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Old 04-06-2014, 03:00 AM   #1
Patro46
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Patro46's 74 Convertible Resto-Mod LSx/4L60e Swap Build

Having gathered most of the parts, it's about time to start and document the build. The heart of the build is an LQ4 shortblock, 10.2-1 forged .030 over pistons, topped with a set of aftermarket square port, CNC ported heads and an LS3 CNC ported intake.



The exhaust manifolds used for the build are from a 2012 SS2 Camaro. These flow nearly as good as a header, and I want to keep things under the hood as cool as possible (as if THAT were possible, right?)
After the exhaust manifolds, I'll put two of these in. This will enable me to "dump" the exhaust well in front of the mufflers for those weekend trips to the Tulsa International Raceway.



The heads are truly the heart of any high performance engine, and these jewels are twice the head of any cathedral port head the LQ4 ever came with.



I've ported more than one set of heads in my life, and spent countless hours behind a Dremmel, carefully grinding and blending the passages for the best possible flow, but never in my wildest imagination could I have came even remotely close to what can be done to a set of heads using a computer controlled CNC lathe. They are PERFECT!



My cell phone camera does very little to display the beauty of the port job. This porting should give me close to 100 hp on top of an already great flowing head.



The LS3 intake should provide all I need in terms of air delivery. The throttle body will be upgraded to a 92mm drive by cable unit. Fuel delivery is supplied by the new Walbro 440 in tank pump. Injectors (for now) are 42lb units. I will use my factory fuel tank and weld in an LS fuel pump flange into the top side of my tank. I'll detail this when I get to it.



The fuel line is to be replaced from the tank to the front with this line. If I choose to run e85 fuel, this fuel line is already e85 approved. I'll use the Corvette filter/regulator, so the fuel return loop is regulated at the filter and not the intake.



Transmission duties will be performed with a 4L60e. The transmission cost me 50 dollars. A quick teardown revealed burnt 3 gear disks, a common failure with these transmissions. Even though the rest of the transmission looked fine, it didn't have 600 plus hp behind it. Time to upgrade a few components. The Sunshell was replaced with one called "The Beast" for lack of a better word I presume. The servo was upgraded to a Corvette servo, and both the front and rear 4 gear planetary units have been replaced with much stronger 5 gear planetary units. The input shaft has also been upgraded to a stronger input. The 3-4 clutch packs have been upgraded to the Z-pack to prevent the failure this transmission had in the first place.



Here is why I got the transmission for 50 bucks. truth told, I COULD have just replaced the 3rd gear clutch pack and put her back together but I don't want to repeat this. So the entire enchilada gets gone through!



Here you can see the condition of the 4th gear clutch packs. They looked new and not even broke in. Compare that with the literally cooked 3rd gear clutch pack. This is why coughing up foir the Z-Pack is a GOOD investment.



I'll probably get hammered on this one, but this is my story and I'm sticking to it! Another often overlooked area responsible for grenading it's share of transmissions is the torque converter. So before I get hammered to death, a little research into higher than factory stall converters. First, it this device that literally couples our engine to the transmission and is responsible for doling out a LOT of torque all at once. When they "go" they almost always take the transmission with it. Remember this as we go forward. I learned the hard way years ago, except now, stuff is a LOT more expensive than it was in the 70's. One thing between then and now that has stayed the same is what happens when a cheap torque convertor explodes.

When we get to this area of the build, decisions tend to be more based upon COST than anything else, quality excluded. Why? Because you can spend 300 dollars or 800 dollars. Both may claim the same stall speed, and usually deliver in that area. So what's the difference? The guts. All of your "cheap" converters tend to use a 6 cylinder or 4 cylinder stock converter, open it up and change the guts around, weld it up and put a 300 dollar price tag on it. It may be a 9" converter, and have a fancy yellow sticker on it, but it's STILL a modded 4-6 banger torque converter. So.... if your curious if a converter in question is cheap, there is one dead giveaway. Look at the three tabs that bolt the converter to the flywheel. If they are welded to the converter, your the proud owner of a cheap torque converter! Now, feel free to cuss and kick the can. There are 100's of people who swear by a 300 dollar torque converter and they can make your "feel" better. It won't improve your torque converter but it might may your feel better

This said, tears dried up, ready to move on to what makes a torque converter a BETTER one? The simple fact it began life as a large chunk of billet steel and milled down from there, creating a much stronger coupling. In laymen terms, it won't break. This doesn't mean I have a tree growing 100 dollar bills as an 800 dollar converter is out of my budget. This leaves my options limited to an extent. I can either buy that 300 dollar one with a fancy sticker, keep saving my money or do this an opt for a used one.



