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2 Weeks into C-3 ownership, time for some questions!

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Old 05-19-2017, 01:17 AM   #1
jjhoneck
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Default 2 Weeks into C-3 ownership, time for some questions!

Okay, so I've had my new (to me) 1972 Corvette convertible for a couple of weeks now, and have made great headway on bringing it up to snuff. (Read my intro to the group for the whole story on how I drove a 45 year old car that had not moved 50 miles in 3 years 1,639 miles from WI to TX.)

First thing I did was replace the tires. At the recommendation of someone on this forum, I bought the BF Goodrich T/A Radials, and have been very pleased. They made a WORLD of difference, as compared to the good looking (but flat spotted and hard as rock) tires that were on it when I bought it.

Second thing I did was a very thorough detailing. My wife and I went over every square inch, cleaning, waxing, buffing, and generally assessing the condition of the car, top and bottom. I am very pleased to report it's a solid car, all around. (Which my pre-buy inspector also reported, BTW, but it's always nice to verify it.)


A glamour shot of our '72 Stingray.


The grills in the front were pitted and corroded from Wisconsin springtime roads (that are often still white with road salt into late May), so we cleaned, sanded, treated them for corrosion, and painted them. They look a billion times better.

The wiper blades were completely shot, so (after mistakenly buying the Auto Parts Store version of a "1972 Corvette wiper blade -- ha! What a joke!) I replaced those with the proper inserts.

Of course all fluids have been checked and topped off. I added gas treatment to every tank full on the 1,600 mile journey, figuring everything was sticky and clogged, and I've added some oil treatment as well.

I got under the car and reconfigured the U-bolts holding the exhaust pipes together. For whatever reason, the guy who installed the new exhaust (put on by the previous owner in 2014) had oriented the U-bolts so that they were facing straight down -- which, of course, were clearly visible from a car two car lengths back and looked dorky. I faced them to the side (since putting them up -- my first choice -- would cause them to hit the body during a big jounce) so that they are now invisible.

Most importantly, I purchased a good, old fashioned timing light and dwell meter, and set the timing. The car had not been running particularly well (bogging, and popping through the carburetor), and I soon discovered why. The timing was way off.

It had clearly not been set in many years (I have since verified this with the seller), as the distributor could not be turned even with the hold down bolt loosened completely. A very large friend of mine was able to break it loose by hand, and within minutes I had it tuned and running MUCH better.

Yesterday and today I spent some (like, 7 hours) quality time cleaning and detailing the engine bay. Cleaning an engine with mild solvent, dental tools, shop rags and Q-tips is an exercise in patience, and quite fiddly -- but the results are immediate and pleasing. A couple of coats of period-correct Chevy orange made a huge difference in the tired old engine's looks.



Chevy Orange paint brightens up the engine compartment!

Also yesterday, I attacked the tired old console. The cheesy fake wood insert was obviously in need of replacement or repair, so I carefully pried it off. Immediately seeing that it was beyond hope, I started carefully cleaning off the old adhesive, and a layer of craptastic black paint -- only to be amazed to find this awesome chain-mail type metal underneath it all!



Cleaned up console.

I'm assuming that earlier C3's must have had this metal console, but by 1972 some GM marketing genius decided that the "look needed up dating". So, they painted over the chrome, and stuck a piece of fake wood over the whole mess!

It was an enormous amount of work, getting all the adhesive and paint out of those billion little crevices, but I really, REALLY like the look!

So, that's where I am, two weeks into Corvette ownership. It's been a LOT of fun! And, of course, driving this car around on our island and on the coast is just a joy.

Now, for some questions, please!

1. The engine is VERY cold blooded. Even though it's almost 90 here, if you don't let the engine get up to operating speed, it sputters and wants to die under load. Since I know the timing is spot on, can I presume it's something amiss in the carb?

2. I am hearing an occasional hissing sound from the left front as I drive. It sounds like an aerosol spray can being intermittently fired off. What could that be? A vacuum leak? There are seemingly no other symptoms.

3. I used the heater all the way from WI to Northern TX -- and now it won't shut off. (The blower does shut off.) It seems the heater door must be partially stuck open, which is real fun in this 90 degree heat. Any tips on how to manually close it?

4. Every now and then, it idles like crap. I mean, the whole car shakes. Then, it just...gets better, for no apparent reason. Bad spark plug wire? (The plugs are new.) Bad distributor cap?

Thanks for any and all advice. I have learned a TON of stuff lurking here, reading hundreds of old posts.
--
Jay Honeck
Port Aransas, TX
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Old 05-19-2017, 12:39 PM   #2
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Welcome to the jungle. It looks like a very nice car.
1. Sounds like a choke issue. Assume it is a quadrajet. Lots of info on the net about this.
2. It does sound like a vacuum issue. I would replace every vacuum hose in the engine compartment.
3. You need to find what is binding/restricting the heater door. Start underneath that chrome console insert you like so much.
4. You need a complete tune up. Wires, dist. Cap, points, condenser, rotor, air filter. Might improve the cold start issue in #1. I would pull the plugs to insure the gap is correct. I run the r45ts in my 72. It's a hotter plug that seems to do well in short trip cruising situations.

