Team Camaro Tech banner

1 - 20 of 35 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
128 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Good day gentlemen,
I thought I would start a build thread here. Its for a 68 Firebird convertible with an LS2 and 4l65 in it. I'm on a budget, I wouldn't call it cheap but I haven't spent money just to say I have a certain part.
If the fact that it says Pontiac on ownership is a problem for anyone I'll move the thread to another forum. I thought I would put it here though I got most of the help I recieved from another forum because most of the info I'll put here is already there and I thought you guys might be interested. I'll be looking for a lot of help yet. I figured if I started a thread I would be forced to keep moving. So here are the details.
68 Firebird I've owned since I was 15 - I never saw the original engine
06 LS2
4l65E from a Denali converted to 2wd
Spectra tank
8.5" 3.08 posi from a 73 Ventura
Speed tech UCAs
CPP LCAs
qa1 coilovers
C4/C5 front discs
LT1 rear disc
Foose Legends 275/40/18 rear, 225/45/18 front

I'm working in a 20 by 35 barn. The floor is cracked everywhere and there is literally a 3" drop in the middle. The leanto on the side is falling in so hopefully I'll be building a whole new garage soon. Obviously living in Ontario I don't get anything done on the car for a huge part of the year.
Here's the barn:

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
128 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
Rear End

If I had to do the brakes again I would have bought an entire kit because its hard to say if all the time spent scrounging parts together was worth it. What was worth it is being able to go to any parts store to be able to buy replacement parts.
The rears are two right hand LT1 calipers and rotors. They are PBR units off a 95 Camaro. I got the brackets from the now defunct Touring Classics. Speedtech might still have brackets but you can download the plans or buy the brackets elsewhere. You need two rights because of the staggered shock set up.




The axle is out of a 73 Ventura. The Firebird rear end is 1" wider than the Camaro thought the perches are in the same place. That means the much stronger 8.5 from a second gen or a Nova is a bolt in. It is also a lot cheaper than the 12 bolt which, from what I'm told, is only marginally stronger. I picked mine up rebuilt for $600 with a 3.08 posi. Here's what the brakes looks like behind the Legends:

They don't exactly fill the rims but they'll do the job. I got the rotors zinc washed knowing I would be handling them and that it would take me a long time to get the whole thing put together.
The springs are 2" drop leafs from Summit. When I got them home I noticed they are also used on 70-81s. My last springs were and they say about 4" too high so these ones should only be 2" too high. If so I'll get Hotchkis units and put these on my son's 74. He's only 5 so he won't mind.
The tank is a Spectra unit. Yes, I've heard they had problems but I've also read a lot of good things about the revised tanks plus they are hard to beat at $500 delivered.
I'm fixing an interior window and putting in a Year One ATO harness next. It was cheaper than the competitors and did the same things so I'll let you know how that goes.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,349 Posts
Welcome Scott. I've seen you over at pro-touring.com I'll be checking in on your build. I'm liking the pics and the explanations.
Maybe I should move my build thread to the pro touring forum. Is that possible? I'm sure a moderator can do it!! lol
Keep them coming.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,403 Posts
Scott, looks/sounds like it will be a nice car. Be very careful with those concrete blocks,
they can crush with no warning! Good luck with your build.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
128 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Hey Rob,
Ya I'm over at p-t.com and ls1tech and a few other places. Most of the help I got was from p-t. But since all the info I have is already over there I thought I would put what I have learned in one place with guys who can use it and hopefully give me a bunch more info cause I'm far from done.
I chose the name "Ishmael" because of the character in Moby Dick who could see when things were going too far but lately I've been thinking of changing my name to "Ahab." I'm still keeping things under control and that seems to be the ethos of the guys on this board so I figured they would be down with the build.
I'll put up the details on the c4/c5 front set up right away because its easy to do and lots of guys are doing it. I'll also put up a good link. Lots of guys can do it cheaply and would only need some bigger rims. Its a good first modification.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
128 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Thanks Dave and John.
To all those thinking of doing a disc brake swap, this is how I would have done it had I not already purchased parts when this guys put up this excellent write up: http://www.pro-touring.com/showthread.php?61780-C5-Disc-Brake-Swap-for-67-69-Camaro

As it is I did a c5 caliper over 13' c4 rotor. The reason for the c4 rotor is because it sits back further giving you more clearance in rims. As it is I've got a ton of clearance. You need drum brake spindles, have your hub turned down to 4.95" to fit inside the rotor (rear axle needs to be turned down too). The bracket was purchased from Touring Classics which as I said is out of business but others sell the bracket. You'll also need longer studs which you can have pressed in while the hub is being tuned down or just do them yourself.

