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Hot Rods The Belly Button Bucket Build Thread

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Tim_with_a_T, Dec 2, 2015.

  1. Tim_with_a_T
    Joined: Apr 30, 2011
    Posts: 1,013



    This will be the build thread documenting my 1923 Ford T bucket, which I began building in March 2012. The gathering of parts dates back to 2009 or 2010, though; so I have been at this one for awhile. I have titled it the "Belly Button Bucket" because I'm using parts which seem to be in every T bucket build from the mid 1960's - present: fiberglass body, "kit" frame (more on that later), and the infamous 350/350/9" combo for drivetrain (more on that later as well). However, despite the "boring" parts selection, it is a traditionally inspired hot rod build. As far as format goes, I'm going to try to cover each sub-assembly from beginning to present per posting, adding to each as I continue to complete them (i.e. body, frame, suspension, engine, trans, etc). This is not a normal thread format showing chronological progress of the build as a whole, although several pages into this thread, I did some chronological updates to string you guys along! LOL. My goal is to continually update this thread with as much detail as possible to serve as a reference manual for me or anyone else interested in this build: all relevant part numbers, sources of each part, what I modified and how, and any relevant sketches/calculations will be published.

    If I could go back and start over - and in some areas I did - I would have used exclusively early Ford parts for the rolling chassis and an early SBC/T10, but when I started this build, my goal was to have each component newly manufactured wherever possible. The reason I wanted everything new is somewhat rational. Somewhat. I figured a rough estimate of what I would have invested in an "all new" build and compared that to what a new car would cost - which put me in the price range of the average economy car. I wasn't interested in purchasing a new car for a number of reasons:
    • They have no style or soul.
    • Everyone else has one... everyone else has a "belly button", too, apparently, but whatevs.
    • They cost a lot of money for what you get.
    So, I figured if I had no interest in purchasing a new vehicle, maybe-just maybe, I could build one....
    I started by sketching a top view of how I wanted it to look:

    I ended up going a couple different directions as the build progressed. Below shows when I first had everything mocked up, which I later decided to change up a bit.


    How it looked the last time it was all together:

    About me:
    My name is Tim Connelly, and I am a self taught hot rod enthusiast. I do have an "engineering" background, but most of what is displayed here I learned from reading books, magazines, and other build threads on this website..... Engineering is in quotes because thus far in my "professional" career, things have been a complete joke. This is my first ground up build, and it is something I do as a hobby to escape my joke of a professional career.

    I decided to begin documenting the build on here while job shopping during a brief stint of unemployment... I had wayyyy too much free time on my hands. Usually, I am just a casual observer with an occasional post over on Chip's (need louvers ?) thread (

    Influences for this build:

    Norm Grabowski's "Lightning Bug":


    Norm Grabowski's "Kookie" car (The Lightning Bug revamped):


    Norm Grabowski lining up next to Tommy Ivo's T bucket:




    Ed Roth's "Tweedy Pie", which was originally built by Bob Johnston (I especially love the interior):



    Mark Skipper's T (no idea who the chick is, but she's a great addition to the picture):


    The goal for this project is to finish the car to the highest level I am capable of achieving given the limited space and resources available to me at this time. So far, it has been the greatest lesson of patience and determination my life has had to offer. I know quite a bit of this info was already posted on "the bucket of ugly" thread, so I apologize for the double posts. I just wanted to document what I've done to hopefully help someone else interested in building a bucket.

    Thanks to any and all who follow along!
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2017
  2. Tim_with_a_T
    Joined: Apr 30, 2011
    Posts: 1,013



    The body is a Total Performance glass body that I purchased used on craigslist from a guy named Dylan in October 2010. It's just a bare shell: no floor, no functioning doors, no bracing, etc. I went back and forth with the amount of channel the car needed; I eventually settled on channeling the body 1.5" over the 3" frame rails. I intend to add a functioning passenger door using an original T roadster door hinge and reproduction T latch. I will add that process in here when I tackle that project.

    Here's a picture I have of the body in my tiny "storage garage", which I have used to build the entire car thus far. You can kind of see I have already cut out the holes for my gauges. That was my first project on the build.



    Initially, I mocked up the body with a 3" channel using a 3/4" Oak plywood floor. I'm 6'2", so that was taking up some valuable seating room. I decided to only channel the body 1.5" as a result. Here I am using the 3" channeled floor as a template to get a better fitting 1.5" channeled floor, again using 3/4" Oak plywood.


    I joined the floor to the sides of the body by first scuffing both with 40 grit sandpaper, then bonding the two together with Duraglas. Assuming nothing changes, I will tab the floor to the body top and bottom when I finish the wood bracing around the perimeter of the body.


    The floor fits the contours of the TH-350 transmission much better now.......


    ......But..... I think I'm going to be using a T5 transmission now, so below this I'll address that hurdle.....






    I wanted to add a little steel bracing on the floor, so I got some 1.50" x .125" steel strap and 1.50" x 1.50" angle to sandwich the wooden floor to the frame rails and brace the seat frame (and additionally add strength to the seat belt mounts). I think I will tie in the two frame rail pieces in front by integrating a cross piece over the transmission hump. When it's all done, I'll have it powder-coated black to keep it protected, or I will just glass it into the floor. Still undecided on that.


    You can also see where I added a 3/4" Oak plywood backer to the firewall for strength and aid mounting a few miscellaneous items to the firewall.



    I began to brace the body using 1" x 4" Oak boards. Some of the body is convex vertically, so I glued and screwed some 1/2" x 4" Oak to the 1x4s to be able to sand/shape each board to the body contour. The paper seen in the pic will be used as a template to finish the back of the body.



    At this time, I also cut two slotted holes in the body for the original T roadster door hinge to poke through. My plan is to bond the wood bracing to the body, with the hinge already fastened to the wood bracing, so that when I cut out the passenger door, it will already be hinged. I have not figured out if I can pre-latch the door yet. Still thinking on that one.


    (Add info and pictures about the door latch here.)


    I wanted to add some secure and dry storage, so I began to make a hinged and latched tonneau cover. I just made a template of the outside dimensions of the bed, then transferred and cut out of 3/4" Oak plywood. The hinge is just a "piano style" Nickel plated hinge I purchased at Parkrose Hardware. I also took this opportunity to brace the bed in a similar way that I braced the body.


    The latch is a combination of several things I had laying around: a few pieces of a Lokar throttle cable, a Speedway "bear jaw" door latch, a striker pin, and an elbow bracket. I drilled and tapped the elbow bracket, which I mounted to the hinged tonneau cover, and I threaded the striker pin into the other end of the elbow bracket. I will control the latch via cable I plan to run into the cab of the car (either under the seat or as a control in the dash).

    Last edited: Dec 6, 2017
    Stogy, hipster, 26 T Ford RPU and 3 others like this.
  3. Tim_with_a_T
    Joined: Apr 30, 2011
    Posts: 1,013



    Because my work-space has limited power, I can't do any major welding there. I decided to just purchase a perimeter frame, then tack weld any bracketry to the frame and have a friend do the final structural welding at his shop. The perimeter frame I purchased from Speedway (P/N: 7154800).


    If you read their product description, it states,
    "This frame uses a Model A rear crossmember and has a higher rear kick-up than our other frames. It would typically be used with a spring-behind axle having 6" drop and our High Arch rear spring."
    I interpreted that to mean the rear axle was intended to be used in a "spring-behind" application, but they are referring to the front axle. I had already purchased and mocked up my rear suspension brackets before I realized this. This frame is designed for a Model A style "spring-on-top" axle configuration. If you use a "spring-behind", the axle runs into the rear kick-up, and needs to be addressed. I was pretty set on using the brackets and measurements I already had, so here's what I did.

    Rear frame modifications:


    Basically, I took 3" out of the frame before the kick-up, added 3" to the frame after the kick-up, and cut a ~5" OD x 0.25" (check this) thick C-notch into the kick-up with gussets for strength. Easy, right? Right...




















    I think it was around this time in the project that I broke my arm skateboarding home from work one morning. I was trying to relive my glory days by ollieing about a 15' gap with gumdrop soft wheels, which resulted in...... pain.


    Skipping way ahead, here is a decent shot of the completed rear frame modifications. On a somewhat related note, you can see I welded a 3/8"-24 long nut into the passenger side kick-up for a battery-chassis ground.


    Once I had the majority of the kick-up modifications completed, I moved on to locating and mounting the front axle. The spring perch was already welded on by Speedway, so I just needed to make mounts for the split wishbones.

    Wishbone Mounts:

    The wishbone mounts are the standard "bolt on" units you see in catalogs. I bought mine used from someone, and they did not have the tapered bungs welded into them for tie rods.... I bought some tapered bungs from Speedway (P/N: 916-36502), but the taper was too deep for the taper of the tie rods to seat. I faced the bungs in my 1930's era lathe until I had a good bite between tie rod and bung. I apparently have no detailed photos of this. You can see the finished product below, and I tried to make the brackets look less fabricated and more manufactured by rounding the laser-cut edges and plug welding faux rivets to the mounting holes. They will be welded and blended to the frame.


    I felt like the wishbone mounting brackets needed a gusset, so I made a pattern, cut and drilled them out, then shaped them to have a more refined, manufactured look.



    Once I had the front axle somewhat squared away, I needed to mount the engine and transmission before moving onto the rear axle... which is weird, but I wanted to locate the rear axle with ladder bars tied to the transmission crossmember, so I had to jump from A to C&D to get my measurements before moving onto B. Easy, right? Right....

    Motor Mounts:

    I used Chassis Engineering, Inc. motor mount brackets (P/N: ###)and biscuits (P/N: ###). Their website made it really easy to determine which mounts to buy, and I only had to trim off a little bit of each bracket to slide them inside the rectangular tube frame. For optimal results, you should have your radiator you plan to use mocked up as well as all accessories mocked up on the engine to determine mounting - fan & water pump, fuel pump, starter, intake, distributor, thermostat housing, bellhousing&trans... even the body to estimate firewall clearance. It sounds overkill, but you really need all pieces of the puzzle to achieve the best results. I ended up having to change some things around a few times, but I more or less got the job done haha. I mounted the brackets level with the top of the frame rail for aesthetics, and later discovered the driver's side needed some minor relieving to clear the steering linkage. Somewhat related to the motor mounts and not shown, but I welded a 3/8"-24 long nut underneath the passenger motor mount to serve as an engine-chassis ground.


    You can see in the above picture that I had to notch the passenger side frame rail for fuel pump clearance. I couldn't install the fuel pump until it was notched, so I took a bunch of measurements and traced the radius of the fuel pump housing onto the frame rail, cut it out, then cut a section of tubing/plate to close up the hole.




    Radiator Mounts, Body Mounts, Bed Mounts:

    For each of these, I used 3/8"-24 long nuts plug welded into the top of the frame rails. I had detailed photos of how I did this on my old phone, and I'm hoping they're still on the SD card somewhere...

    Transmission Cross-member:

    The transmission mounts to a Speedway unit (P/N: 916-28905), which is a tubular 6" drop transmission cross-member. I initially tried to use an 8" drop unit, but after moving the engine and trans around a few times, I realized this would place them too low. I gave the mounting brackets the rounded edges and faux rivet treatment, and figured I was done with this project...

