Thursday, May 31, 2012

Dash Cluster Installed

After some more trial fitting, more cutting, more fitting, more cutting, I installed my dash cluster.  After it was installed, I realized that there was still a serious interference fit in the area of the light switch as well as in the area the gauges would mount.  After some more cutting, I installed the cluster once again, this time everything fit well.  This dash has seen better days, even with a fresh coat of flat black, this will not be my permanent solution.  Still, it will look tons better than the zip tied gauges I had in place for the last two years.  I can't say that a nearly flat panel dash outta sheet metal won't be the final product, but for now, this will do.  You will also notice that I installed my CD player, as I won't be going another season without tunes either.

As you can see from the pictures, I still have plenty of wiring to finish up, but it's all pretty straight forward from here on out.  I was debating whether or not to install a remote solenoid I had lying around, and still haven't decided.  In the mean time, I ordered up a terminal junction I can use to wire up some accessories if I decide not to go with the remote solenoid.  I also ordered a new ignition switch, as mine seemed to have internal damage.  Lastly, I ordered mounting clamps to secure both main and return fuel lines, as well as power cable, to the frame.

I still have some finishing touches, as I need to order some ABS sheet plastic in order to block off/mount my gauges to.  I also need to block off the heater controls (which I had previously made a plate for), and come up with a block off for the driver side heater vent, then will be unusable due to the cage.  In addition, I will also need to relocate my headlight switch this time, as you can see in the photos below, is an area I had to remove a lot of plastic from in order to get the dash cluster to fit.  Now you can understand why in the future, I may simply build my own cluster, where I can design it so everything will fit.  Once I finish the wiring behind the dash, I will go ahead and install the dash pad.  Maybe I'll even install my old headliner I have lying around, as it is one of the only missing pieces to my interior.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Fuel System Installed

 I finished up installation of my fuel system today.  I started off mounted the bracket I made in order to have a spot for the pump and filters to mount to.  As mentioned, after sizing up the setup, I really only had one place in order the pump and filters would fit, and be installed below the sump in the tank.  I mounted the bracket to the underside of the trunk, between the rear end and fuel tank.  I was fairly happy with the way the bracket turned out, though may modify it a bit, or create a new/similar one next winter.  As it is, it serves it's purpose, and looks relatively nice.

The nylon braided line I went with is made by Russell.  It is both lighter, and easier to work with than stainless braided line.  I will say this though, the 6 -AN hose is the hardest of the bunch to work with.  The 8 -AN and 10 -AN slide together with relative ease.  I did heat the hose end with a heat gun and apply hose assembly oil.  Even then, the 6 -AN fittings wouldn't quite bottom out into the fitting.  I'm hoping they won't leak, or I may find myself starting over, but thankfully, I have plenty of extra 6 -AN hose leftover.

I still need to mount my regulator to the roll bar, as well as attach the lines securely to the frame.  I also have to wire up the relay and pump yet.  I am just glad to have the plumbing ran, and it went as easy as it did.  I will keep chugging away, as I'm getting VERY close to being able to fire the engine up!

Here is the fabricated bracket bolted in place beneath the trunk.

 Rear view with just the bracket mounted in place.

 Rubber isolators mounted to the bracket.

Here is the pump with filters mounted in place.

Once the car is lowered back to the ground, I'm not sure you'll even be able to see the filters or bracket, as they all may be hid by the sump and bracket.

Here is the feed line and return line, running along the passenger side frame.  I still need to secure both lines to the frame.

Here is the regulator with lines to the carb.  I have the holes drilled in the roll bar (see picture below) to mount the regulator to the roll cage, I just need the mounting hardware.

I still need to go back and tighten all my AN fittings yet, as mount he regulator, but every hose is cut to length and assembled, and ready to go.  After securing my hoses, hooking up a few wires, I am just about to the point I can lower the car back to the ground to finish up the rest of the wiring.  As long as the fuel system is leak free, I'm really only a few connections away from being able to start the engine.  I'll try and get some video once it's back running.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Dominator Throttle Bracket/Fuel Pump Bracket

 Here is the Dominator throttle bracket by Jegs for a Lokar cable.  It's a far cry from the bracket it replaced, a thinly stamped throttle bracket in back and matching throttle return spring bracket out front.  This new bracket is as much business as the carb is.

