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Thread: My 64 Commander.

  1. #1
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    My 64 Commander.

    Hi everyone!
    I bought my 1964 Commander in August 2017 and have been changing things to better suit me since then. I hope this is the appropriate place to post my progress photos.

    The car at purchase date had a mismatched interior that included blue commander rear side panels and blue dash, that's all that was stock. Otherwise red r-active seats up front, purple zebra door panels, blue grand marquis seats bolted in place, camaro steering column with key and shifter on column(ignition really on dash, manual car).

    Drivetrain had obviously been swapped somewhere in its lifetime. Sporting a sbc 350, t10 4spd and an s10 rear end sitting on two leaf springs.

    I stumbled upon a very rotten bodied parts car in November which gave me the idea to change interior all black Daytona style. Parts car is my savior in so many ways looking back.

    My fun started by changing the interior completely. I gutted the entire interior and kept only the blue carpet that also was not stock fit(close enough so it stays). Ordered some seats from Braum through Haute Ag in Calgary, AB. I couldn't stop there. During the gutting and swapping I saw things I couldn't put back to the way they were so I also got a new steering column from Summit Racing.
    My door locks never worked very well and ignition stuck out from dash. I had parts car ignition re-keyed and order earlier door locks with the dust caps(future service in mind).
    After my front seats from Braum showed up I dropped off the parts car rear factory seats at a local upholstery shop to be matched to my fronts.
    I modified the factory manual steering shaft to accept a 3/4" DD coupler to accept the 1" DD steering column from 30" Summit column(could have went with 28"). After the "new" parts car black dash was mounted I ordered my steering wheel with 1.5" dish to not sit me too far back.
    To mount my new front seats I learned to weld and made brackets to bolt into the factory mounts and space me just under 2" from the floor.
    While putting gauges back in place and making things work again I put blue led lights behind them.

    A few test drives after the streets dried up here in Saskatchewan I realized I needed new brake master cylinder and a new wheel cylinder. Wheel cylinder was no issue but took some time to find Napa master cylinder 8142 was a direct replacement.

    Shifter linkage fell apart one night on a drive as well, that was scary. Hurst steel bushings and clips were installed then.

    Overheating became an issue, found chunks in the radiator and a 160 degree thermostat. Threw me over an edge in my own mind and I ordered up a new rad/fan combo with electronic thermostat. Now that I'm currently mounting this I've found my long style water pump to be too close. Now I'm swapping in a short water pump and relocating alternator with studebaker mounts from 65 Daytona. Need to find proper crank pulley now.
    I figured overheating the car hurt some oil seals so pulling the engine before mounting new rad had to happen. Where I found some weird stuff going on to mount passenger side of engine. Now that's back closer to factory with stude mount on frame and new 65 Chevelle engine mounts(direct fit).

    Been cleaning up the 65 Daytona D44 rear end to put into the car yet and some better leaf springs. Would like to sit the car more level than it currently is. Will require new 15" rim/tire combo.

    I'm sure there is lots I'm missing that I've done to the car so far but here's some pictures. FAR from done right now but the important part is I'm getting there and learning a ton from this experience. I'll do my best to keep this thread updated on my progress.

    First night I brought it home. Keeps loading upside down....

    Next day.


    Interior progress.

    Before pulling the engine.

    New radiator after engine installed.
    Last edited by RyleeH; 07-01-2018 at 01:30 PM.

  2. #2
    President Member Bullet's Avatar
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    Great progress! I like the glow of the gauges. Keep us updated on the progress. I have a 64 Cruiser as a daily driver, so know some of what you are going through.


    Mark

  3. #3
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    Thanks Bullet! Doing my best to get everything done properly.

    So I tried getting 65 Daytona alternator bracket to fit my current GM alternator and that's not working for me. I broke down and ordered brackets from local performance shop today. Should put it directly forward of my passenger head/valve cover. I'm hoping it wont block the side of water pump so heater may still work. Wanting to route that hose under the alt and back to heater core.

    Wanting to find a different fuse panel under my dash so not too many accessories running from stock panel.

    I'm short a few houses, water pump bolts and gas line. Gas line now that its moved a bit and I noticed a kink I'd like to relieve. Small amount of wiring to be done as well.

    Hiding behind to grill, looks good.


