Chris McKitterick (mckitterick) wrote,
Chris McKitterick

Hot-Rod Newport build progress!

I haven't posted a progress report for a while, so today's a good day to catch up! My goal is to finish by the end of the month, so I can drive it to the Kowtown Custom Greaserama car show. Will he finish in time? Will the gods of the machines smile upon him or throw broken bolts in his path? Check it out:

Accomplishments over the past couple of days: New radiator and custom mounting plates installed: check! New radiator hoses cut to length and installed: check! Water pump and fan installed: check! Distributor and drive gear installed and timed: check!

Since last week: Header, valve cover, and intake manifold bolts torqued: check! Oiling system pre-oiled and tested: check! Power-steering pump installed: check! Oh, and about a hundred trips to the hardware store for bolts, nuts, tools, and so forth. Also a bunch of custom fabrication as well as tons of cleaning and painting bits and bobs. For example:

That's my new high-performance aluminum radiator. To get it ready to install, I cleaned the rust off the mounting brackets, rust-proofed, then painted them to match the aluminum of the radiator. Then I had to fabricate custom plates (with help from a friend) to mate the car's radiator support frame to the radiator's non-matching brackets. To get everything to fit, the custom plates bolt to the original mounting-holes in the car and the radiator bolts to the plates. Would have been nice if it had arrived with aluminum brackets and, oh, A PROPER FIT.

Speaking of bits and bobs: This is just a shot to show the quick'n'dirty way to make your brackets look nice without a ton of work. Just clean 'em up, coat with rust-proofer, then spray with high-temp paint to match:

Finally, this next photo demostrates that oil is, indeed, pumping into the valvetrain rocker arms. To do this little job, you need a helper to drive the oil pump with a high-torque drill (See the bit poking up in the middle of the orange section of the block? It drives a shaft about a foot long that fits into the oil pump.) while you simultaneously turn over the engine with a long socket wrench. Previously, I hadn't been able to verify oiling by just running the oil pump myself; you need to turn over the engine at the same time to open the little oil ports in the crankshaft, camshaft, and rocker arms.

Other customization and fabrication I've done since the last update include drilling out mismatched bolt-holes in the thermostat housing, grinding out casting lumps in the water pump, drilling out other misaligned holes here and there, grinding down the too-long bolt-heads for the camshaft timing gear, cutting down and carving the cam-button, and lots more. Thank our lord Hephaestus that this is not a car I needed to drive while discovering all these joys and opportunities to extend my machining skills.

What's left before it's ready to rumble? The to-do list includes wiring in the fuel-injection electronics, plumbing high-pressure fuel line, installing and wiring the new fuel pump, welding in the exhaust oxygen sensor, installing enough of the exhaust to make it legal enough to drive to a muffler shop that can weld in the rest, hooking up and wiring in the new water-pump and oil-pressure gauges, miscellaneous this'n'that, and of course troubleshooting the inevitable leaks and issues. That's not too much to complete during the first two weeks of fall semester, is it?

Greaserama, here I come!

Tags: hot-rod newport, vehicles

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