Category Archives: Bel-Air

Intercooler Move and Wiring Re-do

I hated the Intercooler sat way down low at the front of the car, and was convinced that it was going to get a stone through it on the motorway. The tubing also caught on the new wheels at full lock. As I reversed it out one Sunday to work on the truck I decided that was that and took it all off. I connected the Procharger straight to the intake and set about searching for a relatively cheap 76mm intercooler that would fit in between the lower hood lock bracket and the wing. A few months later, and skint, I decided enough was enough and took the lock bracket and the unused as yet AC condenser off, and dropped the old intercooler in it’s place. It looked like it was made to go there, so after making some quick brackets I set about plumbing it in using the old pipework. The pipework needed to go through the two wind deflector panels, which had the horn and alarm sounder on one side, and a relay board on the other. After coming to the conclusion it all looked crap anyway, I cut all the wiring out to re-do it after I’d done the pipework.

With holes cut out of either side, and the hard pipework trimmed and the ends swaged it all went together nicely with a much better run than before. At this point it was time to move on to the wiring. The lamp wiring was extended so that it could pass through the wings behind the deflectors and out of site, and everything put on multi pin plugs so I can remove the core support and swing the wiring out of the way with it. The horn and alarm sounder were hidden, the main fuseboard feed re-run, the MSD box removed completely as I’m not convinced it’s not the cause of a lot of my distributor problems. Washer pump wiring moved, heater controls moved, and the lot run in braided covering to neaten it all up. There is so much on this car I’d do better if I did it again, but I still love it. The only thing left to do at this point was the hood latch. The old latch and bracket are huge, but after some major trimming the bracket cleared the intercooler nicely. The latch will be replaced by a smaller double bear claw one but that was that for the weekend.

Bumper Re-do

I got the Bel Air out of the garage as normal to work on the truck, and left the door open for some fresh air. While i was working away on the truck I kept looking at the bumper on the Bel Air and thinking how much it bugged me. I didn’t like the gaps between it and the body, the fact it was up on one side where the hanger was bent, and the overrider indentations. Apart from that I loved it!. I hit a bit of a snag with the truck which needed a think, so as I went in to make a cuppa, I decided the time had come for the bumper! With it dropped off and on the floor, I set about breaking off the bolts for the hanger from the wing


They turned out to be rusted solid, and even after letting them soak for an hour, I had to snap them off with a long bar. With it off, I hit the crap out of it in the vice until it was roughly the right shape again. With it back on loosely, I balanced the bumper on a jack and pushed it back as far as I could. With a bit of trimming on the brackets, I got it flush against the frame horns. Happy with it’s new position, I took it back off and trimmed the brackets to go over the massive rivet on the horn, then set about cutting out the dent for the overrider. I kept measuring it and putting a straight edge on it as I did it but it’s got a few low patches in it which I reckon will take quite a bit of work to get out. I’ll have to see if it can be filled with braze or similar before chroming, or buy an anvil! I’ve moved the mounting bolt holes 4cm (just over an inch and a half in old money!) further forward, and I’m happy with how it sits now. Will weld the bolts on and fill up the other holes next week. An enjoyable bit of random work.

Wilwoods are Fitted

I’d been waiting a long time for my new Wilwood brake setup to arrive from the states, and when it got here there was a box missing. After another long wait I got the replacement bits and was ready to put it all together. The rotors and the hib are seperate on Wilwood brakes, and the bolts need to be safety wired which I’d never done before. After 4 or 5 test runs, I was happy I was getting the hang of it and set about putting them together. I have moved to a manual master cylinder, which has given me enough room to get rid of the "fish" on the Procharger inlet, but I now need to move the vacuum feeds and the catch can. RotorsWired.jpg With everything prepared, I pulled the drop spindles and brakes off to fit the new ones. It all went together painlessly, and with the new master cylinder bolted up and new brake lines made up I was ready to bleed it all. Pedal feels really good, but I found a small weep on the rears and will re-make the rear axle line as I’m not happy with it. With it all back on the ground, I was sat up in the sky with about 6" of toe. I got it back up again, dropped the coilovers down an inch and set the toe roughly by eye. Once I’ve driven it up and down the street and allowed it to settle I’ll check it and set it up properly. Looking forward to seeing if it was worth all the pain! BrakesOn.jpg