    Short water pump gives me 1-3/4" space between itself and fan. You can see fuel line kink in this photo.

  4. #4
    President Member Jerry Forrester's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RyleeH View Post
    Should put it directly forward of my passenger head/valve cover.
    I don't think you can put the alternator in front of the valve cover if you are using a short water pump. It must go outside the VC or between the VC and the thermostat housing.
    Also, you won't be able to use that crank pulley shown in the photo, it's for a long water pump.
    Jerry Forrester
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    See all of Buttercup's pictures at https://imgur.com/a/tBjGzTk


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    Jerry, I was concerned at first the bracket I just ordered wouldn't work either. The shop owner was sure it will for my application. Ya the crank pulley I have is for a lwp but the middle groove sits perfectly with middle groove of my water pump pulley which I believe is where my alternator should line up to as well. I'll order a shorter crank pulley later to clear more space.
    I'll see Tuesday night how it all lines up and go from there.

    Went to local drag strip this spring to see what the car could do, 15.744@91.47mph was my best. Pic of my best three slips of the day in my album.


    Going to try remember to upload a picture each time I comment here.

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    Hi, nice car.I have a 64 commander as well. What is your vin#? Mine is 64S-4215. They didn't make many of them and I was curious how far apart they are. Mine has a 259 swapped in. I have a ways to go before it's drivable,but I am slowly making progress.
    Dave
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    Are you looking at the tag in the driver door?

    OR
    The tag under the hood on the passenger side?

  8. #8
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    Door tag. Mine is a South Bend car.I wasn't even thinking about yours being a Canadian built car(Duh)It's been a long day. I'm going to bed before I say anything even dumber. Lol.
    Dave

  9. #9
    President Member junior's Avatar
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    if you want to move the alt. to the driver side of the engine, find a complete set-up off a 70-72 chev 1/2 with sbc engine and no power steering or brakes. single groove pulley top and bottom, cast iron lower alt. bracket, extra-thick top alt. bracket... both brackets bolt to a factory head (which you have) inexpensive, clean, simple and robust system that works with factory rams horn manifolds. you're from sask, so should be lots of old c-10's and gmc 1500's in your province for parts picking. cheers, junior
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    Last edited by junior; 07-07-2018 at 03:35 PM.

    1954 C5 Hamilton car.

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    I gave the style that mounted to my manifold a thought for a little bit but I have issue with the current driver manifold and exhaust. It looks like when the 350 was swapped in to what was not originally chevy, the wrong driver manifold was used. You can see in this pic that it is bent backwards instead of going straight down like the passenger side. This causes my steering arm to hit it at full right turn.

    So I have the plan to eventually buy headers. From what I hear cc3 Sanderson headers should fit my car, then re-do the exhaust.

  11. #11
    President Member Jerry Forrester's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RyleeH View Post
    I gave the style that mounted to my manifold a thought for a little bit but I have issue with the current driver manifold and exhaust. It looks like when the 350 was swapped in to what was not originally chevy, the wrong driver manifold was used. You can see in this pic that it is bent backwards instead of going straight down like the passenger side. This causes my steering arm to hit it at full right turn.

    So I have the plan to eventually buy headers. From what I hear cc3 Sanderson headers should fit my car, then re-do the exhaust.
    Go back and read post #9. He's talking about an alternator bracket that bolts to the front of the head, It doesn't have anything to do with the exhaust manifold.

    BTW, that driver's side swept back manifold is a truck manifold. You need a car manifold, they go straight down.
    Jerry Forrester
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    I see that now he didnt mean bolt to manifold, guess I was a bit confused but I don't like wiring is the other reason I want to stay passenger side.

    I have car manifolds from the parts car I had but pipes need to be changed regardless because of the angle on driver side and kinks on both sides. Did these straight down manifolds ever come on a 350? It has smaller diameter than the bent manifold. I thought that style of blockhugger would let the engine breathe better than these little manifolds.

  13. #13
    Golden Hawk Member StudeRich's Avatar
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    I don't know WHAT that is you have for a Right Side Engine Mount BRACKET, but it should look like the Left side!
    StudeRich
    Second Generation Stude Driver,
    Proud '54 Starliner Owner




  14. #14
    President Member Jerry Forrester's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RyleeH View Post
    I see that now he didnt mean bolt to manifold, guess I was a bit confused but I don't like wiring is the other reason I want to stay passenger side.

