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My 69 nova resto

5503 Views 58 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  asteeler4life

If the windows look off to you for a 69, its because the guy put 74 doors on it.

Summary of what i have done before making this thread:

So i was originally planning on buying a first gen stang, and had one lined up and ready to buy for $4000. The guy said he needed to charge the battery over night and to come pick it up the next day. So i decided to look on craigslist to see if i had missed a better deal when i decided, just for kicks, ill look up novas (even though im a stang guy, ive always loved novas) and there she was! A 69 nova with a 350 and a pretty straight body for $4400. So i went and checked it out and the body and frame were super straight with no rust and the motor looked pretty nice.

350 with 750 edelbrock carb and performer intake, mild comp cam, and full dual exhaust and a turbo 350 trans.

I had him start it and noticed a slight knock and he said it still needed to be tuned and it needed a radiator run off because it over heats. The knock worried me so with some negotiations and driving away only to have him call me 30 mins later, i got him done to $3500 and brought it home!

Later that night i start it up and the slight knock is now a full blown "oh s**" knock and there's a huge exhaust leak shooting flames out of the #7 cylinder

i take off the oil cap and the head is bone dry (and so the journey begins to fix this guys garbage attempt to putting this car together...)!

So the next day, i put a run off tank in, do an oil change and go to change the header gasket when i realized the two outer bolt are about 1 1/4" and the new stock header bolts no longer fit. So as a temperary fix until i can either afford new heads or fix the holes, i buy longer bolts and hope they hold.

Next up, a compression check.

All plugs were a normal color passanger side but driver side plugs are all fouled and cover in black sout. Compression on all cylinders were around 170-180 so i put new plugs in and start it up and the knock is gone. I go inside the car and realize the mechanically oil pressure gauge must not be used to actual oil pressure because the line blew and oil was gushing everywhere. So i buy a new line and fitting and the gauge worked fine and im getting good oil pressure. Time to tune!

Thanks to all the helpful ppl on this site i learn how to tune a carb and where my timing should be so i buy a tach and upon installation realizeall the wiring of the car is a complete mess of splices and shotty connection (painless wiring kit install soon to come). I hook up the tach, set timing to 36 at 3000 rpm, turn mixture screw clockwise til idle drop then one full turn counterclockwise, set idle, and she runs like a dream!!

So i take her out and about 3 miles down the road i completely lose spark and she die... (im a super carburetor newb so dont judge me!) So i think maybe i have the carb set to rich and it some how blew out the spark or something. Lol so i start messing with the mixture screws and still nothing. I pop a wire off and there's no spark to it, i move it around a bit an it shocks the **** out of me and the engine starts. I get it home a shut it off and it starts to diesel. I turn it on to readjust the carb and can remember where i had it and everything i do makes it worse. So i say screw it and tow it in to a shop to get tuned.

So here is where i am now. The mechanic tuned it but since the guy i bought it off of put an undersized radiator in (held on with zip ties) and a fan that isnt close enough to the radiator, it over heats like crazy. So im getting a new radiator and shroud with all the proper fittings so its not held with zipties and a spacer for the fan. My charging system apparently isnt working either so ill soon find out if its the alternater, voltage regulater, or the guys shotty wiring.

Once all that's done, ill be replacing all the wiring with the painless kit. This car has takin over my life and even though it's been one thing after the other, im starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and cant wait to get her back!
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Sorry to hear about your woes with the car but once you get her up and running all that pain and suffering will melt away!!!

Welcome to the site!!

Thnx for the welcome. The woes are all part of the journey, im actually kinda mad at myself for taking it in and having someone else work on it. My skills are pretty limited but i want to do as much of the work as i can, myself. Lucky for me, i have this website and everyone on it to help me out every step of the way.
Welcome to the site and our Nor Cal Nova family. Watch the Southwest Forum for information on about the upcoming West Coast Mini Nats in Pleasanton on Labor Day weekend. This is the big event of the year. We have an unofficial kick off on Friday afternoon and evening. The show actually starts on Saturday and runs thru Sunday afternoon. Hope to see you and your car be able to make it.
Welcome to the world of old muscle cars.... :yes:
All in time, man. Take it slow and just stay consistent and you'll find that it all goes pretty fast. Car looks good for what you got it for.

So ive been working on her none stop to fix all the mechanical problem and she's comin along pretty smoothly with some bumps in the roads.

