Upgraded: Corsa Coupe 2.0

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ncwitte
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Upgraded: Corsa Coupe 2.0

Post by ncwitte »

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I have owned this red '65 Corsa for 25 years. That's longer than I have been married, longer than I have had kids. It's had three paint jobs (one involuntary) dropped at least two valve seats, had three sets of carpet, three engine rebuilds, two interiors, two sets of rims, twelve carbs and a slew of factory radios.

The car has gone through years where it sat, years where it was in the shop, and years where I drove the wheels off it. It's been to four CORSA International Conventions and three DACC Homecomings (although I have been a CORSA member since 1985, I didn't become active until relatively recently).

Throughout it all, I've pretty much kept her stock, with a few minor indiscretions. The most obvious deviation is the Motor Wheel Spyder rims. I think, however, it might be time for a change.

So my plans, not carved in stone, are to make some upgrades. The goal is to create a more modern, more comfortable driving experience, while at the same time keeping the appearance as stock as possible, and keeping the essential Corvair personality.

So here's the list of what I hope to accomplish. As I get things done, I'll post more, and hopefully the list of items below will turn into jobs completed.

INTERIOR

* Replace seat "buns" in front, extend driver's seat tracks, and recover seats in leather following the factory vinyl pattern, with black perforated leather in the ribbed areas.
* Add sound deadening material to car.
* Eliminate sources for wind noise and cabin leakage.
* Add air conditioning using factory dash components, modern compressor, and trunk mounted condenser.
* Rebuild package shelf area.
* Add modern stereo.

MECHANICAL

* Convert to fuel injection.
* Add cruise control.
* Add a second thermistor and a rocker switch to allow temp gauge to be switched from left to right cylinder head.
* Upgrade alternator.
* Add an oil cooler.

MISCELLANEOUS

* Carpet the trunk.
* Fix my backup lights.

That's all I can think of for now. I plan on posting these stories on this page and the CORSA Facebook page, in addition to updating on my webpage at http://www.wittelaw.com/personal/upgraded/index.htm.
Norm Witte
Lansing, Michigan
'65 Corsas: 140 coupe and 180 convertible
http://www.wittelaw.com/personal
viewtopic.php?f=52&t=4208

PHX65CorsaHT
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Re: Upgraded: Corsa Coupe 2.0

Post by PHX65CorsaHT »

Ambitious and great upgrades. To improve driving experience do seats first. Let us know how it goes.
Cave Creek AZ---75 Datsun PU, 82 Toyota Supra, 70 Nova,
65 Chevy PU, 72 Suburban,
96 4Runner, 06 Sequoia, 65 Corvair Coupe

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flat6_musik
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Re: Upgraded: Corsa Coupe 2.0

Post by flat6_musik »

Excellent! I wish you luck, Norm.....hope you stay motivated and fully funded! I always thought it would be fun to borrow about $25,000 and just "do up" one of my cars like this, non-stop.

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ncwitte
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Re: Upgraded: Corsa Coupe 2.0

Post by ncwitte »

I'm planning on stopping at an upholstery shop to get estimates on the seat cover work today. Bought a bunch of parts on eBay for the A/C project and have been having extensive discussions with Mark Corbin on that. The fuel injection thing is still a bit in the air, but we are probably going to do before and after dyno pulls--a friend of mine owns a chassis dyno--so assuming that comes together we should get some interesting information there.

I think it's going to be a fun project. I sure hope it doesn't cost $25k, though! :) I'm guessing more in the range of $6-10k. Of course, I have been notoriously wrong on things like this before....
Norm Witte
Lansing, Michigan
'65 Corsas: 140 coupe and 180 convertible
http://www.wittelaw.com/personal
viewtopic.php?f=52&t=4208

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Re: Upgraded: Corsa Coupe 2.0

Post by bbodie52 »

I'm really looking forward to learning from and observing your progress. Please keep us advised if progress is made on a 140HP 4x1 version of the fuel injection system. Brown Injection Systems, LLC is only about 89 miles from my home, and I am looking forward to duplicating your efforts with an EFI and cruise control system on my 1966 convertible! :chevy:
Brad Bodie
Lake Chatuge, North Carolina
Image 1966 Corvair Corsa Convertible

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Scott H
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Re: Upgraded: Corsa Coupe 2.0

Post by Scott H »

I like your plans Norm. Keep us posted on your progress.
Scott

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Bobby65
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Re: Upgraded: Corsa Coupe 2.0

