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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Last year I bought a 1957 Chevy BelAir 2-door sedan (post).
I always liked the look and lines of the 57 and I think it looks sleek just standing still.
Also been an old time Chevy guy. (gotta love the small block V-8).

Cosmetically the car looked great and ran pretty well when I test drove it. But after buying the car I started to realize that the previous owner cared more about how the car looked, than how well it functioned or how reliable it was. So I ended up with quite a few projects. Therefore, I thought I would start a project thread.

I wasn’t looking a show car, but I wanted a car that would be reliable and functional.

Here is a photo on the day I brought it home.

Car Wheel Tire Vehicle Vehicle registration plate


The previous owner told me that the engine was a 1967 Chevy small block and the 4-speed manual transmission was a T-10. Also in his ad, the previous owner listed the rear end gears as 3:83. Well it turns out the previous owner was incorrect on a few things.

After getting the numbers off the engine block and the transmission . . . . and doing a little research (thank goodness for the internet) . . . . . I determined the engine is a 1973 Chevy 350 c.i. small block from a pickup truck and the transmission is a 1976 Borg-Warner Super T-10 (aluminum case). The bell housing appears to be from a 1970 Chevy pickup.

I also determined the rear end gears were 3:73
 

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Cant alway take what the previous owner thinks he has, good research like you did goes a long way, car looks fantastic what are you thinking of improving or changing.
 

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Not sure there's much difference between the 67 SBC and the 73. I believe both have left hand dipsticks and 2-piece rear mains. I'd be more upset if he said it was a 4-bolt main and it was actually a 2 bolt. The gears wouldn't be a big deal to me. I'd look into the heads. If they're stock iron heads, that's a good place to start for performance. So, what are your performance goals?
 

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1957 2 door 210 Delray Club Coupe with 1973 corvette 350 and turbo 350 automatic transmission
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i have done same thing was told 1970 sbc but it was 1973 =different plugs it does make a difference. i would change all fluids and keep records of your work. Keep all receipts too
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
After buying the car, the previous owner let me use his license plate to drive the car to my house. Thinking back on it now, I probably should have put the car on a flat bed or trailer to transport to my house. If anything had happened on the drive to my house . . . the previous owner had my money and would have been able to collect on the insurance. Oh well, live & learn.

Also, if I had realized more about some of the issues with the car . . . . I probably wouldn't have driven it.

For example, when I got the car to my house, I realized that the battery in the engine compartment wasn't strapped down at all. Even worse, the battery's positive (+) post of the battery was pointing towards the front of the car and the positive (+) post was about 1 inch from the radiator support (which is grounded). If the battery had lunged forward while braking hard,, the positive (+) post could have shorted to the grounded frame . . . . which can be very dangerous.

Many, many years ago I was in close proximity to a 12V lead acid battery that exploded under the hood of a car because it shorted out. It sounded like a bomb going off. After it happened, we opened the hood and half the battery case was missing and all the plates were exposed.
 

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From the pic, looks Good from this angle. some of the claims you mentioned may not have been accurate, but if that's the least of your findings, the small stuff you can fix. And we're all here to help. Good Luck and keep us posted.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
After getting the car home I also noticed that the positive (+) lead battery cable going down to the starter was swaying around (i.e. not secured and restrained) and could have easily touched the headers. So had to take care of that with thermal insulation and a safer route down to the starter, along with a new battery cable.

Many years ago, a friend of mine had a 68 Camaro which had a positive (+) battery cable that was not fully restrained. The positive (+) cable ended up touching the headers while he was driving the car and the insulation on the cable melted away. The cable shorted and the battery exploded.

