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problems with my 78



Please accept my apologies for lenghty submissions. Let me know when I get too wordy. I catch heck from the car club president for my lenghty minutes, too. :eek:
First, it has a lazy eye. I'd like to check out the VACUUM system myself. How do I go about this and can I do it? The driver headlight comes up slow, and never while I am in motion. They also do not fold in when I turn off the car unless I turn them off and let them close while running.
I upgraded the AC SYSTEM to the new coolant. Problem: When I use the AC, the engine runs at 240 degrees! So I have AC, but I don't dare use it. Bigger radiator? Electric fans? Also, it gets hot when our car club participates in parades. Would electric fans cure this, too?
Last, I've stated that I just had my car painted...how much ORANGE PEEL is acceptable for a $3000 job? My car seems to have a lot. I have been looking at new and repainted cars and I do see some orange peel. Please, am I being too picky about the 'peel? (hubby is very disappointed with the 'peel-but will defer to my acceptance) Overall I am very pleased with how much better it looks and the pinstripping is phenominally better than factory.
Thanks for any advice.
Ahhhhhh yes the vacuum system. Where do we start? The headlights are ALWAYS a place to begin.

There is one main component to your vacuum system that a problem.... it's called Age. Unless you have replaced the vacuum hoses, and if they are still original, and seeings how you recently had your car painted, my guess is during the paint job, some of the hoses where removed then put back on. Major problem here... The vacuum line is almost 33 years old, thus they crack, split and desinergrate. I would suggest replacing all the vacuum hoses this winter while you have plenty of time.

Another source of problems with the head light assy. of the C3's is the Actuator sometimes goes bad, the diaphram is also rubber, so after 33 years, you have the same situtation. These can be rebuilt or replaced fairly easy. One other component is this mix is the Relay Valve that controls the operations, like a switch. Start with the lazy eye, replace the hoses, if you don't see any improvement then remove the hoses from the other light, plug them and try it again. By doing it this way you can find out if the leak is fixed or if there are problems in one of the other components.. proceed on to the next light ditto on proceedure.

engine runs at 240 degrees This could be any number of things :eek: When was the last time you had the radiator professionally cleaned and pressure checked? What is the coolant mixture ratio? What size thermostat are you using 180? 190? I am not sure about a '78 my guess would be 195.. but check that out for sure...

ORANGE PEEL my feeling on this is there should be NONE, from the factory I can accept it because it is mass produced, but from a body shop, no way! I probably am completely wrong on this one, and hear about it. I don't know anything about the new paints, but Laq. Paint NO WAY should there be orange peel.. I know my '84 came from Bowling Green with orange peel as the standard paint job.. LOL I had it back to the dealer many times, but finally saw that they were right, they all had orange peel.. I know my L81 will be done in Laq. next year, and I will not accept an ORANGE PEEL paint job..

Hope this helps... we need to get this to the C3 section, you'll get a better response... Let me what we can do here.

78 probs

Thanks Bud,
It sounds like I will have a great winter project with the headlight vacuums! Thanks for lining things out for me.
My radiator was replaced with a brand new one the summer I installed the upgraded AC unit. AC stopped working before I met the car...so I don't know what was normal. I have been told the new coolant AC systems run hotter, this is why so many of the AC pieces must be replaced, to handle the temp and pressure. The AC unit radiator is in front of my engine radiator. I've been told the AC rad temp can climb to 300-no wonder my engine runs hot when the ACs on! I'd like to funnel more air to the engine rad, or perhaps find a smaller size AC rad to allow more unobstructed air to the engine rad. ?
I have received split responses from people regarding my 'peel. Ranging from outrage to 'man you're picky'. I've taken my car to 2 other shops...they both agreed the other problems are valid concerns, one used to employ the painter-said there is a reason he no longer works for them. As to the peel, they felt it was a lot, but someone in another e-forum commented "What do you expect them to say? Yes, we do turn out work like that all the time."
I have brought it up with the shop owner, and he is balking at doing anything major. (major to me means re-paint) He has suggested buffing. If that will take care of the 'peel, great. There are other problems that need fixing; chipsx7, buff marks, pinholes/fisheyesx3areas, visible gouges and fingerprints painted into the finish. He is embarassed that I caught these items. Personally, I think it was sloppy workmanship to have let these things by. He is aware of his responsibilities and has been very agreeable toward fixing these, only backpedaling away from the 'peel.
My main point about the peel is that I was shown a Kilimanjaro white w/ pearl as a representation of this shop's work that had NO peel visible anywhere. That paint finish is what primarily decided me to go with this shop. A new hire painted my car-in speaking with him, he said he was experienced in painting 'vettes, so I expected good results.
Which direction should I go with the paint shop owner?
take a look at your water pump also. stock water pumps are very poor quality. have a 71 454 with ac. at 70 it would run 250 with out ac, very hot. replaced radiator, went to 160 thermostat, same problem. removed water pump impeller was in sad shape. installed aftermarket pump problem cured. now runs 190 at 80 with ac on in the summer in texas!not an expert but hope this helps robert
Does it run hot when driving more than 40mph or just at low speeds?
Got to go with Bud on this one. Any peel is more than I want to see. The '81 came with an auxillary electric fan that comes into play when the a/c is turned on. If it heats up at highway speed then an extra fan won't do too much more for you. New water pump or a higher flow water pump should help. High flow pumps are available through any of the perfomance catalogs.

