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Resto Tech - September 2013

By Mark Lundquist, Photography by Mark Lundquist

Tip of the Month

I had planned to go in a different direction with the Resto Tip this month, but the parts gods saw to it that my original plan got turned inside-out. If you are a regular reader of Super Chevy, you may remember the '72 Chevelle SS we used in the 2012 Super Chevy Suspension & Handling Challenge, presented by Nitto Tire. It was a bogey car used to compare a bone stock muscle car of the day to the highly modified classics of today. Back then, other than an F-41 suspension upgrade from the factory, few aftermarket suspension parts were available.

Anyway, since the Suspension Challenge, the '72 experienced a radiator failure. Since the Chevelle runs a 402 big-block with factory air and a Turbo 400 trans, it came equipped with the extreme cooling system, which is basically a seven-blade clutch fan and a heavy-duty three-row radiator. Before the stock radiator literally fell apart, it did a great job of cooling, even in 115-degree desert heat. The plan was to order a reasonably priced replacement from a large performance parts house. It was ordered with a four-row core for even more cooling capacity than the stock three-row. I guess the shipping company can't read the French that was plastered all over the shipping box. Fragile (pronounced fra-gee-lay) didn't mean a thing to them. The radiator showed up with more holes in it than the one I pulled out!

After two attempts and finding out after sending the units back that the radiators were made in China, I decided to go in another direction. The entire order was cancelled and another radiator was ordered through the folks at Original Parts Group Inc. Even though the part was a few dollars more, I'm getting a quality U.S.-made radiator at a fair price. I'm picking this one up at OPGI myself. I had planned to show you a finished product, but you will just have to settle for a picture of the project half done. Sometimes shopping around for a cheaper part just doesn't pay off compared to buying from a quality parts supplier like OPGI. You can contact them at opgi.com or 1-800-243-8355.


Air Apparent

I have a question about a '65 Chevy Malibu (Chevelle). The original engine has 112K and it has the optional air ride (with original cylinder) had a mirror with comb on the backside. Pics available and info about this car requested. (How many in U.S., availability and worth?) This is for a friend that does not do email.

Mike Manigold
Spicewood, TX

Unfortunately, Chevy didn't keep accurate records on options, Mike. I can tell you I have heard of the air ride option, but have ever personally seen one. The factory option code (RPO) was G-66 and labeled superlift rear shock absorber. Some sources list the super lift option on 1,961 cars and the cost in 1965 was $37.70. Option G-67 was listed as a superlift shock absorber with automatic level control and listed for $86.15. This option is super rare with supposedly only 587 ordered. We would love to see pics of the system in your Malibu.


Another Chevy Booster

I was wondering if you have done a project on a Chevelle using a dual diaphragm brake booster. There seem to be too many different opinions on the subject as far as vacuum needed to operate the booster. I have a '71 SS ground up restoration. As my money is not plentiful, I am trying not to make any mistakes that I will have to redo later. Thanks.

Michael Gauthier
Via email

Great question, Michael. First of all, for any power brake system using a vacuum booster, you will need at least 16 to 18 inches of vacuum to properly operate a brake booster. Either engine vacuum can be used, or an auxiliary electric vacuum pump will work. In your case, I assume you will be using engine vacuum. If your engine is stock, or even has a small performance cam, you should have plenty of vacuum. The stock 11-inch booster most '71 Chevelles came with will work just fine with disc brakes. The only reason you would need a slim line 8- or 9-inch dual diaphragm booster is for clearance such as tall valve covers. The smaller the diaphragm, the less mechanical advantage they produce with the same vacuum. Two diaphragms are needed to produce the same advantage in a 9-inch diaphragm booster as a stock 11-inch booster. If you are doing a full resto, a stock 11-inch booster should do the job.


Got a restoration question that's been puzzling you? Send it to:
[ m ] Super Chevy, Resto Tech, 9036 Brittany Way, Tampa, FL 33619.
[ e ] superchevy@sorc.com [ f ] 813/675-3559

By Mark Lundquist
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