Check to make sure there is no possibility of your positive battery cable (going down to the starter) coming into contact with the headers. Bad things can happen.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Not sure there's much difference between the 67 SBC and the 73. I believe both have left hand dipsticks and 2-piece rear mains. I'd be more upset if he said it was a 4-bolt main and it was actually a 2 bolt. The gears wouldn't be a big deal to me. I'd look into the heads. If they're stock iron heads, that's a good place to start for performance. So, what are your performance goals?
Right now, my goals are reliability and having everything safe and functional.
At some point I would like to put in a 425 hp Chevy small block 383 stroker with a TH350 tranny. But that is in the future for now..
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
From the pic, looks Good from this angle. some of the claims you mentioned may not have been accurate, but if that's the least of your findings, the small stuff you can fix. And we're all here to help. Good Luck and keep us posted.
I have learned that looks can be deceiving. More to come. Nothing that can't be fixed with time and money.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
So after only owning the car about a week . . . . . .during one of my first rides taking the car out with the wife, the car breaks down about 10 miles from the house. Talk about embarrassing!

When I opened the hood, gasoline was pouring out of the carb . . . . and I didn't even have a fire extinguisher. Good thing the gasoline didn't hit the hot headers.

Here is a photo of the car being put on a flat bed for the ride home.
Tire Wheel Car Land vehicle Vehicle
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
After getting the car towed home, I concluded that the carb was most likely flooding out from either debris in the carb keeping the needle valve open or the electric fuel pump installed by the previous owner was providing too much fuel pressure, overwhelming the needle valve.
The previous owner had installed a Carter P4594 electric fuel pump. The Carter P4594 fuel pump is rated up to 7 psi which is at the high end of the recommended inlet pressure of the Holley 4160 4-barrel carb on the engine.

To make sure the Carter fuel pump wasn't malfunctioning, I replaced it with a new unit.

To make sure that excessive fuel pressure was not the issue, I decided to install a Holley 12-840 fuel pressure regulator and mounted it to the inner front passenger fender. I set the outlet pressure on the regulator to approximately 3 psi. Added a couple of fuel filters upstream and downstream of the fuel pressure regulator as well.

Motor vehicle Automotive tire Automotive lighting Hood Automotive exterior


In addition, I decided to install a new Holley 4160 four-barrel carb and to rebuild the old carb at a later date.

After installing the new carb and the fuel pressure regulator, the carb hasn't flooded out since.

Problem #1 solved.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
After owning the car for a couple of weeks and taking it on a few rides . . . . . I noticed the fuel gauge was not reading correctly. After filling up at the gas station, the fuel gauge would only read a little more than half full.
So, I decided to drop the fuel tank and replace the sending unit.

Then I started to get the “While I’m At It” disease.

I figured if I had to drop the fuel tank to replace the sending unit . . . . . then, “while I’m at it” . . . I might as well replace the fuel tank with a new one. And “while I’m at it”, I might as well replace the straps and bolts that hold the tank in place. And “while I’m at”, I might as well replace the filler neck. (The filler neck appeared to be a 63 year old original).

Here is a photo of the old gas tank and filler pipe after being removed.

Musical instrument Luggage and bags Bag Grass Plant


It’s a good thing I bought a new tank . . . . because when I tried to remove the sending unit screws from the old fuel tank, the screws wouldn’t budge.

Here is a photo of the new tank installed.

Tire Wheel Automotive tire Automotive lighting Tread


To make sure I didn’t have any bad readings from the sending unit due to a bad ground, I ran a brand new dedicated ground wire to the fuel tank.

Installing the new filler neck was a real pain . . . . but I got it done.

Fuel gauge now reads accurately.
Problem #2 solved.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
While replacing the fuel tank sending unit, I replaced the metal fuel line that runs from the sending unit along the frame rail, since the mating flare on the old fuel line had been cut off,

After a couple of days driving around with the new sending unit and fuel line, I noticed that I had some gasoline weeping out of the flared connection between the sending unit outlet pipe and the new flared fuel line. So, I decided to try and snug up the flared connection a little bit.

As I was tightening the connection, trying to get the fuel weeping to stop, the brass nut on the sending unit split wide open around its circumference. This resulted in the uncontrolled flow of 15 gallons of gasoline down my arm and onto my garage floor. I was alone and gasoline was pouring out the sending unit due to siphoning action. Luckily, I was able to grab a drain pan nearby to catch the flowing gasoline. But it wasn't a 15 gallon drain pan! So, ran out to my shed and grabbed a couple of 5 gallon gas cans (which were luckily empty) to transfer the gas into. Then I opened the drain at the bottom of the fuel tank. It's nice that Tri-Five fuel tanks have a drain plug at the bottom.

