Current Status

What's happening?



I finally got the speedometer operational. It took a while to figure out exactly how the cable attached to the Richmond transmission. All it took was something called a speedometer gear housing which plugged into the trans and held the driven gear and cable and I was lucky enough to find one at a local transmission shop. 


Yesterday (vacation) was spent tracking down an oil leak in the right rear wheel. I apparently damaged the wheel bearing oil seal sliding the axle in. Unfortunately, the seal was part of a repair bearing assembly which required that the whole assembly be replaced. Nothing like spending $30 for a $3 seal. I had hoped to start replacing the right right quarter panel but the seal folly took too long.


This week was spent fine tuning the timing. I took it on the freeway for the first time and it started backfiring at 65 mph. I checked the timing when I got home and found around 65 degrees total advance @2500 rpm. I switched the distributor to manifold vacuum, dialed back the vacuum advance to 15 degrees, set the initial to 16 degrees but I'm still getting around 55 degrees total. I may set the initial timing a bit higher and reduce the amount of mechanical advance to hit around 51 degrees total ignition timing at cruise. The backfiring is gone but the idle sounds a bit strange with all that vacuum advance.


Today was spent making spacers for the rear springs to get proper ride height without pumping up the air shocks. I turned the spacers out of some old acetal stock I had laying around. They raised the rear end 2" and provided a much better ride. The weight transfer should also be better now with the softer suspension. 


 I spent the last couple months working on my son's '95 Trans Am instead of the Chevelle. It got a new paint job, a totally re-built transmission (T56) and a new clutch. The trans re-build was my first and was a major education. It is amazing how many parts there are in a six speed. The good news is that it worked perfectly. 

I worked on the shifter in the Chevelle tonight to get the lever positioned better. It was too close to the drivers seat in second and so far back that it tears the shifter boot. I made a new mounting bracket for the lever to move it forward and took some of the bend out of it with a press to give it more clearance to the seat.


I took a couple of days off this week and started replacing the right quarter panel. As of tonight, the new quarter panel and trunk filler panel have been fitted and I just started welding them in. A new page has been added on the web site to document the progress.


Wow. Another year gone just like that. I spent more time driving the Chevelle this year than working on it, mostly because there has been no time. Between home improvement projects and repairs and keeping the other four family cars running, the Chevelle project has lagged. I did finish off the right rear quarter panel and I made and installed the embossed "Back in Black" logo in the trunk lid which is outlined in the metalwork section. I had hoped to get all of the priming and block sanding done this fall but that didn't work out and it's slated for spring. There is still a bit of interior work to keep me busy through the winter. I also had to re-build the web page after Google botched an attempt to migrate it to another location. It's pretty much back the way it was now.


I've been delinquent in my updates. The car is pretty much ready for paint except for the doors. When I was block sanding last fall, I discovered that the doors are far from straight, curving in around a quarter inch over the length of the door. I decided it would take too much plastic filler to correct so the first thing on the list this spring is to re-skin the doors. The rest of the car is pretty straight but I'll still shoot one last coat of filler on it when I do the doors, just to be sure. It's partially disassembled now and won't be streetable until after paint, so the pressures on. I also need to take a look at the starter. It wouldn't turn over last fall and I suspect the high amperage generated from the trunk mounted battery has taken its toll on the solenoid. Of course I'm not sure how much I'll be driving it this summer. With the current gas prices and 6 mpg fuel consumption, it will cost around 75 cents a mile just for gas.  


It's finally in paint, and I got it reassembled just in time for the Woodward Cruise. It wouldn't have happened if I hadn't taken off every Friday in August and worked on it all weekend from dawn to dusk. Now that the cruise is over, the schedule is more relaxed. I've been working on buffing the paint, weather stripping and the rear seat interior. I'd like to drive it to work once this summer, but at 38 miles one way it will take almost a full tank of premium.

I'm still not happy with the exhaust. It currently has dual 18" long glass packs dumped in front of the axle and they do little to tame the big block. In fact, they are actually much louder than open headers at full throttle. I'm going to add an H pipe and maybe put the tail pipes back on to see if that helps. It was a big hit at the cruise, but it's only a matter of time before I get a noise violation on the street.