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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,
Hello Batboy,
As a 65 year old, living the same dream, I can relate to everything in your journal. I do not have the energy to write about it ,after doing it. I'm glad you did. Hats off to you! It's a labor of love (and hate) , but it's worth it! Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
I ran the engine quite a bit today. Got it timed at 10 degrees initial advance for now to be super safe. I put the car in reverse and let the clutch out a little. It moved under its own power (a whooping 2 feet). I tried first gear and "drove" it back 2 feet. This means a lot to me. Now I know the clutch, transmission, linkages, shifter, driveshaft, and rearend are functional. This is a good day and a nice morale boost. The only negative vibe was the dash gauges acting screwy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
1968 Camaro project journal for December (Second Week) 2022

12-8-22: I made another parts trip. Back at the homestead, I bypassed the fuel regulator. I didn't see any fuel leaks this time when I started it, but there was a lot of smoke billowing up from the passenger side of the engine. Headers will smoke if you get oil on them, like if the valve cover gasket leaks and oil run down onto the exhaust, or the dip stick tube is not securely installed. I'll put the car back on jack stands tomorrow and look things over. I’ll check the header bolts for tightness too.

12-9-22: It was cold today. I checked the header bolts. They were okay. The dip stick tube is fine. There were no oil or fluids anywhere on or around the engine. No oil drips on the concrete floor. The primary tubes on the right header had crispy paint flakes partially bubbled up. I had used VHT 2,000-degree ceramic header paint on the header, but my prep work was apparently crappy. I used a small brass wire brush on the headers to get rid of the loose paint. I’m sure this is why it was smoking.

12-10-22: I ran the engine for a while and set the initial timing. The headers were not smoking this time. Then, I put the car in reverse and let the clutch out a bit. It moved under its own power (two feet). That’s a huge relief for me. The drive train is functional at least. The clutch engaged smoothly. Very nice. However, the dash gauges were acting screwy. Bummer. The needles kept sweeping back and forth (bad ground?). I pulled the hose out of the gas container and let the engine run out of gas. I don’t plan to start it again until springtime and didn’t want the gasoline to go bad over winter.

12-11-22: A fuel pressure gauge is mounted on the inlet fuel line at the carbs. It shows 7 psi with the fuel regulator bypassed (6-8 psi was my target). I’ll probably leave the fuel regulator off for now. A pair of BMR 2” drop rear leaf springs were recently delivered. I began to uninstall the old springs. Four of the caged nuts on the front spring pockets broke during removal. Now those bolts and nuts just spin.

12-12-22: I looked on the forum and the best suggestion was to remove the bolt heads with a grinder. I used a small cutoff wheel and got the job done. However, it was not easy to get at the bolts since they’re in a slightly recessed area. Next, I sanded and painted the parts that were getting reused. The new leaf springs were already painted black. Tomorrow I’ll start installing the new springs.

12-13-22: The upper shackle bushings were marginal, so I decided to install poly bushings. Easier said than done. I wasted a lot of time trying to force the bushings on until I finally realized the bushing’s center hole was too small. Even drilled out to the next bigger size they were still tight, but I guess they are supposed to be. The grease is slippery and made it hard to hold onto tools. The top shackle bushing is hard to reach and there’s no room to swing a hammer. Only one spring was installed today.

12-14-22: I reread yesterday’s post and realize I sounded whiny. Oh well, it’s a new day. The captive nuts I found locally did not fit (clip was too narrow). After some Dremel tool grinding on the slots, I got four new nuts installed (two of the old captive nuts were still usable). The upper shackle bushing was a pain in the hinny. Since I was working by myself as usual, I had to wrestle the spring onto the shackle hangers. I decided it was time to quit. My toes were cold. Forecast says colder tomorrow.

