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Project managment

8999 Views 10 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  streetmaster
This has been written by for cars, but you can apply to bikes.

I've been thinking about this for a while and with about 20 + years of project experience I wanted to share to help others. I would also like others to input their ideas and maybe it can be made as a sticky..

Project Management Tips

If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail!

This quote is so appropriate for this topic. So many great ideas end up as someone else jig saw puzzle or a bare metal rusted shell in your parents back yard until the have had enough and call the car bodies removal company while your out..

Before you even start

Get yourself a note pad, project book (foolscap books are great) and a diary. (You'll see why later)

Some important issues to address first and foremost before you even undo a bolt.

What do you want?

You need to know from the start what your whole aim is for your car. Do you want a drag, cruiser, retro or a show car?
Once you have worked out this then write it down and what you expect to do with the car.

An LX with an angry 355, high stall converter and loud exhaust system isn't going to be the most pleasant car to drive interstate for example.

Once you have worked out your needs are for the car and want you want wrote it down and stick to them. Here's an example...

-My project (I've used my own car for this example)

Style-Retro style. Clean old school lines and late model technology.
Aim-UC coupe with late model reliable engine/drive line.
Intended use- To be able to drive daily or even interstate if needed, be good on fuel, hassle free and power to boot.
Engine and drive line choice-RB25DET, R33 gearbox and 9 inch.
Degree of difficulty- Moderate, parts are available to make this happen. Although gearbox tunnel and chassis works needs to be done.
The law-After consulting engineer I have found out that this is possible and legal with certificate.
Time to build-2 years

Now that this is done you can have a clear picture of what your goal and to stay focused. Remember you build a car for you, not what others think you should do.

Diverting, changing your mind can lead to very expensive. I know a drag car project that has been going for 7 years and he keeps changing his mind. Standard wheelbase 9", then it went to tubed 9" and finally 4 link with wilwood brakes.

That was just the rear end of the car...

The approach methods

Drive/build do it yourself method

You know, drive the car Monday to Friday and then Saturday and Sunday your restore it, back together just in time to drive on Monday again.


-You can still drive your car and enjoy every mod as you go.
-You can save some money by doing it yourself.
-The learning experience is priceless.


-Don't expect any free weekends for a few years.
-The amount of double handling is insane.
-By the time your done you'll have to go back and start on the first item.
-Constant pressure to get it ready to drive again leads to rough work.
-Cop bait, plain and simple.
-The amount of stuff you need to get/buy cause your doing it all yourself.

As you can tell not my favorite approach cause I've been there and done that.

Off the road and all do it yourself

You have had enough of bit by bit and so it come time to park in the garage for that final time.


-By the time you have finished you would have enough tools to open up your own supercheap store.
-You become so multi skilled that you question if you are even human anymore.
-Nothing better than having some mates, a garage and some beers.
-The most rewarding approach ever.
-By far the cheapest approach ever.
-You get to find out who your real mates are.


-You'll almost need a 3 car garage to do this, unless your super organize and if so, leave your chair and fly around the room now.
-The amount of parts you have lying around is amazing..
-Tooling up for every area of the project can get expensive.
-If your living with mum and dad, then you're in trouble 24/7.
-Very, very easy to loose interest because you have to do all of it.
-Staying focused on the task at hand is unbelievably hard.

Sub contract out

You do all the ground work, stripping, chasing parts and get others to the major work like paint, engine, suspension etc..
This is best seen in shows like drive or pimp my ride. They have all the right people to the do the right jobs.


-A very rewarding experience as you help it all fall into place.
-If planned right it can be a very quick project indeed.
-You can save thousands of dollars this way. Your not paying someone to undo a bolt.
-You still have certain level of control.
-The quality of the job is excellent (providing who you use) as compare to painting a car for the first time in the back yard to a pro in a booth.


-Hardest part is finding reliable contractors ie painters that promise 6 weeks that turn into 8 months.
-It will cost more than doing it all your self.
-You'll be surprise how busy you will be chasing up rubbers, bolts, gaskets and dropping stuff off.
-I hope you have other transport.

Here you go, just do it method

If money is not an option and you rather be making money than pulling stuff off than it's for you.


