1981 Camaro Z28

Discussion in 'Project Progress' started by MP81, Dec 21, 2017.

  1. MP81

    MP81 Veteran Member

    223
    8
    Oct 10, 2016
    Washington Township, MI
    I figured it might be time to finally post a thread about my Camaro after all the help I’ve received on this forum – all this stuff happened in the past, so I will date it as such, up until the present.

    6-3-16

    So I have a new project car added to my fleet.

    It's an '81 Camaro Z28, which my uncle (who lives in LA) bought brand new, so I am the second owner.

    For years, all the car has done is sat and sat. Looking at the plate, the registration sticker shows 2013, and that was probably just to move it somewhere. Back in 2007, when I was looking for my first car, my uncle had intended to give it to me. An intention my mom may have failed to relay to me - probably for the purposes of wanting me to get something other than a Camaro for my first car.

    I ended up buying an '86 IROC-Z, so that tactic didn't quite work.

    Fast forward nine years - my uncle and I finally got around to making good on readying the car for shipment after having discussed for the past few years. The car was picked up on May 30th.

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    Four nights later (6-3-16), it was dropped off in front of my house.

    The car has the LG4 305, with a whole 165HP and 245 lb-ft of torque - but it does have the 4-speed.

    My uncle did not buy the 350 simply because it could not be had with a manual (except in Canada). It's got nearly every option other than the 350, though; AC, power windows, t-tops, etc.

    Mileage isn't really known - my uncle guesses around 120k miles. At some point, he disconnected the speedometer cable (for some reason or another), so the mileage isn't accurate.

    The car has a bunch of solid '80s or '90s sound equipment - Pyle 8" woofers and 4.5" SEAS midranges (made in Norway) in the rear deck, with a Zapco class AB amplifier mounted to the deck as well. The center console bin also houses a Zapco Pre-amp/equalizer. There are JVC ribbon tweeters in the door, and a Kenwood tape deck that hides behind a fake AM/FM radio cover.

    Other than that, it's definitely stock. The paint is pretty rough - my uncle went a bit too far with an buffer and burned through all the layers of paint, years ago.

    Can't say I don't dig the look, though. It has some minor damage on the right side, on the door and the quarter panel, and a little bit of rust on the bottom of the passenger door and under the trunk lip - and rust holes right at the front of the hood. The rest is just surface rust - from what I can tell, the car is pretty solid.

    Also - on an unrelated note - I take a lot of pictures, so, don't be surprised.

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    6-4-16

    After getting back from the car show my brother and I attended, I was only able to check the car out a bit and pull it into the garage before storms were coming in. But I did get some preliminary pictures.

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    The fleet, as of June 2016 (RIP Cavalier 3-7-17).

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    Bit of a tight squeeze compared to the other cars. It's 17.3" longer than my Cobalt.

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  2. MP81

    MP81 Veteran Member

    223
    8
    Oct 10, 2016
    Washington Township, MI
    6-5-16

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    Something making itself at home between the carb and the distributor.

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    New master cylinder - this was done just before shipping the car, along with the rear wheel cylinders.

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    Radio

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    Tweeter

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    Trunk full of shit

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    Rear package tray

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    This needs to be remounted

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    Underbody

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    6-8-16

    Pulled the trunk carpet out to vacuum it, as well as underneath. Looks plenty clean. And yes, it needs new torsion rods, hence the obligitory broom handle.

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    Pulled the air cleaner assembly off. Closer view of the nest.

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    Vacuumed all the debris underhood, in the weatherstrips, trunk jambs, door jambs.

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    Vacuumed the nest out

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    Before calling it a night, cleaned the exterior surfaces of the glass

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  3. MP81

    MP81 Veteran Member

    223
    8
    Oct 10, 2016
    Washington Township, MI
    6-11-16

    Spent the day (95 degrees and in the sun) doing a serious cleaning on the interior. Pulled the seats out (those rear seat cushions were a whore to remove and put back in) to really make sure I did as thorough of a job as I wanted. Cleaned all the interior plastic everywhere, vacuumed the seats and cleaned the vinyl as well.

    Pictures of the rear deck setup

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    Passenger seat removed. Carpet is definitely not as gross as the Cav's was (I had to freeze and scoop some…brown substance…out of that car’s carpet, with a spoon), but it's not clean either.

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    Seats in the garage

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    Rear seats back in, carpet vacuumed

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    Engine bay, air cleaner assembly removed

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    Interior back together and clean. Other than the driver's seat, and a couple other misc parts, the interior is in pretty great shape. And now it's not dirty.

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    Pictures of the car, overall.

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    Right side damage

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    Hood rust

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    Cracked front spoiler

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    6-12-16


    Washed the car, so at least it won't be dirty whenever I touch it.

    Waxed it too, well, what I could wax. It's hard to apply wax to metal lacking paint.

    It does look cleaner though (something my wife noticed, at least), so that's a plus.

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  4. MP81

    MP81 Veteran Member

    223
    8
    Oct 10, 2016
    Washington Township, MI
    6-19-16

    Replaced the driver side valve cover gasket

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    6-21-16

    Maintenance Items – Summit Racing Cap & Rotor, Taylor StreeThunder 8mm wires, AC Delco copper plugs, AC Delco ICM, AC Delco Air and Oil Filters

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    6-25-16

    Exciting – wiper blades.

