I've run into a couple delays on finishing my headers and gas tank installation, so today I decided to get the LS1 computer and Throttle Actuator Control, or TAC mounted. I have given a lot of thought about where I wanted to put them, including up under the dash inside the car. The Studebaker dash does not have much room under or inside of it, so I looked elsewhere. There is a lot of room inside my fender wells. I have been assured by those in the know that the ECU and wiring are pretty water resistant, so inside the fender well they will go. There is a good sturdy bulkhead that used to hold a vent into the interior to mount the ECU. The next step was locate a spot for the TAC. I thought about mounting it below the ECU, but decided instead to build a bracket to mount it over it instead. First thing I did was take measurements to make sure it would fit under there once the fender was installed, and it will. Then I built a cardboard template.
I will be using the Electronic Throttle Control, or Drive by wire from a Corvette with our LS1. I removed the cable gas pedal and had to figure a way to mount the electronic one. My firewall has been smoothed, so I did not want to drill any new holes. Experimenting around under the dash I found that one of the bolts that holds the brake pedal assembly is in a good spot for the lower mounting hole on the pedal. So that left me with the challenge of finding a way to mount the top hole. I took a piece of 3/16" steel plate that I had, and created a bracket that could be bolted to the brake mount. The lower pedal mount hole would line up with the brake mount and I drilled a third hole for the top mount hole on the bracket. It positioned the pedal just right and the 3/16" steel should be plenty sturdy for the task.
Got the extra pipes and bends from Sanderson. They were great to work with and helpful. Made the first mock up, but the number 1 pipe still hits the steering box. Need to make the down portion of the pipe really hug the number 7 pipe. But it is getting closer. Back to the drawing/welding board!
Tonight my friend Scott came over and we started the modifications on the driver side header. The plan is to cut the first tube off, extend it out far enough to run parallel and get past the bend in the second tube, then angle it down to the collector after it is past the steering box. Scott cut a section out of the header with a hacksaw, then used die grinder and fiber wheel to precisely cut the weld away from the lower potion of the tube. That portion will be rotated to a more perpendicular position. I will order a U-Bend from Sanderson to use to reconstruct the tube. In the pictures you can see Scott working with the die grinder inside the collector and the header nearly in place with only the lower portion of the #1 tube keeping it from lining up. The good news is we should be able to get the header built without having to move the motor backwards. Kind of fun and nerve racking to cut up a brand new header! THis really should end up working well.
The fuel tank I am using is from Tanks, Inc and is designed for a '53-54 Chevy (Edit later changed to a 49-52 Chevy tank due to filler neck placement). It is slightly deeper than the stock Studebaker tank, about the same width and not quite as long. The other significant difference is the mounting method. The Studebaker tank bolted directly to the frame, while the Chevy tank is designed to be hung from the body with straps. Since there are no tabs on the tank to mount it, I have decided to use straps. I also got a set of stainless steel straps from Tanks, Inc when I ordered the tank, but have to figure out a way to suspend it. I had given some thought to drilling holes in the trunk floor and using bolts with backing plates. But the trunk floor is not braced to support the weight of a full fuel tank so I decided to install two 1x1x.120 crossmembers to hang the straps from. I did not want the tank to push up against the trunk floor because the body and frame do move around a little bit, so I am connecting the crossmembers with two pieces of 3/16 x1.5 plate. You can see the mounting frame mocked up in the 3rd picture. I will weld the 3/16 to the underside of the front crossmember and then bolt it on top of the back one. The straps will hang directly under the 3/16 plate. It can't be all welded or I would not be able to install it. With this configuration the top of the tank should ride less than 1/2 inch from the trunk floor. Unfortunately I think the tank will be more visible from the back than the Studebaker tank was. But the car does sit quite low and I will paint the tank flat black to make it less noticeable. First pic is the old Studebaker tank, second is the new tank and third is the mounting frame.