Taking the plunge: LS3 into '64 Tempest. Need help with shopping list. by b-man

By diyauto
( 3 )

Taking the plunge: LS3 into '64 Tempest. Need help with shopping list. 

Compliments of b-man @ pro-touring.com


It's time for me to start planning my LS3 engine swap, the car I'm using for my project is my '64 Pontiac Tempest 'sleeper' that was powered by a mild 455 Tri-Power engine. I have owned a 2002 WS6 A4 convertible since new so I know just how great these LSX engines are, my 100% stock 5.7 T/A is 1/2 second quicker in the 1/4 than my 455 Tempest.

My Tempest is NOT a hard-core Pro-Touring car. Link to car details:http://www.pro-touring.com/forum/showthread.php?t=25799 

I want to keep it low-key and continue the sleeper theme. The bench seat and column shifter will stay, with no changes to the stock dash/gauges. I already have oil pressure, trans and and water temp gauges under the dash, I'll add other gauges if needed. I won't need a tach, the trans will be programmed to shift before the engine redline. But if it seems like a good idea to add one, I will.

Having the power of a new '08 Corvette should make it a lot more fun. I won't add aftermarket engine dress-up items, add an engine cover, move the coil packs off the valve covers or anything like that.

Knocking a good 250 to 300 pounds off the front end with an all-aluminum V8 should do wonders for handling. Plus a new fuel-injected 6.2 engine should give me close to a 130 HP boost (hoping the stock LS3 with headers/2.5" mandrell-bent exhaust will be close to 460 HP) and reward me with close to double my current fuel mileage (9-10 city, 12-13 highway with 2.56 gears).

My low-compression (8.2:1) 335 HP 455 wasn't the most fuel-efficient engine, but it was dead-reliable and put together with all stock Pontiac parts. It easily yanked the 'ol Tempest (3780# without driver) into the high 13s in the 1/4 (13.899 @ 101.85), using 1st and 2nd gear only, I'm sure knocking off some weight and adding 130 HP will knock over a second off my ET.

I want to install a new LS3 430 HP crate engine, the only mod to the engine will be a set of headers and a tune. I want to keep it a reliable, smooth-running and fuel-efficient package, so no big cam or other mods. I plan on buying the wiring harness from GM that's made for the LS3 crate engine, unless there's a better or cheaper alternative.

I will be running an automatic trans of some kind, and it's very important that I keep the trans mounted in the stock location as I want to keep the factory column shifter and linkage. I don't want to run any conversion mounts that will jack up the engine/trans or move them forward or back from the stock location. 

I'm hoping to find a combination of mostly stock GM accessory drives that will work with my plan of keeping the engine/trans in the stock location. Same thing goes for the oil pan and header selection. I'd prefer to run a factory pan of some kind (good luck, maybe the LH8?), but if I need an aftermarket pan of some sort to provide crossmember to pan as well as tie rod to pan clearance I'll buy one.

Right now the way the car is set up, I'm using a TH400 trans with the original ST300 2-speed auto shift linkage, the steering column and shifter detent have been modified (column slots lengthened for more travel, new low-gear detent step welded on) in order to select all 3 gears.

I'll either add a Gear Vendor OD to the existing TH400 (freshly rebuilt) with tight 10" Continental 3200 converter (also spankin' new) , or go with a 4L60E or possibly a 4L80E. Not sure if I want to deal with electronic auto trans control or not, but with the DBW LS3 engine it may be the best way to go.

Cruise control would be nice. I'll put the TH400/10" Continental in one of my other cars and go for a modern GM OD auto if that's the best route, hopefully without too much hammering on the trans tunnel. My column shift should be adaptable, I'll let the new 4L60E do all the shifting after I pop it into either Drive or OD with my lil' Granny column shifter.

Air conditioning is a must, a Vintage Air setup or whatever will be installed, so I'll need to accomodate an A/C compressor in the accessory drives.

I would like to run an in-tank fuel pump. Would any of the aftermarket Chevelle stainless steel tanks adapt to the Tempest/Lemans/GTO? I know the filler necks are different, perhaps the Tempest neck could be added to one. I can mod my stock tank if that would be a better way to go.

The rear end has been changed from th 2.56 open rear that was original to the car to a 3.36 posi. It is a factory 1966 GTO 8.2" 10-bolt so I hope it will hang in there a while if I don't thrash it too hard, this isn't a drag car with sticky tires so it should be okay.

Any help with putting together a shopping list for engine mounts, oil pan, accessory drives, headers (again keeping in mind the trans needs to stay put in the stock location) along with a fuel system and any electronics/wiring I'll need to buy would be greatly appreciated.

My apologies for the long-winded post, I tried not to leave anything out. 


Thanks, I thought long and hard in order to come up with a unique one-of-a-kind wheel/tire combo that nobody else had.

Not a lightweight set-up by any means (a bare wheel weighs 37#), but they do a pretty good job of giving this 'Plain Jane' little white Tempest some real personality.

The 235/45-17 tires will be replaced with a set of 245/45-17s very soon.

I have another Tempest/LS3 swap thread going on the Performance Years site, I'm trying to gather info there as well. It looks like a set of Edelbrock mounting plates and LSX engine swap headers will put the engine where I want it.

Corvette accessories will be in the cards too, I'll notch the front crossmember for A/C compressor clearance. Also looks like the LH8 oil pan kit from GM is the way to go.


Thanks again for all the links and advice.

The main reason I'm considering notching the crossmember for A/C compressor clearance will be to keep the accessory drives all OEM, and the serpentine belt lengths the same as OEM as well. Finding spares while out on the road is much easier when you stay with as many OEM parts as possible. Any aftermarket parts used in this build will be kept to the absolute minumum.

Still feeling this one out, my main reason for choosing the Edelbrock headers and mounts will be to keep the trans located in the factory position. Andrew B. has been offering some specific info in this and other areas of my build to help me figure things out on the Performance Years forums.

As mentioned in my original post, I will only choose mounts and headers that don't move the engine & trans up or down/forward or back from the stock location.

If any other aftermarket suppliers can show me that their mounts and headers meet my objectives I'll gladly consider any of them. 

Thanks, Bart


So far I've purchased most of the items I'll need to do the swap, I'll try to mention Pro-Touring.com site sponsors whenever I can.

I'll post a few pics of the engine and parts I've collected so far later next week when the engine arrives. Still trying to decide which auto trans and converter to buy and who to buy from , but I'll figure that out pretty soon.

Parts list with costs:

SPI EFI-ready tank - $429 + $76 ship

GF872 filter/reg - $45 + $7 ship

Autokraft pan kit - $430 + $20 ship

Chevelle repro frame mount brackets, pair - $78 + $14 ship

Edelbrock engine swap headers - $600 + $12 handling fee* (Summit Racing)

Edelbrock engine mount adapter plates - $65 *(Summit Racing)

Energy Suspension urethane engine mounts, pair - $72 *(Summit Racing)

Griffin 25202-X 24" x 19" aluminum universal radiator - $196 *(Summit Racing)

KWiK Performance A/C brackets (no need to notch frame)- $197 + $9 ship

AC Delco 3231640 remanufactured starter (includes $45 core charge)- $295 + $17 ship*

AC Delco 11588456 starter bolts (2) - $7*

Dorman 620634 Radiator Fan Assy ('98 -'02 F-body) - $156 + $12 ship

GM 19201992 LS3 crate engine - $6,195 + $185 ship (thanks Jesse at Scoggin-Dickey Parts Center)

GM 19155067 Corvette accessory drive kit - $770 + $16 handling

Total cost so far - $9,903

Now, to get started.

Since the engine and trans are already out of the car, the next task will be to pull the interior out of the car. The front & rear seats and rubber floor mat (the Tempest didn't have carpet from the factory) have to come out so I can get under the dash to install the air conditioning components that I still need to buy. I know that a lot of wiring will need to be done too so the inner firewall will need to be stripped bare. The seats need to be reupholstered and a new headliner installed.

The floorpans need a little attention, they will be coated with POR-15 rust preventive paint to stop the rust that has started underneath the rubber floor mat. Any water that gets underneath the rubber mat can't dry out very fast like wet carpet would so there's more than a bit of rust, all of these early A-body cars have leaky windshields and backlights.

Since the weather's been extra nice (in the mid-80s) the last few days I took the opportunity to do some more badly-needed garage cleaning and remove the interior from the Tempest.

Junk in the trunk. Most of the parts I've collected so far are crammed in the trunk until I have a better place to put them.

A good used '66 8.2" 3.36 posi rear has been put aside for this project, already scrubbed down with a wire brush and some Simple Green. Two coats of POR-15 semi-gloss black, urethane upper bushings, and some better-fitting brake lines are all it needs. A new charge of GM #1052271 80W-90 axle lubricant and a 4oz bottle of GM #1052358 limited slip axle lubricant additive will be added as well.

Note to self: Do not hammer it too hard out of the hole with this rear end!

This is the farthest the Tempest has ventured out of the garage in years, just far enough to get the driver's door open to access the front seat bolts. It pushes back inside pretty easily, the driveway slope isn't too severe at this point. The original black CA plates just add to the charm of this once thrifty little beauty.

A shot of the original 140 HP 215 straight six that came in this car, it's identical to the 230 Chevy six other than having a smaller bore size (3.750" vs 3.875" for the 230) and having 'PONTIAC' cast into both sides of the block. So yes the little Tempest originally came with a 'corporate' engine of sorts.

The same engine was used for the '65 A-body as the standard engine as well, both the Lemans and Tempest rolled off the assembly line with one of these if you didn't ask for the 326 V8. It's getting a 'corporate' engine again that will get even better gas mileage and have about 4 times the power.

A look inside before the teardown. The seats are in need of attention, especially the front bench. A nice blue indian blanket (already removed here) made the front bench liveable in the past, but now it's time for a decent upholstery job. All of the upholstery pictured is the original issue for this '64 Tempest.

A shot of the original rubber floor mats that came in the low-line Tempest. Easy to clean off with a sponge and soapy water, I kind of prefer these rubber mats to carpet in a daily driver.

What I now have to deal with: Removal of all the old sound deadener and some minor (I hope) rust repair. I do see a few holes that have started under the driver's foot area and one just behind the passenger side of the front bench where it bolts down. All of the bolts holding the seat belts and front seat down came out easily.

A look at the dash and front floors. Note the original cardboard sun visors that don't attach and pivot off of the rear view mirror, there's no day-night mirror on this base model. Simple and inexpensive, but still a lot of car for the money back in '64.

Seats stashed until I can get them to an upholstery shop.

Junk now out of the trunk. I have a '66 VW Type II pickup stashed in the garage, it makes a perfect work bench or storage spot. The completely flat bed on this little one-ton truck is 5' 6" wide and 8' 10" long. The 'covered wagon' canvas top is a unique factory option on this truck.

And if you're wondering, yes it does handle. With a 94.5" wheelbase that's within an inch or two of a C4/C5 'vette, a super-low center of gravity (only the cab itself puts any real weight above the beltline), fully independent suspension and an empty weight of only 2400# it corners like it's on rails.

I put those 16X8.5" 1984 'vette rims and 205/55-16 tires on it back in '86, when all the Corvette guys were dumping them for aftermarket rims or for newer 'vette 16X9.5" rims. Drilled the front discs (off a '71 Type II Bus) and the rear drums (IRS rear suspension/drum brakes off a '70 Type III Squareback) for the Chevy 5 on 4.75" pattern and they bolted right on with no room to spare, but with no cutting on the body.

More to come.....


Spent some time today doing most of the initial cleaning and scraping on the floor pans so I can begin to apply the POR-15 rust preventive paint. You can use the POR-15 along with small pieces of fiberglass cloth to fill small holes, the silver POR-15 works best because it's full of ground-up aluminum so it fills and builds better than the other colors. I did the trunk floor on this car when I first bought it, this stuff is truly a lifesaver.

It dries extremely strong and will actually help strengthen thin rusted metal. I've also used the black semi-gloss POR-15 on the core support, the frame from the firewall forward and all of the suspension components on this car. It's almost like powdercoating in can and goes on and flows out smoothly with a decent paint brush, the fumes are much too evil to even consider spraying this stuff.

Driver's side floor, taken using flash, not too bad looking.

Driver's side floor again, no flash, you can see light coming through the holes in the footwell.

Passenger side, using flash, in worse shape than the driver's side.

Passenger side again, no flash.

Now, something a little more fun.

I spent some time doing a little deburring and test-fitting together the new 3" PYPES X-pipe system with 3" Race Pro mufflers and 2-1/2" tailpipes. The quality on this system looks top-notch, the welds are all nicely done and the mandrel bends all look good.
After doing a little filing here and there I slid it all together and laid it out on my driveway to get a look at it.

The only modification I'll make to this system will be a set of turned-down tailpipe tips, so I can hide the exhaust exits behind the rear bumper.

The 2-1/2" tailpipes were already expanded to fit the 3" mufflers right out of the box.

The 3" Race Pro mufflers are pretty compact compared to other mufflers with the same straight-through design, this should help to offer some additional ground clearance on lowered cars.

In a couple of days the new LS3 should arrive.


Today was a fun day for me. My new crate LS3 showed up at about 2:30 PM and I was ready with my trusty (not rusty) '70 Chevy pickup, I had driven it to work for the last 3 days anticipating the engine delivery. The old workhorse did double duty today, picking up the new engine and dropping off the tattered Tempest front bench and back seat at the upholstery shop after work on my way home.

My prize:

Good ol' pickup, this truck equipped with a factory 402 big-block/TH400 hauled my '64 GTO back and forth to the bracket races for over a decade:

Tomorrow I'll tear the crate apart and deposit the LS3 in my garage, I'm too tired to do it tonight. More pics coming soon.


Pulled the top off the crate tonight and hoisted the LS3 off the pallet.

The Tempest gets acquainted with the new-tech motivating force.

Merry Christmas to me!

My upholsterer called me today, he was able to locate the original striped cloth for the seats ($79/yard) as well as the correct color vinyl. Now my seats will look as factory original as possible, I was almost sure I'd have to compromise and end up with something different.

I'm so stoked.


......needs to be done in preparation for the swap. The Tempest has been mothballed in my garage for over 6 years, sitting without an engine or trans. The old 2-1/2" exhaust system had nothing holding up the front end, so eventually the over-stressed muffler hanger rubber straps gave way and let the front end of the system hang down to the garage floor.

I'm replacing the exhaust system mainly to better handle the added power of the LS3, plus I have also always wanted to try out an X-pipe system. The old 2-1/2" pipe size would probably have been okay but the mufflers on this system can only handle about 380 HP unrestricted. Having 3" pipes to the 3" mufflers is a big plus for adding horsepower. The exhaust gasses will have cooled and contracted by the time they have left the mufflers so the 2-1/2" tailpipes will be more than up to the job.

I put the car up on wood pallets up front (tires blocked on the pallets) and jack stands under the frame in the rear so I could drop the rear end down far enough to slip the old exhaust system out the rear. All of the exhaust, chassis and fuel line work will be done in a similar fashion. I really have nothing other than a good floor jack to use to get the car up in the air, there's no 4-post lift in my garage.

Old exhaust system is now removed, I just barely had enough clearance to manuever it out.

One of suspension features on this 'Poor-Touring' car, a 1-3/8" sway bar that rests on top of the owner-boxed rear lower control arms with poly bushings. I bought this sway bar after being told it was for an A-body, but I ended up finding a way to make the 'mystery bar' work by fabbing up some brackets. Note the stock rear drum brakes, a shining example of 'Poor-Touring' at it's very best.

The bar tucks up nicely, fits like a glove.

The lower control arms have poly busings that I modified to be greaseable, reinforcing plates have been welded in place next to the bushings. A set of 1978 B-body spindles with 12" discs and Hotchkis tie rod adjusters are used. The KYB gas shocks seem to work okay, hopefully to be replaced soon with a set of KONI shocks.

A pair of Hotchkis upper control arms make the B-body spindles work and a set of high-rate H-O Racing front springs help it handle. The suspension and undercarriage along with the engine compartment will have an all-day appointment with some dish soap and an old car wash mitt soon.

A shot of the old fuel delivery system that somehow managed to feed the mild 455 through the stock 5/16" fuel line. The Carter 4070 4-6 psi electric pump kept up okay, however the tank really needed to be at least half-full all of the time. I'm sure that the 3 Tri-Power float bowls to keep fuel in reserve and the tall 2.56 gears helped it all work. All of this was removed today while I was under there doing my thing.

Moving forward.



What's that?

I have decided to replace the '66 3.36 posi 8.2" 10-bolt Pontiac A-body narrow rear end with a much stronger '71 -'72 3.42 posi 8.5" Olds/Buick A-body (tapered bearing bolt-in axle) wide rear end. The strength of the GM corporate 8.5" rear rivals that of the Chevy 12-bolt, as an added plus the tapered bearing 28-spline bolt-in axles are best for hard cornering and overall durability.

