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Broke college student '77 build thread

 
Old 07-14-2016, 12:54 AM
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rgwoehr
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Default Broke college student '77 build thread

I bought my '77 about 11 months ago and figured its about time I made a build thread.

At the beginning of last year, I set a goal to save enough money to buy a C3 before my 22nd birthday. I saw this '77 on craigslist and for some reason decided it was going to be mine if it was still around when I saved enough money. Luckily for me the price kept dropping as time went on, and by August I had enough money to go buy it. It's a pretty solid car, and came with receipts for everything the previous owner did to the car for the last 10 years, along with some original parts. It's an L-48, automatic, originally light blue metallic with the two tone blue and white interior, and had ~170,000 miles on it when I bought it.

Here it is, the night I bought it


The clear coat is shot, and evidently the paint they used didn't adhere too well to the factory paint








I took the dash apart for some reason within the first week or so and found the build sheet between the speedo and tach. It is very brittle, but luckily I was able to unfold it without doing too much damage



After owning it for about a week, I started trying to strip the paint with a razor blade


Thick bondo on the front fender for no reason as far as I can tell


There's plenty of paint on this car


This is about as far as I got with the razor blade. That paint they used is very difficult to scrape off, even after applying heat



I couldn't handle the way the front clip looked anymore, so I did a flat black rattle can paint job to get me by until I could paint it


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Old 07-14-2016, 01:09 AM
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Back in November, my carpets kept getting soaked when it would rain, so I pulled most of the interior out, attempted to fix the leaks, and repainted some of the windshield wiper components while I was at it.




I also repainted the HVAC controls while the console was out.


I didn't get any photos of it, but I put in some reflectix to replace some of the old insulation. I can't say I would recommend that stuff. I found it more difficult to reassemble the interior, and it really doesn't seem to perform very well in that application.

My '77 is an early model, and still has the aluminum horn button that was recalled. It was in pretty rough shape, but I sanded off all the corrosion on it, polished it, and then had my dad re-grain it on the lathe.



Santa brought me a new upper dash pad for christmas to replace the cracked original one. I don't really like the factory two tone interior, so I will change everything that was originally blue to white.


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Old 07-14-2016, 01:38 AM
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In January, I had forum member Shark Racer rebuild my carb. While the carb was off, I decided to replace the stock intake with an aluminum one my uncle gave me, which didn't work out for be because when it was time to bolt it up, we realized that it was an intake for a newer small block that has the center two bolts at a different angle than the older small blocks, so I had to put the stock one back on. After reinstalling the old intake and the rebuilt carb, we couldn't get the idle to drop below 1000 rpm. There were a few vacuum leaks, which we fixed, but it didn't change anything. After chasing what I thought was an internal vacuum leak for a while, I decided to replace the engine because 1) I thought there must be something wrong with the block or the heads for that intake to not seal and 2) it was worn out and needed to be replaced anyway. I bought a 355 my uncle built years ago but never used.

Here's the new engine, after I pulled the intake off


Pulled the heads off


My dad gave me his old aluminum heads to put on there


This exhaust manifold is in excellent condition


The old motor, ready to be pulled


Got the old motor out


The new engine, assembled and ready to drop in


The old boat anchor


My filthy engine bay


New engine installed






The air cleaner lid was disgusting, I decided to try to clean it up a bit with some rubbing compound. I gave up after realizing that it was a lot of effort for an air cleaner lid with a bunch of scratches and chipped paint. I might replace it with a chrome lid at some point.




After all that, the new engine still idled high. My dad found that the throttle blades were very slightly off center, or something like that, so they didn't close all the way. Not sure how that happened, I know we checked that before reassembling the carb. I don't regret the engine swap though. I gained 100hp, it looks much better, and should last me a long time.

While the engine was out, I had the clutch z-bar frame bracket welded in, because I plan to change this car to a 4 or 5 speed at some point. I bought most of the parts I need for the change over, just need the expensive ones now.
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Old 07-14-2016, 01:51 AM
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A couple months ago, I needed to repair some of the gauge light sockets, so I pulled the dash apart and did a few other things while I was at it

I added a third pedal. Not a fun project. I made another thread about the problems I ran into doing that.



