Z-Life's 79 Z28 Project Thread

Discussion in 'Project Progress' started by Z-Life, Oct 11, 2016.

  1. Z-Life

    Z-Life New Member

    16
    1
    Oct 3, 2016
    Florida
    So I thought I'd get started on this web site, I'm thinking its a good place to document my build, learn a few things, and share a few things. Just brought home my latest project a 79 Z28 that was already a project in progress. The guy I got it from has spent a lot of money on it up until his wife left him, thus he had to sell. I'll post more about the car and its status, now I'm gonna talk about how proud I am to have the history I do with Camaros.

    My very first car at age 16 was a 70 Camaro base model, 307 3 speed, the car had 65k miles on it when purchased for 1500, the only reason mom and dad let me have it was because it had a 2 barrel carb. What a dog, not long after I got it I put on headers, air shocks, keystone rims, oh and an 8 track stereo. This is it in the photo below, notice the CB radio antenna, that CB saved my butt one night.

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    I remember one of the first signs it was a POS was when the car was puffing white smoke when you let off it, another month later it would smoke when you got on it and wont even turn the tires over. So I saved up and bought a 327 from a machine shop that was in to drag racing. The whole motor installed was 700.00, that was in 1978. What a huge improvement, but still it needed an intake and 4 barrel, would barely go over 80 MPH at 4000 RPM, it also needed a 4 speed, or auto. The doors were about to fall off the hinges were so bad, I drove it until 1982 when I got my second car a 79 Z28.

    Owned that car for 32 years until it was stolen in 2014, a bad deal it really caused me grief to loose that car. This is it in the photo below, you dont see many brown ones, it was bad ass.

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    Also had a 79 Silverado lowrider shortbed 406ci/4speed, you can see parts of it in the photo below..used to go take it to cars shows, the truck won over 75 trophies. It won its class at the All truck Round Up.

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    I used to take the Z28 to sound off competitions, it had 16 speakers and 700 watts, seen below are 2 - 8 inch woofers between the back seat which I split. check out the rear deck in the 2nd photo below those are 12 inch woofers. I was an electronics technician back then, this kind of stuff was my domain in the 80's.
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    When I took the back seat out I found the build sheet, man I was so proud of this car for all those years it was a great car. I parked it when it had 175,000 miles on it, one of the exhaust valves had started sticking the tranny was slipping anf the suspension needed parts, again door hinges going bad. I out it in storage when I moved to florida and it was stolen before I could get it shipped down here.
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    So its been eating at me for years, never getting that car back together, then loosing it the way I did, really pissed me off. I call the DMV every year or so to make sure its not showing up registered. I also have a reasonable clue as to who stole it but cant prove it and the cops only ask people questions they dont investigate.

    I gave up the search and broke down and went shopping my budget was 6 grand, I found this one on CL. Went and looked, talked the guy down to a reasonable amount, leaving me with half my initial budget. Brought it home, its got some potential, but it also has some problems from a well meaning, heart in the right place but cant do bodywork, guy I bought it from.

    Here is a pic of it on the trailer before I pulled away from his house.
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    I'll post some more photos of both the good and bad on my next post, if it all pans out I got a pretty good deal.
     
  2. 80sz

    80sz Veteran Member

    2,155
    144
    Feb 2, 2014
    Buffalo,n.y.
  3. brooksman9

    brooksman9 Veteran Member

    5,827
    63
    Jun 10, 2007
    Olive Branch, MS
    Sweet. Love the 70. Look forward to your progress.
     
  4. Z-Life

    Z-Life New Member

    16
    1
    Oct 3, 2016
    Florida
    The Good, The Bad and The Ugly ...

    GOOD: Its not all rusted out! It has new front floor pans, new fenders, new rear qtr drivers side, a new trunk floor, new gas tank, new leaf springs and bushings, a new holley fuel pump, filter and regulator, new u-joints, new shocks, a new TH350 from Summit Racing, hi torque starter, a newly rebuilt 350 .030 over, steel forged, 4 bolt, MSD pro-billt dist, edelbrock heads with 2.02, 1.60 stainless 6 angle ground valves and aluminum roller rockers, air gap intake.. motor was built for a pro charger, the compression ratio is around 9.5:1 and the combustion chambers are 86cc. I have a polished GMC 6-71 to put on the car when Im ready for it. Chrome 100 amp single wire alternator, aluminum waterpump, and a chrome PS pump with remote resivoir. Its got all new bushings and ball joints up front, including all 6 sub frame bushings. Its got a new core support in it and a new battery tray, and new inner fender wells. The Firewall is pretty clean, so Im going to strip it and hide all the wires I can. A smooth firewall and clean engine compartment just looks awesome.

