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1968 Camaro RS/SS retirement/pandemic/marathon/amateur/DIY project (2022 Diary):
For the last year (2022) I have worked almost daily on my 1968 Camaro rebuild project. I kept a diary (journal) of my adventure (I will post an edited version here). I spent most of my spare time during 2022 wrenching on my Camaro (plus ordering parts, searching the Team Camaro forums for info, and watching countless YouTube "how to" videos). [ Note: this is a DIY amateur refresh or "resto-mod" not a pro restoration].

Introduction: Back in 1978, my father bought a 1968 Camaro and drove it for 2-3 years. Dad wanted to rebuild the Camaro due to wear and rust, so he disassembled it. A few years went by, and Dad had collected a trunk load of parts before he lost interest. The original engine was swapped into a work van. In 1986, I acquired the basket-case Camaro. Long story short, I got Dad’s 1968 Camaro by trading a good running 1971 Monte Carlo that I had bought for $200.

Original Options: Sport Coupe, Rally Sport, 327 V8, PowerGlide, power steering, special order “silver metallic” paint, black vinyl top, bumblebee stripe, trunk mount luggage rack, black deluxe “houndstooth” interior with bucket seats and console. Assembled at Van Nuys in late Nov. of 1967. [Confession: did not originally have the SS option.]



I sheepishly admit this car was neglected for many years.



Mice and rats sure liked my Camaro engine bay.

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This was how the Camaro looked at the beginning of 2022. Spoiler alert: it looks better now.

Please be patient. It might take me a few days to post all the 2022 dairy text and photos
 

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Previous work done: Dad also gave me a big block 402 engine (disassembled of course) that he had planned to use. The cylinder block was bored out (408 CID) by a local machine shop. The crank and rods were reconditioned, rotating assembly balanced, and heads rebuilt. I added a Comp Cams Magnum 280H cam kit, headers, and Holley carb. The rebuilt engine ran at 2k rpm for 20 minutes to break in the cam. That was the only time it ran. I found a 12-bolt rear (posi-trac with 3.55 gears) at a swap meet and then the Right Stuff four-wheel disc brake conversion kit was installed in about 2008.

Revived Project (2022): The Camaro sat neglected for 36 years. A bad storm collapsed my old storage shed in the late 1990s. The car received only minor damage, but it now had to be parked outside. Fast forward to 2022. It was time to roll up my shirt sleeves and get serious. In the past I had time, but no money or I had money, but no time. Additionally, I just had too many projects. After my retirement, I “finished” a street rod truck and liquidated a couple of my other projects. I now had room in my shop annex to park the Camaro. During the year of 2022, I worked on the Camaro like a man obsessed. A lot of progress was made, but it’s not quite done yet.

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I must admit that I felt discouraged when I saw the rodent mess under the hood and then found rusty floor pans and rocker panels. But I soldiered on and got things cleaned up.

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In late fall last year, I cleaned up a set of vintage slotted mag wheels and had Cooper Cobra 15" tires mounted. Not sure if they will be permanently on the car, but for now the old school look is fine.

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Another "before" photo I found. [Note: 2022 project dairy entries are next.]
 

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1968 Camaro project diary for January 2022

1-1-22 (New Year's Day): I've made a list of what the 1968 Camaro needs done. The rear quarter panels, rocker panels, and front floor pans are rusty. The steering system was still disassembled. A few years ago, I had bought a variable ratio power steering gear box. But, I couldn’t find the correct pitman arm. This time using google, I found the parts. I want the Camaro to be a “roller” so I can move it around.

1-2-22: I had made a long list of parts for the 1968 Camaro. I placed orders with Amazon, Summit Racing, Heartbeat City Camaro, Classic Industries, Camaro Central, Speedway Motors, etc.

1-4-22: I found a couple of totes with about $1k of new parts for the Camaro that I had stockpiled. I'd forgot that I had bought some of these parts. Unpacking the totes was almost like Christmas.

1-8-22: I worked on the dual quad intake throttle linkage and fuel lines. The new air cleaners were a 1/2 inch too tall if I want to close the hood. I had a pair of old air cleaners that were rusty, but the bottom part was a 1/2" shorter than my new ones. So, I sanded off the rust and painted them. Looks good.

1-10-22: The only thing left to do on the dual quad intake setup was to install the throttle linkage, but I had to order some more parts to synchronize the two carburetors.

1-15-22: In just 2 weeks, I’ve placed 7 online orders for 47 Camaro parts. I use a spreadsheet to keep track of the parts. That doesn't include trips to the local auto parts stores or hardware stores.

1-19-22: I went into my old shed to look for a driveshaft that would fit the Camaro, which I didn't find. But, I did discover a couple heavy duty 11" flywheels and an aluminum bellhousing leftover from my old 1968 Chevelle SS. If I want to change the Camaro from auto to manual trans, I can use these parts.

1-21-22: I rebuilt two Edelbrock Performer carburetors today on top of my desk. I’m trying to keep making forward progress on the Camaro despite the fact it's wintertime and that it’s freezing outside.

1-23-22: The Camaro originally had a vinyl roof, which as you know, has a nasty habit of getting brittle and cracking over time. Once the vinyl is weathered, it collects and holds rainwater that eventually will rust through the roof. Several years ago, I stripped the old roof material off. I might use textured paint on the roof instead of vinyl. I removed the valve covers to inspect things. There was no rust on the rockers or valve springs. I had the engine sealed up pretty good. Back in 1986, when the engine was freshly rebuilt, I ran it for 20 minutes to break in the camshaft and lifters. That was the only time the engine has ran in 36 years. I pulled the dipstick and saw the oil level right at the full mark.

1-24-22: I got the old steering gear box removed and the new one installed. I rebuilt the "rag joint" which is the flexible connection between the steering column and the steering box. The car fought me tooth and nail, so it took much longer than I expected. I think the Camaro just wants to rust in peace.

1-27-22: I worked on the Camaro steering again today and made progress. The only steering thing left to do is install the pitman arm. Oh yeah, the old steering wheel was in bad shape, so I'm looking for a new cool steering wheel. I won an ebay auction for a Muncie M22 "rock crusher" 4-speed manual transmission. It took a lot of time searching, but I finally found a great transmission for a good price.

1-28-22: I worked on the Camaro steering for a couple hours today.

1-30-22: I removed the stock cast iron intake manifold. The cam, lifters, and push rods were also inspected. They look good. I got a dose of bad news when I tried to turn the engine over. The engine is frozen. The piston rings are probably rusted to the cylinder. I'll know for sure when I pull the heads off.

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1968 Camaro project journal for February 2022

2-1-22: I got the steering system back together. It sure took longer than I expected, but it's done now. Yesterday, I trial fitted the dual quad intake onto the Camaro engine. I could close the hood, but the top of the air cleaners only had a 1/4” of clearance with the bottom of the hood. That should be fine.