    I have car manifolds from the parts car I had but pipes need to be changed regardless because of the angle on driver side and kinks on both sides. Did these straight down manifolds ever come on a 350? It has smaller diameter than the bent manifold. I thought that style of blockhugger would let the engine breathe better than these little manifolds.
    You can get the rams horn manifolds with a 2 1/2" outlet. But I don't know if you have room for that due to the pitman arm.
    https://www.speedwaymotors.com/Corve...air,58966.html
    Jerry Forrester
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    See all of Buttercup's pictures at https://imgur.com/a/tBjGzTk


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    Studerich, haha I had a similar reaction when I got the engine out and had a good look. It WAS a camaro mount on a steel plate and matching on block but driver side block WAS I still have no clue what. NOW I have stude mounts on frame and 65 chevelle mounts attached to block. It's been taken care of, I would not put it back together how it was. Just like most of how the car WAS before I started on it.

    Jerry, good to know they can be found in larger diameter. But I made a post on Facebook a while ago asking for cars exactly like mine with blockhuggers. I even received pictures from a couple people showing Sanderson blockhugger headers, think cc3 od something like that for part number. I'll have to look back to see but that's something for winter to take care of.

    This is where I am now, just grabbed water pump pulley and shims today. That and a bit of wiring and I might start it up tonight.

    Before anyone comments about fuel line, left it long until pulleys and belt done then trim it down.

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    Well made some more progress the last few days after 10-11hr work days. Sick today but I'll trick through tonight and see if I get it running.

    I was having issues with belt alignment with Moroso P#63825 and after emailing them directly it dawned on me I don't need different pulleys but just to space their bracket forward 5/16" and I hit the front pulley of my water pump. Then I'll get a double groove swp crank pulley to get two belts between water pump and crank so make it look better. Using belts from Partsource #15305 and #15346. Also lesson learned to measure lengths needed with another v-groove belt for more accurate length, then getting that length plus next two sizes up. I first measured with wire and was short 3" each belt. Measured with belt I got alternator first try and third try for crank/water pump.

    After I got the knob on my new Flex-a-lite rad fan combo for electronic thermostat control I realized I had a bad controller. I emailed them, sent pics of install and my invoice. As of yesterday i have a new controller on the way without me having to send anything back. Tech guy was pleasantly surprised when I told him I did not install P#51168 into what he thought would be a CJ Jeep.

    Great customer service from both companies.

    I'm fairly beginner mechanic in my own eyes so things are taking longer than I want but later tonight I plan to try timing the 350 and calling some friends to get my good back in place.

    Here's my promised one pic per reply.

  17. #17
    President Member Jerry Forrester's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RyleeH View Post
    Well made some more progress the last few days after 10-11hr work days. Sick today but I'll trick through tonight and see if I get it running.

    I was having issues with belt alignment with Moroso P#63825 and after emailing them directly it dawned on me I don't need different pulleys but just to space their bracket forward 5/16" and I hit the front pulley of my water pump. Then I'll get a double groove swp crank pulley to get two belts between water pump and crank so make it look better. Using belts from Partsource #15305 and #15346. Also lesson learned to measure lengths needed with another v-groove belt for more accurate length, then getting that length plus next two sizes up. I first measured with wire and was short 3" each belt. Measured with belt I got alternator first try and third try for crank/water pump.

    After I got the knob on my new Flex-a-lite rad fan combo for electronic thermostat control I realized I had a bad controller. I emailed them, sent pics of install and my invoice. As of yesterday i have a new controller on the way without me having to send anything back. Tech guy was pleasantly surprised when I told him I did not install P#51168 into what he thought would be a CJ Jeep.

    Great customer service from both companies.

    I'm fairly beginner mechanic in my own eyes so things are taking longer than I want but later tonight I plan to try timing the 350 and calling some friends to get my good back in place.

    Here's my promised one pic per reply.
    Is there a tensioner for the WP/CS belt?
    Jerry Forrester
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Forrester View Post
    Is there a tensioner for the WP/CS belt?
    Good point. I do not see one unless it is obscured by the lower hose.
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    No tensioner. Had to muscle it in place. Belt sits tight, I'm not worried about that. I can add one if I have issues but I'm confident this will be fine.

