Build process, from a scrap heap to a car show winner...


Below tells the story of what I've done to the car and provides a timeline of events. 

My Caprice SS has made it.  I'M DONE!!!  6-29-06  This project is about as done as I could make it.  I have a few little bugs to work out and a wish list a mile long, but the car I will consider DONE!  She looks AWESOME, better then I could have ever expected and is more then drivable. 

Here are some pictures of the car when I first got it - 7/04

(Events are in reveres order from here on so you can follow along with my latest adventures.  If your new to my site, I would start from the bottom and work your way up.  Feel free to follow along with my project.  I will be adding pictures all the time.  Sometimes to categories you may have already reviewed.  So you might want to double check something's...   Enjoy...)

Front Seats Installed - DONE - 6-11-06 - Once the carpet was in place everything seemed to fall in place.  Rear seats went in, console went in only natural for the front seats to come next.  Plugged the power to when an the work  just like they're supposed to.   Very comfortable seats too...

Here are some pictures as of 5/13/06

Center Console w/Floor Shifter Installation - (4-17-06) I was able to get the location of the shift mechanism mounting plate welded to the floor.  The shifter will then be bolted to that.   I installed a seat and moved the shifter around a little to find the best location.  Once in place I tack welded it and then finished welding it in place.  It feels pretty solid and when you install the console, the shift indicator fits perfectly! Now on to the next step.  (5-14-06) Drilling a hole in the floor and installing the cable.  I managed to run the cable above the gas pedal and did a little research on best location.  Made a nice little template of the seal and cut away.  All that's left is to install the brackets on the transmission and connect the cable to the trans...  I need to thank Kevin as he has a nicely detailed process on how to install a Bravada console on his website.  His website is here: Kevin's Caprice  Feel free to visit his website as he has a lot of good information also.

5-29-06 - Second part of this install was removal of the column shift level.  I just can't stand to see floor shifter added and the column lever still in place.  I was originally going to take a grinder to the shift lever numb, but decided against it.  If I had to do this over again I would prefer to grind!  I thought I would just get the bowl off a 1996 Impala SS since it has a floor shifter.  WRONG idea...initially.  Things started popping in my head like how will the reverse light work?  What about the neutral safety switch?  Then the it didn't want to fit right.  I started ordering the rest of the pieces to assemble a 96 column.  That's when it became clear.  I'm modifying this car...  Why can I not modify this to work.  Sure enough a little drimeling later and perfect fit.  The lower part of the column is still there which will stay connected to the transmission and thus the reverse lights & neutral safety switch will be unaffected.  I reassembled the column with the new bowl and looks - SWEET...  Just need to remove the old and install the new!

6-3-06 -  I was finally able to put the center console in and see what it really looks like with the carpet in place.  Some minor fit & finish is still required but for the most part it's looking very good!

6-11-06 - DONE!  I needed to do some fitting around and under the console to make it fit correctly.  After that, I plugged everything in and it works GREAT!  Installed the boot and shift handle (will be looking for a wood one eventually) and it looks GREAT!

Cluster F@#%$...Mess  - 5-26-06 - "Houston we have a problem, every time I turn on the headlights my A/C blower comes on?!?!?".  Installing the new cluster along with the Automatic Climate control, radio, cigarette lighters, trunk release, dome override and every other electrical device is working is becoming a NIGHTMARE!!!  But, here's the thing,  I think I am enjoying it.  Is that WRONG?  Just click on the link and look at that mess!  FOUND THE PROBLEM...  Isn't it confusing when you have so many wires... sometimes you just might make an Oppps?!?!?.  Once the opps was corrected everything seemed to click, just right after I made a cut here and a wire repair there and then WOW everything works!  SWEET.    6-3-06 - Most of the wiring is complete!!!  The secondary dash (dash support structure) was installed and most of the dash electronic have been re-installed.

6-13-06 - Worked on completing a few loose ends along with getting the dash put back together.  Looks pretty nice!!!

Grill & Ram Air Inserts - 6-5-06 - Since I've add the bowtie grill inserts to the lower front & rear fascia's I didn't feel having a blacked out grill would look right.  I finally got around to painting the SLP hood scoop grill inserts and the grill.  Looks good.  Cannot wait to see it with the hood closed cursing down the road!

