It’s been winter for a little while up here, but just recently has the snow been starting to stick around longer than past the mid morning sun. A local car club is having their meeting here next week, so we thought it would be nice to have something for them to look at! There are also a few things that we want to get done over the winter. I’ll go over that list in another post.
We’re closing in on 30 000 miles (if you include the trips made when the speedometer wasn’t hooked up) since August 1, 2009.
Originally published June 2007 on our old website.
This is the first in a series of almost 70 articles in the ’32 Build’ category.
We mounted the body on the bare rails and rolled the wheels in place to see what looked “right”. We then stepped back from the car to get a better look. note: the frame is not built yet – the body is sitting on two rails that have spreader pieces lightly tacked in place.
frame rails: 10132D, American Stamping
boxing plates: Welder Series
’32 hiboy roadster body: k3200, Kilbourne
FYI, we’re using the following tires and wheels:
Front tires – BFGoodrich P185/65R15 touring T/A
Rear tires – BFGoodrich P285/60R16 radial T/A
Front wheels – Wheel Vintiques 14 series Gennie, 15×6 3-3/4″ backspacing
Rear wheels – Wheel Vintiques 14 series Gennie, 16×8 4″ backspacing.
Put a level on top of the tire to get “true north”. Mark this location on a piece of tape on the body. Also mark the rails by placing a square on the rail, through the centerline of the wheel. This step is crucial to getting the wheels centered in the wheel well, so make sure to take your time to get it right.
Macho, macho man. Paul Horton manhandles the ENTIRE engine block AND tranny into position. What he doesn’t want me to tell you is that it’s made of plastic. You don’t have to use a crane and you can save your beer because you won’t have eight buddies over mocking the engine up.
We used boards to get the motor where we wanted it to sit at the front, and also to establish where the center section will go. We pushed it to the firewall as close as we could, but still allowing room for the removal of the distributor. Watch for the fittings on the passenger side of the tranny- they can be a hassle if you forget about them. We didn’t want to cut the floor, so we left a bit of room for them.
I know, I know. “When did you get the frame together?” I guess I was so excited about the build, and since cameras aren’t logical tools used in the construction of a street rod, I forgot to take some pictures. The body was used to get the exact width of the frame we needed to build. This way, it doesn’t matter where someone else says to put the body – we know for sure that it will work, the first time.
I’ve got the four-bar brackets welded to the frame, so all that’s left is to install all the components. We will be using a Super Bell Alum-I-beam aluminum axle- the one pictured is being used so nothing bad happens to the aluminum one. A Magnum brake kit with Wilwood calipers and Pete & Jakes chromed spindles all look top shelf together. No, that’s not a chrome rotor- it’s the Magnum polished aluminum caliper bracket, and it also hides the 11” rotors nicely with rounded edges.
brake kit: 4100, Magnum Axle
caliper brackets: 4101, Magnum Axle
hiboy 4-bar kit: WS2082, Welder Series
axle: 1102AD, Super Bell
In this picture, I’m running a tap into the steering arms. When they’re chromed, sometimes it’s difficult to run a bolt into them. This makes it much easier. Notice the cardboard I put down. Just in case something falls, it won’t get damaged.
Here’s a closer look at the front brakes. There are chromed spindle stops on there now. That’s a Welder Series’ hiboy front four-bar kit, which has bars that go all the way back to the cowl line. A mono-leaf spring will get the front in the proverbial weeds. mmmmm… those chromed spindles sure complete the package.
Calipers: I can’t remember the part number, but they’re from Wilwood
Steering arms: 1107C, Super Bell
Also, notice the protection I taped to the back of the steering arm- it will hit the batwing if one is not careful.
Originally posted June 2007 on our old website.
OK, grille me again for not having the camera ready. We put a 2×2 steel tube on top of the frame, with tie down straps used to hold the rear end at the height we wanted it. This height was determined when we had the rear wheels mocked up in the wheel wells. The other (and most important) thing to consider when you’re setting up the rear end is the coilover (or ShockWave in this case) designed ride height. If you don’t, you could be bottoming out or topping out your shocks. That’s bad.
Rear end: Currie Enterprises
Shockwaves: SKW7001, Air Ride Technologies
Rear Crossmember: Welder Series
This is Air Ride Technologies’ ShockWave. It is an airbag with a shock running up the center. At 4″ diameter, it’s not much bigger than a coilover, and we can adjust the spring rate from the driver’s seat. That’s a lot easier than trading springs. Adjustable shock valve dampening, 13″ ride height with 4.1″ stroke, set it up the same as a coilover but have a lot more adjustability. We put a Schrader valve in so we can inflate it to ride height without installing the tank and compressor right away.
