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02-15-2010 03:11 PM Now I've done it...
Well, finalized the deal on an '06 Chev LS 6.0, a 4L60E, engine harness, ECU, fuel tank, pump, complete exhaust, fuel lines and all the related bits today for the Diamond T. Good thing I have friends...

My buddy Ron is going to help me out with sorting thru the stock harness, reconfiguing it and eliminating the unwanted stuff. He's also pointed me to a local shop to reprogram the ECU to eliminate the VATS, vapor purge, and correct for the 4.10:1 rear. I'm excited!

Now, what to do with that 350 and 4L60...?

  [Entry #148]

02-12-2010 06:05 PM Diamond T project, and we get famous
Having gotten the "Milusion" done, I'm back on the DT project. I got the 3/4 ton ball joint adapted to the G20 van lower control arm, via a bushing I made from some DOM tubing and a little work with the torch and wire welder. Now, I can clean up the suspension parts and paint them, and the front section of the frame.

The engine I have in it now, the TBI 350 and 4L60E, have 175K miles on them, and I was planning freshening them both up. Runs fine, shifts fine, but it's going to need attention at some point, and I'm not planning tearing this thing apart once it's done.

My friend Brad had a nearly new crate 350 from a wrecked 'Vette, and we (my wife and I) decided in the intrest of getting the truck done, we'd buy the 350 and use it as is rather than rebuild the aging one I have. Of course, they'd just sold the thing today when I stopped to tell him I'd take it. Sigh...

"Why don't you just put a 5.3 in it instead?", Brad said, "Or, let me get you a 6.0? It'll be less than the crate motor, you've already done this swap a couple of times. It'll be done, you'll have more power, better economy, and be easy."

So, that's what I'm gonna do. I think I'll opt for a 6.0, might as well go big, after all. It hurts to not use the 350/4L60 I bought, but I have another project in mind that could be used for, so that's a headstart on that one.

Oh, and BTW, we made "HOT ROD" magazine with the Fordillac!

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  [Entry #147]

02-02-2010 02:44 PM Milusion done, almost...
AS a diversion from working on the Diamond T (it's nice have a project where 12 hours of labor makes real, visible progress!), I wrapped up the "Milusion" this morning. Obviously, I need to paint the front bumper cover, hood and spot in the front fenders, but it's done and driveable.

I heat the shop with a free standing woodstove, and am not reckless enough to paint while it's cold. A couple of buddys have heated shops, one has a paint booth, so I think I'll just leave it together and paint it at one of their shops. I was going to paint the pieces individually, but I am such a ham handed mechanic, I'm afraid I'll scratch up stuff putting it back together that I'm going to just drive it over, mask and shoot it. I think I can get the little spots on the fenders that need a some minor massaging done and primed, even if I back the car out doors on a sunny day and run it right back in the warm shop to cure.

I'm very happy with the panel fit, considering it's an aftermarket hood and bumper cover and one of the hood hinges (used) was tweaked. I have to replace the serpentine belt, as it's gone. I thought it maybe just got run off the pulley's, but it's not laying on the bottom panel, so I think somebody cut it off to keep the car from spraying ps fluid out the punctured cooler. Anyway, that looks like a challenging job. I think the rt front wheel and inner fender liner have to come out.

I also cheaped out and am not putting a drivers airbag in, I just closed up the seam in the horn center and pop riveted a little scrap of the torn bumper cover behind it as a reinforecement.

Now, next week when I get back from a Utah ski vacation, I can get it inspected, replace the belt, and start driving it!

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  [Entry #146]

01-30-2010 04:19 PM Fords new model, the "Milusion"
Well, OK, it's not an OFFICIAL model, but what else would you call a Mercury Milan, with Ford Fusion front sheet metal (plastic?). I bought an '06 Milan, hit in front (happily, all over the bumper, and just minor cosmetic damage), and Milan aftermarket crash parts are unavailable. So, being a creative, hot rodder/cobbler, I ordered up Ford Fusion parts, and now have a "Milusion"!

Waiting yet on the hood, and I'll have to go to a buddy's shop to paint the bmper cover and hood )I don't think a woodstove heated shop and shooting paint is a good idea) but it's all together and looks great. I did have to sort of customize the plastic bumper filler panel with the Sawzall, but it's all covered up now!

Shameless plug here for my buddy Brad, co owner of "Morris Rose Auto Parts", and his brother Mark, here in Kalamazoo for hooking me up.

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  [Entry #145]

01-15-2010 07:23 PM MILESTONE!!! Mock up completed!
I'm pretty pleased with myself! Got the mock up/rough in work DONE on the Diamond T truck today! The front sheet metal and running boards are all BOLTED (not clamped, vice gripped or propped in place) together. I spent hours and hours getting the panel fit right, and figuring how to bolt the front fenders to the cab and grill shell. Originally, they were not fixed to the cab nor grill shell, but "floated" on the front fender brackets and the running boards. I did have to do some work on the fender extensions (I widened the front fenders 4" per side) as the hood hit on the left, and there was about a 3/4" gap on the right. Cut some reliefs in the extensions and a little hammer/dolly work got things right.

I'm very happy with the trucks look, it's got great character, and I think it's going to have a real "presense" when completed. I'm well on the way to getting ALL of the trim replaced with stainless. I bought a beautiful stainless grill, a new grill center strip, and a complete set of hood trim to use on the tailgate. It'll have the same trim treatment as the hood, little brass "Diamond T" plaque, mesh trim surrounded by stainless bars.

I'm keeping, after some internal debate, the Dodge wheels I have on it. Well, there's two on the rear, I stole the other pair for the Spartan, but I'll replace them. I like the way they look in the fenders, especially without the goofy center caps.

Now, the big question, will I have it done by the third weekend in May?

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  [Entry #144]

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