12-15-22: I wore long johns and so many layers of clothes that I looked like the Pillsbury Dough Boy. Still, I had to take frequent warm up breaks. I won’t bore you with every detail, but I managed to get the second new leaf spring on the Camaro. The bolts/nuts were left finger tight on both springs. I still have to install the wheels and torque the fasteners with the weight back on the ground. I might wait a couple days and work the suspension up and down by hand a few time a day. Maybe it’ll settle a bit more?

Photo: I took a snapshot of an old spring (GM) and a new one (BMR). The new one has less leaves and less arch, but a higher spring rate than stock. Can’t wait to see how the stance looks with the wheels on.

Bicycle tire Automotive tire Bicycle wheel rim Tire Bumper
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
1968 Camaro project journal for December (Third Week) 2022

12-16-22: Very cold today, all I did was put the wheels/tires back on and pull the jack stands out. After bouncing on each corner a few times, I measured the tire to fender gap. The BMR springs did as advertised and dropped the rear two inches. I want the “old school” look, so I don’t mind some gap, but even with one inch lowering blocks the old springs made the Camaro look like a four-wheel drive truck.

12-17-22: I aired up one tire, and it was so cold I almost froze. I quickly decided that was enough for today. Tomorrow well be warmer and then back into the deep freeze again. So, I went to the house and watched YouTube videos about how to find electrical shorts. Now, I know just enough to be dangerous.

12-18-22: Using my new-found knowledge I determined the Camaro does have a short circuit. As near as I can tell the problem is possibly the horn relay (original) and/or the voltage regulator (new). I need to do more research, but I think there is supposed to be a fusible link (it’s missing) where the power wire from the battery connects to the horn relay. Next, I need to do more testing.

12-19-22: I’m sort of clueless with electrical problems. But I eventually figured out that on the horn relay if you unplug the black wire (goes to horn button) and the green wire (goes to the horns), the short is gone and the starter will crank. Another fusible link should be on the voltage regulator power wire (also missing).

12-20-22: No work done on the Camaro today. I ordered a new relay, regulator, and a pair of fusible links.

12-21-22: On the Camaro, I used rubber washers under the mounting standoffs on the voltage regulator to reduce vibrations. However, I figured out you’re supposed to ground the VR base to the radiator support, not insulate it. I could pull the rubber washers off or I could run a separate ground wire (I might try this first). I removed the horn relay and took it inside the warm house to bench test. A new relay is needed as I suspected. Parts were already ordered.

12-22-22: No work done on the Camaro today. Snow and wind and cold (brrrr).

12-23-22: Too freakin’ cold to work on the Camaro today (sub-zero temps). The next 3-4 days will see a gradual warm up. I did get the horn relay, voltage regulator, and fusible links delivered today.

Tire Wheel Vehicle Car Automotive tire

Old school vintage slotted "mags" and 255-60-15 tires look cool with BMR 2" drop springs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
1968 Camaro project journal for December (Fourth Week) 2022

12-24-22: It got up to near 20 degrees today. Yesterday evening and today, I’ve messed around inside with the new charging system parts. I painted the top of the relay satin black. The top of the voltage regulator was gloss black and had “Made in China” in white paint on one side. I painted the regulator top satin black to match everything under the hood. Can I help it if the county of origin got covered?

12-25-22: Merry Christmas!

12-26-22: No work done on the Camaro.

12-27-22: I removed the “old” voltage regulator (installed a couple months ago) and installed a new VR715 solid state unit as was suggested here on the forum. I used the rubber mounting feet that I had made to help cut down on vibration. However, this time I have a ground wire securely connected. I installed a new horn relay. I will finish up the wiring and fusible links tomorrow. The last thing I did was air up a tire (slow leak).

12-28-22: Got the voltage regulator and horn relay installed. There’s still a short in the wire that goes from the horn button to the relay. I replaced the old steering wheel with a new aftermarket one, so I probably have the horn wire connected wrong in the steering column or something like that. I’ll leave that wire disconnected from the relay for now. Reckon I don’t need a horn until it’s back on the road.

