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Working on the 60 Electra


Bill Stoneberg
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That is the original color of my '64 Rivera. I changed it to claret mist metallic in 1980. I have been monkeying around toward a repaint for a couple of years and tempted to finish it original to maintain value for my heirs. That picture is pushing me.

 

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So today was the day to take the ball joints out of the control arms.  Easy peasy right ?  Grind the heads off the rivets and then use a punch and a hammer. Maybe an hours worth of work.  HA…That is so wrong.

The rivets were put in by Rosie who thought she was building a pressure hull for a sub. Hydraulic rivets machine putting in red hot rivets and 60 plus years of rust mad it very hard. No way you could have done this while the control arms were still attached to the car.

Rob made a tool from a wheel stud so he could press them out.

All but one succumbed to the power of the press.  The last one didn’t move, heat didn’t help. Finally Rob drilled it out. 6 hours later they were all out.

 

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Good laugh concerning a subs riveted hull!!!  Good to know the ball joint removal can be a bear.  I have two new in the trunk ready to install when needed.  I'm thinking a C clamp ball joint press would have been handy to push the rivets through.  Especially if one has no press at all! 

Edited by avgwarhawk (see edit history)
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2 hours ago, avgwarhawk said:

I have two new in the trunk ready to install when needed. 

 

I also have two news ones on the Murphy parts shelf. Murphy's Law: "Anything that can go wrong will go wrong"...... unless you are prepared.

 

To combine engineering with psychology, If you are willing to accept things that go wrong without major drama, well, there are terms they use for that, too.

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12 hours ago, Bill Stoneberg said:

So today was the day to take the ball joints out of the control arms.  Easy peasy right ?  Grind the heads off the rivets and then use a punch and a hammer. Maybe an hours worth of work.  HA…That is so wrong.

The rivets were put in by Rosie who thought she was building a pressure hull for a sub. Hydraulic rivets machine putting in red hot rivets and 60 plus years of rust mad it very hard. No way you could have done this while the control arms were still attached to the car.

Rob made a tool from a wheel stud so he could press them out.

All but one succumbed to the power of the press.  The last one didn’t move, heat didn’t help. Finally Rob drilled it out. 6 hours later they were all out.

 

E47586F4-E11E-40D7-868A-EC7D273197C9.jpeg

332CBDD4-504E-497E-B0FA-54E7B02782CC.jpeg

82563B03-4784-47AE-AEA4-81AA582F2187.jpeg

32182146-0EB6-4D1E-BCDD-AC6AF652F1B4.jpeg

just adds to "They don't build them like they used to"   lol

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6 hours ago, avgwarhawk said:

Good laugh concerning a subs riveted hull!!!  Good to know the ball joint removal can be a bear.  I have two new in the trunk ready to install when needed.  I'm thinking a C clamp ball joint press would have been handy to push the rivets through.  Especially if one has no press at all! 

 

Chris, Good luck with a C clamp style press.  If you get a stubborn one like the one we had it won't move.  Rob has a 20 ton press that didn't even move it.

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3 hours ago, Bill Stoneberg said:

 

Chris, Good luck with a C clamp style press.  If you get a stubborn one like the one we had it won't move.  Rob has a 20 ton press that didn't even move it.

Sheesh! That's crazy. However, at 150 fathoms you want rivets like that!!!!! 

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22 hours ago, 60FlatTop said:

 

I also have two news ones on the Murphy parts shelf. Murphy's Law: "Anything that can go wrong will go wrong"...... unless you are prepared.

 

 You may indeed be prepared, but you won't be prepared for the particular thing that goes wrong at that moment. Now that's Murphy at his finest.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Spent the day working on the front end today. Installing some of the new parts we have collected and mocking things up.  I don’t know who puts together the hardware packages for the ball joints but every damn bolt was too short.  Had to go buy correct bolts to install them in the control arms. 
Pictures below are of the one side we mocked up to make sure the Fatman Spindle will work on my Electra.

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13 hours ago, Bill Stoneberg said:

Spent the day working on the front end today. Installing some of the new parts we have collected and mocking things up.  I don’t know who puts together the hardware packages for the ball joints but every damn bolt was too short.  Had to go buy correct bolts to install them in the control arms. 
Pictures below are of the one side we mocked up to make sure the Fatman Spindle will work on my Electra.

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Will that disc setup clear the stock wheels or are you going custom?

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, TexRiv_63 said:

Will that disc setup clear the stock wheels or are you going custom?

Good question Don, I don’t really know yet.  The wheels and tires are in storage so we haven’t tested yet.


I actually am thinking about these wheels we saw on a Mustang yesterday… Thoughts ????

 

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Edited by Bill Stoneberg (see edit history)
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For the Electra, get them in white . . . but I somewhat doubt they'll clear the rear wheel opennings on the Electra.  Be sure to get a 40V jack and impact to go with them!  Oh, don't forget to get one wheel/tire for the spare!

 

Enjoy!

NTX5467

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Spare, one of those tires will fill the whole damn trunk.....

 

And BTW, they didn't fit the Mustang they were on either.  You could see where the wheel well and sheet metal was torn up.

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Posted (edited)

So, when we are done, this car will drive like a new car.

Took the  drag link apart and rebuilt it.  It needed it.

 

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I don’t know how these get worn like this. It wasn’t for lack of grease.

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Now for some paint and it will be ready to go on the car.

Edited by Bill Stoneberg (see edit history)
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I'll bet this explains why the idler joint on my Riviera refuses to accept any more grease.  When I removed the fitting I saw shiny metal blocking the hole where grease would normally flow...  :unsure:

 

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On 7/29/2021 at 8:42 AM, Smartin said:

Aren't those bowls supposed to have the relief cuts off to the side like that?  I don't see any excessive wear on them.

