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Discussion Starter #1
Disclaimer: Not sure how long build threads last around here as I haven't checked any others yet but this one will be a few years in the making most likely.

Day 1:

Well over the holiday season I was finally able to get some time in to work on the car. I decided to I began the day laying out what I wanted to do and decided to tackle the gauges first as I expected the most problems that would require some emergency parts orders to get everything done by early January.



Well I got off to a great start as I peered under the dash I counted more wires that I could recall, and more length of electrical tape than I care to admit. It actually wasn't that bad but some of the splicing I tore out was just shamefully funny.



First thing I did was pulled out the line lock button on the bottom of the dash, then traced the wiring back to the harness and unplugged it from there as it was actually terminated in a nice way at the harness (surprisingly). After pulling the other wire through the firewall I found it went to the line lock solenoid through 2 different wires spliced together so it was cut off as that will be removed when I get a new brake line bent from the master cylinder to the distribution block.

After removing the bottom 3 gauges (water temp, oil press and voltage) from the dash, the aftermarket stereo, dimmer switch knob, wiper switch, dash pad and dropping the steering wheel I was able to get at the back of the instrument carrier panel and disconnect everything, unbolt it and pull it out. After removing it and looking at it I determined it would be better to get a new carrier panel then reuse the old one for the new gauges, as it had been messed up a little and my OCD was not having any of it. The final result of the day is shown below.

 

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Discussion Starter #2
Day 2:

After great success in feeling like I accomplished a lot on day 1, I got drunk with some friends and started day 2 in the late afternoon. However I decided to tackle mounting the console gauges.



After getting the console out of the car I pull off the wood trim looking cover off the top of the console and grabbed the new 4 gauge Dakota Digital set and mocked it up. It took a little coaxing to get the new gauges paired with the 45 year old gauge cover and into the console but the end result it pretty nice. Most of the coaxing was actually getting the new gauge cover to mount to the pod, as there were some tabs on the top of the inside that needed to be trimmed off.

 

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Very nice start. And yes threads here can span years. We aren't going any place. Keep working, keep posting, we will keep reading :)
 

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Some of us don't want to talk about the number of years their build threads last... Good luck with yours!
 
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My build started July 2012 but who is counting. :D

What are your long term plans for the car? Are you going to change the wiring along with the gauges? What is the black knob on the left side of the steering wheel? Sorry, I am asking too many questions.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Very nice start. And yes threads here can span years. We aren't going any place. Keep working, keep posting, we will keep reading :)
Yeah didn't think this site was going away when I have seen posts from just past the turn of the millenium haha.

Some of us don't want to talk about the number of years their build threads last... Good luck with yours!
Well hopefully mine isn't too long, although I'm at least going to be able to drive it during the summers which will be nice!

My build started July 2012 but who is counting. :D

What are your long term plans for the car? Are you going to change the wiring along with the gauges? What is the black knob on the left side of the steering wheel? Sorry, I am asking too many questions.
I'd hardly consider 3 questions too much, besides I love talking about my plans for the car :thumbsup: The short version is long term I'm going to convert the front end to RS style hideaway headlights, install a turbo LS motor with a T56 behind it, finishing converting the lighting to LED, put a 2" cowl hood on it, air suspension and finally repainting it. All while fixing little things here and there.

As for wiring along with the gauges, if you mean a new kit from the likes of painless performance or related products I haven't planned on replacing the wiring, but more so cleaning up what is already present. I'm pretty sure the wiring was redone about a decade ago when one of the previous owners restored the car as it is in decent shape, however there are some "alterations" a subsequent owner made. The black knob by the steering wheel is the manual choke for the carb, I haven't even checked to see if it works but its one of those "I'm looking for the slightest excuse to end you" things. The carb does need a tune though to help with start up.