2-2-22: UPS delivered my transmission today. It appears to be in good condition, and it is indeed a real M22 "rock crusher" 4-speed. It also came with a Hurst shifter and linkage (worth at least $200).

2-4-22: I cleaned the dual quad intake and then shot a coat of clear coat. It looks good and the clear coat seals the pores of the aluminum to make future cleanup easier. I have the Muncie 4 speed spread out in the “man cave” on cardboard. The transmission is in pretty good shape. The side cover gasket is toast, so I ordered a Muncie seal and gasket set. I also ordered a front bearing and shift forks which are common wear items on this transmission. I'll "freshen" up this manual 4-speed for about $100.

2-5-22: I cleaned and painted the Camaro's valve covers, then I removed the rocker arms and pushrods. Tomorrow I'll finish pulling off the cylinder heads and we'll see how this story plays out.

2-6-22: The lifters popped right out and look new, so they'll go back in. It was a chore removing all the head bolts (16 per head). The driver side had a couple bolts that were hard to reach because the master cylinder was in the way. Even with all of the bolts out, the heads are stuck. I'll use a pry-bar tomorrow.

2-7-22: With a bit of prying with a crowbar, and minimal cussing, I finally broke the heads loose. Everything looked good on the driver side, but one cylinders on the passenger side had a bit of rust. It cleaned up pretty good with Liquid Wrench and steel wool, but there is some minor pitting left behind. I might be able to clean it up with a hone. I sprayed more Liquid Wrench down onto the piston rings and will let it soak overnight. Tomorrow I'll see if I can rotate the crank. Crosses fingers for luck.

2-9-22: The pistons, rings, and cylinders were marinated overnight with Liquid Wrench. I tried to turn it over again and after some initial resistance, it spun around like normal. I used a small brass wire brush and Scotch-Brite pads to get most of the rust out of the “bad” cylinder. There was some rust pitting at the very top (above where the rings travel). There are also a few minor pits in the cylinder about halfway down. I used a sophisticated way of checking (I ran my thumbnail over it). After honing, it no longer would “catch” my nail. Worse case, that one cylinder might burn a tiny bit of oil.

2-12-22: Been scraping gaskets and cleaning engine parts for days now. The old head gasket was really stuck on. I had to use a razor blade to chip it off (very tedious and time consuming). I have dragged parts inside the house to work on stuff when it's too cold outside. This weekend I'll freshen up the Muncie 4 speed that I just recently got. I worked on the tranny for 2 hours this morning to replace a loose bearing. I found no gasket on the front bearing retainer and the big special nut was installed backwards. Turns out the bearing is okay it was the retaining nut being reversed and lack of gasket that allowed excessive play. It probably leaked too. Luckily, the internal gears look very good.

2-13-22: We had a couple cold days, so I worked inside. I got the transmission freshened up. The only thing left to do is replace the rear seal (messy, so I’ll do that outside).

2-15-22: The old engine oil didn’t look bad for being 36 years old. Regardless, I changed oil anyway and primed the oil pump to get the new oil circulated into the bearings. I don't want to try a dry start. The engine rotates smoothly now just like it should. I finished up the headers today: gaskets scraped, rust wire brushed, and sprayed with high temp black paint. Time to put the engine back together.

2-16-22: I put the new Edelbrock Performer RPM heads on today (not fully torqued down yet).

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New Edelbrock heads, dual quad intake, and carbs (408 big block).

2-17-22: I worked indoors on modifying the extra Camaro dash gauge cluster in preparation of mounting retro-looking modern gauges. I've been under the car a few times lately and I see the floor has rusted through in several spots. Yep, it's officially a Fred Flintstone car. The early Camaro has a front sub-frame and rear uni-body, so the floors and rocker panels have to be solid for the car to be safely driven. Weld-in floor patch panels are available.

2-19-22: Yesterday I began sanding on the Camaro roof. Sure, a vinyl roof looks cool when new, but it create a lot of rust when they get weathered. After sanding, I could see hail damage. I’ll use fiberglass bondo filler on the bigger dings. I have Rustoleum Rust Reformer that I'm going to try first. It sprays on like paint and changes the rust chemically. Then I'll put down a couple coats of spray on bedliner for texture. Sort of a fake vinyl top. Hopefully, it'll help mask the imperfections.

2-21-22: I'll spare you the details, but I worked on the Camaro a lot yesterday and today. I did a test fit of the dual quad intake manifold. When I close the hood, it’s a very snug fit. It looks great.

2-22-22: More winter for the next several days. I needed an indoor project and luckily my new gauges showed up. I tweaked and modded the stock gauge pod. The new "3 in 1" gauges have a 1969 retro look. I got them mounted after some Dremel action. The new gauges look awesome.

2-25-22: The old flywheel and bellhousing from my Chevelle were brought inside and cleaned up.

2-26-22: I worked on the Camaro roof for a couple of hours mainly sanding hail dents down to bare metal. I'm going to fill all of the dings with fiberglass reinforced Bondo. I watched several YouTube vids about how to customize your car with rattle can spray paint. One thing that looks cool and I might try is using a piece of lace as a stencil. The top of the Camaro will be fake vinyl roof (black). I ordered a round 42" lace tablecloth. I'll lay it down on the top of the car and paint the lace with metallic silver. Pull it off and it leaves a lace pattern. It'll probably either look like dog poop or it'll be totally cool.

2-27-22: Today I worked on the roof and got 15 hail dings filled. It’s time consuming because I hand sand the filler in each dent. It's too easy to get carried away and sand too much using a power sander. I also wire brushed, sanded, and painted the hood hinges. I want the engine compartment look nice.

2-28-22: Today I did more work on the roof and got one exhaust header reinstalled. Tomorrow I'll get the other header put on and install the intake manifold.

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Fake vinyl roof with lace paint job, you either love it or hate it.
 

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1968 Camaro project journal for March 2022

3-1-22: I worked on the Camaro today (no surprise). I found a big problem (bummer).

3-3-22: Yesterday afternoon I adjusted the valves and rocker arms. While I was rotating the engine manually with a wrench, there was a loud CLANG. I assumed a piston had hit an open valve. These new performance heads have larger valves than the stock heads. I quit for the day and imagined the worst. I did a bunch of googling and made a list of things to check. To make a long story short, I discovered that the flexplate had two loose bolt and one bolt missing in action. I will be removing the old auto transmission and installing the Muncie 4-speed. So, the old damaged flexplate will be replaced with a good flywheel. I went back to adjusting the valves, this time with no issues.

3-6-22: I have the main part of the Camaro engine done. I still have the cooling system, fuel system, and ignition system to install. Not to mention fan, pulleys, alternator, and power steering pump. I'm still working on the roof. I've filled 22 hail dents and had to redo 5 of those. This roof is really beat up. The goal is to stop the rust and make it look better than it did. For the roof I switched over from spray can paint to roll-on Rustoleum paint. It actually looks better and is easier to apply than spray cans.

