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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.


Modifying the Drivetrain Posted on Thu, August 04, 2016 05:16:14

The radiator is still the original and while it looked to be in reasonable condition it was decided to replace it. An aluminium one was chosen in the same shape. But it needs to move forward to make more room for the new electric fan. This is to go behind the radiator to “pull” the air through for maximum cooling.
So new mounts need to be fabricated and also mounting for the A/C condensor. A shroud is needed too to direct the maximum amount of air possible through the radiator.

Here is the radiator mounted temporarily in place to measure for the new brackets etc.
Also the front apron panel in place to check that all will have clearance.

Bolted in now to fabricate brackets to mount the condensor in front of it.

Brackets made and all bolted up. Looks to be okay.


Modifying the Drivetrain Posted on Wed, December 02, 2015 08:19:58

Now that the Inspection has been done and the work is approved we can move on. The next step being to pull all the drivetrain apart and strip the chassis to the bare frame.
All suspension components and motor,gearbox etc to be taken off. Then the chassis can be cleaned and painted ready for final assembly.
Before the suspension, motor gearbox, brakes and other pieces can be bolted back together they must be refurbished. That is disassembled and inspected. Then any worn or defective parts renewed and all painted. After all that the whole chassis and drivetrain can be assembled for the final time.

The suspension units front and rear are removed now. The chassis is bare once again. All welds have been checked and tidied up. The chassis was given a thorough clean and prepared for paint.
All the new brackets and crossmembers etc were given two really good coats of antirust paint. This is made for this type of installation It is called POR 15 and is extremely tough and hard to chip once dry.

these photos shoe the chassis painted. it looks a lot better now and will not need anything done to it for a long time.
The suspension parts are also to be done with the same paint process. This means that have to be completely dismantled. While they are apart ant parts needing replacment will be done. A couple of photos of front suspension pieces.


Modifying the Drivetrain Posted on Tue, September 22, 2015 05:29:26

The chassis works are almost finished. Just need to have the final inspection and get these works signed off. Then the painting can be started.
Before that is done though the exhaust needs to be fabricated so any brackets can be welded in place. The idea being to finish all structural items before the painting is done. This will lessen the chances of having to touch up the paint on the chassis.

So we bought the components for the exhaust. As it is a mixture of parts from different vehicles the system has to be custom made. Stainless steel is the most durable for this job and will last a lifetime, well mine at least.

Mufflers catalyst boxes as well as pipe and bends needed to thread through the chassis.

The mufflers were first laid out and setup temporarily in place. You can see the timbers holding them in place where they will be finally. There are many places where the clearances are tight and so all must be checked before final fabrication.
Suitable rubber mounting points will be added once the system is tacked up.

photo of pieces before starting

The first section from the headers to the Catalysts done and okay so far.

A piece of the pipe and bends in fabrication. Each bend needs to be cut and checked for the correct angles.

One side done up to the mufflers all tacked together until the whole thing is complete. Then all welding can be finished. A temporary tailshaft in place to make allowance for clearance on this part.

A little more done most of the pieces cut and tacked just need to make sure that all is okay with the body in place.
Once this is checked the final welding and mounting points can be done. Sorry about the bad photo it was taken on the Iphone.

Then up and over the driveshafts for the diff and out at the rear. It is a bit tight in here having to miss the fuel tank and axles and come out at the right height.

And almost fully welded, it needs to come out again though for final painting of the chassis. Also in this photo can be seen the new driveshaft from gearbox to the differential. And the tray for the battery is under there as well out of the engine bay as the new motor has taken most of the space in there. The pipework had to be made to go around here and connect in the middle at the same time. This connection makes for a more even pulse helping with tuning and keeping the sound from getting too loud

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.