More interior work

New parking brake cover in place and shift knob and button kit installed.

Time to remove the carpet from the old wallboard backing and install it on new correct backing boards.

New backing board test fitted. The boards are made from pressed wood (?) fibre and fairly rugged.

In my case the backing board mounting holes were a bit off on the passenger side. I needed to punch new holes in all three locations. I had earlier replaced the plastic inserts that receive the board screws.

I used this heavy duty Lepage contact cement to attach the old carpet to the new panels. Once stuck onto the backing I put weights on the backing to keep on some pressure to help the glue to stick.

The backing boards are a little below the groves in the console and parking brake cover. The carpet is mounted a little above the backing boards and the extra carpet is tucked in the groves. The gaps in the carpet are hidden by the seat. A new carpet set would fit nicer I would hope, but that’s down the road a bit.

Time to get the seats back in. I prefer to be a little less reclined when driving so I fashioned blocks from square steel tubing. They are 1″ square with holes to take longer mounting bolts. I may increase them to 2″. If I do I’ll need to fashion wedges for the front mounting points so as not to bend the seat tracks.

Drivers seat back in place. Seems OK, but driving will be the final test for the lift blocks.

I won’t be putting the right side carpet panel and seat in place until I get an antenna extension cable that’s on order. I can only access the radio antenna connection with the seat and panel removed.

Next I’ll be bleeding the front brakes and getting the engine ready for starting.

Radio and wiring

I pulled the radio in hopes of finding a schematic diagram and happily one was still attached and readable. I attached an old speaker and an antenna to test it out. If it didn’t test out I would replace it. It is a Craig cassette which really fits the period. Fortunately it works fine. I powered the radio for the test using and old radio tube and power supply unit. It can supply 6 or 12 volts which is very handy for bench work. You can probably find them on local buy and sell sites.

The existing connections were all twisted wires with solder and wrapped in electrical tape. Works fine, but I’d rather a cleaner look.

Using the radio schematic I re-did all the connections and added labels for future reference.

One hitch in the works was power for the radio memory. Not something necessary with the period push button radios. I don’t like to leave the battery connected when the car isn’t in use, which is a lot of the time, so I installed a battery disconnect switch. The problem is that once the battery is disconnected the radio looses its memory. To overcome this I have added a battery disconnect bypass with a 7.5 amp fuse. With the ignition off the power point(lighter) is alive. So I attached the memory lead to the power point lead. Now it will get power when the battery is disconnected and if a short happens the bypass fuse will blow quickly

Radio back in place. Now I can move along with the replacement of the console. I’m heading out today to see if I can find some good music cassettes from the local thrift shop. 70’s music is OK by me 🙂

Trim adhesive

Using Permatex or 3M contact adhesive is a bit of a pain. The way I get a smooth thin coat on both surfaces is to use a small paint brush. It still dries quickly. I do a small bit at a time so I can get it smooth before it starts to tack up. When done I use reducer to clean up the brush.

Perfect use of the adhesive is to re-glue the trim to the backing that runs down the inside of the back door opening.

I also used it to glue down the t bar panel. There are tiny holes behind each tab where I used a pointed probe to push the tabs in place. Maybe there is a better way, but I tried others and this was the only one that worked well.

The inside of this panel’s cover had broken away from the attaching points in a couple of places. So rather than remove the panel and try to repair the old velcro type attaching points I decided to use a couple of trim screws to cure the problem. This is after all an amateur restoration.

Getting rid of the ugly exhaust

The fix-up-for-sale included new mufflers and these quad style dual exhaust extensions. Not an improving feature in my books. Rather they cheapen the car.

I picked up a couple of 2.5″ chrome extensions and after some frigging and jigging got them in place. Unfortunately the mufflers were not lined up properly when they were welded in place. I’ll likely replace them when I re-do the exhaust system, but all is good enough for the time being while I work on the car’s other needs.

Replacing seals

I bought a seal kit from Corvette Depot. It includes new T bar seals. The old one was difficult to get off and took some work. I didn’t take any photos. I will for the opposite side. It fit fairly well, but I had to use a sharp pointed tool to get the tabs seated properly. That resulted in a tiny holes in the seal side. Shouldn’t affect the sealing. Again more details when I do the other side.

