How much is too much? Rebuilding a 67 - Team Camaro Tech
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old Apr 5th, 18, 04:46 PM Thread Starter
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Mike
 
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Angry How much is too much? Rebuilding a 67

Hi -

I've posted a few times here about my woes (the usual old car issues) with a 67 Camaro I bought a couple years ago. Long story made short; I spent $23K on an SS clone with a 'built 454'. When I got it home I realized it had some issues and spent the next year diagnosing it (in and out of shops, etc.). In the process I spent about $10K on misc fixes - new front suspension, replacement of cooling fans, etc. and eventually the teardown of the motor as it still wasn't cooling. So I'm into it $33K at that point.

Once we've gone through the motor, we realize that it's not really fixable - block is old and worn out, there's scoring on the cylinders, crank needs to be refinished, etc. I decide rather than trying to rebuild a bunch of worn out parts, it'd be best to just replace the motor with something new/reliable. I ordered a 489BBC. Total price another $8K. Now it's $41K all-in.

Ultimately, I bring it to a shop to install the motor. They come back with a list of things that need to be addressed to make it run (well):
- Motor installation with new motor mounts - $2K
- New fuel cell, electric pump and boost regulator, new lines - $3K
- New distributor - $500
- New High(er) flow fans and controller - $900
- New brake lines and changing pedal ratio - $950
- New wiring kit & re-wire - $3K

At this point I should make it clear that I'm no millionaire. Just a regular Joe. And every time I look at the car (scratch that - every time I think about the car), the bill gets longer. I know that's the way it is with these things - so it's mostly me moaning - but at this point we're talking about another $11K to get it running on top of the new motor I just bought.

A total of $52K.

Is it 'too much'? Should I just park the shell in the garage and call it a day? Or should I have it done, sell it, and cut my potential future losses?

Thanks for the feedback (and letting me vent!)


Mike
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old Apr 5th, 18, 04:54 PM
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Don
 
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Re: How much is too much? Rebuilding a 67

Find another shop. Some of that stuff doesn’t pass the smell test. Looks like they are milking you imho....

Don

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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old Apr 5th, 18, 04:57 PM Thread Starter
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Mike
 
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Re: How much is too much? Rebuilding a 67

Thanks Don. Unfortunately, this is the third shop I've used.
The first one was not great and ultimately ended up closing down.
The second one took forever, never hit any of their commitments and ended up charging me thousands of dollars for virtually nothing before I pulled the car.
This is the third, and 'best reviewed' of the group. I also like the team I met that's working on it.
Of course, the results will tell the story, but at this point, in the DFW area I haven't found any better options.

Mike
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old Apr 5th, 18, 05:26 PM
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Re: How much is too much? Rebuilding a 67

Hindsight is 20-20 but you would have been far ahead buying a $50k car versus the path you are on. There is another new member from Dallas who seems intent on taking that same path...

Don

1969 Camaro LSA 6L90E AME subframe and IRS
1969 Camaro vert LS3 4L65E Ridetech level 2 - sold
1959 El Camino project
1969 Mustang Sportsroof project
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old Apr 5th, 18, 05:53 PM
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Kip
 
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Re: How much is too much? Rebuilding a 67

I know a guy in SE Kansas (5 hours from Dallas) that could knock that stuff out the park for you. I would trust him with my car .... and I dont trust anyone with my car. Personal friend that has been building resto-mods and hotrods for decades. He has a small hotrod shop in his retirement. Im betting he could fix you up for way less, and do a better job. PM me if you want his info...

Kip

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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old Apr 5th, 18, 06:22 PM
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Re: How much is too much? Rebuilding a 67

X10. The prices for the work are way high. I put entire new EFI fuel systems in my Protour cars for $650 in parts. EFI tank, pump, filter, regulator, braided fuel lines, fittings and wiring. 1/2 a day in my garage by myself easy. Give them 8 hours at $100 per hour and it’s still 1/2 what they quoted.

A full wiring kit is $600 and be done easy in a lazy weekend

And I’m not a “professional” mechanic
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old Apr 5th, 18, 09:15 PM Thread Starter
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Re: How much is too much? Rebuilding a 67

Thanks guys!

Sure, Kip, will shoot you a note.