I had been hesitating to replace the early narrow 8.2" rear end with a later wide 8.5" rear end (1" wider overall, 1/2" per side) mainly because of the way my steel 17X8s were built, they won't fit in the rear with 4-1/2" of backspace and a wide rear end. Now that I have decided to go for a set of 18X9" wheels all around I can buy new wheels that will fit with a wider rear axle.

The 17X8" steelies and dog dish caps will soon find a new home on my '64 Lemans convertible.

After doing some measuring I see that I will have 7.25" from the wheel mounting surface on the rear drum to the frame rail/inner fender and 4.50" to the outer fender inner body panel, for a total of 11.75" of room from side to side for a wheel/tire assembly.

A 9" wide rim is 10" in overall width, once you add the width of the outer wheel lips to the width of the 9" bead width of the rim. With the rim perfectly centered from side to side (looking from the rear) in the wheelwell, ideally I should have .875" of body/frame clearance on both sides of it (11.75" - 10" = 1.750", divided by 2 = .875").

After doing some internet research I have found a 18X9" wheel spec'd for a 2008 BMW Z4, the 5 on 120 mm bolt pattern is plenty close enough to the GM 5 on 4.75 to work (120.65 mm). I'm not first guy to use the 120mm bolt circle BMW wheels on a GM car.

I need a 9" wheel with close to 6.5" of backspace to center the wheel from side to side, the wheels I found have a 40mm offset which is the same as 6.57" of backspace. A tad toward the inside, but still very good.

After I upgrade to rear disc brakes on the car the rear wheel will move outward by about .125", moving the wheel pretty close to the exact amount I want to center it even better. I should end up with something like .805" between the inner wheel lip and the frame/inner fender panel, pretty close to perfect.

I can use this same wheel up front with a 1.25" thick billet aluminum wheel adapter, I have room to go inward by about 1" but almost no room to go outward. Using the 1.25" adapter effectively changes the 6.57" wheel backspacing to 5.32", moving the outer face of the front wheel lip outward by about .180" (less than 3/16") from where it is right now with the current 17X8" 4.5" backspace wheels.

I will run the same size tires front and rear, 245/40-18, 25.7" tall. This size tire will have very close to a 10" section width (sidewall to sidewall) mounted on a 9" rim, it is spec'd at 9.8" when mounted on an 8.5" wide rim.

I can rotate the tires from front to back by running the same size front and rear, plus I happen to like that look. There's still plenty of room to go up in size to a 275/40-18 that's 26.6" tall in the rear later on too if I change my mind.

My wheel choice, 18X9" O.Z Racing Ultraleggera, black painted of course.;)

40 mm offset/6.57" backspace, weighing only 20.8 pounds.

Spent some time today while it is still unseasonably warm out to get wet and dirty cleaning up the front suspension and engine compartment a bit. The front end cleaned up pretty nice.

The frame from the firewall forward, front suspension and inner wheelwells are coated with semi-gloss black POR-15. Note the junkyard 12" B-body rotors that have been redrilled from the 5 on 5" GM big car pattern to the 5 on 4.75" GM intermediate pattern.

Moving forward.


I decided to buy 245/40-18s and 275/40-18s since this thing could really use some tire to help handle the 450+ HP I'm expecting. Now that my wheels and tires are on order along with my front wheel adapters (27 mm/1.06") it's time again to do some more work to prep the body.

I removed the windshield so I could put a halt to the rust that was forming in the window channel, plus it had a crack that was slowly growing downward from the rear view mirror area.

Other than a few lower windshield trim clips that were pretty much consumed by the rust I don't see any really bad spots.

Some heavy pitting is present but no holes that I can see so far, after some more work with a wire brush it will soon be ready for the POR-15 treatment. For those of you who haven't tried POR-15, you'll soon see the near miracles this stuff can perform. At only $45 a quart it's an affordable solution for minor to moderate rust problems.


From what I've been told the C5/C6 'vette accessories fit best, Andrew B who is a mod here gave me this advice so I went along with it. No interference or close fit down low next to the steering box and a shorter profile for better fan/radiator clearance.

The only thing that might interfere is the A/C compressor to the front crossmember if left in the stock location. You can either notch the crossmember and and do some changes to the compressor to put the hoses in a better location or just move the compressor to the top with an aftermarket bracket kit, which I chose to do.

Factory 19155067 C5/C6 Corvette accessory drive kit with low-mounted A/C compressor:

Same Factory setup with KWiK Performance A/C brackets added (made for a Sanden compressor which I'll be using instead of the OEM unit), looks like it's gonna fit nice.

.....that will be fixed next weekend if all goes well. Today I scrubbed down the floorpans with some Simple Green followed up by some mineral spirits (paint thinner) in the areas where the old tar-based sound deadener left some black sticky residue.

The driver's side footwell has a few holes. The hole next to the where the accelerator pedal goes is the biggest one on the entire floorpan. I will use a couple of layers of fiberglass cloth along with the high-fill silver POR-15 to patch it.

Passenger footwell, numerous holes there to patch with small pieces of fiberglass cloth.

The front passenger floor has a lot of little holes, this side is in far worse shape than the driver's side.

Just behind the passenger seat above the body brace some more small patches are needed.

Overall it looks pretty good, actually in a lot better shape than I'd expected. There's no need to replace the floorpans on this little beauty.

The rear seat area is in primo shape, just a little cleaning was all it needed.

I tried to make the most of the Thanksgiving 4-day weekend. The weather has been absolutely stunning lately with temps in the mid to low 80s, so I needed to take full advantage of it for getting as many wet and dirty jobs taken care of as possible.

Next weekend I'll finish prepping the floors on Saturday using some Metal-Prep to etch the rusted areas, and get an early start on Sunday applying the POR-15 paint and fiberglass patches.

You really need to plan on having a full day to do the POR-15 application. The instructions point out that you must recoat after waiting 2 to 3 hours, otherwise you have to sand it all to make any more coats stick. The day gets eaten up pretty fast if you plan on doing 2 or 3 coats of the stuff.

Stayin' busy.


Today I ordered up a set of Corvette C6 Z51 330 mm (13") rear brakes with the internal drum parking brake, along with a set of Lokar E-brake cables and all of the FlexKORE™ braided stainless brake lines I need. The salesman I spoke to (Tobin) at KORE3 was super-helpful and knew every single little detail about what he was selling.

I bought all OEM stuff, the only small upgrade was a set of ceramic brake pads. I figured that the stock Corvette brakes will be more than enough for my needs. The KORE3 website doesn't currently list the availability of a rear brake kit for a 10-bolt rear end with bolt-in axles, but I called them and found out they do have a kit for my '71 -'72 Olds/Buick 10-bolt rear. While I was on the phone I figured I'd order up my kit.

Haven't yet decided what to do up front yet for brakes, I'm still throwing around the idea of a set of ATS spindles and adjustable upper control arms.

.....were waiting for me in my driveway when I came home from work today.

They are finished in a very nice matte black paint, just a slight amount of gloss. Painted wheels are really easy to care for, just a quick going over with the wash mitt and you're done.

I really like the way the 12 spokes protrude just past the edge of the rim near the wheel center. The casting quality on these wheels is second to none in my opinion.

I bought a set of General Exclaim UHP tires, mainly because I could afford them. A very good tire for the price, I have set of them (225/40-18) on one of my daily drivers too and I've been quite happy with them.

245/40-18 for the front, same size as a C6 Corvette front tire.

275/40-18 for the rear, plenty of tire for my needs. Not much smaller than the 285/35-19 used on the C6 and almost the same height.

New front wheel adapters, 1.063" thick (27 mm). I had them made both hub-centric and wheel-centric. I'll need to put the front hubs on a lathe and slightly turn down the O.D. of the rough cast part closest to the dust cap, the I.D. of the wheel-centric lip on the adapter interferes by just a hair. A tapered-seat OEM 7/16-20 lugnut will attach them to the 12" B-body front hub/rotor, M12X1.5 is the stud thread size on these adapters.

These are definitely top-quality parts, I'll sleep just fine knowing these are on my car.


.....prep job completed after a good sanding using 180 grit paper to help the POR-15 adhere to any non-rusted painted areas that will get coated. A dose of Metal Prep mixed with 2 parts water was worked in with clean stainless steel wire brush to remove the last bits of loose rust and to give the acid a good chance to etch the rusted areas. After a good final rinse with clean water it's ready for tomorrow's all-day POR-15 application.

I spent some time cutting and placing the fiberglass cloth patches I'll be using to fill the larger holes, 2 layers in most places. I cut some fairly large patch pieces for the groups of smaller holes as well. The fiberglass cloth will help serve to strengthen the thin rusted metal in these areas along with the silver POR-15 that contains ground-up aluminum solids.

The weather has been in the mid-70s, making it a lot easier to get my work done. Here's 2 of my '64s hanging out with my '70 Chevy C20. The ol' Chevy exists mainly to serve the needs of my Pontiacs.


.....on this particular Sunday, there's just too much work that I need to get done before the weather starts getting colder.

Pulled my daily drivers out of the garage at 7:30 AM so I could push the Tempest out and get the long day started. Spent a little time under the car wiping down the underside of the floorpans with some paint thinner in the areas where I need to patch it, to give the duct tape I'm using to contain the POR-15 in those areas a chance to stick.

Stirring up the silver POR-15 takes about 5 minutes of constant mixing the first time, there's a ton of solids at the bottom that need to get dispersed in the carrier before you can use it.

First thing to do is to set all the patches by lifting them up with tweezers and putting a first coat down under each one, starting with the ones furthest away from me. I ended up cutting down a lot of the patches, they don't lay into the valleys and on the ridges very well if they're too big. On the flat areas this isn't a problem, bigger patches are fine in those areas.

On to the rear passenger floor, in much worse shape than the driver's side passenger floor that won't require any patching.

Passenger front floor first coating is now complete. I filled in the areas between the patches by using the tip of the brush in a straight up-and-down dabbing motion so as not to disturb the patches.

First coat is now complete, about 2 hours of work. Takes a bit of time because I trimmed down quite a few of the patches, plus there were a lot of patches to set on the passenger side. The next two coats that will be done about 2 to 3 hours apart will go a lot quicker, taking about 1/2 hour to coat the entire floorpan.

You have to re-coat within the 2 to 3 hour time frame. Otherwise you're in for a lot of work scuffing this stuff down as it dries super-hard, similar to powdercoating. Again you must dab straight up-and-down with the brush on or near the patches on subsequent coatings, they tend to slide around fairly easlily until this stuff hardens completely.

I've already done the front passenger floor pan on my '64 Lemans convertible the same way, a super-strong repair.

The front passenger floor had some rust out where the coolant collects after a heater core blows out, pretty common rust problem on a lot of old cars. I've also done the trunk floor on the Lemans as well as on the Tempest over 12 years ago, had to patch a few small holes on them as well and both are still holding up perfectly.

If you tap really hard on the cured patches with your fingernail they sound just like metal, it's surprising just how strong the repairs are. As long as you don't decide to whack it with a hammer it's gonna stay just fine.

The key to this or any other type of body repair is prep, if you skimp or take shortcuts your POR-15 won't adhere well. Of course you should use common sense and use this method of repair for the smaller holes, any holes too much bigger than these means some cutting/welding and replacment of sheetmetal would be wise.


Picked up the seats from the upholstery shop today.

I'm pretty happy with the work, the original colors and fabric patterns were fairly closely duplicated. I had the work done by a small one-man shop that's local to me.

I know the stock front bench seat is far from ideal for a lot of hard cornering, but it has the look I want for the car and I won't be changing it anytime soon.


.....to the front hubs so the wheel adapters would fit.

The outermost portion of the hub needed to be ground down a bit so the wheel-centric ring that's machined on the wheel side of the adapter would slip over the hub.

I did most of the material removal with a die grinder, if the 12" rotor would have fit on one of the lathes we have at work I would have used that method instead. Doing it this way was more labor-intensive, but it did save me the trouble of taking the rotors off and the cost of replacing the wheel bearing seals.

The rough cast surface (a spare rotor is shown here) needed to be dressed down about .040" on the diameter, so around .020" of material needed to be removed all around. The outer hub strength was not compromised in any way, the end result looks like it was done only for the sake of cosmetics.

Another small but important job out of the way.


.....will be required to get the LS3 engine in the car.

So I spent some more money, what else?

Ordered up a new SS3600 245 mm (9.5") lock-up converter from YANK Performance Converters: http://www.converter.cc/converters/street/GM/1/They're on sale right now for $725 with free shipping. This one should flash to about 3200 behind the LS3 according to Dave at YANK, it's their most popular converter.

Street/Strip Super Stock 3600 Converter description from the YANK site:

245mm very high stall torque ratio. 3600 stall, 2.50 STR
Lightweight billet cover 

Rather than swap to a bigger cam I spent about the same money on a torque converter. A good converter is an absolute must for anyone with a performance car running an automatic trans.

I had them send the new converter over to Finish Line Transmissions:http://www.finishlinetrans.com/trans...meDuty4L65.htm When the new 4L70E trans is finished they can put the trans and converter combo on their dyno for testing before shipment.

The 4L70E-5 Extreme Duty – Level 5 trans is on sale for 10% off right now, for $2,295 plus $150 shipping (core return shipping is free). I'll have my trans here in about 4 weeks.

I spoke with Andy at FLT and he helped me figure out exactly what I needed before placing my order, a big thanks to Pro-Touring member Karch for steering me towards this fine trans shop.

I'll have it configured as a Trail Blazer SS trans rather than an F-body unit so the correct speed sensor will be installed to 'talk' to the Speartech computer/wiring harness that I still need to buy. Right now I need to find a trans core to send them.

New 4L70E description from the FLT site:

4L65/70E-5 Extreme Duty – Level 5

FLT performance built pump ( Includes machined pump halfs to ensure flat surfaces, New delco 13 vain pump/rotor/slide kit ) 
Media blast case, bell housing, and tail housing to restore a new aluminum finish. Prep case for assembly. 
FLT sleeved input drum 
FLT beast shell kit w/bearing 
GM 5 pinion input carrier 
GM 5 pinion reaction carrier 
Bearing style reaction shaft 
New reverse input drum 
Alto wide 2-4 carbon lined band with reinforced anchor 
8 B/W hi-energy clutches w/koleen steels in 3-4 clutch 
B/W 29 element sprag 
4L65 low roller clutch 
Transgo HD-2 shift kit 
Corvette Servo 
Sonnax super hold 4th servo 
Bushing kit 
New solenoids 
New Internal wire harness ( If needed on 4L70E ) 
New GM Spacer plate 
B/W clutches 
Seal & gasket kit 
GM deep pan 
Updated aluminum accumulator pistons 
FLT prepped valvebody 
Set end play to FLT specs 
Install new cooler fittings

Previous (swap-related only) total - $9,903

Cost of the today's installment - $3,170

Total swap-related expenditures at this point - $13,073

New seat upholstery, wheels, tires, wheel adapters and rear brakes not included.

Short list of needed items:

Vintage Air setup
Speartech engine/trans controller and harness
Corporate 8.5" 10-bolt rear end (still on order)
New windshield
Floor insulation

This hobby can be expensive if you're trying to build something nice.

Mainly because it's fairly light and nearly as strong as a 12-bolt. The pinion bearing is the same as the one in a 12-bolt, the ring gear in a 12-bolt isn't much bigger at 8.875". Plenty of 10 and 11-second drag cars run the 8.5" rear successfully.

It's also better than a C-clip rear, the tapered-bearing axles on the '71 -'72 Olds/Buick 8.5" are superior from a durability standpoint. It's simply the best of the 8.5" corporate rear ends, and it it a direct bolt-in on any '64 -'72 GM A-body.

I'm getting this one built up for less than a grand by a guy who knows GM rear ends better than just about anyone. New 3.42 ring & pinion (NOT Richmond 'whiners'), all new bearings, properly rebuilt factory posi, 28-spline heavy duty factory axles. Plenty of strength for my needs.

If I wanted to spend money (at least twice as much $$) on a really tough rear, I'd do a Ford 9" like I run in my '64 GTO. But my GTO is a 1/4 mile car turned street car where unsprung weight isn't a big concern. A car built for cornering will benefit from a lighter rear end, the 8.5" fill the bill nicely.


.....that I needed for the 4L70E trans and the rear suspension upgrade.

Ordered a Shiftworks tailhousing that will allow me to run the original cable-driven speedometer along with the electronic speed sensor. They get $495 for this plus $15 shipping, I had it sent directly to FLT so they could install it during the trans build.

I had my choice of this or an electric motor to drive the speedo for a couple hundred dollars less, I figured the mechanical drive would be more trouble-free in the long run.

