GM Pistons, Vintage Air System & 1979 Chevy Malibu - Performance Q&A

Kevin McClelland Dec 1, 2008 0 Comment(s)

The '66 Malibus have a unique P/S pump mounting that elevates the pump to clear the steering box. This is probably why you're having a slight interference with the water pump pulley. One thing you may want to look at is if you decreased or increased the P/S pump belt's length is within the factory adjustability. This may change the angle of your belt enough to clear the factory double-grooved water pump pulley. If not, check with March Performance for a water pump pulley. When we looked into the factory two-groove pulley, it looks like it is 61/2 inches in diameter. The standard March pulley is the same diameter, but the billet aluminum pulley has a much steeper angle machined into the front taper of the pulley. This should help with your clearance problem. Also, you can check with March for a reduced diameter that will work with your pulley offsets. Most of the aftermarket pulleys will be a larger water pump pulley with a smaller-diameter crankshaft pulley. This is to underdrive the accessories and pick up horsepower through less parasitic loss.

Malibu Resto
Q I can't seem to find a company that sells restoration parts for my '79 Malibu. It mostly needs interior work; I'd like to change the funky green hue to black. The body doesn't need much work at all. It's got a 267 V-8 in it now, but I'm building a 383 stroker to stuff into it. If you could guide me in the direction of a company or catalog for the interior parts I would greatly appreciate it.
Steve Schlenker
Bismarck, ND

A You've chosen one of the last full-frame, rear-drive, inexpensive GM models to hot rod. The interest in the '78-88 G-bodies has grown drastically over the past couple of years. A large inventory of used models to pick up from Buick, Chevy, Olds, and Pontiac gives you any flavor you wish to hop up. Thankfully, the aftermarket is stepping up to this model.

If you've followed along at all over the past several years, you know I've built an '80 Malibu Wagon for drag racing. The interior was that nasty shade of tan with cloth seat covers. I was also interested in changing the interior over to black, and this is where Honest Charley stepped in and helped. With the depth of parts it offers (including seat covers, headliners, windshield pillar post covers, sun visors, dash covers, a carpet kit, and sill plates), we were able to freshen up the wagon's interior. A complete catalog dedicated to the '78-88 G-bodies covers interior, exterior, suspension, and engine components. Check it out online or call directly for a catalog.

Hard As A Rock
Q My '70 El Camino has minor brake issues. For starters, the car wouldn't stop rolling until the pedal was all the way to the floor, or at least that's what it felt like. I took it to get checked out by the local brake specialist, who told me that my cam was too aggressive and because of that the engine was not making enough vacuum for the booster. What I felt in the pedal wasn't the floor; it was more as if I was driving with manual brakes. I want to know if this is possible. And how do I fix it?
Angel Saldana
Via email

A Large camshafts on street vehicles will kill the engine vacuum and create havoc with power accessories, and the braking system is the first to feel the effects. You'll also see it in vehicles that have vacuum-controlled headlight doors and A/C damper doors. What you are feeling is the rock-solid pedal against the master cylinder without any power boost. If you drive the car down a hill and use the engine to help decelerate the car, you will have decent brakes for that one stop. After that, the pedal gets hard again. This is a perfect example of inadequate vacuum to support the braking system.


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