49 GMC Progress Report

Discussion in '1947-1954' started by e015475, Jun 20, 2015.

  1. e015475

    e015475 Member

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    Came up gimpy two weeks ago - cut my foot on some glass and ended up on crutches for a couple of weeks and lost a little momentum, but here's progress for the last month or so -

    The fixed glass is all in. My truck is a deluxe five-window, so I opted for the chrome (well plastic chrome, anyway) lock strips. I bought my glass from Jim Carter and the rear window had quite a burr on one of the corners and I had difficulty getting it into the aperture. About ten minutes of sanding with some 220 wet or dry on a paint stick knocked it down so it would fit.

    [​IMG]

    Wyatt had done a lot of big-rigs that had windows with a lock strip, and at first we made a tools out of some welding rod. That turned into a shoulder-killer until bought this Lisle tool - it works really well. There's four different profiles available and I put them all together so I wouldn't lose them. We wrapped the tool with tape so it wouldn't damage the paint.

    [​IMG]

    The airbag system is all in. Here is the compressor mounted on the passenger side frame rail. The system has no push on connectors and is all hard lines with AN fittings. I spent about a half day going through the entire system looking for leaks. I've got most of the big ones, but I charged the system to 50PSI and lost about 10 PSI in my tank in about three days. Need to keep working on it to get it to the point where it will only loose a couple PSI a week.
    [​IMG]

    I put a drain on the airbag tank so I could drain the water out of it once in a while. I used a standard air chuck so I could pressurize the system with shop air for service.

    [​IMG]

    The high and low pressure lines for the hydroboost are all in, but I still can't put the hose clamps on the frame unit it is off the jack stands. I bought a bunch of Adel clamps from Aircraft Spruce (about $10) and will tap the frame for #10 stainless screws to hold them on - brakes, air and hydraulic.

    [​IMG]

    Not supposed to be walking around so I cleaned the shop from my chair. Keep misplacing parts so I set up a stand to hold everything I'm getting ready to install-

    [​IMG]

    Started on the exhaust system from the header back to the rear bumper. Here's the first pipe tacked together in preparation for TIG welding - this is the pipe from the header to the muffler.

    [​IMG]

    Stainless mandrel bend prices have gotten ridiculous so decided to go mild steel. An H pipe will connect the left and right sides. For reasons I can't figure out, the headers I made didn't turn out symmetrical at the exits - they're off about an inch side to side. No matter, just means I'll have to compensate with the pipe on the other side. Here's the passenger side with the mandrels cut with some extra 'tails' to get it fitting just right under the truck.

    [​IMG]

    I'll get the two exhaust pipes looking pretty symetrical under the truck before welding them up.

    That's about it for now. It is getting hot as hell here now, and it is a good time to hunker down in the shop and work on the truck.

    Phil
     
  2. 52wasp

    52wasp Member

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    Phil,
    Nice. Very nice. Pictures of YOUR truck keep me looking forward to working on MINE. I saw her sleeping in her shipping container a few weeks back... she is SO close to being ready for paint.
     
  3. e015475

    e015475 Member

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    Thanks for the positive comments.

    Worked on the exhaust system yesterday. My order from Jeg's came yesterday with the Thrush mufflers. Built the other side from the header flange to the muffler. I offset one side of the exhaust so it straddles he offset in the driveshaft - about an inch I'd guess. One muffler is higher than the other in this foto- need to put a 2x4 under it to level it up

    [​IMG]

    I'm planning to run the exhaust under the IRS. I see a lot of recent production cars do this and don't seem to have any problem with scrubbing the exhaust, so I'm going to give it a try. Once I get it past the diff, it'll sweep up and follow the frame. For now I'm just going to try the Thrush mufflers alone, but I'm going to leave enough room for a resonator just before the dump at the roll pan, just in case I want to quiet it down or need to take some drone out.

    [​IMG]

    I tucked the exhaust system pretty tight to the frame and couldn't figure how I'd put an X-pipe in there, much less how to get it out if I need to remove the exhaust. So my solution is to go with an H-pipe instead, but I had to put a 'belly' in it to clear the transmission. The drop down of the H-pipe is less than the transmission rear cross member so there won't be any scrub issues. I am a little worried about exhaust condensate running into the H-pipe though. Here's the pieces for the H-pipe cut and ready to fit and tack together (it is upside down in this foto). I put a V-band clamp in the middle so I can take it in and out without removing the transmission and rear suspension cross-member. Just being held together here with gravity and a little help from a radiator hose clamp.

    [​IMG]

    The two pipes laying on the bench are scraps sitting the same distance apart as the pipes under the truck so I could mock it up without having to wiggle under the truck for trial fits (If I ever have two nickles to rub together I'm gonna buy a two post lift). My tube fish-mouth tube cutter won't handle 2.5" tube, so I found a way to make a paper template on the web. Simply printed it out, taped it to the tube and cut the fish-mouth on the band saw. I wouldn't want to do a lot of them this way, but not too bad for just a couple.

    [​IMG]

    Just for fun, here's the other car project I'm working on - '53 MG TD. I made new door skins and replaced some of the rotted wood in the doors. One door fit the aperture perfect, but the driver's door rubs pretty hard in the corner. To fix it, I had to take the skin back off the door and move the wood around so it fits the aperature, then re-install the skin and trim the metal for the changes I made in the wood. This thing is built pretty much how they built horse-drawn coach carriages and very early automobiles. Even my old '29 Ford didn't have this much wood.

    [​IMG]

    That's about it for now,

    Phil
     
  4. 52wasp

    52wasp Member

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    Phil,
    Would a 3/16" diameter hole in the crossover-pipe be a problem? Just like mufflers have drain holes...

    I would have thought you'd already rubbed the two-post lift nickels together. I KNOW there will be a lift in the new barn, but a friend seems to think I'd be better off with a 2-post than a 4-post. The 4-post screams "extra vehicle storage, vertically" to me. With a rolling jack, brakes and suspension are tackled comfortably, and easy to park under too.

    Mike
     
  5. e015475

    e015475 Member

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    I thought about the hole in the bottom of the H-pipe too. They get away with it on a few mufflers. like you say. It seems to me that with modern fuel injected cars, there isn't near as much condensation dripping out of the exhaust anymore. Out here in the 'dry heat' you hardly ever see cars dripping water out the exhaust either. Think I'll take a chance.

    I've been building project cars for a little more than 50 years now, and the thrill for me is the building, not the driving. But I'm thinking that this '49 and the MG TD I'm building will be the last. Building is a pretty solitary hobby, and my wife and I both think it would be a lot of fun to drive the cars now that we're both retired.

    So I got by without a lift for a long time and I'm coming down the home stretch of building cars. I suppose a lift would come in handy for maintenance though. And the storage idea with a four post is a great one - room for another classic car! Probably would have to be a low convertible to fit in the garage. Perfect!
     
  6. e015475

    e015475 Member

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    Tacked the exhaust system together and test fitted under the truck. Time to practice tube welding with the TIG. Will probably grind all the welds anyway, but still want nice welds. Still enough room for resonators at the tips if it is too raspy.

    [​IMG]

    Still need to trim the tips but will wait till I find some chrome tips that I like. From the other side- This system isn't quite symmetrical and is centered around the driveshaft which is offset to the pinion. Mufflers are cheap Thrush Super Turbos

    [​IMG]

    Bought some Hella halogen bulb housings on flea-bay and installed them before they got broken laying around in the shop. Had to modify the bucket slightly to get them to fit

    [​IMG]

    Cant find any GMC parking lights so these Lucas units from an old British car will have to do till I can

    [​IMG]

    Wiring should start next week and I have a Rebel kit on the shelf. Ordered all the switches and electrical items from our host that I'll need to finish the job.

    Installed my starter, and I'm chagrined to admit that I had to loosen the passenger header to get it to fit. It is going to be a PITA if I've ever got to change it in service. On the other hand, I've had quite a few LS powered cars and never replaced a stater so it shouldn't matter. That's my story anyway.

    Plugs are changed (at the expense of a crushed fingernail on my pinky - damn that hurt) and all the new plug wires are installed on the remote coils.

    This aluminum L4 LS motor didn't have a dipstick in the block, but I'd drilled the boss for it out when I had the motor out of the truck, Installed a new dipstick and tube yesterday but will have to calibrate it when I put oil in the motor.

    It is beginning to look like I'm going to have to start this thing soon
     
  7. 52wasp

    52wasp Member

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    Phil,
    I have a similar set of Hella's waiting too. I had plans for a nice set of H4 bulbs, but I am leaning towards an HID conversion. LUCAS... isn't he the Prince of Darkness? And don't Brits drink warm beer because Lucas makes refrigerators?

    Your exhaust system is too nice to put UNDER the truck.

    If you were closer, I'd come by for the STARTING. Good luck!
     
  8. Bill Hanlon

    Bill Hanlon Member

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    I installed a set of Hella reflectors with H4 bulbs in my '52 GMC when I moved to the country two years ago. Made a huge difference. The damn deer think they have the right of way.
     