I also decided to buy a set of Currie Currectrac® control arms for the rear suspension. These feature Currie's Johnny Joint® which allow a full 30 degrees of articulation on the chassis end of the arms. This joint is fully greasable and rebuildable.

The upper arms will allow me to adjust the pinion angle.

The lower arms are made from lightweight billet aluminum, both the urethane bushing and Johnny Joint® are greaseable.

Today's swap-related expenditure - $510

New swap-related total - $13,583

It's going to be a lot of fun when it's time to get this all put together.


.....shopping today, I ordered up a new wiring harness and controller for the Tempest project.

I send an email last night to Speartech http://speartech.com/ detailing my needs. However I decided to call them today before I had a chance to read their very quick and detailed email response to discuss my needs and place my order.

Contents of the email response I received from John at Speartech:

Here's an overview of what we offer:
This package was specifically developed for the new 2006-2008 LS2, LS3, LS7 crate engines with the 58X crankshaft sensor. The complete LSx/4L70E custom stand alone wiring harness and computer package sells for $1695.00.

The package includes the following:

A new custom length, stand-alone LSx/4L70E wiring harness. The harness includes a check engine light, diagnostic connector, fuel pump relay, fuse block, and labeled wires for easy hookup to the battery, ignition switch, and fuel pump. Wires are also included for tach, speed, A/C, cooling fan relays, and cruise control functions where applicable. These custom stand alone harnesses are built for full function, closed loop control, and designed for non-emissions use (no post-cat O2's, purge canister, or fuel tank evap interface). Our harnesses can be built to your desired length specifications.

The package comes with the GM LSx ECM (engine control module) and TCM (transmission control module) fully programmed for your application including: VATS (vehicle anti-theft system) removal, emissions equipment removal (whatever you don’t need or are not using on your swap such as: catalytic converters, rear O2 sensors, fuel tank pressure, EVAP), torque management removal, gear ratio and tire size, etc.

The reprogramming lets your new engine run properly without the “check engine” light being on unless there is a problem with the engine that needs to be addressed.

Since the LSx is an Electronic Throttle Control (ETC) engine, the electronic pedal is also included in the package.

As with all Speartech packages our systems can be serviced with any late model diagnostic equipment designed for GM vehicles.

Options available:

Extra length (beyond 4’): $50.00

Emissions package (wiring for rear O2 sensors and charcoal canister control): $50.00

Sensor package (includes correct front O2 sensors and MAF sensor for one-stop shopping): $350.00

The harness and controller will add another $1,695 to the cost of the swap, plus an as yet undetermined shipping cost.

Does anyone here have an opinion or input on what is the best Mass Air Flow sensor for my application and how much they go for? I'm considering buying the O2 sensors and MAF sensor I need from Speartech.

Today's swap-related expenditure - $1,695

New swap-related total - $15,278

I have to gather up as many pieces to the puzzle as I can as quickly as possible. There's a lot of stuff to arrange in the engine compartment and under the dash, you pretty much need everything all at once in order to do it right.


I had them custom-built to my specs about 10 years ago. I won't mention the company who made them because they were very difficult to deal with, taking 6 months after quoting me a 6 week delivery. My friend had them painted with black enamel at the bodyshop he manages, his Dad did the 1/4" wide red pinstripe on the rim lip to simulate the look of 14" redline tires.

Wheel Vintiques sells pretty much the same wheel (14 series Gennie)http://wheelvintiques.com/shopsite_s...age13-ss4.html, you can buy them in 17X7, 17X8 and 17X9 as well as a lot of sizes in smaller rim diameters. However buying them 'right off the shelf' might not be a good idea, you really need the backspacing made to your specs to fit your car perfectly.

It looks like they'll do a custom backspacing on this particular wheel style, and they're now finally offering some fairly decent standard backspacing on them that should fit a lot of cars.

My 17X8" steel wheels will find a new home on this '64 Lemans convertible.

It has 11" 1969 Grand Prix front discs (spindles and discs are a bolt-on) and stock 9-1/2" drums in the back so I'll be able to switch back and forth between the 17X8s and the stock 14X6" steel wheels & custom spinner hubcaps depending on how I want the car to look.


.....for those of you who may be contemplating a swap from stock rear drum brakes to Corvette disc brakes.

The thickness of the Z51 13" Corvette rotors where they attach to the axle flange is .275", the GM 9-1/2" brake drums are only .095" thick.

These rear disc brakes will move the rear wheels out by .180", nearly 3/16". Don't forget to use slightly longer lug studs if needed.

Those of you who are tucking super-wide wheels and tires on the back of your car should know this, sometimes there's very little room to spare. In my case the .180" added thickness is a plus, I was expecting about .125" which would have been fine.

I needed a little bit less wheel backspace and this will put my 6.57" backspace 18X9" wheels within about .020" of their ideal location, it's really hard to get it to work out much closer than this.


.....today fitting the wheel adapters and front wheels to the Tempest and making sure they had clearance.

Also tried out the spare wheel & 245/45-18 tire on the front, it will have to take the place of one of the 245/40-18s if I ever suffer a flat front tire.

I bought this particular size for the spare because it's spec'd at 26.7" tall, very close to the same height as the 26.6" tall 275/40-18 rear tires, but narrow enough that I'll still be able to use it up front with little to no interference with the front wheelwells. Actual measuring showed the 275/40s and the 245/45s to be exactly the same height, right about 26.75" unloaded.

The reason I wanted the spare tire to be the same height as the rear tires is to avoid damaging the posi unit in the rear end. Running tires of differing diameters on the rear end will burn up most limited-slip rear ends if you have to drive any real distance with it that way.

Wheel adapter mounted, I had them made with a wheel-centric ring to locate the wheel as precisely as possible.

Point of slight interference, at the rear bottom corner of the front fender. On right turns, the right fender hits the tire here. Same deal on the other side when turn left. Pictures show the 245/40s, additional clearance will be needed for the spare 245/45 tire.

After a few whacks with a 2-pound hammer there's now enough room for the spare tire to have the clearance it needs to make turns. Even though the Tempest isn't sitting anywhere near its normal ride height right now this was a known point of interference with the old 17" wheel/tire combo. It needed some more attention due to the added diameter of the new 245/40-18s over the old 235/45-17s, not to mention the new taller spare.

The Tempest sits like a 4-wheel drive with no engine, trans or interior installed. I'll have to wait until the car goes together completely before I can figure out how much I'll need to trim the front coils.

Not much else going on right now until the trans and converter arrive in a couple of weeks, the new rear end and rear suspension parts have yet to arrive as well.

I still have to gather up all of the Vintage Air parts I need. There's a lot of things yet to do here in 2009 to get this car running.

Happy New Year all!



There's nothing special about my tie rods, the tie rod ends are stock GM replacement parts. The Hotchkis tie rod adjusting sleeves only serve to stiffen up the tie rod assembly over the flexible stock stamped-steel sleeves.

There is a company who makes EFI-ready steel fuel tanks for our older cars, Spectra Premium Industries Inc. located in Canada.

Rock Auto had it for $451.99 plus shipping, the best price on it I could find anywhere. The fuel pump supplied inside the tank will reportedly handle up to 550 HP, I'm only planning on having about 450-460 HP.

Specs on the part # GM37FFI tank/pump combo:
US Gallon : 20 
Liter : 76 
Size : 37 1/4" x 30" x 6 3/4" 
Strap Set : ST48; SSST48 
Kit No : LO01 


I contacted John at Speartech and asked if the LS7 MAF would be compatible with the harness and controller he's making up for me. John related that the harness could be setup for the LS3/LS7 MAF but using one in a non-factory intake duct would probably require some custom tuning, so I decided to go with the LS2 MAF that John recommends for ease of tuning.

Now, here are a few pics of the 4L70E trans taken by Vince at Finish Line Transmissions just before it was strapped down in the shipping crate. Vince is clearly proud of his work, this beauty is on its way here right now via truck freight:

Shiftworks tailhousing that converts 1998 and up 4L60E/4L65E/4L70E transmissions to a factory mechanical speedometer and still retains a functional VSS (Vehicle Speed Sensor). The guys at Finish Line commented on it, saying it was a very nice piece.

I can hardly wait to get my hands on it.

Another big piece of the puzzle taken care of.


Today the 4L70E trans and Yank SS3600 9.5" converter arrived from FLT. They were packaged together inside a nice plastic shipping container made especially for 2-way shipping of newly-built transmissions and trans core returns.

My old Chevy pickup always likes to be of service to my Pontiacs.

Looks just like I pictured it.

The always handy load leveler. It makes this kind of job so much easier, I'll never use anything else for engine and trans installation.

I made this one out of heavy-wall materials and had a friend at work TIG weld it all up for me. I won't use questionable Chinese stuff to hold up my new engine and trans, I've read about more than one of these things failing and injuring the user. 

Nice attention to detail by FLT, a piece of cardboard taped to the bottom of the trans pan to keep it from getting scuffed-up during handling. I never knew they offered factory pans as deep as this one.

The old short-tail BOP Turbo 400 that I'm sending back to FLT for partial core credit.

The Tempest approves.

Thanks again to the folks at Finish Line Transmissions and Yank Performance Converters for delivering quality products exactly when they said they would.


.....as it's easy to get sidetracked on a build like this.

But that's a good thing. I have been hunting down the parts for a complete suspension and brake system upgrade, something I really hadn't planned on when I first began to tear into the Tempest.

It makes a lot of sense to bring the handling and braking up to par with the anticipated power output of the LS3/4L70E engine and trans combo.

I decided to take Andrew's advice and upgrade to the ATS front spindles along with some SPC adjustable upper control arms. The fully adjustable uppers add the ability to make whatever alignment changes that are needed, and also afford quite a bit more clearance for my deeply backspaced front wheels on tight lock-to-lock turning.

I decided to use the SPC lower control arms as well. They are designed move the lower ball joint mounting point forward by about one inch. This will keep the front wheel from living at the rearmost part of the wheelwell opening in the body when a lot of caster is dialed-in for high-speed stability.

A new set of C6 Z06 Corvette brakes (14" front, 13.4" rear) all around will also be here in a few days, I returned the Z51 rears I had purchased previously. The new wheels I bought swallow up these big binders with ease, plenty of caliper clearance. My car will outweigh the Corvette Z06 by a good 500 pounds (lotsa carbon fiber components in a Z06). I know I won't ever have the power or the handling of a Z06 but having those excellent OEM brakes on my car is money well-spent.

Not a lot happening lately except gathering up more parts, and saving money for more. The new 8.5 10-bolt rear should be here soon, after that arrives the last major item I need to buy will be the air conditioning system, which I'd like to install first along with the Speartech controller and wiring harness.

Pic of the SPC front suspension arms, the ATS spindles should be here any day.

Currie Currectrac rear control arms, waiting for the new 3.42-geared 8.5" posi rear.

The made-to-order Speartech controller and harness arrived a couple of weeks ago.

Soon I hope to dive in and start getting things put together.


I bought the rear control arms mainly to eliminate any binding, I was previously running boxed stock control arms. The ability to adjust pinion angle is a great added benefit as well.

The car seemed to drive okay before, but the ride was stiff in the rear due to the binding.

This car still had all the original worn-out suspension parts and 4-wheel 9.5" drums before rebuilding and upgrading the whole deal the first time around. It really made a night-and day difference in handling and braking after going for the full poly-bushed suspension and B-body spindles/12" front discs and 17X8" wheels. I was pretty happy with it.

Now after going to the next (and final) step with all aftermarket control arms/spindles, 18X9" wheels and Corvette 4-wheel discs the Tempest should be a pretty well-balanced and fun to drive cruiser.


My forged aluminum AFX spindles and billet aluminum A-body steering arms from ATS (American Touring Specialties http://www.t56kit.com/) arrived today.

They are made to accept 1997 and up Corvette hubs and bearings as well as hubs with bigger bearings for more race-oriented setups.

These are some very nice parts.

Yep, just some more pictures of parts.

But you know sooner or later something's gonna happen with 'em.


.....so I unpacked them to check for any missing parts or shipping damage.

Not so much as a scratch on any of these beauties. Clearly Tobin at KORE3 knows how to package his parts just as well as he knows his braking systems.

I decided to upgrade my brake package with some DBA (Disc Brakes Australia) 4000 slotted rotors and Hawk ceramic brake pads. Front rotors measure 355mm X 32mm (14.0" X 1.25") and the rears are 340mm X 26mm (13.4" X 1.00"). I'll have plenty of braking power to stop this train once it gets a-rollin'.


.....for the drivetrain and suspension upgrades.

A set of C6 Corvette SKF racing hubs. I can't run the forged aluminum ATS spindles without these, I went for these heavy-duty parts instead of standard OEM replacments hoping that they'll last me a lifetime.

Along with the front hubs I bought some new MOOG A-body upper ball joints and outer tie rod ends to complete the front suspension.

New GM part # 12606620 flexplate, to replace the C6 Corvette-specific one that was supplied with the LS3 engine. I can't mate the engine and trans together without this, thanks again to Rich (TURBO BUICK from the LS1tech forums) for the technical help.

My work hours will be reduced to 45 per week as of this coming Monday due to the slowing economy, I'm glad that I have already collected 90% of the parts I need.

On the brighter side I'll have more time and energy to get some work done on my project, there's a long road ahead.


.....some real motivation to keep moving forward on my Tempest project.

I was actually caught in the act of working on the Tempest by a long-time internet forum friend who I had not had the pleasure of meeting yet. I was all wet and dirty from laying underneath the car. I was really getting into washing down the underside of the floor pans and frame rails to remove all of the grease and dirt when a 'stranger' walked up my driveway called out my name.

Mike (455HOGT37 on Performance Years) stopped by in his LS3-powered six-speed manual 2008 Corvette. We talked cars and took inventory of some of the major components I had for the LS3 swap for a while. It wasn't long befire Mike forced me to get behind the wheel of his 'vette. I gladly accepted his generous offer.

I impressed Mike right away with my ability to handle a stick-shift by trying to take off in 3rd gear instead of first. Those shift gates are mighty close together.

We headed out for a little drive and right away I was impressed with the smooth low-RPM power of the LS3. I had the car in sixth gear at a little over 50 MPH, it was doing about 1100 RPM on the tach and wasn't complaining. I pushed it back into 5th to keep it a little happier.

Mike asked me to find a spot where I could launch the car in low gear from a dead stop, I gladly obliged. Beat on your car? Sure.

The car spun the tires with ease, I let out of the throttle once and nailed it again and they spun even harder. These LS3 cars are animals.

We headed to the freeway to check out the high-speed power and acceleration. I was able to get it up to 90 MPH in a very short distance heading down the onramp, letting off before entering the freeway. The acceleration ability of this base model Corvette was nothing less than astonishing, it's stock other than the addition of a set of factory LS7 headers and matching factory 3" exhaust.

Thanks Mike, I'm now even more excited than ever about getting the LS3 Tempest project done!

.....look like underneath. This little Tempest is as close to being a rust-free car as you could ever hope for. After a little bit of help on the floor pans and in the front and rear window channels with POR-15 she'll be good to go.

Today I was busy cleaning up the underside of the car and took a few shots. I wanted to degrease the underside before installing the new set of body mounts and 3/8" fuel line. Both of the old drivetrains (original 215-six and the 455 V8) did have a few oil leaks, but all in all it was a pretty easy cleaning job. The sealing technology on the newer LSx engines is so much improved that I fully expect the underside to stay free of oil after this car is back on the road.

Trans tunnel.

Rear pans looking from the driver's side.

Driver's side pans looking toward the front. Plenty of factory white overspray can be seen here.

Underneath the rear seat area looking from the passenger side.

Front passenger floor looking from the driver's side. You can see where the silver POR-15 seeped past the duct tape a little, this side needed the most patching to fix rust holes.

The Tempest is shown here up off the ground by using about a foot-tall stack of small wooden shipping pallets under each tire, a very safe way to get under the car and get work done.

Two weeks ago I spent a few hours removing the back glass, it needed to come out in order to arrest the rust in the window channel and reseal it. Breaking this back glass means spending over $500 for a new replacement, so I was very careful cutting it loose and removing it.

Last weekend I sanded using 80-grit paper for quite a few hours on the front and rear window channels to remove whatever rust that I could. I also removed all of the window reveal moulding clips. They will be replaced with new repro clips, about half of the old ones were rusted badly or broken.

For whatever reason, the worst rust was on the passenger side of the rear window channel.

Here are 3 small holes on the passenger side, the only rust that penetrated all the way through on the front or rear channels. I'm feeling pretty lucky.

Bottom of the rear channel is in great condition, just a little rust needed sanding near the center for the most part.

The windshield channel at the bottom has some fairly heavy pitting, it started to creep up into the dash a little on the driver's side. I tucked some white towels under the back edge of the hood to keep most of the sanding dust out of the cowl vents.

