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My Turn: Chevello II

51268 Views 303 Replies 26 Participants Last post by  ZZ69chevelle
The first Chevello has been gone a couple of years now, and I still wish I hadn't sold it, but Chevello II: Soccer Ball is now in progress. I post too many threads asking "heeeey, what about THIS now?" so I figured it's time for my own thread to keep my stuff all in one place.

The car: 72 Base Chevelle with a long list of options: 307/ TH350, power steering and um, well, I guess that's about it. So, yeah. It's like a Heavy Chevy with the Heavy Chevy delete package. The guy I bought it from had purchased the car in '99 and it had sat in his garage until he decided to make some more space for his other projects.

The Goal: A nice cruiser that I can hop into and take wherever I want whenever I want. I just want it to be a nice driver. It doesn't need to pull .95+G on the skidpad, run 9s in the quarter or have all the concours judges nodding their heads in approval. Clean, easy to drive and easy to work on. That's it.

The Start: One of the front brakes was so locked up that we had to strap the car to a tree and drag the trailer out from under it when I got it home. I put new shoes, wheel cylinders and hoses in along with a new master cylinder because it was all rusted and shot. Next came a carb rebuild and the fuel line cleaning followed by a replacement of the pinion seal on the rearend. When I changed the pinion seal, I went ahead and put in new upper control arm bushings while I was there for good measure.

After the carb rebuild, I changed the oil, added a gallon of trans fluid and fired it up. It didn't run great, but it ran. Lots of blue smoke out the tailpipe. Checked compression, changed the plugs and put new umbrella seals and O-rings in, and tried again. Still lots of blue smoke, but much less. At that point I had a running, drivable Chevelle.

Next step was to get a grille on this thing.

Found a complete 71 nose from a fellow TCer and started piecing it together (I like the 71 nose better anyways.

That's enough for now. Sorry this took so long to type, but I had to resize the images so they wouldn't be distractingly large.

Stay tuned for our next episode in which I try to figure out what to do about the worn out 307.
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Nice looking project. Keep the pictures coming.
Its a nice looking project, much more then most of us are starting out with.
It only looks like more because I didn't take it entirely apart and start from scratch. I'm sure I'll have issues with that at a later time.

SO: Chapter 2.

At work I noticed one of the guys had a set of new brakes (calipers and rotors) for his C5 under his toolbox. Asked him what he would be doing with the takeoffs, and he offered them to me for free ninety-free. Very nice. I just have to wait for him to install the new parts. It's been nearly a year at this point. Good thing I wasn't holding my breath.

But, figuring that those brakes wouldn't fit into 15" Rally wheels, I needed to figure out what to do. Since I'm cheap, when the same guy offered me the wheels from the same C5 after putting new ones on, I went ahead and picked them up.

A little quality time with the floor jack and a tape measure to figure out adapter size...

Ooooh, meaty :)

Adapters arrived, and of course I couldn't wait until I had disc brakes on to try them out.

I got to drive it to a cruise night shortly after I got the wheels on, and boy was it a handful. I'm not sure if it's the worn out suspension or the 2-1/2" wheel adapters putting too much leverage on the worn out suspension, but the car is all OVER the road. It's very hard to keep straight, and there is a funny bind in the rear suspension that I haven't looked for yet. On a big, slow bump, the back of the car kind of binds on the left side and wants to kick to the right. It would seem like a tire rub, but there aren't any marks on the tires, the inner wheel wells or lower control arms. I'm sure the problem will make itself known at some point.

It needs to sit lower by a couple of inches and I'll be pretty happy with the stance.
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nice tires, though I think you have the rear tires on backwards. That should be a directional tire. Check the sidewall for direction arrow.
The entire time all this was going on, I was trying to figure out what to do about an engine. The 307 hadn't really been helped by a new timing chain, valve seals and a carb rebuild. I toyed with the idea of just putting 305HO heads on and a cam in it like I read about in a thread on the HAMB. Then I considered putting a big block in it since I've never had a BB car, so here is my opportunity. I looked into it and read tons here at TC and all over the place. What I found out is that a BB is out of my price range. THen I started considering SB options. 350, 383, 400, 406. Checked out my options and looked into costs, but even that, though people say how cheap engines are, is out of my price range. Thought and thoughts went through, always considering, going over options and such. The trail led me to LS1Tech where I began to read about actual inexpensive engines.

