We haven't accomplished nearly as much on the truck project in the last month as we had hoped to. Basically, a combination of summer vacations, parts availability, space, timing, camera breakage and, well, laziness, has resulted in little activity. Here's what we've done...
We took the drive shaft and new transmission yoke out to BC Automotive in Luray, Virginia. Bill, the owner, has a lot of expertise building drag cars and monster trucks, every one of which needs a specially-made drive shaft. We left the shafts (the T-Bird's shaft needed to be lengthened one inch to accommodate the new AOD transmission) with Bill and picked them up a week later.
The new truck shaft, now 49 inches long, is beautifully welded and balanced and ready for installation of the universal joints, not to overlook a fresh coat of paint. Bill also supplied us with a universal joint (a Federated Auto Parts Universal Joint Kit #P372) for the front that will match up the Ford drive shaft to the Chevy S10 yoke we added to our T5 transmission.
This is where we started with the pitman arm/drag link assembly.
We decided to sand blast the brake and clutch pedal assemblies and powder coat them, along with the brackets and associated hardware. While we were at it, we disassembled the pitman arm/drag link assembly. It took little cleaning to realize that we were going to have to rebuilt the drag link and replace the pitman arm. Over 50 years of wear had taken its toll. Fortunately, the drag link body itself was in pretty good shape. We ordered a drag link rebuild kit and a new pitman arm. We received the new pitman arm, and unfortunately, the drag link rebuild kit was back ordered. So we cleaned up the drag link and wiped the new pitman arm clean so that we could powder coat them both. We wiped down the brake and clutch pedal assembly with solvent and got them ready for powder coating. Our objective was to fit all the various pieces into our oven at one time.
The drag link disassembled.
A closeup of the ball end of the pitman arm gives you some idea of the kind of wear present throughout the pitman arm/drag link assembly.
The powder coating was easy. The more difficult task was to arrange how you are going to suspend the pieces in the oven for curing. In our case we took out the upper oven rack and hung it on coat hangar wire over the coating area. Then we made little wire hooks for each piece and suspended everything as compactly as possible under the rack.
The trickiest thing here is arranging the parts on our oven rack so that they don't touch the bottom oven rack and so that we can powder coat the most parts at one time.
Once we were sure everything would fit in the oven we simply powder coated the pieces while they were suspended (yes, powder gets on the oven rack but that doesn't hurt anything). Into the oven the coated pieces went. In about 30 minutes everything was cured and, after cooling off, ready for reassembly.
We powder coat the parts while the oven rack is still suspended from the ceiling. We then carefully lifted the rack and inserted it into the oven.
The pedals used bronze bushings at their pivot points on the assembly's main connecting rod, so we cut out the old ones and gently (oh, so gently!) tapped in new ones. After that it was smooth sailing toward a reassembly. Assembly is simply putting the pedal brackets on the original shaft, and inserting a clevis pin and a cotter pin.
After about 30 minutes in the oven and cooling for another 30 minutes, the parts are looking pretty good.
The brake/clutch pedal assembly ready for assembly.
The new pedals will receive fresh rubber foot pads (also on back order) and then the whole assembly will be wrapped in plastic and shelved until the project is ready for them.
The finished brake/clutch assembly and powder coated pitman arm and drag link.
Front fender with paint stripped off.
In order to pick up the pace on our truck project a bit, we decided to begin to remove the paint from the various body parts. We won't describe that process in detail here, you can read about paint stripping in our Archives in our December 2003 article entitled "Take It Off, Take It All Off."
Yeah, that's it, but we still consumed a couple of days in doing these little tasks, not including the trip to Luray. From this point we're going to install an exhaust system and get the chassis ready to move under its own power. Stay tuned...