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Ok, it's been a long time coming. I've been a member on here for a while, and posted progress pics here and there, but now I'm getting serious! :D So here we are with my build thread.

Some background: I was looking around for a classic to Pro Tour. Why Pro Tour? It just makes sense to me. Go fast, handle better than a new Corvette, and have the classic style of a muscle car. What's not to like? :) My list of choices were a 56 Chevy (love the bullet tail lights), 68-69 Chevelle, 1st gen Camaro... the usual suspects. But of course, finding unmolested examples of these cars for a reasonable price is near impossible. I already had a donor car lined up for the motor and transmission: a 1996 Chevy Caprice Classic with a LT1 350 and 4L60E. The car in question was purchased new by my family and driven until it got rearended... for the second time... here's a pic:



So while searching the Portland, Oregon area Craigslist for cars I stumbled across a 1969 Nova with under 72K original miles. Cool! I always liked Novas, and I knew that with the small body and adding a beefy V-8 these bad boys could fly. Best part was, I happened to be in the Portland area for business, so I checked out the car. True to the guy's word, the Nova hadn't been driven in 15 years and was sitting in a barn. But it was straight as an arrow, and still had the original 250 6 cylinder. It was his mom's car, she passed away at 87, and so the Nova just sat. $3k later, and she was on her way home with me! :D

Coming out of the barn:

Getting winched onto the dolly (that's me reefing on the come-along, and the previous owner's son watching)

Me removing the driveshaft for towing:


Some "before" pics:


 

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Discussion Starter #2
Another "before" pic:



Getting ready to go home with me! :yes: That's my beater '88 Chevy 3/4 ton doing towing duty.



Got home LATE that night after towing from south of Portland to my house in Everett, WA (30 minutes north of Seattle). Yeah... towing a car through rush hour traffic SUCKS! So anyway, the car got a bath before getting rolled into the garage (not running at this point).



More pics and info to coming in just a little bit...
 

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looks like a very nice car for 3 grand........ Wish my luck was good enuff to come across something like that.....
 

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Looking forward to seeing your progress:) The car looks to be in great shape. Are you going injected or carbed?

Todd
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Looking forward to seeing your progress:) The car looks to be in great shape. Are you going injected or carbed?

Todd
INJECTED BABY! :D But I'm getting rid of all that emissions junk. So, I'll be looking at 300 HP, 320 ft-lb with the stock cam and iron heads.

The 250 6 cylinder in the car was pretty amazing. Covered with crud from a leaky valve cover gasket, but with new points, condensor, cap and rotor - along with fresh gas - she fired up on the first crank! You could have knocked me over with a feather I was so happy. I ended up selling the 6 and PG on Craigslist (I love CL) for $500. Woo-hoo! :D So, I had to take the powertrain out of the car - this was super easy and only took me an afternoon:


My patented fender covers. Top secret! :shh:


 

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Discussion Starter #6
Without all the boring details, I rolled the Nova out of the garage and took off the front sheet metal:


Then I removed the front subframe and power washed it off:


I saw a good article in Car Craft about cleaning up your frame. You use this kit from Eastwood that includes a 3M abrasive pad for the heavy stuff, then a Scotch Brite type pad for clean-up that goes on your angle grinder:




Bling-bling!! :cool:
 

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Stripping down the subframe:


Now it's easier to roll around!



As you could see from previous photos, you can only get so far into the nooks and crannies with the angle grinder/pad combo:



So I broke out my cheap-o syphon feed sand blaster and trusty Home Depot bucket with sand and sandblasted the hard to reach areas (PS - when doing this, be sure to wear a respirator rated to like 1 million microns!! Having lungs full of silica sand dust for the rest of your life sucks):



At this point, I was tempted to just clear coat the frame. LOL!
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
So after getting the subframe cleaned up with wax and grease remover, I propped it up like this for paint:



I sprayed the frame using Eastwood Rust Encapsulator from a quart can. I thinned it out per the directions and started to spray using a gun attached to my air compressor. This was the first time I've ever done this... and this is what I got... GAH!!



SH!*$^@ DAG-NAB $#*Y$ HE!##$#* So after much cusrsing my stupidity on NOT testing out the gun on a test panel first, I quick swapped out paint cups for one filled with thinner and sprayed thinner right on top of the paint. This saved me hours of re-scrubbing the frame. And the results turned out OK... :eek: but still some orange peel. Oh well, good thing this is the frame - and the next coat of paint covered it up.



So what did I learn? I'm much better with a spray can... and ALWAYS test your gun for the right pressure, paint thin-ness, and spray pattern. DOH!

I then gave the frame several top coats of Eastwood Extreme Chassis Black, semi-gloss. FROM A RATTLE CAN! :D
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Ahh... the first of my Pro Touring components: Speed Tech tubular control arms! Sweet. I ordered them, and they were on my door step THE NEXT DAY. Woo-hoo!




This combines with a Hotchkis TVS (total vehicle system) kit that I got off e-Bay for cheap.


I'm also installing the Hotchkis custom tuned Bilstein shocks. This bad boy will be able to handle 1 lateral G. :eek: :devil: :devil: :devil:
 

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Ok, so you've seen all the good stuff - now for the bad. The Nova was in pristine shape... except for the driver's side floor board. A leaky windshield let water in, and combine that with a rubber floor mat and you get rust. :( Good thing reproduction floor boards are cheap and easy to come by (I found a Goodmark full length panel locally for $80). Also a good thing I know how to weld (learned this in college). :yes: I knew the floor was in bad shape when I got the car - you could see the ground through the floor mat where a foot had gone through! :eek:

I figured I should get the floor pan in before re-installing my nice refurbished front subframe. Good decision!

