I’m glad to report that, after taking about a year off from my Corvette Restoration project to work on other projects, progress is being made on the Corvette once again!
In the last update the engine bay wiring and plumbing work was completed in preparation for lowering the body onto the chassis for the last time. With that effort complete my attention turned to preparing the chassis. To begin the chassis received a good bath before the engine and transmission were carefully lowered into place.
Once the engine and transmission were in and bolted securely to the chassis, the shift linkage was installed and adjusted to assure smooth shifting. The adjustment procedure for the shift linkage can be found in the Corvette Assembly Instruction Manual, a must-have for anyone restoring a Corvette!
Next a few miscellaneous components were installed. Installing these parts is a lot easier without the body in the way. First was a new high-torque starter.
Next the headers were installed. After doing a fair bit of research I decided on a set of copper header gaskets. These should provide good sealing and long-term performance.
With the headers loosely hanging in place by just two bolts, one at each end, the gaskets were slipped into place and the remaining bolts installed and tightened to manufacturer specifications.
With the headers in place it was time to install the rest of the exhaust system. I was able to find a great deal on a used but never installed stainless steel dual exhaust system so I set to work getting that installed. Because the stock system was manufactured to work with stock headers a bit of custom fabrication was needed to match the headers into the exhaust.
A fair bit of cutting and welding was required but, eventually, the system came together. The mufflers have been left off for the time being. I’m waiting to order mufflers until the body has been installed. This will allow me to take some measurements before buying mufflers and ensure the exhaust tips are properly located within the rear valence panel.
After installing the exhaust the clutch cross shaft assembly was cleaned up and a rebuilt kit installed before bolting it back to the chassis.
While painting the cross shaft some excess paint got inside where the ball stud fits. In addition, there was also some old rust and debris in this area. All of this was causing the ball stud to bind up a bit so a quick cleaning with a Dremel tool was completed to ensure smooth operation.
With the cross shaft prepared a new plastic seat was installed for the ball stud…
The frame-side ball stud was greased and installed…
Followed by the second half of the plastic seat.
The assembly was tapped lightly with a hammer to verify it was properly seated and the locking ring was installed to hold the ball stud assembly in place.
Next a new felt seal was put in place over the end of the frame-side ball stud…
and the entire assembly was bolted into place. Note that the engine-side ball stud had already been bolted into place shortly after the engine rebuilt was finished.
With the clutch cross shaft bolted in place and torqued to manufacturers specifications my focus shifted slightly. The transmission tunnel insulation that had been on backorder for a while finally arrived so I set to work installing it.
Installing the tunnel insulation was quite easy. There are several steel clips riveted to the underside of the body. The insulation is simply pressed into place and the clips folded over to secure the insulation.
Next on my list of random punch list items was to install and tighten the torque bar bolts for the suspension system. I had tried installing these quite some time ago but, without the weight of the engine on the chassis, the suspension was not compressed enough to install the bolts. Now that the engine was in place installing the torque bar bolts was a breeze.
And here it is – the fully completed rolling chassis ready to receive the body. I did take a bit of time and verified all bolts were properly installed and torqued. It was a pain since it took a while to research and verify each bolts torque specifications, but I figured this an important step before dropping the body.
As you can see in the photo below the driveshaft was not installed when I initially dropped the body. This was a major oversight on my part since you can’t install the driveshaft with the body on unless you remove the rear differential. Not cool. Needless to say I ended up having to lift the body a few inches of the chassis so the driveshaft could be installed.
With the chassis ready to go the body was lifted off the body dolly using my lifting frame. More information on this lifting frame can be found by downloading the body lifting rack plans I developed. After the body was lifted high enough to clear the gas tank the chassis was rolled into place and positioned beneath the body. After the body mount shims were installed the process of lowering the body into place was started.
The body was then slowly lowered into place. Every few inches a walk-around was completed to check for conflicts and verify the body mounts on the chassis and body were properly aligned.
And here it is. The body and chassis back together once again! This is a major milestone since it means that my project is now taking up only half of the garage! My wife quickly reclaimed her parking space and I set to work installing and tightening the body mount bolts.
Now that the body and chassis are back together my next area of focus will be on rewiring the interior, installing the windshield and various interior components and, finally, body work and painting. If luck is with me this summer I may even been able to take the Corvette for a spin! I don’t expect it will be painted by the fall, but at least it’ll be drivable! If you have any questions about this update please feel free to post them on the Corvette Restoration Forum! You can also Like this project on Facebook to receive the latest news regarding project developments, updates, and progress.