Welcome... :thumbsup:
Thanks Ty!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Day 3 (this was sometime just before Christmas, but a week after the first two days):

My dad joined me for a while today as I still had some removal work to do. The oil pressure and temp gauges connected to the motor, and the gauges laying on the floor, however the wire cutters were brough out today for some mayhem. I actually was not sure if the coolant temperature line was full of coolant or not but after snipping it, it was a straight copper wire connected to a thermocouple. The oil line was a flexible plastic line that was half filled with oil so it was taped off after it was snipped. Once those were snipped I jacked up car and removed the oil speedometer cable and installed the Dakota Digital pulse generator and connected the wiring to it, running it up to the firewall then over the fender for now.

At that point I was debating what to do with the coolant to remove the old temp probe which was mounted on the passenger side of the block. After thinking about it while I went to the bathroom I decided to go get a new clean basin from town and completely drain the coolant. I walked out from the bathroom to find an oil filled catch basin below the car and my dad leaning over the fender with a wrench, I only lost about half the coolant before it stopped draining and couldn't help but chuckle at the old man. At least I didn't have to worry about pouring it from a basin to the rad again.

New oil and temp sensors were installed and the wiring connected and run over to the speedometer wiring. All 3 cables were then pulled through the firewall and routed to where I was expecting to mount the new control box. I spent the afternoon confirming indicator light wiring with a multimeter and marking which wires I would need with painters tape and a sharpie.



Also, if you couldn't tell already I have a few days of notes and pictures to catch up on.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I cant stand the gobs of wiring under a dash. Or even worse, when some knob rewires the entire car with wire nuts and one color of wire!

Looks like a good start down the slippery slope!
I haven't seen any wire nuts thankfully, however in the engine bay there is quite a lot of similar coloured, poorly routed and exceedingly long lengths of wiring that will be cleaned up when the old 350 gets the yank.

I see you just got your build thread up too, best of luck to you as well! Seems like you are a lot farther along than I am :thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Day 4:

After spending Christmas and boxing day getting fat I decided to get going on this again. Before going crazy with the wire cutters I decided to see why the park brake light was on even though the brake was not depressed. Just looking at the switch showed the small metal piece between the brake pedal and the sliding cylinder switch was popped off and slightly bent. Pulling it off and giving it the MC Hammer time treatment seemed to solve the problem for now but will have to keep an eye on it in the future.

After that I grabbed a pair of wire cutters and decided to get going on the stock indicator lights. All of the wires were cut and any that did not have any marking tape were taped over, grouped together and hidden away. At this point the only thing left to cut was the fuel gauge wires however I wanted to double check the colours to ensure I have them properly figured out.



After seeing the top of the steering wheel I definitely need to give that some paint love, the previous owner told me it was scratched up from the first night he owned the car. Apparently some thieves tried to steal the car the first night he brought it home, a tach that was mounted on the steering wheel was ripped off and they made a further mess by prying off the ignition cover. So that will be something to do before installing everything back in place and I'll have to look around these forums with how to remove the steering wheel to see how easy it will be. I will also have to get the ignition switch done while it is out as well.

In the meantime since I needed some lengths of wire from town and everything was still closed for the holidays I took care of the mounting points for the control box. I found a slit in the top of the glove box that would work perfectly for one side of the control box and marked a spot on top of the ash tray bracket to drill a hole. Removed the ash tray, drilled the hole, reinstalled and test fit it with everything bolting up nicely so it was removed until the wiring was tied in.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Day 5 (last update of past work):

I started by wiring up the new sensors to the control box and then armed with 25 ft rolls of 18 gauge wire that included red, black, green and blue colours I proceeded to run lengths of wire from where they were snipped off to where the control box would be mounted. Once that was done I ran the constant power from the battery using a crimp on fuse block, the accessory power was run from the harness and everything was connected up to the control box.