I gave 350 bucks for this Vigilante 3600 stall torque converter. I'd do this over a 300 dollar re-worked 4 cylinder 9 inch converter with a fancy sticker any day. Let the hate mail begin!
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Old 04-06-2014, 07:51 AM   #2
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Hi, my name is D_B, and I am a parts hoarder!

Seriously, I do the same thing. I buy parts for YEARS and organize them and save them off and wait for this or wait for that, and finally jump into the project when I have everything I need to start and finish it.

Looking at your piles of parts my heart started racing and my mind started processing all the fun work you have ahead of you.
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Old 04-06-2014, 10:32 AM   #3
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Nice start to a great setup. Are you building a street car or something for the track?
What's the flow rate on the heads? And have you picked out what size cam you intend to run?
What are you doing for the rear of the power train?

I know that's a lot of questions but you have my attention.

Terry
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Old 04-06-2014, 10:45 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by D_B View Post
Hi, my name is D_B, and I am a parts hoarder!

Seriously, I do the same thing. I buy parts for YEARS and organize them and save them off and wait for this or wait for that, and finally jump into the project when I have everything I need to start and finish it.

Looking at your piles of parts my heart started racing and my mind started processing all the fun work you have ahead of you.
Missery loves company, huh DB? ROFL! You nailed me. I tend to research whatever it is, put my blinders on and jump in feet first! When it happens I've usually pack ratted the stuff. This time, I'm about out of room in the guest bdrm for parts.

I finally got my trailing arms in from powder painting with everything required for the rebuild, from new bearings to new dust shields and a stainless brake hardware kit. I was going to attempt the rebuild myself, but there are a few specialized tools I don't have that make this job not so nightmareish, cost a lot to buy and tools I'll probably never use again so as hard as it is for me to suck it up, Monday at 10:30 I'm meeting my old buddy Doc at Doc's Corvette in Tulsa for an instructional cruise into properly setting up the trailing arms on a C3 Corvette. I'll snap a few pictures along the way. Then I can get the trailing arms installed and complete the Shark Bite suspension mod. Then DB, I'll begin picking YOUR brain on things you've learned about this unique suspension mod
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Old 04-06-2014, 11:09 AM   #5
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First welcome to DC Patro46. Looks like you have quite a bit going on there. Give us a little history of your vette, it helps to put a Car with the drive train. Thanks for the lesson on the converter, I never knew what the difference was. A 3600 stall is really going to hammer that diff, are you going to build it. Sounds like you want a drag vette with the spec's you have posted. Keep the posts coming and pictures too. Looking forward to seeing the sharkbite setup.



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Old 04-07-2014, 07:09 PM   #6
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Subscribed to another great build...
Good Luck and keep the updates coming!
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Old 04-07-2014, 07:59 PM   #7
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Very nice! I'm working on my own LS swap currently and I also went with a 4000 Vigilante for a TH400. Looking forward to your progress. Keep us updated!
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Old 04-07-2014, 08:50 PM   #8
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These builds are great and I look forward to following progress. You got any before photos of the car and engine? I like to see what builders are starting with.

Welcome..........
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Old 04-07-2014, 11:16 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by riggs 74 View Post
Nice start to a great setup. Are you building a street car or something for the track?
What's the flow rate on the heads? And have you picked out what size cam you intend to run?
What are you doing for the rear of the power train?

I know that's a lot of questions but you have my attention.

Terry
...And all good questions. Flow rate of the heads? Dunno. Seriously. I received them on a trade. All I know about them is they are aftermarket. The CNC port job is beyond outstanding and everyone I've shown seems to drool over them. The springs are a step up from the beehive, and are double springs rated to a maximum lift of .625. These heads require 8 offset roller rockers, which I purchased new from GM Parts Direct.