You can see the Nine-Plus 11″ drums on the rear in this picture.
Drums: Currie Enterprises
I had to title this picture that way…. Here we’re mildly straightening out the studs in the housing. It doesn’t take much misalignment and the diff. won’t slide smoothly over the studs. We threaded the front panhard bar (it has 3/8-24 threads) over the studs in question, and using a square tweaked them all so they were perpendicular.
I’ll let my dad hold the engine in place, and I’ll worry about the diff. We got the whole shebang; 3.89:1 gears, axles, carrier, differential, plus the 9″ housing kit from Currie Enterprises.
Notice how nicely the carrier is sliding over the studs?
Installing the 4-bar rear axle brackets was easy – just measure the distance between the frame brackets, measure flange-to-flange on the rear end, subtract the four-bar frame dimension from that, and divide by two. The pieces for these brackets come with the Welder Series WS2220 rear four-bar kit. It’s designed for a ’32 Ford but is really easy to use in a lot of frames.
Rear four bar kit: WS2220, Welder Series
Mr Billet Boy (you know who you are!): aluminum axle, aluminum hubs, aluminum caliper brackets, aluminum calipers, aluminum heads & intake- if we used aluminum wheels, we wouldn’t be able to keep the front end down at a launch! It’s strategic. Now I hope the baby moons will fit over those hubs!
Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’… Now we can move to the body for a while.
Originally published June 6, 2007 on our old website.
Where did this body come from? This project started out as a roadster! My Dad & Mom have been running around in a ’40 Ford Tudor since the mid-’80′s, when they had my brother and me to take with them. Now my brother lives in Knoxville, 14 hours from them. I’m married and Sarah and I have two daughters. We live a quarter mile from their business, where they keep the ’40. My Dad figured it made more sense to build a coupe (instead of a roadster) for him and Mom, and then Sarah & I can drive the ’40. What a guy!!
Remember the ’70s? Since the body comes with only the front and rear holes drilled (nice, because often the body and frame holes don’t line up anyway). Here we’re just getting an idea of approximately where the body mount holes are.
Body: B323, Bear Fiberglass
Center section: 13200, Horton
That’s better. Now we will raise the body up, and put tape under the floor along the inside of the rails. This will tell us the location of the rails relative to the body. Notice the Welder Series hiboy front 4-bar kit, which brings the bars all the way back to the cowl line. It’s a little detail, but it makes a huge visual difference.
Here we have the inside of the frame rails marked on the bottom of the body. We will lift the body up and put a few lines of tape outside of this line, so that we’ll be able to mark the holes with a pen.
While the body is up, we marked the inside of the frame rails with the location of the holes. Put a straight edge along the centerline, and use that to both measure the center-to-center dimension, and mark the location on the tape.
An action shot of marking the hole center on the inside of the frame. Also at this time, measure from the inside of the rail to the center of the hole. Mark this on the tape. It doesn’t matter how far apart the holes are side-to-side- we established that dimension by putting tape on the bottom of the body along the rails.
We put the body back on the frame, and clamped it in place so that it didn’t move.
We marked a line along the bottom of the body where the inside of the rail is, and marked the location of the hole. Now we can take the body off again and measure out the same distance as the center of the hole. Remember to mark this number on the bottom of the body to make it easier.
We put a chalkline from mark-to-mark. Now we will measure out 1-3/8″ (for this hole) which SHOULD be the center of the hole.
Another action shot! We are drilling pilot holes from the bottom, then we’ll drill the full-size holes from above.
With the body clamped in place once again, we can drill through the pilot holes. We will go all the way through the body, and try to mark the frame (hopefully right in the center of the hole!) with the drill bit. “Officer, I couldn’t have been doing 95! My gauge never moved!” Pay no attention to the paper instruments- something else is planned…
I think the Stones said it best: “You can’t always get what you want”. So we’re a little off. It could have been that we didn’t drill through the body at a perfect perpendicular. We’ll hang the excuse sheet on the window. The rainbow behind the clouds is the 3/8″ plates we welded behind the holes before we boxed the rails. That way, it doesn’t really matter if the hole in the body isn’t directly above the hole in the frame- I outlined about where the plate is.
Some filing had to be done after all the body holes were drilled, so the bolts would go in smoothly.
Paul in the '23 circa 1976.
Paul and Dorothy Horton have put some miles on hot rods in the past, but
nothing they have done will compare to the road trip they’re beginning on Saturday. From Southwestern Ontario, they’ve driven to Oklahoma, Louisville (more times than they can count… I mean that in a nice way), Moncton a few times, and many more long distance destinations in between. From the ’23 track roadster to the ’29, a ’32 roadster, a ’40 Ford, then the black ’40 and now the ’32, they’ve never built a street rod that they’ve thought “no, we shouldn’t drive this one that far.” The black ’40 has over 90 000 miles on it, and the ’32 is approaching 20 000 in a summer and a half.