Here is the bracket I fabricated to mount my A1000 fuel pump and filters to.  Initially, I just used some flat sheet metal I had lying around.  While it gave me the initial location, it was seriously flexible and needed some added support.  I picked up some 1/8" x 1" flat steel and welded some ribs to the sides.  I relearned how to weld, and had to do a lot of grinding, and honestly should have done a bit more prior to paint.  That said, it'll be sandwiched between the fuel tank and rear end any way, only seen by those who crawl under the car. I can always build another bracket later on down the road.

Here is the pump and filters temporarily mounted on the bracket.  Aside from drilling four holes in the bracket and trunk, adding a rubber cushion between the two to help lower pump noise, it's ready to go in place.  The final shipment of fuel line and fittings arrived yesterday, so now it's just a matter of cutting the lines, installing the fittings, and finishing up some wiring and she'll be ready to go.  I'm off quite a few days next week, so hopefully she'll be about ready to fire up, towards the beginning of June instead of the end which seemed a lot more likely a few weeks ago.  Smokey burnouts are in my near future!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Placed final order for fuel lines/fittings, fabricated fuel pump bracket.

This morning I placed what will hopefully be the final order needed to get my Camaro up and running for the season.  I ordered up all my fuel lines, which I went with Russell Twist-Lock hose, and push lock fittings by Jegs.  All components will likely be here by tomorrow.

I also fabbed up my bracket to mount my fuel pump.  I had previously posted pics of what I came up with, but decided I needed something to stiffen the bracket up so it wouldn't flex.  I bought some 1/8" x 1" flat steel the other day and welded some sides to the plate.  It significantly stiffened up the bracket!  After a few coats of paint I will be ready to figure out where to drill the holes to mount it to the underside of the trunk.  I hadn't dusted off my Mig welder in quite awhile, and my initial welds showed it!  Just as I was welding the last piece, I found the right setting, and my welds looked much better.  I went back and ground down the high spots, which was most of my welds.  Haha.

A few days ago I also decided that I was sick of looking at my gauges zip tied in place in my dash.  I got out my old dash, took a gander at where it made contact with my roll cage, and bought a 20 pack of cutting disks for my dremel tool.  After removing essentially all of the rear portion of the gauge pods, it nearly fits.  I had to trim some more off down in the lower left corner to clear up an interference with the door cross bar.  Sadly, I had to take a chunk out where my headlight switch would mount, so I'll have to find a new spot, or build a bracket to mount my switch.  I also need to order some ABS sheet plastic, to cover the old gauge pods locations so I can bring them forward so they don't hit my cross bar.  The major work is complete though, and now I will be able to install my stereo as well.

By tomorrow, I should have everything I need, and am now actually a little bit ahead of schedule compared to where I expected to be by now.  Within a few weeks, it should be up and running!  I'll post a few pictures of the fuel pump bracket when I get a chance. Until then, take'er slow, cool, and easy peeps.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

2012 Billetproof - Ypsilanti, MI


Hudson Dealership/Service station. Still in operation, servicing Hudsons, it also serves as a museum.  I will be sure to visit this place, along with the museum next door, this summer.

Just spent the morning with my daughter at Billetproof in Ypsilanti, MI.  There were about 200 cars at the show while we were there, but there was a semi-steady stream of cars still coming in even as we left.  The setting really couldn't be any better, with a river with rapids running along side the park.  Then, historic Ypsilanti, aka Depot Town, was just a block away.

One of these days this summer I hope to make a trip back to check out both the Hudson Dealership/Service station which is still up and running, along with the Ypsilanti Automotive Museum next to it.  The weather was perfect, and you can't beat walking on grass to check out cars.  I'll take that over concrete or asphalt any day of the week.  Below is just a sampling of the cars, you can check out more on my flickr account linked at the bottom. Not my best pictures, as the bright sun and perhaps not the best setting on my camera led to some pictures somewhat washed out.

012 016 019 023 040 048 058 076 078 090 097 122

 More Photos from 2012 Billetproof - Ypsilanti, MI

Friday, May 18, 2012

2014 Chevy SS: V8, Rear Wheel Drive, 6 Speed Fun!

A camouflaged Chevrolet SS race car is tested at Homestead-Miami Speedway in preparation for the 2013 NASCAR season.

