BUILD 1971 Nova - Work in Progress

cap42

Restoration Hell
Mar 22, 2005
2,622
931
Bolingbrook IL
I was all gung ho on getting the rearend mocked up with the new suspension when I ran into a very old problem I thought I had fixed. I had bolted up the front leaf pockets and in the process of doing so one of the bolts came loose. For those of you who have followed the whole progression of this car these bolts broke on me the first time I had to drop the front leaf pockets. Sometime in the past life someone had used JBWeld to hold these bolts in place instead of just replacing the cheapo J-Clips that were used from the factory.

Well when I "repaired" it I didn't have the J-Clips and they are prone to breakage and I had to cut open the rear seat pans anyways so I thought it was a good idea to weld them in permanently. Well out of the 6 bolts one of them broke loose so now I am back in the same predicament. I now need to cut open the seat pan (thankfully I never fully seam welded it) and cut that bolt. This time around I ordered the J-Clips and correct bolts, I'm not going to fix all of them just the one I broke but if I ever run into this problem again in the future I will at least have it all on hand to fix it right.

Again no pics, but a video was made. I'm getting a lot of motivation to get shit done on the car doing these videos and surprisingly enough I am getting more and more subscribers and viewers. Some guy from TX found me on youtube who has a 72 nova and is having some of the same scenarios I have been through so at least these videos are helping someone.

 

cap42

Restoration Hell
Mar 22, 2005
2,622
931
Bolingbrook IL
It's been a few weeks, I had some shit to do around the house and took a week off to do a family reunion in TX. Luckily right before I went out of town the front upper and lower control arms showed up. That would have sucked to have over $1,000 of suspension parts sitting on my doorstep.

Again no pics, just captured some video. I got the rearend mocked up and the car sitting on the rear tires. Nothing is tightened up yet and I just have bolts going through the front eyelets of the leaf springs. I totally didn't noticed this when I was taking all of this apart but all the bolts are different sizes. I also tried to throw on the control arms up front but also had the same hardware issues with the lower control arms. I'll run out to a hardware store this week and grab everything I need. Then the car "should" be back as a roller.

 

cap42

Restoration Hell
Mar 22, 2005
2,622
931
Bolingbrook IL
This suspension is straight up kicking my ass.... I've never had this much of a hassle with suspensions on any car...

Aside from the upper shock mounts the rear suspension is done. I haven't torqued everything down, going to wait till I can load the suspension. I forgot the rear has to go together in a very specific order so it was always 1 step forward 3 steps back. The problem I fought for most of it was the head of the eyelet bolt on the leaf pocket wouldn't clear the SFC. The SFC had a wider plate on the back that keeps the head of the bolt from moving, I needed to shave off about 1/16th on both SFC's to get it to clear.

I then started on the front... I loathe those internal spring compressors and I don't think they would have worked anyways. So I used the same method I did taking the old suspension apart. Two 2 ton ratchet straps and a safety chain, honestly this was the easiest part. I also fought with the strut, the body of the strut is so large you can't install it with the lower hardware in place. The new struts didn't come with the lower hardware so I had to reuse the old. It consists of those j-clips which are a PITA trying to get located when the strut body is blocking most of the access. I did finally manage to get the driver's side put together. I greased all the fittings and when doing the lower ball joint I managed to pull the zerk fitting right out of the ball joint. Sadly it took the threads from the ball joint side. At this point I was just pissed and not willing to do any more. I still have the passenger front to assemble before this is all done.

I've got an email into DSE to see what they want me to do, I can tap the ball joint and put in a 1/8th or M8 sized zerk fitting. Don't know if that will ruin the warranty, hopefully they don't just ask me to replaced the ball joint. It's a pressed fit and I don't have a press, plus I would not look forward to having to remove everything to get the control arm off.

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cap42

Restoration Hell
Mar 22, 2005
2,622
931
Bolingbrook IL
So DSE 's response is this isn't an issue. I don't like the idea of having a ball joint open to the elements from the underneath. I'm not worried about greasing the joint, I can always inject grease in from the top of the boot with a large bore syringe. I'm more concerned about moisture or debris getting in that open ball joint over the course of its lifetime.

Thoughts?
 

cap42

Restoration Hell
Mar 22, 2005
2,622
931
Bolingbrook IL
I ordered up a bunch of various size zerk fittings, I'll just end up tapping the ball joint to a different size and call it a day. I got the front wheels on and pushed it in the driveway so I had room to clean up the garage a bit. I couldn't hook up the passenger front struts, it came with new upper mount hardware but not lower. The lower connection utilizes those jclips the passenger side broke when taking them off the old control arms. Not having any luck finding replacements, I've searched online parts sites and can't seem to find them.

