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PostPosted: Mon Dec 13, 2021 4:18 pm 
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It’s been slow going on the 57 Chevy. Fortunately I’m not in a hurry, but I did make some progress recently. The brakes don’t work so I’ve been thinking I should be able to stop it before I make it go. To that end I grabbed a couple neighbors and pushed it up onto the 4-post lift. With a little help it wasn’t too bad a task, certainly couldn’t have done it myself. My wife wouldn’t get in and steer after the last episode with the brakes, so I had my 16 year old granddaughter steer it in. She got it pretty well centered.
Image

That’s where it’s been sitting for the past couple months. But it’s up out of the way and not taking up a lot of floor space.
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I was feeling froggy a week or so ago and decided to take a look at the brakes. I’ve got a new master cylinder and 4 new wheel cylinders and figured I’d crack the drums open and see what shape they’re in. I started with the left front because it was easiest to access. Once I got the drum/hub assembly off, it took me a second or two but I realized one of the problems with my brakes. At first I saw that one of the pucks was popped out of the wheel cylinder. Ignoring the 30 years or so of cobwebs, can you see the other problem?
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If you’re unfamiliar with drum brakes, compare to what I found on the right side.
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Yep, there’s no brake hardware on the left side! LOL! Cracked me up when I finally realized it was all missing. Didn’t see that coming! Fortunately all that stuff is available from repro vendors. My thought for fixing the brakes was mostly so as I moved it around, whoever was steering could stop it. This put a wrench in my quick-fix plans. I’m going to eventually convert to disc brakes, in the front at least, so I thought maybe I should bite the bullet and do that now. I did some research and found what I think is the conversion kit I want and was about to pull the trigger. Then I realized the temporary wheels on the car are 14” and the disc kit will require 15” disc brake wheels. I’m going to go to 15” anyway, but I’m not ready to buy rims & tires just yet so I’ve elected to restore the drums for the time being.

My plan at this point is to get the car drivable, mainly so I can move it around by myself. Therefore I was thinking I’d just rebuild the 283 that came in the car. It’s been sitting quite a while without a carb, so I’m pretty sure even those guys from Road Kill wouldn’t attempt to start it. It came with a 2bbl intake manifold and I’d like to put a 4bbl on it so I’ve been looking around for a manifold. I wound up finding a stock 57 4bbl intake with a 283 Power Pack engine attached to it. “Power Pack” prolly won’t mean much to many of you, but it was a performance option for the early Chevys. Anyway, I picked it up for $80 and it was about 4 miles from my house. This engine also needs a rebuild, but it has the Power Pack heads with 58cc combustion chambers, 4bbl intake, and forged crank. Since this is the livelier engine of the two, and it’s a 1957 block, I’ll just rebuild this one and stick it in the car. I’ll decide later what I want to end up with, but for now this should get it around the block.
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I know, it doesn’t look like much, but the heads alone are worth $200 all day long. I can roll it over by hand, which I can’t do with the engine that’s in the car – so that’s a good thing. I'll break it open soon and check out the cylinders. If there’s no ring groove maybe I can get away with a hone and some rings. We’ll see.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 13, 2021 10:42 pm 
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LOL at the missing brake hardware. I wonder how long it's been like that. And what a steal on that engine.

Cool to see progress on this.

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95 SLE... a keeper. 241k miles. Low and Slow.
97 BMW 528i
98 Infiniti vq35'd i30: 13.3@104mph, 30MPG Hwy (RIP)
02 Jag X-type
03 BMW M5
05 Chevy Cobalt LS
07 Infiniti G35s 6MT (Sold)
07 Ducati Monster S2R 800 with DS1000 swap
83 Yamaha IT175K
72 Yamaha DS7: '74 RD250 swap, JL chambers

Info on dropping a 92-99: Here.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 14, 2021 10:58 am 
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95naSTA wrote:
LOL at the missing brake hardware. I wonder how long it's been like that. And what a steal on that engine.

