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1971 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

'71 Vette Owners!
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We picked up our new driver on March 31, 2001. This car is already a pretty nice driver but need a few minor repairs and a few cosmetics - mainly the interior. While the car already has nice paint, we are thinking of changing the color. This will not be the usual restoration to near perfect that I usually end up doing. We are going to use this car and want it nice but not a show car. I will try to keep pictures of the completed car on the right side of the page. The before pics are on the left.

April 1,2001
We will start with the undercarriage and drivability. The car has a shake at about 55 mph and a loud 'clunk' when decelerating quickly. The tachometer, clock, and oil pressure gauge don't work. The good part is that the car runs good, shifts well (for a Muncie), and steers good too.

The clunk from the rear could be lots of things but since it only happens upon deceleration I'm thinking it is a carriage mounting bushing. I pulled the front carriage bushing and bolt off. The lower bushing was real nice but the upper was junk. I replaced the bushing and the clunk is no more.

April 2, 2001
I've completely inspected the undercarriage of the car now. Seems the car has been very well maintaned. The only problems I found was carrier yokes with some excessive play, a couple of small areas where the fiberglass should be repaired, a gas leak from the hose at the tank, and a couple small rust spots on the frame that I will repair. The frame is surprisingly nice in most areas. New yokes are on the way as well as carpet, seat covers, and door panels.
A small adjustment of the carburator has made a nice improvement in the idle. The car sat most of the day at the tire shop waiting to get the tires balanced. One rim is bent and is probably the cause of the vibration as well as the worn yokes. A used (but straight?) rim is on it's way from Ohio. I'm tired of laying under the car so I think I will work on getting the wipers working now.
The wipers are quite a challenge. After pretty much learning the entire vacuum system of the car, I found a simple problem. The wiper switch will not work if not properly grounded. I will have to add a couple extra grounds under the dash for good measure. It's hard enough to get a good ground on a steel bodied car. After grounding the switch, the wipers and the wiper door work great. I'm going to save the washers until after the car is on the road again.

April 3, 2001
Fixed the gas leak.
I finally decided on a color for the car. The options were to leave it white, green (original color), orange or red. After extensive internet surfing for pictures, I decided on orange or red. I had a small amount of orange made up and did a test panel. Yuck! I hate the orange color. So I now have a brand new gallon of red PPG Concept single stage urethane ready to spray on.

April 4, 2001
Finished all the frame work - mainly cosmetics. Started tearing down the car for paint prep. Removing the headlights is a real pain in the ass. Sanded, preped and painted the t-tops and the side vent thingies.

April 5, 2001
Color sanded and buffed the t-tops. Worked on paint prep for small parts and the hood. Painted the hood. If you are painting a car, my method of painting piece by piece is not the best way. My garage is small so doing it in pieces works better. I would not consider painting panels at different times if I was shooting from different cans or with a metallic. Just a disclaimer!

April 23, 2001
I've spent the last two weeks going crazy trying to get the paint to work. Every time I sprayed the car with PPG Concept single stage (DCC) I got a blushing problem. Sometimes it would blush immediately but sometimes it would take up to 4 days. I tried different additives and thinners as well as waiting for less humid weather - all to no avail. Finally, I switched back to PPG DBU basecoat with a Concept clear and all is now good. Paintwork and buffing is complete. Front end and back end exterior items are back together. The doors are back on and new weatherstrip is installed.

Well - I finally have the car near completion. It's still missing some emblems and I will wait to do any engine detailing as it is getting nice out now.

I've installed the new emblems. They new yokes have been installed but the car still has a vibration at certain speeds mostly on acceleration.

6/6/2001: I purchased all new wheel bearings for the car. I installed the front ones and there is a vast improvement in the vibration problem I'm having. I'm sure the rears are worn as well but after removing the rear tire I realized what a major job this is. I think I'll save up for an exchange program for the whole assembly.

10/24/01: Well - the cold weather has started to settle in. The Vette is back in the garage for a very comprehensive engine detailing. This is the last major area that needs attention. I think there is still some good driving weather ahead so it will make a good time to test the engine after detailing before the snow hits. The area currently looks horrible. We will take off everything that we can and refinish, replate, or replace everything. I brought the radiator to the shop to have it tested. It's out of the car now so we might as well make sure it's alright. A big job ahead but it will be fun!


