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    1. #1
      Join Date
      Dec 2007
      Location
      Carlsbad, Ca
      Posts
      1,213
      Country Flag: United States

      Project WidowMaker - The Chevelle Build Thread

      About 3 years ago I decided to embark on this journey; build the baddest garage built p-t car that my skills and wallet would allow without farming out any work. “Skills” is a relative term for me since I’m a self taught 26 year old, married, father of two boys (2 years and 2 months). I’ve never had any official training, and while most who do everything on their own have an automotive background, I work for the Orange County Fire Authority as a professional firefighter. My job does require a vast mechanical knowledge, but that still doesn’t help me fabricate or paint. This has been a great learning experience so far and I can guarantee this; if its not done right the first time, I won’t stop until its perfect.

      A little history; I originally bought the car when I was 16 and used it as my daily driver for both high school and college. I street raced the crap out of it, got a few tickets including an exhibition of speed for doing a massive burnout in front of a bus of cheerleaders, was yelled at a few times, then decided to grow up. Seeing the carnage that I see now makes me feel lucky to be alive and I feel like an old man every time I want to yell at some idiot kid doing the same things that I used to do.

      Over the years, I built a new motor, rebuilt the trans and rear end, and took on numerous other projects. But, the car never felt complete and every time I attempted to change something about it, it ruined something I had done before. There were plans along the way for a new paint job, interior and a big block, but time passed and the money wasn’t there. It wasn’t until I had a stable career, the funds and had bought a house, that I finally decided to do it once and to do it right.

      Below you will find the specs, pics and progress from my chevelle build. The car has come along way in the last 3 years and it still has a long way to go. The whole story isn’t in complete order and some pics may show things that haven’t been talked about, but you should be all caught up by the end.

      Have fun reading, and I welcome any and all critiques and criticisms. It’s the only way I know how to learn.

      -Build Specs-


      -Motor-

      - Wegner or Mast Motorsports 416
      - Autokraft Oil Pan & Motor Mounts
      - Wegner Pulley System
      - Edelbrock Stepped Headers
      - Custom 304 Stainless Steel Full Length Exhaust with X Pipe
      - PRC Radiator with Dual Fans and Oil Cooler


      -Suspension & Steering-

      - ATS Billet Aluminum Spindles and Steering Arms (I got these a while ago)
      - SC&C Front Upper Control Arms
      - Global West Front LCA’s
      - Varishock Coilover Rear Shocks
      - Custom Parallel 4 Link Rear Suspension
      - Custom Upper & Lower Rear Control Arms with Johnny Joints
      - Custom Watts Link Axle Locator
      - Currie Enterprises Performance Axles
      - Custom ½ Height Body Bushings
      - Tom Lee 670 Steering Box
      - Ididit’s New Collapsible Steering Column (not just a collapsible shaft)




      - Drivetrain -

      - Tremec T56 Magnum 6 Speed Transmission
      - McLeod Bellhousing
      - McLeod Billet Steel Flywheel
      - McLeod RXT Twin Clutch
      - Somebody’s Hydraulic T/O Bearing
      - Denny’s Drive Shaft
      - 1350 U- Joints


      - Wheels & Brakes -

      - 19x9.5” / 20x11“ 3 Piece Rushforth Wildside Wheels
      - 275/35/19 and 305/35/20 Nitto Tires
      - 14” 6 Piston Kore 3 Front Brakes
      - 13.5” 4 Piston Kore 3 Rear Brakes
      - DBA Slotted Rotors
      - Wilwood Pedals and Triple Master Cylinders


      - The Extra’s -
      - ISIS Mutiplex Wiring System
      - Vintage Air A/C
      - Ring Bros Hood Hinges
      - Ring Bros Hood Adjusters
      - Ring Bros Door Strikers

      Special thanks to the following:

      Jason Rushforth – Wheels And Rendering
      Jon Henderson @ Driverzinc - Numerous Parts And The Rushforth Wheels and Nitto tires. This guy knows his stuff and has been EXTREMELY patient with me.
      Tobin @ Kore3.com – C6 Z06 Brake Kit Including the Parking Brake and the ability to pick his brain.
      Mark @ SC&C – I’ve had many LONG conversations with him, but he supplied the ATS stuff along with the LEE box and SPC arms
      Tim

      The WidowMaker: Garage Built 70 Chevelle

      Special Thanks To: Rushforth Wheels, MuscleRodz, Kore3 & SC&C

      Build Thread Link


    2. #2
      Join Date
      Dec 2007
      Location
      Carlsbad, Ca
      Posts
      1,213
      Country Flag: United States
      These are a couple of before pictures. Although I took tons of pics to remember where parts went, I made the mistake of not taking enough overall pics. Here are a few that I have.




      Tim

      The WidowMaker: Garage Built 70 Chevelle

      Special Thanks To: Rushforth Wheels, MuscleRodz, Kore3 & SC&C

      Build Thread Link

    3. #3
      Join Date
      Dec 2007
      Location
      Carlsbad, Ca
      Posts
      1,213
      Country Flag: United States
      The first thing I did was start to repair and replace the ugly sheet metal. Having a vinyl top killed the metal on this car. I started by cutting out all of the bad parts, and welding in a bunch of patch panels. When I was good and satisfied with a job well done, and a lot of time invested, I cut off the panels and put on two new quarters (you’ll start to see a theme forming). Here are some pics of the original repairs, and then of the new quarters.





      Tim

      The WidowMaker: Garage Built 70 Chevelle

      Special Thanks To: Rushforth Wheels, MuscleRodz, Kore3 & SC&C

      Build Thread Link

    4. #4
      Join Date
      Dec 2007
      Location
      Carlsbad, Ca
      Posts
      1,213
      Country Flag: United States
      These are some pics from when I thought I was done with the frame. I built a temporary booth in my back yard with 3 positive pressure fans and filters on the intake and exhaust sides. I used all of SPI products, other than the PPG gray paint. The red is called “SPI Red”. I shot all my primers, including the feather fill with an Astro gun with 1.5 and 2.0 tips. I used a SATA 3000 RP digital for all the base and clear. This was my first time shooting automotive paint, and my first time shooting anything this large. Other than small wood lacquer projects, I had no experience with a gun.




      Tim

      The WidowMaker: Garage Built 70 Chevelle

      Special Thanks To: Rushforth Wheels, MuscleRodz, Kore3 & SC&C

      Build Thread Link

    5. #5
      Join Date
      Dec 2007
      Location
      Carlsbad, Ca
      Posts
      1,213
      Country Flag: United States
      Here are some of the frame rebuild pics. A few things have led to the almost complete rebuild, but the ride height was the main item. I really couldn’t drop the car to where I wanted without a major overhaul, so after spending all that time painting the frame, it got cut and ground back up.

      So a “few” things happened in order to make the ride height happen. The first issue was that the short springs I put in the rear just weren’t short enough. In order to get it to a good ride height, it took 600 lbs in the trunk. At this point, the springs were almost compressed, and the top and bottom perches weren’t lining up (the top and bottom perches were perpendicular to the ground, but they were about 3” off fore and aft from each other). So, I decided that if I had to get rid of the stock spring perches, I would convert to coilovers in the rear.

      In addition to the issues with the springs, the geometry of the stock suspension went to crap at the lowered ride height. My antisquat was through the roof, and I had introduced roll steer with the angle of the lca’s in addition to raising my RRCH even further. So I designed some new axle brackets that did a few things; first they allowed multiple height adjustments for the lca to change anti squat and roll steer, plus they also adapted the Chris Alston’s chassis works shock mounts with ride height adjustment for the coilovers. 40 hours of Corel Draw (a lot of different ideas) and $200 in waterjetting later, this solved both the geometry and the shock issues.

      The other issue with the stock suspension was the converging upper control arms. To eliminate the binding associated with this suspension, I fabbed up some new uca’s and mounted them parallel with the frame centerline. They also have adjustments in height at the front and rear for antisquat, and they are of course adjustable for pinion angle adjustments. Since the UCA’s no longer controlled side to side axle migration, I built a watts link. I looked into a phb before I considered the watts, but packaging was still a nightmare and there were other inherent issues with it as well. One of those issues became apparent while talking with Mark. He had a customer that kept ripping his phb mounts off the frame. He wasn’t breaking the welds, he was tearing the frame itself. In addition to that, if the frame didn’t have a crossmember, it was likely that the side with the frame mount for the bar would actually get sucked in during hard cornering. So since I needed a crossmember to keep all of that from happening (plus I needed one for the coilovers anyways), the only difference between the two systems was the cradle. After doing a whole bunch of mockup and searching for ideas, I ended up with something that resembles the lat dynamics 3 link setup.





      Once all the welding was done on the housing, I shipped it off (well, actually I drove it) to Currie to have it narrowed and have 9” ends welded on. They gave it back to me set up with new axles, straightened and with the gears setup.
      Tim

      The WidowMaker: Garage Built 70 Chevelle

      Special Thanks To: Rushforth Wheels, MuscleRodz, Kore3 & SC&C

      Build Thread Link

    6. #6
      Join Date
      Dec 2007
      Location
      Carlsbad, Ca
      Posts
      1,213
      Country Flag: United States
      So once all of that got sorted out, the next problem and solution arose; there wasn’t enough clearance between the axle housing and the frame. I started by taking a couple of inches out of the frame and sort of c-notching it, but with a twist. Both sides have 3/16” plate and the job netted me about 2” more clearance. There also wasn’t enough clearance between the pinion and the frame, so when I built the new crossmember, I made sure to add the clearance necessary.


      Tim

      The WidowMaker: Garage Built 70 Chevelle

      Special Thanks To: Rushforth Wheels, MuscleRodz, Kore3 & SC&C

      Build Thread Link

    7. #7
      Join Date
      Dec 2007
      Location
      Carlsbad, Ca
      Posts
      1,213
      Country Flag: United States
      As I began to get more and more work done on the frame, I couldn’t help but notice all of its flex. With the frame on the rotisserie and one sides rotation locked, I could take the other side and actually twist the frame a good amount. WAY more than I had ever thought possible with such little effort. So I started to look into it. I found that most people consider the chevelle a unibody with a complete frame. Meaning, that the body supplies most of the resistance to twist. To remedy this I started to look into what the aftermarket was doing. The first was that nothing comes with c channel anymore, so away it went and now the center section is boxed. The next thing is the inner webbing. Most will argue that a third dimension is needed in order to combat the twist, and only a roll cage will do this, not the webbing. But from my testing of the twist on the rotisserie, I found that it again greatly reduced after I had already welded the c-channel and while only having the webbing tacked in. Was it worth it? I don’t really know. It added weight, but it also added another crossmember, and that in it self helps with the twist. It will also GREATLY help if I’m t-boned and the car hitting me actually contacts the frame, not just the body.






      Tim

      The WidowMaker: Garage Built 70 Chevelle

      Special Thanks To: Rushforth Wheels, MuscleRodz, Kore3 & SC&C

      Build Thread Link

    8. #8
      Join Date
      Dec 2007
      Location
      Carlsbad, Ca
      Posts
      1,213
      Country Flag: United States
      Next are some shots of the swaybars. I got all of my parts from speedway, and they are great to work with. I figured my rates using the free trial of the suspension analyzer program. It spit out some numbers based on my inputs. They are a starting point and will be swapped out for other bars if needed. The rear bar mounts to the frame, and the adjustable links then mount to the axle. It still needs the corners of the axle mounts rounded, and I’m going to machine some more out of the arms. They were about a foot longer, but were cut to fit the limited space. They are way too beefy for the job they are doing.


