Dec 2010 - Feb 2011. Another front end strip down through the winter.
Outer wings (fenders), front grill, and bumper removed.
Refurbished and improved air conditioning and heater with all pipes hidden.
Tubular suspension to be set up for best handling, castor, camber and tracking.
Front wings to be restored and painted.
New (triple plated) chrome front grill.
Since the firewall was now "clean" a new air con. kit was chosen as the drier in the new kit can be fitted to
the front of the condenser using the special pipes provided. Custom made steel brackets were designed and
fabricated to hold the condenser onto the radiator support frame. Again stainless steel bolts were used.
(The original drier had hung on the firewall).
Feb 2011. Quiet Mufflers (Silencers).
The front end strip down was interrupted for a couple of days to produce two new bolt on mufflers.
As shown previously, the design we have is a 3-part exhaust system using stainless steel flanges.
The same jig was used as per the previous mufflers. A local "laser profiling" company was used to
make the 4 flanges - £10 per flange (about $15 per flange). The mufflers are "Walker Quite-Flow 3"
units - part number - 22623 from Summit Racing at $74.95 each. Summit part number WLK-22623.
2.25" to 2" adapters were used as pipe spacer / adapters. These mufflers are ideal as they are
very compact (11" long) and have a low profile (3.25" high). They are designed as OEM equivalents
for an Oldsmobile Cutlas (1983-1987) with a 5.0L V8 engine. Clearly these are not "Hotrod"
performance "Flowmaster Hushpower" mufflers like the those already fitted, however, since this
flange system enables the mufflers to be changed over in about 20 minutes, this quiet set can
be fitted for the long distance high speed trips. With other modifications we hope to be
able to hear the radio at 70mph! Already fitted is a large amount of cab sound deadening
(although not including the doors as they have not yet been restored). We intend to removing
the rain gutter around the top of the door to reduce wind noise and eventually a 4-speed
automatic transmission (including an overdrive gear) will replace the "Turbo 350" to
reduce engine revs at high speed. Everything eventually adds up to reduce overall noise levels.
March 2011 - Continuing front end modifications.
March 2011. New pipe entry position. Fitting a pipe bulkhead manifold.
To keep the firewall as clean as possible, the two air conditioning pipes and the two heater
pipes enter the cab just forward of the left hand door and under the outer wing (fender)
using a bulkhead manifold. The pipes are also routed and concealed between the inner and
outer wings (fenders). This minimises the number of pipes being visible in the engine bay
March/April 2011. Fitting a powerful heater.
The 15000 BTU Maradyne fan heater was purchased from www.maradyne.com
The chosen position was against the trucks original ventilation louvers. Here there is a removable inside panel
fitted with 6 bolts. This panel was removed and since it is original GM, it was stored and a new panel
manufactured of the same dimensions. A hole was cut into the new panel and the heater fitted over the hole.
Fresh air from outside enters the heater matrix and then there are several options.
If the (hot) water valve (switch) is closed, ventilation will come through the heater without being heated -
1. By a small amount of ram air (fresh air forced through due to the truck moving forward)
2. Adjustable fresh air ventilation due to the three speed fan.
If the heater valve is turned on and hot water flows through the matrix -
1. Heated ram air (a small amount of air forced through due to the truck moving forward)
2. Adjustable heated fresh air ventilation due to the three speed fan pulling the air in.
By fitting the fan heater directly onto the new cover plate, no ducting was required and this is quite
an easy modification. Once again it is totally non-destructive as far as the truck is concerned as
only original holes for the original cover plate were used.
April 2011. Making the air conditioning pipes and heater pipes.
The tool, pipes, fittings, condenser and dryer were purchased from www.nostalgicairparts.com
The tool was $200 (Part number: TZ1007) and worked extremely well. The compression tool was designed to
be held in a vice but since many of the pipes were cut and set up "in situ" so that exact lengths and
alignment were possible, it was found that a pair of “Vicegrips” and 3 pairs of hands worked well.
(The first end was fitted on the bench and the second end “in situ” for exact lengths) Clearly taking
the pipes and fittings to a commercial pipe fitter would have been much more expensive than buying the tool.
Also when you do the job yourself, plenty of time is taken to do everything
correctly for perfect routing and quality.
July 2011. Air conditioning vents.
The air conditioning unit also contains a heater and the hot or cold air comes out of the new circular
dash vents, the demisting vents and the below the dash vents. This is a re-circulating system. Fresh
outside air and heated outside air comes through the extra
heater that is on the inside of the external
louvers and is detailed above. (Also see picture)
A computer controlled water valve now replaced the switch valve so that the amount of hot water could be
infinitely variable as it flows through the pipes into the cab. This provided an excellent
variable temperature control.
The 3 speed fan on the air conditioning / main heater is separately switched to the 3 speed fan controlling
the extra heater. There is also the mode switch and the variable temperature valve controller knob.
Shown in the pictures is the compressor with U connections taking the pipes directly down to the chassis.
Also note that everything is neat and largely hidden through the inner wings
The pictures above also show the routing of the air conditioning pipes through a manifold at the right hand side
of the truck, forward of the A pillar and along the inside of the inner wing. The blue heater pipes
(and copper pipes) route along the inside of the chassis. Later insulation was wrapped around the copper pipes.
All of the outlets and control knobs came from "Vintage Air". They were a good match. The circular outlets
and the chrome finish matched the original dials and chrome in the truck.
July 2011. Painting the front wings (fenders).
To paint the front wings, they need to be removed, and this results in another front end strip down.
The wheels, front bumper, front grill and hood slam panel all have to be removed. The lighting cables
must to be disconnected and the radiator loosened on it's mounts. Then all of the bolts removed.
The wings were media blasted, repaired with new metal where required, either welded or soldered.
A small amount of welding was need in one corner and holes were filled with new metal and solder.
They were then etch primed, prepared, filled, rubbed down primed and eventually painted with top coat.
They were re-fitted just in time for the "Rally of the Giants" show on the 30th July 2011
This show was a 250 mile drive each way. As usual the truck was driven and it drove there
at high speed without problems and in relative comfortable. Relative compared to the way it
used to be but still with room for improvement. There was not time to remove the gutter rails to
reduce wind noise at 70mph but this would be one of the next jobs. Improved tyres to improve
ride and road noise were also planned soon. The weekend was hot and the new air conditioning
vents worked really well. The previous narrow vents did not throw the air onto your face but
the new large circular vents worked perfectly
The last picture above shows the truck at the "Rally of the Giants" show one day after the wings were re-fitted.
It was parked in front of Knebworth House in Knebworth Park after the show so that pictures could be taken.
August 2011. Wheels and Tyres.
A whole page has been dedicated to this subject
Click here for "Wheels and Tyres".