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Old 01-23-2013, 08:28 AM   #1
whoathere
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where to begin...

A little background... I'm 28 and will be getting married in a few months. My dad has owned a 71 vette since 1980. It's a 350, automatic with t-tops. Back in the early 80's he did some minor work to it, exhaust (not sidepipes) new carb, cam. Anyway, in the late 80's he was driving home from work and was rear ended by a drunk driver. He took the car to a local vette guy and since it was late in the year, told him to take his time in repairing it as he wouldn't be driving it anyway. 3-4 months go by and an employee claims to see my dads car out one night. He goes to the shop the next day and is greeted by local police and FBI. The guy at the shop was wanted for some sort of criminal behavior and left town, in my dads car. 4 years later it was recovered somewhere in Missouri. Only thing missing was the original radio, which my dad grabbed from the abandoned shop years earlier, the new seats my dad had just put in were gone, and about 1,500 miles had been put on the car. It's got 35k-ish miles.

The guy that stole it did repair it, sort of. He took off the original hood and put an aftermarket hood with a 2.5" cowl (or somewhere around that height) and also replaced the rear bumper with one that has the keyhole for the alarm, which my dads car doesn't have.

Here's the current condition. It's been sitting since 1998 because I started driving in 99 and the insurance on it was crazy with me on the policy. So, over the years things have rotted I'm sure and its definitely in need of some love. The problem is, we don't even know where to begin. The good news is that it has been in a climate controlled garage since then, and we've found a thread explaining how to get the hood open (without cutting it which we were willing to do). After that, we haven't got a clue how to tackle bringing it back to life. We are both mechanically inclined and know our way around cars. The suspension might be out of our league... And we know we have a right rear wheel that is seized.

So anyway, that's my intro and a little info about my project! I'm planning on getting this from him at some point so that's why it's got my interest.
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Old 01-23-2013, 09:14 AM   #2
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Get one of these to start with. I took my vette completely apart and back together using one.

http://www.parts123.com/parts123/yb....Z5Z5Z50000050G

I would start with the engine and work on getting it running, change all the fluids including the fuel, then work on steering, brakes, and suspension. The carb might need rebuilding, old gas will make a mess of things.
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Old 01-23-2013, 09:15 AM   #3
XQIZT
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WELCOME...you've come to the right place. LOTS of knowledgeable C3 guys here.

Step One: Get the Factory Service Manual and the Assembly Instruction Manual (FSM and AIM).

Step Two: If possible, get it to a reputable Corvette shop. Tell them you just want an inspection of whats good, bad and indifferent. That will act sort of a road map for your restoration. They can also prioritize everything for you. It'll be the best $100 (or so) you'll ever spend. Don't be scared off by an estimate of $10K or more to fix everything. That'll include labor, which is free if you do it yourself.

We bought a 77 with all sorts of minor issues and have been slowly tackling each one. I am "mechanically inclined" as well with a pretty decent set of tools, but I have NEVER touched a C3 (I do a lot of wrenching on my C4 though). They are not that complicated if you take your time and understand what you are doing before you do it. Ask questions here!

The nice thing is that a lot of basic parts can be found at your local parts store, which can save you about 50% over going to one of the "Corvette" parts places.

Good luck and keep us updated!
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"Alexa" - 1985 Z51 - In memory of the last Corvette Dad owned.

"Desiree" - 1977 - Wife's car, with an attitude problem

Click here for more info about our cars and autocrossing and other Corvette stuff.
Old 01-23-2013, 09:26 AM   #4
6880 Mike
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Follow the established procedures for starting any vehicle which as been sitting for a long time. Once you have it running, you can decide what you want to do with it.

Good luck.

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Old 01-23-2013, 09:33 AM   #5
D_B
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Make a list of everything that needs to be fixed. Break large problems into sub problems...like 'Hood won't open'...should be broken down into three things...'set hood gaps'...repair release cable...and, 'adjust latches'.

