning system. However, here is a nice “preview” shot of Bob’s system in the ‘Bu.


Here is the master himself at work. We’ll have more on Bob’s system later.

XS Battery Power

We had long ago decided to ditch the idea of an alternator on our 555ci Dart-blocked engine, so all the juice for the car will be supplied from two 16 volt batteries. We selected two XS Power 16V AGM batteries (#S1000) which is the “lightweight” version of their popular D1000. Weighing in at 33 lbs each, Powermaster claims these non-spillable AGM batteries are the lightest of this type on the market and perfect for our Grandma which is already a little portly and trying to stay under 3,300 lbs fully loaded with fuel.

Here’s the details on the XS Power S1000:

  • Lightweight at 33 pounds!
  • Can deliver 30 amps an hour with a max of 1,650 amps – more than enough to start our 1000+ hp Big Block.
  • This battery will fit into most Group 24, 74, 34, 78, 27, and 31 size battery trays, we had no problem dropping them into our Chris Alston dual battery box.

Using the Spaghetti Menders Dual 16 “Wiring Kit” which uses 0 gauge welding cable, we wired up both batteries as instructed. Check out how good they look snuggled into the rear of the Malibu!

Now, to keep our 16V batteries all charged up and juicy, we needed a good battery charger, but not just any battery charger. XS Power recommends that the S1000 batteries be charged at 19 volts DC. To ensure the life of our batteries, we got up with XS Power’s sister company – Powermaster Motorsports – and selected their new 16V IntelliCharger (PN #1004).

This 16V AGM Battery Charger was designed specifically for use of not only 16V batteries, but our XS S1000 specifically. It has two different charging modes, high and low, depending on whether we are at the track and needing a quick recharge between rounds, or back at the shop on trickle charge.

Using the two built in LED lights and ammeter, XS Power made monitoring our charging simple. It also has a built-in cooling fan packed in it’s compact case to keep it from over heating. Later when we wire up the car, we’ll ditch the two clamps on the end of the charging leads in favor of a quick connect that will make charging the car easy between rounds. If you’ve also got 12V Batteries in your shop, XS makes PN 1005 which can charge both 16V and 12V Batteries. Sweet, huh.

Now that we got the XS Power Battery and Charger stuff out of the way, it was time to get painting, courtesy ofRust Bullet.

Time for the Bullet: Rust Bullet

We started off our Grandma painting master piece by coating our 30-year old frame with Rust Bullet.

With all the years on the road out in the elements, our G-Body frame had collected a hefty amount of rust and grime particularly on the front clip under the engine. To take care of all of that rust and prevent it from creeping back, we slapped on two coats of Rust Billet silver. Not only will this give us plenty of protection from the elements, but Rust Billet has a special formula that breaks down existing rust and bonds with it to stop it from spreading.

According to Rust Bullet, their paint can be sprayed or brushed on. Because we didn’t want to spend the time setting up a paint booth, we chose to brush it on. Here’s some basic info on Rust Bullet:

  • You don’t really need to do much surface prep. We bought and used the Rust Bullet “Prep” spray they sell, and it should be cleaned and free of surface dust, but you can coat the rusty metal directly with no need to remove the rust.
  • The Rust Bullet has adhesion directly to the rust, but you’ll want to use it like a paint, for for appearance and rust protection. Always protect your metal even where there is no corrosion. Rust Bullet also seals surfaces where Rust hasn’t started.
  • It’s pretty simple and easy to brush, roll on, or spray.
  • You can paint on top of the Rust Bullet all you want

Here’s our rear clip above, with the frame rails completely rust-bullet coated. Check out how nice they look compared to the rest of the raw metal.

To protect the rest of the underside of the car, we sprayed it with some 3M Undercoating spray. This stuff really gave our car a nice finished look. We even coated the fender wells and the trunk with this stuff.

[

Check out the trunk before…

And the after, looks great huh?

For the interior of the car, the plan is to add carpet once all of the fabrication and wiring is done. So to protect the exposed metal, we shot the interior floor with a few coats of rattle can white. It turned out real good, so good I’ve been trying to convince everyone to leave the carpet out.

That’s all for now from Project Grandma, check back in later and we be sure to have more for you! And make sure to stay away from TIG-welding and Argon-gas sniffing Fabricators like ours. He chased us out of the shop with a Sawz-all. He’s got work to do!


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About the author

Tom Bobolts

Tom started working for Power Automedia in early 2008 at the young age of 20. Starting off as an intern spinning wrenches in the PowerTV garage, Tom cut his teeth helping us build the very project cars we feature. Since moving inside the office, most of his time is spent writing and shooting installs - but he still finds time to get out in the shop. Outside of work, Tom enjoys a variety of different motorsports from Street Bikes, Muscle Cars and just about anything that demands high amounts of horsepower.
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