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Projects Fly in, Drive home in my late Dads car. Attempting 2000 miles

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Hemi Joel, Oct 10, 2021.

  1. Truckedup
    Joined: Jul 25, 2006
    Posts: 4,209


    One chapter of the book was directly on the Corvair..Nader was a douche and no actual knowledge of cars...but he did make a few true points
    impala4speed, catdad49 and Truck64 like this.
  2. Nostrebor
    Joined: Jun 25, 2014
    Posts: 1,204


    Condolences for your loss. I'm sure your dad would appreciate your plans for his Spyder!

    Lots of good advice here about the Corvair, especially from squirrel. I've owned a bunch of them, and driven them all over the region. They are tough little cars, and based on what I have seen of your maintenance, you have a handle on it.

    I always laugh a bit when someone shows their stash of Corvairs and there are a dozen in the back. I never owned just one, and knew a lot of guys that had dozens at one time. They always seem to come in multiples.

    Keep posting your progress... we'll keep cheering from the sidelines!
    catdad49, drdave, Hemi Joel and 2 others like this.
  3. As I recall, the problem with early corvairs (which Nader focused on) was the geometry of the swing rear axles. The arc on a hard turn would exceed safe parameters and tuck the wheel under, making them easier to roll in extreme conditions. Volkswagen limited their swing axle travel better than the corvair, and the corvair's rear axle was redesigned later from the swing axle to a fully-articulated independent rear suspension more like corvettes and jaguars. More expensive, yes, but more forgiving under extreme maneuvers. Really fun to drive - especially as the engines became more powerful - and safer. Wasn't Nader's point that the issue was more than flawed automotive engineering, but that GM was aware of the problem but wasn't doing anything to remedy it because they didn't have to. Such issues continue, but consumers today have more tools to call out mammoth corporations and remedy dangerous products. Bad automotive geometry has consequences. Bump steer ring a bell?
    BrandonB likes this.
  4. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 30,049


    One of nader's best friends got killed in one because of that and that is why he started his kill the Corvair campaign. My sister and her ex had one in College that they drove to Georgia and drove until they traded it in on a new Pontiac Ventura (nova style) and she never fussed about it's handling but I doubt that her Ex ever broke a speed limit or drove hard in his life to this day.
    Hnstray, catdad49 and Truck64 like this.
  5. Budget36
    Joined: Nov 29, 2014
    Posts: 7,248


    I’d sure like to hear the sons account of the trip. I wonder how often Joel will tell him as they get ready to leave, pull out of a gas station, check in and out of a motel…”I can’t believe we’re really doing this”.
    Hnstray, winduptoy, loudbang and 3 others like this.
  6. Truck64
    Joined: Oct 18, 2015
    Posts: 5,095

    from Ioway

    "Unsafe at ANY Speed"

  7. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 49,828


    the little engines seem to be happy buzzing 3500 or so all day....
    Blues4U, Nostrebor, winduptoy and 3 others like this.
  8. hudson48
    Joined: Oct 16, 2007
    Posts: 2,934


    I think I read somewhere that all the Corvair needed was a $30 part to resolve the rear end problem.
    I always thought they were a cool looking car. We really didn't get many(any?) over here in Australia.
    Stogy, Lil32 and kidcampbell71 like this.
  9. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 49,828


    Chevy installed a camber bar across the rear end on the 64 models, that fixed the problem. Then for the 65 models, they put U joints at the outer ends of the axles, which really really fixed the problem. The book was published after all these corrective steps were taken.

    And it's still legal to drive a Corvair in all 50 states, as far as I know
  10. ekimneirbo
    Joined: Apr 29, 2017
    Posts: 2,106

    from Brooks Ky

    I was thinking more about someones ears buzzing if you drive at those rpms all day............;)

    These days my most used word seems to be ............."What ?"
  11. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 49,828


    remember, the engine is out back...the cars are very quiet, you hear a lot of wind noise, not much from the engine
  12. scoop
    Joined: Jul 4, 2001
    Posts: 1,334


    Sorry about your dad Joel. Have a safe and fun trip, I'll be following this thread.
  13. B.A.KING
    Joined: Apr 6, 2005
    Posts: 3,792


    Sorry for your Loss. Envious about trip with your son! I haven't read the complete thread, so i hope I'm not repeating this, But set for 15 yrs. In my opinion Gas tank needs to come out and at least cleaned good. Since i have ) knowledge about corvairs I don't know how hard this would be. But i would invest in a really good fuel filter or 2. Have a safe and great trip!!!!
    Stogy and Hemi Joel like this.
  14. ClarkH
    Joined: Jul 21, 2010
    Posts: 1,143


    This is great! Takes me back to the days of my '63 Monza convertible. Mine also came to me by way of my dad; he pulled it out of A-1 Auto Wrecking in 1979, and I wound up with it a decade later. You're doing a great job with the likely fail points. Thing about Corvair engines is they can sit for years and be OK. No coolant/rot/freeze issues. Your dad's car will get you home.

