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Bikespace's 1980 Build

 
Old 05-20-2017, 12:51 AM
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Default Bikespace's 1980 Build

I saw how much fun my wife was having with her new 1979 L-48 Auto that I wanted my own. Hers is a well sorted out driver that can be fixed as things break, but is ready to roll as is. I wanted more of a project for mine, and a manual. I know enough about classic cars to know that I didn't want one that would need to be towed home, now matter how good of a deal it was, and that rust was my kryptonite, anything else I can fix (well, maybe brakes, too). Biased by my wife's car, I knew I wanted a 1978, (fastback), 1979 (modern fuses), or 1980 (last year before engine electronics), rolling restoration.

So after some extensive searching on Craigslist, I found this. A solid 1980 L-48 4-speed. It's not going to win any awards, but it is surprisingly original, despite a few glaring discrepancies. She sounded great, and seemed to have much more power than my wife's car, despite having basically the same engine. Part of this is likely due to a tune and the manual. The seller warned that she needed interior work. She sat for 10 years, inside, but the past year she sat outside under a car cover. There was mold and mold smell inside, and in the engine compartment (the photos are from the Craigslist listing). But most things seem salvageable. Even the clock works!

Some of the diversions from stock include a pair of L-82 valve covers on the engine. There's an inline fuel filter installed, so perhaps a new fuel tank is in her future. She is a bit lopey at idle, so perhaps someone snuck a cam in there. The numbers match, though, and everything, even the water-pump, is GM Blue. There is a new 2 1/2" stainless exhaust (3" at the single cat), and she was repainted in the last year by the PO. White is her correct color, but her interior was originally red. It appears that many of the interior pieces were dyed or painted to turn the inside black. She also has a very notchy Hurst shifter that took a bit of getting used to on the drive home.

I had hoped to pick up a rolling car to mod and really make my own, for much less than my wife's car. Given how original this car is (mostly), I changed my intent. Rather than an obvious resto-mod, I want to turn this into a sleeper-mod. Anything that can remain stock in appearance, will. This includes inside the engine compartment. I'll do VDO gauges inside and some custom electronics, since I've been wanting to do that to a car for years, but put in a stock appearance radio, and leave the rest of the interior pieces alone. Any changes will be strictly bolt-on, and any cutting will occur on repro or eBay parts. I'm pretty sure I can use the stock wiring harness, and I have a few tach/speedo clusters in the garage waiting to be hacked up. In a year or ten, when I get around to building a new engine (or rebuilding the existing one), I'll make sure it looks stock and is painted GM Corporate Blue.

I've been having a great time reading through the forums, finding fixes for my wifes car and inspiration for mine. I'll be posting updates and questions here as I have them. Thanks for looking!
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Old 05-20-2017, 01:00 AM
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Congrats on your very own car

Keep us updated with pics.

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Old 05-20-2017, 01:05 AM
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Default Quick update and question

The day I bought this car (last week), I took some before pictures, then cleaned everything I could easily reach with Lysol and/or vinegar and water. This was to stop the mold from progressing. I stuck a dehumidifier in the car, then started ripping out carpet. The weatherstripping is completely shot, but she has to live outside until I can clear the mold smell (I don't want to infect my wife's car), so the car cover and dehumidifier will have to do their jobs.

Under the carpet, I found what I expected. The driver's side floor is solid, but rusty. I expect some POR-15 will fix that. The passenger side needs more work. The drain hole has expanded, and there is evidence of a prior, failed repair. I expect I'll drill the rivets, remove the repair, and take it from there.

So my first question for the forum, how do I do the repair? I've read a bunch of threads. It seems my options are, from most expensive/time consuming to least:

1. Purchase a replacement floor pan, cut out the cancer, rivet/weld the new pan in place.

2. Purchase sheet steel (galvanized), cut some pieces, rivet into place as cheap patches.

3. Fiberglass repair the existing floor.

4. POR-15 makes a kit to do #3.

I'm leaning towards #1, but I'll feel pretty silly throwing away more than half of the floor pan. Does anyone make just the foot area? I don't need the area under the seats. Also, I expect to scrape/strip the rest of the steel, cover it all with POR-15, then apply FatMat, or Dynamat, or similar. Does that sound about right?
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Old 05-27-2017, 10:51 PM
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I spent much of Friday getting the garage mostly cleared out so I could put my wife's Corvette on her side of the garage, and free up the "working" side of the garage for mine.

Well, that didn't happen. This afternoon we went to Lowes to get a bunch of heavy things (concrete blocks and PT lumber). Tomorrow at sun-up we start digging footers for a shed.

So as I was climbing a tree with a chainsaw in hand (after having already broken my gas-powered pole-saw/trimmer combo), I asked my wife to ask me if I'd changed the oil in my Corvette yet. "What does it look like I'm doing?!?"

