Chevy Nova Forum banner

1 - 20 of 810 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,141 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I thought I would give a progress report on my 79 Phoenix. Here are some pictures from the past 14 months.
Bought the Phoenix on Ebay for $1150 and towed up from TN. with help from my neighbor in Nov. 2010. Car was bought new at a Pontiac dealer in Statesville, NC and as far as I can tell spent its entire life in NC, GA and TN until I bought it. Previous owner took care of many basics and got it pretty well road worthy. He replaced control arm bushings, ball joints, brake pads and shoes, some additional brake parts including master cylinder. Also he had replaced coil and possibly radiator. I'm sure there was more but I can't remember. Had 305 with th350 which ran good enough to at least to get it home but since I had no spare, jack or license plates we towed it.

This is to be a budget build but I will attempt to not scrimp on things where it matters most...We'll see!








Fixed dash lights and painted dash, painted jambs, new weatherstrip, hinge pins, bushings and window felts, added rearview and exterior sport mirrors...Also replaced driver's window regulator, glove box and ash tray.

BEFORE








AFTER







Repair and re-paint door panels with SEM with help from my wife...





Fix rear window trim clips, fix trunk weatherstrip, paint trunk & jamb...



Clean and paint underside and replace body mount bushings. Fortunately it was in the mid to high 90's when I scraped, wire brushed and used Purple Power solvent on the bottom to clean off the 32 years of crud. The final step was to power wash...It was great fun! :rolleyes:















Pull old 305 and TH 350 with help from a couple of my good neighbors...









Clean and paint firewall & sub frame crossmember and trans tunnel and installed new motor mounts...



Clean and install clutch/brake pedal & linkage I got from this Nova in CO...











I bought a 78 Corvette L-82 350 4 bolt from a guy locally off CL for $350. The stock L-82 was rated at 220 HP SAE Net. I read a Popular Hot Rodding article that put a stock one on a dyno and it produced 313 HP SAE GROSS. Not sure but I assume SAE Net= at rear wheels and SAE gross= at flywheel. The stock 78 L-82 Vettes turned high 14's to 15 second quarter mile times in Motor Trend and Car and Driver tests back in the 70's even with the air pump and cat converters, etc., so it is a pretty good motor even stock. Plus my car is about 300# lighter than a 78 Vette.

I rebuilt it with new pair of heads I got for for $400, Performer intake, higher lift cam and new lifters. Cam is Comp Cam XE268 (higher lift/longer duration);Cam in it was not the original L82 grind but a Crower Thumper cam which I sold with the lifters for $20. Heads are 76cc and completely rebuilt with 2.02/1.60 valves and pocket ported.

The L-82 had factory forged TRW pistons that with the 76cc heads yields 9:1 CR.
Had crank checked,cleaned and polished, I put in new bearings, rings, oil pump and sump. Block is #3970010 4 bolt main. Before assembly I cleaned the block externally and then took it to the car wash and shot hot soapy water through all the oil passages and rinsed. I then blew out all the passages with my neighbor's air compressor.Red transmission on floor in background is the Saginaw I bought locally off CL for $175.

Tear Down



Rebuild









Pistons were actually on rods backwards when I bought the engine so valve reliefs were upside down and valves had hit pistons before I got it!! :eek: Pistons were okay though... I had the machine shop turn the pistons around on the rods for me.





New Head




Original 624 Head



Instead of rebuilding the L-82 #624 heads, I replaced them for 2 reasons: 1) I've read they are crack-prone and 2) All the valves had hit the pistons (see above) I replaced the heads with ones I think should be as good or better. I don't know how the new intake runners compare with the old 161 cc ones (probably similar). The new intake is a Performer 2101 which is a dual plane--the L-82 intake was not (Corvette hood clearance). The castings for the new heads were actually #454's which were used on 350 heavy duty truck engines between 1969 and 1979 mine were cast one in 73 and the other in 75...I'm guessing the castings were probably a heavier casting with more "meat" on them. They were re-worked (from 1.72/1.50) to accept the bigger 2.02/1.60 valves and pocket ported. Also the L-82 factory heads had screw-in studs and push rod guide plates I did not re-use the guide plates and new heads have pressed-in studs. I did re-use the hardened push rods though.

Also re-used the alternator, power steering pump, water pump, fuel pump and HEI distributor from the original 305. I bought a used "403" bell housing, 1406 Edelbrock carb and the correct starter for manual transmission on ebay from a guy about 20 minutes away. Paid about $140 for all and all work good. Also was fortunate to buy a used Edelbrock performer 2101 intake for $20 and a good 153 tooth flywheel for $35.

Install new engine with Saginaw 4 speed...



Start putting body back together...



Engine runs really good! Took it for 1 quick ride around the block:yes:
Currently working on fixing small bugs, fitting body parts better and getting ready for inspection. To be continued...:cool:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
377 Posts
Its looking great so far! I can't wait to be able to start working on my nova again...(my own build thread is going to be started soon now that I am done with college and have a career) What are the specs on the engine? What heads, cam, pistons, etc? Be careful with that saginaw behind the 350, they weren't really meant for that kind of power. As long as you don't go pulling any wholeshots with slicks, or accelerating really hard all the time, it should be ok. Are you going to keep the A/C functional?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,141 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Its looking great so far! I can't wait to be able to start working on my nova again...(my own build thread is going to be started soon now that I am done with college and have a career) What are the specs on the engine? What heads, cam, pistons, etc? Be careful with that saginaw behind the 350, they weren't really meant for that kind of power. As long as you don't go pulling any wholeshots with slicks, or accelerating really hard all the time, it should be ok. Are you going to keep the A/C functional?
Thanks! It's a std. bore 350 originally a 78 Vette L-82 which came with TRW forged pistons giving it about a 9:1 CR. The heads are reworked mid 70's truck heads. 76cc Chambers with larger valves ( 2.02/1.60) and pocket ported with .550 valve springs. Cam is Comp Cams 12-242-2 XE 268 224/230 duration @.050 lift .477/.480 lift. Elelbrock Performer 2101 & 1406 600 cfm carb. Should be around 350 HP w/ 400 ft lbs torque.

