Race-Track.com Renegade Buildup

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Installment Number two: The firewall and into the dashboard.


  Remove your dashboard before the glass.
Now that you have removed seats, door panels and interior group it is time to remove the dashboard. Most of these late 70's into mid 80 GMC cars came with air, power steering, tilt wheel and other bells and whistles. The more so - the more garbage bags you will need. If you want to start at the firewall by removing the AC first it can make the job a bit easier. The AC has a lot of plastic duct work that comes into the dash from the right hand side and crosses over the pedals behind the instrument cluster. Removing the AC first will afford you a little more room to work with but it makes no real difference how you do the job, just do it!  You will need a good No. 2 phillips and a couple of small sockets. Remove all the screws around the dash. Don't forget there are several up on top at the defroster outlets. Now remove the No. 10 metric lags located under the dash on the corners. Cut the dash mounting brackets on the steering column and pull hard. The dash 
will come out along with most of the duct work. A few hidden screws will now surface behind the AC. After you remove these all of the remains of your dashboard should come out easily.  Note: If you remove the dashboard  first you will have little or no problem removing the windshield. For some odd reason, some tracks require you to retain the stock dash. Keep this in mind before you throw it away! 
Remove the steering wheel using a puller available at most auto parts stores. After which your column should look something like the picture below.
The steering column we have is a tilt wheel unit . We must now prepare the column for racing. The rules state that we must run a stock steering box and column. However many of these cars had  an  anti-theft device that can potentially be a hazard. You are not going to use the stock key and switch so you will have to remove the lock cylinder and the "theft lock" device. There is a small (but ugly to remove) "C" clip located on top of the "locking" ring. You may purchase a special tool or just cuss a lot and use an old screwdriver. After the clip is removed you can remove the locking pin and all the turn signal paraphernalia. Take care not to remove the upper shaft bushings. NOTE: If you have tilt wheel, before doing anything else there are 3 philips head screws under the turn signal switch remove these one at a time, put LockTite on the screws and reinstall them and tighten. Setting the column up with a "quick release" steering wheel and removing any possible hazards from the stock column is a top safety issue.

(3) Cut off the threads on the steering shaft. You will purchase a steering wheel "quick release" from a supplier of your choice. You will weld the hex shaft onto the column. Most 3/4 inch hex shaft units for GM cars accept any aluminum quick release adapter for the steering wheel. You should however check with your vendor first. You may use your stock steering wheel if you are into Russian Roulette! Please buy a "racing type" steering wheel!
The AC attached to the firewall must come out. After you remove the front clip body parts, including the inner fender wells, you will have access to the AC unit. Remove it! Be cautious you may still have a live charge in the system. You must consider the Ozone layer. If you make a mistake and release the charge you can redeem yourself by hugging your nearest tree. Discard this weight along with the heater core and dashboard. You have taken about 100 LB out of your racer. The hole will be filled in with an aluminum or .22 gauge sheet metal filler panel. You can gain some extra weight advantage and increase safety by building the battery box into the open firewall. Doing so will allow you to re-locate the battery out of harms way and add some weight to the center of the car at the same time. In the illustration below the battery and all of the wiring for the car has 
been mounted on the panel covering the AC hole. This is quite convenient a location because all wiring will be centralized and you can eliminate "ground" (negative battery) problems. The cables are short and can be routed around the hot manifolds and pipes. Less potential of electrical fire or battery breakage when done this way. We will be wiring the car in the near future. There are only 5 wires that are needed to set up your racer. You can remove all wiring from your racecar. No need for ignition, alternator - regulator or starter wiring. The electrical system will be built from ground up (no pun intended). Last but not least you should remove the brake booster. You should keep the master cylinder connected to the brake lines. Remove the 4 nuts from under the dash and the 2 nuts from the master cylinder. We will remount the cylinder using the original hardware, pedal and pushrod. Set the booster aside for now. 

   Next Time we remove the glass, body mounts and all rearward body parts.
Disclaimer: The article here was written as reference for novice builders of the RENEGADE division racer only. 
No guarantee of success is implied. Racing can be a dangerous sport and safety must be the number one priority of any builder.



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