Saturday, September 2, 2017

Oy. What a mess.

So it looks like Photobucket stopped playing nice with photo hosting, so that has reminded me that I've been really bad about updating this blog. As the car is finally starting to get some attention, I'm afraid someone might actually find this silly blog and it will be seen as not very helpful on top of being boring, so since I was much better about updating Facebook and Instagram than I was about posting here, I'm going to try going back through my Facebook archives and try to retcon this blog as much as possible so I can have all my photos and references in one place. I'll try to list as much info as possible so if you're building your own Valiant and want to skip some of the missteps I made, they'll be listed somewhere in here.

I'm also going to make a resource page with all the links you'll ever want for building an early A body, so keep an eye out for that post as well.

Ok. Let's see how much of all this I actually do.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Shoulder Mount Belt Reference

I get asked a lot how I did my shoulder mounts, so I'm posting this here.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Red Valiant Plate Location

This is interesting. Someone from France just posted their ’64 in the Plymouth Valiant fans group. Notice the red badge where the build plate usually goes and the larger black plate like what you have on your truck. I have a brand new one of those and I had no idea where it went. It says something like, “VALIANT MADE IN DETROIT MICHIGAN USA.” Guess it was an identifier for export cars or something. I wasn’t sure it was year appropriate for my car, but now I know what it is and where it goes. Not sure I’ll actually put it there. (I was thinking of riveting it to the wood grain part of my tool box in the trunk) Still handy to know.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Reassembly during the season of productivity.

So there's been a lot going on lately, and not all of it has been Instagram-worthy, so here's a big brain-dump of what's shaking.
The front and rear suspension are installed as far as having the car suspended will allow. I have to wait until wheels are on the car to do the sway bar and frame connectors. The frame connectors are going to necessitate a relocation of the e-brake cable, but that shouldn't be too bad to move. We had to reorder the ball joints for the FirmFeel upper arms because they're specialized to the part. Worth it for the arms, but not cheap. Welded up the K-frame so it's reinforced, the adjustable struts I had didn't fit, so I'm back with the stocks. They'll do for now. I'm tired of taking the torsion bars in and out. Speaking of, they're Mopar Performance 1.04" monsters. Shocks are Bilsteins. Lower control arms are boxed. ESPO heavy duty 11/16" linkage, poly bushings on everything. The Wilwoods are 10 years old, but they're in great shape, so they live on.

Fuel system is just about there. Just need to screw down the rubber plate, run the fuel line and install the flip cap. Someone commented I need a non-linear sending unit because the repop one is garbage. We'll see how true that is.

A photo posted by Chuck Ellis (@armyofchuckness) on

Ben helped me align the passenger door one last time, so we can almost mark the "Body" icon retired. Just have the front valance to put in as the last body part, but I'm waiting on getting more of the internals together first.

Mark is rebuilding the differential, and that's what's got us waiting to finish the rear suspension and brakes. Ben worked some wonders on the brake likes, and they look awesome. We used Poly Armor, and that stuff was super easy to work with. Brake fittings came mostly from Amazon, with a few pieces from local shops. No one had a decent amount of brass brake fittings, so we used some nice steel ones from the Amazon kit. Not ideal, as brass is better, but these steel ones are still pretty nice.

Now for the big stuff. The engine is apart. Pistons, rings, and cam bearings are ordered. 60 over EngineTech cast pistons and Sealed Power Moly rings. Had a good talk with Lou and Charlie. Lou said to make sure when decreeing the cam to take backlash out by only reading in one direction. I should learn what that means. Also, never degree above 104. 100 is probably best, but shoot for 101.
He also mentioned doing a bore notch .030" wide and .2500" deep to open up the valves, but Charlie said we could do it ourselves with a die grinder, and to make sure that we measure to the top of the ring so we don't go beyond it and lose compression.

Charlie recommended Powerhouse Machine shop for the engine work. Talk to Dave. 352.867.5766.

Also, I need to ask Charlie about that Nippon Denso alternator he likes.