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    Thats a new Quick Fuel 750 HR, its cast aluminum instead of billet, Im gonna run this setup to test the motor out and get it running so I can move it around and get some of the body work done. Its going to stick through the hood, but so will the blower... I bought a harwood hood scoop but Im not sure Im going to like it we will see.

    More good is the new interiro pieces, new door panels, new console, new dash cover, slightly used racing seats with 4 point harness, a B&M mega shifter, and a bunch of sound proofing mat. Its a power windows car and it was built in California plant.
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    The car is showing 62,000 miles however it has rolled over once, I am the 3rd owner.

    All in all I am pretty happy just bummed by the quality of some of the work that was put in to the car.

    The Bad and The Ugly
    Hood, fenders, and nose do not line up, everything is out of whack. I cut a 14" diameter hole in the center of the hood and there is about an inch of space more on the driver side than pass side. So when I get under the car and look up at the middle sub frame support the alignments holes are off on the passenger side, driver side looks spot on. No doubt I need to align the sub frame with the body, but Im going to have to take off the hood and, fenders, also need to loosen the tranny mounts, not just the center bolt but the 2 that go into the tranny they are the ones that have the oval openngs in the mount and can move. I had suspected this when I bought it so not big surprise there. Next on the list is the ugly...

    The bottom half of the dash is is gone on pass side, and the steering column, ignition are loose and very worn. Heater and A/C controls are gone, so is the AC system but I would not use it anyway. This will have an aftermarket AC system, in Florida its a must to have AC in the car. Its not too expensive and will increase the value. They mount inside the car so nothing on the firewall but 2 AC lines going in. Line to the oil gauge must have came off becasue there is oil stains big time on driver side carpet, its ruined. Shifter was kind of jimmied up but Ive tightened and straightened on it enough to get it working pretty good/

    There are a couple of ugly things, for one the pass side floor panel is not installed properly, drv side looks prettty good. The LH rear quarter has been replaced and Im afraid its not aligned properly there is a larger gaps at the top of the door on that side, and the trunk lines are off slightly., tail lights on that side are hard to put in because underneath the peeling red paint I found a nice dent that was filled in with about an inch of bondo, shame on you....the metal wasnt even sanded down I peeled it right off. I cant wait to pull that out and see where Im at with it, I may have to cut the quarter loose to get it looking right, it must be right or I wont have it.
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    There is signs of more bondo along the top edge body line of this quarter, so I expect a seam in there, its probably adhered with bondo I dont think he could weld. Most all of the tail light lenses are busted out, brittle, sun baked and cracked the plastic breaks like a potato chip. I dont like the plastic tail lights anyway and plan to make a smooth looking rear end that probably looks more like a 70, but Im thinking round corvette tail lights like in 2013 models. those would be recessed and a smoked lense over that the lense would stretch all way across the rear end. Like the GTS lense covers out there, but with round lights like a 70.

    Lets see what else, the rear end front yoke seal is leaking keeping the rear end housing all lubricarted so the dirt and grime will stick to it and form sludge like in the bottom of an oil tanker. I cant really bitch its in better shape than the one that was stolen and the motor is worth more than I paid for the whole deal. Once I get the sub frame lined up with the body and get it driving I'll feel really good about it.

    Below I have the water pump, headers and alternator on, and have mocked up the carb, breather and radiator hoses. I had to replaced the master cylinder, motor mount bolts and tranny mount too. Check out all that crappy wiring, that is gonna go, you wont see many wires at all on this car when Im dont with it. The coil is gonna go left of the tranny dip stick on the firewall.
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  5. CamaroGP

    CamaroGP Veteran Member Gold Member

    691
    82
    Nov 10, 2012
    Summerfield, Florida
    Looks like you have a good start. I can't wait to see how it turns out.
    Sorry to hear some lowlife POS coward got your other ride.

    BTW, welcome to the Nasty
     
  6. Z-Life

    Z-Life New Member

    16
    1
    Oct 3, 2016
    Florida
    Exhaust

    Some days the car wins, some days I win.