3-8-22: I got the old water pump off and the new Weiand installed today. I made another "parts" run.

3-9-22: Got the new fuel pump swapped in only to discover the fittings won't work. Had to run to town again and get two 90-degree hose fittings for the fuel pump.

3-11-22: I spent a couple hours messing with the antenna kit I bought for the Camaro. I'm trying to customize it with an aluminum shorty antenna. Looks like I need to get some more hardware. I also need a couple heater hose 90 elbow fittings. Okay, I’ll have to make another parts run tomorrow morning.

3-14-22: The cooling system is done. I still need to install and wire up the ignition coil. I worked a long time on the fuel system. I have the new fuel pump, fuel filter, and fuel pressure regulator installed. I used stainless steel braided fuel hoses under the hood. I started taking the old rusty gas tank out. I had to spray Liquid Wrench onto the tank strap bolts. That stuff is wonderful, the bolts came right out.

3-15-22: It took most of the day, but I got the new gas tank installed. While the gas tank was out, I crawled under it and wire brushed the underside that is usually inaccessible. Then, I coated it with Rustoleum Rust Reformer. What I didn't have in my parts stockpile was a new fuel line that runs from the gas tank to the engine compartment. I can buy one pre-bent especially for the Camaro ($$$) or just get the universal straight piece of 3/8" tubing from the local parts store and bend it like a true DIY-er.

3-16-22: The Camaro roof has been a problem (rough and rusty) since it used to have a vinyl roof. Additionally, there were about two dozen hail dings that had to filled. I used a rust converter first and then many coats of paint sprayed and rolled on to it. The final coat was a textured Rustoleum and it looked pretty good. I bought a lace tablecloth and used that as a stencil. I think it will be a love it or hate it thing. So far, I like the lace paint job, It’s different and hides imperfections very well.

3-17-22: I got the old fuel line out and made a run to town for new fuel line and hose.

3-18-22: I wanted the main color of the Camaro to be silver metallic like it was originally. I bought a can to try, but I decided the metallic spray paint is too hard to use and doesn't cover very well. I tried a non-metallic silver and a gray. Bleh, I was not thrilled. So, looks like the car will be Arctic White which is the most forgiving Rustoleum color to use (according to Derek of Vice Grip Garage on YouTube).

3-19-22: I took the two front wheels to the tire shop today. Both have slow leaks. The tech put in new valve stems and spent a long time cleaning the aluminum corrosion from the bead area. He finally got them both sealed up. I was told no charge. Cool. I put the wheels back on the Camaro when I got home and worked on bending the fuel lines. I have a little left to finish in the engine compartment. I test painted Arctic White on a couple of body panels. It goes on easy, covers well, and is indeed forgiving. Reckon the Camaro will be white with a black top and black trim.

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Test painting a few panels to see how Arctic White looks on the Camaro (not bad).

3-21-22: The fuel system is almost done, just need to run the fuel line under the transmission crossmember. I have a new crossmember made for 4-speeds and big blocks, so I figured might as well pull the old crossmember off to make it simple to route the fuel line out of the way. Easier said than done. That crossmember fought me tooth and nail. Persistence paid off though (some say stubbornness) and a big hammer finally paid off.

3-23-22: I put my long johns on and went out to install the new ignition coil. I made a firewall mounting plate (not hard, just time consuming). The mounting plate uses three existing holes in the firewall. No new holes will be drilled into the car if possible.

3-24-22: I wrapped up work on the ignition system and finished installation of the fuel lines.

3-25-22: I'm finding out that reproduction parts are good when there are no OEM parts available, but you almost always have to do some modification (dang Chinese). I now have the cowl, header, and lower valance panels painted Arctic white (Rustoleum). White is definitely more forgiving than silver metallic. I've determined the Camaro is missing the front bumper. I already knew the vacuum motor and linkage for the hideaway headlights were missing. I had asked Dad about that when I first got the car. He told me the vacuum hideaway headlights didn't work right, so he threw it all into the trash. A complete hideaway headlight kit is about $1,000 nowadays. Thanks Dad.

3-28-22: I bring Camaro parts inside to work on until things warm up. I had a new "in the box" front grille that I bought years ago. So, I worked on taking the old grille apart which is 3 pieces. The plastic center is the new part. I cleaned everything, then polished the chrome trim, taped off the trim, and painted the rest black. This morning I got the hideaway headlight doors dug out and worked on them. I did a trial fit to see how it looks. Then I took it all apart again and went back to installing the front engine brackets and pulleys. I also have the under-hood wiring to unravel.

3-30-22: Still obsessively working on the Camaro.

3-31-22: I went to town today for parts and hardware. Afterwards, I worked on the Camaro. I took the hood off. I plan to sand it down and paint it before I put it back on. With the hood off, I can remove the front fenders to start work on fixing rust and dents. I also have to restore the heater core box since the passenger fender has to be removed to work on it. So much to do, it’s almost overwhelming.

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Modern retro looking gauges (NVU 3-in-1) mounted in modified original dash panels.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
1968 Camaro project journal for April 2022

4-2-22: Yesterday and today I ran to town for more parts. I looked at how the fuel line should be routed under the hood and ordered more fittings. Then I spent hours redoing the fuel hoses. However, I think it looks better and the fuel lines are routed farther away from the exhaust pipes now. I got a fancy billet aluminum pulley swapped onto the new alternator. I trial fitted the billet aluminum brackets. It looks great and seems to be solid. I decided to take the starter off to make it easier to swap transmissions. I broke a corner off the starter when I tried to remove the bolts. And, so it goes.

4-3-22: I painted the radiator support and sanded on the hood and took the passenger side fender off. Tomorrow, the heater core and fan housing will be removed. I have all new parts going back in (fan motor, heater core, and housing). If it moves, lubricate it. If it doesn't move, paint it.

4-4-22: I finished painting in the engine compartment. I cleaned the moss and lichens off the front fenders. Previously, I had repaired two small rust holes with fiberglass back in the 1980s. One repair patch looked fine, but the other will require some additional attention. It should be a relatively easy fix. I got the old heater core and blower motor removed. I took a photo of the housing. Mouse nest and cobwebs and mud dauber nests, oh my!

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4-6-22: I completed the heater rebuild. I had to do some tweaking to get the Chinese reproduction parts to fit right. Oddly enough, when I benched tested the original 54-year-old blower fan motor, it worked, although it was a little noisy. Once it's running again, I can test the 2-80 air conditioning (2 windows down while going 80 MPH). I prepped the inner fender and painted it. The outer fender had a dent from when a pole shed that the Camaro was stored in collapsed during a storm. Luckily that the damage was minor. I picked up a body hammer and dolly. My goal was to bang the dent out a bit, so I didn't have to use so much body filler. To my surprise, after a few taps, the main dent popped out. There was a small ding leftover, but a little Bondo took care of that.

