It has been awhile since I provided an update. So, I thought this would be a good time to reflect on some early posts where I described a couple project lists. I will go through each item and post an update on the status. I will finish by talking about a few problems that I have been chasing.
Here are a few projects on my list: THIS WAS POSTED ON MAY 25TH – 3 MONTHS AGO.
1. Replace dash pad with OEM style Dark Blue. Timing is good because I am upgrading the sound system and replacing the Dakota Digital VHX cluster. The old one is cracking and stiff. One side is bowed and can no longer be held in place with the factory screw. THIS WAS DONE. LOOKS GOOD, NO PROBLEMS.
2. Dakota Digital VHX gauge cluster. I am actually in the middle of working on this now. DD really stepped up as of late. About 2 years ago, I sent them the control box and they tested it and said everything was fine, yet I continued to have major fluctuations of the gauges, resetting of the clock and blinking lights and erratic needle movement on the speedo and oil pressure gauge. So, they sent me a whole new kit. I replaced the control box first and no go. I then replaced the gauge cluster and all the wiring to the sensors. I did not swap the sensors since this is pretty difficult compared to running new wires through the window and under the door to the tranny. I think it is working again! I need to check it out some more tomorrow and go for a test drive. THE DAKOTA DIGITAL GAUGES HAVE BEEN FLAWLESS THESE PAST FEW MONTHS. I AM REALLY HAPPY. I EVEN TRUST THE GAS GAUGE NOW, AND THAT NEVER HAPPENED IN THE PAST WITH THE OLD SENDER AND GAS TANK.
3. Front end upgrade. I actually bought this a few years ago with the rear end suspension package, but that project was so hard that I lost momentum for doing the front end. I actually bought this entire suspension kit from Mark Savitske at SC&C after reading his book on How to Make a Muscle Car Handle. I bought the Touring suspension package with Baer 13" Track 4 Disc Brake kit. This kit should fix the geometry problems known with GM A Body cars and correct many problems that my wife dreads with driving this car. It sure would be nice to get this done this summer. HOLY CRAP IT IS DONE! I AM STILL CHASING THE IDEAL SPECS PROVIDED BY SC&C.IT IS ALSO IMPORTANT TO POINT OUT SOME UNANTICIPATED PROBLEMS THAT AROSE FROM UPGRADING THE SUSPENSION. I THINK OTHERS MAY LEARN FROM THESE PROBLEMS.
I NEEDED NEW TIRES. AFTER LOWERING THE CAR, THE 225/70R17 TIRES WERE TOO TALL. I BOUGHT A STAGGERED SET OF NITTO 555 G2 TIRES. I TRIED A SET OF 235/45R17 IN FRONT AND 275/40R17 IN BACK. THESE WERE TOO SMALL AND CONTRIBUTED TO THE 1.5” CLEARANCE AT THE RIGHT HEADER COLLECTOR. I ENDED UP WITH 225/50R17 IN FRONT AND 275/50R17 IN THE REAR. THIS SET WAS PERFECT.
I TOOK THE CAR TO TWO SHOPS FOR ALIGNMENT AND THEY COULD NOT DO IT. SO I BOUGHT A TENHULZEN KIT AND DID IT MYSELF. I AM CLOSE, BUT NOT PERFECT YET. THE SUSPENSION SYSTEM DROPPED THE CAR A LOT.
THE HEADERS HUNG ONLY 1.5” OFF THE GROUND AND I HAD TO CHANGE OUT THE HEADERS TO MID-LENGTH HEDMAN HEDDERS. THIS CREATED MORE PROBLEMS LIKE THE REAR PIPES BANGING ON THE REAR AXLE, THE BOLTS DROPPED OUT, I LOST 5 OF 6 COLLECTOR BOLTS AND 1 REAR MUFFLER BOLT. I MADE 3 TRIPS TO THE MUFFLER SHOP AND I THINK EVERYTHING IS GOOD NOW. THE SHOP WAS VERY HELPFUL AND DID NOT CHARGE ME FOR ANY CORRECTIONS.
THE OTHER NEW PROBLEM IS THAT I CAN NO LONGER GET MY JACK UNDER THE ELKY. SO I HAD TO BUY A LOW PROFILE RACING JACK. THE REAR OF THE CAR ALSO MADE IT REALLY HARD TO INSTALL THE REAR SWAY BAR KIT, SO I ENDED UP TAKING THE CAR INTO THE SHOP SO THEY COULD INSTALL IT. THE REASON FOR THIS DECISION IS THAT TO INSTALL THE SWAY BAR THE CAR NEEDS TO BE WEIGHTED. WITH THE CAR SITTING SO LOW I COULD NOT CRAWL UNDERNEATH AND SAFELY DRILL THE HOLES REQUIRED FOR THE SWAY BAR MOUNTS.
