Other Handy Tips

PRIMING CARBURETORS

When replacing the carburetors after repair or rebuild, you always have to crank the engine for a minute or two or pour some dangerously explosive fluid down the venturis to get the engine to run. An easy way to get those carburetor bowls filled with gas is to loosen the fuel pump bolt and back it out so the the pump move freely up and down. Then you simply push the pump up and down until the bowls are full. You can hear the fuel flowing as the bowls are filling and that sound changes when they're full. Be sure to retighten the fuel pump attaching bolt and accompanying jamb nut before starting the engine.  Van Pershing

FREE RESTORATION KIT FROM GM        submitted by Mark McKenna

UPDATE (9/13):

The "Restoration kits" explained below are no longer available from GM and have been replaced by an on line "Vehicle Information Kit" available at the GM Hertiage Center website. Go to http://www.gmheritagecenter.com/gm-heritage-archive/vehicle-information-kits.html and select the vehicle and year. Click on the year, agree to the terms, and the kit will be downloaded to your computer in a pdf format. It's the same information they used to send out in the mail - see details below.

 

1) Go to www.chevrolet.com and you get a response within a couple of hours. Here is the response: A Restoration Package has been forwarded to your mailing address. Please use the Regular Production Options (RPO) Code Book in conjunction with your vehicle's Service Parts Identification (SPID) Label to determine your vehicle's factory options. Also, the Restoration Package may provide you with further information regarding vehicle history and option availability. This information should reach you in 3-4 weeks. If this information has not reached you in that time, please contact us again.

What's in a Restoration Kit:

The restoration packets are an important and popular free service provided by Chevrolet for those customers seeking general information about their vehicle and for restoration purposes. Information included in the packets includes for most models and years:

Vehicle highlights

Color Codes

Wheel/tire specs

Complete specs on engine, transmission, suspension and other vehicle systems

Standard equipment lists

Options

Trim packages

Brake information

Suspension

Vehicle features

Exterior/interior dimensions

Engine options

2) Your received a couple of big photocopied booklets from GM. The first one ("GENERAL") is really cool, it covers color combinations, etc. The second book isn't quite so cool. It's a list of GM parts vendors and Corvair repair shops and clubs and is a bit out of date.

Go to www.chevrolet.com, Select "Other question or comment" from form. On next page, put in your info and in the comments area request the Hobby Pack; you need to include, your year, make, model and vin.

Update: (11/28/12): Attemped to obtain a Restoration Package. Could not find the link to do so on the Chevrolet website. Contacted Chevrolet and the tech support person was unable to find any information about the Packages. It looks like they are no longer available.....

VINTAGE LICENSE PLATES                               Van Pershing

Can you use old vintage license plates on your car in Arizona? When I asked the question to the Department of Motor Vehicles this is the response I got:

Year of manufacture license plates may be displayed on vehicles. They do require approval for use. If you provide the plate number of the year of manufacture license plate and the current plate number of the vehicle on which you wish to display the plate, we can verify by email if the number can be used. However, condition of the plate, etc. is determined at the time you visit an MVD office to transfer the license plate to the vehicle. Thank you.

So, if you've got a Arizona license plate from 1964, for example, you can, if you go through the proper procedure, put said plate on a 1964 or 1965 vehicle (Arizona used the same plate for '64 and '65).

PERTRONIX IGNITIONS                             Tom Schrum

An excellent and useful accessory and a great improvement over points and condenser. Unfortunately, installation seems to be a problem, due to misinterpretation of instructions or not understanding the electrical portion of the installation.

There is only one CORRECT way to install a Pertronix ignitor in a Corvair:

  1. The black wire from the module goes to the (-) wire terminal on the coil. This is the terminal that originally connected the points to the coil.
  2. The red wire from the module must connect to the +12V switched from the ignition switch. There is no factory wire available for this purpose.
  3. The factory wire to the (+) terminal of the coil is still used as Chevrolet intended.
To explain the reason that this configuration must be adhered to, starts with the factory wire to the (+) terminal of the coil. When the engine is running, the voltage is not +12V at the coil, but about +6V because this wire is a resistor wire, required in the factory application to protect the points from premature failure which would occur if run on +12 volts for any length of time. The coil is designed to operate properly on this reduced voltage, so we need to leave it as factory wired with no changes. The most misunderstood connection is to the red wire coming out of the module. This wire cannot be hooked to the (+) terminal of the coil if proper operation of the ignition is to occur. We now know that less than +12V appears at the (+) terminal of the coil when the engine is running, and the module would like to see +12V. It will operate on less, but if anything causes a drop in the system voltage (battery voltage low, wires corroded, or sitting without running for a few weeks), module performance will be affected, or it may not operate at all.