The previous owner installed some white LEDs, but they looked blue because of the blue paint inside the gauges, so I took them apart and covered all the blue stuff with foil tape.


Before

After


Since I had the column and drivers side dash out, I thought that was a good time to paint them white






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Old 07-14-2016, 02:11 AM
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Great work so far!
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Old 07-14-2016, 02:15 AM
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I kept hearing squeaking sounds from the rear end of the car, so the first thing I looked at was the brakes. The pads were wearing uneven, and I thought maybe one of the calipers was sticking because it seemed to only make that sound after braking



That pad wore down to the rivets, so I replaced the pads and rotors on both sides, and my dad rebuilt the calipers


My dad bought a HVLP gun recently, and I had some paint laying around, so I sanded down one of the t tops and practiced painting on that. It came out pretty bad.


I went out the next day, scuffed it up, and tried again, and had much better results. There's still a bit of striping, but I think with a different gun (the one I used was intended for small repairs), that won't be an issue anymore. Aside from my horrible prep work and the fact that I didn't spray the clear coat on heavy enough, I think it came out pretty good


Last weekend, I was house sitting, so to keep myself busy I pulled the emblems off the car and got some model paint and repainted them




I saw rust around one of the half shaft u-joints, so yesterday my dad and I replaced them. This is what's left of the needle bearings from the one that looked rusty. That was definitely that noise I was hearing.


I was planning to live with the flat black paint for a few years, but after messing with the spray gun a bit, I couldn't resist anymore. I got out my sander and started sanding the paint.


Today I pulled the bumpers, mirrors, luggage rack, emblems, and fuel door off the car and did some more sanding


I ordered some cheap paint on Friday night, which I will hopefully get within the next couple weeks. I didn't want to use good paint for this paint job because it's expensive, and it seems like a waste to use that on what I feel is a practice paint job. I'm painting the car steel cities gray, which is one of my favorite colors offered on a C3. Tomorrow, I'm gonna go get a DA sander (that woodworking sander just doesn't cut it for this) and continue sanding the many layers of paint off the car.
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Old 07-14-2016, 02:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Metalhead140 View Post
Great work so far!
Thanks! Can't believe it's been almost a year since I bought it. It didn't really occur to me how much I've done do the car until writing those posts
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Old 07-14-2016, 02:36 AM
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Coming out very nice....
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Old 07-14-2016, 04:00 AM
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Originally Posted by rgwoehr View Post
Thanks! Can't believe it's been almost a year since I bought it. It didn't really occur to me how much I've done do the car until writing those posts
Excellent progress indeed! I bought my car 12 months ago too, and feel like I have done a lot in that time (suspension and steering rebuild/modification, wheels and tyres, diff, tremec 5 speed, and currently putting together a 388 stroker to drop in with fuel injection), but I don't think I can match you! I quite like the black (my daily driver '79 F250 has a low buck semigloss black paint job), but steel cities grey is a great colour, and it looks like you're doing well getting the hang of that spray gun. Can't wait to see the result!
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Old 07-14-2016, 07:11 AM
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Good job. Lots of great gifts for you tooo.

Keep the pics coming
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Old 07-14-2016, 07:20 AM
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I won't get that much done after a year with mine! You've made a lot of progress.

Thought of doing the emblem painting like you did, or maybe even removing all remnants of old paint so they're just plain metal. You sure did good on those, but I guess you realized the checker patterns are different.
When I was thinking of redoing the paint I had found out there were different versions originally, either a mid-year or next year change or some such thing.

