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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Well here it is the first of July and I started working on my wife's truck last April. (I started collecting parts for it late last fall however).

So, I'll start the thread now and try to get it up-to-date over the next few days and then keep up with it from then on.

First, I want to give a link that covers when and how we came to own this truck 2 years ago:
http://www.trifive.com/forums/showthread.php?t=59430
(Thanks again for everyone that helped me with the purchase decision.)

So, the story from there is that my wife wouldn't drive the truck the way it was. I drove and enjoyed it from time-to-time and she would ride with me but she only drove it about 3 times with me and wouldn't drive it alone.
What she hated the most was the manual steering. She didn't like the standard transmission without the synchro first either. It didn't help matters that the syncho was sloppy in 2nd either along with the fact that it would pop out of second sometimes. No A/C, black vinyl seats and a manual turn signal were things she complained about too.

Anyway, I decided to do a restomod on the truck and try to make it a perfect grocery-getter for her. Fuel injection, power front disc brakes, automatic, A/C are all mandatory things I want for her. She would like for the truck to be painted green and keep all the trim white like it is now. She also wants the interior to be tan with a cloth seat.

More to come soon...

Here's a couple of pics of the truck right after we got it:



 

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Discussion Starter #2
Last November I was cruising craigslist and just happen to find an engine and transmission for sale that looked to me like a good one for the truck.

It was a 305 TPI and 700R4 transmission that was still in a pristine '91 Z28 Camaro with 63K miles. (They guy had picked up an LS1 and wanted to put in the car.) He was asking $1,000. He sent me photos of the car and engine and even took a video for me so I could hear it run. (He was in Copperas Cove.) After that, I told him I would take it and the following week he removed the engine and met me and San Saba where we did the exhange. To me, this is a perfect engine for the truck and what my wife wants to use it for. The truck has a 3.54 rear gear and should be a great ratio for the combo too.

Here's the car and engine before it was removed:
(Frankly, I think he was crazy for altering this cream puff car.)





Hauled it in my El Camino:



So, this started my commitment to the project.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
April 27th.
This was the official kick off day of actually working on the truck. I removed the bed wood. A little rust under here but not bad.

 

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Discussion Starter #7
Another priority was to get the gas tank out from behind the seat. I also wanted a gas tank with an internal electric fuel pump. After a lot of thinking and studying, I decided to use the same tank that Speedbump used for his truck. It's a Tanks, Inc. poly tank meant for a Furd.

Here's the tank:
http://www.tanksinc.com/index.cfm/page/ptype=product/product_id=73/category_id=87/home_id=59/mode=prod/prd73.htm

I got their fuel injection pump setup and sending unit for it too.

I got the rivets out of the crossmember and moved it back to where it needs to be (which is 22 1/2" between the 2 crossmembers). Wow those rivets aren't easy to get out.

Now I need to drill some holes and bolt it in place. Also need to get some steel and weld it in to box the frame for strength. I'll also build 2 supports to span the crossmembers for the top of the tank to lay against when it is strapped in place from underneath. The poly tank comes with a universal strap kit.



Utilizing free time wisely while I'm waiting for my new tank to be delivered...

I cut out the flange on the original gas-fill hole.

Heck, I've got to patch a big hole anyway, I might as well make it a little bigger and make use of the flange. So, I used a 3 1/2" circle for a template and cut out the flange with a jig saw.



Then, I used a 3 1/2" hole saw and picked a place on the rear fender that had the same contour as the original hole up front.
I then welded in the flange and finished it off.



Now all I need is a new rubber mounting gasket and some hoses.



So I've got a low cost and kind of original looking solution for the gas fill. I think I like the idea of keeping a retro look rather than going to a fancy gas door kit and saved some $ too.

Now, just have to make a patch for the original hole up front out of 18 gauge sheet-metal.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I decided I wanted to raise up the tank as much as I could for maximum ground clearance as well as looks from behind the truck. I used some square tubing to do that with. I will have to notch out the bed cross brace to clear the tank doing this. I will lose some strength but I think I will gain it back if I have it fit tightly against the bars and weld it there. Also, with no room to work with, I will have to put in my bed boards before mounting the tank permanently. I don't see that as a big deal though.