Yeah, that was my thought as well. Obviously for a while, the brake drum has a good coat of rust on it. I wonder if that's the reason it was parked for the last time way back when. Maybe it was taken to a shop for brake issues and the shop began work on it and the owner decided it wasn't worth fixing. So the shop just threw the wheel back on and pushed it out. I dunno. I'll have to look on the title to see when it was last registered, I think it was in the early 80s. I can't read the registration sticker on the old license plate. Regardless, it's been sitting for a long time.

I've been jonesing to see what the "new" engine looks like inside, especially since I could turn it over by hand with the spark plugs out. So I decided to pull the heads off last night. There was some sludge in the lifter valley, but not what I would call excessive. The chunks of crap in there are from when I pulled the intake and head off - gasket material and such. Look at those pistons! They're perfect. For a 64 year old engine, it's mint. I was able to easily scrape and wipe the garbage off the top of #1 piston, that's not a bunch of hard carbon on there. The liquid in #5 & #7 is WD40 I squired in there in case water got in when I took it to the car wash. There is a little bit of a ring ridge at the top of the cylinders, but I've seen worse. I didn't pull the right side yet because I want to get my granddaughter involved since she has an interest in cars. I'm anticipating the other side to be similar. I'm beginning to think I could have pulled off a RoadKill episode with this one...slap a carb & distributor on it and start it up! LOL!

I forgot to take a picture of the head, but the valves are a mirror of the pistons. They look almost new for this old engine. No burning, no carbon build up, almost pristine. "Steal" is beginning to look like an understatement! :)

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 14, 2021 10:21 pm 
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That's awesome. Check out Vice Grip Garage on youtube if you haven't already. That dude gets abandoned field cars running drives them hundreds of miles home.

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95 SLE... a keeper. 241k miles. Low and Slow.
97 BMW 528i
98 Infiniti vq35'd i30: 13.3@104mph, 30MPG Hwy (RIP)
02 Jag X-type
03 BMW M5
05 Chevy Cobalt LS
07 Infiniti G35s 6MT (Sold)
07 Ducati Monster S2R 800 with DS1000 swap
83 Yamaha IT175K
72 Yamaha DS7: '74 RD250 swap, JL chambers

Info on dropping a 92-99: Here.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 15, 2021 12:01 pm 
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I'll have to check out Vice Grip Garage, sounds fun.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2022 3:22 pm 
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Previously I mentioned pulling the front brake drums off. Here's a little more to the story. Might help you kill off 10-15 minutes before quitting time. :)

Brake Job

I decided it was time to get brakes working on the 57. I wasn’t looking to get it street worthy, just to the point I could safely stop it when pushing it in and out of the garage. To that end I figured it needed a new master cylinder and all 4 wheel cylinders at a minimum. I got it up on the lift and eyeballed all the steel lines and they appeared to be in good shape. The flex lines are cracked on the outside and probably should be replaced but, again, it’s not going out on the road like this – it’s just a kluge for pushing it around the place. So if a hose breaks, it’s just going to make a mess on my driveway. Keep this in mind as you witness the rest of the sketchy stuff we do on this job.

Also, I plan on upgrading to disc brakes (on the front at least, if not 4-wheel). You might be thinking, then, why not just pull the trigger and do the front disc upgrade? I considered that. To make that upgrade I’d have to also get 15” disc brake wheels (the 57 has 14” wheels) and tires in order to move the car around. I’m not ready to pop for a set of wheels & tires yet because I could change my mind on what I want. Yeah, I could have gone through the trouble of finding something that would work temporarily, but I decided to just make these brakes work instead.

So we pulled the drum from the right front to have a look. Yeah, it’s been a while since anyone’s been in there. Plenty of spider webs and egg sacs. Other than that kind of crap, it wasn’t too bad in there. Drum was acceptable, enough shoe material for pushing around the yard, wheel bearings weren’t too bad (again, for moving under human power).
Image

My granddaughter likes the car so I figured she could learn some stuff and have a stake in the project. She’s game, so why not? I had her pull the brakes apart so we could get to the wheel cylinder and replace it. It took her a few tries to figure out how to use the spring puller, but she got it.
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After we got the wheel cylinder on the RF, we took the LF drum off. And this is what we saw. They’s a few parts missing there. I got a little chuckle when Brinnlee looked inside the drum to see if the parts were in there. :) This set us aback. Also meant I needed springs, shoes, retainers, adjuster, in addition to the wheel cylinder. Doh! Fortunately there are sources for all that stuff and we got all the new parts in a couple days.
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If you’re wondering if I replaced that nasty brake drum…nope. Went over it with a sanding drum to clean it up and reused it. It won’t ever see the street and it does what I need for now.

