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CJ Dismantling

August 30, 2016

It's been a while since I've posted anything about the ol' CJ3A. Some good work has transpired including some extensive body tub work. But....I'll post first about the chassis work:

After achieving success with the test firings of the Go Devil powerplant, the time had come to initiate "Phase II" of the CJ project: The Chassis Rebuild. This phase entails finally dragging the Jeep from out back and rebuilding the frame, suspension and drivetrain so that the working engine can be set in place. 

The Jeep had sat long enough to sink in a bit, so I jacked it out of the muck and began tearing the front end and top off. Recent photos of the CJ3A have been withheld due to the shocking nature of its condition so brace yourself:

CJ3A dismantling CJ3A top removedRusted out CJ3A rear view

Great effort was expended to clean out the 30 years of rodent sediments, inside and out, and the demolition began.

While it is certainly obvious that the body tub has suffered from extreme corrosion, closer inspection confirmed that the frame and drivetrain bits were still very solid. In other words, there's enough there for a crazy person to perform a rebuild. And anyway, almost every conceivable part can still be had new for flat fender Jeeps and used stuff is still plentiful too.

With the top and front end off, the Jeep was pulled up to the garage and deconstruction continued. 

Body tub removed from frame 1950 Willys CJ3a Jeep

It didn't take long to strip it down and bag and tag everything. My son and I lifted the tub off the frame and stashed the tub back behind the shed for another day.

Once the drivetrain was out, the chassis was placed onto jackstands and I attacked the suspension. These old Willys Jeeps use fully greasable shackle assemblies that utilize a forged shackle in the shape of a "C". The shackles pivot inside big threaded bushings screwed into the frame and spring ends. A couple bushings did screw out as shown below, but some were frozen solid inside the frame.

C shackle on Willys Jeep CJ3A

You can see the "C" section of the shackle is on the far side of the spring eye and hanger in this view. The bushing in the frame is half unscrewed on this side. 

For the frozen bushings, I broke out the cheater bar and applied torch heat which turned out to work nicely. I really thought they were going to break. In the photo below, I gave up on the shackle itself and cut it, but the important thing was being able to unscrew the bushings.

C shackle bushing removal Willys Jeep CJ3a

(It should be noted that on CJ's prior to the mid 50's, two of the four frame bushings are left hand threaded. There are notches on the apex edges of the hex heads indicating LH threads....and yes, I knew this beforehand......)

The shallow thread on these bushings reminds me of the Chrysler ball joints from the 60's:

Willys Jeep Shackle bushing

In the end all the bushings were removed without frame damage, and the chassis was ready for refurbishment.

The Chassis Rebuild

It felt good to have a bare frame sitting on the floor. It needed quite a combination of grinding, sandblasting and  straightening. First, I was compelled to grind off the ugly plates on the front frame horns. These must have been added for the snowplow rig. In the pic below I've already started to attack the driver side plate:

Frame horn steel Jeep CJ-3A

I thought they had been added to repair damage to the frame, but after close inspection, it seemed like the frame was good under there. So I cut them off and ground the weldment off:

Cleaned up CJ3a frame horns Willys Jeep

Both sides turned out to have no damage.

Not seen is the semi-mangled rear crossmember that I managed to beat back into shape with a 3 pound hammer. The beating, and some light welding to a couple of wrinkle induced cracks brought it back to spec. 

Cleaned and blasted Willlys CJ-3A frame

When I put the cleaned up frame on jackstands, I thought I'd check out how straight it was. I found that the spacing of the rails were too wide by about a half inch at the front spring fixed hangers, mostly on the driver side (as measured to centerline of frame). 

Frame tweaked on CJ3A

I figured I'd have a go at straightening it myself despite not having a frame rack, because it appeared I could apply a squeezing force with the spring hanger brackets. I used a piece of 1/2 threaded rod to span from one hanger to the other (also filling the gap of each hanger with washers) and used nuts on the rod to squeeze the frame rails  together. 

Threaded rod used to bend CJ3A frame to shape

Since the passenger and driver side rails were out of spec at different distances to the centerline, I couldn't rely on using the rod alone to bend the steel because one side would get to spec before the other. So, I only tightened the rod nuts enough to get close to the yield point of the steel, then used a sledge hammer to bend each rail separately to get to the correct dimensions. Taking out the "springy-ness" with the rod made it quite easy for the sledge hammer hits to cold bend the steel.  

Note where I indicate where I hit the frame with the sledge on the frame rail (with a hardwood block to spread the force out a bit):

Sledge hammer adjustment on Willys CJ-3A frame

The technique worked really well and the frame rails now measure spot on to the centerline.