Made a video this week, I'll link it in this post in a few minutes once it's done uploading. The stance of the car doesn't look all that different from before, really hoping it settles once I get the drivetrain in it otherwise this was a lot of money for just refreshed hardware.

 

cap42

Restoration Hell
Mar 22, 2005
2,622
931
Bolingbrook IL
Back to work on the firewall, when I put this in a few years ago I spot welded it. Some time later I seam welded the top but I never did anything to the lower sections. My welding is improving, don't feel ashamed to show pictures of it anymore. Not that it's all that great but it doesn't look like a goober did it.

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Also made a video covering the whole firewall project including the relocation of the wiper motor. Link in the bottom.

I now need to stop procrastinating about what I am doing with the motor and trans. I'm pretty sure I won't be adding a turbo to this anymore so I'd like to get some decent n/a power out of it. The iron 317 heads just isn't going to cut it. That and the truck manifold won't fit under the hood without some modification. So I need to decide what I am doing there. I also need to figure out if I am going to rebuild this 4L80e or not. I'd hate to clean it up and slap it in there only to have to pull it back out.

What is for sure on the list is:
Cam - thinking the 459
Springs
Trunion Upgrade (on whatever heads I do decide)
Oil Pump and barbel
Timing Chain
Front and rear gasket set (including head gasket if heads are changed)
Lifters and trays


 

cap42

Restoration Hell
Mar 22, 2005
2,622
931
Bolingbrook IL
Been slacking... caught covid right after thanksgiving, then as soon as I recovered my wife caught it. Then it was right into the holidays and only got a hour or so here and there to work on this turd. Been cleaning up the drivetrain so it's not a greasy mess. Trans is mostly cleaned up so I started on the motor. Aside from not able to get the crank bolt off to get the timing cover I'm close to throwing some paint on it.

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I took pics of the inside of the motor before but only from the oil pan. Here's a few pics from the top side, look at the wear on those cam lobes..

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Here's just a few pics of how nasty the rest of it was. I didn't take any after pics, did a short video that I'll upload to youtube later but it was before all this as well.

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cap42

Restoration Hell
Mar 22, 2005
2,622
931
Bolingbrook IL
Still cleaning up this dirty pig of a motor. Can't get the crank bolt off, got a better impact and it still won't budge even with heat and lube. With no accessories on I can't use a breaker bar with leverage because it will just spin the motor over and there isn't anywhere I can wedge to lock the pulley in place. I'm thinking of buying one of those flywheel lock tools. Anyone use one and can provide feedback?

I took the intake valley cover off and cleaned up the casting edges. Did the same thing for the valve covers. I used to do this for customers back when I powdercoated and they wanted to go the extra mile. Those casting marks hold onto all the grease and grime. Takes all of 5 minutes with a DA sander and a hand file for the recessed areas. Makes it look cleaner overall as well. It's the stupid little details like this that drives my OCD bonkers.

Ya, not much done. Not getting that crank bolt off and it being so cold I didn't spend much time this weekend on it.

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cap42

Restoration Hell
Mar 22, 2005
2,622
931
Bolingbrook IL
I have the standard flywheel lock tool you can borrow for as long as you need. Also have a tool I designed for work that bolts onto the crank (in place of a flywheel) and locks onto the bell housing dowel and bolt. But I’d need that back quick just in case
Thanks for the offer PJ but I bought that flywheel tool from Amazon for $30 bucks, and got the bolt out. Such a stupid little tool I was surprised it worked with no issues.

I then cut up the head of the bolt so it would fit through the face of the pulley and used the 3 jaw puller to get the pulley off. I've got a few of the parts on order and hopefully they will be here soon.

LS7 Lifters plus the trays
Timing Chain
High pressure moroso oil pump
trunion upgrade
Billet Barbell
Front and Rear covers with seals
Cam retainer plate w/gasket
Pac1219 valve springs

Still contemplating which cam grind I am going with. Also still looking around for a better set of stock heads.
 
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cap42

Restoration Hell
Mar 22, 2005
2,622
931
Bolingbrook IL
New video posted, title of the video says it all.




Still debating what cam I should throw in this thing, cams in general are hard to figure out unless you really know all about how they work. I'm not that guy, so I've been relying on youtube videos and info posted on ls sites. For those of you who don't watch the video. I was all set to buy the Comp 54-459-11 cam until I found it they want you to run their valve spring which is $330. The cam being $470-500 I just couldn't bring myself to pull the trigger on it. So for now I'm back to the drawing board.

