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01-21-2012 08:59 PM Building a 1937 Chevrolet four door
I'm about to embark on the task of building a family car for my wife. It's a 1937 4 door. We got the car from a great family in Kentucky. The lady's father had owned the car since the 50s, and he had bought it from an older lady that was the original owner. She had sold the car to him when her garage began to fall down and she felt she needed to get rid of the car inside.
My wife, April, and I purchased the car with the insurance money we got from when she had totaled her previous car. She rolled it, but fortunately the Lord was looking out for her and she was not hurt. She said she had always loved the cars from the 30s and 40s and after walking through many car shows she decided she liked the looks of the 37 Chevrolet the best. This was a great thing for me, because I had almost bought a '37 once myself. She wanted a 4 door to have as a family car. It's our intention to make the car as safe and reliable as possible while still maintaining as much of the original look and feel of the car as possible. I have never built a car like this before. Most of what I have worked on are stock, original cars, so this will be a learning experience for me.

Here are some pictures of the day we bought the car.

Here's April with her new purchase


Here we are loading the car up




Here we are with the previous owners



Here's some pictures of the car where in the garage it had sat in for years









If you look close you can see the original cigar lighter. It's near the steering wheel with the red light near it.


Gotta get the ramps just right




  [Entry #56]

01-21-2012 09:07 PM Time for a nap
I don't have room in my garage just yet to work on April's car. She hasn't come up with a name for it yet, so I'll just call it April's car. I have a '31 Chevy and a '57 Chevy that need a little work before I can move them out. I hope to have them both done within the week. Until then, April's car will have to take a little nap in the barn at my dad's place.

We had to push it in there with a tractor. One inch longer and it wouldn't have fit!!



  [Entry #55]

01-21-2012 09:14 PM Bringing home the bacon
We went to pick up April's engine today. It was about 3 1/2 hours away. It's a 5.3 LS motor and transmission from a truck. The engine has 61K miles on it. The transmission was supposed to be from the same truck but upon inspection the guy getting the motor for me realized the bellhousing had a crack so he found another transmission. This transmission, a 4L60E, only has 30,000 miles on it. It came with everything except the compressor, but that's OK because I'll be running a Vintage Air unit later. It has a harness and a PCM with it as well.

It was a PAIN to get into the garage. Luckily my friend Nick went on the trip to get it and was there to help April and me unload it.





That carpet was a huge pain to work around.


Finally got her squeezed in there


I'm not looking forward to a week of having to walk around this thing


And as you can see, PLENTY of room to spare




  [Entry #54]

01-21-2012 09:32 PM Setback
Well, the '31 is all but finished and ready to move out, except for a slight overheating problem with I HOPE is a stretched belt. This is what was wrong with it. Someone had LEFT OUT THE OIL RETURN LINE AND TUBES that drains the oil from the rocker shaft overflow back to the oil pan. I suppose it was just blowing all over the rockers and then when finally draining down just piling up at the bottom of the sidepan gasket. Here's a picture and I drew in red where the missing tube should be (people kill me):



The '57 SHOULD BE ready to get out of the garage. I bought a factory 3 speed overdrive transmission to replace my original 3 speed. The car is an original 235 6 cylinder 3 speed. I'm the 2nd owner, having bought it from an older lady who's father bought it for her brand new. Spare me the "put a v8 in it, man!" comments, because I've had my fair share and they're not changing my mind.
While I had the trans out anyway, I was going to fix my rear main seal leak, which had been there since I had the engine professionally rebuilt. I know these cars always have a leak, but this one was causing some pretty severe clutch shudder. I had some problems with the engine so I finally gave up and had a machine shop rebuild it. When I tore into the rear main seal, this is what I found:



If you notice, the copper shim is BETWEEN THE UPPER AND LOWER rear main seal! Really?? Who would possibly think that would seal, and in case you didn't notice, my bearings, which don't have 5K miles on them, are eat up. I can't buy one bearing by itself, so I've had to order a whole new set of bearings (over $120) and now I'm going to have to individually shim each new bearing. As long as I have a new set, and this bearing looks this bad, I'd be stupid not to check and replace them all. The problem is every bearing is a different size on a Chevy 235 in these years. I know, the humanity!! So, I'm going to have to go through and measure and shim each bearing. I'm not sure how to do that yet, but I bet I'm going to learn. Apparently there's a better way to do it now than plastiguage. I hope it doesn't involve dropping the crank, but I suppose if I already have to take all the bearings out anyway, it won't be that much bigger of a deal. Anyway, this is probably going to put me about a week behind schedule for getting AprilMay's car in here and beginning to tear it apart.

I also really need a throttle rod for the 235 six cylinder that would have the tab for the overdrive trans on it. This tab engages the kickdown switch. I also need the simple bracket that mounts the kickdown switch to the 1 barrel carb. If anyone knows where to get one, let me know.

This setback was super frustrating because if both cars had been fixed by now (which they SHOULD have been) then I could have EASILY rolled that engine into the garage on the bare concrete side and had PLENTY of room to store it.

About the '37: Since I already plan to have the entire drivetrain out from under the car and the whole interior is going to have to come out I figure it would be easier to just set the body off to the side and build the car with the body off. That will make plumbing the brakes, fuel lines, gas tank and everything else so much easier. Since I'll end up with just the frame, I'm going to have it powder coated. We intend to keep this car for a long time, so I hope this will add a lot of protection from the elements.

I'm going to run a Chassis Engineering independent front suspension setup (http://www.chassisengineeringinc.com/). It's completely bolt on. We intend to use all bolt on equipment as much as possible. In future years, we may want to return this car to original because that's kind of our thing, so I'm keeping that possibility open.

I intend to use a Ford 8.8 rear end from an explorer. 1995-2001 to get the disc brakes in the rear. Unfortunately, they didn't make a 3.08 in those years, so I'll have to go with a 3.27 rear end. If this doesn't give us the good highway mileage we want, I may later switch in some 3.08 gears. I'm going to use the Chassis Engineering bolt on rear end kit.

For brakes, I intend to mount the master cylinder under the floorboard on the frame like most people do. I haven't decided which kit to go with for that. I also haven't decided which company to get a radiator from or to convert the original gauge cluster to work with the late model PCM and harness. I suspect that will be one thing that will eat up our budget.

Eventually, I hope to get some reproduction 8 inch artillery wheels with some white wall tires for that original look but modern performance.

I'll be running a vintage air unit for heat and air and try to hide it as much as possible.

All the bodywork and paint will be down the road after we are able to finish the car, get it driveable and then save up for the paint and bodywork.








  [Entry #53]

01-29-2012 09:34 PM Adding to the inventory
Last week I finally ordered some of the more critical parts to get the project going, even though I haven't been able to get it over here in my garage to start disassembling it. I've had some set backs with the engine in my '57 which has prevented me from getting it out of the garage, but I'll get to that later.

I called up Chassis Engineering to order a bunch of parts but they don't offer free shipping. They said it's because they don't want to undercut their vendors, which makes sense, so I went to Ebay and found a company called JPL street rods. They sell Chassis Engineering (C.E.) parts and offer free shipping. They also included a free front sway bar and stainless steel brake hoses with their kit, plus $100 dollars off if you purchase their rear end mounting kit, which I was going to do anyway, so that worked out.

From JPL, I got the following C.E. parts:
* Mustang II hub to hub from suspension. The C.E. Mustang II front end is sold in two parts, the crossmember and everything else to go with it. JPL combines all the parts in a package they call a hub to hub kit and includes everything from shocks to brake roters and A-arms. I went with the standard ride height spindles because the customer service guy told me that their stock height spindle would still lower the car 2 inches and the 2 inch drop spindle would lower it so low it would be difficult for daily use. I'm hoping it's not too low with the "stock" height spindles, but I guess we'll find out.
* Rear leaf spring mounting kit with perches. The perches were an extra 15 dollars a piece, which is cheaper than you can buy them separately, so I went ahead and got them. I'm going to be using a Ford Explorer 8.8 rear end (approx. 59" wide, a perfect fit) from 1995-2001. These year rear ends come with disc brakes and are 32 spline rather than 28, which makes them plenty strong. I was hoping to find a 3.08 gear ratio but I found that this ratio was only offered in the earlier, pre-95 models. Because the 8.8 has tapered axle housings I'm going to have to do some modification to the perches to make them fit correctly. I'm not sure how that's going to work out but I suppose it will be another one of those bridges that will have to be crossed when I get there. At this point, I'm 90% sure that they have tapered housings. I'll find out soon enough. Either way, I'm going with this rear end because they are extremely plentiful, very strong, cheap and a near perfect fit.
* Power brake booster (7") and power brake master cylinder with pedal arm and frame mounting kit. Because there is little room under the hood of the '37 Chevies, this kit will allow the master cylinder to be located under the driver floorboard and will have a pedal arm that simply bends at a greater than 90 degree angle and comes up through the floorboard just as the original did.
* Two residual valves for the brake lines. When you mount your master cylinder low on the car as this one will be in relation to where the brake calipers will be, you need residual valves to keep the fluid from running back. This will ensure the brakes function properly at all times. Each line, the front brakes and the rear brakes, will have their own respective valve.
* Power steering flow valve. I have found from others' experience that a stock GM power steering pump puts out more psi than the rack and pinion is designed to handle. This can make the car flighty or jerky at higher speeds, so this valve will ensure the proper psi at all times allowing for safer, better feeling steering and be safer for the rack and pinion and now blow it out.

From a company called Street and Performance I got the following:
* I found a kit that allows the LS motor to be mounted to the C.E. crossmember. The C.E. kit is designed to handle a typical small block Chevy, and that makes sense because the vast majority of people who build '37 Chevies put a sbc in there. This is a pretty basic kit that will bolt between the cradle of the C.E. mounts and the LS motor and allow them all to bolt together with no welding or fabrication.

I don't have any pictures to share because I haven't made any physical progress yet that's visible, so I'll just post some pictures of a side project I've been working on. It's an air cleaner for my '57 Chevrolet. The original, non-oil bath style cleaners had a wire mesh air filter which resembled steel wool. As it ages it falls apart and it doesn't do as good of a job as the paper filter anyway. They don't make a paper filter that has a height small enough to fit into the filter housing so I got one on ebay and have cut it up and started my first welding project. I cut between 2-3 inches out of it, put it all back together, used some body filler to smooth it out and hopefully soon I'll paint it and see how bad it looks. A side note: I bought this, made all the measurements, cut it up and was ready to go and realized I'd bought a 1955-56 air filter, not a '57. 55-56 mount with a clamp around the top of the 1 barrel carb. '57 has a screw and wingnut that goes through the top into the carburetor. So, since I'd already cut it up I decided to go ahead and finish it as practice for a '57 one and hopefully can sell it to someone and get my money back. Noticed I shortened what I call the "velocity stack" inside the canister and put it back in relation to the top of the lid as it was before. I also sprayed the interior with weld through primer to protect it from condensation. The only brand available here at Carquest was 3M and it's about 30 dollars a can, so I try to go as far with it as I can. This is 24 gauge steel, so it's VERY difficult to work with. I recently acquired a Lincoln SP250 mig wilder from an estate sale. I finally have gone down to .23 wire and it's still very difficult not to burn through but still get good penetration.



















  [Entry #52]

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