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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So my wife and I are tearing into our newest project, a 1970 Nova that we intend to restore to mostly original, with a few touches of restomod (LS/4L60 swap).
We bought the car not running as a known project. We tore the front clip (body) off this weekend, and I discovered these crappy welds on the crossmember area. While I know I can fix the crappy welding, my bigger fear is WHY someone was working on it in the first place. I need some opinions on what we are dealing with, and most importantly what to check. My current course of action is tending to be load it on a trailer and take it to a frame shop to check for straightness.

Oh, and not sure if it is related; but the blower motor area of cowl is also dented (hidden under fender ). Easy enough to fix, but curious if it could be related (accident).

Overall, I'm trying to decide whether this car is still worth investing time & $ into for a project.
 

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If you are going to stay with a stock front clip get on Craigslist and find another clip.
Nice originals are readily available since they are common to early Camaro's and are often replaced with aftermarket pieces.

I sold mine complete for $150 a few months ago. They are out there.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
But is this one bad? That’s a lot of work if I haven’t verified I need a new one.

But if they are that available, it would still be better than abandoning this car ??
 

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1968 Chevy II Nova, Central Arkansas
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I think the car has defiantly been hit but that doesn't mean it's not worth fixing up. If you can get a straight used front end for $150 it would make since to replace since you have the car down that far.
 

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The subframes were never welded up to look pretty. Here's some that have original welds:









But with some more welding and finishing, you can make the frame look better:





As far as the cowl side being pushed in, be aware that some parts from a first generation Camaro work on the 68-74 Novas. You could pull the pushed in area out using a stud welder and slide hammer or possible get in from the interior side to knock it out through the kick panel vent opening.

As far as replacing the fenders, hood, radiator support, and whatever, you have to look and see if it's better to replace or rework what you have.

As far as taking it somewhere, find out if they have specifications on this old of a vehicle. You may find some specifications in the shop manuals which if you do not have them now, buy all 3 of them. They have a TON of info in them.

Jim
 

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1969 Nova . . 2dr . . Chino Valley,Az USA
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But is this one bad? That’s a lot of work if I haven’t verified I need a new one.

But if they are that available, it would still be better than abandoning this car ??
I'd say .... maybe not Bad .

alot of these sub-frames -- the "factory welds" lack alot , they were never 'pretty'. Some people clean those welds up & even re-weld those sections.... look close at
'Custom Jim's pictures' ... show them, explain this to the wife .... I'm just saying .......

Go & park the car on a "flat drive-way" (or best flat spot you have, close at hand). Jack up car , get it sitting close to being level, remove the wheels & tires ... Then, I'd do some measuring ... "center of the rear axle to the center of your front brake hub / spindle. Write those numbers down --(even measure it twice on the drivers side).
Go around & measure the pass. side .... say, with-in an 1/8" (give or take) and I'd say your good enough ...

meaning .... (my 69 Nova - turns 50 yrs. old this month -
build date : 7C = 3rd week of July 69) ---- anything could have happened to these cars after that time span ....

I could not see that much damage on the right cowl area (hard to tell from pictures). OK -- Even, before you remove the tires --- look close at ALL Four tires/wheels .... are they sitting up correctly or do they look funny -- leaning in - or - out : centered in the 'wheel opening' ? ? (given , that your bushings & ball-joints are old) ... does things look correct : or can be correct with installing new front-end bushings & ball-joints.

If every thing LOOKS Reasonable (skipping those welds) , I'd call-it OK --------- but, you need too make that Call ! We only see pictures --- you're there to look at the whole car : and, I look around, under, and over your 70 Nova. You can certainly re-weld those poor welds on the front area (and, I would --- even only to make my wife feel better). New front suspension components and all body/subframe bushings MAKE ALOT of difference.
I'd be safe to say -- your front welds aren't the only one that went down the assembly line ........................... you asked ....... that's my suggestion ................ but, it's your Nova.

later, jim
 

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1969 Nova . . 2dr . . Chino Valley,Az USA
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your right side 'cowl area' .....

that area is ok -- as long as your door / rt fender line-up correctly. And look at your heater blower area , that area needs to be flat enough to seal the blower motor , and housing, and not have any cracks or gaps.
Check that area.
and, has your rt side fender been replaced ? that might indicate a wreck long ago .

Give us a Right Side picture with the fender & door in place (if u have that).

jim
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
You guys are a huge help, thanks. I can't believe those/these are factory welds!! wow! However it does make me feel better.... I was afraid I was dealing with a hack-job repair. I'm going to do exactly what you guys suggested.... try and get her up on jacks and take multiple measurement points.

Yeah, I was planning on starting with the spot-weld puller for the blower motor cowl area.

I do believe we have a workable situation now that I see other factory welds. I already plan to replace the entire front suspension and front-end body work. (Or at least prepared to)

So these 10bolt rears are "centered"? That will help with the measurements...
 

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1969 Nova . . 2dr . . Chino Valley,Az USA
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You guys are a huge help, thanks.


So these 10bolt rears are "centered"? That will help with the measurements...

well, I can't tell any-thing about u'r rear-end being "centered" .

you need to make that 'call' ......

and, what I said about your Rt Side cowl ------- I only see that 'outside' section bent in some ....... look at the heater box area . That area needs to be flat - or - flat enough to seal u'r heater box.
Once you have your Rt side fender in place ... nobody can see the
"SIDE of Your cowl" .
 

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Not Quite Right

More knowledgeable people than myself have indicated that the front suspension welds are factory, but I respectfully disagree. I know they were slap-dashing Novas off the assembly line, but I've seen a lot of cars, and have never seen such bad welding from the factory. Not just the spatters and lack of consistent bead, but the actual burn through.
It is true that the mess can be ground down and rewelded into something as nice as those shown by Custom Jim, but not until everything has been measured, checked, stabilized and remeasured some more
Do not assume the rear differential is centered. They are usually off a bit to the passenger side. There is a lot of information regarding such, as well as sets of complete factory measurements available on this site.

Twenty years ago I brought my Nova home from a wrecking yard in L.A. The previous owner had installed a small block with whatever stands and mounts were available. They were welded in, were crooked and were a mess.
As I was working part-time in a local wrecking yard, I bought a parts car, and used the subframe from the parts car.
Problem is, few of the parts cars that were available 20 years ago still exist.
But solutions are available.
Enjoy your new adventure.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
There is a lot of information regarding such, as well as sets of complete factory measurements available on this site.
Where would I find these measurements?

Yes, as far as the "centered" rearend, I just meant if it was a centered diff.... some cars come with an off-center pumpkin.....

Thanks guys!
 

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Measurements

Look into the" Best of Chassis and Suspension" Forum,
ask for "Chassis Measurements"
and you will find a lifetime of reading material.

Regarding the differential, do some more measurements,
including triangulations,
and you will Very likely find that your differential is not dead-centered between the rear frame rails.

A Forum search on the differential topic will also yield an abundance of research
 
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