The list needs to be specific so you can focus on something without feeling overwhelmed. Small tasks are easier than big projects and breaking it all down makes it easier to make constant progress.

Once the list is done, front to back and top to bottom...set priorities based on safety and drivability. I say this because a project car you can occasionally drive is a lot more fun to work on than a car that's stuck in a garage for years at a time.

Typically, get it running. Make sure everything works to get at least an inspection. Brakes and suspension are extremely important.

Finally, break the repair list up by budget. Focus on things that are important that you can afford to do right.

I've done this several times with various projects...and it's the best way to stay on track and still enjoy what you're doing.

Oh yeah, it's very important that you post pics...because we love pics.
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Old 01-23-2013, 10:47 AM   #6
gtr1999
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Some good advice so far. When I get calls like this I ask some basic questions first. You certainly can call me as well if you like.

1- What are your plans for the car? 71 base motor automatic sitting for years could be a money pit. It is not going to be on BJ for $100k that's for sure.
If you plan to get the car and build it to keep then that is a lot different then getting it and driving a few years then selling it. It will affect how you build it, if done to keep for years then build it right, using the best parts available - while they are still available. If you're going to sell it then just get it running.

2- Inspection. You could bring it to a vette shop but that wouldn't be my choice, since I've seen some vette shops work I am somewhat biased! I would say take your time, think about what you really are going to do, then join a local vette club. There, hopefully will be guys in it that will help steer you in the right direction, have info on which local shops actually are worth speaking with, and may even have tech seminars. I used to hold 4-5 hour seminars on tech rebuilding the boxes, DIff's, IRS, trans, etc for the club I was in. That was information you won't get from a book.

Make sure the frame and body are good. Both can be repaired but the cost will skyrocket. Look for the orginal damage from the rear accident as well.


Then when you have a plan, know who in the area will help you, then you can start to budget for the build. Up until now you didn't really spend any cash, which is the way you want to approach it.

3- Labor- Decide if you really want to turn a wrench, have room to do it, have the tools to do it. The more you can do the more you will save. This forum will give you straight answers, some other places are good as well but keep an open mind as some of what you hear will be out there.

4- With all that said, a car sitting that long will need brake work, bearings, seals and gaskets most likely. For the brakes I would call Andrew at Muskegon and get his complete brake package, that is what I did with the 75 vette I bought in the same condition. If you have a siezed wheel it could be the parking brake or bearings if not both. Mileage means nothing here, I did a trailing arm off a very low mile vette that sat for years, the bearing rollers were corroded into the race. The guy got the car going and as soon as he drove it then it was over until the arm was rebuilt.

Again if I can offer any help just let me know, good luck. That could be a very nice driver and sharp looking car.
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Gary
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Old 01-23-2013, 11:20 AM   #7
The Rat
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I know that most will not agree but since you have a wheel that is seized up I'd try and get it to move first, not drive just move. That way if you take it someplace to have examined or if you need to move it around the garage/shop you can do it without causing yourself more work.
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Old 01-23-2013, 12:09 PM   #8
whoathere
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Thanks a lot for the replies!

OK so the good news is that my parents have a lot of garage. They have two 3+ car garages and one of them is heated. This is the garage the car currently sits in. As far as tools, we have basically everything I could imagine being needed, save for specialty tools that may be required. We both love working on stuff, and he's been a shade tree mechanic forever. It would be safe to say that the vast majority of labor would be absorbed by us. And the project can be long as its not going to be taking up any space that would immediately be needed. The only other big things in the garage are his Charger and two Harley's.

As far as pics go, ill have to see if we can remove all of the stuff on it. It's been sitting under a cover and used as a shelf for random small things for a couple years. Maybe I can find a picture or two of it in its prime. It's a dark green.
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Old 01-23-2013, 01:07 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by D_B View Post
. . . . The list needs to be specific so you can focus on something without feeling overwhelmed. Small tasks are easier than big projects and breaking it all down makes it easier to make constant progress.