I had to modify the flange on the tank fill to accept a 1 1/2". Since the stock fill assembly was 1 1/4", I welded a short piece of 1 1/2" tubing to that. No cost as the 1 1/2 tubing was some stainless tubing that I had left over from my last project.

Btw, I am going to weld caps on the top of the square tubing so water wont collect in there. I'm also going to blast the entire frame and paint it all up with black SPI epoxy primer.

 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Finished my tank mock-up.

It turned out to be more complicated than I thought to get my fill hose setup all worked out. It involved some trial and error, ordering more parts and a little welding. Got 'er done though.

I needed a 90 degree 1 1/2 tube to go in the middle of 2 hose sections. Also, that red hose (given to me) wouldn't work. It was just too thick and stiff. I ordered a Gates gas-fill hose off the net. I also had to weld on a piece of tubing onto the original gas-fill neck to get the right angle and to adapt it to the right 1 1/2" OD size. I will be painting the gas-fill neck and the flange on the tank with epoxy primer.

So here's some photos:









The strap kit came with the tank and it was a cut-to-fit kit where you have to bend one end and drill the hole. I cut the small reinforcement brackets off the original tank straps before discarding them. I welded them on the ends of the new straps after I cut and bent them.
I put the fixed end on the rear of the tank and the adjustable end on the front for better looks.

I'm really happy that I got this tank tucked up really high. It doesn't hang down low enough to ever worry about hitting on anything and looks better too.







I removed the fender to start stripping the 1/4" thick undercoating (yuk).
Anyway, I thought I would post an underneath photo of the flange I welded in.



Addition Edit:
Someone gave me a super idea for making a patch for the gas fill hole on the cab. After I cut off my rusted cab corners, there is a contour on them that matches that cab area and makes a perfect place to get a patch. Great idea and done!
 

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Roger, we'll be watching this thread with delight and anticipation. Thanks for sharing your PUP (PU Project). If your PUP turns out anywhere near as nice as your 55 BelAir it will be awesome.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I picked out the gauges I'm going to use. The panel is designed for Autometer gauges but I mixed in some Stewart Warner since they were about half the price.
The oil and water gauges are mechanical. I like the 270 deg sweep on those and you can only get that in the mechanical gauges.

I don't know at this point whether I'll paint the aluminum panel or leave it the way it is. I'll let my wife make that decision.

 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Out with the old 235 and 3 speed.








A local guy I met mentioned to me he would like to have that engine and transmission. I told him it was his for $150. I through in an extra transmission that I got when I bought the pickup.
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
I'm going to do a mock-up with the new engine and transmission so I can get the new crossmembers welded in place before I strip the frame down and blast/paint it.

 

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Discussion Starter #17
Continuing with the mock-up in the engine compartment, I made a decision on a radiator.
It's an American Eagle aluminum radiator. It's a 2 core with 1" cores. It should be plenty good for a 305. I went with a 16" Maradyne M162 (2170 cfm) electric fan.
I took the radiator and fan down to a local shop and had them make a custom shroud for it. They did a superb job on it.

So here it is in place:





 

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Discussion Starter #18
Power Steering Box

I did a lot of research on power steering boxes and decided to go with the newly available "400" series box from CPP.
It mounts in the original location much like the Toyota box conversion does which I liked the idea of much better than going with the later model GM box conversion that mounts the box on the outside of the frame.



Here it is installed:
(temporarily of course)



 

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Rodger, great thread... I'm really interested in your build. I have a 57 truck waiting in the wings and I have been thinking through how to go to power steering. I think your choice for the power plant will be a great.

I like your approach too, fab up all the different systems before taking it all apart, I made that mistake when I was younger.... still putting the Belair back together. But its coming.

Here is a snapshot of my next project. It was under a cover, but the wind relocated it last year, its under cover again now.

Gil
 

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