1978 Camaro SC L6/3spd

Discussion in 'Project Progress' started by Lifeguard, May 1, 2011.

  1. Lifeguard

    Lifeguard Veteran Member

    Messages:
    168
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2011
    Location:
    Rockford, IL
    Haven't posted an update lately. I had finally scraped off with my thumbnail the last of the adhesive from the side moldings. All four wheels have completely new trim and paint on them, along with P225/70R14 tires. I striped the silver paint off the lower grille (it was peeling off anyway) and repainted the black plastic with a gray paint that looked more like the factory color than the silver did, and used 1" masking tape to keep the paint off the black plastic in the openings (this is probably how the factory did it). I also polished the paint a bit. Then rolled it away in the garage for the cold.

    After I replace the exhaust, change fuids again and tune up the carb; my next project is to save up to refurbish the interior. It needs new dash vents, dash pad, carpet, front seat vinyl, headliner and scuff rails. I'm also installing a tach and an AM/FM radio at that time too; which I already have. There is also a hole rusted through the cowl vent just over the gas pedal where rain has been leaking in, and the driver's floor is probably rusted underneath and needs repair too.

    Here are some pics I snapped before putting it away. I'm throwing and old pic for comparison:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  2. Bent wang

    Bent wang Member

    Messages:
    81
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2012
    Location:
    sask canada
    Very nice good job.

    WANG
     
  3. sello

    sello New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    1
    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2013
    Location:
    Detroit, MI
    I absolutely love your car. I'm a big fan of unrestored originals, especially base model cars. I just picked up a 78 sport coupe like yours, except it has the 305 2 barrel, auto trans and air conditioning. Car spent most it's life in FL and was Ziebarted right away. I plan on detailing it and getting it running good, then selling it maybe later this summer. I'm more of a flipper, I don't keep cars longer than 18 months!

    Keep the posts coming and the pictures too, they are incredibly helpful to everyone working on these cars.
     

    Attached Files:

  4. Lifeguard

    Lifeguard Veteran Member

    Messages:
    168
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2011
    Location:
    Rockford, IL
    Nice jewel in the rough.

    It has a little nose sag there that my garage kept one never developed. Still has the front grille emblem which is good because they don't make a repo of that. But the lower grille is missing. I recommend buying the black grille over the silver repo one, then using 1" masking tape to cover the back of the openings and keep it black. Prep the plastic and then paint it with an off the shelf gray paint that matches the stock color better than the silve paints they sell for the girlles (a lot cheaper too). Remove the tape and you have a proper looking factory grille, just paint the upper the same color to make sure they match and paint the screw areas black on the upper.

    I see someone put aftermarket wheel arch trim and mudflaps on it. The rally wheels are missing some trim up front. I got my 14x7 trim rings and lug nuts from Markzpartz.com, the trim bezels from Summit Racing, and the caps off Amazon. If they're 14x6 wheels (the bias ply downgrade option) then Rick's Camaros has trim rings for those.

    My first '76 Camaro had an engine swap, but my second '76 had the LG3 305 auto with AC just like yours.
     
  5. Lifeguard

    Lifeguard Veteran Member

    Messages:
    168
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2011
    Location:
    Rockford, IL
  6. sello

    sello New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    1
    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2013
    Location:
    Detroit, MI
    Thanks for the input. That front nose sag is due to two things, that left front tire is actually the spare that was put on to move the car home. The car came with a full size spare, not sure if that is a rare option or not, but I usually only see the mini spare. Anyways, the spare tire was shot so that one you see in the picture was put on, but it's a smaller diameter than the original G78-14, or whatever the heck they are. Actually, the other 3 white wall tires are from Phillips 66. Where in world did those come from and how old are they? Second, my driveway dips way down in that corner. I've got the car parked in my wifes garage right now, and it looks pretty level.

    I like your idea on the lower grill, much easier than what I was planning.

