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J J Web's 1967 Lemans

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Bringin' It Back From The Dead - 70 Catalina Convertible

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  This is my sixty dollar, junk yard, most likely dead 4L60E transmission bolted up to the rebuilt engine for the first time. Getting these two completely together was not easy even though it should be - simply align the dowl pins to the holes and apply the bolts. The two would align and go together but . . . not quite. A gap of about a quarter of an inch remained between them and I was not about to turn up the torque and twist those five bolts even tighter - and maybe damage the bellhousing.  I knew the threads on the engine side were clean because I ran an M10 x 1.5 tap through each hole to renew the threads and clean out the hole. 

  When I got this engine out of the junk yard, it came to me without any transmission to engine bolts and the vehicle's 4L60E transmission was already gone and purchased by somebody else.  So, I set about the junk yard to pick up suitable looking bolts and gathered up maybe 10-12 that looked right.  These bolt threads were also cleaned up.

  What are the odds but it appears that the bolts that I picked up on the ground were all for a different transmission - probably a 4L80E.  And they are all just a little bit too long.  I looked around my bolt buckets and found some slightly shorter M10 x 1.5 bolts and these easily pulled the motor and transmission together for that final bit of closure.

   Trouble is, my spare bolts are not of a Grade 8 or better strength and I will need to find a set of a suitable strength later today or Monday at a good hardware store.   All of this gets me ready to test fit the engine and transmission into the engine compartment for the first time.



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   The transmission and engine went in and came back out.  Things fit (almost) about as well as I expected except that I will need to take the cut off wheel to some engine compartment frame cradle steel to give the starter motor additional clearance.  This soon-to-be-gone steel is not structural and appears to be the base of engine mount for the old 400 cubic inch motor on the passenger side.  It is also possible that the engine oil dipstick will need to be shortened.

  I say "almost" because the back end of the 4L60E has a little more height than the TH400 transmission that came in the Catalina.  The transmission tunnel hump appears to have plenty sufficient width all the way to the back of the transmission but not enough height about eight inches forward of the back end.   The width is plentiful enough that the car will have no trouble with sheet metal clearance at the transmission cooler line fittings on the passenger side.  The vehicle speed sensor at the far passenger side rear of the transmission tail shaft also has plenty of clearance for its wiring connector.

   The top of the 4L60E left me a very good indication in the old undercoating for me to know where to start opening up that area of the floor.  I will need to drill a hole in the pan metal at that point from the bottom up into the passenger compartment to know exactly where to start snipping and I plan to go slow with the snipping - to not cut too much.   A new, 18 gauge elevated piece of sheet metal will cover up my hole for the 4L60E relief clearance and then I think . . . that patch panel will be covered up by the bottom of the front seat.

  Up onto jack stands the Catalina now goes to give me some underneath workspace.







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