Weekend Update

I dropped by Sean’s place after work on Friday for a quick chat with him about next steps.  Imagine my surprise when I learned they had been making more progress than they were initially letting on about.

Specifically, the picture below is of the new Holley oil plan.  In the last post I talked about the engine location being too low and there being interference with the pan.  That was true, but the fix wasn’t to change the motor mounts… it was to switch to a new Holley oil pan.  This design should eliminate the interference with the Chevelle’s front steering linkage.

Casey-NewOilPan-001

Next up, Sean and AJ have made significant progress on the electrical setup!  This was the part Sean was sandbagging me about… I had no idea they had jumped into the electrical installation yet, to say anything about how far along they are!

Casey-WiringSpaghetti-001

Yes, I know this looks like a big ol’ plate of spaghetti for dinner but there is a a reason for every wire danging below the dash, and AJ was able to walk me thru every single wire.  I was very impressed.   Sean is tackling the full wiring of the car, including the main chassis harness, the front and rear light harnesses, the cabin wiring (lights, electric windows, etc.) as well as the obvious… the main engine and fuel injection harness.  In short, this is NO small job.

In fact, take a look at the picture below!

Casey-WiringSpaghetti-002

So this picture needs a bit of description for you to fully appreciate what’s going on.  Behind the dash, up toward the right side of the picture you will see a dull gray aluminum-looking box that says “DELCO”.  That is the engine ECM, or the electronic brain required to run the new LS engine in the Chevelle.   Now, in about the middle of the picture you will see the glove box.  Above that you will notice that AJ has already started installing some of the Dakota Digital add-on modules I purchased.  He also has laid out the installation for the Viper GPS / Remote Start alarm system, the full electronic cruise control and the appropriate routing of all the A/C ducting that also must fit behind the dash.   Yeah, there won’t be much space back there once AJ gets everything installed!

Anyway, just wanted to share yet another batch of pictures!   Once the oil pan gets swapped and the firewall smoothed out a bit and painted (both should be next week hopefully) then the engine and trans will be headed back under the hood.  Progress!

We’re Moving Again!

Hi everyone!   So, the last post I made a while back was pretty dark.  I had just experienced my first issue with a shop and it cost me financially to the point where I wasn’t sure when the project would continue… or even if it would.

Push aside the dark clouds!   Due to some situations happening in my life outside the automotive realm I was able to secure some additional funds (not as much as I lost in the shop dispute, but still…) and we are back making progress!

The car is back with Sean at Top Gear Motorsports in Mesa, AZ.  He has been shepherding the drivetrain portion of this project.  Sean was willing to tackle the core electrical work required to get the car into running condition.  This means all my fun additions such as the GPS-enabled, remote start Viper alarm and all my Dakota Digital additional goodies won’t make installation at this time but the core electrical harness (body, engine, interior) and all the wiring required for the LS engine will be there, and as will the connections to the base Dakota Digital instrument cluster to power the base set of gauges.  The goal is to get her into road-legal condition so I can drive her home.

With all of that “catch up” stuff done… what’s going on right now, you ask?   Sean and his team has pulled the engine and trans back out of the car so we can do some additional measurements on the exact location of the engine in the bay.  The first install was good but Sean noticed the engine itself was sitting a bit low… a bit too low when we were looking at the location of the oil pan.  We also had a few other small items to take a look at so Sean decided to do it right and pull the engine out.

Which gave us the perfect opportunity to fix something that I absolutely, positively WHIFFED on when I was having the body work done by Tony at Full Circle Auto Body.  The firewall.  Tony was rebuilding the entire thing for silly sake… why didn’t I have him fix the firewall?  I’m not talking a show-car quality smoothed and filled firewall, rather just a new panel that got rid of the factory one that had been punctured and perforated so many times.

Click on the images below…    🙂

Casey-Firewall-001 Casey-Firewall-002 Casey-Firewall-003

So, with a brand new panel in place Sean will have a friend of his do the final smoothing of the welds and then will shoot GM Black on the entire firewall.  Now we can make brand new holes in it!

Last update for today… we replaced the stock steering column several months back with a new Ididit GM tilt column unit.  Great stuff compared to the 40+ year old original!  When I was down in Mesa a while back I sat down in the car and realized the new column was inches longer than the stock unit we pulled.  It was to the point where I felt like a NASCAR driver, with the steering wheel in my chest.   This next picture shows where we ended up after AJ (from Sean’s team) found the adjustable sleeve and pulled the column back.   It’s a minor bit compared to everything else going on but I tell you it makes a big difference sitting in the driver’s seat.

Casey-SteeringColumn-001

So, that’s it for this episode my friends… I’m just happy to get some real progress happening once again.  Next post should have the finished firewall and we might be ready to plop the engine and trans back between the fenders for it’s final resting place.  Until next time remember… when you’re driving your baby, be it a Chevelle or just your funky old daily driver, drive safe and keep the shiny side up!      -john