New to site, considering a 66 SS - Impala Tech
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-16-2012, 08:50 PM Thread Starter
 
 
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New to site, considering a 66 SS

Found this site cruising around looking for info on a car I'm considering purchasing. I've been in the market for an older car for some time. Definitely looking at Impala's and found what I think to be a good deal.

What I know about the car, chime in if anything sounds fishy? I know a fair amount about older cars, but definitely not as much as the members here (why I'm posting!)

It's a 1966 396SS w/ power glide. Drums all around. Car is very clean, everything works except the AC. Interior is a 9 out of 10, I couldn't find a spot of rush. I'm yet to drive it, but did give it a good once over, and watched it idle in 100 degree heat for 10 minutes with no leaks/boil overs.

Main purpose of the car will be cruising with my wife and 2 daughters (like the big back seat for the car seats).

Not sure long term what I'll do with the car, but definitely would consider upgrading the brakes/trans/rear end if I ever decide to go a little faster.

He's asking just over $14k, which I thought was fair for the condition. Plus it's white, which I definitely like.

Other than validating it's a true SS (which I'm honestly not all that worried about), what else should I be looking for on the car that may come up as an issue.

Also, how is the power glide on the highway? Speed limits out here are 70, not sure it can comfortably cruise at that speed?

How are parts to come by for these cars? Haven't done my research to see how readily available upgrades/replacement parts are, I know they're not like the Camaro/Nova/Chevelle crowd, but figured there was a decent amount.

Thanks in advance for any comments.

-Chris
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-16-2012, 10:14 PM
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The 66 Impala was built back when the national speed limit was 75 mph. It can handle 70 mph all day long. As long as the trans is in good shape. The worst thing I have found on them is frame and body rust. The front and back windows rust out as well as the trunk and floorboards. The frames rust at the body mounts and at the trans cross member. Also at the front of the rear wheels.
If your serious about the car ,put it up on a lift and inspect it good.
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-16-2012, 11:22 PM
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Welcome to the Team Chris!

Car will run at 70 no problem as the motor makes all the power needed at high way speeds. Getting that barge up to speed without blowing off the tires is better accomplished with more gears in the gear box. Once you buy it think about a four speed automatic to put in it. The first three speeds get the car up on the plane and the final fourth gear is for cruising.

Big Dave
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-17-2012, 11:31 AM
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I just bought a '66 Impala SS convertible. The price of your "to be" car sounds very reasonable assuming it checks out o.k. Parts for these cars seem reasonably available from this forum sponsor vendors. Some parts are hard to find for the '66 like kick panels, in dash tach, flywheel cover and a few others.

I believe the powerglide and the TH350 have the same gearing but the powerglide has no first gear that the TH350 has. Thus, cruising at 70 mph is very comfortable. I drove my '63 Impala cross country multiple times with a tow load back in the '60's. The powerglide did just fine (Miami to LA, LA to NC, CT to FL). As Dave says, a 4 speed overdrive auto would be fantastic and they are readily available.

A word of caution about buying an old car. Many old cars have outdated tires on them because they just don't get driven very much. The tires look great and the tread is full but the age of the tire causes the rubber to harden and are not only uncomfortable to drive on (rattles in car, car wonders, long stopping distances, difficult to control in hard cornering, etc) they are also dangerous to drive on. DOT requires the date code be stamped on the one side of the tire (usually on the backside to make it difficult to see). After the year 2000 the last four digits might look something like (2204, 22nd week of 2004). The car that I just bought a few weeks ago had tires dated 2002. I immediately put 4 new tires on the car and the difference is dramatically improved. It feels much safer. If the tires are over 7 years old replace them. The rubber in newer tires have anti aging agents in the rubber and driving the car keeps these agents active. Letting it sit in the garage for years defeats the anti ageing capability of the tires even though the tires are out of the sun and weather.

Good luck, enjoy the car, I love mine.
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-19-2012, 12:21 PM Thread Starter
 
 
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Well, I drove the car earlier in the week. Everything was in very good shape. I couldn't find any rust on the car except for a tiny bit of surface rust underneath the truck weatherstripping. I did the VIN research, it is an original SS 396 powerglide, however it's not the original motor, however the motor did have a valve job done a few thousand miles ago. Updates recently were front end & rear end rebuild (bushings), new alternator and belts. It's amazing a 1966 has power windows, they work great!

AC doesn't work, but I'm not overly concerned about that (it is factory AC), speedo doesn't work (well, not correctly). I'm confident I can get those two going.

I think I have the wife convinced (she really likes the convertibles though), hopefully will get to make an offer early next week, pics will immediately follow! It has all the documentation and appraisals with it, time to make the plunge?

-Chris
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-19-2012, 02:29 PM
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Speedo gear is off because someone has changed the rear gear or more likely they have installed a rebuilt replacement PowerGlide out of another car that had different rear gears than your car. There is a plastic drive gear and a similarly colored plastic driven gear on the out-put shaft that that turns the speedometer and it has a gear ratio to match the rear gear ratio with a 28 inch tall tire.

To change out that little cheap plastic gear, you pull the four bolts off the tail shaft to get to the gears that are pressed onto the out-put shaft. Once pulled off they can be replaced with another set of gears that are the correct color to match your rear end gear ratio (which you won't know what ratio you have until you pop off the rear inspection plate and count the number of teeth on the ring gear and the pinion gear).