. . . . . a project car you can occasionally drive is a lot more fun to work on than a car that's stuck in a garage for years at a time.

Typically, get it running. Make sure everything works to get at least an inspection. Brakes and suspension are extremely important.

Finally, break the repair list up by budget. Focus on things that are important that you can afford to do right.

I've done this several times with various projects...and it's the best way to stay on track and still enjoy what you're doing.

Oh yeah, it's very important that you post pics...because we love pics.
Welcome to DC. There is a large group of 71 and 72 owners here that like nothing more than help you with your project. If I could convince you to stay on one track during your vette resurrection that would simply be "Don't work ahead of your budget and space." Nothing can bring you down mentally more than an over-whelming pile of parts. #1 Get it to run. Clean out the fuel system, check plugs, wires, cap and rotor, check timing have a good battery 2. Plan a "Rolling" restoration, Even though you are never planing to sell, always think about the worst -case situation - An assembled, running car is always more desirable, faster and easier to sell and that alone will keep your spirits up over a torn-apart pile of parts. 3. Invest in a trickle charger, assembly/repair manual, a digital camera and a stripped screw remover kit
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Old 01-23-2013, 01:37 PM   #10
whoathere
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drbluevert View Post
Welcome to DC. There is a large group of 71 and 72 owners here that like nothing more than help you with your project. If I could convince you to stay on one track during your vette resurrection that would simply be "Don't work ahead of your budget and space." Nothing can bring you down mentally more than an over-whelming pile of parts. #1 Get it to run. Clean out the fuel system, check plugs, wires, cap and rotor, check timing have a good battery 2. Plan a "Rolling" restoration, Even though you are never planing to sell, always think about the worst -case situation - An assembled, running car is always more desirable, faster and easier to sell and that alone will keep your spirits up over a torn-apart pile of parts. 3. Invest in a trickle charger, assembly/repair manual, a digital camera and a stripped screw remover kit


I'm actually a photographer on the side, so my pictures should be good!
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Old 01-23-2013, 03:00 PM   #11
7TRoadster
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Wow, what a question? Some great advice here.

It's great that you have the place, tools and help. Those items can become a challenge for some.

IMHO the first items should always revolve around safety. Make sure the frame is solid, rusty frames that have the potential to collapse at speed are scary and dangerous.

Brakes of course, engine running great, transmission working great...... those don't mean much without the ability to stop safely.

Steering and suspension components are serviceable condition. You have to be able to point the car in the desired direction and be confident in the safety of the suspension.

Secondary items are those of reliability. Engine, transmission, rear differential, cooling, electrical & vacuum systems.

Thirdly appearance items. Paint, upholstery, chrome, etc.

If you're planning a start to finish bottom to top restoration I have a spreadsheet you might be able to get some tips from. PM me and I will send it.

Pics are good we love to see progress on these projects.
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Old 01-23-2013, 03:56 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whoathere View Post
I'm actually a photographer on the side, so my pictures should be good!
Well get to it!

This thread is worthless without pics!
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I'm taking care of my procrastination issues, just you wait and see.
Old 01-23-2013, 05:29 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blckslvr79 View Post
Well get to it!

This thread is worthless without pics!
A professional photographer....I'm in on this thread.
What are your long term goals with this car as far as what degree of restoration due you plan to do.
The reason I ask is because in my case when I got my car I knew that eventually I was going to do a frame off restoration. thus I jumped in with both feet and checkbook in hand.
I'm guessing that seeing that you are soon to be married the finances may be tight for a while. If this is true I agree that you should first get it so it can roll and then do an in depth inspection of the areas that are prone to rust. Hopefully you will not find any "Deal killers" seeing that it was in a climate controlled garage for the past few years.
When it is determined that your car is a worthy candidate then fix basic systems with those regarding safety first. Getting it to run is a good thing but not nearly as good as getting it to stop!
Good Luck!
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