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Super Moderator
8,483 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
If there's a Corvette club in your area , JOIN IT,!
if theres a hotrodders club, JOIN IT,!
you don,t need to like all the members,odds are good that about 30% know far less than you do,or are no help at all, 30% are much more skilled,than you are, but your there to share skills and knowledge, LEARN FROM THEM, and HELP, become familiar with the tools, take the time, and help each other, its a two way street, don,t expect help if your not willing to help others,etc.
ask some of the members for suggestions and help and BE WILLING TO HELP WITH THEIR PROBLEMS, ITS A LEARNING PROCESS
your bound to find good contacts that will be helpful and a few total jerks you'll want to totally avoid in any group, but don,t let the jerks dis-swade you from getting the benefits and making the contacts you need!

that's a valid may also want to go to the local tracks DRAG RACE AND CIRCLE TRACK carry a large pad and pen and ask for contacts, clubs,suppliers,club info, etc. make friends and ask the faster guys with the better looking cars , what machine shops and garages/mechanics they would suggest, when you get in over your head. in many cases they will know who the scam artists and rip off garages are and who does good dependable work at reasonable rates, but its been my experience that the best thing you can do is join a local hot rodders or corvette club and between the members contacts and your own resources, YOU will be able to do , and should do,most work your self with some help and knowledge from the guys you make contacts with, in your local clubs, no one but YOU will do QUALITY work and take the time on the details like YOU will on YOUR CORVETTE:thumbsup:

this may help

keep in mind that theres very few things a decent machine shop and a semi skilled corvette owner with a few friends can,t easily fix, ESPECIALLY if they are willing too take the effort too research the problem , then adjust or replace the parts that are causing the problem, theres nothing mystical or really difficult, but you'll need to know what your doing, and what needs testing and or replacing and that may take research :thumbsup: or some investment in tools and learning test procedures, don,t be in awe, theres not a darn thing you can,t learn to do!
you'll need basic mechanics tools and having 4 good 12 ton jack stands

and a decent floor jack, and some car club friends sure helps, if you have SAFE AND STURDY ,easy access under the car maintenance and repairs are easier to do!

Let me give you a bit of hard won wisdom that took me decades to fully understand,... if your ever going to build a well thought thru car & engine combo youll be happy with its takes planing and a consistent effort and sustained budget allocation to completing the project and you need both the tools and a place to work, you need to do the research and NOT change goals every few weeks or buy random BARGAIN parts

yes it may take you several days to read thru the links and many sub links, it will save you hundreds of dollars and months of work so take the time!

(1) decide on exactly what you want when your finished and think thru a reasonable budget and time frame
this means if you really want a big block corvette don,t waste time and money building a 350 sbc in a caprice just because its available and cheap.

(2) have a place to work and get a decent engine stand to work on,you don,t need much more than a small tool selection and space for an engine stand with an engine on it and a plastic tarp , many tools can be rented or borrowed, but you do need to do the required research and buy and correctly assemble the correct matched parts
(you can always sell it when your done if this was a one time project)

(3) have a second transportation vehicle or build your performance engine slowly over time correctly,and separately is by far the better route here!
constant minor changes and parts up grades resulting in miss matched components to the primary transportation vehicle ALWAYS eventually causes you problems

(4) don,t buy parts that don,t match your goal just because you get a SCREAMING DEAL on the parts PRICE,...ESPECIALLY USED PARTS



Super Moderator
8,483 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
Ill add these tips

(1) do EXTENSIVE research FIRST, before....... buying parts.... or starting a modification, that INCLUDES making a detailed parts list and researching , the sources, cost, manuals etc. IE FIND OUT whats necessary to do the job, and what results youll expect before you start

(2) ITS a HUGE advantage to have the correct tools, things like engine cranes, diagnostic test equipment, welders,lifts, etc. may seem like a big expence thats not dirrectly moving your project forward, but there NECESSARY in some cases and ALWAYS make the project go faster and easier than trying to do without them.

