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Old 07-01-2008, 12:18 PM   #1
Sinisterspeed
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Dad's Budget Build 55

Well, Here is alittle history to get you up to speed. My Dad had a 63 T-Bird for about 15 years. He took it to a couple cruise-in's and a couple shows. He did pretty well with it since it was almost a daily driver. He sold it about 1.5 years ago then bought a Harley. He rode the bike last summer then sold it too. He had been looking for a tri-5 car or some other car of that sort. I had been telling him Chevy,Chevy,Chevy for awhile now since I had worked on his 67 F-250, and his 63 thunderbird. The parts are harder to find and more expensive. I think he finally got it when he drove my 01 crew cab and finally broke down and bought an 06 Chevy crew. He loves it.

Now, We had been looking at wagons, tri 5 4drs alittle older, couple other brands when they came up through craigslist and word of mouth. The I told him to come see the truck I had just brought home (after 4 years of talking to the in-laws about buying it) its a 57 TF truck and runs and drives. After he saw it and sat in it played with the one working knob in the truck. He said "One of these wouldn't be to bad". So since he really couldn't afford a decent car of that era we began looking at more 55-57 trucks then I thought existed in this area. After answering 15+ CL ads and going out and looking at probably 7 or 8 of them, we both took the day off work and went to the Portland Expo center swap meet. We figured all the good deals are gone on Friday so we had better not wait until Saturday as we usually do if we wanted a decent vehicle. After making it about half way through we found this:



1955 Big window, 99% rust free. No motor,trans, no interior at all, no windshield, Basically its a really nice body on a rolling stock chassis that included the big back window and nothing else. Picked it up for $1600.oo with a clear Oregon title as well.

Although it was taken 4-5 weeks of the work on this truck to get it to where it is right now. The white grill was in it as well as the bumper but the filler panel was damaged.

Here is how it started. My Dad begins calling asking about catalogs I have around my house for 67-72 trucks (my project money pit) and wanted to know where to start looking for parts he wanted for his newly acquired 55. I told him anything you want just call me and I will look it up. (that might have been Pandora's box right there)

The first week Ebay and I got along real well. New chrome grill, headlight bezels, fuel tank filler neck, wiper arms, and a few other items began showing up.

SO, He buys this motor from a friend of his for 350.00 with the trans attached and calls me for some help putting it in. Got some motor mounts from TCI and wala I have an excuse to buy a plasma cutter. I drag it down to my house (about 40 miles away) and put in a solid weekend on the install. Here are some pics of the motor install weekend.







So first 2 week Tally

1600.00 truck
280.00 Grill
70.00 Headlight bezels
20.00 filler neck
350.00 Motor/Trans
80.00 Motor Mounts (frame side)
50.00 Motor mounts (motor side)
90.00 Trans x-member
25.00 Trans mount

= $2565.00 so far.
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71 GMC Longhorn (A.K.A Money Bucket) Just became a 70
57 Chev 3100
78 Chev 3/4 T 4x4 6" lift
01 GMC Crew Cab SWB (Totaled 12-18-10)
05 Chevy LLY Dmax on way.

Dad's Budget Build 55

My Longhorn Build
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Old 07-01-2008, 12:30 PM   #2
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Re: Dad's Budget Build 55

That is a nice find for 1600 bucks I wish mine was in that condition. I paid 1300 bucks for mine and had to replace from the rotor to the tooter.lol
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Old 07-01-2008, 12:35 PM   #3
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Re: Dad's Budget Build 55

Well as you can probably tell those are not the motor mounts to use in this application. I figured that out when we kept measuring it and found that no matter how you hold them in there your going to be 2" short on each side to the stock frame. I ended up making it work with some 3"x1/4" flat stock I had around here. I'm no expert but I'm pretty certain it will hold.

After hauling it back to Dad's house we rolled it back in the shop and I thought I could get back to my project. Nope, More parts on the way.

The following week Dad calls up and said I got a drive line but its to long did you want to come up here help me get this thing started and measure for the drive line modification... You can't say no to the ol' man so of course I said I would be up over the weekend and help him get it started.

