Evaluating Your Project Car Part 4

Click Here to Begin Slideshow OK. You’ve found the project car, evaluated it and relocated it to where you need it to be. Now what? The basic evaluation should have pointed to the weak spots of the car, and obviously you’ll need to address them. As you dig into the car, the parts you need will quickly become apparent. But first things first: You should gather up reference material for your build. That way, you’ll have information on hand to figure out how to fix stuff and simultaneously determine what’s available for replacement parts and what it all costs. When it comes to information, you’ll never get enough. The reality is, if you're armed with information on restoration, the work will proceed in a much smoother fashion. But what factory information should you get? Once you've bitten the bullet and decide to build a car, the very first order of business is to accumulate information, and lots of it. You need to arm yourself with a selection of resource books, factory service publications and, just as important, catalogs from the various restoration supply companies. Knowledge of your particular vehicle is one thing, but when it comes time to disassemble a specific component, restore it and then reassemble it, you'll often require more than a knack with hand tools. Before one screw or bolt is loosened on your car, I strongly urge you to follow the accompanying advice. You have to gain knowledge and find information sources. Because of that, do yourself a favor and purchase (or scrounge where necessary) the publications noted below. FYI, I used Chevys as the basis, because that’s what I had. Other GM products, Ford and Mopar have the same resources, but sometimes different names. And you can even get similar info for much older (as in twenties through the fifties) automobiles and light trucks. Factory Service Manual… Chevrolet printed factory service manuals each model year of the Chevrolet passenger car(s) - Corvettes included. They're not what you might consider easy or light reading, but they do deal with minor service procedures, vehicle maintenance and component adjustment. In addition, they show the correct way to remove and replace various components and sub-assemblies. The Service Manuals cover all Chevrolet passenger cars and Corvettes (but no trucks, light duty or otherwise). Illustrations and re-touched photographs fill the publication, as do descriptions of special tools required for various jobs. Corvette body adjustment and service is included in a special section of these manuals. The "body" section deals with things like weather-stripping, lock adjustment, door settings, interior parts and myriad other items unique to the ‘Vette. In short, these books are immensely helpful when it comes time to disassemble and reassemble specific areas of the vehicle. Factory Overhaul Manual… In GM Land, the Overhaul Manual takes over where the Service Manual stops (Mopars, for example, had one manual that combined Service and Overhaul operations). It details the repair and replacement of major components. While the Service Manual deals with minor repairs, this book examines the down and dirty hard jobs. This manual is designed to be used in conjunction with the Service Manual, and like the other publication, it deals with all passenger cars and Corvettes. It is profusely illustrated and like the Service Manual, it's a "must have." Add one to your shopping list, or check your library network to see if it’s available there. It's next to impossible to perform a restoration without one of these. Body Service Manual… GM had special manuals covering topics that were not examined in either the Service or Overhaul publications. This one looks at all North American-built GM passenger cars (except the Corvette) and features important topics such as trim removal, sheet metal and body part adjustment, as well as soft-trim service. The Fisher Body Service Manual details operations that will leave you scratching your head. For example, the General may have included one type of molding clip on all vehicles. This manual will tell you how to remove and replace that clip. It might be generic, but it does show how the task is done. And once you're knee-deep in the restoration, you'll be glad you’ve got one of these manuals. FYI, Fisher Body Service Manuals for a given year cover all passenger cars (Chevrolet-Pontiac-Olds-Buick-Cadillac). Assembly Instruction Manual… Reprinted Assembly Instruction Manuals, or "AIMs," are available for almost all older automobiles (some light trucks too). These are the manuals used on the assembly line during the actual vehicle construction. The GM ones are printed in a loose-leaf format and feature large, sometimes exploded drawings of all components and sub-assemblies that are pieced together during the manufacturing process. These drawings show where the parts go and how they go