Here she is, semi-bolted together, giving us a taste of not only the great work that has already been done but also the amazing results of that work's coming together.
With the firewall insulation panel from R.E.M. Automotive installed, the first step is to find the place where the engine wire loom can pass through the firewall, keeping in mind factors such as visual placement, length of loom, whether or not the loom hidden is kept hidden, and so on. Craig Hopkins found that this spot works great with all the factors mentioned above.
After the hard plastic is removed, Craig uses a soldering gun to cleanly remove the unnecessary cloth padding, revealing the firewall behind.
With a hole saw, boring the necessary size and shape becomes simple and quick. The hole size is directly determined by the wire loom grommet, which, by the way, was borrowed from another car and adapted to this application.
A quick shot of air to get rid of any dust or small slivers of metal and the hole is ready for the wires and grommet.
This close-up shot shows the borrowed grommet with the Factory Fit wire loom running through it, as it will be mounted in the firewall.
Once the entire loom is fed through the firewall, make sure all wires are pulled through to their destinations. If any lengthening or shortening of any wires becomes necessary, like it was on this installation, this is the time to make the modifications.
In this case the computer and relays for the Ram Jet Injection were originally designed to be mounted inside the engine compartment. One of the modifications mentioned earlier was moving the computer and relays under the dash so they could be hidden from sight but still reachable for servicing. To achieve this, Craig and Aaron Hopkins spliced extra wire to lengthen the loom for the new mounting placement.
With the stock heater back in place the loom and grommet are completely hidden. This is the type of custom work that speaks for itself in the end.
As Craig finishes installing the remainder of engine compartment parts and wiring them to the loom, Aaron preps the new fuel tank for installation.
All Rock Valley fuel tanks are handmade from stainless steel and can be custom made to fit your needs. This tank came with an in-tank, high-velocity fuel pump, sending unit, and mounting straps.
After installing the sending unit and fuel pump/pick-up tubes, fittings and braided fuel lines from Street & Performance are installed using some Plumbers Tape to ensure a tight seal.
Because this car is utilizing fuel-injection, simple slip-on hoses and clamps would not be enough to keep the added fuel pressure contained. These fittings and braided hose will handle the pressure without loosing a drop.
Before the tank is installed, the wiring is once again modified by splicing in a connector plug to make removing the tank much easier in the future. This is another great example of forethought.
The other end of the connector plug will house the wires running to the sending unit and fuel pump. We can see the use of 100-mile-an-hour tape to hold the wires in place nicely.
Some anti-vibration strips were also supplied with the tank and should most definitely be installed..
With a little help from an engine hoist and a block of wood, Craig was able to shoehorn the tank in between the framerails and exhaust pipes. Whatever works, right?
With the tank in position the new mounting straps were easily bent to conform to the tank, making a secure fit to Chevelle's under-belly.
Watch-out, those strap edges can be very sharp. Extra anti-vibration strips were included for the mounting straps but, for visual effect, were later discarded.
Street & Performance also supplied the chrome fuel pump designed for the fuel-injection system. It looks pretty snazzy, too.
It's a tight fit, but as in many cases, the tighter the fit, the better it looks. The custom-made tank looks right at home. Next month, we will bring you more on the wiring with the Dakota Digital Dash and Custom Auto Sound stereo installation.