  20. #20
    President Member Jerry Forrester's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RyleeH View Post
    No tensioner. Had to muscle it in place. Belt sits tight, I'm not worried about that. I can add one if I have issues but I'm confident this will be fine.
    No problem. That's how we used to run our dirt track cars back in the seventies and eighties. But we used the Corvette single/deep groove pullies. Had to pull the WP pulley to change the belt
    Jerry Forrester
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    Ya I needed to install pulley with belt on. Wasn't easy but I managed. Once I get a double groove crank pulley and add a second belt I can imagine it will be much harder to put back in place.

  22. #22
    President Member Jerry Forrester's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RyleeH View Post
    Ya I needed to install pulley with belt on. Wasn't easy but I managed. Once I get a double groove crank pulley and add a second belt I can imagine it will be much harder to put back in place.
    Much easier if you remove the WP pulley.
    Jerry Forrester
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    Had some more learning experiences this weekend. So after charging the battery twice, a boost from my ranger finally got it started. But that was only after I removed the valve covers again to verify tdc. I found an awesome video regarding motorcycles that helped a lot to explain tdc on 4-stroke engines. Turned out I was 180° off the compression stroke, i originally set it when valves were overlapping open.
    Turns out I didnt install my transmission inspection cover very well so the pressure plate made some bad noise once I finally got the timing right and started.


    After I got it running I tested my new rad/fan combo which is also awesome by the way. Flexalite customer service is great. The new controller showed up and was an easy install. Loosened rad shroud holding bolts slid it up just enough to under controller cover and just five wire connections to mess with.

    Wanted to go for a test drive after I begged a friend to come help put the hood back on. So I had to pull up front and have Ranger save the day again. I didnt get the cig lighter in car working so used the trucks and my crappy compressor to get up air pressure in my front driver tire.


    Before the test drive I noticed a slight squeaking noise. Sounds like regrets of not doing clutch release bearing while I had easy access. But before calling it a day I reached under and generously sprayed white lithium grease in through the clutch fork hole since I dont have a cover. Started the car, moved the clutch a bunch, no noise. I'm still gonna order a new one and be ready when its needed, IF I got away with it this time.

    Re-aligned my ford brake light switch right at the pedal so my lights dont stay on at all times. I know stock the switch is on the master, I'm getting there, bear with me.

    Im super excited now and going to drive it to work tomorrow. But now that I'm running I can focus on all the small things. Like door panels, sill plates, window cranks, etc. Never ending list that I'm totally fine with.

  24. #24
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    Now I'm just chasing small leaks and starting to clean up appearance more. I thought I had oil leaks under control until I put a better sealing oil fill cap to stop dirty valve covers and the timing cover gasket failed horribly. So yesterday I frantically changed that in 4.5hrs, changed the oil and all. I sit below the half mark on the temp gauge with my new flex-a-lite system, still spitting out a bit of coolant but will try changing up to a 19lb rad cap from my current 16lb to solve that. My local performance shop guy gave me the rad cap advice, he has been great with me.

    Was able to take a highway cruise to another members house yesterday to ask for advice for repair of the front door panels I have from the parts car I had. He offered to tinker on them himself which would be awesome, but I'd rather do it myself to learn. He said I can call anytime for advice, I like that more. While I was there I drooled over a Hawk(I think) that he is working on. Very grateful for his advice and the time he takes to explain things to me. Thanks George!

    Yesterday as well I ordered some parts which I just picked up. Carb spacer, double v-groove crank pulley and this nice edelbrock air cleaner. Should help the engine breathe better and space my fuel line off the coolant line, only reason for the carb spacer. Everything should start looking like it's meant to be soon.


  25. #25
    President Member Jerry Forrester's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RyleeH View Post
    still spitting out a bit of coolant but will try changing up to a 19lb rad cap from my current 16lb to solve that. My local performance shop guy gave me the rad cap advice, he has been great with me.
    Rylee, it sounds like you're having too much fun. Slow down, you're gonna burst your fun meter.
    I wouldn't go with a stronger radiator cap, if anything I'd go with a 14lb. cap and install a coolant recovery tank. Your car, your money, your decision.
    Jerry Forrester
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  26. #26
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    Ya I might be overthinking the coolant situation. Went for another car wash to clean up some oil underneath and the rad keeps at a level about 2" from the top of tank. I have a small overflow tank. So I'll just monitor the situation and if it gets lower then I'll look into other solutions. Believe I just have to do more cleaning underneath to get rid of any drips now.

