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I recently bought a '66 Chevelle Malibu and this being my first project, I need advice on just how to get started (boy this could be a long post). It was originally a 6-cylinder car that now has a 396/402 with a 350 Turbo tranny. The car is straight and appears to have the original Regal Red paint on it...I am planning to build a 427 c.i.d. with 400 Turbo. This is to be my version of Pro Street...let's call it Pro Cheap, since me and my father and brother will do most of the work. I need to know what I can do to get it going for this summer and cruise with the motor and tranny I have now, before storing it away next winter and building the new motor, etc. This car will see (good weather) every weekend cruising and eventually the drag strip every other weekend or so. NO DAILY DRIVING!!! Going with this boulevard bruiser theme I am shooting for 550+ streetable horsepower with no tubbing and no nitrous, but as I said what do I need to do to get it going for this summer. I have installed Competition Engineering 3-way adjustable drag shocks for the rear and have recently purchased the same for the front along with Moroso Trick front springs. I need a complete front end rebuild and have looked at PST's Original Performance kit with rubber bushings or should I go with the polygraphites. Remember, no canyon-carving. Just cruisin' and draggin'. OR I have considered Hotchkis' kit with tubular A-arms (do they require disc brakes) and polyurethane bushings. Should I use the a-arms from Hotchkis and the bushings and front end kit from PST? I would like to upgrade to discs on the front, although not necessary yet, who offers the best stopping power for the buck. What late model cars offer a virtual bolt-on say from the boneyard. Salvage yard A-bodies and the like are non-existent here in Arkansas. I will have to replace the front floor pans along with the pan extensions that lead to the firewall. The trunk will also have to be replaced. I would then like to install Competition Engineering 8-point roll cage. As far as the rear suspension goes I have the aforementioned shocks, and so far the stock springs. It seems to look like the stock ride height, but would a new set of springs help. Would factory replacements be o.k. or what would factory SS Heavy Duty springs do for me? I would like to try the Hotchkis rear suspension package as well. I have the stock Pontiac-looking 10-bolt with open 3.08's. I would like to swap in a 12-bolt. They are so hard to find that I would think it might be better to build my own with aftermarket parts. Moser axles, Richond 3.90's or 4.10's with a Moroso Brute Strength diff. are what I am thinking. Who offers a 12-bolt housing or could I find one cheap at a salvage off of any 12-bolt (I have access to one off of a mid-70's van I am told). What else would I need to build up the rear? Would ladder bars and air bags in the coils help? I have recently purchased Wheel Vintiques 15" x 5" Rallyes for the front and I am uncertain what I can stuff in the back. I would like to go with Mickey Thompson Sportsman Pro or maybe E.T. Streets. Since I am sure that they would be good at the track would I have any problems with them on the street. I know they have minimal tread. Which would I have a better shot at 15 x 8's with 4 1/2" backspacing with 28 x 10.5-15 M/T's...or will 15 x 9 with (?) backspacing and same tire or even moving up to 28 x 12.5-15 M/T's? This is without tubbing or air shocks...only an air bag. I will run 26 x 7.5-15 M/T's on the front. Finally, I will throw some cheap Wal-Mart carpet down for the summer and install Simpson seat belts. Now....for the crazy question...does any of this make any sense and do I have any good ideas among them. I need to know what would be the best starting and point and where to go from there. I just don't want to work on one area only to have to tear it down because I took the process out of order. What other info do you need...boy my fingers hurt.....THANKS!!!
 

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Hey Justin

Ever hear of a return key?


You sound like you have everything pretty much figured out. I think most people didn't even read the post because it was sooo long. I'd recommend posting your specific questions in the specific forums on the site. You'll get a much better response!--Amanda
 

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Justin before you cruise the street cruise this site you will find a lot of answers to your questions. One piece of advice take your time don't take on too much at a time and have fun doing it, also keep a log of what you are doing.Thats's two pieces of advice but, good luck sounds like quite a car when done...FRED
 

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I don't know what the skill level of you and your family is, but be it hight or low take lots of pictures. Even if you are the chevelle gods and need nothing to put it back together you will have a nice scrap book of your work.
If you are not chevelle or mechanicly inclined you will have the best aid available to help put everything back together again. Good luck hpoe this helps,and just a thought a digital camera might be the cheap way to go you can make a file for engine pics interior pics ect.and you don't have to buy film,or pay developing cost

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CRUISER
 

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Justin,
Alot of you questions can be addressed in the tech archives section of this website. there are alot of already (Hammered Out) problems and the support of the people who wrote them.
 

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I found that using a video camera is a good idea before I tear something apart. Pictures are great for the scrapbook and helpful for reassembly, but if you take 10 minutes of video you are pretty sure to get a good view of everything.

Mark, label, and bag everything, because you'll never remember what went where.
 

