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1980 frame off build thread (long)

8400 Views 41 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  goldhunter_2
ok I have several Question threads and I'll try to keep them separate form this one but someone mentioned I should start a build thread a while back so here goes nothing :woowoo:

When I was young my dad bought me a 1964 C2 with a hard and soft top, 327 4 speed red with white interior it was absolutely perfect and the only car I have ever "babied" but while my cousin was visiting she warped his 1965 mustang around a telephone pole shortly after that he made me sell the vette :crybaby: I have always wanted another one but could never afford it and raising two kids by my self there always seemed to be other more important things to spend money on as I am sure some of you will agree.

years past as a 2nd car I bought my oldest son a Porsche 944 (fairly cheap) as a upgrade form his jeep anyway he hit a piece of truck tire on the highway one night the insurance company totaled it , so he wanted me to look for a corvette but was unable to find a decent one for the cash amount we had so I rebuilt his Porsche right about the time I finished I saw a local add for a 1980 corvette project , the pictures looked much better then in person but his asking price was cheap so I went and looked I could see it was very rough and missing pretty much everything that could be striped and sold, I made him a much lower offer and figure he would turn it down but before I could leave he countered with $500 and he get me the tittle well I actual had the $500 and it may not be a show car but its a start and i could do it one piece at a time like the old johnny cash song :)

Ok lets see a few pictures. this first one is the picture in the for sale add looks good for there..hahaha

ok that's enough candy coating now lets see whats really there :eek2:
Inside rear

empty engine compartment not even a brake booster

cracked front drivers fender

broke off fiberglass under rocker panel

Drivers side floor pan (the better of the two!)
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ok next I started to pull it apart for a frame off build. The body mount bracket was competently rusted away behind the passengers seat and most of the others had to be cut out, boy was that fun :vomitbuddy: I am used to using a BFH or a cutting torch doing that little cutoff wheel really tried the one nerve I have left.

By this time I had bought a Haynes manual , it really wasn't any help at all to me .

Ok everything is cut loose , have you ever noticed when other people need help they say just call when you need something but then can't be found :wtf: so being my normal self always in a rush I wasn't going to wait I'll do it my self!
I moved the engine hoist as close to center as I could and used some ratchet straps since the passenger side rear door are was soft I hooked the rear fender wheel (wrong thing you'll see) well all is good for the first inch or so then it stops, I checked all the bolts nothing is hang so I tried jacking it up more and lifted the whole frame with it then POP remember the hook on the rear fender wheel yeps that was it:doh: apparently I forgot to undue the parking brake cable and this picture show what happened

here some more pictures, you can see the body hanging and that broken fender wheel is just barely noticeable ...hahaha

other side car body hanging

front hanging body

ok the tires only hold air for about 15 minutes so we need to roll the chassis out form underneath there into the driveway for now

ok lets show a few more pictures around the frame kind for a before type picture thing.

Notice the body bolt wouldn't come out and had to be cut off at the head

rear end

actual taking pictures of all the old frame has been helpful for reference when I am trying to remember where everything goes

Next, the front impact bumper support bar looks like it had hit a speed bump or something it was torn and bent in ......Final something I can use my Torch and BFH on :rofl: I heated red hot and adjusted its attitude with the BFH then welded it back up . it will not win and shows but should work for a daily driver car
before picture:

after picture:
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opps ..........I am getting ahead of myself here we gotta do something with this hanging body taking up the whole garage so lets build us a rolling cart , after a trip to harbor freight for some wheels ,home depot for 2x4s I already had screws and some Z-spar varnish and this is what i came up with. Now to be perfectly honest I made another mistake here, the way I built the cart I could not roll it under the body because the lower brace was hitting the legs of the engine stand so I had to move that brace up about 8" then it worked

and here you can see the body on the rolling cart I actual just pushed it over to the side to be out of the way

Ok lets starting taking stuff apart :)

rear end trailing arms the bolts came lose with impact gun but would not come out the shims where stuck but they came out with some pursuance and a 3' screwdriver but the bolts did not so I had to cut them with a reciprocating saw . then I started to disassemble the trailing arms you'll notice in the one picture I made a homemade puller that i actual bend on one but it did work.