From what I read, just about anything I considered would have required lots of running around, finding machine shops, trusting them with my meager funds, and then doing a lot of assembly work myself. At least until I hit on the LS engines. It seems that these are much less likely to have worn out cylinders and even other parts when run as high as 200K miles. The older smallblocks mostly always seemed to be pretty much done and needing a rebuild at 150K. I'd always liked the 96-up 350 Vortec and the engine management, so I always thought I'd put one of those in a Chevelle. May as well start with any junkyard 350 at that point and go through all the mess of buying, disassembling, cleaning and rolling the dice on whether the parts are even any good then deciding on oh hell all that stuff that needs deciding on when you build an engine. Not fun for me.

So, researching the LS engines, I decided that my chances were much better going with that since I wouldn't have to even open the long block. I would get my SFI fuel system and have an actual modern engine. I started to look for a 6 liter truck for a donor.

I couldn't find one that fit into my $3K budget for the entire swap, so I started checking the online junkyards for the right one. Of course, I wasn't able to find the legendary $300.00 6.0 complete with harness and trans. I settled on an LM4 aluminum block 5.3 from a Buick Rainier, and rolled the dice to see what showed up after I placed the order.

This is how it arrived.

It was wet inside the plastic and smelled nasty. Not bad engine nasty, but moldy something wet nasty. Had me a little worried, but not too much, so I found a buddy with a pickup to get it home for me

At which point I realized I didn't have any bolts to attach it to the engine stand :/

So, along with my beautiful junior assistant, I started disassembling it anyways.

During which I discovered that some of the front bracket bolts could be used for attaching it to the stand. It was pretty annoying to be cleaning up my work toolbox a couple of days later and finding a whole bag of the correct metric bolts. So, problem solved.

But I got it all cleaned up and ready to put the pan on.

Then, last weekend when I got the pan all torqued down, I went to put the dipstick in. Um, you know, it's a funny thing about the Buick Rainier, the dipstick goes into the oil pan, so they don't even drill the boss in the block for one. So I had to, once again with the help of my junio assistant to hold the vacuum hose.

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nice tires, though I think you have the rear tires on backwards. That should be a directional tire. Check the sidewall for direction arrow.
Good eye. :thumbsup:. That rear was just there for measurement. The front on the other hand was on the wrong side, but I already fixed it.
Keith you jumped over to the "Dark Side" Lol. You will find that it would be easier to notch your frame for a Camaro F pan or notch on right side only for the Cts v pan. If you keep it the engine relatively stock without a turbo you will have the conversion done in no time. I know you were watching the recent LSx conversions and if you build the fuel system keep in mind to build it so you can add forced induction in the future. Im leaning towards a Walbro 400 in tank unit so I dont have to hear the pump or drill holes thru the body. Now you are being watched Lol. :waving:
I don't mind being watched. It leads to my little goofs being pointed out before they become big mistakes :)

My list of things I need is down to

Exhaust, PS pump, Starter, wire for the harness, fuel pump, filter and lines. Pedal and gaskets arrived today, TAC for the DBW should be here tomorrow.

The promised combo Cruise night/ Date night with the wife is complete. Now I can begin disassembly. :disco:

I bought etching wheel cleaner to clean up the engine block before I put it in. You can see from the pics above that it isn't very pretty. Of COURSE it is the last thing to arrive. So, I can't start any real assembly before I get that and try it out. But I'll have time to wait while I am pulling the 307 and getting the engine bay all cleaned up. The biggest problem is space. Just about everything has to come out of the garage so I can work, and then when the day is over, everything has to go back in. It's easy when the car runs. Not so much when it doesn't. Even so, it isn't work, it's a hobby and an adventure.

I think all the neighbors will be happy when I get that holey exhaust replaced.
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I was asked last night what the cost was up to this point, and I know that I was always looking for that info when making the determination to go LS, BB or SB. I'm only going to detail the costs involved with the actual LS swap, not every can of paint or Brakleen I buy unless it is something I needed directly for the swap. Nor will I count the endless hours deciding which engine to buy and things like that. So here we go.
Note that these prices are as of 06/02/14 or before.
From the online junkyard:
(Free shipping)
Engine (LM4 from an 04 Rainier) 695.00
PCM (04 Silverado) 105.00
TAC module (04 Silverado) 80.00

Online stores (includes shipping)
Accelerator pedal 50.71
MAF 59.79
Plug wires (engine only had 7 on it) 39.52
6.0 Flex plate (with the built in spacer) 55.14
Ex mani gaskets 24.14 (12.07ea 2 req'd)
Water pump gaskets 10.04 (5.52ea. 2 req'd)
Engine mount plates 49.97
Gm Musclecar oil pan kit 154.97