    So anyway, when you're tooling along and the GEN light suddenly comes on, you've thrown the belt. No big deal. Just pull over and put it back on--it will be lying on top of the engine. It can't go anywhere so long as your shrouding and seal are all in place. Clark's Corvair (no relation :D) sells what they call the Ultimate Fan Belt. It has a wrapped construction with rounded edges and sits deeper in the pulley groves to help keep it in place. It works!
    Tman, catdad49, drdave and 8 others like this.
  15. grumpy gaby 2
    Joined: Aug 10, 2019
    Posts: 168

    grumpy gaby 2

    Most people do not realize that Corvairs were open road cars. In their prime they could handle 70-75 all day. One other thing that you may want to do is grab an oil pressure sending unit out of one of the other cars. (or new) When they get old, they get brittle and sometimes let go. Unless the tuboed engine had an oil line and mechanical gauge.
    catdad49, Truck64, Hemi Joel and 4 others like this.
  16. Porsche began producing the 911 in 1965. Air-cooled, flat six engine. Basically a concept copy of the Corvair. The 911 is still in production...

    Propaganda is powerful.
    impala4speed, Tman, catdad49 and 5 others like this.
  17. SS327
    Joined: Sep 11, 2017
    Posts: 414


    I always wanted a 65-67 Corvair with a 4 speed. I don’t know how to drive an automatic transmission.
    Follow closely Chevy’s recommendations on tire pressure. The car will handle way better and safer. A spare bearingpully and fan and bearings are not a bad idea either.
    Ralphie Vader was working for Ford when he went after GM over the Corvair. See Ford had a little problem of its own with the Econoline pick up. You see with 2 heavy guys in the seats and nothing at all in the bed if you slammed on the brakes like in a panic stop the thing would end up in the middle of the street on its nose. I know this for a fact because a guy I used to hang around with ( he weighed a little over 300) did it to me. I did not think it was funny. Later on ford added a weight to the rear by the bumper area.
    Have a safe ride home and have fun. Don’t forget to repack the front wheel bearings!
    41 GMC K-18, catdad49 and Truck64 like this.
  18. Greg Rogers
    Joined: Oct 11, 2016
    Posts: 462

    Greg Rogers

    As a 19 year old sailor stationed in San Diego I bought a well used 62 Corvair. It was a blast to drive and yes I had heard about the Ralph Nader claims. Anyway it was a beautiful day there and I was driving car around a downhill exit ramp at maybe 70 MPH. The car jumped up in the rear and I thought it was actually going to roll! I slowed and all was OK, but I never did it again. Scared the shit out of me. So, I think Nader had a point.
  19. Truckedup
    Joined: Jul 25, 2006
    Posts: 4,209


    I had a 66 four carb Corsa in the 1970's...The engine noise was distant and more like a smooth mechanical humming. The car wasn't a rocket but the engine revered freely to 5500 rpm through the gears. Chevy fitted a thick front sway bar to induce understeer. A thinner bar allowed the ass to come around a bit for faster handling if you were good at playing catch up with the slow steering.A posi also helped in tight turns.A fun car for auto cross and general backroad mayhem..
    Here's early roads tests of the Covair by GM....they were aware of handling issues at the limits.. At 7:45 is the Ford comparison of Falcon and Corvair handling. Look at the slow speed compared to the Corvair speeds in the GM test...Ford may have fucked around with tire pressure to mss up the Corvair handling...
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2021
    blowby and stubbsrodandcustom like this.
  20. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 6,235



    What a collection of old cars that your dad kept. That Corvair convertible looks great. Our history is with a Corvair two door 1962 version with an automatic. The cool thing was the shift lever on the dash. It cleaned up nicely every time we drove it around our coastal So Cal area.

    This Corvair was my wife’s first car and it was in good condition. It gave her the freedom that we all got from our first cars as teens. She remembers driving it late at night from her job as a long distance operator and did not worry about starting the car in a dark parking lot when she got off of work.

    It ran great during her beginning college years and continued when we met/got married. But, something happened during the time we owned it. It started covering the rear bumper with some blowby and started to have difficulties starting on cold mornings. We did not have time or the money for a full rebuild and she was getting tired of a smoky smell, although it served as a 2nd daily driver.


    We always had a great time driving around in it all over our coastal areas, due to the fact that it got great gas mileage. Although, it was a little underpowered and needed higher speeds to make some step angle road grades. But, the one thing I noticed while driving in the rain was that the intrusion of water from deep intersection/corner puddles coming in the side vents. The floor pan is deep enough and created a little water trough, before I could dry it out.

    For lack of power from the stock carburetor powered motor, we did not take it up to the local mountains, as we had a 327 powered El Camino for long distance or uphill drives. It is too bad that the turbo is not working on your Corvair, as that would have given us plenty of power for hill climbs or steep grades.