The Springs

Although pitted and rusty, the spring leaves were intact, so I thought I'd see what could be done with some wirewheeling and grinding.

Rusty pitted leaf pack about to be transformed CJ3A

These old Jeeps used leaf packs with 8, 9 or even 10 leafs per unit, which means a tedious job of up to 40 leaves to clean. I attacked with a couple of right angle grinders with a heavy wire wheel and flap disc. Since this was certainly going to be a messy job (vast orange clouds of dust) I worked outside in 20 degree weather. 

The leafs cleaned up pretty nice, and they all still had a decent arch, so I finished them in Master Series primer, epoxy primer, Semi-gloss black, and finally graphite paint. 

Spring time for Willys, the CJ3A

The leaf packs are held together with a combination of sheet metal wrappers, riveted tabs, and u-straps with bolts. The u-straps required some welding repair, and new bolt spacers, and I made some new sheet metal wrappers with some scrap. I pressed in new brass pivot bushings and they're ready for action. It's hard to believe they're the same springs.

Willys Jeep CJ3a refurbished leaf packs

Frame Paint

After all the refurbishment work, I painted everything with MasterSeries primer (as can be seen in previous pictures) with foam brushes. Next was epoxy primer and then a top coat of Kirker Hot Rod semi gloss black.

Frame painting for CJ3a

After the big painting party, the springs and axles were installed with new U-bolts sourced from Stengel Bros. of NY. The C shackles, bushings and greaseable pivot bolts were also sourced new from various vendors.


This Jeep is equipped with a Dana 41 rear axle which I believe is the original unit.

Dana 41 gear view

Things looked really good inside, but knowing that this Jeep sat for decades in the woods, I wanted to remove the axle shafts in order to install new seals and repack the bearings. These Dana 41's use "two piece axles" with big tapered bearings at the ends. The bearings are lubricated with zerk fittings at each outboard end of the axle housing. I got the shafts out, and then everything was cleaned, resealed, and regreased.

Dana 41 axle shaft with bearing race

Dana 25

The front axle was a different story. With the cover removed, it was evident that sometime in the past the ring and pinion were exploded. I found loads of metal chips and flakes of all sizes spread throughout the internals.

Gritty metal bits in Dana 25 Jeep Willys

It seems that the ring and pinion were replaced, probably without even cleaning out the housing or setting the gears up because they exhibit galling, gouges and pitting. The pinion didn't even have shims installed (which are necessary for maintaining proper pinion bearing pre-load). 

Ugly Dana 25 Pinion gear

I took it all apart and cleaned the dickens out of all the parts.

Dana 25 Housing

I didn't replace anything except the seals. Yep, I even kept the bearings. (I can imagine the winces from some readers)

I did buy a set of shims and set up the correct pinion preload. The gear contact pattern was checked, but it was pretty ugly, so I let it be. They can grind away at each other while I casually seek out a replacment Dana 25. [UPDATE: a used Dana 25 has been procurred and the task to swap it for the crunched original has been put on the grand list]

Ross Steering Box

The steering box was almost unrecognizable under gobs of gunk. but after scraping, I found a well preserved Ross steering box. It even had oil inside. Deep, dark, thick ooze.

Ancient ooze in Ross Steering gear

Note  the witness marks (above photo) on the lower left boss on the Ross box from the thin shim washers where it was mounted to the frame. Evidently they took care to make sure the steering system alignment was good from frame to body.

Ross steering box exploded on bench

There was some wear on the sector shaft cone/pins, but it looked decent enough to re-use. I replaced the shaft bushings in the box and honed them to size with a wheel cylinder hone until the sector shaft fit back into the box.

Ross steering box sector shaft bore with two bushings
Ross steering box packing the bearings

The box was bolted back together and the copper sealing washers were put into proper position on two of the cover bolts. Since I'm re-using the worm ball bearings, I was able to re-use the original pack of pre-load shims on the top cap. The steering tube still had the "oil hole cover" for the column tube and I filled the unit with 140 weight oil from there.

The Knuckles

The SPICER designed front axles for the Willys Jeeps used a cast iron knuckle that completely enveloped the u-joint at each wheel. The spindle for the wheel bearings bolted onto the cast knuckle with six fine threaded bolts. The knuckle is relatively soft and had the somewhat infamous habit of stripping out allowing the front wheel to fall off the axle. This is one of the knuckles from my Willys, and several of the threaded holes were indeed stripped.