Chevrolet has announced that it will bring a rear wheel sedan to market for the first time in 17 years when the 2014 Chevrolet SS debuts in 2013. This is hardly a shocker, as once they decided to start building cop cars on the platform and call it a Caprice, we all knew it was only a matter of time before a new sedan for the public was spun off.

Considering NASCAR has essentially NOTHING that compares to a production vehicle, it's ironic that they offer up a camouflaged NASCAR as a teaser as to what the car will look like.  Take away the camo, it still looks like every other NASCAR out there, regardless of make or model.

Based upon the same platform as the Camaro, this car is essentially the resurrection of the Pontiac G8.   The photo to the left is very likely what the SS will look like.  According to Motor Trend, this car will simply be a place holder, as 2016 calls for an all new design for the platform.

 As I passed a G8 on the highway just the other day, I couldn't help but think "Man, that was one of the sweet baddest Pontiacs ever built!"  Don't get me wrong, I am a huge fan of the Firebird, but the F-body
 filled a different segment.  The G8 was a hot rod family car, able to haul ass just as easily as the family.  The styling was above and beyond the GTO brought back just years prior, and showed a VERY promising direction for future Pontiacs. Then, Pontiac was killed.

The new SS will surely please.  Powered by a small block, likely the same 6.2 as the Camaro, available 6 speed, and rear wheel drive is an awesome start.  Now they simply need to assure that it captures what the G8 captured, and not fail as the watered down/bland GTO accomplished.  The GTO had the right number of doors, and an excellent powertrain, but it was just hard to see it as a muscle car with that styling that just didn't do it.

I can't end this without addressing the name: SS.  What idiot within GM made the decision to name this car the SS?  The SS has always been an option one could add to various GM cars.  The Camaro SS will still be around by 2014 I'm sure, so does it really make sense to name a car after an option on another?  You want to bring back heritage?  Name it Chevelle, and make SS an option.  By calling the car an outright SS waters down the SS heritage in my opinion.  I can only hope that somebody gets their head outta their ass before this vehicle comes to market and changes the name.

Confirmed! 2014 Chevrolet SS Rear Drive Performance Sedan

2014 Chevy SS Confirmed As VF Holden Commodore: Official

SS Chevrolet: Commodore Exports Returning To U.S. Market In 2013

Chevy Confirms V8 Powered, Rear Wheel Drive SS Sedan for 2013!

Chevy SS Sedan Is The New Road-Going Rear Wheel Drive NASCAR Hotness

Chevy Prepares SS Performance Sedan

2012 Billetproof - Ypsilanti, MI - May 19 2012

The 9th annual Billetproof show will be held May 19, 2012 at Riverside Park in Ypsilanti, MI.  I've never been to this show, and I'm seriously considering going tomorrow before heading in to work.  The wife has an appointment, so it would be just me and my daughter.  If I attend, I'll be sure to upload coverage soon after!

2012 Billetproof - Ypsilanti, MI

Monday, May 14, 2012

Miller Hudson Motors & Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Museum

I was talking with a coworker the other day, asked if he had read the article in Hot Rod Magazine regarding the AMC dealership in North Carolina.  While the place looks overgrown and abandoned, it has actually never closed, and to this day still operates as a dealership buying/selling AMC's.  I was then informed of another dealership, this one locally operated in Ypsilanti, MI, which was, and still is, an old Hudson dealership.

Miller Hudson Motors

It's been awhile since I've been to Ypsi's Depot Town, though I do recall seeing this building.  I guess at the time, I just didn't realize what it was.  It has been added to my list of places to check out this summer.

Carroll Shelby - 1923-2012

Sadly, the auto industry, hot rodders, and friends/family lost another of the great automotive icons.  Even if you weren't that into cars, chances are, the name "Carroll Shelby" rang a bell.  One of the innovators in the industry, and without a doubt, a HUGE gearhead, he will be missed.  It should also be noted, he marketed one of the best damn off the shelf chili mixes I've ever had!  Mixed with beer as opposed to water, the chili is nothing short of spectacular.  R.I.P. Mr Shelby, your legend will last an eternity.

