Simple Weekend Corvette Projects

How to make your weekend a success with these simple Corvette projects

Cam Benty May 22, 2006 0 Comment(s)

Last year, we ran an article on several projects for your Corvette that could be done easily over a weekend. Due to the popularity of that article, we have decided to add several more straightforward projects you can tack on to the original list. These projects will improve both the mechanical and appearance aspects of your Corvette. all the projects can be done with simple hand tools, and we have included a realistic timeframe to complete the project.

Spin City: A spin-on oil filter conversion makes your life easier

Those old filter cans were really a pain. Especially when you take the time to remove the oil filter, clean the surface of the oil-filter pad, dig out that old O-ring, and carefully reposition the new O-ring on the can, only to pump out five quarts of new oil on your garage floor upon start up. It's time to add a little new technology to that filter.

Starting in the mid-'60s, Chevrolet changed over to the spin-on-type oil filter, replacing the original steel-can type. The filter sealed much better and eliminated the O-rings that were often a source of problems.

A simple oil-filter adaptor was all that was required to make the change

After removing the oil-filter can, use a ratchet and remove the center oil-filter by-pass valve. Following the instructions that come with the adaptor, install the by-pass valve and conversion adaptor for the spin-on-type filter, torqueing it to the recommended specs. Spin on a new filter after oiling up the new rubber filter-mating surface. Restart the engine and recheck your oil level after one minute of operation.

Parts List

Time
*15 minutes

Tools
* Socket wrench to remove oil filter center hub
* Wrenches to install new adaptor
* New oil and spin-on oil filter

Light my Fire: A midyear taillight and bezel replacement package

Midyear Corvette taillight bezels are notorious for pitting over the years, and those originally-stunning red lenses can dull with age. Simple fix-change them out. The hardest part is getting to the pal-nuts that hold them to the body. Removing the spare tire carrier can be helpful, but no matter what you do, the lower rear valance will have to be removed. The procedure involves sliding your hand up under the body between the mufflers, unless your car has sidepipes. We're here to tell you, it requires some gymnastic effort to reach those hidden interior nuts. Your assembly manual will give you a great deal of information about the taillight bezel-attachment logistics. Armed with a lay of the land, this job is not all that hard.

Once the attachment nuts have been removed, it is a good idea to run a sharp razorblade around the perimeter of the bezel on the outside of the car to make certain that it is not stuck to the paint. Often bezels are installed while the paint is still tacky, and over the years, they can become attached. With this simple trick, you can avoid repainting when all you really want to do in take out those old bezels and install new ones.

Parts List

Time
*1 to 2 hours

Tools
* Assorted nut drivers or ratchets
* Assembly manual for your car
* Razorblade

Pump Me Up: A mechanical fuel pump replacement made easy

Replacing your fuel pump is not as common a weekend upgrade as it is a maintenance dilemma. Spots of fuel on the garage floor often mean that your fuel pump diaphragm is on the fritz. For some, fuel-pump replacement is a desire to increase the fuel flow to their engine. Either way, the change can be relatively simple if you have the right tools and a little patience.

The factory mechanical pump is located on the passenger side of the engine, mounted low up front. Remove anything that is in the way. The radiator and shroud need not come out in most cases. After unhooking the battery, to avoid any random accidental sparks, carefully break free the fuel lines. There are two located on most pumps, one in and one out. Remove them with the proper flare wrench, and pull them free of the pump being careful not to bend or kink the lines.

Next, remove the pump from the engine by removing the two bolts that hold it to the block. Once the pump is loose, remove it, making sure to catch the large, cylindrical pushrod behind the pump lever that activates the pump. Often it will fall out once the pump is out. A tip for installing the new pump: Clean off the pushrod, and coat it with white grease to keep it from slipping out of the engine. Remember to use a new clean gasket at the point where the pump meets the block. This will avoid any future oil drips.

Parts List

Time
*1 to 4 hours

Tools
* Assorted sockets and ratchet
* Flare wrenches for use with flared fittings
* White grease to keep pushrod in place

Tuning You In: A quick Holley-carburetor tune is what the Doctor ordered

Tuning a Holley carburetor is a relatively simple operation. the better you get at it, the less messy it will become. The messiest part is setting the fuel-float levels. If your car stalls or leans out on hard starting or stopping, often the float levels are to blame. The key here is to try and let the least amount of gasoline escape from the carburetor-adjustment screw area. Excessive fuel can ignite and cause flamb of Corvette, and that would ruin your whole day.

Remove the fuel-bowl sight screw/plug from the primary fuel bowl. Bounce the fender of the car. If fuel slightly dribbles from the hole, you can skip this step. If you see either lots of fuel or nothing, it's time to set the float level. Using a box end wrench, loosen the lock nut that holds the adjustment screw, and then snug it back up to keep it from leaking. Start the engine. Place a rag under the carburetor to soak up the fuel. Turn the adjustment screw slowly after backing off the lock nut. Once fuel starts slowly draining from the sight hole, turn the lock nut and then replace the sight plug/screw. Be very careful with the fuel-soaked rags; they can ignite if they touch hot items like headers.

Next, hook up the dwell/tachometer to your ignition underhood. Start the engine. Using a small tuning screwdriver, turn the fuel/air screw located on the carburetor body (on engines where such adjustment is allowed). Work to find the peak idle rpm. Once you have located the highest rpm, you're finished. Adjust the idle speed to the recommended specs for your engine.

Parts List

Time*Less than 30 minutes

Tools:
* Large flat-blade screwdriver
* Open-end wrench
* Tach/Dwell meter
* Small flat-blade screwdriver
* Rags to soak up fuel

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