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  #941  
Old 04-13-2018, 09:11 AM
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Originally Posted by TheBandit View Post
The last couple weeks have been great for seat time in the Nova. Being behind the wheel of this car has been putting a smile on my face for almost twenty years now. Somehow it just never gets old! And with the kids in the back seat... even better! I've been taking my 7yo son to baseball practice and my 4yo to the park. Here's a look-back shot of the car at the park the other day.



I even let my wife take our family out to ice cream the other day. Here's a rare view forme from the passenger seat!



I discovered that with the wife and kids in the car the exhaust V-band a at the header scrapes my driveway. I was afraid this might be hanging down too low. I'm not sure if I'll do anything about it. It doesn't seem to drag if it's just me and one of the kids in the car so I may just have to back out of the driveway before loading it with 4 passengers.


Last Friday we packed the Nova for an overnight trip to Santa Paula. They were having their first monthly cruise night for the year and I decided to combine it with an overnight stay at my folks house with the kids. I love how much room there is in the trunk! Plenty of space for overnight bags, swimwear, a dog bed, a pair of scooters, and food. We put the dog in the backseat between the kids and set out on the highway.


It was the first highway trip in the car since all the rearend work and new wheels and tires. The overall gearing difference is noticeable with the smaller diameter rears and I responded by driving a little slower on the freeway. I also noticed a whine that I'm worried could be the rear gears. It seemed to make the whine during cruise or under power, with no change in volume, in the indicated range of 70-75mph (which is probably closer to 60mph now); the noise disappears outside of that speed range and also disappears if I let off the accelerator / decelerate. I heard it more on the way out than I did on the trip back, so perhaps it's something that will go away as the gears break back in. Or maybe it has nothing to do with the gears at all - I'm not sure.

Anyway we made it to the cruise night and it was AWESOME!


There were all kinds of cars lining main street. I only saw one other with an LS swap. I didn't hang around my own car, but the times I passed by there were usually a couple people looking under the hood. I talked to a few of them and met some cool people. The coils on the firewall continue to draw attention. We had to cut out a bit early and drive through the crowds - it was definitely hoppin'.


Another Nova owner I met on Instagram was there and snapped a couple of cool photos of me leaving the show.


So now that I've got the new wheels and tires, rear suspension, and some seat time, I am starting to think about what's next. First, I have a few safety items I'd like to add, namely I want to add a passenger side mirror and a backup camera. I have very bad visibility behind the car and I am really worried about backing over a kid - there are just too many of them playing on my street (including my own) and I'm not sure I'd even hear them yelling over the exhaust. Second, I need to figure out why my engine always has a long crank start. I'll share more details on that later, but basically the engine never starts on the first crank. Third, I am signing up for an autocross event in June and there are a few things I'd like to do to make the car more better before then. That all said - I am just enjoying the hell out of the car!
This is what it's all about!

Excellent post, glad your enjoying it and keeping it running with planned repairs/ refits.

It is so much better to enjoy our toys than to watch them rot in the garage.
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  #942  
Old 04-13-2018, 01:38 PM
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We have the same problem with my dads 5.3. It seems like it's every other start, or maybe just cycling the key when warm has something to do with it but it's not exact how to reproduce the no start.

The tuner said we would need a check valve in the line to the fuel rail/regulator but I didn't really see why?
That's also what my tuner said a year ago, but I haven't done anything about it yet. I have read a bad back-flow valve in the pump can cause this and sometimes even new pumps are defective. It's a Walbro 255 in the tank. I need to get a pressure gauge on it and see what it's doing. If it is a fuel pressure / backflow issue, I might just add a check valve back near the tank. It could still be an internal leak of some kind but we didn't see any issues with fuel trims so if there is an internal leak it must not be a big one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CarterKraft View Post
This is what it's all about!

Excellent post, glad your enjoying it and keeping it running with planned repairs/ refits.

It is so much better to enjoy our toys than to watch them rot in the garage.
Thank you! I absolutely love driving the car. I have a hard time deciding whether I like building or working on it more - they are both fun. Having it down for a while was a bummer, but I really enjoyed doing the work to get those new wheels, tires, and suspension under it. It drives like a completely different car.

