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Post by HDHugger on Sat Sep 03, 2011 8:14 pm

Okay I haven't posted in a while because there is so much going on, it's hard to know where to start...

I stopped at this auto place on the way home because I pass it about once a week and he has had a lot of different older cars there, so I thought maybe he could help with a few things. Tranny leak, oil leak, permanent mounting for the dipstick tube (hard to do at home with the headers in the way), and to correctly identify the year of the motor. Also considering pulling the gear and putting in a double roller, as I had talked about a while back.

He had the car for a week, starting on a Monday. I called him every other day. On Thursday, he still could not find the origins of the leaks. He claimed there were no leaks. I told him to put some damn cardboard under the car and he will find them!

On Friday, I went to get the car. I told him I have to get the dash in and I need the car back so we should settle up on the time he put in (because he told me he rerouted the vacuum lines because the weren't correct, and he was trying to set the correct mixture). So, I show up, he says "no whoa nelly, you were right, there are leaks!" The engine sounded like it was missing, and I asked him what was up with that. He said the reset the carb correctly. I told him it sounds like it's missing, he said it's because they turned down the idle. I told him that it didn't sound like that when I brought it in, and he said I have a leak in the exhaust, last bolt in the headers near the back. I told him I would be embarrassed to drive it into a car show sounding like that, and tell me what I owe him. He claimed I have a tranny leak on the front seal of the transmission and the oil leak is the front seal. He told me we'll talk after I get the dash in and bring the car back the next week. After a week I called and told him that we need to settle up on his time because the dash will take a few weeks and I don't want to owe anybody and money. He said don't worry about it, just bring it in when I am done with the dash. NOT!

I took it to an auto body shop, which is owned by a guy in our club. He fixed the dipstick problem, ordered a transmission shifter seal and installed that, and gave it a good look over so we know what needs to be done. $135 and we have a plan. I don't feel that he gave me any b.s. and that goes a long way with me.

Last night on the phone, I talked to an old friend from way back when, he has been building engines for years. He asked a lot of questions and had me looking all over the car for an hour, telling him what I saw. Here's the most important things I learned:

1) Those type valve covers have no business being on my engine. They don't have the holes an the sides where they usually are. Instead, they run down the top middle of the covers. Totally different set-up than what should be on my motor. Something to do with a different fuel injections system? (Don't quote me here, I had information overload). It may be Vortex which are good, or it may be aftermarket pieces of crap that need to come off. But what exactly is under the valve covers? Who knows.

2) I have no kick-down cable on the carb. I also could not find any cables that would go to the tranny for the passing gear.

3) The cable that I thought would have been to the tranny actually Y-ed on the driver's side and went to each of the rear tires. I assume these are the brake lines, although I also assumed they would be inside the frame.

4) Inside the door jambs, on the bottom under the door latch, on both sides of the car, there is a welded on piece (painted correctly to match the body but you can see the weld spots) that should not be there. Possible frame damage at some point or just reinforcement as a precaution? Hard to tell.

5) No way to tell if it's really a 383 stroker or if somebody just dressed it up to look like one, but it sure isn't putting out enough power to convince me. Only way to tell is to go into the engine and look at the numbers stamped onto the crankshaft.

Based on his knowledge of these and other things, I am going to have my husband call them so they can come up with a plan for going through the whole engine this winter, while we get it painted. I parked the car right under my 2nd story window at work the other day, and when I looked down onto the roof of the car, I saw just how bad I wrecked the paint when I left that tarp on it last year and moisture burned into the paint leaving white spots. It looks worse than I ever imagined!

The dash is mostly in now, but there are still some things we have to do before installing the stereo, heater control, ashtray, 1 vent and all the heating ducts underneath. This is my car, and I am starting to feel bad for my husband who didn't want me to buy it because he didn't want another project, but now he is doing most of the work on it.

It's going to be a long road !!!





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Post by Limey SE on Sat Sep 03, 2011 8:42 pm

Hey Hugger Progress is progress whether its slow or fast, but I would say to take time that way its done right ...........

