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t25torx Dork
4/5/18 10:51 p.m.

Alright ladies and gents, this project has been a long time coming and my delays on getting started on this project have probably cost me money. But with moving back to my home state and starting a new job, then starting another new job, things have been a little hectic. So I hope the following content will sate your appetite for fresh content, on a slightly higher budget this time than my usual projects.

The last time I left you I had just finished and sold my Ragtop Rehab project, that was the 4th project car for me that I was able to buy, fix, drive, then sell and still make a profit on. That car was actually purchased after I already had the Vette in my possession. But I digress. As they say, there's no time like the present, so on with the show.

I found this car being sold on Craigslist about 6 hours away from me when I lived in south Florida, for the price he had it listed it, I was sure it would be sold within 30 minutes of him listing it. But lo and behold seems no one had the cash to buy it, so I hitched up the trailer and took off the next day to get it. The back story was it was a bank repossession that he picked up at a local auction. It's pretty clear that the previous owner was living a little above his means, having a Corvette on a Civic budget, and the car certainly not better for it.

The day I drug her home.

As you can see, the exterior is in terrible shape. All the panels are wrapped in vinyl wrap and then I guess he got tired of the white, so it's all been spray painted matte gunmetal metallic. overspray is everywhere on this thing. Plasti-dipped wheels, front fenders cut for the "custom" exhaust. The drivers window was busted out by the repo man. It's a mess.

Inside is actually in real nice shape, aside from needing a new radio, and some new paint on the silver trim pieces. The black leather seats are in good shape and so is the dash and other plastic.

Mechanically it needs work. The engine runs, and runs good. The transmission, eh, not so well. It won't stay in 1st or 2nd gears, it might be that the linkage needs adjustment, or could be a bad transmission. We'll see. Also, it's a Z51 package car so it has some redeeming qualities.

After it's trip to the new home in TN it sat outside over the first winter. Which was when I go the Mustang as my daily, so when it warmed up, all my project time went into that car. I move it indoors a couple months back to start work on it, that turned out to be a mistake. A few bad decisions on my part with an extension cord and unsecured shelving, led to this.

Just great. I was able to find a replacement for not as much as I figured, only $250, it's even got a black frame. The problem is it's in Ft. Myers. You know, the Ft. Myers I just moved from, oh well. I have a friend who was willing to pick it up and it's resting at his house right now, till he either comes up here or I go visit him.

One of the first things I did to the car was replace the drivers window, no matter how many layers of plastic and tape I had over the hole it left, it seems rain would find a way in.

I found a good used panel on eBay, free shipping and was tinted like the passenger side, sold!

A couple screws behind this panel and some real hard pulling will have the panel off. The plastic clips are super strong so a lot of force is needed, it felt like I was breaking the door, but it finally relented and came off.

A few more bolts and I had the motor and tracks free from the door. The connector for the motor gave me the biggest fight. It's one of those pry and slide out all at the same time clips, it's just hard to get at while in the cramped door space.

I cleaned up the glass int he bottom of the door, and also in the little pads that grip the window for the tracks.

I thought I had a bad motor at first when the window wouldn't go up. But after some reading on the Vette forums it seems you have to close the door and index the window with the door closed after reconnecting the battery. It won't work with the door open at all until it's indexed. If you don't have the door panel on all the way it can be a bear to get done. But I managed.

The window has the little drop down after you pull the handle, and closes once the door is shut, so getting that set on the first attempt was a pleasant surprise.

With one window fixed I moved to the other now bad window and removed it and cleaned up the mess.

I started work on removing all the bad bodywork up front. This was a twofold need. One being they were trashed and needed to be replaced, secondly they were in the way of me replacing the radiator, which had been busted by the PO.

So up on jack stands it went. The hood was an easy 4 bolts, and being fiberglass was very light and easy to handle once removed.

With the hood out of the way I could see what I was up against to remove the trashed radiator. I also got a better look at the aftermarket cold air setup. It's a decent $300 unit called the Snake Charmer, made by Vararam. The reviews on it seem decent and indicate it does add some HP, so it will stay when it all goes back together.

