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1967 GTO Current Status Report

February 2016

1967 GTO convertible on country lane

If you've followed the GTO restoration process on these pages, you'll note that I haven't updated in a long while, and indeed I've never put up pictures of the "finished" GTO. This entry aims to rectify that situation. 

To recap: 

In 2013,  I finished enough on the car to get it to a fairly presentable state. I intended to post a bunch of pictures, but I kept putting it off for several reasons:

1) I wanted to get the chrome work done,

2) I never finished the interior,

3) I was never happy with any pictures I took. 

Another reason could possibly be I have a problem finishing stuff. 

So, despite misgivings, I'm posting some shots of the car... warts and all.

1967 GTO with fresh radial redline tires

Shown above is the car in early 2013 when it was mostly assembled, but before the new top. This was a full year after I had painted the car. (Yes, it takes a long time to assemble a car in full detailing mode.)

The redline tires were an awesome surprise from my wife. She had them mounted on the Rally I wheels I had. 

The car looked a little funny with no top frame installed:

Front view of freshly painted Linden Green 1967 GTO

I got the car running in the spring of 2013 but work continued on projects such as the complete "re"-rebuild of the Muncie transmission and the Quadrajet upgrade.

In the fall of 2013, I did the convertible top installation. By the time I got it done, the driving season for 2013 was pretty much at an end.

1967 Convertible GTO with new top

In 2014 I continued to just work on my punch list which included getting the original AM radio up and working.

I also refurbished a set of JA code Rally II wheels and mounted 15 year old BFG's on them. The car rolls so smooooooth with these wheels. I hope to get a correct style trim rings for them this spring.

JA Rally II 2 Pontiac wheel

Here's the car as it is now:

1967 GTO side view Linden Green Rally II's1967 GTO headlight detail

Note the indents on the front bumper from past bumper jack action. I pounded out a few big dents on the rear bumper too.

1967 GTO Convertible Rear view detail 1967 GTO front view1967 GTO in the eveningGTO at farmGTO going into sunset

I've just been enjoying the car. It starts, runs and drives fantastic. 

The big ticket items I'd still like to complete is a new instrument cluster, seat upholstery and new chrome for the bumpers. But, in a way, I don't mind the patina on the engine and bumper chrome. When the budget gets better, those will be good future projects.

I hope to have a gopro video soon. I'll post it asap!

SFS

Willys L134 Flathead Test Stand

February 6th, 2015

1950 Willys Jeep L134 engine

Loading up the CJI've had the "Jeep bug" for a long time and my internal automotive radar has a high sensitivity for Jeeps. If you've scanned the links to the left you might have noticed the story of my acquisition of a wee little 1950 Willys CJ3A in 2006. It was about to be scrapped after having spent two or three decades (or more) out of commission sitting out in the elements.

Despite it's advanced state of deterioration, I still felt compelled to take it home. To see the details of what I dragged home that day, see the CJ3A introduction page.

Willys L134 Jeep engineAfter getting it home, a quick survey revealed it needed a replacement engine and in 2009 I found one, but I stuffed it into a corner and the Jeep continued to languish.

But recently, the Jeep whisperings have been getting louder...and a window of time has opened up at Squids Fab Shop.

It was time to get busy on the Jeep. I decided the first thing I wanted to do was to hear the new-to-me engine run. The engine was pulled out from it's dusty corner to begin work.

L134 Flathead Willys Engine

Willys L134 engine standA crude engine stand was my first mission. A cart was fashioned with some lumber and casters. Old scrap steel was employed to adapt the motor mounts and bellhousing to the cart. More scrap steel was used to position the CJ radiator and shroud in front of the engine to take advantage of the cooling fan. A small panel was made to hold water and oil gauges, as well as switches for the ignition and charging system (not shown yet.) Note how previous owner did some custom stenciling on the side of the block. Also note the head is not the same (keep reading below to find out why).

