'66 Monaco Resto-Mod

Member's Projects & Restorations

  1. Jack-Stand

    Jack-Stand Member

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    Hello All,

    Now that I finally joined the forum a few months ago, and that I finally have some time on my hands, I figured I'd finally put my build up. Fair warning to all, it's not a numbers matching restoration, and honestly at this point, it probably won't be done for decades.

    To give a little back story on the car, my father purchased the car in Pasadena before I was born, and restored/hot rodded it with a couple of my uncles. I came a long a few years later, and it was the first car I ever rode in. Many moons later, and several family issues led to the poor old girl basically sitting and rotting. Then came time to finally pass the torch, and my father presented me with the keys and title as my graduation present from engineering school. Now, it's under construction, I've become a father myself, and I work on it as my growing family allows.

    To begin the build, I started by getting the car home, and dropping the rear end out from under it. I really don't have much of a reason for choosing to start with the suspension other than I knew it'd be where majority of my fabrication would reside. After that came the decision on what axle I would run, as well as what I would do do to stiffen up the rear end. I decided to plate the rear "frame channels" with 3/16" plate so that I had some good meat to weld to. Unfortunately I lost the pictures of blowing the pieces out with the torch, but I do have pictures of fabricating them. 01080b6998be47c5509f8c126a4ab3256bc0d16fef.jpg 01a7f9bdebb5b68ac60eedcf036ba2925b86007583.jpg

    From that point I fit the channels up, and stitched/rosetted them into place.
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    Then came the decision on what axle. I ended up deciding upon a Ford 8.8, with LSD and 3.73's. I restacked the LSD clutches so it'll have quite a bit more grab over the stock disc pack. I've got quite a bit of experience with both 8.8's and 9's, but the 8.8 is readily available, has disc brakes and LSD stock, and can still take a heck of a beating (I've built a ton of 8.8's for rock crawler and drag racing applications). While my wife isn't very proud of this picture, I actually have picture proof that my wonderful wife (then girlfriend) supports the hot-rod habit. She actually helped me pull the axle from the junk yard.
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    From there came the rear suspension design. I opted for a triangulated 4-link using RuffStuff Specialties 1.25" heims, and let me tell you, these things are monsters. After I performed my initial force vectoring calculations, I started the fab process for my bracket location by using PVC pipe to mount my heims (it's much cheaper than using DOM the first time). 01993726ac67bda47f48edaaf1bc39638f2a4242ed.jpg

    After I was content with my measurements, and bracket locations, I set to welding both the frame side and axle side bracketry into place. I then measured my DOM tubing out, welded my heim inserts into the ends of the tubes, mounted my upper and lower bag brackets, and mounted everything up.
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    Next it was time to start on the front suspension. The shocks wouldn't come until after I finished the front and rear suspension components. The front suspension and steering is a compilation of crown vic and stock components, with the crown vic components being CV knuckles, CV lower control arms, CV disc brakes, and a CV rack. I considered running the full crown vic front suspension, but found out that it was too wide for my car, if I wanted my tires to tuck, so my welder got put to more use. I retained the stock upper control arms, and upper CA mounts, so I once again went to the local junk yard and picked up the CV parts that I intended to use for my front suspension. I began by measuring the various components to start making my brackets. I then fabbed my brackets so that I could fit everything up and test its travel. I fabbed my upper back brackets, mounted my lower bag bracket to the CV control arm, mounted the CV rack and pinion, and started the process of fabricating the tabs for my front sway bar. 0176fa1d7a9732f03fa5138ea0b896879204e71f56.jpg
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  2. mag162

    mag162 Active Member

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    I love it, Cant wait to see the finished product.
     
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  3. LocuMob

    LocuMob Fluid Technician with a hat FCBO Gold Member

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    Sweet! Nice to see the progress you've made since we chatted. It's nice to see someone who understands what it takes to put airbags in one of these old rides. Definitely not a bolt in kit. Look forward to watching this one come to life.
     
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  4. Jack-Stand

    Jack-Stand Member

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    Sorry folks, had to start another reply... I ran out on my picture limit.

