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I'm restoring my car and have some questions. First, I'm going to have to send the car out for rust/body work and paint. Second I don't have a blasting cabinet or paint guns or anything fancy like that. I do want to do as much of the rest as possible like suspension, brackets, core support, rear end, etc but I don't know the best method. I was planning to clean things up and use spray bombs for the paint. I'm going to get the frame powder coated. Is there a guide online somewhere that would explain the steps, types of products to use and stuff? I was going to clean parts either with snadpaper, the 3M squigly drill attachments or electrolysys or ospho then use duplicolor self etching primer and their acrylic enamel, but I don't know if this is ideal. I'm really looking for a guide that explains the steps and types of products to use. I'm not looking for professional paint job on these parts, but I want to be sure any rust doesn't come back. One of the things I want to know is if and when I need to use a rust converter. Thanks!
 

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First, thank you for taking the time to write all of that.

Here's a little more info. The car is a 71 Cutlass convertible that has been the family since my dad bought it for my mother in 1974. I'm planning a resto/mod/hotrod I'm swapping in a 5.3 with possibly a t56. I also have a OAI hood I got a great deal on. I'm putting on C5 Vette brakes and a friend cut front brackets for me. I also want three point belts, not sure if I will use seats with belts integrated and reinforce the floor or get some and use the factory mounts. It's lived in Illinois so has rust, but has been in storage since the mid 80s. I intend for the car to be a weekend street machine and take it on some long trips as well.

As far as tools, I don't have a compressor right now, but everything else is covered. I haven't done anything like this before, but I'm mechanically inclined, as in ability, not car mechanic skills. That being said my son went through auto tech school a few years ago and can do about anything mechanical and basic welding. He builds and races turbo civics, 4x4s, etc. He can help with the stuff I don't know.

We have taken the entire front apart - suspension, all interior, much of the trim, gas tank. This summer I hope to get the frame powder coated and re-do all of the suspension and maybe the rear (need a posi and different gears). We were surprised at the amount of rust the car has, much less than we thought. The floor has a bit at a couple seams, there is a bit in the trunk where water got in around the top and the usual fender, quarter and door. One quarter has a good amount behind the wheel, but it could be worse. The windshield frame looks good so far and the frame looks pretty good. I talked to a guy that restores Olds and he thought the car was worth about 5k as is. The big thing is I have everything, all of the trim, seats, spare with 40+ year old air, jack and tire iron, etc. I have a place that will blast and powder coat the frame for around $400, sounds cheap, but I've had them do wheels for me and I feel they are pretty good quality.

None of my questions pertain to the body. I know I will have to pay to get that done. What I do want to do is the interior, all the little stuff like brackets, trim, rear, suspension, core support, etc. Basically as much as possible besides the body and top.

I don't want to clean the core support up and paint it and in 5 years have rust start showing up. I was hoping to find some step by step how tos online, but haven't had luck. I know I could clean most of the stuff with electrolysys, spray some duplicolor primer and paint and make them look decent, but is that the way to do it? What kind of primer and paint is good, what things aregoing to cause problems.

Now some photos.

70s


before


now




brakes Olds vs C6


Thanks again for posting!
 

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Thanks again for a helpful post.

I had a 6.0 lined up for $500 last week but the guy sold it out from under me. I.m going to keep an eye out for a 6.0, but I got this cheap and its an 06 with about 60k on it so it has the better rods. Depending on the total cost of the project we'd like to add a turbo. My son and his friend are very knowledgeable here. I can get a 4L80 and the yard for $75. I'd like a manual, but cost may prevent that also. The auto should go in with the help of a large hammer while the t56 requires cutting.

Thanks for the other tips.

Right now I am planning to do all of the interior. I'm looking for BMW 325 seats or similar. I will hire out the convertible top tho. I like the electronic rust removal because it should get into all of the little hard to get spaces. I haven't tried it yet, but I have found detailed instructions.

Thanks agin
 

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Yes, this helps a lot. I know the 5.3 isn't a match for the 6.0, but it was dirt cheap. It was a dealer warranty replacement, I think extended warranty. It was replaced because one lifter roller went bad and ruined the cam. I don't care as I would replace the cam anyway. It came with one side of coil packs, no front or valley cover, no accessories. The junkyard here is the cheapest i've seen the trans is 75, but there is a 25 or 35 core on that. That's pretty much any trans, except maybe a t56. My son and helped a friend pulled a 4l80 for a turbo ls swap in a jeep.

I paid $250 for 08 vette calipers rotors and pads with only 5k on them. They still have the stickers and bleeder caps. Look like new. I need brackets to mount the front which a friend is making and backing plates from a 98 to 02 ls f-body. This shouldn't cost much more than replacing what I have with original type parts.

I scored an f-body oil pan for $60. I guess I'm lucky at finding deals. My son and I found a couple of E46 cars at a junkyard a while back and bout $125 worth of parts. We've sold over $400 in parts and still have a lot left, including 3 yaw sensors. We are flipping some cars, all of this helps put cash towards our projects. I wasn't happy paying $35 for a grand cherokee steering pump but I got windstar fans and a volvo relay for $12, two sets of 4 coil packs with brackets for $30, exhaust manifolds for $10 each.

I'm very conscious of price and keep a spreadsheet of everything I buy. I have a lot of things I would like to do, but I'm only adding things that don't take a significant amount more money than replacing/repairing with original type. One of the things I had to have was an OAI hood, then one day one shows up on CL for $600, the ods of that in our area are astronomical. I bought a rear bumper with lights for $100 for an extra set of tail lights that were in it and I'll sell the bumper to recoup what I can.

I thought the E46 seats were supposed be pretty comfortable, but I might have to look at other ideas. I was looking for seats with integrated belts, but I may just get regular seats and use the factory style 3 point belts.
 

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I'm in central Illinois and from what I've seen on forums and from going to other places our prices are really cheap. They mostly have 90s to mid 2000s basic cars and trucks, nothing fancy.

The only thing I'm planning if I keep the 5.3 is a cam set-up. I'll get a 6.0 if I find one dirt cheap, but I'm trying to spend as little as possible and still get what I want so I have more for the body and paint.

I'm planning on 18" inch rims, 17 "might" fit, and people say there are more tire choices in 18" than 17". Hopefully I will have the brackets for the front calipers tonight.

Thanks for all of the information.
 

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Most people run 18" rims, but there are some that have used 17". The issue on them appears to be more with the caliper hitting the back of the rim and not the diameter. Kore3 which sells brackets has a template you can print out to check for wheel fitment, but I haven't got to that point yet.

Good points about the engine. One of the reasons I may stick with the 5.3 is it's low mileage and it appears to be in good shape except the lifter/cam issue.
 

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My first piece of advice would be to go to Amazon and search auto restoration. There are quite a few good books out there that can help get you started. Specialty books as well. Cool thing about Amazon is that you can buy used books too for pennies on the dollar sometimes.

I would also find a build boot that you can track your experience. Good luck with your project.
 
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