The steel backing was rusted badly at the bottom end. The seal is held on with aluminum rivets so it wasn’t too hard to drill them out and get the old seal off.

It took a lot of scraping to get all the old glue/sealant stripped off. I painted a coat of black butyl sealant before installing the new seal. I test fitted the seal with rivets before applying the butyl.

I bought an air rivet tool when I replaced the rear fenders on my ’66 Studebaker. I used it here and it was a great help. I only needed one hand to hold the gun and I was able to keep the seal in proper position with the other. A photo later.

Console crud

At some point the car was left out side and the T top leaked down onto and into the console. The lighter and ashtray got a good wetting and were toast. water got down into the shift supporting plate. It sat in the hollow and caused some serious surface rust. Fortunately not enough to need replacement. Other areas around also got damaged. I cleaned off the scale and coated it all with Fluid Film. Not pretty, but functional and hidden from view.

A real bowl of spaghetti under the console. I need to check it all out and know what all the wires connect. The relay on the right is for the alarm system which is not operational. I have yet to find the switch to turn it on. To the left of it are two connectors taped together that have been jumped at the factory. They are for the intermittent wiper system – not a option the car has. The big brown thingy to the left is a noise suppression device for the radio. A lot of the messy wires are for the radio and need some serious fixing to clean up and replace taped connections with proper soldered joints.

I don’t know if it’s factory stuff, but the carpet underlay is 1/2″ foam. That will get replaced with up-to-date sound deadening mat later on.

The large relay/timer at the back of the console is for the rear window defroster. That will be tricky to test out without frost on the window. I need to test all the stuff under the console before re-assembly.

First Steps

I was able to get the car on jack stands, but it was tricky as I couldn’t get the jack in from the back. The exhaust was in the way. So I had to go in front of the rear wheel to get to the rear cross member in front of the differential. Works OK, but a bit of a fussy job and it’s not as easy as it used to be scrabbling around under the car getting the jack stands just so.

So I bit the bullet and bought this jacking equipment. It’s a Quick Jack system built in the US – better quality. The units sit under the frame and a separate pump (top) is used to raise and lower.

Here it is up to the first stop. The second stop will put the wheels about a foot from the floor. there are rubber blocks between the jack and the frame. You get small and big sets of blocks and you can buy an attachment to get another 6″. Quite steady. My only beef was getting the hydraulic hoses to stop leaking. Especially the ones at the cylinders. I put it down to inexperience with hydraulic systems.

The car came with 454 emblems on the hood – someone’s dream. I replaced them with the correct L48 as can be just made out on the rear of the hood.

Also the tires are new Firestone raised white letter outline. It’s a wonder I was able to drive 350 kms on the old 40+ year old tires! While I was at it I had the rims sand blasted and painted them in silver.

After a thorough cleaning of the carpets (came back pretty well) I needed to dismantle the console to get at the rusted cigar lighter ( future power point). Turns out someone had to replaced the console side panels and they used what they had at hand – wall panelling!

I’ve restored three Studebakers and a Dodge truck and I must say parts availability for Corvettes is way better. These side panels and almost everything seems available. There are two Canadian outfits – Corvette Depot and Northern Corvette – which makes purchases less expensive. Don’t get it wrong, parts are available, but they’re not giving the stuff away!

Welcome to my ’79 Corvette project

Just purchased this Corvette on Kijiji. It was in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. It’s history is uncertain. The seller bought it from a local owner who had five Corvettes in his collection. This one had been in storage for 20 years. The odometer shows 44k, but it might be 144k.

The car was prepped for sale. Quick black paint job, new calipers all around, air cleaner, cap and wires and a quick cleaning. The interior is filthy. The drivers seat is toast and the passenger is from an ivory interior – this unit came with the doeskin interior.

The engine got me home – just! Lost the PS. The pump ran dry and burned off the belt. Fortunately the pump wasn’t seized and I got it back in operation with a new belt. At the same time it began to misfire. Found out later the new plug wires weren’t routed correctly and three were burned and cracked by touching the exhaust manifolds. It ran fair at 90km and it made the last 150kms thankfully.

Home and tucked in the garage. Now the work begins 🙂