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Corvette Weekend Projects 2010
It's time to head out to the garage again and get started on some projects
Mar 17, 2010
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Corvette Weekend Projects 2010
Open the petcock on the bottom of the radiator to drain all of the engine coolant. While you can use a clean container to catch the liquid for reuse later, I decided to put nice fresh antifreeze in the brand-new radiator after the installation. CAUTION: antifreeze is sweet tasting and highly toxic to pets if ingested, so be careful not to let any drip onto your garage floor or driveway if you have cats or dogs in your household.
Normally, you would remove the hood at this point to make removal of the shroud and radiator easier; however, this car has a Monza tilt-nose on it. If your Shark is "normal," remove the bolts that secure the hood to the hinges and have a helper assist you in removing the hood. Then remove the four bolts holding the fan to the water pump. After bolt removal, the fan can be lifted off the shaft.
The shroud retaining brackets are the next items to be taken off by removing the three bolts that retain each bracket.
Loosen the hose clamps on both the upper and lower radiator hoses and pull the hoses off. Once the hoses are disconnected, the shroud can be lifted out. While one person can remove the shroud, it is much easier if you have a helper to work the opposite side, since you'll have to "walk" it up and around obstructions such as the water pump shaft to get it out of the engine compartment.
The radiator mount support bracket bolts are removed next, one on each side of the support.
If your car has an air conditioning condenser and/or a trans cooler, the nylon retainer locks on the fin pass-thru retainers should be removed at this point by pulling on them while twisting gently. Obviously, if you don't have these gizmos, this step doesn't apply.
The bolts that hold the upper radiator mounting brackets are removed next.
Once the bolts are out, the upper mount brackets can be removed by pulling up on them.
The overflow hose clamp can be moved back an inch or two so the overflow hose can be pulled free of the radiator.
The fitting for the upper trans cooler line should now be loosened so the line can be detached from the radiator. The lower trans cooler hose can also be detached after the hose clamp is loosened. Be sure to have a bolt slightly larger than the inner hose diameter handy to insert into the lower trans hose as soon as you pull it free to prevent unnecessary loss of trans fluid.
At this point you can lift the radiator out. Again, having a helper to lift the radiator from the opposite side of the car makes the job considerably easier. Here's what it looks like with the radiator out of the car.
You'll have to recycle the fitting for the lower trans cooler line from the old radiator, since the new one won't have a fitting installed or supplied.
Here's a shot of the spiffy new aluminum racing radiator from DeWitt's Reproductions just prior to installing it. Since aluminum has a much better thermal coefficient (ability to transfer and dissipate heat) than brass/copper units like the one I just took out of the car, I expect my hot 350 to run considerably cooler now.
A little Permatex gasket sealer on the threads of the lower trans cooler fitting helps to ensure a leak-proof installation.
I decided not to run the fin pass-thru retainers for the trans oil cooler through the fins of the new radiator, opting instead to secure the cooler solely through the fins of the A/C condenser; the nylon retainer locks were reinstalled on the pass-thru retainers at this point.
A pair of side-cutters was used to remove the excess length of the pass-thru retainers.
After carefully lowering the new radiator in place on the lower mounts, reattach the upper mounting brackets on both sides to secure the radiator.
Put a little gasket sealer on the threads of the upper trans cooler fitting before inserting and tightening it in the new radiator.
Install and secure the shroud next. While I had help removing the shroud, my helper had to leave so reinstalling it was a solo act. To make life easier, I removed the water pump so I didn't have to wrestle with the shroud too much-a precaution on my part to safeguard the fins of the new radiator from shroud damage. Here's what it looked like with the shroud reinstalled and brackets secured. Reinstall the side radiator mounting bracket bolts, hoses, and the fan and fill the new radiator to complete the project. One final tip: Be sure the petcock on the new radiator is fully closed (petcock distended) before you start to fill the radiator. To prevent petcock breakage during shipment, these are usually in the fully-opened (flush with the bottom of the radiator) position.
Drain enough coolant from the radiator so that the level is lower than the thermostat, then use a ratchet and 9/16-inch socket to remove the two bolts that hold the housing onto the intake manifold.
Lift the housing off, use a screwdriver to loosen the clamps, and pull the hoses off it. You can also lift the thermostat out of the manifold at this time.
The new parts with the old ones above them. Only one gasket is required and will be used, although there are two in the picture.
Here's the old thermostat housing. If you have nothing else to do with an afternoon, you can use a Dremel and a wire brush to clean off all the crud and corrosion; or, you can simply replace it as we're doing here.
Use a razor scraper to clean off any gasket material, loose rust, or other debris on the manifold, as this stuff will impair a water-tight seal for the housing.
Here's the manifold after cleaning it up a bit. It's also a good idea to retrieve any debris that may have fallen into the opening, as this can clog the thermostat and you really don't want any of this garbage circulating through your radiator, water pump, or the rest of your cooling system.
Rust never sleeps, so this is a good time to paint over any exposed metal on the manifold before you put the housing back on. I cut down an empty spring water bottle, sprayed some "Chevy orange" into it, and used a small disposable brush for such touch-ups. Nitrile gloves are also a good idea to keep paint off your hands.
