Monday, May 21, 2018

1950 Chevy Convertible...

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...

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

BSA Hornet tank...

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.

Here is the other tank that I built:

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Transmission mount....

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.

Next comes the wiring...

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Engine mounts...

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.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Oil pan modification for the 5.3L...

One of the downsides with using a truck 5.3L LS engine is that the oil pans are very tall.  These usually interfere with the cross members and end up hanging down low.  There are several aftermarket companies that are producing oil pans that are based on the truck pan but are 2-1/2" shorter.  However, these pans cost as much as what I paid for the entire engine.

So, my solution was to section it.

You can see how tall this pan is.  These engine hold 6 quarts of oil and by cutting 2-1/4" out, I am removing about 3/4 of a quart of capacity.  I am not too concerned with this as I am essentially making this the same size as the aftermarket Holley pan.  Also, I know that I will be changing oil on a regular bases as well as checking it often.

It took a bit to get through with a cut off wheel.  I actually ended up using my band saw after it was taking so long.  Since the sump is wider at the top than the bottom, I have to add a little filler strip.

I was really surprised at how well this welded up.  I expected to have all sorts of contamination from it being an oil pan and all.

Friday, January 12, 2018

The Volvo 240 heart transplant....

For the last year or so, I have been driving my '93 Volvo 240 wagon as my daily driver.  It's a quirky little car but it's fun to drive and is decent on gas.  Well, on my way home, there was a stumble and then....nothing.  The engine shut off and forced me to push it into a gas station in the middle of rush hour traffic.  Fun times.

Up to that point, the car has been rock solid reliable. 

After a bit of parking lot diagnostics, it was determined that the secondary fuel pump decided to quit.  Yes, this car has two fuel pumps...those crazy Swedish.

On top of the fuel pump, this thing has had some wiring gremlins that have been there since the day I brought it home.  Apparently, wiring issues are very common to the 240 range.  I've been debating to do something with this thing for some time and finally, this episode pushed me over.

The original plan was to put a 2JZ in it...however, that was going to be quite the undertaking as I didn't have any engine management, tuning software and I still need needed several thousand dollars worth of parts such as turbos and what not.  It was going to be a steep learning curve.  This would have been all fine if I had the time to devote to it.

Luckily, there happened to be a 5.3L LS motor sitting in the shop.

Time for a swap...

Oh, the classic B230F...

Deconstruction is my favorite part.  I attempted to not cut any of the wiring.  Even though, I plan on completely rewiring the car,  I still might need parts of the harness and connectors.  Plus, I figured that someone, somewhere might need a harness.

It is nice how the entire front unbolts.  The hardest part to remove was actually the headlights.  Of course, the studs pressed into the plastic housings did not want to corporate and I ended up having to cut them with a torch.

While it doesn't look too bad of a fit...there is going to be some surgery.

One way to finish up a project...

Well, that didn't take long, the model A is off to a new home.  SOLD!

To be honest, I am a bit sad to see it go.  There's always another out there, I guess.  Besides, I've got my eye a something new!