    Next came the process of mounting my swaybar. Some friends of mine from the off-road world fabricated me a custom 1.25" diameter, splined sway bar. The arms were a bit long for my application and they didn't match the angle I wanted, so I did a "redneck break" on the arms, and welded them back up. One thing I just noticed (and forgot about) in this picture was that I also fabbed my own motor and frame-side motor mounts. Mounting the pillow blocks was a bit of a tall order because I had to figure out where to fit everything, so I bought some 1"x2" solid steel from a local supplier, mounted it, then drilled and tapped it.
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    I then mounted everything up, and once again, checked fitment and travel. I opted for 1/2" ruffstuff heims for my sway bar links so that I had minimal deflection when the sway bar loads up. I also chose to directly thread the link tubes (LH and RH threads) so that I had better engagement with minimal deflection.
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    Next on the list was finishing up the mechanical portion of the suspension by completing the shocks. I chose bilstein monotubes that weren't specifically tuned for bagged applications, but they're one of the better ones suited for the service. I fabbed my upper shock mounts (front and rear) and tacked everything in place. I verified fitment and travel (again...) and burned everything in.
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    Next came my frame stiffeners. I added 4 ft to the front "frame" assembly, and made mounts at the very back that would tie them directly into the old leaf spring mounts. I fishplated the stiffeners on, and gusseted the tops to provide extra strength. I contured the side fish plates, I also added a brace between my sway bar to provide additional roll stiffness. With the kind of power I'm hoping for, I wanted this thing to be rigid.
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  5. BLUPORT

    BLUPORT Carpe Diem Cras FCBO Gold Member

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    ...and I can't even weld in trunk pan extensions. I am officially ashamed of myself.
     
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  6. Jack-Stand

    Jack-Stand Member

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    And here we go again...

    Next I mocked everything up before I shipped it off for sandblasting.
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    Once I got it back from sandblasting, I coated it in KBS rust-seal. I actually regret doing this because even though it looks amazing, the sun has started to yellow it slightly. It Still doesn't look too bad, and honestly I'm probably the only one that notices it, but below is what it looks like freshly dried and assembled. Please never mind the mess... I hadn't cleaned the shop in a while.
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    The rear end got the same treatment.
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    Next I decided I'd go after casting my own taillights. I won't spend much time on this one just because I already created a thread on that project 1966 Monaco Tail Lens Casting. Long story short I ended up buying new lenses from Layson's Restorations, and I have to say, they're gorgeous.
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    Next up on the list (just for grins and giggles) I decided I wanted to tackle fabricating my own center console. So basically I started drawing.
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    From there I mounted all of my seats back in the car, and started fabricating. One of the main focal points I remember about the center console when I was a kid was the lift up armrest, and the button that releases it, so basically I made sure that I retained that when I was starting my fab. To begin with, I started by replicating the original chrome structure that was on the stock center console.
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    My little one decided to help Dad out in the shop, so she decided to retune Dad's welder right before I started fabbing the body structure.
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    I mounted my shifter into place, and started fabbing the rest of the center console.
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    Next came the task of covering it. I used posterboard for my initial covering material to give me a base by which I'll apply my fiberglass and resin. Unfortunately I forgot to take pictures of it once I got it completely covered, but I think this one gives you the idea. In the picture, it's mounted to a sawhorse so that I wasn't killing my back while covering it. Right now it's too cold to do any fiberglassing, so I'm on to my next project... the air management system.
     
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  7. Jack-Stand

    Jack-Stand Member

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    When my air management system (and other components) arrived, Once again, my little one decided to help Dad unpack.
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    The tubing I ordered came in a roughly 24" roll, so I had to go about straightening it. If anyone has tried to straighten tubing by hand, you know it typically looks horribly wavy after you do it. So to straighten it, I used some of my hillbilly engineering, my Powerstroke, a couple pairs of vice grips, a tree, and a couple of ratchet straps. The final results were VERY straight, with only a slight curvature over the 20 ft lengths that I cut.
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    Then came the process of starting the mounts. In a lot of applications I've seen, people basically take up their entire trunk space with their tanks and compressors. While I think those builds are gorgeous, I wanted something different on mine, so I opted to mount my tanks one on top of the other. To do that, I started with cardboard and transferred it over to sheet steel that I had in the shop.
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    From there, I went about the task of building the actual structure that the tank mount would mount to. About this time, I also drilled the holes through my trunk to mount the bulkhead fittings for air line penetrations.
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    From there, I verified fitment and started measuring for my mounting holes. I checked my tanks on the mount, and then installed them (on the mount)as well.
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  8. Jack-Stand