12-29-22: I have a new turn signal lever that needs installed. The old one is rusty and has a mounting angle too close to the steering wheel. The new lever is angled exactly the same as the old one. In the Summit photo it looked straight. I used a hammer and block of wood to take out most of the bend. I did a test fit and it’s now perfect. The horn wire in the steering column appeared to be connected correctly. However, I discovered one end of the ground wire on the rag joint was not connected. That’s my bad, since I’m the one who rebuilt the rag joint. I tightened the leaf spring front eye bolts. I still need to tighten the rear shackle bolts.

12-30-22: Got lucky and had a few days of decent weather. New Year’s Day is the last nice day before winter returns. I tightened the shackle bolts. Next, I installed a generic universal rubber trunk mat (one size fits most). The instructions said trimming might be needed. That’s quite an understatement.

12-31-22: I re-connected the ground strap on the rag joint. Unfortunately, there's still a short from the horn button to the horn relay. I might have to replace that wire entirely, but for now I’ll disconnected it. Lastly, I found a loose connection on the switched power wire that goes to the dash gauges. I re-crimped the spade terminal and plugged it back into the fuse block. The dash gauges started working again. Progress was made and I think the wiring harness was salvaged.

Summary of the 2022 Camaro project:
During the year 2022, I averaged about 120 to 150 hours of work done per month. I also averaged spending about $1,000 each month for parts. There were times when I started to feel a little burned out. But most of the time I stayed focused. A little daily progress over a period of time adds up to a lot of work done. I’m pleased with how things are going. The engine runs and looks fantastic. The Camaro was able to back up and pull forward under its own power. I was going to say I did everything myself, but I farmed out resurfacing the flywheel and tire mounting. Also, my wife lent a helping hand for things like installing the hood. I would’ve never got the windshield correctly in place without her help. The plan is to take a break during January, then continue working on the car this spring until its back on the road.

Tire Wheel Car Automotive parking light Vehicle


I took this photo today, New Year's Day 2023. It's been a long year, but I see light at the end of the tunnel.
 

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1968 Camaro project journal for December (Fourth Week) 2022

12-24-22: It got up to near 20 degrees today. Yesterday evening and today, I’ve messed around inside with the new charging system parts. I painted the top of the relay satin black. The top of the voltage regulator was gloss black and had “Made in China” in white paint on one side. I painted the regulator top satin black to match everything under the hood. Can I help it if the county of origin got covered?

12-25-22: Merry Christmas!

12-26-22: No work done on the Camaro.

12-27-22: I removed the “old” voltage regulator (installed a couple months ago) and installed a new VR715 solid state unit as was suggested here on the forum. I used the rubber mounting feet that I had made to help cut down on vibration. However, this time I have a ground wire securely connected. I installed a new horn relay. I will finish up the wiring and fusible links tomorrow. The last thing I did was air up a tire (slow leak).

12-28-22: Got the voltage regulator and horn relay installed. There’s still a short in the wire that goes from the horn button to the relay. I replaced the old steering wheel with a new aftermarket one, so I probably have the horn wire connected wrong in the steering column or something like that. I’ll leave that wire disconnected from the relay for now. Reckon I don’t need a horn until it’s back on the road.

12-29-22: I have a new turn signal lever that needs installed. The old one is rusty and has a mounting angle too close to the steering wheel. The new lever is angled exactly the same as the old one. In the Summit photo it looked straight. I used a hammer and block of wood to take out most of the bend. I did a test fit and it’s now perfect. The horn wire in the steering column appeared to be connected correctly. However, I discovered one end of the ground wire on the rag joint was not connected. That’s my bad, since I’m the one who rebuilt the rag joint. I tightened the leaf spring front eye bolts. I still need to tighten the rear shackle bolts.

12-30-22: Got lucky and had a few days of decent weather. New Year’s Day is the last nice day before winter returns. I tightened the shackle bolts. Next, I installed a generic universal rubber trunk mat (one size fits most). The instructions said trimming might be needed. That’s quite an understatement.