here you can see I am getting rid of some of those factory rivets

ok moving right along here you see the bare rusty frame but it appears in decent shape beside the surface rust . I have leg and back problems and it takes me awhile to get stuff done I also have to find ways to do stuff sometimes that mite seem like a waste of time to others but it is what it is. I used the engine hoist to lift the frame and sit it on a old jetski trailer that I can tow with the lawnmower

once the frame was in the air at i height I could adjust to I used the engine hoist to hold the rear chunck and lower it out (most people could probably lift it out by hand easily )
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you this seems to be progressing SO SO SO much faster when I am typing it out then it really took me to do it :rofl:

ok one thing I do have is a nice big yard, well for here in the city anyway. I don't have any fancy sanding or painting booths no rack to spin the frame around on but I do have some good ******* creative skills to make stuff work :thumbsup3: so this is what I did I put a chain in one tree and hooked a 1.5 ton chain in another it has a spinning hook on the chain, then I back the trailer with the frame into position hooked up the chains and tightened up until I could drive the trailer out form under it . This worked pretty good both to sand blast and paint as I could spin the frame over with very little physical effort . I also hung two chains upper and lower form two other trees and used bungee cord hooks to hang numors vette parts making basically a clothes line.
Now in theory this should all be good right, wrong, remember I have some physical issue so I can only do so much at any given time then have to heal up for a few days on top of that I live in Fl where it likes to rain and it seemed to rain every time I was almost fished sandblast parts :doh: which means I had to keep starting over and over and over and over again . FINIAL I finished an it wasn't raining yet by then the pain was so bad I could barley stand and was seeing two or three of everything but I was at least going to try to shot the primer so I rushed (mistake) to blow off the sand dust then sprayed cleaner and quickly mixed the two part epoxy and sprayed everything:woowoo: it was there for probably a week o so before I could get back outside and I was glad to see the primer sealed it and there was no rust even though it rained later that night and several others .
I forgot to mention I had been looking up and ordering stuff including the two part 2k cremaic epoxy primer kit form eastwood. I wanted to do a red frame but this was a $100 cheaper so I now have a black frame (fish will be The first kit arrive damaged but fed ex is always rough on stuff , eastwood quickly shipped a replacement kit out and a return label for the first kit. The primer had good coverage and durability so I liked that as for the 2k ceramic gloss black well I would not order it again it only covered about 3/4 of the frame parts with a super thing layer which does not seem very durable IMHO

ok few more pictures

Now I swear I had pictures of the primed and painted frame and parts but the pictures seem to have run off if I find them later I will update this ,sorry

Now at this point know some of you are say yep this guy is the problem neighbor , you be WRONG the local LEO make fairly regular visits to my neighbors house depending on the reason they even pull out and park in my yard so they can cover both side of there house.

that's enough typing for now more later
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Enjoyed your post. You are certainly inventive!
what are you planning for engine and transmission? I ask, because I have a complete L48 engine and TH350 from my 81..sorry, brain misfire.. it an L81
thanks charleyahrens still a little more typing to go before I have to go back to work on it

Fish ,
hold on just hold on I am getting to it :thumbsup3:
It is going to cost you at least 15k even doing all the work yourself to do that car. Take a nice vacation and drive one of these babies home, you will be much happier:
but you won t have the satisfaction of building it yourself
ok I know I had more pictures somewhere :ban:

here is the primed frame

painted frame

painted parts

ok now I am used to picking parts here and there planing for a build , I got a shoe string budget except the string always seems to be on fire so I gotta plan ahead .
I wanted side pipes problem was I can't afford new side pipes I watch the state wide advertisements for parts and found a guy over on the other coast who had a st of hooker side pipes they need a little cleaning and we couldn't figure out how to ship them so I drove over and got them for $150 the down side is there for a regular puny 350 so I'll have to change the header flange and stretch the center pipes but that will be another post .
Next lets make FISH happy and talk about the motor. I used to play with building airboat engine allot and swap some lycoming parts for a LS1 motor that came out of a 1998 corvette but there is always a down side the guy had already tossed all the brackets for ac,power steering alt since he I wouldn't use on a airboat so I gotta buy all that still but I am still happy to have that ls1 motor for my vette. Next I wanted one of those leuxes speed transmissions but used they where still 2200 plus shipping that way about my budget so I had to look at something else the car originally had a 4 speed but because of personal physical issue I require a automatic I have had many 700R's and had problems so it wasn't on the top of my list next I looked at a 200R4 I trade more parts for this the guy said it was out of a running car and had it covered and nicely stored in his shop , I like to rebuild to a stage III and maybe change the gears even more but probably be later . I picked the 200R4 for a couple of reasons first is the physical size is the same a turbo350 so it should fit without any modification also the gear ratio first gear is 2.95 and OD is 0.67 next with the BOP bolt pattern it will bolt right up to my LS1

ok some pictures
side pipe

headers ,LS1, 200R4

Ok that sold me the side pipes was awesome we talked for a hour or two answering question showed me his 63 vette and a picture when these headers where on there and he had a 79 he is restoring as well. The guy didn't have the T-bolts that hold the header to the car so I made some