After about 3 or 4 hours of messing with it trying to fit this and fix that we finally tried to turn it over. First with the camper trailer battery, Barely turned it over. I know it needs to spin faster. Timing is off or something. Added 40 amp jump box. That didn't help much either, (must be a piece of crap) i thought. hooked up some reg jumper cables to his other truck. still wont fire right. After checking with him must have been 4 or 5 times and asking are you sure you got the firing order right? Even though he said yes I wanted to to take a look at the book anyway. (yeah I know you guys probably have it memorized) After looking pretty close I found one was off. Then another....... so I ripped them all out. Brought it to TDC and began adding the wires. Varoom......nock,nock,nock.... There it goes...


Oh you caught the nocks too huh?

Well we have it running, its got some sort of bottom end nock. We have a set of valve covers that are plasma cut for access to the rockers and began adjusting those anyway to see if the was just a sound that was traveling.

Now the bad news:

2 rockers bottomed out while still rattling... OK well theres some lifter problems, no big deal we can fix that.

But then when we got it running smooth we got underneath and sure enough that noise was from down there...... New problem much more money coming up soon....
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71 GMC Longhorn (A.K.A Money Bucket) Just became a 70
57 Chev 3100
78 Chev 3/4 T 4x4 6" lift
01 GMC Crew Cab SWB (Totaled 12-18-10)
05 Chevy LLY Dmax on way.

Dad's Budget Build 55

My Longhorn Build
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Old 07-01-2008, 01:00 PM   #4
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Re: Dad's Budget Build 55

Well now we are into the motor 350 bucks and some time nothing big but what to do now.

My cousin is an awesome motor builder and we had already be talking about rewiring my 57 truck so I asked him about pulling rebuilding the motor and rewiring the truck. He said he would do it for me for 1250 bucks if the Heads were ok. If he had to anything with the heads it would be more.

Relay the info to Dad, and once again I head out to pick up "Mater" and take it to my cousin to have some more work done.

Here are some more pictures taken during this 2 week stay at the cousins house for some more work.






When we got it apart, It had spun or chewed up every crank bearing in there so bad that the block was shot. With some hook ups my cousin had we picked up a freshly line bored 010 block for 125.00. After that sent the heads in. Guess what.. Absoluly shot too.. More to fix them then they are worth. Not to mention the worst castings GM ever produced. So opt'd for some rebuild ones for 450. Dont remember what ones Dennis "cousin" said they were good ones. Not fuelies or anything just good ones. I remember something about 88 ? but some sort of truck heads. So the above pictures the bottom end is done here is some of the complete motor ready to go back in.





Reused as much as we could to keep the cost down but that air cleaner has to go. The intake, Carb, Valve covers i cleaned in the blast cabinet and came out looking good enough for re-install.
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71 GMC Longhorn (A.K.A Money Bucket) Just became a 70
57 Chev 3100
78 Chev 3/4 T 4x4 6" lift
01 GMC Crew Cab SWB (Totaled 12-18-10)
05 Chevy LLY Dmax on way.

Dad's Budget Build 55

My Longhorn Build
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Old 07-01-2008, 01:24 PM   #5
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Re: Dad's Budget Build 55

Well, week 4 or 5 "Mater" is still at Dennis's house and he is working on it every night after work. I stop by when I can but we plan on finishing up on Saturday with a full day on it. The driveline was measured and modified by the local driveline shop the manager happen to be at the same place as my Dad one day so he did alittle side work and stopped by measured it to be sure to the driveline down cut and balanced it.

Also picked up a B&M floor shifter from one of Dennis's work trucks they didn't want it in there since it has no reverse lock out so he had this brand new shifter just laying there. (FREEBIE FREEBIE) always good on a budget!

Here is some pictures of the motor back in when I got back to it. There is a ton of work going on during this time at Dennis's house he is working like a dog on it. Hope the ol' man likes it!




The wiring was well underway (new harness from scratch) but here is a finished picture of the harness in the engine bay. Everything now works!



While it was there a new front filler panel showed up ordered from brothers 89.00 + ridiculous shipping along with the new front lights. Altogether for those parts was 185.00 shipped. I also stopped by the auto parts store and ordered the trans kick down cable, shifter cable, shifter linkage and some cheap Gauges. Another 201.00. Dad is paying back the 100 for the cables but the gauges were my idea so. Happy fathers Day.