    This weekend was a good time to get the exhaust installed, the clipster headers go on nice and easy compared to long tube, which I ran on 2 other camaros, I also had problems with the long tube header hitting on big speed bumps, and any road or gravel drive that had a high center surely I cant be the first guy to drag long tube headers and get them all dented up. So I went with the clipsters, no problem for a mufller shop to put on an exhaust but the car isnt running and im not trailering it up there, Ive never done an exhaust but it cant be that hard.

    Wanting 3" all the way back I bought a precut pre bent kit and 2 - 3" in 3" out Oval Thrush short Turbo mufflers.

    Making the downpipes from the clipsters to the bottom of the car was the hardest part, I had 2 pre bent pieces that were vent at 30 deggrees, not nearly enough to make the turn under the firewall, but its a start. I took them up to muffler shop and based on my measurements had them bent to 45 degrees, guy says thats all we can go before messing up the 3" ID where the reducers fit in. So I get them put on and its really close but not quite high enough, I only want half the pipe to be below the subframe. In the pictuer below they are installed but need to be higher.
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    So I cut a small slot just after the bend to allow another slight bend to increase the angle upwards, I also had to shorten the drivers side at the collector. The miter saw with a 10" metal cutting wheel works great.

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    A finished down pipe with more bend and the slot welded up.

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    Here they are back on the car, they fit like I want them too now.
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    Now the fun part, getting the mufflers up in there and everything aligned before welding them up. This is why muffler shops have car lifts, Im doing this on the ground got the car up about 2 feet off the ground laying on my back. Hard to find a good angle to weld at and hard to hold the tip steady some.

    Here Im using the floor jack and the cordless impact to hold stuff up, hey we gotta do what we gotta do.Notice a piece of 3" pipe inside the joint between the muffler and down pipe, gives a little wiggle room to angle the mufflers inward and lots of steel to weld to, I wont be blowing any holes in it. I also turned the oval thrush mufflers up a little on the inside, it raised the exit pipe and exposes less of the width of the muffler to road hazards.

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    Got them both welded up, sorry about the water droplets, I rinsed off the concrete before taking the photo.
    For now they exit under car before the rear end and point outward, it should sound good.

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    I think it came out fine they sit high enough and Im excited about 3" pipe, by the end of the day I was exhausted. I think the Pro Mig was a good investment and just about paid for itself, this would have cost an easy 500 bucks at the muffler shop. I need to add some hangers and maybe some tips or something custom, maybe fab up some nascar looking tips and exit it in front of rear tire...not sure yet, I really dont want it piped out the back over the rear end, so until I get a ticket for illegal exhaust its gonna be like this. Should be fine if I dont get on it at the wrong time or place. Moderation.

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  7. hot72rod

    hot72rod Veteran Member Gold Member

    There is a good chance of getting exhaust fumes in the car.
     
  8. Z-Life

    Z-Life New Member

    16
    1
    Oct 3, 2016
    Florida
    Absolutely, I agree, although I've ran Camaros with mufflers bolted to the headers, the carbon monoxide will infiltrate when your not moving, that is why I mentioned fabbing up some tips. Thanks for the reply.
     
    hot72rod likes this.
  9. FatnLow

    FatnLow Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

    1,951
    1
    Mar 12, 2003
    Montgomery, AL US
    Welcome. It looks like you are handy with a welder. I'll be watching progress!
     
  10. Z-Life

    Z-Life New Member

    16
    1
    Oct 3, 2016
    Florida
    The motor
    Got the new engine fired up on Halloween, it is bad ass, I am real happy with it. Had a problem getting the MSD to fire when powering the small red wire through ignition switch, so its going to get a rocker switch. The heads have these omega 1.6 ratio roller rockers and they make a very loud knock when out of adjustment. Ive found 3 loose so far but its getting smoothed out and quieter now.

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    Havent been able to find the Omega rockers anywhere online it seems like they are old and no longer made. It might be that the previous guy ran these in the previous motor and just revalved and springed the heads. Here is a picture of a pushrod I took one out to make sure they are new.


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    Pretty happy with the motor it is as described by the seller and should easily produce 400hp as it sits, he said 500 but I think that is a high estimate, my thought is the intake and 750 carb is only good up to 7000 rpm. I set the rev limiter at 6500, until I hit that it will stay there I plan to baby it for a while during break in. I put valvoline synthetic 10-40 in it with a half quart of lucas for the breakin oil I plan to run 50 weight next time. Took the plugs out and cranked it over until I had oil pressure, put the plugs back in and hooked up the MSD box and it started on the first crank. Wife says its rattling stuff on the window sill inside the house, it sounds like a symphony to me.
     

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