      The front bar required custom pillow blocks and delrin bushings to be made. It took me a little while, but aluminum and delrin are easy to work with. The speedway arms also have to be bent to fit the around the tires, frame and springs. For me, a simple ~30* bend was all that was necessary. The arms will attach to the global west lowers via a custom little mount and have adjustability for different rates (that project to come next week since my endlinks were special ordered). The endlinks are qa1 xm series rod ends with a built in stud.



      Tim

      The WidowMaker: Garage Built 70 Chevelle

      Special Thanks To: Rushforth Wheels, MuscleRodz, Kore3 & SC&C

      Build Thread Link

    9. #9
      Join Date
      Dec 2007
      Location
      Carlsbad, Ca
      Posts
      1,213
      Country Flag: United States
      The motor was originally going to be mounted with the frame stands in the stock location. But after looking at all the room behind the heads, it got moved back. It doesn’t really help with weight distribution very much (moving a battery is way more advantageous), but it looks a little better. I then ran into the issue with both the header to ground clearance, and the tie rod to autokraft pan. In order to solve both of these problems, I actually lifted the motor within the chassis. Automatically this will make you think that the cog was raised, but by raising the motor 1”, I was able to lower the front of the car 1 more inch. This left the cam height to ground the same, but lowered everything else. It also cleared up my tie rod issue.



      Tim

      The WidowMaker: Garage Built 70 Chevelle

      Special Thanks To: Rushforth Wheels, MuscleRodz, Kore3 & SC&C

      Build Thread Link

    10. #10
      Join Date
      Dec 2007
      Location
      Carlsbad, Ca
      Posts
      1,213
      Country Flag: United States
      Then the work started on the body. Again because of the dropped height, raised motor, and proper drive shaft angles, I had to make multiple changes. I thought that I was going to be able to get away with cutting a little out of the tranny tunnel for the tremec, but it turned out to be a whole lot more than that. I started by cutting out the entire tranny tunnel, and fabbing up a new piece that fit over the tranny once the proper angles were established. I then welded it in, and continued by cutting out the entire driveshaft tunnel. The driveshaft was about 1” away from the stock tunnel at ride height, so it was raised a good amount. I was originally going to leave it all spot welded, but I ended up solid welding it with all the welds ground down and finished. I was amazed at how much more rigid the floor was with the added height of the tunnel acting as a backbone.







      Tim

      The WidowMaker: Garage Built 70 Chevelle

      Special Thanks To: Rushforth Wheels, MuscleRodz, Kore3 & SC&C

      Build Thread Link

    11. #11
      Join Date
      Dec 2007
      Location
      Carlsbad, Ca
      Posts
      1,213
      Country Flag: United States
      The next items to be addressed were the tubs. At ride height, not only did I not have enough vertical clearance, but the tires were starting to come into contact with the first lip of the tubs (see pic). I’m not sure what the purpose of this was, but it would have required the tires to be sucked in with a lot of clearance to the quarters, and I hate this look. I cut them out completely and fabbed up some new pieces. I used a wood form to create a 1” radius on the edges which I think gives them a better appearance. They also fit tight to the quarters, and do not just go straight up from the wheel lip. This gave me gobs of extra room over what the stock tubs offered. I probably have over 50 hours in these, but they were well worth it.









      Tim

      The WidowMaker: Garage Built 70 Chevelle

      Special Thanks To: Rushforth Wheels, MuscleRodz, Kore3 & SC&C

      Build Thread Link

    12. #12
      Join Date
      Dec 2007
      Location
      Carlsbad, Ca
      Posts
      1,213
      Country Flag: United States
      After getting all the floor work done, minus the trunk (still to come), I started on the firewall. I wanted a shaved firewall from the start, so that’s what I did. I used a piece of 16ga and cut it out to fit. It’s welded around the entire outside, along with all the little plug welds. It really rattled until I welded up the plugs, so I’m glad I drilled all those holes to start. It’s a solid THUD now. I will have to modify the area around the master cylinders. I originally welded it so that it flowed with the existing portion of the firewall, but this will most likely end up flat like the rest in order to mount the 3 M/C’s. I also wish I had access to a really good bead roller to put some character in this piece, but it is what it is with the tools I have on hand. I had used the cheap HF bead roller to make the rear seat piece, but there was no way it was doing more than 20 ga.