    Oh, and I don't know if you're interested, but Classic Ind sells the body side molding for our cars. I know you took yours off, and mine will have to be replaced, but I'm gonna put it back on. That pic you sent of that red base coupe has it on there and I think it adds a real nice touch to the side of the car. I'm also planning on keeping and/or replacing the wheel opening trim, I think that's another piece that sets off the looks really nice.
     
  7. Lifeguard

    Lifeguard Veteran Member

    Messages:
    168
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2011
    Location:
    Rockford, IL

    The nose droop is the gap you see between the upper grille and the urethane bumper under it. From the factory there was no space between the bottom of the grille and the bumper rubber, but overtime it seems to soften and droop causing a gap. It might be the angle that makes it look like yours has a gap under the grille or maybe the grille is only partially attached.

    There were 30k N65 space saver spare tires sold in 1978, out of the more than 200k Camaros that year. It's a little rare. Most of the cars came with a regular size spare just like the other 4 wheels. base radials were the FR78-14 through 1979, in 1980 they were replaced by P205/75R14. Most people put the P215/75R14 or like my P225/70R14 with white letters as replacements these days. If you want whitewalls again the P205/75R14 is fairly common. If you think your tires are old my spare is the original E78-14 on 14"x6" rally wheel from 1978, and it still holds air (I don't think I want to try driving on it).

    The previous owner had stripped most of the trim off mine, that's why the side moldings were gone. I won't replace them until a repaint. The original paint is pretty good, but there are scratches and dents in almost every panel, along with some surface rust on the quarters and rockers, so a repaint will be necessary to bring it back 100%.

    Is the color on yours paint code 63 Camel?
     
  8. sello

    sello New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    1
    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2013
    Location:
    Detroit, MI
    OK, I get it now. I checked my car this morning and there is in fact a terrible gap between the bottom of the upper grille and the urethane bumper. Don't know why it's there but I'll investigate when I take the grille off for painting, etc.

    Yes, my car is code 63 camel exterior, with the tan interior. I like the tan interior because it looks good with almost any exterior color, IMO.

    I have a local company called Flex Chrome that makes some really cool products. I was thinking of using them to replace my body side moldings. You can check them out at http://www.flexchrome.com/index.htm

    I also found a company that sells carpet for our cars, $143 delivered. Not sure if that is a good price or not, but it seemed reasonable to me.

    Lastly, I found a company that sells re-conditioning kits for vinyl and leather automotive upholstery. I saw a similar product used on the TV show Wheeler Dealers, and I thought it was pretty amazing.
     
  9. Lifeguard

    Lifeguard Veteran Member

    Messages:
    168
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2011
    Location:
    Rockford, IL
    Yeah, the nose droop is a pretty common ailment of the '78-'81 rubber noses. This is my first urethane bumper car, so I've never had to fix it before, you can probably find a thread somewhere on here on how to make it perkier. I doubt your's is from bumper car damage.

    Check with the major Camaro parts suppliers for price checks:
    http://www.rickscamaros.com
    http://www.fbodywarehouse.com/fbw/home.php
    http://www.classicindustries.com/camaro/parts/
    http://www.camarocentral.com

    If all you need is new carpet inside, you got pretty lucky. I got a couple of typical problems on my interior. The dash pad needs replacing because the fiberglass backer has shrunk and warped from years of sun exposure on the dash causing the top to pull up and curl, which I have had on all three second gens I've owned. The replacement pads lack the fiberglass to keep it from happening again. The heat also does a number on the cardboard and glue of the headliner and mine is held up with thumb tacks. A replacement ABS backer with vinyl attached is available for an update. The front seat vinyl is torn as well and needs new seat covers and foam. And I have a leak in the air intake at the base of the windshield which drips onto the accelerator, and the carpet is water damaged from years of rain and needs replacing. The floor board is probably rusted too, so while the carpet and dash are out I can take it to the bodyshop to repair the hole and replace the floor pan on the driver's side. The scuff plates also need replacing when I do the carpet. I'm also adding an aftermarket AM/FM/MP3 radio, speaker and tach when I have the dash out. All easily reversible in the future for originality. I'm saving up to do it all at once, it's going to my biggest expense so far.
     
