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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 57 Bel Air 4dr hardtop that needs some work, and I would like to come up with a more coherent plan to get it on the road. This is what I'm thinking about for now.

Goal -- get it running so I can drive it to local shows.

Things that need to be done...

Engine -- runs pretty good, but I need to get the tranny linkage back into working order...it got messed up when I tried to adjust the linkage so I could shift into reverse (I have a powerglide tranny)

Wheels/Tires -- need to replace the rubber all around, and have some missing/broken lug studs.

Exhaust -- need exhaust hangers to finish my exhaust replacement project that I started many months ago!

Brakes -- should do a complete brake job.

Interior -- before doing the cosmetic stuff, I would like to get the door locks, window cranks, etc. in working order.

If I can do these things, the car should be in good enough shape to take out on the road. It might not seem like a lot to some, but to me it's almost overwhelming!

More to come as I make a priority list. I'm open for suggestions.
 

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1.) I would start with sitting the car on 4 good jack stands.

2.) Brakes -- should do a complete brake job. (Do lug studs during this stage)

3.) Depending on just how bad they are, tires while the wheels are off doing brakes.

While it's on the stands and the brakes are all done along with lug studs.

4.) Fix exhaust and shift linkage.

Wheels back on and set it on the ground.

5.) Check engine driveability. Post any questions that may pop up here and someone will be your sounding board. Sometimes just helps typing things out loud.

6.) Window and door lock operations. These problems are usually lack of lubricant. Although sometimes it is just wear and tear. Most of the time it's just a matter of cleaning things and lubricating them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Great sounding plan, Mike! I like the direct approach -- get it off the ground and do the work! I've never done a brake job so I'll start a brake job thread to get some pointers. Thanks.

The wheels are really far gone and definitely need to be replaced.

I'm sure I understated the door lock situation, so I'll post more on that when I get around to working on it!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Where would you suggest I put the four jack stands to do this work? I'm inclined to put the front ones under the a-arms, the rear ones under the rear housing, but maybe it's better to put them under the frame. What's the consensus?
 

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I suggest putting the jacks under the frame,.

Also no need to goto danchuck etc, to buy brake parts, bought mine at local parts house.

On the brake cylinders, I suggest just buying new brake cylinders and just replace them rather than rebuild, less messy, fast and safe.

Also same thing on master cylinder just buy replacement, also got mine at local parts store.

And if you need to go under car, make sure all the jack stands are level, plus I use the floor jack pumped up to but not bearing weight close to where I am working just in case of some rare emergency , so that if a jack ever failed etc, the floor jack would protect me.

Otis:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I'm rather paranoid about getting under the beast, so I usually use 6-8 stands, plus I put my steel ramps under the frame. I then feel secure under there, I don't worry too much about a jack failing, but still I don't waste any time under there!
 

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Not trying to further complicate things, but since your buying brakes, maybe it would be a good time to upgrade to disc brakes up front and a master cylinder that splits the front and back (I wrote it like that to avoid an ugly typo :D ) You can buy brakets then get the parts from local part stores. just a thought?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
You're probably right, but I'm doing two things -- keeping it stock and keeping it simple! Thanks, though!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I decided to keep it even simpler, and just raise the rear and take the back wheels and drums off. I work in a very narrow garage, and it's really difficult to even put the car up on jack stands. I blockedthe front wheels and raised the back, took two and a half hours but I finally got the wheels and drums off. Boy, that's a pretty hard job! I took some pics, which I'll try to get posted later tonight or tomorrow.

Now I have to learn how to (1) replace broken lug studs, and (2) do a brake job. I'm all ears!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
This is my handicap, er..garage! It's not the most spacious place to work, but I can squeeze in there. Today it was close to 90 degrees out, so it was pretty hot in there. You can also see the two tires/wheels that I took off the rear...not a very good match, eh?!



Now, this is what I'm looking at. It's a first for me, never having done a brake job, so I need all the help I can get!



I'm done for today, and it won't be until next weekend that I get a chance to get out there again. Maybe I could use the time finding the right parts! Any suggestions....I know some of you say to get them at the local parts stores, but I'm still in the "what parts do I need" mode!:D

Oh, and you might notice that there's a missing lug stud. I'm also missing one from the other side. I'd feel better if I had all my studs!
 

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Mike, looks like you have a good foundation. I would stop at NAPA or maybe AutoZone and get new wheel cylinders and shoes. One night very soon, spray the lines where they screw into the cylinder with WD40 or Rust Buster. Soak them a couple times so the lines will come out without twisting the lines. Look the lines over real good and make sure there is no heavy rust pitting going on. If they are pitted bad, consider new lines while your at it.

Oh and by the way, see about shifting some of the cabinets and shelves toward one end or the other of the garage. No need in being cramped while working on both ends when you can be cramped on one end only ;o)

Take a punch and knock that broken stud out and take it with you to NAPA. They will likely have one for it.
 

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Mike i have a 30x 50 shop and don`t have that much room to work. haha. If you make a plan on the car stick to it if possibile. I didn`t make one and kept changing my mind as i go. It takes a lot longer and costs waaay more than anticipated. Terry.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks for the advice, guys!

I'll stop at the parts store one day this week to see what I can pick up. Do I need any "special" tools or anything?

As for shifting cabinets, there's no room at the other end for cabinets, that's why it's where it is! This is optimal placement compared to last year! I'll work on it some more, I'm sure, but there's just not much more room to move.

I will spray the ends of the lines tonight if I remember.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks, Dave. Good advice.

I was way too busy to get to the parts store this week, but maybe I can run over there today. Tomorrow I'll be out of town so it looks like it'll be another week before I can get going on this project. Boy, time really slips by!
 

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I feel as though I get one day a month to work on mine. Went to a swap meet this morning and found the front and rear bumpers for my '56. I'll still need the brackets and the bumperets for them. Got the 3 pieces for each for $150 total.
Dave
 
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