    Last edited: Nov 22, 2017
  4. Tim_with_a_T
    Joined: Apr 30, 2011
    Posts: 1,013



    Transmission Cross-member (continued):

    Once I had the trans cross-member tacked in, I proceeded to build my rear suspension - tying the ladder bars to the transmission cross-member, triangulating them inward towards center-line as much as possible . After awhile, I decided to switch from the TH-350 to a T-5 (more on this later). I realized that would require me to move the cross-member back a bit because the T-5 was longer, and deciding to do this AFTER I had the rear suspension mocked up introduced some thought-provoking problems. I didn't fully figure all of this out until later on, but I was able to accomplish this without moving the cross-member. Read on to find out how!

    X-member and Driveshaft Loop:

    The frame needed an X-member to help with any twisting the frame might incur under power. I may or may not have scrapped a fair amount of tubing trying to make this happen. My friend Chris Rhom gave me some cast-off 1.75" x .125" DOM roll cage tubing to try out. Here is a conceptual sketch of how I wanted it to look:


    And here is the plan going into action:


    My friend Corey Jones gave me this awesome tip for coping tubing:


    Which meant I didn't have to scrap any more tubing!



    I deviated from the concept sketch here by adding a front bracing member, which ties the transmission cross-member into the back side of the wishbone mount (this is just before I decided to switch to the T-5).



    I finally figured out how I would accommodate the T-5 at this point. I cut the center out of the dropped cross-member, flanged it with some 1/4" steel brackets I made, and spliced in a bolt-in section of 1" x 2" x 0.125" tubing, which I gusseted and drilled holes for the transmission to bolt to. Since I took a lot of strength out of the cross-member by having the center removable, I decided to gusset the trans cross-member to the wishbone mount tubing with some 1/4" steel plates I fabricated. This photo shows a battery mount which I decided looked like ass, so it didn't make the final cut... but this photo also shows the trans mount pretty well so, ignore the battery mount!


    I then moved onto the driveshaft safety loop. The driveshaft isn't long enough to stick in the ground and pole vault the car in the event of a failure, but if it were to shear, I would imagine my thigh would appreciate a hoop containing that thing whipping around.... Initially, I tied the 2" long x 0.25" thick oval to the frame with 1.75" x 0.125 DOM tubing, but the ladder bars would definitely hit those cross tubes during upward suspension travel. I decided to tie it to the frame with some 3/8" steel plate I had, drilling some holes in it for aesthetics. Below shows a summary of how that went down... as an aside, I used a cut-off wheel chucked into my 4 1/2" angle grinder to cut out all my brackets, which shows you don't have to have fancy equipment to achieve decent results.




    Here's a photo of the entire package, which skips ahead a bit of what I want to show, but it also shows how nicely things are finally coming together:


    Again skipping ahead, but this shows how everything ties together as well as overall proportions:


    Now that I had everything tacked together on the frame, and I had mocked everything up, I pulled everything apart so I could take it to my friend, Cris Koszorus, to TIG weld everything together. Here's a couple pictures of the bare frame, which brings me up to date with the frame:





    .... need to add text explaining ladder bar mounts, steering box mount, master cylinder, brake/clutch pedal mounts.....
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2017

  5. Tim_with_a_T
    Joined: Apr 30, 2011
    Posts: 1,013



    One of the things that turns me off on a T bucket is the typical "kit" suspension components (and I ended up with mostly catalog parts, so go figure). The entire front suspension and most of the rear suspension is visible on a bucket, so I felt they should be as presentable as possible.

    Enter SoCal Speed Shop. There is a retail location in Tualatin, which was conveniently on my way to school when I was finishing up my degree. Many of my paychecks were spent there. I really like the fact that you can see and handle the parts in person before purchasing, and they were always willing to answer any technical questions I had (whether my questions were related to their products or not).

    Front Suspension:

    The front suspension is composed of the following:
    • SoCal 4" dropped, 47" wide forged i-beam axle (P/N: 001-70503)
    • 1940 Ford wishbones I got from Dylan (same guy I bought the body from) - split with SoCal weld-in tie rod bungs (P/N: 001-60526)
    • 1940 Ford spindles, also from Dylan (which I foolishly cut the steering arms off), Speedway kingpin kit (P/N: 910-32121), and SoCal "deep drop" forged steering arms (P/N: 001-1109)
    • Speedway tie rod link (P/N: 916-34-45)and drag link sleeve (P/N: 916-35-28.5)
    • SoCal polished stainless steel tie rods (P/N: 001-60506) - RH, Qty. 4 and (P/N: 001-60505) - LH, Qty. 2
    • SoCal forged spring perches (P/N: 001-61113), 29 1/4" spring (P/N: 001-63002), GT2 polished stainless steel shackles (P/N: 001-60603), and polished stainless steel spring clamps (P/N: 001-60616)
    • SoCal headlight/shock mount combo, polished stainless steel (P/N: 001-60561)
    • SoCal chrome shorty shocks (P/N: 001-60683)
    • SoCal forged panhard bar mounts, (P/N: 001-61707F), Qty. 5 (used for shock mounts and panhard bar mount)
    • Front panhard bar, composed of -
      • SoCal 4 bar weld sleeve (P/N: 001-61805)
      • SoCal bushing halves (P/N: 001-61803), Qty. 2
      • SoCal inner sleeve (P/N: 001-61809)
      • Speedway 1/2" hole, 5/8-18 thread rod end (P/N: 175-0526GS)
      • 7/8" x 0.156" DOM tubing
    • Fasteners:
      • Speedway polished stainless U bolt kit (P/N: 916-33014)
      • SoCal polished stainless spindle stop nuts (P/N: 001-60102)
      • Speedway tapered lower spring perch nuts (P/N: 910-33050)
      • A few ARP fasteners and stainless castle nuts from Totally Stainless (will update when I find the receipt)
    As most of you know, the 1937-41 wishbones located the spring out in front of the axle. Someone had cut these perches off long before I got my hands on them and had welded spring perches into the wishbones behind the axle. The first thing I did was make the cut off perches look a little more presentable, and I also removed the "rolling bones" style spring perches welded into the wishbones.


    After that little project, I started with a series of mock-ups for the front suspension. Here is an early development photo when I was considering using shock mounts under the perch bolts:


    Somewhere along the way, I got the brilliant idea that the suspension pieces had to be block sanded smooth. My brother, Andy Connelly, and I spent way too many hours sanding that stuff. Here is "rev. a" as I'll call it, which still had the F100 front brakes I didn't end up using.


    I sent this photo to a friend, Robbie Davis, who immediately asked if I planned to drill the axle. He had a point, but that sounded like a whole lot of work. Literally a year later, I decided he was right. I had picked up a 1940's era Craftsman drill press on craigslist for $50, so I figured I better give it a try.


    Finished drilling:


    After sanding the webs of the axle on both sides:




    Here is where I began to make use of all those forged panhard bar brackets. T buckets are tiny cars, and space is a premium. I don't think people fully understand that until they try to build one (I sure didn't). You really need to plan ahead with your designs, and they must at least be functional firstly and compact secondly. Because I'm using a cross steering arrangement, I wanted to incorporate a front panhard bar. The function of the panhard bar is to eliminate transverse suspension travel and allow only vertical suspension travel. It should ideally be level/parallel to the ground at ride height. The panhard bar bracket (chassis side) should be located on the same side as the steering box (driver's side), and the bracket on the suspension side should be on the opposite (passenger's) side. Don't be an idiot like me and complete the entire project with the panhard bar on the wrong side, then have to cut everything off and start over. There are many ways to accomplish this, and there are many excellent designs out there, but here's how I did mine.

    For the passenger's side, I welded some thick washers into the web of the brackets (both sides), then used a Dremel tool to shape a nice fillet. The inner hole will be my lower shock mount, and the outer hole will be the panhard bar mount.



    For the driver's side, I simply cut two of the forged panhard bar brackets down to function as shock mounts.


    Here they are tack welded to the inside of each wishbone. The shock mounts take a 7/16" bolt and the panhard bar a 1/2" bolt.


    Mocked up on the car - front view - (passenger's side). You can also see the upper shock mounts / headlight mounts. They are easy enough to install. Figure out where they look best, mark and drill holes, weld in the supplied threaded weld bungs (will be final welded later), and you're done.


    Passenger's side - rear view (suspension fully compressed to ensure proper clearance of panhard bar throughout the sweep of tie rod and drag link, which I had trouble with the first time I mocked it up):


    Driver's side (again, suspension fully compressed):


    Front view showing frame mount panhard bar:


    Rear view showing completed panhard bar mock up (should be very close to level when car is at ride height and parallel to the ground):


    And here is the front suspension pile ready for the powder coater:


    My friend, Cris Koszorus, TIG welded the tack welded brackets, and my other friend, Russel Fork powder coated everything ultra deep gloss black. They came out A W E S O M E ! I have been on the fence about doing a Wimbledon White in the web of the brackets and i-beam, but I haven't made a final decision yet. I'm very pleased with how they came out, though.




    Completed front suspension:

    Last edited: Nov 22, 2017
  6. Tim_with_a_T
    Joined: Apr 30, 2011
    Posts: 1,013



    One of the other things that bugs me about T buckets is how the rear suspension is typically done - typically coil springs/shocks or coil-over shocks and hairpins mounted to the outside of each frame rail. ALTHOUGH, I can see now why they're typically done that way.... there's a lot more room to work with if you're mounting stuff to the outside of the frame rails, and T buckets have no room, so..... it probably would have been a good idea to at least reconsider what I had for preliminary designs...

    But.... I didn't do that. I just forged ahead with this idea that my T would be different than everyone else's, and even though I had a lot of trouble figuring out how it would all work out, it would be worth it in the end.

    Well.... It was all worth it in the end. I'm pretty happy with how it all turned out, and it's actually a fairly simple design that's not at all new.

    One other thing I should note - the Speedway frame (specifically the Model A rear cross-member) is intended for added clearance when using a quick-change rear axle. I'm not using a quick-change, so I could have just used a frame with a flat rear cross-member and gained quite a bit of space in the bed for storage. But when I was in the initial design stages, I wanted a quick-change SO BAD. I just couldn't justify the cost. Maybe someday that will be a revision to the car...

    Rear Suspension:

    The rear suspension is composed of the following:
    • Ford 9" rear axle housing I thought was from a 1968 E100 van (because of the ID tag on the 3rd member) that I bought from my friend Joe DiOrio, Jr. at Old Car Parts in Portland
    • Dutchman 5 x 5.5" lug pattern 31 spline axles, billet steel "big bearing" (old style) housing ends, and new bearings/seals(P/N: ?), which were made/installed when I had them narrow the housing to 54" (check this measurement)
    • Speedway 3.70:1 3rd member with Currie posi-trac differential (P/N:910-48345-31-370)
    • FelPro 3rd member gasket (P/N: RDS55074)
    • Currie fluid additive (P/N: )
    • Undecided on gear oil at this time
    • SoCal forged ladder bar brackets (P/N: 001-74003F)
    • SoCal forged spring hangers (P/N: 001-63201F), accompanying forged hanger gussets - personally, I think these are a must - (P/N: 001-63206F), and GT2 stainless shackles (P/N:001-60607)
    • Speedway "high arch" rear spring (P/N: 91043102) and rear leaf spring spacers (P/N: 7151924), currently using Qty. 4
    • SoCal forged rear shock mounts with studs (P/N: 001-63205F)
    • SoCal chrome covered shocks (P/N: 001-60682)
    • SoCal forged panhard bar brackets (P/N: 00161707F), Qty. 1.5 - I used remnants of the front suspension brackets to compose the rest
    • Ladder Bars composed of -
      • SoCal polished stainless steel clevises that I drilled to 7/16" holes (P/N: 001-62127), Qty. 4 - came with jam nuts
      • SoCal 4 bar weld sleeve, rear (P/N: 001-61808), Qty. 2
      • SoCal bushing halves (P/N: 001-61806), Qty. 4
      • SoCal inner sleeve (P/N: 001-61810), Qty. 2
      • 7/8" x 0.156" wall DOM tubing
    • Panhard bar, composed of -
      • SoCal 4 bar weld sleeve (P/N: 001-61805)
      • SoCal bushing halves (P/N: 001-61803), Qty. 2
      • SoCal inner sleeve (P/N: 001-61809)
      • Speedway 1/2" hole, 5/8-18 thread rod end (P/N: 175-0526GS)
      • 7/8" x 0.156" DOM tubing
    • Fasteners:
      • Speedway rear U bolt kit (P/N: 5802031)
      • SoCal polished stainless rear axle vent (P/N: 001-62705)
      • Ford 1/2" T bolts with lock nuts, Qty. 8
      • A few ARP fasteners and stainless castle nuts from Totally Stainless (will update when I find the receipt)
    Ok, here is one of the early mock up photos where I was determining how much the 9" housing needed to be narrowed. I just centered the body, then spaced the wheel/tire combo where I wanted them to be, then measured the distance between the wheels and the housing ends, which gave me how much to subtract. I had to do a little extra math here because the wheels I wanted to use require wheel spacers on a late model axle, and I wanted the pumpkin of the axle to be centered in to the chassis (which offsets the pinion). You wouldn't think that addition/subtraction could stress someone out, but I assure you that it can!


    Dutchman Axles (at this time located in Portland) tacked the new housing ends onto my freshly narrowed housing, and they also added a threaded weld bung and drain plug for ease of future maintenance.


    Turns out I measured everything correctly, which meant I didn't have to pop any more pills to manage my stress levels!


    Dutchman instructed me to mock up my entire rear suspension and weld all bracketry onto the housing, then they would true up the housing when machining the axles and weld the housing ends in their jig to ensure everything is straight and true. Easier said than done! It actually wasn't that bad; I've just never done anything like that before so I had to go slow and think a lot.

    The hardest part by far was the rear spring. Getting that thing spread to the proper width using the load/width chart Speedway provided was really tough. If you ever have to do this, do yourself a favor and only use the main leaf for the initial mock up, then add the other leaves in when you add weight to the vehicle. You can easily spread the main leaf apart by hand, and you don't have to use a special made tool (or some really sketchy ratchet straps like I did).

    Here is a the tacked spring hangers, spring gussets, lower shock mounts, upper shock mounts (which I later relocate), ladder bars, and the two of the four ladder bar mounting tabs on the transmission cross-member.



    And here is a photo of my initial rear panhard bar, or the most pathetic excuse for a panhard bar in existence. I hated it and eventually cut it out.


    The rear suspension is really starting to come together by now. I'm not as nervous sending off the tack welded housing for final welds at this point.


    I had my friend, Chris (need spelling of last name) TIG weld the housing brackets. He did an awesome job; I'm always impressed by the speed, quality, and price of his work. I later added a link to the ladder bars, which can be seen elsewhere in this thread.






    I posted a pic of me with one broken arm and one battered arm earlier...... Well, that put me off this project for awhile. During that time Dutchman Axles relocated to Meridian, ID. Normally, that would upset someone like me who was planning to have them finish up a stalled project like this. But I grew up in Meridian, ID; and my parents still live there, so no big deal! I sent the housing home with them after a Portland visit, and my dad, Tom Connelly, dropped off/picked up the rear axle at Dutchman's new facility. I've since seen their facility, and it is nice! Anyway, my dad sent me these photos after he picked up the axle:




    Needless to say, I was super stoked (more stoked than usual) about the parents' next visit to Portland! They came over for my birthday, and I forced my mom, dad, and girlfriend at the time over to the garage to help get the rear axle under the frame. This was the first time the chassis was a roller!


    We set the body on, and my dad hopped in for a photo:


    I was able to get the girlfriend to snap a photo of me the next day:


    I really liked how everything turned out, but one of the things that bugged me about the car was the stance. Ivo's T has been described as sitting level with a rubber rake, and that was initially what I was going for. Well, my first choice in rear tires netted a negative chassis rake due to the tire diameter being significantly smaller than advertised. I wasn't too happy about that, but figured if I stared at it long enough, I would figure something out.


    I posted (as mentioned previously) some photos on "the bucket of ugly" thread (this particular one shows the body mocked up with the initial 3" channel), and the consensus was that the rear needed to come up a bit. That confirmed my suspicion and fear. I wasn't sure how I was going to accomplish that without either spending a lot of money or re-doing a lot of things. Basically, I was freaking out for no reason. I found those 1/4" spring spacers Speedway sells and ordered up a few of them (ok, the OCD in me ordered 8, thinking that would certainly be way too many). Well, it wasn't really enough - which makes sense if you consider they designed this frame with a spring-on-top axle configuration out back and spring-behind in front - neither of which I was doing, but it was still frustrating for me to figure out where my solution was hiding. I'll cover some other details in the wheels/tires section, but basically I needed some more height here....

    Fast forward awhile..... like a couple years awhile.... and I ordered different tires, and used 4 of the 1/4" spring spacers, and I'm much happier with how things turned out.


    I mentioned my hatred for the rear panhard bar. Technically, I don't need one because of my shackle angles, but I figured I should at least try to make one work. So, I thought about it for a bit, read a lot on the HAMB and elsewhere, and came up with an idea. It's way unconventional and I'm compromising in a few areas, but I feel this is the best use of the space I have available. If it totally sucks, I'll just remove it and go without one. No harm done.

    I made a bracket using pieces of the forged panhard bar brackets....


    .....and gusseted it after discussing my design with my friend, Paul Gilbert (Kiwi Tinbender).


    I then mocked up the panhard bar, bending up and over the 3rd member. I will have a friend with a torch heat and bend the final revision panhard bar, and we will gusset each bend with drilled steel plate for strength and aesthetics. It is mounted to the frame in such a way that the mounting points will be close to level at ride height, and I have clearance throughout the suspension travel without having to notch the floor in the bed. I'm happy about that because I need all the room I can get, and I think I'll be happy with the finished product panhard bar... It's just that this version doesn't tell me, "You should be proud you made me". If that makes sense. The mounting point on the frame side of the panhard bar is another pair of forged panhard bar brackets I cut up to make work (I think I only have one done in this photo).


    You can see in the above photo that I moved the shock mounts inboard the frame rails. That was another suggestion Kiwi Tinbender / Paul Gilbert gave me. I really like the way that turned out. I tack-welded some threaded bungs I made to the rear cross-member, then tacked some more re-purposed forged panhard bar brackets to the other side of the shock to give it a double shear orientation. I think I will add some small 90* gussets to these brackets and the frame for good measure. I actually cut these tacks and moved the shock mounts down from this picture; I just don't have any photos of that. I'll replace this photo with a better one.


    Here you can see the various pieces of the rear suspension in various stages of completion.


    I have a lot of sanding/drilling/shaping/filling ahead of me on the rear suspension to get it to the level the front suspension was finished to, so this (and the transmission work - see below) is where I'll be focusing my time spent in the garage. I'll update each posting as I get the tasks completed.
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2015
    Stogy, hipster, exterminator and 2 others like this.
  7. Tim_with_a_T
    Joined: Apr 30, 2011
    Posts: 1,013



    When I initially started to plan this build, I was thinking I wanted to run spindle mount wheels up front with no brakes. After thinking long and hard about that, and after narrowing down the era I was loosely trying to fit in, I decided against that. As I've become more immersed in the hot rod culture (thanks to the HAMB), I've come to the conclusion that there is nothing more beautiful than early Ford chassis components hanging out there for all to see on an open wheeled hot rod. For this reason, I decided to run drum brakes on all four corners.

    Front Brakes:

    The front brakes are composed of:
    • 1946-1948 Ford backing plates
    • 1946-1948 Ford drums and hubs
    • 12" x 1-3/4" shoes (Raybestos P/N: 37PG)
    • 1" , 1-3/8" bore wheel cylinders - (CarQuest/EIS P/N: EW156000), LF and (CarQuest/EIS P/N: EW156001), RF
    • Brake hoses ( CarQuest/EIS P/N: SP296) - check if this is what I'm using...
    • Brake shoe springs, Sacramento Vintage Ford (P/N: 05280)
    • Front outer bearing (BCA/Bower P/N: 09074)
    • Front outer race (BCA/Bower P/N: 09196)
    • Front inner bearing (BCA/Bower P/N: 15118)
    • Front inner race (BCA/Bower P/N: 15250X)
    • Front wheel seal (National Seal P/N: 5796)
    • Spindle nuts/washers/pins, Speedway (P/N: 910-616004)
    • Dust caps (P/N: 51A-1139)
    • Reproduction Bell Automotive cast aluminum brake scoops
    • Fasteners

    In my initial haste of searching for hot rod parts, I came across James, a Portland area Model A restorer, selling a pair of 1953-1956 F100 brakes that he'd already adapted to early Ford spindles. I initially thought they would be great, but because of the wheels I was using, I had to run wheel spacers to get the back of the wheel to clear the drum.


    After a few people commented on the scrub radius, I began thinking these brakes should probably go to someone else.


    In a last ditch attempt to use what I had, I tried to face the wheel spacers to the minimum clearance needed to get the wheels to fit. It worked, and it looked much better, but I still didn't like it.


    Rear drum pictured, but you get the idea. That was a lot of material to remove 0.005" at a time on my tiny lathe (x 4 wheel spacers). LOL


    I was going to purchase some new reproduction Lincoln units, but I found way too good of a deal on a pair of already rebuilt 1946-1948 Ford "juice" brakes locally on craigslist (don't remember his name, just remember he wasn't too far from SoCal Speed Shop - LOL), so I ended up with those. Swapping front brakes moved each of the wheels toward the center of the car about 1.5", which immensely improved aesthetics and moved the scrub radius right where it needed to be.

    Before: (notice some top hardware and a Moon tank - more on those later)




    Here's the two together - the 11" F100's (Left), and the 12" juice brakes (Right):
    You can see why no wheel spacer is necessary on the 12" juice brakes because of the raised drum/hub surface. My only complaint is that red paint is hard to get off!


    Now that I had the front brakes narrowed down, I could dress them up a bit. As most of you guys know, the main disadvantage of drum brakes over disc is their ability to loose heat. As the drums get hotter, the drum expands, and the shoes must travel further to contact the drum surface. That's why drum brakes fade so bad. In a disc brake application, the rotor expands, but this puts the surface of the rotor closer to the pads, so they still function properly. The rotor is also fully exposed to ambient air, allowing it to cool more efficiently than a drum stuffed in between a wheel and a backing plate.

    Well, in the early days of hot rodding, before disc brakes were common, the hot rodders would drill holes in the backing plates to allow heat to escape. In some instances, scoops were added to the backing plates to channel air into the drum surface to help cool the drums at high speeds. Drilled backing plates and scoops also look really cool, so it's kind of a must on an open wheeled roadster.

    So, I bribed my brother Andy with some adult beverages in exchange for some help sanding the cast aluminum brake scoops.


    Meanwhile, I was sanding on the backing plates.


    I then made a couple patterns to cut out the vented areas. The outside edges represent the pattern for the stainless screens (which were leftover carburetor scoop screens), and the inside edges represent my cut lines for the backing plates. It was not fun cutting those out with a Dremel tool. You can see the backing plate on the right - that was how I initially thought I would vent them, but I went with a more subtle look.


    The brake scoops took a little filing to get them to fit the backing plates, but overall they fit really well.


    Here's how I drilled the backing plates underneath the scoops.


    One more shot without the scoop on to see what we're dealing with.


    I will update as these get polished/powder-coated, but that's where I'm at for now.

    Rear brakes:

    The rear brakes are composed of:
    • Ford 11" x 2.25" backing plates (I should record the stamped part numbers here)
    • 11" x 2.25" drums, CarQuest (P/N: BDR 8951)
    • 11" x 2.25" shoes, CarQuest (P/N: FRI BS582R)
    • Wheel cylinders, need to check what size, Raybestos (P/N: W59240) - Driver's side, (P/N: W59241) - Passenger's side
    • Hardware kit, which may not be correct - see below, Raybestos (P/N: H7071)
    • Adjuster kit, Dorman (P/N: HW2544) - Driver's side, (P/N: HW2545) - Passenger's side
    • Maybe include the shoe cross bar P/N's and emergency brake lever P/N's
    • Brake hose, CarQuest (P/N: SP1118) - may change this...
    • Fasteners
      • T nuts (already covered in rear suspension)
      • size ? polished stainless bolts with star washers, Qty. 4 -wheel cylinders-
    In the rear suspension post, I discussed the process of narrowing the rear axle housing with Dutchman Axles. My housing originally came with backing plates that would hold 11" x 1.75" shoes, and Dutchman gave me the option to upgrade to larger drums when building the offset of my axles. That seemed like a good idea to me, so I set out to look for some backing plates that would accommodate the bigger shoes. I went to Boring U-Pull-it, and I found a long row of full sized Ford pickups from the 1970's to the late 19990's. Full size, five lug Ford pickups, from my understanding, have had the same bolt pattern (5 x 5.5" - e.g. early Ford bolt pattern), from the 1920's to present, or at least very recent. I honed in on a pickup that had the most complete rear axle, then pulled the drums, axles, shoes and hardware, and finally the backing plates off the axle. I figured I'd be getting most of that stuff new, so I purchased the backing plates and internal hardware/levers only.

    Well, I got the backing plates home and compared them to my old backing plates... Although the backing plates were both for a big bearing Ford 9", the bolt hole size and pattern was different (old style that accepts 1/2" T nuts - what my axle is, and new style that accepts 3/8" T nuts - what my purchased backing plates came off of). Did I mention it was snowing when I pulled these backing plates at the wrecking yard, and did I mention I did that without a bearing/axle puller??? I wasn't about to go back out there and do that all over again LOL.

    So, I welded the purchased backing plates up, made a pattern of my axle bearing housing flange, transferred, drilled, and presto:




    I slid the drums on, and even with the star adjuster run all the way in, the shoes still dragged. I confirmed this after pushing the car in and out of the garage a few times - did I mention that getting it back into the garage is literally an uphill battle? Not a very fun task to do by yourself!

    After pulling things apart again, I began to investigate. I was afraid I somehow got the bolt pattern re-drilling off far enough that the shoes weren't centered in the drum, and that was causing the dragging. I was thankful to find that wasn't the case, but I still couldn't track it down.... I mean, I really over-analyzed the situation. I proceeded by pulling out my calipers and micrometer, measuring and recording every dimension to the thousandth, going round and round for a couple hours with no solution. The only thing I was able to see was where the shoes were dragging, and I began to think the shoes weren't arced correctly, but after checking that, I saw that wasn't the case, either.


    Then..... I saw something. As a last resort, I dug out the wrecking yard hardware to compare to what I'd purchased from the parts house. Hmm......




    .........And that made all the difference. It's kind of ridiculous how something so simple can wreak so much havoc. I'm glad I didn't try to drive it like this and smoke a pair of shoes in the process, but I'm a little embarrassed. Oh well. Lesson learned.

    That's about all I have for rear brakes at the moment. I'm trying to figure out if I want to drill the rear backing plates or not (my thoughts right now are...yes, of course you do), and I need to sand and powder-coat the drums and backing plates still. I'll update photos here.
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2015
  8. Tim_with_a_T
    Joined: Apr 30, 2011
    Posts: 1,013



    This is something that's a "still under construction" item. I initially planned to run a TH-350 transmission, so I bought a Lokar transmission mount shifter and associated transmission mount emergency brake components. Now that I'm not using a TH-350, my plan is to make a bracket locating the emergency brake handle to the passenger's side of the transmission case (similar to the TH-350 mounting configuration), that way I don't create a whole lot of extra work for myself.

    The emergency braking system is composed of:
    • Lokar 11" transmission mount emergency brake handle (P/N: EHB-7011)
    • Lokar transmission boot and stainless ring (P/N: 70-EHBT) - with custom stitched boot, courtesy of my mom, Vicky Connelly
    • Lokar transmission mount brake cables (P/N: EC-80TU)
    • SoCal ladder bar emergency brake cable clamps (P/N: 001-62141)
    • Ford factory internal emergency brake levers (P/N: )
    For now, I'll just post a couple pictures to give you an idea, then get more specific once I've completed the project. The Lokar cables and handle are really easy to install; all you have to do is follow their instructions. I might pick up another pair of the ladder bar cable brackets to get the cables a little tighter to the ladder bars, which I think would tidy it up a bit.

    View attachment 3077162

    View attachment 3077163


    View attachment 3739259


    View attachment 3739263

    View attachment 3739264

    View attachment 3739265






    By now, you've seen a few pictures of the car with the wheels/tires on, and you're probably wondering why I decided to run a combination of early Ford wire wheels with whitewall tires on a T bucket loosely trying to fit into a late 1950's - early 1960's time period....

    Well, my answer to that is - because that's what I think looks good! But in an effort to preserve the past "the way it was", I feel the need to explain this further. Just because 1935 Ford wire wheels were around in the late 1950's doesn't mean they were being used on hot rod builds of that time. Wire wheels were more of a 1940's era hot rodding wheel. White walls were being used in the late 1950's- sure, but the trend seemed to be following more of a 15" white wall tire on a 15" painted steel wheel. All you gotta do to confirm this is look in the old magazines. I think the perfect example of what could be built today following strict guidelines of period correct for a T bucket is Gary's (steel rebel) roadster. I need to mention him here because he and his car have been a secondary influence to my build, so as a token of appreciation, I give you Gary's car (with some really ugly dude sitting in it at LARS this year):

    View attachment 3077180

    For more information on "period correct", head on over to "the bucket of ugly" thread, linked at the top of this build thread. What separates my build from Gary's is "period correct" vs. "traditionally styled", and this goes for the entire car - not just wheels and tires. Ok, I think I've covered enough about that to avoid confusing anyone.

    I wanted to run a set of early Ford wire wheels on this car. They came in a variety of sizes, but the 16" wires (1935) seem to be easiest to get a decent selection of tires for. With early Ford wire wheels, you must (assuming you're running post-1935 drums/hubs) run a support ring similar to Speedway P/N: 910-65470, which allows you to properly index the wheel to the hub. The early drums/hubs (pre-1936) had this feature cast in, so it was not needed. I got mine from Tom Godish at the Model A Ford Works here in Portland. If you're going to run the wire wheels on post-1948 Ford drums (or anything non-Ford), you're going to need wheel spacers as well (wheel adapters if different bolt pattern). I've read that the spacers need to be 1.5", but that's very conservative. As you've seen above, I trimmed quite a bit off my 1.5" wheel spacers (which also have the additional 0.125" wire wheel support rings to account for). I'll measure my cut down wheel spacers and post the thickness here.

    I'm not exactly sure why, but it took me awhile to hunt down and complete a set of 1935 Ford wire wheels, which are 16" x 4". I know for sure I got a couple of them from a guy named Freddy in SE Portland, who specializes in early Ford parts. He also has a NEAT collection of American flags - like from the 13 colonies all the way on up to 50 stars. About the time I got my set of wheels over to Russel to powder-coat, I found about 6 more in much better shape than the ones I just had powder-coated. Oh well- if I have any problems, I at least have a good "reserves" pile to pull from. Regardless of the initial condition of the wheels, Russel did an amazing job with them:


    As far as wheels go, that's pretty much it... I've considered having a pair of the "reserves" widened for Radir cheater slicks, but I'll deal with that after the car is on the road and when my pockets are a little deeper.

    One other option I might consider is a pretty cool pair of old chrome steelies that came on a 1936 Ford rear axle I bought for another project. They are 5 x 5.5" bolt pattern and 15" x 8"ish. I'll try to get a pic of them soon. If I go this route, my thought was to skip the wire wheel widening, get these bad boys powder-coated black to match the others, and get a pair of Radir cheater slicks mounted on them to share between 2 vehicles (the T and the other project).

    For front tires, I went with a pair of Firestone Deluxe Champion 4.50-16's (P/N: 633505). They are about 26" tall and have just under 4" tread width. I used a pair of 400/500 radial tubes with TR15 valve stems from Industrial Tire in Portland.

    For rear tires, I tried a pair of Hurst retread radial cheater slicks. I had them made with new radial casings, and I picked them up directly from their shop in Oregon City. Their website advertised them to be an 8" x 30" tire, but - they were heavier than expected and not even close to that diameter - as mentioned in the rear suspension post. Hurst also went out of business shortly thereafter, so I knew I wouldn't be getting a replacement pair (when the time came) and decided to unload them. I will say the quality was very good other than the advertised diameter being all out of whack. For a reference sake, here's what the setup looked like together:


    View attachment 3077394

    After a couple years of deciding what I was going to do about the rear tires, I finally caved and just ordered a pair of Firestone Deluxe Champion 7.50-16's (P/N: 682310) to match the front tires. They are around 31.5" tall and have about 5" of tread.... needless to say, I think the Radir cheater slicks aren't a matter of if, but when....LOL. I used a pair 700/750 radial tubes with TR15 valve stems with the 7.50 Firestones. Visually, I like the Firestones a lot better on the car than the Hurst setup.

    Firestones vs. Hurst


    Mounted up:

    View attachment 3077396

    Can you say Big n' Littles ???


    This is probably a good time to mention tubes, bias ply tires, and balancing.

    In case you don't know, (because I didn't) tubes come in different sizes, different valve stem diameter and orientation, and in a radial or bias ply configuration. So, you first match up roughly the size of your tube to the size of tire you're going to stuff the tube in. Easy enough. Then, you gotta measure the diameter of the valve stem hole on your wheels. TR15 valve stem fits in a 5/8" hole, which is what my wheels have. Now, when it comes to radial tube vs. bias tube, the radial tube is thicker (from what I've been told). You can run the thicker radial tubes in a bias ply tire no problem, then you're less likely to get a flat! I would advise you check all this stuff out in advance, then order from an online catalog that has GOOD pictures of the valve stems so you don't end up with:
    • the wrong diameter valve stems
    (tire shop "E" guy gave me TR13's, which are 7/16", and that was after stopping in at tire shop "A", "B", "C", and "D" who didn't even know what I was asking for...)
    • or with valve stems that are about 14" long with a 90* bend in them
    (like the ones I somehow ordered from Summit)

    As far as bias ply tires go, you need tubes in them. As far as early Ford wheels go, you need tubes in them (advice I was given from several sources).... even in a radial application, due to the design of the wheel lip potentially being unable to get an air tight seal on the tire bead. To me, this is one of those better safe than dead scenarios...

    For balancing, I'm going to try Dyna Beads. I started typing out a post to explain how it works, but their website does a decent enough job ( I'm planning to give this a try so I don't have ugly wheel weights hanging all over the place; from what I understand, these wheels were never balanced in 1935 (and I'm sure they'd balance out "just fine!" 80 years of abuse later LOL). Anyway, that's where I'm at with that. I'll post updates as they come along here.