Top center of the windshield channel has some pitting too.

After doing a little more prep work on the channels I'll lay on a few coats of the silver POR-15. After that I'll topcoat it with another POR-15 product, either their 2-part Whitecoat or 1-part Flexcoat in white. Both are UV-resistant topcoats, the silver POR-15 isn't and is the wrong color since the edge will be seen once the window mouldings are installed. While I'm at it I'll topcoat the trunk floor with white as well since I'll have plenty left over, right now it's finished in some silver POR-15 that I put down about 13 years ago.

Still collecting parts and doing some dirty work, nothing too exciting is happening yet.


.....and more progress.

First thing today I removed the rear bumper and fuel tank, and emptied out the trunk. Both bumpers will need to removed to replace the body mounts. The bumpers bolt to the frame and body needs to move up enough to get the mounts out, so removing the bumpers is a must.

While I was under the car I loosened up all of the body mount bolts in preparation for their replacement. Every single one broke free and turned freely without any penetrating oil, there will be no cutting out the floor to remove any rusted-up captured nuts in the floor pans.

Spent some time inside the trunk scrubbing it cleaner than it's ever been since I've owned the car. My full-size spare 18X9" wheel and 245/45-18 tire needs a nice home.

The spare will sit in the stock location on the passenger side.

A look at the driver's side.

The trunk floor still looks pretty good after 13 years, some of the heavier rust has started to bubble up under the silver POR-15. This trunk floor was pretty crusty when I did the POR-15 application, I scrubbed the loose stuff off until I just couldn't scrub any more.

Underneath the trunk floor with the fuel tank removed, you can see where a little silver POR-15 seeped through when I did some patching right in the center.

I cleaned the front trunk wall from underneath and the panel above the rear axle, I scrubbed and cleaned as far as I could reach. You can see some more evidence of rust patching right next to the trunk body plug hole.

I even scrubbed everything that's usually hidden behind the bumper.

I won't get an armfull of dirt or grease while I'm working on the chassis or brakes.

This car's cherry. Moving forward!


.....to pretty much finish off the suspension upgrades, a new $300 set of Bilstein Heavy-Duty gas shocks. These are supposed to be one of the best riding and handling shocks available for a reasonable price, by just looking at them the German quality is clearly evident.

I really couldn't justify the purchase of single-adjustable shocks (about $700) or double-adjustable shocks (about $1500) since I'll just be doing a little agressive pleasure driving from time to time and really don't have any plans to autocross this car.

Part # F4-BE3-2972-HO front and AK2080 rear.

Soon the new Classic Auto Air system will arrive and it will be time to really dig into some 'real' work on the car. The new A/C system along with the Speartech harness and controller will both need to find a home under the dash and on/through the firewall.

Today I finally finished off the window channel rust sanding with some 180 grit paper and tomorrow I plan to seal up the front and rear window channels with some silver POR-15.

Staying motivated.


Today I got an early start so I could complete 3 coats of POR-15 on the window channels.

I started by scrubbing the already clean channels (cleaned with Simple Green) with some Scotchbrite dipped in PPG DX-579 Metal Cleaner (same as Metalprep) to etch both the rusted areas and the clean bare metal areas as well.

Then to keep the Metal Cleaner and rinse water from finding it's way down into the body I plugged off all of the trim clip screw holes with some wooden matches (of all things!) wrapped with masking tape so they would seal up the holes. I left the matches in place during the POR-15 application to keep it from plugging up or reducing the size of the holes.

All of the pics were taken after the first coat of silver POR-15 was applied.

The 3 small holes on the passenger side rear window channel were patched with 2 layers of fiberglass cloth.

Driver's side bottom corner.

Heaviest pitting is right in front of the driver. I plan to sand this down after the POR-15 cures for about a week and put down a few more coats to level out the surface for a better seal when the new windshield is installed.

Front and rear channels with the first coat completed and waiting 2 to 3 hours for a second coat.

Right now it's time to put down the 3rd coat of POR-15 before the day/weekend is gone.

I did call my Mom right after the second coat was down, Happy Mother's Day!


.....to prepare for the Classic Auto Air air conditioning system installation. I'll need to find room to tuck the Speartech wiring harness and controller under there somewhere as well.

I removed the gauge cluster so I could have room to work under the dash. The cluster housing itself will be replaced with nicer one that isn't warped from sun exposure, it will also have some paint work done to freshen it up a little at the same time.

The entire factory heater box assembly and control cables on the inside of the car were removed completely as they will not be needed, the aftermarket A/C unit has both the heater core and A/C evaporator incorporated into a single unit.

The only thing that still needs to come out is the old factory firewall pad and insulation that will be replaced with modern insulation from Second Skin. While I have access I'll put insulation on every surface under the dash and on the firewall that I can reach.

The heater and A/C evaporator main unit is shown here along with the two separate outside small A/C vents and the twin central vent, the vents mount at the bottom edge of the dash. There is a shallow plastic glovebox insert provided that mounts with the stock hardware. The size of the main unit won't allow the stock glovebox cardboard to be used, a very small sacrifice.

The other side of the unit that will face the firewall is shown here along with the thick composite/plastic insulated main firewall blockoff plate that comes with holes already drilled for the heater and A/C hoses to pass through. The new Sanden compressor and 2" underdash A/C and defrost ducting hose is shown here as well.

The factory heater blower motor and fan along with the stamped sheetmetal heater housing on the engine side of the firewall will be removed as well, they will be replaced with blockoff plates that are provided with the kit. The passenger side inner fender will have to come out to remove the heater housing. None of the factory heater parts will be retained with the exception of the stock heater control panel in the dash, it will be modified to accept the two new heat and A/C control cables.

Keepin' on it.


.....of silver POR-15 on the passenger floor pan. This one showed up a few holes that I missed the first time around when I pulled the duct tape off the bottom.

I hurried home from work so I could get the first coat down by 5:00 PM, I finished by 4:58 and ate some dinner.

Right now I'm waiting for the second coat to tack-up so I can lay down the third and final coat and call the floors done. I wanted to get this done before the weekend so I can get under the dash and finish up the cleaning and final prep work before laying down the insulation pieces, I need to order the insulation in the next few days.

I know this build seems to be progressing slowly at this point, but as you know both collecting and paying for all of these pieces just doesn't happen overnight.

But some very cool stuff should be happening soon.

Thanks for looking!


.....in preparation for the A/C install. The inner fender on the passenger side needed to come out so the old heater box assembly on the firewall could be removed.

The front bumper needed to come off first, it would have to be removed to do the body mount replacement anyway. The grilles were removed as well to have access to the core support so I can mount the condensor. There are also two 1-1/4" holes that need to be cut so the A/C hoses can pass through the support to the condensor.

I took off the fender, even though the A/C kit instructions show it staying in place. It's easy to scratch up the paint on both the frame and inner fender trying to get it out with the fender in place.

The heater box assembly came off easily by removing the last two screws that were still holding it to the firewall right next to the fan motor. The six nuts holding the rest of it down had already been removed while I was taking out the inner heater box under the dash.

I used a putty knife to remove most of the factory sealer, the temps were in the 90s here today so the sealer was pretty soft. The remaining sealer residue came off easily using some old gasoline that I drained from the old Tempest fuel tank.

Here's the main blockoff plate that was supplied in the kit being held in place.

Rather than use the supplied blockoff plate for the heater blower opening I'll use this 4" hose adapter that I fabbed out of stainless steel. This way I can supply the LS3 intake with some cool air ducted from the cowl vents.

The hose adapter is a piece I removed from my '64 GTO when I retired it from the dragstrip and put the stock heater assembly back in.

I scrounged this factory intake hose and several others like it from a self-serve boneyard about 15 years ago when the mid-70s GM cars could still be commonly found there.

Another view of the hose adapter and intake hose. I took the opportunity to tidy up the original white paint on the cowl with a little Simple Green. Did I say this thing was cherry?

Heres a pic of the 455 HO engine in my GTO with the cool intake air from the cowl taken from two locations. The hose on the driver's side connects to another adapter that takes the place of the factory wiper motor, another thing I removed to save weight at the time.

I'm looking at doing something similar with the LS3 but with only one inlet. I'm going to see if I can mount a stock '73 -'74 Pontiac V8 aircleaner on top of the engine just like the one pictured above.

Hopefully there's going to be room to build a big enough intake plenum over the stock LS3 intake to mount the air cleaner on and still get the airflow needed. No matter what I'll find a way to duct cool air from my fitting at the heater blower opening to some sort of air filter.

Still goin' at it.


.....were two important tasks I took on and completed today.

New Energy Suspension polyurethane body mounts. I used a pair of new reproduction core support mounts made of rubber, poly mounts were not available for those.

I jacked up the passenger side of the Tempest body first after removing all the bolts on that side and loosening all of the bolts on the other side. The front of the body still came up before the rear even with the jacking point this far back.

Old mount at the rear of the car.

Two old mounts at the front below the firewall. The car doesn't need to come quite this far off the frame to remove them.

A look at the center frame mount area with the old mount removed, right next to the seat belt mounting point.

The bolt holding the front inner fender to the frame needs to come out on both sides (driver's side shown), this important step is not mentioned in the body mount installation instruction sheet. I took the brake hose bracket loose from the frame as well.

The steering column needs to be taken loose at the rag joint and loosened under the dash so you can pull it back about 1" or a little less. Another important thing that is not mentioned in the instructions.

Old mounts removed, in pretty sorry shape. The rearmost ones (seen at the left) were compressed less than the ones closer to the center and front of the car. The original body bolts were in good shape and after some work with a wire brush they were reused after coating the threads with copper anti-seize compound.

New reproduction 3/8" steel fuel line from Performance Years. They all come with a soft bend in the middle for shipment that's easily straightened out before installation.

All straight and ready for installation. The 1964 -'67 A-body cars came with 5/16" line from the factory and that is the size you'll see in the PY catalog. Just ask them and they will do it in 3/8" for you by special order.

After finishing the passenger side mount installation and leaving the bolts loose I jacked up the driver's side. I jacked up the body a few more inches so I could snake the new fuel line into place. After looking things over I decided that feeding the line through the rear wheel well opening would work without having to bend up the line.

Feeding it in.

This shot gives you an idea of where it has to go near the rear.

Here you can see it running towards the front of the car. The 3/8" line clips right into the three 5/16" factory clips on the frame making for a neat and easy installation.

Rather than run the line through the front frame rail and out the front crossmember like the factory would have I bent the line so it would hug the firewall and head upward to meet up with the LS3 fuel rail on the driver's side.

After I finished up the bending I slid the protective sleeving that was originally provided to keep the line from chafing inside the front frame rail over the bends. This will help to insulate the line and keep it from rubbing where it comes close to the frame and firewall. The fuel line is tucked in nice and tight so it will clear my column shift linkage.

Here's why you need to take the steering column loose at the rag joint, the body needed to move upward pretty far to get the mounts and especially the fuel line in.

That's all for today, I took advantage of the perfect 75 degree weather and got a lot accomplished.

Moving forward.


.....and drier today. Another nice 75-degree day that I couldn't afford to waste if I want to get this car together anytime soon.

The radiator core support needed two 1.25" holes drilled in it so the hoses can pass through it. Measurements for the hole locations are in the kit installation instructions.

Since I don't have a 1.25" diameter chassis punch in my tool collection I drilled a series of smaller holes right next to one another. After knocking it out I finished it to size with a half-round file and painted the bare metal edges of the hole. Even if I had a large 1.25" drill bit using one would have torn up the sheetmetal when it broke through.

Both holes are now finished, the irregular stamping shape around the hole on the right would have made using a chassis punch impossible anyway.

Drier mounted inside the core support, the 1.25" hole (1" rubber grommet now installed) lines up the inlet port on the drier.

Condensor is now bolted in place, the 4 mounting brackets supplied in the kit lined up perfectly with the 4 existing holes in the core support.

I did a test fit of the main A/C and heater unit under the dash. Two existing holes in the firewall serve to locate it and hold it in place along with two small brackets that bolt under the bottom edge of the dash. I needed to drill a 3/4" hole for the evaporator water drain tube and I wanted to make sure everything lined up before I drilled the hole.

I climbed back inside and removed the old firewall pad and wiped down the inside of the dash and firewall. Also removed the e-brake mechanism and the water temp and oil pressure gauges that were hanging under the dash, everything is now out of the way so I can start putting some new firewall insulation down.

Set my new reproduction Chevelle engine mount brackets on the front crossmember just long enough to find out that I'll need to set the engine and trans in place in order to locate them. None of the holes that mounted the old Pontiac mount brackets line up with the new mount brackets.

Little by little it's all starting to come together.


Today I installed the new Spectra Premium Industries fuel tank, it's ready to go for EFI setups with a built-in fuel pump and tank level sender already installed. The tank filler neck needed a little adjustment to the side, some carefull bending put it where it belonged after the tank was in place (easier to do before installation, but harder to see just how much to bend it)

Pump and sender unit with the fuel feed and return lines and the pump and sender wiring.

AC Delco GF822 fuel return regulator and filter unit for a late-model Corvette.

The regulator/filter will need to mount up here somewhere, as soon as I get a few of the pieces I need to connect everything up I'll find the right spot for it.

A look from the front side of the tank.

Tank install is complete, the only real hitch other than the filler neck being a bit off to the side was having to replace the two 3" long carriage bolts that tighten the tank straps at the rear. The straps wouldn't quite reach up far enough so I could put the bolts through the straps. I had to scrounge a couple of 4" long hex head bolts to use in the meantime, I'll go to the hardware store and get two 3/8-16 X 4" carriage bolts later to replace them.

That's all for this 3-day weekend, The Tempest waits patiently until the next round of activity among the other cars and parts.


.....and connected everything up with Gates fuel injection hose, pricey stuff at about $7 a foot but it should last pretty long before it needs replacing.

The filter uses quick disconnect push-in fittings common to late model cars and completely new to me. I bought a 12" long piece of 3/8" tubing with quick disconnect ends formed on both ends (about $10) and bent it so it would meet up with the 3/8" pre-formed reproduction chassis fuel line. I cut the quick disconnect feature off the end that connects to the chassis line and used a flaring to tool to form a bead on the end somewhat like the end on a factory line to retain the fuel hose better after it's clamped.

The repro line only needed a 90 degree downward bend added as close to the end as possible. I didn't need cut the end off the line was able to keep the beaded end. At this point none of the hose clamps have been installed.

I bought 2 push-on quick disconnect fittings (about $8 each) to mate the 3/8" inlet and 5/16" return on the filter to the tank fuel pump lines. The tank lines come with fittings already made to accept rubber fuel injection hose, the new quick disconnect fittings went on the filter so that fuel injection hose would connect up to it.

I hung the new 2-1/2" tailpipes temporarily to make sure I was keeping my lines as far away from the hot exhaust as possible. The filter mounts on a 22" long piece of 1" X 3/16" mild steel strap, it mounts to the structure underneath the trunk pan that supports the fuel tank. The filter mounting bracket was removed and painted black after these pics were taken.

After doing some measuring on the engine I came up with the final configuration for the fuel line end on the engine side of the system. I took the line loose from the chassis clips and pulled it down far enough that I could use a tubing bender on it and put a 90 degree forward bend at the very end, again keeping the beaded end. It was bent a couple of inches toward the driver's side and then secured with an Adel clamp. Had to get this done before the engine goes in, no way to get the bender in after that is in there.

Still need to fab a couple of blockoff plates to close up the holes where the throttle cable and pedal pivot used to mount on the firewall as you can see in the above pic.

Mounted the readjusted the rear bumper today as well, the body has dropped down by about 1/4" after installing the new poly body mounts. That's a good thing because it makes the car look a little lower and every little bit helps.


Today's task was to mount the radiator and fans. Here's a look at the 24" wide Griffin universal aluminum radiator and OEM replacement late 4th-gen F-body twin fans and shroud assembly from Dorman.

Fabricated some suitable mounts for the radiator using some old 3-row radiator mounting brackets left over from my '64 GTO. I did a little blacksmithing and reconfigured the shape of the saddle, the original unmodified one is on the right. I was able to reuse the lower rubber insulators that were already on the Tempest core support which is made for the 2" taller heavy-duty and A/C radiators.

A look at the 4-row radiator mounts that are welded in place at the factory on A/C core supports, the bolt-in ones that I am using now are only used on the standard non-A/C radiator supports.

The newly reconfigured mount with the insulator installed being checked for fit.

In order to put the radiator at the correct height in relationship to the core support opening I made some tubular standoffs from some thickwall 1/2" O.D. stainless tubing just a tad over 1" long. Now the radiator core is centered from top to bottom in the core support opening, the radiator core itself happens to be exactly the same size as the opening (purely luck). After carefully moving things around to find the ideal location I drilled the four 5/16" mounting holes.