The reason I liked the 459 cam was with 243/799 heads (which I'm still looking for) even with the truck intake I would be close to my power goal of 400rwhp n/a. Had decent lope at idle but nothing crazy to affect low speed driveability. It also didn't require a high stall converter as this car will only be a street car. I know there are literally dozens if not hundreds of cams out there for LS motors but that makes it more difficult not easier :ROFLMAO: .

Until I figure out the cam and springs needed, the motor is just getting the bag thrown back over it for now. I have to get back to metal work so as soon as the weather is nicer I can spray the car in epoxy. Wife and I are on the kick again of selling the house this year and it feels like it will happen so the car needs to be transport and storage worthy for a bit.
 
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strtcar

Regular
Oct 28, 2007
357
851
New video posted, title of the video says it all.




Still debating what cam I should throw in this thing, cams in general are hard to figure out unless you really know all about how they work. I'm not that guy, so I've been relying on youtube videos and info posted on ls sites. For those of you who don't watch the video. I was all set to buy the Comp 54-459-11 cam until I found it they want you to run their valve spring which is $330. The cam being $470-500 I just couldn't bring myself to pull the trigger on it. So for now I'm back to the drawing board.

The reason I liked the 459 cam was with 243/799 heads (which I'm still looking for) even with the truck intake I would be close to my power goal of 400rwhp n/a. Had decent lope at idle but nothing crazy to affect low speed driveability. It also didn't require a high stall converter as this car will only be a street car. I know there are literally dozens if not hundreds of cams out there for LS motors but that makes it more difficult not easier :ROFLMAO: .

Until I figure out the cam and springs needed, the motor is just getting the bag thrown back over it for now. I have to get back to metal work so as soon as the weather is nicer I can spray the car in epoxy. Wife and I are on the kick again of selling the house this year and it feels like it will happen so the car needs to be transport and storage worthy for a bit.

Don't fear a larger stall, you really cant tell, not like its a th400 with a 5000 stall. These modern cars with higher stalls are much easier to drive.
 
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cap42

Restoration Hell
Mar 22, 2005
2,622
931
Bolingbrook IL
Not fearing a stall at all, in fact it's one of the things I want in a auto car. I just don't want a too high of a stall creating a lot of heat for street driving which to me is 3600+. There will be a trans cooler.

Just trying to not blow the budget on all these things as they start adding up quickly. Big cam needs better springs, bigger stall, better trans cooler yada yada yada. I'm looking at another 10K just till the car is able to roll around on the street and that is on the super conservative side.
 

cap42

Restoration Hell
Mar 22, 2005
2,622
931
Bolingbrook IL
Don't have pics, took some video but doesn't feel like enough content to make a post it to youtube yet.

I fixed a few spots that I just never got around too.

Had a rust hole the size of a dime in the driver door jamb where it met the rear quarter and rocker panel. Fixed my fuck up slice on the floor pan with a small patch. Made a new patch and welded in on the rear seat pan that covers the leaf pocket bolts. Then did some small touch up welds to close up some pinholes. Still have a few little patches to finish on the front fenders along with making patches to fill the front side markers. Once that is all done it's just going over the car and doing some hammer dolly work and then rescuffing and cleaning the base metal for primer prep.


I also sent out a few cam recommendation forms to various manufacturers, got a few replies but several who must not want my business. The ones that did reply seemed to just recommend a cam with no real thought put into it.

WS6Store or RPMSpeed was probably the best from a recommendation standpoint because they at least said why they thought this was a good. After looking around and doing research this cam has been around since 2017. While this cam works it's still using older tech.

https://rpmspeed.com/product_info.php?products_id=23454853{4243}103122&osCsid=bh5l6j1a0p5549h1qj4pendi01

Cam Motion has recommended their Titan Stage 3 cam. I like what the recommendation is as it's not too big or small of a cam for what this car will be. The only downside is there doesn't look to be any overlap in the cam profile. So it would just idle like stock but yet still need a converter? Can't wrap my head around that. Cam specs are 224/228 113+4 LSA Lift is .603 .595


browsing Cam Motions page I happened upon their "HotRod" cam which is a little larger cam than the Titan 3, has 11 degrees of overlap from what I can math together and has that old muscle car idle sound. Seems to be a decent performer too. 227-237 111+4 Lift is .595 .587 So this cam would be a little nicer on the valvetrain and not need a dual spring to run it.


