Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tear-down begins

The first thing is the removal of the front bumper, and the grille.  From this point on, I move to the valances on the top and bottom.  The beautiful thing about the front clip on a Camaro is that everything forward of the firewall simply bolts on.

Here we are with the valances and hood removed.  The hood weighs a ton, but wasn't really that tough to tackle, even alone.  But I'm kinda big and dumb, so maybe I just don't know any better.  The next step is to move to the fenders.

Note the antifreeze in the catch pan.  The cooling system gets drained, since the radiator has to come out.  When this goes back together, one of the modifications will be a nice big triple-core radiator and one or two electric fans.  That will go along with the engine swap, which I'll get into later.

Here you can see one of the classic problem areas on the Camaro.  There is a natural shelf that collects water and salt and grime, and eventually rots out the front fender right where it joins that lower trim piece.  The really funny thing is, when I got this off, the trim piece can be saved.  But the fender. . .  Maybe if I knew how to run a welder I could save it, but I have my doubts. . .

Here's another shot of that problem-area.  Nasty.  Some of the bolts and bodywork had rusted into a single mass, and had to be cut away for removal.  But it's interesting:  Most of the rust is just surface scale.  Aside from a few bad spots, the metal is really pretty good.

 Here's that Turbo-Thrift 250.  Really, there are a lot of things that can be done with this motor.  I'll include some links later.  Some folks have this same thing turning 12 second quarter-miles in some early Novas.  I will probably not be using this engine, but I haven't completely made up my mind yet.  I am seriously considering swapping in a 4200 Vortec L6 and 4-speed automatic--hopefully the later version which was rated by the factory at about 300 hp.  There is something very attractive about having a modern engine that retains some of the spirit of the original.  And consider, at 300 hp, it would actually have about the same, or slightly more horsepower than an original, correct 327 V8.

Any dummy can shovel in a small-block V8 into a Camaro.  And frankly, so many people have done it that that route holds no interest for me whatsoever.

Next up:  Fenders, front wheelhouses, radiator and support.

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