I registered for autocross in early June. Hopefully everything holds together between now and then. I am making a list of little things to address over the next month, but I don't plan on any big projects. I would like to swap the rear shocks, because I can definitely tell the rear is under-damped. I'm still using some 20-yr-old KYBs that I bought new way back when. I just have to decide what price point I want to land at. There's another local cruise night this weekend that I plan to take it to - more pics to come.
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  #943  
Old 04-16-2018, 11:38 AM
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Did another cruise night this Saturday. It's fun explaining to older guys what those things on the firewall are: "Are those the injectors?" "No buddy those are the points and condensers!"







This time my neighbor brought his Factory Five Cobra. He gets a lot of attention with this car.

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  #944  
Old 05-11-2018, 11:49 AM
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Continuing to have fun with the car over the last few weeks. I took it to work a few times, took my daughter to school, and have been shaking things down a bit. It always stands out in the parking lot.









I finally had a chance to work on adjusting the rear proportioning valve and I ended up opening the prop valve all the way. The stock disc front calipers have very large pistons; even though the rear rotor diameter (12") is larger than the front (11"), I calculate brake bias at about 71/29 primarily due to piston areas. The fronts still lock before the rear, or maybe I should say the FRONT LEFT locks before anything else. I've been having a problem with car pulling left since I got the car running again.



I decided I better troubleshoot that issue before I panic brake into oncoming traffic. First I checked the steering linkage. All the tie rods, idler, and pitman joints seem to be fine. The steering box itself has had a lot of slop for a long time, so I adjusted that out (took about 1-1/4 turns on the box adjustment - probably time for a replacement/rebuild). Next I rebled the front brakes and inspected the right front caliper to make sure things were working. It seemed to be getting fluid and the piston was moving. I pulled it off and checked the pins for binding. They were moving, but not as smoothly as I'd like so I cleaned and lubricated them with some high temp wheel bearing grease. Unfortunately none of this seemed to eliminate the issue. The car continues to pull left under braking.



While I still want to find the problem, I am also not excited about chasing ghosts on this old system so I decided to get the ball rolling early on the next upgrade.



Those are C6 front calipers. My intention was to run Z51 (13.4" rotor) brakes up front, but when I checked clearance using templates from Kore3 I found the caliper would not quite clear the spoke. So I will have to use the base (12.8" rotor) system which should provide enough wheel clearance.



Parts have been showing up. I normally hate posting parts photos because all it really shows is that I'm spending money, but this will give you an idea of what's going on. Kore3 brackets, Kore3 stainless hoses, Kore3 aluminum hubs with 1/2" ARP screw-in wheel studs, Powerslot rotors and Hawk HPS pads.



The hubs are very nice. I was on the fence about going this route or buying used drum hubs and machining them plus upgrading the studs. I could have saved a little money on the drum hubs but I decided I would prefer new parts. These are very nice.





While waiting on parts, I also tackled another project. Houndstooth!







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  #945  
Old 06-05-2018, 05:41 PM
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I have a lot of catching up to do in this thread, but this picture sorta gets things up to speed on it's own.



I'll post more later on for anyone interested. Haven't had too many comments in the thread for a while and I'm wondering if it's time to stop updating.
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  #946  
Old 06-05-2018, 05:45 PM
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Never stop updating! I may not comment all that much but believe me I really watch your thread, as well as the others that post.
You might need an "Oh Shit" bar for the passenger.
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  #947  
Old 06-06-2018, 12:55 PM
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You might need an "Oh Shit" bar for the passenger.
Good idea! That's my sister gripping the drip rail - it would royally suck if someone tweaked the rail or pulled off the trim. I need to replace the headliner soon - maybe I could weld some mounting tabs/nuts behind the headliner along the top of the door opening for attaching a grab handle. But I don't want to cook the vinyl top or throw sparks into the interior. I'll noodle on it.
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  #948  
Old 06-06-2018, 01:26 PM
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Here's a video of the first run of the day. I was driving conservatively to get a feel for the course. As I crossed the finish and looked over at the board, I was completely stunned to see a 47.1sec ET. It was just a few seconds off pace from some more experienced drivers that preceded me.



I am still processing videos, but here is a cool one I got looking at the rear suspension doing some work.