  10. Lifeguard

    Lifeguard Veteran Member

    Messages:
    168
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2011
    Location:
    Rockford, IL
    My business had a slow year in 2013, so I ended up working longer to reduce my staff payroll and had less revenue coming in with too many fixed expenses. My Camaro project stayed in the garage all year long for lack of time or finances. Finances will still be limited for the next year so I'm not sure what I will get to next on it.

    My plans were to pull the stock L6 engine and tranny to be replaced with a a 350 V8 and 4spd for fun, and rebuild the stock drivetrain to put back later. But a lot of people have made the case for leaving the L6 in there for its uniqueness. That made me think about what it would cost for upgrades to the L6 compared to a whole drivetrain swap. I could keep costs down by retaining the short block and belt accessories I already have, along with the HEI. A swap out to an HD radiator would have to be done either way, and probably replace the belt fan with electric at that time.

    However the entire top end would have to be swapped out as the '78 L6 had the integrated cylinder head and intake which is only good for using the stock 1bbl carb and exhaust manifold with. I would have to find a pre '75 cylinder head to recondition and swap in. When you can buy a pair of new SDPC upgraded Vortec heads for a small block for $429.95 each, I wasn't sure what reconditioning an early L6 head would end up being costly. But looking at the cost of parts and taking on doing a lot of the work myself, I think I could pretty much do it for the price of the Vortec heads. Reading up at the sites people recommended: 12bolt.com, cliffordperformance.net and t6racing.org; I got an idea of what needs to be done to a vintage L6 head to get the most out of it:
    * usual disassembly and head prep and reconditioning
    * enlarge stock valves to 1.84" intake and 1.6" exhaust
    * install hardened exhaust valve seats
    * have machine shop do a 3 angle or more valve job
    * cut out intake valve bosses and mill down bosses on floor and roof
    * install lump kit on intakes
    * smooth and blend the bowls
    * have machine shop mill the head down to 70cc chambers (for later 250 open style heads)
    * install springs locks and retainers matched to the cam being used
    * while I'm at it, probably install some screw in studs too

    Autowerks (12bolt.com) recommends using the open chamber 250 heads over the closed chamber 194 heads due to valve shrouding. So the trick will be to find a '66 to '74 head to recondition. I've been looking around online and can't find too many at the moment. This might be the real challenge to the build.

    Looking around at the different inline six sites, the cost of a carb, cam, intake and exhaust are about twice what small block parts go for (Clifford cam kit is $369, intake $319, and universal header $359). So that isn't much of a budget option, but it is still way less then getting a 350 short block and those parts to swap in. The Clifford Performance combo looks like a good choice because the intake uses coolant to warm it, allowing the use of headers (as the exhaust is used to warm the intake on L6s for street driving). They're camshaft has a lot of lift to it too, and comes with lifters, springs, retainers, locks and pushrods for the price. Offenhauser has a manifold too, but you need to use an exhaust manifold to warm the intake with for street driving. I haven't finished exploring all the cams available yet. The Holley 4160 390cfm seems to be the carb of choice for an L6 and has electric choke and vacuum secondaries for $400.

    My main concern is the 3spd manual tho. I'm wondering if it is too lightweight to handle and L6 with those upgrades. They only used it on the L6, 307s, 305s and the 2bbl 350s. And it is has a super wide range gear set with first gear being 3.50:1 and second 1.89:1. I can't find much more info on this tranny, so I don't know what kind of abuse it can take. The rear end is a 2.73:1 open unit currently which could be swapped out for something limited slip and deeper.

    Despite the higher cost for parts, upgrading the top end of my L6 is still a $1000 or more cheaper than a small block swap. And I've looked at some dyno results and seen the nice flat torque curve of these inline sixes and am intrigued by the street able power potential. It might be more fun to drive than the displacement suggest. I might give this build a try in the next year. If anyone has ideas or info, let me know?
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2014

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.