As far as camshaft selection, I'm leaning towards a Texas Speed 233/239 .595"/.603" Camshaft on a 112 LSA.

Rear power train. How far rear? If you mean the VERY rear, I'm pushing my luck a tad, but I'll be easy on her. The rear end is the original 1974. I have gone completely through it, replacing all the bearings and clutches with heavy duty and upgraded the factory 3:08's to 3:70's. The wheel studs have been upgraded as well, and just today, with the help of my buddy at Doc's Corvette in Tulsa Okla. we finished up a complete rebuild of both trailing arms.



Watching this guy work on probably the most challenging component to rebuild on a C3 was a site to see. Guess if you've set up a thousand of them it's like changing a diaper. Right? Sort of. We ended up taking it apart, on and off several times before the correct bearing spacers were selected. Also, mine was the EASIEST he had ever done. Case in point. EVEN if you keep track of EVERYTHING, left to right and make sure the factory spacer is on the correct side, all bets are off when you change the bearings and races. BOTH sides were unable to use to factory spacers. Good thing Doc had a few handful's of different thickness spacers for just this thing.



Moral of this story is if you think you can get away with putting everything back like it was using new bearings, your probably wrong. this isn't a job for the meek. He also had several tools just for this, not found in many toolboxes I presume, certainly not in mine.





This should last longer and look better doing that than original did. And that was a LOT of years...

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Old 04-08-2014, 08:39 AM   #10
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Pat, since you are going to go to Shark Bite, don't put the lower shock / strut rod bolt in. Since you are eliminating the shock absorbers, you won't need the stock 'L' bolt that both holds the control arm and the shock's lower mount.

I used a second set of same bolts for the inner end of the control arm, along with a set of the lip washers that go with the bolts, and bolted the control arm to that lower mount on the trailing arm, the same way the inner end bolts to the bracket under the diff.

It's a lot cleaner looking without the unused 'L' that the lower end of the shock used to mount to.

I also went so far as to actually cut the upper shock mounts off the frame for a cleaner look. I don't intend on ever selling my car and I have no intention of going back to stock. The upper shock mounts became unused and pointless. By removing them, I cleaned up the Shark Bite install.
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Old 04-08-2014, 12:25 PM   #11
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Quote:
I'll probably get hammered on this one, but this is my story and I'm sticking to it! Another often overlooked area responsible for grenading it's share of transmissions is the torque converter. So before I get hammered to death, a little research into higher than factory stall converters. First, it this device that literally couples our engine to the transmission and is responsible for doling out a LOT of torque all at once. When they "go" they almost always take the transmission with it. Remember this as we go forward. I learned the hard way years ago, except now, stuff is a LOT more expensive than it was in the 70's. One thing between then and now that has stayed the same is what happens when a cheap torque convertor explodes.

When we get to this area of the build, decisions tend to be more based upon COST than anything else, quality excluded. Why? Because you can spend 300 dollars or 800 dollars. Both may claim the same stall speed, and usually deliver in that area. So what's the difference? The guts. All of your "cheap" converters tend to use a 6 cylinder or 4 cylinder stock converter, open it up and change the guts around, weld it up and put a 300 dollar price tag on it. It may be a 9" converter, and have a fancy yellow sticker on it, but it's STILL a modded 4-6 banger torque converter. So.... if your curious if a converter in question is cheap, there is one dead giveaway. Look at the three tabs that bolt the converter to the flywheel. If they are welded to the converter, your the proud owner of a cheap torque converter! Now, feel free to cuss and kick the can. There are 100's of people who swear by a 300 dollar torque converter and they can make your "feel" better. It won't improve your torque converter but it might may your feel better

This said, tears dried up, ready to move on to what makes a torque converter a BETTER one? The simple fact it began life as a large chunk of billet steel and milled down from there, creating a much stronger coupling. In laymen terms, it won't break. This doesn't mean I have a tree growing 100 dollar bills as an 800 dollar converter is out of my budget. This leaves my options limited to an extent. I can either buy that 300 dollar one with a fancy sticker, keep saving my money or do this an opt for a used one.

