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Corvelle Build (69 Chevelle + 05 C6)

10095 Views 127 Replies 21 Participants Last post by  Jayhawk500
I bought my 69 SS in 1972 with $1800 leftover college money. The car was built in Atlanta and has always resided in NC and SC. It was a bench seat 3 on the floor. I was the second owner. It's first 3 years were pretty rough but she has had good care since. I drove it from 72 to about 1980 then put it in storage in my dad's 6 car garage. It stayed there 23 years until my son and I pulled it to SC in in 2003 and replaced the 396 with a 454 crate motor and Richmond Super T10 4 speed.






My son drove it during High School and didn't put a scratch on it that I could tell. In 2007 we again stored it at my dad's house in NC.







I retired in 2017 and decided it was time to fix up the Chevelle. It is a survivor and I probably should have restored it, I still had the original engine and tranny. But it is not a rare car and restomodding is more my thing. So I pulled the Chevelle to SC again in February 2020, this time with my 65 Chevy.







I am a Corvette fan and have had a C3, C4, several C5's, a C6 and currently a C7. My favorite Vette ever was my 2008 C6 the best driving car I ever have had. So I had the notion to merge a C6 Corvette into the Chevelle and create a Corvelle. The stance and all exterior will be stock SS Chevelle except wheels and tires of course. The mechanics and electrics would be all C6 as much as reasonably possible.

In June of 2020 I bought a 2005 wrecked C6 Corvette on COPART with 41K miles in running condition. It was in very good condition before I believe it was stolen and wrecked.








It is going to take me a while to catch up to the present......
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Looks great. My buddy has a hand held hydraulic flaring tool that works amazing. I highly recommend it. I recently did a complete 50 ford with C4 suspension with it and zero leaks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #103 ·
Alwhite, I looked at the MasterCool hydraulic flaring tool and it really seems nice. I have had the Ridgid one for a long time and once I got the clamping figured out it works OK.

Thanks for the encouragement SS, I needed it.

We finished running the lines today. My friend spent 13 hours helping me and I could not have done it alone. I had to put a joint in each rear line. There was just no way to manage a 17 foot long tube in my shop.

We got to the last flare on the last line and I cut it at the wrong mark. Dang, OK it was long so just cut off 1/2 inch and re-flare. I did that and it would not flare, slipped in the clamp. We found that the first clamping reduced the OD of the tube by 0.010", so no way to clamp it again. So 4 hours later we had bent up another 9'6" line and this one worked.

I used a tube straightening roller device form Eastwood that really worked well to straighten coils of brake line.

I rigged up a pressure test rig that will allow me to pressure test to 100 psi air and at least find any big leaks. I can valve the 100 psi off and see if it will hold for a long time. I have read that air is more sensitive to leaks than brake fluid. I will do that tomorrow, I don't want to ruin the rest of the evening.

Here are some pics:
Vehicle Automotive tire Motor vehicle Hood Automotive design


Wheel Tire Automotive tire Motor vehicle Tread


That is an electric e-brake motor in the middle. See all the copper patterns in the background.

Wheel Tire Motor vehicle Automotive tire Bicycle tire


Wheel Tire Automotive tire Motor vehicle Hood


Finally the leak test rig.

Tire Wheel Automotive tire Bicycle tire Vehicle
 

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Discussion Starter · #108 ·
Well SS you scared me bad. I went back and double checked all my measurements for clearance. I think it is OK. I am using a 1" body lift in order to get the stock ride height at the center of the suspension travel with this chassis. The frame is 1" shorter than the stock "C" frame so the frame "reveal" should be the same as stock. That extra inch helps with clearance in a lot of areas.

Thanks Jayhawk, I am going to do everything myself that I can, per your reasons.

Alwhite, Thanks. I did try that sandpaper trick but couldn't get it to work in my case, don't know why.

I studied up on leak testing some and found that the volume of leakage is proportional to the pressure difference (brake pressure to atmospheric) divided by the viscosity of the fluid.
Air has very low viscosity and brake fluid much higher viscosity. So for a given leak passage, air at 100 psi gives 5 times more leak volume than brake fluid at 1800 psi. And that is for brake fluid at 212F. At room temp it would be hundreds of times more. So I think testing with air at 100 psi should be good.

I didn't have much trouble getting all my flares to seal. The trouble was getting the banjo's to seal against the brake caliper faces. I used Goodridge stainless lines. Should have spent the money and gotten Earls. After all of that the lines leak down at a rate of about 0.6 psi per hour. Don't know where that air is going but I am convinced it is not lost at the fittings. So I'm calling it good.

Thanks DTB. That body is so easy to work on while on the rotisserie I am going to do all I can to it there.

Now that the brake lines are in, the engine goes back in this week, (hopefully for good)
 

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Sorry to scare you but it's easier to fix now then later. The only one i was really wondering about was the one over the rear driverside frame rail. It looked a little suspect. But I'm sure your measurements are spot on. Keep up the great work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #112 ·
Well SS as John Prine said -- Paradise is just 5 miles away from wherever I am.

I have been working hard just not much to show for it.