Tech. Article :)

What timing :D

Kevin posted a very timely article about head light problems in the Technical Section of the L81Registry. Please stop by and take a look, nice article... http://www.L81VetteRegistry.com or click on the logo below ;)
thanks for input

Appologies all around for taking so long to reply. I thought I caught everything on 'view new posts'.
Rare81, I will check out the headlight article in the L81 forum, thanks. DDL-81 & Robert Kirk, I will try to locate a hi-flow H2O pump from a performance parts place. Any preferences?..I'm not familiar with performance catalogs. Stingray6974 my vette runs hot at parade speeds (sssllllooooowww). Also in the summer at faster than speed-limit speeds. (Don't tell the Sheriff on me!) and it runs very hot when I try to use the ac at any speed. If the car is moving at all, stoplight to stoplight, it does not get hot. I do not have much opportunity to drive in large cities, (country girl :) where traffic would get backed up.
Thank you for all of your suggestions!
The 78 is snowed-in for the time being. I will get her to the paint shop early this spring and see what the owner will do to make me happy.
On your headlight problem, check your "whitches"hats. They are the seals that are on the front side of you headlight actuators. They are usually under a dust shield. They usually cost about $10.00 each and are fairly easy to change. If everything goes good(no stuck actuator rods) they take me about ten minutes per side to change. As far as the temp. I will listen to anyone on trying to cool a vette.......That's a hard question. For $3000.00 dollars, I would think that the car would have no, or very littl orange peel, that $3000.00 was for the paint job only and no parts or body damage. With parts and material it don't take long to eat up $3000.00. For example, we bought the paint for a '80 and a '58 today and the paint alone, no hardner, thinner, or clear coat was $202. for 1980 white and $238.00 for Silver Blue for the '58. And that was my "discounted" prices. We will have almost $800.00 in just paint, primer,thinners, and catalysts before we even touch the car.......Good luck Steve
Hi Flow Water Pumps

Summit Racing has given me excellent service, S/H charges are very reasonable. SummitRacing.com if you want to request a catalog or place an order, live KNOWLEDGEABLE person if you call. (no I don't work for summit) Later years,like my 81, added an electric fan to the back of the radiator,(increases air flow at slow speeds)this was set up to eliminate the heat from the A/C load. Came on auotmaticaly when A/c was selected. I put mine on a switch so I can use it anytime. Something else to consider. Think the pump should cost you about 75-85 bucks w/s&h. Eklers has them too, more $ less options as to brand. Might also think about a cooler thermostat, like a 160 degree or 170 degree, yours might not be working correctly anyway, should consider changing it, cheap fix.

Good luck, hope I was some help to you.


[Edited by DDL-81 on 01-03-2001 at 01:00 PM]
Hi Silver
It sounds like you have flow problems with the cooling system. First start with a performance water pump and see if that helps. Also replace the thermostat with a delco 195 degree. The next step would be to replace the radiator with a Be Cool unit. One important point, anytime the engine is overheated the thermostat is damaged, you can ruin a new one in 30 minutes. If the engine runs cool down the highway but heats up in town you may need to replace the fan clutch.
There are two types of clutches, centrifical and thermostatic. Never buy a centrifical fan cluth. They cost less but don't work.
As for orange peel, any is unacceptable. Color sanding and buffing the paint is standard practice for any paint job costing more than $200.
Now for the ac. R134a freon is denser than R-12. Its harder to push thru the system so the head pressure in the compressor is higher. Higher pressure creates more heat and strain on the cooling system. R-12 relies on evaporation for cooling whereas R134a relies on air flow. Changing to a smaller condenser in front of the radiator will only increase your problems. Cooling systems in older cars were not designed to handle the extra load from R134a so upgrading the cooling system is a must.
And you thought you were long-winded! Hope this helps.
Mike (Darth Vetter)
thank you

Thanks, All.
I appreciate the time and thought put into the replies to problems with my 'baby'. I am looking forward to tackling the headlight problem myself, everyones' encouragement sure helps. My ac system was upgraded at the time of changing it to the new coolant...just runs hot. Good thing WA is not as hot as CA.
I most especially appreciate the input regarding my paint from ssvett. (am I correct, ssvett has the 'Vette restoration shop?) Having kept the car from the paint shop has given me plenty of time to decide exactly what I think of the job.
Please, any ideas on how I should approach the shopowner? I want to be firm...but on our last encounter he told me orange peel is normal. I read elsewhere that Laq paint should have NO 'peel. This gentleman really does not want to repaint my car...but that is what I think it needs. How do I express my concerns with the paint job itself and get him to listen to me? I would really like to avoid a court case, but I will prepare, if I must.
(Hubby is very disappointed in the job, and when he goes with me I feel like I need to smooth things between the two men) Help?

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