Noob from Toronto - Impala Tech
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-09-2018, 07:48 AM Thread Starter
 
 
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Noob from Toronto

Hi Everyone,

I'm just getting started I guess you'd say, never really been a "car guy", but something about the late 60's Imapla styling just captured my imagination. I've been reading a lot and am an elevator mechanic by trade so not afraid to get my hands dirty or turn a wrench.

I'm looking at a 67 Impala convertible 283 w/t powerglide this weekend. The first one I'm looking at as there aren't a lot of these in the Canadian market that I've come across last couple of months anyway. I hope to be able to take it out on the road so excited at the prospect.

Any advice as what to lookout for when I check the car would be appreciated.

Anything that should be a deal breaker?

I'm just looking for something that I can get out on the road in and cruise, maybe the odd family road trip. Anyway I've rambled on enough...

Thanks for having me and I look forward to being a member of the community.
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-09-2018, 08:14 AM
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Welcome to the Team!

The word that makes me worry is RUST.

Rusted out frame. Rusted out body; or worse a shinny painted body that hides holes stuffed with plastic body filler.

Once rust starts it has to be cut out and replaced to repair it. This assumes you have new metal to weld back in place of what you removed and know how to work metal. There are far more people with mechanics tools in this world than those who own body files, hammers, and hand held anvils to work metal.

This makes the straight rust free body rare and expensive. Carry a refrigerator magnet with you when you go to look at a project car.

Big Dave
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-09-2018, 09:16 AM Thread Starter
 
 
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Thanks alot Big Dave! With our harsh winters salts a big problem. I'll make sure to check and use the magnet trick. Anywhere in particular I should focus my attention on rust wise regarding the frame? Body I know I'm looking for new paint, fenders, base of the windshield trunk, passenger foot wells, door column and door bottoms. Maybe I should just check the forums I'm sure this a already out there. Thanks again!
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-09-2018, 09:52 AM
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Inspection mirror (small mirror on a telescoping rod) can be useful for looking under the car at the back of the frame where road grime collects. If the frame has holes rusted through it will have to be replaced. You can probably buy another project car for the price of buying a rust free replacement frame and having it shipped it to your shop.

I wouldn't buy anything until it was up on a rack for a thorough inspection of the body, frame, and suspension.

Big Dave
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-09-2018, 02:15 PM Thread Starter
 
 
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Great advise Big Dave thanks again! Inspection mirror I have. Now I just need a car and to find a shop. Lol
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-09-2018, 02:25 PM Thread Starter
 
 
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Hey Big Dave I just saw in another post you grew up in Ontario and have family near Toronto. I wasn't going to ask because I figured what are the chances but hell you don't ask you don't know right? I'll be looking for shops of various specialties, depends on the shape of the car I get, but do you know of any good ones in the Toronto area? Maybe there's somewhere else I can post the ask but I thought I'd start with you.
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-09-2018, 03:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Faldanone View Post
Hey Big Dave I just saw in another post you grew up in Ontario and have family near Toronto. I wasn't going to ask because I figured what are the chances but hell you don't ask you don't know right? I'll be looking for shops of various specialties, depends on the shape of the car I get, but do you know of any good ones in the Toronto area? Maybe there's somewhere else I can post the ask but I thought I'd start with you.

Sorry I left Toronto back in 1952. I visit my two uncles that live there occasionally; though both are in their late eighties to early nineties (my dad is 96). About the only things I frequented in Toronto while visiting was China town for a couple of meals and the art museum.

Big Dave
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-09-2018, 10:01 PM
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To check out such an old model in an area using salt I'd want to see the car from underneath.
Fortunately I'm short and can still maneuver under a car on the ground.

I'd expect the car to have some Bondo and previous body work of course but sometimes looking at the underside of the rocker panels and area between the trunk and quarter panel drop down could clue you in to hell good or bad things are under the shiny paint

I think one common area on the 60s Impala is in the trunk at the edge of the wheel housing.