I'll have to get some new foam sealing material for it though as this stuff is shot. Guess I left the car outside not moving for a little while.

The only thing holding the lower section in was a couple Allen head screws, no lock washers or anything meant it was very loose.

In trying to get the radiator out after I removed the intake I found that it was attached to the front bumper lower grill piece. That ment the whole front bumper had to come off. which meant the fenders had to come off at this point.

These inner fender liners are shot and will need replacing.

With the fenders loose and the inner fender liners removed the front bumper came off with a couple more bolts and some clips.

The fenders where missing about 2/3rds of the screws so those came off easy enough.

This one had a surprise inside for me. Thankfully abandoned by it's previous tenants.

With all the body panels out of the way. I was able to start on the radiator removal. On the C6 there is an aluminum support frame for the radiator. On this car the only thing left of it were the mounting ears bolted tot he frame still. Apparently the only reasonable thing to do to hold up a vital cooling component was to grab a coat hanger and come up with this crap.

The view from below, no support in sight.

With the hoses disconnected I pulled it free from the car. I wasn't expecting such carnage of the fan unit, just another part to order I guess. Suprisingly the A/C condenser was undamaged and still sealed, albeit a little warped, but that can be fixed easy enough.

I'm nto sure if this is the rear end or the transmission cooling lines, but I guess the radiator was leaking the oil out so someone just looped the lines together.

That's it for the thrashing so far. I've been ordering parts like a mad man, and will have more updates coming, going to try and keep my momentum going on this one. I thought it might be fun to see if I can get it in a drivable state before The Mitty and take it down there.. Not sure what I'll do about the rear glass though.

Mezzanine Dork
4/6/18 10:54 a.m.

Wow. This poor car.


Good luck - you've got a very successful track record, and I can't wait to see what you do with this one.

Patrick MegaDork
4/6/18 12:39 p.m.

At first I thought “who would do this to a c6?”

then i figured the kind of person that gets a c6 repo’ed does this to a c6

DjGreggieP Reader
4/6/18 12:46 p.m.

All these threads are making it hard not to go searching for a cheap beat up Corvette of some vintage... I can't wait to see how this turns out!

SlimShady218 New Reader
4/6/18 1:30 p.m.

I've got to admit, this whole concept of fixing and flipping cars is a bit of a foreign concept to me, and I find it fascinating.  I'm following along, if for no other reason than I was born and raised in Ft. Myers, FL and currently live in Middle TN.  Carry on, I'm looking forward to seeing how this turns out.

Lof8 Dork
4/6/18 1:36 p.m.

How much did you buy it for?

eastsideTim UltraDork
4/6/18 1:45 p.m.

Good on you for bringing this back from the brink.  I really like C6 Vettes, and had not realized their prices had already hit “Bubba” territory.

t25torx Dork
4/6/18 3:06 p.m.

Here's the cost sheet on the car so far. I think I have almost all the big ticket items purchased.

I still have the interior parts to buy, the radio is missing, and so are the mirrors from the sunvisors oddly enough. The starter button and the door push buttons are also worn down and could use new ones.

rkteal New Reader
4/6/18 4:12 p.m.

Dang. This has my interest and is a project I would enjoy taking on with a C5/C6. 

Not that it matters but how many miles are on this car? 

java230 UltraDork
4/6/18 4:35 p.m.

Awesome, following along! 

docwyte SuperDork
4/6/18 5:15 p.m.

Was wondering what happened to this car, I remember when you bought it.  Can't wait to see the transformation

NOHOME UltimaDork
4/6/18 7:30 p.m.

More vision than I would have for this particular car. Subscribed.

spandak Reader
4/6/18 7:52 p.m.

Very interesting. I’m excited to follow this one!

I too was a resident of Ft Myers at one time. 

t25torx Dork
5/24/18 4:02 p.m.