  9. e015475

    e015475 Member

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    Mike

    I had a set of ACRO HIDs on an off road car. Damn they were bright. {so bright that if there was dust in the air, I had to turn them off and run on halogens so I could see, otherwise it was like driving in heavy fog} I want something better than stock for this truck but don't want to be one of 'those guys' that blind everybody with strong lights . There's lots of lights out there stronger than these Hellas, but I figure the Hellas are well engineered with good cut offs, won't blind anybody and still a vast improvement over a stock light, and if I want to upgrade I can always put a higher wattage bulb in them.

    I have an unexplainable fascination with LBCs (little British cars), all with Lucas electrics. I've not found them any worse than Delco or other brands, but if you don't watch your grounds and regularly clean those silly bullet connectors they connect everything together with, you're headed for trouble. Cleaning the bullet connectors anytime I'm working on or near a Lucas component is second nature and Mr. Lucas and I get along pretty well, but not giving him his due with a little PM will leave you stranded on the side of the road. I'm stuffing Delco guts inside the Lucas fixture though, just to be sure!

    Became fascinated with welding exhausts when I watched a friend of mine build a 'bag of snakes' headers for a high end GT40 replica about 20 years ago. He was just thorough and methodical and they turned out great. I've built maybe a half dozen headers and exhaust systems and always enjoyed it. I find drinking a beer and welding to be very relaxing (but any more than one and my beads start to wander)

    First start is likely to happen spontaneously when run out of things to fix or install and I can't put it off any longer. You're always welcome to come supervise.

    Bill

    Good to hear you liked the Hellas and I'm hoping I will too. Not many deer in these parts, thank goodness - I've seen some pictures of what they can do. They total a few cars a year up around Flagstaff and northern AZ with elk collisions.
     
  10. vwnate1

    vwnate1 Member

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    I'm loving your exhaust system ! .

    Those LUCAS park lights, you can get yellow glass lenses cheaply, they'd look good against that paint .

    This whole truck looks nice .

    I had a 1952 MGTD many years ago......
     
  11. 52wasp

    52wasp Member

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    Phil,
    The Hella bulb-housings I have are 30 years old at this point, and have resided in several vehicles. They are lead-crystal lensed, non-DOT, with a RAZOR-SHARP cutoff, which angles up on the right to illuminate street signs.

    Seeing your header build has me leaning towards a header build of my own. I plan on taking a TIG welding course, and purchasing a set of ICENGINEWORKS "legos" for the task.

    I haven't had much time to visit here of late... my carpenter's tool belt weighs me down by the end of the day.

    Press on!

    Mike
     
  12. e015475

    e015475 Member

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    Well here's a little status update on progress on the '49

    Most of my focus lately has been on the electrical system. Wyatt and I have spent the last couple of Saturdays doing the wiring, and the cab is nearly done, although it still looks quite a mess in this photo


    I mounted the LED tail lights. I really didn't like the way the conduit looked, so I modified the bracket by welding on a -6 JIC male fitting and used some 3/8" stainless tube for conduit


    A little more detail. Bought some stainless acorn nuts to dress it up a little


    I bought new bulb bases for the Lucas parking lights and installed amber bulbs.


    I want to have really bright brake lights for all those people on cell phones. Here's my latest brain fart - I bought some 40MM block plugs and I'm going to drill them for LEDs, then pot the LEDs in red tinted epoxy and grind it smooth and polish.

    Here's the brass cups in the bed rail to check fit

    [GALLERY]

    Another brain fart - my electric parking brake. This is a linear actuator that fleabay says will pull 300#. This is it mocked up withe the Jag parking brake cable and a clevis I made. Will use a DPDT switch somewhere in the cab to toggle it back and forth.


    The exhaust system is finished and just needs to be hung. Painted it with 2000F Rustoleum in a spray bomb. Don't expect it to last but it is cheap to touch up


    I couldn't find any exhaust tips I liked so I ordered a stainless mandrel bend and slash cut it. Used some nickle rod to TIG it onto the steel exhaust. The 304 SS clamp holds it in place.


    The exhaust is supported under the diff and I made a plate for the pipe hangers out of some .125 scrap steel plate


    Wanted to put a catch can on the LS motor and I found this one on fleabay- even has a little dipstick! Looking for ideal place to install it

    Also need a radiator catch can so here's another fleabay find



    Getting ready to paint my dash speaker grill - just out of the bead blaster

     
  13. e015475

    e015475 Member

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    New exhaust system installed
    [​IMG]

    This is what it looks like under the diff

    [​IMG]

    The new exhaust tips and there is room for resonators if I need them.