Good luck.
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Old 05-19-2017, 01:02 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjhoneck View Post
Also yesterday, I attacked the tired old console. The cheesy fake wood insert was obviously in need of replacement or repair, so I carefully pried it off. Immediately seeing that it was beyond hope, I started carefully cleaning off the old adhesive, and a layer of craptastic black paint -- only to be amazed to find this awesome chain-mail type metal underneath it all!

I'm assuming that earlier C3's must have had this metal console, but by 1972 some GM marketing genius decided that the "look needed up dating". So, they painted over the chrome, and stuck a piece of fake wood over the whole mess!...
I'm glad you like your car but defaming GM forty plus years after the fact is a waste of your time.

All 68-76 console trim plates were chrome plated pot metal with semi-flat black paint. What you spent hours removing was factory.

The wood grain accent was part of the deluxe interior package.

Good photo reference here. B&W pics, but worth the money.



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Old 05-19-2017, 02:59 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Easy Mike View Post
...All 68-76 console trim plates were chrome plated pot metal with semi-flat black paint. What you spent hours removing was factory.

The wood grain accent was part of the deluxe interior package.

Good photo reference here. B&W pics, but worth the money.





What he said, particularly the book suggestion. In any event, great looking car. Looks like it has found a very good home. Happy Motoring!

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Old 05-19-2017, 03:07 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Easy Mike View Post
I'm glad you like your car but defaming GM forty plus years after the fact is a waste of your time.

All 68-76 console trim plates were chrome plated pot metal with semi-flat black paint. What you spent hours removing was factory.

The wood grain accent was part of the deluxe interior package.

Good photo reference here. B&W pics, but worth the money.



lol I wasn't defaming GM. After all, 1972 was the era of plaid polyester pants and avocado kitchen appliances. (Both of which I lived through!) Cheap fake woodgrain was positively classy, compared to that!

But I sure do like that chain mail-look metal underneath it all better. It has a much more retro cool look.

The fashions in the early 70s were pretty bad. I even had two-tone patent leather platform shoes to go with my yellow plaid pants and polyester (think: Plastic) shirts. It was HORRIBLE.
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Old 05-19-2017, 03:11 PM   #6
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Welcome to the jungle. It looks like a very nice car.
1. Sounds like a choke issue. Assume it is a quadrajet. Lots of info on the net about this.
2. It does sound like a vacuum issue. I would replace every vacuum hose in the engine compartment.
3. You need to find what is binding/restricting the heater door. Start underneath that chrome console insert you like so much.
4. You need a complete tune up. Wires, dist. Cap, points, condenser, rotor, air filter. Might improve the cold start issue in #1. I would pull the plugs to insure the gap is correct. I run the r45ts in my 72. It's a hotter plug that seems to do well in short trip cruising situations.

Good luck.
Yup, it's a quadrajet. I've downloaded all 133 pages of the manual on that beast, and read a whole bunch of excellent threads on them here.

I was planning to replace every vacuum line I could find, under the assumption that they were all old/bad. Does anyone know what size(s) they are, off the top of their head?

Air filter and plugs are new. I'm going to go after the wires next, followed by the rest.

Thanks for the help!
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Old 05-19-2017, 03:17 PM   #7
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Hey, another question. It's hard to see in this picture, but look behind the license plate and you'll see that the fiberglass bottom piece is gapped pretty badly from the top body piece.

Is there any way to tighten that up? Can I loosen it, push it up to close the gap, and retighten? It looks like there are just a few bolts holding it on, but before I start undoing stuff I figure this is the place to ask!
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Old 05-19-2017, 03:18 PM   #8
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Hi jj,
Concerning what sounds like a vacuum leak.
I advise you to NOT replace the hoses as a first step.
In stead, spend some time trying to determine where the hiss is coming fromů it could be windshield wiper door related, or headlight door related or one of the vacuum lines associated with the engine. Are the wiper door and headlight doors functioning properly?
This hiss might also be related to the rough idle you describe.
IF it appears the hiss is hose related I suggest you cut about 3/8" off the end of each hose which will give the hose a new sealing surface. That often does wonders for the vacuum operated systems. New vacuum lines are often of disappointing quality.

Great Looking CONVERTIBLE!
Regards,
Alan

The license plate bezel is missing.

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Old 05-19-2017, 03:27 PM   #9
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Mine has a license bezil that covers that up
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Old 05-19-2017, 03:37 PM   #10
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Congrats on the '72.
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Old 05-19-2017, 04:28 PM   #11
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Quote:
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The license plate bezel is missing.
Huh! Well I'll be darned.

Guess I'll add that part to my list. (EDIT: Ordered it today. $100 for that piece! Jeez, it better come with a pretty blonde to install it, for that price...)

