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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I 've been working on my nova for awhile, took a bit of a break over the holidays.
From reading taranchula's thread and a few others ( which I really appreciate) I am realizing more and more that this is a project more than what I thought it would be... a fun car that I could work on as I go along.
Not complaining that s fine...I can slow down and be more methodical vice jumping in and trying to do all at once.

Ideally I should do a frame off but that's not on the table. I am going ot get it to the point where its safe, reliable, and I can continue to work on it, vice HAVING to work on it to get it running.

With that in mind: I took it to my local garage to get the tires I bought balanced and for an alignment. The alignment didn't fix the "darting problem" which In hindsight I knew was most likely the steering box. o I attempted to adjust the box slack with a half turn which resulted in no help and actually added a new problem....binding.
Ok she shot so I order a new one and figure I can reuse the rag joint as the steering column was just rebuilt and the rag joint is only a year old.
also getting new hoses and I flushed the reservoir. Ill flush it more once I get things together.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
one thing leads to another

SO I disconnect the rag joint and loosen the box mount bolts. Gee the pitman arm has ben there 44 years and isn't coming off. Well, if can get the next joint off the pitman arm can fall out with the steering pump...but I cant get to that as the inner tie rod is in the way... so I go to the inner tie rod...the tip breaks off and it wont come out....I beat the snot out of the drag link PB blast for days etc.. This is starting to suck. Just before I break out the torch I look at everything again and I notice that the idler arm has ALOT of slack in it. You know what? screw it its all coming out. I got the outer tie rods off, and the idler arm etc. and it all ( minus the steering box) fell on the floor. then I got the box to come out although the headers didn't like it much.

Well, now that I'm this far I might as well pull the sway bar and replace the end bushings. and I have new springs to put in so I might as well remove the UPC and LCA, as I have bushings for them.

Everything is fighting me...the lower shock mount nut tack weld was busted so I got to chase that one around. The upper mounts were rusted and fought me....the shocks aren't even that old....Jeeeez. the sway bar end links are welded together....I got the bar loose from the LCA but it wont come apart at the top. ...them end links are frozen.....the car was parked in cape May NJ next to the ocean for nine months and lived outside before that..

Ill be sawzawing or bolt cutting the sway bar end links... not sure about the UCA /LCA I may just get new ones...I do have new rubber bushings, but as you all know they don't like to come out.
I intend to clean up paint and reuse the sway bar.....its 11/16 but I'm not road coarse racing so I THINK it will be fine. I will be using neversiseze etc so if I decide to beef it up It wont be so difficult.


Q....Is the top rubber cushion for the front springs needed? or is I just nice to have....does it prevent squeaking etc.?
 

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Hang in there! It can get pretty hard and discouraging at times. It helps to not be in a hurry... It will come together little by little and with patience (what I personally have needed to learn the most) It also helps to have as many of the right tools as possible--borrow them from a friend or advance auto-auto zone, rent them or buy them.

I've heard some say the rubber rings on the coils don't really do anything. I put new ones in...Taped them to the top of the spring so they would stay in place.

Also, ask questions. Lot of nice guys on here who will help you if you need it.

BTW Welcome to the site!
 

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Yep definitely hang in there and walk away when it gets really frustrating. Believe me I've had fun with mine, busted knuckles and cussed up a storm...lol. But when you finally get something figured out and move on to the next thing it's a big accomplishment. These old cars are rarely ever done if you are doing them yourself. Patience is something I don't do well but I'm learning how as I go along. As said before the right tools does help a lot also.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks guys....I'm good with slowing down and being more methodical.
Its cold and snowing here so I decided its a good time to do so... the car is on my lift in my heated detached garage so what's the rush? I can increase the budget and still get it on the road this spring.
Part of my urgency is from my 24 years in the Military...EVERYTHING has to be done NOW!