Sorry to ruin the punchline to this video. It perfectly captures my weekend, and it's still only Saturday:

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Old 05-27-2017, 11:33 PM
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So, shed nonsense aside, I did get the rest of the interior carpet and insulation ripped out. I need to clean the inside a bit better, and remove the door panels.

I think most of the remaining mildew stink is under the hood. While at Lowes, I picked up a power washer. I'll try to get the car in the air as best I can tomorrow (two jacks onto ramps, as the front spoiler clears neither ramps nor a front jack), and powerwash the engine and undercarriage. At least there's no carpet to get wet! So she's back outside until she's clean and mildew-free.
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Old 05-27-2017, 11:56 PM
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I've posted a lot of text, and no pictures! That's no way to run a railroad.

I took of her air cleaner assembly tonght, in the dark. Thinking she had looked fairly stock before (the only clues that this was not the case were her sound, behavior, and the distinct smell of unburned gas reported by my chase-car driver/wife). I was not particularly surprised to see that most of her emissions components had been bypassed, but not actually removed.

The air cleaner assembly had no vacuum hoses attached at all. The warm air vent from the heat shield over the exhaust manifold was still attached, but would not do anything without the vacuum hoses. (That's not going back in, my first Mod!). The PCV filter was still there, though.

Stock aluminum intake, 14014432, but painted GM blue at some point, including overspray on nearby components.

Fuel filter added, including rubber fuel line kludge. Between the fire hazard and the mildew, this will have to be fixed ASAP.

Several capped vacuum ports, including one missing one (in the photo, it looks like it it cracked, but fell off and stayed nearby).

Smog pump MIA, and caps on the exhaust manifold takeoffs. Third pulley on top hub is unused. Third pulley on bottom hub goes to the power steering only.

The carb base doesn't appear to match the rest of the carb. Could that still be stock?

And photos. Please comment!
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Old 05-28-2017, 07:22 PM
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Looks like you've got a good base for a project. I'd return that whatever it is for fuel lines to stock if it were me. I think the best way to repair the floor if you're in a position to do it, is to cut out the rust and replace with a new floor pan, or patch of a floor pan. A little polishing on the paint an wheels will make a big difference in the outside looks. Good luck and keep us updated!
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Old 05-28-2017, 11:18 PM
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Thanks C3 4ME!

The replacement passenger floor pan has arrived. I'll figure out how much to cut out, then replace it as best I can. I've done this task before in a Corvair, but these replacement pans seem much thicker than that. Rivets and POR-15 will have to do.

I've gotten the fuel line instructions from Lars, and I'll be tackling that before taking her back on the road. I don't know why the PO thought the car needed an inline filter, but I'll put one back in, either with steel lines on either side, or AN fittings and braided hoses. Perhaps the fuel tank is rusting, something else to check. Either way, I'll try to make her look fairly stock, so no chrome, or red/blue fitting bling.
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Old 05-29-2017, 03:26 AM
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Looks like you've got some work to do! Have fun with it. If it gets frustrating, take a break, crack a beer , and come back to it later.

Fixing stuff is half the fun of owning these cars...or that may just be my own twisted take on it.
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Old 05-31-2017, 06:16 PM
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Thanks! With the rain, it's been more beer and thinking than working. I did finally change the oil, but I also built the foundation of a bike shed. Soon she'll be in the garage where she belongs. The oil filter was so old (10 years plus, probably), that the label had worn off. It was an AC Delco something, though.

Fixing stuff is easily half the fun. So is driving them. And so is going places to show them off. And talking to car people at club meets. That's 200% fun, so at least twice as much fun as any other car!
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Old 05-31-2017, 09:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Bikespace View Post
Thanks! With the rain, it's been more beer and thinking than working. I did finally change the oil, but I also built the foundation of a bike shed. Soon she'll be in the garage where she belongs. The oil filter was so old (10 years plus, probably), that the label had worn off. It was an AC Delco something, though.

Fixing stuff is easily half the fun. So is driving them. And so is going places to show them off. And talking to car people at club meets. That's 200% fun, so at least twice as much fun as any other car!
l
Looking good!

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Old 06-02-2017, 12:19 AM
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Finally a nice day with no afternoon thunderstorms. I got the halo and T-top trim removed, so that's the last of the interior I expect to pull. If the interior cleans up, and I can put in a new floor pan, I'll put carpet back in before doing any electrical in the dash.

I started to pull out the tape player. I was optimistic that the dash would be uncut, but alas no. I have an earlier center console with round bezels that I'll use eventually, or buy a repro if I can't clean it up. Either way, the gauges can wait. The car has a "quartz" clock, so I'm guessing it's already been replaced?

