Gave it some love, and it shows

Non-specific B-body discussion

Gave it some love, and it shows

Postby theholycow » Sun Oct 28, 2012 5:27 am

Two years and 40,000 miles ago I put my car back on the road after it sat rotting for years, and after putting that 5 speed manual in. I've done a number of repairs and occasional minor upgrades but mostly just driven it. The exhaust was hung entirely by lots and lots of baling wire, even after I replaced everything behind the cat (all of which had rotted to dust). The brakes pre-dated my ownership of the car and may have been original, with 32 years and 75,000 miles on them.

Over the past couple weeks I:

- Installed an Ohio Calipers loaded caliper pair and new hoses.

- Installed all new hardware, wheel cylinders, and shoes.

- Bent, flared, and installed a brake line to replace the right rear line that was leaking.

- Salvaged and rehabilitated the left front brake line whose flare nut was seized to the line...I had to twist off the hose a little at a time, then the other end at the combination valve came off cooperatively (but it's tough to work in that space), then I sanded off the corrosion and added anti-seize.

- Installed OEM exhaust hangers (except one near the cat where that was no longer practical so I used a parts store universal hanger that was a great fit). They had to be relocated or modified because my exhaust isn't positioned exactly like OEM but that worked out surprisingly well.

- Installed new sway bar end links. The old ones were severely rotted.

- Installed new alternator and power steering belts.

- Took it to the shop to get that leaky exhaust manifold fixed and a tire mounted. I cannot believe how quiet this car is. It is more quiet than any late model luxury car. I may have to give it a glasspack or something just so I can hear it...I'm going to try to get used to it though, I like the concept of not turning heads.

Quiet, smooth, and good brake, this feels like a new car!

A few questions:

1. How does one measure and adjust belt tension? I suspect that it's just something that people learn from experience...well guess who doesn't do this often!

2. How do you replace the rear brake hose? The flare nut is almost inaccessible, between a frame member and the floor pan. I suppose I might be able to get in there with a flare crow's foot and maybe turn it a few degrees at a time, but it seems like it would take hours. I was thinking of cutting it off, re-flaring it, and making/adapting a bracket to mount it in a more accessible location just two inches lower. (Hmm...I wonder if I could cut the hose fitting off without cutting the flare, enough to push it back through the frame hole.)

3. Could turbulence and reduced EGV at the exhaust manifold leak cause a significant power loss? It had to have been my imagination but the car felt 50% more powerful yesterday when I drove it home from getting that fixed.

4. Any thoughts on the practicality of relocating the bumpers closer to the body? The gap fillers disintegrated long ago and I've just never gotten around to making new ones (nor could I make them decently). I found a couple for sale online once but they were hundreds of dollars.
1980 Buick LeSabre Limited 4.1 V6 T5 5 speed manual, 38,000 miles, family heirloom. (Up to 78,000 miles now, can't believe my work is holding up!)
User avatar
Shadetree Mechanic
Posts: 378
Joined: Sat Mar 27, 2010 12:42 pm
Location: Fawsta-Glawsta, RI

Postby rabidmadman » Sun Oct 28, 2012 9:30 am

Nice update. I recently just replaced my springs and shocks at 236,000 miles. The springs were original and still ok, but I've read about coils breaking at the 300,000 mile mark so I figured I'd do both springs and shocks. I went with MOOG HD springs and Bilstein shocks.

As for the bumper, you can do it by compressing the bumper shocks somehow or removing them all together. I'd prefer to have my bumper shocks though in the event that I do something stupid.

Regarding the power, I've felt the same thing. I drove for a long time with no exhaust before the cat. The car definitely felt a bit quicker, but it could also be due to the sound. Also, how did you get your manifold fixed? I have a leak from my drivers side, but it's very soft. What was wrong with your manifold? I really would prefer to get it fixed, but I can't find the source of the leak..and I'd rather save up for headers than replace with an oem style manifold.
1989 9c1 Chevrolet Caprice || L05 || 159,200 mi

Pseudo Retired:
1990 9c1 Chevrolet Caprice || L05 || 292,585 mi

1988 Chevy Caprice Classic || LG4 || Sold 9/25/2010 with 135, 558 mi

Shadetree Mechanic
Posts: 332
Joined: Sun Mar 15, 2009 6:54 pm
Location: East Brunswick/Slayerville, NJ

Postby theholycow » Sun Oct 28, 2012 10:28 am

I saw a closeout pair of Monroe HD shocks on Rockauto and thought I didn't have the money...turned out my mortgage payment wasn't due until my next paycheck so I could have bought them. By the time I figured that out somebody else had bought them. That's a bummer, I think they'd be exactly what I want.

I too want to keep those bumper shocks, I was thinking of cutting off a couple inches of frame and remounting the bumper shocks. In the rear I could get pretty close while still having enough travel available for the bumper. I haven't looked at the front for it yet.

I let the shop take care of my manifold. They allowed the studs to break then drilled a pilot/stress-relief hole in the center of the stud and used an EZ-out, all using a right-angle drill. I suspect they also used an oxy-acetelyne torch to heat them red-hot. The manifold didn't have to get machined, just replacing the gasket did the job. I thought I remember reading somewhere that it doesn't originally come with a gasket, so maybe that's "adding" rather than "replacing".

I wish I could afford headers. I could probably save up and buy the headers themselves (Grand National 3.8Turbo headers ought to work perfectly for my 4.1) but I'd need basically a whole custom exhaust system. I don't know how they'd fit my LeSabre even though I'm confident that they'd fit my engine. More worrying, I don't know if the drivers side header would clear my clutch slave bracket. I could conceivably switch to a concentric slave cylinder.

Another advantage of that plan would be the elimination of the exhaust junction box under the hood. I don't know if you have one but I sure do. Instead of a Y-pipe merging the output of the two manifolds under the car, a pipe curls under the engine from the drivers side to the passenger side then makes a sharp 180° in a junction box. I imagine that it is bad for flow.

Anyway, as you can see it all turns into an expensive job...
1980 Buick LeSabre Limited 4.1 V6 T5 5 speed manual, 38,000 miles, family heirloom. (Up to 78,000 miles now, can't believe my work is holding up!)
User avatar
Shadetree Mechanic
Posts: 378
Joined: Sat Mar 27, 2010 12:42 pm
Location: Fawsta-Glawsta, RI

Return to General B-Body discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest