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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-26-2018, 09:57 PM Thread Starter
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New Member 2

Greetings ...

New member of impala.net ...

This week I dug my ol girl outta the pole barn and she went to a restoration shop ... Armadillo Auto Restoration in Hamilton, TX. I think these guys are gonna be able to get it done for me ... we'll see how much green it's gonna take.

but I'm always interested in pitfalls to avoid ... and actions to definitely take.

Dad bought me this car when I was a teenager ... he restored it the first time ... I held the flashlight. 283/quadrajet, 2 speed powerglide ... which was replaced by a manual 3 speed (rear end gear too high) ... so it now has a turbo 350 which spewed fluid from the filler neck on day one. Emron paint is still in good shape. I did a terrible moth balling job, so the entire suspension is going to need replacing.

The first thing I need to do is replace the wheels/tires. I rediscovered it has 14" wheels. That's no good. I don't want specialty tires. I'm a michelin man but I've only found a light truck tire with white letters! The CalChromes have long rusted-out, so I'm going to spring for Cragers.

So ... I'm wanting 15" wheels or perhaps 16" ... but I need the factory equivalent. I still have the owners manual ... and the sizing has changed ... 7.5 x 14. That doesn't tell me the height of the OEM tire to make the conversion. I want a reasonably accurate speedo.

I'm a sponge ... and hope to contribute a bit of what I know/remember. She hasn't been a daily driver in 30 years.

TIA!

Al
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-26-2018, 11:15 PM
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Welcome to the Team Al!

There are 17" rally wheels that look stock, and will clear most disc brakes. Michelin makes a tire to fit this wheel at 225/50ZR17.

Unless you just need wheels and tires to make it a roller, then I would but tires and wheels last and put your money into rebuilding the front suspension. But if the car is in a body shop you will have to wait till you get the car back unless you want to go there and peel the frame off the body while it is put on a rotisserie.

Big Dave
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-26-2018, 11:27 PM Thread Starter
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wow 17" really?

how much sidewall will I lose?

Funny you mentioned disc brakes because I think that's precisely what we're going to do on the front, probably leave the rear drums.

Thanks Dave!

1961 Impala. 4 door. 283, turbo 350. Imron Midnight blue metallic with silver stripe.

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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-27-2018, 06:59 AM
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Welcome to the site!

Sounds like you have to make a lot of the same decisions I will have to make on mine as far as suspension and drive terrain. I'm considering removing the 283 and going with a 409, but I'm having a little difficulty swallowing that added cost before putting the car on the road at least.
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-27-2018, 03:35 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Deadwolf,

Yeah, I really want to keep the 283. It's the engine Dad rebuilt, so as long as it's not locked, I think we'll be OK. I know I will upgrade the ignition system. I've slept WAY too long on setting dwell/etc. I wasn't very good at it even with Dad's instruction 30 years ago. I'm an operator, not a maintainer ... so electronic of some sort. Will definitely be replacing the RAM style manifolds for headers. Also will be changing the fuel handler ... Again, my QuadraJet mechanic is gone and I have no inclination to be stuck out (or in for that matter) ... so, a Holley or Edlebrock ... perhaps even fuel injection???

I look forward to learning and sharing what I've learned here.

1961 Impala. 4 door. 283, turbo 350. Imron Midnight blue metallic with silver stripe.

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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-27-2018, 04:34 PM
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Don't need headers on a 283 unless you think you are going to be shifting a 9,600 and tripping the lights at 11,000 RPM. A two and a half inch ID ram's horn is more than adequate and will make the same level of power on the street.

HEI eliminates dwell and makes for easier starting.

There is nothing wrong with a Rochester QuadraJet except that they are hard to tune (requires bending rods rather than turning a screw driver). People like Holleys because they are so easy to tune. People hate Holleys because they are so easy to tune that people who don't know any better get into trouble. I probably paid for my Coates tire changer just from putting Holleys back to the way they came out of the box after an expert tuned the Holley for a friend. Edelbrock is just a Carter AFB. They are harder to tune than a Holley and you can not change as much on the carb which could be a good thing. All three carbs will run exactly like on the same car, as the only difference is in how the rear venturis work.

The biggest difference in performance is in choosing the cfm rating for your engine. A 283 is looking at a 390 to 500 cfm carb. If you have a cam and rear gears to spin the motor up I would recommend a 600 or 650 cfm carb, but not for the street; not if you want throttle response.

