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newb to the world of the 81 vette

bobinlaw81

Member
Joined
Jul 23, 2007
Messages
8
Location
Greensburg PA
Corvette
81 charcoal on silver
Hey everyone! new to the vette scene. My wife and i brought home her fathers 81 vette. BEEEEAUTIFUL car, not too fast.. i know they were never the fastest of the production vettes, but man my old CJ7 can out run this thing...
We'll be spending all week tuning detailing and adjusting and see where it goes from there. here are some things i've noticed so far and some questions maybe you much more knowledgeble than I folks could answer for me:

The AIR system is disabled, no pump, and the plumbing is all capped off, how detrimental to performance is this?

The emissions canister is a maxwell house coffee can. On my CJ my emissions can has a purge valve and is part of the recirculation system, i'm guessing the 'vettes should be too? Where can i find a new one? Still a dealer item? Ebay? or hit the junk yard for any similar year GM?

The washer bottle cap is missing, and the coolant reservoir cap is a gerber baby food jar lid. Are these compatible with the GM stuff from the help section at the local autoparts store?

How many people customize their L81's? engine mods, accel coils, etc? Her father wants us to keep the stereo in it. AM/FM/Tape/CB. nice combo but none of it works, it's nice to cruise with tunes.

is there a pic thread on this forum yet? anyone want to send me links to what you've got and done?

The interior looks like a litter of labs cut their teeth on it. Who's a good source for interior components, seats, trim, carpet, etc?

Last night i spent about two hours cleaning under the hood, polishing metal, replacing hoses, cleaning up connections etc...The outside is almost perfect, paint shines, fresh, good gloss, just rollin around town we got mad compliments and jealous stares. more than i usually get in my jeep...

Thanks in advance for all the help, replies, comments, and suggestions
-zak
 

SIXFOOTER

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 15, 2007
Messages
117
Location
Boca Raton Fl
Corvette
1981 L81 Tan Coupe
Welcome aboard and Congrats on the car!
On the AIR Pump, if it is disabled you can take it off, it will not make it a 10 second car, but it will clean it up a lot under there, I assume you do not have do emissions testing where you are.
There are a couple sources for the Evap cans, get the correct one, the coffee can isn't it. Youre requires the canister with 6 connections, 2 are for purge valves. I'll look and see if I can find the source.
The washer and coolant caps are standard GM
The standard GM HEI ignition in yours (its controlled by the CCC if you still have it) is a fine system and might need nothing more than a shim on the bottom of the distributor and a fresh coil to be good to go.
Snatch the stereo and put it in a nice fancy box on the shelf, someday it will be your retirement fund;LOL
Get a good head unit, stick an amp in the back and a nice pair of 6x9's, that will reequire some special mounts but they are easy to make.
Interiors are available from Al Knock, Wilcox, Ecklers, Corvette America, bunch of others. I got mine from Ecklers a couple yrs ago, but lately I hear their quality is slipping. From what I hear in here Al Knock is about the best.
As for engine mods, you can do a LOT with this thing. I have an 81 and am keeping the base motor and CCC system, carb and dist. I changed the cam, intake, dumped the smog pump and have done some custom stuff. Will be a while yet before I get to drive it
Here is what it looks like today

5.jpg


week or 2 ago
PICT0165.jpg
 

Yoda

Well-known member
Administrator
Joined
Oct 12, 2000
Messages
4,884
Location
Amarillo, TX
Corvette
1981 UL5
bobinlaw81 ~ Welcome to the Corvette Action Center & the L81 Forums ~

:w -zak,

You're in good hands with getting advice here. SIXFOOTER is just itching to help folks and with his knowledge WE all like reading his input :upthumbs There are a lot of gear heads here as well as very knowledgable Corvette Owners, so any and all questions are welcome.

