’54 Bomb Truck Drivetrain Install – From the Floor Up

Truckin' Along On The Project '54 "Bomb Truck"

Building your dream vehicle is a matter of patience, absolute commitment, and a definite game plan. Far too often, we start builds with what we can afford, and soon thereafter, we end up breaking budgets in order to finish our dream vehicles.

But it’s not a bad problem to have. Building your dream vehicle is all about sacrifice. We put in those extra hours, skimp on meals, and sometimes we put off the repair of leaky roof and much-needed household maintenance, but then again, that’s what makes these builds so precious.

Time To Get Framed

So when the owner of this pickup wanted to revamp it, his initial plans were to go with a good paintjob and a boxed frame, but soon after looking at the total cost involved with boxing the frame and retrofitting the suspension, he ended up opting for a fresh frame from TCI.

By going with a TCI frame, it actually saved money, while providing a stellar, fresh frame with quality components.

After placing the initial order, the frame was delivered shortly thereafter, and it not only took out a lot of the laborious hours of work needed for freshening up an older frame, but also breathed new life into this truck. With the frame unboxed, it was time to bolt up the goodies, which started with a set of Wilwood brakes.

The Wilwood brake package eliminates the previous drum and skimpy factory brakes and gives this behemoth of a truck the ability to stop on a dime.

Absolute Power

The next phase in this build was to give it a new powerplant. For this particular build, they opted for Chevrolet’s LSX376-B15 race motor. This crate motor features forged internals and six-bolt LSX heads that can support plenty of boost. But if boosted powerplants aren’t your thing, then remember that in stock configuration it pushes 450 horsepower at 5,800 rpm. Not too shabby for a truck that doesn’t weigh too much. Now remember, those dyno numbers were based on a normally aspirated LSX376 using an LS3 EFI.

But if you ever plan on going with forced induction then rest assured that it can handle up to 15 pounds of boost, thanks to its LS steel standard-deck block, forged-steel crankshaft, and forged pistons and rods.

Now once you take a look at the picture, the first thing you’ll notice is that it’s void of an intake and that’s because this crate motor allows it’s owners to custom tailor the induction system to run naturally aspirated or with high-boost using either a turbo or supercharger.

You Blew A Tranny?

Sorry, but every time I hear a friend say, “I blew a tranny,” I can’t help but chuckle. It just sounds wrong. Regardless, we know of a way you can prevent those dreaded words and that’s by simply installing a good and reliable transmission.

For this particular application, we went with a 4L85 transmission, sometimes referred to as a 4L80. This transmission is an evolution of the Turbo-Hydromatic 400 and it’s a reputable transmission, which can easily handle the power of the LSX376. Luis from House of Pain simply mated the transmission to the motor and bolted it up.

Getting Mounted

Now to mount the motor to the frame, an additional piece was needed and that was the motor mount kit from CPP. Motor mounts may not look “pretty,” but they’re an essential part of not only holding your motor in place, but they also affect the quality and performance of your ride.

Getting The Shaft

To tie the motor into the rearend, a driveshaft from Inland Empire Driveline was acquired. Their work and quality is unmatched and this particular piece was hand crafted with the shaft tube placed on a lathe. From there the shaft tube is deburred, prepped for welding, and then a tube yoke is pressed into end before getting welded.

Breathe Easy

So in simple terms, our engines have a power stroke and an exhaust stroke and it’s during the power stroke that “backpressure” will cause an engine to lose power. It loses power when the exhaust valve opens at the beginning of the exhaust stroke, and then the piston pushes the gases out of the cylinder. It’s during this reaction, that “resistance” becomes your motor’s worst enemy. The resistance that the piston has to push against becomes your enemy. This is where power is wasted, and this is how headers help out.

Galaxy Allstar offers LS-series block huggers in stainless or ceramic.

Headers eliminate backpressure by guiding gasses through equal-length tubes that meet in what’s called a “collector tube.” By having the tubes the same length it helps guarantee that the flow of exhaust gasses and pressure don’t fight against each other thus reducing backpressure and increasing overall horsepower.

Stay tuned for the rest of this build, as we take the next step forward and begin the disassembly process in order to get the frame painted and finalized. We’ll also touch base on the suspension setup as well as the final details, which will help wrap this project ’54 bomb truck up.

Monthly Tech Tip

E3 Spark Plugs

Spark Plug Fault Diagnosis

“Out with the old, and in with the new – E3 Spark Plugs.”

Let’s start this tech tip with a New Year’s Resolution. Begin the year by replacing your corroded, worn-out spark plugs. E3 Spark plugs not only come with the advanced DiamondFire Technology, their newly developed design of components are made for improved horsepower, increased fuel efficiency, and reduction in engine emissions, too!

If your ride idle has a miss or is running sluggish, chances are that when you remove one of your plugs you will find the following visual problems holding back your car or truck’s performance.

1) A worn-out-looking spark plug that has been left in an engine too long will have rounded electrodes with a small amount of deposits at the firing end. This will cause hard starting in damp or cold weather and poor fuel economy.

2) Spark plugs that look as though they have “carbon deposits” indicate a rich mixture or weak ignition. This will cause misfiring and hard starting.

3) The “ash deposit” look in a plug reveals light brown deposits encrusted on the side or center electrodes. This problem comes from oil and or fuel additives.

4) Spark plugs that contain “oil deposits” are caused by oil leaking past worn valve guides or piston rings into the combustion chamber.

5) “Gap bridging” in spark plugs happens when combustion deposits lodge between the electrodes. Heavy deposits accumulate and bridge the electrode gap. The plug ceases to fire, resulting in a dead cylinder.

6) A spark plug that becomes “too hot” will have a blistered look in the white insulator that will result in shortened plug life. Always check for the correct plug heat range.

Serious automotive firepower starts with a spark. E3 Spark Plugs can help you create a fire-breathing street or strip beast with its line of spark plugs featuring E3’s advanced DiamondFire electrode design. This exclusive design is tested and proven to increase flame speed, improve the direction of the flame front, and build combustion pressure within the engine. That means more power, better fuel mileage, and reduced emissions. Choose a set of plugs from their huge inventory. Ignite your vehicle’s full performance potential.

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