Final Engine Assembly, First Start, Front Battery Tray, Transmission, Bellhousing, and Clutch

   Posted by: kdavis

I can’t believe it’s been more than a month since I last updated the build site. However, looking back at the last month and all that’s happened, it’s exciting to see.

The most exciting even this month was finalizing the engine assembly, and starting the engine for the first time in the chassis. What a rush! It took a couple of times firing and tweaking the distributor to get it right, some fuel line leaks at the carb, and a temporarily hacked together push start wiring job via a small cardboard box, but I pulled it off. More exciting than that even is the fact that it didn’t like crazy! What a great experience to see something come to life that you built with your own hands. Good stuff. Nothing like the sound of 4 into 4 headers and side pipes.

First Start Video:


Front Battery Box:

I decided that I didn’t want to run battery cables all the way back to the trunk, so I am following a current trend to mount the battery upfront in the engine bay. I chose to do a Group 51 battery, and got mine at Costco for about $60. It works great, and can fire up the 302 without any issue. It’s smaller in CCA’s, but since this motor will never see 32 degrees, it’s a non issue.

I took some 1″ angle iron steel I got from my father in law, and made a tray, which I then welded together (poorly, btw) drilled and painted. I then put it on the far inside of the bay between the 4″ front tube and x-member. I drilled through the x-member for the bolt, and drilled and tapped the 4″ tube for a couple of 5/16″ bolts, then ran a piece of thick aluminum from the x-member to the box. The fit is perfect, and it’s not going any where. I figured out that by drilling a couple of holes in the bottom on each side, and using my tubing bender on the bracket, I could adapt the battery hold down from the kit to work perfectly. A couple of wing nuts, and it was good to go.


Transmission, Bellhousing, Clutch Assembly:

After the excitement of the first start, I knew the engine had to come back out again so I could do the wiring. I pulled it back out, and assembled the rest of the drivetrain, including the transmission, bellhousing, clutch and pressure plate, and clutch fork. Thanks so some creativity in using my work bench and the hoist, it went together quite well.

The only real issue I had with this is that the tranny actually tilts a little to the driver’s side, and you can see it when it’s mounted. This took some head scratching and forum searching to figure out that it’s supposed to be that way.


So, some real progress this month, and I’m pumped to see the go-kart stage get closer.

I have a little tweaking to do to finish my anti-sway bar install, and then finish up the electrical wiring that I started last week. The ground studs are all welded in, and the beginning layout is complete. Thanks to the Ron Francis harness, it’s pretty easy to put together.