Blog Image

Uuta 48 Chevrolet

Uuta 48 Chevrolet Ute

This is a Blog to document the Rejuvenation / Restoration of a 1948 Chevrolet Ute. At the beginning we bought a rusty body and chassis in a condition that was best described as "ready for restoration" After a few months of preparation and planning another complete and running Ute was found in much beter condition. So the original body was sold off and the process started again with the new vehicle. The plan is to do a major update of the drivetrain, motor / gearbox etc. to bring it to a "modern" standard. It will be classified as a "Streetrod" for registration purposes and subject to stringent testing of all components and workmanship during construction.

New shafts etc.

Steering Posted on Mon, September 07, 2015 06:18:41

As we have changed the front subframe completely the steering needs to be connected between the new steering column and the rack on the subframe. All the components to be used are from the Jaguar.
Rack and pinion power steering mounted to the subframe and the steering column from another donor XJ6.
The rack is unaltered as such, just needs to be checked for condition and all new seals installed. The mounting point on one side had some damage this was repaired while other welding was being done.
A new shaft was made and connected by universal joints. As there are more than two joints a extra support is needed. This is a special bearing that supports the shaft at mid point.

As the subframe is mounted as it was in the Jaguar, that is on flexible rubber mounting. It has some movement when in use. This movement has to be allowed for in the steering connection. In the first photo of this part you can see the shaft going from the rack through the support bearing. This shaft has a splined section, it is covered by the rubber boot seen here that allows for the subframe movement. It came from another vehicle as the Jaguar one did not work well for this application. And it is an ungainly looking piece anyway, this one works well and looks the part too.

The column had to have a new support member made to fit under the dash. This to bolt it in place. The column has to be a collapsible one to meet modern standards so the original mounting bracket needs to be used as well. Also it has a mounting point at the point where it goes through the firewall, this was fabricated and the column bolted in place. Along with the adjustable top section the indicator unit and a new smaller steering wheel. This will suit the new seats and add to the more modern feel and comfort. As the new steering has power assistance there is no need for the large old type of wheel to turn it.

photos to come yet

The parts were then joined together and we now have a working steering. These shots taken while the fitting was taking place. All is now welded and the system tested. It will now be taken apart for other pieces to be done. All to be replaced for the first inspection.

Preparing for First Inspection

T A C testing Posted on Wed, September 02, 2015 03:33:23

There are three stages of approval for a vehicle modified in this way.

1. Is to check the structural components and the standard of fabrication and welding. Also the general layout of the components and the connections. As this is in essence a “new ” vehicle everything has to be checked and passed.

Now that all the pieces have been fitted everything is removed and the new brackets etc are all fully welded.
Then it is all assembled again ready for the Inspectors to visit. Nothing has been painted at this stage. That will come later after the First inspection is passed. Then all will be taken apart again. Followed by cleaning, painting and refurbishment of all the mechanical components.

We are almost at this stage after 11 months. A lot of time and effort but we can finally see some results for all of it.

2. Another inspection of all pieces of the puzzle together. Bodywork seats etc.

3. When All is completed the final inspection and test drive.

October 24 2015

Well the First Inspection has been done and all is well. ( woo hoo )
A couple of minor things that need to be done. Some extra gussets to one of the rear suspension points. And a little more strengthening to another two points.
But they were happy with the work so far and I can proceed.
We discussed some of the things yet to be done and they had some advice for a few things.
All of the components can be taken off the Chassis (again) and all the steel can be cleaned and painted. Then the mechanical components need to be checked and refurbished as needed. After that we can start with the final assembly of chassis and drivetrain.
Still a lot to be done but the first stage is completed.


Wheels Posted on Tue, September 01, 2015 07:37:43

The wheels I have had for a while just happen to be a good fit on the Jaguar suspension units. So I decided to get them powdercoated and fit new tyres. One problem being that the finished colour has not been settled yet.
After much deliberation and studying colours a grey colour was chosen. This will work with a range of colours and in the interim will be okay with the standard cream paint.

Also I have had some colour made up of the original cream colour. The main reason is that at this stage we will not be doing a full respray. Until that is done we can touch up any repairs that are done to keep the original look.
The old fuel filler on the passenger side does not work with the new fuel tank and had to go. The plan is to have a concealed filler and it will be on the opposite side. The tank was removed and the filler pipe taken out too. The hole was filled by bonding a patch onto the back of the panel and painted to match with the touch up paint we had mixed.It is difficult to weld a patch into this shape panel and the access to hammer it out is not good. The bonded patch was much better in this application

Brakes , clutch controls

Modifying the Drivetrain Posted on Sun, April 19, 2015 10:15:25

The brake and clutch pedals are to be through the floor as per original. These are to be totally upgraded and so we need to fabricate new pedals etc. The master cylinders and power booster are all under the floor. so new pieces need to be fabricated to mount these components.

Then mounting for the pedals and booster and master cylinders

And connection rods to make it all work.

