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garaithon
garaithon Reader
10/8/20 8:12 p.m.

I figured I would start a build thread on my recently acquired 1995 Roadmaster Wagon, affectionately know as the "White Whale" by its prior owner, or more likely one of his kids! 


This is the car in "as towed" condition. We tried to patch a blown brake line, but after it blew out in three different places, we threw in the towel. Once I got the car to my work, we put a new rear brake line on and I was driving! 

A few days later it was at home in my drive accompanied by this sweet chair! I wish I could say I found it on the side of the road and picked it up, but those honors go to my wife in our Flex!

The plan is to fix a lot of the little nagging things, make it look a little better, throw a T56 in there, and drive it everyday. 

Matt B (fs)
Matt B (fs) UltraDork
10/8/20 9:06 p.m.

Your theme is ready sir.

garaithon
garaithon Reader
10/8/20 9:09 p.m.

First thing on the list once it was drivable, was to get the A/C working. You can't have a ride like this with no A/C! The compressor was kicking on, but only briefly. So we checked the charge and it was low. Sweet! Charge it and it will work.
 

Well kinda, the A/C compressor was working now, but I was not getting any change in temperature. 

There in the middle on the picture is the culprit. The temp actuator. Luckily this was easy to get to, right behind the glovebox. It also turned out to be the same part number as one for a 99 to 07 GM pickup. Which is good cause we keep them in stock but bad because they list for like $274! Good news is you can use a mode actuator off the the same year truck in place for only about a third of the price!


This is the part number you want. 

The mode one looks like this. You don't need the big plastic cam to use it in place of the temp actuator (the actuator part in this pic is actually the old one.)The only difference we can tell is the splines on the mode actuator are plastic, and the temp ones are metal. However, the mode ones rarely go bad, so who knows. 

Matt B (fs)
Matt B (fs) UltraDork
10/8/20 9:10 p.m.

Are you sure you just want to "make it look a little better"?

garaithon
garaithon Reader
10/8/20 9:11 p.m.

In reply to Matt B (fs) :

I watched a lot o He-Man in my day! Can I get a decal? 

Matt B (fs)
Matt B (fs) UltraDork
10/8/20 9:11 p.m.

Also, you need a license plate that says, "BAITER".

Ok, I'll stop.

Congrats on the acquisition! These are awesome.

Matt B (fs)
Matt B (fs) UltraDork
10/8/20 9:14 p.m.

In reply to garaithon :

Hmmm, I don't see decals but you can get a shirt/mug here - https://www.customon.com/product/he-man-master-of-the-road-mens-tank-top-1361620

garaithon
garaithon Reader
10/8/20 9:17 p.m.

In reply to Matt B (fs) :

I'm one step ahead already! Ill get there!

bonylad
bonylad Reader
10/9/20 7:44 a.m.

In reply to garaithon :

I approve of this build.  Lowered a smidge.......meaty tires are a must. May have missed it, but what engine?

garaithon
garaithon Reader
10/9/20 1:49 p.m.

In reply to bonylad :

It has the LT1 in it, which is kinda where I am stuck at the moment. I want to manual swap it for sure, but I could go ahead and switch to a LS 6.0 at the same time. There is nothing wrong with the LT1 in it other than the rear main leaking a bit, but the want for BIG power is strong! 

Matt B (fs)
Matt B (fs) UltraDork
10/9/20 2:58 p.m.

Great wheel choice.  Can you just warm up the LT1?  I don't know those motors well, but I bet some combination of intake manifold, street cams, and headers/exhaust would wake it up or at least sound cool.  Keep it mild enough and stay on stock management. Profit?

Indy "Nub" Guy
Indy "Nub" Guy PowerDork
10/9/20 3:25 p.m.

In reply to garaithon :

Glad to see the old Whale getting some love again.  Those rims look amazing on there.

 

I'll drop the link right here to the for sale ad, so you have it all documented in one place.

 

You know I'll be following along the whole way. yes

garaithon
garaithon Reader
10/10/20 11:20 a.m.

In reply to Indy "Nub" Guy :

I have to say I am loving this thing on my long commute! I have put almost 2k miles on it in less than a month! The kids like it to, lots of room to play.


How are you enjoying having only one project car?

garaithon
garaithon Reader
10/10/20 11:46 a.m.

The next thing on the list was the broken turn signal switch. I'm sure if I could get away without having a turn signal in any car, this one would be it, but I'm not that old yet! 
 