    I mentioned earlier in this thread that I'm using a cross-steering arrangement. I initially purchased a used Vega steering box at a swap meet that was pretty worn out, thinking I would pull it apart to rebuild it. It turns out you can't really do that without a lot of work and getting ahold of obscure parts - like oversize bushings and such. I also had to use a fire extinguisher for the first time in my life getting the pitman arm off the splined shaft.... The thing was STUCK. I broke two Craftsman pitman arm pullers - one 2 jaw, and one 3 jaw.... then got out the torch..... a few minutes later I'm watching grease run out of the seals like water..... "Wow, that must be pretty hot in...." FLASHPOINT! both my eyebrows and all my eyelashes vaporized, I may have pooed a little, and I had a somewhat small, but most certainly uncontained grease fire in my "storage garage". Thank God my brother had given me the fire extinguisher that came in his latest project pickup purchase. "I don't need this turd. Take it to your shop - you may need it someday," he says.....

    Needless to say, the "storage garage" got the biggest fire extinguisher I could find after that, and the "gently used" Vega box went into the swap meet pile. Don't worry; I sold it ultra cheap, basically telling the guy he was paying for the pitman arm, which I had eventually removed after suffering minor burns on my face and in my underwear...

    The steering is composed of:

    • Moon 3 spoke steering wheel (Corvette style) I bought from my friend Corey Jones and Moon horn cap I bought from SoCal, (P/N: GS8027IC)
    • ididit "old school" steering column, which is cut to fit (P/N: 1012360010)
    • Fabricated steering column mount using 3/8" steel plate and 1.5" ID, 0.125" wall steel tubing
    • Sweet Mfg. Double D / 3/4" weld-on steering U-joint, Speedway (P/N: 910-32292-PLN)
    • Speedway 3/4" OD, 0.120" wall steering tubing, cut to fit (P/N: 916-32201-36)
    • Sweet Mfg. 5/8", 36 spline / 3/4" weld-on steering U-joint , Speedway (P/N: 910-32235-PLN)
    • Vega box, Mullins from SoCal (P/N: PNJ-8000)
    • Vega box mounting plate, SoCal (P/N: 001-62160)
    Here's an ultra-ghetto (and not at all correctly located) mock-up I used to estimate the angle of my steering column- a wooden dowel that I screwed my steering wheel to:


    Mocking up where I wanted the steering box:


    Here's the steering column mounting plate:


    And here is the tube the column will go through. Theoretically, it should have snugly slid right through, but I ended up spending about an hour with a flap wheel in a Dremel on the ID:


    How the arrangement will go together, only at an angle:


    I slotted the end of the tube, then welded some stuff together to make a clamp:


    Out of order, but to show the clamping:


    Tack welded at the estimated angle and mounted to the firewall:


    Spent quite a bit of time cutting the angled bore through the steel plate, the 3/4" Oak, and the firewall:


    Out the other side:


    I then trimmed the column to desired length and connected column to steering box (under the motor mount all stealth-like, too):


    Between these two photos, I think you get the idea:



    Pitman arm is level to the ground and points straight ahead when in neutral position:


    And that's all I have for steering for now. I'll post some more photos after things get finished up.
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2017
  9. Tim_with_a_T
    Joined: Apr 30, 2011
    Posts: 1,013



    This post will be a bit longer than the others because there's a lot to discuss here. I'm going to post the part numbers at the top for easy access, tell the build story next, then finally cover the technical goals of the project.

    The engine is composed of the following:

    Short Block:
    • Chevrolet 3970014 block, 2 bolt main, 4.060" bore.
    • Chevrolet cast crankshaft, 3.48" stroke.
      • I don't remember exactly, but I think the rod journals are ground 0.020"
      • I don't remember exactly here either, but I think the main journals are ground 0.010"
    • Chevrolet 5.7" rods, resized
    • Unknown cast pistons with moly rings, 4.060" bore, 4 valve reliefs, 1.560" compression height, estimated +6.00 cc volume
    • Generic rod, main, and cam bearings with brass freeze plugs and steel NPT plugs
    • Melling high volume oil pump (P/N: M55HV)
    • ARP steel oil pump driveshaft (P/N: 134-7901)
    • Chevrolet 5 quart capacity, internally baffled, truck pan with 1/2" NPT bung welded in for Oil Temp gauge fitting
    • WIX oil filter (P/N: 51069), giving 6 quarts total capacity
    • Brad Penn break in oil, then Brad Penn 10-30???
    Cylinder heads:
    • Vortec 10239906 castings
    • Stainless 1.94 Intake and 1.50 Exhaust valves
    • Dual valve springs capable of handling at least 0.525" lift
    • New valve guides, locks, spring retainers, and posi seals
    • Allen head set screws threaded into accessory bolt holes, then filled to hide them
    • Speedway valve cover adapters (P/N: 910-17157) to adapt to 1955-59 and 1960-1986 valve covers
    Camshaft and Valvetrain:
    • Oregon Cam Grinding Custom ground cam, ground to Comp XE274 specs: 230/236 @ 0.050", 0.523"/0.523" w/ 1.6 rockers, 110* LSA, 106* intake centerline
    • Generic Hydraulic lifters
    • Comp Cams Magnum roller tip 1.6 ratio rockers and pushrods (P/N: )
    • Generic double roller timing chain, factory timing cover, 8" balancer, and chrome pointer
    Air and Fuel:
    • Edelbrock tri power intake for Vortec heads (P/N: 5417)
    • 3 Rochester small base 2bbl. carbs with side fuel inlets
      • Primary Carb
        • Speedway extended throttle shaft (P/N: 910-11593)
        • Rochester 6* throttle plates
        • Rochester stainless steel needle valve
        • Automotion power piston selected for my camshaft
        • Automotion power valve
        • Automotion accelerator pump with blue cup
        • Air bleeds drilled/tapped to accept #6-32 Holley air bleeds
        • Main jets drilled/tapped to accept 1/4-28 Holley main jets
        • Aluminum carburetor spacer, 1", open design
      • Secondary Carbs
        • Speedway extended throttle shafts (P/N: 910-11594), Qty. 2
        • Speedway 20* throttle plates (P/N: 910-11640), Qty. 4
        • Rochester stainless steel needle valves, Qty. 2
        • Automotion accelerator pump with blue cup, Qty. 2
        • Air bleeds drilled/tapped to accept #6-32 Holley air bleeds
        • Main jets drilled/tapped to accept 1/4-28 Holley main jets
        • Aluminum carburetor spacers, 1", open design, Qty. 2
    • Lokar throttle cable bracket and return springs (P/N: TRP-4003)
    • Lokar throttle cable (P/N: TC-1000HT)
    • Custom made progressive tri power linkage:
      • 3/8" machined aluminum carb arm, Qty. 1
      • 3/8" machined aluminum carb arm, Qty. 2
      • Custom threaded stainless steel tie rod, #10-32 thread, Qty. 1
      • Custom threaded stainless steel tie rod, #10-32 thread, LH and RH, Qty. 1
      • Custom machined stainless steel pivot pin, Qty. 1
      • QA1 rod end, female RH threads (P/N: HFR3T), Qty. 2
      • QAT rod end, female LH threads (P/N: HFL3T), Qty. 1
    • Holley 110GPH fuel pump (P/N: 12-327-11) with ARP pump push rod (P/N: 134-8701)
    • Holley 1 - 4 psi fuel pressure regulator (P/N: 12-804)
    • AC Delco reproduction glass bowl fuel filter, Filling Station (P/N: )
    • PCV valve, hidden under intake, (P/N: V100)
    • AC Delco breather cap with chrome oil fill tube
    • Chevrolet single points distributor with vacuum advance (painted black to resemble early cast distributors)
    • MSD "Street Fire" cap and rotor (P/N: 5500)
    • Pertronix Ignitor module (P/N: 1181LS)
    • Pertronix 40,000 V, 1.5 Ohm chrome coil (P/N: 40001)
    • Crane Cams adjustable advance kit - springs and vacuum canister (P/N: 99600-1)
    • MSD "Street Fire" ignition module with rev limiter (P/N: 5520)
    • Pertronix 7mm plug wires (P/N: 708103)
    • E3 spark plugs (P/N: E3.52)
    • Chevrolet short style water pump, rebuilt
    • Mr. Gasket high flow 160* thermostat (P/N: 4363)
    • GM thermostat housing, aluminum (P/N: )
    • Upper radiator hose, Gates (P/N: 20475?)
    • Lower radiator hose, Gates (P/N: )
    • Speedway "classic" roadster headers, plain steel (P/N: 930-CR100) - powder-coated ???
    • Edelbrock O2 bungs welded in (P/N: 91172) and plugs, Summit (P/N: AAF-ALL34150)
    • Speedway 20" collectors, plain steel (P/N: 910-13378)
    • Speedway auger style mufflers (P/N: 910-13984-3.5), rougly 1.5 per header
    • Steel wool wrapped in augers.... will probably replace with fiberglass
    • FelPro one piece oil pan gasket (P/N: OS34510T)
    • FelPro R.A.C.E. gasket set (P/N: 2702)
    • FelPro composite head gaskets (P/N: 1094), 0.015" thickness, 4.100" bore
    • FelPro cork valve cover gaskets (P/N: VS12869)
    • Vortec intake gaskets (P/N: )
    • Speedway supplied header gaskets
    • Carburetor gaskets, Carquest (P/N: 371-B), Qty. 3
    • GM main cap bolts
    • GM connecting rod bolts
    • Comp cams cam bolts (4611-3)
    • ARP oil pump stud (P/N: 230-7003)
    • ARP balancer bolt (P/N: 134-2501)
    • ARP stainless head bolts (P/N: 434-3601)
    • ARP stainless header studs (P/N: 400-1402)
    • ARP starter bolts (P/N: 430-3502)
    • Misc. polished stainless fasteners for water pump, mechanical fan, thermostat housing, carburetors, intake manifold, distributor hold down, bellhousing bolts, timing cover bolts, oil pan bolts, fuel pump bolts
    Dress up:
    • Offenhauser staggered valve covers, polished aluminum (P/N: 3288)
    • Speedway frog mouth scoops (P/N: 916-11001) with washable elements (P/N: 910-4119), Qty. 3
    • Cal Custom louvered air cleaners (P/N: CAL-187147) with washable elements (P/N: 910-11014), Qty. 3
    • OTB gear finned coil cover, polished aluminum (P/N: 6831)
    • Lokar braided stainless oil dipstick (P/N: ED-5002)

    There are quite a few books out there on engine building, horsepower, bolt-ons, etc. I've read a handful of them, but the one I found most helpful was Chevy Hi-Performance's "Small Block Chevy Engine Buildups" ( It has the most informative, easy to understand information covering a wide variety of builds using similar parts, then comparing them. I highly recommend that book if you're a Chevy geek like me!

    The engine for this car has been, and continues to be, a back and forth battle for me. On one hand, I wanted to do a period correct, down to the bolts, early SBC mill, but on the other hand, I had this freshly machined 350 block sitting on an engine stand without a home (unless you called the year or two it sat under plastic in my 2nd floor apartment's kitchen a home). At this present time, my thoughts are that the build as a whole is not period correct down to the bolts, but the next project in the queue is shaping up to be that way, so I think I will continue as planned with the generic, boring, "belly button" SBC.

    The 350 SBC in the car right now, while not being period correct, is traditionally styled, much like the rest of the build. My goal with this post is to show others that you can dress up a later model block and use what you have to get the look you want.

