Things are getting hot in here! The cab and bed are off the frame so I could get the fuel and brake plumbing laid out, as well as the battery and power cables installed. Our friends at Arizona High Test, Holley Performance, Level 7 Motorsports, and Wilwood have come in clutch for the work we’ve accomplished over the past 30 days.
As I write this, I’m about 5 days away from my appointment with a local mobile dustless blasting company who will be coming to my shop to blast my frame rails as well as all of the bare steel No Limit Engineering and Tin Works Fabrication chassis components to prep them for their final finishes. This means I need to tear down the entire chassis so I can carry it piece-by-piece into the driveway where they will be glass bead blasted to remove all traces of past coatings, mill scale, surface rust, etc.
I’ll be using KBS Coatings Ultimate Frame Coater Kit to condition, pre-treat, and coat the frame rails with their satin black which will be applied with hand held microfoam rollers. Their product is a self-leveling formula that lays down like magic and looks very similar to satin black powder coat when fully cured.
For the frame stiffeners, cross braces, and front crossmembers, I’ll be using the same air cure Cerakote product that I used on the intake and valve covers. These pieces will be done in their Titanium color which should contrast nicely with the satin black frame rails. I’ll also scuff the tubes on the Winters Champ rear axle and spray on a matching coat.
It feels like things have turned the corner and this project truly is in the home stretch.
I wouldn’t say plumbing is my favorite thing to do. I love it when it’s finished up and all the leaks have been found and fixed, but the process drives me bonkers. There are many reasons why folks like Jason Berland of Arizona High Test stay so busy putting together expertly plumbed fuel, brake, exhaust, and air systems for their customers. I owe Jason a debt of gratitude for his help designing and hand-picking the parts for my fuel and brake systems. He asked me a few questions about the fuel system components I already had and ended the phone call with, “I’ll get back with you later today with a list of what you’re going to need.” Right on schedule, he called me back to tell me my order was already on its way. Dude!
I must say, unboxing the order was daunting. But when I looked at my invoice, Jason had everything line listed in order, from front to back of the truck. And he did not miss a beat. He included every single fitting, plenty of E85-safe soft line, and a coil of more than enough stainless hardline to plumb the fuel and brake systems for the whole truck. If you’ve ever flared stainless tubing, you’ll know how prone to cracking it is. Jason has hand-picked the supplier for his tubing. It flares as nice as can be and doesn’t destroy your tools.
FIRST TIME USING CERAKOTE
After staring at this LS3 crate motor from Gandrud Chevrolet for the past few months, I’ve had an idea in my mind of how I wanted it to look. For a cleaner setup, I have sourced all the parts to mount the ignition coils remotely, so it was a matter of picking out a set of valve covers that made my eyes twinkle. I stumbled across these Holley Performance cast aluminum finned covers and it was game on.
Knowing that I wanted to use Cerakote to coat the intake and valve covers, I ordered some color samples directly from their website and ended up choosing Burnt Bronze from their C-series air cure line of coatings. It’s a ready-to-spray ceramic-based coating that you spray with pracitcally any HVLP paint gun. I followed their directions exactly and my results were absolutely stunning. This stuff is incredible and there is no wonder why it is so highly regarded. I’m a fan for life now and I’ll even be coating some of the chassis components with Cerakote. I can’t believe I’ve slept on this product for so long.
ANTIGRAVITY BATTERY INSTALLATION
When it came time to pick a battery for this project, I knew we needed to go with something modern. I had been following Level 7 Motorsports’ Jesse Vaughn’s success with Antigravity Batteries product line.
I called him up and hit him with the important questions to see if this was the right choice for me. From my past experience, I expect proper automotive batteries to be heavy, prone to spills, and inherently dangerous. It goes without saying that it doesn’t seem possible that a battery weighing only 5 pounds could even turn over a big V8 engine, let alone survive in a harsh racing environment. Jesse assured me that Antigravity was the way to go. Since this truck is a street warrior that will have air conditioning, a sound system, big cooling fans, and other electrical draws, he suggested I get the ATX-30-HD battery with 970 cold cranking amps. Ialso picked up one of Level 7’s lightweight stainless steel battery boxes which made mounting a breeze.
The battery is bolted to the passenger frame rail and will sit in the floor recess where an auxiliary fuel tank may have resided at one time. Relatively short runs of 2/0 cable send power to the bulkead pass-through connectors for the cab and electronics as well as a dedicated, heat shielded starter-only cable inside the frame rail.
HOLLEY FRONT ACCESSORY DRIVE
What else can be said about Holley’s front accessory drives that hasn’t already been said? I’ve installed several of these systems over the years and they’ve always fit very well, look great, and perform exactly as I would expect.
If you’re new to the concept, this kit includes a water pump that has all of the accessory mounting points cast into it. The AC compressor, power steering pump and reservoir, and alternator each bolt directly to the water pump. The design keeps everything tucked in close to the centerline of the engine for a clean appearance, shorter belt run, and great fitment in the tightest of engine bays.
The kit is very inclusive, with all necessary fasteners, gaskets, tensioner, new harmonic balancer, and belt in the box.
Plumbing our steering rack is a breeze thanks to the -6AN outlet on the power steering pump. An auxiliary 1/8”NPT port on the back of the water pump housing allows stem vent routing if you choose.