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I think you're getting a little ahead of yourself here. Start with the basics. Get the front suspension right with the PST parts. Get the brakes where they need to be with a disc brake conversion package. Surf this site or get some Super Chevy or Hot Rod magazines and talk with the companies that supply this.
work on the floor and trunk metal to get the body integrity back where it should be. I'd go with the gear train you have until it breaks, then spend some money there. Sounds like a pretty potent street power plant as is. Could be lots of fun, but better get a second job. tom
 

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Discussion Starter #8
so Tom...what do you suggest starting out with the front end kit...rubber, polyurethane, or polygraphite for my application? What about the Hotchkis tubular A-arms, according to an ad they act as if they require disc...can I install them now with the drums and go to the discs as time and money permit. Are the Hotchkis a-arms worth it?

[This message has been edited by Justin 66 Chevelle (edited 01-31-99).]
 

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Justin,

With the amount of work you have mentioned, you may want to forget about turning this car into the king of the road for this year. Even the most seasoned mechanic would have a tough time peicing this one together by summertime.

In every project that I have attempted, the last thing that I have always done was the engine work. This is because a 500 HP monster does you no good on the floor of a shop.

The order I follow is brakes, suspension/rear end, bodywork (if applicable), tranny, motor. You want to make sure you have a solid rolling platform when you bolt in the 500 ponies.

If you want to get your car in boulevard condition by summer, forget the rollcage and forget about swapping to discs. Drum brakes offer less rolling resistance and are lighter than discs.

Also, don't automatically jump to aftermarket parts because they claim magical performance gains. There are many 500 hp cars out there with fairly stock suspension components that have absolutely no problems hooking up. Become a parts tuner and not a parts replacer and I'll guarantee that you will enjoy the car more.

Also, using the stock stuff allows you to put that money into other places in the car. This project sounds expensive and expensive ones are the least fun.

If you talk to the guys with the fastest cars on the boulevard, I'll bet that they say they've spent at least 3 yrs building their cars peice by peice.

Building a car slowly allows you to tune each individual part to your particular combo and learn what it can offer you. Throwing thousands in go-fast parts together could possibly get you a fast car but it will definetly be one headache after another trying to tune these parts so they work in-sync with each other to deliver you the most performance possible. This is personal experience talkin to ya.

Take your time.
Enjoy the process.
Don't rush.
Trust me, I've been there.

[This message has been edited by skunkynuggets (edited 01-31-99).]
 

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Discussion Starter #10
thank you very much for the sage advice (my girlfriend thanks you as well, she wants a ring, oh lord), Skunkynuggets (funny I never thought I would thank someone named Skunkynuggets for anything, oh well). You have definitely given me something to think about. Now to back up and start slowly. Ok, I will leave the brakes as is for now. The front end DEFINITELY needs to be rebuilt. (it gets a little scary out there on the road) That would be a good first step. I have Comp. Engineering shocks and Moroso Trick Front Springs already. What PST bushing kit would serve my purpose best and help me perform best? Can I install Hotchkis A-arms without converting to discs? Any more advice on my first step?
 

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Based on my experience;
Do not forget that the rest of your life goes on; things still break,you still have alot of other things to do,in other words, whatever "spare time" you have before beginning, is what you will have to work on the car. My incorrect fantasy was that I could work on it all the time and be done in 6 months - hahaha - going on a year and not done yet.
Also, make a good reasonable cost estimate - - - - -then DOUBLE it. It will happen.
Last - Make a good reasonable time estimate - then double that too - it will happen too.
Most of all - enjoy it and don't push yourself too much.

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I would reccommend changing the front a-arms ONLY if there is something wrong with the stock ones. Unless you plan on taking turns at 50 mph, Hotchkis A-Arms offer little over stock besides weight loss. As the bushings go, I have heard great things about polygraphite bushings. Rubber bushings offer a nice ride but "give" a little too much, while graphite bushings stiffen the car but offer a harsh ride and squeak over every bump. Polygraphite like PST's are a nice compromise. For in-depth info on these components, it may be best to call the company and see what they reccommend. I am not sure what Hotchkis offers. Just remember, they are trying to sell you a product.
 

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I agree with Sk, for what you want, I wouldn't worry about Hotchkis A-arms, they are great if you want the car to corner like a new corvette, not worth it for the dragstrip. As you said, it's not available, but I did a cheapo front disc conversion from a '71 Chevelle I ran across at a junkyard (pure luck, believe me!) at the same time I rebuilt the front end. That'd be great since you have it torn apart anyway. Good Luck.

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Jeff '67 Chevelle
 

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You gotta bank ina you back pocket? You gonna needa some money. And you gonna needa some more money for that car afta you buy that ring. Mammamia!

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I THINK YOU SHOULD GET THE NECESSARY STUFF OUT OF THE WAY. THE LUXURIES COULD WAIT.MY ORDER OF PREFERENCE IS GOOD SUSPENSION, GOOD BRAKES, GOOD ENGINE AND TRANNY COMBO,DRIVETRAIN STRENGTHENING, AND THEN THE BODY AND PAINT. THE HOTCHKIS A-ARMS ALLOW THE USE OF LARGER ROTORS, BUT THEY'RE TOO EXPENSIVE FOR ME!
 
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