    Bringing it to work the next few days should help dry it off, supposed to be 38C tomorrow and the next day. Won't put the carb spacer or air cleaner on until I get all the excess oil and coolant cleaned out of the engine bay.

  27. #27
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    Was driving my car last week chasing small issues, thinking I was winning the battle until Friday after work. Started to try diagnose the issue and well I did find it.

    I started with simple diagnoses and worked my way in. Timing was off, spark plugs were fine, distributor was fine, I hadn't seemed to skip a tooth on the timing chain. Tore off the valve covers and found a piece of valve seal, pulled the heads, removed the valve in question, to find this. Valve guide is ovalled. I didnt pull more valves to see but the way a few wiggled, it's a safe bet more are pooched.

    Today I dropped the heads off at a local machine shop where they said as early as next week I could have them back. Hoping for no unexpected surprises. I'll get my act together this week (evenings after work and sunday) to pull the block out and do the throwout bearing. I'll be doing my best to have it back on the road in 2-3 weeks.

    Had the carb spacer and edelbrock air cleaner on last week. It looked like I had under an inch of clearance from the hood. But the hood springs rub it just so slightly, I'll be okay with it for now.

    On a good note my custom license plate showed up at my house today!


    Attended a local car show sunday where 5 studebakers were showing. Awesome cars.

  28. #28
    President Member junior's Avatar
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    I re-read your post about the t/o bearing. if that squeaking noise is like a bird chirping with no tension on the clutch pedal then there is a good chance that the ball stud of the clutch fork needs some grease. usually a bad t/o bearing will squeal when you engage the clutch pedal. if you are replacing the t/o bearing, buy a good one, not a cheap one...ask me how I know.

    looks like you have roller rocker arms...check to make sure they are contacting the center of the valve stems, if not they can cause all kinds of issues...pooched valve guide being one of them. There is lots of info on the net about this, and a lot of issues have to do with cheap rip-off off shore rocker arms. cheers, junior

    1954 C5 Hamilton car.

  29. #29
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    Surprise! So machineshop said on Thursday it wasn't worth machining the heads I brought in. Ordered up some aluminum heads right away. While I was at my local store, we talked about fixing a crack in aluminum bellhousing. $55 and the bellhousing is fixed. Looking at my release bearing after removal and its pooched, picked up national 614083. Trying to find a clutch pilot bearing now and start assembly, hope I find near me for a decent price tomorrow. Push rods will be here monday.
    Well yesterday I picked up the new heads.


    Hopefully no longer than another week without the car.

  30. #30
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    Back together again now. Ordered up ram horn manifolds with 2.5" collectors, hooked up new speedometer cable(pioneer ca3002 from Borg warner t10 to factory stude gauge), and finished putting everything together to start it up for the first time last night. Only took a couple tries of the key until it fired.
    Just going to fix up the steering column wiring tonight and have exhaust done in a shop tomorrow and its a driveable project again. Oh and get headlights and bezels back in.


    I'm really liking all the shine under the hood now. Over winter I'll pick away at it more. Valve covers, pump, alt pulleys and whatever else I can.

  31. #31
    President Member Jerry Forrester's Avatar
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    Is that a 3 groove water pump pulley you have? I guess that's one way to do it. It works, so that's ok.
    Jerry Forrester
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    Douglasville, Georgia

    See all of Buttercup's pictures at https://imgur.com/a/tBjGzTk


  32. #32
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    Yup triple groove. Alt only lines up to front pulley, then 2 belts to crank. If I went single groove crank I'd still need the triple groove and have one useless groove in the middle water pump. Double crank, triple water makes it look more "meant to be" in my opinion. No tensioner and I'm not worried about it slipping. Muscled water pulley into place.

    Just finished supper after getting back from exhaust shop now.


    Driving it easy right now. But I need bigger tires for spring. I'll finish a bit of wiring tonight to have all lights work again. Tighten the manifolds due to a small leak. Have to find a different gear to drive the speedometer cable, it's working but not accurately. Making some good progress these last couple days, I like rain days.

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