4-7-22: I went to town for a new Camaro starter. When I got home, I worked on the fenders but took a lot of breaks due to the cold.

4-9-22: I got more work done on the Camaro.

4-11-22: I got the passenger side front fender hung in place yesterday afternoon. Today, I found a broken fender bolt and spent a couple of hours trying to drill it out. I also spent a couple hours sanding on the fenders. Plus, a lot of little things that are time consuming.

4-12-22: It took me a long time to drill out the broken Camaro fender bolt. I broke a couple drill bits and ruined some of the threads on the welded blind nut. I drilled it out bigger and tapped it for the next size larger bolt. Amazingly enough, it worked. I messed around with the fenders and tried to get the "gaps" just right. The alignment is better, but it’s still not right. I’ll try again another day.

4-14-22: Lots of sanding and painting. Found another broken fender bolt (same location on the driver side as was on the passenger side). It took a couple of hours to drill it out. I need to get some new drill bits in the morning. Several of the ones I have are dull or damaged after drilling out broken bolts. Of course, I'm living the dream and having lots of fun.

4-16-22: I'm in the final stages of installing the fenders and other front end body panels. Today I was adjusting the gaps again, especially the gap between the doors and front fenders. That involves loosening several bolts then shoving sheet metal around and then retightening bolts. During this process, I stripped the threads on a fender bolt. Once the damaged bolt was removed, I drilled out the bolt hole and cleaned up the threads. The fenders are bolted on solid. The gaps are not perfect, but at least the doors open and close without hitting the fenders.

4-19-22: I installed a new power steering pump and alternator with billet aluminum brackets and pulleys. Been cleaning and sanding and painting. Some of the front-end parts I'm now installing have been in the trunk since the early 1980s when Dad took it apart in the early 1980s. Figuring out where stuff goes and finding the proper bolts has been fun (not). If I use the old parts, I have to clean and paint them. Then I have to find the bolts and other hardware. It's time consuming. I started sanding on the hood today and hope to have it ready for paint by tomorrow.

4-21-22: It took two trips into town, but I finally got fan belts that fit my new fancy billet aluminum pulleys. The engine is back together, except for the wiring. I'll probably have to dink around on the under-hood wiring for at least 3 days to get it back into working order.

4-22-22: I mentioned that everything was installed on the Camaro engine except wiring. I lied (forgot about the starter). I took the old starter off and bought a new one but haven't reinstalled it yet. It gives me more room to swap the transmissions if I leave the starter off for now. I did some touch-up on the hood today. I filled three small low spots on the driver's side fender with Bondo.

4-24-22: I got the Camaro front tires on ramps (jacked it up and slid the ramps into place). For safety I have 2 jack stands on the subframe and 2 more jack stands at the rear of the car. I have wooden blocks supporting the rear of the engine and the transmission is held up with a Harbor Freight jack. So, I'm all ready to pull the old TH400, but I ended up putting the front end back together instead.

4-28-22: Camaro highlights: ordered more parts, did more painting, wrestled the old transmission out, and transferred everything out of the trunk into plastic storage totes. Found several things I need to put back on the Camaro, but most of the trunk stuff is extra parts. I'm missing the front bumper and two mounting brackets. Finally, I now have the hood repainted.

4-29-22: I installed a new pilot bearing, a resurfaced flywheel, performance 11” clutch and pressure plate kit (Ram Powergrip), new throw out bearing, used aluminum bellhousing, and a rebuilt starter.

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By late April, the Camaro was beginning to look pretty good.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
1968 Camaro project journal for May 2022

5-1-22: I found a pattern online for cutting a shifter hole in the tunnel. Between a cutoff wheel and a Sawzall, I managed to get the hole cut without butchering it too bad.

5-2-22: I pulled the console out of the Camaro, cleaned it, repaired a spot, and painted the black parts black again. I bought the 4-speed plate with boot and swapped out the old automatic shifter plate. I also bought new clutch and brake pedals. I removed the old wide brake pedal and have the new man pedal assembly is ready to go in.

5-5-22: Been working on installing the Camaro clutch pedal and linkage today. It's a pain in the hinny because I have to lay halfway upside-down to work under the dash. Getting too old for this.

5-6-22: I got the Camaro front bumper brackets installed and still working on the clutch linkage. I bought a 4" roll of black vinyl tape and made a bumblebee stripe on the front end (just to see how it looks). I started ordering some large items like the trunk lid and front bumper. Next will be a windshield (the old one is rock chipped and cracked).

5-8-22: I've been plugging away on the Camaro clutch linkage for several days (mostly on my back under the car). With the exhaust headers and power brake booster, it's a tight fit. The front sub-frame had the frame holes drilled for the Z-bar, but not threaded, so I had to tap out 4 holes. I also had to reroute a brake line and relocate the oil pressure sending unit. But today I finally got the clutch and linkage put together and operational. I ordered a windshield today. Hope it arrives in one piece.

5-10-22: I got the front bumper and trunk lid delivered today. Tomorrow I should get the windshield. I'm a bit nervous.

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Old windshield and dash pad removed. Cowl will be sanded and painted.

5-12-22: I got the Camaro windshield delivered yesterday. The glass was well-packed and undamaged. I also have a new dash pad to install after I get the old windshield out. I plan to replace the windshield myself. I had trouble adjusting the new clutch linkage and finally figured out I had the wrong clutch fork. This fork was already installed in my Chevelle bell housing, so I just assumed that it would work. Surprisingly, the clutch fork I needed was in stock at the local O'Reilly's. So, I make another parts run. Then back home, I pulled the bell housing back off and change the fork.

5-14-22: I've worked a lot on the Camaro lately, but progress has been slow. I have the transmission halfway installed. I have the driver side door prepped and ready to paint. I have the old driver’s side rocker panel cut out and the new one test fitted.

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Muncie 4-speed and custom Strange Engineering driveshaft installed.

5-19-22: About all I did today was work on rocker panels.

5-15-22: I got tired of fighting with the Camaro transmission today, so I went back to working on the rocker panels.

5–16-22: I worked on the rocker panels again. I put the first coat of paint on the door.

5-18-22: I worked some more on the rocker panels today. The prep work has been very time consuming. The driver side is ready to go on and the passenger side is about half ready. It's fitting better than expected. The passenger side is almost perfect.

5-20-22: I had ordered a reproduction trunk lid and rear spoiler (old ones are in poor condition). The lid was pre-drilled for the spoiler, but since they were different Chinese manufacturers, I figured there would be alignment problems. Nope, perfect fit for once.

5-22-22: I put a second coat of paint onto the driver's door and a first coat onto the trunk lid.

5-23-22: I got the rust hole in the lower front corner of the driver's door fixed. I tried to polish the lower rally sport trim but didn't have much success. I've lost the trim clips apparently. Reproduction trim is $160 (yikes) and another $20 for the clips. Maybe I'll just get the clip kit and try polishing the old trim again. I prefer using the original parts whenever possible.

