Ragan's '59 El Camino Rebuild Project

303Radar

Well Known Member
Supporting Member 2
#1
I've been posting for a while with different problems and ideas that I want to do and thought it was time for a build thread.

Generally speaking, I want to keep the body stock and save the modifications for the drive train and suspension.

Kind of wish I'd taken a picture before I started taking the car apart, but no matter, I've got pictures a plenty to post of work in progress.

At a high level, I'm rebuilding the 348 as a 431. I'm fuel injecting it and strongly leaning towards a ProCharger for forced induction. I don't need a lot of high end power, I just want a little help off the line. :roll

I'm putting a Jag Independent Rear suspension. I'm looking for ride comfort and corner hugging.

I'll probably be using a 4L80 transmission since the brain box for the Fuel Injection can control any of the GM electronic transmissions.

Since I'm going with Mike's big ass brake kit, I'll be going 18 inch rims. I haven't decided on which rim/tire combo yet, but I'll post pics when I pick some out.

Hope this is a good read and hopefully this turns out as well as I want. :clap
 
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303Radar

Well Known Member
Supporting Member 2
#3
I got my frame back last week from a fab/body shop. I had them put in the cross member for the Jag rear and finish welding the seams on the frame. In one way, I took it to the wrong shop. He takes a lot of pride in his work and ensures his work reflects well on himself. On the upside, he only charged me for 70 hours of work, rather than nearly 100 hours he actually put into the frame.
I'd absolutely take a project back to him, I just wan't prepared for the effort he put into the frame.
Here are picture of the frame and the Jag rear installed:
IMG_20141004_131128_648.jpg IMG_20141004_131213_560.jpg IMG_20141004_131232_877.jpg IMG_20141004_131204_489.jpg IMG_20141004_131253_981.jpg IMG_20141004_131327_404.jpg IMG_20141004_131304_302.jpg IMG_20141004_131417_984.jpg IMG_20141004_131401_840.jpg
 

303Radar

Well Known Member
Supporting Member 2
#4
One problem he ran into, was someone hit the front cross member and bent the snot out of it. He cut the cross member off, un-bent it, un-bent the front of the cross member, and welded it back in.
I don't think the pictures show this very well, but the front drivers side of the frame is nearly a half inch higher than the passenger side. The frame was welded to a table to prevent this but it still happened.
I think before I have it powder coated, I'll take it to a frame specialist and have them level it back out.
 

62impala409

 
Supporting Member 1
#5
I did extensive welding on my Skylark convertible frame and warped the hell out of it too. No problem. I took it to a body shop with a frame rack and they pulled it back into spec for 2 hours labor. Leo
 
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303Radar

Well Known Member
Supporting Member 2
#12
Looking for some input on the mounting the coil packs. I've had suggestions to mount them on the firewall or fender well. However, I'm hell bent on keeping them close to the plugs. I had a shop use some sheet metal to mock up possible mounts for the coil packs using the head bolts. Here are the mock ups.
Option 1
IMG_20141117_162813_973.jpg


IMG_20141117_162803_220.jpg
Option 2:
IMG_20141117_163224_223.jpg

I'm kind of leaning to option 2, having the coil packs angled a little bit more to reflect the valve layout.

The mock up is in sheet metal but the fab guy and I are think .08 aluminum will do the job nicely.
Any other ideas?:dunno
Thanks!
 

Jim Sullivan

Well Known Member
Supporting Member 9
#13
I would think both coil mounts would hold alot of heat as they sit just above the exhaust manifold. An inner fender mount would be better for heat control. The best mounting in my opinion would be a mount on top of the valve cover, but then you hide the valve cover. How about a valve cover shaped plate the uses the valve cover hold down bolts for mounting? Or amount like in your option 2, but mounted up higher with an extra aluminum plate under it for a heat shield?:dunno:scratch

Or a combination of both mounts using mount 2 as the heat shield for mount 1?
 

Jim Sullivan

Well Known Member
Supporting Member 9
#14
I keep getting some strange sh&t running through my mind about you coil mounts. Are you going to be using a custom air cleaner? How about brackets up by or incorporated into the air cleaner, cooler location(temperature wise) . I wish I could put the strange visions in my head onto the site(scary thoughts):crazy
 

303Radar

Well Known Member
Supporting Member 2
#15
I keep getting some strange sh&t running through my mind about you coil mounts. Are you going to be using a custom air cleaner? How about brackets up by or incorporated into the air cleaner, cooler location(temperature wise) . I wish I could put the strange visions in my head onto the site(scary thoughts):crazy
Jim - Thanks for the input. Regarding the air cleaner, I'll be running a Pro-Charger as forced induction. So there will be a bonnet feeding the air into the throttle body. Nothing to hang off of there.
I'm trying like crazy to keep the valve covers unobstructed.

I'm not too concerned about the heat generated by the coil packs but I will keep and eye on the exhaust. It's hard to see in option 2, but the mount is angled up, roughly 30 degrees. This should put 3 - 4 inches of spacing between the exhaust and the mount.

I had thought at one point to mount on the exhaust, but that definitely would transfer heat directly.
 

Jim Sullivan

Well Known Member
Supporting Member 9
#16
I wouldn't want to cover up the valve covers either, as they are the reason to use the engine.

Another concern I would have is using the head bolts to hold an aluminum bracket. I would worry about the aluminum being soft and possibly the head bolts loosening up? Unless you are using studs and can use a second nut to hold the bracket. Just thinking out loud.

If heat is not a concern, your bracket choice may be decided by steering shaft, master cylinder/ brake booster clearance.

How is the spark plug access with coil mount #1?
 

63 dream'n

Well Known Member
Supporting Member 3
#17
I like your option 1,but your mounts (I know it's just mock up) should follow the contour of the valve cover as to not form the negative space between the Valve cover and the coil mount.I hope you don't mind my suggestion,I think it would be more aesthetically pleasing.I took the liberty of throwing together a rough sketch,proportions and scale are not correct and shapes are ambiguous,but you can see what I'm getting at.and the shape of the bonnet also would help suggest what styling you'd use. IMAG0961.jpg IMAG0962.jpg
 
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61BUBBLE348

Well Known Member
Supporting Member 9
#18
Ragan, a dumb question on my behalf, has your chassis guy successfully modified frames with Jag rears before.

The reason I ask, I am not a chassis builder and I am more than willing to be proven wrong, I was of the understanding that a Jag rear worked well when the trailing arms/links were as long as original and went forward of the differential not back. Enlightenment on your rear set up would be interesting.
 

303Radar

Well Known Member
Supporting Member 2
#19
I wouldn't want to cover up the valve covers either, as they are the reason to use the engine.

Another concern I would have is using the head bolts to hold an aluminum bracket. I would worry about the aluminum being soft and possibly the head bolts loosening up? Unless you are using studs and can use a second nut to hold the bracket. Just thinking out loud.

If heat is not a concern, your bracket choice may be decided by steering shaft, master cylinder/ brake booster clearance.

How is the spark plug access with coil mount #1?
Plug access with mount 1 is a concern. I think accessing the plugs might require removing the coil pack and having an access hole behind the coil pack. I think the angle of the plugs would make this difficult.

I'm definitely using studs to mount the heads. Ideally, it would be nice to not have to remove the bracket to access the plugs. I don't know how much longer of a stud is needed, but I'm sure ARP probably has something that can be used.
 

303Radar

Well Known Member
Supporting Member 2
#20
I like your option 1,but your mounts (I know it's just mock up) should follow the contour of the valve cover as to not form the negative space between the Valve cover and the coil mount.I hope you don't mind my suggestion,I think it would be more aesthetically pleasing.I took the liberty of throwing together a rough sketch,proportions and scale are not correct and shapes are ambiguous,but you can see what I'm getting at.and the shape of the bonnet also would help suggest what styling you'd use. View attachment 30359 View attachment 30360
Thanks for putting together a rough sketch, filling in the void looks sharp.
I don't mind the suggestion at all. I do appreciate the time it takes, even for a rough sketch and doing the upload. The sketch is worth a thousand words.

I'd have to play with it to check on plug accessibility. I'm going to print the drawings out and have my guy take a look.
 
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