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    7-9-16

    Installing wiper blades

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    Old spark plugs

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    Old plug wires

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    New plug wires

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    Distributor Cap:

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    ICM

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    Rotor

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    Air filter…old one was pretty nasty.

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    All back together

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  5. MP81

    MP81 Veteran Member

    223
    8
    Oct 10, 2016
    Washington Township, MI
    7-29-16

    New 225/70R15 BFG Radial T/As

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    Bilstein B6 Shocks

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    8-2-16

    Strategically using the 2016 Malibu LT Loaner my wife had – by cramming four tires and four wheel/tire assemblies in it – going to get the tires mounted.

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    8-6-16

    My buddy who mounted the tires had a balancer but we found out very quickly it was not working properly, so back into a car (this time, the Cav) they went, so I could take them to my other buddy’s shop so he could balance them for me.

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    Picked up my oil while I was there

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    No more blue letters

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    Next up that day was replacing the shocks.

    The fronts came out…easily…because they were not bolted in up top…somehow. The washers, bushings and nuts were installed…but all below the top of the subframe rail (no damage to the hole, either – I was at a loss)…and they came out entirely compressed.

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    Rear shocks – not as bad as the fronts, but extremely easy to compress by hand.

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  6. MP81

    MP81 Veteran Member

    223
    8
    Oct 10, 2016
    Washington Township, MI
    8-7-16

    Speedometer correction box removed

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    Trans-side of the lower speedo cable, all frayed (missing the square end – found in the correction box)

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    Rear of the trans

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    Under the car

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    Cleaned up box

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    The other end of the lower cable…

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    8-14-16

    New lower cable installed – the end of the upper cable wasn’t great, so this didn’t really end up working (also, it was routed wrong)

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    Wheels and tires back on, and the car back on the ground

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  7. MP81

    MP81 Veteran Member

    223
    8
    Oct 10, 2016
    Washington Township, MI
    9-3-16

    Trying to install that awful upper speedo cable.

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    9-19-16

    Took me almost a month, but I got the upper cable finally routed up behind the dash. That was awful.

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    The lovely mess of wires I have to deal with…

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    9-21-16

    Dash back together

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    9-24-16

    Dyno day!



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    Run #1



    Run #2




    So, I had predicted somewhere between 80 and 100 wheel horsepower, given it's a 35 year old, 120k mile Cali-emission, AC 305 that hasn't been driven regularly in 20 years or so.


    So it was much to my surprise when the dyno operator called me over after the first run:

    146.3 HP and 238.69 lb-ft of torque. The second run was similar at 147.54 HP and 231.69 lb-ft.

    The car was only rated at 165 HP and 245 lb-ft of torque - and even at a 15% drivetrain loss (and I'd expect it to be higher than that) - this old girl is putting out more power than originally rated for, 35 years ago.

    Sounded great, too!

    Driving the car to and from dyno day was a blast - it's certainly not fast, but man is it fun to drive - especially when the air intake flap opens.
     
  8. MP81

    MP81 Veteran Member

    223
    8
    Oct 10, 2016
    Washington Township, MI
    10-6-16

    New speedo corrector box (because I thought the original might be to blame)

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    New box installed, another new lower cable installed, and routed properly this time

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    10-23-16

    Went out and got some pics at a local cement factory – thought it kind of fit the look of the car.

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  9. MP81

    MP81 Veteran Member

    223
    8
    Oct 10, 2016
    Washington Township, MI
    12-1-16

    Unpacked my boxes from Black Friday

    T-top, door, trunk weatherstripping and inner/outer window felts:

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    Pypes 2.5” Stainless Dual Exhaust with X-Pipe and Street Pro mufflers

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    2-17-17

    Summit Racing 1 5/8” Long Tube Headers – will be ceramic coated

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    O2 Bungs, and a plug for the right side’s (for now)

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    2-19-17

    Low-60s in February meant I couldn’t resist taking the car out

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    3-4-17

    O2 Bungs (TIG) welded in

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  10. MP81

    MP81 Veteran Member

    223
    8
    Oct 10, 2016
    Washington Township, MI
    3-24-17

    All beautified – ceramic coated inside and out.

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    4-8-17

    My buddy brought over his scales, so I could weigh the vehicle as is (stock, aside from all the audio equipment)

    3659 lbs. 57.5/42.5% F/R distribution.

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    5-14-17

    Last drive before the exhaust came off.

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    5-28-17

    Started disassembly of the vehicle for the header/exhaust install

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    Parts mostly from the right side of the car

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    Right side AIR line's front nut had to come off with channel locks...all chewed up. Oh well. This was literally the only nut/bolt during disassembly that gave me trouble

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    Right side AIR lines, smog pump solenoids and vacuum lines, EFE & lines removed. Manifold unbolted and loose - spark plug heat shields need to be removed so I can pull it out.

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    The five downpipe/Y-Pipe to manifold bolts came out without an issue. Cut it right behind the cat so I could get that section out. Cutting the tailpipes off behind the mufflers - got the right side out before I called it a day.

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    Left side AIR lines still on, three nuts are loose, one is rounding off. A/C bracket removed.

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    Found out why the speedo stopped working this time - end wasn't snapped off at the trans like the last few times...must've fallen on the downpipe (I didn't think it was near it) and melted it.

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