Friday, December 31, 2010

Removal of Steering Box for Rebuild

I've wanted to have the steering box rebuilt by Stanger ( for a while now. Unfortunately, I've it takes a couple of months to have the job done. Since I don't expect to finish this project until at least the end of March, I decided to go ahead and have the steering box rebuilt.

In order to remove the steering box, I first needed to take out the driver side exhaust manifold and z bar. The exhaust manifold on my car are very unique. It appears someone took a shorty style headerm, cut it where the primary tubes meet, and then just welded the exhaust solid from that point to the tailpipe. As a result, I needed to cut the exhaust near the bellhousing so I could remove the manifold.

It took a little while to find a way to remove the exhaust. It was obviously not made for the car so it was a very tight fit. However, I did get the exhaust removed. It has 1 5/8" primary tubes which are of unequal length. The exhaust on the car is 2 1/4" outer diameter. The only identifying mark on the exhaust is the number 603 09 02 on the exhaust flange.

Once the exhaust was out of the way, I removed the steering box. I was able to pull it out through the area right beside the head. I did not need to remove the export brace or anything. The job was no doubt made easier by the fact there was no floorboard in the way so the long shaft could move around inside the car without any interferance.

I sent Stanger an email and then packed the steering box up for shipment. I'll wait until I hear back from him before shipping it off. I'd like to make sure he has time to do the rebuild before spending the money to ship it to him in San Antonio.

01/03/11 - I received an email back from Randy (Stanger) this morning stating he is still rebuilding steering boxes. He said he would be able to get to mine in early February. I shipped it to him for $21 at UPS.

Removal of Remaining Floorboard Pieces

I removed the majority of the floorpan the Wednesday before Christmas. However, I did not have time to remove the last of the transmission tunnel or the pieces behind the torque box in the rear which connect to the wheel wells (see picture below). I decided I'd remove these this morning since I have the day off work.

I've stopped using the spot weld cutter. It required a 1/8" hole be drilled through the spot weld. I quickly got tired of welding up these little 1/8" holes. Instead, I'm using a 5/8" drill bit to drill out the spot weld on the piece of metal to be replaced. I then separate the panels with a small chisel and hammer. This may sound like a bad approach but it works really well.

I'd hoped to have everything ready for the floorboard this weekend. It is still possible but highly unlikely. I made a mistake and cut too much out of the floorboard for the drivers toe board. That is why I've been dragging my feet on that part of the project. If it were not for that mistake, I could likely meet my goal.

At this point, I need to grind off what is left of the ajoining panels to prepare them for the new floor. I need to then fix a few holes from old exhaust hangers in the panel behind the rear seat. I then need to treat the inside of the rear frame rails. Finally, I'll install the driver side toe board and will be ready to start working on the floor.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Underdash Wiring Restoration (Part 1)

I removed the underdash wiring at the beginning of my current project back on August 29th. I've planned to restore the wiring since the beginning. However, since restoring the wiring was not time sensitive, I just set the project aside for later.

As I worked on other parts of this project, I questioned how to include a constant power for the radio, how to run a wire to the electric choke, and several other non-original items. The best way I found to handle these would be to replace the fuse block. I could add one with additional circuits and upgrade to a new style with blade fuses.

For Christmas, I received a Painless Wiring fuse bock kit. I'm going to incorporate it into the stock wiring using solder and heat shrink. The fuse block includes an additional constant and ignition circuit so I can handle all the non-original items. I can wire everything with this fuse box and have it look as original as possible.

I plan on working on this project for the next several nights. Tonight, I started stripping all the tape from the stock harness. I started with this so I can see where all the stock wiring goes so I can find the best way to incorporate the fuse block. I'll incorporate it first and then continue to work from there.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Passenger Toe Board Installation Part 2

I've spent some time over the past few nights working on the passenger side toe board.

The USC All Metal filler is difficult to sand smooth. It gets very hard when it dries. However, I managed to get it sanded smooth. I then painted the panel with some Krylon Rust Tough paint which has a similar color to the stock primer. I then put a little Eastwood seam sealer on the sides of the panels to protect the metal where it is overlapped.

I'm pleased with how the side turned out. I still have the driver side to go.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Passenger Toe Board Installation

On the weekend of December 4th, I started work on the passenger side toe board. I already had a replacement panel which I ordered from CJ Pony parts a few weeks prior. I slowly trimmed on the panel to place the butt welds in the least visible locations while still removing all the rust. The panel was contoured very similar to the original toe board but it did require some work at the top which took a little while.

After the panel fit perfectly, I slowly started cutting out the original toe board from the car. The picture below is during the process of test fitting and cutting out metal so the new toe board could be butt welded into place. Once I had the panel very close to fitting perfectly, I had to call it a day.

On the weekend of December 11th, I started welding the toe board into place. I used a copper backing plate to keep the bottom side of the weld looking nice. The welding went much better than expected. As beginner, I expected to have a tremendous amount of trouble. While it was not completely necessary, I then spent some time on Sunday grinding down the welds . I'll ultimately cover them with sound deadener but I wanted it to look presentable anyway.

Over the nights of the next few days, I put a little USC All Metal filler on the panel and sanded it smooth. Again overkill but this gave me a little experience and allowed me to see how well I could finish off a panel. I'm fairly happy with the result.