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Post by McCauley5983 on Sat Sep 03, 2011 9:06 pm

its always a long road i went to fix my ac found out all the ac lines had rust in them started to replace and flush everything when i went to put it back together,i found out i had to make a run with the car up to camp verde, about 2 hour drive outside of town, ended up spinning the clutches in the tranny now tranny heats up overheating car. now im converting it to a 4 speed because i hate automatics and need something a lot stronger and much more reliable. then afterrebuiling pedal assembly with clutch pedals i saw how crappy the master cylinder and booster looked im replacing those now too. but i like my car and its almost 40 years old so things got to get renovated or upgraded
p.s. automatics dont hold up very well in heat under heavy abuse being driven daily
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Post by HDHugger on Sat Sep 03, 2011 9:12 pm

Well, on a positive note, that shifter seal fixed the tranny leak, and we have years to works on the rest of it, as I don't plan on selling it. Ever. So there is no rush or time limit, because at least it's drivable. After not being able to take it to any shows at all this summer, I have 3 cars shows this month, I just have to keep the windows up and the doors locked so nobody gets too much of a look inside!

Bucket seats and floor console are still not in because we didn't want them in the way while we worked on the dash, and now we want the inside of the engine compartment painted with the exterior so they match, so we still have a lot to do and have to get it done in the correct order so we don't have to tear anything apart more than once.

Good news? We took it to a do-it-yourself car wash the other day, and the window seals didn't leak at all! It may seem like small potatoes, but it's something....

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Post by HDHugger on Sat Sep 03, 2011 9:14 pm

Billy Ray, I have issues with the a/c too, and the heating (or lack thereof). I should post pics of what they did to the car!!! But thanks to the awesome prices of a few members on this site, I was able to get what I needed and put together the components on the inside of the firewall.

BTW, I wonder when he is going to cash the check I sent him... it's been about a month now!!!

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Post by McCauley5983 on Sat Sep 03, 2011 9:38 pm

i got a place here called the chrome guy he specializes in chevy pickups but all chevy motors are the same and almost all the stuf he sells is from local suppliers or is atleast made in the usa. in other words its pretty good quality ill post some pics of the ac pump its chrome plated aluminum Very Happy
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Post by HDHugger on Sat Sep 03, 2011 9:59 pm

Ok do that and I'll keep it for future reference when we get that far....

I just talked to my son and he had a few other ideas. I was telling him that maybe I should just get a 350 crate motor and get back to the basics, he suggested painting the engine block burgundy to match the exterior (instead of painting the engine compartment burgundy) and sell the 383 which I could get about $2,000 for, once I have documentation that it's infact a 383. Then I have a new stock motor without the headaches.

Just what I needed.... more choices!!!

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Post by 1973montec on Sat Sep 03, 2011 10:16 pm

sorry to hear about your problems with the car. i to have a shop near me that seem to try and take advantage of people.
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Post by HDHugger on Sat Sep 03, 2011 10:42 pm

I fond that there is an over-abundanced of "advice" but not all of it is good, and it's as hard to know what the right answer is as it is to find the right mechanic.

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Post by TWBouska AKA Wooderson on Sat Sep 03, 2011 11:46 pm

hugger,

if you engine is down on power, have you checked the HEI (if you have it)? my engine was running pretty bad for awhile (sounded like it was missing) until one night on my way home my car quit on me, pulled the cap and found that the rotor was fucked up, and something had happened to where the bottom of the cap and the control module were both melted. i replaced the cap, coil, rotor, and control module, and the difference was night and day. HEI's last a long time, and if you dont have one, id recommend upgrading to one. I don't personally care for the MSD one, Summit makes one that i like a lot and its priced decent.

as for the oil and tranny leaks, id buy a bunch of degreaser, take your car to a self serve car wash, and pressure wash everything to remove excess crud. find a shop that has dye you can put in your oil and tranny fluid, drive the car for a week or two, good mechanics have UV glasses that can show the dye (usually shows up a bright color through the glasses), you should be able to find where the leak is coming from that way, if your feeling brave, matco and snap on both sell the kits, but their not cheap. let me know if you have any more questions i may be able to help.
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Post by bigredlaguna on Sun Sep 04, 2011 12:04 am

One way to tell if you have a 383 without taking it apart is to see if there are balance weights on the flexplate and the harmonic balancer. Most 383/400 engines are externally balanced while anything less will be internally balanced.

There are kits out there that balance the 383/400 crankshaft internally, but I doubt if they are very common.

The 383/400 balancer should also have an 8" diameter while smaller displacement engines use a 6 3/4" balancer.
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Post by McCauley5983 on Sun Sep 04, 2011 12:21 am

mallory has a good hei distributor too for a decent price but you got to get the one made in the usa i know for a fact there are counterfeit ones Evil or Very Mad and if you want to get fancy they an aftermarket module that has a built in rev limiter very cool
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Post by HDHugger on Sun Sep 04, 2011 12:25 am

Thanks guys. That 's more information I can remember, but I can always refer back here to freshen my memory.

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