4 Speed swap in wood grain wagon!

Discussion in 'Station Wagon Projects' started by cutlassmike, Dec 3, 2019.

  1. cutlassmike

    cutlassmike nothing is easy, everything is hard.

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    I TIG welded the pedal pad to the brake arm. Again, big wire, big amps.
    Pedals turned out very parallel when installed. A trip through the sand blast cabinet before and after welding made things nice and clean and aids in prime and paint. A simple rattle can prime and chassis black spray job keeps thing looking OEM.

    Clutch pedal swing JUST misses the fuse panel by 3/8". Lucky or pre-determined by GM??

    My cash of 81 Camaro clutch parts failed to net me a upper clutch push rod. I have a re-pop push rod on order but now have to play the waiting game.

    blasted pedals.jpg

    TIG pedal 2.jpg TIG pedal 1.jpg

    pedal installed.jpg

    SIDE NOTE; I found with my aluminum case A833 that one of the 3 blots that affix the shifer bracket to the AL trans case had stripped out. I now read that this is a relatively common problem with this trans. One lonely blot at the top most position {spaced like a triangle} seems to take a lot of punishment as the shifter body and arm sit quite high making for lots of leverage. This wears out the threads in this AL bolt hole.
    Solution I used was to up size the bolt hole from 3/8" to 7/16". I ended up using a stud and nut to further ad strength to this weak link.

    repaierd shifter.jpg
     
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  2. cutlassmike

    cutlassmike nothing is easy, everything is hard.

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    I finished up the transmission tunnel piece to cover the shifter mechanism. I used the top portion of the stock 78-80 F body trans tunnel piece and extended all four sides. This essentially made the F body piece taller and wider.
    I butt welded all the pieces and it came out looking nice but it's far from my best work. There are 5 or six pieces I used to extend the sides {I could have made it with 2 or 3 pieces in hind-sight}. It started off as just screwing around with the piece I had and it snowballed into a piece I'm using.
    Piece gives plenty of clearance for linkage and allows ample space for removal of the shifter and/or linkage if needed.

    Shifter it's self works well. Very smooth almost "buttery" but you can easily feel the positive engagement of the gears.. Quite a long shifter through.
    I took out the stock rubber/stainless isolators/retainers from where the shift arm meets the shifter it's self. A couple of 3/8" bolts and TIG welded-on nuts {to the shifter arm} secure the shift arm into place. Losing the rubber ads a more positive feel to the shifting experience as well as making it MUCH easier to R&R the shift arm.

    wagon shifter.jpg
    wagon shifter 2.jpg

    Here it is all welded in. I did not fully weld the perimeter of the piece as it seemed overkill and would through more heat than necessary into the floor. Stock F body shifter tunnel pieces are just spot-welded 10-12 times and sealed up so I just did similar to the General.
    I do like the stock shifter boot trim ring. I welded 1/4"-20 nuts to the underside of the piece to secure the trim ring with nice stainless bolts.
    I seam sealed it after this picture with Sika-flex.
    I will trim the carpet so that the entire shifter cover will be exposed and the carpet lays flat again. I will either body work the tunnel piece and paint/bed liner it OR I may fabricate a fiberglass removable cover similar to the plastic one on my 84 Cutlass {stock G body clutch pieces}

    You can see the funny shift pattern on the shift knob. 4th gear is 0.73:1 over driven {hence the "OD" in 4th gear}. Very similar to the 700R4 gearing. I call it a four speed but some refer to it as a 3 speed with overdrive {silly if you ask me}.

    wagon air cleaner.jpg
    wagon air cleaner 3.jpg
    wagon air cleaner 2.jpg
    Nothing to do with the four speed swap; my stock 1980s air cleaner with the intake "horn" carefully removed. Intake "horn" would not fit due to the serpentine belt drive brackets.
    Removed "horn" left a nice oval shaped hole which I repeated 4 more time evenly around the cleaner base being sure to center the front-most one with the thermostat.
    I like the way it is but I am looking for stainless mesh/screen that I can epoxy into place to give it a more finished look and hide the filter element.

    Clearly I like Chevy orange. lol
     
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  3. cutlassmike

    cutlassmike nothing is easy, everything is hard.

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    Oh, I also asked my neighbor, Steve R, to make me a new shift knob. He's extremely handy with his lathe.
    I salvaged the shift pattern medallion from the worst of my 2 shift knobs.
    Knob is stock form was plastic covering rubber core construction. Plastic outter shell on both my shift knobs were terribly and deeply cracked {like a steering wheel} to the point where the shell was falling off the rubber core.
    Again, losing the rubber adds a better feel to the shifting experience in my opinion.

    Steve lathed me up a new aluminum knob with the stock medallion counter-sunk wagon knob.jpg in and epoxied into place.
     