Passenger side looking from the engine side. This one is mounted directly over the old mount.

Driver's side looking from the front. This one was mounted 1" to the driver's side instead of directly over the old mount, this is just how everything happened to fit right.

Radiator is now in it's proper place and held at the top for now with a piece of wire, I still have to fabricate the top center support bracket.

Fan package with radiator hose holes marked for cutting. The 18" height of the shroud exactly matched the height of the core, good luck is again with me. The 26" shroud width matches up exactly with the width of the opening in the core support too.

Holes have been cut and the unit is set in place to check fit.

Looking from the passenger side you can see where I'll need to come up with some filler pieces to bridge the gap between the core support and the fan shroud.

The shroud will need the 4 corners notched some to bring the shroud in a little tighter to the radiator, by almost 1/2".

That's all for this weekend.

Stayin' on it.


When you're involved with a big project there will always be mistakes made that need to be corrected.

It turns out the exhaust pipe going over the rear axle would have been much too close to my fuel line, when I mocked up the tailpipe location to see if the line would clear it I didn't have it up high enough. I messed around trying to reconfigure the chassis fuel line and just couldn't get it where I wanted it.

I cut off about the last foot of line and got out my flaring tool so I could use an inverted flare union to join it up with a new piece of 3/8" steel line bent in the correct configuration. I put another inverted flare on the piece of line that goes into the filter and joined it up with the newly bent line using another union.

The end result is a lot cleaner-looking than before and eliminates a small piece of rubber fuel hose. Now the tailpipe doesn't even come close to the line, in the picture it has been dropped down so I could access the fuel line.


.....and started to mock up the A/C setup into place. I need to have all of the A/C and heat/defrost items that go under the dash in their correct locations so I can find a way to fit the Speartech controller and part of the harness in there. I'll need to find a good location on the firewall for the harness to pass through to the engine compartment.

I need to figure out where everything will go, get it all mounted and then remove all of it. After all of that is done I can finally start installing some high-quality firewall and floor insulation. I'll be using a layer of Damplifier Pro first and then a layer of Luxury Liner Pro on top of that on the inside of the firewall, from Second Skin Audio.

The A/C unit is mounted in place against the firewall with both support brackets installed on the dash bottom edge.

Heater and defrost ducting in place. The original defrost ducting was cut off on the bottom and a defrost hose adapter added from the kit.

Here's the 'stubby' glovebox insert that's supplied in the kit.

After putting most of the A/C stuff in place I started on the controller and harness. First thing to do will be mounting the drive-by-wire accellerator pedal.

Here are some shots of the accellerator pedal mounted to a bracket I made up out of 2" X 3/16" angle iron that's 7-1/2" long, it's plenty stout and won't flex. I drilled tapped the bracket with 5/16-18 coarse thread for the two bolts that mount it to the firewall and 1/4-28 fine thread 2 places to mount the pedal assembly to the bracket.

Later on the bracket will get cleaned up some by removing some unnecessary metal in a few places and rounding off the corners, a little black paint will finish it off.

The pedal bracket mounts at the very top inside the firewall using two existing bolt holes (opened up to 5/16") that were originally used to mount the voltage regulator.

Firewall side showing the two bolts I used to attach the bracket. They're actually stock Pontiac V8 valve cover bolts with flanged heads. Keep Your GM Car All GM. 

There is also a third smaller existing hole you can see at the bottom that was originally used for a small sheetmetal screw. For a little more rigidity I'll put a 10-32 thread hex head bolt there after drilling and tapping the bottom corner of the pedal bracket.

Pedal mounting position is very close to where the original one went.

Here you can see how the original pedal sits directly over the new pedal, positioning is right on the money. Later on I may decide to use the original pedal to actuate the throttle, making that work won't be too difficult.


.....was taken care of today, it was easy to keep putting off doing this unpleasant task.

The stock rubber floor mats need some attention before I can put them back in.

What is left of the old jute padding glued to the backside of the floor mats needed to be carefully scraped off, there are no new replacements available for these mats.

I set the mat in the sun to soften up the old red glue. I was able to scrape most of the old jute and glue off using a plastic spatula of all things, sharp enough to scrape the glue off but not sharp enough to cut through my irreplaceable rubber mat. Some gasoline on a rag was used to remove any remnants of the old glue.

The top side was then scrubbed clean using a small carpet brush and some Simple Green. The color-keyed rubber floor mats used instead of carpet on the low-line Tempest model are just one of the features that add to the charm of these old economy cars.

I spent the better part of 5 hours cleaning up the front (shown) and rear mats. I'm pretty sore after all that scrubbing, now I know why I put this off for so long.

These old car projects do take a lot of time and patience.


.....is getting some attention after waiting patiently for 6 months.

Today right after work I headed to the garage and freed-up my engine stand that had a Pontiac 400 block stored on it and put the LS3 up on the stand. The cast aluminum Corvette oil pan needs to be replaced with a new steel pan from Autokraft so the engine will fit the A-body chassis, so it has to go up on the stand for the pan swap.

I'm hoping to test fit the engine and trans this weekend. I'll remove the core support and slip it all in from the front. It will have to go in and out a few times to locate the engine frame mounts stands and drill the crossmember to install them.

I'm also expecting to do a little hammering on the trans tunnel to clear the fittings for trans cooler lines, and possibly some more dimpling to clear the 3 large bolt bosses at the top of the trans where the main case mates up to the bellhousing.

Waiting for the big weekend.

After putting the engine on the stand I pulled off the exhaust manifolds. These are beautifully designed castings with large clean ports that should flow a high volume of exhaust gasses quite nicely. I wish I could use these, but they won't fit my chassis.

Modern casting technology at its best. The Pontiac V8 guys who use the well-designed factory Ram Air, High Output and Super Duty exhaust manifolds on their performance engines can appreciate these pieces.

Movin' on.


.....after work preparing the engine.

Last night I swapped out the stock oil pan for the Autokraft pan after draining out and saving the 6 quarts of Mobil 1 5W-30 that the LS3 comes charged with. It's the only aftermarket pan that fits the A-body chassis and allows you to keep the oil filter in the stock location.

Both the new pan and pickup fit perfectly, no grinding or filing was necessary. I had to shorten all of the M8 factory pan bolts by about .180" (3/16") because of the thinner Autokraft pan rail, the two bolts that hold the filter adapter in place were left alone. The two long M6 X 135mm bolts at the rear of the pan were replaced with much shorter M6 X 25mm bolts.

The stock oil filter won't fit the threads on the new filter adapter, I still need to find out what filter I need to buy.

Tonight the Edelbrock engine mount adapter plates were bolted up after doing a slight modification with a half-round file so the 'bump' in engine mount backing plate would clear the inside edge. The file is pointing to the area that needed a little chamfer added.

The engine mount adapter plates and Energy Suspension polyurethane engine mounts are now bolted in place using some blue Loctite.

Getting a couple of the little jobs out the way during the week will give me more time for the bigger jobs I need to do this weekend. The weather has been nice and cool for the last few weeks, I have to get as much done as I can before the summer heat hits.


.....and a few steps back today.

First thing today I installed the new flexplate that I bought to replace the Corvette flexplate that will not work with a standard drivetrain. I took the opportunity to test fit the YANK converter snout into the back of the crank, all was fine.

The converter was then primed with fresh trans fluid, I was able to add less than a quart. There was plenty of fluid already in it since the converter and trans were tested together on a transmission dyno.

I then measured the distance between the converter mounting lugs and the mounting flange. I did this partly to make sure the converter was seated all the way (it wasn't, it went in another 1/2") and to calculate the need for any shims between the converter lugs and the flexplate.

Next I measured the distance from the mounting flange on the block to the face of the flexplate. After doing a little math I found that the converter will need to be pulled towards the engine by .250" in order to mate up to the flexplate, a little too far.

It's best to keep this distance between 1/8" and 3/16" (.125" to .1875") to make sure the converter is engaged far enough into the front pump on the trans. I'll find 3 hardened washers that are exactly the same thickness to get it into spec, something between .060" to .100" thick will work.

Since clearance inside the trans tunnel will be very tight I removed the straight cooling line fittings and put in a couple of 90 degree fittings. I'll probably loop the trans lines rearward and down before bringing them forward.

Next I bolted the trans up to the engine, hoping that I could put them in as a unit.

Here goes nothing.

This is as far as it will go, the pan won't clear. The trans is stopped against the top of the tunnel.

Very close here too, it's time to remove the engine and trans and separate them and put the engine in by itself. I had read that the engine and trans couldn't go in together as a unit but I just had to see for myself.

Engine is back in and is now sitting on the mounts where it needs to be, time to pull it back out and drill some holes for the engine mount stands.

Mounts are now bolted in place on the crossmember and the brake line reconfigured to clear the new mount locations.

Engine has been set back in place on the freshly installed mount stands. I'll leave it supported by the engine hoist overnight with a floor jack under the back of the oil pan for insurance.

Tomorrow I'll mate the trans up to the engine and do any clearance work necessary on the tunnel (hammer time). I need to figure out where the trans crossmember needs to go, hopefully the original crossmember will work. I'll try to find some time to fit up the headers, I'm hoping they can go in place without removing the engine.

End of a very long, busy day.

.....that the trans crossmember can no longer sit on top of the bottom section of the frame 'C' channel.

I can't slide the crossmember back far enough to get the trans in the car because it hits the supports for the center body mount on both sides. There's no way to put the trans in first and the crossmember in afterwards unless I change the way the crossmember attaches to the frame.

The trans crossmember will need some mods done to the ends to keep the crossmember from sitting too low after I bolt it in from underneath the frame rail instead of having it sit on top of the bottom rail.

I will make a slice the pretty much right along on the black line at the bottom in the pic and bend the end down so it's even with the bottom of the crossmember and then add a triangular piece to fill the gap. Next I will slice it straight down along the other black line and remove that piece so the frame rail will clear, I can use a piece of 2" X 2" X 3/16" angle iron to fill the gap there. While I'm doing the mods to the crossmember I'll search out a transmission jack to get the trans into the car safely, a floor jack just won't do in this case.

I searched through my scrap metal pile and found an old radiator support crossmember that I made for an old project. I was able to use it as a rear engine support by making a couple of angle iron brackets that attach onto the rear control arm bolts. The oil pan rests on a wood block, this will keep the engine in place while I'm working out the trans fitment and other issues.

Finally the LS3 is sitting in the car.

That's all for this weekend.


.....the trans crossmember tonight.

Before any mods.

Before doing any cutting I stood the crossmember up in my 6" bench vise and straightened out the tips. Note the series of punch marks where I plan to start drilling some holes.

I used a drill that was about the same size as the width of my cutoff wheel to drill the holes. A quick slice with the Sawzall across the end and I'm ready to use the cutoff wheel.

The cutoff wheel work goes quickly and accurately since most of the material on my cut line has been removed by the drilled holes.

Next another trip through the bench vise to bend and straighten out the flanges and make them even with the bottom of the crossmember. Finally I used the vise like a press and flattened out the ends.

That's all for tonight, I'll fit it up under the car to check for fit and cut some filler pieces next.


.....the trans crossmember tonight.

Before any mods.

Before doing any cutting I stood the crossmember up in my 6" bench vise and straightened out the tips. Note the series of punch marks where I plan to start drilling some holes.

I used a drill that was about the same size as the width of my cutoff wheel to drill the holes. A quick slice with the Sawzall across the end and I'm ready to use the cutoff wheel.

The cutoff wheel work goes quickly and accurately since most of the material on my cut line has been removed by the drilled holes.

Next another trip through the bench vise to bend and straighten out the flanges and make them even with the bottom of the crossmember. Finally I used the vise like a press and flattened out the ends.

That's all for tonight, I'll fit it up under the car to check for fit and cut some filler pieces next.

.....on the crossmember tonight.

Fitted it up and found that the tips didn't match up to the frame.

A little bit of careful bending in the bench vise took care of that.

I scrounged up an old bracket made of flat steel plate that just happened to match up with the .135" material thickness of the crossmember to cut up for the filler pieces. After some work with a Sawzall and grinder it's now ready to weld.

Now to hit up my friend with the MIG welder for a favor.


.....from the bottom of the car.

I knew there was probably a 1% chance of them going in, and of course they didn't. The next time the engine is out they'll have to be set in place in the engine bay and the LS3 will have to be carefully dropped down onto the mounts.

Well, at least I took a picture of them.

While I had the exhaust system on my mind I spent a little time modifying the muffler hangers, this pretty much consisted of making a couple brackets from 1-1/4" X 1/8" angle iron to bolt onto the hangers. I need to have a center to center distance of 26" for the muffler outlets and the hangers currently put them at 24".

That's all for tonight, gotta keep chipping away at it.


.....to the hanger brackets I made last night and started fitting up the 3" PYPES X-crossover exhaust.

The angle iron hanger brackets move each muffler towards the outside of the car by one inch, and move the mount for the pipe clamp back by about an inch as well. The 2-1/2" PYPES tailpipes were already expanded to 3" to mate up with the 3" muffler outlets, so the 2-1/2" muffler hanger clamps needed to move back a little to keep away from the expanded transition that can't be clamped onto.

Spent some time positioning the tailpipes so they would have plenty of clearance. The tailpipes were put in place first and attached to the muffler and tailpipe hangers, then the mufflers were slipped onto the tailpipes and supported with a floor jack.

The mufflers are tilted downward slightly near the center of the car to lower the inlets, this was done to gain a little bit more floorpan clearance for the inlet pipes.

After getting the mufflers located where I wanted them I found that I needed a 15" measurement from the outside of both inlet pipes. The PYPES X-crossover with the muffler inlet pipes slipped in comes just a little wider at 16". In order to move the pipes inward by 1/2" on each side I needed to cut 1" off the end of each one where it enters the X-crossover, due to the 45-degree bend of the pipe.

The two cuts were easily done with a big tubing cutter, now I have my 15" dimension. I'll trim about 3/4" off the ends and extend the slots of the X-crossover where the pipes slip in so I won't end up trying to clamp on the pipes where they start to curve.

The trans crossmember is temporarily in place to check fitment. The inlet pipes leading into the mufflers will need to be shortened by about 8" or so to bring the X-crossover rearward some. Before finalizing the pipe lengths I really need to get the trans mounted and the headers bolted on the engine.

Having a driveshaft in place to check for clearance above the X-crossover is a must, I have to be careful not to move the X-crossover back too far.

A look at the profile, ground clearance will be pretty good especially for a 3" system with big mufflers.

Still looking pretty innocent from the rear.

Nothing has really been finalized at this point other than perhaps the tailpipe locations which are pretty close but still need minor tweaking. This is a good start and gives me an idea of how the 3" exhaust will fit the car.

That's all for tonight, I'm exhausted. ;)


.....with Yukon Performance 3.42 gears has been custom-built for the Tempest by Jim Mitschke of JD Race & Restoration in Richfield Ohio (1 330 990 8155) and is now almost ready to ship.

I chose Jim Mitschke (monzaz on Performance Years) to build this rear end because I thought that his small shop that specializes in Muscle Car differentials would pay more attention to detail and build it like it was his own. I have seen Jim advertising and selling quite a few rear ends on PY over the past few years with many satisfied customers so I figured I would contact him.

I wanted the '71 -'72 Buick 8.5" rear mainly for its strength and for the tapered bearing bolt-in axles, not to mention it's a direct bolt-in on any '64 -'72 GM A-body. I asked Jim to modify the spring perches so I could use the earlier '64 -'66 springs that bolt onto the perch with a clamp plate. A pair of poly bushings will be pressed into the upper control arm mounts on the housing.

Upgrades include a new Eaton 30-spline clutch-type posi (replacing the stock 28-spline unit) that's known for its durability and long-wearing clutch packs. A new set of Moser 30-spline axles were added as well, not only for the added strength but it was the easiest way to get the 5 on 120mm bolt pattern I need to run my BMW-spec aftermarket 18X9" wheels. The axles will come with M12X1.5 studs that are about 1.75" to 2" long to better accomodate the C6 Z06 rotors that are .280" thick at the hub.

These are just a couple of the many pics that Jim sent me during the build, this unit will be shipped out to me next week. Thanks for the great communication, pics and fine customer service Jim!

This rearend is the last big expense on the Tempest build. I'll be able to take the Tempest to the dragstrip once or twice without fear of shelling the diff, and do a little bit of 'spirited' driving when I want to.

I'll still have to spend a couple of grand before it's all done on a new headliner, windshield, radiator hoses, serpentine belt, tranny dipstick tube, wiring, and all of the little things that nickle and dime you to death.

Coming along.


.....so I can move forward on fitting up the trans, so this morning I spent some time modifying my old floor jack. I had a couple of pieces of 12" X 12" X .200" plate that were already the perfect size and thickness to do the job.