together. Part numbers are included, but I should point out that these are production numbers, not service (replacement or dealership parts department) numbers. As a result, the part numbers shown are sometimes unavailable, though of course, there are also numerous situations where the parts are readily available from the vehicle manufacture. In addition to the above, the AIM will show you where and how components are glued together. They also show correct fastener installation, proper clamp location and orientation and the correct location of pierced holes, along with ride height specifics. Production options are included, along with correct location mounting points and special torque specifications for almost all parts of the automobile. The AIM is broken down into two parts. The first part covers approximately one dozen basic assembly areas ranging from labels to stickers to complete electrical installation. This portion of the Assembly Instruction Manual in called the "Uniform Parts Classification." Following the UPC section is the RPO or "Regular Production Option" portion of the book. As expected, this part of the publication is devoted to optional equipment. Even canceled options are listed in the book, along with the dates of cancellation and other updates. Find one. This could be the most important reference book you’ll ever have for your project. Factory (OEM) Parts Catalog… Reprints of vintage parts catalogs are readily available if you do a bit of digging. Ditto with vintage original copies. These catalogs not only list the part numbers for various components - they also feature blow-up illustrations of various components. If you’re dealing with, say, a 1970 Chevelle, then one of the best bets as far as parts catalogs are concerned are the reprinted 1971 versions (if your Chevrolet is a '71 or older model). They cover all years of Chevrolets through to '71 and as luck would have it, some of the numbers found inside are still "good." Obviously, many part numbers will be discontinued while others have been changed up in the past decades. But by using this catalog, you can at least inquire about the status of a given part at your local bow tie store. Hollander Interchange Manual… Scrounging parts for your car can sometimes seem like an impossible dream. Fortunately, many pieces are direct interchanges with other similar (or not so similar) "corporate" offerings. As an example, a Plymouth Satellite four-door sedan can supply a host of goodies for your Hemi Road Runner project. Items like suspension pieces, electrical components, some transmission components and even certain trim parts and myriad accessory or RPO components are virtually identical. Best of all, even the rarest of the rare can benefit from this inexpensive interchange. The only major difference is the price - salvage yard "recycled" parts are certainly cheaper for a four-door sedan than they are for a more desirable example. So how in the world do you know which parts interchange and which don't? The big parts are by far the easiest. A company called Hollander provides huge manuals to wrecking yards that outline the various interchanges between respective marques. Hollander manuals are typically four inches thick and include information on all "hard" parts including identification of those components. Little items such as trim pieces are not included, but a careful scrounge of likely similar corporate vehicles at a salvage yard can easily turn up the small parts. If you step up and buy a Hollander for your vintage car project, consider the 1964-1974 issue, Volumes 1 and 2. This is an expensive package, but the dollars saved during the restoration will be well worth the expense. Naturally, Hollanders are also available for other model years. If the high price scares you off, try searching for a used "41st Auto-Truck Interchange Edition" (like the one shown in the accompanying photos). It covers domestic vehicles from 1965 to 1975, and as a result will encompass all brands of that era. Where do you find used Hollanders? Your local wrecking yards are good bets. Many yards do little or no business in "vintage" iron. As a result, they sometimes throw away the "antique" versions of the book. By the way, the Hollander Interchange Manual is considered the "bible" of the dismantling business. Any reputable wrecker (“recycler”) will know what you're talking about. To anyone reading this, I’m pretty sure we can agree that a car is more than the sum of its parts. There are standard methods to repair, remove and replace components for a given car. Mess up the procedure and it might end up costing you a lot of extra money. Obviously a lot of different repair parts may be required (depending upon the project) and there are a lot of interchanges available for parts. That’s why the manuals mentioned here are critical. For a closer look, check out the accompanying photos:

