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Vacaville Velo Rossa

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With no new parts coming my way in the next month (keeping a cash cushion for our son's up coming wedding) I've decided to get going on fitment and clean up on some interior parts.

Started with the seats. The reclining release mechanisms rub on the reinforcement used to strengthen the unibody after the top was chopped. Simple fix. I swapped the seats from side to side, putting the release handles next to the tunnel, where there's plenty of room.


Todays job was refurbishing the door glass. A little steel wool, some elbow grease and a coat of paint for the metal pieces, brings back the original shine. I'll start in on the tracks tomorrow.post-4015-003537400 1312466083_thumb.jpg

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Next time you need to stretch some cloth for a form fit, try using some fleece. Secure it how ever it needs to be, then pull it taught, and secure it it on the other edge. It works well, when you have some very irregular shapes and need to fill in spans. I use this technique regularly in car audio installations and interior work, for speaker enclosures, amp racks and trim panels.

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Started the fuel tank installation by adapting my Z fuel sending unit to my new '56 Chevy fuel tank. I chose to keep the five bolt mounting set up of the tank in case I later decide to switch to aftermarket gauges.

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The first step was to adjust the travel of the float. In the old Z tank, the float travels almost 11 inches in it's arc from empty to full. The new tank is only eight inches tall. I cut the float arm and adjusted the length until the float's arc was about 7 1/2 inches. I wrapped the float arm with a little wire to hold it together.

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I then hooked up test wires and checked the gauge readout. A little fine tuning, accomplished by bending the float arm, and it works perfectly. I then spot welded the two pieces of float arm and ground it smooth.

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I then drilled the five holes into the sending unit rim.

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The raised center portion of the unit won't allow the mounting bolts to lay flat, so I made a spacer out of a large washer.


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The spacer makes a nice retaining ring.


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I'll cut more of the trunk floor and finalize the position under the car, then fab some mounts, install the pick up tube and vent and make a new trunk floor.

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Cut out the rest of the trunk floor...




Drilled hole for 3/8 pipe threaded bung...




Brazed bung in...




installed pick up tube...




and positioned tank before starting to fab some mounts.




Still need to figure out where to add a vent to the tank.

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Now that the location of the fuel tank has been finalized, I've begun routing the filler neck to the gas cap. I bought this tank, in part, because the filler seemed to be in the best location for my project. It quickly became apparent that running the tube on the underside of the trunk to an existing hole, then up to the cap was going to be problematic. It required more complex bends than I anticipated and I'm concerned it will end up too close to the exhaust and muffler.


My solution was to modify the inlet at the tank to come up through the trunk floor, then connect to the cap with a flexible connector. I'll lose some usable trunk space, but I like that better than the possibility of heating gas vapors.



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Edited by Fauxre

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Time to mount the new fuel pump.

The old pump and filter fit neatly in the heavy bracket.


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The new pump will fit nicely as well...


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Unfortunately the old mounting location is now occupied by one leg of the new fuel tank mount. I played around with the bracket and finally decided to try the mount on the passenger side as close to the rear valance as possible. The curved portion of the bracket is no longer required...


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...so, I pounded it straight, cut it off even with the other side, sand blasted it clean, cut a new hole for the fuel line, painted it and attached the new pump.


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In its new location, the old bracket provides considerable protection from possible road debris and (I'm hoping) from exhaust heat since the muffler will run through the gap between the pump and fuel tank.


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Added a vent tube and painted the tank with zinc coating from Eastwood.


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Welded up the trunk floor framing from more scrap square tubing. The trunk opening is to small to allow a single floor piece, so I made three sections.


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Looks good covered, but the hardboard concerns me. It'll need to be protected from moisture. So, I might use these panels as patterns for fiberglass replacements. Undecided.


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Edited by Fauxre

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Latest progress:


Completed the new fuel lines (3/8 solid aluminum) from tank to engine compartment. Still need to run flexible line to the carb.

Sealed the hardboard trunk floor panels with fiberglass resin and coated the underside with a layer of matting for extra strength.


Started making 'front fender well to door jam' block-off panels from fiberglass. I started by filling the gap between the unibody and cheek panel with floral foam blocks, and sculpting them to shape. I used a hot glue gun the attach each block to the inside of the cheek panel. After removing the cheek panel, I covered every thing with fiberglass matting. The resulting panel needs a lot of refining, as it came out very uneven and needs an extension to reach the old unibody. I'd prefer to make the block-off a permanent part of the cheek panel, but I'm not sure I can make it work with the way the panel rests on top of the old sheet metal.



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Needed a break from resin fumes, so I turned my attention to the differential mount and crossmember modifications. Originally I was going with the stock diff front mount setup, as my donor cars previous owner had provided me with all new parts at purchase. But, since I will be running duel exhaust, it became clear to me that the crossmember needed to be modified for better ground clearance. After exhaustive forum searches, it also became clear that it would be far better to convert to the RT mount, eliminating the problems of trying to retain a bottom mount location on a modified crossmember. Here's my solution:


I purchased two crossmembers at Pick N Pull for $18 each.

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Using one crossmember, I made a welding jig from some scrap steel.

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I cut the crossmembers in half and welded the two pieces with exhaust recesses together.

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I notched the area that interferes with the diff mounting bolt and welded in angle stock.

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A little paint, and it's done.

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I thoroughly enjoy watching your build. Great work!

Thanks sq, I appreciate the encouragement.cool.gif


Vacaville huh? I live in Vacaville! Small world, great looking project! Keep up the good work!

Yup. Been here 20 years now. If all goes well you might see it driving around town this spring.2thumbs.gif


Meanwhile, back at the build...


My original plan was to relocate the battery to the trunk. But, after making some temporary panels, it's clear to me that there just isn't enough space to hide a battery. So, it's back to the stock location in the engine compartment. There was a lot of corrosion on, and under the original battery tray, so years ago, I cut it out and treated the area.

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I fabbed up this new tray and bolted it to the fire wall and inner fender.

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It sits a little higher than stock, but with a a couple measurements, a suitable battery was easy to find at the local O'Reilly's.



Up next is completing the wiring per the JTR V8 Conversion Manual.

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I've started working on the wiring. The JTR manual had me totally confused at first, but I'm starting to get it. And instead of just bypassing the ignition interlock system, I'm going to remove it completely... along with a lot of wiring that I no longer need (i.e. dome light, rear window defogger, etc).

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Well, after a month and a half, I've got the electrical figured out.

I was having a lot of trouble following the wires on the schematic, even after Kinkos enlarged it to hang on the wall in the garage. All those little black lines running parallel... it was too easy to get them crossed. So, I spent a great deal of time with my favorite imaging program, and colored in all the wires I would be keeping. Working back and forth from computer to car, I added in the new GM components, a 12V junction bar and the newly routed wires.


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All the the current electrical systems are now operational. It's amazing that a simple flashing light could make me feel soooooo good.


If all goes well, I may fire the engine for the first time this weekend.

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