And we're back. A few dollars poorer and a lot of parts richer. Lets dig in where I left off.

After getting a better idea of the parts needed for the front I purchased a new radiator and a new fan assembly. I also had to buy a new lower radiator subframe/support as the only remnants of the old one were a few scraps of aluminum still bolted ot the frame, see below.

Here's the shiny new support. It was not cheap, but it looks easy enough to fabricate, I imagine one could make a beefier unit for cheap and make some bank on selling them. It seems these are always getting broke judging by all the posts on the Vette forums.

4 bolts and it's in. I had to order a couple more of these rubber isolators as the old ones were not still on the radiator.

Shiny new radiator  here.

I ran into a slight issue with the new fan unit. The wires leading to the fan where not long enough for where the fan control box was supposed to go.

A little extra wire, solder and heat shrink got it the slack I needed.

The fan assembly slides into clips on the radiator end tanks, I affixed it to those and made ready to install it into the car.

The unit went in smoothly, the install did make it clear I need to get some real hose clamp pliers and stop using channel locks that slip off the clamp too often. the other issue I ran into was the A/C condenser lines where hitting the end tank and it wouldn't slot into place on the new radiator. I managed to get them bent just enough to slide t into the clips in the end.

The last little bits to hook up where the oil and transmission cooler lines. The trans lines went in fine, but I ran into a major issue with the oil lines after I removed the hose that was looping them together. Some doofus had cut the lower oil line off and it would no longer clip into the radiator. Sigh.. off to eBay and another week of waiting on parts.

The oil lines showed up a few days later and I was able to get them installed. Though I did manage to break a bolt off in the block during this process. Thankfully being an aluminum block and the bolt being steel, I was able to stack some tack welds onto the end of the bolt to get it protruding just enough to get some vise grips on it and back it out. The next part is where the real fun begins

AngryCorvair MegaDork
5/24/18 5:03 p.m.

I'm waiting...

t25torx Dork
5/24/18 9:34 p.m.

Well wait no longer!

Okay maybe a little longer. As I stated in my first post, when I went to go test drive the car before purchasing it, the car started out fine but about 200 feet into the test drive the transmission popped out of first and just would not go back in and stay there. 2nd gear was also a little.. crunchy. So my first thoughts were that maybe the transmission oil was low after the radiator mishap, and there's also some adjustments you can do to the shifter on these cars. We negotiated some money off, as he had advertised the running gear to be in great shape. So I hoped for the best, but planned for the worst and bought a used T56 off craigslist that popped up for $750, about half what most units on eBay were going for. Turns out no one wants to buy the Vette T56 since it's only good for that car, so the guy had just sat on the transmission for about 8 years.

After getting the radiator and all the lines hooked up, I went to top off the transmission  and made sure the car was level, well as soon as I opened the fill plug a bunch of trans fluid came out, I guess they didn't make sure the car was level the last time they filled it and overfilled it. So I went ahead and drained the whole thing and filled it to spec with new ATF. Then using the directions on the forums, I adjusted the shift linkage, backed her out and put it into first. Fingers crossed, it immediately popped back out.. oh well, so much for wishful thinking. Time to go to plan B, transmission R&R time.

So I got her back up in the air and drained all the new ATF into a clean container to be put back in later.

Mmm ATF Ice Cream.

Now the first step to this would normally be to remove the exhaust, but since mine is already missing I could skip to the next part. For the drivers side you can remove the caliper and hang it up out of the way. Then remove the wiring to the ABS sensor and the handbrake cable, feeding those back through the rear cradle. The upper A-arm bolts can come out next along with the upper shock bolts. Grab a pry bar and pop the axle out of the differential.

The passenger side caliper doesn't need to be removed. The hard line for the caliper is attached to the cradle and would be in the way if you left it on the car. So disconnect the hardline from the passenger side and cap it off to keep fluid spots to a minimum.

Again take out the upper A-arm bolts and the shock bolts. Remove the emergency brake cable and the ABS sensor wiring.