    I found the engine (somewhat) locally for sale on craigslist, much like a lot of the other parts that ended up on the car. As you know, buying anything used is always a gamble, especially an engine sitting on a stand in an empty, dirt floor barn way out in the middle of BFE. At the time of purchase, I had an OT early 1970's Camaro that was using oil a little more than I'd like, so I was searching for a cheap, easy replacement engine.

    I found this engine, with casting number 3970014, which is the same as what that car's engine had. My initial plans for it were to clone a 1970's LT-1 engine and swap it into the Camaro to enjoy for awhile. It was supposedly fully rebuilt by a "top builder" (who the guy couldn't remember the name of) with forged flat top pistons, heads gone through, the whole 9 yards, kit and kaboodle. I could see it was fairly clean and complete, and it had chrome valve covers, Edelbrock Performer, Holley 1850 (but uncovered), headers(also not capped/covered), and an HEI.

    I asked if I could pull a valve cover to inspect, and he didn't like that idea. "Guess I won't be asking to pull the intake or the pan then," I thought. He only wanted $300, and I did drive like an hour and a half to check this matching casting number block out, and I figured I could unload the parts I didn't want for his asking price to swap over what I already had, so I took a chance. Long story short, I pulled the oil pan at home to find the oil pump pickup laying in there, so that was...... neat...... Yeah, neat is the word. It also featured a flat cam (imagine that - no oil = flat cam?), torched bearings, and cast pistons rather than forged. Super. Duper. Neat.

    I sold everything but the short block for what ended up being a decent net gain, so I packed up the block, crank, rods, pistons, and took them over to Brad at Don's Machine Shop in Gresham. My brother and I have used them for several projects with excellent results each time. In fact! I forgot this until just now, but Brad fit the kingpins to the bushings on my spindles! Anyway, Brad and I discussed a budget build as I was still in community college at the time with not a lot of money to spend. I guess not much has changed since then LOL.

    The block was already 0.060" over, but Brad was able to clean it up with a hone. He also checked out the pistons, said they were fine, and that he wouldn't hesitate to re-use them. The rods needed re-sized, but the crank only needed polished (going off the receipt here, I don't remember exactly). He also balanced the assembly and installed the cam bearings and freeze plugs into the block. I got the engine back, the OT car went away, and this engine sat around for quite awhile, so you can see that when it was time to look for an engine, I simply needed to look no further than to the left of the refrigerator! ..... I know, I know. Long story short, I ended up with this work-space and started the bucket build. One of the first work-space projects was to assemble the short block. My brother helped me get that done, and we followed the procedures and specs in the CHP book mentioned above. We didn't get too carried away with a fancy assembly; we just checked the clearances with feeler gauges and Plastigage, used a torque wrench to get the main and rod caps tight, and a ring compressor to get the pistons in the holes.

    I guess a couple random, simple tips I can give you that I learned:
    • Clean the block, namely the cylinder walls, (before assembly and lube) with lint free towels and ATF
    • Put two small stubs of fuel line or similar over the studs on the connecting rods, so that when you pop the pistons into the bores, you don't accidentally scratch up the cylinder walls or gouge the rod journals on the crank.
    • Make sure you use something soft to knock the pistons in, like a rubber mallet or the wooden handle of a hammer, etc. That way you don't end up damaging a piston.
    • And one last one in case you forget.... the rod caps mate to the connecting rods "tang to tang".
    Bare block:


    And completed. Can't take too many pictures when your hands are covered in assembly lube!


    I found this picture mocking up what appears to be the bare block in the frame, so I guess I must have assembled the engine awhile after I started the chassis mock-up, but I don't remember it that way. My dad, who was in town for a visit with my mom, stands far enough to the back of the garage that should the cable snap, only my life will be in imminent danger. LOL.


    After we got the short block completed, I taped off all the sealing surfaces and freeze plugs and painted the engine with VHT's High Temp Engine Gloss Black. I kept the tape on after painting to keep the dirt out of the engine. I know I used the short block for mock-up purposes, but I think it was taped up like that for a year or so.

    I'm notorious for being unable to make up my mind, and the direction I wanted to go with the engine build was no exception. Things have their way of naturally falling into place, though. For example, there was a swap meet I wanted to go to, but couldn't make it because I was working that weekend. My friend Corey was going and told me he'd keep an eye out for a pair of staggered Offenhauser valve covers that he knew I was looking for. Well, lo and behold, he found a pair - in their original box - and for a great price, too! I was super stoked to get my hands on them. If you've ever bought stuff from Offy, they tend to use LA area newspapers for packing material, which can give you a pretty good idea of how old your part is. I pulled these babies out of the box, and they looked amazing. They were beautifully polished and no pitting. I looked at the newspaper they were wrapped in, and my heart skipped a beat or three. March 1, 1986. That happens to be the day I was born. Destiny. Pure destiny.

    Over the next several months, I was able to hunt down some needed items from Joe DiOrio, Jr. at Old Car Parts. I got some good, rebuildable Rochester 2 Jets, a rebuilt short water pump, a rebuilt starter, a points style distributor that I went through, a GM straight style aluminum water neck, an AC Delco breather cap, an AC Delco 12 volt generator that I rebuilt, an NOS AC Delco 12V voltage regulator, an NOS timing cover as mine wasn't too great, and probably a couple other things I'm forgetting.

    One other example of things falling into place was on the cylinder heads. That book I reference has a few write-ups about Vortec heads, and I will agree that for the money, you can't beat them. Well, one day I found a pair of 10239906 castings on craigslist in SE Portland from a guy abandoning a boat motor build project. THEY WERE STUPID CHEAP. Let's put it this way: he also threw in a braided stainless Lokar engine dipstick for the late model SBC blocks that I sold off, which paid for the heads.

    Once again, I headed over to see Brad at Don's Machine Shop. After he heard the story on the heads, he said, "I guarantee you they're cracked." So - for a moment - my hopes, dreams, and life aspirations were crushed with verbal veracity, but the phone call a few days later restored all strength to continue living: "The heads magged out just fine. I can't believe you got those for so cheap."

    We then discussed where I wanted to go with this build - cam, heads, compression, induction, spark. I told him what I was thinking, then he brought me back to planet earth. LOL. He suggested we take a cam core over to Oregon Cam Grinding and have them grind the specs of Comp Cams XE274. That sounded like a good idea, but I didn't have a cam core - I must have tossed the cam that came from the motor when I pulled it apart. So, Brad being the legit guy that he is supplied me with a cam core. He then rebuilt the heads by machining down the valve guide bosses to accept larger diameter springs capable of controlling more lobe lift. I told him I wanted to run 1.6 ratio rockers, so that was factored into the spring selection. He also put in new stainless steel valves, gave the heads a fresh valve job, and assembled them for me with new valve seals, retainers, etc. I picked up the fresh heads, the cam, a generic set of lifters, and some Brad Penn break in oil about a week later:


    I have no detailed photos of the assembly of the long block, either; but I'll explain here why I used the parts I chose. In the Chevy Hi-Performance book, one of the builds uses a Goodwrench crate engine, Vortec heads, XE-268 cam, 1.6 rockers, Edelbrock Air Gap, and Holley 3310. Their engine had 9.4:1 static compression, and they were able to get 408 horsepower and 430 ft-lbs of torque. I really want to be able to say the engine makes 400 hp, but I know the tri power is going to give up some power - partially because of the design of the manifold and partially because of the size of the carburetors. Rather than copy that build exactly, I figured I could offset the losses of the tri power by upping the compression and going bigger on the camshaft. I used FelPro 0.015" composite shim gaskets to help boost compression to roughly 10.5:1 and get my quench to 0.040". Desktop Dyno is showing a 400/400 combination using the parameters I've guess-timated, but only time will tell if any of that is correct or not.

    In order to get the carburetors whipped into shape, I bead blasted them at my friend Chris Spear's shop, then used Alodine to re-color them. ABSOLUTELY use gloves and make sure your skin is covered if you use this stuff. I found the best results were to dip the carburetors into straight Alodine for a few minutes, then let them air dry on the bench overnight. If I tried a diluted solution or rinsed them in water after dipping, the color was too light to look correct. Anyway, here's where I ended up:


    In order to offset the power I'm going to lose running these tiny things, I decided to work them over a bit. The first thing I did was take a Dremel flap wheel to the bores of the venturi and tops to remove any casting flash, parting lines, light pitting, etc. They came out pretty good. In the event that I'm not satisfied with their performance, I think the next step is going to be boring the venturi larger on a mill. I don't have access to a mill currently, so I'm not going to be doing that just yet. Here's where I got with the Dremel:



    I don't have any photos of this yet, but here I'll show the trimming of the throttle shafts to accept more flow:

    One other thing I did to help these things make more power is increase the ease of tuning. Rochester jets aren't exactly easy (or cheap) to find, so I tapped the main jet wells to 1/4 - 32, which is the thread size of Holley main jets. I already had a Holley jet kit, but I found another one on craigslist, giving me 2 pair per jet size, then picked up some of the smaller jets from Summit in order to have a wide range of tune-ability. I didn't stop there, though. Some of the venturi clusters of the Rochesters were set up in such a way that I thought I could get away with drilling/tapping the air bleeds to accept Holley screw in air bleeds - like what the HP series and similar have. They are a #10-32 thread, though; and I just didn't have the room to go that big. BUT..... I started looking around, and the idle feed restricters on the HP series and high end carburetors are interchangeable, and those have a #6-32 thread. I could definitely make those work, so I dug through my stash of Rochester carbs to find 3 venturi clusters capable of accepting this mod..... I found only 3 out of the 30ish carbs I have laying around, so I got really lucky here:


    I need a picture of the jets and air bleeds I have compiled into a "tuning kit" here:

    One of the things I don't like about tri power stuff is the generic linkage and fuel blocks. Most of them look really cheaply made, and the price definitely does NOT reflect their aesthetics. I know in other parts of the build, the car is riddled with generic stuff, but for some reason this bugged me enough to do something about it. Here's what I ended up with for linkage. You can see in the inset photo the CAD model I made. I sent the files to Product Manufacturing in Canby, who made the various pieces for me. They did a lot of business with the company I was interning for, so they didn't charge me for this. I'm super stoked with how they came out, and I'm very grateful for their excellent workmanship:

    The next thing I did was machine a hexagon aluminum fuel log. I would have made it longer, but I didn't have the distance between head and tailstock on my ancient lathe. I polished it and stamped my last name in the surface:


    You can see in these photos I've got some carb spacers. In a few articles I've read, using a 1" open spacer on a dual plane 4bbl. intake that's got the plenum divider all the way up to the machined surface of the intake will boost low end torque and also add a bit of top end power. I'm just taking that and applying it to the three deuces.