12-31-22: I re-connected the ground strap on the rag joint. Unfortunately, there's still a short from the horn button to the horn relay. I might have to replace that wire entirely, but for now I’ll disconnected it. Lastly, I found a loose connection on the switched power wire that goes to the dash gauges. I re-crimped the spade terminal and plugged it back into the fuse block. The dash gauges started working again. Progress was made and I think the wiring harness was salvaged.

Summary of the 2022 Camaro project:
During the year 2022, I averaged about 120 to 150 hours of work done per month. I also averaged spending about $1,000 each month for parts. There were times when I started to feel a little burned out. But most of the time I stayed focused. A little daily progress over a period of time adds up to a lot of work done. I’m pleased with how things are going. The engine runs and looks fantastic. The Camaro was able to back up and pull forward under its own power. I was going to say I did everything myself, but I farmed out resurfacing the flywheel and tire mounting. Also, my wife lent a helping hand for things like installing the hood. I would’ve never got the windshield correctly in place without her help. The plan is to take a break during January, then continue working on the car this spring until its back on the road.

View attachment 300046

I took this photo today, New Year's Day 2023. It's been a long year, but I see light at the end of the tunnel.
Slow ,but steady. Nice job! Me too!
 

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Discussion Starter · #35 ·
1-10-23: I got to work on the Camaro for the first time since the New Year. Messed around with the brake light switch and got it installed again. I also started stripping the paint off the right rear quarter. The lip of the wheel well was badly rusted. Once you start cutting and grinding rusted metal, those little holes grow to be big holes.

1-11-23: I worked on the rear quarter again today. I'm going to weld in a patch panel. Winter returns tonight. I removed the rear window trim and a couple lower RS trim pieces on the rockers. I will try restoring (remove dents) and polishing this trim inside the house during bad weather. The secret is keep making progress whenever possible.
 

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Discussion Starter · #36 ·
1-12-23: More work was done on the rear quarter. I was grinding, cutting, sanding, drilling, and making all kinds of noise. I know it’s January, but if temps get into the 50s, I’m going to work on this Camaro.

1-13-23: I don’t know how we did car projects before cordless power tools. My Ryobi work light, grinder, DA sander, drill, and impact get used all of the time. Today was no exception, more work was done on the quarter panel.

1-14-23: I did a whole lot of sanding and also removed the rear bumper. There were only 8 bolts, but a few of them put up a fight. I broke one bolt off. The chrome on the bumper is not shiny. I tried to polish it, but it needs re-chromed.

1-15-23: We’re having a warm spell in January. I continued with the quarter panel prep work. It’s slow going, but I’m making progress. I had brought the rear bumper inside last night and tried doing more polishing. It’s far from perfect but it looks better. It's the original rear bumper and it's dent free. Who cares if it's not super shiny? I'm putting it back on.

1-16-23: I drilled out the broken bumper bolt. That took a while. I worked on the patch panel prep for a couple hours and sprayed some primer onto the bare metal to keep it from flash rusting. I’m ready to start welding except winter is supposed to return tomorrow. Guess I’ll just have to wait a bit for more nice weather.
 

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Discussion Starter · #37 ·
1-21-23: I’m back and today I worked some more on the passenger side rear quarter panel.

1-22-23: I started welding today. Got a little over halfway done. I got the wheel well and patch panels tacked securely into place. I had dreaded this part, but it went better than I expected. I reckon watching all those YouTube quarter panel replacement videos must have paid off. That and the dozen test fits I did when I was trimming the panels.

1-23-23: Lots more welding and sanding done today. I shot a coat of paint over the bare metal to prevent rust.

1-24-23: I finished the quarter panel welding and used a flap wheel on a grinder to knock down the high spots on the spot welds. Then, I hit it with another coat of paint to cover the bare metal. Winter returns tonight (snow and cold). So, it might be a few days before I can work on the Camaro again. I got more done in January than I had expected.
 
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