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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-09-2018, 11:06 PM
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Those frames usually have the worst rust just behind the front wheels, in the area just behind where the frame widens out to the outer edges of the car, if you know what I mean. Check it really well in that area. Also lift the trunk mat and check the trunk floor in the area behind and beside the wheel tubs.
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-10-2018, 07:19 AM Thread Starter
 
 
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Thanks alot guys. It's really appreciated. Couple of things I know cuz he told me is that the rag top, just the fabric, will need to be replaced. How big a job is that? Also the brake pedal is a little soft. I figure if the engine runs the trany shifts and the body and frame are good the rest can be fixed. He's looking for 8k is that reasonable? Truth be told I've never done anything like this and I'm finding it a little intimidating... But so excited at the same time. I'm going to see it tomorrow. Wish me luck.
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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-10-2018, 10:42 AM
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You have it backwards. You can throw the power train (motor, tranny and rear end) off a cliff two or three times and still not be able to pay someone to restore the body to a rust free condition. As I alluded to above every one thinks they are a mechanic and can produce acceptable results and as such their labor isn't worth what you have to pay body man.

Body repair shops that you find on every corner do not restore anything. They are paid a flat rate by the insurance companies to cut and paste used car parts together from a near infinite supply of used cars in the salvage yard. As such they are not body men who have any knowledge of working sheet metal or leaded seams as used on your car in an age before plastics where invented.

Body shops that work for the insurance companies work like a restaurant; they depend upon turns to make a profit. A car has to arrive and leave with fresh paint in under two weeks or they lose money. Do not even approach them to work on your car as if you do they will take it apart and loose all of your car's parts never doing any real work and will hold what you dropped off as hostage (storage fees). This is known as "paint hell" and there are a number of horror stories you can read about on the web.

You will need a retired body man that restores cars as a hobby, buying projects, restoring them and selling them at half the cost he paid to restore them. To him the body is all important and he will replace the mechanically worn out power train with modern parts to build a car that is dependable and runs (an anathema to numbers matching restoration guys who are proud of chalk marks and paper labels on their shock absorbers that require they trailer the car to car shows lest the assembly line new car smell escape from the car).

You can find these guys at car shows when their project car is nearly finished and they want to show off how smooth the paint is. The rest of the time they are in a paint booth sanding or fitting hand made sheet metal parts into areas that they have cut out to repair rust. If he is not at a car show physically when you show up some one who bought one of his former projects will be showing a car he built and will tell you about him if you ask. He won't advertise his work as he isn't doing this for money or as a job but for the pleasure of the challenge.

Big Dave
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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-10-2018, 11:06 AM
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Even though these weekend car rebuild TV shows make it look easy, I feel like a convertible top replacement is a skill I didnt have. I left it to a professional.

This coming from a guy that has done his own mechanical and suspension work and also my own body work and paint.




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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-10-2018, 11:33 AM Thread Starter
 
 
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I think you might be right about me having it backwards Big Dave... Not just about the drive train. I think I may be putting the horse before the cart. Maybe getting into something I'm not ready for. I've started to learn and research, the more I learn the more I see there's so much more to know. I haven't found, or have any idea where to find, a good mechanic, a great body guy, or really even where to resource most of the parts I will need.

I'm generally practical and cautious by nature but I got a little blinded by the excitement at the prospect of owning one of these beautiful machines. Dreams of chrome, shiny paint, and the roar of the engine... and yes the challenge and satisfaction that comes from getting my hands a little dirty and

Thank you all for your input and a special thanks to Big Dave you've given me something to think about. I'm not saying I'm not gonna buy a car but maybe just not yet. The cars are 50+ years old... What's a another one or two.
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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-10-2018, 12:15 PM
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Mechanics are easy. You can buy, when your car body is restored and not a day before, a crate motor from Chevy that costs less than the parts to rebuild a SBC from your corner parts store.

More importantly it comes with a one year GM warranty, like a new car, that runs from the day you buy it (not when it arrives at your doorstep). So if your motor has an issue you drive it, or tow it to any GM dealership and they will fix or replace the motor with another brand new one. Same goes for transmissions. You can buy a modern overdrive tranny on a pallet from GM that has a one year warranty.

The PowerGlide died in 1968 and there are few rebuildable cores left in junk yards. In fact even a TH350 that replaced the PowerGlide in 1969, and the TH400 is getting hard to find since an OD tranny that first appeared in 1974 has so many advantages over a two or three speed tranny; and now cost the same to install as the earlier transmissions.

