New Project – Gremlin Track Rat begins!

With the Javelin mostly back together I’ve started poking at the Gremlin. I was debating whether to try to make it a daily driver or a track car. I’ve had this car for like 7 years but I’ve spent almost no time with it. I bought it for $200 bucks just to have a Gremlin, so I didn’t really spend any time “checking out” the car when I bought it. Then it sat for 7 years. So, I finally started to really look it over. First thing I realized is that this is a super no-option stripper car. It has no carpet, just rubber floor mats. It has no radio. It has a bench front seat. It has 4 wheel drum brakes (manual). Manual steering. Of course it doesn’t have AC. So, that plus the beating it’s taken over the years cooking in the sun (especially the dash), I made the decision that this will be the track Gremlin.

Here’s a little overview for the project. My goal is to keep this build VERY cheap. I intend to run a 6 cylinder motor (232 or 258). Either do a home rebuild of what I have or possibly pick up a running motor off Craigslist for a couple of hundred bucks. Thinking of trying to put a T5 behind it and a Ford 8.8 rear in it (more craigslist “junk”). I’ve got (2) stock AMC front disc setups left over from the two Javelins. So I’m going to try to put that on the gremlin. I’m going to look for a used race seat on craigslist. For Wheels I’m thinking Aero steels, 15×8. Sticking with the leaf springs for now. I’ll post more details as the “vision” comes together.

And with that, the dis-assembly begins!

Shedding Weight!
Shedding Weight!

First thing I wanted to do was pull the gas tank and try to get it boiled out. Spoke to a local place and they said $100 minimum to boil out and it could go higher if it’s rusty. I thought dropping the tank would be easy but of course it ended up taking a lot longer than I expected. I knew there was old/bad gas in the tank but I didn’t know how much. So I got under the car and started loosening the strap nuts. I didn’t get very far before they stopped wanting to loosen. I thought maybe the weight of the tank was making it hard to loosen the nuts so I decided to empty the tank while it was still in the car. I got a piece of heater hose I had, snaked it into the tank and used my wet/dry vac to pull a vacuum to siphon the gas out. After about 5 gallons it stopped flowing. I thought that was all there was (it wasn’t) and dove back under the car to try the nuts again. No go. I got a jack and a piece of 2×4 and tried to jack the tank up a bit so the weight wouldn’t be on the straps. But I couldn’t really get it any higher (it’s right under the trunk so there’s really no where for it to go). Next step – SAWZALL… 30 seconds later I had both hanger bolts cut and was able to lower the tank down. That’s when I realized it still had quite a bit of gas in it. So, another round of siphoning and another 5 gallons. At this point there was still some gas in the tank but it was light enough that I could just pick it up and pour the last bit into a bucket (another 2 gallons). Man, nothing is nastier that 10 year old gas! With the gas out I started checking out the tank. I immediately spotted what looked like a little pin hole in one of the upper corners. I pushed on it with my finger and it went right through… well, that settled that. Tank is toast so I’m going fuel cell…

In the engine bay I pulled the charcoal canister, washer fluid tank and the wiper motor. I also pulled the carb. It’s a 1bbl Carter YF. I bought a $15 rebuild kit and I’m going to do my first carburetor rebuild on it. Next up I pulled the front and rear bumpers and the rear glass. The bumper assemblies each felt like they were 60 – 80 lbs… I’ve probably taken almost 200lbs off the car and I’ve barely started…

Lot’s more to come on this project!

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