Closing in…

So, lots of progress, not much updating lately.

Both the headers are on, and they look fantastic! Check the steering column going through the driver side…The oil dipstick wouldn’t work with the new oil pan, so I had to order one from Canton Racing. it’s on the driver side now. Come to think of it, I might need to put another gronk on the mounting bolt–it spins freely, and I don’t think it’s supposed to. I modified the throttle cables from the S10 to fit into the Caprice throttle bracket; the cruise control may need more work, we’ll see.

On the passenger side, I’ve got the coolant overflow tank in, as well as the original PCM with the Current Performance Wiring harness soldered into the one connector. On the driver side, the windshield washer bottle is reinstalled and plumbed.

The heater hoses gave some trouble–cut twice, measure once, right? They’re now MUCH too long, but connected. We left them that way so we can trim to fit once the front end and radiator are on.

The powersteering is all hooked back up. The 4.3L used a pump/reservoir combination, the LT1 has a separate reservoir. Part of the aforementioned heater hose was hacked up to plumb that in, and it’s mounted on the driver side with a Caprice reservoir and mounting bracket, heavily modified to fit the application. Yay to channelocks and a 4 foot pipe wrench… Still need to fill & plumb it.

The clutch hydraulics are all hooked up, and it looks absolutely stock. Fantastic. Bled it as best I could; we’ll see about that one. The slave cylinder is bolted up, the pedal is connected. It feels AWESOME–I might have to trim the brake pedal a little bit; we’ll see once I get it on the road. It’s a bit close to the clutch.

I installed the spark plugs and wires. You know, I thought replacing plugs in the 4.3L was a pain; what with going through the wheel wells and all. No sir; THIS is a REAL pain. Those rear plugs are almost impossible to get to; the #8 plug I had to actually get at from the BOTTOM of the truck with a box wrench! So much for 11 ft-pounds… I guess I should have expected it when I had to give up on the torque wrench for some of the bolts on the headers. Here’s where I cross my fingers… I also still need to figure out how to wire the Autometer tach back up to the LT1, and change the settings for it and the shift light to 8 cylinder and 6000 RPM.

We ended up widening the hole for the transmission shifter to allow it to come up a little more to hopefully improve the driveline angle. The driveshaft has been measured and taken to the shop for cutting and balancing; also getting new U Joints at the same time. Precision Driveline in Kirland–Jean is an AWESOME guy.

Mucked with the trans cross member for awhile, and I just can’t find a way to make it work. On the passenger side, it’s mounted vertically with four bolts on an additional plate welded to the frame. On the driver side, it’s mounted horizontally on a shelf in the frame rail. Unfortunately, the LT1/T56 puts the trans mount about 3.5 inches rear of the stock 4.3L/4L60E; on the passenger side, there’s a third structural plate in the way. I could drill it, but it’s close enough I might end up just enlarging the existing holes, and that’s no good. Worse, on the driver side, the shelf disappears as the frame narrows. So I’ve ordered a transdapt universal member; it should be on its way to me now. I’ve also got a HURST shifter stick and shift boot on order. I’ll probably end up cutting the center console down a bit to make it shorter to ease the 2-4-6 gear engagements for my wrist. I still need to settle on the shift ball–I can’t decide if I want a white or a black one; probably just go with the standard 6-speed shift pattern as the design. I’m open to options hear. I also put the drivers seat back in; I still need to tighten that up. I will eventually have to remove the passenger seat and pull the carpet up to get the LT1 PCM cabling installed underneath it.

We installed the front core support, and then tried to find a way to install the radiator from the Caprice and any combination of the dual fans from it or the single Flex-a-lite that I had on the 4.3L. No joy on any of it. So we worked on getting the 4.3L radiator into the core support in the “forward” position, inside the support instead of directly behind it. No luck there either…then we tried installing the dual fans as pushers in front of the core support. Still no joy, plus we learned that one of the fans has a high impedence on the motor. No joy. So I’ve got a new pair of radiator support mounts on order from the stealership ($21 each or something ludicrous), plus a new flex-a-lite dual pusher fan that should fit between the radiator and the core support where the A/C condensor used to be. Best of both worlds–OE fitment of the radiator, more efficient fans, and NO HOOD PINS (thank you, M & T, for the horrible suggestion). I’ve also ordered a 1.25″x1.25″x0.375″ TEE connector to connect the steam vents into the radiator return hose.   So the front core support is back off until the fan and rad mounts come in.

I tell you what: once I started putting the reservoirs and front crossmembers and seats in, the spare parts pile has gotten SIGNIFICANTLY smaller. I’ve still got the parts that go on AFTER the break in period: oil cooler w/ sandwich adapter, 160* thermostat, etc. But for the most part, it’s all stuff that came off and is staying off: the other oil pans (including the Hamburgers pan that I couldn’t use), the A/C stuff, etc.

The day approaches!

A special thanks to T, E, & M; without them, I’d be at this for another 6 months.  Both in the expertise and spare hands they’ve lended me and in the motivation to get out and get it done.  I know I appreciate it greatly, and I’m SURE my wife does too 😉


One Response to “Closing in…”

  1. Michaela Says:

    Yes, she does!! 🙂

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