Both of those cams require a higher stall converter, although I would wager the Titan 3 I could get away with a stock converter for a while.

Last cam was a Texas Speed recommendation. 228/232 112 .600 .600 . Looks like it's 6 degrees of overlap which should make it pretty streetable. They didn't tell me what springs they recommended with it but going through their cam package page you can get the pac1219 paired with it.


I've done a lot of research the last few weeks and still torn on which route to go. I don't need or want a custom grind and I know going to too large of a cam will actually be a detriment. I also don't want some baby dick cam that is just slightly better than a stock cam. I am also dead set against any of the torque type truck cams. With a car that will only be around 3200-3400 pds I don't need stump pullers. Out of the research I've done with the cam specs I do have the Hotrod seems to be the one that ticks all the boxes yet wasn't recommended to me based on the car's goals. I'm also worried about 11 degrees of overlap being too rough of an idle and can't make decent vacuum

LS guys please chime in here!
 

HILROD

TCG Elite Member
Oct 22, 2007
1,677
455
ELGIN
The rear end gears, tire size, weight, trans, etc. all change what cam you might need. Stock stall is not good with almost any cam if the gears are low numbered. The stall would help the car more than a cam if I had to pick only one. The last thing is tuning. I did an LS9 cam in a 5.3 but with the stock active smoothing in the ecm I used the idle wasn't changed. The timing and fueling logs were worlds apart but it idled how it was set. What are you looking for in a cam?
 

cap42

Restoration Hell
Mar 22, 2005
2,622
931
Bolingbrook IL
The rear end gears, tire size, weight, trans, etc. all change what cam you might need. Stock stall is not good with almost any cam if the gears are low numbered. The stall would help the car more than a cam if I had to pick only one. The last thing is tuning. I did an LS9 cam in a 5.3 but with the stock active smoothing in the ecm I used the idle wasn't changed. The timing and fueling logs were worlds apart but it idled how it was set. What are you looking for in a cam?
Nothing special, looking to make 400+ to the tire with cam and 243/799 heads. Not looking for peak HP/TQ numbers just a solid curve with good average power in the mid rpm range. I'd like to keep the rev limit around 6300. Lastly I do want a lope to the idle, nothing drastic just enough to fit the classic muscle car look/sound. 99% street driven car, it may see the drag strip once or twice just to see what it can do. I may take it to a HPDE once or twice but that's it.

I've now added the BTR stage 2 or stage 3 cam into consideration. The durations on these are a bit higher, but from everything I have seen Brian Tooley knows his stuff. I just need to look over the specs and see if I can find where the powerband is in these 2 cam options.

Decisions Decisions...
 
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cap42

Restoration Hell
Mar 22, 2005
2,622
931
Bolingbrook IL
BTR cam grinds are good, don't they have pretty good descriptions on the website too? Would you pair their cam with a set of their 660 valve springs?

What trans are you running?

If you plan to keep a tight converter the big cams will fight you some at idle, you'll be pushing pretty hard on the brake idle at light.
I was a little surprised their website didn't have more info. This is the stage 3 cam


Specs: 231/244 .630"/.615" 112.5+2.5

If I buy the BTR cam I'll just get their cam kit which will include

CHOOSE YOUR CAMSHAFT 1 X BTR CAMSHAFT - LS1/LS2 - N/A STAGE 3 - 33144133R0 CHOOSE YOUR SPRINGS 1 X BTR PLATINUM LS DUAL SPRING KIT - STEEL RETAINER - .660" LIFT - SK001 PUSHROD LENGTH 1 X BTR CHROMOLY ONE-PIECE PUSHRODS; 7.400" LONG, 5/16" DIAMETER, .080" WALL, SET OF 16VALVE SEAL TOOL 1 X BRIAN TOOLEY RACING VALVE SEAL INSTALLATION TOOL PNEUMATIC VALVE HOLDING TOOL 1 X BTR PNEUMATIC VALVE HOLDING TOOL ASSEMBLY LUBE 1 X DRIVEN HVL HIGH VISCOSITY LUBRICANT 8 OZ BOTTLE

Just guessing at the pushrod length, may forgo that in the kit until I can check the length and buy pushrods later.

Trans is a 4L80e. I know I need a converter, the stock truck converters are super tight and I don't want it surging and bucking.

I loved my old turbo 400 in my 70 buick that had a 4k stall. Foot brake it would flash to 3800 and just rip your head off. Not looking for anything as wild, just a matching converter to make driveability nice. The wife will want to drive this thing from time to time.