Yes, these do have a cut in the side. It permits movement from side to side.  Does not allow the ball to bind.  Mine did not have excessive wear however, the steering was much improved with new cups and springs.    

Edited by avgwarhawk (see edit history)
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  • 2 weeks later...

So, weather has finally cooperated letting us get the painting done. The whole front end is painted in satin black epoxy and it looks good.

Transmission is back where it belongs clearing up a good chunk of space in the garage.

And the front end is starting to go back together for the final time.

Here is one side with springs, ball joints and control arms on the car. We had to ratchet strap the front end to the winch block to hold the frame down to get the spring compressed.

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Posted (edited)

Rob also had to do some work on his Riviera.  Starter went out and while he was there he replaced the Helper shocks there were on the car.

With the starter out, you can see where the block has cracked. A South Texas car all its life. I had the block magna fluxed when I rebuilt the engine. Did they look behind the starter ?

I dont know.  Its obviously been leaking a while.  Luckily we have a couple of blocks that I have collected to work with.  No garage space till the Electra and he Jeep are done though.

 

For some reason this picture loads upside down. Please either turn your computer upside down or stand on your head to look at this picture.  Last I checked water doesn't leak up to the old pan 🙂

 

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A primitive version of a coil over ...  Formerly known as a helper spring.  Found on the front of a 64 Riviera. Probably from the 1970's.

IMG_0670.jpeg

Edited by Bill Stoneberg (see edit history)
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5 hours ago, Bill Stoneberg said:

Rob also had to do some work on his Riviera.  Starter went out and while he was there he replaced the Helper shocks there were on the car.

With the starter out, you can see where the block has cracked. A South Texas car all its life. I had the block magna fluxed when I rebuilt the engine. Did they look behind the starter ?

I dont know.  Its obviously been leaking a while.  Luckily we have a couple of blocks that I have collected to work with.  No garage space till the Electra and he Jeep are done though.

 

For some reason this picture loads upside down. Please either turn your computer upside down or stand on your head to look at this picture.  Last I checked water doesn't leak up to the old pan 🙂

 

IMG_0667.jpeg.cc0f7d668227592123bf732cf5ace702.jpeg

 

 

A primitive version of a coil over ...  Formerly known as a helper spring.  Found on the front of a 64 Riviera. Probably from the 1970's.

IMG_0670.jpeg

Something is in pretty bad shape if those are on the front of a car...

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Good picture of a Buick shock.

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In the pre-computer days I needed a set of front shocks for my '62 Electra and wasn't coming up with any replacements. At the time I was doing a lot with our local NAPA. So the counter lady, Joan, and I started reading specs and opening boxes. Notice the large slot for the lower bolt. That vintage GM used 3/8" bolts while most similar makes used a 5/16" bolt. That difference excluded my application from the books. Once we discovered that matching up the length and travel was easy. It didn't take many strokes of a rat tail file to open those slots up. I remember I used early '70's MoPar shocks at the time.

 

Just a tip for the Buick guys and a reminder that you can dig a little deeper and sometimes get lucky.

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Those fabricated spindle supports (aka: steering knuckles) sure look interesting.  Have you determined what wheels/rims you'll use to fit over those Wilwoods?

 

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Posted (edited)

We are going to try the originals as we have been told they fit.   If not, well I have a Summit catalog with a wide choice of wheels.

 

Here is one side with brake lines run. Used Inline Tubing for the preformed lines.  The flex lines are Wilwood from Summit.

 

Rob has cleaned and retapped everything as he stated

 

"It’s all the little tedious stuff that makes the world of difference in a proper build (rebuild) vs a “parts swap” cleaning all the threads, polishing the brass distribution block, wire wheeling all the brackets and bolts and painting them all."
 

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Edited by Bill Stoneberg (see edit history)
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How about some Cragar SS 17" 5 on 5 still in the boxes. Only used about 4 weeks. The last of the true classic wheels.

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Not really for my '60 Electra or the Riviera. I bought them for the '94 Chevy Impala SS.

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Some 17x7 5x5 4.25" Backspacing wheels with some BFG g-Force COMP-2 A/S Plus tires might necessitate some big front and rear sway bars to make that Electra one "corner carver" in the Hill Country?

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Hard finding the correct sway bar bushings for this car. The one from all the vendors were too large.  Rob went to O’Reillys and spent time looking through the paper catalogs and found a set. First picture is the incorrect bushing then what Rob found. Took a little work with a belt sander but not much. Fits well now.

 

 

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By observation, the sway bar bushing can be squished down a bit around the bar, especially for OEM replacement parts.  When I upgraded my '77 Camarp LT F-41 suspension to TransAm WS6 bars, the front bars were both 1.25" bars (Z/28 and WS6), but Chevy parts showed the same sway bar bushing for the 1.0" F41 front bar as for the 1.25" Z/28 front bar.  No way to get that bushing compressed around that larger bar!  Went to the Pontiac dealer and got the front bushings for the TA and the matching mounts' part numbers.  The Pontiac bushing was a nice fit around the larger bar.  Some dielectric silicone lube on the bushing made things move better, too! 

 

Add some polyurethane end link bushings to complete the installation.  Makes the bar act about 20% stiffer than it would with rubber bushings.  The GM WS6 bushings are white and a bit stiffer than the Moog light blue ones.  Any way to add a rear sway bar too?

 

Enjoy!

NTX5467 

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