Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Changing Spark Plugs: 1976 C3 Corvette

Above: Keep Your GM Car All GM.
I will not deny the fact that changing spark plugs is a pain, but also absolutely necessary and an important part of a regular maintenance regimen, especially if your car uses copper/nickel plugs.

Copper (or conventional) plugs, as they're usually referred to, use a copper electrode coated with a nickel alloy which, unfortunately, is not durable. This means that the spark plugs will need to be replaced more frequently.

Fortunately, copper plugs are cheap so replacing them every year or 12,000 miles, is an easy decision. The task of replacing them, however, will be a bit more involved.

I have no idea if platinum spark plugs are a good idea when it comes to vehicles engineered to use copper plugs. It does sound like a sensible upgrade but I am not recommending it. My 1976 Corvette runs fine with ACDelco R-45TS spark plugs which are OEM plugs for these cars.

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Car Detailing Madness

I've always taken care of all my vehicles. Mechanically and otherwise, but within reason.

What I mean by "within reason," is that cars, trucks, motorcycles, and the like, are meant to serve a purpose, be it for work, transportation, pleasure, or a combination of all three.

So I try not to go overboard with the latest and greatest gadgets or products.

Above: Places like AutoZone, Advance Auto (shown in pic), and many others, 
usually carry a wide selection of car detailing products.

Vehicles are a means to an end, and that is to get occupants from point A to point B.

Friday, October 9, 2020

HVAC Control Panel and Shifter Console Refurbishment

Not long after I bought my 1976 Corvette Stringray, I purchased an HVAC panel kit to replace the original part which, after 40 years, looked awful.

The clear plastic had seen better days, but there was no way for me to safely clean it without removing the flexography-printed settings from the reverse side while trying to polish dirt and scratches away, and the control thumb-wheels were worn, dirty, and faded to the point of looking a dull shade of gray.

I made a blog post at the time but I didn't include all the photos of the HVAC panel, which helps understand what each component looks like, and how it fits within the HVAC control assembly. 

During this process, I took the opportunity to restore the whole shifter console since every single component was dirty, faded, and just plain tired as clearly shown in the next two pictures. This included replacing the 4-speed shifting diagram plate and the engine data plate, among a few other things.

I even made my own console overlay since I didn't care for the fake woodgrain-look for my car.

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Repair C3 Corvette Fusible Link (Car Won't Start)

Above: The Vette looks good, even while
waiting for the tow truck.
As I was approaching home in my Corvette a few days ago, I decided to take "the long way home" at the very last minute, as I'm sure you've done many times.

Little did I know that that feller Murphy had plans of his own.

I was about a half a mile from my house when my Vette suddenly died. Fortunately, it had enough momentum and I was able to safely coast off the main road.

Nevertheless, the car was as dead as a doornail due to a complete loss of power.

I popped the hood and wiggled a few wires hoping that the ignition wire on the distributor had worked itself loose, but everything looked okay.

However, for a split second my hopes went up when I got back in the car and the courtesy lights were on and the buzzer worked when I inserted the key in the ignition. However, the moment I turned the key to start the car, it completely lost power again.

So I called for a tow truck.

Sunday, September 27, 2020

How To Install an Overhead Dome Light

C3 Corvette coupe interiors are dark, and in order to solve that issue—to a certain degree—Chevy engineers finally added a much-needed overhead dome light starting with 1977 models.

That, of course, leaves 1968-1976 coupes in the dark (no pun intended).

So I had to do something about it, and my solution was to repurpose the original storage compartment dome light fixture, which I deleted in favor of LED string lights.

Using the OEM dome light looked period-correct and almost identical to 1977-on models. I say "almost-identical" since the factory recessed the dome light base about a 1/4 of an inch, and I did not want or need to emulate the factory look to that degree.