Where do you start when restoring? - Team Camaro Tech
Tech 2002 General Tech questions from 2002
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old Nov 1st, 02, 02:40 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Frisco, TX USA
Posts: 2
I am currently driving a 1997 30th anniversary SS. I have gotten to the point as to where I don't want the car anymore, because I feel guilty about swapping out parts on an anniversary car.

SO, I was contemplating about trying to restore a 1970-1971 2nd gen Camaro. If I find a car with a good straight body and rust free panels, where do I start in the restoration process? Is there a certain agenda that restorers try to follow to complete the task?

Thanks guys. I am new to the old camaro stuff. My next questions will be trying to get some info on the 406 power plant.

1997 30th anniversary SS
LT1, 6spd, houndstooth,
Full exhaust (longtubes, offroad ypipe, cutout)
Full suspension
Drag radials
computer tune
301rwhp 329rwtq corrected[/list]
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old Nov 1st, 02, 03:22 AM
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Welcome to the greatest site on the web!

There are a couple of different ideas about the order of operations in a resto. I guess the first thing you'll need to decide is whether you want to tear the whole car apart and redo everything at once, or whether you want to keep the car driveable as much as possible, doing little jobs here and there with little down time for the car.

I think that with my next projects, I will be going the first route... completely stripping the car and refinishing everything in one huge project.

If you want to keep the car driveable and do little projects one at a time... I would suggest first turning your attention to the suspension and brakes. Replace worn bushings, springs, shocks, and steering items, and upgrade them while you are at it. You may want to check out www.hotchkisperformance.com for some ideas... they have a very nice second gen that they have done.

After the suspension and brakes, turn to the drivetrain, working from rear forward... differential, transmission, then engine. After that is done, you've got your basics out of the way, then it is time to think about interior and paint.

I'm sure others will have other suggestions. Good luck with whatever you decide to do.
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old Nov 1st, 02, 04:25 AM
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Welcome to Team Camaro!!!

You'll have to decide what you want to do with your car. Do you want to build a totally original car, a tire frying hotrod or something in between. The type of car that you want to build will help you you determine what you need to do.

When I got my first car, I took some time to put together a "project plan".....Just a list of things that I had to do to the car to get it into the shape that I wanted. After you identify everything that you think that you need to do to the car, you can start assigning costs for each thing. Assigning costs will help to identify what you can do immediately and what you have to save for.

Once you have determined what you need to do to the car and what you can afford, you should be able to prioritize each task....Safety, Driveablity, Dependability and Appearance are kind of how I would prioritize things.

<A HREF="http://www.stratagaz.com/69LM1/1969LM1Convertible.htm" TARGET=_blank>My 69 LM1 Convertible

[This message has been edited by paulm (edited 11-01-2002).]
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old Nov 1st, 02, 04:36 AM
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Join Date: May 2001
Location: Frisco, TX
Posts: 384
North Texas is a great place to get into the old car hobby. I live in Frisco as well, and there are a bunch of great car guys in the area. I suggest you go to some shows and talk to other guys who have cars you are interested in. They can point you to potential car sources as well as tell you what to look out for in your search. There is a North Texas Camaro Club, but it is really focused on first-gen cars.

I suggest you buy the best car you can afford and expect to spend twice as much as you estimate on the restoration. Good luck!

Dave68RS/SS Convertible
L48 (350/295 Powerglide)
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old Nov 1st, 02, 04:46 AM
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Location: Central Minnesota
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First trip is to the bank and convince the banker that a line of credit secured by your home for $30,000 is in place. Then convince your wife that she has to sign the loan too. Then you are good to go

I found a camaro pretty much done but needs attention in many areas but none that keep it off the road in summer. I agree with the above posts and also in this site, go to the section 'search' and sit back and start reading. The assembly of information available there is nothing short of amazing.
From body to wiring to engines to why a gas guage only reads 1/4 when full, the basic info. will give you a constant source of reference.
Good luck

