Body/Chassis/Driveline area

  • Keep an old hood, door or fender from a similar year car as yours around to make those odd patches from. It's the best metal you can get and the metal will exactly match your existing metal therby ensuring the best weld. Bob-"mr409"

  • When welding, cover all glass that may be hit with spatters. The hot specs/sparks from welding will burn the glass and leave pits. Bob-"mr409"

  • To check ring gear pattern, try vaseline and red carpenters chalk. Mix the two together and apply to the gears. Dale-"Va348"

  • Not sure what size flex plate or flywheel you need? Look at your starter bolts. If they are straight across from one another, you need a 13" 153 tooth wheel. If the bolt holes are staggered, you need the 14" 168 tooth wheel.Bob-"mr409"

  • Wondering what rear gear ratio your car has? There are 3 ways to find out. Getting the stamped codes from the axle tube and using the chart on this site is one way but what if you can't find the code? Then we resort to one of the other 2 methods. Pull the rear cover and count the teeth on the big gear and the number of teeth on the small drive gear. Divide the big number by the small number and you will have the ratio. If you don't want to mess with pulling covers, jack up the rear so both tires are off the ground. Place a chalk mark on the driveshaft and another on one tire. First you need to see if the rear is posi or not so spin one tire and observe the other. If the opposite tire turns in the same direction, you have a posi. If it turns in an opposite direction, it's a non posi.
    For posi rears, turn the tire one revolution and count how many times the driveshaft turned by observing the chalk mark. For non posi rears, you need to turn the tire two revolutions and count the driveshaft revolutions. Examples would be; if driveshaft turns just over 4 turns, it is most likely a 4.10 or 4.11 rear. This method is the least accurate but will help to determine the ratio.Bob-"mr409"

  • When dealing with old cars, we all know enough to check for rusted/worn driveline parts for safety but have you checked your steering box bolts? Often times, the center portion that sits inside the bolt hole is eroded away making them almost useless and could cause a potentially dangerous situation if they should break. Take the time to remove each bolt one at a time to inspect them. If they look ok, oil and reinstall but if they are eroded, they'll need to be replaced and you'll be glad you read this. Bob "bobs409"

  • Be sure to collect all of your used engine oil and dispose of it properly. Autozone and Advance auto stores take it for free. No need to pollute the landfills anymore than they already are. Buying oil in the gallon sized jugs is also a good idea and not only saves some money but it's good to keep the used oil in temporarily. Bob-"mr409"

  • To clean your paint guns, don't use expensive reducers or thinners. Instead, use the inexpensive spray can carburetor cleaner available at Walmart. At the time of this writing, it's everyday price is only .98 cents a can!. Bob-"mr409"

  • When removing a door, hood, or trunk lid that you plan on reinstalling, spray a spot or two of spray paint over the bolts and bolt area. When you remove the bolts, this will show exactly where they go to reinstall without the need to re-align. Bob-"mr409"

  • If the back of your hood tends to stick up no matter how many times you adjust it, it's most likely due to weak springs or play in the hinges but here's a trick to help get that hood aligned without replacing parts. Open hood and lightly loosen the bolts that attach hinge to fender on one or both sides, then force hood up and hold while tightening the bolts. In most cases, this will get that hood sitting correctly. Bob-"mr409"

  • Looking for a way to safely remove the springs from your hood hinges? Remove the hinge assemblies from the car and lay on work bench. Drive nails in between the spring coils. This will make the spring length increase enough to pull the spring right off. Washers will also work! Bob-"mr409"

  • When you need to use silicone, caulking, or just about anything in a tube, tape off the boundries that you want to keep it within. Apply the silicone, wet your finger and pull down over the silicone. Now, pull your tape and walk away. Leaves a real professional look. Great for seam sealing those roof rail drip gutters. Bob-"mr409"

  • While working on your old Chevrolet, you will eventually find GM used an off white colored "play doh" type body sealer in some areas of your car. I found a good inexpensive replacement for this material right in the hardware store. It's called "rope caulking" and can be molded in your hand and pressed into place. It stays pliable and is paintable if needed. I found this type of sealer was used under some chrome trim and to seal the gap around the rear glass between the trim and rubber gasket seal on my '63 Impala. Bob-"mr409"

  • To prevent water and debris from collecting in the gap at the lower rear window (which will cause rot), fill that gap with the sealer mentioned in the tip above. Mold it in your hand to warm it up and press it in place. I've used this on my late 60s-early 70's Chevelles after first discovering my '63 Impala came from the factory with it. Had it been there from the factory on my Chevelles, that common rust out area wouldn't be so common! Try it! Bob-"mr409"

  • When installing new clips that hold the windshield and rear window chrome trim on, consider painting them first to keep them from rusting. Bob-"mr409"

  • You can save alot of money by making your own brake and fuel lines. You'll need a tubing cutter, flare tool and a bender but all of these are very inexpensive and a great investment as you'll use them again and again. The spring shielding is also available that you can add to the brake lines for the correct look. Bob-"mr409"

  • A quick way to help spot a car in a salvage yard that has a posi rear is to pop the trunk and look for a posi traction label or at least the glue spots where it once was. Posi cars should have 2, onne will be for the jack instructions and the other for the posi sticker. I found 4 cars this way, then had the yard lift them up, and 3 of the 4 had posi's...not bad odds "Mr. Jimmy"