New acquisition in the family

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New acquisition in the family

Post by bigredlaguna on Sun Jun 21, 2015 5:56 pm

Earlier this week my daughter and I were ad hunting for an old car for her since progress on fixing her Skylark is not going as fast as she would like. There was an ad out of Colorado Springs that wasn't responding to me and just when I thought it was a bogus ad, the owner responds! He was very hesitant to deal with someone from out of state and it was impossible to get any more info about the car like interior condition, rust, etc. much less pictures to show these things. So we decided to physically go there and see if the car was worth buying. This was a one time deal or no deal thing, and we planned on driving it back if a deal went through.

 I test drove it and it ran good if not spectacularly. It was definitely a stock engine. It sounded good, no knocks, rattles, or bangs to alert me to something wrong. The mechanical gauges showed excellent oil pressure, proper voltage, and temperature that was kept under control. It has a rebuilt front suspension so it drove very nice. The floor pans are perfect, a little rust in the trunk and at the rear edge of the vinyl top, but nothing that would break a deal. The radiator core support is perfect-even under the battery! The interior is black and in good condition with the typical cracked dash covered with one of those carpeted covers. It used to be green (figures), but whoever changed the color did it right by coloring the jambs and such. We made a deal with my daughter (the new owner) making the final concession on the purchase price.

 It only took us 4.5 hrs to drive up there. It took 11hrs to get back. The fan belt turned and then got thrown. The crank pulley had some damage that I noticed in the owner's driveway, but was hoping it would be ok until we got back. As a consequence, a belt turned and got thrown, so the engine overheated and a head gasket let coolant into one or more of the cylinders. As we (I took my cousin along also) diagnosed what to do to get it mobile again, it was discovered that the radiator inlet had some brazing repair that had let go. So our plan was to at least get a belt, coolant, lots of water, basic tools to do the job, and if we were lucky, a radiator.

 In addition to breaking down, we were literally in the middle of nowhere. Literally 20 miles to anywhere with a collection of houses large enough to warrant a name on a map. However we did manage to find everything we thought we needed to get the car mobile again, including a new radiator! So we get the parts changed out and get going. We stopped it seemed like every 10 miles to refill the coolant. Stopped at every collection of houses where it seemed like someone might be home to refill the water jugs. Sometimes people weren't home so I had to borrow the garden hose without there knowledge. The engine bay was still getting wet and we couldn't figure where it was coming from until we saw the bubble in the upper hose one of the times we stopped. So my cousin trimmed off the weak part and we stretched it out enough to fit. About 11:00 pm, I finally figured out to leave the radiator cap loose so it wouldn't build up so much pressure, and at that point we could go 30 miles at one time, then check and didn't really have to add very much water. By this point you could say the cooling system had been thoroughly flushed out. There had been probably 12 gallons of liquid used up since the roadside repair.

We did make it home, but the engine had been damaged. I am not worried about lower end damage, because the oil pressure stayed good and there was no knocking or valve chatter. The oil stayed clean and never got milky. I removed the heads and discovered that the driver side head had warped, allowing coolant into the 3, 5, and 7 cylinders with 3 being the worst one. So now I am searching for some heads just to get it running again.

Some pics of the car.







Last edited by bigredlaguna on Mon Jun 22, 2015 8:48 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: New acquisition in the family

Post by bigredlaguna on Sun Jun 21, 2015 6:01 pm

This is what the engine looked like after pulling the driver side head.

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Re: New acquisition in the family

Post by bigredlaguna on Sun Jun 21, 2015 6:07 pm

I didn't drain the block before removing the heads, so there may not have been that much coolant in the cylinders before I loosened the bolts. I started it the following day after we got back and drove the car to get the vin inspection done. This engine was not built for horsepower. The pistons are .055 below deck height.
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Re: New acquisition in the family

Post by Joe73 on Sun Jun 21, 2015 6:13 pm

Looks like stock 8.5:1 dished pistons. Lifter valley looks good.
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Re: New acquisition in the family

Post by bigredlaguna on Sun Jun 21, 2015 6:41 pm

It looks like a fresh rebuild. There is no ring ridge, just a little carbon build up where the piston crown stops.

8.5:1 is optimistic in reality. The heads are 76 cc models. The math puts me at under 8:1.

I am currently looking for a set of 64-68 cc heads. Which should put me at 8.7:1 or so.
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Re: New acquisition in the family

Post by Joe73 on Sun Jun 21, 2015 6:54 pm

Did they make 350's with less than 8.5 compression? My stock motor had those pistons and 76cc 882 heads. It was 8.5 compression and a whopping 175 hp with factory 4bbl.
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Re: New acquisition in the family

Post by bigredlaguna on Sun Jun 21, 2015 7:11 pm

These are the measurements I got.

