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Dusterbd13-michael
Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
6/1/24 1:50 p.m.

Standsrd gm ugly frame welding. Never really got any better (at least by the end of gmt400)

budget_bandit
budget_bandit Reader
6/1/24 2:16 p.m.

In reply to peanutpckrupper :

I'm no welding inspector, but I think they are structurally adequate, just not beautiful. I'm slathering it all with black paint anyways so it's about to look way better

budget_bandit
budget_bandit Reader
6/1/24 4:17 p.m.

Stripped the subframe off yesterday, used the wire wheel on the angle grinder. Didn't attempt to take it all the way to bare metal, but some places I did just getting off the previous paint.

Put 2 coats of Chassis Saver gloss black on the bottom/sides. This stuff goes on weird, it feels thick on the brush but it runs like it's much thinner so I have some globs in a few spots. But it cures up almost like a ceramic coating, keeps the gloss and looks really good. I didn't do the best job with it, but it will be 1000000x better than before.

I'll let this all cure up overnight, and then turn it over and get 2 coats on the top.

03Panther
03Panther PowerDork
6/1/24 6:03 p.m.
budget_bandit said:

In reply to peanutpckrupper :

I'm no welding inspector, but I think they are structurally adequate, just not beautiful. I'm slathering it all with black paint anyways so it's about to look way better

I was a CWI (Submarine new construction for 5 1/2 years. Our standards would have put GM in bankruptcy 30 years before our taxes helped them pass off inferior construction. 
But, although it wouldn't pass nuclear standards, it'll hold the relatively light stresses of a car frame!!!

And, it's better than could do blush

03Panther
03Panther PowerDork
6/1/24 6:05 p.m.

In reply to budget_bandit :

Man, that black REALLY looks good!

budget_bandit
budget_bandit Reader
6/3/24 8:28 p.m.

subframe is painted. Not perfect, but plenty good enough for who it's for. On to the last piece of floorpan repair

budget_bandit
budget_bandit Reader
6/7/24 2:25 p.m.

Now that the subframe is painted, it's time to think about the front suspension. I ordered a set of eBay control arms for $200 instead of buying bushings/ball joints to rebuild the stock ones. The new arms add i think 4deg of castet which should be a nice improvement as well.


I also copied the Speedway disc brake kit with (better quality) RockAuto parts for $300 because I refuse to deal with front drum brakes. Also got a set of front springs and shocks coming for another $100. 
 

So, a total revamp with all new parts for ~$600? I figure that's not too bad.

03Panther
03Panther PowerDork
6/7/24 2:49 p.m.

In reply to budget_bandit :

That's gonna look fantastic. Lotta good stuff for the price. 

budget_bandit
budget_bandit Reader
6/13/24 8:42 p.m.

Got the front knuckles/brakes all stripped down and taken apart so that i can paint then tomorrow (the spindles and steering arms will be retained with the disk brake kit). Gosh i hate drum brakes, i'm so glad i'm getting rid of those lol

Noddaz
Noddaz PowerDork
6/14/24 7:21 a.m.

Maybe a steering box upgrade while you are there?  WS6 box from a Trans Am if you can find one.

Dusterbd13-michael
Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
6/14/24 7:32 a.m.

Does the jeep grand Cherokee box swap do nova like chevelle?

budget_bandit
budget_bandit Reader
6/14/24 8:02 a.m.

i've thought about a box swap. the one that came on the car is not original, and I haven't checked the numbers on it to see what it came out of.

AFAIK, all the GM boxes will mount in place of another, you may have an extra bolt hole on the box (some frames have 3 mounting holes like this one) and there is obviously some differences in Pitman arms between them.  So if cherokee boxes work on a chevelle i think they would work here. I dont know about those boxes, i will do some googling.

Long term, i want to try to put a rack and pinion on this car, i have an irrational hatred for these gearbox/swingset steering system that GM was in love with for so long.

budget_bandit
budget_bandit Reader
6/15/24 2:49 p.m.

spindles, steering arms, motor mount pedestals, and body mount spacers painted.

budget_bandit
budget_bandit Reader
6/22/24 9:44 a.m.

