Car Prep - Round 1 - 08/25/2012

Time to prepare the car! If it is going to get an engine and ever run again, it needs some things taken care of (and we aren't talking interior upholstry or paint jobs). The ignition lock cylinder is really messed up and the gas tank has a locking gas cap. And of course the ever fun game of "guess what you can about the previous owners!" based off of what treasures and trinkets you find in the car interior makes it totally worth it.

The view of the car as it sits. The steering column is locked so the wheels are cocked to the side.

It looks like someone rattle canned flat black on the back quarters and trunk, REALLY not sure what look they were going for since the paint on the rest of the car, while shot, isn't exactly hideous. Someone used silicon sealer all over the rear window trim to seal a leak - gotta give points for creativity even if it is the WRONG way to solve a problem.

Passenger floor is not too bad. No carpet or sound deadener which is annoying, but luckily all of that is reproduced. Seats are in SAD shape.

No headliner either. At least the shoulder belt mounts are there, so adding them won't be too much trouble. Doesn't appear to have been a bow headliner originally either, no bow holes. That missing driver's side upper door panel is aggravating, they probably took it when they took the mirror (might have been remote). The vinyl top option makes me sad though, it crackles when I press down on the back part - so it's probably pretty scary and rusty up there.

Driver's side floor shows the results of what happens when you lose weatherstripping on the windows on a car left outside in the rain and water pools in the floors underneath a rubber floor mat. I don't feel like welding, I'll probably use fiberglass cloth and POR-15 aluminum flake. b-man on PY gave me the idea and repaired a similar type of rust on his '64 project. Since you know, '71-76 B-body floor pans aren't EVER going to be reproduced, especially 4 doors. All that wiring near the seat is for the power bench seat which it has and I'm a sucker for nifty things like that. Not sure what the heavy duty yellow wires are going to, not factory (neither are all the red and grey wires dangling around). Probably for a ghetto blastin' stereo at one time.

This is how someone who used to own this car rolled: weatherstripping starting to go bad? Use packing tape to hold it all together! Edelbrock gear drive box has seen better days. That gear drive is $252 from Summit and I sold it for $40. Am I stupid? Eh, probably. I wasn't going to use it so better someone else get it rather than it sitting in a zip lock bag taking up storage space! I cleaned out the trunk rail linings of dirt and garbage too - no point letting it continue to hold moisture, luckily it isn't rusty.

More trunk fun times. More cassettes: the "It Feels So Good" single. A rattle can of flat black - wonder if they applied it to the quarters and trunk with the toothbrush? And one of those aftermarket center consoles that sits on the floor of the transmission tunnel, minus the actual console with just the floor mount part. Trunk isn't rusty at least, just some surface rust. Broken terminator style sunglasses (there's 2 pairs in the car actually) imply someone was going to be back some day...

The first major project of today: a locking gas cap with no key. I was loathing the metal locking type because supposedly they are very difficult to remove. It does say "Made In Mexico" on it.

Hmm, this didn't take but a minute to pry off with a screw driver...

Another pry of the lock lip, then a quick strike and pry with said large screwdriver and the locking mechanism was broken and able to be undone with the screw driver as if it was the key. "Made In Mexico" indeed!

Didn't even damage the tank! It's a 1-year only piece and not reproduced, that's a good thing. Moral of the story: locking gas caps are a waste of money as I broke into this in less than 5 minutes and didn't even need to make any loud noises to do it. I could siphon your tank down to empty and be gone in 10 minutes and no one would ever hear a thing.

Next major project is the steering column. Getting out the tools of the trade!

The steering column. The wheel itself is gooey and nasty. The ralley clock and gauge cluster is in surprisingly good condition for a car this beat. A formula wheel would probably be a LOT nicer than this "deluxe" steering wheel.

Screws can't hide from me!

Horn cover removed. Gooey nastiness is everywhere.

Steering wheel removed (cake). Plastic cover held on with screws, unlike "lesser" cars of the A & F body lines using plastic tabs. And no 70's luxo-cruiser would be complete without big gaping hole haphazardly cut into the dash for a thumpin' stereo.

I was wondering if my lock plate depresser tool would EVER find a steering column to fit since it doesn't work with the F-body ones. Luckily this did and it was easy.

Turn signal switch removed. One screw was missing, but the casting flash isn't broken so the lock has never been worked on. The turn signal switch is broken sadly and will need to be replaced. It should function, but it's not long for the world.

This is our problem. A VERY beaten up and broken lock cylinder. Why people can't do this right, I'll never understand.

It may look easy, but this took almost 45 minutes between the last picture and this one. It was a bear to get that chunk of aluminum and iron out. It finally came out and didn't damage the sector gear! So I need to get a new ignition lock since the spare one I had is 1/2" too short (late 70's unit). I couldn't get it to move to unlock the column and I didn't want to force the sector gear to move, that would have been disastrous if it had broke. Just wait for a new switch and do it right.

This is something I need for the driver's side: the window sash. I can't imagine how the thing came off the other window without damaging it, but it did and is NOWHERE to be found (probably hanging out with the driver's side upper panel). I shone a flashlight down the hole of the door to see if it fell in, but couldn't see well enough. If I can't find that piece though, then the car will have a hard time justifying its existence due to lack of being able to seal itself. Not reproduced either... At least the doors and window channels are reproduced.

Engine compartment! I was going to remove the manifolds and get them ready for install on an engine, but I need a deep 9/16" socket and for some reason I left it at home. Oh well! Get it next time when I return with a new gas cap and ignition key lock. True duals exhaust at least! Note lack of outside exhaust bolt holes on the manifolds. Car is set up for an internally regulated alternator (yay!) and it looks like someone zip-tied most of the wiring out of the way of the engine. Not sure if Donny did that or the thieves did it when stealing the intake and rocker arms (such thoughtful thieves if so!). No check valve in booster makes me think it will be shot... Hood hinges are bent too, so they don't evenly go down and therefore the hood doesn't shut. Sweet! Another not-reproduced part to track down! Tranny mount is wasted too, will change that after car gets running again.

Well, progress. Everyone probably thinks I'm stupid for putting a beat up 4 door back on the road and I probably am. But I like 4 door cars and the lines and stance on this car are really nice. Someone also loved this car when it was new so there's no reason to crush it just because it isn't a Trans Am or GTO. This car should be fortunate that I lost the bidding on an exactly identical car on eBay that was complete yet didn't run for $1800... because if I had won it this car would have donated it's power windows and power seats and been off to big car heaven. And after all, I only paid $400 for the car expecting to at best get a core engine for a rebuild, so I can't complain too much!

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Last updated August 25th, 2012