Stripped knuckle threads on Willys Jeep axle

With a subpar situation like this I decided to go with a fix that retains the spindle with studs rather than bolts. Since these knuckles don't have much "meat" in the casting for studs you can instead use Button Head Cap Screws inserted from the inside so that the threaded portion sticks out and function as studs. I used grade 8 3/8"-24 x 1.25" screws.

The areas around the holes inside the knuckles are rough cast which is not ideal for seating screw heads, so they must be spot faced with an endmill, and then a generous chamfer should be machined in (to acommodate the screw head fillet).

Dana knuckle inner spot facing stud installation

Once installed, the screw heads at the 9 and 3 o'clock positions will likely interfere with the ball end of the axle, so careful notching is required to maintain full turning radius. In the picture below, I've marked the ball at the 3 o'clock position with a marker indicating the area to be trimmed. If carefully done, the notch won't breach the ball seal surface areas.

Notching Dana 25 for knuckle studs

I acquired overseas knuckle kingpin bearings from a supplier on Amazon for an incredibly low price. We'll see how they do!

All this was installed per the procedures found in the Willys Universal Jeep manual. The preload is measured by pulling on the tie rod arm with a spring gauge.

The Brakes

Willys CJ3A's were quite simple in the brakes department. The Bendix system design consisted of a single circuit hydraulic master cylinder with a drum brake at each wheel. The Bendix system was so basic that there were no self adjusters for the brake shoes. It is necessary to manually adjust the shoes by rotating cam bolts to keep the brake shoes close to the drums.

Bendix Brake on CJ3a

There are upper and lower cams for each shoe. The cams are behind the shoes in the above photo. The upper bolts have eccentric circles on them, while the lowers are actually shoulder bolts with brass eccentrics installed onto the shoulders. You can see the heads of the shoulder bolts at the bottom of the shoes.

This Jeep still had it's original brake system but with problems: The master cylinder was rusted solid, the brake lines were squirrely replacements, the brake shoe adjustment cam bolts and eccentric cams were not installed correctly, (or not even there,) and unfortunately one of the otherwise excellent condition drums was bent from a botched wheel stud replacement.

Once it was all taken apart, I began a parts sourcing campaign. I put out a plea for a straight brake drum and JeepFever from the CJ3A boards kindly donated one for the cause. It's a CJ2A era drum, but it's form, fit and function are perfect for the CJ3A. Note the slit at the top of the drum...this is where you insert a feeler gauge when adjusting the shoe to drum gap. The CJ3A drums have more of a square hole for this.

CJ2A style brake drum

You can buy new eccentrics for the shoulder bolts, but I made some to replace the missing ones.

Willys Bendix brake eccentric cam

I bought a few new springs and upper cam bolts, then sandblasted everything and sorted the parts into piles for each drum assembly.

drum brake parts for Willys CJ3a

I purchased two new 3/4" wheel cylinders for the rear, and rebuilt the two 1" front wheel cylinders. I found a new Raybestos master cylinder on Amazon for 37 dollars. I reused the shoes that were on the Jeep as they seemed to have been newly installed when the Jeep was retired.

Everything was blasted sanded and painted, and then reassembled. I purchased a bunch of brake line sections from the local parts store and cut,  bent, and formed them to fit with a crappy flare kit. It's a bit of a mashup with copper nickel lines for the axles, epoxy clad for the frame lines, and plain zinc plated for the front axle.

Rear axle brake lines on 1950 Willys CJ3A

All the line clamps on the axles were gone, so I fabricated my own clamps with sheet metal and machine screws. They look and work good.

Front axle brake lines on Willys CJ3A

I managed to clean the original brake light switch. It's kind of a funny design that uses a pressure switch rather than a mechanical switch. Don't know if it works, but it looks good! The master cylinder was bled and after shoe adjustment, the brakes worked!

Back On It's Feet

With the four corners ready to support weight again, I put on the old wheels and tires; but not before sanding away some old paint on one of them. I was happily surprised to see that it still has it's original cream wheels with luzon red pinstripe under the layers.

CJ3A cream wheel with luzon red pinstripe

I wanted to get new acorn lug nuts, but they're a little pricey. So I bought a chrome wheel lug nut kit for something like 16 dollars to my door from eBay. Savvy Willys folks will know that these old CJ2A and CJ3A Jeeps had left hand and right hand lug nuts. The nut kit I got was for late 60's MoPar cars that had LH wheel studs on the driver side and RH studs on the passenger side of their cars. (Other manufacturers did the same thing at various times in the fifties and sixties as well.)

So here's the frame ready to go...

Squids CJ3a Frame ready for drivetrain

Coming soon will be some drivetrain AND sheet metal work....


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!


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.



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.


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!

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