Their plan is to clock up another 6000+ miles on the odometer this upcoming tour. Speaking of odometers, why isn’t it a milemeter or a kilometermeter? What’s the ratio of miles to odos? “Say, George, you put many odos on this summer?” Anyways…
The main objective is to drive the Vintage Air road tour from San Antonio to Pomona for the Father’s Day show. The minor objective is to visit a whack of builders, shops, customers, and sites along the way.
I’m hoping they will be sending updates periodically and I’ll post them to the blog. Till then, I have a few things left to do on the ’32 to get it ready for the next 6000 miles!
Here is article 4 of the ’32 build, originally published June 6/07.
It took a while, but we finally decided which taillights we’re going to use. You may not like them. This isn’t your car. This is our car. There are so many different taillights on the market now- for traditional there’s the ’38/9 Ford “teardrop” lights, the ’42-’48 Ford lights, the ’37 Ford bullet shaped lights, and then there’s ’50 Pontiac lights. The new ones have a shorter bucket, a glass lens, and the bulb is centered for optimal visibility. Safety is highest on our list of priorities for building this car, along with keeping a common theme. LED taillights, for instance, would not suit this car. ’39 Ford lights don’t fit well below the deck lid on a coupe without cutting into the bottom body line. Plus, we think the Pontiac lights look darn good. Here’s how we installed them.
Once we decided what taillights to use, we had to decide how far out from the center to mount them. We thought that mounting them too far ‘in’ would make the car look thin and tall. There was only so far that we could go ‘out’ before the body curves too much and they would appear the opposite of cross-eyed. The resting spot was decided- in line with the outside edges of the rear window frame. We also needed to center them top-to-bottom. This was done by applying masking tape to the approximate area the taillights would end up in, and then measuring from the trunk lip to the top of the rear body line. We “eyeballed” the light, trying to get it as close to an imaginary line straight down from the outside edge of the rear window. When it looked right, we measured over from the side of the trunk and repeated that dimension on the passenger side. The long horizontal line is so that the mounting holes can be on the same line.
Here I’m measuring the mounting hole position. You’ll want to do this before you drill the hole for the light so you still have a center. We used a meter (or yard) stick to draw the horizontal line – it conforms to the curve of the body.
The moment of truth. Did I do it right? Tune in next week to find out! Or just look at the next picture.
Looks pretty good to me. The lights make it look nice and low.
Here is article 5 of the ’32 Build, originally published June 6/07.
Look what came in the mail – our engine!
It looks a little wrecked, but that’s because we couldn’t wait to open it before taking pictures! I threw the sides together for the photo.
This one’s not plastic
It’s a Chevy ZZ4 crate engine from Apple Chevrolet. 350 c.i., 355hp, 405 ft/lbs, aluminum heads & intake, angle plugs, etc. The first thing we’ll be doing is replacing the long water pump.
We thought we had a small block short water pump lying around somewhere, so when we found this one and it didn’t fit, we were a bit miffed. “What’s with this stupid ZZ4 and its crazy water pump?!” Fear not, all you need to know is a Big Block water pump will not fit on a Small Block. The BB WP is wider.
Are you seeing things? It’s not your eyes, it’s my attempt at overlapping two pictures that were supposed to be taken without the camera moving. Here you can see the difference between the two water pumps, after we found the right one. The difference in real life is
1-3/8″ on a small block.
Paul wasn’t available when I was putting the engine in, so I had to use the forklift. Notice the stock-looking ribs on the firewall. You can also see the windshield frame- it’s part of the body, and could be airbrushed to appear chromed. The 1×2 under the crank bolts is a temporary way of holding the engine in its approximate location until we get the two jacks under there. The jacks will make it much easier to level the motor, and to raise/lower it without having to find the right size shim.
Going way back to this post on exhaust air speed and air ride tune-ability, we’re finally starting to get serious about figuring out the ride height of the ’32, instead of just air pressure. Air pressure is ok for an overview of ride height… if you know what pressure the bags have to be at, with a given load. What we were finding in the ’32 (and maybe it’s because it’s a relatively lightweight vehicle), is that just because the pressure in the bags was 50 psi, didn’t mean the car was sitting where we thought it was. The PSI could read the same with 2″ of ride height variation, depending on the load.
Bags are at 50 PSI and there is 2″ between the wheel well and tire. Add 200 pound passenger. Ride height goes down, PSI goes up, wheel well gap decreases. How much pressure do I have to add to get the gap back at 2″?