5-25-22: The rocker panels are done and painted now. I had some problems installing the clutch pedal assembly. Turns out it was missing a bushing. I found the part and reinstalled the pedal assembly. The clutch linkage is now done (finally) and seems to work.

5-28-22: I installed the new trunk lid and spoiler onto the Camaro mainly to get it out of the way, so I would stop tripping over it. There was a lot of adjustment to do. Also, the weatherstripping channel has some rust, so I have to clean it up and repair it before the new weatherstrip goes on.

5-30-22: I got the new trunk lid and spoiler put on. I might have to pull the transmission back out. It was not going all the way in like it should. It seems to be in a bind and I don’t want to force it. Those mounting ears on the tranny can easily break off if you’re not careful.

5-31-22: I finished up the back end of the car for now. The bumper will not shine no matter how much I polish it, so it probably needs to be re-chromed.

Car Vehicle Vehicle registration plate Hood Automotive lighting

Thought I'd try painting the rear spoiler black, but quickly went back to white.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
1968 Camaro project journal for June 2022

6-1-22: More transmission trouble. I took it back out for the second time and found out the throw-out bearing had a ridge that needed removed. That was easily done with a little sandpaper. I got the Muncie back in and the clutch linkage installed.

6-2-22: Work on the Camaro was frustrating today. I had a fight with the transmission mount. There's always something on this Camaro.

6-3-22: I ended up with a cross-threaded transmission mount bolt. I had to drill it out and tap the hole for the next size bigger bolt. It's fixed now and the mount is bolted to the cross member. The car is off the jack stands and back on the ground. I need to order a driveshaft.

6-5-22: I removed the instrument cluster and glove box to allow access to the dash pad. It's easier to work on this stuff with the windshield off. I also want to paint the top of the dash.

6-7-22: I got the windshield installed. I did all the prep work, and my wife helped me ease it into place. It looks good. During the last couple of days, I've ordered a bunch of parts from Camaro Central, Summit Racing, and Amazon.

6-8-22: I saw a video about how to restore stainless steel trim. I worked for a couple hours on restoring the trim around the windshield. Looks okay, definitely better, but not perfect. The Hurst floor shifter lever didn’t fit at all, so I ordered a different one. I put the hood back on, but it needs tweaked. The gap is wide on one side and narrow on the other.

6-9-22: I got the hood gap adjusted enough so that it will close without hitting. I found the old hood latch (cleaned, wire brushed, sanded, painted, and installed it). I restored the center console. I noticed the inside rearview mirror is toast, so I ordered a new one.

6-10-22: The Camaro interior was looking a little shabby. The steering wheel was cracked in places. Of course, I will eventually have to replace the carpet. I decided to spend a couple days working on the interior. I installed a Hurst shifter and boot. I installed a Momo leather padded steering wheel and SS horn button.


Before and after (obviously it still needs new carpet and seat covers).
Car Vehicle Motor vehicle Steering part Steering wheel


6-11-22: Messed around with several little things on the Camaro. Tweaked the hood adjustment, installed the clutch return spring, touched up some paint, etc.

6-13-22: I ordered a custom performance driveshaft from Strange Engineering (3” chrome moly steel with 1350 yokes and Spicer u-joints).

6-21-22: I worked on the Camaro wiring and got it mostly untangled. I will need to fix rodent damage. I removed the rear spoiler, prepped it, and painted it white (I had it painted black at first). I like it better now. The driveshaft arrived today. It looks good and fit perfectly.

6-23-22: I mainly worked on the wiring. I found a good video where the guy points out how the wiring is ran on a Camaro. I stopped the video in several spots and saved screen shots to print out. It seems to help me figure it out. This morning I've been repairing rodent chewed wires. There's a couple of wires chewed completely off. Where they go to I don’t know yet.

6-25-22: Just one more rodent damaged wire to repair (5 wires fixed). I have to rewire the ignition wire to bypass the original resistor wire since I converted from points distributor to electronic. Then I have 24 wires to connect for the new gauges. It's slow going, but I'm making progress. I got a new form fitted carpet kit. It was delivered before the floor patch panels. Can't install the new carpet until the floor is repaired. I bolted the header mufflers on (3" Cherry Bomb glasspacks). They will be super loud, but I needed something cheap and easy for the initial engine startup.

6-29-22: I messed around on the Camaro yesterday and today.

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
1968 Camaro project journal for July 2022

7-4-22: I started sanding on the passenger door. There were no rust holes at all. There was just one small dent that I filled with Bondo. Still avoiding the wiring, I cut the old carpet from the driver side floor. Under the carpet were sound deadening pads. I pulled those out and was shocked see Swiss cheese floor panels. This is definitely not good and absolutely has to be repaired.

7-6-22: I got the first coat of paint on the passenger door and worked on wiring again. I have the floor patch panels ordered. Fun fun fun.

7-8-22: I'm still fussing with the Camaro wiring. Got the ignition system and starter done. I've repaired all the rodent chewed wires. I need to do the alternator wires and connect up the new gauges. The floor patch panels will be here in a few days. I plan to work on one side at a time. The rocker panels are already done and the tunnel hump is rust free, so there ‘s good support along both sides at least. However, on the driver side the toe board is also quite rusty.

7-10-22: Today, I finished up the under-hood Camaro wiring. Next is wiring the new gauges.

Circuit component Electrical wiring Audio equipment Electricity Electronic engineering


7-11-22: Camaro wiring is mostly done except for the gauges. I have installed 3 new mirrors—one interior rear-view and both outside door mirrors. I ditched the long chrome antenna for a mini black carbon fiber cool-looking one (done mainly to fill the hole on the fender).

7-13-22: Got the floor patch panels delivered today. I began on the driver side. I trimmed the panel a couple of times, and it snapped right into place. It fit better than I thought it would.

7-14-22: The passenger side floor was not as rusty as the driver side. I got both floor patch panels fitted and they look good. I worked the longest on the driver’s side toe board. It required a lot of "whittling" to get the panel to fit right.

7-15-22: The rusty floor panels were cut out. I overlapped the patch panel on the transmission tunnel side which was solid (no rust). I will use panel adhesive and rivets on the lap joints (the tunnel side). The sides next to the rocker panel will be butt welded with a MIG welder.

Automotive tire Motor vehicle Tire Hood Bumper

Floor and toe board patch panels being test fitted.

7-17-22: I worked on floor pans today.

7-19-22: I worked more on the floor patch panels.

7-20-22: I did some more work on the floor patch panels.

7-21-22: I slaved away on the floor panels and pretty much finished them today.

7-24-22: The driver side interior door panel has been off for years. I decided to put it back on. But first the rocker panel (Rally Sport) trim needs to be installed. I cleaned and polished the trim first. I got the lower door trim finally figured out and installed.

7-25-22: I got the rest of the trim put on the Camaro. Now I'm working on adjusting the roll up windows and putting on the weatherstripping. I got one dew wipe installed.

