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Old 01-06-2013, 07:28 PM   #1
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71 vert LS1/T56 build thread

Guys,
I'm not real good at keeping a time line, I'm very ADD. But I'm in so deep with this project that I know I'll be needing lots of advice and I may as well post pics along the way. Maybe it'll help somebody else that may be in a similar place on their car. I'll try to keep it as coherent as possible.

Dad is 78 yrs young, and has some cool cars but nothing he could really drive as they've mostly been sitting now over the last years. The vette looked like the easiest one to make dependable, he was driving it some, but it had brake issues, fuel smell front and rear, and carb and wiring problems that were obvious. So I thought I'd bring it up to my shop and fix the brakes and the fuel leaks, tidy up some wiring and clean up the engine bay so he would have a dependable cool car to drive.
The project started out as a brake job, this was the door I opened first to get in.
With the front left tire off, I found a brake caliper barely hanging on with the top bolt in about 4 threads and no bottom bolt! , then I noticed the lower A arm bushings needed replacement. And of course the further I went the more neglect I found, radiator was green, fuel pump had six miles of hose pieced in over several repairs and was zip tied to the coil spring to keep it from rubbing, so as these things cropped up they had to be addressed and I had to dig deeper.
When I got to the front of the motor I figured timing cover gaskets, well... and gears and chain. And then I noticed the exhaust manifold bolt holding the AC bracket looked crooked. Of course it's broken in the head. And another was weeping coolant, probably drilled into the coolant passage at some time. And then I see the heater core tubes are green....
When it was obvious the motor was going to have to come out, I mentioned to dad that we should put a newer motor in, like a 5.7 truck motor. Then he mentioned he sure would love to be able to shift it manually...
So now everything is off the front frame and most everything is off the firewall. And on the floor there's an LS1 out of an '04 GTO with a T56 attached and Kook stainless headers. Steering column is out, pedal box out and new manual unit freshly powdercoated sitting on the bench.
Three weeks ago, I got in 6 hours straight cleaning up the bottom of the floor pan, I had probably another 8 hours off and on before this. Yesterday I got another 6hrs straight cleaning the firewall and rt fenderwell. This and cleaning the front frame have been and are probably the toughest parts of this job. Lots of dealer applied (?) undercoating and lots of scraping and meticulous toothbrushing with brake solvent. And this is where I decided to post a build thread. I'm sure lots of you can look at these pics and know exactly where I am !



This is the first day in my shop...crappy video I know but I didn't think I'd be putting it on the 'net!



This is as close as I have to a before pic


When I realized I needed to pull the suspension for bushings...


Radiator out, still not in too deep, powdercoat all the parts, clean up the bay some it'll look good...



Thats about the time I found a cracked A arm mount and knew the motor needed to come out.




Cut it off with a cutting wheel



It had already been unacceptably repaired, but now had several new cracks and was very dangerous.

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Old 01-07-2013, 12:11 PM   #2
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New A arm mount fits nicely


But while cleaning up the frame I found a few more cracks. behind steering box and under the vertical bracket for the steering cylinder, these are probably areas to keep an eye on as there is a lot of stress from the steering components.



It's all welded up now, and here is the "new" motor and trans




The oil pan and water pump will get changed and a sanden compressor moved up to top position.
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Old 01-07-2013, 01:09 PM   #3
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It seems like cleaning never ends. I'll coat the floor and firewall with a light sealer coat of 2k epoxy, then lizard skin, and probably a couple coats of AG111 satin black on top of that.
http://shop.masterseriesct.com/produ...3&categoryId=1

This AG111 is one of the most durable topcoats I've ever used. Been using it for 20yrs +.







After stripping the paint, something of interest is that the wheelwells are gloss white gelcoat and didn't appear to have been sanded before a coat of what looks to be spray can flat black. The firewall has the same black on it, I stripped it off with can brake cleaner, paper towels and scotchbrite. Are these cars all flat black under the hood from GM?
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Old 01-07-2013, 03:14 PM   #4
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Nice work, look forward to watching your progress.
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Old 01-07-2013, 04:10 PM   #5
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Lookin' Good!!!!

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Old 01-08-2013, 05:49 PM   #6
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Looking good so far, you a d your dad will really enjoy that LS swap once it's done. I did an LS2 in mine and just love it.


Keep the updates coming.

Riggs.
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Old 01-09-2013, 11:00 AM   #7
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I am watching as well, great start!

I looked at all the other photos posted with the video and you have a really great start. I don't see signs of frame cancer and the body is pretty darn clean. I do have to ask, how did you get the frame so clean?

You did an incredible job of cleaning. I have a couple of frames................

Second question, what is the manufacturer and model of the lift. I've been thinking about adding one and I think this type offers the best versatility. I like that it leaves the underside completely accessible.

It appears that the upper front surround and inner front fenders have been replaced at some point in time. You can see replacement glass in the photo of the A/C area of the firewall and GM used a dark colored resin without gel coat.
The fender below the seam strip looks original. The parts of the repair that can be seen look like a good repair.

I am wondering if the cracks in the frame and motor mount may have been caused by front end accident at some point in time. I have restored a few of these cars and I don't recall seeing these types of cracks as a consistent problem. Unfortunately most body shops don't check as carefully as they need to for this type of damage.