    [​IMG]

    The basics of the rewiring is done. All the interior switches are connected, the brake lights/parking lights and turn signals are working. Headlights are wired in, but all the other parking/tail brake lights I wired in with some cheap knock off weatherpack type connectors. Next is the compressor, fuel pumps and subpanel for the LS motor to wire in.
     
  14. 50 Chevy LS3

    50 Chevy LS3 Member

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    Once again, this project is unbelievable... as good as they get! Thanks for the update! I've got to take the time to go back and re-read it.
    Fantastic!

    Steve.
    P.S., I bet your employer is very sad your retired.
     
  15. e015475

    e015475 Member

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    Steve-

    "I bet your employer is very sad your retired"

    I'll bet they aren't! I wasn't the best 'corporate citizen'

    A grizzled engineer quoted me this when I started my corporate life, and I kept it in mind for 40 years -

    "Take a bucket and fill it with water,
    Put your hand in it up to the wrist,
    Pull it out and the hole that's remaining,
    Is a measure of how much you'll be missed.
    You can splash all you wish when you enter,
    You may stir up the water galore,
    But stop, and you'll find that in no time,
    It looks quite the same as before. "

    Playing with old trucks and hot rods is more fun than working anyways!

    Enough philosophizing - here's some truck pictures

    Buttoning up the motor. PCV, steam vents and intake tract/MAF all straightened out. I have a bad habit of assembling everything 'loosely' so I'm going to have to spend a week crawling all over this thing to make sure all the fasteners are tight. Bought a paint pen to tag tightened fasteners, but I've already lost it.

    [​IMG]

    The other side of the motor... managed to paint myself into a corner because I can't get a wrench in to tighten the drain on the oil reservoir. Amazon to the rescue wit a 7/8" crow foot for $5 that should be here this week - I can't afford to climb in the truck and drive to the parts store for that money. (But my wife is getting jealous of the UPS guy)

    [​IMG]

    Plumbed a catch can for the PCV. Don't know how they sell these things so cheap on ebay. Chinesium and had to retap the pipe threads to use it, but still......

    [​IMG]

    Couldn't find a good place to mount the radiator over flow tank in the engine bay, so here it is down in the passenger wheel well. More modified Chinesium. On the right side of the picture you can see some weatherpak knockoff connectors for the parking lights. I tried to use them everywhere in the harness where I might need to remove a component for service.

    [​IMG]

    Experimenting with LED lighting on the gauges

    [​IMG]

    I've been poking around checking pinion angle and suspension geometry and found a trailing arm that's off about 3" from where it is supposed to be, so some revision surgery is in order and there won't be much to photograph. Plus my youngest daughter is getting married in Colorado this week, so the truck is going to sit for a bit.

    Until next time.............
     
  16. cantdrivemall

    cantdrivemall Member

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    thats the reason our landfills are overflowing, crap that costs 5.00 , isnt worth 1.00, and people that dont know better.
     
  17. vwnate1

    vwnate1 Member

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    9.4.19

    As always, looking great and oh, so sanitary .

    I love the detail works like the taillight loom protectors .

    You're very wise to have listened to that Engineer many years ago ~ I realized it in the 1970's and have been trying to explain this idea to my friends and buddies who are corporate drones, caught in the grind stones and will prolly never get to enjoy the fruits of their labors .

    I'm old and beat like a rented mule but I'm loving my retirement ! .
     
  18. e015475

    e015475 Member

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    Time for an update............

    My bed kit came in from Mar-K. Ordered red oak and polished stainless strips. To date, the stuff I've ordered from them has been really good quality, but one piece of wood in this order is checked and I'll have to repair it before I can put a finish coat on it. The fit between the angle strips and the wood is very tight too, so I'm going to have to sand it down a little to get it to fit. Here's the trial fit we did yesterday. (I much prefer working with metal than desiccated dead tree carcass parts)

    [​IMG]

    I like the color just the way it is so I'm not going to stain it. I'm planning on coating it with UV cure polyester from Solarez after using their grain-fill product. Their grain filler is glass micro-balloons in a 100% solids polyester that cures with UV instead of MEK so I can coat the boards and take them outside in the sun to cure in just a couple of minutes. They say that the grain fill process is 'one and done' since there is no shrink-back. Ditto for the top coat, but they say that you can apply it inside the shop and leave it to self level for a half hour then take it outside to cure under the sun for a couple minutes. I'll block sand the polyester to 1200 then polish it out with compound on a foam buffer wheel before I install them.