Now I could pop the other axle out and start removing the four differential bolts holding it to the cradle.

Place a jack stand or a transmission jack under the transmission. Start backing out the cradle bolts, the Vette forums say don't use an impact for this part or you'll screw up the captive bolts. I loosened all of them up and remove the front two. I placed my floor jack and some wood under it to help spread the load out, then took the last two bolts holding the cradle to the car. Then I lowered it down, making sure to watch for hung cables or wiring.

Pretty soon it was out.

I had to put the other rotor on to balance the weight on the jack.

There it is. The rear suspension from a 2005 Corvette.

With the suspension out of the way I drained the rear diff, then removed the four obvious bolts, tried to pull ti out but it wouldn't budge. I gave it a more thorough look over and found a nut hidden in a little cutout area. After removing that last nut, the unit slid off pretty easily, and was set aside.

The transmission is held on with 8 bolts, pretty easy to get to at this point with everything out of the way. I removed the transmission cooler hard lines, and removed the bolts. I also removed the shift linkage rod from the shifter in the car. You can't get to the linkage on the transmission side while it's in the car.

The transmission should just pull off at this point. But nothing is ever that easy, I got it to move about 1cm on the passenger side but the trans would not separate from the torque tube on the drivers side. There are two steel location pins on the torque tube and the drivers side was nice and corroded. So I heated it up, sprayed it down with lube and tried again. No luck. The next resort was more force. So I hooked up some ratchet straps around the rear bumper and started cranking down on them, I got the passenger side to move a little more but still no luck no the drivers side. With the strap tight, I took a dead blow hammer and hit around the pin. This finally caused it to separate and I was able to remove the trans easily after that.

There is a roll pin under this rubber boot that I had to remove to swap the shifter rod out.

Then as they say in the books, "Installation is the reverse of removal". Things went good on the reinstall, the only real hassle is getting the passenger side transmission cooler line clipped back into place. The connection is up in the torque tube so I had to use locking surgical forceps to hold the clip while I got it aligned into place, that was the longest single part of the reinstall.

After getting all the hard parts torqued down, clipped in, and plugged up I had my wife assist me in bleeding the caliper I had to detach. Fluids for the the diff went in next. I used the GM spec fluid. This is the new formulation with the LSD addative built in, it's supposed to cut the rear end noise down a lot compared ot the original fluid specced for the car.

The Chevron ATF went back into the transmission.

Followed by filling the new radiator up with a mix of G05 and Distilled water. I went with the G05 as it's supposed to be compatible with Dexcool and old green fluids. Not know what the previous owner had in it I figured it was the safe bet.

With a weekends worth of work completed it was again the moment of truth. But that will have to wait.

maj75 HalfDork
5/25/18 6:43 p.m.

Was that thing underwater or left parked on Ft Meyers Beach?  That a lot of corrosion under there.  I’ve got a C5 that’s lived in Florida all its life and it’s pristine underneath.

t25torx Dork
8/13/18 10:10 p.m.

Good evening all, time to bring this one back up now that I've actually gotten off my butt and started working on the car again.

When I left off last time I think I was stalled by some missing parts. Most notably the rear exhaust hangers for the H-pipe and the mufflers. It took a while, but those finally arrived. While I was waiting on those to arrive I removed the wheels and had the old tires removed. I wanted to strip off all the black paint before getting the new tires mounted up. I was figuring on repainting the wheels the factory bright silver but a pleasant surprise was waiting for me under the paint that may keep me from doing that.

I also took the time while it was immobilized to replace a faulty oil pressure sensor, how do I know it was faulty? Well the last time I took the car out the oil pressure needle was pegged at 120psi, which I know is not the case. Getting to the sensor is not the easiest so I don't have any pics, but you have to magic a socket under the cowl area and then somehow magic the new sensor in, unless you want to remove the intake manifold, which I did not want to do. So I got out my wand.. err. wobble sockets and an extension and made the magic happen.