Big Dave
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-27-2018, 05:28 PM Thread Starter
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We had big time problems with the manifolds cracking ... Dad welded with nickel rods 3 or 4 times (total both sides) ... so It's not so much for the performance but for the durability. No longer than I ran that car ... this was a trouble spot.

Great info on the carb CFM!

yeah, the QuadraJet was great when tuned ... the other issue I had was stopping the fuel leak on those lead plugs supposed to heat the jets faster. SMH. It was prone to flooding. I remember cruising down 18th street one after noon having to keep 'er wound up or it'd flood and quit.

It does have a stage 2? cam ... a slight lope at idle when it was tuned right.

war story alert ... there I was ... a teenager with a moderately "suped-up" chevy hotrod. Following the old man in his 78 Bronco. 400, big holley, I don't remember what all, but that Bronco would GO ... (past everything but a fuel station! :P )

Following the old man out of our little 1 light town one night, back to the ranch. Suddenly, I noticed his tailights getting close together REALLLY quickly. AH! the game's afoot. I was just above an idle in high gear (3rd) at 45-50 ... I jammed 2nd planted the right foot .... smoked the tires and TOOK '... OFF' (I'd never done this before). There was a gentle S turn about 1/4 mile out of town, with a little dropoff to a valley for about 4 miles. I went around that Bronco at the end of the S curve indicating 120 (max as you know on that bar speedo) and accelerating.

I don't remember the gear ratios, but a 3 speed manual to a differential for a powerglide ... VERY high final ratio.

So ... she'll run. She won't turn. gotta gotta GOTTA pull 'er back before making a turn.

Again ... thanks for the carb numbers!

1961 Impala. 4 door. 283, turbo 350. Imron Midnight blue metallic with silver stripe.

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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-27-2018, 06:56 PM
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Once again flooding isn't an issue unique to any one carburetor design as they all will flood if you have too much pressure at the inlet or dirt under the needle and seat to keep it from sealing. SEVEN psi is the maximum pressure that the float can apply to the needle and seat to keep it from flooding.

This is why you should stay under that pressure threshold. I personally run my carbs at five psi feeding them with a half inch inlet and a thee eighth inch return line to the tank. I use a A1000 Aeromotive fuel pump that moves 150 gph at 70 psi and a Barry Grant regulated pressure regulator to keep from running out of gas or flooding. I have never been starved for fuel (running an 1150 cfm Dominator) during my 9.40's second quarter mile passes in a four door Impala Taxi cab.

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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-28-2018, 10:27 PM Thread Starter
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it was a stock fuel pump and probably 5/16 service line ... and the float wasn't leaking/sticking ... the lead plugs were leaking. Tried some epoxy at one point.

Your Aeromotive ... is that electric?

The highest flow I saw on some of these vendor sites for the mechanical was 80 gph ... which I thought was more than sufficient for me.

Liked your rec about a serpentine belt in another thread.

Meeting with my restoration business manager/owner tomorrow ... anticipating it.

Al

1961 Impala. 4 door. 283, turbo 350. Imron Midnight blue metallic with silver stripe.

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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-29-2018, 11:10 AM
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it was a stock fuel pump and probably 5/16 service line ... and the float wasn't leaking/sticking ... the lead plugs were leaking. Tried some epoxy at one point.

Your Aeromotive ... is that electric?

The highest flow I saw on some of these vendor sites for the mechanical was 80 gph ... which I thought was more than sufficient for me.

Liked your rec about a serpentine belt in another thread.

Meeting with my restoration business manager/owner tomorrow ... anticipating it.

Al
Yes the Aeromotive A1000 is a large electric pump threaded for a half inch fuel line. It can cover a 1700 horsepower carburetored motor (only 1250 if EFI).

The Rochester has a Welch plug (like a freeze plug) pressed into the bottom of the fuel bowl to seal it. I have no idea as to why GM did that in design, but knowing how GM dislikes added parts or machining there is a reason it was put there. With age the plug will work loose and leak. The fix is to pull the Welch plug, tap the hole and thread it to accept a pipe plug which is epoxied in place.

Once properly rebuilt and tuned to your motor, it will run like that for another 100,000 miles.