(3) work SAFELY, if you could get hurt doing something, chances are very good that you will eventually find out exactly WHY you should have done it the safe rather than the fast/easy way, if you don,t think it thru and use the correct tools and precautions

(4)ITs almost ALWAYS better to have several friends help, on a project, having two or more guys thinking things thru improves your chances of getting it done correctly and safely,and keep in mind ,its always best to do your projects after helping a more experianced guy do something similar on his car so you have some experiance doing it, thus be ready and available to help your buddies withn thier projects and don,t avoid helping so you won,t get dirty, or have some free time thats used on other guys cars vs the long run it pays big to help others

(5)ask questions and be sure you understand the answers, KNOWING what your doing before you start is a huge advantage

(6)take pictures, label wireing, put small parts in labeled ziploc bags and take notes, use the manuals, and internet, and if something won,t fit or looks wrong research rather than forcing it with a bigger hammer

Super Moderator
8,483 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
now I got asked,
"what do you do, who do you call when your about to tackle a job youve never done before?"
now most guys sub out jobs to the dealer or a corvette shop when they get into areas they may not be familiar with,but I do ALL the work on my corvettes for TWO good reasons, first I could NEVER afford the shop rates and I can NEVER trust the quality of work many shops do, now ILL be the VERY FIRST GUY IN LINE to ADMIT Im in WAY over my head at times! but Ive always been able to research the processes, tools, and skills and do the work, or find someone too teach me the skills eventually, youll NEVER learn new stuff if your not willing to tackle new projects and get in way over your current skill level....besides it USUALLY requires buying LOTS OF new tools and meeting new friends so you can,t hardly lose!

Super Moderator
8,483 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
hard learned advice

I get dozens of e-mails a month,about a vast verity of engine parts and potential, parts matches and problems, let me give you some hard learned advice,that took awhile to sink in,something I was forced to learn years ago


, MACHINE SHOPS AND MANUFACTURERS LIE AND MAKE MISTAKES.... DON,T assume they or ANYONE ELSE is telling the truth on clearance issues, or PARTS or MATERIALS USED, UNTILL YOU VERIFY they are correct YOURSELF after checking EACH and EVERY spring and valve, rocker and valve guide ETC.

chances are good they are telling you the truth and youll probably be fine, KNOW exactly WHAT your doing or ask for advice and measurements, NEVER ASSUME some part out of the box is correct and can be just bolted into place

but you sure won,t be the first guy to be told one thing and find something differant to be true after checking, take the time and effort to VERIFY clearances, spring rates and degree in the cam, and check clearances once its assembled.

be sure you check clearances carefully, a mistake can and will damage the engine, DON,T GUESS,KNOW WHAT THE CLEARANCES ARE, ESPECIALLY SPRING BIND,VALVE TO PISTON,ROCKER TO ROCKER STUD, and retainer to valve guide clearances, CAM LOBE TO ROD, and anything or place thats suspected of being close I still use the strips of modeling clay about 1" square and .2" (two tenths thick) but one thing everyone forgot to mention so far is that you need to spray the piston and valve and clay strips with WD-40 to ensure the clay does not stick to any parts, otherwise the clay will tend to stick to the valve and piston allowing them to push the clay between them durring the compression of its surface by the valve (exactly what its there for) and PULL ON THE SURFACE of the clay as the valve moves away durring seperation (because the clay tends to stick ever so slightly as the parts pull away from each other if you don,t)which tends to give a false slightly greater than correct clearance measurement
most people tend to tell me Im wrong about that untill they try it both ways :grin: yeah the differance is usually minor but five to 10 thousands differance is not rare if the parts are clean and dry versus sprayed with an oil mist , first check to make sure that you are measureing correctly, many times the valve actual has more clearance in the flycut clearance notches,or only the very edge of the valves head and the edge of the notch are close and very minor cutting with a tool fitted in a valve guide will clear the problem and the valve has more clearance than measurements taken from the pistons upper surfaces, and that the head gasket thickness and valve train geometry are correct,
check if changing the cam retard/advance or installed possition can be changed to increase the clearance to 0.100 minimum on both the intake and exhaust valves (MOST LIKELY TO WORK WITH THE LEAST PROBLEMS)