I have a ton of photos and videos to go through. Hopefully I have time to to post some later this week and get the thread caught up on a few things I did in the weeks leading up to the event.
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  #949  
Old 06-06-2018, 02:56 PM
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Originally Posted by TheBandit View Post
I have a ton of photos and videos to go through. Hopefully I have time to to post some later this week and get the thread caught up on a few things I did in the weeks leading up to the event.
Whilst I may not post it often enough.
This thread is one of my favorites!

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  #950  
Old 06-06-2018, 05:44 PM
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Originally Posted by TheBandit View Post
I have a lot of catching up to do in this thread, but this picture sorta gets things up to speed on it's own.



I'll post more later on for anyone interested. Haven't had too many comments in the thread for a while and I'm wondering if it's time to stop updating.
Quote:
Originally Posted by entropy View Post
Whilst I may not post it often enough.
This thread is one of my favorites!

Entropy

No joke, you can't stop there are only a handdful of people here but we are good people! (not counting bots).
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  #951  
Old 06-06-2018, 06:54 PM
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Thanks for the love guys. You are right the hand full on here a very high caliber. It's not your typical forum of random people, but the traffic has been very low and I'm not exactly building/fabricating an offroader. Some of the regulars of years past have drifted off and no longer post. I hardly even see Cris on here and this is his site! I guess I'm just lamenting the heyday when we had a full complement of active contributors.

I'll go ahead and update on the autocross event and then catch up on prior work afterwards.
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  #952  
Old 06-06-2018, 06:55 PM
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Autocross - Camarillo Airport - June 3, 2018 - Speed Limit Racing

Back in April I got the email I'd been waiting for - Speed Limit Racing announced an upcoming autocross event June 2-3 at the local airport. I made a call right away to my brother, who rode along the last time I went a year ago, and he said he was in to streetify his dune buggy and join. The race was on for both of us to finalize changes to our cars and get ready for the event. I'm happy to report, we both made it!



First, my Nova should be familiar to folks following this thread. A basic recap - it's a 1970 Nova powered by a VVT- cammed 370 ci Gen IV LY6 with a TH400 and posi rear. When I did the engine swap, I also made a number of suspension changes up front including the Guldstrand mod to improve camber gain, tubular upper arms to allow more caster, 600lb/in AFCO springs and adjusters to lower the front, Helwig tubular sway bar, and Hotchkis Bilstein shocks. Since my last autocross, I cut and narrowed the rearend, added "LS1" rear discs with HPS pads and Powerslot rotors, and sprung it with stiffer Hotchkis 1.5" drop springs, rear Helwig tubular sway bar, and recently rear Hotchkis Bilstein shocks. I also made a major tire upgrade, going from 15-year-old 225/60R15 and 275/60R15 tires to modern 245/40R18 and 255/40R18 Michelin Pilot Super Sports. Last week my wife and I used her craft machine to cut an all-important magnetic #70 for each door - pretty sure that was worth +15hp and +0.5g in the corners!



And the newcomer to the thread - my brother's Meyer's Manx dune buggy!











My brother and I got these cars at about the same time, between 1997 and 1998. It was built as an off-roader. While I was interested in drag racing and "pro street" cars, he was building and driving this at the sand dunes of Pismo Beach, high speed desert, and tough truck challenges. About 7 or 8 years ago he built a big motor for it and destroyed the transmission. It sat mothballed until he regained interest after I took him to autocross with me last year. He was really interested to know how his buggy would do in this kind of event. In the course of the last couple of months, he swapped out the transmission, fixed a bunch of issues due to sitting, lowered the car, and swapped the wheels and tires for some dirt-cheap Hoosier take-offs from the local asphalt race scene. With less than an hour of shakedown, he threw the car on a trailer and drove it a couple hours to join me at the races!
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  #953  
Old 06-06-2018, 06:56 PM
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Autocross Continued...

Speed Limit Racing is the same group I did autocross with a year ago and they are a great bunch - they keep cars moving through the grid all day long so everyone gets a good deal of seat time. The course is setup on a runway, which limits layout to some degree but allows for long high speed sections and open spaces in case you spin off the track. There is always a good mix of classic and modern cars, along with some super cars and interesting stuff showing up from time to time (at least from what I've seen on their social media). Here is Sunday's grid:



The format is simple. There are color groups of about 8 cars. The first group gets 1 parade lap to get a sense of the course followed by 3 hot laps. Then they rotate through the groups, repeating the same. Then each group does a set of 4 hot laps and finally each group does a set of 3 hot laps to end the day. Every car gets 10 hot laps total. Whenever there are problems with the timing equipment, the car gets to rejoin the line for a rerun.

My brother's group was first up. Here are some photos of his car running from throughout the day:















His car did great. It didn't have the power of some of the V8 cars like mine, but in tight corners it was an animal. Once he learned the course and started driving harder, I was recording 1.3g lateral in some places! He made big improvements lap after lap, posting a best ET of 48.3sec.
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  #954  
Old 06-06-2018, 06:56 PM
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Autocross Continued...

Not to be outdone, the Nova!

























From the moment I turned into the first corner, I knew all the work and time upgrading the suspension and tires had paid off! After watching cars in the previous groups run in the mid/high 50sec range and a couple experience drivers posting low 40s, I was stunned when I saw the board after my very first lap 47.1sec! Lap after lap I explored different lines and pushed the limits of the car. I found the car was very well balanced and the tires forgiving. I have read about these things, but never really experienced them until now. Previously my car would be doing fine fine fine then suddenly I'd either be oversteering with the back end coming around or plowing/understeering right out of the corner. Now when I reach the limits of traction, the car starts to slip in a very predictable way, strafing sideways while still turning. It has this really awesome wide threshold where I have some choice on how much to push it and it's so much easier to manage.

Unfortunately the story isn't quite the same under braking - hard braking still induces understeer and I found a couple of times I was braking a little too late/deep, like this time I came out of the slalom too hot, pushed out of the next corner by a few feet, and plowed a group of cones. Yes that's one of them smoking under the heat of my exhaust.



As I learned the car and pushed things a bit harder, I managed a best time of 45.1sec. Looking back on the data, I was regularly sustaining 0.9g lateral while in a few places I blipped 1.0-1.1g - not too shabby for an old muscle car on a set of street tires! I was stoked!





I have more videos and stories to share but for now I better get back to my day job. Thanks for looking!
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  #955  
Old 06-06-2018, 07:20 PM
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Kudos to the Photog!
Not easy to get the rig centered in the frame at an A+ !

Great Pix!!

E
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  #956  
Old 06-07-2018, 01:48 AM
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Thanks E! Several photographers involved as I passed my camera around to family and also got some great shots from another driver. All the killer panning motion blur shots were taken by Arlo from www.aseyeseethings.com
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  #957  
Old 06-07-2018, 09:57 AM
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Nice! Another vote to keep updating...I've been super busy, just not on any automotive related fabrication projects at the moment.

Adding some rear brake bias will help your understeer. I don't know if you have a rear proportioning valve, if you do, you might explore replacing it with a Tilton adjustable, which is pretty inexpensive and a good piece. OEM systems tend to be heavily front biased to work in all conditions with symmetric tires so the car won't swap ends in braking. Now that you've gone wider on the rear tires, you have some margin to shift some braking to the rear axle.

Looks like fun was had by all!
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  #958  
Old 06-07-2018, 12:03 PM
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Thanks for the advice. I have a Wilwood adjustable prop valve installed for the rear, but since I haven't swapped my front brakes yet I'm running a mismatched system that puts too much bias in the front even if I have the valve completely open. The original front caliper piston area is 6.777in on an 11" rotor. The rear, more modern calipers, have 2.465in piston area on a 12" rotor. Rough math that is a baseline 71/29 bias. I've heard these cars want something closer to 67/33 so theoretically I'd need a front proportioning valve to achieve balance. In practice the fronts are definitely still locking before the rear. I have my rear prop valve completely open right now.

I've gathered parts to swap to 2 piston C6 'vette brakes with 13" rotors and master/booster to match. Those will have a baseline bias closer to 63/37, so the proportioning valve can be used to get the car dialed in. I am going to stay with a boosted setup (although I will be going from a single 11" booster to a dual 9") and I will have to drop master piston size to suit the smaller piston area of the C6 calipers. I was going to do it before the autocross, but I got tight on time and decided not to risk swapping major parts right before the races.