Brakes are usually upgraded for safety, but mostly as a fashion statement, to disc brakes. Drum brakes work just fine on the street; but not for road racing. Because of the race heritage every one wants a set of big discs peering out through their five spoke cast aluminum wheels. Rubber bushings are all but gone now due to rot (they are tree sap after all, and all things organic when they die rot away. They are usually replaced with plastic bushings which never rot and will out last the car body. This just points out how expensive restoring an old car is. You buy the car not for a fixed price of a car (unless you are buying someone's finished project), but a piece at time; that cost a lot more per part than a nickel or a dime. So many don't see the true cost of a restore until they have jumped in, and have something occupying their garage (and the wife is complaining about her car sitting out in the weather).

I am at the end of my life span retired due to medical disability, but earlier I built more motors than I can count (I built a lot before I started keeping records of each build). Worked on used car motors, race car motors and everything in between. Built many race cars from the wheels up and was competitive, so much so that people were lined up wanting to buy the cars I built for myself. Never did body work as the guy next to my shop did custom painting (back in the days of vans with murals on the side and he built show cars wit my motors in them). He died long ago of cancer of the everything from smelling paint fumes all day (who knew?). Finding quality work from a craftsman is getting harder to do each day, as those who know how to do this type of work are dying off. If you can afford it, now is the time to ask for help if you need it.

By the way: I took my damaged convertible top (my wife put the top up without stowing my wheel chair properly and it ripped apart the old top) to a man in Tampa that did custom car and marine upholstery. He also built flying bridges for fishing boats (really big convertible tops to cover a 24 foot speed boat because you don't want to get sun burnt while drinking beer on a day out in the gulf). He was recommended by a number of people and my insurance covered the cost as he was on their list of reputable vendors.

Big Dave
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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-12-2018, 10:37 AM Thread Starter
 
 
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Well, I did it, I saw the 67 Impala vert yesterday! Best as I could tell the frame had some surface rust but otherwise "seemed" okay. The body was less good... Both doors had so much bondo I couldn't get the magnet to stick anywhere on them. Trunk pan had already been patched on either side by the wheel wells. The patches were already showing surface rust. The body itself other that some superficial scratches in the paint and a couple or rust spots starting up on the hood and around the trunk latch wasn't horrible. There were a couple of bondo spots here and there, the worst of it around the passenger rear fender... The dealer decided to get the rag top replaced so there's that. Adds 1200 to the price tag tho. The convertable top linkages seemed to sag down in the middle tho is that normal? I'll post a picture.

Gotta say the 283/powerglide was pretty underwhelming... definitely needs more under the hood for me. I'm no speed demon road racer but I wanna feel it when I hit the gas.

Over all I'd say since it was my first time getting behind the wheel of one of these it was a great experience. I can't describe it other than it felt more like home than any other car I've ever driven. So that was a win. I'm definitely gonna keep looking tho. I had this feeling the dealer wasn't being entirely honest about the cars history. Makes me wonder what else he's hiding.

So the hunt continues...
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post #16 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-12-2018, 11:53 AM
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In the sixties Chevy had three car groups based upon cost to purchase. The Chevy II was the cheapest and weighed a little over a ton, the Camaro and Nova replaced them in the late sixties upping the price and the weight to a ton and a half. The Chevelle was a mid sized car priced half way between the full size and the compact econo cars. It weighed in at a ton and a half to two tons, the full size had the full size price but was cheaper per person top buy for a family car because it was bigger . It also weighed in at two tons to two and half tons.

All of these cars used the same motor selection (four cylinder iron duke at 143 cubic inches; or you could choose from a 194, 230, 250 cube straight six; or a 283, 327, 350 small block Chevy V8. The full size car needed a bigger motor to move it so they used a truck engine to match the weight of the vehicle. 348, 409, 396, 427 were the engine options available to the full size up until 1970 (anything less than a full size or a Corvette was limited to a motor that could not exceed 400 cubes by GM Corporate edict).

So a 283 in a one ton Chevy II was considered zippy (the 327 in a 1966 Chevy II was the fastest combination in drag racing in the Super Stock class). A 283 in a two ton car wasn't zippy, it was pitiful. That is why in 1970 Chevy put a 400 cube small block into the mix and added the 454 to the big block line because cars were getting heavier every year and the smaller engines couldn't push the weight.

Now if you put a big enough motor in your impala it can impress people, and you can pass everything on the road but a gas station.



Big Dave
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post #17 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-12-2018, 09:41 PM
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That's awesome that you gave it a test drive and thoroughly checked it out. Also good to hear that you 'walked away'. That's hard to do sometimes as a lot of us can tend to play down some flaws or time/money needed to fix things. You done good man!


Its cool to hear you describe how comfortable you felt in the car too. Sounds like you're describing a bit of that raw, visceral feel that you get from hearing the motor roar, the slightly imperfect steering or suspension, etc. All of your senses were awake! (unlike a lot of newer cars where the driver is separated from the driving experience)

About the 283, it is a good engine, but it's a low-torque motor by design. Torque gets a heavy car moving easily. I actually like the free-revving 283 and consider it 'just ok' for an Impala but I think the complete doggy-ness you felt in the test drive is probably more the fault of that POS 2 speed powerglide! Great for a big cubic inch race car - absolute crap in a heavy car with a small engine.

They suck behind a 327 and 350 engine too - so - try to steer clear of the Powerglide if you can! (/dismount soapbox)
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post #18 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-13-2018, 09:57 AM Thread Starter
 
 
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Hey Big Dave,

I think I'd settle for feeling a little something on the take off, pass half the cars on the road and maybe only hit every other gas station! I'm thinking 396 or 427... Think that'll for the bill or am I not thinking big enough?

Dan
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post #19 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-13-2018, 10:46 AM
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Quote:
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Hey Big Dave,

I think I'd settle for feeling a little something on the take off, pass half the cars on the road and maybe only hit every other gas station! I'm thinking 396 or 427... Think that'll for the bill or am I not thinking big enough?

Dan
First thing to know about big blocks. They where designed in 1961 to be a high RPM race engine to win at NASCAR. To pay for the tooling there had to be a truck version (this was long before diesel engines where used in anything but semi trucks and locomotives) to justify to the bean counters it's existence.

When compression dropped from 12.5:1 for high performance versions of the engine (11:1 for passenger versions) down to today's 7.8:1 static compression in 1971 the motor became only a truck engine. It was still banned in California since 1971 due to it's emissions and was not installed in a car after 1974 (Camaro and Chevelle dropped it in 1973, the Nova dropped it in 1970).

A 396 has too small a bore to operate and exists only because of GM's arbitrary decision that only the Corvette and a full size car were allowed to have a motor that exceeded 400 cubes. (Ford's introduction of the 428 Cobra Jet Mustang in 1968 ended that policy). The bore is so small that it has notches in the block (that lowers compression the same way a truck 409 lowers static compression) to clear the valves. The valves do not hit the block but they are shrouded. It was to reduce valve shrouding that Chevy introduced the open chamber to replace the old small closed combustion chamber.

Because the big block likes compression (it is a semi hemi motor with canted valves and a domed piston) the drop in compression kills performance.

You can get 1.5 horsepower per cube from a small block with today's off the shelf parts. The same parts on a BBC only yield at best one horsepower per cube. So a 396 might get you 400 horsepower on pump gas but a SBC 400 will return over 500 horsepower (500 horse is the upper limit of a stock SBC block so even though you can make a lot more power, the block usually breaks), and it has 140 pounds less weight. As such if you want more power you have to go bigger with your big block.

Start with a 454 engine and you can still put 396 decals on it if you like that number. They look alike and can not be easily told from a 632 big block by most people. It is the limit of pump gas that makes almost every BBC that you see grow from a 454 into a 496 (add a stroker crank and eight bigger bore pistons on a rebuild). If you are going to drag around the extra weight of a big block make it worth your while. It doesn't cost any more to rebuild a 454 than it does to rebuild a 396; and 454 motors are easier to find in bone yards.

My Impala you see above standing on it's back bumper had a 582 cube BBC under the hood. Made over 750 horsepower and 780 foot pounds of torque normally aspirated, and had a 250 horse shot of nitrous hidden under the intake manifold.

Big Dave
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post #20 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-13-2018, 12:49 PM Thread Starter
 
 
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Thanks to BA for the positive reinforcement of my decision to walk away. It was damn hard to do. Still feeling the remorse. But I'll get over it.... Maybe.

Again, Big Dave I can't help but thank you again, for taking the time you do with the info you share. To be perfectly honest I only understood about 3/4 of your last post. Lol. But I get the jist and it helps me figure out what I don't know and need to learn. It's appreciated. I didn't realize that car on its bumper was yours... Thought it was some Photoshop trick or something. That's mighty impressive and a little scary. Doubt I could handle that much power... Likely go to my head.
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