First I drilled and tapped a couple of holes 3/8-16 coarse thread in the jack base and then drilled the bottom plate to match and bolted it down. Next I drilled and tapped another 3/8-16 hole in the center front of the bottom plate so I could use a jacking screw to change the angle of the top plate as needed. A couple of 1/2-13 bolts and nuts are loosely attached at the rear corners so the plates can hinge, some 1/2" clearance holes were already drilled in all 4 corners of the plates.

Nothing fancy but it's plenty stable and will do the job. The cost was right in my budget, zero dollars.

Now to grab my big 2-1/2 pound hammer and have at it.


.....gently massaging the trans tunnel.

Nothing gentle about it, I'm pretty beat from laying on my back underneath the car swinging that big hammer. There was quite a bit of clearancing needed, I probably had the trans in and out about 15 times before I had the clearance I needed. The trans jack made this difficult job much easier to take on.

Driver's side, checking where to start hammering.

Driver's side, after a lot of hammering sessions. Note how much higher the trans now tucks up into the tunnel. There are spots where there is less than 1/4 inch of clearance, both in the areas I clearanced up front and further back over the top of the trans where I didn't need to do any work.

Passenger side before any tunnel mods, the trans cooler line fittings will come close by the time I get further into this. The 90-degree fittings were and absolute must.

Passenger side again, after the onslaught. Note again how much higher the trans tucks into the tunnel. I also ended up hammering for clearance above the cooler fittings and took the corner off the top one with a file.

Banged in the floor pan by about an inch to make clearance here, I'll have to do some patching to repair the thin rusted metal that cracked.

A look inside on the passenger side, I drew a line with a black Sharpie to better show the area that was modified.

Driver's side, more work was needed on this side due to the less open shape of the tunnel.

It was more work than I had expected, but the trans sits up nice and high where it belongs and my modified stock crossmember will work perfectly.

Passenger side head clearance to firewall with the trans in place. In order to mate the trans up to the engine I have to let the engine tilt back on the mounts until the bolt on the back of the head comes to within about 1/4" to 3/8" of the firewall.

Driver's side head to firewall clearance.

Fitted up the passenger side header from underneath the car. I had to remove my temporary engine support crossmember to get it in there, still a tight squeeze. I also found that I'll need to install my new lower control arms before the headers go in, there's no way to remove the rear control arm bolt with the header in place at least on this side. I made a quick attempt at putting in the driver's side header, but it looks like the steering shaft needs to come out first (this is mentioned in the brief installation instructions from Edelbrock).

I accomplished one of the bigger tasks this weekend, the trans now fits and my crossmember modification won't need anymore tweaks. After I get the crossmember welded I'll fabricate a couple of 3/16" thick reinforcement plates to bolt underneath the tips where the crossmember attaches to the frame.

Happy Father's Day!


It was lowered a bit in the rear already. I cut 3/4s of a coil off of some new regular-ride rear springs when I first rebuilt the suspension when the Tri-Power 455 went in. Has a set of H-O Racing front springs in it now.

I have a new set of Global West S-60 rear springs in it now and the free height of those springs were almost exactly the same as my old ones. I'll probably keep the H-O front springs and trim them as needed, the lighter LS3 engine will raise the car up of course.

I figure this car will end up somewhere around 2 to 3" lower than stock, probably closer to 2". Low enough to look good and enhance handling, but still high enough that I'm not dragging my headers on every speedbump. The Edelbrock swap headers tuck up pretty tight, so that gives me some hope of getting it to sit lower.

.....between the tierod ends and the oil pan.

I've seen this same issue come up on a lot of LSX swaps into A-body GM cars, but with the many different engine mounting methods and oil pans in use it seems to be worse on some cars than others.

I removed the zerk fittings at the inside end of the tierod ends next to the pan to get a little more travel and to prevent the zerks from punching a hole in the pan. I can only turn the steering wheel about 1-7/8 turns, it used to go about 2-1/4 turns (Lee Engineering 12.7:1 power box) before the engine swap.

Do I need to replace the centerlink, pitman arm and idler arm with Chevy, Buick or Olds pieces to drop the centerlink and tierod ends down (if any of those parts will do that) and gain some more clearance here? Any helpful input would be appreciated.


.....after work today and fabbed up the reinforcement plates I need to securely mount the trans crossmember to the frame.

The lower plate that supports the ends of the crossmember is made of 3/16" steel plate, the upper plate that will sit on top of the frame rail is .140" thick.

I decided to use three 5/16-18 flat socket head screws for a neater appearance so you won't see any fasteners from the side of the car. The two 1/4" fasteners holding the plate are temporary, I'll use some 1/4-28 hex bolts.

I was able to scrounge all the materials I needed from my stash, it's good thing I never throw anything away (although my wife would most certainly disagree with that).

Another little job out of the way.


.....arrived via truck freight last Tuesday, so today I took some time to get it ready to install.

I did a little grinding on the driver's side upper control arm to provide clearance between the control arm pivot area and the top of the differential housing. A big thank you to member gearheads78 (Richard) on the Pro-Touring forums for the heads-up on this mod. Just goes to show that you need to pre-fit all of your new aftermarket components whenever possible.

Here you can see the tight clearance between the arm and the housing after grinding. It's a bummer when you have to grind on a freshly powder coated brand-new component, but a little black enamel takes care of the minor touchup needed.

I took the threaded ends of the arms apart and added a little more moly grease to the threads, I was glad to see they came with a decent amount of proper lube on them. These parts almost look too pretty to hide up underneath the car.

Here's the new 3.42-geared Eaton posi-equipped Buick A-body rear end with the Moser 30-spline axles and all of the KORE3 C6 Z06 rear brake adapter parts and internal parking brake components laid out.

The KORE3 kit comes with all of the proper spacers and brackets necessary to make the Corvette brakes a true bolt-on installation. The fully-machined billet aluminum parking brake backing plates are a true work of art, this high-quality kit was worth every penny.

A look at the parking brake assembly before the rotor is installed.

From the back side, the caliper and bearing retainer bracket is one piece.

From the top you can see the series of spacers as they stack up to make everything fit. First a .105" thick spacer between the bearing retainer/caliper bracket and the housing end, next two .250" thick spacers between the retainer/caliper bracket and backing plate. Last there is a steel plate about .100" thick between the aluminum backing plate and the four 3/8-16 flanged self-locking nuts that hold everything in place.

Both 13.4" rotors and 4-piston calipers are now installed to check for fit. These things are monsters!

These should help haul this soon to be very fast Tempest down quickly. Good brakes = a safer car.

That's all for today, tomorrow I'm hoping to be able to stuff this assembly under the car and check out how well my new 18X9" rear wheels & 275/40-18 tires will fit back there.

Hope you all had a great 4th of July, I sure did!


.....after work today, I stopped by the local Pep Boys and picked up a couple of 40" lengths of 3/16" brake line on the way home.

I ended up using 33.5" of line on the driver's side and 36" on the passenger side, owning a decent flaring tool is a must when shortening pre-made hard lines or making up new ones. The difference in line length was due to the offset location of the brake line tee on the top of the differential housing. The 8.5 rear has a cast-in bolt boss on top that's tapped for 5/16-18 thread to mount the tee, unlike the 8.2 rear these cars came with that use a bracket attached to the top cover bolt to mount the tee.

I bought some FlexKORE (TM) brake lines from KORE3 for the entire brake system to replace all of the flexible rubber lines, top-quality parts that will last forever and give better braking performance. I had to make sure that the FlexKORE lines were mounted in such a way that would allow the caliper to be pulled off the rotor for pad changes without disconnecting the lines.

I filled the rear end with 2.5 quarts of Castrol 80W-90 gear oil (no synthetic for limited-slip units) and a 4oz bottle of GM #1052358 Limited Slip Additive, after 1000 miles I'll dump the oil and refill with new. With the gear lube taken care of and the brake lines completed it's finally ready to install this weekend for sure.

Moving forward.


.....on the rear end install, I got up at 7AM because I knew it would be a long day out in the garage.

I pushed the Tempest out and laid out all of the rear suspension pieces: Currie Currectrac control arms, Global West S-60 springs, 1" rear sway bar, Bilstein shocks and some Hotchkis mounting braces to reinforce the frame. I found that I was missing a couple of bolts that I needed for the Hotchkis mounting braces (used parts generously given to me by PY member Colin Frolick along with the 1" sway bar), so after spending a few hours removing the old rear end I headed to NAPA and picked up the Grade 8 bolts.

I laid the new adjustable upper control arms next to the stock ones and slipped some bolts through them both. I adjusted the length on the new ones so they would match the stock ones to have a good baseline to start out with. I pumped all of the Johnny Joints and urethane bushings full of grease while I had easy access.

Out with the old.

I had read about the tight fit of the Currie arms to the frame mounting points, and sure enough there was about .010" of interference.

I used a slide hammer with a hook attachment and gave it about 3 hard knocks, this opened up the clearance that I needed. The mounting points are crushed inward a little by the previous tightening of the old suspension parts, it's not a big deal to open them back up again.

Control arms and mounting braces installed. On the lower arm on the pasenger side the very front end of the Currie arm interfered with the mounting bracket on the frame. I removed the arm and hammered the center of the mount in about 1/16" to get the clearance I needed.

As you can see in the picture below, this was as low as the arm would pivot downward before doing the clearancing. You must remove the front grease zerk before installing these and put it back in when you're all finished, otherwise you'll break it off as the arm pivots down while putting the rear end in.

In with the new.

All buttoned-up. No sway bar installed yet nor any brake pads.

Suspension at full droop, shocks fully extended.

Rear end install complete, back down to earth.

I'm really liking the contrast of the black wheels and the red Corvette Z06 calipers.

I'm stoked.


.....from the weld shop today, it came out looking pretty good.

The welding on the crossmember was done by Jeff Moore at Chassis Fab in Acton CA.
Jeff does top-quality work and has a fully-equipped shop that can easily handle the small jobs like this one or bigger projects requiring extensive chassis fabrication.

Now I'll be able to get the trans mounted in the car, this should add enough weight to make it easier to remove the front springs when I swap the old front end components for the new ones.


.....and took another step forward. The weather cooled down into the mid to low 90s today, last weekend it was close to 110 degrees and just too hot to do anything.

I put the Tempest up high on small wooden pallets once again and removed the passenger side header. The headers need to be out of the way so I can remove the lower control arm bolts, a complete front suspension upgrade is my next task. While doing some fitting and checking I found that with the transmission bellhousing just barely touched one of the passenger side header tubes right where the starter goes. I knocked off the corner of the bellhousing with a large flat file to give the header tube some clearance.

Next I bolted the trans up to the engine. I bolted the finished trans crossmember to the trans mount and jacked it up tight against the bottom of the frame.

After drilling three 5/16" holes in each side of the frame using the crossmember holes as a guide I bolted the trans crossmember in place using the upper and lower reinforcement plates I made previously.

The crossmember and lower reinforcement plate hang a little over 5/16" below the bottom of the frame rail.

Right above the exhaust clearance hump you can just get your finger between the top of the crossmember and the floorpan, about 1/2" to 5/8" of clearance.

Finally, I would like to thank my two daily drivers for their patience, putting up with numerous cold starts when they're getting moved around and for braving the hot sun all day whenever the Tempest is getting attention. They're both very spoiled and really hate sitting outside.

Now there is finally enough weight over the front end to start to compress the springs, the added weight of the 4L70E trans got the front suspension off of the upper bump stops.

Next up is all of the front suspension and brake work, stay tuned.


.....by removing all of the old front end components.

I put the Tempest up on two large 6-ton jackstands and removed the wheels, then removed both front shocks and the sway bar end links. Next I loosened up the tie rod adjusters, but left the tie rods attached for now so they would help keep the spindles from moving while loosening up all 4 of the ball joint castle nuts.

After removing the cotter pins and loosening the ball joint castle nuts by a few turns I used a 12" long by 1" diameter brass bar as a drift to knock them loose from the tapered holes in the spindle. After only a couple of hard raps on the ball joint studs with a 2-pound hammer they popped right out of the spindle, against the loosened castle nut. The brass bar is long enough to do all of your hammering clear of the suspension parts, plus you can get a good swing with the hammer.

Next I put my floor jack with a 2X6 wood block underneath the control arm spring pocket and jacked it up enough to remove the tension against the castle nuts. After removing the castle nuts I let the jack down just enough to get the spindle assembly out, I disconnected the brake hose at the frame bracket beforehand.

The H-O Racing front springs are fairly short and came out easily after letting the lower control arms all the way down with the jack, I didn't need to use a spring compressor. Having enough weight on the front end is the key to getting away without the need for a spring compressor, along with a short free-height spring.

To get the upper control arms off I had to remove the rubber spash shields from the inner fenders to get enough room to manuever them out. I also had to take the steering shaft loose from the rag joint coupler on the driver's side and push the steering shaft over as far as possible to get the control arm shaft off the 2 mounting bolts that are pressed into the frame.

Tear down is now complete, all I need to do now is a little cleaning of the suspension attachment points on the frame and I'll be ready to start installing the new parts.

There's really nothing wrong with the old '78 B-body spindles with 12" rotors, reinforced stock lower A-arms and Hotchkis upper control arms with greasable poly bushings. They truly made a night and day difference in braking and handling over the original factory 9.5" drum brakes and rubber-bushed suspension pieces that had over 140K miles on them.

I'm replacing them all now with SPC adjustable upper control arms and tubular lowers, American Touring Specialties AFX forged aluminum spindles and C6 Z06 brakes with hopes that I'll see yet another night and day difference in braking and handling.

This is really going to be a fun canyon carver.


.....the new front end today. The weather has cooled down during the last week to the mid to low 90s, so I'd better take advantage of that and get some work done on the Tempest.

New front suspension components laid out, I'll be reusing the H-O Racing front springs.

I laid the SPC upper control arms over the Hotchkis arms and adjusted the links to get them close to where they'll need to be. Before doing this I took the links apart and put a good coat of moly on the link threads. The curved rear tube on the Hotchkis arm interfered with my 18X9" wheel at near full steering lock, I'm hoping to gain some clearance at that point.

The mounting holes in the new A-body Moog upper ball joints wouldn't line up with the two outward bolt holes in the SPC arms, those two holes are driled a little too far apart. A little work with a rat-tail file to slot the holes inward by .020" each took care of the slight mismatch. The mounting holes are already drilled to .300" in the arms which is plenty of clearance for a 1/4" bolt. I didn't like having to file on my new control arms, but after thinking about how much I had to hammer the crap out of my trans tunnel it didn't seem so bad.

I bought some new hardware to attach the upper control arms to the frame, the billet aluminum cross shafts are drilled for 1/2" mounting hardware so the original 7/16" bolts wouldn't work. This gave me the opportunity to gain some additional clearance between the headers and the bolts, the new hardware is 1/2" shorter.

Upper control arm bolted in place. You have to bend the rear corner of the opening in the inner fender inward to clear the rear control arm pivot on the cross shaft, this slight modification was already done to make the old Hotchkis arms fit.

The bare aluminum AFX spindles and cast aluminum lower spring seats were treated with an aluminum cleaner (Alumiprep #33) with an alodine solution (Alodine #1001) to protect them from corrosion. You can buy them from Aircraft Spruce: http://aircraftspruce.com

The SPC lower control arms went in easily using some new 1/2-13 Grade 8 hardware and nylock nuts, these arms already have a 1" drop built into them. After making sure the top of the spring was correctly clocked in the upper spring seat I dropped the aluminum lower seat into the control arm and made sure that it was clocked correctly as well. I was able to pull the lower arm up into postion with the spring in place by hand and slide the jack underneath it, no spring compressor needed.

AFX spindle is now in place, there's just enough weight in the chassis to compress the spring so the ball joints would mate up with the spindle. The castle nuts on the ball joints were snugged lightly at this point. If I don't like the ride height after the car is fully assembled it will come apart easily so I can either cut the springs or add spring spacers under the spring seats.

The billet aluminum ATS steering arms are now in place along with the Moog tie rod ends. Most of the major components are not tightened up yet, things will be coming apart a few times to make various adjustments.

The front suspension assembly is complete enough now that I can see how everything is fitting up, it's looking pretty good at this point.

Tomorrow I'll try to get the front hubs mounted to the spindles and see how the brakes, wheels and tires fit.


.....in the garage finishing the front suspension mock-up.

First order of business was to get the SKF racing hubs prepared. For starters, the studs are too long. Since I'm using wheel adapters the studs need to be shortened to match the thickness of the adapters (1.063") plus the thickness of the front brake rotors (.300").

I ended up grinding about .400" off the ends of the studs.

The AFX spindles use two bolts and one stud to mount the hubs. The hubs were designed to use 3 bolts so all three holes are threaded. In order to use the one bottom mounting stud on the AFX spindle I had to drill out the threads in one of the holes with a 1/2" drill bit.

