Saturday, July 31, 2010

Half Shafts

These 2 1/2" diameter half shafts were purchased recently on E-bay and are correct for our 63 Corvette. These half shafts are solid but the parts are rusted tight. It took one full weekend to remove one set of universal joints from one half shaft. Aghh... The shafts soaked in carburetor cleaner during the day and they spent the night soaking in penetrating oil. It took hours of fiddling just to remove the snap rings. They were rusted solid in their seats, none came out whole, all were removed in pieces. Hours were also spent trying to remove the caps. I even bought a hydraulic press and it didn't work. The solution? A bigger hammer. Specifically, a sledge hammer and the willingness to swing it like a blacksmith.
It also took blood, sweat, and tears.
The parts were sand blasted then prepped for paint. Strips of photo paper were inserted where the bearing caps go to keep these areas from being painted.
A little primer followed by cast iron colored paint and they look like new.
More blood, sweat and tears were needed to install the new universal joints. I even broke my vice in the process. Compare this photo to the first photo.
And here they are in their full glory.
Next is our trip to Sturgis with Max and Riva H. When I return I'll refurbish the rear end. I am sure that thing will require blood and bruises. Stay tuned.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Drive Line Abnormalities

Just so you know, not everything has gone exactly as planned with this build and the drive line is a perfect example. It's a little confusing but I'll try to explain. It starts with the transmission yoke. I recently bought this original 1963 yoke and it only needed a little refreshing. I removed about 3 thousandths of an inch of rust from the outer sleeve using my bench top metal lathe.
The yoke was then media blasted, painted, then installed in the transmission. It fits perfectly.
I pulled the 1963 drive shaft off the shelf, removed the universal joints, then media blasted everything.
The drive shaft was primered and painted as shown. It turned out very nice.
The yoke on the 1975 rear end was cleaned up and prepared for the drive shaft. If you'll remember we install the 1975 rear end because we didn't have the correct half shafts for the 1963 rear end.
I then went to Napa to purchase new universal joints. I took one of the old ones with me to verify size. Unfortunately, the Napa catalogue specified a smaller universal joint than the one I had. It turns out that my 1963 drive shaft is actually for a 1968-70 TurboHydramatic (automatic) transmission. I returned home and immediately checked the yoke on the 1963 rear end (shown below) and it correctly accepts the smaller universal joint for a manual transmission. I also checked the yoke I just installed on the 4 speed tranny and it also takes the correct smaller universal joint. The 1975 rear end and the refurbished drive shaft are not correct for our 4 speed transmission.
Fortunately, I now have the correct half shafts (shown below) and they fit the 1963 rear end (shown above). To correct all the drive line issues I'll have to find a 1963 drive shaft, clean and refurbish the 1963 rear end and half shafts, then swap everything out. That won't be a problem, it's a piece of cake, this is just a hobby.
And for those of you that may be asking why I had a 1968-70 drive shaft for a TurboHydramatic transmission, you'll remember that an automatic had been installed in our Corvette years ago. Remember the hole in the passenger side floor board? Refresh your memory here: Thanks for watching.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

327 - First Attempt to Roll the Motor

Ty and I decided to roll the motor for the first time with the starter today. Before using the starter we wanted to turn the motor by hand to make sure it turned freely through all 4 strokes. We were not able to do that by hand so we removed all the pulleys to gain access to the harmonic balance. We applied leverage to the harmonic balance and successfully turned the motor over several times.

As a note, previous pictures of the idler pulley were shown with it mounted incorrectly. This picture is correct.

A new bell housing inspection cover was installed along with...

a new starter. It only required one shim.

All the spark plugs were removed and oil was added to the cylinders. This video captures the first roll of the motor. This is a video so be sure to push the play button (triangle).

This is the first step in many before we actually start the motor. This was fun and it was successful.
Not photographed was the removal and re-installation of the oil pan. Because the pick-up tube is susceptible to falling off the oil pump, several publications recommend tack welding the pick-up tube to the pump. We took their advice.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Did You Know?

The day after Cool Desert Nights the body was removed from the frame and put back on the tall body dolly. This dolly will allow us to work inside the fender wells, the drive shaft tunnel, and inside the engine compartment. Tedious alignment is required where the body meets the headlight assemblies and the front of the hood. The tall dolly will be very helpful when we do this work. The 340 and 360 hp solid lifter engines red line so high that the engineers had to design a special large diameter pulley to keep the alternator from over revving. The large pulley is crazy huge and heavy.
The same 2 solid lifter engines also had an exclusive idler arm as shown. Most of these idler arms were removed by owners when the bearings failed from either high rev's or over tightening of the belt. Original idler arms are rare. Ours is original.
In 1963 327 solid lifter engines were not offered with air conditioning. Consequently, the exhaust manifold with the front AC bracket (the one I am holding) is not correct for our engine. A correct manifold was recently found on E-bay and is now installed.
Gerri and I head for Wisconsin soon, followed by a trip to Sturgis with Max H. and his wife Reva. This is a forewarning that work on the Corvette will be slow for the next month or so. Keep checking back and, yes, I'll post some Sturgis pictures when we return.