You may remember my 1964 Chevy Impala project from a while ago. Unfortunately, it hasn’t changed a whole lot in the past several months because of “life” combined with horrible New England winter. Luckily, now that it is above freezing outside sometimes, I’m starting to mess around with it again. Sweet right? Yea I think so too. Most recently, I decided to tackle a small project that has been bothering me for about 10 years. I call it “The stupid exploded muffler.”
This muffler story begins about 13-14 years ago when I reinstalled the straight 6 back into the rolling 64 Impala convertible chassis that I had just rebuilt. As you can imagine, I needed a new exhaust system to attach to my fancy painted engine (it was fancy at the time – now it looks terrible again). So, I went to my local auto part store and spent about $120 on a whole new exhaust system, including the muffler. Since then, the car has probably traveled … oh… maybe 3 total miles under its own power. Every inch of that was with a crappy carburetor, idling around my driveway. AKA – worst idea ever. Letting a car sit is the meanest thing that you can do to it, and this car really did some serious sit time. It’s just not good for the car, or any part attached to a car, especially the carburetor.
As you can tell from the pictures, at some point raw fuel built up in the muffler, and it ignited with the force of one thousand squirrels. The muffler ballooned enough to rattle on the floor pan with every rotation of the six’s crankshaft. That noise will drive a person crazy. The muffler explosion also tore the muffler open slightly in 1 area, but I welded it back up years ago just to keep it sealed. Now, many years later, I have rebuilt the carburetor, and it was finally time to replace the stupid exploded muffler.
Notice the wrinkles, the thickness difference, and awesomeness that is my stupid exploded muffler.
We left off part four of the Chevy Impala project with me parking the car in the yard, and taking a year or two off. Sad I know… However, during that little break, I cleared my mind, and finally built myself a garage to work in. On March 15th (read: cold, snow on the ground), I started building the garage from my own plans with a borrowed nail gun. 7 months later, I gathered some friends, and pushed my Impala into its new home. By that time, it was beginning to get colder, and even though I was indoors, the non-insulated garage was too chilly to work inside. 5 more months pass, and spring 2011 has finally arrived.
We left off with the quarter panel being fitted, but it didn’t really sit on there quite right. It was also intended for a hardtop, so I had to slice the top of it off. This update is how I went about fitting the convertible metal to the hardtop quarter. I began with a hole where some old metal belonged.
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We left off the last episode with a freshly fabricated trunk floor, and I had a new tail pan and taillight surround on order. A few days later, they arrived, and work commenced. If you are curious, I would imagine that at this point in the story, I must have had about 75 hours into the removal of the quarter, and the repair of the wheel house, filler neck surround, trunk drop off, and trunk floor. It is easy to see why car restorations add up fast. The labor factor is huge. Moving on…
I began this round with the test fitting of the tail pan and the left taillight surround. They were both perfect, except my trunk floor wasn’t. Everything needed some TLC with hammers to align it all. Once I was happy with the tail pan, I drilled a million holes in it and spot welded it all the way down just like when the car was new. I then coated it in ugly reddish primer because that is what was within reach.
The taillight surround was much more challenging to align than the tail pan was. I used a variety of clamps, and cleco’s. If you have never used cleco’s you are missing out. They are cheap little devices that hold metal together like a champ. Every tool box should have some.
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Last week we discussed the scariness of discovering acres of rot behind the quarter panel that I had just reluctantly removed. Then I showed off the metal repair / replacement of the 64 Chevy’s outer wheel house, and trunk drop off. There was one other piece that had some serious metal repair, but I already made a 1A Blog post about it over a year ago, so I won’t repeat it here again. if you are curious, you can view the fuel filler neck surround metal repair Here.
Next on the Impala list was fixing all of the metal surrounding the “tailpan”. Basically, the rear-most section of the trunk floor was rotted badly on both sides, and it all needed to go in the trash barrel. The bad news is that nobody makes these replacement panels, so I had to make them myself. First step, cut out the rotted area and see what we’re working with. Eeeek!
As you can see , there was no shortage of rot on the driver’s side rear of the “six-foe”. Rather than crying, I began making a flat metal replacement that was the “same” shape as the original. The problem was that I didn’t have a lot of the old metal to work with, so most of this process was a guessing game. » Continue reading more of this post…
We left off Part 1 of the 1964 Chevy Impala project with a freshly cut off quarter panel, and a fear of what I had just done. There was no turning back though, the sheet metal was off, and crying was no longer allowed. What I found hiding behind the quarter could have been described as something in between discouraging and disappointment. It was ugly at best.
As much as I would have loved to slap the new quarter panel on and forget that I had seen any of that, it would have haunted me for the rest of my life. I had no choice but to make like Dave Coulier and cut-it-out with my cut off wheel. The gas tank filler pipe surround piece was in rough shape as well, which is what I believe to be the major contributor of the rot to this entire area. » Continue reading more of this post…
Finally. When I was 15, I bought a 1964 Chevy Impala convertible (my dream car), which you may have read about HERE. Because of it’s sad state of disrepair, I immediately started a body off restoration when it rolled off a flatbed and into my parents driveway. Much to my chagrin, it has never made much progress because of x, y, and z, but mostly because of its full time outdoor storage. Everybody that I know hassles me about it not being done yet because I thought I would be driving it to the junior prom (nope), then senior prom (nope), college graduation (nope), 5 year high school reunion (nope), wedding day (nope), 10 year HS reunion (nope)…… Well..yea….it still isn’t done. However, over the course of this extremely short feeling summer, I built myself a garage to play in. Last night, I finally got all the garage doors attached properly, and » Continue reading more of this post…