I then mounted the control box and unconnected each wire and snipped off the excess and reconnected so that I didn't have a ton of wiring behind my dash and to give it a cleaner feel. Once that was done the switches were mounted in the glove box with double sided tape and wired up to the control box. After getting everything wired up I put a few zip ties in to get the wires grouped up and keep things looking clean, however I think I am going to go back and cut them off and get some lengths of wire loom for an even cleaner look (damn my OCD!).



With everything wired up I connected all the gauges to the control box (they were just sitting on the seat) and reconnected the battery. With a flip of the key and to my delight, somehow everything actually worked! The fuel gauge and speedo needed calibration of course and the fuel gauge was done in 2 minutes, but everything worked and I was ecstatic. I was betting on me screwing something up and spending another day cussing at myself trying to find out what it was. Unfortunately I do not have completed pics showing the control box mounted and wired up but I will get that when I head out in a couple weekends to go work on the car again.

With a huge victory on the gauges and it still being early afternoon I called up my older brother who is an electrician. He brought out his soldering kit and we went to work on wiring up the LED tail lights, which went pretty smooth until we when to test fit them in the housings. The housings were too narrow and the LED panels would not slide back far enough (new ones have been ordered and should be here in a few days), however we were still able to get everything wired up, tested for proper function and cleaned up with some wire loom. The new lights required me to run a power source from the harness to the lights for the circuit board and I ran this one beneath the carpet on the drivers side then behind the rear seats. Removing those rear seats did not require as much strength as I thought it would but wow was I kinda twisted up like a contortionist to get a proper position. I did not get any pictures of testing out the new lights as that was happening at like 10:30 PM but will do so when they are mounted!

My next round of parts is due to arrive this Wednesday and will be heading out in a couple weekends to put a little more time into the car.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Day 6:

Finally got decent enough weather to head to my parents for the weekend again, so I brought my latest round of parts and had a little fun. I did a quick double check on all the new wiring for the gauges to make sure everything was where I wanted it to go, then got to work transferring the vent and a few other pieces from the old dash to the new one.

Once that was done I put in the new gauges, re-installed the fan controls, wiper switch and dim switch into the new instrument carrier panel. Once those were installed the carrier panel was installed in the dash and a new dash pad capped it all off and the results are below. The dash pad was a bit of a pain to get installed on my own (with those clips and all) but after a little cussing and tinkering I was able to make them stay in place while I installed it.



With that completed I turned my attention to the rear of the car mounting my LED taillights. They didn't quite fit into the new housings so the templates supplied with the kit went into the garbage can. A few quick mock ups and markings with a sharpie and some holes were drilled, rivets were used and the finished product is below. Now I just need spring to come so I can get this old girl safety inspected, registered and on the road!

 

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Hey I just noticed that your heater controls have blue Nova style tint at the bottom and not standard Camaro green. Is that true or just bad photo color reproduction?
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Hey I just noticed that your heater controls have blue Nova style tint at the bottom and not standard Camaro green. Is that true or just bad photo color reproduction?
Hey Brian, that is the actual colour. I did not know there were different tints (I never even noticed the tint until I removed the dash) I just assumed that they were all blue.
 

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No colour commentary on this update as its only a small one, its a good news bad news scenario. The good news is I got the mess of wiring around the battery looking slightly better, and was able to get the car fired up after topping up the coolant and giving it a bit of cranking over.

Bad news is once I did get it fired up, the car was idling at like 2,000 RPM. The coolant level also jumped up quite a bit (I had the cap off to try and get any air bubbles out that may have been put in when I installed the new coolant temp sensor) and it seemed to heat up pretty fast. All the lines to & from the radiator/heater core all get warm so I'm assuming the water pump is pumping, however I have concerns it may have cavitated out from an air pocket and I think the coolant is barely circulating.

Giving the carb a little tuning in park got the idle down to 1,250 but as soon as I tried to put it in gear the car stalled out. Adjusting it back up to 2,000 RPM in park and putting the car in gear allowed it to hold at about 550-600 RPM without stalling out. Perhaps those more mechanically inclined than me would care to comment with their thoughts?

