Engine Clean-up Thoughts

While I’ve been searching for a new rolling chassis for the BatBerry, I’ve been starting to think about how I might clean up the chevy small block and transmission that I have from the previous donor car.

There really isn’t a budget for an engine build this year, so I’ve been thinking about how I can give the engine a visual overhaul to clean it up and replace some of the rusted items.

I can do some simple things like using stainless braided hoses and -AN fittings to replace old hoses, hard lines and fittings.  I can also replace valve covers, change up the air intake, new headers, alternator, pulleys etc.

The main item I’ve been looking at is cleaning the exterior of the engine and transmission down to the bare metal and giving it fresh coat of paint.

The color scheme that’s been rolling through my head has been silver for the transmission and other smaller parts, Chevy Orange for the block and heads, and some polished billet/chrome items for accessories.

I think this would give the engine a nice spruce-up that would look nice mounted in the new chassis… and it all could be accomplished on a very small budget.

Below are some reference photos that I’ve been using for inspiration.

Wheels Have Arrived

We had a nice visit from the folks from UPS yesterday.  What was even better was that it was March break so there was someone at home to accept the delivery 🙂

Nestled in the four boxes were my custom made Center Line wheels.  A big thank-you goes out to Center Line for helping out and sponsoring the project.

For those who may be taking on a project like this now or in the future, you can find the specs of the wheels below if you are using a 91-96 caprice chassis and running gear.

Wheel: Center Line Auto Drag
Bolt Pattern: 5 x 5
Backspacing: 3-5/16″
Rear: 15″D x 14″W
Front: 15″D x 10″W

Another little known fact is that since the original car was entirely sculpted for the movie the rear is not symmetrical. The rear drivers side quarter panel is 1″ wider than the passenger side.  This requires a 1″ spacer for the drivers side rear wheel to make it look the same as the passenger side.

One of the fun trends in custom cars lately has been how much dish/lip you can get on your wheels.  It’s customary to brag about your new setup with pictures of a dollar bill laying in your wheel to show just how deep a dish you have.  I figured I would post up my version of this customary picture for the BatBerry 🙂

I figured my lunch pail would make a nice substitution for the customary dollar bill 🙂

Now I just need to track down some Mickey Thompson tires for these wheels before I try to fit the body to the frame… that is… after I find a frame that isn’t rotten 😦

You can check out more pictures of the wheels as you read past the “Continue Reading” link.

Continue reading Wheels Have Arrived

Arm Wrestling the Engine

I absolutely love any chance I get to laugh at myself… And today I had that opportunity 🙂

This morning I was able to haul the Chevy 305 small block V8 engine and transmission donated by the Caprice back to my garage from Fourstar Motorports.  Frank at Fourstar had the engine ready for me to pick up and popped it into the back of my rental van in no time flat.

The fun part began when I got back to my place and tried to get the engine out of the van.  I purchased an engine hoist on Tuesday after work and put it all together so that it would be ready for today.

So far, so good.

Even though we positioned the engine as far back in the van as we could while ensuring that the doors would still close, it wasn’t close enough to the edge for the hoist to pick it up.

The funny part was watching me alone in the garage wiggling and pulling a 500 pound engine close enough to the edge so that I could get the hoist on it.  I really should have taped it!  Note to self… record all of these events so that you can laugh at yourself more!

Now the funny part begins.  Watch the video below to see me arm wrestling the engine into the garage 🙂

Now you may ask, “Tim, what kind of a wimp are you? That hoist is on wheels, why can’t you just roll it in”.  This is where the “Dumb & Dumber” moment comes in.

The first part of the struggle was reasonable.  Basically the casters needed to get over the ridge going from the asphalt to concrete.  With 500 lbs of weight, I needed to jack it up to get over the ridge.  Makes sense.

But then I couldn’t figure it out… Why was it so hard to roll back into the garage.  Even getting it as far as the ridge of the concrete was a struggle… Had I lost all my “glory days” muscle mass?… Have I really become that old that I can’t pull something on wheels?…

While I am in my mid 30’s, and I have lost most of my “glory days” muscle mass, the problem ended up being a really silly oversight.

When I put the two support legs on the hoist that carry the weight of the engine and roll on the casters, I never looked at them to realize that I had put the legs on the wrong sides!!  So basically the wheels were pointing in the wrong direction and I was dragging the hoist across the garage.

Ah…  What can you do but laugh at yourself… Live and Learn 🙂

Rotted Steel = FAIL!

When building a car you’ll find that with every small success there’s usually also a set-back lurking around the corner.  Unfortunately project BatBerry has now seen its first minor set-back 😦

After performing the final separation of the body from the chassis in preparation to go to the media blasters, we’ve found that the frame is in too poor condition to be used for the donor.  There’s just way too much metal rot all over the chassis.

At least the engine/transmission and the wiring harness is still usable as a donor for the BatBerry 🙂

I’ll be heading to the shop to haul the engine & transmission to my place as soon as I can make arrangements.  So off to Princess Auto I go to buy myself an engine hoist!  I was hoping to put that purchase off for a while, but I’ve found that you just have to roll with the punches.

The search is now on for a new chassis for the BatBerry.  Fortunately we have leads on 4-5 other cars that we’re going to check out.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we’ll be able to find one with a solid frame.

To be continued….

Stripped-Down and Ready To Go

I was able to take two days vacation on Thursday & Friday and spend it in the garage tearing down the BatBerry donor car.  I had blogged before about the donor chassis, but as a refresher, it’s a 1991 Chevy Caprice Classic that will donate its chassis and engine for the BatBerry.  The suspension will all be replaced with an air ride system from Altered Altitude to allow me to raise the car up and down.

As you can tell by the picture above, I’ll also be keeping the wiring harness for the car.  The wiring harness removal was really where the majority of the time was spent over the two days.  You’ll also see my nice Batman lunch pail in the picture that I proudly take to work with me everyday.  My daughter gave it to me for my birthday 🙂

Here’s a quick peek at a little bit of video I took during the two days.  I have more pictures and details as you continue to read beyond the “Continue Reading” link.  A big thank-you goes out to Frank and Dan at Fourstar Motorsports for all their help.

Continue reading Stripped-Down and Ready To Go

Time to Operate

A big THANK YOU goes out to Glen and my Dad for hauling down the BatBerry donor car to the shop where we’ll tear it down.  It’s now nestled in nicely, patiently waiting to be operated on 🙂

I’ll be taking care of the final transfer of ownership paperwork tomorrow so that the car’s in my name and ready to roll.  I tried to get this all transfered over this morning with the MTO but apparently since it’s a 1991 and 20 years old, it falls into a vintage car category that you need to have appraised for sales tax.  Lovely 😦

So today I had a mobile appraiser come out and fill out the appraisal paperwork for the car.  Turns out he thinks it’s worth a whopping $150! A $60 appraisal well spent! LOL… I let him know it was just going to be used as a parts car and a donor for the BatBerry; which he thought was pretty cool.

Tomorrow it will be back to the MTO to get the car signed over, pay for the government’s “used car package” and pay my sales tax.  Then on Thursday and Friday I’ll be tearing that sucker down to the frame and engine.  I’ll be keeping a bunch of the mechanical parts such as the rad, brake booster, pedal assembly, wiring harness and ECU.  All the parts that I’ll need to donate to the BatBerry.

I’ll be taking pictures and video of the tear down process and posting them up on the weekend.  Then it is off to the media blasters!