One important note on the luggage rack. I needed to be sure that the rack was plenty visible while traveling. When I installed the dash indicator lights, I began to consider the use of LED's for my lighting projects. Shopping one day I found some LED's mounted on a piece of plastic tape. They were called LED Strips by the manufacturer "Linrose". The lights are in sets consisting of two LED's, and one resister mounted on thick plastic tape, with the circuit trace etched on the backside, under the adhesive. Each pair of lghts is wired in parrallel with the next set on the tape. One is able to use two lights, two hundred lights, or more, depending on the need. The light strips are very adaptable to different situations, easy to install, very bright, and emit no heat.
I used two strips of six lights, mounted in a piece of aluminum channel, with the ends soldered closed. They are mounted on plastic sheet for insulation. They use very little current, so wiring them up requires using small, 20awg, or less wiring. A very interesting side note, is the fact that they run on 12 volts, or more, and DO NOT illuminate with any thing less.So far I've found them available in red, green, yellow, white, and blue light colors.
I have recently had a need to use the space around the car for increased storage. So I built a luggage rack of sorts to carry any additional loads. This will alleviate crowding cargo inside the car, or on the pickup bed cover. The rack was made out of 1-1/2" square tube on the main braces, and 1" tube on the surround. 1/4" round rod made a nice base to secure cargo with cords, or straps. It plugs into two larger squares, on the rear crossmember. And I am able to remove it fairly easily, when necessary. It is 2'x3', and has held a large suitcase, ice chest, and assorted cargo. I recently went to California, and Nevada for shows, with no problems whatsoever.
I've been rather busy driving the car lately. Im close to 30k miles so far. Its not too hard cruising in the southwest desert, year round.
Never a dull moment, when dealing with a street driven hot rod. I noticed that the ends of the shock lever pivot rod were starting to rust. So I picked up a SS all-thread from my favorite nuts, and bolts store. When removing the rod, I found that the original brass bushing I used was almost completely worn through. So in addition to the rod, I would need to make new pivot bearings.
I purchased some sealed 5/8"x 1-1/8" ball bearings, with a snap ring groove on the OD. After opening up the hole in the levers carefully, I was able to make a few parts to finish the installation smoothly. Now I have polished ends on the rods, and a friction free pivot for true shock action.
I finally found some smaller non coil over, adjustable shocks for the rear suspension. They are QA1 brand, Street Star model polished aluminum 11" shocks. QA1 will not be polishing those models anymore. Apparently due to shipping problems, as mine arrived with multiple dings, and scratches. Thanks to the expanding wheel on the slow speed bench grinder (1850rpm), I was able to re polish the pair in a relatively short period of time. With the smaller diameter of the shock piston, and the ability to adjust, I can better tailor the rate to the air bag suspension.
I also found some chrome plated, chrome moly steel heim joints for the wishbone anchors at the frame. I had only been able to find chrome plated aluminum units before. With the SS polished jam nuts they clean up that part of the suspension very well.
I have been meaning to finalize the indicator lights on the dash. Originally I purchased the small LED lights at a local Rod Shop for $4.95 each. The green units only lasted a couple of months. I found some replacements at the Local Fry's electronics store, for $.99 each. These units have lasted since I installed them, more than a year ago.
I turned a half inch aluminum rod down on the lathe, to fit the od of the bulbs, and provide a thick body, with a flange to facilitate mounting. The resulting bezels are smooth, and minimal enough to fit in with the dash instruments, just fine.