While I was home I also jacked up the car and crawled underneath to see what on the transmission was leaking fluid and the culprit seems to be the oil pan gasket. I took a picture of the tail of the transmission where I saw a number and it reads as 8642684-1. So far a search has given me no answers on exactly what type of tranmission this is, so my best guess so far is a Turbo 350. If anyone could shed light on that as well that would be greatly appreciated!

My nexts plans are to load it up and drop it off at the nearest dealership, have them do the transmission gasket replacement, tune the carb (if they have someone good with that) then do the safety inspection. Once that is done I can calibrate the speedo and get the old girl registered and on the road.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Well its been a bit since I've posted any progress but here is an update for everyone, and its kinda a big one. First and foremost I got the best part of the build done, I took the car to a dealership the the weekend before last and dropped it off for them to look at. Monday morning I got the call everything was all good so next weekend I grabbed my new plate and stuck it on the car and brought it home for the summer!



I've heard people say before that you don't know exactly what you want in the car until you take it for the first drive, I'd have to say they are right. Considering I drove the car about 340 kms in 21 degree weather without a radio and a lot of wind noise I have found a few things I am missing. First is obviously a radio, hence Monday morning I put in an order for a Retrosound Model 2 radio which I will be picking up this afternoon. Secondly I have to fix the weatherstripping around the doors and I'm already started on this by installing new seals on the quarter windows along with new U-jam seals. I already have new weatherstripping waiting to be installed so I will likely get to that this long weekend with the radio.

Although the ride quality was not too bad there were some times when I wish I had an air suspension installed, so considering I already had that on my list of things to do I will definitely appreciate it when it happens. The final item I figured I would need for a comfotable driver is A/C. So with that said, and keeping in mind I'm looking to swap in an LS3 next winter and my car is not equipped with A/C controls from factory, what is the best route to take to accomplish this? I would prefer to keep the system as simple as possible so would an acceossry drive kit from GM with some pieces from Vintage Air be the best option?
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Had a little more fun this long weekend as I was able to get some more time in on the car. I only got the parking/signal lights changed out for LED upgrades and it went mostly smooth. I had to trim a little of the sealing gaskets off one of the housings to get the LED board to fit but thankfully I did not have to trim too much off. The photo below shows how tight the clearances were around the gasket and housing mounting bolts, and that is for the one that did not need to be trimmed.



It took a little "massaging" to get the internal parts out of the old housings since the dimples would not smooth out, however that was not the worst part of the install. While sorting out the wiring there were male & female terminal connections with housings they slid into. Well I had a brain fart after putting the terminals on the first light that I wasn't paying attention and put the male connections (which were already crimped onto the wire) in the female housing. It was a huge pain to get out without wrecking anything but after a lot of fiddling and a little swearing I got the connections out and into the right housing.

While doing a test run to make sure everything worked properly I was a little concerned about how distinctive the rings are with the new lights. However after I put on one of the new lenses I was satisfied with how they dissapated the focus of the light while keeping everything bright.



Up next I'll be working on the weatherstripping that I've been putting off for a while then following that up with the radio install.
 

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I ended up still putting off the weatherstripping in favour of the radio install, which was fairly straight forward. I picked up the Model II from Retrosound last week and other than tinkering with where to position the volume shafts the only problem I had was finding a decent spot to connect the constant 12V wire.

I eventually tied the constant 12V to in with the wire running from the battery to the dakota digital control box. Other than that there was ignition and ground wires from the old stereo that was in there and the wires from the speakers marked and ready to be tied in.



All I have left sitting in the garage now is the door weatherstripping, but I think I will be ordering the roof rail weatherstrip, felts, new interior panels and likely new window guts for the quarter windows which are really sticky. After that I will be ordering a brake kit and once that is installed it will be time to call the engine builder and start stock piling parts for the swap.
 
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