-You actually have a life. You'll get the odd phone call or go and check out what happening.
-Can be a very stress free experience.
-You don't need to tool up or have parts everywhere.
-The pleasure of a turn key project.


-Often places will try and built there dream car with your wallet. Stick to your plan.
-Can get out of hand real quick and expensive.
-The cost can be very expensive.

Now lets assume that you will be tearing the car down your self. Here's some tips that I have learned from over 20 years experience tinkering as my wife calls it.

-Do your homework. Plane and simple.
-Plan ahead. I use the note book to write things down to keep my head clear. Then it goes into the project book under what ever the area I'm thinking about and finally in the diary. What day to achieve what and shopping lists for parts needed.
-I have 2 whiteboards and there's no way can Go without them.
-Pace yourself. Not point hitting the 12am, wondering around fluffing for the next 2 hours.
-Be realistic. You can't build a $20k on an apprentice wage in 6 months in your mums laundry.
-Snaplock sandwich bags. I spent about 3 days stripping my car cause every bolt that came off went in a bag and was labeled. I even put a bolt that I wanted to replace with new ones in a sample bag with the number needed.
-Every part was boxed, written was in it , box number and all was recorded in project book.
-Things that I wanted to get painted or reco would be written down as I go.


I really hope that this can help people out there and others cans add. Brain is fading and back i getting sore.

I'm also off the shed to tinker...

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First off, if you check Studs particulars you will notice the number 9 beside the MC22. Yes, 9. I had to look twice. Based on this number alone I would say this gentleman should know a thing or two about project management, (not to mention his vast knowledge of the bikes themselves). Stud has pretty much covered all the bases with his write-up. Just some basic math and the gathering of numbers is what it all boils down to. The only thing I will add is that there will ALWAYS be unforeseen costs incurred even when you think you have everything accounted for. You will renew part A, only to find that part B (which is either right beside it or very close by), now looks shabby, and then you decide to renew or replace part B so as to match part A. Hidden costs will always be part of a project so add up all your numbers and then account for at least another 10 to 20% of the total cost to allow for miscellaneous bits and bobs.

Time: you will spend a huge amount of time on a makeover or a rebuild, often more than you thought. Plan your makeover for the off season, the coldest months, (the winter), when you may be able to do without the bike, because chances are, you will be without it longer than you think. You WILL end up fussing over unforeseen details and you will spend lots of extra time fiddling. It is amazing how many little things "surface" when you tear something apart and you will want to give them extra attention and some TLC before putting everything back together.

Oh yeah, and please remember to allow for the cost of those sandwich bags, (and a marker to label them), as Stud has said, they are probably "THEE" single most important ingredient used in keeping your project on rails, even if you have no intention whatsoever of using them for holding sandwiches, cookies or anything else you may pack in your lunch box. These things could very well be the greatest invention since the wheel itself. Big thanks for a unique and thought provoking post, and a fresh idea from the master himself
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Yes, i had when part A makes part B look like crap.

I'm having the same issue with the JR50.
having the same issue with the cbr at the moment. powder coat the frame? what about the rearsets? hmmmm those rims are looking a bit shabby...

Also, a big part of the organisation is having space. I've just had my brother (who is on the forum) weld up a 2000x2000x500 shelf to put all my gear on. After visiting studricho, i invested in some of those plastic boxes you can get from the $2 dollar shop and a couple of textas. now all my gear has a spot on the shelf, and my work bench is clear.
You can MANAGE a project??? What madness is this??? :)
what a terrible ressurection.

may as well continue it; a digital camera helps- take photos of where bits are supposed to be, because you more than likely wont remember in 6months/2years etc time
It's a spam resurrection. Reported.

+1 To doing your research even if you think your top shit and its a simple task.
A good example is replacing the diff oil in an Evo.
Not to difficult of a task and its general maintenance. However that pesky little sensor in there that you wont remember if you don't work for Mitsubishi will leave you screaming when the whole car is immobilized and wont even turn on.
Yeah, make a plan & stick to it.
Just like when a quick clean up on a '70 Dax so the kids can ride it around the back yard, turns into a $3.5K resto!
They aint getting near it! :eek:
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