Engine acquired! 2004 5.3 from an Avalanche. Seems to be totally complete minus the starter, which means there are a few things I can sell to recoup some of the $600 i gave. Plus, i combined the hour trip with a visit with my sister/BIL so a good way to spend a Saturday morning.

budget_bandit
budget_bandit Reader
6/23/24 9:34 a.m.

I acquired a transmission this morning, a T45 5 speed from a 2000 mustang. This should be plenty strong enough for a 300hp 5.3 in a light car (that i won't be abusing), and i only paid $300 for it. Plan is to make/have made an adapter for the bellhousing, and run a combo of LS flywheel and ford clutch disc to make it all work.

madmrak351
madmrak351 HalfDork
6/23/24 1:18 p.m.

Great work! Found this thread yesterday and read it all. I will be following! You have accomplished a lot in a relatively short time frame period. Glad to see you have found an engine. The T5 should hold up with a little mechanical sympathy during use. Surprised that you didn't consider the AR5.

budget_bandit
budget_bandit Reader
6/23/24 2:09 p.m.

In reply to madmrak351 :

Not a T-5, a T-45. Better/stronger than a T-5 (though not a ton).

I did consider an AR-5, but that's a pricey package after adapter/flywheel/clutch combo, and transmissions alone are ~$800 in my area. I will hopefully spend about that much on my whole setup

Dusterbd13-michael
Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
6/23/24 5:22 p.m.

Man, im definitely interested in all the details on the t45 swap. This may be a long term solution for the naskart 

budget_bandit
budget_bandit Reader
6/23/24 7:13 p.m.

In reply to Dusterbd13-michael :

I hope it works like I think it will. I have access to CAD software at work, so I've designed an adapter plate with both the LS and modular bolt patterns, that was the easy part.

The hard part is, none of the manufacturers will tell me how thick their clutch disks are, or where the friction material is in relation to the hub. Figuring out the clutch and throwout bearing is the last part

RacetruckRon
RacetruckRon SuperDork
6/23/24 10:43 p.m.

I haven't been reading along in your main thread as much as I'd like. Good score on the 5.3! Very interested to see how the T45 works out. The biggest question I have on the T45 is how big is the stock flywheel for the mod motor it was attached to? Something to think about if you can do a perimeter style adapter plate and fit a standard LS7 style flywheel/pressure plate in the bellhousing or if you'll need to do Fabbot/Collins style adapter to replace the input shaft cover and run a LS bellhousing. 
 

For clutch disk information try Rockauto for OE sizing and if that fails you and you need a specific thickness, diameter and spline call up Brandin at California Clutch. He loves the crazy mismatch swaps like this and helped me out a ton with my CD009 clutch last summer. https://californiaclutch.com/

03Panther
03Panther PowerDork
6/23/24 11:50 p.m.

I've been reading up a bit on adapters a bit... first I've EVER heard of a mod motor bell to gm engine!!!

I have a 390FE/C6 combo (to go in something, someday) that needs a  OD stick, so I look time to time. Have access to a T45, but no CNC, and adapters cost more than I have in ALL of my "one day" engines collected over the years!

From what I've read, there is one stock T5 as strong as T45, but the T5 can be made stronger with aftermarket, and not much aftermarket for the T45. 
And (unsolicited advice, so you may have discounted the plan already) : Sell the T45, for a GM 4500. Or it's little brother may be as strong as the T45 (and that I don't really know.)

Thats just from reading online, so, grain of salt, and all that. 

budget_bandit
budget_bandit Reader
6/24/24 9:37 a.m.

In reply to RacetruckRon :

i appreciate the reference! i'll give him a call.

My research says that the T-45 came with both 10.5" and 11" clutches, so i'm optimistic that i can use a perimeter adapter. An input shaft adapter would be much harder, as the front cover is integrated into the bellhousing.

AxeHealey
AxeHealey SuperDork
6/24/24 11:27 a.m.

Awesome progress. Keep powering on!

madmrak351
madmrak351 HalfDork
6/25/24 2:34 p.m.

In reply to budget_bandit :

Sorry my Ford knowledge wouldn't fill a thimble, lol. Wow,  I knew that AR5 values had escalated but did not realize that they are that high! 

Shavarsh
Shavarsh Dork
6/25/24 2:55 p.m.

Raaaad. Also love the t-top third gen parts hauler!

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