Posts Tagged ‘Hot Rod distractions’

More hot rod building distractions – building a hot rod is not easy!

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

More hot rod building distractions!!!

Having a daily driver for car and two custom cars can be a problem. As you know this website is primarily devoted to the building of my 1929 Ford Roadster Hot Rod using C4 Corvette suspension components. I also have a custom 1987 Corvette convertible. If all we could do is work on one thing that would be great. There is the day job, things to do around the house, and your kids and family always need some help with something. The distraction this time is the 1987 Corvette convertible.

The engine for my 1987 Corvette convertible needed to be re-built last year for a number of reasons. It all started just as my vacation was starting in the beginning of July 2009. I was coming home from the College I work as and about 40km from home the engine started missing. I thought this would not be much. Usually, with this type of problem, it could be a bad spark plug, a problem with the distributor cap or rotor, or even a bad spark plug wire. Sometimes even a fuel problem. After a few days checking all of these things over, I was not making any progress to locating the problem causing this engine miss. It was at that point I thought a compression test was in order. Now the engine was just rebuilt without too many miles on it. I started the doing the compression test on the cylinders on the drivers side of the engine. All of these measured over 200 psi and within a few psi of each other. So far so good!! Over on the passenger side, I started with number two cylinder and found it had no compression at all. This was not good. Continuing with the rest of the cylinders on the passenger side of the engine produce similar results as the drivers side of the engine. I thought the worst, a cracked block, head, or even a blown piston. OH NO!!!!!! To make sure, I thought it would be a good idea to narrow the problem down a bit more. Not having a cylinder leak down tester, I decided to quickly make one. This is the story of my life. If I do not have something, especially a tool, why not make it and save a few valuable dollars. This will be another video soon. Anyways, I brought number two cylinder up to top dead center and pressurized the cylinder. The first time I did it, air was blowing through the intake and into the throttle body. This meant a bad intake valve. Making sure, I did it a second time. This time air was blowing into the crankcase. This puzzled me. After a few more attempts at this, half of the time the air would blow through the intake and the rest of the time through the crank. At this point I realized this was a problem that I did not want to deal with and decided to pull the engine.

1929fordhotrod.com's 1987 Corvette Engine - This came out of my 1987 Corvette convertible.  There was an issue with number two cylinder.  It had no compression.  This was a recently rebuilt engine with next to no miles on it.

1929fordhotrod.com's 1987 Corvette Engine - This came out of my 1987 Corvette convertible. There was an issue with number two cylinder. It had no compression. This was a recently rebuilt engine with next to no miles on it.

With the engine out, I felt that a shop that rebuilds engines for a living should look at the engine. I decided on a reputable machine shop in London Ontario. It was Atchison Machine Service Inc. at 132 Clarke Road South, London, Ontario. They have a new website at http://www.atchisonmachine.com/ . Part of my decision to use this shop is that they build racing engines and should know what they are doing. In 2003 and 2004 Atchison Racing was the IHRA world champions in the top alcohol funny car class. This machine shop started in 1964 as a result to an early start in local racing in the London area. Visit their website for more information on this team at http://www.atchisonracing.com/ .

1929fordhotrod.com's 1987 Corvette Engine - On the trailer and off to the machine shop.  So the engine would not bounce around on the trailer, I built a small engine stand out of scrap angle iron.
1929fordhotrod.com’s 1987 Corvette Engine – On the trailer and off to the machine shop. So the engine would not bounce around on the trailer, I built a small engine stand out of scrap angle iron.

A few days after dropping the engine off at Atchison Machine Services, Dennis gave me a call with the news. Number two valve intake spring was broken, and the head gasket was blown by number two cylinder. Now this explained my odd engine cylinder leak down test. I think what was happening the air pressure would occasionally push the intake valve up and seal in the head causing air to blow through the blown head gasket. If the valve didn’t seal, then the air blew through the intake. Oh well. I gave Dennis the okay to do what ever was required because pulling the engine out of the 1987 Corvette was no picnic. At the time I was having back problems and so was Dennis. I suggested that they could take their time since there was no hurry to get the engine back.