I had to use a die grinder with a cutting wheel to make some clearance for the nut to turn and to provide a flat area for it to tighten down onto.

After having a lot of fun hacking on my new hubs they're now bolted in place.

New 14" rotor and wheel adapter mounted up to the hub. The adapter solves two problems, converting the front bolt pattern from 5 on 4.75" (5 on 120.65mm) to 5 on 120mm and effectively reducing the backspacing on the wheel to 5.507" from 6.57". I had to grind about .060" off the ends of the lug nuts holding the adapter in place for clearance.

Bolted the wheel in place. No brake calipers yet, not enough time today with all the drilling and grinding going on.

Looks like there's plenty of clearance between the upper A-arm and the inside of the rim with the wheel turned all the way to the left, the clearance here will increase with the car's full weight on the suspension.

Set the car on the ground to see how it looks. I'm pretty happy with the ride height considering the amount of weight that still needs to be put back in the car. No seats, front or rear glass, most of the exhaust system out, no belt-driven accessories on the engine, no fluids in the engine or trans, no A/C compressor and no hood or right front fender.

The AFX spindles have 1" of drop built in, combined with the 1" drop from the SPC lower control arms it's looking like I won't need to trim the front springs.

I reached my goal of getting the car sitting back down on the ground on all 4 wheels this weekend.

I'm stoked.


.....just thought I'd post a couple more pics taken on Sunday evening.


Thanks. Once the car has been completed it will sit lower, there are still a lot of things that have not been installed.

Quoted from my post above: The adapter solves two problems, converting the front bolt pattern from 5 on 4.75" (5 on 120.65mm) to 5 on 120mm and effectively reducing the backspacing on the wheel to 5.507" from 6.57".

I wanted all 4 wheels to be the same in case I wanted to run the same size tires all around and rotate them (pretty much unheard of on this site), plus there are limited backspacing choices for this particular wheel brand and style.

I actually have 5 of these 18X9" wheels so I can keep a full-size spare in the trunk, no other type of spare wheel will clear the big Z06 calipers. My spare is a 245/45-18, same width as my front 245/40s and the same height as my 275/40s so I don't burn up the posi if I need to use the spare on the rear. Someday I might just run 245/45s all around.

Nice thing about the A-body cars, they have a huge trunk that easily swallows up a big spare tire.


.....somewhat unfamiliar territory as it's time for me to start installing the wiring harness and controller.

The engine harness part of it is pretty straight-forward, just match up the connectors and plug them in. Figuring out the best place to mount the bulky ECM is a bit of a challenge, there's pretty much no room under the dash for it with the A/C unit and ducting hoses taking up most of the space on the passenger side.

I laid out the harness inside the car to start becoming familiar with it. Everything shown here on the passenger side floor will be on the inside of the firewall. Included is the ECM, pedal harness for the electronic throttle control, fuel pump relay, cruise control wiring, and four 20-amp fuses and power up wires.

Here on the driver's side the engine harness is laid out. All of the wiring and connectors shown here will have to pass through a 2-1/8" hole in the firewall. Finding a good place to cut that hole is my first task.

After taking the harness to the engine side of the firewall and plugging it into most of the connectors on the engine and transmission I was able to figure out a good place to run the harness through the firewall. The hole where the throttle cable used to reside looks pretty much ideal.

After marking the outline of the 2-1/8" hole using a piece of 2-1/8" O.D. exhaust tubing (2" pipe expanded for a slip fit over 2" pipe) I drilled a series of small holes just inside the line.

A sharp chisel was used to make quick work of the material that was left between the holes, a half-round file finishes off the edges.

My next dilemma, how to go about getting the harness through this grommet and properly sealing the grommet to both the firewall and harness.

Clearly the harness can't fiit through the grommet without cutting the I.D. of the grommet. The big harness junction shown here would take about a 1" hole stretched out to 1.5" at the very minimum to pass it through the grommet, the grommet only has a 5/8" hole in it.

What to do? Cut the hole a little bigger and try work the entire engine side of the harness through the grommet, or slice it down one side and just slip it over the main cable bundle. Even if I slice it the 5/8" hole still won't be big enough for the 15/16" diameter main cable bundle to pass through.

Any opinions or personal experiences would be much appreciated.

Made a little more progress this weekend, thanks for looking!


.....through the hole in the firewall today. I carefully deburred and sanded the inside of the hole smooth with 180 grit paper and touched it up with some black paint to keep the edges from rusting beforehand.

Here you can see where the main harness branches off into several smaller ones, that part of the harness will reside just behind the passenger side cylinder head.

I cut the hole in the grommet to 3/4" using a piece of 3/4" I.D. tubing with the end sharpened, the main harness is about 15/16" in diameter. Using a fresh new razor blade I made a cut in the grommet.

The engine harness fits pretty nicely, there is enough room for it to tuck against the firewall away from the back of the engine. The grommet went in easily and will need some sealer around the harness later when I'm through messing with it, if I don't like the way it's working out I can buy an aftermarket split grommet later on.

The wiring provided (blue, green & pink) for control of the fan relays can be seen at the very bottom of the pic. I have two Bosch 30 amp relays here (0 332 019 150) that perhaps I can use for the fans, I'm not sure if they're the correct ones to use.

I need to come up with a bracket or plate to mount the ECM (Engine Control Module) in this spot just to the left of the passenger side kick panel. I can't get it mounted up any higher as it will interfere with the A/C unit. It will be up high enough to be out of the way of my passenger's feet, but still easily accessible.

I can mount this TCM (Transmission Control Module) unit over the top of the ECM, leaving about an inch of air space between them for cooling airflow.

With the engine side of the harness out of the way it doesn't look too bad in here. On the driver's side you can see the 4 fuses (#1- Battery, #2- Injection & Ignition, #3- O2 heaters, #4- Fuel pump) which can be mounted right next to the original fuse panel.

On the trans hump is the diagnostic port/check engine light unit. Closer to the firewall on the hump is the wiring rolled up for the cruise control, brake switch (for cruise control disengagement, needs to be a 4 terminal type of brake switch), tach, electric speedo (which I won't be using) and A/C compressor.

On the passenger side is the ECM and TCM units and fuel pump relay. The ETC (electronic throttle control) pedal harness has a little extra length that will need to be looped and tied up. All in all it should be a pretty simple and neat installation when it's done, of course figuring a few things out along the way will be more than just a little challenging.

Tomorow I'll try to fab up the mounting brackets I need for the ECM and find a home for the fuses, fuel pump relay and diagnostic port/check engine light unit.


.....that I might need in my next lifetime.

Lucky for me I found an old bracket in my stash of junk that was already pretty close to what I need to mount the ECM.

All I need to do now is to remove what doesn't look like an ECM mounting bracket.  

After trimming 1" off the right side and 1" off the bottom (losing the welded side braces in the process) and drilling & tapping the 4 holes 1/4-28 that mount the ECM the bracket is done. The firewall angles back a bit so I had to increase the 90 degree bend angle of the bracket by about 10 degrees to get the ECM to sit level and tuck up as far as possible.

The ECM doesn't sit any lower than the bottom of the A/C unit so it will not be in the way of my passenger's feet. I still need to mount the TCM to the front edge of the bracket.

The kick panel didn't need any mods, it still fits just like the factory intended. I can crack open the vent on this side to provide a bit of fresh air flow for both the ECM and A/C unit.

It's nice to have easy access to these units even if they aren't all that pretty to look at where they're mounted. Making things easier to service whenever possible is constantly on my mind during this build.

Well, that killed most of my day. Just figuring out what to do and finding whatever materials you need to proceed takes a lot of time, in a fully-equipped shop things definitely go a lot faster.

.....in the garage finishing up mounting the control units today. Once you get some major items in place it makes finding places for the other little things a bit easier.

The TCM found a home next to the ECM. The ECM mounts on four .300" tall standoffs made of 3/8" O.D. brake line tubing. Both units can be bolted to the mounting plate first, then the plate mounts on two 1/4-20 X 3/4" studs on the firewall.

The two studs are actually button head screws threaded into the firewall from the engine side after tapping the sheetmetal 1/4-20. They were snugged down enough so that they won't turn but not so tight that they strip that one thread out of the sheetmetal. A little strip caulk body sealer under the bolt head and flat washer keeps them water tight and helps lock them in place.

The fuel pump relay found a home on one of the ECM mounting bolts. I'll probably come up with a simple sheetmetal cover painted gloss black to hide the ECM/TCM/fuel pump relay unit later on.

This low-angle shot shows the wiring bundled up and pulled to the driver's side and zip tied to keep it in order. The white zip ties are temporary and will be replaced with black ones. I'll get another piece of black harness sleeving to cover up the colored wires and tidy things up when everything is finalized on the wiring.

You can barely see any of the wiring here, it really isn't visible unless you get down pretty low. I'm glad I didn't try to stuff it all up inside the dash.

Little by little.

Thanks for looking.


Thanks for the kind words guys.

The A/C compressor will mount up top using some KWiK Performance brackets that I bought.


Today I was looking for a good place to mount my transmission cooler. The air conditioning condensor takes up the space in front of the radiator where I was first thinking of putting it. There is not enough room up front anywhere behind the bumper.

I am considering mounting it to the passenger side frame rail and to the two floor pan braces just above it. It will go directly behind the body mount brace just underneath the passenger seat.

There is plenty of clearance between the exhaust system and the cooler, the X-crossover is directly across from it so the hot exhaust pipes will be as far away from it as would be possible. I can run the 3/8" steel cooler lines going across to the trans just above the trans crossmember to keep the heat transfer from the hot exhaust minimized as much as possible.

Does anyone see a problem with this approach? With the car moving down the road at normal traffic speeds I would think there should be plenty of airflow.

Would stones or road debris kicked up by the right front tire tend to damage it? The B&M Supercooler I'll be using is a plate-type design that is more resistant to impacts than the tube & fin-type coolers. It's not like there are a bunch of stone chips on the bottom of the floorpans already.

I know that cast aluminum framerail mounted coolers are available, but they don't look like they would cool nearly as well as the plate type cooler I have.

Any helpful input would be appreciated.


.....for mounting the trans cooler.

I will mount it up front instead of taking the easy way out and mounting it under the car on the frame where it really won't do a good job and could end up damaged. I had to be reminded that there is a lot of hot air expelled underneath the car from the radiator, engine block and exhaust system.

The one I have is just too a little too big to fit behind the front bumper in front of the radiator and condensor, so I'll just downsize the cooler and get one about half the size so I can put it up front where it really needs to go. The 4L70E overdrive trans with the lockup converter shouldn't put out quite as much heat as one with a non-lockup converter that will by design slip at least a little 100% of the time.

You can see the top of the cooler here, it is 1-1/2" thick and there is only a 2-1/2" space for it. On the left it's just touching the condenser at the bottom corner, it has to follow the angle of the front bumper and grilles in order to fit.

This cooler is 10" wide (as mounted here) including the mounting flanges and has an 8" core width. I will replace it with one of the same design that is 5-3/4" wide with a 3-3/4" core, it will also be 1-1/2" thick like the larger one:http://www.summitracing.com/parts/BMM-70273/

Should get some pretty decent airflow here and not block too much airflow to the condensor and radiator.

It will mount the same as the trans cooler I have on my GTO shown here, but of course it will only be about half as wide. Plumbing will be done using 3/8" steel hard lines with inverted flare fittings (no rubber hose) like the GTO as well.

Thanks for all the help and suggestions guys, much appreciated.


.....for you guys who know your automotive electrical systems.

I'm running some 4th-gen F-body fans, they're an OEM replacement made by Dorman (P/N 620634).

Would these require the use of two 30 amp relays or two 40 amp ones? I have two Bosch 30 amp relays (0 332 019 150) here that I might be able to use.

My custom Speartech wiring harness already has provisions for computer control of the fan relays, the loop of pink-dark green-dark blue relay control wires are shown at the bottom of this pic:

Where would you recommend that I source the relay plugs and harnesses from, or some new relays if I need to buy some?

Would also be nice to find the OEM connectors that plug into the fan motors.

Any help you can offer on this would be very much appreciated.



.....for my twin trans coolers.

They tuck right behind the bumper way down low, the top half of the coolers will be exposed to fresh air coming in from the slot in the bumper.

After removing the front bumper this is what I have to work with.

Both coolers are mounted to a piece of 1" wide X 3/16" thick X 29" long mild steel bar. The bar mounts to a pair 1-3/4" long standoffs (spacers), the bar is about 3/8" from the front of the condensor fins. I was able to use two existing 1/4" holes in the core support to mount it, worked out just perfect!

Down below I still need to fab up a pair of lower support brackets from the same mild steel bar, they will bolt to the two lower 3/8" studs that mount the hood latch support in the center and two exisiting 3/8" holes at the bottom corners of the core support channel.

I used a large 1/2 NPT run tee at the top outlet of the second cooler so I could install a trans temp sender for the Autometer trans temp gauge. This should give me a pretty good temperature reading of the cooled fluid before it heads back to the transmission.

A shot of the 3/8" tube loop that connects the outlet of the first cooler to the inlet of the second cooler. There's plenty of clearance between the tubing loop and the hood latch lever so I won't burn my fingers on the hot tubing. All of the tube fittings are brass inverted flare, already proven to be reliable by the OEMs.

None of the brass fittings or the tube loop can be seen with the bumper and grilles in place, the rest of the cooler plumbing will be hidden behind the bumper as well.

Tomorrow I hope to finish up the plumbing on both coolers and the lower mounting brackets.

Thanks for looking.


.....on the twin-trans cooler installation today.

I put the front bumper back on and adjusted it as closely as I could to where it will be on the finished car. After checking the clearance between the coolers and the bumper I found they needed to be shifted upward by one inch. This puts the top of the cooler fins right at the top of bumper slot, a little bit more ideal for catching cooling air and adding some much needed clearance at the bottom of the coolers to the bumper.

I put the driver's side grille in to check for clearance too. The brass fittings and tubing are hidden from view in the grille area.

With the bumper removed again and the various component clearances confirmed it was time to bend up some 3/8" steel hard lines.

There was a small 'window' of space for both of the cooler lines to pass through the core support at the bottom corner.

Both lines terminate a few inches past the core support, the 3/8" inverted flare unions were staggered to make it a little easier to swing a line wrench on them. I bent the lines so as to leave access to the hole in the frame for the front bumper bolt.

I still need to make up the bottom support brackets, but I did manage to get all of the plumbing finished on the front end.

Hope everyone had a great Labor Day weekend!


Thanks guys for the kind words, it really helps me to keep on this thing and not let up on it for too long.

I pulled the trans out today so I can make up more of the cooling lines.

There will be zero access to the cooling line fittings on the side of the trans with it installed, so I need to make up some short lines that will be considered part of the complete transmission assembly before it gets installed for the final time.

Here's what I have to work with. The 90-degree inverted flare fittings are the key to making this work. The fittings have 1/4 NPT threads but the trans is made for a straight thread fitting.

The thread diameter and pitch is the same for both, but the pipe thread is tapered to make it seal. Before installing the fittings I used a 1/4 pipe tap to try to taper the last couple of threads in an attempt to help out with the sealing for whatever it's worth, I used a little teflon paste on the threads and got 'em good and tight.

A shot of the finished 3/8" steel lines before installation.

Lines are now installed. I had to run them towards the rear then down and forward because there's no room to run them forward right off the fittings, the trans dipstick tube will be in the way.

The trans wiring needs to travel right next to the lines and right around the circular servo casting projection before it plugs into the large connector (just to the left of the lines in the above pic), everything is a tight fit in the trans tunnel. Rather than bash the trans tunnel out another inch or two for clearance, I packaged it all tightly to keep the tunnel as small as possible so my stock rubber interior flooring will still work.

Shot from the bottom where the lines terminate underneath the bellhousing. After the trans goes back in and the headers and starter motor are installed on the engine I can make up the 2 lines that will connect the front twin cooler lines to these short trans lines.

The weather was beautiful today in the mid to low 80s, so I took advantage of that.

Gotta keep moving on this.



To be honest not even once did I consider putting an aftermarket frame underneath my car. The suspension mods I'm doing were not really even planned for at the beginning of this build. Since this car is mostly just a good-handling and stopping canyon cruiser and won't be used on the track, the stock somewhat flexible A-body frame will get by just fine.

I'm trying to keep this car as original as I can but still get in as many modern upgrades as possible within my (ever expanding) budget, if that doesn't sound too silly. Incorporating some nice bolt-ons is all I ever wanted to do with this car.