SO NOW THE CAR HAS WHOLE NEW SUSPENSION IN FRONT AND BACK WITH HELLWIG SWAY BARS, VARISHOCKS X4, NEW SPRINGS X4 AND A LOT MORE.
4. Replace blower motor and get the heater working again. THIS FAILED. I REPLACED THE BLOWER, BUT WHEN I CUT THE AC WIRES IT SOMEHOW AFFECTED THE POWER WIRES TO THE BLOWER. EVERYTHING IS IN THERE AND MOUNTED PROPERLY, IT IS JUST NOW GETTING POWER. SO I NEED OT KEEP WORKING ON THIS.
5. Paint the engine compartment interior with black paint. THAT WAS PRETTY EASY WHEN I HAD THE MOTOR APART AND THE INNER FENDERS WERE REMOVED.
6. Bed mat and tannuea cover. Does anyone sell these for the 70 Elky, I cannot seem to find one. NO PROGRESS ON THIS ONE.
7. Spray bed with bedliner material to include over the edge rails. SEE BELOW.
8. Paint job with glossy medium gray single color with black bumpers and trim. I have been talking to the wife and debating the past five years on paint color and overall look of the vehicle. I am a big fan of gray and I really love that new Toyota Truck medium gray color. I think this would look great with no chrome trim. The extra trim will be removed and any chrome trim I retain would be painted black. Not sure how to do this, so if anyone has ideas, that would be great. I will have the car painted, but I plan to do the trim work myself, most likely. If I could buy black chrome pieces, that would be awesome too. Any help here would be appreciated. THAT TOYOTA COLOR IS CALLED CEMENT. I LOVE IT! THIS PROJECT IS A GO. I DECIDED TO USE A LOCAL SHOP OVER GOING TO A PRIVATE PERSON THAT COULD DO IT FOR LESS MONEY. THERE ARE BENEFITS TO USING A PRO SHOP SO I THOUGHT IT WOULD BE WIRTH THE EXTRA COST. THIS SHOP WILL ALSO DO THE SPRAY-IN BEDLINER. I HAVE HAD SOME GOOD LUCK WITH PAINTING SOME CHROME ACCENT PIECES. THE SHOP WANTED TOO MUCH TO BLACKEN THE CHROME PIECES, SO I DECIDED TO BLACKEN SOME PIECES MYSELF AND RETAIN SOME OF THE CHROME TOO. I THINK IT WILL COME OUT NICELY.
HERE IS MY RECIPE FOR BLACKENING THE CHROME: RUB IT DOWN WITH 3M SCOTCH BRITE. THE SURFACE SHOULD BE SLIGHTLY DULL LOOKING AND WILL HAVE VISIBLE SURFACE SCRATCHES. THEN PAINT WITH ETCHING PRIMER. THIS WILL CREATE A GOOD BOND TO THE EXPOSED METAL AND FILL THE SCRATCHES. THEN I APPLIED 3 LIGHT COATS OF GLOSS BLACK.
9. Lee power steering box and pump with new hoses. I DECIDED TO GO ALL OUT HERE. I REPLACED ALL THE BUSHINGS AND STEERING COMPONENTS INCLUDING A NEW POWER STEERING PUMP AND LEE GEAR BOX. THIS LOOKS CLEAN AND NEW. THE CAR STEERS LIKE A MODERN CAR. VERY HAPPY WITH THESE CHOICES.
10. Sound system upgrade – YEAH, OF COURSE I TOOK CAR OF THIS BUT THERE IS MORE WORK TO DO. THE PAST 3 MONTHS HAS BEEN DEDICATED TO THE ENGINE AND SUSPENSION UPGRADES. SO I WILL REVISIT THIS TOPIC LATER.
Here are a few upcoming small projects:
1. New tires to be installed tomorrow. DT has always taken good care of me and they have earned my biz over the years. After several sets of wheels and about 10 tire packages for the 5 cars my wife and I own I made my first major purchase error. The Nitto 555 G2 tires were too small. I bought a staggered set 235/45R17 front and 275/40R17. The car dropped several inches between tires and 2" drop suspension. The right header is hanging 1.5" off the cement. No joke! I measured it again tonight. I already have some flattening of the collector collar from scrapes and the car only has about 15 miles on it since I left DT to try and get a wheel alignment, which could not be done. ALL THIS IS DIALED IN NOW.
2. Install mid-length Hedman Hedders. I will do a full write-up of this prep work very soon. I think this will take me the whole weekend to do, since there are a lot of steps and wait times. I should be able to knock out the air intake project while suffering through the time outs. THIS WAS FUN. I PAINTED THE HEDDERS THEN WRAPPED WITH TITANIUM WRAP THEN SPRAYED WITH SILICONE. THE LOOK GREAT AND GAVE ME THE GROUND CLEARANCE I NEEDED.