I was really pissed off that the brass nut of the sending unit had split wide open around its circumference and after examining the sheared nut, I was shocked to see how thin the nut was.

I had bought the sending unit from Danchuk (they were still selling direct to the general public at that time), because I thought that since Danchuk was dedicated solely to Tri-Fives, that the quality hopefully would be the best. That turned out not to be true.

When I called Danchuk customer service to let them know about the issue . . . . . they really seemed to not even care and seemed to have no desire to look into the issue.

A brass nut holding a flared connection together should not totally shear itself in half!

After draining all the gasoline, I dropped the fuel tank again and pulled removed the new sending unit. No longer trusting the flared connection, I cut the rest of the flared connection off the sending unit and off the fuel line and connected it with gasoline rated rubber hose with double hose clamps on each end.
I wish that they would make the outlet pipe on the sending unit a little bit longer . . . . . .since there was barely enough room on the outlet pipe to get a mini pipe cutter on it and barely enough room to get a pair of hose clamps on it.

Anyway . . . . . after all this . . . . fuel leak at outlet of sending unit appears to be permanently solved.
 

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I had a similar problem with a new steel fuel line I ordered (not from Danchuk) leaking at the flared connection to the glass bowl filter.
I'm assuming the leak was due to a poorly formed flare.
I ordered another from a different vendor, but the engine was torn down for a rebuild, and I haven't got it all back together to try it.
Perhaps I should just wire wheel the old line to clean it up and clear coat it to prevent rust.
At least I didn't have to deal with having a full tank of gas dumped on me and the floor.:cry:
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Some good things about the car . . . .
  • frame is solid without any rot or major rust
  • previous owner added new instrument panel gauges from Classic Industries
  • nice paint job (although some of the body work is a little wavey in spots)
  • previous owner installed power rack & pinion steering (not sure who's the manufacturer is)
  • Bel Air trim added to the car (according to the VIN number, car was originally a 150 with a 6 cylinder)
  • previous owner added four-wheel disc brakes (although he couldn't tell me which manufacturer they were)
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Some good things about the car . . . .
  • frame is solid without any rot or major rust
  • previous owner added new instrument panel gauges from Classic Industries
  • nice paint job (although some of the body work is a little wavey in spots)
  • previous owner installed power rack & pinion steering (not sure who's the manufacturer is)
  • Bel Air trim added to the car (according to the VIN number, car was originally a 150 with a 6 cylinder)
  • previous owner added four-wheel disc brakes (although he couldn't tell me which manufacturer they were)
instrument gauges from Classic Instruments . . . . not Classic Industries . . . . that was a typo
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Previous owner also installed Hotchkis front & rear sway-bars (1.4 inch in diameter), which are nice. I highly recommend them. Body roll during turns is almost non-existent.
 

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After draining all the gasoline, I dropped the fuel tank again and pulled removed the new sending unit. No longer trusting the flared connection, I cut the rest of the flared connection off the sending unit and off the fuel line and connected it with gasoline rated rubber hose with double hose clamps on each end.
I wish that they would make the outlet pipe on the sending unit a little bit longer . . . . . .since there was barely enough room on the outlet pipe to get a mini pipe cutter on it and barely enough room to get a pair of hose clamps on it.

Anyway . . . . . after all this . . . . fuel leak at outlet of sending unit appears to be permanently solved.
Just started following along G-man....Just so you know in the future...(And I'm hoping you don't have to)...You do not have to drop the tank to change the sender...Just drain a little fuel out of it...Also, to ease connecting the sender to the fuel pipe, loosen the tank straps, so it will be allowed to move some.
 

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Also, if you are of a mind to do so, the 150 side trim is now being reproduced, I have heard. Which can be handy, since the original trim can be difficult to find. I was lucky to find a good set (a PO had installed the Bel Air trim on my car, also), but the trim can be spendy.
 
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