Archive for January, 2012

Installing the 1986 C4 Corvette steering column in the Hot Rod

Sunday, January 22nd, 2012

 

Installing the 1986 C4 Corvette steering column in the Hot Rod

The build of the 1929 Ford roadster hot rod is progressing well. Now it is time to install / mount the steering column that I removed from the 1986 C4 Corvette Indy Pace car convertible into the 1929 Ford hot rod. The Corvette  is an outstanding car to use as a donor vehicle. So much of the car can be easily used in the 1929 Ford roadster hot rod. It was like the GM Corvette engineers and designers had hot rodders in mind when they designed the Corvette.

Model T Ford steering column & wheel

In my quest of keeping the build cost of the hot rod to a minimum, I made a list of all parts that could be used or would like to use. Many years ago, I came across a deal that I could not resist. It was a Model T Ford steering column with a steering wheel in perfect condition. The Model T steering column was complete but needed to be restored. That was no problem for me. After fitting the Model T Ford steering column inside the 1929 Ford roadster hot rod, and comparing it to the fit of the 1986 C4 Corvette steering column a decision was made. I decided to go with the Corvette steering column as it would go more with my theme of having a C4 Corvette disguised or cloaked as a Model A Ford. What I liked most was that the Corvette steering column has a telescoping and tilt features. Since I am 6 foot 4 inches tall, these features cannot be overlooked, as they will make it easier to get in and out of the hot rod. Not wanting to keep parts that I do not currently need, I sold the Model T Ford steering column for a tidy profit. I’m not sure how this happens all of the time, but I have been extremely lucky with a net gain in the sales of car parts. I believe it’s all due to my honest marketing techniques.

Below are the steps I used to install or mount the 1986 C4 Corvette steering column in the 1929 Ford roadster hot rod.

Step 1: Floor mount brackets for the Corvette steering columns are fabricated using 0.125 inch plate steel. One will be welded to the bottom or the steering column and the other will be mounted on the bottom side of the front floor panel. The bracket mounted to the bottom side of the front floor panel will also have three 0.25 inch threaded inserts attached to it. To attach the threaded inserts, a special tool is required. I have worn out two of these tools using it for various jobs on the hot rod. With the outlet that sold me this threaded insert replacing the tool every time it wears out or breaks, I am finding it difficult to spend more money on a much better one.

1929 Ford Hot Rod Steering Column - step 1

Step 2: A new bracket for the upper end of the steering column is made. This bracket will also get welded to the Corvette steering column. I decided to use the original top steering column mounting bracket on the 1928-31 Model A Ford fuel tank.

1929 Ford Hot Rod Steering Column - step 2

Step 3: A trial fit of the newly made brackets temporarily mounted to the Corvette steering column is necessary. This will ensure the proper position of the steering column in the 1929 Ford hot rod. As they say, measure twice, cut once.

1929 Ford Hot Rod Steering Column - step 3

Step 4: The 1986 C4 Corvette steering column has a few different diameters of metal tubing along the length of the steering column. To tidy this up, I decided to fit a piece of 2.5 inch exhaust tubing over the Corvette steering column. This was a tight fit, and a bit of a job to slip it over the Corvette steering column.

1929 Ford Hot Rod Steering Column - step 4

Step 5: The upper and lower steering column bracket are now welded to the Corvette steering column. It is very important to make sure the brackets are in the same position as found in step 3.

1929 Ford Hot Rod Steering Column - step 5

Step 6: The newly modified Corvette steering column was cleaned, primed, and sealed. As expected, the steering column fit perfectly in the 1929 Ford roadster hot rod.

1929 Ford Hot Rod Steering Column - step 6

Step 7: There are a number of wires that exit the top of the steering column. These look rather unsightly and need to be hidden. I discovered that slicing a section of 1.5 inch square steel tubing would cover the wires. What I was interested in doing was to hide the wires from a line of sight view when standing beside the roadster or while sitting inside the roadster. This worked out much better than expected. I used a 0.25 inch bolt to attach this new wire cover to the steering column.

