Spring is here!

7 Apr

She’s back up on stands once again and this time the front spring packs are completely out. Hammered off a ton of muddy oily crap and got the shackles and pivot bolts apart. Came off easy but the rubber seals in the shackles were shot…I suspect they were replaced by a previous owner at some point. I got lucky, the bushing threads are fine so I can just pop in the new pins, seals, sides and bolts, and be done. I will, however, also be disassembling the leaf packs and painting everything since it’s all out.

Long overdue updates…

19 Feb

If anyone is actually following this blog, my apologies for slacking off in 2014. I blame work and wedding planning for my absence. Good news is, while posting was at a minimum/nonexistent, activities and picture taking was not! I will be updating the blog with plenty of pictures and more specific project posts asap.

Until then, here’s an update based on my last post in Dec of 2013.

Brakes – Front discs, rear drums, dual MC, new lines.
DONE. What a pain in the ass. If you’re debating it, just buy a kit that includes 100% of everything and save yourself the hassle. All the details down to finding the right banjo bolts for the front lines were a complete and major Charlie Foxtrot. I jacked up the bleeder threads on one of the calipers, spent a bunch of time messing around with cheap defective residual valves (finally sprung for the Wilwood valves), and the CPP/POL Corvette type MC that I powder coated did not fit with the Saginaw 4spd transmission…the lines ran right into the shifter levers and linkage. I must have spent a solid month looking into several other MCs including a Dodge D/W100 series truck MC which is the correct bore and has a plastic removable (relocatable) reservoir on a very narrow aluminum body. Would have worked perfectly but I wanted it to look somewhat original and the plastic bits just wouldn’t cut it. Eventually I settled on an early ’60s Mustang dual reservoir MC. Cast iron painted black and mounted perfectly on the CPP/POL bracket. It’s still close but it fits with 90∘ bends immediately off the fluid outputs. Overall, other than a little flexing in the MC bracket I’m pretty happy with the manual disc setup. I’ll get to the details in another post but everything works well and the truck stops as it should.

Transmission – Swap the original 3spd for a rebuilt Saginaw with a Patrick’s torque tube adapter.
DONE. The four speed Saginaw with the Patrick’s torque tube adapter kicks ass. I hate to lose the charm of the column shift but drivability is greatly improved. However, as much as I’d love to rig up the 4spd on the column and add a 3.55 rear gear set…I just cant. After driving two hours out to my wife’s family farm on a highway with a 70mph limit I now know I need an overdrive transmission and I already have a rebuilt T5 with a manual speedometer cable out of an S10 that is slated for the task sitting in my basement. That said, I’ll be on the Sag for another year or two.
Also, turns out that grinding noise I was experiencing back in late 2013 was a U joint coming apart in the ball housing. Fixed it when I swapped in the Saginaw.

Transmission – attempt to rig up the column shifter as a 4OTT with reverse on a cable.
ABANDONED…but not forgotten. This would be so cool if someone could figure out how to do it and maybe even add a two speed axle or some sort of OD.

Heat – Install restored fresh air heater.
POSTPONED. I’m lazy and also ran into some front suspension/alignment issues at the end of the 2014 season so the truck has been off the road since mid fall. More about that in another post.

Lube – Oil/filter and chassis.
DONE. Usual maintenance. No real story to tell.

Paint? – Perhaps a rattle can prime and satin job this spring.
Uh, no.. WTF was I thinking when I posted that. I’m rollin’ full ’54 car caps on wide whites with all the chrome I can pile on. She stays as is until I can get the body taken care of and afford a decent paint job.


That’s about it for 2014. Now with spring around the corner, the wedding in the past and finally getting settled back in with my new position/location at work, I should be ready to get back to ol’ Bessie once the weather warms up a bit.


Oh yeah. I also bought a ’54 261 from the legendary Paul Kruse of Poverty Flats. …what a road trip that was!


A Clean House and the Winter To-Do List.

18 Dec

Tis’ the season to git shit done! Bout mid fall I got a grinding/rubbing noise as I was getting on the highway. It went away before the next exit so I just kept going but it came back the next time I took her out which was right about the time I woulda packed the ol’ girl away for the winter anyways. Noticed a drag in the driver side front wheel that might be the issue. Disc brake conversion is sitting in the basement so no real worries there. Tho I did notice the guy I bought the kit off of failed to mention he’d tacked the studs on, otherwise they spin freely…worst case, I have the Bendix drums on my stock axle. Might also be the transmission but I have a Saginaw 4spd to cure that …SO… my winter to-do list is as follows –

Brakes – Front discs, rear drums, dual MC, new lines.
Transmission – Swap the original 3spd for a rebuilt Saginaw with a Patrick’s torque tube adapter.
Transmission – attempt to rig up the column shifter as a 4OTT with reverse on a cable.
Heat – Install restored fresh air heater.
Lube – Oil/filter and chassis.
Paint? – Perhaps a rattle can prime and satin job this spring.