Finally new brake lines to connect them all together

more photos

Rear suspension unit

Modifying the Drivetrain Posted on Thu, January 15, 2015 03:00:30

Time to start on the rear suspension. The Jaguar unit was removed from the cage and new mountings fabricated. The first being a crossmember to bolt in the diff housing. Then various mounting points to hold the IRS unit in place. It is to be solid mounted requiring a number of brackets and location arms to be made. These hold the diff so it does not move at all. The suspension can then move independently, a very well engineered system. Developed over many years by Jaguar. A system that has been used many times for all sorts of modifications to Hotrod and kit cars in particular.

These next series of photos show the unit still in the cage (trimmed a bit) just setting up for height and the get the position right.

And then crossmember being made to fit and then a mounting plate to bolt to the top of the Diff. This mounting point as per original design.

Crossmember has been cut and trial fitted in place on the original chassis.This will be welded in place when all fabrication is done and checked for correct placement.
The diff is still in the cage at this stage, checking angles and ride height.

Diff propped up on timber blocks and mounted on plywood “wheels” to simulate the correct ride height.

New crossmember and mounting bracket, checking for height and correct angle.

Centre mounting bracket for the top of the diff. This was fabricated and welded to the new crossmember. The material used was 100 * 50 * 6 RHS. the bracket made from the same material

Diff now removed from the standard cage and the new bracket bolted in the original position. Wheels fitted to test the position again. The body needs to be fitted at this stage to check again for correct position, both ride height and within the wheel arches.

The body fitted temporarily, the height is close to where it should be. And the wheels look good in the wheel arches too. The front suspension also is looking all right. There may be some slight alterations needed later but for now all is coming along well.
We can now remove the body again and continue with the fabrication of more new location brackets.
The wheel fits well in the wheel arch with these tyres. They will be replaced as they are too old to be used. But for now they are perfect while the chassis modifications are being done.

Next the bottom of the diff needs to be bolted in place so it cannot move. So some brackets were made to hold the bottom suspension arms in place. Along with a modified plate for the underside of the unit.
These photos show the making of the brackets and fitting in place. Progress now with the diff in place and the chassis rolling again.

This is the bracket made for the rear of the diff mounting. When the unit is in the original cage it is bolted in these places. So when taken out of the cage the diff must be supported at the same points. There is a bracket needed at the front and rear and also a plate to go across the bottom.

These units have been mounted by others using the cage and original rubber mountings as well. But we prefer this way as it gives better access to service the brakes and has a much better appearance.
This being an important consideration for this project.

So front and rear brackets made and fitted now to connect these to the Chevrolet chassis.

There are three main mounting points for these units. One to the top of the diff itself as seen above. One ( actually two ) at the front of the unit from the bottom of the diff out to the chassis rails. These are to counter the torque reaction. To stop it twisting. And the third ( another two ) to hold the bottom suspension arms from moving backwards and forwards.
These all have to be fabricated to mount from the original points and to connect onto the Chevrolet chassis.
All this will make the Ute handle much better and improve the ride. It should be as comfortable as a modern Jaguar and handle as well. Not to mention the upgrade of the braking system and steering.
But more of this later as there are a lot of pieces to this puzzle.

Next we have brackets to weld to the chassis for the torque reaction rods.

And the actual arms bolt in place between the diff bracket we have made and the brackets welded to the Chev chassis

Then there are two radius arms that reach forward and hold the IRS unit and stop it moving backwards and forwards under braking and acceleration. The position of these is critical and we need another new crossmember for the mounting brackets. This one goes in between the rear unit and the rear of the gearbox and will have extra bracing stiffen the chassis.

New crossmember brackets and bracing.

Radius arms fabricated and bolted in place

The chassis needed some extra stiffening and to help this the new crossmember was fabricated with bracing added to it. This also serves as a point to mount brackets for the location arms and was placed so that the arms are mounted correctly. These location points are critical to ensure the suspension works as Jaguar designed it. With no binding or additional stress on the components as it moves through the whole range of movement on the road.
There are specific measurements for these attachment points. All these will be checked by the ASRF inspectors at the first inspection of the modifications.

These pieces all being in place the last components if the IRS are the shock absorbers and springs. These are coil over shockers and there are two each side. We need to fabricate the top mount to connect to the new crossmember made previously.
The bottom mount is on the bottom suspension arm as originally done by Jaguar in the factory.
This first photo shows the bracket being tested for fit and shows the shock units bolted to the bottom arm ready for test fitting.

Once the height is checked we then make a temporary bracket to bolt in the place of the shocks. Again to check the ride height is okay before everything is finally welded.

You will note that the parts are just tacked at this stage and some still are to
be cleaned and painted. This will all be done when the fabrication is finished and has passed the first inspection.

Motor and Gearbox

Modifying the Drivetrain Posted on Wed, January 07, 2015 10:45:20

With Christmas break coming up I am planning to get some hours in on the chassis works. First I have collected together some materials so that I do not run short while the suppliers are closed.
Pieces of steel and various consumables all stocked up ready to go.
So home from work in Hervey Bay finally I am able to get some time on the project.