7-26-22: Been trying to adjust the door window but having problems. I watched a couple YouTube vids and saw one guy putting the window guide plates on upside down. Then I realized it fit better like that and maybe I was the one that was wrong. Once I switched the parts around, I was able to get it adjusted. The driver's door now opens and closes like it should. However, the passenger's door has worn hinge pins causing the door to visibly sag. I have to replace the hinge pins.

7-28-22: The Camaro was fighting me again. I was removing the center console and the six bolts didn't want to come out. All of the caged nuts were rusty and broke. When that happens, the nut and bolt just spins. I had to clamp them with vice-grips, which was tough because the transmission was in the way. I finally got them all out, but it wasted a lot of time.

7-30-22: Today, I removed the sagging headliner and rest of the carpet. I had previously removed the bucket seats and console, then cut out the floor sections of the carpet in order to install the floor patch panels. The seat belts, and back seat were pulled out to remove the rest of the carpet. I put sound damping mats down first. The new carpet is molded but requires trimming. The new carpet sure made the interior look and smell better.

Car Speedometer Vehicle Steering part Tachometer
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
1968 Camaro project journal for August 2022

8-1-22: Today, I completed the carpet install. Since I put in a new toe board, I had to drill new holes to install the floor mounted headlight dimmer switch. I located the seat belt bolt holes (they got covered up with the new carpet).

8-3-22: I fussed around and discovered the Hurst shifter was out of adjustment again. I installed new metal bushings to replace the old nylon ones. The work (and grease) must have paid off, because it shifts nice now. I saw a puddle on the concrete floor. Brake fluid was leaking from what looks like a rust hole in the hardline. I had completely rebuilt the brake system in 2008. I guess it would be wise to replace all the brake lines again. I went to take the dome light cover off to access the mounting screws. Upon touching the plastic, it crumbled. The clutch and brake pedal assembly was loose again. If it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all.

8-4-22: I took the pedal assembly back out. I had found out that a bushing was missing last time. But this time, I found a loose pin on the pedal shaft that had to be reinstalled.

8-6-22: I thought that I was done with the Hurst shifter, but when I got the top of the console installed, the shift lever hits a console support brace when you try to go into first gear. I did some modding and trial fitting. It now shifts without whacking stuff.

8-8-22: The last two days were spent wiring up the new gauges.

8-9-22: Yippee, I got the gauges connected. I still need to tuck the wires up under the dash and zip tie them. Think I'll start putting fluids in (engine oil, radiator coolant, trans gear oil, diff gear oil, power steering fluid, brake fluid, and gasoline).

Car Wheel Vehicle Tire Hood

This is an old photo from 2008 when the new brakes and rebuilt rear end were installed.

8-10-22: Someone in the past butchered the wiring trying to install a stereo. It took a while to fix that mess. I hate to admit it, but I’m that idiot. I ordered a seat belt conversion kit to install a three-point lap and shoulder retractable seat belt system. It should arrive tomorrow. I also ordered the black deluxe houndstooth seat upholstery.

8-12-22: I worked on the Camaro today and yesterday.

8-14-22: Went to the parts store for ball joints. I'm installing 2" drop coil springs, control arm bushings, ball joints, and sway bar bushings/end links. I got the seat upholstery delivered. The deluxe houndstooth seat covers are a perfect match when compared to the old one pattern.

8-15-22: I worked on the front suspension again. I was about to buy a ball joint press, but after watching a couple of videos I decided to save money and time, so I didn't buy the tool. However, I made a poor decision. The "beat them in with a hammer" method is hard work with a risk of damaging them. I should be working smarter, not working harder.

8-17-22: I finally got the driver side front suspension done. Now I get to do the passenger side.

8-21-22: I installed a trans tunnel (or hump) reinforcement panel which is a thick metal frame that strengthens the edges of the hacked shifter hole.

8-24-22: Been working on the Camaro today and taking a lot of breaks due to the heat.

8-25-22: I spent a lot of time removing of the two worn stock rubber upper control arm bushings and then installing the new polyurethane upper control arm bushings.

8-27-22: Yesterday made me cuss. I had trouble installing the last control arm. I finally remembered Dad's tongue in cheek saying: “If at first you don't succeed—get a bigger hammer.” I made good progress once I tried using a big hammer. The installed BMR drop front coil springs appear to have lowered the front end about 1-3/4" or so.

8-29-22: For the last two days, I worked on the rear suspension and replaced several brake lines.

8-31-22: I did several minor things to the Camaro. I have the material for the headliner in hand now (backing hardboard, suede with foam backing, and 3M spray adhesive). Might as well forge ahead with my planned custom headliner next.

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
1968 Camaro project journal for September 2022

9-2-22: I had a coil spring that didn't get all the way down into the spring pocket. Okay, stop laughing. I screwed up. Not the first time and won't be the last. I have tried several times to fix it, but I didn't want to split the ball joint again, which ruins a new $35 part. Ironically, I bought a $35 spring compressor and finally got it to pop into place.

9-3-22: I did some minor work on the Camaro for a couple of hours.

9-5-22: I'm in the middle of doing interior work on the Camaro. I have the seats removed. I pulled the nasty looking "package tray" cover off the rear window shelf and will install a new one. Another thing I'm doing is installing a custom headliner. I think the prep work is finally done. I bought 1/8" thick Masonite panels (hardboard) and have them mounted onto the ceiling.

9-7-22: I got the rear seat re-upholstered. I had two boxes of hog ring staples (100 per box) and completely emptied one box. The headliner material should get installed tomorrow. The front bucket seats are sitting out and waiting to be restored.

9-10-22: The Camaro headliner is done. Dang it was more time consuming than I had thought it would be. I still have to restore the front bucket seats.

Car Vehicle Motor vehicle Automotive design Plant


9-11-22: Seems like I'm running to town for parts quite often nowadays. I'm in the middle of re-covering the front seats. I need to add some additional foam in the bun area. I have the sliding seat tracks cleaned up and repainted.

9-12-22: I went to Hobby Lobby for a pack of high-density polyester foam to supplement the original seat foam. I had to repair the driver seat zig zag springs in two places. Nothing is broken on the passenger seat, so it should be easier and quicker (famous last words).

9-14-22: Got the seat upholstery done. That was a lot of work. I went through about 240 hog rings. There are some minor wrinkles, but after a few hot days they should look fine.

9-15-22: I torqued the front suspension to specs with the tires down on the ground. It was hard to reach some of the bolts since I couldn't jack it up. I need to do some steering adjustment to get the alignment dialed in better.

9-17-22: I spent most of the day working on the rear suspension. I got it to drop another 1/2" but I stripped out a couple of U bolts that hold the axle housing to the leaf springs. I got heavy duty ones from O'Reilly but will have to drill out the mounting holes since it's bigger than the original.