Regardless the repairs you did were really nice, should last forever. Thanks for the tip on the paint, I will have to try some of it. I've been using POR15 but that is expensive.

I look forward to seeing more of the build as it moves forward. Glad to offer what ever help I can.
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Old 01-09-2013, 11:09 AM   #8
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Very nice...looking forward to more
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Old 01-09-2013, 01:01 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 7TRoadster View Post
I am watching as well, great start!

I looked at all the other photos posted with the video and you have a really great start. I don't see signs of frame cancer and the body is pretty darn clean. I do have to ask, how did you get the frame so clean?

You did an incredible job of cleaning. I have a couple of frames................

Second question, what is the manufacturer and model of the lift. I've been thinking about adding one and I think this type offers the best versatility. I like that it leaves the underside completely accessible.

It appears that the upper front surround and inner front fenders have been replaced at some point in time. You can see replacement glass in the photo of the A/C area of the firewall and GM used a dark colored resin without gel coat.
The fender below the seam strip looks original. The parts of the repair that can be seen look like a good repair.

I am wondering if the cracks in the frame and motor mount may have been caused by front end accident at some point in time. I have restored a few of these cars and I don't recall seeing these types of cracks as a consistent problem. Unfortunately most body shops don't check as carefully as they need to for this type of damage.

Regardless the repairs you did were really nice, should last forever. Thanks for the tip on the paint, I will have to try some of it. I've been using POR15 but that is expensive.

I look forward to seeing more of the build as it moves forward. Glad to offer what ever help I can.
Thanks again guys.
7T, the frame looks very good front to rear, no rust other than just dusty surface stuff, another reason we decided to get into so much work on it. As for getting it all clean, the frame was as greasy as any, hours of hand work with a putty knife, wire toothbrush, spray brake cleaner (I buy it by the case) and red scotchbrite! The paint on the frame is a black lacquer and it melts off with brake cleaner. It's a messy job...
The lift is a Rotary Revolution import, its all certified, 10k lbs and I paid $2800 installed! I had to plumb the electrical and that's all. Absolutely the best money I've ever spent. I like it better than a 4 post for my uses. It doesn't know the Vette is even on it!
If the car has been hit it wasn't hard enough to move anything major, no signs of frame damage, but the car had lots of red Georgia clay and dirt everywhere underneath. I think it's been driven hard over a dirt road for a long time and the front frame just took a beating. All the cracks are stress cracks and not from a hard lick. But I also think the right front did take a lick at some point as the lower A arm cross shaft was slightly bent on the rear end, and that's the part of the A arm mount that was cracked up. It probably got cracked from an accident and after welding it back, the bent cross shaft caused more stress and more cracks.
Thing is most of these tiny cracks were not visible with the initial cleaning, I only saw them after I got it down to really clean bare metal. Even the slightest dirt or film totally hides them (so would blasting)!
More to come...
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Old 01-09-2013, 01:16 PM   #10
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I'll be following the swap as well! I'm looking forward to see what you do differently than what I did. It's always interesting to see someone else's idea about how to do this swap. Good luck!
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1972 LS Powered Vette
Old 01-09-2013, 03:37 PM   #11
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I'm in.

That Goat motor looks hot!
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I'm taking care of my procrastination issues, just you wait and see.
Old 01-09-2013, 05:32 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blckslvr79 View Post
I'm in.

That Goat motor looks hot!
Yea, I'm really hoping those stainless Kooks will fit, it looks like they might.
Ordered another batch of stuff from Dr Rebuild today. I got all the part numbers I needed from their paper catalog, called and had a very pleasant conversation with Deb. She called back to confirm the parts and let me know what wasn't available (only a couple items). Fine experience, and since most of this was wiring, AC heater box seals and firewall parts I wanted quality and Docs stuff is quality.

BTW... I have an unopened headlight vacuum hose kit from them that I'll probably not use as I'm thinking of converting to electric, so if any one is interested I'll make you a good deal.
So more cleaning and if I'm lucky I may get to spray paint on something saturday as it's supposed to be 70 degrees! I sure would like to see this project start going the other way for a change.
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Old 01-12-2013, 11:18 AM   #13
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Well,
It's saturday and a few things have gotten in the way of spraying any epoxy primer, just life.
The broken fender seam is gonna require more attention than I hoped but it's not that bad, just need to spend a little more time to make sure it's right. It's this type of grunt work that can make or break a good job, it's sort of thankless but I'll know it's right.
A question for the LS guys though, with the LSx, and bergeon changes which oil pan is better? The truck pan is deeper, don't want to use the batwing pan, there's a sort of generic swap pan being sold now... Or best to stay with a camaro/firebird pan?
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Old 01-12-2013, 03:12 PM   #14
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Through my experience and research, the Camaro pan fit the bill the best, the next is the bat wing pan which gives you the best ground clearance but is pretty wide and can get in the way of steering components and headers. A truck pan is way to deep and will hang down to low to the ground, you probably already knew that.


Riggs
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Old 01-12-2013, 07:02 PM   #15
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Mast Motorsports makes a good one. It's what came installed on my LS7 and was a good fit for my build. Also mine doesn't leak a drop.

http://www.mastmotorsports.com/2010/...%20Pans&id=160
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