Post by Bobby65 »

WOW, I like where your going with this!
Drive it like you stole it
65 Turbo Monza Coupe
64 monza convertible 4 spd
Grand Ledge, Michigan

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ncwitte
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Re: Upgraded: Corsa Coupe 2.0

Post by ncwitte »

Bobby, feel free to swing by if you ever want to take a peek. Happy to have you drop in.
Norm Witte
Lansing, Michigan
'65 Corsas: 140 coupe and 180 convertible
http://www.wittelaw.com/personal
viewtopic.php?f=52&t=4208

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ncwitte
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Re: Upgraded: Corsa Coupe 2.0

Post by ncwitte »

Part 1: Tentative Steps and Preliminary Inquiries.
September 16, 2012

Having made the decision to commit to this process, I have started gather information and ordering a few parts.
I spent some time last week talking to Ted Brown regarding his fuel injection system. Right now, the system he has requires blocking off the secondary pads on my heads. He's working on a setup more specifically adapted to 140s, but it sounds like that is something a few years in the offing yet. It sounds like that would be a possible upgrade option if I want to go with the current system. Another option is to just wait. I haven't made up my mind how I want to play that one yet.

I also talked to Ted about his cruise control system and I hope to be moving forward on that.

Friday I stopped at an upholstery shop I want to check out. They closed at noon so that time was pretty much wasted.
I have been working with Mark Corbin regarding the A/C conversion. The system that is going to be installed in the car will have the factory vents, controls and evaporator case, a Sanden compressor, and the condensor in the trunk. To get some of the core parts I bought a group of items on eBay and had them shipped to Mark. They look lovely:

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A number of these items I won't need and will end up in Mark's parts collection, but this gives me a number of the hard to find parts, or at least cores for them.

Another item on the shopping list that got purchased was a set of speaker grilles for the package shelf 6x9 speakers. I found these on eBay as well, and they were listed to fit 1971-2 Chevelle, Nova, Camaro and Monte Carlo. They have the right look as far as I am concerned and should work just fine:

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I ordered two rolls of B-Quiet Ultimate as well. I used it on my convertible (some pictures http://www.wittelaw.com/personal/turbo/26.htm) and I think it's a good cost alternative to Dynamat. Click for a link to their web page. They give data to support their comparison to their higher-priced competitor and I found it to be a quality product that is easy to use.

I have been spending lots of time looking at speakers. It looks like it's going to be mostly Polk, with 1" tweeters on the windshield in the top corners, dual 4" speakers in place of the factory dash speaker, and a pair of 6x9s in the package shelf, supplemented by a Kicker 8" compact sub under one of the seats. The sub has a volume control that will mount inside the console. I have decided that I'm going to go with an upgrade of my stock AM radio to keep the look more on the stock end. I will have an iPod connection in the console as well. No sense in dangling wires all over the place.
Finally, I spent some time setting up a spreadsheet for tracking the costs of this project. Maybe I am better off not knowing.... I Hopefully, it will all be worth it in the end.

Based upon how fast things are coming together on the A/C end, I probably need to get the interior out of the car this week and get going on speaker installation ASAP. I would rather have the sound deadening and stereo work done before a bunch of A/C gear gets in the way. Maybe the seats can be out for upholstery while the interior, stereo and A/C upgrades are taking place. Since the turbo car is currently sidelined with mechanical issues, I will probably just steal the passenger seat out of that if I need to have the car drivable.

Link to this story on my web page: http://www.wittelaw.com/personal/upgraded/1.htm
Norm Witte
Lansing, Michigan
'65 Corsas: 140 coupe and 180 convertible
http://www.wittelaw.com/personal
viewtopic.php?f=52&t=4208

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Re: Upgraded: Corsa Coupe 2.0

Post by Scott V »

ncwitte wrote:I spent some time last week talking to Ted Brown regarding his fuel injection system. Right now, the system he has requires blocking off the secondary pads on my heads. He's working on a setup more specifically adapted to 140s, but it sounds like that is something a few years in the offing yet. It sounds like that would be a possible upgrade option if I want to go with the current system. Another option is to just wait.
another option........ray sedman / american-pi.com has adaptors that convert the stock carbs to efi. you can use any efi system. all your carb linkage & air filters fit just like the stock carbs. you dont need to change anything on the engine - just bolt the efi adaptors to the carbs & install the rest of the efi stuff & you are ready to go.

it doesnt look like the info is on the web site yet - but i saw the adaptors @ the central corsa meet a few months back.