Here's a cost listing of the various chassis and driveline componets, some of these parts can't be bought for the same prices now:

C6 Z06 front brake kit - $1136.50

C6 Z06 rear brake kit with internal parking brake - $1759.00

Lokar parking brake cables and hardware - $175.00

SPC front upper control arms - $340.00

SPC front lower control arms - $548.00

Cast aluminum lower spring seats and shim kit (ride height adjustment) - $58.00

Progressive Rate Jounce Bumpers - $26.90

ATS AFX forged aluminum spindles (less hubs) - $585.00

ATS billet aluminum A-body steering arms - $215.00

SKF racing hubs - $760.00

Moog upper ball joints - $50.00

Moog outer tierod ends - $70.00

H-O Racing Specialties front springs - $0 (20+ years old with 40K miles on them)

Currie Currectrac adjustable upper rear control arms - $299.95

Currie Currectrac lower rear control arms - $389.95

Global West S-60 rear springs - $60.00 (unused new parts from private party, $125.99 retail)

Hotchkis rear mounting braces - freebie  ($145.95 retail)

Pro-built 8.5 corporate 3.42 posi rear end complete - $1734.00

O.Z. Racing Ultraleggera 18x9" wheels - $358.00 X 5 (spare wheel included) = $1790.00

5 new tires - $660.00

Front wheel adapters - $125.00

Bilstein shocks - $300.00

Energy Suspension polyurethane body to frame mounts - $120.00

That's covers most of it, add in about 500 dollars or so for shipping all of this stuff.


.....today, my starter won't fit!

Today I was test fitting some things. I put both headers on the engine, at first leaving them loose to help make room to slip the transmission in place between the header collectors. The engine must be tilted forward slightly from it's 'normal' position so the headers will slip into place.

Next I mated up the transmission so I could finish up making my trans cooling lines. The engine must be tilted rearward slightly from 'normal' to mate up the trans, by leaving the 2 engine mount through bolts loose and supporting the engine under the oil pan with a block of wood it's easily done using one of my floorjacks.

With the trans now installed I tried to install the starter and there's absolutely no way to get it in there.

I loosened up the passenger side header and was able to pull it about 1" to the side to try to gain some room, I pulled it as far as it would go because at that point it was resting against the inside of the frame.

After taking a look at things I thought that maybe my Autokraft pan with the side kickouts could be the possible culprit. However I had test fitted the starter previously without the headers in place and it went in fine, although the access to the inside mounting bolt was limited a little by the kickout and I needed to use a flexible extension to get to it.

The way these headers are designed limits access to the outside starter bolt as well. Not that having limited access to that outside bolt makes much difference, I can't even get the starter in there!

The pan kickout is 1-3/8" wide from the side wall of the pan sump itself, but only extends 1/2" past the pan rail on the block:

Promotional pics of the Autokraft pan to help add some perspective:

Milodon 30915 pan that is recommended (but not required) by Edelbrock for use with their engine mount adapter plates that I'm using. The Edelbrock swap headers do mention they highly recommend that they be used with their engine mount adapter plates, but they don't go so far as to tell you which oil pan to use in their header installation instructions.

Note the very similar kickouts on this Milodon pan as compared to the Autokraft pan, I seriously doubt my starter would go in using this pan versus the Autokraft pan:

No way is this starter going in, in this shot the starter solenoid is right up against the front crossmember:

Not a lot of room here, keep in mind this shot was taken with the headers loosened up and pulled outward against the frame rail:

Well, I was determined to get that starter in there as I have a lot of money invested in my headers and oil pan. I figured that it might go in if I pulled the trans out, it has to come out right now anyway so I can reconfigure the cooling lines coming out of it.

It fits:

Unfortunately in order to service the starter in the future I will have to take following steps:

1) Drop the 3" X-crossover exhaust between the header collectors and the mufflers.

2) Loosen the passenger side header and pull it against the frame.

3) Remove the driveshaft.

4) Disconnect the trans cooling lines at the trans.

5) Disconnect the Speartech wiring harness on the trans (2 connectors - VSS and trans control) and the passenger side of the engine (3 connectors - crank sensor, knock sensor, O2 sensor + 1 ground lug on back of the cyl head) and pull the harness up out of the way and lay it on top of the engine.

6) Remove the top 2 engine to trans bolts.

7) Disconnect the torque converter from the flexplate.

8) Loosen the two long 7/16-14 engine mount bolts.

9) Support the trans with a trans jack and remove the trans crossmember. Tilt the engine and trans rearward slightly for access to the bottom 4 engine to trans bolts and to gain enough clearance at the firewall to pull the trans off the engine.

10) Support the engine under the oil pan with a floor jack and block of wood while separating the trans from the engine.

11) Remove starter after disconnecting the starter wires and cable.

I'm seriously thinking of running '01 -'02 F-body LS1 exhaust manifolds now. I'll probably take a 30+ HP hit though, but it might be worth it. One of the header tubes is less than 1/4" from from the starter motor with them tightened down.

However I really want to have the added power that the headers will unleash.

I'm guessing that the guys running manual transmissions haven't run into this issue. I do realize that the '64 -'67 A-body swap headers differ in design compared to the '68 -'72, maybe the early cars are the only victims of this issue.

Well anyway, I did find time after scratching my head half the day dealing with this starter nonsense to do a little work on the trans lines.

I knew that my first try with the cooling lines would be a bit of shot in the dark. Now that I have everything in place (trans, headers, starter) I could see they aren't going to work as-is.

I cut them off shorter and redid a couple of the bends:

The trans is now back in the car, tomorrow I'm hoping to make up some lines to connect the trans lines coming off the trans with the ones coming off the front mounted trans coolers.

Thanks for looking, and for any helpful advice you can offer.


.....this weekend despite my troubles and disappointment with the starter motor access.

The one thing I really wanted to get done this weekend was to make up the rest of the transmission cooling lines. I dropped by my local NAPA and picked up a couple more 60" pre-made lengths of 3/8" steel brake line this morning while doing my weekly food shopping.

I started out making up the lower line that will return the cooled fluid to the transmission, starting at the trans since this looked like the easier tubing route to start out with.

I continued working towards the front and made up the final connection. Bending up this first line took the better part of 2 hours, it takes a bit of time to remove and replace the line over and over along with making some minor adjustments of the bends to get things fitting just right. The steel tubing is soft enough that you can tweak it a little by hand to make minor adjustments, you certainly will end up making a lot of small adjustments before it's right.

I used all 60" of the line except for the last 1/2", I had to cut off that last little bit in order to make the last bend in the line as the flare nut would have been in the way of the tubing bender itself. After making the last bend I double flared the end. Making sure to put the flare nut on the line before making up the flare is something that's easy to forget to do sometimes!

Using some short scraps of tubing I made up a pattern to follow to get started. You can't easily manipulate the "60 long line with all of the obstacles in the way, using scraps like this helps you avoid mistakes that will scrap out the longer line you're trying to work with.

Here's the second line that brings the hot trans fluid from the converter to the coolers almost halfway finished.

Bending up the second line will go twice as fast as the first one since I now have a full-length pattern to follow. I'm just about to make the second to last bend here.

Again I had to cut off the flare to get the flare nut out of the way in order to make the the last bend and terminate this one at the trans. I cut off about 1/4" of line which puts the tubing cutter as close to the old flare as possible. The line on the top shown here is the second one I made up.

I just barely had enough tubing length to make up these lines, everything worked out well for me today. I did rethink the routing of the lines a little halfway through making up the first one and eliminated one bend near the front in order to conserve some line length, I could see that I was close to not having enough.

I still need to fasten the lines down in a couple of places using some 3/8" Adel clamps, I did my best to make them run parallel to one another. Without the fender on the car it makes little sense to fasten them down, the inner fender will move a little from where it is now with the fender installed.

Plenty of room between the lines and the header tubes, both lines can easily be removed from the topside without having to tweak them.

Finished for the weekend.

Thanks for looking.


.....for a while today and made some decent progress.
I removed the old master, it's a 1-1/16" bore 2nd-gen F-body disc/drum manual brake unit that worked very well with the single-piston B-body calipers. I'm replacing it with a 15/16" bore 1977 Monte Carlo or Malibu disc/drum manual master that comes complete with the pushrod, a $35 item with an $11 core charge (pictured below in the foreground). That's right, no power brakes.
Of interest is the two masters are configured backward from one another. The F-body master has the front brake reservior in front, the Monte master has the front brake reservior located in the rear. This means I will have to remake the lines from the master to the combination valve.

I was able to use the old 1964 Tempest single-master pushrod with the F-body master. For reference I measured from the mounting surface of the master to the center of the pushrod pivot pin, it looks to be right about 6".

The new Monte Carlo master pushrod won't be quite long enough nor will it fit up to my brake pedal. It fits deep into the piston, by about an inch unlike the F-body master.

I will cut the new pushrod off at the cut line shown and thread it with a 3/8-24 die so it will screw in to the original Tempest brake pushrod clevis. It's just long enough to work.

I will reuse the 2nd-gen F-body combination block and mounting bracket, the bracket has been slightly modified by bending the mounting tabs to tuck the combo valve up close to the master cylinder.
The combo valve has been modified by removing the cartridge and spring (shown next to the end cap), they can be accessed after removing the end cap. The Wilwood adjustable proportioning valve ($42) will connect to the 3/16" brake line adapter fitting in the end cap, it's mounted on a simple angle bracket. I will adjust the front to rear brake bias using the Wilwood prop valve to prevent the rear brakes from locking before the fronts, especially under wet road conditions.

I made up some new lines from the master to the combo valve, plus a short loop to connect the adjusable prop valve to the combo valve. I was able to reuse the original 3/16" line from the front brake reservior to the combo valve, but had to make up a new 1/4" line from the rear brake reservior to the combo valve. All these lines were bent by hand, the tubing is pretty soft so it's not too hard on your thumbs. There's no way to use a tubing bender on these with the bends so close to the tube nuts.

The completed assembly test fitted in place, the short loop from the combo to the prop valve clears the inner fender by about 1/2".

That's all for today.


Today I finished making up all of the hard lines for the brakes. Again all of the bends were made by hand, making for some pretty sore thumbs by the end of the day.

The lines coming down from the combo and prop valves were bent this way to leave room to pull the steering column in and out of the car. The line in front leads to the left front brake, the next one (60" long) goes under the engine along the front crossmember to the right front brake and the rear line coming off the prop valve connects up to the original rear brake line.

The 60" long line running under the engine terminates here, getting this line bent and routed was made a little easier with the inner fender out of the way. The engine will come out once more later on, I will tidy up the bends a little and fasten it down better at that time.

Another job out of the way that will bring me a bit closer to driving this old heap.

Keepin' on it.


.....can really occupy a lot of time, it seems like there are a thousand and one little jobs that still need to be done.

I spent some time making up the necessary brackets to secure the fan shroud to the radiator. Quite a few months back I modified some factory lower saddles for the radiator to rest on and trimmed the fan shroud to fit, but until just lately I haven't worked on finishing up the installation.

The fan shroud will serve to hold the radiator in place. At the top of the core support the top radiator tank seams rest against a length of 1/4" rubber fuel hose that was slit lengthwise and slipped over a folded sheetmetal lip. The top radiator clamp (3rd picture below) keeps it held down in the rubber-insulated saddles at the bottom.

I made up some mounting brackets from 2 X 2 X 1/8" angle iron to secure the fan shroud to the radiator and fill the gap between the shroud and radiator support, there are two 10-32 tapped holes for each shroud mounting tab. The shroud mounting tabs are made from 1-1/4 X 1-1/4 x 1/8" angle iron, each one is tapped with 1/4-28 threads to hold the shroud in place.

The top radiator clamp mounts to the same two factory tapped holes in the radiator support that mounted the stock radiator clamp. I made it from a leftover scrap of .135" thick steel plate that I had previously used to modify the trans crossmember and a piece of 1-1/2 X 1-1/2 x 1/4" aluminum angle. I'll round off a few of the sharp corners before it gets painted and use some nicer looking fasteners when it's all finished up, I used some old Pontiac valve cover bolts that were handy for now.

I also made up a starter motor shield, it's made from a piece of 3.00 dia. X .060" wall 304 stainless steel tubing that was slit lengthwise, unrolled and flattened to extend upward from the starter motor. The shield extends up high enough to shield the solenoid, starter soleniod wire and positive battery cable along with the crank sensor wiring and knock sensor wiring.

I still need to make a small 'L' bracket coming off the lower 8mm hex head starter motor bolt to clamp the shroud to the bottom front of the starter motor. The outside wall of the shield will be polished on a buffer so it will reflect as much heat as possible, I sure hope my starter lives a long life since it will be a pretty big job to change it out.

The upper mounting bracket is made from 1 X 3/16" band iron. It mounts to one of the header bolts and has a 1/4-28 hole tapped in it to secure it to the top of the starter shield, it needed a small notch cut in the side so a 5/8" spark plug socket can sneak by. The .060" thick stainless shield and stout upper mounting bracket shouldn't vibrate and crack easily, some of the thin sheetmetal factory heat shields seem to have cracking issues.

Another small detail out of the way is the brake master cylinder pushrod. I cut the looped end off and had a machinist friend of mine single-point some 3/8-24 threads on his lathe. Now it will screw right into the factory brake pushrod clevis.

Thanks for looking.


Not a lot going on lately, my hours at work have been increased so I have less free time to get things done.

I did spend some time fitting up some universal Lokar column shift linkage made for GM auto transmissions, I want to keep the original 2-speed auto column shifter that came in the Tempest. The factory shift linkage that is supported by a pivot bracket on the frame and the trans selector shaft won't work, the selector shaft on the 4L70E is located about 1-1/4" further back on the trans compared the the TH400 and original ST300 2-speed. The Lokar kit cost me about $50 and was well-worth it.

Back when I first installed a TH400 in the car to replace the original Super-Turbine 300 2-speed I did a few mods to the steering column so the shift linkage would travel far enough to grab low gear on the 3-speed TH400.

I took the steering column apart and filed a slot in the outer column at the bottom and in one of the inner pieces near the top to allow the extra shift lever travel I needed. I also modified the shifter detent that bolts to the bottom of the column by fabricating and welding on an extension that gives the lower lever another step in the detent.

Welding the fabricated mild steel step to the cast factory shifter detent seemed to go okay. I just used a little 308 stainless rod with a TIG welder and they joined together just fine. The weld did spit and pop a little during the process but it's lasted for over 30K miles so far and shows no signs of cracking.

The Lokar kit comes with a nice billet aluminum lever that slips over a splined bushing that bolts onto the shift selctor shaft. The splines fit together very tightly and the lever gets locked in place with a clamp bolt, very high-quality fit and finish on these parts.

The lever is slotted so you can adjust the amount of selector shaft travel. I used the position that's located the farthest out to limit the length of lever travel, I only want to select Overdrive, 3rd and 2nd. I see no need to be able to grab low gear. The trans will kick down if I need low gear while accelerating and the trans will start off in low by itself if the selector is in 3rd or Overdrive.

The factory 2-speed shift indicator pointer will be in the correct position for Park, Reverse and Neutral and will be in the Drive position for running in Overdrive. For 3rd gear it will be directly between the Drive and Low positions on the shift indicator, to engage 2nd I will have to pull the lever back and utilize the added shift detent that was welded on.

The Lokar kit comes with a 21"-long piece 5/16" stainless rod that you bend and cut to length for your particular application. It comes threaded 5/16-24 on one end for a heim joint, the other end gets cut off and a piece that screws into the other heim joint slips over the rod gets secures with a pair of 1/4-28 set screws.

The 5/16" rod is very hard to bend cold, you need to clamp it in a large bench vise (using aluminum soft jaws) and push or pull it using all of your weight to bend it. I have my 6" vise bolted to the corner of a 48" X 36" X 1/2" thick steel welding table and I was able to lift the corner of it off the ground while bending the rod, so it's definitely plenty stiff and won't give any while shifting gears.

Getting the rod bent in the correct configuration takes a lot of time, constantly checking and bending it and later on trimming it until it's not hitting the firewall, engine or trans in all of the different positions of travel. I must have bolted this thing on and taken it back off 20 or 30 times before it was right.

The kit instructions tell you to file a couple of flats after marking their locations. I had a friend mill the flats perfectly level in relation to one another and properly located center to center so the 2 set screws (with blue Loctite) would be best able to positively secure the heim joint.

A lot of effort for a column shifter that almost nobody else would want on a car like this.

That's all for now, thanks for looking.

Merry Christmas! 


No new progress to report.

Been spending my time trying to catch up on the other things that I have neglected while getting this project off the ground. That and spending time selling off some of my parts stash and a couple of my hobby cars to raise some cash and to make some room to work, my garage is crammed with stuff that I've collected over the last 30 years in this hobby.

After a while I'll get rolling on the Tempest again. I'm anxious to fire up the LS3, get behind that big steering wheel and click the column shifter into Drive.


Nothing new, will update when I can get back to working on my project.

Too many other things going on right now that are far more important than working on my Tempest unfortunately.

Thanks, Bart