Finally Home!

Well, its taken way longer than I expected and far more second guessing than I normally do with my work, but I finally got the transmission and engine in its final resting place in the chassis. All the little details of each new step and all the little chain reaction things that putting in a modern engine and transmission brings were finally finished. Quite a bit to floor work to do with the transmission tunnel, but I’ll start to tackle that next. Measure twice, then measure twice more, adjust, measure five or six more times and weld it in! I guess I’ll find out once I start driving it if I got the drivetrain angles in correctly! First picture just how far back the Tremec sits as compared to the factory mount. Had to build a new mount and position it well behind the where the glide was bolted in.

Canton pan!

I’ve been dreading looking at pans for this build and just assumed that I’d be cutting up a CTS-V pan or truck pan to get it to work. The folks at Canton have really knocked it out of the park with this 15-274 pan. This is a stroker build and the Canton is one of the few pans on the market that address this all the way up to a 4.125 stroke. Really important feature! The questions were;

1. Would the pan hang below the cross member?
2. Will the pan clear the drag link, lock to lock? (big problem with some of the factory pans and quite a few of the aftermarket pans)
3. Will it give me the ability to adjust the engine mounts in the full swing of adjustment so I can find the right weight distribution?

No, yes, yes! Lots of time saved!

Part numbers used;
15-274 pan
15-275 pickup
22-631 filter adaptor

More mock up…

Just getting some final tweaks done before welding in a new tunnel. The factory transmission cross member is fighting me a little to get the right yoke/pinion angle on the driveshaft. Used the factory one on my Chevelle, and thought I would here too, but I might just buy a pre-bent one to custom fit in, or just build my own out of square tubing. We’ll see how the rest of the weekend goes.

Couple pictures…

Hydraulic clutch

I’ve been asked a few times about how to hook up the hydraulic clutch master cylinder, what to buy and what the total cost is. Heres a little summary

First off, you don’t need to spend $700 on a kit. You certainly can if you choose, but there are much cheaper alternatives.

I’m using a T-56, but this set up will work with the TKO also and I’m sure with the factory Tremecs.

First off, you’ll need a master cylinder. I used the GM part number 12570277 for 98-02 F-Bodys. You can normally pick this up for $150 or less. Over the counter at any Chevy dealer if you choose, or ebay and you might get for cheaper. I found mine from a friend locally though craigslist might also be an option. I paid $100. Factory bled, so you don’t even need to buy hydraulic fluid.

Next its just easier to buy a bracket from Speed Tech. I’ve seen some of the others, but I personally like the Speed Tech one. Part number 80002. Can buy it right off their web site for $79. But beware, you’ll get absolutely pounded on freight. Total cost for mine was $100.79. You’ll need to cut a hole in the firewall for the cylinder to pass through. I TOTALLY measured wrong and cut a big ass hole. Don’t be me. Measure twice, cut once.

You’ll need to drill your factory clutch pedal to shift the pedal height to the factory location and up against the factory bump stop. Install the expensive bracket you bought from Speed Tech, the hydraulic slave and mark the pedal. Be forewarned. You’ll need a couple drill bits for hardened steel. I like the Artu ones. I got mine at Ace Hardware. Avoid every other brand they have. They wont get through the pedal with a hand drill. Maybe a drill press might. $20 for the good drill bits.

Couple bucks for hardware. I threaded the pedal arm so the fine thread bolt screwed into it and then used a nylon lock nut on the outside. You’ll need a low profile, button head bolt to clear the bracket for the brake pedal switch. 3/8 – 24 x 1 1/4″

Total cost was $225.79 Though I’m guessing on average its probably less than $250 for the entire set up. Far cheaper than the kits you’ll buy and the same quality. Plus with GM parts, you’ll always have access in case you damage something.

Ok, a couple pictures.

LS mock up and a little surgery to fit a 1967 El Camino!

Well still waiting on some little interior pieces to move on. Nothing pressing, just normal back order stuff. While I wait, I decided to move on to mocking up the LS, modifying the tunnel to accept the physically longer, taller and wider Tremec. Plus theres the critical task of making sure when all mounted the angle of the output shaft is at the right angle. More on that soon. Busy week so no work till next Sunday. Heres where I got…

And all the monkeys aren’t in the zoo…

Everyday you’ll meet quite a few, as Bing told us. Apparently this El Camino was owned by a Neanderthal. Evidence of the attempt to mount whatever it was that captain caveman was working on at the time. So lots of patch work and in some cases just replacement of the item/panel/part. I’ve never had to fix so much on a single car. Wow. What a fun journey this has been (not). Thankfully, I think I’ve seen all the ugly. *knock on wood* Here are a couple of my favorites!

Dynacorn heater box

I’ve read a few places about the Dynacorn (Chinese) heater box. I so dislike buying stuff from over seas. In this case, not because its a huge pile of brittle junk, but I don’t wish to perpetuate the theft of many manufacturers hard work and countless engineering dollars. Sure you can by a cheap HEI for $45 but someone in the states engineered it, tested it and took it to market. All these things cost a serious amount of cash. The Chinese just steal whatever they want and there has been little to no intervention by the federal government. So why fuel that and continue to destroy the US worker and economy?

So. Dynacorn makes this heater box. As far as I can tell, its a knock off of the original. Mostly fits but of course is a little off in some of the mounting hole locations and the control levers. Not awful and definitely modifiable. For $250 it was about what I expected. Overall if I was doing a numbers matching, every tiny number and bolt has to be correct restoration, it would fall well short. For a pro-touring driver? Seems to fit the bill. Hopefully it performs too!

Finished up the cage work

Just a few more pictures of the final product. I added the Chris Alston swing out clevis kits. They were painfully expensive, but superior to the barn door stuff that’s out there. These are NHRA legal. Not that it matters a whole lot, but its the ease of removal and strength I was looking for.


Well it seems like its been quite a long time since I started this thing and the cage is the first thing I knew I needed to check off the list. First big benchmark in the project. Got started on it Thursday and Friday. Should be done by Monday.

One instant thing I noticed. Theres FAR more rust in the bed than what I was anticipating. This car is really close to being wrecker material. Like one tiny fender bender and I swear this thing would have fallen completely apart. Wow. Still amazed at how much rust this thing had. Never worked on anything so awful! First time for everything…

Start of the NHRA legal roll cage.

Interior ugliness…

Wow. I was not ready for the ugly this Elk is giving me. I’ve built cars from the Midwest where rust is certainly an issue but NOTHING like it effects cars here. WOW. So while I would have liked to have been done with the interior and moved onto the cage work, I’m still chasing demons and pecking away at the rust. Hopefully next update will be cage or cutting up the trans tunnel for the Tremec!