Bypass Oil Filter System

External Fram bypass oil filter for Willys L134 engineWith the "stand" ready, the engine systems were next: The old Jeep flathead engines (like many engines in those days) used externally mounted oil filters, and I was missing many parts. I sourced the external oil lines from 4wd.com, but got the hard-to-find flare fittings at a local hydraulic supply company for a few dollars. (It pays to search around...there can be huge variations in costs across suppliers, both local and online.

Broken head stud Willys Flathead 134 on 1950 CJ3AThe installation of a new oil filter mount disturbed a few of the head studs/nuts, necessatating a re-torquing. Unfortunately one of the head studs broke while approaching the torque value. So off came the head in order to drill out the offending stud. While certainly a bummer, it did allow an inspection of the pistons, cylinder walls and valves. The good news is that it's in pretty decent shape and in fact still has standard bore pistons. 

Industrial Willys L134 head before sandblastingIt seems that a crack in the head gasket allowed gases to erode the stud which weakened it. I managed to drill out and remove the stud without damaging the original threads in the block. I sourced some Dorman head studs p/n 675-013 from Amazon (sometimes you can get Dorman stuff on Amazon for extremely good prices...woot) and switched to my blasted, cleaned, and crack free "INDUSTRIAL" head from the seized engine that came in the Jeep. (The head I removed from the replacement engine was riddled with cracks). I also inspected the tappets, and removed the intake exhaust manifold which in turn required me to source new manifold studs. I got those, shockingly enough, on a twirly rack at a Pepboys.

Charging System

The original CJ Willys charging system was a 6 volt generator with an external regulator. The components on the Jeep have long been dormant and likely corroded beyond usefulness so I decided to "upgrade" to a modern (well, 80's vintage) Delco 12si 3 wire alternator. 

Jeep Willys Alternator swap CJ3a flatfenderThe Delco alternator has internally regulated 12V output, it's cheap, super reliable, and easy to use. The 12si is probably the ultimate unit to look for (better internal cooling according to my research), but the 10si's are fine as well. The P/N I sourced is for a 1980 Camaro application.

A minor glitch when using a modern alternator is the relatively narrow pulley that does not work well with the very wide "V" belt the L134 crank and waterpump use. There are suppliers that sell wide "tractor" type pulleys, or you can chuck the narrow pulley in a lathe and machine the "V" groove wider.

CJ3a alternator conversion bracket Willys L134Adapting a modern alternator to the little flathead requires a custom bracket which can be had from some Jeep specialists online, but it's easy to fabricate your own. My little box of scrap metal yielded enough bits and pieces to weld one up. It's fairly thick steel so I used a propane torch to preheat the metal for better penetration.

Last thing to do was to replace the cap, rotor and ignition wires. I figured the rest should be okay since it was advertised as running when I bought it. At the first start attempt, cranking speed was normal, but there was no sign of a pop. A test for spark (with a removed spark plug) was positive, but there was no ignition when installed. I put in a new coil, and still nothing. I replaced the points, and bingo! Instant ignition. 

A few leaks were attended to, and a few minutes of run time indicated a dirty carburetor. The solex carb has a bunch of plugs and caps that can be removed to access internal passages. I removed all of them and blasted everything I could with carb spray cleaner. A dramatic improvement to idle quality was observed and after a little warmup, it revved nicely too. There is a bit of blue smoke I think from leaky valve guides, but this little flathead is a decent runner.

I made up a low quality phone video of the running engine:

Coming soon: The Willys Jeep CJ3A drivetrain test stand!

Delco AM Radio Project

April 4, 2014

The "Bench"

The GTO on these pages was born with a classic Delco pushbutton AM radio. Luckily enough, the radio was in a box of stuff that came with the car when I took ownership. I wasn't interested in an AM radio back then, so I just stored it away. So, decades later, I'm interested in getting the dash back to it's vintage look. But, since an AM radio is pretty low tech, I did a few things with very inexpensive components to get an "aux" input as well as stereo output capability.

AM Radio "Refurb"

First thing to do was to test the radio I have. My original 10 ohm speaker was toast so I put  two 4 ohm speakers together in series and hooked it up. After a few wisps of smoke (probably from 30 year old crust on the volume pot) it seemed to work. 