Rear Seat Installed - 6-3-06 - With the carpet installed I was able to install the rear seat along with the seat belts and rear window trim. 

Z28 Cluster Installation & much, much more...  done -   Now that I've got the car back it's time to continue on a few of the other projects left undone.  Oh, I forgot to mention that I've added a few more things to the "To Do List".  Since the Buick I scraped had Automatic Climate Control, I decided to take that out an install it.  I'm also going to add Twilight Sentinel Control (automatic headlights).  I still plan on installing the Z28 Cluster, the Overhead console and floor console with shifter and a few other unique ideas I've had...  You'll have to wait for those... Z28 Install Pictures  Auto A/C Pictures

Carpet Insalled - 6-3-06 - Finally got around to installing the carpet.  Fit very nice.  Actually it was to big and we needed to trim it to fit. 

Door & Rear Deck Speaker Install -5-28-06 - This was pretty simple thanks to Scott Williams providing a template for the door speaker install.  I got some 5/8 thick wood, cut it per the template, Drilled one big hole for the speaker and then drilled some holes and screwed the wood to the door and then screwed the speakers to the wood.  Done!  The rear deck was even easier then that.  The rear speakers fit perfectly.  No modifications needed!  The tweeters where the most difficult.  Since I'm installing the Roadmaster door panels I decided to continue using the original location of the tweeters in the door handle bezel.  The original tweeters were clued to the bezel.  So, I had to break them free in hopes of not destroying the bezels.  I was either good or lucky enough not to destroy them and glued the new tweeters in place.  Plugged all the necessary wires in place and cranked up the volume.  Wow what a difference! Now if I only had a couple amps and some subs.  One of these days...

Buick Roadmaster Door Panel Upgrade - (3-28-06) Since I don't seem to be able to stop and focus on one thing at a time, I decide to get the rear door panels out of the way by installing them on the car.  Here are some of the pictures of me installing Hush-Mat to help insolate the doors and then installing the water/vapor barrier.  I have the drivers side rear door complete.  Looks pretty SWEET, I must say! (5-29-06) my new speakers arrived 5-25-06 and I decided I would install them ASAP.  See Door & Rear Deck Speaker Install to learn more about that.  Once the speakers were installed I was able finalize the door panels.  These have been in the way for a couple months and if they're on the car I cannot kick into them any more!  I had already completed the Hush-Mat installation and painted all the plastic.  All that was left after the speakers were installed was to put on the vapor barrier.   I cut out a couple new sheets of Mylar and glued them onto the door.  I then installed the door panels.  I left the door switch plate and door handle bezels loose so if I have any electrical problems I can double check them before removing the door panel again.

Hush-Mat Installed - 5-7-06 - This was a stick situation!  No really, this stuff was... IS very sticky.  I put it everywhere.  I vacuumed & then whipped down everything to make sure I got good adhesion.  Just look at the pictures.  I can already tell the car seems a lot more solid, tapping on the panels and closing the door no more echo or ringing, just a thud and no interior is installed.  This car will be super quite once I'm done..  I cannot wait to see how quite it will be.  Must be patient.  My time is getting closer and closer to when I can go cruising!

Front & Rear Fascia Bowtie Grill Insert Installed - 4-17-06 - WOW!!! is that COOL OR WHAT?  Looks good with the fog light installed along with the new grill insert.  Took a little work since the form I had used to mount the grill required bolting it to the bumper.  I hope I never have to remove the front fascia anytime soon...  The rear insert was not as bad.  I also inserted a 1/4 thick 4 inch by 4 foot piece of plate steal & bolted it between the frame horns since there is no rear bumper.  The sacrifices one must make to make necessary changes!

Exterior Door Trim w/95/96 Style Mirrors Installed - 2-15-06 - Got the windows with new rollers installed.  The door harness swapped over from the Roadmaster & plan on using the Roadmaster door panels.  I've also completed the installation of the newer style 1995-96 mirrors along with all the chrome trim around the windows.  Slowly coming along...

Body Shop work is DONE!!!  1-24-06 - I've picked up my Caprice SS.  A BIG THANKS to Butch and his team @ Arnold-Baker Chevrolet Body Shop in Magnolia, AR for there excellent work.  Now the fun really starts.  The car is still far from being completed.  As you can see in the pictures.   