I ordered a new switch and went to work. You have to remove the air bag, steering wheel, the clockspring, turn signal canceling cam retainer, and the turn signal cam it's self. You need a steering wheel puller, and a special tool to depress the retainer plate. However once I got in there the switch was fine. The turn signal switch actuating arm was bent. Cool I'll just bend it back! Nope, it broke in half...

This was at 9 pm one night, and I was wanting to drive the car the next day, so I broke out the welder. 

I had the welder up a touch to hot, but it's been working for several weeks now. I love free fixes!  

Here you can see the " repaired" arm installed. I also replaced the broken passenger side mirror. Indy had already bought a replacement mirror, and shot it white, I just had to throw it on! Thanks man! 

garaithon
garaithon Reader
10/17/20 1:37 p.m.

The next thing I worked on was cleaning up all the trim mounting nubs. Someone in the past had removed the wood grain and the upper portion of the chrome belt moldings, leaving sharp bare metal all along both sides. 
 

I ground them all down as carefully as possible. 

Then I painted them with some primer and touch up spray. I also hit around the door handles to clean up the brown. 

After some debate and mostly a "You have to put the wood grain back" comment from my wife, I am not to worried about making it perfect. I just don't want it to rust. 

RandolphCarter
RandolphCarter New Reader
10/17/20 9:51 p.m.
garaithon said:

The next thing on the list was the broken turn signal switch. I'm sure if I could get away without having a turn signal in any car, this one would be it, but I'm not that old yet! 

Minor quibble:

Buicks driven by the q-tip brigade always have the turn signals ON.

2Girlsracing
2Girlsracing New Reader
10/17/20 11:22 p.m.

Carbon fibre wood look good as a replacement for wood grain.

garaithon
garaithon Reader
10/18/20 11:38 a.m.

In reply to RandolphCarter :

This thing actually has a "chime" that comes on, if you have had the turn signal on at speed and not made a turn! Haha!

 

Appleseed
Appleseed MegaDork
10/18/20 12:23 p.m.

Cabon fibre  "woodgrain.  "  Paint the panel black. That waffle toolbox liners? Take that and cut it to the shape of the panel. Now spray medium silver over the pattern. Now spray clear gloss.

There you go. 

I saw it done on the inside of a lexan R/C car body. I thought it was real carbon fibre. The guy said it was a make from foam drawer mat. It looked legit

garaithon
garaithon Reader
10/18/20 1:10 p.m.

I also got my wife to drive it for the first time recently. Her conclusion: "It drives like a big brown bruised banana!" 
 

I also test fitted the wheels I teased earlier. 

They are 17x9s with 0 offset and I plan to run 275/40r17s. The wheels are almost 40lbs a piece, but personally I think steel wheels are the only thing that looks right on one of these. 

The wheels clear everything ok , but once the tires are mounted they are going to rub the front sway bar at full lock. I may do some small spacers on the front, which should help with that issue and look a bit better. An aftermarket sway bar would probably add some clearance but I haven't looked into hard yet. 

The back I think will be fine. There is about an inch clearance between the chrome molding and the wheel, I can trim that down a bit if needed. 
 

In other news I sorta changed my order of operations around and went ahead and picked this up!


It's a 6.0 LY6 out of a 07-09 2500hd. Plan is to throw a cam in, and drop it in with the 4L60E. I think I can get this thing in there for less than the cost of a T56 swap, it was certainly easier to find. I still have tons of stuff to buy before I can start swapping the engine, but the biggest piece is out of the way. 
 

If anybody has any input on what to do to the 4L60 to help it survive until I find a decent T56 let me know. I don't want to go to crazy on it as I don't plan on keeping it forever. 

Indy "Nub" Guy
Indy "Nub" Guy PowerDork
10/18/20 3:06 p.m.

In reply to garaithon (Re: 6.0 LS) :

yes

 

 

 

Appleseed
Appleseed MegaDork
10/18/20 7:37 p.m.

Look at used 4th gen sways for the front. I'm 85.3% certain they fit with the correct bushings. 

akylekoz
akylekoz SuperDork
10/18/20 8:05 p.m.

Add a $20 corvette servo and a cooler to the 4L60E, cheap insurance and all external plus better shifts.  I did this in my tow van and it lasted until I sold it with 200k on it.  Towed a 6000# travel trailer for ten years.

garaithon
garaithon Reader
10/19/20 9:08 a.m.

In reply to Indy "Nub" Guy :

Sweet it's Ron Burgundy approved! This thing's got to have enough power for He-Man too!

garaithon
garaithon Reader
10/19/20 9:27 a.m.

In reply to akylekoz :

I have the factory external cooler already. Should I go bigger? Or put another one in series? 
 

Same year Corvette for the servo? Thank you!

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