I fixed the cooling issue, upon flushing, changing the thermostate and hoses, i found a bottle cap in the upper hose, completely block water flow. But everything back together and she now runs a cool 185 even while idling in 100+ degree cali summer weather.

Fixed the charging problem, the alt and wiring to the external regulator was shot. Bought a 70-100 amp, one wire, internal regulator alt. Eliminating the shot wiring and now my gauge reads around 13.8-14 at all times.

I dont have the funds for a good paint job so for now i did the rustoleum paint job, costing me around $100. It's not perfect, but it good for now, and i get ppl who cant believe i painted it with a 4" roller, everywhere i go! Lol

Now for the bumps i talked about... my original valve covers were leaking like crazy! Causing water to entire the heads, giving my oil an awesome milk shake look. Lol bought new valve covers and rubber gaskets, arp bolts and spreaders, because summit states that both these covers and gaskets are the best at stopping leakage. No so for the gaskets, theyre not as bad as my old covers and gaskets but no matter what i do they wont seal enough to prevent the 2 annoying oil puddles i am greeted to every morning from oil leaking from both valve covers and down the block. Im told by ppl on this site to swap the rubber gaskets with cork/metal gaskets and to use studs instead of bolts. So hopefully that will stop it.

Second bump. I tried to fix the exhaust leaks on the right bank coming from both outer ports by using longer bolts to actually catch the little remaining threads that werent stripped by the previous owner. Flames no long shoot from the outer ports, but it still didnt completely seal the leak. All 4 sparkplugs on the left bank are a perfect tan color and are very clean, while the 2 outer plugs on the right bank are burnt to s*** and and the middle 2of are a dark brown but still some what clean. Im going to get some helicoils and have a machine shop install them. Hopefully that fixes it.

Also, everytime a fix something, the engine attacks the next weakness, and that next weakness is both front and rear main seals.

Luckily, a hotrodder i know from down the street says he'll sell me a great running 350 for $200! So im gonna buy that, strip it down, take it to a machine shop to get all freshened up and rebuild it. So i have a solid engine ready to drop in!

Im also gonna see if he has a saginaw or muncie cuz the t350 trans in it now has also been a headache.

Wish me luck!

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So besides the exhaust leak my car was running PERFECT. I was so happy and had no worries that it would make the 2 hr drive to san bruno for my army drill on the 8th.

Yesterday i went and got the helicoils put in and now MY ENGINE IS HAVING A MELTDOWN!!

First as i was driving home, i lost spark completely, pulled a wire and was getting super weak spark. Took the ign coil cover off and the holes in the cap for the bolts that hold the coil and its grounds were stripped, giving me weak ground. Walked to autozone, bought new cap, rotor, and coil. Installed, it started and i was able to get it home but everytime i had to stop at a light i had to put it in park and keep it revved up because it wanted to die at idle.

I noticed gas leaking from my electric choke linkage and backfire coming from the carb and at one point gas was pooring in my carb when i turned off the car. I but new plugs in and they were all black on the right bank (helicoil side) and my car smokes like crazy. I tried to tune the carb with a vac gauge and vac would not drop or rise when i tried to tune it, so right now the mixture screws are at 1.5 turns counterclock wise and the smoking has stopped but its hard to start. Timing is 36.

At this point the smoking has stopped, its hard to start, and now i hear a ticking, like a lifter is sticking. What happened?!?! It was running so perfect before the helicoils and now its a complete mess!

Please help!

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Upon research and help from ppl on this site, ive found out my problem is my intake manifold is leaking, my carb is as well, and my exhaust... lol so im changing all the gasketd and rebuilding the carb. Hopefully you guys can help me along the way.

So everythings off and now im just waiting for parts to arrive

Any suggestions on what to clean my intake with? I have carb cleaner and was just gonna scrub it down with that. I was gonna bathe it in lacquer thinner but it has teflon tape and a gasket on the egr blocker so that's a no go. I was gonna bathe the carb in that when i take all the gaskets off, is that ok?

Thank god all the rods are straight, i think i woulda cried if one was bent. Lol

What should i put in the valley when i scrap off all the gasket and stuff? I was gonna put a clean rag there but im not sure it would catch everything.

