Fixing up a '71 Grand Safari

Discussion in 'General Station Wagon Discussions' started by Vetteman61, Jul 10, 2012.

  1. Silvertwinkiehobo

    Silvertwinkiehobo "Everything that breaks starts with 'F.'"

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2014
    Messages:
    14,928
    Likes Received:
    2,957
    Trophy Points:
    710
    Location:
    New Braunfels, TX
    Wow, that valve is puzzling. When was the last time the engine ran? Was the induction capped off against air intrusion? I've seen stored engines end up with condensed water (the last one was a 351 Windsor that had sat in a workshop for a handful of months, no coverings over the carb mounting pad), but even with a covering on the carb or mounting base, something like a vacuum nipple or an intake runner leak could allow that to happen. It should be sprayed down with penetrating oil, just to ensure the valve against the seat is not rusted together.
     
  2. Silvertwinkiehobo

    Silvertwinkiehobo "Everything that breaks starts with 'F.'"

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2014
    Messages:
    14,928
    Likes Received:
    2,957
    Trophy Points:
    710
    Location:
    New Braunfels, TX
    And, I'm continuing to ride this GM roller coaster, because this wagon is gorgeous (that Verdant Green is a favorite of mine).
     
  3. elB

    elB Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2014
    Messages:
    1,575
    Likes Received:
    293
    Trophy Points:
    185
    Wagon Garage:
    3
    Location:
    NorCal
    The fit on these cars is just terrible. I had a leak from the driver's front door that NO matter of adjustment would seal. It would either seal up top and not leak water but then smack the front fender on closing in cold weather. The roof on these cars needed a drip rail to route water away like the F-bodies came with later, it gets in the bright work and then drips down RIGHT on the corners of the doors where the joints in the trim are, and the water overpowers the weatherstripping and it drips inside leading to water intrusion and rust on the roof. I spent years fixing leaks on my '73 and it was exhausting. A base Catalina has much less to worry about on that front because it doesn't have the trim around the roof. '71-76 big cars suffer from weird corrosion issues much more than the later '77+ or earlier '60s cars. That dog leg issue is because in a humid environment the water condenses on the roof and runs down the side of the body under the plastic trim and the dog leg is the lowest point with no real drain (or at least that's how it appeared in 3 of these cars, you could see the water stains). The best thing for these cars is covered storage in a controlled environment, which obviously didn't happen when they were new.

    I do agree with you, once you've mentioned a plan there's 10 people wanting to jump on you and tell you how stupid your idea is. While I feel you could get the quadrajet to run just fine, they really are a finicky technology that the knowledge to work on is rapidly dwindling and the cores out there are in awful shape. I hope the e-carb you put on fixes your issue.

    Regarding that corrosion in the valve, you're in TN. It's humid. What likely happened was when it last ran under it's own power the valve was slightly opened and cooled off, leading to some condensation in the chamber. My '72 455 had the same problem when I pulled it and kept it in my garage even with a dehumidifier running. The guys saying "take the head off! It's cracked!" could be right... but more likely than not you just got some condensation in there on the last shutdown that caused it. If you ran antifreeze in the car, the residue from the coolant would be obvious in the valve corrosion. Clean it off and you're likely good to go. I've cleaned worse off. This isn't a white glove trailer queen. Put it back together and pressure test the water system, I'll bet you it doesn't leak. I won't call you stupid regardless of what you choose to do though ;-)

    It's great to see the kiddos getting involved. You should be proud! Hope you can get the car back on the road soon. It's stinking cold out there earlier than usual.
     
  4. OrthmannJ

    OrthmannJ Always looking for old ford crew cabs

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2009
    Messages:
    16,081
    Likes Received:
    4,476
    Trophy Points:
    848
    Location:
    Yakima Washington
    I'm really glad to see that you are back on this on vetteman. I'm looking forward to watching it all unfold. :thumbs2:

    Amen. Life's about experiences like this. And these experiences will become cherished memories.
     
  5. Vetteman61

    Vetteman61 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2012
    Messages:
    840
    Likes Received:
    105
    Trophy Points:
    125
    Wagon Garage:
    1
    Thanks, guys! Hey, Eric! I almost messaged you when I went cross country to see if I could stop in and check out your builds. Because photobucket changed their policy a while back a lot of the earlier photos of this thread can't be seen unless you click on them individually, which is a pain. All the same information can be seen at https://aprilmays37.blogspot.com/, however I find the website a bit clunky so I'm not sure which is worse.

    The car has been stored for about 5 years, most of that time was in an enclosed car trailer. The intake was sealed with an air cleaner so I'm not sure. The crust seems to be a bit excessive to just be condensation, but it could be. I'm just not sure. My wife and I specifically went to the Street Rod Nationals back before the car was painted just to find the green she wanted.

    This car was originally from Alabama, which is where I purchased it. The car had a few issues, but was very solid in comparison to others I've seen. I have build sheet to the car. Dad had a '71 Catalina convertible when I was growing up (still has it) and so when we were thinking about getting a new vehicle I just typed in '71 Pontiac Wagon and this wagon came up on the internet. I had no idea at the time how rare they were at the time and didn't realize how well optioned it was compared to other wagons. Dad used to own a dealership and sold these cars when they were new. He looked at the build sheet and some documents that came with the car and said it was likely ordered as a dealer rep car and then sold after they used it as a demo. I'm just glad it didn't come with the automatic air.

    I had taken this car to two separate people that were well known to tune carburetors, one was specifically known to be good with Quadrajets. They said something was damaged about this carb, but I can't remember what it was at the time.

    How would you recommend I clean the intake? I would like to not remove the head if at all possible.
     
  6. Silvertwinkiehobo

    Silvertwinkiehobo "Everything that breaks starts with 'F.'"

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2014
    Messages:
    14,928
    Likes Received:
    2,957
    Trophy Points:
    710
    Location:
    New Braunfels, TX
    On Q-Jets, the idle wells and primary throttle shafts are a source of problems. Some are not repairable, but a former boss had pretty good luck in resealing or rebushing some. So I wonder if that's your problem?
     
  7. MotoMike

    MotoMike Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2010
    Messages:
    5,174
    Likes Received:
    123
    Trophy Points:
    188
    Location:
    Newnan, Ga
    Hi Brandon! Good to see you're back and getting the Clam back in shape. Glad to see you have a new helper too.
     
  8. Vetteman61

    Vetteman61 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2012
    Messages:
    840
    Likes Received:
    105
    Trophy Points:
    125
    Wagon Garage:
    1
    Progress on the station wagon has been very slow for sundry reasons, some of which I'll address later. One of the reasons was that I needed to get a used truck. After looking around for a while I decided to spend less money and get my old K5 Blazer back on the road. It's been off the road for 8 years after I loaned it to my relatives. During that time, my mother also backed over it and caved the passenger side door in. I needed to add a trailer hitch so I purchased one from U-haul and installed it. It was easier to install than I had thought and fortunately didn't involve removing the gas tank. It also has a 4" lift that I bought used from my friend in 2006 who was taking it off of his K5 to get a bigger lift. It was taller than I wanted but it was all I could afford at the time. The pinion angles are all wrong so I've ordered new 3" lift springs and once those come and I get them installed I'll work on getting all the driveline angles pointed where they need to be. The girls love getting to ride in it and were shocked to find that trucks can drive in creeks.
    [​IMG]

    Another setback I had was that The Caprice still had a leak around the windshield and floorboard and I couldn't find it. It was leaking at the top of the windshield and running down the inside of the A-pillar. To make a long story short, the company that installed the windshield didn't put enough sealant and it was leaking at the top. That issue took a long time to track down and fix, and unfortunately, I had the new windshield installed in 2015, and the car was stored and not driven until the LS swap started, so there was no way to go back and hold the company liable. In the process of removing the interior trim again, I accidentally broke one of the brittle, plastic pieces. I had a plastic welder from a previous project but had never used it because plans changed so this was my first time of performing plastic repair.
    [​IMG]

    I used paperclips to reinforce the repair. It's ugly on the back, but is virtually unnoticeable when installed on the car.
    [​IMG]

    Some of these pictures are from earlier in the year when the weather was cold, before all of the delays. I won't have as much detail on some of these steps because they happened months ago. Since my youngest daughter had helped me with the intake process, I let her have the fun of taking all the tape off.
    [​IMG]

    We moved over all of the fittings from the original intake to the new intake.

    [​IMG]
    I sent all of the front accessory brackets, and a few other pieces, to be powder coated. I also had them sandblast the exhaust manifolds. I believe by the end there were a few more pieces added that aren't pictured below.

    [​IMG]

    After looking at different options I decided to paint the exhaust manifolds with a product from Eastwood. It's a heat resistant coating that is a thin liquid. I applied a few coats with sponge brushes. This stuff is supposedly supposed to resist rusting and flaking off, so we'll have to wait and see.

    [​IMG]

    First I needed to roll the car out and degrease everything under the hood. Being able to work inside during the cold weather is a welcomed change from working on The Caprice out in the elements.

    [​IMG]
    A lot of scrubbing and brushing and rinsing took place.

    [​IMG]

    And then some more degreasing, and scrubbing and brushing.
    [​IMG]
    Getting the car pushed back in the garage wasn't too hard because I happened to have family in that weekend and they helped make it easy. After the degreasing I cleaned the engine and prepared it for paint.

    [​IMG]

    I've never been entirely happy with the rattle-can primers I've used in the past so after searching around a bit I decided to go with a two part, heat-resistant primer from Eastwood. It comes in a rattle can, but must be punctured on the bottom to allow the two parts to mix.
    [​IMG]
    I still had a few cans left over from the first time I painted the engine several years ago. Unfortunately, I didn't realize that they have since discontinued this color. I would have had plenty of paint left over but unfortunately something happened to my last, completely full and unused can and none of the paint will come out at all. Fortunately, I had just enough, and I mean just barely enough, to get the entire engine painted. I couldn't just go buy another can because the colors wouldn't match.

    [​IMG]

    I then rolled the car outside again to apply some Ospho rust converter on the frame and suspension parts. I cleaned the frame and applied the Ospho and this is where things went sideways. After finishing I had April help me push the car back inside the garage. I'll try to explain what happened next: I was standing in front of the front, passenger tire with one arm pushing on the firewall next to the heater box and one hand pulling on the frame. Right as the tire was about to go over the lip on the garage entrance my foot slipped on some of the cleaner that was mixed with water on the concrete. This caused me to slip and fall down the front wheel and slide down the front of it, which caused my arm that was extended forward to be pushed in a direction it's not meant to go. I literally heard the tearing sound in my shoulder as I fell. Long story short, I did not end up needing surgery, however I was unable to use my arm for most of 6 weeks, if not longer. I was able to get the car back in the garage by borrowing a four wheeling and pushing it back in.

    [​IMG]

    I won't go into details, but my arm wasn't the only health/injury to cause delays, so skip forward however long and the frame is now painted. I also have to say that the delay also killed some of my momentum and I found it hard to get the motivation to start back on the wagon; There are always other projects needed to be attended to. After the picture below I removed all of the wiring and stripped the firewall. I will repaint the firewall and after that I'll go back to getting the doors adjusted properly, which I have to do before I begin to reinstall the front clip.
    [​IMG]
     
    fannie likes this.
  9. OrthmannJ

    OrthmannJ Always looking for old ford crew cabs

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2009
    Messages:
    16,081
    Likes Received:
    4,476
    Trophy Points:
    848
    Location:
    Yakima Washington
    Glad to see you're still on this project. Great to see your kids helping out, I love it.
    You also seem to have the worst luck of anyone I've ever known! I hope you are all healed up from the "pushing the car back into the garage" mishap.
    I'm looking forward to seeing more updates as the project progresses.
     
  10. dmfconsult

    dmfconsult Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2010
    Messages:
    206
    Likes Received:
    52
    Trophy Points:
    70
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    Really like this thread and the detail you provide, keep it coming! Hope the arm is healing well!
     
  11. Vetteman61

    Vetteman61 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2012
    Messages:
    840
    Likes Received:
    105
    Trophy Points:
    125
    Wagon Garage:
    1
    Thanks guys. This project feels like the never ending story, which I guess make sense since I've had it since 2013 and have barely gotten to drive it at all, hahaha. At least this time I have learned more so I'm going to do some things differently. I plan to rewire the entire engine harness. It's one thing to drive an all original, undisturbed car, but having that original, brittle wiring harness in and out of the car I don't trust it to not try to turn the wagon into a car-b-que.
    I did my own therapy and would push my arm as much as I could without incurring injury. Because of that I basically have full range of motion back. I also resisted the urge to put it under stress after it "felt" better so give it time to hear. The absolute worst part, besides not being able to put my own jacket on or off in the winter time, was the sound the tearing made when I fell. I literally heard it and now when I think about it, it makes me wince.
     
  12. elB

    elB Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2014
    Messages:
    1,575
    Likes Received:
    293
    Trophy Points:
    185
    Wagon Garage:
    3
    Location:
    NorCal
    Definitely do! And when you do, upgrade the main power feed to the rest of the car from the alternator. The 10ga wire the factory used was adequate when new, but an 8ga will really improve everything for a long period of time. My '73 had the feed wire rubbed in about 3 different places and the car would cut out on me going down the road.

    Nothing more sickening than falling and hearing that *snap* or *crunch* of muscle or bones. To me that's almost as bad as the actual injury itself in many cases. I did a serious injury on my left shoulder this last year in May that took until October to finally get better - lots of repetitive "push it *almost* to where it can't and back off" exercises in all different directions to get range of motion back. I hear it only gets worse the older we get... ;-)
     
  13. Vetteman61

    Vetteman61 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2012
    Messages:
    840
    Likes Received:
    105
    Trophy Points:
    125
    Wagon Garage:
    1
    That's a great idea, that wouldn't have occurred to me. I'll definitely go back with that thicker wire. My problem now is I still can't find a set of rallye gauges.
     
  14. elB

    elB Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2014
    Messages:
    1,575
    Likes Received:
    293
    Trophy Points:
    185
    Wagon Garage:
    3
    Location:
    NorCal
    I've only ever seen 1 set for sale in many years. You *can* however adapt a set of '73+ rally gauges to work in a '71-72 car. You need to modify a '71-72 idiot light cluster metal housing to keep the turn signal lights working and to let the gauge connections protrude out. Then modify the 12 pin plug to 16 pin plug depending on the year of printed circuit board, which is relatively trivial to do.
     
  15. Silvertwinkiehobo

    Silvertwinkiehobo "Everything that breaks starts with 'F.'"

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2014
    Messages:
    14,928
    Likes Received:
    2,957
    Trophy Points:
    710
    Location:
    New Braunfels, TX
    Soooooooooo..........any progress? It's been almost two years now.
     

Share This Page