It doesn't make too much sense to use rusty bolts to secure a nice new housing, now does it? I decided that stainless bolts and washers were the best way to go, in keeping with the rest of the stainless I used on the manifold in another project.
This is a final look at the old and new pieces as a reminder of why I'm replacing this housing. The old part is perfectly serviceable, however, and can be cleaned up (this would make a good indoor winter weekend project) or can be sold to someone looking for a bargain on eBay.
The gasket has a peel-off backing so it will adhere to the housing and stay in place without any sealant. Permatex will be used for the other side, however.
Permatex is smeared around the edge of the housing to ensure a water-tight seal when it mates with the manifold. All that remains to be done is to insert the new thermostat, put the housing on the manifold, bolt it down, and reattach the hoses.
Voila! Quite a difference, no? It not only looks better, it should run cooler now as well, so what's not to love?
Here's the engine bay with the stock fuel rail covers in place. The first thing to do is to remove the oil filler cap.
The covers are held in place by clips, so to remove them you simply pull up on the upper side of the cover first, then pull up on the bottom to unsnap the clips and remove the covers. The driver side is a little more tricky because of the braided hoses going through the cover.
Here's what the passenger side looks like with the cover removed.
The retro covers install just the way the stock covers, by snapping in place. Snap the bottoms in first, then the tops. Be careful on the driver side so the braided hoses don't scratch the paint on the retro cover.
Here's the completed vintage look on the passenger side-now on to the driver side and the job is complete!
A rivet nut thread setting kit like this one from The Eastwood Company is just the ticket for this and other repairs to your Corvette with stripped screw holes are encountered. You'll also need a drill and the appropriate-sized bit for the thread insert you intend to install. You can determine the right size insert by finding the one(s) that have the same thread as the screw you intend to use.
Using the correct size bit, drill a hole for the insert to go into.
Put the insert in the insertion tool using the right size collet (follow the instructions supplied with the tool) and insert it into the hole you drilled. While pushing down on the tool, squeeze the handle to set the insert in place. The whole scheme is very similar to setting a pop rivet.
Here's the sill of a Midyear with inserts in two of the holes. Be sure to clean up any stray metal particles created by drilling before you install the new sill panels.
And all that's left to do is install the new sill panel, securing it with screws in the newly-threaded holes you just fixed.
The filter "revitalizer" kit consists of a bottle of air filter cleaner and an aerosol can of oil.
After removing the filter from the C5 by loosening the hose clamp with a screwdriver and unplugging the MAF pigtail connector, use a stiff-bristle brush to brush off any loose dirt (or dog hair, as in this case).
Use a blower nozzle on your compressor hose or a can of aerosol dust remover to blow off any remaining dust between the filter folds that the brush didn't get.
Thoroughly saturate the filter with the cleaning fluid from the pump-spray bottle and let it air dry completely.
When the filter is totally dry, spray on a good, wet coat of the filter oil and be sure to get it on the insides of the folds for maximal filtering efficiency. Replace the filter in the C5, reconnect the MAF pigtail, slip the air hose on, and tighten the clamp. That's all there is to it.
It looks like it's been really neglected, doesn't it? But, in truth, this vintage Midyear sees only a couple of hundred miles a year, since it spends most of the time in a trailer. However, dampness, humidity, and time all take their toll on metal in such conditions.
Upon removing the air cleaner, the carburetor is the obvious place to start our freshening. It's always a good idea to work top-to-bottom, since any dirt and debris will fall downward, getting cleaned away when you get to the lower portions of the freshening. Be sure to tape over the venturi openings so no crud gets into the carburetor and enters your engine. A wire brush does the trick for the heavy cleaning of the carb body.
A smaller conical wire brush comes in handy for working around the linkage and other hard-to-reach areas.
A blower nozzle attached to your compressor hose or a can of compressed air is great for blowing away dust, dirt, and debris as you're cleaning so you can see what still needs to be done.
Detailing your alternator is pretty simple by using some steel wool to get the heavy stuff off, as in the case of this chrome alternator; there's really nothing that can be done about the pitting aside from replacing the unit altogether, though.
I certainly didn't need a quart of "Chevy orange" engine paint for this detailing job, so I cut the bottom off an empty Poland Springs water bottle, dried it thoroughly, then sprayed a little puddle of aerosol automotive paint into it, which was plenty for my needs.
A cheap disposable 1/2-inch paint brush is great for touching up spots on the manifold. I've found that bristle brushes work better and last longer than the sponge foam brushes for this job.
The chrome-plated valve covers are not correct, but they look nice. However, the originals (one of them is at the top) have seen better days, so a new set was ordered from Paragon Reproductions and installed on the engine to give it a little more bling.
And here's what we have about four hours later. Other tasks that were performed, although not shown, included wiping down all the hoses with WD-40, touching up the master cylinder and carb mounting bolts/studs with black paint, and polishing up some of the chrome. Elbow grease and time were the principal ingredients for this project.
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