Once a comprehensive parts and labor list is compiled, enhancements canbe considered. Corvette Central has an excellent Web site for viewingand ordering parts. Being able to see the parts and compare beforebuying is a huge plus.
Keeping Down The Cost
Because we're on a budget, the cost of parts is important.Unfortunately, many parts that cost less aren't the best quality. Don'tlook for the best price; shop for the most reliable parts.
Buy the parts for the area of the car you're working on at one time.Corvette Central has a start-to-finish plan that can be beneficial in amajor or partial restoration. Many times, suppliers discount largeshipments and help with shipping costs. If you order single partsseparately, the shipping charges will dramatically increase the cost ofyour project.
Cutting Corners Costs More
If you have a shop do the work for you, bringing your own repair partscomes with a set of rules. The shop typically makes a profit from theparts sale, but the profit is lost quickly if a part fails. Mostsuppliers don't pay labor when a part fails, so the shop must absorb thecost. If a customer supplies the parts, the shop can only guarantee thelabor that was performed.
For most shops, how to charge for labor can be an issue for majorprojects. Charging a flat rate from a labor guide is difficult whenparts must be cleaned and painted before assembly. Flat-rate laborguides are for relatively new vehicles with minor corrosion and grime.If you want the shop to take extra care with your restoration, it cancost quite a bit more.
Discuss your plans and ask how the shop charges for labor. Do they paintthe pieces they're working on? Do they clean the pieces and apply apreventive coating before they paint? These days, powdercoating costsare in line with good epoxy or urethane paint coating. The problem withpowdercoating is, additional time is required for processing the pieces,but it can be more cost effective than traditional preparation andpainting.
Where To Start? Rear Suspension & Brakes
I've performed many mechanical restorations, and the question I'm oftenasked is where to start. The front suspension and steering are best donewith the radiator and shroud removed. So I do all of the rearsuspension, differential, and brakes first. Once they're removed, theframe can be cleaned and a coat of urethane primer can be applied.
There are a few enhancements that are worth doing to the shark. Urethanesuspension bushings for the front and rear last longer and providepositive suspension control. The downside of using urethane bushings isthey can be noisy at times depending on heat and humidity levels, andthey also create a rougher ride. But in this case, the benefits outweighthe minor concerns. Stainless steel shims will be used for thetrailing-arm toe alignment because the shims allow easy alignment formany years. The steel rear spring will be replaced with a fiberglassspring. The fiberglass composite spring provides a smoother ride and, aswe all know, the shark can be tough on the backside after a long trip.
The brakes on Project Shark were not safe at any speed, so we'll replacethe stock components with drilled rotors. We'll use Stainless SteelBrakes calipers at all corners, along with a set of stainless brakehoses and rear-brake-caliper lines.
Ordering The First Parts Online
First we'll order parts for the rear of our car from Corvette Central'sWeb site. Buying parts online is simpler, and provides the opportunityto create a list using Corvette Central's ordering system.