This image has been resized. Click this bar to view the full image.
Wow hell of a good post! Thanks for the info on torque converters. Do all factory converters have welded on ears? Or are some billet steel and from what cars?
Bill
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Old 04-08-2014, 10:10 PM   #12
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Wow hell of a good post! Thanks for the info on torque converters. Do all factory converters have welded on ears? Or are some billet steel and from what cars?
Bill
All factory converters I have ever owned had welded ears, and held up fine is stock applications. But I've never had a factory engine pushing 600 hp, and have broke my share of factory torque converters and several aftermarket ones on a lot less hp than this. There is a lot of information available on this subject, and plenty of opinions that swing both ways. I have way too much money in the engine and transmission to risk what I believe would be an inevitable failure in this area. With a billet converter like a Vigilante, Circle D, ect. odds of failure in this area go way down from an aftermarket torque converter that begins like as a factory casting. We've all heard you get what you pay for. Holds true here as well. It has been said a picture is worth a thousand words. Note the flywheel mounting tabs.



Here is a fairly good shot of what a billet converter looks like.

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Old 04-08-2014, 11:55 PM   #13
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I had a few hours of daylight after work, so I dug in and managed to get the drivers side trailing arm installed and setup. Here's a short detail of what that entailed.

The first step is to start the bolt for the front part of the trailing arm. Don't worry about the shims just yet. Let's get the bolt all the way through the trailing arm.



Note the padding used to keep the lower trailing arm from scratching or chipping paint. I used used wadded up duct tape. Use whatever to keep the surfaces apart until it's properly connected.



I used a few of these to lift and support the trailing arm. I use these to connect flexible HVAC duct. Think of these as the "Jolly Green Giant" of zip-ties.





Now it's time to drag out your CAREFULLY saved and properly cataloged trailing arm shims. I'm sure they look like these from my 74. I cant stress the importance of knowing EXACTLY which side of the trailing arms they belonged to, as well as the inside or outside of the trailing arms. You'll have two shim packs on each trailing arm, and have been set from the factory. No two are alike, and you DON'T want to play a guessing game here. You have been warned. Here are mine from a few months ago.



Here is what mine looked like. 40 years of rust. Also note, that "rust" adds thickness, something you cant have when figuring out what the original thickness was. The rust must come off!



A quick trip to the wire wheel and we can get an ACCURATE thickness of each of the 4 shim packs.



Here is what I'm replacing the shim packs with. These are all stainless steel, and one packs has numerous shims, from thick to thin, and plenty to create all four shim packs. Also, these will never rust.




I have a micrometer, but for this build, and since not everyone has one, I used a QUALITY geared Cresent wrench to gauge the thickness of the old shim packs, and found the correct thickness in stainless shims.



You get the idea here.



For this pack, it took 6 of the stainless shims to equal the 3 factory shims.




I used a little painters tape to hold the shim packs together until they are secured in place with the giant cotter key. I then took a prybar and carefully pushed the trailing arm over tight as I could into the first shim pack. (with the blue tape) With the other pack, you cant simply slide them in. They will be tighter than a hatband. I put all but two shims in place, then took the other two, sticking them in the middle of the others and drove them into place. It WILL be tight! It's SUPPOSED to be tight!



Once driven in place, I took a small drift punch and tapped the shim packs in line so the large cotter key can be slipped into place, securing the shim packs.



Here's a good view of the trailing arm properly lined up just like Chevrolet did in 1974. Except this one wont rust.



In a little time, the fragment of blue PAPER painters tape will turn to dust or fall off in short order anyway. Note the Poly bushings installed instead of rubber. Less too and fro this way.



While here, I simply COULDN'T resist the opportunity to get one side of the Shark Bite suspension connected. I have heard of others having to do a little modding to install this kit, as it isn't a cakewalk but certainly nothing that couldn't be completed in a day pretty easy. My goal is to do it WITHOUT a mod, just like Precision says can be done, and if I do have to mod, my goal is to highlight the areas of concern, and what it takes to overcome them.

