Jim, I have been reading all your articles looking for a solution to a problem I have encountered in the restoration of my 1952 Chevy pickup. Unfortunately I can't find any articles pertaining to the issue I am having. I have installed a Mustang II front suspension and am putting a 350 with 700-R4 automatic trans. Front suspension and transmission crossmember came from TCI. My problem is that to get the transmission up to the frame and engine high enough to get 3 degrees I keep hitting on the bottom of the firewall. I called TCI and they said it should work. My question is where on the frame should I weld the mounts to make this work or is there a different crossbar for trans that would lower the trans? I will cut the firewall around bellhousing if that is what needs to be done.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Hi John, I've installed about five or six Total Cost Involved IFS systems in various trucks and cars over the years and have always adjusted my pinion angles at the rearend and not the trans.
What I do is install the front crossmember assembly just as the instructions say. Then, lower the engine/trans into place (with room enough to R&R the distributor) and then locate and mark the engine mount locations on the framerails. With the engine mounts in place, reinstall the engine/trans combo and jack the trans up until a bubble level on the carb-mounting flange on the intake manifold shows level. When level, install the trans crossmember so the engine/trans are as close to level as you can. (You may find that an aftermarket trans crossmember will work better than the stock one.)
You'll notice that when you do this that there is a slight (very slight) downward angle from the front crank pulley to the transmission output shaft. At this point you can adjust the balance of the pinion angle at the rearend by shimming the spring mounting pads (with parallel leaf suspension), or by adjusting the bars on a four-bar equipped system.
This is how I've always done it and with good results. Hope this helps. RIZ
Hello Jim, First, let me state that I have never written a fan letter before, For that matter, I don't write many letters at all, but I felt compelled to write and express my admiration for your efforts and role at CLASSIC TRUCKS magazine.
I have been an avid reader of the magazine for some time now and truly enjoy your editorials and tech articles. I get such a laugh out of some of your editorials because I see myself in some of the scenarios you describe. I have been known to read them to my wife, who just shakes her head and makes some comment that what you have written sounds just like me. I especially liked the one about your weekend paintjob. I laughed so hard that I had tears in my eyes. It reminded me of my time painting the truck I built. Your tech articles are great in that you describe, in simple detail what you are doing, the best (and most economical tools) to use, and show pictures that illustrate the process.
I just finished an eight-year build on a '48 Chevy Thriftmaster pickup. It has '73 Nova suspension, a 350 Chevy backed by a THM 400 trans, Vintage Air, tilt column and Pioneer stereo. I did all the work myself except for the suspension and that was installed by Jays Customs in Kuna, Idaho. All bodywork and paint was done in my shop. The truck has won the truck category at a local show a few weeks ago. Like you have said in your articles, I did the best I could and am proud of it, but it is not a trailer queen show truck. We are having fun driving it as much as possible and showing it at local shows. I have attached a few pictures as well.
Thanks, and keep up the good work. I eagerly await the next issue.
Hi Mike, Thanks for the kind words, not sure I'll make it to lunch since my head won't fit through the door at the moment. All kidding aside, I'm happy you enjoy my ramblings and tech stories (though many are far from in-depth). My aim is to cajole my readers to try doing as much of their own labor as possible and to not be afraid to try and tackle things they've not attempted in the past (keeping in mind safety-related jobs are better left to a professional).
Your truck looks great and I appreciate the fact you performed most of its assembly yourself-you should be rightfully proud. Take care and thanks again. RIZ