Goodmark Chevelle Project Car-Part 7

Hooking Up The Main Arteries And Veins, So The Juices Can Flow

Jason Walker Jul 19, 2002 0 Comment(s)

With the GM Performance Ram Jet 350 and Hughes 700-R4 nestled in place, it's time for routing, bending, and fitting of the main arteries, or the brake, fuel, and exhaust pipes and lines. For the exhaust we wanted a tried-and-true muscle sound, as well as mufflers and headers that work, so we contacted Hedman Hedders and Flowmaster. What we received were Hedman's HTC Chevelle headers and set of American Thunder series Flowmaster mufflers, complete with pre-bent exhaust tubes and all mounting hardware to complete the exhaust from front to back. The only pieces that were fabricated on the exhaust were the pipes between the header collector and the first part of the exhaust tubing.

Craig Hopkins at Metal Finish USA fabricated the correct bends to make a perfect transition. The only other slight problem was one of the mufflers ending up against the lower bolt of the Hotchkis Performance rear trailing arm brace on the passenger side. This was quickly rectified by persuading the right side of the exhaust system inward slightly.

Brake lines, fuel lines, and transmission fluid lines all needed to be installed before the body was set on the chassis. Yes, you can install all of these lines after the body is on, but why not take advantage of being able to crawl all over the bare chassis instead of lying on your back or working above your head with the car on a hoist. You can also cruise into your local parts store and buy all of these lines in bulk and use your imagination to bend and clamp them into place, or you could contact Classic Tube of Lancaster, New York, and receive pre-bent-to-factory-specs stainless steel, or OEM-style steel lines. Aside from the bends necessary for shipping, these lines are sized and bent to fit right in. Hopkins took full advantage of the fact that the engine and trans could easily be pulled out and set off to the side while he installed the front brake lines. Why not make things as easy as possible, right?

Last on the list for this month's coverage will be to install both dipsticks and the accelerator cable and kickdown cable, all of which was supplied by Lokar Performance Products out of Knoxville, Tennessee. Lokar was first famous for its Street Rod shifters and emergency brake handles and cables and has in the past 10 years or so expanded its line of aftermarket products greatly. Lokar's cables and dipsticks can be ordered in various lengths and sizes with either braided stainless steel sleeves or black rubber.

I promise, the last part of this segment is going to have the body finally bolted down and looking like a car again. Just think, before too long some lucky contest winner will be flying down the freeway on his or her way to a local cruse night or car show, enjoying all the hard work and long hours that went into making this Chevelle a true aftermarket parts success as well as a real eye-catcher.

5

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These beautiful engineered headers are HTC-coated Headman Elite series units manufactured for '64-77 Chevelle's equipped with 283-400ci engines.

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We can see the red "zip ties" holding the slip-together exhaust pipes in place while Craig Hopkins figures out how to connect them to the header collectors. This will take some planning as a specially bent pipe is going to be necessary to adapt the two pieces together.

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Hopkins will first bend some welding rod to the correct shape to build the head pipe. A wire coat hanger or similar bendable piece of metal will work the same. Realize that this type of extra work, if you will, becomes necessary throughout any project.

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What Hopkins came up with is this bent pipe, which any of your local exhaust shops should be able to help you with, that has the exact same shape as the welding rod. He also had the forethought to make this piece extra long for trimming.

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Aside from the head pipe that needed to be made, the only other problem was using the rear trailing arm brace from Hotchkis Performance which put the passenger-side muffler right up against it. This was quickly and easily remedied by shifting the exhaust towards the driveshaft about a 1/2 inch. If this Chevelle was not equipped with the rear trailing arm brace, it would not have been an issue.

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This shot gives us a great look at how the exhaust system slips together and uses the factory type of mounting hardware.

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After the entire exhaust system is in place and mounted to the chassis, the mufflers and slip-joints can all be fully welded in place. Remember to make sure the pipes are not touching or close to touching any part of the chassis or fuel or brake lines.

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In order to ship the longer lines, Classic Tube may need to bend the line in half or extend an existing bend. All of these packing bends will come clearly marked from Classic Tube and will simply need to be straightened to install.

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To simplify the installation of the front brake lines and just because it's possible at this point in time, Hopkins was able to pull the engine and trans out of the chassis to make life much easier for this step.

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Lokar's small-block oil dipstick looks right at home with its braided stainless tube and machined aluminum handle. Hopkins made his own bracket to mount the dipstick off the closest header bolt. Sometimes, when using different types of headers, different types of brackets may need to be used.

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Remember back right before the installation of the Nationwide Truck Parts 9-inch Ford rearend, Hopkins welded the brake line mounting receptacles onto the rearend itself. Now we can see how clean this made the brake line installation look and work.

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The heavy-duty Denny's driveshaft should be a trouble-free shaft for the life of our project Chevelle, and if there is ever a problem, Denny's Driveshaft will fix, alter, or replace any of their shafts for free as long as you own the car.

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Here we can see the transmission lines in place as well as the trans dipstick and kick-down cable. Straight-forward stuff here!

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Does anyone remember this shot? We ran it a while back to tease, but it has now become necessary to show you, cuz it's that time. These sturdy body mounts came from Original Parts Group in Huntington Beach, CA.

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In preparation for mounting the body, the underside was given a quick once-over to make sure there were no bare metal areas or scratches or anything that may cause a problem later down the road. This is simply "attention to detail."

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Down she goes, hopefully for the last time.

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Once the body is bolted into place, the master cylinder from the Master Power Brakes kit is installed and hooked up to the lines and proportioning valve. Notice the loops bent into the brake lines: these are for flex between the master cylinder (mounted to the body) and the lines (mounted to the chassis). They can also take up the slack if a line is too long.

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