Tony’s Garage: Readers' Tech Questions - May 2014

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Tony Huntimer Apr 25, 2014 0 Comment(s)
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Q. Hey Tony,

I am a loyal subscriber to Camaro Performers magazine and I have a quick question for you about my '97 Z28 convertible, Z4C 30th Anniversary Edition. What are your thoughts on the future value of my car? What would happen to its value if I make modifications to the engine (minor mods to improve performance), interior (seat covers in white/hugger orange leather combo vs. pure white leather), and upgraded wheels and brakes. I know there weren't many Z4C convertibles produced. I value your opinion.

Thanks,

Tom Gore
Via email

A. Tom,

I'm familiar with a car that looks just like yours. I have a GM 30th Anniversary poster of your convertible (probably not your exact car) in an old gas station with other Camaros. According to production numbers, there were 4,533 Z4C 30th Anniversary Edition Camaros. There were only 3,297 Z28 convertibles produced. I'm not aware of how many Z4C convertible Z28s were produced. From past experiences, I can only speculate that your car would be collectible if the production numbers were less than 100 and your car had 20 miles on the odometer.

Chevrolet Camaro 2/5

Now, if it were my car I would make the modifications you mentioned but not make any non-reversible changes. I might even go so far as to obtain some used seats to change the upholstery. I would save all my original parts in a safe place and have fun with my Z4C Anniversary Edition Z28. If I ever found out it was worth a fortune, I would put it all back to stock, sell it, and live the rest of my life with as many Camaros as I could fit in my castle.


Q. Tony,

I have an '80 Berlinetta Camaro with a 350 small-block backed by a four-speed. It's my first car and daily driver. I installed an Edelbrock fuel injection system and an Accel distributor. It is a restoration in progress, and I plan to rewire the car from bumper to bumper even though the harness isn't hacked up. I also plan on refinishing the firewall area at the same time. My issue is that I'm having trouble finding a replacement instrument cluster wiring harness, while the wiring leading to it is available. If you could point me in the direction of finding a harness for my car, that would be great. Otherwise, my mechanic may have to do some wire splicing.

My Camaro also likes to go through rear axle pinion seals. If you know of any solutions please let me know.

Last question: Do you know of a delay wiper system that will fit my Camaro?

Thanks for your help,

Marc McAllister
Ridgeland, Mississippi
Via email

A. Hello Marc,

Thanks for your letter. I noticed that you stated that your Camaro is a restoration in process. Are you removing the Edelbrock fuel injection? Sorry, but I have to point this out and then we'll get to your questions. Restoration is defined as the action of returning something back to its original condition. It sounds like you're upgrading or rebuilding rather than restoring?

You mention the instrument cluster wiring harness, not the harness leading to it. I have to assume that you're talking about the printed circuit panel on the backside of the dash cluster. The printed circuit panel is a couple of sheets of plastic with thin metal strips between them. It was a cheap and fast solution to speed up production on the assembly line. Adding aftermarket gauges usually entails bypassing the panel to tap into the gauge signal or the power wire for the dash lights. I've done both. You or your mechanic will just need to trace the signals and get a wiring schematic to make sure you wire it correctly.

Typically, you would replace your electrical harness if your wiring harness is hacked up, your connectors are broken, the wire insulation is cracking, you've had an electrical fire, or you have an electrical gremlin you can't find. Of course, the best reason is if you want to upgrade to a harness with better quality wire and modern fuse box that uses blade-type ATO fuses and accommodates more aftermarket accessories not supported by the factory harness. American Auto Wire (americanautowire.com) carries their Factory Fit line, which is a great source for replacement reproduction wire harnesses that fit like the factory harnesses and have all the correct connectors. If you're looking to upgrade the system with a late-model fuse box and additional circuits, check out American Auto Wire or Painless Wiring (painlessperformance.com).

Your rear axle pinion seal leak could be going out on a regular basis if the sealing surface on the yoke is worn out (not smooth). It's also possible that the pinion bearing is worn out, allowing the pinion and the yoke to move enough to shorten the life of the seal.

With the rear of your Camaro safely on jack stands and the tires free to rotate, check for play in the pinion bearing by grabbing the rear portion of the driveshaft with both hands and try to move it up and down and side to side. Any visible play should be addressed by a shop that specializes in differentials.

Intermittent wipers on the Camaro were first available in the '77 model year as optional equipment. You can get used original parts for an intermittent system for your '80 from salvage yards that specialize in older cars, like GM Sports Salvage (gmsportssalvage.com). You can find most of the necessary reproduction parts to upgrade a two-speed wiper system to a stock intermittent system from companies like Ground up (ss396.com), National Parts Depot (npdlink.com), Classic Industries (classicindustries.com), Camaro Central (camarocentral.com) Rick's Camaro (rickscamaros.com), or YearOne (yearone.com).

The alternative is to check out the Selecta-Speed wiper kit from Detroit Speed (detroitspeed.com). It has five delay speeds, low speed, and high speed. I had one of their wiper kits in my daily driven '68 Camaro and loved it. The '68 factory wiper had a low speed that had to be turned off and on during light rain, while the high speed was more like "ludicrous speed."

Detroit Speed Inc Selecta Speed Wiper System 3/5

The Detroit Speed Inc. Selecta-Speed wiper system gets two thumbs up!

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