    Now that I had the carburetors somewhat sorted out, I moved onto the intake. I didn't want to have any visible PCV system, so I hid it under the intake. All I did was drill and tap the #8 intake runner to 1/4" NPT, then thread in a PCV valve. I read about that on various threads here, and most of them suggested a baffle of some sort to keep oil droplets from getting sucked into the PCV. I haven't done that yet, but I plan on doing that when I pull the intake off for polishing. Here's the PCV valve installed:


    As part of my Mechanical Engineering thesis paper in college, I researched and discussed the T Bucket's potential to be used as a flex fueled vehicle - the idea being that I could have an "environmentally friendly" vehicle capable of running a variety of different fuels that was assembled from a combination of locally sourced recycled parts and parts sourced from small American manufacturing companies. I'm not going to go into all the details because it's pretty OT for this thread, but I will publish the fuel tuning tables I developed in here in case anyone ever wants to try it out. I'm also including this info so you can see why I went through such great lengths of tune-ability in the carburetors. One last thing I did was make sure that each fuel system component was able to handle various blends of alcohol fuels. Anyway, here's those tables I was talking about:



    So what I plan to do with that is use a cheap Air/Fuel meter to tune the engine using various fuels. The air fuel readings the gauge gives can be converted to and used to tune other fuels than gasoline if you know the lambda numbers of each fuel. The lambda reading for each fuel at its stoichiometric ratio is 1.00, so there's where you can correlate. Because it was pretty cheap to get into, here's what I'm going to use for now:


    I welded O2 bungs into the bottom of each collector, which I can use for tuning:


    Anyway, that's enough coverage of the engine for now. We got the engine running and the camshaft broken in on my birthday: March 1, 2014. My friend Cindy Ormondroyd brought my brother and I lunch in the garage hoping to hear it fire up, but we weren't able to get it going until after dinner! It was still a great day, though. You can see the engine is running on an engine stand designed for static engine assembly.... My chassis was tack welded together in too many places to risk running the engine in the car. I figured I could weld in a "V" support in the front of the engine, tying the motor mounts to the base of the engine stand, and that would be ok. It seemed to work fine. Someone later mentioned that it would have been a good idea to ratchet strap the engine to each side of the garage walls to keep it from rocking so much, and I think that would be all I would do differently if I was to try that again LOL. All our hard work paid off in plumes of smoke as paint baked off the headers and block:

    Here is the engine idling for the first time after the break-in the following day:

    As I find out more relating to the tuning/carburetors/etc., I'll post the info here.
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2018
  10. Tim_with_a_T
    Joined: Apr 30, 2011
    Posts: 1,013



    As I have mentioned in prior posts, I initially planned to use the tried and true "belly button" TH-350 transmission. The transmission cross-member, ladder bar mounts and thus ladder bar length, and the driveshaft were made with this transmission in mind, among a few other items of smaller significance. Well, long story short, I wanted a manual transmission from the beginning in the bucket, but I just didn't think I had the room. I also had already purchased the rebuilt TH-350 for the OT car mentioned above from a guy named Mark in the Home Depot parking lot in SE Portland, so I didn't want to spend a bunch of money on manual transmission stuff only to find out I couldn't get it to work. Well, long story short, Home Depot TH-350 went into my cousin, Josh Rowell's Monte Carlo, and miraculously, it works great!

    I'm going to leave this post incomplete for awhile because I haven't entirely made up my mind here. You see, the only thing I've done by getting rid of the TH-350 is open up several doors to various manual transmissions! So, what I'll do is open it up as kind of a "thinking out loud" post with all the information I discover along the way. Ideally, in the end, there will be a functioning transmission in a finished T bucket, but for now, I'm still in "scheming" mode.

    No matter which transmission I end up using, I have the shift knob picked out. It is my favorite and most prized possession on the car LOL. A few years ago, I stumbled across a thread on here full of Norm Grabowski skull shift knobs, which he hand carved from sycamore:


    I was just floored when I saw the very intricate and sinister details he put into them. I had to have one. I learned rather quickly that there was a rumored multi-year wait list for one of these shift knobs, so that discouraged me a bit. About an hour or so of reading later, I discovered Norm had passed away recently - like the month before. Now I was stumped. I wanted to pay tribute to Norm as he was such an influence on not just my build, but basically every T bucket build out there since he is credited with building the first bucket. And I especially wanted to pay tribute after learning of his passing. I did a quick completed listings search on ebay and found one that sold about a year prior for A BUNCH of money. I kind of gave up on the idea until one day - like 6 months later - randomly, I searched for one on craigslist. There was one for sale down in Eugene, which isn't too far from Portland, and conveniently where my good friend Corey lives. Only problem was, I had just gone back to school to finish my bachelor's degree, and I was supposed to be saving money. No ridiculous purchases on hot rod parts! I knew if I called the guy that I would be driving down shortly thereafter to purchase the thing, so I just stared at the ad for about an hour. It wasn't cheap.... but it wasn't as much as the last one that sold on ebay.....and that was while Norm was still alive....and this one was nearby.... Somehow I convinced myself that it was ok because not only is it a hot rod part, it is hot rod art and history.... Whatever the case, my girlfriend at the time Lena Chiang and I drove down there to pick it up. The whole way down I listened to her saying, "Are you sure you want to spend that much on a shifter knob thing?" And the whole way back I listened to her saying, "I can see why you wanted it. It's pretty cool and stuff." Following that were a few jokes mentioning the resemblance between my face and his:



    Anyway, enough about shift knobs... Here's how the frame looked with the TH-350:


    I borrowed a Muncie 4 speed (and swore on my life that I would return it promptly - I guess it was out of a big block Chevelle or something...) from Joe DiOrio, Jr. at Old Car parts. Here's how it looked in the frame:


    Seemed to free up quite a bit of room for the X-member in there! The only problem(s) I saw were the shifter linkage potentially getting in the way of the cross-member (I don't think I had it set in there right, but still would be tight), and the shifter itself likely being located under my right leg in the car... No bueno. The transmission mount and the driveshaft would be the same, though.


    Here is what a Camaro T5 with S10 tailshaft looks like in the frame:


    Transmission mount would have to move back 1.5", but I think I could just modify the cross-member:


    And the T5 overall length is 3" longer, so the driveshaft would need shortened:


    And my 3rd, and most promising, but definitely most challenging option, is the T56 currently in my daily driver. Love the trans, hate the car. Need a car for now, but once I get this mythical "job" I can't seem to find, I'll be looking to replace daily driver and sacrifice it's bits to serve more exciting roles.... I haven't been able to mock this up yet, but when I do, there will be a picture here:

    No matter which transmission I end up using, I want to control the clutch via mechanical linkage. I know hydraulic or cable operated clutches are far simpler to make work, but nothing on this car has been simple, so why settle now? :)

    Since I've at least been able to lock in on that aspect of the transmission, I can proceed forward with that design aspect for now. I marked where the face of the bellhousing would mate to the engine on the frame rails, then used those marks to mock up the transmission bellhousing location, which will not change with the various transmission prospects.

    When I was at Old Car Parts borrowing/returning the Muncie 4 speed, I was able to hunt down a clutch Z bar which was rather mangled, which meant I wouldn't feel too bad cutting it to bits if my design didn't work. There is literally JUST ENOUGH room to pull it off if everything goes according to plan. Here is a quick design sketch of how I'll make it work:

    Cross Shaft Detail.jpg

    Trying to turn the sketch into parts:


    I took one of those forged panhard bar brackets to make this piece, which I later realized has a phallic resemblance. It was at this point in the build I determined the gender of the bucket:




    I then cut the Z bar all to pieces:


    And began to form the cross shaft assembly:



    I then began to make the cross shaft lever. WARNING! Terrible weld(s) alert! I built the welds way up like that because I want to sand and finish the part with a nice, beefy fillet. I currently do not have photos of this nice, sanded, finished part, though; so the terrible weld ones will have to do for now:


    I'm ashamed of myself here....


    You can see in this photo where I'm going with the clutch pedal side of the linkage (the long rod is actually lower than the clutch fork, so they will never interfere - just a bad picture):


    I should have just enough room to get the brake pedal and clutch pedal clevis pins in and make it work. That's all I have for photos on this stuff right now. I need to get back out there and do some actual work...
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2015
    AndersF likes this.
  11. Tim_with_a_T
    Joined: Apr 30, 2011
    Posts: 1,013



    The fuel tank and delivery system is composed of:

    I will add details later when things are in a more finished state.

    Need a picture of the Fuel Plumbing Diagram:

    The fuel system has been one of the more challenging items of the build, simply because of lack of room. There are several pictures in the above posts showing various Moon and Eelco tanks in front and rear of the car, and I tried a borrowed oil tank from an old WWII plane, but all of them made the car look a bit awkward. What I finally settled on was a custom tank to fit the available space in the bed. The tank will have to be notched in the center to accommodate the Model A cross-member, and I want to have roughly half the bed for enclosed storage, so it will be interesting to see the outcome. I'll show a couple pics of the brackets I made before I changed my mind to give someone a couple ideas if they needed something similar.

    Initial idea for front tank and license plate bracket that I made out of 1/8" stainless steel plate:


    I had the bracket bolt to the spring perch and some threaded bungs I made. The bracket bent down to accomodate the other half of the tank brackets and license plate mounting bolts:



    This was an idea that was good in theory, but it didn't fit the car at all. It took a lot of staring at it for me to admit that. For the rear tank, I made some brackets to bolt to the cross-member:




    I wanted the tank as low as possible so it wasn't sticking so far out of the bed, which meant the lower fitting was a no go as far as plumbing goes - so, I soldered a nipple to an elbow, then soldered some tubing with a bend in it to the other end of the nipple to get the suction of the fuel line at the bottom of the tank.




    Here's how it looked with the body back on. I liked it, but there wasn't really a way to enclose the bed this way.

    Soooo....... I threw out the Moon tank idea and decided to fab a tank. And by that I mean make a template and have someone else fab a tank. Are you reading this, Kiwi Paul? LOL.
    I'm not even close to finished with the custom tank project yet, but here's what I've got cooking up thus far:




    The brake plumbing system is composed of:

    This is another system that isn't far enough along to document. I'll update as I finalize the assembly.

    Brake Plumbing Diagram:

    Pictures of brake system:
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2015
    volvobrynk and AndersF like this.
  12. Tim_with_a_T
    Joined: Apr 30, 2011
    Posts: 1,013



    The electrical system is definitely not far enough along to document. I'll add a few photos of some brackets, but that's about it.

    The electrical system is composed of:
    • Original 1930 Ford Model A polished stainless steel headlights
      • Original lenses
      • New reflectors with turn signal bulbs and 12V halogen conversion bulbs
      • Mounted on SoCal headlight/shock mount brackets as mentioned above
    • Taillights
      • Reproduction Model A taillights, 12V, Speedway (P/N: 91127001-R), Qty. 2
      • 1932 Ford taillight brackets, unknown mfr., ebay
    • SoCal license plate light (P/N: 001-62726) with SoCal "Hollywood" polished frame (P/N: 001-90701)
    • Unknown 12V cloth wrapped wiring harness, ebay
    • SoCal art deco ignition switch (P/N: 001-62113)
    • SoCal 3 position headlight switch (P/N: )
    • SoCal column mount hazard/indicator switch (P/N: 001-60764)
    • ididit horn kit (P/N: )
    • Heated seats, composed of:
      • Heated seating pads, ebay
      • Speedway dual windshield wiper switch, used as heated seat controls
      • Relays, Qty. 2
    • Sound system, composed of:
      • Kicker 100 Watt 2-Channel Amplifier (P/N: 12PX100.2)
      • Kicker 5.25” 2-Ohm Coaxial Speakers (P/N: 10PS5250)
      • 12V cigarette lighter with USB charging port; phone used as volume control and media device
    The headlights and their stands are pretty self explanatory and already pictured, so I'll skip to the rear of the car to cover the tail lights. At first I mounted them down low:


    But I thought that might be hard to see in traffic with today's ....."excellent".... drivers. I DO NOT want to get rear ended in this thing. Or hit from any side for that matter. Anyway, I thought it would be cool to make some brackets to mount the tail lights in the bed pockets:




    But.... I thought that looked a little too street roddie. I won a pair of repro 1932 Ford tail lights and brackets on ebay:


    .....But they made the car look like an alien....


