Tearing down the Chevelle.

For those that do not know me, I have a 1968 Chevelle that I have owned for more than a few years that I am finally restoring.

Today I was able to get back to the Chevelle and continue the teardown. My nephew Luke came over today to help, as he has been itching to get his hands dirty helping with taking it apart. Inspiring the next generation of gear heads most definitely has it rewards. (The extra pair of hands helps too!).

I really wanted to pull the engine first, then the transmission, so I could avoid tilting it back and spilling about a gallon of the red stuff. Unfortunately due to a leak from a crack in the head for cylinder #7, the rings were well rusted to the cylinder wall. I soaked the rings for a good hour, and while I got the piston to move down, the rust is too extensive to get it to move up.. And the piston was already nearly at bottom. There was no way I could move it far enough to get to all 3 bolts holding the torque convertor to the flexplate.
So I decided to bite the bullet and pull the engine and transmission together. I figured there was less oil in the pan, than in the converter. And it would make for a smaller clean up. It made a mess, but it got the assembly out.

I have a buddy who asked if he could have the engine, since I was not going to keep it. (I plan on buying a crate engine, so as long as I don’t need it for a core..) He wants to rebuild it with his son… The rust it quite extensive in the cylinder, so hopefully it a .030 over bore will clean it up.. If not, he will be looking at a sleeve.

It was good to get some more progress done, and I look forward now to stripping the interior, and pulling the body from the frame..

Anyone have an auto body rotisserie they could lend me? 😉 <jk>


The front clip is finally off the Chevelle!

Man.. I have to say just getting the front clip off has really taken a lot longer than I would have thought.. To be honest, I could have had this done in a few days, but there are the other demands of life.. (In case you dont know what they are, that would be a wonderful family!)

Back on toping however, the front clip is finally removed.. What I did find was some serious rust in the body tub, just behind the rust in the LH fender. You can see it in the pic above. So far I think this little area of rot is really going to be the biggest hurdle I am going to have to overcome on this project.. (and by that I mean it is going to challenge my fabrication skills the most)

It really does not look like much, but, the rot goes clean through. And there are a lot of complex bends.

The other GM A bodies I have built, and done body work to, or helped out with, never had rot in this spot.. I am going to look for a patch panel.. I am hoping some company makes one as it will save a good weekend of fab work..

Pulling the front clip from the Chevelle.

See that HUGE rust hole at the rear of the LF fender? That is causing me more heartache than I wanted.

First I wanted to disassemble the front clip a piece at a time.. Which was going great until I ran into the two bolts that hold the fenders at the bottom, behind the wheels..

When I tried to simply remove bolts, the captive nuts behind them of course broke free. I was really, REALLY, hoping these would just come out. Alas, they did not..

So now I am down to two choices..

1.Cut the heads of the bolts off, thereby releasing their hold on the chassis.
2.Run the cutoff wheel right below the body line, again releasing the hold of the fender to body..

I thought to myself, ‘this is only one side’ and went to the other.. I’ll save you that torment.. Suffice it to say, it is much worse.
Now I am onto pulling the front clip as an assembly.. It will make drilling the cutting the remaining nuts and bolts easier..

The Chevelle teardown continues!

So I am continuing tearing the Chevelle down.. And I unfortunately had to put the tools away because it was time for Caiden’s nap; the impact wrench and cutoff wheel are a bit loud.

Anyway, I figured it would be a good time to take a step back and ponder the details I have not thought of.. And the first one that came to mind while looking over where I am, is the gap behind the doors.. For its day, this was the norm.. But me, I’d rather tighten this gap up, to say 1/8 inch. (remember there will be weather strips behind to door to seal the air leaks.. So this is strictly a cosmetic discussion) Closing that gap will require metal work, and a fair amount of it, I’d have to guess a good weekends worth of work.

So I ask those in my friends list, would you invest the time to make this gap a whole lot tighter? I’m thinking I will..

My wife’s cousin just posted on Facebook that I should go suicide.. It was a thought I had a one time.. But I think it’s time to revive that thought process.. I really have never seen a 68 Chevelle with suicide doors..

A Chevelle update – after many years

So here we are. Almost 11 years since I picked her up down in PA.. Unfortunately over all these years there has been reason after reason why I have not been able to start building her. For the most part I blamed it on not having a garage. Or that I was a young father. Poor excuses, I know.

A little over a year and a half ago I bought a house, with a two car garage. And I have had every intention to start the build as soon as I got on top of my bills, and started saving again.

Well, as life often does, another curve ball was thrown.. I had met a wonderful woman and got married. We decided we wanted to have a child together, and our son is due in late March. With that I need to finish the basement, as we need another bedroom. So it will have to wait probably another year or two..

The day the Chevelle came home.

Let me start off with a little history, I have always loved Chevelle’s. Back in ’92 ( I was 18 at the time) I picked up a ’72 Malibu that had the original 307, the car was pretty beat up, major floor rot, and the LR fender was punched in pretty hard. The engine would barely run. Well a short tow ride, and $300 later it was in my driveway. It cost me about $150 (a starter and a complete tuneup) to get the car in a drive-able condition, I said drive-able, not safe!. At this point I was very young, had little money, and was just starting a family, needless to say the project got put on the back burner. About 2 or 3 years later, (the car still sitting in my driveway, not having moved much) a friend of the family ran his off the road and wrecked everything in the LF of his ’72. He needed a donor car, and I needing $$$, sold it to him with the mindset of “When I have the money, I’ll be able to find another easily”, NOT!

Well one day (about a 2 moths ago) while reading through HOT ROD Magazine, a person wrote to them asking about ways to find project cars, and they referred him to Hemmings Motor News. So I decided to look and see if the had a web site, and sure enough they do, Hemmings.com. And on that site they have an online auction, I searched for Chevelle, and there was 1 hit, a ’68 Malibu that currently had a 305 with a TH350 trans. Current bid was $700, I thought no problem, and bid $750, someone immediately overbid me. At this point I decided to wait until the last minutes of the auction. By the time the auction was getting ready to close, the bidding had gone up to $1400, and I thought to myself, I can afford $1500, so I did a proxy bid for $1600 (just to make sure) with $15 increments, I ended up winning it for $1415! To me this was still a steal. The person who was selling the car lived in Philly, PA and I was in New Hampshire, not too far of a ride.
After all the arrangements were made, One of my friends and I, with a tow dolly, (All the local rental yards wouldn’t rent a car carrier without one of their trucks!) made the 7 hour drive down to Philly. The car was in better shape than what I had expected! It had a serious rap in the engine (actually it sounds like a frozen lifter), this didn’t surprise me as the car has been sitting for months without being run. I was happy anyway, and we pushed the car up on the dolly. Since it is an automatic, I decided to disconnect the driveshaft, and tie it up so I didn’t have to worry about it leaking ATF all the way back to NH.

After we crossed the George Washington bridge, we hit a serious bump, and I swore I saw the car jump on the dolly. So I had my friend pull over on the highway to make sure the car was still cinched down fully. While I was making sure all of the chains and binders were still tight, my friend says to me “Hey whats that rope dragging under the car?” Doh! In my excitement to get the car home, I used rope to tie the shaft up, instead of wire. The rope chaffed through, broke, and the driveshaft is now somewhere between the start of the Jersey turnpike and just north of the GW bridge.
I decided to write to Hot Rod, and tell them my story, they sent me back a response with a great lead on driveshaft’s! Denny’s Driveshafts. I can get all I need from them, including a new slip yoke, for a really great deal.