Dad also found a pioneer CD player in a car that hes friend was going to haul to the wrecking yard. He asked if it worked he didn't know but if he wanted it pull it and he could have it. He brought it down to where the truck was being worked on. Wouldn't you know it works perfect.


Week 5 Tally:

2565.00 (previous total)
185.00 Filler panel and frt lights
201.00 gauges and cables
150.00 Driveline modification and balancing
2000.00 Motor rebuild,wiring, R&R of the Motor
0.00 CD Player
0.00 Dash repair
0.00 B&M Shifter

= $5101.00
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71 GMC Longhorn (A.K.A Money Bucket) Just became a 70
57 Chev 3100
78 Chev 3/4 T 4x4 6" lift
01 GMC Crew Cab SWB (Totaled 12-18-10)
05 Chevy LLY Dmax on way.

Dad's Budget Build 55

My Longhorn Build

Last edited by Sinisterspeed; 07-01-2008 at 04:08 PM.
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Old 07-01-2008, 01:28 PM   #6
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Re: Dad's Budget Build 55

Here is some of the dash repair that I did on Saturday. I'm no body man but I think it came out OK.










Sunday, Time to take "Mater" home.



Today is Tuesday. Monday morning I already received a call about the master/cyl and booster set up he found somewhere and wanted to know if it was a good price and/or if he should order it. Supposedly its the whole thing with pedal for 215.00 this I gotta see seems to cheap for the whole set up to me. But, he checked again thats what they say it is. So of course order it up and start removing those rotted brake hoses..... Looks like I have another weekend coming up working on Mater.....
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There are two kinds of people, those who finish what they start and so on.


71 GMC Longhorn (A.K.A Money Bucket) Just became a 70
57 Chev 3100
78 Chev 3/4 T 4x4 6" lift
01 GMC Crew Cab SWB (Totaled 12-18-10)
05 Chevy LLY Dmax on way.

Dad's Budget Build 55

My Longhorn Build

Last edited by Sinisterspeed; 07-01-2008 at 02:26 PM.
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Old 07-01-2008, 03:11 PM   #7
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Re: Dad's Budget Build 55

Well the motor job pretty much broke the bank as far as resources to work on this truck. There might be alittle more in savings or on the CC to get it to driving condition. We cut a few corners like with the fuel gauge not working and using the stock tank. We drilled another hole in the stock tank added an adjustable sending unit from VDO I had at my house which fixed our fuel gauge problem. The gauge was not the right Ohms to read the stock sender so we checked it with the aftermarket one I had. It worked so an extra hole in the tank never hurt anybody... or did it? We also had to pull the stock sender and clean out the pick up tube to get fuel to flow. Now with the added viewing windows in the tank it looks pretty good inside. (better then the one that was in my 57) so we hooked it up and its working fine. We also have all the side windows I took out of my 57 and plan on mixing and matching a working set together from both trucks and try to get them in here to get them to work with at least replacing those regulators from ebay. Oh yeah I forgot about those were ordered the first week too.

So Tally

5101.00 previous balance
50.00 for window regulators I forgot to add from week 1-2.

Total so far:
5151.00
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There are two kinds of people, those who finish what they start and so on.


71 GMC Longhorn (A.K.A Money Bucket) Just became a 70
57 Chev 3100
78 Chev 3/4 T 4x4 6" lift
01 GMC Crew Cab SWB (Totaled 12-18-10)
05 Chevy LLY Dmax on way.

Dad's Budget Build 55

My Longhorn Build

Last edited by Sinisterspeed; 07-01-2008 at 03:12 PM.
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Old 07-01-2008, 05:00 PM   #8
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Re: Dad's Budget Build 55

Nice project you and your dad have there. I like the way your dash turned out.
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Old 07-01-2008, 05:02 PM   #9
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Re: Dad's Budget Build 55

Thank you very much Kim57
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71 GMC Longhorn (A.K.A Money Bucket) Just became a 70
57 Chev 3100
78 Chev 3/4 T 4x4 6" lift
01 GMC Crew Cab SWB (Totaled 12-18-10)
05 Chevy LLY Dmax on way.