    So I decided to cut them to pieces and do something similar to David "Littleman" Lohr's Model A pickup (also using the Model A tail lights rather than the 1932 Ford):


    I needed to make some smaller mounting flanges from 1/8" steel plate:


    Which needed to be curved a bit to match the body:


    Much better:


    In an effort to be artistic, I mounted them at roughly a 45* angle:


    Then welded them up:





    I'm pretty happy with how they turned out. Just different enough to be unique.

    Another thing I needed to mount somewhere was the battery. I'm using an Odyssey PC680, which is very small yet powerful. I figured if I could get away with it, I wanted to mount it under the body somewhere. I did a lot of staring at the frame, searching for the most ideal location. I finally found my spot and got to work.

    After taking some measurements, I made a pattern:


    Ideally, it will fit like this when done:


    It has flanges to mount to the frame rail like this:



    I had some 1/8" Aluminum plate laying around with just enough material, so I cut it out of that with a death wheel and some finish sanding/filing:


    I then put the 1940's era Craftsman drill press to work again, using a combination of drill bits and hole saws to achieve my desired result:


    I then chucked it up in my vise and beat on it with a rubber mallet for awhile. You can see there are two lines on the cut out metal for my bends. One was where to clamp it, and the other was a guesstimated bend radius. It turned out good so far:


    And after several hours of beating the other bends into submission, I finished. It's not perfect, and I have two small tears in the material that will need welded up when the edges are finish welded up, but overall it turned out pretty decent for just using some clamps, a vise, and a hammer. If I was to do this again, I would probably make a wooden buck the size of the battery and temporarily mount the piece to the wood with some screws, then plug the holes after beating and bending. Oh well, next time! The floor of the body will hold the battery from bouncing out, and I'll cut two adequate sized ports to access the battery terminals from inside the car.


    It fits snugly in between the X member tubing and the frame rail on the passenger side, adjacent to the transmission case.





    And that's about all I have completed with that. I'll post more electrical related info here as I progress (mainly the hiding of the speakers, amp, MSD box, fuse panel, and the incorporation of the heated seats), but that's all I have for now.
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2015
    volvobrynk and AndersF like this.
  13. Tim_with_a_T
    Joined: Apr 30, 2011
    Posts: 1,013


    ELECTRICAL (continued):

    Pretty sure I will need some more space to cover the topics above...


    Out of all the components of the car, the gauges took the longest time to collect. I honestly think I had a couple of the gauges before I had the body, but I don't remember for sure. I just know that I was on the hunt for around 5 years before I found them all. I had my heart set on a full set of Stewart Warner gauges, and I knew the Greenline series was right for the car the first time I laid my eyes on them. The earliest one I have is the speedometer (dated May 1964), so they are a little new to be fitting into the era I want, but I love them. So they stay. One of the things that really bothers me is when people put new gauges, say a set of silver faced AutoMeters, in a vintage rod. The gauges themselves are awesome, but they don't belong in a traditional hot rod in my opinion. Another thing that bugs me is grossly mis-matched gauges. I know that the guys building cars back then were probably using whatever they could find/afford, but most of them were probably not quite as OCD as I am. Anyway, I had to collect quite a few gauges to get my matching set:


    Somewhere along the way, I discovered the Twin Blue series, so I of course began to collect those as well (for the next project).


    Some of them needed cleaned internally, and most of them needed their needles repainted. So I carefully pried the bezels apart with a small screwdriver, did the necessary surgery, then closed them back up. Here's where I ended up: 3 3/8" 160 MPH speedometer, 3 3/8" 8,000 RPM tachometer, 2 5/8" vacuum, and the rest are 2 1/16" - mechanical water temp, mechanical oil temp, mechanical fuel pressure, mechanical oil pressure, fuel level, and amps.



    Those are both pretty lousy pictures. I'll try to get some better ones when I have everything mocked up again.
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2015
    Hot Rod Nut, volvobrynk and AndersF like this.
  14. Tim_with_a_T
    Joined: Apr 30, 2011
    Posts: 1,013



    I'm going to cover the tonneau cover for now, and I'll post the remainder of the upholstery stuff after it is completed. For this part of the project, I had my mom, Vicky Connelly help. She stitched the upholstery on my high school car (her first attempt at an upholstery project), and she knocked it out of the park. So she gets to do this car, too!

    We started by making a pattern. While we were at it, we made patterns for the shifter boot and emergency brake handle boot using the material supplied when they were purchased:


    I wanted to achieve a tuck n' roll look, so I did a lot of reading on hot rod forums, then attempted to communicate all of this to my poor mother. She was very patient with me to say the least! Basically, we're stitching the back side of the vinyl and creating channels to slide the foam into, and stitching it in such a way that the seams will not be visible from the top. First, we had to decide how wide to make the pleats, then we added some extra width to accommodate the stitching. I need to make this section more detailed, but the details have escaped my memory. I'll come back and update this section when we continue with the remainder of the upholstery. I think we did 1.5" pleats, but in this photo, it looks like we mark 3.5" stitch lines for every 3" pleat, but I don't remember..... This section needs revisions!!!




    Here you can see the hollow channels where the foam will go:


    After the foam was stuffed in:


    We were able to hide the stitching and get some great depth on the pleats this way:


    Section of pleats with completed shifter boot:


    Now I wanted to border the pleated sections with some piping, but that was a lot of material to stuff through my mom's machine, so she came up with a different way by leaving the corded portion of the piping out of the green vinyl:


    Then she stitched the pleats into the roughed in opening:


    And completed:


    I applied some stain and paint the oak tonneau cover in an effort to protect it should it ever get soaked.


    The raised board towards the back will be glassed to the body, but I just wanted to make sure everything still lined up before I covered it with the vanilla covered vinyl.


    I laid down some tape to give me a guide for stretching the vinyl. That way I could minimize wrinkles or distortion to the vinyl:


    So far so good...

    And completed. I pulled the center at the gas cap a little unevenly, so that part looks a little off. I may or may not address this later. I think this looks pretty damn good for home brewed, though.


    I'll continue upholstery here....
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2015
    volvobrynk and AndersF like this.
  15. Tim_with_a_T
    Joined: Apr 30, 2011
    Posts: 1,013


    UPHOLSTERY (continued...):
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2015
  16. Tim_with_a_T
    Joined: Apr 30, 2011
    Posts: 1,013



    The windshield is composed of:
    • Original 1915-25 Model T windshield posts
    • California Custom Roadsters Aluminum windshield frame material (P/N: 58541-TBF)
    • California Custom Roadsters glass tape (P/N: 61041L)
    • Speedway reproduction 1928-29 Model A mirrors (P/N: 911-33008), Qty. 2
    • Undecided rear view mirror....
    • Have not had glass cut/installed yet...
    • Speedway Model T windshield rubber (P/N: 555-92210)
    • 5/16-18 x ? stainless steel carriage bolts with fender washers and nylocs, Qty. 4 of each
    • 5/16-24 x ? stainless steel cap screw (hex head), Qty. 2

    I found a pair of early T windshield posts at the Portland swap meet, so I was all kinds of excited to try them out on the car. My brother Andy helped me guesstimate a windshield height, then we made a mock up frame from conduit. We had decided 16" looked best. After getting the windshield posts on the cowl, it was pretty clear they weren't going to fit very well. I unfortunately do not have good photos of this, but you can kind of see in the couple pictures below what was going on...



    .... So I sliced, heated, bent, and welded the windshield posts.



    Much better!

    Then I noticed there was a goofy transition on the back side between the post and the body rail. I tried to blend it using a piece that I had cut off in fitting, but it still looked awkward.


    So I took the remaining piece you can see on the cowl in the above photo and spliced it in. I also cut/fit/polished the windshield frame, then had my friend weld up two of the corners (the other two are drilled and tapped). I taped it up to keep it from getting scratched up too bad.




    I was pretty pleased with all of that, but when it came time to make the frame for the top, it was pretty clear the windshield needed to be lower. Below, you'll find I decided to cut it down from 16" to 12".


    The top is composed of:
    • 1/2 EMT conduit
    • Various polished stainless steel bimini boat top fittings (will update when top is finished)
    • Custom white oak header board, courtesy of my dad
    • Undecided on top material
    • Unrefined latching mechanism
    I figured I should at least try to mock up a top on the car. It is a roadster, but I do live in the Pacific Northwest after all. I should really try to incorporate a top in this build. I started out with some sketches (which I do not have) and some CAD drawings I sent to my dad.


    I was initially going to fasten the header board to the windshield frame with some simple thumb screws, but I have a much better idea now (more info later).


    My dad headed to a woodshop in Eagle, ID called High Desert Hardwood and picked up a section of white oak to cut up. He used his router table to make the board match my drawing, and he did an excellent job!




    Meanwhile, I set about bending up some conduit to make a top frame. I wanted the top to be able to fold back out of the way, and that turned out to be a bit more challenging than I initially thought.




    I was happy with the folding progress, but I wasn't sure the profile of the top was right. I decided to kill a roll of tape on the thing to find out what I was dealing with.


    This was the point where the consensus was that the windshield needed chopped down some more. So, I took 4" out of it (by making another mock up conduit windshield frame), and killed another roll of tape.


    Much better!



    Visibility isn't too bad, either. I think with some well placed rear views and some RainX, this T could see some drizzly days!


    That's all I have for the top right now. I'll update this section once significant progress has been made.
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2016
  17. Tim_with_a_T
    Joined: Apr 30, 2011
    Posts: 1,013




    Last edited: Dec 31, 2015
  18. Tim_with_a_T
    Joined: Apr 30, 2011
    Posts: 1,013


  19. Tim_with_a_T
    Joined: Apr 30, 2011
    Posts: 1,013


    I think I will need more room for stuff here.
  20. Tim_with_a_T
    Joined: Apr 30, 2011
    Posts: 1,013


    I think I will need more room for stuff here, too.
  21. Tim_with_a_T
    Joined: Apr 30, 2011
    Posts: 1,013


    And probably one or two more...
  22. Tim_with_a_T
    Joined: Apr 30, 2011
    Posts: 1,013


    One last one for good measure...
  23. very nice article!
    Tim_with_a_T likes this.
  24. steel rebel
    Joined: Jun 14, 2006
    Posts: 3,604

    steel rebel
    Member Emeritus

    High quality work Tim.
    Tim_with_a_T likes this.
  25. You have done a VERY NICE JOB on your car. Subscribed.
    volvobrynk and Tim_with_a_T like this.
  26. AndersF
    Joined: Feb 16, 2013
    Posts: 713


    Im glad you started a thread about your build.
    You have done exellent work this far.
    volvobrynk and Tim_with_a_T like this.
  27. Hackerbilt
    Joined: Aug 13, 2001
    Posts: 6,244


    Wow! to see stuff like this posted by someone who obviously knows how to PROPERLY finish what he started.
    By that I attempt to take the easy way out just because it might be faster.
    EG...the frame splicing with a nice chamfered edge to join and the use of extra gussets etc.
    Many think all that stuff is just extra wasted time.
    THIS is gonna be a quality vehicle. :D
    hipster, Tim_with_a_T and volvobrynk like this.
  28. tfeverfred
    Joined: Nov 11, 2006
    Posts: 15,793


    Great work, Tim!
    hipster and Tim_with_a_T like this.
  29. Kona Cruisers
    Joined: Feb 4, 2007
    Posts: 1,074

    Kona Cruisers

    Proof that a good build doesn't have to be a deuce coupe with a hemi, but a guy with the eye and a methodical build.
  30. Raiman1959
    Joined: May 2, 2014
    Posts: 1,427


    Very nice....the details are top-notch!
    roundvalley and Tim_with_a_T like this.

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