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  4. Doghead

    Doghead Well-Known Member

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    That blind aircleaner looks like it wants to say something. Whatever it is, I wouldn't expect kind words, by the looks of it
     
  5. OrthmannJ

    OrthmannJ Always looking for old ford crew cabs

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    That looks awesome!
     
  6. cutlassmike

    cutlassmike nothing is easy, everything is hard.

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    I would love to take credit for it but alas I cannot. lol
     
  7. cutlassmike

    cutlassmike nothing is easy, everything is hard.

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    Looks more Hungry than anything.
    lol
     
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  8. Doghead

    Doghead Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, it really does look like a set of teeth in there :D
     
  9. cutlassmike

    cutlassmike nothing is easy, everything is hard.

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    Took a brake and now pushing to get the wood-grain wonder on the road for spring.

    After agonizing about suspension drop, I finally settled on Canuck Motorsports 1.5" drop springs front and back. OEM springs for the wagon and it's 307/2004R were far to stiff/strong for the current 350/A833 raising the front end by at least 2"
    I am hoping that these springs will bring it down to a "96 SS" type ride height. I do not need it slammed but I certainly do not want a 4X4 look either.

    When removing the springs I figured it would be prudent to address the wearable items in the front suspension. AC Delco supplied all 4 ball joints and all new control arm bushings. Again, just looking for cruiser comfort and reliability. New anti-roll bar bushings and end links seemed like a good idea as well.
    wagon suspension.jpg

    Steering seemed tight and right so it stayed. If it does need replacement I can address at a later date. Rest of the suspension was easier to do with the spring out so I did it all at once saving myself the possible aggravation of going in again.



    After the suspension there is only one BIG job left to do, exhaust. I went through the trouble of adding clearance the cross-member for true duel so you know I'm going to do it.
    I used 2.25", 409 stainless, good enough for this wagon. Mandrel bends were cut and TIG welded {tacked as of these pics}. Added 2 flex joints {one per side} that will take most of the engine movement and allow me to tuck the pipes a little closer to things. Pair of stainless "performance" mufflers round out the package. I got all the stainless supplies from Muffler Express here in Canada.
    I'm about 1/4 the way through the job as of these pics.
    wagon exhaust 2.jpg Wagon exhaust.jpg

    I also squared away the clutch linkage as well. There was a bracket welded to the fire wall that needed to be clearanced for the Z bar to swing fully. I will end up putting a rubber pedal stop in the engine bay were the bracket was clearanced. The Z bar will rest on the rubber as opposed to the pedal it's self.
    Clutch pedal is now nice and high and I get full clutch release about 3/4 the way through the swing which I prefer as I have a fused left ankle.
     
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  10. cutlassmike

    cutlassmike nothing is easy, everything is hard.

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    Oh, I did have to modify the Z bar slightly as well. Arm closest to the engine block was pie cut about 1/4" and bent to make it straighter. In stock form the Z bar arm was too close to the exhaust manifold flange so straightening it brought it further away. Small pie cut, a quick bend and some TIG welding and it was perfect.
    That may not have been an issue with other manifolds like ram horns.
     
  11. OrthmannJ

    OrthmannJ Always looking for old ford crew cabs

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    Looks like you're making steady progress.
     
  12. Silvertwinkiehobo

    Silvertwinkiehobo "Nothing is foolproof as fools are ingenious."

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    Out of curiosity, how much did all the supplies cost you, including the mufflers?
     
  13. cutlassmike

    cutlassmike nothing is easy, everything is hard.

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    A little less than $500 Canadian. 2 mufflers, 2 4" stainless flex pipes, 4 U bends, 3 90 degree bends, 3 45 degree bends, 8' straight pipe. All 409 stainless. 305 stainless would be substantially more.
    409 is good enough for this daily driver.
    I may have underestimated my straight pipe length as I believe that I will need more.
     
  14. cutlassmike

    cutlassmike nothing is easy, everything is hard.

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    More Bread and Butter type maintenance.

    I had my disks cut at my buddies shop and I went through the trouble of rebuilding both calipers with new square cut O rings and dust seals. I did not bother painting the calipers or disk as nothing else really is so it keeps it all looking the same.
    Obviously a new set of semi metallic pads.
    wagon clean disk.jpg

    I also permanently installed the clutch Z bar assembly.
    Ironically I did paint these parts. Why these parts and not the calipers? I want people to see the manual parts. It's so unusual in a big ol' wagon I don't mind drawing attention to it.
    I did not end up heating and bending the frame bracket as I thought I may have had to. It fit perfect.

    wagon clutch painted.jpg
     
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  15. cutlassmike

    cutlassmike nothing is easy, everything is hard.

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    We will see who is reading this with all this Covid shit going on BUT we must keep going forward. With all the self isolation happening it is a good time to spend it in the shop.

    wagon compleated exhaust.jpg
    Finally finished up the exhaust. went up and over the rear end and dumped out behind the rear tire. I had a set of 2010 Camaro stainless tips so I used them.
    wagon exhaust tip.jpg
     

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