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Need Help Restoring a 1986 Vette

V

Vette Crazy

Guest
My father-in-law has a 1986 Corvette, his passion for this car was very strong however he was never able to fully restore the vehicle. We both dreamed of getting the car back in perfect condition, in fact he frequently started the car up and took it out on little fun-runs with my daughter.
My father-in law passed away on September 24, 2006, and I decided to continue the work we started on this car/project so that his legacy will live on in this car. I want to fully restore the vehicle, however I'm not even sure where to begin with doing it.. (I'm not mecahnically inclined:)
I know that the car needs, some engine work, shocks, new interior (seats, carpet, dashboard, etc..)
Can someone here in the forum provide some advice as to what steps I should take. I believe I will take the car to a local corvette Dealer here in Dallas to do the engine work, but I want to make sure they have some real zeal for working on vettes.. I understand that this is huge undertaking and it is going to take some time, but I was wondering is there a way to look up vette shops online to get feedback on there work. I say this because many years ago I tried to restore my old 1978 280Z (one of the first pocket rockets:) and I had a horrible experience. For those of you who do read this, thanks for taking time out of your day, and any suggestions you have will be greatly appreciated. Thanks
 
M

Mart

Guest
You have started at the right place, there should be somebody here that will chime in soon and give some feedback on shops in your area.

Good Luck, and keep us posted.

Mart
 
C

CAJUN C4

Guest
I have a set of nice black 96' Sport Seats For Sale if your interested. Send me an E-Mail & I'll send back pictures.

Dennis
 

B17Crew

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 8, 2002
Messages
1,610
Location
Columbus, Ohio
Corvette
96 LT4 Polo Green/Light Beige Interior
Welcome to the CAC Vette Crazy. :upthumbs

This site may help you start to identify what shops are near you. Just scroll down to Texas and hit the hotlink.

http://www.corvettefever.com/techarticles/corp_0605_2006_best_corvette_shops/

You could check with local Corvette clubs to see if you can acquire “references” of Corvette specialty shops, maybe one of the members has had experience with some of the shops near you. I would definitely ask around and investigate before signing on any dotted line. Prices will vary, if you are doing a “full NCRS” kind of restoration, I can see that costing more than making a car road worthy restoration.

There are many things that you may be able to do yourself. Tackling the interior may be one of them, you’ll have a lot of fun and you will learn a great deal about your car. The CAC is a great forum, ask any questions that you may have, the knowledge base here is pretty impressive.

B17Crew
:w

P.S. I used to have a Yellow ’86 auto coupe, they’re a great year Corvette to own.
 

milehigreg

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 3, 2004
Messages
271
Location
Denver Colorado
Corvette
1989 Dark Red Coupe
A Noble Cause

You are doing a good thing. In many cases, the family just wants to dump the car and get the money. Stay away from typical dealerships. They just aren't interested in giving your car the attention it deserves. Productivity is the name of the game. The Corvette Fever list above is a good place to start. Worked well for me.
 
W

WNH

Guest
I want to fully restore the vehicle, however I'm not even sure where to begin with doing it.. (I'm not mecahnically inclined:)
I know that the car needs, some engine work, shocks, new interior (seats, carpet, dashboard, etc..)
I restored my '88.
My 1st bit of advise is to do nothing.
That is, nothing untill you outline a strategy.
Example, don't get the carpets shampoed if in 6 months you decide to get new carpets.
Figure out what the car will need, get the best price for the parts, and restore it slowly.

BTW, a C4 is not that difficult to work on, and doing the work yourself will save lots of money.

You need a few books, like the Helms[GM] shop manual. Check ebay.

An excellant book for a beginner is,"101 Projects For Your Corvette", by Richard Newton. Its got tons of pictures and easy for a beginner to understand. Look it up at Amazon.com.
 

Boeingdriver

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 9, 2006
Messages
157
Location
Memphis
Corvette
'96 LT4 Coupe, White/Red - '03 Z06 Black/Torch Red
I want to fully restore the vehicle, however I'm not even sure where to begin with doing it.. (I'm not mecahnically inclined:)
I know that the car needs, some engine work, shocks, new interior (seats, carpet, dashboard, etc..)
Can someone here in the forum provide some advice as to what steps I should take.