Carroll Shelby's life, 1923-2012 (Motor Trend)

Carroll Shelby Dies, at 89 (Hot Rod)

Carroll Shelby, American Racing and Sports Car Icon is Dead (BangShift)

Idea Man Carroll Shelby was Auto Legend (Detroit News)

Carroll Shelby: Auto legend put American muscle on the road (Free Press)

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Billetproof "Motor City Mania" Michigan May 19, 2012

Billetproof Michigan Ypsilanti Depot Town - May 19, 2012

I was unaware that this show still existed, or even it's history, until ready the history behind Sins of Steel, which I knew was formerly Billetproof.  Thankfully, this show hasn't gone away, but simply relocated.  The show, now in it's 9th year, is now held in Ypsilanti's Depot Town.  I may try to attend either the Friday night pre-show, or perhaps the actual show on Saturday.  Then, I could mark this one off my list and determine if it becomes an annual event for us.

Metro Detroit Car Shows and Cruises - June 2012

While a few car shows and cruises have already started popping up, June often signifies the official kickoff of cruise season.  With that said, there are plenty of shows happening during the first month.  I hope to be up and running in time to hit at least a few of them.

Sins of Steel - June 2, 2012

One of the first shows of the season, Sins of Steel is somewhat of an anti-car show car show.  It's for those who aren't worried about a chromed out/fully billited underhood display.  Formerly  part of the Billitproof show series, a change in location caused them to carry on the show under the new Sins of Steel lable.  Yet another show I hope to attend some day, but as stated below, a wedding over rules that Saturday this year.

Hot Rod Power Tour 2012 - June 2-9, 2012

For the second year in a row, Hot Rod's Power Tour will be making a stop in Michigan.  This year, the even kicks off in Michigan at GM's proving grounds in Milford.  Sadly, I have a wedding to attend, so will miss this show.  My car wouldn't have been ready any way, so I'm not too heart broken.  Still, I would have loved to made the event, took pictures, and enjoyed the festivities.  It will probably be a few years before this event makes it back to Michigan.  Maybe by then I will be able to join the tour for a few stops.

Back to the Bricks Promo Tour - June 15-22, 2012

Perhaps this is a tour that is a lot more doable for my Camaro in the future.  It's a week long tour that makes stops throughout Michigan, while promoting the Back to the Bricks show in August, held in Flint, MI.  They started they tours a few years ago, and considering Michigan's beauty, I'm sure it's an amazing drive.

Cruisin' Gratiot - June 16, 2012

This show is in it's 14th year, and is another show I regularly attend.  Like last year, I'll likely miss making it there with my Camaro, as I will likely have some finishing touches left before it's ready.  That said, I hope to at least check it out.

Greenfield Village Motor Muster - June 16-17, 2012

While I've never attended this show, it's appeal is great.  Checking out cars on the grounds of Greenfield Village?  It doesn't get much better than that!  The problem is, it's the same weekend as Gratiot, and we typically end up going to Gratiot instead.  Maybe this year we will take a break from Gratiot and check out this show instead.  It would give is a good reason to renew our memberships as well.

Detroit Yacht Club Antique Boat and Car Show - June 17, 2012

I actually just found out about this show last weekend while visiting the Detroit Yacht Club.  While the show isn't open to the public, it is my understanding that if you have an antique boat or car, you can attend the show.  I would call prior to verify that though.  Also, they offer a Father's day Brunch for a price, though I'm not sure whether that's available to all attendees, or just members.

Sloan Museum Auto Fair - June 23-24, 2012
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Sloan Museum Auto Fair.  I was just talking about this museum with a friend, and it's on my list of places to visit in the near future.  As for this year, I won't be making this show, but I do hope to visit the museum before summer's end.

Cruisin' Downriver - June 30, 2012

I've attended the Downriver cruise many years in a row now, and it's amongst my favorites.  It's very walkable, and lots of cruising takes place along the 5 mile route.  If I manage to make a June car show this summer, this will be the most likely one I attend.


Emma in front of a new Camaro

Yesterday I took my daughter to the RenCen, and showed her the new cars on display.  She took a liking to the new Camaro.  I am pretty confident that she wouldn't mind driving one some day.  Perhaps daddy will have to buy one, then hand it down to her when  the day comes.