A few more days passed and Dennis gave me another call. Dennis found that most of the valves were unevenly worn, the majority of the valve guides worn out, and most of the valve guide seals smashed down. Remember this was a freshly rebuilt engine with next to no miles on it. The heads and block needed to be milled and the block line bored. This was a little odd for a rebuilt engine. Again I suggested to Dennis to do what ever was required and just make it right.

Several more weeks passed and yet another call from Dennis. As Dennis was re-assembling the engine, he noticed the 1.6 ratio roller rockers. With the 500 lift cam in the engine, Dennis did a few calculations. Dennis discovered that the rockers were wrong for the engine. They should have been 1.5 ratio rockers. Now this explained the damage to the valves, valve guides, valve guided seals, and the probable cause of number intake valve spring breaking. He also mentioned that the tolerances were so close, it was a wonder that the valves didn’t go through the pistons. A one point I considered to put my car on the dyno at the College I work at and find out how much horsepower the engine was creating. It was a good thing I didn’t, or the engine would have self destructed. This is why you should leave the engine re-building to the professionals. They know what they are doing.

I finally got the engine back early in September. With summer vacation over and back to work, shop time did not exist. Work at the College was time consuming, my kids needed a bit of help, and in general family life took precedence. Now that I am back into summer vacation, I can get back to the Corvette, and then to the 1929 Ford Roadster hot rod.

Currently, I am just getting back to installing the engine back into my 1987 Corvette convertible. Everything on the engine and engine components was cleaned and painted. I even polished the entire TPI injection system parts, valve covers, alternator bracket, and a few other parts. A fresh coat of low gloss black was used in the engine compartment. This should look pretty nice when completed.

My next post will be on making an engine pre-oiler for the small block Chevy or SBC engine. With the engine sitting for almost a year, it will be important to prime the engine or pre-oil it before firing it up. It would be a shame to mess this up now and so close to having the Corvette running again.

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Installing the C4 Corvette Front Sway / Stabilizer Bar in the Hot Rod

Sunday, April 18th, 2010

Installing the Front Sway / Stabilizer Bar

More distractions!!

This past week has been interesting here at home. I have been working on the last few finishing touches in a small apartment we rent that is in our old Victorian house we live in. The house was built in 1868 and is an interesting old home. Nothing is simple here. For example the last tenant in the apartment destroyed the bathroom sink taps. Only a few years old, but one handle was broken off. I’m not sure how this would happen, but it does!! I purchased new ones and replaced them. That was easy. As I was lying on the floor, I leaned against the toilet cold water line. Well, if that didn’t start leaking. Off to the hardware store to pick up a replacement. I returned and replaced it. I gave the toilet a flush and noticed that the water would not shut off inside the toilet tank. With a quick look inside the toilet tank, I noticed that the float was cracked. Off to the hardware store again to pick up a new float. I decided to clean the bath tub out and noticed that the drain was plugged. With no drain cleaner at home a third trip to the hardware store was required. The drain cleaner solved the plugged drain problem. The point I am making is that a simple 15 minute task to replace a set of vanity taps in the bathroom turned out to be an afternoon of driving back and forth to the hardware store. These are just a few minor distractions that get in the way of building a hot rod. This is why you need to stay focused and determined when building a hot rod.


Let’s install the sway bar.

Now to the placement of the sway bar I removed from the 1986 Corvette Indy Pace car onto my 1929 Ford Hot Rod.   The design considerations for a IFS hot rod using the C4 Corvette suspension continues.

Originally, the front sway or stabilizer bar from the C4 Corvette was positioned towards the front of the Corvette. Trying to keep the design of my suspension for the 1929 Ford hot rod true to the design of the 1986 Corvette, I attempted to do the same. The problem I ran into was my chassis is much shorter on the front of the Model A Ford then the Corvette is. Having the front sway bar mounts bolted to the front of the Model A frame horns would not look so good. Now I needed to try a few other options. I could have easily found an aftermarket sway or stabilizer bar for the front the 1929 Ford roadster. But, that was out of the question. One of my original goals in this design was to incorporate as much of the C4 Corvette suspension removed from the wrecked Corvette in the hot rod I am building. I want this hot rod to handle like a Corvette! We will wait and see on that thought.