heres a few things that should always be checked on an engine build

are the pushrods perfectly strait?
do the pushrods flow oil?
rocker studs/guides torqued correctly?
do the head bolts have washers under the bolt heads? are they the correct length for the cylinder heads in use?
have the heads been pocket ported?
combustion chambers unshrouded?
intake ports gasket matched"
are the valve guides cut to the correct length?
are the heads pocket ported?
is the retainer to valve guide clearance correct?
are the valve guide oil seals installed?
is there valve spring seats installed?
inner damper springs installed?
spring bind height checked? (to exceed max valve lift by .050 min.)
oil return holes cleaned of casting flash?
were steam holes in heads necessary?
were the spark plug threads of a installed spark plug extending into the combustion chamber?
rocker slot to rocker stud clearances ?
retainer to valve guide clearances?
spring bind height checked for the correct spring pressure?
valve lash/preload ?
are the valve springs the correct tension,height?dia.
keeper the correct angle? style? size?
valve seats the correct angles?
valves back cut?
valves the correct length, stemsthe correct diam.
rockers the correct ratio?
were the valve to valve guide clearances checked?
were the heads milled?
did the head gasket overlap the bore?
what are your valve train clearances?
is the rocker arm geometry correct!
chambers CC,ed
port work..(some steps optional)

(1) open throat to 85%-90% of valve size
(2)cut a 4 angle seat with 45 degree angle .065-.075 wide where the valve seats and about .100 at 60 degrees below and a .030 wide 30 degree cut above and a 20 degree cut above that rolled and blended into the combustion chamber
(3)blend the spark plug boss slightly and lay back the combustion chamber walls near the valves
(4)narrow but dont shorten the valve guide
(5) open and straiten and blend the upper two port corner edges along the port roof
(6) gasket match to/with intake and raise the port roof slightly
(7) back cut valves at 30 degrees
(8) polish valve face and round outer edges slightly
(9)polish combustion chamber surface and blend edges slightly
(10) remove and smooth away all casting flash , keep the floor of the port slightly rough but the roof and walls smoothed but not polished.
(11) use a head gasket to see the max you can open the combustion chamber walls
(12) blend but don,t grind away the short side radias

