Got a restoration question that's been puzzling you? Send it to:
[ m ] Super Chevy, Fletch, 9036 Brittany Way, Tampa, FL 33619.
[ e ] firstname.lastname@example.org [ f ] 813-675-3557
I recently purchased a mostly restored 1968 Chevelle with a 400 small-block and Turbo 400 combo. The engine is cammed, with headers and lots of internal goodies; it was said to have close to 450hp. The engine has a serious vibration issue. It starts when I get to about 50mph, but doesn't seem to vibrate until I let off the gas pedal. There is no movement in the steering wheel, so I started checking the drivetrain. All of the U-joints seem to be intact and the driveshaft does not appear to be missing any weights. Therefore, I have narrowed it down to the transmission area. The rear output shaft on the tranny does leak, so I am inclined to think it is the bearing in the tailshaft. Otherwise I think it could be the flywheel. What are your thoughts on this vicious vibration?
Darin L. Shrewsberry
Darin, just because you don't feel it in the steering wheel wouldn't send me directly from chassis to drivetrain; it could still easily be in the car, not the motor or transmission, per se. Obviously, a vibration can come from a million different places, and it's hard to say with the information given, but generally, one starts with tires and wheels, maybe a wheel bearing, that sort of thing. I find it interesting that you say the vibration doesn't really start till you let off the gas at speed. I would think that could speak to something that is loaded and then comes free when unloaded, almost like some sort of mount is broken. I would definitely be checking all the suspension and driveline components for loose or worn mounts, bushings, etc.
A U-joint or driveshaft imbalance is another likely culprit. Although you feel that you've already ruled them out of the equation, you don't mention whether or not you physically removed the shaft from the car. To properly evaluate the U-joints, we strongly recommend you pull out the driveshaft and roll the joints, so to speak. Just pushing and pulling on them while in the vehicle can be very misleading. Additionally, you speak of a leak at the tailshaft and a potential bearing issue, and although a race transmission is often modified to incorporate a roller bearing, a standard Turbo 400 doesn't have a bearing in the tailshaft. It's a bushing. With that said, if it's leaking, something has caused the bushing to go bad, and I'm thinking it's the U-joint.
I would recommend taking the driveshaft out and closely inspecting the joints. If you don't feel confident of your analysis, take the shaft to any local Fleet Pride and have them verified, as well as balanced checked at the same time. I think you're going to find your problem right there.
Way Outside The Box
A couple of years ago, my wife and I rented a 2010 six-cylinder Camaro. We enjoyed the power and acceleration quite a bit, but we really enjoyed the 35 mpg fuel economy. It definitely seemed like the best of both worlds.
Last year I bought my wife a 1957 Beauville (nine-passenger) station wagon. While she wants it to be fun to drive, she doesn't want half her paycheck to go into the gas tank every week. The first thing we both thought of was the performance and great gas mileage of that rental Camaro. How much fabrication work should I expect to do if I want to install the V-6 engine and automatic transmission from a GenV Camaro into my wife's '57? What do you expect to be the most painful part of the process? I'm currently in the process of installing a Jim Meyer IFS (with the rear-mount steering rack). Does that have a high probability of causing fitment problems (the oil pan is the most obvious issue that comes to mind)?
I have a stack of tech articles clipped and saved in a binder from Tri-Five work you've done over the past several years (I drive a '56 Bel Air sport sedan). I am always impressed with your magazine's ability to put things in a straightforward, simple manner without treating the reader like an idiot or using too much tech-speak. I hope you can help me with this question, as I can't really do much more work on my '56 until I get my wife's '57 up and running.
Capt. Jay A. Emberton
As always, thank you for your service and dedication to our country. It sounds like a unique, fun project, and I'm sure, or should I say hope, that with proper thought and planning it will be a great success. I can see your wife cruising and you getting back to work on your car in no time. Well, maybe not "no time", but some time, and hopefully sooner than later.
First off, while you already know what you have, our readers don't. Pretty nice looking unit, indeed. I especially like the company's claim that it "can be installed by your wife in a weekend." Now, to gain a visual of the proposed powerplant, have a look at the very top pic contained in this link from a Camaro forum www.camaro5.com/forums/showpost.php?p=445433&postcount=1. Hmmm, it appears as though some lubrication and a large press might be in order.
Since the V6 makes more horsepower than any stock '57 engine, and your wagon probably weighs 200 or so lbs less than a new F-body, this could be a dandy daily driver. As I've never installed a LLT V6 in a '57 Chevy with aftermarket IFS, I can only theorize that it obviously won't be a plug and play effort. For starters, the fuel system requirements for the direct injection will need to be addressed. Also, use a 2012-later V6 computer, because of the ability to tune it with readily available software.
You seem like the sort that does his homework, and I'm sure that Jim Meyer piece wasn't cheap, so I'd recommend doing a lot of measuring before you go any further. If the engine will physically fit into the space constraints afforded (it should), the fabrication shouldn't be too awfully much different than any other retro fit. You have to bolt it in place, so you're going to have to fabricate motor mounts and a crossmember. Obviously, the problem here is that you can't really modify anything on the motor, and you don't want to take a sawzall to the new components.
Do My Numbers Match?
I have a 1967 Chevelle and the VIN is 136177K121887. I also have the motor that came with the car, and the two markings I found on the block are 13C140122 and T1103CKL. I would like to know if you can tell if this is a numbers-matching car, or if you can tell what size the engine is. I also have another motor that I would like to get some information on. The markings I find on it are 18S248158 and V0525DH.
In 1967, the first digit, 1, decodes to Chevrolet. Whew, thank goodness; you've come to the right place. The next two digits stand for the series, and in your case the 36 represents Malibu, Custom El Camino, Wagon, 8-cylinder. The next two dictate the body style, and your 17 stands for 2-door Sport Coupe. The following number speaks to the year of production, and the 7 correlates to 1967. The ensuing letter reveals where the car was manufactured, and your K lets us know your car was born in Kansas City, Missouri. The last sequence of numbers is the unit/serial/production number, all of which begin with 1. From this, we know your car was number 21,887 off the assembly line.
Both of these numbers you've supplied are very useful. The 13C140122 is the partial VIN, and I regret to inform you that you do not own a numbers matching car. The 1 says Chevy, but the 3 says 1973, and the final sequence doesn't match the serial of your car's VIN. The T1103CKL is the engine code and breaks down like this; T is for Tonawanda, 11 is for November, and 03 is the third day of the month. The next three are the problem, as they again disprove a numbers match. They speak to what the application was, ie: cubic inch, horsepower rating, transmission, etc., but in 1967 there were only two letters, not three. The CKL dictates 1973, 350, Turbo Hydro, California, F, A, and B body.
As for your other motor, I'm sorry to say it's no award winner either. It's a 1968 307 that came in a fullsize car with a Powerglide. Yipee, yahoo …