Yes I plan on being careful with the Saginaw...Got it for $175 when all the Muncies or T 10s seem to go for at least $800 used. It was an economic decision... It seems pretty solid though. I'm going to try not to abuse it.:)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,141 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Looking good! So I'm guessing red is the new color.
Thanks! Yes I decided to go with Cranberry Red...which you see on a lot of 70 SS 396 Chevelle pictures.... I thought since I'm going to keep the full black vinyl top it will look pretty nice that way. I'm figuring a non-metallic single stage paint job will also be the cheapest which is important since I don't have a big budget.Maybe I'll even go with the black hood & trunk stripes too??
I had considered doing away with the vinyl top ...If I had I would have chosen a different color.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,141 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
It appears red was the original color. If it wasn't you did a real good job in the trunk making it look factory.
Thanks! I tried to be careful with the little details. What you can't see in the picture is that my masking tape pulled off a little bit of the jack instruction sticker. But I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out.

BTW--Making good progress on the fender adjustments...It's going to work out pretty well.:)
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
12,017 Posts
Yes I plan on being careful with the Saginaw...Got it for $175 when all the Muncies or T 10s seem to go for at least $800 used. It was an economic decision... It seems pretty solid though. I'm going to try not to abuse it.:)
Which Saginaw is it? Some are stronger than others, depends on the gearing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,141 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Its looking great so far! I can't wait to be able to start working on my nova again...(my own build thread is going to be started soon now that I am done with college and have a career) What are the specs on the engine? What heads, cam, pistons, etc? Be careful with that saginaw behind the 350, they weren't really meant for that kind of power. As long as you don't go pulling any wholeshots with slicks, or accelerating really hard all the time, it should be ok. Are you going to keep the A/C functional?
Even though I'd love to have the A/C, it won't be operational. It's missing the compressor and some of the other parts so I removed everything that was feasable including the radiator, a long hose, brackets...I wanted to minimize expense for now--less clutter too. I'll save the parts in case I want to do it later or...the next owner does :eek: (I don't even want to think about that now!)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,141 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Which Saginaw is it? Some are stronger than others, depends on the gearing.
From the casting #s I've been able to determine it was from a 77 Monza--made 12/4/76...2 rings on the input shaft which should mean the 3.11 first gear:(: So I wouldn't think it is one of the stronger ones. It also has a switch on it for Transmission Spark Control...(finally found out what that was)a single prong switch. It does seem to be in pretty good shape though. I replaced front and side cover gaskets and rear seal.It worked good on my quick maiden voyage.

I do wish 1st gear wasn't so low. Right now it's got 2.41 rear gears so I'm thinking 3.42's might be a good compromise between strong acceleration and avoiding 1st being a "creeper" gear. Also still giving me a decent cruising RPM with 27" tires.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
12,017 Posts
The 2 ring ratio is much better than the more plentiful 3 ring with the 3.50 first gear.

1st 3.11
2nd 2.20
3rd 1.47
4th 1.00

With your 2.41 gear 4th will be like an over drive around 2200 rpm's at 70. The 3.42 will put you at 3000 rpm's at freeway speeds.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,141 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Well...I'm not going to be popping the clutch or burning rubber...intentionally anyway...but I might forget my age and bang second or third on occasion...:D Hopefully I won't get too carried away!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,141 Posts
Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
The 2 ring ratio is much better than the more plentiful 3 ring with the 3.50 first gear.

1st 3.11
2nd 2.20
3rd 1.47
4th 1.00

With your 2.41 gear 4th will be like an over drive around 2200 rpm's at 70. The 3.42 will put you at 3000 rpm's at freeway speeds.
Yes It could be worse with the 3 ring so in a way I'm thankful for what I've got.
Yeah, on paper with my 2.41's I figured about 170 mph at 5000 RPM:eek: Hmmm...I would probably pass out long before that and my speedometer only goes to 100 anyway!:D I'd love to have a 5 speed but cost is prohibitive so 3.42's seem to be a good compromise. I'm looking now for a ring and pinion and a 3 series carrier because my carrier is a 2 series and won't work with 3.42's.
I understand 3.42's for an 8.5 10 bolt came std on a lot of 80's Chevy 1/2 ton pickups and am on the lookout for them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
26,336 Posts
WELL IT LOOKS LIKE IT'S COMING ALONG GREAT, CONTINUE THE PROGRESS! :yes:
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
819 Posts
I'm looking now for a ring and pinion and a 3 series carrier because my carrier is a 2 series and won't work with 3.42's.
I understand 3.42's for an 8.5 10 bolt came std on a lot of 80's Chevy 1/2 ton pickups and am on the lookout for them.
Mr. Gasket sells a ring gear spacer for your 2 series carrier. Thats what I used. Its around $30. It goes under the ring gear. I used a posi unit that came with 2.73 gears and shimmed it with the spacer and 3.73 gears. You can make it happen. Nice car by the way...Your saginaw swap is inspiring. Im still debating if its time to convert or if I should still wait
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,689 Posts
You can also get over-sized gears that take up the space. When I built the rear in the Nova I did that on purpose. I ordered a 3-series carrier and put 4.11's on it. It gives the ring gear extra girth. AND it's only one piece instead of giving the rear another place to fail.
 
1 - 20 of 810 Posts
Top