Even with a positive sign of life, I decided it would still be prudent to replace the seven electrolytic capacitors in the unit. Three of these capacitors are on the underside of the top circuit board which entails desoldering the tuner housing and removing a few 1/4" nuts. The board can be folded up onto it's side to gain access to the caps. With the board tipped out, replacing those three caps was easy. (mind the polarity!....the board actually has little "+" signs on the traces) The three capacitors are easily identified with their silver case and "DELCO" stamp. They have date codes too, and mine were from early '67. Interestingly, a friend of mine tested the three original Delco capacitors after removal and they all tested very good. Oh well. The board was laid back down and soldered and screwed back into place.

Delco AM radio capacitor replacement Pontiac 1967

The remaining 4 capacitors reside in a huge aluminum can at the back corner of the radio. This large can is filled with coiled foil within a gooey oil. I simply bypassed this by constructing a small board to which I mounted 4 replacement "modern" capacitors of similar values. Modern capacitors are much smaller so there was plenty of room to fit a small board. (See picture above) The leads to the original "can" (which can be partially seen behind the new light blue caps) were desoldered, lengthened as necessary and connected to the new caps. (mind the polarity!) The radio was then tested again, and it worked fine, but my friend still did the full adjustment suite on the thing; it involves connecting all sorts of equipment...turning trimmers....my eyes glazed over...so I just watched. The output transistor voltage was fluctuating a bit, and we could not find the cause, so we just let that be.

Besides replacing the capacitors, I removed the front faceplate and cleaned all the dust and gunk from the pushbuttons. I also removed the faceplate and repainted the orange dial pin, and finally repainted the "PONTIAC" script on the faceplate.

Additional Equipment

So, now the radio looks good and works fine. If I stopped here, I'd have to buy a new 50 dollar 10 ohm speaker and I'd have a working AM radio. But, I would like to have some modern options like FM, and even an "aux" input. There are companies that I could send my radio to for a "conversion" which entails loading it with a tiny AM/FM IC chip. Another option is to just get a new "retro" radio. But all these options cost hundreds.

To just get FM capability, I considered an old fashioned "FM Converter" which would be kinda cool, and definitely old school. But ebay searching indicates that these are hot right now, and buying a crusty used converter for 50 bucks or a never used unit for $100 bucks was not appealing. 

Investigating possibilities further led me to these mini stereo amplifiers. There is a family of mini stereo amplifiers that can take a "line level" input, an mp3 device input, and put out extremely good quality stereo sound. I chose the Lepai 2020+. It uses a Tripath 2020 IC chip which caused quite a stir in the audiophile community when it came out. This amplifier is something like 20 bucks, comes in a pretty small case, is very efficient, and runs cool. 

Lepai amplifer for use in Pontiac GTO

So to make this thing work, I needed to convert the mono speaker level ouptut of the DELCO AM radio to a line level output suitable for audio amplifiers. To do this, I used a simple, passive line out converter. I chose the PAC SNI35 which features a voltage divider/transformer network to convert the speaker output of any radio to "line" levels.

Line out converter for auto

The converter is meant to receive and "adapt" stereo speaker inputs, but you can input a mono source: I just connected the single speaker output of the DELCO to both "+" inputs of the line out converter. The "-" inputs of the PAC were all tied together and connected to chassis ground. The converter also has two ground wires that can be connected optionally (the brown leads) and they indeed reduced noise when also connected to chassis ground.

The output of the line out converter has RCA jacks. So a simple RCA cable was run to the RCA jack input of the Lepai amplifier. Finally, I connected a pair of 4" PYLE coax speakers to the Lepai amplifier. I chose the 4" speakers because I thought might be able to fit the pair side by side into the original speaker location up under the dash. But, the magnets are just too big and they wouldn't fit. So, I fashioned some crazy mounts to fit them in the void areas down low behind the dash. I made square plates out of 1/8" aluminum to screw the speakers to, then bent up some sheet metal tabs to adapt the speaker mounts to existing holes near the intended locations. 

