Tuesday, March 29, 2016

1976 Corvette Steering Column and the "Vega" Wheel
Part Eight

This project has been a challenging and interesting one so far, and one that's getting closer to completion.

I just received the new 1978-on turn signal lever I ordered from an eBay seller, which also incorporates the cruise-control on/off switch.

However, since my car does not have cruise—and I have no plans or desire to install such a device—it shall remain unplugged.

I thought about clipping the wires, but decided instead to run them through the steering column cover and will leave it hidden under the dash, just in case.

Friday, March 25, 2016

New Power Steering Control Valve and Hoses

A few days ago I noticed my Corvette was marking its territory. Again! But this time it wasn't motor oil what I found on the floor, but power steering fluid.

I was unable to pinpoint the exact cause, so I had the power steering valve and the four hoses replaced this morning. This cured the leak and, as a bonus, the steering feel was improved considerably.

My mechanic was kind enough and removed the old power steering control valve, drained the fluid and gave it a bath. I then drove down to Eckler's Corvette in Titusville in order to get a new one. Bringing the old unit saved me the $130 core exchange charge.

Here are a few pics. You gotta love new parts.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

1976 Corvette Steering Column and the "Vega" Wheel
Part Seven

Since the new turn signal crossover/actuator arm arrived in today's mail, I decided to go ahead and start putting the steering column back together.

After bolting the lock housing cover, a new lock cylinder tumbler went in, followed by a key warning buzzer switch. The new turn signal switch and the wiring made it's way into the column and, once secured, I screwed in the turn signal crossover arm, making sure everything was generously greased.

Here are a few photos of the steering column rebuild/restoration, so far. And even though I just ordered a couple additional new pieces, I am getting closer and closer to being done with this project.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Grant 791 Flat-Dish Steering Wheel for C3 Corvettes

Moving the steering wheel away from the driver, is one thing 1968-1976 C3 Corvette owners can benefit from. C3s have small cabins and many owners complain about the lack of comfort when driving their Shark.

Even though Vettes with tilt and telescoping (T&T) steering columns are a little more user-friendly than fixed-column units, the problem is usually compounded by steering wheel size and dish depth.

The steering wheel aftermarket is huge, and there are many beautiful options available to the C3 Corvette owner... as long as it's not a 1976 Vette. Having said that,

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Brushed Aluminum Finish for Center Console and Door Panel Trim

In my opinion, wood trim accent pieces and sports cars do not mix. Especially when the "wood" is nothing more than a sticker that mimics the look and feel of the real thing.

Granted, Chevy designers did a pretty decent job of imitating nature, but after a few years

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Installing a New Wheelskins Steering Wheel Leather Cover

Good quality steering wheels are not cheap, and sometimes it is far easier and cheaper to have an original steering wheel recovered rather than replaced. And if you can do it yourself, then the savings can be substantial.

A few years ago I ordered a leather steering wheel cover from Wheelskins® for my 1984 Trans Am. Alas, I never installed it, so it sat in my garage for a long time collecting dust. I guess it was just luck that it fit my 1978 Corvette steering wheel like a glove, so I decided to put it to good use.

Since plans for my '76 Vette include a steering column swap, I found a column locally that also included the steering wheel, but the leather was no longer supple and it showed many wear and age cracks on the surface. After a certain point,
leather conditioners can only do so much so I thought about replacing it, but using this new cover would save me a few bucks, besides, I thought I'd try my hand at steering wheel upholstery and see what happens.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Underhood Parts: Painting Vs. Powder Coating

After a fruitless search for the "right" air cleaner assembly for my '76 Corvette, I've decided to go back to basics and use the factory unit.

I tend to favor more of a stock look under the hood, and GM engineers did a pretty good job of directing cool air into the carb via a plastic plenum, mounted above the radiator core support, and fed to the air cleaner assembly—and carb—via an air intake flex hose.

Originally I thought I'd just take it to a body shop and have it spray painted, but paint can (and will) chip, especially on parts that need to be removed from time to time in order to service the vehicle. So I quickly decided to have the air cleaner assembly powder coated to ensure durability.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Cleaning Raised White Letter (RWL) Tires

I don't know about you, but nothing bothers me more than dirty raised white letter tires.

No matter how much you spray them with tire cleaners, they turn dull and dingy after a while. And if you apply a tire dressing solution with a rag or sponge, they can turn an ugly shade of yellow. Road grime and disc brake dust don't help, and you end up with a grayish dull coating all over them.

So what can you do?

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Swapping the "Vega" Steering Wheel

1976 Corvette owners either love or hate what's commonly referred to as the "Vega" steering wheel.

It's an unfair moniker, really, since Camaros of the era, as well as other models—including the Chevy Vega—used an identical steering wheel.

I don't necessarily hate it, but I'm not in love with it either, so since I've been busy collecting a few pieces to complete a 1978 steering column I purchased locally, it dawned on me that I actually had all the pieces necessary to—at least—replace the steering wheel with the 1978 unit I have.