Trading one leak for another is exhausting…

13 Oct

Got the dual exhaust put together and mounted. Fitting and welding went super smooth and turned out awesomer than awesome thanks to Dave from the H8Rcc (of which I am now officially a member). We ran the pipes all the way back, over the axle, between the leaf and frame, and turned them down inside the rear of the rear fenders. Totally stealth. Initially at idle it was loud but still sounded pretty good and engine braking gave me a fantastic Harley-esque burble and pop. Unfortunately, just cruising around it was WAY too loud and pretty much droned like I had a busted muffler the entire time. I partially attribute this to the fact that I have a 3OTT and 4.11 so it doesn’t wind up or down very quickly and partly to the fact that the 2.25″ I.D. pipe is totally overkill for a 216. Drove it around a couple nights and I couldn’t stand it. Acceleration sucked too. Kept stumbling and stalling…turns out I had a massive vacuum leak at the base of the carburetor as well.

So… How to fix the sound? Motorcycle baffles.

Seeing as I already had a big ass pair of 30″ fiberglass stuffed Smithy’s under the cab, I knew I didn’t want to add just another set of glass packs or resonators. I wanted tough, crisp and raspy with out being high pitched and my experience with a warmed over ’74 750 Honda with an open 4-1 megaphone got me thinking about tuning pipes and restriction/choke plates which in turn lead me to Khrome Werks, which is where I discovered their 2.25″ O.D. HP-Plus baffles for Harley drag pipes. After a quick conversation with their tech dept (they design/build everything they sell) I figured, based on the construction (see pics below), they’d be the best solution.
They were. First off, the tech gal was caught totally off guard when I told her what I was doing but she hung in there and offered educated discussion based on my description of the situation and assessment of the issue. Second, the baffles don’t look all that impressive (actually they look a bit gimmicky to be honest) but they are made to take the edge off a loud pipe and they do just that very well. I broke the pipe at the slip fits behind the Smithy’s and slid the baffles in. They were such a perfect fit that I simply flared the edge of the insert with a pair of channellocks and tapped them into place. The 2.25″ baffles are actually Khrome Werks’ 2″ baffles enclosed in a tube which is bumped out to 2.25 O.D. at the ends, I think this 1/4″ choke helps a bit too. Once I had her fired up I could immediately tell that the baffles took everything way down sound-wise but left just enough of the 6cyl crackle. Should get better as the as the glass packs burn out too. In my opinion, it sounds better (less raspy and much less high pitched) than my buddy’s Fleetline with a 235 and long 1.75″ straight pipes.

Time to move on to the vac leak which I solved by cleaning up the intake/carb surface and using a thicker gasket. Now sealed and retuned, she sings perfect idling at 650-750rpm and cleanly revs up to 1500 with no stumble.

…this is when I noticed oil pissing out the copper line that weaves through the block and feeds the rocker shaft. FML.








Khrome Werks 2.25″ HP Plus baffle.







Packin’ on the pounds…ol’ girl’s got a spare tire now.

8 Oct

Spare Tire Carrier Mounting

Routing the exhaust this weekend so I mounted the spare as best I could. Need to find an original cross bar, one of mine is a piece of angle iron at the moment. Once I get that I’ll blast and paint the main parts and replace the all of the hardware.

Best part is that the extra weight behind the axle brought the rear down a bit making the running boards look more level. Think I’ll still pull another leaf and add it back in under the blocks tho.

Rear end ventilation.

8 Oct

Nothin major. Just cleaned out the vent on the rear axle. It couldn’t have been any more clogged and might be the reason the differential cover seam is always wet.

I know, I know…still need to scrape the grime off. Whateves. It’s keeping the rust from taking hold.




Comparison; Original vs What is sold as a replacement by online vendors. Which by the way, does NOT even come close to fitting the existing threaded hole.


If stickers add +/-5whp each…

4 Oct

…this bad boy has gotta be worth 45-50 easy! That’s mirror polished folks.





Fun Stuff Pt.7

24 Sep

The other day I was laying on the sofa sipping my post-op milkshake (periodontal surgery), half-assedly watching Last of the Mohicans and thinking about how my birthday is coming up. While drifting in and out of a hazy pill induced slumber I thought to myself… I work hard dammit! I deserve something nice! Suddenly, fully alert, I hopped on everyone’s favorite auction site and purchased an NOS cast aluminum Thickstun valve cover I’d been watching for the past week.


Fast forward a few days…
Headed out to install the raw aluminum cover, get everything pulled apart and I think to myself, “Gee, this is gonna be a bitch to clean when it gets all grimy and starts oxidizing. I should probably paint it.” So, I head back in.

The day wasn’t a total loss. Managed to install the Brake Release handle grommet.


Hand signals – As of now, more than just a finger.

22 Sep

Finally removed the old fender mounted turn signals. Ended up having to cut em off. Man oh man, were they crusty.









Dancin’ in the streets!

21 Sep

Installed a front sway bar from a ’47-55 Suburban this morning. Super easy to get on and it makes a huge difference. No more body roll = no more sliding across the bench! No clue why the pickups didn’t come with em’ from the start…at least as an option.






Pay no mind to the gunks and leaks underneath.