9-18-22: I got the Camaro suspension rebuilt and upgraded now. the rear is lowered about 1.5" and the front dropped almost 2". At least it doesn't look like a 4-wheel drive anymore.

9-20-22: I got the front seats bolted into place. It was not easy to find the bolt holes under the new carpet. The rear interior sail panels should be replaced eventually. Otherwise, the interior is done. This afternoon I did more grinding and sanding on the driver side rear quarter panel.

9-21-22: I worked on interior stuff today. I thought it was done but turns out I have more to do. The sun visors were part of what I forgot. I keep finding fasteners that are not completely tight. I'm really worried about the loose nut behind the steering wheel.

9-23-22: I worked on the driver side rear quarter panel (lots of sanding, fiberglass resin mixing, and painting). I installed the new A pillar covers. Of course, they were a pain in the butt as usual.

9-26-22: I sanded on the rear quarter panels. I took the rear axle cover off to take a look inside. Amazing, there was no rust. The shop that rebuilt it for me used plenty of lube when they assembled it. Finally, something went right.

9-27-22: I did more body work today. I also worked on the rear suspension for the third time. Then I filled the rear end with gear lube. Tomorrow I'll fill the Muncie 4-speed.

9-28-22: I did more body work and torqued the suspension to spec since the tires are back on the ground. I’ve found more loose bolts, so I'm taking my time and going over everything again.

9-30-22: I'm back to working on the wiring. Tomorrow I'll throw a battery into the car and start testing the electrical system.

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
1968 Camaro project journal for October 2022

10-1-22: I've been re-checking stuff and found the power steering hoses were loose. Luckily that was before adding the fluid. I filled up the radiator and coolant leaked out of the warped thermostat housing (dang worthless import parts). Additionally, I discovered the accelerator linkage was AWOL.

10-3-22: I went to O'Reilly auto parts twice today and got a brake line replaced. Tomorrow, I'll look into why there is no accelerator linkage/cable on the Camaro. Thought there had been one in the trunk but came up empty handed. A lot of folks apparently convert to cable.

10-5-22: I did more electrical wiring, mainly making things look tidy. I usually do about 30-60 minutes of body work whenever I work on the Camaro. I need a throttle cable to operate the installed dual quad induction system. I’ve heard that Lokar cable conversion kits are not cheap, but they work great.

10-6-22: The thermostat housing and upper radiator hose order was delivered. Of course, there was no gasket. I made another parts run. Back home, the hose and inlet were installed. Then, the radiator was refilled. Thankfully, no more leaks.

10-7-22: I removed the windshield wiper motor to made it easier to reach the bolts holding the gas pedal and linkage to the firewall. The Lokar conversion pedal bolts in just like the stock one.

10-9-22: The ignition switch was working intermittently, so I took it apart, cleaned, and lubed it. The gas pedal and linkage are tough to remove with the engine in place, but I got the old stuff out.

10-11-22: I spent two days installing the new gas pedal and cable. The new cable works like a charm.

10-13-22: I thought that I was done with the Camaro gas pedal, but some wires got on the wrong side of the throttle cable. I had to disassemble the cable again to fixed it.

Motor vehicle Vehicle Car Automotive design Auto part

Spoiler alert, I got the engine running on Thanksgiving.

10-14-22: I got the fuse block cleaned up and new fuses installed. Looks much better. I started to install the windshield wiper motor, but I broke a bolt. It took me an hour to drill it out. I finished installing the wipers and called it a day.

10-19-22: I watched some vids about how to DIY the front-end alignment. Simply, you measure stuff and make adjustments. I did an inspection and found one wheel with too much negative toe (needs shimmed). The camber is off by about 1/2 inch (tie rods need to be adjusted). I'm going to try doing the adjustments myself when I get more alignment shims.

10-20-22: I got about 4 hours of work done on the Camaro today. I keep finding more things to fix. I think it's a never-ending project.

10-21-22: Worked on the Camaro for much of the day. I'm having trouble getting the tie rod adjusting sleeves to turn. If I remove the tie rods (installed new in 2008), those parts almost always get damaged when you use a pickle fork and hammer.

10-22-22: Yesterday I was having trouble adjusting the tie rod ends. I had decided to stop wasting time and get new parts. Camaro tie rods are not in stock locally but I found a parts store in the "big city" an hour away. After I got back, I installed one side and have the other side about halfway done. Now the tie rod adjuster sleeve works like it should.

10-23-22: I got the rest of the tie rod installation done. I feel pretty confident the front wheel alignment is now in the "ballpark" and I can take it on a test drive, but it will still need a proper alignment.

10-24-22: I started to bleed the brakes and discovered the brake pedal plunger won't budge. I'm sure it's rusted. I'll remove the master cylinder and brake booster tomorrow. I'm guessing that I'll need to buy new parts. Can't skimp on brakes.

10-25-22: I took the master cylinder and brake booster off today. Turns out to be a stuck piston in the master cylinder. The brake booster is probably crap too. Both are original parts. I thought the Right Stuff brake kit came with a new MC and booster. Yep, I found them new in the box on my storage shelf. Sheesh, I completely forgot I had those parts.

10-26-22: I checked voltage for the power wire that goes to the coil and got nothing. Spent a lot of time inspecting things and finally recalled that I had ran the power wire to a connector on the fuse box. Recently, when I was cleaning the fuse box and installing new fuses, apparently that power wire got unplugged, but didn't get plugged back in. Duh, brain fart.

10-27-22: I got the Camaro windshield wipers working. I used that electrical cleaning solvent on the switch and also cleaned the paint and rust from the ground contact area. Now it works fine, not sure which helped (maybe both?).

10-28-22: The day was spent installing the new brake booster and master cylinder. The 4 bolts that hold the booster to the firewall were super hard to reach and see.

10-30-22: I worked 4 hours and finished the installation of the brake master cylinder and booster.

10-31-22: Been an exciting day of bleeding the master cylinder and fixing brake leaks. I had heard stainless steel brake lines (like I have now) are a challenge to seal up. Well, that rumor is apparently true, from what I’ve seen.

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Ram Powergrip performance clutch.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
1968 Camaro project journal for November 2022

11-1-22: I battled another brake leak today. The left front caliper flex hose had the wrong size copper washers/seals on the banjo bolt. That prompted another trip to the parts store.

11-2-22: When you install a brand-new brake system, gravity bleeding is your friend.

11-3-22: I've unsuccessfully tried to bleed the rear calipers. I keep thinking the calipers are new, but they were installed 14 years ago, even if they have never actually been used.

11-5-22: I messed around and finally got the rear calipers bled.

11-6-22: All of the calipers are bled, but they’re stuck and won't move (probably due to internal rust). I made up my mind to stop messing around and just get new parts, which I ordered today.

11-7-22: The Camaro started leaking brake fluid at the T fitting on the rear axle housing. I tightened that fitting a bit more and got it to seal back up.