-Scott V.

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ncwitte
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Re: Upgraded: Corsa Coupe 2.0

Post by ncwitte »

Scott, interesting option. I'll certainly take a closer look. Thanks.
Norm Witte
Lansing, Michigan
'65 Corsas: 140 coupe and 180 convertible
http://www.wittelaw.com/personal
viewtopic.php?f=52&t=4208

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Re: Upgraded: Corsa Coupe 2.0

Post by cad-kid »

Nice upgrade plans! :beamup:
Jeremy (cad-kid)
Kronenwetter, WI (Central Wisconsin)
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ncwitte
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Re: Upgraded: Corsa Coupe 2.0

Post by ncwitte »

Part 1: Actual Physical Work Commences.
October 9, 2012

I have mostly spent the last few weeks spending money.

There are lots of parts that are needed for this project and the first step is to acquire them. I ordered stereo equipment, air conditioning parts, seat cushions, speaker grills, a thermister, and a variety of other odds and ends.

In the meantime, I have started on disassembly of the interior. Pretty mundane stuff, but it has to be done.

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Mark Corbin had a good suggestion for front speakers. The factory stereo speaker grills that were used on the few Corvairs that were equipped with stereo speakers are reproduced for Camaros and available through Classic Industries. Here's a link to the grills, which are part no. HC27.

http://www.classicindustries.com/search?q=hc27

They come unpainted, so the first step was to paint them. Here is one drying after being primed and painted semi-gloss black.

http://www.wittelaw.com/personal/upgraded/IMG_9655.JPG

I ordered a pair of Polk db401 4x6 plate speakers for the doors. They fit nicely inside the grills, but have a somewhat smaller radius at the corners, so the grills didn't fit over them. A few minutes with the bench grinder fixed that:

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Here you can see that the speakers fit the grills perfectly, right down to the screw holes:

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I think these will look very unobtrusive and stock, and will sound great.

No pictures to show it but I also picked up a sweet Kicker sub that will fit (just) under the passenger seat and a pair of Polk MM691 6x9 speakers for the parcel shelf. These are nice speakers; they come with an external crossover and appear to be very well-built. I also bought some 1/2" MDF from which to construct the parcel shelf. That's going to be a challenging task but I think it will work out fine.

Tonight I disassembled the seats so that I can have them recovered in leather. As has been my tradition for some time, I used the decklid of the '63 Olds 98 as my workbench. Once the 98 is restored I won't be able to do this any more, which is why I have to finish the barn before I can restore the Olds. So I can have a table. Right. Anyway, here's a picture:

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And here is a picture of the seats all packed in the back of the Suburban, ready to go to the upholstery shop.

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I am going to drop all of the metal trim parts and hinges for the rear seat back off at the powdercoater on Friday when I am in Grand Rapids.

Here's another interesting development. I would like to convert the car to power windows. If I add A/C, power windows are nice because you can switch between fresh air and A/C while underway. But if I add power windows, I would like to have GM style power window switches where the window cranks are, to keep that factory look, even if it's not factory. I contacted Electric Life, a manufacturer of replacement power window systems, because they produce and sell a reproduction complete power window kit for 1967 Camaros. It's not cheap--the kit runs around $800--but it is a bolt-in solution and the regulators are very similar in appearance to those found in late Corvairs. I talked to one of their staff and he indicated that he had recently had an inquiry from another Corvair owner. He already had a set of Corvair regulators and they appeared to be very close. So I would encourage interested Corvair owners to contact Electric Life and express their interest in having these adapted to Corvairs.

http://www.electric-life.com/

So I think that is that, at least for now. Later this week I hope to pull the radio and ship it for conversion to modern electronics.
Norm Witte
Lansing, Michigan
'65 Corsas: 140 coupe and 180 convertible
http://www.wittelaw.com/personal
viewtopic.php?f=52&t=4208

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Bobby65
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Re: Upgraded: Corsa Coupe 2.0

Post by Bobby65 »

power windows would be a major upgrade, i would love power windows and Air Conditioning, but the price! Ouch! I like your speaker idea, the way they blend in, i just put modern speakers in the back, and they don't blend it at all, i want to put a sub in but cant find a decent spot, under the seat works, but if i did that, i would put one under each seat, i was also considering behind the rear seat, you would have to weld together a box to put back there so the back of the speaker, isn't exposed under the car, I am really liking this thread, everyone that does stuff like this seems to not have the ability or money to do it right, if you ever want to show off your vairs, I'm not far from you!
Drive it like you stole it
65 Turbo Monza Coupe
64 monza convertible 4 spd
Grand Ledge, Michigan

