It's time to move ahead with Project Shark Attack. While we were runningaround on the Hot Rod Power Tour and the Bloomington Gold show, thecomponents we ordered in Part 2 of this series came pouring in.
Now we can remove some pieces and see if this '79 Corvette is what wethought it would be. The plan is to completely disassemble the rearsuspension and differential. Once all the pieces are cleaned andinspected, they'll be sent out for bead-blasting and powdercoating.
At the start of the project, we checked the underside and sprayed allthe fasteners with P-Blaster rust penetrant, allowing it to soak for along time. The penetrant helps the parts-removal process and sometimesthe flame wrench (torch) isn't necessary. As we disassembled the rearsuspension, the bolts came out easily and had minimum corrosion.
We discovered some interesting things during disassembly. Differentialgear oil was dribbling out from the inner right-side bolt hole of therear-spring retainer plate, which was probably caused by a bolt that wastoo long.
The driver-side axleshaft had a replacement U-joint, and we wondered whysomeone would replace only one. We removed the U-joint and found thereplacement was in worse shape than the originals with at least 124,000miles. It most likely was never greased.
The strut rod stud/shock mounts came out with minimal hammer blows. Thetrailing-arm pivot bolts could be pushed out easily. All the originalrubber suspension bushings were worn, cracked, and ready forreplacement, not surprising after 25 years.
The trailing arms were in fair shape and the spindle bearings sounded OKwhile rotating the spindle. There are a couple of options when it comesto the trailing arms. You can buy completely rebuilt assemblies, partialassemblies with bearing housing available, or rebuild your original one.We decided to rebuild the original trailing arms since we have thespecial tools required for the job. The tools are available fromCorvette Central, but are costly for one-time use.
Once all the subassemblies are removed, put the pieces on a sturdyworkbench. Remove the heavy road grime and greasy buildup beforecomponent disassembly. Use latex or vinyl gloves during disassembly, asdifferential fluid and grease can stay with you for days.
It's important to keep all parts until the job is done. Put the onesyou're replacing in one area to review after disassembly, which makes iteasier to order the additional parts not on the original list. Now thedisassembly of major components can begin, then an evaluation of theircondition after cleaning.
Now that the project is underway and there have been no major surprises,we can consider some upgrades. Replacing the transmission with afive-speed overdrive unit so a 3.70:1 ring-and-pinion can be installedin the differential should liven things up a bit. Until the ODtransmission is installed, the 3.70-ratio will be fun on Saturday nightcruises. The strut-rod assembly will be replaced with Vette Brakes &Products smart struts, which change the strut-rod angle for better rearcamber control. The steel spring will be replaced with a TRW fiberglassmono-spring for ride quality and durability. The U-joints will be BruteForce heavy-duty pieces from Advance Discount Auto Parts. We still don'tknow what brake calipers we'll use, but it isn't an issue until we workon the front suspension.