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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
So finally kicking off an official build thread. Calling it Tux (as in the Linux Penguin) because the car is black and white.

Down and dirty - this will be a full rebuild of everything except body/paint. My '55 Belair 2dr h/t sat in a Reno NV back yard for over 40 years. Original paint with few dings and almost no rust. AME chassis, 2004 Chevy Truck motor LQ4 (6L), 2002 Camaro T-56, VHX gauges, billet specialties steering wheel, ididit steering wheel, Ciadella's interior, Centerline Lazer II wheels, and more...



Day 1 - spent the morning flying to OK - got in around 1200, had lunch and hit the AME Chassis around 1300.

Step 1: clean up - that's my Dad (yes I also helped sweep the floor)


Step 2: organize everything


Step 3: Getting the chassis away from the wall and out so we can work on it.. Man this thing is impressive!


Step 4: Completely disassemble the chassis for paint


Step 5: had the neighbor who is doing all the welding come over to discuss what needs to be done tomorrow morning and mock-up fuel tank


Step 6: chassis ready for welding, started prepping engine by removing lower a/c


Also started working on new flywheel:


Called it a night at 2100 - will start the day early and hope to have all welding complete (fuel tank mounts and exhaust mounts) and chassis painted by end of day.

Very pleased with the progress thus far...
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I'll do body/paint after I retire (~7 hrs) from Air Force, I just love the patina on the car. I also will use as a daily driver, so with the patina I hope it doesn't scream "steal me." It'll be black and silver in final form. I want to start taking some classes on welding, then body work, and maybe paint. The only thing I'm going to do with body is POR-15 the inside/outside of floor and inner fenders. I also have to replace the center hump because it's been cut up a couple times (manual to auto).

Fuel tank is a '95 F-150 tank from Rock Auto - Spectra F1G1FA. It will support the 58.8 psi fuel pressure and I'm running it on my LS1 powered '66 Nova.

Oh, forgot to mention I ordered the tires last night and will pick them up today, mounted on my Centerline Lazer II's. I'll post pics tonight with the mounted wheels/tires.

Fronts: 17x8 with P245/45R17
Rear: 18x9.5 with P275/40R18

Should be a good, long day of work. Welder showing up around 8 a.m. to fabricate gas tank mounts and exhaust brackets (using Deeds billet hangers). My Daddy will be here around 9 a.m. as well. I'll probably tackle the flywheel and clutch, maybe get the trans mounted today. My Dad and Daddy will probably focus on painting...but we'll see. Goal is to have all welding done and painted so we can begin assembly tomorrow. Still have to get bearings pressed, but have that scheduled as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Day 2 - Chassis/Suspension Painted

I started off the morning installing the pilot bearing and clutch. It's all LS7 components and should work very well together. I need to buy 16 bolts so I can finish mounting trans to engine tomorrow.



Moved the chassis outside to prep for paint. Here's my Dad's flexing their muscles!


Here's after the degreasing and etching. Moved it again into the hanger to cool off and get ready to paint:


Moved the chassis one final time. Also got the engine un-crated and have a chain hung from the ceiling. Still need to replace the oil pan (truck is too deep).


So here it is, chassis and rear-end and suspension A-arms (not in photo) painted and drying overnight. Used POR-15 Chassis Black paint. Overall I'm pretty happy with it.


Here's the wheels with tires mounted:


Plan for tomorrow is re-assemble the chassis, get trans installed to engine, get bearing pressed into axles, and hopefully have disk brakes installed. Then MAYBE I'll have a rolling chassis by tomorrow night...crap, I don't know if I have lug nuts! ( just realized).

Thanks for all your support!
 

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RIP 11/24/2021
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nice build bryan, thanks for sharing. nice big shop to work on it and good helpers is a plus. :tu
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
nice build bryan, thanks for sharing. nice big shop to work on it and good helpers is a plus. :tu
Absolutely! I can't even imagine how hard this would have been if I'd tried doing this at my house in Falls Church, VA w/ a single-car garage. We're only working 12-14 hour days, but with 3 people that's a work week each day. Plus some of my Dad's buddy's have come by to help off and on. I'd say we're putting in about 50 hours total of work a day right now and I couldn't be happier with our progress.

Phase II (putting body on car) won't be for a couple months probably - but we'll attack the same way and hopefully drive this baby home and see some fellow Tri-Fiver's along the way from OK to VA.

Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
Day 3 - rolling chassis (if I had lug nuts)

So today was another good day, the 3 of us worked from about 0800-2115 and had some help from a neighbor who pressed on the bearings for us onto the rear axles.

My Dad's handled changing out the oil pan to the GMPP Hot Rod version that's shallower than the truck one. No major issues, except a little fussing with the dip stick.



I worked on re-installing the power steering rack and front arms/spindles while they handled the engine.

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Then it was all hands on deck to install the front brakes and the front sway bar.


Lastly, we finished up the rear after we got the axles back and mounted the brakes.



And blam...she's ready to roll, well almost. I didn't get any lug nuts today!


Tomorrow, first thing I'm getting lug nuts so she'll roll on her own, also getting the correct oil filter along with some gear oil. By tomorrow night we should have the engine/trans sitting in chassis and maybe the gas tank too. Then Thurs we'll route brakes lines, fuel lines, battery cable (trunk mounted).

Git 'er done!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
Day 4 - It's a roller

I got up at 0430 today and hit the garage by 0530. Had to do some cleanup first, tools were everywhere with 3-4 people working...that was 30 min well spent.

Next up, motor mounts. These are very nice and went on without any issues:

NOTE: Cant find photo any more....dang Photobucket!

I did find an issue I need to figure out. If you look at the bottom-left corner of the picture above, you'll see a disconnect blue plug just below the starter. This was in the original LQ4 oil pan but the new pan had no hole for the sensor. Not sure what it is (some sort of oil sensor) or what to do with the plug. NEED ADVICE FROM YOU LSx GURU's please.

My Dad got came out just as I finished the motor mounts, then we went to buy some lithium grease, lug nuts, and the correct fuel filter.

After that I prepped the T-56 hydraulic slave and bearing, again, no issues:



Meanwhile, my Dad installed the Bellhousing, more on that...

NOTE: Cant find photo...


Same time, my Daddy was cleaning the transmission up some and installed the oil filter. Unfortunately, they don't sell Alumabright here in OK anymore (at least 3 stores I went to said it was discontinued). Trans looked much better, but not like new (no pics).

Well over an HOUR later...we had the transmission mounted up. I just took us some time to get everything lined up...then I think someone coughed and the trans just slipped right on. I'm not kidding, I have no idea how it just popped on, but that was a happy moment.



After that, we went to lunch. After getting back we began the task of setting the engine/trans in chassis. About an hour later, I took her for the first 'imaginary test drive.' She ran and handled like a dream, literally.



I did some other misc things like install the exhaust hangers, tighten up the 4-link, and address an issue I had with the front coilovers.

Bad news is my drive shaft I got with my tans is 5" too short.

Tomorrow is brake lines, fuel tank, fuel lines, and battery cable. Then a hiatus for a few months, during which time my Dad is going to go pick up my car from CA since the dang car mover bailed on me.

Until tomorrow night...
 
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