Since we are going with a 250 in place of the original 235, new mounts are going to have to be fabricated. I also start with the transmission mount first. This sets where the engine needs to be.
There was a bit of measuring and some math involved laying out what to cut. The convertible frame lends itself nicely for a fairly elegant removable mount.
With the Mustang II front end the spring towers are somewhat in the way. Also, since we used a bolt in front cross member, we opted to make the engine mounts bolt in as well. You have to start somewhere, so we made the passenger engine side first and then moved to the frame mount.
There is a bit more to contend with on the driver's side, but it's basically the same process.
Not a lot of room, but the engine is in. Now, on to the wiring...
By the the time the rear end was installed, the front end parts were finally delivered. What's nice about these old Chevy's is that the entire front suspension just unbolts.
We opted to use a bolt in Chassis Engineering front cross member kit. There were some minor tweaks needed but overall all, it fit pretty well.
With the cross member in, everything else bolts to it.
To get the car to sit where we wanted it, we ended up using 2" dropped spindles. The customer wants it to sit lower, but we are going to wait till the springs are installed and settle after some drive time.
There has been quit a bit of activity since the last post. We recently took in another customer's project that was suppose to be a quick engine swap. However, as it happens so often, the project has snowballed into a full build.
The plan is for a new front end, a new rear end, a complete rewire and of course, an engine swap.
Since the plans changed a couple of days after the car was dropped off, all of the parts had to be ordered. The first thing to show up was the TCI rear spring kit. So, that is where things started.
The spring brackets bolted into the original holes with the exception of a couple of new holes needing to be drilled. Because this car originally had a torque tube rear end, the center line of the rear end sat 2" behind the locator pins on the original springs. With this kit, the locating pins are in the correct location on the new springs which definitely simplifies the install.
The kit was fairly comprehensive and well put together with the exception of the u-bolt plates. These placed the u-bolts approximately 1/2" away from the perches on each side. As the bolts were tightened, the plates the wanted to bend.
I ended up making some new plates that kept the u-bolts close to the perches to prevent this bending, plus, I thought it looked better.
As for the rear end itself, the owner supplied a Ford 9" from a '57-'58 Ford truck. It measured 61" from wheel mounting flange to wheel mounting flange. The original rear end measured 60". When mocked up, this extra 1" of width prevented the fender skirts from fitting so a narrower rear end was needed. The other downside to the early truck 9" rear end is that they had a 12" x 1-3/4" shoe that is almost impossible to find a drum for.
After a bit of searching, we came up with a '57 Ford Fairlaine 9" rear end. This one measured 58" from wheel mounting flange to wheel mounting flange. These also had a narrow shoe that is difficult to find drums for but luckily I happened across a set of much more common '61 galaxy 11" x 2-1/2" backing plates and drums at a recent swapmeet.
The factory wheels are 15 x 5 with a 3-1/2" back spacing. Using the Fairlaine rear end, a 15 x 6" wheel with a 3-1/2" back spacing works out almost perfect with the hubcaps and skirts. There is a 1/2" between the skirt and hubcap and there is an 1" between the tire sidewall and the frame.
Since the 9" had a 5 on 4-1/2" wheel bolt circle, the pattern had to be changed to a 5 on 4-3/4" wheel bolt circle for the GM wheels. While there are wheel pattern drill jigs available, I ended up making my own.
With the rear end bolted in, it's time to move to the front...
A while back ago, a customer asked me to build him a gas tank for his 60'S BSA Hornet. I actually did one several years ago and wished I would have documented it a little better. So, here's my chance.
First things first, the material needs to be cut roughly the correct size. There is quit a bit of shrinking to be done and any extra material will only hinder the process. I used some thin paper to make a rough template. Everywhere there is a fold, the metal will be required to be shrunk.
Transferring it to some aluminum sheet, I marked the area that I did not want to manipulate. This area will be the relatively flat sides of the tank.
I use a set of thumbnail shrinking dies in my Pullmax. There are some disadvantages of using a Pullmax to shrink with compared to using a power hammer. Mainly, the Pullmax doesn't compensate for the change in material thickness. A power hammer has a spring loaded anvil and tends to be much less abrupt. As I have not gotten very far on my power hammer build, so this is really my only option.
Here it is after about 20 minutes on the Pullmax. About every 5 minutes, I stopped and checked my progress on the buck just to make sure I was obtaining the correct shape.
After a slight adjustment on the die spacing, I have the basic shaped roughed out. You can see my markings where the front needs to be brought out or raised "up". It appears that I actually shrunk it a bit too much, however, the English wheel will have no problem stretching it back out.
I am always amazed at how well the English Wheel smooths out the lumpy mess left from the shrinking dies. This is only after a couple minutes of wheeling.
There is still a way to go, but at least the hard part is done.
With the front of the engine bolted in, now comes the transmission mount.
As for the transmission, I was originally planning on using an S-10 T5 from a '93-'96. These are the ones with the Ford bolt pattern but the GM bearing retainer. These are easy to find, usually very inexpensive and are World Class. I also happen to have 6 of them on the shelf. So, when I happen to hurt one, I will have a replacement.
What's nice about the LS platform is that they accept a standard GM aluminum bellhousing. I just so happened to have several aluminum truck bellhousings that would clear the LS flywheel. Being truck bellhousings, they have a 5-1/8" diameter register. Using a T5-9495-518 adapter plate, everything bolted up as it was suppose to. Not only does this adapter have the Ford bolt pattern with the 4-11/16" bore for the GM bearing retainer, it has a 5-1/8" diameter male register for the bellhousing.
Once I set set the engine in with the transmission bolted on, The S-10 shifter was too far forward. after some quick measuring, the Camaro tail shaft place the shifter exactly in the center of the stock cutout.
The problem with the Camaro T5's is that they are rotated at 15 degrees for clearance issues. This means that the rear mount is rotated as well. So, to over come this, I designed an offset mounting bracket to obtain the correct orientation. To check the fit, I 3D printed it first before I will eventually machine it from solid.
The original cross member lent itself to a simple modification for the new mount. I will eventually add several gussets to strengthen the tab.
For the engine mounts, I used an adapter plate off of Ebay so that I can run the old style SBC mounts on the newer LS bolt pattern. The plates I got had several different mounting locations so, I had some flexibility. I like using the old style mounts because they lend themselves easily to retrofits and they are ridiculously cheap. I think these are from an early Nova.
In the middle set of holes, the mounts lined up fairly well to the stock 4 cylinder mounting holes.
I turned some solid bar down and drill a clearance hole for a 3/8 bolt. This fit in between the ears of the new mounts. Using some 1" x 2" rectangular tubing, I welded the standoffs.
These ran down to the stock crossmember, fairly close to the original holes. It did take several tries to achieve the proper angle.
With a foot welded on and several holes drilled...
...the front of the motor was bolted in. I do plan on adding some additional support to the mount so that the feet can't bend, but I want to get the headers built first to make sure there enough clearance.