is the oil pump pick-up mounted 3/8"-1/2" from the oil pan floor/
is the windage screen mounted about 1/8" from the rotateing assembly/
is the pick-up brazed to the pump body?
has the oil pump relief piston in the oil pump been checked for free ,easy movement? clearance? spring tension?
is the oil pump pick-up tube inserted too far into the oil pump body,(binding the gears)
has the block been clearanced for the rotating assembly?
has the block been aline honed?
is the crank strait?
are the damper install keyway and threads ok?
counter weights clearanced?
has the cam to rod bolt clearance been checked?
piston to valve clearances checked?
piston to bore clearances?
what were the piston ring to slot clearances?
were the rings all checked individually for end gap in the cylinders they were used/installed in?
were the rings checked to make sure the correct side faced up, and the correct ring was in each groove?
what were the back clearance on the rings?
were the oil ring expanders carefully fitted for correct drag?
were the oil ring scraper ring rails checked for end gap?
total cam lift and remaining clearanceS?
main bearing clearances?
what is the main bearing run-out clearance
piston to head clearance? (QUENCH?)
head gasket to coolent holes checked?
magnets installed?
rod bolt to block clearances?
what tq reading is necessay to spin the crank with no rods attached?
are the rod bolts and main caps torqued correctly? (rod bolts checked with a bolt stretch gauge?)
did you check the block for a strait main cap alignment?
what size journals and what were the bearings edge to filet clearance??
are the journals checked for finish and run-out/tapper?
did you use moly lube to assemble?
correct bearing crush?
did you pre-lube before start-up?
did the distributor gear fit the cam gear precisely?
was the distributor oil flow mod done?
was the correct style distributor gear used?
did you check the piston to piston pin bores for fit and clearance?
did the piston pins to snap ring clearance seem overly tight?
if they are pressed pins were they correctly matched and checked for free movement in the pistons?
was the engine ballanced?
cam button installed?, and lock plate installed?
were the rods resized? checked for parrallel bores/were the rods strait?
piston valve clearance notchs correctly located on the pistons? edges smoothed?
were the rods checked for length?
is there a few thousands clearance on the oil pump drive shaft AFTER the distributors bolted down?
did you install a steel collar on the oil pump drive shaft?
was the rod to piston pin side clearance checked? (at 4 places seperated bye 90 degree spots)
does the oil pump drive shaft mid section clear the block with the pump installed?
whats the starter to flywheel gear clearance?
is the pilot bearing to trans imput shaft clearance ok?
is the front motor mount bolt to fuel pump pushrod clearance ok? did the fuel pump pushrod move easily/
are you possitive the pistons were installed with the correct valve relief in the correct location?(eiieeiie) were the pistons installed with the correct side facing forward/
what torque values were used on all fasteners/ were they the correct length and type bolts?
were the bores honed with a torque plate in place?
was the cylinder finish correct for the type rings used?
was the oil pump itself checked for free spin and clearance AFTER THE PICK-UP WAS INSTALLED?
was the cam drive checked for free rotation and drag/
were the oil passage plugs drilled for extra oil flow?
were the lifter bores checked?
cam to timing cover clearance?
cam journal to cam bearing clearances?
was the cam journal run-out checked?
was the cam degreed in or just lined up useing factiory index marks?
has the rod and windage screen to oilpan clearnce been checked?
does the dipstick & tube clear the windage screen?
was the cam lobes/LSA/LIFT CHECKED?
is the deck square/level?
whats the cross hatch hone angle?
what grit hone was used? is it correct for the rings used?
are all the threads clean/clear?
brass freeze plugs installed?
block painted?
a few things to check

are the connecting rods installed with the beveled edge facing out on each pair with the bearing installed with the bevel facing out on both the lower and upper rod bearings also?

are you using beveled bearing shells that match the cranks throw bevels?

what are the bearing clearances? (are they the same checking at 90.120.160 degrees from the first measurement?}

what are the connecting rod side clearances?

is the crank strait? has it been turned undersize? if so...on ALL the rods? on ALL the mains? or on ALL the BEARINGS JOURNALS OR ONLY SOME?


is the piston side clearance correct?

are the pistons installed in the correct cylinders? (intake and exhaust notches correctly located to match the cylinder head)

are you POSSITIVE each main cap is in the correct location and FACING THE CORRECT DIRRECTION?

did you use MOLY assembly lube?

did you check EACH INDIVIDUAL RING ON EACH PISTON for ring gap clearance,AND that the rings fit the piston ring slots correctly? are any rings installed in the wrong ring slots (2nd ring in top slot ETC,)or upside down

do the rings have back clearance?

were the cylinders CORRECTLY HONED?

is the cam drive binding?

does the crank contact the windage screen?
does the dipstick tube or dip stick touch the crank at any point?

is the oil pump /cam gear binding?

did you check that the oil pump mounting bolt does NOT contact the back surface of the rear main BEARING under the main cap?

is the block warped, checked carefully?,was it line honed?

are the piston pins centered? do the pistons rotate thru an arc with little resistance?

are there any lock pins, spirolocs, tru-arcs contacting the cylinder walls?

are you sure the bearing shells are installed correctly and the locating tabs are in the correct slots?
are they the correct bearings for the application? or did you just assume the part guy knew what he was doing?
did you MEASURE or GUESS, did you at least use Plastigauge and a torqure wrench?

did you check EACH AND EVERY journal for tapper and roundness

did you get the rotateing assembly ballanced???

