One of the most common questions in classic Chevy car circles is: “Why don’t they make this part for my car?” As a supplier and manufacturer to the aftermarket for many years, we will attempt to answer this question and shed some light on manufacturing parts for the aftermarket and classic car market.
Chevelle Technical Features
This may seem like a super simple little project, but believe me, when your tires have been coated in primer overspray, it’s not.
Our project Chevelle was in the shop undergoing bodywork, primer, more bodywork, more primer, some finessing bodywork, a little more primer…well, you get the idea. The car was moved around in the shop (a lot) over the course of the months, and quite often, our wheels and tires were the unlikely recipient of some nasty overspray, rubbing compound, etc.
Making cut-to-fit spark plug wires
Time: Approximately 2 hours
Tools: wire cutters, crimping pliers, razor blade, Sharpie marker
What you’ll need: set of quality spark plug wires (boots and terminals included), white dielectric grease, wire socks (recommended), wire looms
Tip: When cutting and installing a new set of wires, mark each end at the boots with its designated cylinder number. This will serve as a great quick reference in the future.
Here’s what you’ll net: more reliable spark delivery to the plugs and a cleaner looking engine compartment: set of quality spark plug wires (boots and terminals included), white dielectric grease, wire socks (recommended), wire looms.
arburetor: Quick-Change Vacuum Springs
Time: approximately 30 minutes
Tools: small Phillips screwdriver
Here’s what you’ll need: Holley quick-change spring housing, vacuum secondary spring kit
Tip: During the test and tune process, keep track of which springs help or hinder your carburetor’s performance. They make it easy by color-coding the top of each spring.
nstalling Valve Cover Gaskets and Studs
Time: approximately 1 hour
Tools: a pair of 3/8” boxed wrenches, putty knife, deep-sockets and socket wrench
Tinware: valve cover gaskets, gasket placement glue, valve cover studs,
Tip: When replacing your valve cover gaskets, it’s a good time to think about other similar upgrades such as valve covers, breathers, or plug wire retainers.
Tools: standard socket set, standard wrenches, crankshaft socket, breaker bar
Tinware: new timing chain, new timing cover (optional), timing cover gasket, gasket sealer, oil pan gasket (optional)
Tip: Before getting started, check out the clearance between the oil pan and the crossmember to see if there’s enough room to remove the pan.
Performance gains: A new timing chain and sprockets will deliver consistent performance and reliability.
Text and Photography by Jeff Ford
Time: 3-4 hours (approximately)
Cost: Approximately $45 for Eastwood’s Steering Wheel Restoration Kit (available at Eckler's)
Tinware: Dremel tool kit, or similar brand. Steering wheel puller, selection of putty knives, various sandpaper grits ranging from 80 through 600-800 grit
Tip: Thoroughly degrease the wheel before applying paint!
Time: 3 hours approximately (per pair)
Tools: lug-wrench, flat-blade screwdriver, rubber mallet, needle-nose pliers, various specialty brake tools (recommended)
Cost: rebuild kits approximately $250 for 4 wheel drum brakes
Tinware: brake shoes, drum brake hardware kit, other items may be necessary depending on the condition of your existing parts
Tip: When rebuilding your brakes, only disassemble one side at a time. The other side will serve as an accurate point of reference when putting all of the pieces back together.
Performance gains: Better brakes! Periodically replacing your shoes and rebuilding the brake assemblies will drastically increase your chances of ever seeing old age.
Time: approximately 30 minutes (for one part: eg. door, trunk, etc.)
Tools: putty knife, utility knife
Cost: price varies depending on seals or number of seals
Tinware: new weatherstripping, weatherstripping adhesive, weatherstrip remover (aerosol can).
Tip: If you happen to break or lose a plastic retainer during installation, try using 3M weatherstrip adhesive in its place. The glue is super tacky and forms a lasting, watertight seal.
Performance gains: a quiet, weatherproof interior and trunk
Time: 1-2 hours
Tools: standard socket set, standard wrenches, torque wrench
Applicable years: all
Cost: $200-300 (average for non-specialized units). Prices on ultra-high performance torque converters can run into the thousands of dollars, depending on application.
Tinware: torque converter, transmission fluid
Tip: Consult with torque converter manufacturers before selecting a new converter.
Performance gains: well-balanced driveline, smoother shifts, maximize your engine’s power band