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Thread: 1955 Chevy Bracket Car

  1. #21
    Registered Member chasracer's Avatar
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    My Dad could sell the proverbial snow to an Eskimo and he knew how to do a lot of stuff around the house but it wasn't exactly precision work - it was close is good enough work.

    My parents gave me the old RCA set for my room when we got a new tv in the main room. With only 3 channels I would watch a few shows but the overhead light in the ceiling put a lot of glare on the old black and white set. So I had seen dimmer switches at my friends house and I went to a hardware store and got one. I read the directions and replaced the regular on/off switch. I guess the next day, my mom noticed the switch and about freaked out about it. She made dad pull it out and make sure it was right. He took the cover off, pulled the dimmer, looked at it and put it back together. Said it was good. I think I was 13-14, I had already done an engine swap in an old '62 Ford that he gave me to keep me away from mom's Chevy - I did that at 12 years of age.

    About a 1/2 dozen years later, my dad wanted to upgrade the single light bulbs in the garage with fluorescent light fixtures. I had a friend in the electrical supply business and got everything we needed. I hung the fixtures, 3 in the garage and one outside in a storage area and ran all the wiring back to a switch box next to the door. Dad ran a new wire from the fuse box over to the light switch. I had to get home - already had my first son - and he said he would finish it up. He called me later and told me I did something wrong. Every time he tried to turn the lights on, the fuse would blow. I went by after work the next day and we looked at it. I knew I had the fixtures wired correctly. In the switch box he had connected the ground and hot side to the switch, when you flipped the switch it crossed and popped the fuse. He looked at it and said, oh well, I don't know anything about electricity anyway!

  2. #22
    Registered Member BamaNomad's Avatar
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    the mark of a good man is to take all that we're given by our dads (and parents) and move forward... learning and doing more! Good job Chas...

  3. #23
    Registered Member chasracer's Avatar
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    Made a good stab at the driver's side rocker panel. I didn't get it tacked in place yet, I thought about it and figure I had better bring up a door and make sure things fit and look good before going that far.

    I did a little trimming on the replacement panel and just hung with some Clecos so I could start getting the rocker in place.

    IMG_1284.jpg


    I then needed to cut out the bottom piece of old rocker that was still in place under the door post. That took a fair amount of swearing but I finally got it cleaned out. The Goodmark pieces don't have what I would call nice, crisp lines but for this car I think they are fine. I had to do a little bit of hammer and dolly work but got the front part in place and put a couple of Clecos in it, then got started on the rear of the panel.

    IMG_1286.jpg


    Next was cutting back the inner rocker panel a bit more underneath the rear window to make additional room. Once again, I had to do a little bit of bodywork to get a decent fitment. I will have to do some more trimming on the replacement panel too but it's close.

    IMG_1285.jpg

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    I also had to go searching for some TH350 parts for the transmission build. I found most of it but the gearset is still missing. I have an upper corner storage area in the garage and I'm going to have to dig a bit more in there to see if I can find it. I also ran across another 36 element sprag and drum which I had completely forgotten about. That was a nice find.

    IMG_1291.jpg
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  4. #24
    Registered Member busterwivell's Avatar
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    you're making me tired with that much work all at once!

  5. #25
    Registered Member chasracer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by busterwivell View Post
    you're making me tired with that much work all at once!
    Ha! That's okay I have entire weeks where I don't get around to anything. I do have a goal though, I really want to make the first test and tunes with this car and those begin around here in March. That's only 6 months out and I have to build a complete chassis, wire and plumb it, build the engine and trans plus put some paint on it. Whew! Makes me tired just thinking about it.
    Remember the "13"


  6. #26
    Registered Member chasracer's Avatar
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    Had an interesting but kind of laid back week. Messed up and didn't get very much done on the '55 however I did manage to get the outer rocker panel and the replacement panel tacked in place. I checked things with the door before doing so and the lines along the rocker and door edge bottom looked pretty good. I am still not sure who made the doors but they're cool in that they are made in two pieces, the inner framing and the "door skin" are separate. This is going to make it easier to get the inner part hung correctly and when that's done all I have to do is glue the outer piece to it. It sounds easy but I can already tell that getting the inner part on there is going to be a real trial of my patience. I wanted to keep the original door hinges on the car but the doors also have to be setup so that they can be opened, lifted and removed from the car too. I also would like to use original door latches but I will have to obtain some new ones.

    I keep batting around the idea of a Mustang ll frontend on this thing but without being able to sell off the front end stuff I have now, I am not seeing a way clear to make it happen. Using the stuff I have now is possible but to do so I need to figure out if I want to use the original frontend K-member or build a new, lighter one. Putting together something lighter would make it a bit more bearable but of course a lot more work.

    So while I'm thinking about all of this I'm also trying to collect my fee for building that last transmission. I understand that sometimes things come up and there are setbacks but I also see times when someone wants something right away but then doesn't want to pay for it in the same fashion. I do very good work and if there's any issue I will make it right but I'm also not a business in the general sense of the word. Anyway it took a couple of trips but finally got that taken care of and of course there is always "something else". It was decided that they wanted to have a transmission temperature gauge which is always a good call if you have plans to lean on it pretty hard. So, had to take the aftermarket pan back off of it and bring that back to my shop. Drill a hole, tap it and put the temperature sender unit in. Now it's another trip back to their place to deliver the pan and put it back on the trans. Just makes my day ya know?

    Had a couple of our regular rides that needed some normal maintenance work and just in the last couple of days finally got the right parts for the repair work on a customer car. Getting parts is really turning into a struggle lately, I ordered stuff close to 10 days ago and one part, an alternator showed up but was the wrong one. So here we go again trying to get that straightened out.

    I also have a broken race car that I am trying to get repaired. I had a starting line accident in it at Summerduck Dragway. Car went out about 45-50 feet and then turned hard right into the wall. Busted up a lot of fiberglass and bent the right front wheel. I had some issues before with the car moving to the right on launch and had triangulated the chassis to set the rear end square in the car - what I found out this week is that was a bad mistake. I got some information from a guy down in S.C. about a different way of squaring the chassis and what I had before was off quite a bit. It took about 6-8 hours of work spread across a couple of days and I'll start with some slow launches to be sure it's right before applying any serious power the next time I get to take it out.

    So next up for this week is looking at that front end stuff seriously and getting the inner rocker panel in place on the left side. The back end of that is going to be tricky as the wheel tubs are going to run into it. I think I will end up just tacking the last 12" of it in place until I know exactly whether any of it needs to be removed. I also need to clean out the left side air duct area - it's full of debris and I need to clean up the sheet metal at the foot board area a bit.
    Last edited by chasracer; 09-17-2021 at 09:55 PM.

  7. #27
    Registered Member BamaNomad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chasracer View Post
    Ha! That's okay I have entire weeks where I don't get around to anything. I do have a goal though, I really want to make the first test and tunes with this car and those begin around here in March. That's only 6 months out and I have to build a complete chassis, wire and plumb it, build the engine and trans plus put some paint on it. Whew! Makes me tired just thinking about it.
    The longest trek begins with the 'first step' and follows with the subsequent steps.. one at a time..

  8. #28
    Registered Member chasracer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BamaNomad View Post
    The longest trek begins with the 'first step' and follows with the subsequent steps.. one at a time..
    Isn't that the truth?

  9. #29
    Registered Member chasracer's Avatar
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    So, I've finally made a decision about the front end on this deal and it'll probably be one that I end up regretting but hey, nothing ventured - nothing gained - right? Please tell me that's right....

    To rehash a bit, I have tubular a-arms, lowered spindles, disc brake setup, etc for this deal but as I moved to a 2x3 frame for it the whole Mll thing sorta took hold but as I said, trying to sell what I got seems to be a negative right now and I need to make the best of it. What I decided to do is build my own 2x3 front clip, using all of these parts that I already have on hand. Yep, this should be interesting. One of the reasons that I decided to go this direction is that I can't get over the original front K-member and how much it weighs along with being, well, kind of flimsy really. I could do a lot of cutting and beefing on it but that probably doesn't help the weight situation and I just figure if I build my own clip, it'll end up cleaner and lighter to boot. Right now I am shooting for a 25" frame width and somewhere around a 7.5 -8.0" Z from the base of the frame to the top where the upper a-arm will mount. Of course going with a manual rack and pinion so need to pay attention to the bump steer issue too.

    I provide part-time child care for my 8 month old granddaughter normally 2-3 days a week. This has been a 3 day week so it's been a bit tough to get much accomplished. I have started working on some small, side projects that need to get done and at least getting them out of the way now will help me out later on. One was a mini starter that went south on me. I have actually gotten pretty good at repairing these starters and like anything else, the more you mess with them the less frustrating they become. I still remember the first one that I ever put a new starter drive in - I didn't think I would ever get it put back together. Now it seems like child's play. In this particular case, it needed a new pinion plus a couple of the motor brushes had gotten stuck. I thought about getting a new brush/plate setup but after looking at it, I was able to clean up the old one, get the brushes sliding nicely and saved myself a few dollars. Putting the pinion gear in isn't too bad except for the c-clip which can try your patience sometimes. So, got all of that wrapped up and done and I have a practically new mini starter for the engine for a bit less than $20.

    Next was a mini-alternator that we had replaced on one of the other race cars. It's just been sitting in the box for a couple of years now and it's one of those East Coast units. The thing had just up and quit charging one weekend on us. After pulling it apart, most of it looked to be in great shape. I cleaned up the commutator, polished it and made sure that they was plenty of brush material. The bearings were in good shape too. The only part that needed replacing was the electronic regulator. I have a rebuild shop in the next town and I picked up a replacement for it - another $20 but it's back together and ready to go on the engine.

    I did pick up one idea from that 30 Day build project and that was the ignition switch. On all of the racers that we have, toggle switches and push buttons are part of the normal starting routine. I normally mount the ignition toggle next to the starter button so that we can spin the engine over, then fire the ignition. It makes it a little bit easier on the starter motors. I thought that it would be cool to have an ignition key switch where the original was located and the push button on the other side of the steering column. It's a minor thing but again I just thought it would be cool to do.

    And last is the fuel tank. I just got started on it so I have a lot more work just yet but here's the gist of it. The rear part of this deal is a ladder bar rear clip with a 9" Ford rear and coilovers. The outside measurements of the rear clip is 25.5". I have a new mid-60's Mustang gas tank. If you didn't know it, the tanks on those cars also served as the trunk floor. I'm going to do the same on this car. But of course the tank is quite a bit wider so it needs to be sectioned to fit so that the mounting lip of the tank will fit on that rear portion of the frame. I am also adding an aircraft style filler cap on top and a tank sump to the bottom of it. In addition it will be getting a #6 AN connector to the top of it to connect a vent hose.

    I'll try to update this with some pictures in the next day or so.

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