Lou and Charlie both had good info on the trans. Currently it needs a small stall converter, which is harder to find. Charlie may be able to build me a trans that has V8 clutch bearings, a larger valve body, and a shift kit, then I can use the large spline stall converter. Lou recommended increased link pressure. Lou also says 2800 stall is the magic number, and both recommend Edge Racing.

Charlie mentioned there's such a thing as a ball and trunion adaptor flange. This may be handy if we ever need to replace the shaft, but for now we should be ok. I'll keep an eye out for one to have on the shelf though.

Waiting on some funds to order the Ron Francis kit, but I did order a battery box from Speedway Motors, and welding/battery cable from TemCo (eBay) along with the crimper and terminals I'll need to get some power. That part of the electrical is (hopefully) done.

Rick's Radio Conversions is doing a work up on the radio. I decided to go whole hog on the USB and Bluetooth. I like that he knows early A bodies. He also recommended I go with a dual voice coil 6x9 for the front radio over two 3.5"s. Excited to see how that works out.

I finally got full NOS gauges, so I'm sending them off to RedLine tomorrow for calibration, conversion of the alternator gauge to a voltmeter, and conversion of the tach to a single wire setup.

 I'm slowly gathering parts for the interior. Speedway Motors had a free shipping special for orders over $100, so I ordered the rear seatbelts. Headliner is coming from Layson's. I have the first batch of Dynamat to install, and some serious aircraft insulation from Aircraft Spruce. All the soft parts for all the windows are here thanks to Herb's Mopar Parts and some universal gasket on eBay.  I'm currently cleaning and detailing all the fasteners. Layson's has a great stainless interior kit that's all labeled and everything. Ben has loaned me a buffer for the detailing stuff. Exciting.

Mike also blessed me with an awesome and humongous Bassani muffler with a 2.5" inlet and outlet. Perfect for the exhaust run I'm planning. I'm saddened to hear Mike will be moving in the next few months. He's a dear friend and I couldn't have the car where it's at today without his help along the way.

Monday, October 12, 2015

It's finally blue! (Again)

Oh, hey! Some stuff happened recently that was worth posting about. Big thanks to Mike's Classic Car Shop for doing a fantastic job on the final spray. The bodywork was almost entirely done by a friend, my wife, and yours truly. There was a small dent that showed up right before painting that Mike fixed.

Now all I have to do is get all the pieces back on it!

Guess I need to update the theme again.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Sound Deadener

Finished fixing all the damage I did drilling the spotlights, applied the sound deadening paint, and coated the frame rails with encapsulator last night. I now have a ton of nasty green paint(?) or whatever was in that frame rail encapsulator can that won't come off my arms to show for it. Totally worth it though. Valiant is back on the ground and both those things are off the checklist. Got a lot of pinholes filled as well. Wednesday will be checking for more pinholes and doing and extra pass with the 180 grit to get all the scratches I missed on the first pass.

Also, I noticed a little foam rectangle on the top of the quarter windows that got stuck in the rail. I need to remember to put some kind of padding back on when I reassemble everything.

Here's the recipe for my homemade Lizard Skin, by the way:
One gallon of latex "oops" paint from Lowes: $10
One pound of ceramic microballoons: $11

I mixed them all together and the final result was a bit like icing, so I thinned it down to more of a pancake batter consistency and rolled the whole thing on. Not sure if it'll make much difference or not, but for the money it's worth a shot.

Here's where I got the idea from:

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Prepping for Primer

Well, wouldn't ya know it? I'm finally done with filler and getting ready for high build primer. There's still a long checklist of tasks to knock out before then, but I think it's possible the whole car will be one color again by february. Pretty exciting stuff.

So yeah, I don't update this much any more. If you stumbled across this blog, it was started before things like Pinterest and Instagram were really a thing, so I kind of feel like making additional blog posts are a bit redundant. If you want to catch up on my journey, here's the best way to follow the build: or follow the hashtag #flyingvaliant if you don't want to see annoying pictures of the rest of my life. You can also follow on Twitter with @ChuckEllis and the same hashtag.

Also, I have a pinterest board I use for reference and inspiration:

Maybe I'll come back to the blog once paint is over and we actually get back to building stuff, or if I have a lot of notes that I need kept for reference, but until then, I'm signing off.