Got a solid few days of work in over the last week. Much progress and close to seeing the light at the end of the tunnel...
Got the brake booster mounted! This involved some creative thinking to 'shorten' it as stock, it includes a 3+" firewall spacer spool. I simply unbolted that and it started looking a lot more manageable...
I took off the stock manual master cylinder and drilled a 2-2.5" hole with a bimetal hole saw to fit the snout end of the booster, I was able to re-use 2 holes and drill 2 new ones for the 4 hole pattern of the booster.
It mounted up nice - with good clearance all around. Keep in mind this is 100% custom mounting so I got lucky lol.
Steering column clearance
Wiper motor clearance
Inside the cab I re-used part of the spacer spool I removed to hold the booster in. This was about a .75" slice of the whole spool.
And with the brake pedal box reinstalled - it does sorta line up!
The brake pedal box uses the stock steering column side mounts but I drilled new mounts about 2" higher on the firewall side. The steering column holes are slots - so I have enough wiggle room to do this new mount style on the fire wall. This higher mount position on the firewall does 2 things - I now have more effective travel distance on pedal where the booster rod will attach. I also moved the pedal about 3" closer to the driver so I can move it away from the firewall - I had to do this because with the spacer spool removed from the F250 vacuum booster - it had a protruding cylinder about 2" inside the cab that I cannot get rid of - so I needed to move the pedal at least 2" further away.
Now onto the topic of gas pedals and LS swaps... I chose to do drive by wire to keep the LS swap cost down. I got a truck pedal (03-05 GM Truck is compatible with my motor/computer I have) and mounted it up to the fire wall. Well that doesn't look right!!
Totally wrong side to swing to. A few snips and tack welds later and we're back in the game. Not pictured - but I finish welded all the cut joints so it's strong as stock now. I have the pedal about 5" on center offset from the brake. In trucks this spacing is typically farther than your common sports car pedal set. I also have the gas pedal about just slightly behind the brake pedal from a "easiest to hit by accident with your foot" perspective. This is safety and personal preference oriented.
The clutch master cylinder will come soon - I have rough fitted it and have determined that both the clutch and brake will need new pedal pivot points created - so to accomplish this I am using ball end joints (picture lower down).
Steering is the next big hurdle. I purchased a dodge ram 08+ steering box as mentioned in an earlier post - that arrived last week and here is a comparison to the standard puny Saginaw 800 series - it's basically the Texas of steering boxes...
With power steering box in hand, I started prepping the front end immediately. To start I had to shave the front leaf shackles and get a proper cross member in place (2" x 4" x 3/16" wall).
Front end about to be chopped.
After I cut through once side of the front end - it sprung in about 1". I took out a hi-jack and pushed it out back into place and did what I should've done in the first place - welded a temporary brace in place.
I then traveled down the long road of custom fitting a completely new steering box to a virgin frame (Something I have zero experience doing). Here is the end result.
This allowed me to really start to look at the steering shaft to column mate. I managed to take the stock dodge drive shaft and flip it around (both ends are 3/4" DD style joints) and it fits PERFECTLY! Caught a break finally haha.
The stock steering column has a 3/4" round shaft with hole, the dodge has a 3/4" "Double D".
I am going to make the stock column into a "Double D" (thanks to a grinder and some patience) and use an off-the-shelf steering u-joint like seen below. Also pictured are the ball ends I'll be using to attach the stock pedals to the new brake booster and clutch master cylinder.
The other end of the steering project is the Super Duty Dana 60 knuckles - specifically modifying them for hi-steer capability. To do this, the first step is to drill out the steering ball joint tabs to accept a 1" bolt. This takes time - about 1 hour per side if using harbor freight drill bits, good cutting oil and a hand drill!
Then you have to weld on high steer tabs - here they are mocked up:
And the finished product - not pictured is heating up the knuckles to 500*F with a weed burning torch to allow the welding to take place much easier.
Steering (drag link and tie rod) is on the schedule for this week.
Onto the back end of things... specifically Bobbing and the process of such. First you must determine bob length - I'm going for 12". Next you must shorten frame. Onto that...
The frame and the new rear cross member material - meeting each other for the first time.
The portaband - honestly a cut off wheel is much quicker and just as precise if the holder is capable. I used a 4-1/2" cut off for the front.
Portaband V. Frame was not a fair match...
The new rear cross member in place - ready for the final weld.
With the frame shortened - I was now ready to put the 1970 Camaro tank in it's resting place. This is an EFI ready, 20 gallon conversion tank sold by Tanks Inc. The tank has a length of 20" and width of 39.25" - the frame back end now had an opening of 39.75" wide and 24" length from round cross member to rear - this was a calculated design and the tank took hours of research to settle on - I'm happy with the results - as seen below...
And thus concludes a good solid week of work on this beast of a project. Hoping to have steering tidied up next week and finish up the pedal controls so they will work. I have the gas tank straps and some hardware to make it all work - just need to drill a few holes and maybe fab up some brackets. #Custom