Looking at tubular UCAs and LCAs now. This is addictive, which I am very familiar with from building my 2008 Charger ( Stock bottm end 5.7...420 RWHP, 11.6 @117 mph). and upgrading my 2014 Ram

Looking at FITECH for my SB 350.....the Diablo tuners I have for my car and truck can be headache... but FITECH is a stand alone..daddy LIKE!.

Thanks everyone!
 

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73 Hatchback fun

I too have a 73 Hatchback, however I own an Oldsmobile Omega. I bought it without an engine or trans and installed a 400 chevy and 350 turbo. My front end was shot too.(Not too rusty I live in San Diego) but I bought the cheap Ebay tubular arms and rotor kit for $325 and then changed out the ball joints and bearings for USA versions. Took a couple of weekends to get done, but everything's tight now, and I have new slotted and drilled rotors.

Rick
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Some progress.
over the weekend I removed the D/S shock which took 4 hours and an air chisel. the bottom nuts had no clips.....ugh. Then both LCA,s and Springs. The D/S lower ball joint nut wouldn't loosen and I could see where someone on the last 44 years had put a center punch divit and tried to do...something. The ball joint just spun around and around. Once I got the top Ball loose, and both ball joints loose on the P/S I lower the car on jack stands, then removed the nuts and raised it up ( on my lift) and got the springs out without killing myself. on the D/S the spindle was flopping around on the lower ball joint so I was able to get nut splitter on it and finally get it off. Next the P/S LCA came out without to much trouble, but the D/S was not cooperating. I noticed right away when I opened the angle the LCA squeaked and then pushed back to close.
BTW, I PB blast everything I am doing days ahead. The LCA bolts were rusted in place pretty bad. You know how the bushings are supposed to be a real PITA to remove? Funny, when I got the D/S LCA out and drooped it on the floor the rear Bushing feel out.
Funny thing is that this is a Maine car. Most cars rot out on the P/S first up there, as that's the side that gets the most sand salt etc. I wonder why most of the difficult stuff has ben on the D/S. could be the P/S LCA etc. was replaced at some point...
SO up next is the dust shields and the UCAs. I plan on two hours so probably take all day.
Then I'll be ordering more parts, many parts.
New LCAs, UCAs etc. I already have new V-6 springs, which will lower it about an inch or two .( totally winging it on this one). Shocks, and all the correct mounting Hardware. Half the bolts and fasteners stuff I pulled out have been incorrect. So IM getting everything, new LCA UCA bolts, rubber pads, shock clip nutz etc.
Meanwhile I will clean up the areas of the frame I have exposed and paint with Zero rust. Ill also spray it up into the sub frame everywhere I can.
I'm just buying more time.....I think in five years I'll be doing a frame off, maybe replace the front subframe. Its just not in the cards now.

I'm very happy I added heat to my detached garage. I was workin in a t-shirt, it was 67 inside , 15 deg outside last weekend.

Sorry no photos...I had such a hard time with Photobucket I nearly destroyed my computer with a hammer....
 

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Sounds like terrible rust. :( But keep up the good work!

Regarding the springs, I know what you mean about winging it. Here's what I learned working with mine... If two springs have the same spring rate, each increment shorter spring will result in double that increment lower ride height. (1/2" shorter spring = 1" lower ride height) The hard part is guessing what spring rate your current springs are.

I found a MOOG spring chart and compared different springs dimensions and spring rates for my car. I then cross referenced the MOOG chart with ebay listings for those same springs which gave specific applications for those springs.. For example a certain spring came with 6 cyl wo/AC VS another that came with V8 w/AC. (6 cyl are about 100# lighter but that doesn't make too much ride height difference)Once you have an educated guess of what you now have you can work from there to pick the new ones that will give the desired result.
Bear in mind that your current ones have probably sagged over the years. I found my originals were 1" shorter than they would have been new.

I actually replaced mine guessing I would get an inch lowering but only got 1/2". Later I took them back out and cut about 1/2 coil off the spring. That reduced spring height by 1/2" and that lowered the ride height another 1" and bringing the total lowering to 1 1/2".