One of the brake pads from my car was worn diagonally, one end raised or dropped out of the caliper. I didn't replace them, a repair shop did, so I don't know the exact reason.
Have a squeak at the driver side rear wheel I haven't tracked down yet, stops when I put the brakes on and easier to hear moving slow up to 30 MPH. I need to find out what it is before too much time on the road.
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Old 07-14-2016, 07:32 AM
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Wow! Good job! Good luck with the rest of the build!
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Old 07-14-2016, 08:47 AM
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Good progress. Keep it up.
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Old 07-14-2016, 09:14 AM
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Good job!
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Old 07-14-2016, 09:14 AM
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That's some great progress so far! Keep up the good work and good luck on your first paint job.
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Old 07-14-2016, 09:52 AM
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Great job so far. Subscribed!

And I see another C3 in one of the pics.

Last edited by CFLVette; 07-14-2016 at 09:55 AM.
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Old 07-14-2016, 10:51 AM
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Good job and a good save on this one...nice ride and cool that it is an early '77 with the aluminum horn button.

This just looks better and better each time you put work into it. What did you do with the original L-48 block and heads?

Also, what's the story on the C3 in the garage in the background?

Later,

Lee
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Old 07-14-2016, 11:41 AM
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Good "real world" build thread, Nice work.
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Old 07-14-2016, 12:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Metalhead140 View Post
Excellent progress indeed! I bought my car 12 months ago too, and feel like I have done a lot in that time (suspension and steering rebuild/modification, wheels and tyres, diff, tremec 5 speed, and currently putting together a 388 stroker to drop in with fuel injection), but I don't think I can match you! I quite like the black (my daily driver '79 F250 has a low buck semigloss black paint job), but steel cities grey is a great colour, and it looks like you're doing well getting the hang of that spray gun. Can't wait to see the result!
Sounds like you did all the expensive stuff that I still need to do haha. I wish I had an extra $800 or so laying around when I replaced the tires, I would have replaced the wheels too. I considered doing a cheap roller paint job with gloss black a few months ago but decided not to go that route because the prep work involved was the same as what I'm doing now, and as much as I like black on these cars, it isn't what I wanted. I found a SCG '77 for sale and have been staring at photos of that car to remind myself that all that sanding will be worth the effort. http://veh-markets.com/cars/chevrole...ties-gray.html

Originally Posted by LongRoadHome View Post
I won't get that much done after a year with mine! You've made a lot of progress.

Thought of doing the emblem painting like you did, or maybe even removing all remnants of old paint so they're just plain metal. You sure did good on those, but I guess you realized the checker patterns are different.
When I was thinking of redoing the paint I had found out there were different versions originally, either a mid-year or next year change or some such thing.

One of the brake pads from my car was worn diagonally, one end raised or dropped out of the caliper. I didn't replace them, a repair shop did, so I don't know the exact reason.
Have a squeak at the driver side rear wheel I haven't tracked down yet, stops when I put the brakes on and easier to hear moving slow up to 30 MPH. I need to find out what it is before too much time on the road.
I thought about changing the checker pattern so they would both match but decided to just leave them original. I have another squeak on the drivers side that I can only hear in similar conditions to what you described, and I assume it's the wheel bearing. I was hoping it was just one of the u-joints but the two on that side were still good.

Originally Posted by CFLVette View Post
Great job so far. Subscribed!

And I see another C3 in one of the pics.
Originally Posted by KYC4 View Post
Good job and a good save on this one...nice ride and cool that it is an early '77 with the aluminum horn button.

This just looks better and better each time you put work into it. What did you do with the original L-48 block and heads?

Also, what's the story on the C3 in the garage in the background?

Later,

Lee
The engine that was in there wasn't the original one, the previous owner said it was replaced under warranty when the car was new, so I sold it. I sold the heads too. I think I got about $300 back from selling that stuff. My uncle sold me the motor for $1000 so I guess I really only paid $700 for the engine.

The '71 in the background is my dad's car.

Here's a couple photos of my car, my dads car, and my uncle's '70 when we had a "drive your vette to work day" back in October.

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Old 07-14-2016, 12:12 PM
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Thanks for the update and info. Glad you could recoup a few $$$ out of the motor you pulled.

Nice pic of the three C3s together! Your dad's '71 looks sweet.

Later,

Lee
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