10/28/01: Whew! It's been a long few days! We tore everything we could out of the engine compatment and are starting to reassemble after painting or replacing. I think it's really coming along well. It should be done in a few more days! It may get slow at the end - I should have marked the vacuum system better as I can't remember how all the hoses connect!

10/30/01: Well, we have most of the hard work done. The engine is all timed and set and it runs excellent. The vacuum system woked at the first try - guess my memory is alright after all! Most of the detail work is done except some small details like the alternator bracket. So - all is well and it's on to the hood installation!

10/31/01: The engine compartment is now complete. From now on it will be just improving small things that I want to improve. Some of this will include:
Front end parts - not needed but new is good - right?
Oil pressure gauge - I have a NOS one to put in.
Quartz conversion for the clock - the original doesn't work all the time.
Put the spare tire assembly back in the car.
Trailing arms??

11/7/01: Installed new oil gauge and quartz clock replacement. You will want to do these as well as any other gauge work at the same time. You know what a pain it is to tear apart the console - right? Well you will!
The clock conversion is great but you need a steady hand and good eyesite. In ten more years I will most likely be unable to do this conversion!
Cleaned up and installed the rear fiber lamp monitors as well. I also made sure the fronts were set up correctly in the console. Only some work right now but I know the problem is up front now.

11/15/01: I decided to spring for some new lamp monitoring lenses. I installed those and ran a new fiber line up fron. ALLL the monitors work now!
I figured I might as well finish up the console stuff as long as I had it apart. So I installed a new heater control lens, data plate, and vent knobs as well. I also unplugged the cigar lighter. Of course it won't work but I don't have to worry about people playing with it now or even worse - using it!

12/03/01: I've decided to redo the underside areas this winter. We will start from the front and work our way back. The first step was the unrestored area forward of the radiator. This are was in need of a serious cleaning and black paint inside. We removed everything up front and are in the process of reinstalling after restoring the small assemblies. The most important area needing resto was the headlight assemblies. I tore each one down all the way and replaced the bushings and cleaned em up.

12/06/01: I finally have all the nose area looking good and back together. A new horn was even installed and it works!

12/12/01: I started working on the front suspension and detailing the underside of the engine area. All the suspension and steering has been removed. I'm picking away at detailing the parts now before reinstalling them. A suspension rebuild kit is on it's way from Zip Products. Here's a pic of the suspesion parts that have been detailed so far:

12/17/01: Whew! The front end is finally done and looks pretty good. Really needs an alignment now though! Everything is brand new under there now and should last a very long time.

12/20/01: A couple days ago I decided to take on an easy project. Getting the windshield washers working. It turned out to be more difficult than I thought. The wiper motor and wipers have worked all along so it had to be in the pump, pump mech, or actuation system. It turned out to be a little of all three. I began by taking the pump apart and cleaning it. They make rebuild kits for this but just a good cleaning usually works. The mechanism was gummed up so I cleaned it and lubed it. I actually took the three screws out of the tin plate that holds the mechanism so I could work on the bench. I removed the ratcheting gear and cleaned it and the area. On the backside there is a cam that needed to be cleaned as well. Unfortunately, the pump still would not work unless I actuated it manually. It turned out that cleaning all the grounds made the unit finally work!

12/27/01: Another of the small problems I've encountered is that every 30 or 40 times I start the car, the starter will not engage the flywheel. This makes a grinding sound. It could be many things including the bendix, starter, selenoid, shimming, or worn gears. We started by dropping the starter and checking it out. Looks like the bendix is worn and one of the mounting bolt castings is broken off. I ended up ordering a new starter and selenoid. After installation there is a huge difference in how the starter engages. It pushed the engine alot faster and so far no grinding!

01/28/02: Over the past few weeks, we have pulled the entire rear suspension out of the car. The body underside was cleaned and painted. The rear end was checked out and the rear wheel bearings were replaced and set at .001 inch runout. We installed lots of new parts as it was put back together. I'm still waiting on the strut rod busings to finish it up. I've decided to wait on the emergency brakes and new rotors for now. It will make a good easy project in the future. Here's some pics:

02/20/02: It's about time but all the undercarriage is complete and rebuilt (except for parking brakes). We installed the factory style side exhaust and replaced the headers with manifolds. Sounds great! The covers are painted fiberglass that approximate the look of the 1969 factory covers.