Piston dish volume w/valve relief (internet search provided this number) 9.92 cc
4.040 bore
3.48 stroke
.055 below deck (feeler gauge under edge of piston)
.020 steel shim gasket. I used 4.100 bore measurement for these since it is the most common and usually the lowest cost.
76 cc head.

Those numbers put it at 8:1

If I get 65 cc heads and use a .039 gasket, that will get me 8.7:1
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Re: New acquisition in the family

Post by bigredlaguna on Sun Jun 21, 2015 7:14 pm

The .055 deck is what kills the compression. In my research I found that the piston manufacturers purposely moved the wrist pin up on rebuilder pistons .020 or .025 in anticipation of someone decking the block.
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Re: New acquisition in the family

Post by Limey SE on Sun Jun 21, 2015 7:55 pm

Bigred I am glad you got one Finally. Really happy it was this one, I hope you and your Daughter like this one.
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Re: New acquisition in the family

Post by Joe73 on Sun Jun 21, 2015 8:00 pm

Maybe try the FelPro 1094 head gasket. Good for steel and aluminum heads. Compressed thickness is .015.
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Re: New acquisition in the family

Post by bigredlaguna on Sun Jun 21, 2015 8:59 pm

My cousin hooked me up with a good deal on a set of centerbolt 083 heads. They came on tpi camaros in the late 80's-early 90's. 65-66 cc chambers. They have only a couple hundred miles on them (rod failure-broke but remained on the crank). I am good to go for heads now.
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Re: New acquisition in the family

Post by bigredlaguna on Sun Jun 21, 2015 9:08 pm

Thank you Limey, I'm sure she will enjoy this car. It rides really nice, a perfect cruiser.
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Re: New acquisition in the family

Post by Limey SE on Sun Jun 21, 2015 10:12 pm

afro lol! afro
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Re: New acquisition in the family

Post by pila on Mon Jun 22, 2015 6:46 am

From the pictures it appears to be a nice car ! Very Happy Your daughter's friends will be jealous ! Very Happy

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Re: New acquisition in the family

Post by Roadcaptain S3 on Mon Jun 22, 2015 8:30 am

Glad the hunt was successful. Those kind of trips are a PITA, but make for good stories later on.

Congrats!
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Re: New acquisition in the family

Post by thatfnthing on Mon Jun 22, 2015 10:00 am

Roadcaptain S3 wrote:Glad the hunt was successful. Those kind of trips are a PITA, but make for good stories later on.

Congrats!

X2. I have to wonder how they managed to damage the crank pulley, though -- I've never seen that happen.
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Re: New acquisition in the family

Post by Tom77 on Mon Jun 22, 2015 11:06 am

Glad it all worked out for you. I dont have the guts to buy and older car and drive it home. Thats why I trailered the Ambassador back from Reno.
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Re: New acquisition in the family

Post by knightfan26917 on Mon Jun 22, 2015 2:48 pm

Awesome ... cool that you got this one. Congrats!


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Re: New acquisition in the family

Post by bigredlaguna on Sat Jun 27, 2015 4:00 pm

Got the heads earlier this week. Noticed the valve stem tips had wildly different heights when eying them gunsight style. So they are now at a good machinist to at least get a valve job to even things up.
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Re: New acquisition in the family

Post by bigredlaguna on Sat Jun 27, 2015 4:03 pm

Does anyone have an engine bay wiring diagram specific to a 74 Chevelle? Found some online that might work, but would rather be sure. Looks like this car used to have the seat belt interlock in the engine bay, but the plastic part of that connector is dry rotting away almost to the point that the wires are ready to fall out.
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Re: New acquisition in the family

Post by ant7377 on Sat Jun 27, 2015 5:05 pm

Looks like a nice car snd a good project. Look at it this way,you will laugh about the trip back in a few years. Its stuff like that which makes a memory.
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Re: New acquisition in the family

Post by bigredlaguna on Sat Jun 27, 2015 7:28 pm

I'm not sure about laughing. It'll be more like "I should have trailered it".
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Re: New acquisition in the family

Post by Mcarlo77 on Sun Jun 28, 2015 12:24 am

Limey posted this a loooong time ago. Kind of hard to read, though.

http://www.g3gm.com/t296-wiring-schematics-needed#1758
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Re: New acquisition in the family

Post by bigredlaguna on Sun Jun 28, 2015 12:55 am

I printed some of those off, but 74 had the seat belt interlock wiring and I suspect that this car may have had it originally because of the connector that is unused and crumbling. I can't see that on any of the schematics posted here.
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Re: New acquisition in the family

Post by bigredlaguna on Sun Jun 28, 2015 1:06 am

Found it!! I'll get it scanned and update the schematic page.
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Re: New acquisition in the family

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