Sunday, February 27, 2011

B Pillar Fiberglass Restoration

Last year when we repaired the B pillars we had to remove the fiberglass that covered the pillars.  It's time to reinstall those covers.

The drivers side cover was tabbed in place (two black tabs), riveted at the drip rail shoe, then fiberglass was applied after feathering all the joints.

I didn't like the gap between the top of the panel and the drip rail shoe so I decided to add a little more length to the panel.  Our preference is to sandwich all fiberglass repairs.  Because the panel is already fiberglassed into place I had to wedge open the gap at the top of the panel and place fiberglass matting on the backside.  Duct tape was strategically placed to capture all the excess fiberglass resin run-off.   

The back side was fully wetted with resin then fiberglass matting was put on the front side to complete the sandwich repair.  The duct tape worked great.  You can see the excess resin collecting on the paper towel at the bottom of the photo.

Here is a close up of the repair.  Remember that our fiberglass is clear so even though you see rivet holes the holes are long gone.

A tongue depressor and duct tape were used to make the resin conform to the drip rail shoe.

After 24 hours the duct tape was removed.  This picture was taken just before the fiberglass was trimmed to fit.

Double click on the picture to see how much length was actually added to the panel.  It's about an 1/8" overall but it matched the shoe very nicely.  This overall repair is extremely solid.  Just prior to painting this area the pop-rivets shown will be replaced with flush mount countersunk rivets and bonding agent will be applied along the panel and the car skin.  The same will be required for the passenger side.  

The next post should be about the side exhaust.

Thanks for watching.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Wheels, Tires and Alignment

The Uni-Royal Tiger Paw tires we had on the car were too large.  Although this picture of the left front wheel well shows clearance, we did have clearance issues with the front sway bar, frame, rear leaf spring and the rear wheel wells.

Before we mounted tires on our 15X7 Torq-Thrust D wheels we dry fit them on the car taking careful measurements at several locations.  We finally decided on 225-60-15 BF Goodrich tires because they are the exact diameter as the stock tires sold in 1963 and they are as wide as possible without having clearance issues.

In order to verify proper clearance both the front and rear axles had to be aligned.  This preliminary alignment was done using a level for the camber and a length of string for the toe.  The wheel dollies worked super nice during this process since they allow us to put the full weight of the car on the tires while allowing the tires to move during adjustment.

This is the left rear tire before the toe was adjusted.  On the left side of this picture the string and the tire should be touching.

After moving several shims we ended up with an alignment that's certainly good enough for us to drive the car to the alignment shop without tearing up the new tires.  Now we can check clearances.

This is a full right hand turn on the left front tire.  There are no issues with the sway bar.

This is the front right tire in a full right hand turn viewed from the rear.  As you can see we are very close to the frame but not touching.  The next size up would have caused issues.

There are no issues with any of the wheel wells.

The rear sway bar and the leaf spring clear the tires and wheels without issue.

And what about that potential clearance issue on the front fender?  No problem now.

I think the tires and wheels look great and I think we need to see them in action.  Check out the short video below.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Tires, Valance and B Pillars

The votes are in and a full matching set of tires have been ordered.  An exhaustive search of the Internet was performed to make sure we bought the widest tire possible without creating clearance issues.  We ended up with 225-60-15 BF Goodrich tires with raised white letters.  They have a good classic profile and the tread design is appropriate for our 63 Corvette.  The set is on order and we expect them in a few days.

Ty has been rebuilding our rear valance, the piece that fits under the rear bumpers.  The exhaust holes are being blocked off because we don't need them with side exhaust.  There are also  missing tabs and weak spots that are being corrected.  Here are a couple photos of this in process effort.

When we rebuilt the B pillars last year we has to remove the fiberglass panels that covered the pillars.  We are now reinstalling these panels.

The fiberglass panel was riveted into place and duct tape was used to protect the drip rail shoe. 

Double click on the photo to see how the fiberglass matches the shoe.

Watch for our new Torq-Thrust D wheels and BF Goodrich tires.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

First Test Drive

40 year old tires, soft brakes, and bungee cords to hold the doors shut.  What the heck.  Let's go for a ride!

... great!  It ran great!  The brakes need bleeding and we already adjusted the idle.  The lack of power steering won't be an issue either.  The tires really need to be replaced before we Fred Flintstone this thing around the block again.  And speaking of tires, don't forget to use the poll in the upper right to help us decide what to purchase.

Thanks for watching!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Wheels and Tires - I Need Your Thoughts

OK...  I need your advice.

A set of 15X7 American Torq-Thrust D wheels have been purchased as shown (thanks Les for your input).  Now it's time for tires.  Do we want a full matching set of tires or should we rake the car by running smaller tires up front?  All tires will be wider than stock, we're talking about one size difference in height.  Use the poll on the right to cast your vote.  Use the comment section below to offer thoughts.  Tires will be purchased within the next 10 days.  Thanks.

As long as we're talking wheels and tires, I found a web page that has some outrageous pictures of old 'Gasser" Corvette race cars from the 50's and 60's.  Check them out here: