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RichardSIA New Reader
10/15/15 11:27 p.m.

One last? big expense for the year. TA Performance 14 Lb. aluminum flywheel!

The most expensive item I've bought, $500.00

Had to get it in order to confirm the mini-starter fits and to test run the engine. Should allow the engine to spin up quick.

Need to find a machine shop that can balance it to match the old flywheel. Hoping the engine was zero balanced when it was rebuilt. Seems that is common on rebuilds but the factory used an external balance even on the even-fire engines.

My KB-1 intake is welded up so that I can match the ports to my late model heads. Need it to run a 4-barrel until I can sort out the Inglese Weber setup.

Probably have enough parts and work ahead to carry me through the rest of the year.

RichardSIA New Reader
10/21/15 9:32 p.m.

Minor progress. Today the new Ford rotors for my Merkur rear disc brake conversion showed up and they fit perfectly. Need to get on my rear uprights and suspension.

Went a little crazy on feeBay the other day and ended up winning three more Buick V6 intakes. A KB-1 and a couple of the Smokey Yunick - Weiand's.

Really have more intakes than I need now so will end up reselling a couple after cleaning them and deciding which to keep.

RichardSIA New Reader
10/22/15 9:06 p.m.

Got my new copy of The Buick Free Spirit Power Manual today. Early edition so not as complete as the one I had that disappeared. Still lots of good info, I now know that my engine is about 10-1 compression with the Buick 350 pistons.

Want to find out if #8445 Grand National heads will fit my lower. As I understand it early GN heads do fit the early even-fire block but "Stage II" do not.

RichardSIA New Reader
10/26/15 12:32 p.m.

Ported #8445 heads would have fit but the bidding went out of bounds.

Modification of the KB-1 single-plane manifold are getting out of hand. Need to trim the mating surfaces and the carb mount.

Trimming the mating surfaces will bring the ports into much better alignment to reduce the material I must remove.

My engine sits flat and I do not want to raise it at the front. So it seems I will be cutting the carb mounting pad.

Anyone know of any real issues with the engine and carb sitting flat?

RichardSIA New Reader
11/8/15 10:01 p.m.

A little more chassis progress.

Welded 14 ga. over the openings created when I cut the the front towers to clear the oil pump and steering shaft after the rack gets shortened.

This should make them a bit stronger and also looks a lot better.

TeamEvil Dork
11/9/15 12:55 p.m.

Wish that you lived near me, I've been into the 3.8/4.1 Buick V6s for ages and have a few parts that you would have benefited from. Got the original Buick 4.1 four barrel manifold that fits the heads that you're running and is as low as can be, practically sits lower than the tops of the valve covers. Also have the rotating oil filter mount that fits to the stock front timing cover/oil pump that allows you to rotate the filter 360 degrees to clear anything end everything up front. Came out of a Caddy running the Buick 4.1 engine. Tough to find these days. Have a couple of Jeep flywheels and clutch covers for the Buick V6. No need to pay TA or D&D for their flywheels when OEM is still available.

I mean, I even have a Capri V6, four speed trans package, and narrowed Ford rear end that came out of an MG Midget. Will drop right into your car !

Like I said, sure wish that you lived closer ! ! ! ! !

RichardSIA New Reader
11/23/15 10:35 p.m.

Hmm, looks like a slight deviation from the strait course.

Buying an only used once auto body Rotisserie locally for about what a Chinese version goes for before shipping. Should make future rust repair a lot easier. Easier is GOOD!

RichardSIA New Reader
12/24/15 6:57 p.m.

Rotisserie purchase tapped me out for a while so I've begun some work with material already on hand.

Here's a pic of the passenger side first layer of frame reinforcement.

These tubes will be plug welded at intervals to the sides and bottom of the chassis channel. Also stitch welded to each other. Then a third tube goes on top for the outside edge. Finally it will all be boxed over.

This will add some weight but it's down low and will probably be stronger than original. Only way I could see to fit the T5.

RichardSIA New Reader
12/26/15 8:15 p.m.

Day after Christmas was sunny so I jumped on the build while I had good light. Drilled the frame to plug weld my reinforcements. Nearly done so hope to begin welding Thursday.

RichardSIA New Reader
12/29/15 3:43 a.m.

With the bottom set of frame reinforcement tubes welded in I set the engine/trans in place to see what might be needed in mods for the top tube.

Looked like just a couple of dings on the passenger side would do it. Came to the conclusion that the engine was canted down at the front a couple of degrees. Raised the front of the engine one inch and all sorts of chassis clearance issues disappeared.