Super Moderator
8,483 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
IF you take this advice seriously youll save ALOT of time and money

buy these books, FIRST it will be the best money you ever spent, read them, and you will be miles ahead of the average guy. youll save thousands of dollars and thousands of hours once youve got a good basic understanding of what your trying to do!

how to assemble an engine basics on video

these books


JOHN LINGENFELTER on modifying small-block chevy engines


How to Rebuild Small-Block Chevy Lt1/Lt4 Engines

Super Moderator
8,483 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
I constantly see guys who get involved in mods to thier cars who either don,t understand that things seldom go as planned or that even understand that even if you know what your doing that the suppliers and machine shops seldom work to your schedual, and guys who buy project cars with zero idea as to the parts they are getting in that car or thier condition,or guys who then acctually think they can use the car as transportation...yet still race the car on a moments notice

your at a distict dis-advantage if you have zero idea what components were used in your engine, theres three routes to go,

(1) if it runs good just drive it and don,t worry about it

(2) you can disassemble the engine and carefully identify what you currently have so you know exactly what you have (see#1) and then if you want to make changes you know what needs changing and what you can keep

(3)find or buy a second engine or at least the major components, assemble it with a well thought thru plan, parts list and goal, while you drive the current combo(see#1) and once you have everything assembled with matched components you spend some long weekend swapping engines and drive train components, (this has the huge advantage that you have a fall back option if the new combo doesn,t meet your expectations as you can always return to the current combo in a single week ends work (see#1) yet you can potentially have a far more aggressive engine combo that kicks butt and takes names, and your not screwed for weeks or months at a time if something breaks if you race the car, and can make changes on your serious engine without truely compromiosing your cars value as transportation, and you can choose to keep or sell the expensive parts seperately from or with the car should you ever seak to sell the vette.

Ive always suggested the THIRD option is the best, having at least two engines is the best route if your into tinkrering and racing your corvette!thats why I currently have six engines I own in the shop, in various configs, I can get the vette to perform as I choose simply by taking my time while I build, modify or test drive the vettes optional engines as I build the test engine and swap it out for a few weeks or months of testing ,I can even rebuild or slightly change the basic transportation engine if I choose too while IM driving one of the other test engines, just remember one engine needs to stay pretty basic and dependable while on the other(S) you can let your imagination and budget run amuck as you see fit

yes theres two basic flaws to that option,
(1) YES ,you need a garage or place to store and work on the spare engine, and it helps tremendesly to have a second car, (a small pick-up trucks ideal so you can transport parts to the machine shop easily, and get to work on days when the promised parts don,t arrive or the machine shop doesn,t get the work done as they assured you they would.)

(2)YES it takes a bit more money up front at first, but in the long run its almost always cheaper and easier on your wallet, and the vette spends more time acctually in drivable condition rather than down waiting for parts or machine work to be done

1 Posts
Won't start when hot!

I have a 1966 small block, automatic, that when it gets hot will not start. No clicking, no noise. If I jump it it starts right away. Could it be the neutral switch? Starter replaced. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.


Super Moderator
8,483 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
its more than likely a solenoid or the starter that needs replacing, especially if the headers or exhaust gets it excessively hot, it can also be a bad engine ground or a defective ignition switch,or battery cable or connection a V.O.M. meter will help you figure out which ones more likely:thumbsup:

heat shields can work (after a new starter or solenoid is installed)


OR an INDEX-ABLE mini starter

Super Moderator
8,483 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
learning new skills is a good thing, jump on in!

I know! youve never done something and your afraid youll mess it up,
the first time I looked over a TPI injection system I was very reluctant to start taking things apart, so as a hedge I took a dozen close up digital photos and labled every connection with masking tape and a majic marker sharpie pen, I had no idea how the injector connectors were released and didn,t realize there was a spring retainer untill Id got four removed, but after about the first dozen, I didn,t even bother looking any longer since things were so familiar.
the wifes MERCURY had the power seat control switch in the door go bad, I bought a new one,but I was very reluctant to disassemble the door panel, as I was sure ID screw it up!, but some careful inspection revealed it could easily be accessed and in 10 minutes I was done doing a job ID been hesitant to start for days.
theres a first time for nearly everything and youll be surprised, in many cases youll find you enjoy knowing how to do things better.....think back to how clumsy and hesitant you probablyfelt when you started dateing,but learning new skills has its benefits