Enter the ride height gauge.
We had a few ways to accomplish this, but the idea is pretty simple. Get rid of the pressure gauge (I could care less what pressure is in the bags… I want to know where the car is sitting!) and substitute with a ride height gauge. The gauge would measure actual ride height; optimal being in the middle, with low and high on either extreme. The gauge would measure the relationship between a point on the body and a point on the axle, and show that relationship on the gauge. A friend of mine with an air ride equipped ’76 Mercedes was thinking along the same lines with a thermometer type gauge that would be hard lined to the body with a solid inner cable (think choke cable) that would move similar to the mercury in a thermometer, indicating the ride height.
Another friend (there’s two so far!) actually made a prototype light sensor that would turn on an LED when the beam was broken, indicating optimal ride height.
We discussed the idea with John and Zac at Classic Instruments and they suggested two fuel tank sensors, one mounted on either side, running to a three way switch (driver side/off/passenger side) and then on to a custom printed “fuel” gauge. Two days after telling us they’d first get on it, we have the gauge and two fuel level senders sitting on the bench! Next step will be figuring out where to mount them.
Here we see Mr. Horton attaching the 700r4 bracket to the insulator, which is bolted to the transmission. He’s not holding the engine up in this picture- we got a handy transmission jack to do that job. You’ll want to get everything mocked up where you want it, so that you attach the bracket to the center section at the correct angle for your car.
Transmission mount: WS70013, Welder Series (after welding)
Motor mount kit: C005, Welder Series
Center the tailstock in the frame, and set it up about 1/4″ high; the insulator will settle a bit. Everything is tacked in place now.
Do you think this is level enough? We used two hydraulic jacks, one under each motor mount, to level the motor side-to-side. A lot of people say to make sure that the motor is level front-to-back, or it won’t run right. What, no one with a hot rod has ever driven through the Appalachians?? It’s not a crucial measurement. It’s more important to have the engine and pinion at the same angle. See Street Rodder’s driveshaft angle setup and Inland Empire Driveline’s power train setup guide for excellent information on this topic.
Here I’m giving the top plate a little pre-bend so it will clear the rubber lip on the insulator. They come with a tiny laser-cut slit across almost the whole plate that makes it really easy to bend, and yet it keeps its shape.
This is the ridge I was talking about.
Continue reading “’32 Update: Motor Mount & Trans. Mount Install (article 6, archived)” »
OK, I know, you’re thinking “Duh- the steering wheel’s on the left.” And now you’re thinking “…unless you live in a country which requires you to drive on the left side of the road” (For a great site on which countries drive on what side, check out http://www.brianlucas.ca/roadside/), although this doesn’t absolutely determine which side the steering wheel is on.
While putting the steering wheel in the center of the vehicle may be a priority for some readers, this article deals specifically with making the top of the steering wheel point up when you’re driving straight.
Step 1: Unbolt the Pitman arm. You don’t need to completely take it off- just detach it from the steering box so when you turn the steering wheel, the wheels don’t turn.
Rotate the steering wheel all the way in one direction, then mark the top. I used masking tape so I didn’t have to write on the leather.
Then, rotate the wheel in the opposite direction and count the amount of rotations. When it stops, mark the top again.
Divide the amount of rotations in half, then backtrack that amount, and the ‘left’ and ‘right’ marks should be about horizontal. Mark the top, just so you don’t forget.
Your steering box is now centered (and centred too).
The Pitman arm should be pointed forward when the wheels are straight ahead. “Forward” is different than parallel to your frame rails, remember. It should be parallel to the centerline of your frame.
The tie rod ends on the drag link should be LH and RH threads, so it’s easy to just spin the bar to lengthen or shorten the center to center distance. Don’t attach the Pitman arm to the steering box before you have it pointed straight ahead – then you can adjust the bar until the splined hole in the arm is directly below the output shaft on the Pitman arm.
If you’re confident you’re Pitman arm is pointed straight ahead, there are ways to adjust the steering wheel rotation without affecting the Pitman arm.
1. Unbolt the steering wheel from the hub (if you have one), rotate the wheel, and bolt it back on. Since there are usually 5 or 9 bolts, this isn’t a very macro method.
2. Unbolt the hub from the steering column. It’s usually splined, so you can get a finer adjustment than unbolting the steering wheel. A combination of 1 and 2 may be required if your horn wire is interfering with the hub. You’ll know what I mean when you get there.
3. U-joints: If you have used splined steering shafts, you can rotate the shaft in a U-joint by a spline or two. This can cause some negative effects down the road though, if you ‘misalign’ the joints out of phase. You’ll know what I mean if it happens- you’ll have a few stiff spots as you rotate the steering wheel.