1929 Ford Hot Rod C4 Corvette front sway bar installation view 1 - After a considerable amount of time determining the exact location of the front sway bar I now needed to make a few more brackets.  I cut a piece of 2 inch square tubing along its length,  and drilled the holes for the sway bar mounts.  This bracket will be sealed and have no access for nuts, so I weld a couple of 0.5 inch nuts to a couple of 0.125 inch steel plate.  This will provide additional strength.  Both the nuts and plate combination were tack welded to the "U" channel.  This will make for a nice and clean mount.

1929 Ford Hot Rod C4 Corvette front sway bar installation view 1 - After a considerable amount of time determining the exact location of the front sway bar I now needed to make a few more brackets. I cut a piece of 2 inch square tubing along its length, and drilled the holes for the sway bar mounts. This bracket will be sealed and have no access for nuts, so I weld a couple of 0.5 inch nuts to a couple of 0.125 inch steel plate. This will provide additional strength. Both the nuts and plate combination were tack welded to the "U" channel. This will make for a nice and clean mount.

1929 Ford Hot Rod C4 Corvette front sway bar installation view 2 - With the 1986 Corvette sway bar in place, I bolted the sway bar to the newly fabricated mount and tack weld it to the chassis.  Using this method I ensures a perfect fit and placement.

1929 Ford Hot Rod C4 Corvette front sway bar installation view 2 - With the 1986 Corvette sway bar in place, I bolted the sway bar to the newly fabricated mount and tack weld it to the chassis. Using this method I ensures a perfect fit and placement.

1929 Ford Hot Rod C4 Corvette front sway bar installation view 3 - Now I needed to fabricate the sway bar link mount for the lower control arms.  Using coil over shocks force the position of the sway bar back a bit so I could not used the original sway bar mounting links.

1929 Ford Hot Rod C4 Corvette front sway bar installation view 3 - Now I needed to fabricate the sway bar link mount for the lower control arms. Using coil over shocks force the position of the sway bar back a bit so I could not used the original sway bar mounting links.

I found quickly that positioning the sway bar to the rear of the car would work. I used wooden blocks to keep the sway bar in place and to have a visual display of what this might look like. Not wanting to be too hasty, I decided to proceed cautiously and take my time with this. Over the next week, after work, and whatever else that needing doing around the house, I would go out to the shop and look at the sway bar placement. Several ideas start to form. The problem I was having was coming up with the sway bar link attachment to the lower control arm. Heating and bending the sway bar is not a good idea. If I could, the link attachment to the control arms would be a snap.

1929 Ford Hot Rod C4 Corvette front sway bar installation view 4 - The sway bar links have be made and installed.  The link from the sway bar to the mount is made of 3/16 inch steel plate.  The lower control arm had a couple of existing mounting holes for the sway bar mount so this made the attachment of the mount easy.

1929 Ford Hot Rod C4 Corvette front sway bar installation view 4 - The sway bar links have be made and installed. The link from the sway bar to the mount is made of 3/16 inch steel plate. The lower control arm had a couple of existing mounting holes for the sway bar mount so this made the attachment of the mount easy.

1929 Ford Hot Rod C4 Corvette front sway bar installation view 5 -  Everything in now roughed in and doesn't look to bad.  I am still not totally please with this and still may make a few alterations to the front sway bar links and mounts later on.

1929 Ford Hot Rod C4 Corvette front sway bar installation view 5 - Everything in now roughed in and doesn't look to bad. I am still not totally please with this and still may make a few alterations to the front sway bar links and mounts later on.

Sway or stabilizer bars are tempered and hardened. Heating them up with a torch and bending it is very tricky. It can be done, but not properly in the home shop. I have even watched a number of TV shows with very famous car builders modify sway bars. They would heat them up, bend them, and Bob’s your uncle. I would think they of all people would know better.

1929 Ford Hot Rod C4 Corvette front sway bar installation view 6 -  This is a close up view of the sway bar link and mount on the lower control arm.  Of course the sway bar bushing will need to be replaced.  That can wait till the final assembly of the car.  The only part of the original front sway bar link assembly I used using the lower insulator bracket.  The left over link parts were all sold on eBay.