    Jack-Stand Member

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    Next it was time to start laying out my compressor and valve block mounts. I build plates with threads in them, that I later stitched into the trunk floor. 013877b0d9c042f997b2d52cdc649dbf58f7ca4865.jpg

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    I fit everything in the car, and verified fitment (there seems to be a common theme with this one...)
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    Next I mounted up my valve block, and started bending my tubing. I started with the exhaust dumps on my solenoid block.
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    Then I plumbed the rest of the lines for the bags themselves.
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    I put my fittings on my tanks, mounted them to the tank mount, mounted my compressors, and mocked the lines from the compressors into the tanks. I need to move some ports around, but for the most part they're in the right place. I put my compressor
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    Next on the list is to finish the plumbing from the bags to the bulkhead fittings, and to also run my indication lines as well as the line that'll supply my train horns. Supposedly they're capable of producing just under 148 dB of sound, so this should be crazy.
     
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  9. Jack-Stand

    Jack-Stand Member

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    Haha I'm kinda cheating though. A lot of the stuff I've been welding on has been thicker than trunk pan material. If I have welded to trunk pan material, the material I'm fusing is typically thicker than the sheet, so I'm able to concentrate it on the thicker stuff. That's not to say I haven't made an oops when found a thin spot though.
     
  10. Jack-Stand

    Jack-Stand Member

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    Almost forgot... here's what the car looks like when it's sitting on the ground. The pictures are from when I finished up the mechanical portions of the system, so they're a little old.
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  11. Jack-Stand

    Jack-Stand Member

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    Almost forgot again, when I designed the suspension, I designed it so that it'd have the stock ride height. I also put some new shoes on it, but the picture makes them look a little funny. The 8.8 is a little narrower than stock, so I'm going to run C-clip eliminators on it. That'll make it stronger, and it'll also give me back a little width.
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  12. TxDon

    TxDon Active Member

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    I am very happy you are applying all that fab genius to a 66 Monaco, I am subscribed.
     
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  13. Ross Wooldridge

    Ross Wooldridge Senior Member FCBO Gold Member

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    Cool work!

    Are you going to keep the original trim on the car, or do you have plans for the exterior as well?
     
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  14. Jack-Stand

    Jack-Stand Member

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    Thank you much! My dad always wanted to do something similar, but didn't have the same capabilities that I do. It was cool when he did it, but I'm making it my own.

    A lot of the trim is going to disappear from the car. @LocuMob and I have been talking, and once I start on my body work, he'll likely get a lot of my trim pieces. I was originally planning on completely shaving it, but I've since decided to keep a few things (door handles, hood ornament, etc.) One thing I'm psuedo attempting is to take my 500 badges off the front quarter panels, and basically turn them into interior lights. I did a thread on my attempt at casting my own tail light lenses, so I'm going to try to take my lessons learned from that, and apply them to the interior lighting.
     
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  15. Ross Wooldridge

    Ross Wooldridge Senior Member FCBO Gold Member

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    OK, so @LocuMob has first dibs on the trim - I was looking to see if the 3 louvers on each side were available and what kind of condition they're in... but looks like I've missed that opportunity! Lol!
     
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  16. Jack-Stand

    Jack-Stand Member

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    Haha yup, sorry Ross. We got to talking on my lense making thread when I initially introduced myself.
     
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  17. Ross Wooldridge

    Ross Wooldridge Senior Member FCBO Gold Member

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    All good!
     
  18. BigblueC

    BigblueC Senior Member

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    @Jack-Stand Wow. You are doing some pretty crazy fab work and I really appreciate your attention to detail like the symmetry of your air lines.:thumbsup: But I have to ask one question, what is your engineering field?
     
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  19. Jack-Stand

    Jack-Stand Member

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    Haha thank you much! My degree is in mechanical engineering, and I have a minor in materials sciences (metallurgy). The main emphasis during my minor was in failure mode analysis, machining practices and welding practices. As I stand now, I'm a licensed engineer (PE) in KS, working as a steam turbine generator engineer for a large coal plant.

    One thing that helped in school was that I was/still kind of am a machinist. On the farm, my grandfather stuck a weld stinger in my hand at a young age and basically said "Go". I got the minor because I already knew to do a lot of the stuff I studied, I just wanted to know why I did them.
     
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  20. mopar_4life

    mopar_4life Well-Known Member FCBO Gold Member

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    Wanna Do Mine? Looks great!