Decided it was time to see how the body fitment was going to work with my planned engine placement. Found that the engine will be inside the current firewall about two inches at the right bank after leaving clearance for motion. Will have to do some trimming for width too. Steering column looks like it may be challenging, need to find some good pics of BOPR conversions as they should be very similar.

Have to make more measurements of the engine installed height. I may just barely be able to remain under the bonnet without cutting it. That is a real goal that may force me to put the engine back down that last inch. Looking for a more compact air cleaner, maybe a remote unit and carb hat? I've even had wild thoughts of converting the fresh air intake at the cowl into a ram-air system similar to what my El Camino has. Wondering if there might be a shorter carb available?

RichardSIA New Reader
12/30/15 8:05 p.m.

OK, the engine is at it's final location. 1" further forward and 3/4" lower than the prior fitting. Cannot go any more forward and remain behind the steering rack, cannot go any lower.

Finally lowered the body onto the chassis with the engine mocked up, in stages. Lower, cut sheet-metal, lower some more, cut some more until it all clears. I do not make drawings in advance, I work it out as I go with trial fits. Much faster and I rarely have to change once I'm committed to the cutting or welding.

This is barely working out in my LHD car, RHD would not do as well!

Left engine bank barely let me retain the lower portion of the firewall that I need for the gas pedal, but I did have to cut away at the top. Right bank sits further back and required more trimming, had to make room for the exhaust header too. Battery will have to be relocated and I think I may be able to adapt a modern flat air filter to fit in the remains of the old battery location. Good thing the passenger does not need as much foot room since they have no pedals to push.

Will have to reinforce the cuts as they noticeably weaken the cowl.

With just slightly thicker than stock body mounts, using a steel square from the face of the engine to the top of the scuttle, it looks like the carb will fit under the stock bonnet with NO cutting!!!!!!

From here I should be able to do my final chassis reinforcement welds, flatten a couple of spots in the tubes, and box it all in. Have to cut and box a curve in the top of the front cross-member to clear the crank dampener. Engine and trans mounts can be completed now too. Firewall work will be fairly extensive but if I can bend square tube it should not be too bad. May have to use round tube but would prefer square for ease of attaching the new trans cover.

Steering column will need a couple of joints and a support but looks like it will not be as bad as I feared.

RichardSIA New Reader
1/5/16 3:08 a.m.

Engine mounts are in! Transmission side of the trans mount is made!

Still have to complete the chassis side of the trans mount. Trans mount is being much more complex than the engine mounts. The funny Camaro T5 mount angle is NOT a help.

I will also be reinforcing the engine mounts a bit. They are not "solid" mounts but are overbuilt. Pretty sure the engine is now a frame stiffener.

Pics in a couple more days after the final frame reinforcements are fully welded.

It will be nice to be able to take the drive-train in and out knowing it's going back to the same spot.

Might be able to work on the rear diff mount and drive-shaft fairly soon.

RichardSIA New Reader
1/10/16 7:33 p.m.

Engine and trans mounts are all in at last.

Ended up welding in the trans mount despite my desire to bolt it on. Really would not have been able to get to the top of the bolts anyway.

Trying to keep future service in mind without having to remove the body for things like changing the clutch.

Major frame mods are almost complete.

One more set of flat strips to go on the passenger side and a notch in the front cross-member to plate over. From there I will be able to rotate the frame for only a little final welding of mounts.

Not all of the welds are pretty but they are strong. Thinking of using a little body sealer for cosmetics, rather than more welding?

Should be ready for pics in a couple more days.

chiodos HalfDork
1/10/16 8:59 p.m.

Love the build, needs more photos! We're all little kids here, we like as many photos as words, it's easier for our simple minds to follow along.

RichardSIA New Reader
1/11/16 3:13 a.m.

Until I can get the welds finished pics would not be worth the bandwidth. Getting close!

Then its on to mounting the rear diff and new lower rear "A" arm mounts which will eliminate the trailing arm.

RichardSIA New Reader
1/12/16 2:09 a.m.

Drivers side now boxed, the more complex passenger side is almost done.

Not pretty but the frame has never been this solid before.

There are three 1" tubes in there plus the flat stock boxing it over.

Second design for the rear trans mount.

I've tried to keep at least 1/2" clearance for anything that might move around a bit. Used oversize mounts to make that sufficient.

Kind of pleased with my use of the original exhaust cut-out to be able to reach the trans retaining bolt.

RichardSIA New Reader
1/13/16 1:04 a.m.