11-9-22: Today the brake calipers, that I ordered from Summit Racing, arrived. That's freaky fast which is why I ordered from them. I love Summit Racing.

11-10-22: I got the new front calipers painted black and installed. They still need to be bled. The new rear calipers are prepped and ready to be painted. I had another leak—this time at one of the fittings coming out of the master cylinder. Basically, I tighten the line until it feels like it's going to break.

11-11-22: I got the rear calipers painted (VHT 900-degree caliper paint).

Gas Auto part Motor vehicle Metal Machine

I decided to go true DIY and paint the calipers myself with black VHT caliper paint (900 degree).

11-14-22: I have the front brakes operational, but the rear calipers are not being cooperative.

11-15-22: I learned the secret of how to adjust the parking brake on the rear calipers. Read the instructions! I was trying to bleed the calipers first, wrong. You have to adjust the parking brake first. Bleeding the rear calipers is the last thing to do. Rear brakes are now operational.

11-20-22: I pulled the spark plugs out and sprayed a squirt of Liquid Wrench into each cylinder. I have topped off the fluids (except gasoline) and presently there are no leaks. I'm leaving the gas tank dry because I don't want to gum it up from expensive gas sitting and going bad during the winter.

11-21-22: I worked on the Camaro today for about 4 hours. I can't figure out what I did wrong with the wiring. Just for test purposes I ran a new wire and finally got 12 volts to the ignition coil.

11-22-22: I got a bunch of stuff done to the Camaro, most which is just minor stuff that needs to be done, but the exciting thing is the starter works and will crank the engine over.

11-23-22: I found a small puddle of brake fluid under the Camaro this morning. As with previous brake leaks, once I tightened the fitting almost to the breaking point, that usually stops the leak.

11-24-22: Awesome news, the Camaro made some noise. The first attempt to start caused a single backfire. I figured the timing was too retarded, so I advance it. The second attempt resulted in a few coughs and sputters. I advanced the timing again and adjusted the choke. I pumped the gas pedal before trying to crank it a third time. It started and ran for 10 seconds before depleting the small amount of gasoline I had poured into the carburetor bowls. I will always remember Thanksgiving Day 2022.

11-25-22: It’s alive! The big block fired up and ran strong. It has a nice deep rumble. I let it idle for a bit until I turned the key off. I can't stop grinning. The Camaro sounds loud and mean (music to my ears). I recorded a short “first start in 36 years” video. I’ve played that clip over and over. Wow!

11-26-22: I got the Hotchkis rear shock tower brace installed. It’s supposed to minimize flex. I figure anything to help hold this thing together is probably a good thing. I already have subframe connectors.

11-28-22: I made a list of things to do on the Camaro before I start it up again. I got most of the things scratched off the list today. Tomorrow, I plan to run the engine long enough to set the timing.

11-29-22: I worked on the Camaro today. I started the engine again and got the initial timing set. The temperature sending unit suddenly started leaking coolant. Gotta work out the bugs.

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This is a crappy photo, but it's the only photo from when my father owned the 1968 Camaro (~1980).
 

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11-25-22: It’s alive! The big block fired up and ran strong. It has a nice deep rumble. I let it idle for a bit until I turned the key off. I can't stop grinning. The Camaro sounds loud and mean (music to my ears). I recorded a short “first start in 36 years” video. I’ve played that clip over and over. Wow!
Can you give us a link to your start-up video?
 

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I've been watching daily for updates. It's kinda like reading a book that you cannot put down. I read and learn from others. It amazes me that you are able to hit a dead end and just shrug it off and move to another part of the build. I get disgusted and stop for way too long at those times. I'm gonna start employing some of your efforts. Great job.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Hey Delco, I tried to post that video here, but it won't let me. It's not uploaded anywhere. I'll try to figure something out.

Thanks for all the kind words, guys. Trust me, I was not always patient. Admittedly I've mellowed out a little as my hair gets whiter. That said, I did cuss at the Camaro from time to time. After working a couple hours on the Camaro, Advil is my friend. When I was young, I worked nonstop from dawn to dusk. Nowadays I take a lot of breaks.

While the December cold has slowed me down, I'm still getting some work done. I fixed a fuel line leak today. I will probably do weekly journal updates to finish out the calendar year. If you folks like this project, I might continue posting updates in 2023 until the Camaro drivable (safe and dependable). Projects are rarely "finished" as y'all know.

I want to drive this Camaro. It'll never be a show car which is fine with me. Besides, I'm beginning to embrace orange peel paint jobs. My Dad passed away a couple years ago and I sort of feel guilty that I never took him for a cruise in his old car. Dad's a veteran (me too). I might hang his dog tags from the rearview mirror (in memory of).

Now go out and get some work done to your project. If I can do it, you can do it too,
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
1968 Camaro project journal for December (First Week) 2022

12-2-22: It finally warmed up enough to work on the Camaro. The new dash gauges are working okay except for the oil pressure gauge. I worry whenever I start the engine. If there was no oil pressure at all, the lifters would be clattering by now. But how much pressure do I have? I don't know. I bought a cheap mechanical oil pressure gauge and slapped it in with zip ties. I started the engine and checked the gauge. The needle pointed at 70 psi. No worries, that’s plenty. A lot actually.

12-3-22: A front tire is losing air again. It’s a slow bead leak due to wheel corrosion. The rear wheels are good, but the front ones have been abused like a redheaded stepchild. US Mags Indy slotted wheels are available again, so I ordered a pair for the front. I plan to get new front tires that are a little taller and narrower. The current front tire that is still holding air will go in the trunk as a spare.

12-4-22: When it gets too cold to wrench, I go shopping online. I ordered BMR 2” drop multi leaf springs to match the installed BMR 2” drop front coil springs. Decided I don’t like rear lowering blocks. I tried 2” blocks (looks ghetto) and then I tried 1” blocks (not low enough).

12-5-22: I got the choke working. It starts right up and runs great. Today, fuel started leaking (spraying) from a hose fitting just as I was about to see if it would move under its own power.

12-6-22: I removed the temporary oil pressure “test” gauge. Then I tightened the fuel fitting that had leaked. I still have to test it. However, I got a new problem, I left the battery cables connected (I usually disconnect the terminals). There must be a short somewhere because the battery went totally dead overnight. It took a long while, but I got the battery recharged.

12-7-22: I briefly started the Camaro today and the same fitting on the fuel pressure regulator leaked again. I took things apart and found a defective swivel fitting. I won’t use those again. Dang-nab-it, stainless steel braided hoses look good but they’re a hassle. I’ll need to order some parts if I want to fix it right. For now, I’m just going to bypass the fuel regulator with a piece of regular fuel hose.
 

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I run Edelbrocks on all my hot rods and had an issue with surging at highway speeds in my C10. I added a fuel regulator due to suggestions from others. Turned out the carb was junk. I replaced the carb and pulled the regulator off altogether. I don't miss it and cannot tell the difference.
 
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