next lets talk about some of the parts I have gotten installed or still waiting for . some have been good while others where disappointing
I bought six grease-able U-joints local much cheaper enough said . next I bought a adjustable steel plate for conversion of the LS1 motor to old style sbc engine brackets . I probably could have made these but by the time I bought steel plate it was just cheaper to order them online at ebay form cutthoart 4x4 I just painted mine, then of course I have a hard sbc engine mounts , wheel bearing kits which I am still waiting for should be here by Friday I hope. I bought four monre shocks for 80 something buck shipped to me , new trailing arm bolt kit form ecklers , upper an lower ball joints I have probably left out some stuff but all that some far I have been happy with.
next I ordered some 10.2mm ls1 sparkplug wire online good price but bad attitude seller I'm still waiting on them .
Next I order a "complete poly bushing kit" for KJM seem like nice people but not so happy with the "complete" part of the kit as it doesn't have the sway bushing , body bushing , front or rear bump stops and a few other little things most everything else fit good just press it in and that was it but the differential carrier bushing where marked for my car but the diameter was about 6-7mm to much I had to turn them down in the lathe to make them fit

a picture

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It is going to cost you at least 15k even doing all the work yourself to do that car. Take a nice vacation and drive one of these babies home, you will be much happier:

you mite be right but I can pay for it one small part at a time and I know its done right or at least where I am happy with it. plus I like doing stuff
hey, the motor is the "heart" of the beast! looking good so far.. anybody can buy a Corvette already built, only a few can build their own
this old Johnny cash song is my inspiration
hey, the motor is the "heart" of the beast! looking good so far.. anybody can buy a Corvette already built, only a few can build their own
Yea, but look at that stunning Red L82 with only 53k on it.
I woud buy it myself if I did not already own 5 cars.
this post is awesome! showing your progress piece by piece with pictures is a definite help for me personally. you just can't google corvette and get in depth pictures like these! not to mention you explain what each piece is and where it came from. I think your doing a great job and just like Johnny Cash built his "One piece at a time!" lol keep up the good work I can't wait to see it finished.
thanks .

ya I am a picture person myself , I don't always seem to understand or communicate with words the best and I'm even worse at typing them out but pictures show what is what
thanks .

ya I am a picture person myself , I don't always seem to understand or communicate with words the best and I'm even worse at typing them out but pictures show what is what
Love what you are doing looking forward to seeing more pictures.
want to do same one day i hope .
u seem very smart person ,do u work as well ,i wouldnt have even got this far in the time u have had.
You're a great inspiration goldhunter. I've had my '80 for a long time and have done a lot of work to it, but nothing to the extent of what you're doing. I'm really enjoying the photo aspect of your posts. Keep up the good work! :thumbsup3:
75 targa,
the picture post thing makes it seem like I have being doing this fast but not really it just finally got around to doing a thread and have been taken pictures as I go

well some times I question weather this is a "want to" project or a "have to" project If I could have afforded a nice driver vette it probably would have bugged me know all the little things that could be fixed but I probably would have just driven it and let it go at that ........... but when you start with a pile of parts you ain't got much choice but to rebuild it.

GO AHEAD AND START YOURS I'm just about ready to need some more motivation my self
Ok today a few more parts arrived like my 10.2mm sparkplug wires for the LS1 motor and there red to match the intended paint :)

some wheel bearing kits which means I can start rebuilding the trailing arms now

I also drove down south today and meet a guy parting a vette that had been hit in drivers door. he had a gas tank but wanted more then I thought a used one was worth he said his plans are to pull the motor and tranny this week (there sold) and I asked about the fiberglass mono spring but he has a buddy buying the suspension. Next I asked about the part of the bird cage on the passengers side I need but we agreed it was just to much labor cost for him to cut it out, but I told him to think about a cheap price and if its cheap enough I'll just come back an take the whole damaged bird cage home and cut it off my self , he put my number in his phone so we'll see what happens.

Well I had hope to either swap that LS1 throttle body I have or at least buy the use gas tank cheap but I'm probably better off spending a little more and ordering a new one. The day wasn't a complete loss though I bought the four used calipers off this vette they look bad out side but where working, I figured I would sand blast then and either paint or powder-coat them then get some rebuild kits since I'll have them apart .

here is the before picture

ok next I got him to throw in a 160mph speedo since I sure that the 85mph I have just will not due :bump2: I actual set this on the self out of the way so I don't break it :rofl:
here is a picture

Now I can already hear my ears ring some of ya'll are fussing saying I should not have bought used calipers , well I bought four calipers and a speedo for $100 even it may not be the best deal ever but it isn't the worst either and I'm happy. I figure I can afford to buy these calipers and the rebuild kits NOW where is if I wanted to buy new/manufactured I would have to pay a CORE charge plus the buy the calipers since I never had any and the simple truth is I couldn't have afforded to do that for awhile my credit cards are about done for awhile as it is :crybaby:

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