Dallas probably has several very active Corvette clubs. Look them up on-line and go talk to some folks. They'll steer you to the right suppliers in your area and might offer some elbow grease to keep your efforts going in the right direction.

Good luck.
 
T

tdr1919

Guest
I also find Vette magazine & corvette fever great magazines, they have great restoration projects each month & a list of recommended shops natioin wide.
BUT owning the official 86 shop manual is a must, and as one post suggested you will slowly find yourself doing many things & saving $$. Get the Corvette America catalog, your mouth will water with all the great replacenet parts.
Tom
 
T

tdr1919

Guest
Another thing is do you have a garage or a place to keep it out of the elements? - If not you might want to set up a $200 portable car port from
Sams club, I put a 8' x 12 ' rubbermaid shed up against it, keep all my tools in it and the car port is quite roomy. I anchored it down (necessary) and put
an asphalt floor in it (concrete much better!). Now my wife wants to put her car in it! Oh yeah, there is nothing like going out and buying new tools!
Enjoy your Vette!
Tom
 

Toms007

Moderator
Joined
Sep 24, 2004
Messages
6,489
Location
Southwest Kansas
Corvette
2007 Atomic Orange Coupe
I would agree with planning out a strategy. Make a list of all the things that need fixing and then prioritize those things as a) must be done b) needs to be done c) would like to get it done d) I want to do it, because I want to do it!

Make "a" items on the list the first items done, then the "b" items then the "c" and then the "d". It's going to cost some money to do, but most of the parts to restore are available. The more things you can do yourself the less expense you will have and the more pride you will have in the car and yourself. When you get to the list post it up so the experience here can help you through the steps to get this car back on the path to "new".
 
V

Vette Crazy

Guest
Thank you WHN and Toms94, I know this sounds crazy but I never thought about outlining a strategy. I guess I was just going to jump right into the project:) I think I will use what they use to term in the 5th grade as the FOIL Method.. In this case I think the engine is most important to me, so I want to restore the performance on the car first, as the engine runs but it has the notorious engine leak (which has been duly noted). I was also thinking about ordering an 88 - 92 engine riight out of the crate box. I found a shop here in the Dallas Metroplex that specializes in vette engines.
Next would be ride, as the shocks in the rear are out.. followed by interior, then exterior.. For me I'm all about performance, and so was my father-in-law as he would spin the wheels with his grandaughter in the car. I know she's only four, but I think she is Car Crazy already:) (She can't help her entire family is:).. Thanks everyone for chiming in, its really nice to be apart of a forum that loves corvettes as much as I do:)
 

Toms007

Moderator
Joined
Sep 24, 2004
Messages
6,489
Location
Southwest Kansas
Corvette
2007 Atomic Orange Coupe
I created an Excel Worksheet with everything I had to/needed to/should do/ wanted to do; after I bought my 94.

On the worksheet I listed all the parts that would be needed for each job. The different vendors that had the parts needed to perform the job, the cost of the parts/shipping from each of the vendors. And if I posted for help or did a search in the forum for that particular job I listed where I might get info on performing the job. If I needed any special tools or if it was a tool was needed that I didn't have, I listed those as well (so I could determine whether I should buy it, rent it, or borrow it). I then reviewed all information before spending one thin dime.

This has made the restoration/modification of the car a very concrete/justifiable process. I know what is involved (whether I do it myself or I hire it out), where I can buy the parts and how much those parts and any special tools will cost; all at the look of the spreadsheet.
 

4DSZR1

Active member
Joined
Jul 13, 2005
Messages
36
Location
Tacoma, WA
Corvette
1992 Black ZR-1
I created an Excel Worksheet with everything I had to/needed to/should do/ wanted to do; after I bought my 94.