Evaluating Your Project Car Part 4

Click Here to Begin Slideshow

OK. You’ve found the project car, evaluated it and relocated it to where you need it to be. Now what? The basic evaluation should have pointed to the weak spots of the car, and obviously you’ll need to address them. As you dig into the car, the parts you need will quickly become apparent. But first things first: You should gather up reference material for your build. That way, you’ll have information on hand to figure out how to fix stuff and simultaneously determine what’s available for replacement parts and what it all costs.

When it comes to information, you’ll never get enough. The reality is, if you're armed with information on restoration, the work will proceed in a much smoother fashion. But what factory information should you get?

Once you've bitten the bullet and decide to build a car, the very first order of business is to accumulate information, and lots of it. You need to arm yourself with a selection of resource books, factory service publications and, just as important, catalogs from the various restoration supply companies. Knowledge of your particular vehicle is one thing, but when it comes time to disassemble a specific component, restore it and then reassemble it, you'll often require more than a knack with hand tools. Before one screw or bolt is loosened on your car, I strongly urge you to follow the accompanying advice. You have to gain knowledge and find information sources. Because of that, do yourself a favor and purchase (or scrounge where necessary) the publications noted below. FYI, I used Chevys as the basis, because that’s what I had. Other GM products, Ford and Mopar have the same resources, but sometimes different names. And you can even get similar info for much older (as in twenties through the fifties) automobiles and light trucks.

Factory Service Manual…

Chevrolet printed factory service manuals each model year of the Chevrolet passenger car(s) - Corvettes included. They're not what you might consider easy or light reading, but they do deal with minor service procedures, vehicle maintenance and component adjustment. In addition, they show the correct way to remove and replace various components and sub-assemblies. The Service Manuals cover all Chevrolet passenger cars and Corvettes (but no trucks, light duty or otherwise). Illustrations and re-touched photographs fill the publication, as do descriptions of special tools required for various jobs. Corvette body adjustment and service is included in a special section of these manuals. The "body" section deals with things like weather-stripping, lock adjustment, door settings, interior parts and myriad other items unique to the ‘Vette. In short, these books are immensely helpful when it comes time to disassemble and reassemble specific areas of the vehicle.

Factory Overhaul Manual…

In GM Land, the Overhaul Manual takes over where the Service Manual stops (Mopars, for example, had one manual that combined Service and Overhaul operations). It details the repair and replacement of major components. While the Service Manual deals with minor repairs, this book examines the down and dirty hard jobs. This manual is designed to be used in conjunction with the Service Manual, and like the other publication, it deals with all passenger cars and Corvettes. It is profusely illustrated and like the Service Manual, it's a "must have." Add one to your shopping list, or check your library network to see if it’s available there. It's next to impossible to perform a restoration without one of these.

Body Service Manual…

GM had special manuals covering topics that were not examined in either the Service or Overhaul publications. This one looks at all North American-built GM passenger cars (except the Corvette) and features important topics such as trim removal, sheet metal and body part adjustment, as well as soft-trim service. The Fisher Body Service Manual details operations that will leave you scratching your head. For example, the General may have included one type of molding clip on all vehicles. This manual will tell you how to remove and replace that clip. It might be generic, but it does show how the task is done. And once you're knee-deep in the restoration, you'll be glad you’ve got one of these manuals. FYI, Fisher Body Service Manuals for a given year cover all passenger cars (Chevrolet-Pontiac-Olds-Buick-Cadillac).

Assembly Instruction Manual…

Reprinted Assembly Instruction Manuals, or "AIMs," are available for almost all older automobiles (some light trucks too). These are the manuals used on the assembly line during the actual vehicle construction. The GM ones are printed in a loose-leaf format and feature large, sometimes exploded drawings of all components and sub-assemblies that are pieced together during the manufacturing process. These drawings show where the parts go and how they go together. Part numbers are included, but I should point out that these are production numbers, not service (replacement or dealership parts department) numbers. As a result, the part numbers shown are sometimes unavailable, though of course, there are also numerous situations where the parts are readily available from the vehicle manufacture. In addition to the above, the AIM will show you where and how components are glued together. They also show correct fastener installation, proper clamp location and orientation and the correct location of pierced holes, along with ride height specifics. Production options are included, along with correct location mounting points and special torque specifications for almost all parts of the automobile.

The AIM is broken down into two parts. The first part covers approximately one dozen basic assembly areas ranging from labels to stickers to complete electrical installation. This portion of the Assembly Instruction Manual in called the "Uniform Parts Classification." Following the UPC section is the RPO or "Regular Production Option" portion of the book. As expected, this part of the publication is devoted to optional equipment. Even canceled options are listed in the book, along with the dates of cancellation and other updates. Find one. This could be the most important reference book you’ll ever have for your project.