Dad's Budget Build 55

My Longhorn Build
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Old 07-02-2008, 01:06 AM   #10
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Re: Dad's Budget Build 55

Nice job on the dash!
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Old 07-02-2008, 08:01 AM   #11
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Re: Dad's Budget Build 55

Looks like you have a nice solid project.

Question- Would the motor mounts worked better if the frame was boxed in?
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Old 07-02-2008, 08:41 AM   #12
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Re: Dad's Budget Build 55

Looks like one great father-son project. I remember plotting, planning, and scheming with my dad on several projects. My oldest is four. He doesn’t physically help, but he is always at my side, getting dirty and asking every question that pops in his head. Great work!!! I hope you can get it on the road soon.
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Old 07-02-2008, 12:07 PM   #13
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Re: Dad's Budget Build 55

Quote:
Originally Posted by GRIMSS View Post
Looks like you have a nice solid project.

Question- Would the motor mounts worked better if the frame was boxed in?
Nope, they were 2" away from touching anything even if the fram was boxed. I thought of that too. You can see the top plates I had to use to extend the mounts. Wouldnt have mattered If I boxed the frame there or not. I seen them used again. They are to be used with the Must II xmember. Then they sit right on the member on the angled part that comes up to the frame right there.
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There are two kinds of people, those who finish what they start and so on.


71 GMC Longhorn (A.K.A Money Bucket) Just became a 70
57 Chev 3100
78 Chev 3/4 T 4x4 6" lift
01 GMC Crew Cab SWB (Totaled 12-18-10)
05 Chevy LLY Dmax on way.

Dad's Budget Build 55

My Longhorn Build
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Old 07-02-2008, 12:11 PM   #14
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Re: Dad's Budget Build 55

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffs51chevy View Post
Looks like one great father-son project. I remember plotting, planning, and scheming with my dad on several projects. My oldest is four. He doesn’t physically help, but he is always at my side, getting dirty and asking every question that pops in his head. Great work!!! I hope you can get it on the road soon.
Yeah, I gotta help him out. 1 heart surgery and 2 back surgeries keep him from getting up and down to much so most of the crawling around is just to hard for him anymore. I talked him into buying this one cause its what he could afford. I feel like its my job to help him get it on the road.

When it comes to the paint though. He's going to be on his own. I think..... well we shall see...
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There are two kinds of people, those who finish what they start and so on.


71 GMC Longhorn (A.K.A Money Bucket) Just became a 70
57 Chev 3100
78 Chev 3/4 T 4x4 6" lift
01 GMC Crew Cab SWB (Totaled 12-18-10)
05 Chevy LLY Dmax on way.

Dad's Budget Build 55

My Longhorn Build
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Old 07-04-2008, 04:08 AM   #15
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Re: Dad's Budget Build 55

is that the truck that was down at the racetrack area of the swapmeet? i went and looked at every TF truck there because my bud wanted one. some of the stuff was overpriced junk. looks like a good start.
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Old 07-05-2008, 11:38 PM   #16
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Re: Dad's Budget Build 55

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is that the truck that was down at the racetrack area of the swapmeet? i went and looked at every TF truck there because my bud wanted one. some of the stuff was overpriced junk. looks like a good start.
Actually nope. We never made it down to the racetrack area this year. This one was parts in the middle of the lower main parking lot section in one of the middle isles. I agree with you on the prices. There were 4 or 5 there I saw for sale as projects. There were only two worth buying, This one and one other that was a runner/driver.
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There are two kinds of people, those who finish what they start and so on.


71 GMC Longhorn (A.K.A Money Bucket) Just became a 70
57 Chev 3100
78 Chev 3/4 T 4x4 6" lift
01 GMC Crew Cab SWB (Totaled 12-18-10)
05 Chevy LLY Dmax on way.

Dad's Budget Build 55

My Longhorn Build
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Old 07-05-2008, 11:46 PM   #17
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Re: Dad's Budget Build 55

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Nice job on the dash!
Thanks alot CAL.

When I brought my Dad to my house while his truck was at my house getting the motor installed. I brought him in the house and showed him your build on your 58. I thought his eyes were going to pop out looking at the finished truck... LOL
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There are two kinds of people, those who finish what they start and so on.