Here are some links that show my thought process feeling my way through this and what I did in chronological order if it can be any help.

http://www.stevesnovasite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=255922&highlight=lowering+springs

SEE BELOW POSTS #576 and 578 in this thread

http://www.stevesnovasite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=192016&page=39
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks^^^^

I believe the springs in it were 305 without A/c springs.
I printed out the specs for all the available springs at rock auto and looked at the spring rates. I don't have the numbers with me.
SO I already have the 6 cylinder springs and the old ones out..same static height yet the 6cylinder is obviously smaller diameter.

It will be some time before I have them back in, and although I wrote down the fender lip heights before...IDK where I have that note...LOL.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
UCAs are out what a PITA. removed the dust shields and staples.

Anyone know if there is a tool to put the new staples( comes with the dust shields I orders) in?

I ordered tubular control arms from SS396. I also ordered all the bolts, every bolt for everything, control arms, shocks, idler arm steering box etc.
all the sway bar bushings also.
I cleaned up and painted the sway bar with zero rust black. I'm going black, dull and flat throughout. won't match but should bland nice between the colors and the shiny black control arms.

the steering box bolts do not come with the thick washers, anyone know where I can get them?

I decided to clean up the sub frame where I can and tape it off then paint it with zero rust black. I already sprayed inside the frame channels everywhere could get to. the purpose is to slow the deterioration. eventually in about five years I will need to do a frame off of some sort. Problem is I cant find a sub frame for a 1973......and its not in the budget now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Ill get it figured out...
first two pics are in my shop, taken when I first got the car
Sign says FLASH FLOOD AREA

funny . no?

third pic is at Mr. GM house, I got new shoes.

Now that I have this picture thing sorta figured out, Ill post more of the car in various stages of development.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I received three boxes from SS396 this week.
Tubular control arms. every fastener need for same as well as Pitman arm lock washer and nut, idler arm, etc.
New steering hoses.
New shocks and bolt kit, sway bar goodies and new mounting bushing and bolts.
I also ordered stainless steel fasteners for the front bumper as the ones used are rusty and some are missing. ...SO the bumper is coming off and I will clean up the frame in that area and mounting bracket and paint with zero-rust black. Ill get the running rust off of the bumper and then reassemble, probably after the suspension and steering is done. The fasteners in place may not be wrong...as the 73 came with the rubber bumper so the bolts were not seen, but I'm not going to get the rubber strip.
The front P/S bumper has some alignment issues probably from some minor incident( above 2.5 mph I am sure). So perhaps I can straighten that out.
A new front bumper is 339.00 ouch.

Rear is bent as well....not going there now. My paint and body guy will address all that when I get to that point....still leaning towards next winter.

I
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
SS bumper bolts are the wrong size, I need 3/8 NC vice the 7/16 NC that fits the 68-72 bumpers. I've learned that some parts that are advertised as 68-72 will fit a 73 and some won't.
Anyone need some chrome bumper nuts I got a dozen ready to go ti a new home.


this weekend I cleaned up the frame in spots, painted with black zero rust and
INSATALLED the first piece, the Idler arm!

Still everywhere I look I see stuff I could do I just needed to find a stopping point for now.

Once I clean up the bumper mounts and paint them and the inside and out side of the bumper It will be go time on the entire steering and front suspension.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I found the correct Bumper bolts at clips and fasteners .com.

After I ordered I found I could have got them with the Nuts and washers for a few bucks ore, however the nuts etc. are NOT SS.

20 bucks for 25 bolts. Zinc plated SS capped. I will get SS lockwashers and nuts locally.

Finishing up the frame Paint WTEO the bumper mounts which I will do later. then Ill be putting in the steering box...rag joint ..Pitman arm etc. I am confident all the new goodies will go in better than how t old stuff came out.

Q. anyone with experience putting the inner fender dust shields in with staples? I'm tempted to use rivets...

Thanks!
 
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