Just got it and don't know where to start!! - Impala Tech
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-26-2011, 10:26 AM Thread Starter
 
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
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Just got it and don't know where to start!!

It's a 1959 Impala 4 door sedan w/ 348ci 4 barrel and 2 speed powerglide. Paints great, interior so dry rotted you can push your fingers through to the springs. No rust but suspension is wore out. Runs like a clock. All weatherstripping is shot. So...........Where do I start?
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-26-2011, 01:43 PM
 
 
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where to start

Hi!

If the paint is good and it runs well, you already have a head start. If you are driving it while doing the resto, I would probably do the suspension first. You can probably find a front-end rebuild kit that has all the ball joints, etc you need for about $225. If you're not driving it much I would do the weatherstripping first to keep the interior from getting any worse. How are the floor pans?

Matt
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-26-2011, 02:14 PM
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Welcome to The Jeff!

I would park it while I reupholstered the seats to keep from breaking the springs by putting too much pressure on any one wire. While it is apart for upholstery do the weather stripping. Keep that motor running by cranking it upon every ten days and running it about twenty to thirty minutes (keep the RPMs up while you are doing that; not just idling it, as the cam is lubricated by oil thrown off the crank). Buy a magnetic drain plug for your next oil change and look at what comes out at every oil change.

Finally replace all of the bushings (including the body mounts) with plastic as I feel they are superior to rubber if you plan on driving the car (if this is a white glove restore go for new rubber everywhere but check it frequently for tears and signs of rot as the new rubber bushings are no where as good as the original Firestone bushings where). Rebuild the front end and then do a good brake job to be able to safely stop the car.

Big Dave
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-26-2011, 04:25 PM Thread Starter
 
 
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Floor pans are like the day it rolled out of the plant!!! No kidding, no rust on any sheet metal!!!! Paint is near perfect. Couple of dings in some trim pieces but that's it. I honestly believe this thing has set in a garage in Oklahoma since the '60's. If I'm not mistaken it has the original bias ply tires on it and I put air in them and drove it for about 3 days. A little creaky, shimmy and sways a bit but steers straight and stops great. Never went above 45mph though. I'm leaning towards weatherstripping and upholstery first. Then pick away at the suspension. I have located everything but the front bench seat foam replacements. Any ideas? Just out of curiousity, Does anyone like Tremec make a decent 5-speed swap? That powerglide just ain't gonna cut it!!!! Hope the purists don't banish me for that. If it was a 2 door or a conv. I'd probably do a NOS resto. but it's not. (shame)
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-26-2011, 04:55 PM
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Tremec T-56 or a TKO 500 is an excellent upgrade, if you want to row through the gears manually. If you want to retain your automatic the new GM pick-ups ship with a six speed automatic that is basically just a 4L80e with a new brain box that shifts into OD between gear changes to increase each gear's RPM range. It acts like a gear splitter in an old RoadRanger two speed rear axle and seven speed tranny to get fourteen forward gears.

Neither of them will slide into your transmission tunnel as it wasn't designed to accommodate a TH400 which came along in 1965 and is the basis for the 4L80e transmission (the internal parts are interchangeable to a certain degree). It will require a little surgery but nothing drastic and you can retain a console if you so desire.

Big Dave
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-26-2011, 10:42 PM
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You have a very nice Impala!
Mike.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-27-2011, 08:57 AM
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It should do about a 100 mph in low gear
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-27-2011, 12:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtande4 View Post
Hi!

If the paint is good and it runs well, you already have a head start. If you are driving it while doing the resto, I would probably do the suspension first. You can probably find a front-end rebuild kit that has all the ball joints, etc you need for about $225. If you're not driving it much I would do the weatherstripping first to keep the interior from getting any worse....

Matt


Ditto.

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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-27-2011, 05:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by riddled1 View Post
I'm leaning towards weatherstripping and upholstery first. Then pick away at the suspension. I have located everything but the front bench seat foam replacements. Any ideas? Just out of curiousity, Does anyone like Tremec make a decent 5-speed swap? That powerglide just ain't gonna cut it!!!! Hope the purists don't banish me for that. If it was a 2 door or a conv. I'd probably do a NOS resto. but it's not. (shame)

The suspension is one of those projects that has lots of things that 'attach' to it. Like changing the front springs, bushings and ball joints could be done in one project, but as long as you have it apart why not clean up the frame and paint that and powder coat the A-arms and new springs, and may as well do the brakes, and if you are doing the brakes, it is a good time to do the brake lines and hoses (I bet the the brake fluid is rusty, just like the lines). And if you are doing the lines, that means getting into the rear brakes, lines and hose, so you may as well do the rear suspension springs and bushings while you are back there. And may as well paint the frame back there and powder coat the rear control arms. And then there is that differential that probably needs servicing and painting....