Earlier, when I connected the shock mount brackets to the lower 3rd member case, others have had to do a little grindage on either bolts or brackets. Holding my tongue just right, and starting all the bolts (both sides) REAL loose, then tighten them up evenly, I was able to avert any modifications, thus far anyway. If it close? Yes. It has a VERY close, tight tolerance, but it did come together!




I then connected the lower support brace from the outer shock mount to the differential




These are the provided countersunk bolts that secure the lower brace on both sides. Be sure and use a thread-locker here!






We then take the Shark Bite provided coil over/shock mount over the end of the trailing arm and secure it with the huge grade 8 bolt and massive washer designed to fit into the cup in the trailing arm. This bolt tightens to 100 ft lbs.






After that, you install the top plate. When I made it to here, I had to back-pedal. Here is why. That absolutely gorgeous black glossy powder paint is pretty thick. They really did a stellar job painting the various components. This powder paint also tends to get into all kinds of nooks and crannies when being magnetically applied. Note the 1/4" fine thread bolt and how it's wanting to thread into the Shark Bite supplied shock mount? Better STOP now!



Yes indeed friends, that powder paint even gets where you DON'T want it, and it VERY hard paint! hard enough to screw up threads. You've once again been warned! I took the coil over mount off, and grabbed a 1/4" NF (National Fine Thread) tap and cleaned the threads up on all 8 pre-tapped 1/4" threads. (Both sides) Once I did that, it was smooth sailing.




I'm a big believer in LockTite. Not only that, The Shark Bite system requires it. Insurance in a bottle!



These are the supplied spacers for the Heim joints. None of them fit the grade 8 bolt, and all and to be massaged, as they were too tight on the inside diameter.



Time to bust out my trusty Dremmel!



A little bit of polishing and she'll fit like a custom built glove.



Then it was just a matter of connecting the coil overs. I had to back the spring off all the way and pull the control arm as low as I could get it. Once I did that. the coil overs popped right in. I started the trailing arm side first, then finished at the differential. Man that's a sexy tail end!



Note the strut rod, and no bolt in it. I'm at a stand still here, and a tad disappointed. The "bolt" that originally held this up also doubled as the shock mount....something we no longer need. I refuse to have that ugly piece hanging there out back looking as if something was supposed to connect to it...(which it is). This will not do, and is something Shark Bite needs to include in the kit. (Hmmm. We could still used this as a shock. Wonder what a shock here would do being backed by a coil-over?)

Tomorrow, I'll find a grade 8 bolt and a few thick washers and do away with the factory shock mount.

Last edited by Patro46; 04-09-2014 at 12:47 AM.
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Old 04-09-2014, 08:49 AM   #14
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Pat, my solution to the lower shock mount proved very easy. The big hurdle is that the holes in the lower shock mount ears have the 'D' flat. The bolts is designed for it specifically. I simply used a second set of inner control arm bolts and cup washers and used those to install the outer control arm bushings in the same ears as the original shock mount 'L' bolt.

If you plan to use hardware store grade 8 bolts you'll have to drill out the 'D' flat so the bolt fits through snug, and without a very tight jig you're likely to egg the hole or move the center.

The inner control arm bolts already have the 'D' flat and fit through like a glove. The cup washers have that little lip that fits inside the bushing of the control arm and centers it perfectly around the bolt diameter.
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Old 04-09-2014, 09:09 AM   #15
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Pat, my solution to the lower shock mount proved very easy. The big hurdle is that the holes in the lower shock mount ears have the 'D' flat. The bolts is designed for it specifically. I simply used a second set of inner control arm bolts and cup washers and used those to install the outer control arm bushings in the same ears as the original shock mount 'L' bolt.

If you plan to use hardware store grade 8 bolts you'll have to drill out the 'D' flat so the bolt fits through snug, and without a very tight jig you're likely to egg the hole or move the center.

The inner control arm bolts already have the 'D' flat and fit through like a glove. The cup washers have that little lip that fits inside the bushing of the control arm and centers it perfectly around the bolt diameter.
I see what you mean on it shaped like a D. What are your thoughts on putting the shocks back on? It wouldn't look bad, but not sure how this would effect the coil over. I'm rather shocked (no pun intended) the guys at Shark Bite didn't address this.
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