It is a lot of bother to get a speedo to read spot on, but it beats tickets. The alternative is to buy a gear ratio adjuster (another set of small gears that fit inside a small gear box with it's own bearings and lubricant that screws onto your speedometer cable out put) that will alter your out -put by a fixed ratio depending upon if you are reading too high or too low.

A/C is probably from rotten hoses that are now porous to freon. I would replace them after first verifying your A-6 piston compressor still spins. That is the biggest head ache and many will tell you to ditch it in favor of a Sanderson unit which in my opinion would be a mistake.

Big Dave
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-23-2012, 08:38 PM Thread Starter
 
 
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Bought it

Well, took the plunge tonight and she's sitting in my garage.

Definitely very excited. Took a slow cruise around the block with the wife and kids, then let the wife take it out. She came back in and said "it needs to be faster and louder". I love it!

I know you guys want pictures, so here you go.









I'll get a quick video up once it loads to youtube...
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-24-2012, 09:36 AM
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Chris, Car looks real good. White , back interior, 396 , ralleys, they all work good. Good choice!
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-24-2012, 10:28 AM
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If she thinks it needs to be faster, either she is a speed demon or the Trans Detent is not working... Nice ride

1964 Impala SS Convertible. 409, 4 speed, dual quad
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-24-2012, 11:17 AM
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That car is immaculate. Looks brand new. Nice ride!

Big Dave
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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-24-2012, 01:23 PM
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I like that your wife said it needs to be faster and louder, that's awesome! I'm sure the Powerglide didn't help that low end response any. Making that a 3 or 4 speed would probably give it just enough punch.

I may be missing something but $14k seems like a great deal on that car!
Real nice car man, congrats!

HOW A NOVICE REBUILDS A 66 IMPALA CONVERTIBLE:
http://www.impalas.net/forums/blog.php?u=1432
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-24-2012, 01:43 PM
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very,very nice...and a big block car to boot....a turbo 400 and 3:70 posi, will make the wife happy...does it have headers?
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-24-2012, 07:25 PM Thread Starter
 
 
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Here's a quick video.


I thought it was a steal for the price, I actually picked it up for less than 14k after I haggled a little bit.

It's got decent pickup, but with 2 speeds it really is only quick at certain speeds. She's not a speed demon, but I did have an 07 cts v with a ls2 prior to this, so theres some work to make it close to that quick!

I'm open to ideas on what to do next. It's bone stock as far as I can tell.

I guess I'll hop over to the performance section and make a post there.

No headers (yet), definitely like the idea of headers, cam, t400 & a posi rear!
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-25-2012, 06:11 AM
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Nice vid! That thing has a HEALTY sound to say the least!

Quote:
Originally Posted by yitsock View Post
Here's a quick video.

66 Impala 396 ss - YouTube

I thought it was a steal for the price, I actually picked it up for less than 14k after I haggled a little bit.

It's got decent pickup, but with 2 speeds it really is only quick at certain speeds. She's not a speed demon, but I did have an 07 cts v with a ls2 prior to this, so theres some work to make it close to that quick!

I'm open to ideas on what to do next. It's bone stock as far as I can tell.

I guess I'll hop over to the performance section and make a post there.

No headers (yet), definitely like the idea of headers, cam, t400 & a posi rear!

1964 Impala SS Convertible. 409, 4 speed, dual quad
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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-25-2012, 11:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Dave View Post
Speedo gear is off because someone has changed the rear gear or more likely they have installed a rebuilt replacement PowerGlide out of another car that had different rear gears than your car. There is a plastic drive gear and a similarly colored plastic driven gear on the out-put shaft that that turns the speedometer and it has a gear ratio to match the rear gear ratio with a 28 inch tall tire.

To change out that little cheap plastic gear, you pull the four bolts off the tail shaft to get to the gears that are pressed onto the out-put shaft. Once pulled off they can be replaced with another set of gears that are the correct color to match your rear end gear ratio (which you won't know what ratio you have until you pop off the rear inspection plate and count the number of teeth on the ring gear and the pinion gear).

It is a lot of bother to get a speedo to read spot on, but it beats tickets. The alternative is to buy a gear ratio adjuster (another set of small gears that fit inside a small gear box with it's own bearings and lubricant that screws onto your speedometer cable out put) that will alter your out -put by a fixed ratio depending upon if you are reading too high or too low.

A/C is probably from rotten hoses that are now porous to freon. I would replace them after first verifying your A-6 piston compressor still spins. That is the biggest head ache and many will tell you to ditch it in favor of a Sanderson unit which in my opinion would be a mistake.

Big Dave
That's the long way to do it.

Here's what I did: Take the car out with a GPS and determine how much the speedo is high/low. Calculate this as percentage. Take your speedo gear out (the driven gear that can be removed from the side) and count the teeth. Do some research, as increasing the number of teeth changes the speedometer reading by a certain %. Then you can figure out if the driven gear you need exists, and if so you only need to change the one gear, and don't need to remove the tail shaft.
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post #16 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-25-2012, 03:36 PM
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Chris, welcome........'66 looks awsome and you got a great deal

Kevin

'63 Impala SS 409/425 owned since '71
'64 Impala SS 327/300 factory 4sp p/s p/b air
'66 Impala 327/275 glide 2dr/hdtp
'66 Belair Wagon 283 700R4
'62 Impala 350/350 dual quad th350 2dr/hdtp
'00 Camaro SS 6sp hurst SLP
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post #17 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-28-2012, 12:19 AM
 
 
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Very nice car sir! Congrats!
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post #18 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-01-2012, 06:42 PM
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Great looking car.......Donnie
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