Body Shop - Hood, Doors & Trunk Installed 12-27-05 - All I can say WOW!!!

Body Shop - Painted Doors & Other Panels 12-12-05 - Made another visit to ABC Body shop, discussed a few issues and was able to resolve them.  They have painted most of the panels & doors.  Hood, front & rear fascias and spoiler left to go.  She is looking good though.  Cannot wait to see the car with all the parts together.

Body Shop - Painting Has Begun 12-01-05 - The Coloring has begun!!! YES!!!  The body is in the booth getting it base coat & then clear coat.  The doors were painted shortly before Thanksgiving.  Looks AWESOME!!!

Body Shop - Updated Pictures  11-14-05 - Ran into a small problem with the Street Trends front bumper fascia.  They are not deep enough to accept the front bumper bar and brace.  Looks like we will have to fab up or modify the stock bumper to make it fit.  A few more rust spots were found, one behind the passenger rear wheel opening and another on the drivers side rear window.  Both were repaired. The rear wheel openings have been smoothed out and they look very clean!  The rear quarters have been prepped and ready for paint, the doors are in process, being straightened and primed..   I am very happy with the progress so far. 

Body Shop - Work is Progressing 10-29-05 - Made a trip to the body shop to drop off my new fascias and rear spoiler.  Work is progressing along, slowly but surely.  I snapped a few pictures of what has been complete and some work in progress.  Notice the smooth trunk, no key hole, that's what I wanted, see my below modification Trunk Lock Relocated.  The drivers side door is from a donor car and it has been prepped and the mirror hole filled so I can install the 95/96 style mirrors.  The roof has had the light bar holes patched and prepped.  Still more patching and body work to be done, but I'm not in a super hurry as I have to many other projects I can be working on.

New Fascia Arrived  8/18/05 - Smooth Urethane front and rear fascia's arrived.  Boy they sure look rough.  I hope the my body shop can make them look good.  Before I take these Fascia's off to the body shop, I need to make some grill inserts for the fascia's or the centers will sag.  I found this cool Bowtie Grill insert and which needs to be custom fit.  Just the flat insert looks AWESOME!!!.  I've included  some pictures of the fascia's and my new grill inserts, what do you think?  When I'm done I need to get these fascia's to the my body shop so they can get these worked over, test fitted, etc, etc...  I plan on using the same grill inserts in the actual grill to keep the over theme.  Who knows, maybe I can find some other cool places to insert more of this AWESOME Bowtie Grill!

At the Body Shop  7-22-05 - Well I have dropped my Caprice SS off @ Arnold-Baker Chevrolet in Magnolia, AR.  Pictures to come as progress is made.  I've decided to go with Chevrolet's newest color - Laser Blue Metallic.  Unfortunately, online pictures do not do this color justice.  It's almost a multi-changing color.  It's currently available on the new Impala SS and the Malibu SS.  This is a very bright blue.  I have also elected to go with no wheel opening moldings.  This means the rear openings will need to be smoothed out and the edges cleaned up.  I have also purchased new smooth urethane front and rear fascia's.  Along with the new fascia's I have a rear trunk spoiler that is molded after the prototype Impala SS.  I've snapped a few quick pictures of the new spoiler.  Spoiler Pics

Buick interior?  - 4-29-05 - Made a trip to NH to pick up a very nicely priced 1994 Roadmaster.  I am going to use this interior instead of the worn out original.  This Roadmaster has nice door panels, big leather seats, automatic climate control, twilight sentinel, rear view electro chromatic mirror w/compass, etc.  What do you think?    More Exterior Pictures

Rear Fascia  4/15/05 - Been wanting to see what the car would look like with a roll pan rear fascia.  Here is the difference. It will need some work but I think I like it!  Now I will need the assistance of a body shop to finish the work.

Stance After Suspension Upgrade  4/15/05 - Unfortunately, the rotors still have not showed up and work needs to be done, so the originals rotors will suffice!  As you can see with these pictures the car looks pretty level. 