In another thread we mentioned getting a set of line wrenches. Here’s the Harbor Freight line wrench in action. I think the set was around $10 and it performed flawlessly. If I was doing this for a living I might have sprung for a more expensive set, but these guys work fine. Yes, this is the back wheel, not the front, but we used them on all 4 wheels.
Image


Back on the right side she’s got the new shoes, retainers, wheel cylinder on and just finished installing the springs using the sweet Harbor Freight spring tool. Need to install the adjuster and the adjuster spring and we’re in action.
Image

Once we got the new parts on the front brakes and new cylinders on the rear, I was ready to bleed the system (I’d already installed the new master cylinder, but took none pictures). Brinn had to go to work so I had to figure out how to do it myself. I have a vacuum pump that I’ve used to bleed motorcycle brakes, so I thought I’d give that a try. I also decided to have a look at the user manual that came with the thing, for the first time ever. There were instructions on bleeding car brakes! Cool. I also discovered there’s a bleed adapter (that black thing on the end of the hose) in the kit. What!? I’ve had this kit for years and never knew that adapter existed. And it worked like a champ. Unlike manual bleeding, you start at the wheel closest to the MC, and work to the farthest one. I had to pull fluid into that canister until it was about 1/3 of the way full before all the air got out of the wheel cylinder and line. Same for every wheel.
Image

Now that the brakes work (surprisingly well), we can push the car in and out of the garage or wherever and not worry about how I’m gonna stop that mass once it gets rolling.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2022 3:36 pm 
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Ach! One more thing...I found out that the engine that's in the car is not the original engine. It appears to be a 265ci out of a 56 Chevy. I'm speculating that at some point someone smoked the original engine (had a 283 according to VIN Tag) and stuffed the 56 engine in there. No idea when that may have happened, but I suspect decades ago when tri-5s were all over the junk yards. So that's definitely coming out and being replaced with the 57 283 Power Pack I procured. That 283 PP is turning out to be a bigger score than I thought!

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2022 8:52 am 
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That's awesome your granddaughter is into it. You guys are definitely making memories. Just imagine when she's in her 50s and how crazy it would have been to work on a car that's over 100 years old by then.

I think I've tried that bad bleeder before without success but it would have been on an ABS car. I usually get my wife to help with brake or clutch bleeds at home. She would rather be doing something else but doesn't complain.

Lol @ the continued wifi brake parts saga. Getting that done has to make it easier to work on. Bummer on the engine but luckily it doesn't really matter.

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95 SLE... a keeper. 241k miles. Low and Slow.
97 BMW 528i
98 Infiniti vq35'd i30: 13.3@104mph, 30MPG Hwy (RIP)
02 Jag X-type
03 BMW M5
05 Chevy Cobalt LS
07 Infiniti G35s 6MT (Sold)
07 Ducati Monster S2R 800 with DS1000 swap
83 Yamaha IT175K
72 Yamaha DS7: '74 RD250 swap, JL chambers

Info on dropping a 92-99: Here.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2022 10:53 am 
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Yeah, I think there may by issues using the vacuum bleeder with ABS. I've not tried it on anything with ABS yet.

While not having the original engine in the 57 was an interesting discovery, I understand there is no such thing as "numbers matching" for those cars. The 283 I have is a 1957 engine and the only way anyone would ever know that's not the original block would be if the MFG date was later than the body MFG date. (I'll have to check that). So I'll still be period correct. But I'm not shooting for a full restoration, I'm going for a resto-mod. Thinking along the lines of what some high school kid would have done in the late 60's or early 70's, back when a 57 Bel Air was a cheap car. They wouldn't have had the cash to drop a built 427 or something like that into it - they'd have just used bolt-on performance parts to spruce up whatever engine was in it. That's my thinking for the moment anyway. Tomorrow I might wanna drop that 427 in there, or a 350 Ramjet. Or maybe go electric? I don't know. :) Heck, I'm still debating on whether to change it to a manual transmission or update to a later model automatic. Prolly won't keep the powerglide in there for long.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2022 2:34 pm 
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The thing is with this, you could go any of those routes and it'll be cool. The hard part is making it cool for you. That's a nice problem to have.

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95 SLE... a keeper. 241k miles. Low and Slow.
97 BMW 528i
98 Infiniti vq35'd i30: 13.3@104mph, 30MPG Hwy (RIP)
02 Jag X-type
03 BMW M5
05 Chevy Cobalt LS
07 Infiniti G35s 6MT (Sold)
07 Ducati Monster S2R 800 with DS1000 swap
83 Yamaha IT175K
72 Yamaha DS7: '74 RD250 swap, JL chambers

Info on dropping a 92-99: Here.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 11, 2022 10:43 am 
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Indeed! And the options are unbounded, limited only by imagination and budget.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2022 3:25 pm 
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I picked up this gem a week or so ago.

Image

It’s a 1982 C20. I got it for the 700R4 transmission (has overdrive) that will replace the 2-speed cast iron PowerGlide that’s in the ’57. Yeah, I know the early 700R4s are less desirable than the ‘87+, but for the price I’ll take my chances – and these transmissions are getting harder to find and more expensive. What makes this a nice score is that I got the entire craft. So that means I can use the flex plate, starter, driveshaft yoke, torque converter, TCC lockout switch, etc. Everything else I could find was just the transmission alone, and generally $600+. Once I pirate everything I need, I should be able to sell the truck for what I paid for it easily. The old square body GMs are fairly sought after and this one has decent front fenders, doors, grille, and more. The bed is well beat but not rusty – this was a farm truck. I have no idea why I thought of doing this, but on a whim I drained the oil out of the small block 350 and stuck a borescope through the drain hole. Turns out it’s a 4-bolt main 350. I anticipate being able to sell that for at least what I paid for the truck. So if all goes as planned I should be able to upgrade the transmission on the ’57 and make a few bucks doing it.
:bwoohoo:
Allegedly it ran when it was last parked, but I wouldn't know because someone nicked the carb and distributor. :ripped: LOL!

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2022 10:04 pm 
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Nice come up on the parts truck. Seems like you'll get a lot out of it.

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95 SLE... a keeper. 241k miles. Low and Slow.
97 BMW 528i
98 Infiniti vq35'd i30: 13.3@104mph, 30MPG Hwy (RIP)
02 Jag X-type
03 BMW M5
05 Chevy Cobalt LS
07 Infiniti G35s 6MT (Sold)
07 Ducati Monster S2R 800 with DS1000 swap
83 Yamaha IT175K
72 Yamaha DS7: '74 RD250 swap, JL chambers

Info on dropping a 92-99: Here.


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PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2022 6:30 pm 
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My driveway has about a 10 degree slope to it and I need to be able to get dead cars into my garage and on the lift (without enlisting the help of a bunch of neighbors to push...my wife could do it, but she hates showing off) so I bought a winch. I needed an anchor point for the winch so I decided to use the lift as that anchor. I want to be able to easily install and remove the winch so I made this bracket by fabricating a mounting plate and welding it to a chunk of 2”x3” angle:

Image

It slides into the slot on the lift that the ramps hook into:

Image

Sits in there real nice and solid. I think it’ll work like a champ.

Image

Gonna try it Thursday night to get my transmission donor on the lift to get the engine & trans out over the weekend.

Image

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PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2022 8:27 pm 
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Nice. Sounds like a busy weekend.

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95 SLE... a keeper. 241k miles. Low and Slow.
97 BMW 528i
98 Infiniti vq35'd i30: 13.3@104mph, 30MPG Hwy (RIP)
02 Jag X-type
03 BMW M5
05 Chevy Cobalt LS
07 Infiniti G35s 6MT (Sold)
07 Ducati Monster S2R 800 with DS1000 swap
83 Yamaha IT175K
72 Yamaha DS7: '74 RD250 swap, JL chambers

Info on dropping a 92-99: Here.


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