Little tip, if you are buying reman calipers, don't just assume the banjo bolts for a c5 will work or, like me, you might end up buying another set of calipers. Test them lightly first. I got my hoses from stopflex. 95 Camaro hoses should work thought mine came with the brackets. If I were to do it again, I would just get the necessities from Kore3. An additional note: shaving off the corvette script buys you more clearance though the caliper I got the second time didn't have the script. These binders are PBR, have a great rep and are huge.

The rims and tires are 225/45/18. The rear are 18x10 with 5.5" BS, fronts are 18x7 with 4.5"These need to be cleaned and have lots of clearance. I would have gone 245 on te front but I got these rims and tires for $500 for the pair with 500 miles or less on them from Drivers Inc. There's a brake template on kore3's site: http://www.kore3.com/tech.php. David Pozzi has stuffed 275's in the front. you have to book mark his site: http://www.pozziracing.com/first_gen_suspension.htm

With the second gen rear I maybe should have gone an extra 1/2" back space on the rears if I was going to really drop it to sit them just inside the lips. With a 12 bolt, which is more than likely next, the rears will fit just inside the lips and still clear the suspension.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
711 Posts
Nice write-up Scott, sounds like it's going to be a fun car! No need to have the high dollar blingy stuff to bring these old rides up to current standards!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
128 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
The UPS guy was here! That's a bad and good thing.

The good thing is that he brought me Hooker LS swap headers and mounts, a Griffin ls rad, a CPP crossmember, Hotckiss subframe connectors and x-brace.

The bad new is that he didn't bring me roses or lube because I got screwed hard on brokerage fees! At least my wife wasn't home so I could get the parts stashed without any questions.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
128 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Lower control arm hell

I've got a fingernail that's going to go black and cut in my forehead not to mention a bad mood from my attempt to remove my lower control arms. I got one bolt out. Why would the factory put the bolt in from inside the frame? The next time I do this I'm starting with a Schwartz frame. I don't care how much it costs. I started with WD40, then a torch, a drift, my impact with the universal joint won't move it. I have to use a torque wrench. I hate this.
Does anybody know of an easier way short of sawzall to get those bolts out of 40 year old rubber?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,806 Posts
Re: Lower control arm hell

I've got a fingernail that's going to go black and cut in my forehead not to mention a bad mood from my attempt to remove my lower control arms. I got one bolt out. Why would the factory put the bolt in from inside the frame? The next time I do this I'm starting with a Schwartz frame. I don't care how much it costs. I started with WD40, then a torch, a drift, my impact with the universal joint won't move it. I have to use a torque wrench. I hate this.
Does anybody know of an easier way short of sawzall to get those bolts out of 40 year old rubber?
I just went through this on my '67. Lower arms were a bear to get out. The rear mounts were a pain, but at least they came loose. The fronts were seized up, and I went through 3 sawzall blades before taking out the grinder with cutoff wheel. Cut off the bolt and nut and used a pickle fork to spread the frame enough to pop out the control arm.

In my experience PB Blaster works a lot better than WD40.

If you're replacing the arm, getting the new arm in place isn't much easier. SpeedTech suggests using a piece of threaded rod with 2 washers and 2 nuts placed between the frame and screwing the nuts outwards to "open" up the frame a little.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
128 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
My forehead was me leaning over with the sawzall and hitting a tab off the firewall. Grinder it is then. Thanks.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,806 Posts
Scott, not trying to pollute your thread with my pics, but this may come in handy. This is the setup I used to spread the subframe to get the new control arms in place.



You might be able to do this to get the old arms out by cutting a piece of threaded rod to the exactly length of the subframe opening while the control arm is still in place and then cranking the nuts outward (my setup has the threaded rod passing through the bolt holes, but obviously you can't do this with the bushing still in place). This would only work on the front mount, not the ridiculous back mount setup. Also, I would use grade 8 washers next time as mine cupped pretty badly doing it this way.

For what it's worth, I installed the new bolts for the rear mount with the nut inside that frame opening instead of on the outside like original. And I used anti-sieze on all the bolts.

Good luck.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
128 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Thanks, I read about that on your thread. I thought I might try spreading the frame a bit when taking them out. I'll definitely use it putting the new arms in.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,806 Posts
I was laughing about your garage. My 1 car garage is exactly 3 feet longer the the Camaro and 4 feet wider, so I can't open the car doors all the way while it's in the garage. My motorcycle is parked against the back wall, so I have 3" in front and 3" behind my car.

After I jacked up the car and removed the control arms, I went to close the garage door and realized the Camaro must have shifted a little in the process. I had to put a piece of painters tape on the rear spoiler and another on the inside garage door handle, and then pull the garage door out 1" to clear the back of my car. Yeah, it's a little cramped in there. The good news is that even a little tiny space heater warms it up pretty quickly in the winter.

Good luck with the build, I'll be following along.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
128 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
Thanks for the help and encouragement on both sites.
I tried ordering a sway bar today and found out I would have to wait at least 2 weeks to get it. I knew I should have ordered it from Summmit when I was getting the rest of the parts. Ah the joys of living in Canada. I also ordered my IROC steering box which will be in right away so if I can ever get those arms off I'll have something else to do this weekend. And I thought I would be at the interior and harness. But hey, I got the engine and trans out last weekend that I spent so much time and money on putting in just last year. A little tip for anyone just starting out on their build: make a list of everything you want eventually, then instead of spending money on upgrading the crappy part you have now until you can afford the part you really want later, just save your money and wait until you can afford the part you really want - that way you aren't spending time and money on the same part twice.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
128 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
suspension

Every time I work on the car I want to get so much done. This last weekend I thought I would get not only the front suspension but also the steering box in. I should have known by how long it took to get that first LCA bolt out that it wasn't going to work that way but most of the front suspension was put in.
My neighbour was a mechanic all his life and he taught me a quick way to take out the springs and separate the ball joints without a spring compressor or pickle fork. Leave the shock nut near the top of the thread, disconnect the tie rod and take off the lower ball joint castle nut then give the lca a shot or two with a bfh. The shock stops the spring from taking your head off and pressure removes the spindle from the bottom ball joint. Weight will take it off the top ball joint. There's still a bit of pressure on the spring so don't kick the lca to get the spring out - ask me how I know. I know someone out there is about to tell me how dangerous this is but my neighbour did it for over 30 years without a problem and mine came off without a hitch - can't say the same for the lca bolts.
Penatrant was never going to get in there and once the inner steel tube starts spinning in the rubber there was nothing I could do but get heat to it. With the little propane torch I have I was never going to get enough heat in there so I had to grind it open a bit then take the air chisel to it and heat it from the inside. Here's the carnage:

So they came loose. I hammered one side in fairly easily with a rubber mallet but the other side needed a bolt put through and the nuts used to spread out the frame as per 67's tip.
The best tool I found so far those was a half-pound burger. Its an honest to goodness "Gargantuan" burger. The double-quarter pounder has nothing on these monsters. I gave two of them to my buddy and that got lots of work done.
I wouldn't have gotten this far if my buddy Jordie didn't drive an hour in each direction to give me a hand. Here's the left side:

Speed Tech uppers, LCA's are from CPP but they look the same as the ebay specials - still they look sturdy. QA1 coil overs. When installing QA1s, remember to extend the shock before you button up the spindle - ask me how I know.
This week I'll finish the right side, put in the sway bar and get at iroc steering box.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
128 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
Clearance Problem

I've got a clearance problem with my passenger upper control arm. Its scraping on the mounting tab even when it is spaced way out.


It gets worse. When the arm is all the way down there is no clearance and it has to push off the tab as such:


Has anyone run into this? I tried a bfh but I think I'm going to have to grind the tab (not the arm - they are too pretty). Is this safe? Any thoughts?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,806 Posts
Re: Clearance Problem

I've got a clearance problem with my passenger upper control arm. Its scraping on the mounting tab even when it is spaced way out.


It gets worse. When the arm is all the way down there is no clearance and it has to push off the tab as such:


Has anyone run into this? I tried a bfh but I think I'm going to have to grind the tab (not the arm - they are too pretty). Is this safe? Any thoughts?
Hmmm, I'll take a look at mine tomorrow in the daylight, but I don't recall even thinking about the clearance.

Have you tried it with a couple of shims? How much would you have to grind?
 
1 - 20 of 35 Posts
Top