They only thing that is unique for the QuadraJet is it's design. It doesn't have a fixed cfm because it is determined by the engines vacuum. It can flow a fixed maximum number on a flow bench where the vacuum is held constant but not on an engine that is dynamic. Chevrolet used two sizes of QuadraJet; a 650 cfm for small block and a 740 for big blocks. GM made a total of three additional sizes to fit everything from a 250 cube Pontiac OHV six cylinder to a 500 cube Cadillac. You can put any of the five sizes on any size motor and it will run because without the engine vacuum to pull open the rear doors it will only supply enough air and fuel to meet the engines needs. Therefore you can over carburetor your 283 the way you would if you put my 1150 cfm Dominator Holley on top of it.

All carbs of any given cfm will run identically the same regardless of make (Weber, Holley, Carter, or Rochester). Changing the carb make will not change your top end speed as the motor will make the same power for any given cfm. The only difference is in what the various carbs offer in their ability to tune the carb. A Weber allows every part of the carb to be exchanged for a bigger or smaller part to tune the carb. The Holley is next matching the Weber part for part except for the ability to change the venturis which are fixed in size when the body is cast. The Rochester is at the bottom with all carbs using the same parts and are tuned by bending the external control rods, the two main jets or the taper of the metering rods.

Big Dave
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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-29-2018, 10:38 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Big Dave.

1700 HP? good night nurse, Nancy!

Nah, I don't need anything like that. Wouldn't be able to keep tires on it.

Had my meeting with the Auto Restoration place. I have some significant decisions to make here. whew.

they can do a turn-key job, for sure, but I'm not sure I can swing the bat, so to speak.

I wish I could have a more hands-on role in this ... but I can't so that's it.

Need to do something, but will roll the acorn around a little more and see where it falls.

Great write-up on carbs. Thanks!

Al

1961 Impala. 4 door. 283, turbo 350. Imron Midnight blue metallic with silver stripe.

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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-30-2018, 10:04 AM
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Not so much anymore (because little Johnny and all of his friends are going to college), but public schools used to offer Vocational training at night. You could learn how to repair cars, paint and repair collision damage, as well as learn how to weld and fabricate things.

Since schools have dropped vocational training to teach little Johnny remedial reading and how to cipher as well as Jethro Bodine, the country is starving for brick masons (I had to pay the last one $125 an hour to get a good brick wall), or a plumber ($100 per hour) or Electrician (I do it myself). An ASE mechanic charges up to $150 and hour, but since theyu are more computer techs than mechanics now a days I can see why.

Still it is worth asking around to see any school near you teaches how to fix your car. You can repair it under the tutelage of a retired mechanic, or body man, or steel worker using the school's shop and tools to repair your car.

Big Dave
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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-05-2018, 08:03 PM
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Welcome...
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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-09-2018, 06:41 PM Thread Starter
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well, as with most things in my life ...

I shot for the moon, and if I'm fortunate, I'll make geo-synchronous orbit (since Space X made such a splash ... and Trump signed the "juice NASA" E.O. last week) ... probably be content just to be airborne. Also use ... "start with the Gold ... burn it down to Tin"

Scrubbed plans for a complete restoration. Just too much labor cost. it'd take me 5-6 years to pay that off ... and that'd be scraping every dime to do it. Don't want to do that and my personal goal is to be driving Miss Polly before Christmas '19. So ... we're gonna look at "simply" mechanical overhaul first.

More to follow.

Al

1961 Impala. 4 door. 283, turbo 350. Imron Midnight blue metallic with silver stripe.

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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-09-2018, 09:00 PM
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From what I've seen a lot of people get all the mechanics worked out before they actually take the body off the frame. This allows you to not only brake it into chunks and span everything out over several years, but also to enjoy some of that investment early on.


I've been playing around with the different projects and pricing so far for my project. Looking at about $872 for my brakes, another $800 for putting all new fuel system in from a brand new stainless tank to new two barrel carb, about $700 in for suspension. The one that is the killer is since I don't have the car here I can't check, but if it has power steering, which I bet it does, the steering system is going to cost around $650 to get up to speed.


I should be able to get the power glide overhauled for around $500 by someone else, but I want to look into doing it myself, how hard can it be?


I'm hopeful that with a little care and taking my time starting it I can get away with a new regulator and an under the cap HEI and have the engine running.


Some of these projects have overkill replacement parts in them such as a new carb when I can overhaul the one I have, but I figure budget high for the project and if it comes in cheaper you can spend the extra on beer.
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post #16 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-10-2018, 09:37 AM Thread Starter
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Haha EXCELLENT.

Mine doesn't have power steering, just that Mack Truck sized steering wheel! LOL

did have factory air, though, so I'm hoping I can retain the air handler. the A/C has never functioned since I have had it (1980) ... and everything would need to be replaced anyway to the current refrigerant.

My other project is preparing a more appropriate place to keep it when it's done. It was in a pole barn we built about 15 years ago. It occupied one of the bays there, down in the pasture. Since we have moved our residence onto the ranchero, I am working on a 30x40 metal building to cover my inherited 5er camper and my truck. Wanted a corner for a shop, but looks like I'll have to simply "add-on" as I go. Dad built the first part of that for me. Free standing 30' wide with 12" I beams.

Anyhow. gotta look around locally for some "rollers" as I suppose they're called. The ol Cal Chromes and Armstrong Tru Tracs are S H O T. I don't think the wheels will hold air without some welding on the seams. Hopefully I can find a set CHEEP. Then I'm gonna go back with Cragars and michelins.

1961 Impala. 4 door. 283, turbo 350. Imron Midnight blue metallic with silver stripe.

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post #17 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-10-2018, 12:50 PM
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Not you personally but any authorized (needs to be tested and certified by your state) can still buy R-12, The reason R-34 is so popular is it was outlawed for the WalMart crowd that never fixed their A/C but added a can a week to stay cool. Like I said R-12 is still being made and sold in the US, and is better than R34 in my opinion at idle where the flow rate drops.

You will need all new hoses as your old ones have rotted away just like your tires rot out and are unsafe after seven years. With new hoses, fresh oil charge and o-Rings your system should vacuum down. If so you can refill it with R-12 to weight (the scale is under that big greenish refrigerant bottle on the side of the air conditioning service cart that holds the vacuum pump hoses gauges and a storage bottle for the old refrigerant that was sucked out first.

Since no one sells A/C hoses you will have to make your own with a kit (basically resembles stainless steel line kits only with black rubber hose and crimp on the ends rather than thread them in place). That crimping tool is the hard part because it costs over $500 bucks for three different size hose dies.

I would buy four junk yard wheels and tires to make your car a roller if they ones you have now will not hold air.

Big Dave
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post #18 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-10-2018, 11:31 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Big Dave.

Yeah, I’m ISO wheel/tire combos now. Since I’m planning to do the disc brakes ... would 17”s be small enough? Probably depends upon the rotor/caliper I get, right? No point in getting rollers which won’t fit the brake upgrade. The shop manager suggested rollers so they wouldn’t have to worry about ‘em ... but at some point it’ll need the new tires/wheels (prob Discount Tire for their service/maintenance plans/convenience/pricing) I guess I’ll just drive it on the trailer and haul it there.

That’s a few steps down the road, of course, but I found a set of 14” rally off an Oldsmobile (so still 4.75” 5 lug) near me ... but if they won’t clear the new brakes, what’s the point?

1961 Impala. 4 door. 283, turbo 350. Imron Midnight blue metallic with silver stripe.

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post #19 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-11-2018, 02:38 PM
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Thanks Big Dave.

Yeah, I’m ISO wheel/tire combos now. Since I’m planning to do the disc brakes ... would 17”s be small enough? Probably depends upon the rotor/caliper I get, right? No point in getting rollers which won’t fit the brake upgrade. The shop manager suggested rollers so they wouldn’t have to worry about ‘em ... but at some point it’ll need the new tires/wheels (prob Discount Tire for their service/maintenance plans/convenience/pricing) I guess I’ll just drive it on the trailer and haul it there.

That’s a few steps down the road, of course, but I found a set of 14” rally off an Oldsmobile (so still 4.75” 5 lug) near me ... but if they won’t clear the new brakes, what’s the point?
If you go to a salvage yard, can be a modern one and tell them you are looking for 15"+ rims with your bolt pattern that have tires that will hold air, but you are not worried about tread on the tires or the look of the rims or if the rims even match you could probably get a set for less than a hundred dollars. Just let them know you need them to roll a car around the shop while restoring it. Most salvage yards have piles of generic rims and tires that they will never be able to sell. From what I have seen generic brake kits require 15" or larger rims. Now if you get into the big break kits you may need larger rims. You need to decide what kit you are going with before you decide on a rim.
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