What was waiting under the rubber mat:


Sawzall time baby! :devil:


Unfortunately, the driver's side rear also was in bad shape. Good thing I got the full length replacement.


I used an air chisel to get the spot welds out from the support bracing:


Test fitting the new panel:
 

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After much test fitting, I welded the pan in place. First time I did this, I didn't have good contact between the pan and the support rails, and my welds didn't stick! :mad: So I drilled out my plug welds, and screwed everything down with about 30 self-tapping sheet metal screws. Funny thing, it worked when the pan was actually touching the bracing. :rolleyes: I also needed to crank up my welder a little higher than what it was 'supposed' to be to get good penetration.

Installed:



I slapped a layer of seam sealer on all my welds.

I wanted the the pan to look perfect, so I went to extremes to make it look seamless:





With undercoating:


New floor pan? What new floor pan? :) In all, this mother of a PITA took me about 25 labor hours to do, including my mistakes. Not too bad for my first floor install!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
But, I jumped ahead by showing the undercoating... first you need to make the underside of the car look like this:


Subsequently, you'll look like this: ;)



I had a Milwaukee wire brush cup attached to my angle grinder to do all the dirty work. Then I primed with Rust Encapsulator (rattle can) and undercoated with DOM SUF in a can. Very nice rubberized undercoating, and only $7/can!
 

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watching this one! speed tech arms and the TVS was what I want to do. I'll do the subframe connectors too.
 

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I went with the same technique for the whole underbody... removing the gas tank and everything. Once all that was done, the front clip went back on:



I cleaned up the firewall with Underhood Black (Eastwood, of course).


Also, a SSBC Force 10 brake kit was put on the front to replace the stock drums :devil: I bought the front conversion kit from scherp69. Thanks Mike!



Also courtesy of Mike (because he likes to change his mind a lot with his project), a new AGR quick ratio steering box.
 

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I started to clean up the tie rods, idler arm, etc. Then I thought what the heck am I doing - I got new everything else... so I got new Moog components.

Old:


New:


Note that I am detailing everything. May as well make it look nice as well as functional!

I couldn't figure out why the new rag joint wouldn't go on the splined shaft of the steering box... then I looked at the old rag joint. Ha! The factory ground off half the teeth to get it to work. I copied this on the new joint:
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
watching this one! speed tech arms and the TVS was what I want to do. I'll do the subframe connectors too.
Yep, I got the Hotchkis subframe connectors as well.


Just keep in mind that they are the last thing you want to do to the car... it needs to have full weight on all 4 wheels when you install the subframe connectors. I found this out AFTER I ordered the kit. So now it sits in my garage... waiting... :rolleyes:
 

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Anywhoo... the 8.2" open rear with 2.73 ratio wasn't going to cut it. So out it goes in favor of an 8.5" that I horse traded for a 7.5" posi carrier (long story there). John, (ss396nova69) was nice enough to help me out by providing the 8.5" unit. Thanks John!

Old 8.2:


I went on Craigslist to find a posi carrier. Found one for $50, but upon tear down I found a cracked :mad: clutch plate:


New clutch pack later... and a trip to Randy's Ring and Pinion to install a 3.42:1 Richmond gear set and full rebuild. Turns out the axles were junk, so new Yukon HD axles were installed. I had all the intentions in the world to do my own rebuild... but time got in the way. I'm going back to school this fall to get my MBA, so I'm busting hump to get this build done before then. Plus, Randy's only wanted $290 to do the rebuild with my components. Done deal.

Rebuilt rear from Randy's:
 

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Over the 4th of July weekend, I set into a big task: getting that LT1 and 4L60E out of the Caprice! :devil: Yeah there's an engine somewhere in there...




The one upgrade to the motor; a K&N cold air intake kit. I'll fab this up to work in the Nova, because boy, it really picked up some HP when I installed it! Needs a cleaning... bleck!


I didn't even have to remove the hood, or the front wheels to pull the drivetrain! :D


Somewhere right around here I got that sinking feeling... ah man... what am I doing? My best advice if you are in the same spot: ignore it! :devil:


Getting hooked up...
 

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Get outa there!! :turn:


A load leveler on your cherry picker is a life saver.


No more engine. :) If you look, you can see that I was able to pull the thing without the wiring harness or the AC system coming with it. I got skillz. :D That's John Redding's (JRChevy) tranny jack. Thanks for the loan buddy!


Tranny coming out...


$#Y^@@!! It won't clear the car, even with the jackstands at full raise. So I slid the tranny off the jack and onto the ground. Note the cardboard to keep it from getting all FUBAR. Then I just drug the trans on the cardboard to get it out from under the car.



Just to show how big the engine wiring harness is... next to the trans:


The wiring harness was reworked by Speartech. The computer re-flash was done by Bryan at pcmforless.com
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
The LT1 is now on an engine stand getting cleaned up and all the emissions junk taken off:


I got the rearend in place... and found a cheap set of 18's on Craigslist (notice a theme with cheap finds on CL).



Don't mind the rusty drums, I have SSBC discs going on the rear!



The IROC's aren't my first choice, but they'll have to do for now. $$ is getting tight, and I have a lot more to do. Oh, and I got new tires, so no bald tires for me!
 
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