74 Z28 Build - Stock appearing performer

Discussion in 'Project Progress' started by Jeep43, Jan 23, 2018.

  1. Jeep43

    Jeep43 Veteran Member

    840
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    Mar 30, 1999
    Connecticut
    2 years ago I bought this numbers match, low optioned 4 speed Z. Pretty much what I would have wanted if I could have bought it new. The car has a little body rot in the usual places, an older paint job and a weathered hood decal but was presentable as is for now. It promptly developed a noisy rod bearing and was taken off the road. The ultimate goal is a full restoration but unlike all my previous projects, instead of stripping it to a shell and doing it all at once, I decided to build it in phases, with the first being obviously the engine, and might as well redo the suspension.

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    Prior to buying this I was autocrossing a late model mustang (seen in the photo) which kindled my desire for handling. And my last vintage musclecar was a 72 Duster that ran mid 11's in stock appearing trim and polyglass tires which inspired me in making something look showroom stock but perform much better. So that being said, my goal for this car is to build a stock appearing car in the pro-touring spirit. But only in so much as bolt on's. I am steering well away from irreversable changes like welded in reinforcements etc. I want to be able to revert this back to a stock Z with just wrenches.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2018
  2. Jeep43

    Jeep43 Veteran Member

    840
    3
    Mar 30, 1999
    Connecticut
    It doesn't take much to disassemble when motivated. The original engine was put on a dolly for safekeeping and the search for a new block began.

    I rented a storage unit to house the parts I took off. 15542146_1350427471642509_5298304403044530811_n.jpg
     
  3. Jeep43

    Jeep43 Veteran Member

    840
    3
    Mar 30, 1999
    Connecticut
    Although the car has some exterior rot, the floors only had minor issues. I think this is due to a nice heavy coat of undercoating. The floor only needed a couple of small patches in the front footwells. I also found rot in the firewall where the heater box mounts. All of this stuff was taken care of without much issue.

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  4. Jeep43

    Jeep43 Veteran Member

    840
    3
    Mar 30, 1999
    Connecticut
    Speaking about undercoating, the previous owner stripped it off from the rear seat pans to the rear bumper and repainted the factory primer underneath with a home depot brown that matched quite well. So with help from my kid, we did the rest of the floor and it came out real clean..... low-odor mineral spirits, wire brushes and scotch brite did the trick.

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  5. Jeep43

    Jeep43 Veteran Member

    840
    3
    Mar 30, 1999
    Connecticut
    After spray bombing the floor I masked off the body and shot the cowl and firewall with John Deere Blitz black trying to mimic the factory paint line where the floor and firewall meet.

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    Very happy at this point.
     
  6. Jeep43

    Jeep43 Veteran Member

    840
    3
    Mar 30, 1999
    Connecticut
    The subframe was a little worse for wear. The center cross member was caved in on the bottom, like the car got high centered on a boulder at speed. I cut off the skid plate, tried to heat and pull the dent but ultimately I put the plate back on, verified measurements and used it as is. I thought about cutting the dent out, hammering the plate flat and welding it back in but worried I'd make the frame move will all the heat etc. The body mount perches needed patches too so I installed those, zipped up a couple of important seams that the factory did a shoddy job with and painted it. After having it blasted of course. A coat of black epoxy primer and then JD blitz black made it look new.

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    The frame was bolted to the body with Proforged solid mounts. I thought about wrapping the bushings with slices of a bike innertube to make them look like rubber but anodized black should be less obvious enough. LOL. No subframe connectors as I don't want to weld to the body.

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    Now I am getting somewhere!! The repop booster and brake lines are in place at this point. I mounted the control arms using Global west delalum lower control arm bushings. For the uppers, I just used the stock style moogs. I figured the largest benefit of solid bushings will be in replacing the big chunky rubber ones in the lower arms and the thin wall rubber uppers would have less benefit. A balance of performance while making things look stock....

    The front sway bar is a WS6 piece with poly bushings. I bought a lares 972 10:1 steering box from Rock auto.
     
  7. Jeep43

    Jeep43 Veteran Member

    840
    3
    Mar 30, 1999
    Connecticut
    Engine time. I originally bought an unfinished 383 build which turned out to be a mistake. The eagle splayed 4 bolt caps were line honed with brass shim under the parting lines, and the decks were cut crooked. I tried finding a shop that could fix it but it never panned out. I found a nice virgin 4 bolt 010 block reportedly out of a 70 Kingswood wagon which cleaned up nice. I took it to my regular guy who zero decked it, and torque plate honed it .030 over. I was able to reuse the older forged speed pro pistons that came with the first project motor as well as the eagle 3.75 forged crank and H beam rods. They balanced up nicely and were installed with ARP bolts and GM tray studs. The cam is a custom hyd roller from Mike Jones designed to work with a factory intake and exhaust manifolds and not sound too obnoxious. I bought Morel hyd roller lifters to work with them. I bought Milodon tin, featuring a 6qt stamped pan for a little deeper sump while still appearing stock with the appropriate pickup on a std volume HP milodon pump. A canton diamond stripper windage tray needed to be bumped a little to clear the stroke but otherwise fits fine.

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  8. Jeep43

    Jeep43 Veteran Member

    840
    3
    Mar 30, 1999
    Connecticut
    One thing I couldn't bear to do was sink a ton of money into a set of 882 heads so I went aftermarket. I settled on 200cc iron eagle platinums. (At the time I was not aware of Trick Flow's DHS head series which would allowed a more convincing look, less weight and a little more compression tolerance at the loss of a little port volume.) They started out as 72cc heads that were fly cut to get the right amount of chamber with ideal quench. I assembled them with manley valves and isky springs. A set of regular 1.5 Harland sharp rockers were used and fit under the factory covers with a thick cork gasket. The intake is an aluminum 305 intake that closely mimics the factory Iron (other than the EGR mounting) but I think I am going to keep a look out for an old EGR performer and try to disguise it as best as possible. I put a small Summit SFI balancer on the crank and an aluminum Proform water pump. Both caused pulley alignment headaches later on but I think those are sorted.

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    My plans include a TKO 600 but my budget only allowed for a ST-10 rebuild kit. Since I planned to rebuild the original engine and tranny to keep for the future anyway, I can scratch the tranny rebuild off the list. I rebuilt the Hurst Comp plus shifter which works much better than before I took it out.
     
  9. COPO

    COPO Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

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    201
    Sep 15, 1999
    Ontario, Canada
  10. Jeep43

    Jeep43 Veteran Member

    840
    3
    Mar 30, 1999
    Connecticut
    Here I got the brakes all setup. I went with PowerStop rotors and pads. The slotted/drilled are gimicky I know but I used the Z26 pads and rotors on my Mustang GT with good results and the rotors came plated which was nice. Unfortunately these came un-plated making me wish I didn't get the kit and just got some good solid rotors and Z26 pads. Oh well, the factory dust shield and the Z28 wheels should hide the techy rotors enough.

    The springs are UMI 600# springs which are supposed to drop the car 2" but since I am not trying to deviate from stock too much I bought 1/2" aluminum coil spacers which will hopefully yeild a total of 1" drop. Its a shot in the dark but I have to start somewhere.

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