How’s the Corvette doing…

Alright, I’m ready to share some updates on the progress of restoring the floor pans and carpeting in my ’79 Corvette. Things have been speeding up in my garage again after a pause of a couple of months due to cold weather. After cleaning the floor pans, I went through the whole process of POR-15 protection. It means that I cleaned the pans with Marine Clean, then applied Metal Ready, cleaned it up and finally painted two coats of POR-15 black rust preventive paint. Now these floor pans should be good to go for at least several years to come and they fortunately hadn’t caught any serious rust damage before I began the restoration.

Here you can see some photos of the floor pans after being painted with POR-15. I must say that painting the pans was basically very enjoyable as a job and certainly nicer to do than cleaning the pans with wire brush which I did some time ago throughout several evenings.

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As you can see on the second photo, the bird cage part behind the floor pans is a bit uneven on the lower side, but this is not bad painting or rust – it’s some kind of compound used between the floor pan and the bird cage. I’m not sure if this was the method used in the factory or if the floor pans have been replaced at some point in the hands of the previous owners, but such kind of compound sealing is visible also in other parts of the floor area. Since the bird cage was already painted with some good rust protection paint and in the areas where the old paint had come loose I didn’t notice any sort of rust damage to the bird cage at all (it was shiny metal), I decided to paint over it and consider it good. The old paint was still so good in most places that I didn’t feel like brushing it all off and doing the same job again. Since the car has been restored approximately 10 years ago, I think this is one area which was certainly taken care of.

Since people have been complaining in the forums that the floors are transferring a lot of heat into the cabin thanks to the exhaust pipes running underneath them, I decided to completely heat-protect the floors. I used a certain kind of heat/sound insulation material which I bought from a car audio store. It came with its own glue already on the mats so it was a rather comfortable job to make the mats fit and glue them to the floors. In some places their own glue wasn’t enough so I used a spray glue especially made for such purposes. Helped a lot indeed! I was told by certain experts that it’s not necessary to COMPLETELY cover all the surfaces of the interior in order to repell heat and noise. It’s ok to install the mats in pieces, too, so that’s the method I used in more difficult areas like the transmission housing. Should keep most of the heat away.

I wasn’t too critical about sound insulation and didn’t buy extremely expensive mats for this purpose, because it’s NOT my intention to make this car a subwoofer-hut and I want to keep it closer to the state it came from the factory while also taking into consideration certain personal wishes of mine. It’s a hobby sports car which I take out on sunny summer days and I want to enjoy the V8 rumble.

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I must say that although the carpet is already in the car and almost completely installed, I don’t have any pictures to show as of yet. I want to finish the interior completely before showing new pictures. I’m hoping to get the car ready tomorrow but my time schedule hasn’t really been very accurate the last days.

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Oh, and remember this center console piece which I had professionally leather-covered?

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The grey color is somewhat off and doesn’t fit the seats or the whole interior. I sent it back to the shop for re-painting and I will receive it tomorrow. It should be an exact match with my white leather seats and I’m very anxious to see the result.

Finally a video clip for you. I just wanted to start up the car too much and couldn’t wait till it’s all done. So I put the driver seat loosely into the car and started up the engine. I must say that it cranked up almost like new, although it hadn’t been started since late Autumn 2008. Hopefully the engine won’t give me any troubles when the time is ready to go driving.

Suburban fuel economy results

Thought I’d post you some of my first observations on the Suburban fuel economy. It hasn’t been the best, especially when I drove it without thinking at all about economical driving style. However, I’ve been trying to push the number towards better and I’d say that driving style is what matters the most.

So, here are the results:

ALL CITY DRIVING

  • General driving style  – 24.5 l/100 km or 9.6 MPG
  • More economical style – 18.4 l/100 km or 12.8 MPG
  • More economical style 2nd try – 19.5 l/100 km or 12 MPG

I’m rather satisfied with 12.8 MPG because my Jeep didn’t do any better either. However, 9.6 MPG is certainly too bad and I shall try to avoid this in the future :)

Lots of things fixed on the Burban

Yesterday I took the Suburban to the service and we re-tightened the windscreen moonvisor with new bolts. I spent a whole day taking out the old half-bad LEDs which the first local owner of this car built into the visor and then fitting in the Lund lights kit. I’m very happy with the final result and it looks like new. The lamps are burning very nicely and they are normal wedge bulbs that can be easily replaced.

Here are some photos:

 

After fixing the moonvisor, I went to the car electrician to weather-seal the wire connections of the visor lights and there we ended up fixing most of the things wrong with the car :) Firstly, he re-wired the CB radio to take power directly from the battery instead of the cigarette lighter socket. Ofcourse he added a circuit breaker, too. Now I have a constantly ready radio transceiver that I can turn on from the switch just like the car stereo. Then there was a problem with the temperature sensor plug under the hood which connects to the thermostat housing. We cleaned and “refurbished” it and it’s now rather perfect. It used to have bad connection and sometimes gave me rough idle when engine was cold and also the Check Engine light came on. One of my Hella high-beams wasn’t working and I couldn’t find the problem myself. There was a bad negative connection and we got it solved. Now it all works nicely and it’s AMAZING what kind of light all the four lamps together are able to produce.

 

Finally we went to the issue I had with the windscreen wipers – they made very annoying squeeking noise whenever turned on and before I thought that perhaps the new wipers are somehow screeching against the windscreen. However, it still turned out to be the moving mechanism located under the plastic grille in front of the window. It needed some grease and it’s now totally quiet. As we already had the wiper hands taken off, we also re-painted those in black since one of them had paint partly worn out.

Currently most of the things on the Suburban are fixed and I’m enjoying the truck more and more every day. For a car-guy like me it’s the perfect daily driver.

Long time no posting, but I have news!

Hi all,

I haven’t posted for quite a while because I’ve just been quite busy and occupied on different areas, including my cars :) I have many news for you, though!

First of all, I have a new car! There are good and bad news about this – I got myself a huge Chevrolet Suburban which I’ve always dreamed of and I’ve been looking after these on the streets since I was a kid. The bad news is that I had to trade my Jeep for it, so I no longer have it. I’ve got over it anyway and the Jeep also needed several jobs to be done which would have costed me at least about 700-800 bucks. I actually didn’t plan on doing such a trade and I was mainly looking at Chevy Express conversion vans from years 2000 and upwards. However, I always kept myself updated about the pick-up truck and large SUV ads, too. Then one morning I found a selling ad for a 1997 Chevy Suburban and in the photos it looked very cool, not just stock. Even more interesting was that he offered a trade-in for a V8 Grand Cherokee. Then I got so excited that I just had to call the seller. He was a nice guy and also a fan of American cars, so we met the same evening at his place and looked at the cars. The Suburban was ofcourse very big compared to the Jeep which I’m used to looking at and we then took it for a test-drive. I was very impressed how it drove because it was smooth, braked well and the wheel was nicely easy to turn, but very precise at the same time. So, I liked what I saw and felt and when we took the Jeep for a test-run, he liked it, too.

The next day we had both trucks inspected by mechanics and we found small flaws on both, although my Jeep needed more drive-train components to be replaced, mainly rubber bushings, but also a transfer case bearing. We then discussed about the approximate prices of both vehicles considering their actual conditions and finally agreed on the extra amount I had to pay – the Suburban is ofcourse more expensive, being one of the best value keeping vehicles in the United States.

Now I’m a proud owner of a 1997 Chevy Suburban LT C-1500. Perhaps a bad thing is that it’s just 2WD (rear-wheel drive) compared to the Jeep which was 4WD, but I must say that I don’t like mudding and getting dirty and I didn’t use the Jeep’s features. 2WD is almost perfect for me because it’s more economical and the drive-train is more comfortable to ride compared to the K-series based trucks. Problems with 2WD only occur when we have a thin layer of snow covering slippery ice on the road and I need to get the Suburban up a hill on such surface. Then it’s very easy to add to much throttle and get a wheel slipping, which in turn will “clean” the ground of snow and leaves just the ice where there is no chance of going forward. The Suburban is relatively light on the rear end when you don’t have any rear passengers or luggage and don’t have much fuel on board. In such case there are two solutions – use the automatically locking rear-differential installed on the vehicle which engages when one wheel begins slipping a lot, but in this case I need to add quite a bit of gas. The second solution is better in my opinion – put the transmission in “2” which means that you will also take off in second gear. This way the wheels don’t get so much momentum and will roll on the snow layer instead of wiping it away. There is also ofcourse a third solution – take the shovel and add some gravel near the wheels :)

The Suburban is black in color, has brand new wheels + Cooper Discoverer M+S tires, beige interior, grille guard in the front with two Hella high-beams, hood air deflector, windshield air deflector, moonvisor with yellow lights (just the way I like it!!), steps under the doors and much more. It’s also equipped with a FM CB-radio transceiver. Engine is the traditional gasoline GM Vortec 5.7 (350 cid) V8 and the transmission is a 4-speed automatic. The exhaust is upgraded so it makes some awesome rumble when driving around, while being relatively quiet on idle and low RPM.

Here are some photos for you:

 

 

 

The light covers from the moonvisor were taken off at that time, but are now installed. However, the lights need to be re-done because the LEDs are getting bad. I will do it as soon as the weather gets a bit warmer.

I also took a video of it with a friend:

 

Now, back to the Corvette!

The Vette has been somewhat unchanged in my garage for 2 months or so with the interior partly taken out. I decided to restore the floor pans under both seats since those were the places where I found some more remarkable surface rust and then I also decided to just take all the old carpet out and replace it. I ordered the new carpet set + complete sound insulation set from Willcox Corvette and it’s now ready at my home to be installed. However, firstly I need to apply POR-15 onto the floorpans which I have cleaned up. I can’t do any of these jobs as long as there are temperatures around 0 degrees Celsius, so I’m just waiting right now for the climate to get a bit better.