On the worksheet I listed all the parts that would be needed for each job. The different vendors that had the parts needed to perform the job, the cost of the parts/shipping from each of the vendors. And if I posted for help or did a search in the forum for that particular job I listed where I might get info on performing the job. If I needed any special tools or if it was a tool was needed that I didn't have, I listed those as well (so I could determine whether I should buy it, rent it, or borrow it). I then reviewed all information before spending one thin dime.

This has made the restoration/modification of the car a very concrete/justifiable process. I know what is involved (whether I do it myself or I hire it out), where I can buy the parts and how much those parts and any special tools will cost; all at the look of the spreadsheet.



And I thought I was organized......not compared to you.


WOW, great ideas!
 

Toms007

Moderator
Joined
Sep 24, 2004
Messages
6,489
Location
Southwest Kansas
Corvette
2007 Atomic Orange Coupe
I don't know that I am that organized. (OK, after reviewing what I said, it does appear that I am pretty organized). It just made sense to me to get it all down before I started......actually I have read that the more you plan the easier it all comes together. And that is exactly the way I try to do things.

That's what I try to get my students to do as well. One of my favorite quotes is "Prior Planning Prevents **** Poor Performance", and another is "If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?"

I sure hope that this all helps.
 

tyrel

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 7, 2002
Messages
574
Location
Portland
I once had dreams of restoring an early c4 convertible, and crunched the numbers, and even doing most of the work myself I figured it would cost around $20,000 to do a full restoration, on top of the car cost. Then I realized that I could find a low-mileage c4 convertible for that price, but then I wouldn't have had the satisfaction of building the car better than factory new. Restoring a car has to be in your blood, and it has to be a special car that you're really attached to, and when you're done you'd better hang on to it for a long time because you'll never sell it for what you put into it. It's a labor of love, which I completely understand.
 
T

tdr1919

Guest
I once had dreams of restoring an early c4 convertible, and crunched the numbers, and even doing most of the work myself I figured it would cost around $20,000 to do a full restoration, on top of the car cost. Then I realized that I could find a low-mileage c4 convertible for that price, but then I wouldn't have had the satisfaction of building the car better than factory new. Restoring a car has to be in your blood, and it has to be a special car that you're really attached to, and when you're done you'd better hang on to it for a long time because you'll never sell it for what you put into it. It's a labor of love, which I completely understand.

Tyrel,
my .02 - I have always bee looking for a Vette,but with 4 kids, a wife & a morgage payment, to have an extra $10k around for (only) my enjoyment is like asking for a divorce! I had $5k in my fooling-around-fund and found a $5k, original 86 vette, that needs to have about everything replaced, repaired, or rebuilt. Interior, roof, paint, the list goes on, but my car, after 2 yrs, is running great, looks Ok (from a distance HA HA) and slowly when I save a few bucks I replace or repair something else on the list.
TRUST ME - I would have loved to purchase a newer C4 in better shape but the economics (wife) wouldn't permit.
Tom
 

Toms007

Moderator
Joined
Sep 24, 2004
Messages
6,489
Location
Southwest Kansas
Corvette
2007 Atomic Orange Coupe
Sometimes we do what we got to do. Personally I would have bought a nicer, lower mileage car if I'd had the money to do it. But I wanted to get into a Corvette NOW. So I know exactly what tdr1919 is saying, I'm glad you got your car and are enjoying it, as things improve you can always move up if you want, or continue working on what you have.
 

douglas foster

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 18, 2005
Messages
226
Location
minnesota usa
Corvette
1984 C4 Gold coupe, Z51, 4+3 manual, BBS rims,
father & son

I know it's a labor of love. When i started restoreing cars,my wife would ask me"when are you going to walk the dog" . I would reply "I'll walk the dog at 9 oclock". She would inform me" it's midnite". So" plan the work and work the plan". I think that quot is by Harvy McKay. Another though is maybe invest in a parts car. some times this is a very cheep way for all thoes little things that are expensive in the after market. when you look at all the shipping chargers ect: GOOD LUCK ITS REALLY WORTH IT!!!! you will know that when finished, because you have a reason for this restoration, other than a fine ride.
vette-14.jpg
 

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