Me... I'm not much help with engines, never have been other than to talk a good line :chuckle Interior and other stuff I might be of assistance ;)

I got the interior for my 1981 from Wally Knock here at the Action Center. Wally may be related to "Al" :chuckle so I was comfortable with my order and very pleased with the Quality and Fit :dance Open this Thread to see some of the stuff I've done to Rare ;) included are photo's of the New Carpets :upthumbs

Keep plugging away it takes
  • $$$
  • Time
  • $$$
  • Help
we can probably provide support with #4 :D you're pretty much on your own with the first 3 ;LOL :Steer

Bud
 
Joined
Jan 24, 2002
Messages
229
Location
Binghamton, NY
Corvette
1981Dark Blue Metallic & 2004 conv. magnetic red
Bobinlaw & Sixfooter, Welcome to the CAC family, they are a great bunch of Vetteaholics just filled with knowledge. Don't let Bud fool you he carries a lot of information in his mental briefcase.

Document everything you do for future reference and if you decide to sell it.

I'm now replacing my radio and decided to go with a near original type because I would rather hear the tail pipe rumble. Us northern boys have such a short season for Vetteing that I can listen to those tunes when I'm driving through the snow in my Jeep.

An 81 probably won't win many races but spit shined they do turn heads.

Happy Vetteing, welcome to CAC and don't forget the wave.:w:w:w

Chuck
 

bobinlaw81

Member
Joined
Jul 23, 2007
Messages
8
Location
Greensburg PA
Corvette
81 charcoal on silver
Awesome, thanks for all the kind words and advice.

I have the same $ time $ tools $ time trade with my jeep too.. ahh boys and their toys. good times.

So from what i understand this vette has an aftermarket cam. not sure which, but the carb, intake and exhaust are all still stock.
I've definitely thought of another manifold and some exhaust work, what about carb options? anyone use the EFI intake?

Something else i've noticed is that the only gauge that returns to zero when the key is off is the voltage gauge. is that normal with these cars?

Anyone do LS1 swaps or anything similar?
I think just a good tune up, carb intake and exhaust work combined with the cam would make a really fun to drive car.. any other thoughts?
 

black_81_vette

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 1, 2002
Messages
295
Location
wisconsin
Corvette
black 81 corvette 4-speed
Congrats on your new purchase! Any way my 81 was slow too until I did some mods first . I basically ditched everything from the heads up.I went with 64cc chamber heads with a higher compression pistion,running 2.02 1.60 valves in the heads a 488 510 lift cam with other mods and changed the rear gears to 3.54 ratio.The same car would only run high 15s bone stock and barley even spin the wheels to a tire smoking high 12 second car.
 

SIXFOOTER

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 15, 2007
Messages
117
Location
Boca Raton Fl
Corvette
1981 L81 Tan Coupe
My personal recipe for an 81 that should be scary:
Urethan suspension rebuild, KYB shocks, Smart Struts, dual 2 1/5" exhaust no cats, no air pump, AFR180 heads, Airgap intake, stock carb (you know thats a 750 right?) Stock distributor, comp roller cam setup (got to look up the number)
2004R tranny with shift kit and 2200 stall. stock computer, aluminum rad with elect fans and DC control, 3/4 rear sway bar,


I am sure theres more, besides all the repairs...
 

bill81vette

Moderator
Joined
Jan 17, 2004
Messages
4,321
Location
Troy,NY
Corvette
1981 dark blue metallic
welcome to CAC Boys!!!!:CAC
have fun fixing/restoring the 81's!!!!!!!!
enjoy the forums!!!!!!!!!
 
Joined
Apr 8, 2005
Messages
274
Location
Charleston, SC
Corvette
1981 Dark Blue Metallic, 2003 AE coupe
Welcome bobinlaw! You seem to be industrious, but since you mentioned the coffee can, don't yank that out just yet. These babies have a vacuum system that operates the headlight doors and that can is one of the key components in that system. You're in the right place to get good info.
 
Joined
Apr 29, 2001
Messages
2,141
Location
Rio Rancho, NM
Corvette
1981 HD Suspension; ZN1 Option
Welcome Aboard!

You'll find a lot of good information here and more.:upthumbs
 

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