I also replaced the coolant temp sensor for good measure while I was at it. It's on the side of the block and was an easy replacement.

With those procedures done, and the car up in the air I started removing the old exhaust system to get ready for the new stuff. The old exhaust came out easy enough, but I did end up chasing some threads ont he rusty studs to make the install a little easier.

Y'all remember these ugly things? Well they won't be around for much longer.

4 bolts and both sides were out.

That's some high quality exhaust work right there...

The used exhaust system I got was missing the rear O2 sensors after the cats, so a couple of Denso units were ordered and installed.

With the new rear hangers in hand I went under the rear and got the mufflers installed. I could not find the rubber parts by themselves for the mufflers so i had to resort to some aftermarket universal units. With some cutting I got them to work like I needed. The OEM units were a little pricey at $30 a piece, and you need 4 of them. so for $9 I can live with these.

I took a sharp box cutter and removed this little nub.

This allowed me to stretch them over the factory hangers that were left on the car.

With those ready I installed them on the mufflers and got them bolted up.

I still need to connect the H-Pipe to them, this seems like it's going to be a bit of a pain, so I'm leaving that till the next round of work.

The other thing I needed to start on was stripping the wheels and getting them ready for the new rubber. I bought a can of spray aircraft stripper from Advanced, as it was the only thing they had. At $13 with tax I'm not going to do that again, since it would seem a can only does one wheel. I'll get a gallon jug at a different store next time. Besides being expensive though, the stuff worked a treat.

Here's what I was starting out with.

Here's the stripper going to work.

It took a couple of rounds but I finally got all the paint off. Then I went to sanding the rough curbing marks to smooth them out some. I had to be careful though, because I didn't want to scratch the wheels too bad, as it turns out they were apparently either chrome or polished aluminum from the factory, and if I can get them allt o come out as nice as this one then I'll be sticking wth the polished finish you see here.

They will need to be clear coated to keep them from oxidizing as the stripper peeled any clear coat they had off them.

Well that's it for tonight. If the weather is nice I'll be at it again tomorrow night.


docwyte SuperDork
8/14/18 8:28 a.m.

The wheel looks great!

t25torx Dork
8/16/18 6:54 p.m.

One step forward, two steps back. I got the Exhaust all connected and clamped tight. It's nice to be able to start the car and not wake the dead. All that appears to be sorted. But I noticed that the oil pressure wasn't going up, so I thought maybe the new sensor was defective out of the box. The old sensor read 120PSI pegged, so I knew it was bad. I took the old sensor and made an adapter for the oil pressure gauge kit I got from HF on the way home today. Hooked it all up and started it up, 0psi, it'll go up to 10psi if I rev it a little. Not good. So looks like I'm doing an oil pump. I can only imagine how much fun this is going to be given the cramped engine bay.

Going to order a Melling high flow unit to be on the safe side. Anything else I should do while the front timing cover is off?

Dead_Sled Reader
8/16/18 7:59 p.m.

In reply to t25torx :

Atleast it sounds like you caught it before it spun a bearing!

AngryCorvair MegaDork
8/16/18 8:35 p.m.

In reply to t25torx :

Any chance there's a pressure bypass valve that's borked?  Or is oil pump failure common on the LS2?

t25torx Dork
8/17/18 7:51 a.m.

In reply to AngryCorvair :

Well the relief valve is in the oil pump on these, so if it is then I'm still tearing off the front of the engine, and at that point I might as well replace the oil pump. I will try a different oil filter tonight though and see if maybe by some miracle that is what is causing the low pressure.

AngryCorvair MegaDork
8/17/18 9:41 a.m.

In reply to t25torx :

or you could be like my sister and assume the gauge is bad since "it drops to zero when i go around corners."   i think she's adopted.

t25torx Dork
8/17/18 1:55 p.m.

In reply to AngryCorvair :

lol I had a 97 Celica that would only show the low oil light on hard cornering laugh That thing burned oil like crazy, but no blue smoke or puddles under it, it just disappeared.

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