1929 Ford Hot Rod Steering Column - step 7

Step 8: This was the most frustrating part of the entire job. I found that having so much of the steering column dismantled, that the inner shaft inside the column started moving around on me. This movement resulted in several small ball bearings inside the steering column to fall out. Fortunately I found all of the ball bearings. Using a bit of grease to hold the ball bearing in place, and after a few choice words, everything was successfully reassembled. What was most frustrating about all of this was that the manuals I used to disassemble and reassemble the steering column had very poor diagrams of the entire assembly. This also included the official GM Corvette service manual. In the end it all worked out.

1929 Ford Hot Rod Steering Column - step 8

In my next post, I will show how I converted the keyed ignition switch, to a keyless, LED backlit engine start switch for only a few dollars and a bit of time.

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Mounting the C4 Corvette Vacuum Assisted Power Brake Booster in the Hot Rod

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

 

Mounting the C4 Corvette Vacuum Assisted Power Brake Booster in the Hot Rod

Well, the festive season of Christmas and the New Year with lots of visiting, good food, and entertaining has come to an end. We only had one major snowfall in our area. For the last few days the weather has been sunny and usually warm. It will be a good feeling getting back into the shop and continue working on the 1929 Ford roadster hot rod. With the shop warm and some great classic rock tunes the environment will be perfect for working on the hot rod.

The frame mount for the C4 Corvette vacuum poer brake booster on the 1929 Ford hot rod.

The time has come to install the C4 Corvette vacuum assisted power brake booster in the 1929 Ford roadster hot rod. When I originally designed the chassis / frame for the hot rod, I decided it would be a great idea if I could incorporate as many of the C4 Corvette parts removed from the 1986 Corvette Indy Pace car convertible as possible into the custom build of the custom Model A Ford roadster. Basically my intention was to have a C4 Corvette disguised or cloaked as a Model A Ford. So, it made sense to use the entire braking system including the vacuum assisted power brake booster with the master cylinder. I did decide early on in the chassis / frame design to mount the brake booster and master cylinder on the chassis just underneath the driver’s seat. The power booster is a bit larger in diameter then most aftermarket booster available for custom hot rods. This is not much of a problem, as the 1929 Ford roadster hot rod using the C4 Corvette suspension will have the chassis / frame sitting a safe distance from the road surface. Basically the 1929 Ford roadster hot rod will be a high boy design using modern suspension.

The heim joint used for the C4 Corvette vacuum power brake booster.

The power brake booster and master brake cylinder are a fair distance to the brake pedal assembly. After a considerable amount of thought, I decided to use a 0.75 inch (3/4”) round steel shaft to make this connection. A heim joint was used to connect to the brake pedal assembly. This part was easy. All I needed to do was drill a hole on the metal lathe in the end of the shaft so that I could tap the hole using a 0.375 inch ( 3/8”) NFT tap. The outer diameter of the heim joint was almost the same diameter of the 0.75 inch (3/4”) extension shaft making this end very neat and tidy.

The adapter coupling for the C4 Corvette vacuum power brake booster

The heim joint attached to the pedal assembly

The C4 Corvette vacuum power brake booster with the shaft extension.

Not wanting to modify the shaft coming out of the C4 Corvette vacuum power brake booster, I had to come up with an idea of connecting it easily to the extension shaft. After sleeping on it for a few nights, and just looking around the shop a bit, I realized that some 0.75 inch (3/4”) square tubing could be used as a coupling adapter. A small amount of material was removed from the round extension shaft using the metal lathe so the shaft would fit into the square tubing coupler. Using the MIG welder the square tubing was welded to the round shaft and trimmed up on the metal lathe. To connect the vacuum power brake booster to the coupling and extension shaft a two small shims were use on either side of the brake booster shaft and fitted tightly inside the square tubing. The extension shaft with the newly made adapter was bolted to the brake booster shaft. The newly modified power brake booster with the master brake cylinder was bolted to the chassis and the brake pedal. Of course I needed to get in the hot rod and try the brakes out. As expected everything worked smoothly.

The C4 Corvette vacuum power brake booster mounted to frame / chassis of the 1929 Ford hot rod.

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