Front and Rear Wiring Complete, Starting on the Fuel System

I haven't updated my progress in awhile, mostly because progress has been minimal.  That said, what's left is relatively minor, and if I had the money, could have the car running and driving within a matter of days.  The hold up is completing the fuel system, as I knew it was going to be costly, but I guess I wasn't anticipating $500 costly for my fuel lines and fittings.  Plus, I still need a throttle bracket for my Dominator carb, which is another $80 or so.  So, while I may be a few weeks, or even a month, later than anticipated hitting the streets this year, I am nearing completion.

First off, I finished soldering up all the connections for the rear tail lights, turn signals, and side markers.  More recently, I completed the front head lights, turn signals, parking lights, and horn.  I've held off on the fans, since I'm going to wiring them differently this time so that 2 will come on with the adjustable thermostat, and the other two will come up with a toggle switch.  All will be routed through relays this go round.  The reason for splitting them is I really don't want 4 fans drawing on the battery after I park.  The toggle will be wired to power with the ignition off, so I can turn just two of the fans on while parked for additional cooling, without draining my battery down.

I also held off on wiring up the starter, one wire alternator, and bump switch.  I was going to get a distribution block for the fire wall or fender, then discovered that I had a remote mount solenoid from years back that I never installed.  This will allow me to easily hook up my MSD box, toggle fan, and bump switch, all without having to run all the wiring down to the starter.  While I have never had hot start issues, the remote solenoid will be added insurance against heat.

As for the fuel system, I really struggled finding a spot to mount my Aeromotive A1000 pump.  To say it's a monster is an understatement, as it takes up nearly the same amount of real estate as my MSD box!  Initially, I wasn't even taking into account the recommendation to mount it at or below the fuel tank fittings.  With a sump, it's a lot more difficult that if I had gone with a fuel cell with top fittings.  After several attempts at placement, I came to the conclusion that only one spot would be sufficient.  I settled upon mounting a hanging plate from the underside of the trunk, mounting the pump and filters on the face, sandwiched between the gas tank and rear end.  There is plenty of clearance on each side, but I after fabbing up a real simple plate, I will have to likely weld some sort of supports to keep the plate from flexing side to side, or my clearance will easily turn into interference.

I received all the fittings for the pump, filters, and regulator the other day, and all are now installed.  All that is left is to determine what type of line I will use, and to get the necessary fittings to install the hoses.  I'm going with all 10 AN lines from tank to regulator, an 8 AN return line, and dual 6 AN lines to the carb.

Tomorrow I'll likely concentrate on the interior wiring, which is fairly straight forward.  I simply have to finish the plug in harness for the ignition switch, headlights, steering column, and dimmer switch, then plug them in.  I have two screws to tighten down to install the fuse block to the firewall, then a few odds and ends to tighten up, like the gauges/gauge lights, and possibly the stereo.  I may actually hack up the stock dash cluster in an effort to make it fit this year, and hopefully come up with something slightly more visually appearing than the zip tied Speedometer, Tach, and gas gauge I've got by with for the last couple years.

I really can't say that anything lies ahead that I am dreading...but if I were to guess, it would likely be the assembly of the fuel lines.  After a little online research, I think I'm going to bypass the steel braided approach.  1) I don't care to get stabbed to shit working with the braiding. 2) The stuff is heavier than the race approved alternatives. 3) I really don't care to buy a $180 kit and a vise (yes, believe it or not, I lack a vise) to assemble the hoses.  So, that leaves these twist/lock and push/lock fittings.  As long as they are legal for racing, lighter, and easier to work with, that's the route I'm going....even if it ends up costing a little more money.

I have to say, after owning my car for 16 years, this is the closest it's come to feeling complete.  Even after the ground up restoration, there were things I had in mind for "later on down the road."  Well, once I get a bulletproof rear end in the next year or so, I'm really getting to the point where short blocks, likely in the 500+ ci range, will be the only upgrade I foresee. It's a good feeling, I'm not going to lie, as now what's in the back of my mind is my 1989 Pontiac Formula, which was subjected to a few too many Michigan winters, neglected a bit too long, and my designated daily driver much longer than I planned when I bought it. I still view it as my first car, even if it isn't.  It's the same make/model, same Maui Blue, just with a 350/auto instead of a 305/5speed.  As we all know, our first car is often our most memorable, and my replacement will get the restoration my first car would have seen.