Mike
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old Apr 6th, 18, 10:52 AM
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Re: How much is too much? Rebuilding a 67

If you plan on selling the car then you spent too much(simple math) but if you plan on enjoying the car the no you did not waste money.
If you bought a 50k car(not a classic) chances are it would be worth much less then your Camaro which has been increasing in value.
I do agree with everyone, prices from your mechanic seem high. I swapped out my bb with my wife in the driveway, one day and had to borrow an engine crane.
Not sure what you do for a living but if you make more then 2k a day then give the other guy the work.
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old Apr 6th, 18, 11:36 AM
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Re: How much is too much? Rebuilding a 67

I'd have a look at the 454 you're pulling out in addition to what the others have said. "Old and worn out" isn't always the case when it comes to engines. Usually they can easily be rebuilt. You may not want to seeing how you already ordered the 489, but a complete 454 has pretty decent value if it's rebuildable. Did they tell you what the bore measured? Standard, .020", .030", .040" or .060" over? Do you know what heads are on it etc.? You might want to post some pics of the casting numbers and dates and see what value it might have. It could potentially take some sting out of your build.

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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old Apr 6th, 18, 12:43 PM Thread Starter
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Re: How much is too much? Rebuilding a 67

Hi Hawk - it was 0.060 over. I think it wasn't cooling properly as a result (especially in our great texas weather). I can go snag some pics of the parts once I'm back at the shop next and will post them. I'd be interested in selling some of the old parts as I know they're not all bad. I believe the crank was already refinished, for example, so can be used in a new build. Thanks.

Mike
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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old Apr 6th, 18, 02:41 PM
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Re: How much is too much? Rebuilding a 67

There is no guarantee buying 50k car would be any better than what you have now. I do question the prices being given. There is nothing on that list that you can't do, $900 for brake work, 3k for wiring? I would install your engine for $ 100 if your were near.
Start doing the work yourself, you will figure out what you need and what you don't.
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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old Apr 6th, 18, 04:50 PM
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Re: How much is too much? Rebuilding a 67

I guarantee you I could buy a better car for $50k than he will have when he is finished spending $52k, especially since he paid good money for a car with a bad engine and then invested a butt load of money into worthless and overpriced repairs...

Don

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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old Apr 7th, 18, 04:47 AM
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Re: How much is too much? Rebuilding a 67

That is a problem with collector cars/bikes/boats/etc...too many out there dress up a pig, slap on some lipstick, and then sell for top $$$$ just for the guy who buys it to find all these issues, throw more $$$$ at it, and then another issue pops up, so more $$$$ is thrown at it for a fix.

Problem is also, lots of guys/gals own these classics and pay for someone else to do the work...it can get REAL expensive quick.
Not bashing you.

Its just what you want...are you worried about being upside down on the car or just want a classic no matter the costs. I know I have wayyyy more in my car than I could sell it for...but its mine and matters only to me whats in it

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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old Apr 7th, 18, 06:02 AM
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Re: How much is too much? Rebuilding a 67

It's interesting to me that so many people buy Classics and can not find a good shop to work on them. I'm asked all the time at car shows if I know anybody and if I will work on their cars for them.

I was at BJ and Mecum last fall and talked to a few new 1st time buyers. They told me there were things they would need/want to do to the cars but did not work on them themselves. On top of that they knew very little mechanically about the cars they had purchased.

To run a successful shop you need to charge $85-$100 per hour shop rate by the time you pay overhead and mechanics.

So if you can't or don't want to do the work yourself it will cost you a ton of $ to have work done. If there is troubleshooting involved it can take hours and hours to figure some things out.

So when you take your car to a shop you have two choices. #1 sign a work order estimate and pay the hourly rate. Basically you are writing a blank check because you have no way to track hours or #2 (if the shop will agree) pay buy the job. This way you know where you stand however the shop will probably quote higher to cover themselves.

Either way get a very detailed work order as to what parts and labor are included. Best is to write up your own scope of work to be attached to the work order. You want to avoid the "hey we ran into some unexpected issues" phone call. You also want a commitment in writing as to when the work will be finished.

The hourly shop rate can be deceiving relative to the cost of the job. There are shops that quote $45 an hour but if they take twice as long to complete a task you end up paying more.

Many of us, myself included, here look a quoted costs here and say I could/would do it for a couple hundred bucks. Easy to say as we are not paying to rent shop space, utilities, insurance and mechanics.

For example I can completely re-wire a 1st Gen in a weekend and I like doing it. I've done many of them. A few people I've met at cars shows and cruises have asked me to re-wire there cars. I charge them $1000 plus the cost of the harness which is about $600. A good local shop here in Vegas charges $2500 - $3000. If I owned a shop that's about what I'd have to charge to stay in business.

The best we can offer is opinions of labor hours to complete a task.

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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old Apr 7th, 18, 09:09 AM
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Re: How much is too much? Rebuilding a 67

The sad fact is. Many who buy a classic car ( especially a "hot" rod) have no business owning them if they can't do most of the work themselves. Unless they have very deep pockets they ultimately can not afford the car and if they don't have the skills to build or work on the many are clueless about quality work, and the price of such work. Then other issue is their lack of skills do not allow them to see shoddy or overpriced work done by others untill its to late....

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