U-pull junkyard
Alternator 25.00
Extra 411 PCM with connectors (just in case I go cable throttle) 25.00
Windstar fans 22.00

So far with hard parts that totals out to 1396.28

Supplies (estimated)
Paint (4 cans, 2 of semiflat black, clear, cast aluminum) 36.00
Degreaser 25.00
Blue tape 8.51 (can't believe how expensive a roll of masking tape is. 8 and a half bucks? really?)
Heat shrink (oooh, multicolor) 9.99
Etching aluminum cleaner 34.49 (13.99, 20.50 I bought two different kinds)

1510.27 is the grand total so far. There are still plenty of hard parts to to buy and definitely plenty of supplies yet.

Yet to buy:
Fuel system parts
Power steering pump
Some harness connectors
O2 sensors
Air inlet tubes and filter

I've painted the front brackets with the cast aluminum paint, and the first one looked pretty good, but the rest sort of look like fake chrome. I had planned on painting the engine block with it but now, no way. I may just keep cleaning then hit it with the clear.

I'm also in the process of cleaning the built up dirt out of the intake manifold, but that isn't going well. About the last thing to try is Easy Off.

There's where we are. Cleaning, cleaning.
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Here's what I meant about the cast aluminum paint.

The water pump I just cleaned with etching aluminum wheel cleaner, the AC bracket is the first one I painted. Pretty close, but a little too silvery for my taste.

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Spent another $50 at the junk yard today. it would have been more, but I'm a total dumbass and took my ratchet out of my toolbox last night and forgot to put it back in.

Today's haul: Complete set of 4-tone Caddy horns, wire harness from an 03 S10 complete with the underhood fuse/ relay box. There should be enough wire of the right sizes and colors to get everything connected now. I can get the engine cleaned with the acid wash and sprayed with the clear, and start laying out the harness. As soon as lunch settles, I'm going out to break out the pressure washer.
The Caddy horns. A,C,D and F. They have a LOVELY sound. I'm not sure I want to put them on the Chevelle. I may replace the wimpy horn on my Nissan with them:

S10 harness. I bought it for cheap wire and loom. I would much have preferred to have a real 5.3 harness, but there aren't any of those at Junkyard Barbie. I think that there are people who wander junkyards just to pull fuses from fuse boxes. There were 4 of these (and a lot more car ones) and NONE had any fuses or relays in them at all. There were 3 94-up camaros, and they have nice, simple underhood fuse blocks, but there are no connectors on the bottom of them, they are hardwired. I made one futile attempt at pulling the harness from a Camaro, but that cowl covers most of the engine, and I just couldn't get back there.

Repinning the PCM connectors.

I should go back to the junkyard today, one of the 02 Camaros had the rear brakes still on it. Nah. I've got FUN to do.

Up to date total: 1560.27
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Damn, that motor looks clean.
You are really good with a toothbrush!
The fuse box's out of 90's Taurus's are really easy to pull out and they have a lot of slots.
Plus there's always a dozen of them in the yards.
Well, when you've got more time than money... :D

I'll have to look under the hood of a Taurus next week. Thanks!
Thanks Freddy :thumbsup:

So, what do you guys think about the blasted aluminum engine paint? I've got an itch to see what it looks like, but I don't want to have to take it off if it looks like I tried to pretend it is chrome and failed.
A very cool friend was at the junkyard today and pulled a cable throttle body from a 5.3 for me. Well, he pulled everything from the throttle body to the air filter inlet :D

Now, if I fail to make the drive by wire throttle work, I can switch to the cable operated throttle with just a little rewiring and a flash in my spare PCM. Plus I have a spare MAF, MAP and the hunk of wire harness that goes to the MAF and alternator.

+$35 to the total: 1595.27 I am just shy of a hundred dollars more than half my budget. Exhaust and a flash/ tune are probably the most expensive things left. Why are exhaust systems so expensive?
Just got back from the u-pull. Got the harness and power steering pump from an 00 Tahoe, and the inside mirror from an 02 camaro (with map lights). Also shown us the air inlet from Thursday.

So, now I am fully set up to go either cable or drive by wire. I should be able to recover some cost at the end selling the bits I don't use.
+50 more 1645.27
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What an inspiration! Keep it up man!! Great job and a big hi-5 for the little guy:thumbsup:
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