More mysteries in the engine compartment. It looks like the heater core, and the line between the water pump and intake, have been looped back on each other. I am thinking about pulling the AC anyway, so now it looks like I'll be replacing the heater core. Why else would the PO have done that?
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Old 06-02-2017, 12:58 AM
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Here are some photos. Under the halo is clean. The only bad rust I found was behind the driver's seat, and the passenger floor pan (possibly from the heater core, long ago). The birdcage has been POR-15ed, and apparently coated with epoxy of some sort. I'm not going to go digging there!

What's the wiring that connects to the T-top locking hole? Is that a stock T-top warning system? Is it an aftermarket T-top theft prevention alarm?
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Old 06-02-2017, 01:02 AM
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Originally Posted by RJ1AZ View Post
If it gets frustrating, take a break, crack a beer , and come back to it later.
Words of Wisdom Amazing how the the things you have tried to fix for hours the night before seem to just come together the next morning.

Some weatherstripping on doors and pillars to keep your floor pan repairs safe.

Looks like the EGR is still on the engine but capped off, Deleting it will clean up your engine compartment just make sure all the Vac Ports are capped. Might have to hang onto it depending your your inspection laws but they are easy to bolt on and off for inspection time.

Lots of fun to be had in the engine compartment but i agree with c34me, revert the fuel line/filter to stock, unless there is something more to why they plumbed it that way.

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Old 06-06-2017, 11:08 PM
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I been building a shed, so not a lot of car work. Framing is done, and I hope to have the roof on by this weekend. With the bikes out of the garage, I'll be able to put both Vettes in the garage and really get to work on this project.

A bunch of parts arrived, and I took a study break to install some. The EGR blockoff was a quick install. I replaced some vacuum port caps on the carb, and found another port that hadn't been capped. I celebrated with a quick ride up and down the driveway. She seems to idle better now.

The fuel line and some other parts also arrived. No time for that now, though. Hopefully this weekend.
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Old 07-02-2017, 12:03 AM
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Well that took a while. The shed is complete enough to put bikes in. I cleared out the other side of the garage, and now both Vettes are inside. My wife's Vette never spent a single day outside, although she was driven home through a thunderstorm on our first day with her. Mine has been outside for the past year (PO), plus the past two months, but no more!

I'm hoping that mildew isn't contagious. Most of the interior has been pulled, and the engine compartment washed, but there is still a mildew smell in my car. I do have a dehumidifier running in the garage, and there are no leaks in the roof or other sources of moisture. The next step is to replace every rubber component, starting with the fuel line.
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Old 07-02-2017, 12:24 AM
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A serious question for the thread followers:

What color interior should I put in, now that I have to replace at least the carpet?

She is paint code 10L (classic white, but what is the "L"?), so that's fine.
Interior code 722, medium red. She was painted/dyed black on the inside at some point in the past. Some painted parts have rubbed back to red, but mostly the black vinyl parts look okay, including the door panels, and the seats.

Right now I'm thinking of keeping the black dash and center console, and replacing the carpet with the correct red. The door panels are black, but should clean up well. I've also picked up a spare set of above the beltline trim that I have painted oyster white. I like the look in my Jeep, and in my wife's oyster white interior car. The rear window trim will remain black, including the rear of the halo trim.

Does anyone have any pictures of cars like this? Most of the examples I could find are of more modern Vettes, and/or have red seats. I may repaint the seat shells red, and live with black seats until I get them recovered or replaced (no urgency, unless I can't get the mildew smell out of them).

The closest I could find was a 95 ZR-1:
and a old post here, for the opposite (red with black carpet)
https://www.corvetteforum.com/forums...ck-carpet.html

I don't know if I'll stop with a mix of colors, or go back to fully red someday (I doubt it), but since the carpet is the only part that I have to drop money on, I have to mull over the decision on a public forum.

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Old 07-02-2017, 09:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Bikespace View Post
I spent much of Friday getting the garage mostly cleared out so I could put my wife's Corvette on her side of the garage, and free up the "working" side of the garage for mine.

Well, that didn't happen. This afternoon we went to Lowes to get a bunch of heavy things (concrete blocks and PT lumber). Tomorrow at sun-up we start digging footers for a shed.

So as I was climbing a tree with a chainsaw in hand (after having already broken my gas-powered pole-saw/trimmer combo), I asked my wife to ask me if I'd changed the oil in my Corvette yet. "What does it look like I'm doing?!?"

Sorry to ruin the punchline to this video. It perfectly captures my weekend, and it's still only Saturday:

https://vimeo.com/180103193
So True!!!

Last edited by Douglas Mariani; 07-02-2017 at 09:09 AM.
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Old 07-02-2017, 03:40 PM
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With a white car, I am a little impartial to having the cinnabar interior, but it looks so good!






Just my .02
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Old 07-02-2017, 09:51 PM
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I like the cinnabar. It's red, but not in-your-face red. And a one-year only color at that. Very nifty. I'll have to consider that.

Thanks!
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