Sorry I was frustrated about updating the thread - it's just gotten quiet around here. I like sharing this stuff and getting feedback/advice. I respect all the regulars on the forum. Hopefully I will have the opportunity to do more metal fabrication on the car later this year and do the kind of work that precipitates good discussion on the forum.
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  #959  
Old 07-09-2018, 01:51 PM
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Hopped in the car the other day and just drove around town and on some backroads for over an hour. I just love driving this thing now! Snapped a few photos because sometimes I forget what's under the hood









Here is a quick walk around video I took. The fuel pump has been getting noisier and noisier over time. It's especially bad when the fuel level is low like in this video. I'm wondering if the pump is smashed too tightly against the bottom of the tray or if something else is wrong in there. I may have to drop the tank soon to check things out. Other than the pump noise, you can see in the video how much patina the car actually has. It needs body work and paint but it's just not a priority.

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Old 07-09-2018, 01:54 PM
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A few months ago I started a quest to restore my paint. I managed to wash, clay, and glaze the car, which made the paint look a whole lot better. I stopped working on it because I didn't have time to do it the way I wanted. Last week I finally had some free time off so I decided to get back into it. I really wanted to pull off the side body moldings so I could do a better job cutting the paint so off they came!








For the most part, the moldings attach to clips like the one pictured above, but before you can get the trim off the clips you have to take off a few fasteners. The quarter molding has one stud at the very back whose nut needs to be removed from inside of the trunk. The doors have screws at the front and rear (total 2 per door) which you can access just by opening the door (no need to remove the door panel. The fenders are a different story; they have studs the entire length that can only be removed from inside of the fender. To get the trim off the plastic clips, I gripped the trim carefully with my fingers and while pulling upward, I pulled/tilted the top away from the car. They sort of unsnapped.

As I mentioned, the fender trim is attached from the inside, so I dropped the inner fender and attempted to take them off.



As it turns out I could get to all the nuts except a couple which were blocked by the cowl. I tried snaking my fingers in from the door hinge area, but there was no way I could get them off without removing the fender from the car. The same held for the "Nova" emblem and decorative "gills" - no way to get them off without taking off the fender. I decided I had gone far enough and I would just have to work around these things. Out the car came for a fresh strip wash.





I think of my car as a "fifteen footer" because it looks and photographs well from about 15 ft, but anything closer and you start to see why I need to work on this paint. Case in point: take a look at the oxidation and/or deposits on the driver's side quarter panel.



With the car clean, it was time to break out the detailing tools again. My goal was to "cut" the paint, which basically means using compound and aggressive pads to cut through oxidation and deep defects. I am using a Harbor Freight DA polisher, but I've added a Lake Country 5" backing plate because the one that comes with the polisher is junk.



Shown below are some of my Lake Country foam pads, 6" dia x 0.875in thick. The white one is a polishing pad and the orange is a medium cutting pad. After some experimentation, I decided to go with a more aggressive yellow cutting pad.



For product, I decided to try Meguiars Ultimate Compound



And with that, off to cutting!



Working with the DA polisher is a somewhat new thing for me so bear with me. First I drizzled some compound onto the pad; roughly 4 or 5 dime size drops. Then with the DA off, I pressed the pad against a few places on the car to dab the compound onto the panel, working in roughly a 2ft x 2ft area. Then I put the DA on a very low speed setting (just over "1") to do a quick spread of the compound over the area I'll be working on. Finally, with the pad still against the car, I dial up the speed to setting "3" and move slowly (as shown in the video) in overlapping passes, first going horizontal, then vertical, and repeating. I found about 6 passes (3 hor, 3 ver) with moderate pressure worked in most areas. I came back over some where there was stubborn oxidation. One thing that helped was to mark a black Sharpie line onto my backing plate so I could monitor rotation of the pad. Sometimes if you tilt the pad or don't apply enough pressure, the pad will stop rotating and only orbit (the "dual action" is to both rotate and orbit and you want both!) so this line helped me keep an eye on things. Once finished with my 2x2ish area, I turn off the polisher while it's still held against the body (so it doesn't spin freely and splatter compound everywhere), then I go over the panel with a microfiber to remove remaining compound residue. Occasionally I ended up with some stubborn compound residue that was very hard to remove by hand. I found a sprits of distilled water took it right off. Repeat, repeat, repeat all over the car!
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