Super Moderator
8,483 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
we ALL tend to remember better and learn more from our own and others ,SCREW UPS than when things go flawlessly...if your not occasionally screwing something up its obvious your not doing much engine rebuilding or many extensive modifications on a steady basis,



Super Moderator
8,483 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
its a known fact you need (4) 6 point and (4) 12 point sockets in BOTH 3/8"drive and 1/2" drive in BOTH standard and deep versions for every size of every bolt, both metric and SAE and every nut on any car you own just to BEGIN working on them,and altho wrenches and ratchets are a bit harder to loose youll need a good sekllection of those also, because at least 1/3rd of those sockets/wrenches,etc. will have rolled under the car, under a work bench or will either brake or get misplaced durring EVERY project!

once the car runs do an inventory of the tools and buy new ones to replace the ones you throw accross the shop, lost, welded accidently, broke or dropped into non-accessable holes in the car, or lost under the benches and behind machinery in the shop, after awhile you understand the necessity of stopping by SEARs, or MAC ,or SNAPON, regularly, and just figure its a NORMAL part of the procedure, as necessary as band-aids,asprin,a pad and pen and beer ,a few soft cuss words and paper towels are to any car project

108 Posts
My '82 needs a total restoration, but would be satisfied if I could just replace/repair the drive train/suspension parts to make the vehicle safe to "romp on". . . . . . But how does one find the money to do what needs to be done? How does everybody else do it? I work long, hard hours just like most folks, and just don't see how it's done :lookinup:

I guess I'll just wash her, wax her, and bag her up for the next ten years, hoping things change some how. maybe I'll start playing the lottery, and submit my 'vette for Chip Fuse's Chop, Cut, Rebuild show!!!. . . . .yeeeeaaaaahh, THAT'S what I'll DO!!

Super Moderator
8,483 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
finding the cash is a huge problem but in many cases you can build your skills and tool inventory if you let it be known your willing to do what ever odd auto related jobs you know how to do, now that might be brake jobs, or oil changes or water pump replacements etc. the key is to only charge a minimum charge so you get repeat business and to do an excellent job so word gets around your the guy to go to, look you might only be able to charge $8-$10 bucks an hour to change oil and a filter, and inspect or replace fan belts , do tune ups,replace defective hoses,, or replace water pumps etc. (CUSTOMER SUPPLIES ALL PARTS/MATERIALS) but if you start sticking that cash in car fund it will add up and you'll stay busy, and you'll gain experience, just be very sure everything your expected to do, the cost of parts and who supplies them is well documented in writing before you start with both parties signing the work agreement.
once word gets around you work reasonably cheap and do a good job the money tends to trickle in.
if you can make $40-$80 a day on weekends your hardly going to get rich but you can finance modest projects and build your tool inventory

5,146 Posts
its a known fact you need (4) 6 point and (4) 12 point sockets in BOTH 3/8"drive and 1/2" drive in BOTH standard and deep versions for every size of every bolt, both metric and SAE and every nut on any car you own just to BEGIN working on them,and altho wrenches and ratchets are a bit harder to loose youll need a good sekllection of those also, because at least 1/3rd of those sockets/wrenches,etc. will have rolled under the car, under a work bench or will either brake or get misplaced durring EVERY project!
I know my C5 likes to eat ratchets and wrenches when dropped:agree:

108 Posts
Yeah, I pretty much have a full plate. . . . .I work 10 - 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, putting two girls through college at the same time, building a trust fund for my autistic son, saving 600 a month to replace my roof and air conditioner next spring, and my "allowance" of 300 a month is spent on car payments of 249! I already have a lot of tools, as often in my field I am required to have my own tools to do maintenance on aircraft. My more recent goals have been a computer, and an air compressor.

I guess I'm just too impatient.. . . . .As far as working on other people's cars - that's not a good idea around here, but the concept is right on target. If somehow my work lets up, I am interested in offering a pressure washing service, you know. . .homes, autos, concrete, fences, etc.

Super Moderator
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Discussion Starter #16
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