69RS 350/255 LM1, Balanced, TRW forged pistons, .30 over, TH-350 auto.,
Dover White,Blue Vinyl top, F&R spoilers,pdb, close ratio ps,am/fm,3.08 Posi., A/C, fold down rear seat
My RS www.brainerd.net/~knudsen/69RS
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old Nov 1st, 02, 12:24 PM
Join Date: Apr 2000
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(1) If I was you I would lay out an expense budget to work with. (2) Secondly I would invest in a good camera to document the stages of tear down and again assembly. (3) Thirdly I would talk it over with the Mrs. (4) Lastly I would get a TV, mini fridge and a good stereo for your shop. I did and when I'm in my shop I'm in heaven.


1969 Fully Papered and Documented Coupe.
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old Nov 1st, 02, 02:32 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Frisco, TX USA
Posts: 2
Thanks for the replys. I am basically wanting to build a cruiser/hot rod. Nothing too extreme but a Very potent ride. I will not need the car for daily driving, so I am thinking about doing the entire tear down as some of you have mentioned.

Basically, I want to have a 1970-1971 RS/SS with a 406 ci motor, heads/cam, longtubes, fully forged internals, 12 bolt, STRONG driveshaft, nice suspension, paint and interior work. So obviously I am talking big bucks.

I plan on doing things in parts. Suspension, interior, drivetrain, engine, paint, appearance, but not necessarily in that order.

One other quick question, Is it vital to fix up the chassis? Like taking the body off to sand blast the frame and repaint?

I try to go to many of the shows here in N. Texas. THe Chuck's show on Saturdays are normally pretty fun. My wife and I are planning on trying for our first child and I just can't justify the 750 I spend each month on the 30th (car payment, ins., garage, gas).

I guess the major battle is one. SHe has agreed that once we get rid of the 30th, I can get an early 2nd gen to restore.
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old Nov 1st, 02, 03:23 PM
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Location: York S.C.
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Where do you start, the 1st and probably one of the most important is documenting and pictures. Think about it for a sec., 2 years down the road, do you really remember where that part goes?

67 Camaro SS Conv.
70 Challenger R/T Conv.
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old Nov 1st, 02, 03:43 PM
Join Date: Dec 2000
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Like they say above good pics and documentation is a must. That along with a thousand different size ZIPLOC bags and some perm markers so you can bag and write where that little washer or bolt was removed from helps out greatly. Otherwise you will have a tool box drawer full of bolts and not one idea if it came off the car your working on or a bolt you found just laying around.

Jeff 67/68(2) & 69 RS's
65 442
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old Nov 1st, 02, 04:27 PM
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I started with the front fenders. I had two rust spots near the bottom. I stripped the paint, welded a patch on, dinged (or is it dung) dents and primed them. They are now hanging from the ceiling of my garage out of the way.

I stripped the interior - bagged and labled all the hardware and stored the big stuff in the corner of my office. I have the seats, hood, door panels, and several boxes of new parts stored there as well. I left the driver's seat in and jumpered the nuetral switch so I can drive the car in and out of the garage or turn it around.

I'm expecting that this winter, it will be difficult to do paint / body work because of the temperature. So I'm hoping to get my subframe off to the sand-blaster's and painted before the cold weather sets in. Then I can work on brake lines, fuel lines, firewall cleanup and electrical during the winter.

The remaining paint and strip will start when the weather warms up again. I'm starting at the top and working my way down so as not to get paint remover on anything already prepped.

In my dreams, I'll be ready for paint next spring. In reality, it will probably be more like next fall or the spring after.

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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old Nov 1st, 02, 05:17 PM
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The only thing I would ad to the good advice already given is:

"Double the estimated time for your resto, and double the amount of dollars required".

Don~ ZZ430DropTop
70 RS
67 RS/SS Convertible, 70 RS
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old Nov 2nd, 02, 04:43 AM
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If your looking to do a hotrod/pro-tour type car then I'd recommenend trying to find a "shell" with frame, and start to build around it. There's no shortage of abandoned&lt;sp&gt; projects if you look hard enough and have a little patience.