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ncwitte
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Re: Upgraded: Corsa Coupe 2.0

Post by ncwitte »

Bobby, you're welcome to stop by any time it's convenient.
Norm Witte
Lansing, Michigan
'65 Corsas: 140 coupe and 180 convertible
http://www.wittelaw.com/personal
viewtopic.php?f=52&t=4208

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ncwitte
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Re: Upgraded: Corsa Coupe 2.0

Post by ncwitte »

Part 3: Carpentry for the Car.

October 13, 2012

It's a cold, rainy day in mid-Michigan. There's still some color left on the trees, but wind and rain have brought down most of the leaves. Over in East Lansing, it's Homecoming weekend, and rather than joining the miserable, wet crowd in Spartan Stadium watching MSU lose to Iowa in overtime, my son Seth and I headed out to the barn to spend some quality time with the Corsa.

The first step was to find my old torpedo heater. When we poured the floor in the barn we put in all the tubing for radiant heat, but it's probably going to be another six to eight months before we finish the barn, so for now we have to work with the blasting kerosene heater. Still, before long it's comfortable enough to work. With the convertible up in the house garage we have some room to work.

Today's project is to start work on building an improved package shelf. The deck of the package shelf will be made of 1/2" MDF. The vertical portions of the old cardboard package shelf will be replaced by Masonite. The package shelf will be raised to accommodate the taller speakers we will be installing. Parts of the old cardboard package shelf will provide templates, and the lowermost portion will be reused.

To begin, we cut the vertical part that stands above the package shelf away from the rest of the cardboard. Then we cut the horizontal piece away from the lower half of the shelf.

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As you can see, the old cardboard was squared off in the rear corners. We don't want that because the Masonite that will replace the part under the window will need to curve to follow the shelf. We had marked the curve followed by the top half of the cardboard, and Seth carefully cut away the corners.

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Once we had trimmed the cardboard to the shape we wanted, we used it to trace the cut lines on the MDF with a Sharpie. I then cut the package shelf out with a jig saw.

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Test fitting the shelf:

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The next task was cutting holes for the speaker grills. These came out of an early seventies Chevy intermediate of some sort, probably a Chevelle or Monte Carlo. We marked the positions for the posts with a Sharpie, drilled the holes, then dropped the grill in place so that we could trace out the shape of the grill. We then marked out a smaller interior area and cut that out with the jig saw. Here Seth is drawing the cut line for the opening. You can see one of the grills in the foreground.

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Because the shelf is higher than the original part, we know it's going to have to be trimmed a bit shorter. In order to figure out how much, we need to next build the replacement for the vertical cardboard below the package shelf. We traced that out, measured how much higher the package shelf would be than its original position, and cut the Masonite to fit with a circular saw. We then clamped that to the original cardboard and drilled all of the mounting holes. Ultimately, we will glue the old cardboard to the back of the Masonite and reuse it for the area behind the seat. Here is the assembly viewed from the back:

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We won't glue it together until we're sure that everything fits together properly. Since some of this is a bit of a guess, we might have to redo some of these pieces, so I don't want to make any permanent commitments until I'm sure it's all right. Here is the front view:

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This will all get a coat of low gloss black before it's finished. I ordered matching cut pile carpet from Clarks, and that will be glued to the Masonite on the front. Masonite and carpet will also replace the cardboard on the back of the rear seat.

We put the package shelf and the vertical part in the car to test fit. We want some overhang but right now we have too much, as you can see. The next step will be to trim down the package shelf a bit for a better fit.


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I am going to get some 90 degree metal trim and cover it with matching factory black vinyl. That will be screwed to the front of the MDF package shelf and form a bit of a lip to cover the transition from the package shelf to the carpet.

Yesterday I was in Grand Rapids and I dropped off the seat back hinges and all the metal trim from the rear seat with my powdercoater. All of those parts will be powdercoated a nice, low gloss black.

That's it for now. Seth and I will probably be back out in the barn for awhile tomorrow afternoon.
Norm Witte
Lansing, Michigan
'65 Corsas: 140 coupe and 180 convertible
http://www.wittelaw.com/personal
viewtopic.php?f=52&t=4208

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