      Tim

      The WidowMaker: Garage Built 70 Chevelle

      Special Thanks To: Rushforth Wheels, MuscleRodz, Kore3 & SC&C

      Build Thread Link

    13. #13
      Join Date
      Dec 2007
      Location
      Carlsbad, Ca
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      Country Flag: United States
      I also cut off most of the lip around the cowl and welded in some ¼” rod. This cleaned it up a bunch. It was wavy and the overlapping pieces were uneven in stock form. Now it is nice and smooth. Its amazing how little things really can clean an area up. This is going to need a lot of work prior to paint, but it was about 2 hours to this point. Making the top smooth will be easy, but making the firewall transition into this will require a few hours of welding, grinding, sanding, filling…………

      Tim

      The WidowMaker: Garage Built 70 Chevelle

      Special Thanks To: Rushforth Wheels, MuscleRodz, Kore3 & SC&C

      Build Thread Link

    14. #14
      Join Date
      Dec 2007
      Location
      Carlsbad, Ca
      Posts
      1,213
      Country Flag: United States
      Well, that about sums up what has been done so far. There is still a whole list, but it’s getting smaller. My next projects include the transmission mount, pedals and mc’s, the steering column and the trunk floor. I am having Hector build me a custom tank, and because I hate the way the tank hangs down so much stock, I’m going to raise the trunk floor to give the back a little cleaner look. I don’t want to hide the art that those guys do, but I don’t want all my suspension work hiding either.

      My goal is to have the frame back in paint and completely assembled by the beginning of next summer, with threat of death for swapping any more parts for something else newer and cooler. I also hope to have all the panels fit and gapped, sanded to bare metal, primed and rough blocked by the end of summer. The funds for the motor and interior may slow things down, but expected completion is sometime in 2011.
      Tim

      The WidowMaker: Garage Built 70 Chevelle

      Special Thanks To: Rushforth Wheels, MuscleRodz, Kore3 & SC&C

      Build Thread Link

    15. #15
      Join Date
      Dec 2005
      Location
      Birmingham, AL
      Posts
      3,356
      Country Flag: United States
      This would be an impressive build regardless of where it was built, but throw in the fact that you are doing this in a garage and learning as you go and it really ups the ante.
      Stephen

    16. #16
      Join Date
      Mar 2009
      Location
      overseas
      Posts
      3,417
      Country Flag: United States
      wow awesome project so far!
      Kevin S. (overseas in Germany)

      1972 Buick Skylark GS 455 (Stage 1 Clone)

    17. #17
      Join Date
      Jul 2006
      Location
      Merritt Island,FL
      Posts
      1,182
      Country Flag: United States
      Build looks great. love the tunnel!

      Brian
      Check out my web site.
      http://screaminperformance.net

    18. #18
      Join Date
      Mar 2009
      Location
      San Antonio, TX
      Posts
      1,696
      Badazz project and good progress, I'll be following this one for the duration.
      I really appreciate a garage build, it's my way too.
      Like the structural work on the frame - Niiiiice.

    19. #19
      Join Date
      Mar 2009
      Posts
      1
      Love the garage floor! Awsome build man, you are showing some serious talent with all that fabrication and some pretty nice welding!!

      Marc

    20. #20
      Join Date
      Aug 2004
      Location
      Dunwoody, GA
      Posts
      5,268
      Country Flag: United States
      I want to build my TA up like this. Very nicely done. I love seeing stuff like this come together.
      Trey

      "The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese."
      ~ Jon Hammond

      1979 WS6 Trans Am stock LT1/T56 drive train out of my Formula. BMW M-parallel rims. C5/C6 brakes

      build thread https://www.pro-touring.com/showthre...ghlight=begins

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