Apparently the previous owner thought it was a good idea to use every bolt in the world BESIDES a $10no set of manifold bolts... :slap:

So far, so good, just need some suggestions from the ever knowledgeable ppl on this awesome site. :yes:

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Everythings buttoned up and put back together, it wasnt that bad. I took my time with everything and placed everything in labelled ziplock bags during the carb rebuild as i went along. Making it really easy to reverse the process during assembly

I have the idle mixture screws at 11/2 turns counterclockwise, idle set around 800 rpm. Timing around 15-16 and full timing comes in around 36 at 3000 rpm. No smoke coming from the exhaust.


It kinda chugs like a train from idle until about 1200 rpm, smoothes out until about 3500 rpm, then it kinda acts like it's hitting a governer, then smoothes out again.

Here's a video of it idling, hopefully you can hear what i'm talking about

Any ideas of what this can be?

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Timing set with timing light? Weights in the dizzy freely moving with springs on? Firing order correct on dizzy and to matching cylinder?
Timing was set with a non-adjustable light. I time it with a mark on the balancer at 36. Rev it til the mark stops moving then move distributor til that mark is on 0. Ends up being around 15-16 initial. As far as knowing if the weights are moving, im not sure how to see that with the engine running. Firing order is correct 1-8-4-3-6-5-7-2. I was able to stab the distributor so that the rotor is positioned were it was originally, which, when looking at the engine from in front of the car, is perfectly pointed down (basically pointed at the water pump.) My number #1 wire is on the post slightly to the right of where the rotor is pointing. I tried to move all the wires around, one post to the left just to make sure i was on the proper post and the engine just misfired and wouldnt start. Put them all back and it started up perfect.
Then I would start looking at the carb. Vac gauge connected to manifold port and tune A/F mixtures screws to highest HG"
Check weights and springs with engine off and cap and rotor removed.
Ok, will check right now. My only question before i try and tune carb (which i am utterly horrible at) is, should i have my vac hose on the "full vac" port or "timed vac" port on carb? It's always been on the timed vac and ive only put on full once and a mechanic told me it should be on timed.
Ok, will check right now. My only question before i try and tune carb (which i am utterly horrible at) is, should i have my vac hose on the "full vac" port or "timed vac" port on carb? It's always been on the timed vac and ive only put on full once and a mechanic told me it should be on timed.
Timed port gives vac when the throttle is opened to manifold.
Full vac is just that, open to manifold vac at all times. I put my vac advance to manifold or full. Gauge should be connected to full vac port,for tuning.
Spring attached, weights move freely. This pic shows the extent of their travel, not sure if that's normal or if they move farther while running

Tuned carb with vac gauge connected to full vac. Max Hg's i could get was 17, good, bad?

Timing is set exactly at 16, full timing comes in before 3000 rpm at 36 perfectly at the 0engine mark. (I tried to take a pic but it was impossible without the fan cutting off a limb, lol)

Very faint amount of smoke coming from the exhaust, slight hesitation when i press on the gas but then acceleration and response is better then ever. The governor feeling at 3000 rpm is gone, and seems to run smoothly during normal driving, but when i keep it in 1st gear and move up in rpm slowly its really jerky and jumps in and out of running smooth and sh***y, misfiring?

I've pulledonly the wires, made sure theyi were secure on plugs, made sure plugs were secure. Could something i did wrong in the carb rebuild cause this?

Also, i found a thread that says you must change the resistor wire when going from points to HEI, or you will not have full voltage to the coil. I dont have a voltmeter so i dont know how much voltage is going to the coil. But i am almost certain i need to do this because the pervious owner was a slouch and my wiring looks exactly like what the thread says it should not look like. So this is my next fix ill be making.

Again, i cant thank you enough sevenzeronova, you've helped me through this entire process!
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I'm not the greastest at tuning eddy carbs, I would try moving the pump rod to the next hole to give it a little more squirt on accel. Yours look like this?

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Yes, the linkage is on the upper most hole like yours, the only difference is the spring that is connected to the to the thermo housing and carb linkage is on that big hole on the top and not that small hole at the bottom (moving it as i type)

I edited my above post to include what ive read about the HEI wire, if you can read and give me your thoughts please.
Not my carb just picture I found to show where it is located.
Resistor wire insulation will be different than the rest, cloth type weaved insulation and silver looking wire compared to plastic type insulation and copper wire. If you still have this resistor wire remove and replace with some 10 awg wire before doing anymore tuning.
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