Detailing Misc. Parts and Hardware

Mark from the shop called me early this morning to ask me if I could swing by the shop to pick up some hardware that, he felt, could use a good cleaning.

Well, "some hardware" were bags and bags of the original engine and engine accessory nuts, washers and bolts. I have to say that they did a beautiful job of tagging everything which speaks volumes in my book, as to how particular they are, and I am very pleased to see that.

But cleaning greasy and dirty hardware is not a fun job. Besides, after four decades and 40k-plus miles on them, age and stress take its toll, so I am going to clean and paint a few items, but when it comes to nuts, bolts, and washers, I plan to replace as many as possible with Grade 8 hardware.

My first Grade 8 hardware buying trip to ACE Hardware, resulted in 79 pieces totaling a whopping $49.73.

Yes, the stuff is not cheap and many will argue that you can get by with Grade 5 nuts and bolts. And they may be right, but I like the way Grade 8 hardware looks compared to Grade 5.

Without going into a discussion of the tensile properties of Grade 5 vs. Grade 8 hardware, for a few more dollars, my money as well my confidence, is on the higher number.

Besides, the anodized gold finish of Grade 8 hardware looks so very nice.

From looking at the many bags left on my workbench, I am guesstimating that the total investment in Grade 8 hardware will be in the $100 to $120 range. Again, not cheap, and some may feel that cleaning the original pieces would've been enough.

But from experience, I can tell you that even though degreasing and detailing the original hardware would've saved me about 100 bucks, the amount of time required to clean a couple hundred pieces would've required a couple of days, if not longer, and I much rather spend that time doing more productive tasks.

Now mind you, some hardware is unique to the Corvette (or GM, for that matter), so you will not find everything, Case in point are a couple of the exhaust manifold studs. So I will hand-clean a few items, which is not a big deal.

I did a quick search online for a bolt kit for the exhaust manifolds, but I did not want to wait for a week for the hardware to arrive, at a cost of $42 for the set, so I just purchased the Grade 8 bolts I was able to find.

But I did purchase a set of exhaust manifold bolt locks since the original ones had succumbed to rust.

One part that I had to detail by hand was the Z-bar or clutch crossbar. This thing could've used a good powder coating, but it is full of grease so I decided to give it a good cleaning and sanding instead, followed by a couple of coats of chassis paint.

Here's the crossbar after cleaning and sanding.

And here's the finished product.

I also found a 1963-1981 Corvette clutch cross shaft rebuild kit for $20 on eBay which included a new spring, pivot stud nylon seats, stud-to-frame nut, and felt seal, so the car's original Z-bar will be in like-new condition.

When it comes to restoration, sometimes you have to choose not to cut any corners, as tempting as that may be. You just have to bite the bullet and pay the piper, so next time someone looks under the hood or under the car, they'll know that you did it right.

Thank you for following my '76 Vette Blog!

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