Finally got the last of the passenger side boxed tonight. Still have to grind and touch up some welds but it's a major milestone in the build.

Now I should be able to turn the frame on it's side or upside down for the remaining small welds.

With the engine and trans mounting complete I will be able to get back into the diff mounting and rear suspension.

RichardSIA New Reader
2/8/16 3:21 a.m.

Finally got the last of the useless frame brackets and reinforcements from the prior butcher job removed. Did a little more welding so nearly done with that until I start on the rear IRS. Have to repair the cord on my grinder but getting close to being able to clean, prime, and seam seal most of the frame. Bought silver acrylic enamel for the frame, firewall, and under the bonnet.

RichardSIA New Reader
2/9/16 9:00 p.m.

What I hoped would be the last trial fit of the drive-train turns out to be the next to last? Happily it all goes in and out of the mounts pretty easily. Also very solid once mounted, I expect to see very little movement even during rash maneuvers.

Have to complete one more set of frame notches to clear the oil pan under the timing cover. Good news is that everything else clears well and I can even get the starter in and out from underneath!

Getting close to final clean up and painting the forward portion of the frame.

RichardSIA New Reader
2/18/16 3:20 a.m.

Last set of front cross-member notches work fine but I may modify them a little for appearance and to be less of a dirt trap.

Now mocking up the rear diff position and mounts.

Also began to work on lower A arm mounts. Have some pics similar to my plan I've saved from various sites I need to review. Recently got a spare Merkur diff for $50.00.

If rain and snow ever end I will get some updated pics.

RichardSIA New Reader
2/28/16 1:27 a.m.

Trying to finish up gathering parts for my "Trick-6" GT6 rear disc brake conversion. Since it seems I will be making my uprights and caliper mounts I need units in hand to work with ASAP.

Rotors I already have are Focus ZTS and the regular Merkur conversions use Merkur Scorpio calipers. Merkur/Sierra parts are not so easy to get in the U.S., or are expensive.

It occurs to me that Focus rotors should work fine with Focus calipers. Much easier to locate here, cores or perhaps useable units are $23.00 at the self serve salvage yards.

Looking at pics it seems the Focus calipers may be a bit lighter in weight but are still from a car far heavier than my GT6 will be.

The real question, anyone familiar enough with small Fords to be able to recommend one type over the other, and why is your choice better?

Other calipers that might work well? I am hoping to have a parking brake capability since this is to be a street car.

GPz11 New Reader
2/28/16 5:55 a.m.

What Merkur parts are you looking for? Quite a few suppliers for parts are around.





RichardSIA New Reader
3/1/16 9:03 p.m.

Only recent progress has been finagling the rear brake conversion to work with the Merkur diff and axles. Upright is going to be custom, hoping to do a billet version similar to TVR M series. Or I can make life easier and just fabricate them in steel.

Using Merkur bolt-on rear stub axles, 4x108 which is the same as My Alfa Spider. Focus rear rotors are a direct fit, I'm using the 10" dia. Looking like Audi A4 aluminum calipers. I may have to swap sides to mount them at the front since my shocks go to the rear. Seems a reasonable answer to get functional parking brakes at under $100.00 each. Not looking to use the Merkur Scorpio calipers due to cost, somewhat difficult to locate, and being cast iron.

Need the rear brake system sorted out in order to finish the upright and A arm designs.

RichardSIA New Reader
3/14/16 8:12 p.m.

Playing with the Triumph 900 MC ITB's and my Inglese - Weber-3 manifold. The MC ITB's seem a touch small and too thin walled to bore out. Now looking for details on BMW ITB's hoping they might be a bit bigger since they are intended for a car. Not dirt cheap like MC TB's but not horribly priced or hard to find. Need to learn their bore size, outlet shape, mounting pattern, angle, etc.

RichardSIA New Reader
4/9/16 1:53 a.m.

The F.I. looks like I will probably be trying to squeeze enough coin for TMW throttle bodies in the name of getting it sorted without having to reinvent the wheel.

Been away as I have moved all my CNC equipment to a new shop, moved out of the former toy shop, and moved the toys into my old machine shop. Not an exercise I want to repeat any time soon, or ever! Mostly done now except getting the two-post lift back up.

One bit of progress directly related to the cars is that I have now set up my body rotisserie. Here is the nearly complete rear attachment frame. The raised hoop bolts to the rear body mounts. The two angle iron extensions will go to the trailing arm mounts. I made this wide enough to go outside the body as I have rust repair to do at the rear where it joins the floor.

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