Bigger Throttle Body On

Falling behind on the site again, and real life has got in the way of the cars a lot. The Camaro had been giving me a load of knock problems which I decided were not being helped by the 52mm throttle body. I pulled the stock one off the ’55 which sorted the Camaro out, but left me with a headache on the ’55 throttle cable. I’d cut it to suit the stock bracket, but it was too short with the bigger cam on the side of the 52mm body. I could either do it the easy way and swap them back or make a new bracket. new_throttle_bracket.jpg After a lot of measuring and re-measuring I ended up with a cardbaord template for a new one and set about making it out of aluminium. After a few hours of messing about I was happy with the result and it was ready for a test run. With the logger hooked up, I took it out for a run, gave it a little bit of a tune, then gave it a blast. No change 0-60, still at 5.9 seconds, but it shifts a lot nicer which I guess is the engine getting more air at a given throttle position. Looking forward to driving it again once the new brakes are on. At_Home.jpg

Big Sway Bar and QA-1’s Fitted

I haven’t updated the site in months, but I’ve still been working on the car. The Optispark distributor died (at the same time the one on the Camaro did as well, just to make matters worse). I had to take all the accessory drive off to get at it. With it all back together, and a small leak fixed, I got back to working on the car. I wasn’t happy with the way it handled even with the swaybar fitted. I decided to replace the swaybar with a Hellwig one, and put QA-1’s on the front as well. The Hellwig bar is much beefier than the old one, and had much better fixings to put it together. After a lot of messing about, I gave up on trying to get it fitted with the A arm brackets and use the ones I made for the old bar. SwayBarsTogether.jpg With that done I pulled the old springs and shocks out, and drilled out the A arms for the QA-1 bottom mounts. I ground the rest of the old nuts flat and fitted them on the lowest setting. Unfortunately I crushed a brake hose while I was doing it, so I needed to replace and bleed the brakes. It was so low I couldn’t get the jack under the frame, so I bought a C spanner to raise it back up. I wound them up about an inch a side (I measured with a bolt as I couldn’t get the calipers in there). With it back on the deck, and the brakes bled I took it out for a spin. It handles a million times better now, but the brakes still have air in them so need bleeding again. Progress at last. QA1s.jpg

Squeaky Belts and Seat Belts

I’ve been tuning the Camaro for a few weeks now, and wasnt happy with the results. After a lot of research I realised I’d have to start again as the MAF was screwing up the logging. I knew I’d have to do the same on the ’55 so decided to pull the MAF out and replace it with a tube instead. While I had it all disconnected I set about trying to sort out the bearing squeak from the serpentine. I’d ground the mounting tabs of the alternator down last weekend to bring it further forward, and decided it was down to tension in the end. I undid the top mount and backed off the belt till the tension was right., then made a strap to hold it in place while I tested it. A quick fire up and no sign of the squeak, so that’s that done till I make a decent bracket.


I’d also bought the seatbelts for the car this week, after deciding that driving it without them was just plain dumb. The pillar mounts had been put in by Zane when he did the exhaust and stuff so it was a pretty easy job. It took longer to swap the latches on the seats than it did to fit the rest of the belts. With it now a lot safer, I can take Poppy to school in it so I put the manky old door panel on temporarily for her and fitted a door handle. A bit of a test drive with the datalogger showed my new map which I’d based on a tune I’d downloaded was close enough to get me started so after it had settled a bit I gave it some stick. I hit the rev limiter, even with the pedal travel limited to 90 odd percent (Just in case). Reading through the logs afterwards revealed that the blow off valve is dumping boost when it shouldnt be, so that will need a better restriction in the hose. After a bit of googling I found the suggestion of using a welder tip, so it’s got a 0.6mm one in there now, and the new map based on the drive is in there ready to do some more driving.


Bit of Tidying Up

I’ve been doing lots of little jobs on the car over the last month, and decided it was time to sit down and do an update. The trunk has it’s seal fitted now, a couple of the doors have the old dirty door cards fitted temporarily and the heater control solenoid is fitted and functioning ready for some winter driving. I’ve also started to tune the car for part throttle and idle. It was running way too rich at idle as I’ve forced the computer to not control thr fuelling when it’s below 1200rpm and that gave me about 10:1 AFR. I got it to sit at 13.5:1 on my second guess so that’ll do for now. I also did a couple of short runs with the datalogger on and started to set the volumetric efficiency tables up. It’s smoother already as it should be, and with a few 45 minute runs to work planned in the next week or so I should end up with it pretty much nailed.