This first photo shows the engine sitting in place temporarily as it still has the original sump on it. This will be replaced with another reverse type that will allow the motor to be mounted lower and give more clearance around the steering rack. And another bonus is there is much more room for changing the oil and filter.
A photo below shows the difference between the two. I got this as a bonus with the LS 1 motor, bought by the previous owner but never fitted.

The engine was removed after the first fitting and the sump changed. Then I started to fabricate the new engine mounts. Followed by the mounting for the transmission. The original transmission crossmember was in a usable position but needed some alteration to suit the new Gearbox. Note the rubbish on the floor that was removed from inside the old cross member.

So gearbox mounted on an original mounting bracket, and motor on fabricated brackets on the chassis and motor. Most of the welds are just tacked at present, all welding will be done later when everything is finalised and does not need to be moved.


Modifying the Drivetrain Posted on Wed, December 17, 2014 05:55:12

Now the real work begins. I have removed the body from the chassis and taken off the brackets that will not be needed. Also the front end and rear end unbolted and the old six cylinder motor removed. Just left with a bare chassis. It is in really good conditionand will need no repairs at all.

The motor and front end were sold to another enthusiast with a similar car who has plans to rebuild to original. This money can go towards some other parts for this one.The body removed and placed on timber stands waiting for panel repairs. These to be done after the chassis and suspension and new motor etc are fitted.

A motor has been purchased, an LS 1 from a VX SS Commodore. Low K’s and came with the wiring harness and computer to run it. Should be just plug it all in and ready to go. All complete motor with steering pump, A/C compressor and alternator. Also a new reverse fit sump to allow the motor to clear the front crossmember.

Now that the chassis has been stripped of all the original brackets etc that are not needed I can start to fabricate the brackets to mount the Jaguar units. These are a relatively easy fit with no real modification necessary to the chassis. The first task is to make the new brackets that will mount the Jaguar IFS with the manufacturers original type of rubber mounts. That is it is mounted as it was on the Jaguar XJ6 originally. This allows the front end to have aflexable mount rather than being welded in place. This movement reduces the stress on the unit and the chassis.
I bought new rubber bushes and mounts for the front and rear mounting points..And have to make brackets to adapt these to the Chevrolet chassis.
You can see in the photos below the Chev chassis and the Jaguar front suspension mounting arm with a new bracket made to suit. These are clamped in place until the position is checked for the correct position in relation to the body and wheel arches.

Mounting the Jaguar unit in this way lowers the height of the chassis which will make the whole vehicle stance much lower. This will improve handling and the suspension will provide a much better ride as well as improved steering and braking. The IFS unit has power assisted rack and pinion steering and large ventilated disc brakes. It is also wider that the Chev unit and gives an increased front track.
I have added an extra front crossmember to strengthen the front section of the Chev frame. The mounting for the front panels will be altered with new mounting points fabricated. The radiator was mounted in a frame by the factory and the guards both inner and outer bolted to it but this will not be used. This will allow us to move the radiator position later. There will be more room needed in this area for A/C condenser and electric fans

The photos above and below show the suspension mounts and the crossmember with the radiator support panel even though it will not be used. The front panels are bolted on for a trail fit to ensure all will fit properly.
The ride height has been reduced by 100mm but there is still plenty of clearance under the front.

The panels were then removed again and more measuring was done to check for correct fit of all components. The front shock absorbers from the jaguar are not suitable being very long. These protrude too far up into the wheel arch. So we needed another bracket made to mount some shorter more suitable shockers.

New Base Unit

Change of Plan Posted on Thu, October 30, 2014 10:36:23

I had only just begun the work on the chassis having dis-assembled all the body work. And made an assessment of the work to be done. It was extensive with lots of rust to be cut out. All achievable but time consuming.
When the unexpected happened. Another Ute came along in really good condition and at a price that could not be passed up. These things do not come along very often and in this condition even more rarely. So arrangements were made to have it bought by transport from Townsville.

So plans have changed. After I have given this one a good examination the plans will be made again. Still a “street rod” but there will be nowhere near the amount of body repairs to be done. This will mean a huge saving in the overall time need for the project.

My work commitments are limiting the amount of hours that I have for this project, so the decision was made to buy this unit that will not need so many hours to repair the rust etc. Not to mention the parts that are missing that needed to be found or fabricated.

This one is complete in all aspects. To all intents and purposes ready for a run around the block
I am waiting for it to be delivered. Just had a phone call from the previous owner to say it had been picked up and is on the way.

Well she/he has arrived. And the work has begun. It is in good condition having had some repair work done a few years ago, mostly not too bad. A couple of sections that need to be redone but considering the age ( 66 years ) I am happy with it.

The amount of work needed compared to the other body is small.
So a couple of photos as it arrived and the start of the strip down.

I will evaluate each part as they come off and decide what needs to be done. A lot of the panels will need nothing more than a clean up and a good coat of POR 15.

« PreviousNext »