Front Suspension  4/1/05 - Wow,  where to begin.  I cannot believe it's already Easter.  It seems like yesterday when we dropped the engine in and get it started.  Been many changes of late.  First was getting the front suspension rebuilt.  The car was driven for awhile with the upper control arm bolts loose which wallowed out the upper bolt hole in the frame.  You can see what I did the fix that (with my Dad's help!  Thanks Dad!!!) I had the upper & lower control arms and spindle powder coated.  I cut one round out of the 9C1 springs and installed Moog spring from a late 70's model Malibu..  From there I installed the Extreme Duty PolyPerfect complete front suspension rebuild kit from Power Performance Motorsports.  To top it off I have a set of drilled/slotted rotors on the way.  I will get some braided stainless steal lines when I do the Stealth Bolt upgrade!

Wheels 3/17/05 - I installed a back-up set of Impala SS wheels I have had sitting around.  What a difference a nice set of wheels make.  I also installed Venture Van center caps as I did not want to use the original Impala logoed center caps on my Caprice.  GM P/N is 9593058, here is a picture of the wheel w/the cap isntalled.

Spot Light Removal  2/2/05 - I cannot believe how cleaner the car looked when the spot light was removed!  It was not working, the light lens or bulbs was cracked and screws were missing out of it so why even have it?

Trunk Lock Relocated  2/2/05 - After seeing this done by a few other I just had to do it too.  I like the way in cleans up the trunk area.  I didn't want the flipping Bowtie and I am not putting any Impala logos/decal so what do you do?  You relocate the lock to the underside of the trunk!.

Exhaust Video Clip  1/6/05 - 5mb video clip of the engine running and us playing with the throttle, the picture is pretty poor quality but since the car still looks like @$$ that really doesn't matter.  Just listen to that exhaust.  Sounds BADA$$!!!  2.5 mandrel bent Hooker cat back exhaust and their AeroChanber mufflers.

More Delays...  GGRrrr...  As noted above a rear axle seal was leaking, well as I feared, the reason for the leak was due to the bearing eating into the axle.  Why is it the bearings are harder then the axle?  This means the axle needs replacing along with the bearing.  So, I found some 9C1 axles and have them headed my direction.  I have also placed an order for a front end steering/suspension upgrade kit to tighten up the front end.

Engine Installation   12/22/04 - The new engine wanted to go in.  Some small issues presented them selves as they always will, but other then that everything went together nicely.  I did reprogram the PCM with PCMforLess engine tune to take advantage of the new LT4 cam and other mods.  At this time I still have not had a chance to drive the car as we are still working on the rust problems, the front steering is about ready for fall out of the car and an axle seal leaking. 

I cannot wait to put this car on the ground and see what it can do...   I did manager to record a clip of it running.  Enjoy...  I do...

Floor Pan/Rust Removal/Repair  11/25/04 - This Caprice shows the signs of being a well used interceptor from Indiana.  Nothing too bad, but is does have a few more holes in the floor boards and rear inner fenders.  I spent time under the car removing the loose rust from the floor and sprayed on some rust encapsulation and then some undercoat.  I did not do the axle hump or trunk pan yet as I wanted to focus on the engine installation.  That will be a future project when I put 3:73's in and powder coat the rear axle.  At this point, it just made since to take care of the floor pan with the engine, trans & exhaust out of the way.

Engine Assembly   11/24/04 - Chevy Orange should clash nicely with the blue I ultimately plan on painting the car.  Eventually headers will be installed in place of the exhaust manifolds, but in the mean time, I will just have to put up with the stock manifolds.

Engine Removal  11/22/04 -  The engine was a stubborn pain in the butt to remove, not to mention the mess from many years of leaking oils.  A little elbow grease and a pressure wash later and look at that engine bay!  Pulled out the sander and removed some surface rust and went to town with the paint and under coat!  Still have some more touch up to do.  Unfortunately, found some small rust holes in the firewall.  Best take care of them now as it's a lot easier to get to the rust removed & patched with the engine out of the way.

Well the spending has begun (what little of it I have).  11/10/04 - I've got another  LT1 at the machine shop getting a cleaning/refresh done to it as it only had 25k miles.  The machine shop told me there was less than 0.001 cylinder taper so no boring was necessary. Over the weekend of the 13th of November my Dad and I will assemble this bad bay!  And of course, I will be taking pictures!   I've ordered the LT4 Hot Cam kit for this engine to help in the HP department. 

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Saturday July 12, 2014