67/68/69 cuda dilemma

Hit the machine shop today to check progress and get an ETA. Block is out of the hot tank. " Two 327s ahead of you jimmy !! " is what I was told. He had 2 vintage corvette engines to machine, then ours. First vette motor is done, 327 #2 will be today and the beginning of next week. After that the teener. This is probably the cleanest this engine block has been since it was new 44 years ago lol. 1970 340 forged crank, eagle I beam rods, and KB 167s. Bottom end getting balanced. Mark is one of the best machinests around which is why he gets a lot of work. I dont mind waiting for him to get to it. This guy is meticulous with this stuff. He will not bore any block out until he has the pistons that will go in it. Everything gets a torque plate bore and hone job. When he machined my Chrysler 2.2 turbo engine, I rented a torque plate from one of the 2.2 engine builders for him to have.


With the summer heat it's a bit too hot to work on this thing on my days off. I did a little fitting on the RH subframe connector this morning and drilled 3/4" drain holes in both of em. Its going to be slow going these next few months. A little more work and I can burn the right one in. Making these as exact copies of the ones I put in my 67 notchback.





Tapered the subframe connector in since the framerail actually tapers a bit. The subframe connector fits so tight at the back now that currently the only things holding it pinned in place are the two 1/8" clecos in the front. The 5/16" holes at the back are for plug welds. It will also get lap welded at the framerail, and at the torsion bar crossmember. This car seems to be taking forever, but its hot out, and I am very picky at how stuff fits together. Must be the aviation sheetmetal mechanic in me, and once you weld it in, if it's wrong, it's a ***** to cut it back apart. After i weld this one in, the left side is next. Lots of pix, but I hope this thread helps others with some of this stuff.








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Sandblasted these 68-71 340 exhaust manifolds. I had em for years. Was going to put em on my 408, but then decided on a set of hedman block huggers for that one. Anyhoo, awhile back I bought 1 pint of Por15 high heat exhaust manifold paint. I sandblasted the manifolds at work, and painted them today. If you go with a 1-1 mix with xylene which is available at lowes or home depot you can spray paint them. I used a disposable Preval sprayer, that comes with a reusable bottle also available at Lowes. Light coats allowing to tack between coats, I used maybe 1/4 of that pint and still have 3/4 of a can of this left over for my headers. I honestly think anybody can get professional looking results this way. Container says let dry 24 hours before heating these up to cure them. We did a set of manifolds for my dads lil red express truck years ago and cleaned em with a wire brush. We had no access to a sandblaster back then and they looked great for the 12 years he had the truck.






L/H subframe connector progress and front emergency brake cable mockup. With subframe connectors I honestly think this is the best way to do this. I have seen people slice long slots in their connectors for the brake cable and I think that defeats the purpose of a subframe connector. I relocated the cable inboard of the subframe connector. This allows it to line up straight with the rear cable support under the floor, and run parallel with the subframe connector making a cleaner install. I did this same setup on my 67 and mocked it up with a 4 speed and Z bar and it cleared nicely. Cable fits a little loose in the 1/2" hole in the subframe connector plate, however that's by design. It's the same sized hole as the OEM. The cable uses a spring clip to hold the cable in place in the hole. I will likely add a rubber grommet where the cable goes into the crossmember at the front side to keep water and dirt out.









Everything is pinned in place and ready to weld. I get these burned in, and it's on to the next big adventure. What's next after these are welded in is anybodies guess. And a recap. Gone are these ugly booger welded 2x2 connectors.






Not too much to report. Subframe connectors are welded in, and I spent some time fabricating front and rear torque box reinforcing plates. Now working on making the LCA reinforcing straps.







Well I'm back on the front of the car. Want to get this LH inner fender installed, then drill off the cowl before I sandblast everything. I got a lot of prep work done. I knocked the high rust off then started with naval jelly to get rid of the rest. Used trisodium phosphate and water to neutralize it. Then used some weld thru primer, and a little duraprime epoxy on top. The shock tower area I just hit with duraprime epoxy primer. When its all dry, I will clamp and zap. The welding is the easiest part. The prep work is what's time consuming. I didnt want to sandblast this, because the blaster would never have gotten into the bottom of the pits as well, this side was the worst because of battery issues in the cars past. Passenger side is really clean, so I will leave it alone and just sandblast. I still need to remove the undercoating on the passenger side. That may be the next project.









