A busy hiatus…

We’ve been quiet for a while due to various reasons but don’t think that we haven’t been busy working away!

As well as working on the car itself we’ve also moved to a much larger unit (twice the size infact!) – more space, more resistant to weather so a much happier working environment.

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Anyway, on with the work that’s been completed.

First up were tweaks to the doors.  Generally they were fine, but due to how the lock mechanism had to be fitted there had been a hole left.

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A couple of pieces of stainless steel were cut and fitted.

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While in the theme of neatening things up we paid attention to the dashboard. A couple of end pieces were made up and were bolted up with riv-nuts. They are a different metal but the dash won’t be bare metal once it’s finished anyway so it’s not going to be a problem!

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Next on the list was wiring! Once the fuse and relay board were made up and it was all labelled up it needed fitting!

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It turned out, that due to the size of the relays, pretty much the only place it could go was under the dash, on top of the trans tunnel. So, four bolts were welded to the tunnel and the board bolted in.

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A cover was then fabricated.

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Some quick release push button pins were fitted, the panel primed and fitted.

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Moving towards the rear of the car it was time to complete the trim panels. First a piece of alloy was cut and folded to fit around the suspension cage.

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This was followed by a top panel and some edging pieces to match the parcel shelf. Everything was then tiger sealed and riveted into place.

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The quarter panels were trimmed and fitted into place.

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The rear section was then primered…

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Now that we had completed this phase of work on the interior we continued moving towards the rear of the car towards the exterior! One issue that had arisen was that, with the boot lid not being fitted to the car and under tension,  it had started to straighten itself out. So we proceeded to make wooden formers to resolve the issue.

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They were then glued into place where the rubber seal would normally sit and the boot lid was tensioned by using a pair of small ratchet straps around the rollcage and down to the coil over mounts.

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When removed the bootlid was back into it’s original shape!

The next small tweak was to the front bulkhead. As it was it currently stood it was incredibly fiddly and awkward to remove the gearbox bolts. So the bulkhead was trimmed…

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…and is now much quicker and easier to remove the gearbox. Our knuckles will be grateful! This was then plated and painted to seal it.

Now, onto our favourite part – the Engine!

When we dropped the heads off for the first time we found that two of the bores were full of water and had rust damage. We decided to completely strip the engine and give it a very thorough going over.

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We did find some pleasant surprises! A prime example being the stroker crank with only around 2000 miles on it. However not all aspects of the engine were as pleasant a surprise, the camshaft had 3 lobes that were very near circular – minimal lift! The valves were leaking an incredible amount and the bores hadn’t been relieved to allow for the extra throw of the crank resulting in some minor damage to the block. All in all though these were minor issues that we can handle – even with them it made 325bhp at the wheels on a dyno.

This is some of the damage in the bottom of the block from the crank, note the chunk out of the casting on the right hand side.

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A few very careful hours with a dremel gave the clearance needed for the con rods.

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Next job was to attack the bores. Initially we had intended to send it away for a re-bore but research had shown that if we went any further than already had been done it would only be good for road use and would crack under any sort of race strain. So we went at it with a honing tool…

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It took over 100 hours but they are now spot on.

The next job was to tap and plug some oil holes in the V of the engine. These sit between the lifters and allow oil to pour down onto the camshaft which over oils the cam and robs the engine of power. The cam has it’s own lube supply so it was simply a case of tapping the holes and plugging them which gives the engine more power.

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Moving on, the cylinder heads were next. These were not standard Chevy 400ci heads which have quite small valves but are in fact 350ci heads with the largest valves you can squeeze into a cast head. The head work was going to be long and tedious as we wanted to do a lot of work to the runners and port it all to flow the best it could. However we found that it had already all been completed – cashback!

So we stripped the valve gear from the head, lapped the valves, fitted new guides and reassembled them.

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So, by this point, we’ve established that we need a new cam – we’ll be going for a roller cam kit, a gasket and bearing set and to change the head bolts to ARP studs and it will be ready to put back together. We’ll also be doing away with the distributor and changing to four coil packs and running with a wasted spark system. It was also decided (by someone else!) that we will be running fuel injection as he had these going spare and they are surplus to requirement for his slingshot dragster…

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Each one flows 600cfm, holds 4 injectors and are far superior to carbs.

An issue that had arisen when we fitted the engine on it’s new solid mounts was that the gearbox mount no longer lined up. Some head scratching occurred and we realised the problem lay with the measurements taken from the original rubber mounts that had been there. Sure they were in the same static position, but the rubber had been under huge tension to get it ‘lined up’ before we removed it.

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A new gearbox mount was fitted, the engine block  with the gearbox bolted to it were dropped into place and the gearbox rear mount bolted in as this was the datum point to work from. The drivers mount dropped straight into place but the passenger side was out a tad!

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The simplest way to fix this was to cut the over hang off of the front and weld it onto the back. This saved cutting the whole mount off of the chassis and then re welding. With that in place the engine dropped straight onto the mounts!

That’s us in a nutshell for the last few months, we’ll be back with more updates soon so keep an eye out!