Factory (OEM) Parts Catalog…

Reprints of vintage parts catalogs are readily available if you do a bit of digging. Ditto with vintage original copies. These catalogs not only list the part numbers for various components - they also feature blow-up illustrations of various components. If you’re dealing with, say, a 1970 Chevelle, then one of the best bets as far as parts catalogs are concerned are the reprinted 1971 versions (if your Chevrolet is a '71 or older model). They cover all years of Chevrolets through to '71 and as luck would have it, some of the numbers found inside are still "good." Obviously, many part numbers will be discontinued while others have been changed up in the past decades. But by using this catalog, you can at least inquire about the status of a given part at your local bow tie store.

Hollander Interchange Manual…

Scrounging parts for your car can sometimes seem like an impossible dream. Fortunately, many pieces are direct interchanges with other similar (or not so similar) "corporate" offerings. As an example, a Plymouth Satellite four-door sedan can supply a host of goodies for your Hemi Road Runner project. Items like suspension pieces, electrical components, some transmission components and even certain trim parts and myriad accessory or RPO components are virtually identical. Best of all, even the rarest of the rare can benefit from this inexpensive interchange. The only major difference is the price - salvage yard "recycled" parts are certainly cheaper for a four-door sedan than they are for a more desirable example.

So how in the world do you know which parts interchange and which don't? The big parts are by far the easiest. A company called Hollander provides huge manuals to wrecking yards that outline the various interchanges between respective marques. Hollander manuals are typically four inches thick and include information on all "hard" parts including identification of those components. Little items such as trim pieces are not included, but a careful scrounge of likely similar corporate vehicles at a salvage yard can easily turn up the small parts.

If you step up and buy a Hollander for your vintage car project, consider the 1964-1974 issue, Volumes 1 and 2. This is an expensive package, but the dollars saved during the restoration will be well worth the expense. Naturally, Hollanders are also available for other model years.

If the high price scares you off, try searching for a used "41st Auto-Truck Interchange Edition" (like the one shown in the accompanying photos). It covers domestic vehicles from 1965 to 1975, and as a result will encompass all brands of that era. Where do you find used Hollanders? Your local wrecking yards are good bets. Many yards do little or no business in "vintage" iron. As a result, they sometimes throw away the "antique" versions of the book. By the way, the Hollander Interchange Manual is considered the "bible" of the dismantling business. Any reputable wrecker (“recycler”) will know what you're talking about.

To anyone reading this, I’m pretty sure we can agree that a car is more than the sum of its parts. There are standard methods to repair, remove and replace components for a given car. Mess up the procedure and it might end up costing you a lot of extra money. Obviously a lot of different repair parts may be required (depending upon the project) and there are a lot of interchanges available for parts. That’s why the manuals mentioned here are critical. For a closer look, check out the accompanying photos:

Evaluating Your Project Car Part 4 1

Tearing a car apart is easy. Getting it right and putting it back again is another story. You need more than the internet to do this, and that’s why factory manuals are critical.

Evaluating Your Project Car Part 4 2

As pointed out in the text, factory service manuals are invaluable. You can find them used or, in many cases, you can still purchase them new or as reprints. Some manuals are available from library networks. In the case of GM products, the Service Manual only covered part of the repair process.

Evaluating Your Project Car Part 4 3

This book handled the other part of the mechanical repair process for many vintage GM products: The Overhaul Manual. Copies of these books are readily available too.

Evaluating Your Project Car Part 4 4

This is a GM Fisher Body manual. As noted in the text, it covers a wide range of body shell and trim repairs. One Fisher manual for a given year typically covered all GM passenger cars (it wasn’t brand dependent).

Evaluating Your Project Car Part 4 5

The Assembly Instruction Manual is something GM used on the assembly line. It’s very useful in that it shows how a specific car platform was originally built. You can also buy these from specialty parts suppliers. More info in the text.

Evaluating Your Project Car Part 4 6

Factory parts manuals are important too. Obviously, the part numbers won’t be good for old cars, but they’re invaluable when it comes to repairs due to the many blown apart illustrations.

Evaluating Your Project Car Part 4 7

This dog-eared tome is a Hollander interchange manual. As noted in the text, Hollanders were once the bible of wrecking yards.

Evaluating Your Project Car Part 4 8

The major purpose was to show what parts interchanged between vehicles. Some of the interchanges between vehicles might surprise you!

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