So it's been awhile since our last post. We're real sorry about that, but the shop has been crazy busy! Great for us, not so much for you guys that are waiting to see how this project is coming.
When we left you guys last, we had shimmed the crossmember down and made the towers for the new engine mounts. At this point, we went ahead and spaced the tension rod/sway bar brackets down to match the suspension geometry, as well as to give us plenty of clearance from the sway bay to the crank pulley. This also puts the sway bar pretty close to the bottom of the oil pan, helping to protect it. We'll still build a skid plate for it later though.
Then it was off to put the transmission back together, and mount it into the car. Man that 30A looks huge! The first thing that you notice is that the shifter will sit back further than originally. That's not really a big deal because we'll be utilizing a floor mount pedal box now, requiring us to move the seat back and extending the steering column back to match. After some deep thought the e-brake is going to go by the wayside in favor of a hydraulic unit with a locking mechanism.
Once we had the transmission bolted up, it was time to set the angle of the output shaft versus the pinion. We set the tail shaft of the trans on this sweet little screw in stand that I bought from Harbor Freight years ago. The infinite adjustability allows us to set the angle wherever we wanted it. The same could be done with a jack, but you have zero possibility of leakdown with the solid stand.
Couple the stand with a common angle finder, and it's a snap to set the angle of the motor and trans. Notice that we set it at about a 4 degree tail down angle. The reason for this is that if you set the angle at zero, your front u-joint won't get rotated and you run the risk of the bearings seizing from non-use.
A little trick I learned when building the Zero31, was that the mount holes on the 30A trans are almost identical to the ones for a standard GM style transmission mount. So that's what we use to both get a cheap poly mount and make it easy to fab a crossmember.
With the angle set and the stand under the tailshaft, we were able to fashion our new transmission crossmember from pieces of 1.5" and 2" square tubing. A good friend of the shop is getting into powder coating now, so he coated it for us for free.
With all of this complete, we pulled the trans and engine once again so that we could begin rebuilding the firewall, replacing the old, thin box area with a sheet of 16 gauge steel. Well, that's it for now. We'll see you ladies and gentlemen soon when we start replacing some of the old parts with brand new upgraded goodies!