71 GMC Longhorn (A.K.A Money Bucket) Just became a 70
57 Chev 3100
78 Chev 3/4 T 4x4 6" lift
01 GMC Crew Cab SWB (Totaled 12-18-10)
05 Chevy LLY Dmax on way.

Dad's Budget Build 55

My Longhorn Build
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Old 07-06-2008, 08:50 AM   #18
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Re: Dad's Budget Build 55

Super nice clean truck!!!!! I wish I had one that clean and for that price!!!! PLEASE get rid of that air cleaner----it is foam filled and a backfire may cause a fire-----
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Old 07-06-2008, 09:37 AM   #19
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Re: Dad's Budget Build 55

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Super nice clean truck!!!!! I wish I had one that clean and for that price!!!! PLEASE get rid of that air cleaner----it is foam filled and a backfire may cause a fire-----
Great start on an awesome truck. I must agree with the above statement. Trust me from experience that if the dizzy moves and the timing gets off, it will backfire through the carb and can cause an engine fire. Please trust me on this, I nearly burned an 81 chevy truck to the ground with one of those!
Shawn
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Old 07-06-2008, 01:07 PM   #20
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Re: Dad's Budget Build 55

Thanks guys on the info with the air cleaner. I mentioned that earlier in the post. For now it will be fine while it is just keeping dirt out of the carb while it sits in the garage. I think I will look for the matching eldobrock one that would match his vavle covers. even if I dont find it. That cleaner will be changed out before there is any real run time on that motor.

Thanks again for the advise!
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There are two kinds of people, those who finish what they start and so on.


71 GMC Longhorn (A.K.A Money Bucket) Just became a 70
57 Chev 3100
78 Chev 3/4 T 4x4 6" lift
01 GMC Crew Cab SWB (Totaled 12-18-10)
05 Chevy LLY Dmax on way.

Dad's Budget Build 55

My Longhorn Build
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Old 02-12-2009, 04:36 PM   #21
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Re: Dad's Budget Build 55

Update as of 2-11-09


(5151.00) Previous Total
(269.00) Windshield has been installed.
(300.00) Exhaust is done.
(275.00) Power brakes are completed.
The truck has made it's first trip around the block.
(145.00) Got Dad a new Chrome from bumper for X-mas. He has the old one off right now but hasn't installed the new one.
Next we need to locate some door panels.

$6140.00 so far (giver or take a few for small stuff)
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There are two kinds of people, those who finish what they start and so on.


71 GMC Longhorn (A.K.A Money Bucket) Just became a 70
57 Chev 3100
78 Chev 3/4 T 4x4 6" lift
01 GMC Crew Cab SWB (Totaled 12-18-10)
05 Chevy LLY Dmax on way.

Dad's Budget Build 55

My Longhorn Build

Last edited by Sinisterspeed; 03-25-2009 at 01:16 PM.
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Old 02-12-2009, 05:12 PM   #22
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Re: Dad's Budget Build 55

Nice deal on the truck !!! I can only hope I find a deal like that this spring.
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Old 02-12-2009, 07:29 PM   #23
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Re: Dad's Budget Build 55

Nice looking build. I was looking at the engine photos and noticed that the battery is mounted in the front passenger side of the engine compartment. Is that stock or did you modify the inner panel to fit it there? I thought all the TF batterys were on the firewall. Thanks.
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Old 02-12-2009, 08:36 PM   #24
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Re: Dad's Budget Build 55

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Originally Posted by OrrieG View Post
Nice looking build. I was looking at the engine photos and noticed that the battery is mounted in the front passenger side of the engine compartment. Is that stock or did you modify the inner panel to fit it there? I thought all the TF batterys were on the firewall. Thanks.
Good catch, If you look at the first set of pix, you will see that the battery box is on the firewall. He has moved it. I don't like them on the firewall myself. I'm like you, would like to see a better shot of it.
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Old 02-12-2009, 09:50 PM   #25
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Re: Dad's Budget Build 55

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Good catch, If you look at the first set of pix, you will see that the battery box is on the firewall. He has moved it. I don't like them on the firewall myself. I'm like you, would like to see a better shot of it.
Yeah, I noticed that it had moved too. In the photo the inner panel looks like it is rounded like a stamped panel would be, hence the question if someone is reproing the panels with the recess.
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