Regardless, the most important is tryng to find something with minimal rust (good luck). It's repairing the body rust that drives up the cost of restoration...talking from experience here.. unfortunatly.

Just read everything you can on this websight as well as http://www.pro-touring.com/ and you'll be ahead of the game...BIG TIME.

good luck and have fun,


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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old Nov 3rd, 02, 03:24 AM
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The info I have is less on where to start and more on realistic expectations. It can be overwhemling when you see some of the very high quality work the guys on here put out. Most of these guys are NOT "resto pros" but average guys who love cars. Especially the Camaro. If this type of work is new to you, don;t expect to be able to rebuild a front end, re-wire the dash, and paint it as perfectly as some here. You will do better then some of us, and perhaps not as well as others. You will see guys here who have fully DETACHED heated garages, with every air tool known to man that they can while away the hours enjoying friends and the occational beer .

You mentioned you are expecting your first child. Realistically you will be more tired, more broke, and more confused and have NO TIME for anything dealing with that new little addition then anything your 2nd Gen can throw at you.

So set your expectations accordingly, find time to just read and enjoy the hard work that the other guys are able to put into their cars. Learn from them, but don't expect to much from yourself when startng out. It will come and at some point if you perserveir, you will be answering as many questions as asking.

Good luck with your new family, and your old car.
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old Nov 4th, 02, 06:05 AM
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This may rub some people in here the wrong way and if it does I sincerely apologize, but the views expressed here are some that I strongly believe in. I only feel that this individual needs to hear them if he's going to get a true diversity of ideas.

In my 'not so humble' opinion, there is only one way to correctly restore a car that-in the end-you'll be proud of....and that is a complete 'frame off' restoration.

If you 'half a$$' it, your going to regret it, trust me.

Besides, an old 2nd Gen Camaro deserves such treatment. They are like royalty.

Pull the entire car apart saving the nuts and bolts in bags marked: Front Suspension, Rear Suspension, Interior, Exterior, Engine, Etc. Then, you tow that sucker over to Carponents in Belleville, Michigan and you get the shell and all body panels and suspension pieces acid-dipped and e-coated.
Forget Media-blasting, no blaster worth his salt on this planet can ever get a car as clean as a chemical stripping facility can. And that's a fact. Yeah, I know it's a lot of money, but no one said restoring a car was going to be cheap. And what about where you live? What if you live too far away? Unless you live overseas, put that car on a trailer and get your butt to Michigan. From there you just reassemble the car with brand new bolts, making the judgement to either keep a part or replace it depending on it's condition. And of course, make the necessary sheet metal repairs where needed.

It will cost you a MOUNTAIN of money and a MOUNTAIN of time, but it doesn't have to be done all at once. Take your time, do it right. In the end, you'll be glad you did.

I sure am.
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old Nov 4th, 02, 10:45 AM
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It's been expressed in other posts, but not this one yet. A restoration is a time or money thing. The more cash you have, the more work you can farm out and the less time you have to spend on the project. The less money you have, the more time you will have to put into the project.

I don't know about your family, but building a car is generally NOT a family project. There are a VERY FEW lucky guys on this site that have wives that FULLY support their hobby/addiction. My wife was supportive until she realized how much time I was spending on the car and how much more work I had to go to finish up. Money wasn't necessarily the issue for her - it was the time away from the family. There's a fine line you have to walk between spending money and spending time on your car. You will have to figure out which best fits into your family situation. I bring this up because my efforts to restore my car had a significant impact on my relationship with my wife. The Camaro is, and will probably always be, a sore spot for her.

Work up a time and money budget the wife can live with. Both of you will be much happier about the project.

Pearl blue & white 69 Camaro with supercharged 350, Tremec TKO, and 3.73 12-bolt

See my website updated 6/10/02 at:

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