Today was another good day for progress. The fuel tank is installed now. If you go back a couple pages you will see the frame mount I fabricated for it. I had originally planned to use a repro tank for a 53-54 Chevy from Tanks, Inc. It looked perfect but test fitting found there was no good way to route the filler neck without cutting and welding the tank, or modifying the trunk floor. Neither of these appealed to me, so I went back to the Tanks Inc web site and found that the same tank configured for a 49-52 Chevy had the fuel filler in the place I needed. I chose this option, and purchased another tank. Dummy me had painted the tank before final fitting, so I could not send it back. If anyone needs a brand new tank for a 53-54 Chevy, let me know, I'll make you a good deal. I did have to re-route my fuel lines from the original plan, but think I have come up with a viable solution. I am using a high pressure in tank pump and a Corvette fuel regulator/filter combination and will use high pressure fuel injection hose from the pump to the regulator and conventional fuel hose for the return line. I am also using conventional fuel hose for a tank vent. I need to find some sort of compact charcoal filter to route the vent through. You can see all the hoses in picture 1, left is pressure, right is return and vent is in the middle. The wiring is also in place to both the pump and the fuel gauge sending unit. Picture 2 shows the tank mounted in place. I am a little concerned that it is lower than the original Studebaker tank, but I believe it will be okay. Picture 3 shows the Corvette filter/regulator mounted to the frame I built for the tank. I plan to move that exhaust pipe further away and build a shield if necessary. Next step in the fuel system is to mount 3/8 hard line to the front of the car and connect it to the regulator. Tomorrow I pull the motor and trans back out and paint the cross member and frame mount areas, then put the motor back in. (later I moved the regulator to the back of the tank and it works well there)
Last night we bolted everything together under the car, double checked our measurements, then Dennis went to work with the MIG welded the tabs to the frame. Started out with tack welds first with the crossmember in place, then welded the outside solid along with the gussets. We let it cool a while then removed the crossmember and welded the inside of the tabs. Then it was cool down time again. The final fit was checked and we found that the holes had pulled about 1/8 of an inch to the outside. I decided to elongate the holes in one tab with a die grinder. Once that was done the bolts slipped through just fine. In the first picture you can see the crossmember in place supporting the transmission for the first time, the jack stand is removed. Picture 2 shows the driver side tabs welded to the frame. The final step was to make sure the desired angle was still correct. You can see the output shaft is about 4.5 degrees down, which is just right as the pinion angle is 4 degrees up, so they will be in parallel planes. If I was building this as a serious drag car instead of a cruiser, I would have the pinion angle at more of a down angle to allow for it to wrap up under load. Final step is to pull the motor and trans back out and clean everything up for a nice clean coat of paint, and then reinstall them, hopefully for the last time!
Here are additional pictures showing the sleeves or bushings and trans mount bracket welded in place. We also decided to add a gusset to a tab on each side of the car to add additional strength. I cut the gusset triangle out of 3/16" steel and we welded them in place on the bench figuring it would be easier to do there than under the car. Once this is all fitted properly it will be cleaned up and painted.
The next step was to test fit everything so we bolted it all together under the car with just the mount bracket tacked in place and the bushing and tabs held in place with the mount bolts. After trimming 3/16 of an inch off the tabs on the driver side it fit just right, picture 1. Next step was to weld everything in place. In picture 2 you see Dennis at work with the Mig. And finally here is the finished crossmember, picture 3. Tomorrow night we will bolt the mount bracket in place and weld the tabs to the frame rails.
Today we continued our work on the crossmember. Installation instructions from Competition Engineering directed us to ,measure the distance between frame rails and subtract and inch from each side. The sawzall and hose clamps were put into service again with the end results in picture 1. Next we had to figure out the angle that the crossmember needed to be so I bolted the transmission mount to the trans and to the crossmember bracket, then we put the tube in the desired position and tacked the bracket in place on the tube, picture 2. Once we had the tube in place we could figure out where the 3/4 inch holes needed to be drilled to insert the bushings that the bolts will go through. Fortunates we had a good drill press that could precisely position the holes. We did our best to put them on a parallel plane to the mount bracket. You can see one of the bushings in place in the tube before welding.