Well I got the LH inner fender welded in tuesday night. Ground most of the welds smooth, and melted out the lead in the corners of the upper cowl panel. Plans are to remove it, and sandblast the entire front end, including inside the cowl plenum, and door jambs, remove any rust in the plenum, re seal the stand pipes, then install a new AMD upper cowl panel. The best part is the temporary support rods I made out of 3/4" electrical conduit, and have kept bolted in to keep the radiator support square with the firewall with the fenderwell are finally unbolted and out for good. They are stashed in the corner of the shop in case they are ever needed again. I cant wait to blast the old paint and surface rust off all this and get a nice coat of epoxy primer on all of it. Of course being it is the end of july we are in 100° temps now. I work on this stuff early in the morning till about noon, then back on it in the evening around 8pm when the sun goes down.

Yesterday and todays jobs were not cuda work though. My DD 2008 chevy HHR was in need of some serious attention. Front & rear brakes, struts, and shocks. Calling it a Lego car now. Everything was straight bolt up with round holes. No eccentric bolts for strut adjustment or anything. Just bolt together and go. Car drives straight though. Clamped and welded by robots must have waaay tighter tolerances than them 1980s FWD MoPars I used to work on lol. The drums in the back were kinda strange the way the shoes are held on, but everything else went very quickly. Buying loaded struts with springs already attached helped a lot too. Kudos to rock auto, I spent about $200 shipped for all of it. Amazing what new front struts and rear shocks will do. This thing rides like a new car.




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Weiand Stealth 8022. Removed "the chunk" from the #5 runner. It's not needed and interferes with my throttle cable, and kickdown cable bracket I custom made. It's getting painted engine color, and partially hidden, so my blending wont be noticable.



Todays fun. Changed out a cracked plastic thermostat housing on wifes grand caravan. Effing Plastic!!! ******* Lego car!! This put me a bit behind on the cuda. I work in the morning to beat the heat on my last day off before I go back to work. So I had to hustle to get the cowl off. I cut it in a few places where it could be reused to get it off there. I plan on using a new AMD cowl panel. Was pleasantly surprised at the lower plenum condition. Gonna scrape the sealant off around the stand pipes and sandblast this all clean along with the front end of the car, epoxy primer and re seal it. Theres a hole in the firewall and in the lower cowl where ricky racer ran wires to mount gages on the cowl. Those will get repaired with steel sheetmetal plugs, and welding. In the past building my other projects there were always compromises and shoulda, woulda, couldas. I'm not feeling that way with this build with as far apart as I am taking this thing. One thing was the amount of sand blast sand still in the cowl from when I did the framerails and inside of the firewall last year. Really glad I removed it. Not only to clean out the corrosion, but also because of all that sand that was still in there. Heres pix.








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that freakin sand gets everywhere
Agreed. This is why the main floor pan will not be going in until i sand blast the front of the car. I need to make sure the front framerails have no sand in them when I'm done. I plan on covering up the car with tarps, taping off the stand pipe holes, and firewall holes from the back side, and only leaving from the cowl forward exposed for sand blasting.
Got a bit more done. Removed both stand pipes to get rid of the rust and primer them up. Also test fit the new cowl panel, and plugged the drill hole in the lower cowl plenum. All in all a busy and productive day today.








Dropped these in a vinegar bath about 6pm last night. Scrubbed em with a wire brush about noon today, rinsed em off, and back in the vinegar bath. Cleaning up just fine.





looks good. is that cowl going to need any trimming?
Actually the holes for the dashboard screws line up really well. If you use pins in those holes to keep it lined up it all lines up pretty well. Where the lower plenum and firewall are pinched together it has to be filed down because the new cowl doesnt overlap far enough it seems. It's got a curve down at the front, so those 2 pieces have to be filed back a little bit. On the sides where it overlaps, I may have to cut and draw it in a little. With as hot as it's been out here lately, I will likely wait till october to sandblast all this, and get it in primer.
...On the sides where it overlaps, I may have to cut and draw it in a little. With as hot as it's been out here lately, I will likely wait till october to sandblast all this, and get it in primer.
good, it's nice to know that piece doesn't need a lot of working. i'm not expecting too much good working weather until october either. september is usually the worst month around here
Whatcha building? I had to use a torch and a wire brush to melt out the lead from the seams.
I thought the body and paint was done on that one?
ha, ya...
step 1: do body and paint cause' "i'm going to build the other one and leave this a cruiser"
step 2: change mind and try not to screw up the fresh paint too much while doing everything to this one i planned for the other one
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