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Old 03-10-2004, 08:47 PM
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Thumbs down What have we gotten ourselves into?

Jerry and I are at the peak of our Mustang reassembly.....the cars are just about ready to roll. Well, this friend of ours brought us his car, a 1980 Corvette. He's vacationing for the next week, and asked us to do some minor repairs to the car (u-joints, exhaust leak, high idle, and brakes). That's no biggy at all. The part that bothers me is the front suspension. When driving this car (we took it out for a leisurely drive to see just how bad the brakes were, and to get an idea of what's up with the idle), it's all over the road. By "all over the road" I mean the car basically drives you. You can move the steering wheel a good 1/2 turn each way, and the car doesn't respond. Also, when you hit the brakes, the car shoots a hard left, across the road. I wanted so badly to present him with a well-running car upon his return. It definitely runs better, but now I'm wondering how to tell him that this car is totally unsafe. The car is his pride and joy, and while he's "into" cars, he doesn't really know much about them at all. I'm just not real sure how to approach him.

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Old 03-10-2004, 08:54 PM
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Take the plates off and hide them. when he returns to pick it up, tell him you are doing him a favour and will it doesn't move until its fixed. In the meantime you should be able to figure out what is wrong. Probably, ball jopints, or tie rod ends, or both.
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Old 03-10-2004, 09:00 PM
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Yes what Poncho said, check everything in the front suspension/steering. Im going to assume you guys know how to check tie rod ends, stab links,ball joints?


FYI i like doing stab links at work, because when i have to replace them, a lot of the times i have to use the smoke wrench
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Old 03-11-2004, 05:46 PM
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Early 60's vette's I think have an adjustment screw to tighten up a sloopy steering mechanism. Do the 80's models have one?
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Old 03-11-2004, 07:54 PM
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Present him with a report of the problems you have found, include an estimate of the probable costs of repair. Do your best to convince him that the car is unsafe to be driven any distance.

If he takes it with a grain of salt give him his keys and tell him to drive safely. You can't force someone to repair their vehicle but you are liable to report the deficiencies you found, make sure he signs the bill you present to him as proof you did your best to explain the situation to him. The last thing you want is to have this guy get into an accident and then blame the cars problems on the mechanic that worked on it last.

Beware the imbecile that drives unsafe vehicles around, they usually are too cheap to repair the faults (and know full well what they are) and will do anything in an accident situation to shift the blame to someone else...likely you Mr. Mechanic.

Make sure you get a piece of paper absolving you of any legal liability by having him sign the repair bill as proof he has been made aware of the vehicles faults, this guy is an accident waiting to happen...don't let him happen to you.
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Old 03-11-2004, 10:54 PM
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Old 03-11-2004, 11:05 PM
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Thanks for all the help! I know what I have to do, and while I'm pretty apprehensive, it's necessary. The small stuff he asked us to fix (the idle and such) will be fixed. Jerry & I have decided not to touch the suspension, but to make him well aware that it's dead. I'm pretty disgusted over the whole mess. This car was bought off a guy on ebay who seems pretty good at his game, judging by his recent negative feedback (before this sale, his rating was impeccable). Our buddy bought the car sight unseen....he just wired the money, and the car was delivered from TX to OH. Naturally, it looked alot different as pictured in the auction. But then again, that's probably why the pics were taken from 20 feet away. He claimed to have installed a $7500 350 CI crate motor. I find that hard to swallow, because of a few things I noticed (cast iron heads, car burns oil like an antique lamp, valve covers are the only parts that look new). The body is cracked in several places, was touched up with spray paint, and the interior is trashed. Certain pieces were actually GLUED back in place. He definitely got taken for a ride. The dude also claimed the car had new tie rods. Funny thing is, they're so ratty, they look like they have moss growing off of them. Tomorrow, we're gonna tackle the u-joints and other little probs. I'll snap a few pics for you guys, and see if I can get some feedback. Thanks again for all the great, sound advice.

P.S. Gen3........I got a kick out of your comment. To us, "getting them ready" means replacing anywhere from 75% to 90% of the crappy gear that came from the factory. So, I can TOTALLY relate to your theory.
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Old 03-11-2004, 11:17 PM
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Old 03-12-2004, 06:50 AM
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I've got a 75 vette, that thing must be some mess.If i turn my wheel 1 1/2 inches, i'm in the woods,these cars are as tight as a drum and can take a g-turn like it's glued to the street.
It's a shame to see the first american sports car being treated like a k-car.
mike
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Old 03-12-2004, 08:56 AM
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Just tell him that (u-joints, exhaust leak, high idle, and brakes) aren't the only repairs that the car needs. You can handle the ones you can, and help him find a good shop to handle the suspension if you're not comfortable with it. At the end of the day, he'll thank you for taking care of his 'baby' as much as you did.




MoocH
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Old 03-12-2004, 04:09 PM
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Just needs some TLC, right??

This sounds just like some motor cycles that were dropped off for me to get running again after setting for a SHORT time?? Just needs a tune-up the guy says.......NOT!


Tazz


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Old 03-13-2004, 03:46 PM
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3rd gen vettes are notorious for brake problems in there original state. The caliper seal rides on the caliper bore rather than on the piston,so ANY pitting of the bore will cause problems. The solution to this is to get stainless steel sleeved calipers. Not cheap, but well worth it, especially if you take the car off the road winters or let it sit for extended periods of time.
As for sloppy steering,my 74 steering box has an adjustment on it,so I would suppose an 80 does too. But, before you just tighten the adjuster, verify just where the slop is. Have someone in the car turn the steering wheel back and forth while you lay underneath and watch the steering linkages for play. You may find that it is all tight, but that the steering control valve is not functioning properly. It is the unit that the pitman arm connects to. It diverts the ps fluid to either side of the steering ram based on the movement of the steering wheel.
If you jack up the front of the car and start the engine, the wheels should NOT start to turn.If they do,the control valve needs to be centered.
This info is something to consider AFTER you have ruled out bad ball joints and bushings. The vette front suspension is not that much different than any Chevy rwd passenger car,excepting the steering ram/control valve.Good luck!
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