Just got a new side-view mirror (to replace the one that flops around in the wind) and a couple of new radio ***** (to replace the broken tuner ****) in the mail today.

It's always like Christmas, when you're fixing up old cars.

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Old 05-19-2017, 06:13 PM   #12
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[QUOTE=jjhoneck;1594769780]Okay, so I've had my new (to me) 1972 Corvette convertible for a couple of weeks now, and have made great headway on bringing it up to snuff.

Welcome to our ADDICTION! Which I guess makes this forum a version of Corvettes Anonymous.

Also yesterday, I attacked the tired old console. The cheesy fake wood insert was obviously in need of replacement or repair, so I carefully pried it off. Immediately seeing that it was beyond hope, I started carefully cleaning off the old adhesive, and a layer of craptastic black paint -- only to be amazed to find this awesome chain-mail type metal underneath it all!

I'm assuming that earlier C3's must have had this metal console, but by 1972 some GM marketing genius decided that the "look needed up dating". So, they painted over the chrome, and stuck a piece of fake wood over the whole mess!

Bite your tongue! It's stock! (read: HOLY, beyond reproach, etc.)

It was an enormous amount of work, getting all the adhesive and paint out of those billion little crevices, but I really, REALLY like the look!
That's all that really matters.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jjhoneck View Post
lol I wasn't defaming GM. After all, 1972 was the era of plaid polyester pants and avocado kitchen appliances. (Both of which I lived through!) Cheap fake woodgrain was positively classy, compared to that!

But I sure do like that chain mail-look metal underneath it all better. It has a much more retro cool look.
Great looking convertible! Enjoy it, and especially enjoy making it YOUR OWN.

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Old 05-19-2017, 06:44 PM   #13
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Carburators are most often the first blamed for idling/driving bad manners. Inspect all ignitions components, and check for a vacuum leak.
As stated the hissing sound has to be from a vacuum leak, inspect hoses, and connections, repair/replace as needed.
The heat issue may have to do with the heater control valve. Inspect it for operation, and the door itself, for obstruction.
The learning experience, gained knowledge, hands on work, parts procurement, all contribute to the excitement of ownership of these cars.
Nice to see you're "making it your own".
Enjoy.
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Old 05-19-2017, 06:59 PM   #14
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I bought my '72 vert in '95....it was an old show car...and so the PURRfect candidate for resto/mods.....and like you I peeled the aging wood tone crap off the console metal.....

there is nothing stock about my car, wheels through roof, stem to stern...nothing......

see pix below for ideas.....or not.....

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Old 05-19-2017, 07:23 PM   #15
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Somewhat surprisingly the wood "look" in the deluxe interiors of early C3s is actually wood. It is paper-backed wood veneer.

Doc Rebuild (look it up) is a wonderful source for vacuum hose kits for every system in our cars. The hoses sold by Autozone, O'Reilly, etc. do NOT work for much of what is used.
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Old 05-19-2017, 07:33 PM   #16
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"Chain mail" - interesting. I actually had to google this term, never heard of this. My wife even knows what it is.

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Old 05-19-2017, 07:54 PM   #17
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Personally, I like my cheesy wood. It might be time for a complete ignition tune up. As the ignition points wear the timing changes. Changing the ignition timing doesn't fix worn ignition points.

Here's a pic of my Mother on Mustang Island around 1972

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Old 05-19-2017, 08:06 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SwampeastMike View Post
Somewhat surprisingly the wood "look" in the deluxe interiors of early C3s is actually wood. It is paper-backed wood veneer.

Doc Rebuild (look it up) is a wonderful source for vacuum hose kits for every system in our cars. The hoses sold by Autozone, O'Reilly, etc. do NOT work for much of what is used.
What's interesting it the wood veneer I peeled off had a very thin METAL backing. Maybe it was added later?

Either way, it was scratched, gouged, and looked terrible. I'm very glad it is GONE.
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Old 05-19-2017, 08:13 PM   #19
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Here's a pic of my Mother on Mustang Island around 1972

Awesome pic! The beach looks exactly the same.

Except nowadays people would eat broken glass before they would drive a classic Corvette like that on the sand. It's white because it's SALT! lol
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Old 05-19-2017, 08:16 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tokim View Post
Carburators are most often the first blamed for idling/driving bad manners. Inspect all ignitions components, and check for a vacuum leak.
As stated the hissing sound has to be from a vacuum leak, inspect hoses, and connections, repair/replace as needed.
The heat issue may have to do with the heater control valve. Inspect it for operation, and the door itself, for obstruction.
The learning experience, gained knowledge, hands on work, parts procurement, all contribute to the excitement of ownership of these cars.
Nice to see you're "making it your own".
Enjoy.
Yup. I've got a '52 Pontiac that I've worked on for the last year, and it is as original as I can make it. It's been a labor of love, going through and restoring all the various systems

I plan to keep this Corvette original, too. Except for the wood grain console. The metal underneath is just way cooler!
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