Sunday, November 3, 2013

Post Completion Modifications

Since declaring the "Ugly Duckling" Corvette project complete I've been able to get a little run time behind the wheel.  As a result I've made a few modifications worth sharing.  Specifically:

I had an engine oil leak that took months to find.  It was at the front of the engine but only leaked at highway speeds.  Oil was everywhere.  Locating the leak was near impossible.  I changed out valve cover gaskets, replaced the fuel pump, replaced the oil pan gasket, doped up the NPT plug located just behind the water pump (see picture), tightened fittings, etc, etc, etc.  No luck.  Then I read about a pretty cool technique where you apply baby powder to the dry engine, take it for a spin, then look for the source of the leak.  Check out this picture.  Do you see it?  It's right behind the water pump at the top of the timing cover.

To get at the timing chain gasket I had to remove the radiator fan, water pump, starter, oil pan, harmonic balance and drop the tie-rods.  Shaw City Engines should be extremely embarrassed over the lack of workmanship here.  They totally missed 2 bolt holes on the gasket. Click on the photo for a better look.

The good news is it's all back together and there's not a drop of oil anywhere.

We had a date correct 4:11 rear differential installed but it was geared way too low for anything but stop light to stop light driving.  Out on the highway the engine was screaming at 70 MPH.  It just wasn't practical for driving to out of town car shows or events.  The 4:11 was removed and put on the shelf (shown).  I'll keep this rear end since it's correct for our fuelie but it will most likely spend the rest of it's life on the shelf.  

In it's place I installed a period correct fresh 3:36 differential.  This unit has very few miles on it, has the original finish, and it even has it's original red plastic tag warning to only use limited slip differential oil.  What a difference it made on the highway.  I'd be comfortable driving this car down the highway for extended periods with no concerns.  It's not as "neck snapping" as the 4:11 but still provides nice low end pull and is fun to drive.  This is a much better choice for weekend driving.

There was a lot of work done on the dash instruments but in the end they were tired and showed their age (50 years old).  The speedometer was slow, the tachometer had a little wobble and the other gages were just... dull.  I pulled the instrument cluster out and freshened everything up.

The first thing I did was replace all of the dash bulbs with LED's. The original filament bulbs were yellow and very dim. An outfit called White Gauges has replacements and they are beautiful.  The dash is now bright and the light is white.  At $5 a bulb these are pricey but well worth the cost.

Here is a video I sent to Dennis K that I thought you might like to see.  Check out the White Gauges.

But the really cool thing about the gauges are the replacement gauges I found.  These gauges came out of a 1963 fuelie that was wrecked in 1965 with only 13,225 miles on them.  The owner pulled the gauge cluster out of the car then shelved it for 48 years.  Face down I might add.
There are several discussions on the NCR web page about the proper shade of the tachometer orange/red line.  These colors were very susceptible to fading and the general consensus is that nobody really knows what they looked like back in 63.  Well here it is folks, take a peak.  These colors are bright and original.  Best of all everything works flawlessly and operates as new.  This was a really great find and I am very pleased with the results.

What are the chances?  I went to a local Friday night gathering a few weeks ago and look what parked next to me.  Ours is on the left.  The other one was originally a fuelie but someone converted to a 350 years ago.  It, like ours, has period modifications and he drives it often.  It was fun seeing them side-by-side.  Turns out there are 2 more of these in town.  Hopefully I'll be able to get a picture of all 4 some day.

Well, that's it.  I know of a few more changes but don't expect weekly updates.  I'll post relevant information when changes are made.

Thanks for watching.