I did get the hardline for the fuel run. I have found that for LS motors it is always good to have a fuel pressure gauge, so I mounted up one on this engine.

Tire Wheel Motor vehicle Automotive tire Automotive lighting


Hood Motor vehicle Automotive fuel system Car Automotive design


Tire Hood Automotive tire Motor vehicle Automotive design


I had to do a lot of pre-work before welding on the exhaust. I made this jig to accurately mark angles on the mandrel bends for cutting.
I am using Stainless Works 304SS 16 ga. tubing and mandrel bends. Good stuff US made.

Table Tool Automotive exterior Bumper Auto part


I made up a back purge rig to keep the stainless happy on the inside of the tubes. I have an extra argon tank and regulator to use for the purge.

Automotive tire Automotive exhaust Motor vehicle Gas Automotive wheel system


I think I have the weld settings about right and enough practice to start the real welding tomorrow.

Wood Musical instrument Automotive exhaust Gas Auto part


I am going to use autogenous (no filler rod) welding to make the smallest bead and least heat. The backside of the welds in the picture are shiny with full penetration with the back purge.
the fit-up has to be about perfect though.

Finally the manifold flanges and the CAT connectors have a very loose fit to the 2-1/2 inch tubes. (Yep, I am putting in catalytic converters) So I used the Lisle tube expander to make a tight fit in the flanges to ease the set up and welding. The Lisle tool really works and will expand SS tubing without too much trouble. To keep the tube from rotating while expanding I clamp it in a Walker Mega Clamp and then put the clamp bolts in the vice.

Saw Tool Hand tool Motor vehicle Gas
 

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Takes me back to my days at the old rock pile welding dairy pipe at the cheese plant. We contracted most of the welding out, but we did have to do some ourselves and it had to be sanitary purge welds. Looking great.
 

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I feel I may need to make a road trip and see this work of art in person. Each detail is to a professional level and it is inspiring to me to see that motivation come to fruition. You have my address, please send me some for Christmas. I guess I will have to get the skill level on my own . . . Hello, Santa Claus.

Looking forward to the next post DTB
 

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Discussion Starter · #115 ·
Thanks DTB, we have a nice guest room and you and J are always welcome. The Power Tour will be in my neck of the woods this year by the way.

Made some slow progress on the exhaust. Hardest part yet, even worse that brake lines. The H pipe was a bear. Here are some pics.

I bolted the two downpipes together at the exhaust flanges so I could purge and weld the whole thing at once.
Engineering Gas Building Machine Auto part


The fit-up has to be perfect for that thin tubing. I think I said I was using 16 gauge but it is actually 18 ga. (0.050"). I got a 12" disc grinder on sale from Grizzly that works great for squaring and cleaning up the tube ends.

I added the Cats, oxygen sensor bungs and the flex joints. I isolated the Cats between two V-bands in case they don't work out I can put in a straight pipe or a different Cat.

Motor vehicle Automotive tire Bicycle fork Bicycle part Gas


The milling machine makes a good tube notcher for the H-pipe. I inserted a plug in the tube to allow it to be clamped tight in the vice without distortion.

Tableware Food Wood Gas Machine


So finally with the H-pipe in I can head towards the mufflers.

Bicycle handlebar Automotive tire Motor vehicle Bicycle frame Bicycle fork
 

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Discussion Starter · #117 ·
SS
I bought the kit from Summit for $688 in 2021 (Stainless Works made in US). It had 16 ft straight tubing, 4-90 deg bends,4-45 deg bends and 4- U bends. I have had to buy more bends though due to the circuitous path I have had to follow. It is 2-1/2" tubing, same as the C6 and 304 Stainless. Good consistent mandrel bends. A friend warned me away from the Chinese stuff.

I see the current price for 4 ft of 2.5" 0.050 wall is $73.15
 

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Glad to see you are BACK at it. Keep the momentum rollin. That work looks exhausting, glad you don't give up easily. Already looking forward to seeing it exit out the back. Power Tour may not be on my "to do" list this year, but it looks like a really good route.
Fab work looks GREAT, DTB
 

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Discussion Starter · #119 ·
Thanks DTB. I would sure like to see you on the tour. The whole route is within rollback distance of my house.

I have waited to post anything due to lack of progress, not lack of working on it. So I got the exhaust welded in past the diff. finally. I could do it a lot better the second time but it is OK I think.

Motor vehicle Hood Automotive exterior Gas Auto part


Engineering Auto part Machine Metal Building


The sections are V-banded together so I can easily take it apart for servicing if necessary. I am using the Varex motorized cut-out mufflers. I really liked the "dual mode exhaust" on the C6 that bypassed the mufflers at 3500 RPM. Like a lot of guys I put a switch on them so I could open them at any time I wanted. Really sounded good idling thru a parking lot. I am hoping that the Varex will work as well.

I am going to continue on around the gas tank but I will have to get the body on to finish the outlets in the right position.

Next I have to figure out the hangers and weld them in. I am using the Stainless Works silicone rubber hangers. I am mounting them on shoulder bolts to allow for expansion of the exhaust when hot.
Material property Wood Electric blue Font Plastic
 
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