I have made some good progress scraping coating of the underside of the car and found that some areas are still very nice and others have rust issues. The “repairs” I’ve found are questionable at times…. In the left rear wheel well I saw some patch panels which on further inspection were not welded in but held in place with wood screws and bondo. The good part is that this was easily removed and I found that the rockers are in great shape.
I redrilled the rear axle from 4 to 5 lugs using the template I had laser cut out of steel plate earlier. First I ground off 1 stud so I could mount the template. The template has only 3 holes for studs since the 4th one (now ground flat) interferes with one of the new stud holes. The remaining material of the ground of stud is left in place, the back part is ground away slightly to make room for the new stud collar.. Next thing was to drill the pilot holes with a 3mm drill bit and press out the remaining 3 studs. Now the large holes could be drilled at the required size for the new studs. After pressing in the new studs I needed to drill the drums for the new 5 bolt pattern again using the template. Another job done….just need to measure it all up and get center rings for the front and rear now so the wheels will be hub centered.
Since I didn’t know if the motor was a running one I tested it earlier and started it using brake cleaner. This ensured me it would run but gave me no info on the carb. I had bought a rebuild kit for the carb (1 barrel Rochester model “B” with automatic choke) long time ago so now it was time to use it. I read up about how it functions and checked some rebuild vids on Youtube before starting. This is actually a very clever engineered piece, I like learning how these things work. The choke was not connected when I got the car so I had to find out how it should work and be hooked up. On the exhaust is a closed chamber called the choke stove. A line comes from the top of the carb (underneath the air filter) to supply clean air to the stove. From the stove a line runs to the choke where the heated air is sucked past the bi-metal choke spring that actuates the choke blade. In the cars past someone had modified the exhaust and connected a line from there to the choke which resulted in a lot of soot in the choke chamber. With this they also took out the exhaust valve which should create a hot spot in the intake during cold start-up for fuel atomization. I will close those holes in the exhaust manifold and do without this valve since I don’t have the parts and they wouldn’t fit anyways after they modified it. After disassembling the carburator I cleaned it thoroughly using carb cleaner and slowly rebuild it with the new parts. I mounted it back to the manifold and got a choke stove repair kit while I was in Vegas for SEMA last November. Also put on the air filter just for looks.
I got back to scraping the coating from the underside but bought me a (used) heat gun which made a huge difference. By heating the coating a bit it comes off much easier but it’s still a crappy job. Working above your head in a small space in impossible positions with dirt falling all over you is no fun. This must be the worst job on the car…..next time I’ll buy a rotisserie, I’m getting too old for this shit.
After taking out the fuel tank, tank straps and filler neck I started cleaning them up, again scraping off a lot of coating and then some more sanding and cleaning. I sprayed the outside with a rust inhibitor/converter, brush painted and later coated them with under body coating. Before the last coating I put some new tank to body gaskets. To get out the loose rust inside the tank I put in some marbles and shook it for a while. After that took out the dirt with a vacuum cleaner and put in some oil to coat the inside of the tank until it will be used again. The fuel sender and pick-up didn’t look good and the O-ring that should seal it was completely wasted, also the hose between the tank and filler neck was almost gone. To prevent troubles later I ordered these parts new.
After returning from SEMA I did some jobs the Camaro and didn’t have time to work on the Nova…..I’m afraid progress will be slow again during the winter but I will try to do whatever I can.
You can reach me by e-mail at: pro-touring @ hotmail .com