    So, if you are planning to drive back to Minnesota any time soon, it should be as low of an elevation trip as you can get. We drove a modern turbocharged station wagon in Denver and surrounding mountainous areas, as well as on Highway 40 in the Kansas area, and the OKC area. The extra power was good for acceleration up hill. We would have been a little shaky driving our 1962 carb powered Corvair on any of those mountain roads.

    The carbs on the Corvair would not give you as much power as needed to go up hill through that area on the way home. The recommendation is to go South and East on 40 and then head up north on 54 through the Kansas area. Most of that trip is flatland. Also, the time of year for road blockages and bad weather is fast approaching, so you will have to decide when to leave. YRMV
    41 GMC K-18 and Hemi Joel like this.
  21. winduptoy
    Joined: Feb 19, 2013
    Posts: 2,565


    Come on guys....scheezz
    Let's all agree that ralphie is old news and can be a topic on another thread and get back to Joels journey here
    That's what I'm interested in and is new, interesting news
    Now, back to our regular programming.....
  22. Shalom
    Joined: Oct 14, 2021
    Posts: 1


    Seconding @SS327‘s comment re: tire pressure. IIRC the fronts had to be much lower than the rears. Factory spec was something ridiculous like 28 rear and 14 front; a quick google shows that Clark’s recommends 28-32 rear and 20-22 front on modern tires.

    (Never driven one myself, but I have read about them. Was surprised to see it get this far in the thread before someone mentioned it.)
  23. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 49,828


    I have the same tire pressure issue with my altered wheelbase Chevy II. too much weight out back when it's loaded, I run 28 rear, 24 front. It makes a difference
  24. Guthrie1068
    Joined: Sep 15, 2020
    Posts: 60


    Joel, most of the Corvairs I've seen with headers don't have the lower shrouds (with the doors) installed because they won't clear the headers. And, after re-reading your post I would bet that the part of the shroud that normally covers the manifold is missing and just the portion with the door is still attached to the engine. I'm saying that because you said you can see the tube headers. If that is the case, the doors aren't doing anything because the rest of the tins (and the parts associated with opening the doors) are missing. That also means your heater won't work very good, you'll have to pull the air from the top of the engine. That should be good enough to get you home, and help you defrost foggy windows. Try the heater fan and make sure it works, mice love to pack the box full of crap.
  25. Guthrie1068
    Joined: Sep 15, 2020
    Posts: 60


    I run 28 rear and 18 front. It does make a difference.
  26. alanp561
    Joined: Oct 1, 2017
    Posts: 1,859


    Not trying to hijack your thread, just remembered something my buddies and I would do with a friend's Dad's Econoline van. The driver was a little guy about 5'4 and 125 pounds. The 6 of us were added up to about 1200 pounds. We'd all jam into the back of the van, the driver would dump the clutch and the van was doing a wheelie. Came time to stop, we'd jam into the front, driver would hit the brakes and sure enough, the van would be sitting on it's nose. Takes several beers to think that one up.:D
    Anyway, have a good trip home.
  27. guthriesmith
    Joined: Aug 17, 2006
    Posts: 5,682

    1. H.A.M.B. Chapel

    I second what Larry said. :D How is progress coming on getting the car road-worthy again?

    And, on a related note, my little 63 roadster 4-speed Monza was one of the most fun cars I have driven. Like driving a go-cart.
  28. Nostrebor
    Joined: Jun 25, 2014
    Posts: 1,204


    I was a late model guy, so all of my drivers were 65-69 cars. My fave was a 67 4-speed car with a mildly loved on 140 and 3:27s. It was lowered, had brake mods, and ran low profile tires on 16" wheels. An absolute blast on curves, easily persuaded into spectacular four-wheel drifts, autocrossed like a mad man, cruised all day at 75 on the highway... I miss it often.

    Joel, if it has headers the heater will probably be sketchy as is already mentioned. I carried a micro fiber towel with me in my driver, just in case the defrost got behind the curve. If the exhaust is not sealed up good, yo may not want to run heat anyway, as the fumes get brought along with the heat. They are easy to seal up and get working correct with the log manifolds, but headers can be fussy.
    alanp561, loudbang, catdad49 and 2 others like this.
  29. Hemi Joel
    Joined: May 4, 2007
    Posts: 1,176

    Hemi Joel
    from Minnesota

    16342377347933318398324273495257.jpg 16342378230426040415852665286554.jpg Sorry for not updating for so long. I had to take the last 2 days off of working on the car to deal with a bunch of business and personal stuff that has been piling up. Today I will get back to work on the car and hopefully I'll be test driving it before the end of the day.
    On the headers, it's probably more of just a custom tubular exhaust with glass packs than headers because they don't actually connect to the heads. They connect to the factory exhaust manifolds. So it looks to me like all of the shrouds are in place and the doors for the cooling system are operational. When I tested the switch for the fan nothing came on. There's another thing to put onto the to-do list.
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2021
  30. Tman
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 34,935


    Spent a lot of time in college in a freinds 67 Vair convert. Fun cars
    Hemi Joel and loudbang like this.

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