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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was just wondering if some of you veteran restorers have any tips on saving a few bucks during a project. This is coming from a Chevelle nut with very little mechanical know-how. I have to get most of my work done at a shop. So any tips would be helpful. For example, if I was gonna change my torque converter, I would do it at the same time that I rebuilt the tranny, instead of getting the tranny rebuilt and then changing the torque converter 6 months later, paying twice. I guess my question is how can I avoid paying "double charges" like those.
 

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What kind of project? Restoring your car? There are so many things that are obvious to some and earth shattering to others. I would suggest you post the specific task you plan to undertake and then check the replies.
 

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Well, if you're going to buy parts and the like, the best way to make sure that you won't do something twice is to buy good parts. That is to say that you need to spend money on good parts because you don't save money on cheap parts once they're broken.

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Joe Y.
68 malibu
Bloomington/Normal, IL
 

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The biggist single money saver I have found is research and patience.
Example: The El Camino needs a new exaust system that will flow 500-600 Hp. Asked the local muffler shops 450.00 550.00, no way.
one chevell catalog has from the muffler to the rear 120.00, two flow masters 120.00 that leaves 2 about 4' sections from the hedders to the mufflers now your talking 50.00/75.00 at the muffler shop to put in that link up.
Not all shops have huge part markups and not all shops are trying to make 75.00-100.00 per hour. Remember that 100.00 saved is a new carpet set.

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Harley
69 461 El Camino Nitrous Model
69 Chevelle coupe
71 SS Camaro
75 L-82 Corvette
71 Gremlin X
Kerrville,Tx.
 

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The best way to save money is to find out how to do something yourself. I knew absolutely nothing about cars when I got my Chevelle and started working on it. I learned from books, videos, magazines, tv shows, and (most signifcantly) this web site.

It will cost you alot more to farm out all the work than it would to try to do some of it yourself. Of course some things are better left to the professionals, but you might be surprised what you are capable of doing yourself.
 

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Her's how you do it. Don't start a project. Don't restore a car. Don't rebuild the engine. Don't paint it. Don't even buy it and you'll save thousands! One thing leads to another... and another... You get the idea.
 

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Talk to people with cars and find out who the good mechanics, body men, and parts suppliers are. Avoiding a shyster can save you a pile of money. Pay a good man a good dollar for a good job and you will save money in the long run. If you are not at all mechanically inclined, take a knowledgeable person with you and buy a finished car. Keep an open mind and never fall in love with the first car you see or you will probably overlook its short comings and regret the purchase.
 

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Buck Mustard has it right on the nose.
Mechanical Skills are learned. The only way to learn this stuff is by doing. If this is your only vehicle, do small project or consider buying a daily driver. By doing this, you can have your vehicle out of service for more than a day.
Talk to the older mechanics, there is a wealth of knowledge out there for those who are interested in learning. Don't be shy, we have all made mistakes and learned from them.
Buy some basic tools and a shop manual and start tinkering!

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I agree with Buck and Tom. Learning as you go is the best method. Even if you screw up a few times and have to buy those parts again, its still probably cheaper than having someone else do it. When I started redoing my 70 2 years ago, I knew a fair amount but I am AMAZED at what I have learned from this project! For example: Electricity and I dont get along too well... but I still managed to rewire the entire car without burning it to the ground! Im not much of a welder either, but I am currently installing my rollcage myself, learning as I go. And I can honestly say I am doing a pretty damn good job... it sure beats waiting for other people to "help you out". I think most importantly, be patient and dont be too hard on yourself. Good luck!
 

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These are a few tips that I can pass on after doing my 69 ss.

1) Don't underestimate the cost of the little stuff. That bumper bolt may only cost $5.00 but the stuff adds up really quick. (ask anyone whose done a resto and they'll tell ya)

2) Reuse and restore as much as possible. Become a parts fixer, not a parts replacer. Don't buy what you don't need.

3) TAKE YOUR TIME AND DON'T RUSH. Restoring a car takes time. If you rush, you'll just lose stuff and/or install something the wrong way. And it's no fun trying to track down a problem on a car that has just had EVERYTHING replaced.

4) Don't do everything at once. I like to do the engine, trans, rearend first. Rebuild it, run it, make sure that it works & then yank it. Then i go to the body then the interior.
-Oh yeah, bag and tag everything.

And finally, when it's all done, YOU'LL SWEAR THAT YOU'LL NEVER RESTORE ANOTHER CAR IN YOUR LIFE!

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Ted Stojkovski
(formerly Skunkynuggets)
(so add about 300+ posts)
Syracuse NY
Team Chevelle #172


[This message has been edited by Tedster (edited 09-21-99).]
 

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I built my own house every stick of it.Dug footers,basement,poured over 100 yards of concrete and was done in one year. I restored one little 67ss and it took 3 years and my better half says more money then it took to build the house ?
 

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All I know (Little Help - Sorry!).....

When I had a '64 Malibu 433ci/T-400/12" 3.73 back in about '80... A trip to the parts store would $20 you to death. This Elky, with a 355 already in it, $80 - $100's us to death. It seems that while a lot of stuff has gotten cheaper, there's just so much more stuff these days.

Wait, that didn't come out right... nevermind!

Dave H.
Houston, TX
 

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On the downhill side on my '69SS resto, I can offer this: When contemplating any part of a car project, double your cost and time estimates. When you start something, you'll find more repair needed, something related needs replacing, more materials needed than you thought, or it doesn't turn out right and you do it over. Oh, or you screw something already completed up while working on something else. Murphy's Law is always in effect. The $ saving tip is; don't get in over your head. Overestimate the money and time it will take for everything. And when undertaking anything, do it right and complete the first time so it doesn't have to be done over. Do projects in the correct order so you don't affect that already completed. If only I practiced what I preached. von
 

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There are several vendors in my area that sell reproduction Chevelle parts, and I've been able to get them to match or beat the prices from their competition, so don't be afraid to try to get a discount from a vendor. Even the nationwide ones like Year One will cut you 5% if you tell them you're in a car club.

Also, try to cut out the middleman and buy the factory parts direct from your GM dealer, not the vendors. I was able to get the local Chevy parts guy to give me 20% off of list just by asking. You can do even better than that by having someone who works in a repair shop buy for you at wholesale. Good luck!

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Rainer Seitz
Vancouver, WA
Team Chevelle Gold #50

'68 SS396 (soon to be for sale!)
'70 LS3 400 Malibu
'70 Malibu convertible 350/300hp
[email protected]
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks guys. As I always say, probably the best way to save some $$ and time all at once is to utilize the great resources of this wonderful site. Thanks to the creators.
 
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