It’s getting pretty cold here so I wanted to get the heating outlets fitted and functional. It was a relatively easy job so I decided to fit the stereo and the glovebox while I was at it. After about an hour of messing about, I realised the dash was bent out of shape which was why the screws wouldnt reach. With it bent back into shape, and some trimming done I screwed it all together and called it quits. The only other job I did was some tidying on the wiring to tape some odd wires, and zip tie it all to the core support out of the way. Looking forward to driving it this week as Poppy is on half term so I’m not doing the school run.


Out for its first proper drive

I spent a couple of nights in the week working on the car, and got some bits and pieces that I could do without making too much noise done. I got the sway bar brackets clearanced and painted then re-fitted it all, got the procharger pipework back in and tightened up and the intercooler bolted up tight. I also got a catch can fitted and re-routed all the rubber pipework and some of the engine wiring. I’d also noticed the ignition key getting hot, even though all the heavy circuits are on relays, so I pulled it and fitted some heavy duty relays to take all of the load from the switch. I did an oil and filter change on Saturday and decided to take it out for a proper drive on Sunday. My mate John was going to a classic car show that was about 25 miles from the house, and needed to borrow my scanner, so I emptied out all the junk, put some tools in a bag, temporarily wired in the sat nav and I was on my way. I set the speedo as I drove using the sat nav as a reference, and it’s pretty much spot on. I stopped off at my parents house on the way, and pumped up a low tyre and set off again. It drove really well, and apart from being unbelievably hot inside it was faultless. It definately needs some tuning but according to the datalogger its running OK. After getting a cold drink and a quick hello, I set off again and John took some video of the car. As I drove off the throttle cable decided to come loose, so after a quick repair and moving the Lokar pedal so it wasnt stopping on the cable I was off.


On the way home it developed a knock in the front end somewhere, but drove well so I carried on home. I cant see anything obvious, and it was way too hot to climb under so I put it in the garage and will have a look at it in the week. The only other issue I found was the headlights have stopped working, I cant hear the relays clicking so I’ll have a look at that as well. Pretty damn happy with it I must say. Really, really need a carpet in there as my trainers were sticking to the floor! Oh and heres a video of it on YouTube, courtesy of John.


Intercooler gets moved yet again…

I finally managed to get my front anti roll bar (or sway bar depending on where your from) picked up (Cheers Mark!). I wasnt impressed with the amount of roll when I drove the car, so I’m hoping this will go a long way to sorting it out. I’d downloaded the instructions from the Danchuk site and was hoping I wouldn’t have to move the intercooler to get it in. Unfortunately when I got it, I had a front bar, but a rear fitting kit. The only real issue was the end link brackets needed to be made up to suit. End-Link-Bracket.jpg After a lot of fiddling about trying to get it to clear the intercooler, I gave up and pulled it off to give me some more room. With it out of the way, I set it as far back as I could, and measured up some bits of angle to make the mounts. I drilled them out as big as I could, then took it out with the die grinder to fit the rubber mounts. I didnt want to weld them on to the powder coated A-arms, so I made some mounting tabs and welded them to the sides of the angle. With it all bolted up I had another look at the intercooler which needed to be about an inch further forward. I re-bent the front brackets and stuck some spacers that came with the Procharger on the back. I’ll pull it all back off again and paint it when I connect the pipework back up. Doesn’t seem like much but it took a long time to do. Spacer.jpg

Missing Boost Found

Zane made a connector tube (or fish as he christened it, as it ended up fish shaped!) so I set about fitting it. Its so tight that I had to remove the Procharger and fit it before putting it back on. Some of the bolts are almost impossible to get at so it took a few hours but it looks good done and should help to keep it cooler now I’m not drawing air from above the headers. TheFish.jpg While testing the brakes the other weekend I noticed some compressor chatter as it came off accelerator, so I decided to move the blow off valve to just before the inlet elbow to see if it helped. I found that it was opening as boost increased and dumping constantly. A check of the vacuum feed showed it to always seem to be in vacuum even when there was enough boost to swell the inlet piping. I swapped the dual piston valve out for the old single piston but that made no difference either. I kinked the pipe and got it to dump only when the throttle closed, so after a bit of experimentation made a restrictor with a piece of bar and a jubilee clip on the pipe. This allowed me to adjust it so it only dumped when it should so it’ll be interesting to see how much more performance I get. Old-BOV-in.jpg