Body Off Restoration of 1964 Corvette Coupe – Part 5

We picked up the frame and the other parts that I had powdercoated on June 30th.  Now I can begin assembling the chassis.  The repaired areas looked good.  I did attach the brackets to the rear end.  I also took the A-arms and rear crossmember to have the bushings pressed on.





I picked up the A Arms the next morning after having the bushings pressed on.  I had purchased a bolt kit for the A Arms but it did not include the studs that attach to the frame so alignment can be done.  I dug out the old bolts and asked my buddy if I could use his bead blaster.  Since I was going to be doing that, I also took a few other items that I had planned on blasting.  As usual, it is always amazing what a great job a blaster will do.




I pressed the studs in place by using a spacer and a nut.  When we disassembled the suspension, we taped the alignment shims together and marked where they went.  I had new shims and installed the appropriate amount so that the alignment should at least be close.



To install the lower A Arm, I used my jack to hold it in place until I could get the bolts started.  Once I had both A Arms installed, I installed the ball joints and the rubber bump stop.  Tomorrow I plan on installing the springs and the rest of the front suspension.  Hopefully all goes well.





Wasted a morning trying to install one of the front springs.  We removed the springs by using a long threaded rod with a bolt on top and a plate on the bottom.  The rod bent as stress was placed on it.  However, there was no way to bend the rod to make it work to install the spring.  I borrowed my neighbor’s spring depressor.  Even with the spring depressed, I could not get it to seat both at the top and the bottom at the same time.  I finally decided I needed another set of hands so my son and I will try to put them in this weekend.





This afternoon I decided to do some painting of parts.  First up were the horns and the water neck I had bead blasted yesterday.  I had removed the starter prior to taking the motor to the engine guy.  It was filthy and needed some attention.  After cleaning it, I sanded off the end and then painted it silver.  Once it has dried completely, I will mask the newly painted area off and paint the black part of the starter.  I also finished cleaning up the steering box that my grandson Garrett had pressure washed.  Fresh paint made it look much better.



Earlier I mentioned that my buddy let me use his bead blaster cabinet.  I hate borrowing things from people so I checked Craigslist for a used blaster cabinet.  I found one very similar to my buddie’s.  The guy I bought it from had a neat shop with lathes and about any other metal working machines you could think of.  He and his son drag race a Neon SRT.  557HP to the wheels and 10.22 quarter!!!  Very fast car and well done.  After getting the cabinet home, I spent an entire afternoon cleaning it up, making room for it and cleaning out one of my toolboxes that will be going to my son.  Notice that it already came with a full supply of stickers!!



Speaking of said son, he arrived Saturday morning to complete the repair on the birdcage.  First thing I did was cover my newly powdercoated frame to keep it clean.  Matt then spent the rest of the day fabricating and welding in the pieces for the repair.  Just one look at the before and after pictures below shows how great a job he did.



While he was busy, I worked on the lower part of the spare tire carrier.  Cleaned up the rust on the support beams and then painted it.  I then washed the upper spare tire carrier part but decided I needed to replace it.  Parts of it were broken off and it had a pretty substantial crack in it.  I will hang on to it to keep with the car’s other original pieces.





Next up was sanding down the rocker channels on both sides.  These are the pieces of steel under the door sill and above the frame.  There was surface rust on both sides with the rearmost part of the left one having been repaired by my son.  I used a variety of wheels on my drills and they cleaned up nicely.  As you can see, on the left side, some of the supports for the rocker panel need to be replaced which we are planning on doing tomorrow.  Once all the repairs are complete, I will coat these area with POR 15.  This was a very dirty job as most of the rust landed on me!!  I also prepared the other reinforcement plates for the POR coating.




Next up was removing the rusty radiator support.  First I had to remove all of the ground straps along with the voltage regulator and the horn relay switch.  I also made note of the only shim that was used on the left side  Once the radiator support is out of the way, the headlight motors are exposed.  I will be cleaning up the wiring here and removing the surface rust on the steel support under the nose of the car to prep it for POR 15.





My son will be closing on his new house on August 24th and moving in on September 7th.  The push is on to complete all of the jobs that may require his help during the next couple weeks so he can concentrate on moving in.  Already, he has been looking for a lift.  Since his garage has 10’6″ ceilings, he will have to get a shorter lift than mine.  When he worked for Red Bull, they used a lift like this.  They are still in the process of selling off things from shutting down the team.  Matt is going to see if they still have any of these lifts left.



The welding is complete.  We had to replace two of the rocker panel supports and were concerned about how difficult they might be to remove.  Turns out they easily came off and Matt soon had the replacements welded in.  The last remaining bit of welding was to weld in a plate for the #3 body mount on the passenger side where the hole was somewhat enlarged due to rust.




After lunch, we moved on to installing the front springs.  We foundered for awhile until we decided to read the shop manual. Once we saw how the factory recommended installing the springs, we soon had them in.  We put a plate on the bottom of the lower a arm and placed one set of hooks about six coils up.  We then pulled the spring down to the lower a arm.  Once it was compressed enough, we pushed it into the upper perch.  With the help of a pry bar, we soon had it seated properly.  We then use a ratchet strap to pull the lower a arm up so we could seat the upper ball joint.   As is usual in these situations, we did the second one in about 15 minutes.



Next we installed the crossmember for the rear end.  We used a jack to raise the rear end into place and the mounted it to the crossmember and the frame support.





Since we now had added considerable weight to the rear, we installed the steering box and the tie rods to add some weight to the front.  Our concern here was the frame teeter tottering off the jack supports.





Having done that, we installed the rear trailing arms.  We had noted the number of shims when we took the arms off and installed the correct shims so we would at least have the alignment close.  As our work day was ending, we installed the rear leaf spring.  To hold it in place, we hooked a strap on each end and pulled it up against the mount.



Had some running around to do early this morning.  First priority in the garage was cleaning up from the weekend’s thrash.  As I was putting tools away, I kept seeing parts sitting around that needed to be painted before they became dirty again or rust began to form after beadblasting.  Besides they were in the way.  The rear muffler hangers needed to be replaced and the new ones were bare metal.  Masked off the rubber and used a self etching primer on them.  Next up was the plate for the bellhousing.  I painted it with a high temp silver paint.  I also painted the clutch arm.  I had previously painted the end cap on the starter.  That paint had now dried sufficiently so I could paint the black body of the starter.



My car came with a console with the power window switches.  One of the previous owners was going to install power windows and had even purchased a wiring harness, which I have.  However, I have decided to keep the crank windows.  I found a console without the power window switches which needed to be painted and to have the aluminum trim replaced.  The new transmission came with a five speed shifter plate which I will be installing as well.  The old aluminum plate came off hard as the glue was really strong.  Took me about 45 minutes to get it off and to remove the glue.  Once I had everything cleaned up, I masked off the chrome areas and painted it dark blue to match the interior.  Later, I hit it with a clear coat as well.  Tomorrow I will remove the masking tape and replace the aluminum plate, the ash tray cover and the shifter plate.  I will be selling the console with the window switches eventually.



The spare wheel had a Firestone whitewall 6.70-15 tire that was dated 1961!!  It was well worn with lots of weather checking so I ordered a repo tire.  The spare rim had some surface rust on the front and lots on the back when I took it to the sandblasters with the frame.  They made it look like new.  Today I had the tire mounted to the rim.  Interesting to see in the photo below that the repo tire tread width is about the same as a mini spare from a S-10 pickup!!


1 Comment

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