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How to Make a Custom Air Cleaner

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This custom air cleaner was made for a classic Ford Cougar but the general techniques will work on any antique, vintage or classic vehicle, in fiberglass and/or metal.
How to make a custom air cleaner for an antique, vintage or classic car or truck step 1 1. We start off by determining the minimum height needed above the throttle body, a minimum 2 inches is required for accuracy. Taking our base to hood clearance into consideration we will use a 2.5 inch high flow air filter from K&N. This will allow 1/2 inch between the bottom of the hood and the top of the new air cleaner.
How to make a custom air cleaner for an antique, vintage or classic car or truck step 2 2. We start with a paper mockup to check a few clearances. Notice the cut out for the distributor cap and wires.
How to make a custom air cleaner for an antique, vintage or classic car or truck step 3 3. We purchased a reproduction fiberglass "Boss Mustang" hood scoop and laid it on the hood of our project car. Obviously it is way too large to use as is, so we will scale it down to fit and look the way we want.
How to make a custom air cleaner for an antique, vintage or classic car or truck step 4 4. The mock up air filter is in place, notice the angle or pitch we have the mock up cover at. This will give us the look we believe to be best.
How to make a custom air cleaner for an antique, vintage or classic car or truck step 5 5. We cut up the hood scoop a bit to make it smaller. By down sizing it with the right cuts it will allow minimum body work later.
How to make a custom air cleaner for an antique, vintage or classic car or truck step 6 6. We sliced the unwanted sections out of it then crazy glued it together to keep it strong.
How to make a custom air cleaner for an antique, vintage or classic car or truck step 7 7. It is starting to take shape . Notice the hershey kisses of window caulk used for checking hood to air cleaner clearance height.
How to make a custom air cleaner for an antique, vintage or classic car or truck step 8 8. We took some mesh and started to mock up a front screen to get the look we wanted. He then laid it on a piece of 18 gauge metal and traced out the perimeter to start working on the base.
How to make a custom air cleaner for an antique, vintage or classic car or truck step 9 9. Now we are ready to cut out the base.
How to make a custom air cleaner for an antique, vintage or classic car or truck step 10 10. The side of the filter base is rolled out. This will keep it centered.
How to make a custom air cleaner for an antique, vintage or classic car or truck step 11 11. We spot weld the base ring in place at the angle determined in step #4.
How to make a custom air cleaner for an antique, vintage or classic car or truck step 12 12. We have not cut out the distributor cap and wire hole yet because it is removed but that will be done shortly.
How to make a custom air cleaner for an antique, vintage or classic car or truck step 13 13. A few angle brackets to attach the fiberglass cover to the base are pre drilled before bending on the brake press.
How to make a custom air cleaner for an antique, vintage or classic car or truck step 14 14. A little bend and we can mount them to the air cleaner.
How to make a custom air cleaner for an antique, vintage or classic car or truck step 15 15. The brackets are long and need to be trimmed to fit. The rear ones are going to be a bit shorter to compensate for the taper in the cover.
How to make a custom air cleaner for an antique, vintage or classic car or truck step 16 16. We mounted a 1/4 20 bolt in each bracket to mount it to the base. As seen we simply cleco´d the sides in to check fit. Once all is well we will adhere them with Vette panel adhesive.
How to make a custom air cleaner for an antique, vintage or classic car or truck step 17 17. We have them all mocked in place and now it is time to trial fit.
How to make a custom air cleaner for an antique, vintage or classic car or truck step 18 18. We have cut out the distributor cap and wire clearance and drilled the base for the cover bolts and are ready to check fit once we get a few other items made.
How to make a custom air cleaner for an antique, vintage or classic car or truck step 19 19. We had to fabricate an air filter top to hold town the base.
How to make a custom air cleaner for an antique, vintage or classic car or truck step 20 20. We drilled a hole in the center to roll it on the grinder for a perfect edge.
How to make a custom air cleaner for an antique, vintage or classic car or truck step 21 21. We will use the bead roller to recess the cover inside. This will allow the nut on top of the air cleaner lid to stay below the custom fiberglass cover and not hit or interfere. We fabricated a rotation stud with some tubing to keep it centered "See Red Arrow".
How to make a custom air cleaner for an antique, vintage or classic car or truck step 22 22. The bead roller at work.
How to make a custom air cleaner for an antique, vintage or classic car or truck step 23 23. A rod needs to be formed to tack weld on the base at the distributor hole to eliminate rubbing on the spark plug wires. We bent it while heating against a piece of 6 inch round stock.
How to make a custom air cleaner for an antique, vintage or classic car or truck step 24 24. Here is the rod tacked in place. It will protect the spark plug wires from scuffs and stiffen the cover at the same time.
How to make a custom air cleaner for an antique, vintage or classic car or truck step 25 25. We decided to contour it a bit to allow a gradual step from the point of the cover to the mesh. This round hole mesh was only used for mock up as we are going to use a wire mesh screen laid out in a diamond shape as our final piece.
How to make a custom air cleaner for an antique, vintage or classic car or truck step 26 26. As seen here we fabricated a stainless wire to encase our gradual step. This will also stabilize the mesh once installed.
How to make a custom air cleaner for an antique, vintage or classic car or truck step 27 27. Here we fiberglass the lid on all the seams where we cut it during fabrication.
How to make a custom air cleaner for an antique, vintage or classic car or truck step 28 28. Using Vett panel adhesive we attached the wire support to the cover and are now paper mocking for our mesh cover.
How to make a custom air cleaner for an antique, vintage or classic car or truck step 29 29. To make room for mounting screws of the mesh we counter sunk a hole in the fiberglass with a forister bit.
How to make a custom air cleaner for an antique, vintage or classic car or truck step 30 30. As seen the forester bit makes a nice recess to allow bolt head clearance.
How to make a custom air cleaner for an antique, vintage or classic car or truck step 31 31. We chose "elevator" bolts with their large flat heads and will epoxy them in place.
How to make a custom air cleaner for an antique, vintage or classic car or truck step 32 32. Here is our diamond patterned screen, bent to the desired shape.
How to make a custom air cleaner for an antique, vintage or classic car or truck step 33 33. And here we made a wire cage and tacked in a few mounting brackets to hold it in place.
How to make a custom air cleaner for an antique, vintage or classic car or truck step 34 34. And here it is mounted and ready for body work, paint and finishing out. We will use a black distributor cap and grey wires to help hide those components.

Jeff Lilly Restorations
11125 F.M.1560 N
San Antonio, Texas
210-695-5151 - www.jefflilly.com