1929 Ford Hot Rod C4 Corvette front sway bar installation view 6 - This is a close up view of the sway bar link and mount on the lower control arm. Of course the sway bar bushing will need to be replaced. That can wait till the final assembly of the car. The only part of the original front sway bar link assembly I used using the lower insulator bracket. The left over link parts were all sold on eBay.

1929 Ford Hot Rod C4 Corvette front sway bar installation view 7 - I cut up a few more pieces of the 2 inch square tubing and make 4 right angle pieces that would close off the front sway bar mounts on the chassis.  Everything was welded in place ground clean, filled, and primed for a good clean and polished look.  The chassis should be a work of art!  It is a statement to everyone on the type of builder you are.  Remember these little finishing touches take time and not a lot of money to do.

1929 Ford Hot Rod C4 Corvette front sway bar installation view 7 - I cut up a few more pieces of the 2 inch square tubing and make 4 right angle pieces that would close off the front sway bar mounts on the chassis. Everything was welded in place ground clean, filled, and primed for a good clean and polished look. The chassis should be a work of art! It is a statement to everyone on the type of builder you are. Remember these little finishing touches take time and not a lot of money to do.

Using coil over shock in the front complicated everything. If I did not use coil over shocks, I could have used everything as is was removed from the C4 Corvette with the exception of mounting the sway bar to the rear of the car. I needed to move the sway bar position slightly back on the lower control arms. I then noticed that there were a few mounting holes to the rear of the lower control arms. Not wanting to change too much or alter the control arms, I thought it would be best to use what was there already. With everything taking shape, I decided to make a new lower control arm bracket for the sway bar link mount. This bracket would be attached and mounted to a location on the lower control so I could use the existing mounting holes. After a few plexi-glass templates and sample mounting attempts, I came up with the final design of the lower control arm link mounting bracket.

Everything was tack welded into place, wheels put back on the car and the jacks, blocks, were all removed. With the roadster on its own weight, everything looked okay. The final welding was completed. All of the welds were ground clean and eventually I filled and prime the chassis for a very finished look.

1929 Ford Hot Rod front suspension completed using C4 Corvette suspension components view 1 - The suspension is completed now.  I think this looks pretty good.  Two of my main goals have been achieved.  The first one was to incorporate as much of the 1986 Corvette Indy Pace car convertible suspension as possible in the hot rod chassis.  The second goal was to do this as cheaply as possible.   Every single part that I did not use from the wrecked Corvette donour car was sold.

1929 Ford Hot Rod front suspension completed using C4 Corvette suspension components view 1 - The suspension is completed now. I think this looks pretty good. Two of my main goals have been achieved. The first one was to incorporate as much of the 1986 Corvette Indy Pace car convertible suspension as possible in the hot rod chassis. The second goal was to do this as cheaply as possible. Every single part that I did not use from the wrecked Corvette donour car was sold.

1929 Ford Hot Rod front suspension completed using C4 Corvette suspension components view 2 - Now I just need to add the brakes, replace the rubber boots on the steering rack, and install the coil over shocks.  This sounds simple, but the devil is in the details, and it's those things that take up hours and hours of time.

1929 Ford Hot Rod front suspension completed using C4 Corvette suspension components view 2 - Now I just need to add the brakes, replace the rubber boots on the steering rack, and install the coil over shocks. This sounds simple, but the devil is in the details, and it's those things that take up hours and hours of time.

The neat thing about this project is that every single part that I did not need for the hot rod project was sold. I mean everything. Up to now, the project still has no out of pocket expense. Not bad for what is turning out to be an above average hot rod.

Don’t forget to keep coming back for more information on the build process of the 1929 Ford Hot Rod, more stories, information on swap meets, and summer cruises / car shows.

I am currently working on AutoCAD drawings of the 1929 Ford Hot Rod chassis using the C4 Corvette suspension components. They should be available to purchase sometime this June or July. By the end of the summer I will also have a DVD video showing how the this unique custom chassis was built.

Comments or questions are welcome.

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