Plates and brackets fabricated to fit speakers under dash of Pontiac GTO

The speakers point down but sound pretty darn good. The right speaker fit on the right side of the glove box which can be seen in the picture below. It is held in with three brackets and that was enough to make it sturdy. I used two existing holes for mounting, but I did have to drill one hole on the underside of the metal lip of the dash. 

4 inch coax PYLE speaker under Pontiac GTO dash

The other speaker fit on the left side of the glove box, but this one did require making a long strut that I tied into a defroster duct screw.

In Summation

So, instead of spending 50 bucks on one speaker just to get AM radio, I spent about the same amount for a line out converter ($11), a stereo amplifier with "line" and "aux" inputs ($20), and a pair of 4 inch coax speakers ($18). The beauty of this set up is I can:

1) play the AM radio through the amplifier which powers the two speakers with high quality sound,

2) plug in an iPod directly into "aux in" input of the amplifier which then plays my music and podcasts, or, 

3) play FM radio through the same auxiliary input.

The FM option is kind of cheating since it still has to come from an external source, but some ipods have FM capability and it's simple. 

Downsides? Well, it took quite a bit of time to fix up the original radio, then time to fabricate up some speaker mounts, and then time to just wire and solder all the components together. And, critically speaking, there is now a funky box mounted under my dash. 

However, subjectively speaking, the little box looks kind of cool; it basically looks like a modern version of an FM converter. And as for the time it took to cook up this rig, my labor is cheap, and it's kinda fun to do these projects.

So, this definitely is not an option for show cars. But for driver cars, it's a funky hybrid kind of set-up; it's sanitary looking, the original radio still fills the dash, you get stereo sound, and it's CHEAP!

I want to give a big thanks to GT182 (from Performance Years forums) for giving me a couple AM radios to use for parts. They also came in handy for testing to compare voltages and signals.

Benched muncie
Muncie rebuild

Muncie Rebuild

The most popular page on this site is up and running. That's the GM muncie 4 speed rebuild. This trans was purchased to swap into an automatic GTO.

Sandblasting goat
GTO under construciton starting with Trunk Repair

GTO Trunk Pan Installation

The GTO trunk body work page highlights some extensive wheelwell repair, trunk pan and braces installation.

Minolta stereo cameras
Minolta SLR stereo rig

Stereo Camera Rig

Also added is a cool project for a Stereo camera setup using older Minolta SLRs. This technique makes stereo pairs with slide film. A simple viewer of the pairs shows awesome 3D pictures. 

DIY Microphone Preamplifier

July 2009

DIY Microphone Preamplifier

Click the pic to check out the latest with my mic preamp. The preamp has been fired up. It works, but I still want to do more testing with different opamps. I'm researching ways to attach mp3 samples soon too.

SFS

Links:

Jeep Forward Control "Mighty FC"

Here's a really cool something Jeep engineers and marketing people came up with that they will never build. I'd buy a Jeep pickup if they would just make one. Oh well. Above is a link to an FC concept hype-mobile.

Here's what I would buy if they would build it:

1967 GTO Original Owner

These two videos feature an original owner GTO. This car was featured in Hemmings Muscle Cars magazine a couple years ago. Part 2 has inside and outside shots of the owner driving the car. Very nicely done.

Blues Maker

"Mississippi" Fred McDowell. One of the great Bluesman. This is a performance from a documentary made in 1969.

Pinstripes

Pinstriping the ol' fashioned way. Pretty nice.

Rat Rods

Rat Rods. The response to the overdone mega buck super hot rods. These "Rat Rods" are very cool.

Blues Traveler. Wow.

Blues Traveler plays often on the Dave Letterman show. Here they are playing a toe tapper with Paul Schaffer.

Pepsi Throwback

Pepsi Throwback with Sugar!

Pepsi has put out a "limited edition Throwback" version of Pepsi with REAL sugar, instead of high fructose corn syrup which has been used since the 80's. Holy cow there IS a difference; it's WAY better. Find some quick!

Copyright 2009-2016---Dave Miles----Squids Fab Shop