3. Change Air intake adapter and blacken the aluminum tube and heat shield. DONE. IMPORTANT NOTE. THE INTAKE DIAMETER IS 90MM (3.5”) BUT THIS IS ID NOT OD. SO YOU NEED A 4.25” TUBE ADAPTER HERE. I BOUGHT ONE FROM SUMMIT, DRILLED THE CAI TUBE FOR THE AIR SENSOR AND PAINTED IT ALL BLACK. LOOKS NICE AND SOUNDS GREAT.
Here are some future projects:
4. Blacken the MSD 6AL box, distributor cap, and Blaster 2 coil. NOT DONE YET.
5. Rear Baer disc brake conversion, not decided on model yet. STILL UNDECIDED AND NOT DONE YET.
6. SC&C basic bracing package. NOT YET.
7. Detroit Speed selecta-speed wiper motor. NOPE.
8. Billet Headlight switch. NOPE
9. Lokar engine and tranny dipsticks. I HAVE THE ENGINE DIPSTICK ON ORDER. THE ORIGINAL DOES NOT FIT WELL AND WITH THE PLUG WIRE HOLDERS THE TUBE STICKS OUT TOO FAR AND LOOKS FUNNY. I AM HOPING THE FLEXIBLE LOKAR DIPSTICK CAN BE MOUNTED TO THE UNDERSIDE OF THE WIRE HOLDER AND LOOK NICE.
10. Paint and body - Soft gray color with all trim, badges and logos removed. OH YEAH, IT THE CAR IS GOING IN FOR PAINT ON OCT 2 AND SHOULD BE BACK BY THE END OF OCTOBER.
11. Powder coat black all the current chrome trim. I PAINTED THE GRILLE BLACK AND THE HEADLIGHT BEZELS. IT IS LOOKNG GOOD, BUT WILL END UP WITH A BLEND OF BLACKENED PARTS AND SOME CHROME. I WILL STILL REMOVE AS MUCH TRIM AS POSSIBLE, BUT THE BLEND SHOULD LOOK NICE. THE PIECES I PLAN TO LEAVE CHROME ARE THE WINDOW FRAMES AND OTHER SKINNY LONG PIECES THAT WILL BE MORE DIFFICULT TO TREAT AND PAINT.
IN THE PAST FEW WEEKS THE CAR IS RUNNING PERFECTLY! I BOLTED ON THE EDELBROCK AND SPENT 20 MINUTES ON THE PHONE WITH PETER FROM EDELBROCK. HE RAN ME THROUGH SOME SETTINGS AND TOLD ME TO JUST DRIVE THE CAR. I HAVE PUT ABOUT 500 MILES ON THE CAR AND IT HAS NEVER STALLED. I CAN ALSO START THE CAR FROM COLD WITHOUT GIVING ANY GAS. IT IS ALL I HOPED FOR AND I AM TRUSTING THE CAR ONCE AGAIN. I HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO DO THIS WITH THE FITECH IN THE PAST THREE YEARS.
THE OTHER ADD-ON PROJECT IS DIODE DYNAMICS HALOS ON THE AFTERMARKET HID HEADLIGHTS. I AM REALLY LVING THE LOOK, BUT I HAD A BAD HALO RING SO I DD IS HOOKING ME UP WITH A REPLACEMENT AND I HOPE TO DO A FULL WRITE-UP NEXT WEEK. THESE HALOS HAVE 100% POWER FOR DRL, 50% POWER WITH HEADLIGHTS ON AND I MADE THE LOW BEAMS SWITCHBACK. THAT MEANS THEY WILL FLASH WITH THE BLINKERS. SINCE 2 HALOS ARE DOWN, I WAS ABLE TO HOOK UP THE HI BEAMS WITH THE HALOS AND SWITCHBACK AND THEY LOOK REALLY COOL. I HAVE 2 PICS TO SHARE AND WILL SHARE MORE LATER ON. I AM LOVING THE LOOK OF THESE SO MUCH THAT I DECIDED TO BUY A WHOLE DD EXTERIOR LIGHTING PACKAGE. SO THAT SHOULD BE INSTALLED SHORTLY TOO. THAT PACKAGE INCLUDES PLUG-N-PLAY LEDS FOR FRONT/REAR BRAKE/BLINKERS, FRONT/REAR RUNNING LIGHTS, LICENSE PLATE, REVERSE. I AM HOPING TO GET THE MORE MODERN BRIGHT LOOK. RIGHT NOW THE LIGHTS ARE ALL DIM AND YELLO EVEN BEHIND THE COLORED LENSES. NO PIC OF THE SWITCHBACKS.
140 DD Halo Install-1
140 DD Halo Install-2
That is it for now. Let me know what you think. I am really excited for the paint. After that all the projects will be small in price and work.