To connect the red module wire correctly, find the other end of the resistor wire at the main chassis harness connector. This wire will have the full +12V when the engine is running and is switched on/off with the ignition key (an inexpensive voltmeter will be useful here). Tap into this wire and dress and secure the new wire along the factory wiring harness down the left side of the car and around the rear, bringing the wire out near the factory coil wire. Connect this wire to the red wire coming out of the module. Make sure no wires are near the fan belt.

Do not overlook the short wire included with the ignitor assembly. This wire connects the module to engine ground, and without it, the ground return would be through the movable pivot plate and would cause an intermittent condition as mileage and corrosion take a toll on the pivot point.

A correctly installed ignitor will improve starting, fuel mileage, horsepower and spark plug life, and will pay for itself in point and condenser replacements many times over the life of the car, which we all know is infinite.

DOOR HINGES

The '65 and '66 doors and hinges will interchange with corresponding body styles of these years, and the hinges are all the same. Doors and hinges for 1967 are unique and do not interchange with other years. The '68 and '69 are again unique to these years and won't fit previous years. Coupe doors can be made to fit convertibles and visa versa, however it means adding or removing some metal wedges, etc\. that were used on convertibles to keep the doors aligned.   Source: The Classic Corvair by Bob Helt

DISC VS. DRUM BRAKES

Disc brakes are one of those glamour items that everybody seems to want on their cars. But do we really need them? What benefits do disk brakes offer over standard drum brakes? Well, they don't necessarily stop quicker, but they are fade resistant and unaffected by water. Something the old asbestos-lined drum brakes couldn't claim. But in actual practice the Corvair's brakes are remarkably effective and entirely satisfactory for nearly all driving conditions. Stopping distances for Corvairs are still very competitive with those of today's cars, even though today's cars have many improvements such as power brakes and antilock brakes. And the Corvair's brakes can be improved in both regards by use of current replacement linings of Kevlar, which are available from many Corvair vendors; or by the use of carbon-Kevlar or metallic linings for racing or competition. Finned rear drums from a 1964 can be used for better cooling on all 60-63 cars. Source: "The Classic Corvair", Bob Helt

VITON PUST ROD TUBE O-RINGS: This Tip is a little outdated but there are some new Corvair people among us that may find it useful.

Your Corvair originally came with rubber O-rings on the push rod tubes and under the rocker studs that were made of not-so-good material - probably neoprene. These O-rings could not take the high engine temperatures and over time turned as hard as a rock at which point hey no longer were capable of making a positive seal resulting in an oil puddle on your garage floor and a dirty rear license plate. So many years have passed since Viton O-rings have been available that yours have probably been replaced with the more modern seals. But, if you are replacing your pushrod tube seals or are doing a rebuild, make sure you use only Viton O-rings. Most are brown in color but do come in other colors as well so make sure your source is reliable and really is selling you Viton. Viton is by far the most common available from Corvair parts vendors and they are easy to come by. 

FRONT SPOILER/AIR DAM

The '65 to '69 Corvair cars came with a front spoiler mounted underneath the front valance panel. This air dam adds significantly to the stability and handling of the car - they are not just for appearance. The NOS supply has long been depleted but a '69 Camaro unit fits and mounts very nicely. The GM part number is 3938689 and is being reproduced for about $30. Many of the Corvair and muscle/resto car parts vendors have them for sale.

Several varieties are available which can be made to fit Forward Control Corvairs. Among these are those for '81 to '87 full-size Chevy pickups/Blazers/Suburbans (p/n 15569084) or one from a '93 Ford Aerostar minivan. The spoiler from an '82 to '93 S10 (p/n 14056772) can also be made to work but it's a little short and will require some bending.   Source: The Corvair Classic by Bob Helt 

HEATER BLOWER MOTORS

Blower motors for the Corvair are just like other GM blower motors from the same era. To increase the amount of warm air that your heater presently puts out you can go to your local parts store and buy a blower motor intended for a 60s or 70s GM car with air conditioning. It will bolt right up to the 'Vair but you may have to change the electrical connector on your car to match. A small price to pay to stay a little warmer in the winter. These blowers generally have hole on the side for cooling. Since the Corvair didn't use this you'll have to block it off to keep the dirt out. Sometimes they come with a plug and sometimes you have to come up with something yourself. I used a piece of aluminum tap - the kind they use to seal up heating/cooling ducts in your house. These motors are also available from your favorite Corvair vendor. TIP: Take your old motor with you to the store to make sure it matches. Source: Van Pershing