You get the idea

It was a summer project for me last year.



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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-27-2011, 09:26 PM
 
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dcairns View Post
The suspension is one of those projects that has lots of things that 'attach' to it. Like changing the front springs, bushings and ball joints could be done in one project, but as long as you have it apart why not clean up the frame and paint that and powder coat the A-arms and new springs, and may as well do the brakes, and if you are doing the brakes, it is a good time to do the brake lines and hoses (I bet the the brake fluid is rusty, just like the lines). And if you are doing the lines, that means getting into the rear brakes, lines and hose, so you may as well do the rear suspension springs and bushings while you are back there. And may as well paint the frame back there and powder coat the rear control arms. And then there is that differential that probably needs servicing and painting....

You get the idea

It was a summer project for me last year.
Yep, it's hard to start in on it planning to replace just a few chosen items, because it all most likely needs to be replaced and refurbished. Even if all the rubber parts didn't have much mileage on them, after 50 years it probably doesn't matter either way. It is much easier to replace all at once.
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-31-2011, 11:33 AM
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Nice car! Man, that sure brings back some '60s high school memories.
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-31-2011, 04:42 PM Thread Starter
 
 
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Thanks to all that have replied with suggestions and compliments. I sorta know how the replace, refurbish and resto thing goes. I'm in the process of, (now don't cringe to bad) doing a pan up resto mod on a '68 vw bug. Got close to $4000.00 grand in the rolling chassis. It adds up quick and the impala seems to be a little more $$$$. I think that I'll spend a few weeks on here and learn from you guys before I dive in head first. It has set for at least 30 years so what's a few more weeks. Anybody ever put later Impala, say '63 or '64 bucket seats and suicide doors on a '59? I know that anything can be done with time and $$$$. Just looking for info and ideas. Thanks again. Not to many '59's on here.
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-01-2011, 11:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by riddled1 View Post
Floor pans are like the day it rolled out of the plant!!! No kidding, no rust on any sheet metal!!!! Paint is near perfect. Couple of dings in some trim pieces but that's it. I honestly believe this thing has set in a garage in Oklahoma since the '60's. If I'm not mistaken it has the original bias ply tires on it and I put air in them and drove it for about 3 days. A little creaky, shimmy and sways a bit but steers straight and stops great. Never went above 45mph though. I'm leaning towards weatherstripping and upholstery first. Then pick away at the suspension. I have located everything but the front bench seat foam replacements. Any ideas? Just out of curiousity, Does anyone like Tremec make a decent 5-speed swap? That powerglide just ain't gonna cut it!!!! Hope the purists don't banish me for that. If it was a 2 door or a conv. I'd probably do a NOS resto. but it's not. (shame)

I'm not a purist, but I'm not sure why you're dismissing your car because it's a 4-door sedan. I have a '62 4-door sedan and I love the 4 doors.

If your car came from the factory with a 348, you will probably be amazed how rare it is and how many are actually left (and weren't robbed of their 348 to put in something else). If you're wanting to customize it just to make it different, it's probably plenty different as it is.

Although it's your car, so if you want to make it completely different you can do that too.

My '62 was sitting in a shed for roughly 34 years before I bought it. Brake and suspension-wise I had to rebuild the master and go through the brakes, replace a few bushings, but had to do less than you would expect. I've had it for more than 7 years now and it's been great. Enjoy it!
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-01-2011, 05:39 PM Thread Starter
 
 
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I do actually like the 4 doors. I was in no way disrespecting them. I happen to like old chevy long bed pickups to and had a '66 at one time. You are right about there may not be to many left because there are very few posts here on them and it has been years since I seen one on the road. However I did see a '59 el camino awhile a back and a '60 bel air or biscayn about a month ago. I was just tossing thoughts and ideas out there just for curiousity sakes. New project excitement I guess.
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