    I spent about 5 hours in the DMV last week and walked out with my registration tag. I had a title in my name, but my registration had expired in 2015 so they wanted to fine me for not registering the truck for the last four years. After some dancing around, the DMV said if I'd sign a statement saying the truck wasn't used on public roads since the registration expired that they'd waive the fines! The VIN for this truck was on the engine block and is probably melted down and in some casting on a HF product by now. I was afraid that they'd ask for a Level 2 inspection where they want you to bring the vehicle in for VIN verification, but I dodged the bullet. Bought an agreed value policy from Grundy for $190/year

    [​IMG]

    I'd pushed my master cylinder and hydroboost back 18" to clear my headers and that put my brake reservoir under the front seat. I made this cover up and put a Dzus fastener on it to hold it closed and a tool isn't required to open it. You can see the DPDT switch for the parking brake in this picture (more on that coming up)

    [​IMG]

    Need to trim up the hole. Looking to borrow an air- file to smooth it out - grinders around paint make me nervous.
    [​IMG]

    Finished hanging the tailpipe and polished them up a little

    [​IMG]

    The flanges on the sides of the MarK roll pan weren't wide enough to drill for a bolt to mount it to the bed. I found some '29 Ford gas tank clamps to hold it in place without having to put holes in the flanges.

    [​IMG]

    Now that the new Rebel harness is in and working, I loomed all the exposed wires under the truck with a fabric split loom. Tried to put extra grounds close to all the lights and other electrical devices. Still need to tie the wire loom to the chassis before bed wood can go in. Extra wire is for the LEDs that light the license plate.

    [​IMG]

    I spent a day or so putting knock-off Weatherpac connectors on all the lights and electric accessories on the truck.

    [​IMG]

    Wyatt replaced the bottom of the rear fenders where they meet the running boards when he did the metal work on the truck, but left the bolt holes out so we could match drill them to the holes in the running boards. Job done with the seal installed. (The white paint pen on the floor is used to mark fasteners that I've tightened. I have a very bad habit of getting everything fitting together and not tightening bolt up, so I mark each one that's done with the paint pen)

    [​IMG]

    Installed my flea-bay linear actuator for the parking brake after making a couple of brackets and a cable yoke. It is actuated with that DPDT switch in the previous picture. I hooked it up to a 12V battery charger and actuated it and it seems to work pretty good. Some adjustment and tweaking and it should be functional.

    [​IMG]

    Bought a group 24F battery for the truck, but the fit is so tight that if anything ever went wrong on a road trip and I had to replace it, it would be very difficult. My solution is an AGM Odyssey battery with a smaller footprint and same CCA. I liberated this one from the sandbuggy and made a hold down bracket for it. Will install it under the floor and have a trickle charger pigtail on it so I can keep it topped up. I like AGM batteries, but they are a PITA to recharge if you let them go dead.

    I also spent a couple days fixing the geometry of the trailing arms that support the airbags on the Jag IRS, but the way I had it set up was going to bind a little. It is frustrating to take something you've fabricated, throw it in the trash and start over. You can just see the new cross member (behind the actuator) I fabricated to bring the pivot point up higher. Also trashed the control rods and brackets I'd made to hold the diff pinion angle for a new design - the old one was too close to the exhaust. Somedays it seems like I'm trying to stuff 10# in a 5# bag.

    [​IMG]

    Pretty close to putting the battery in and filling it with fluids and bleeding the brakes and clutch.
     
  19. e015475

    e015475 Member

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    Another update. Inching toward pushing this truck out the door.

    Installed the MarK oak bed. Used the Solarez polyester grain filler and put on three coats sanding between coats with a DA. The next two coats were the Solarez polyester top coats, applied by squeegeeing it on to the wood. What a mess. I had a hell of a time sanding the polyester top coat. The stuff is supposed to cure in the sun, but it never cured completely and would load up the sandpaper so bad it was almost impossible to sand. I let it cure in the sun for a couple of days and went back to 200 grit, then 320 and finally 400. Took some automotive clear and sprayed three good coats so I could color sand it.
    [​IMG]
    I sprayed the clear coat outside on the driveway and let it cure for a day, then took the bugs, dust and nibs out with 800 grit by blocking it by hand. Then I switched to MicroMesh and blocked it up to 2000 grit. I didn't buff it since I prefer a satin finish on the wood.

    Brakes are bled and all the bolts in the chassis tightened. Will put gas in it next week and run the fuel pumps to make sure I don't have any fuel leaks, the put oil and coolant in it and push it out the shop door. I've been building this thing for five years, and I can't remember if I had the VATS deleted in the computer or not, so I'm tempted to pull the PCM and take it to the tuner to check.
    [​IMG]
    Goal is a drive in the neighborhood by Christmas
     
  20. vwnate1

    vwnate1 Member

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    Looking very nice to me ! .

    -Nate
     

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