- Corvair of the Month
- Posts: 9602
- Joined: Mon Aug 06, 2012 12:33 pm
- Location: Lake Chatuge Hayesville, NC
Late-model (LM — 1965-1969) Corvairs tend to be somewhat thin-skinned (sheet metal). Rust and body rot are a big problem with these cars — convertibles in particular — which have no roof line to help strengthen the chassis. Chevrolet put in some reinforcement around the door frame to try to compensate.Fletch wrote:...purchased 2 1965 Corvairs, both convertible. Both in rough shape... I want to hear it run before I get to involved...
Remember that a Corvair uses unibody construction, and as such it does not really have a frame. The body serves as a frame. There are "subframes" in the front and rear that provide reinforced mounting points for the front and rear suspension components.
The late model (1965-1969) Corvairs utilized a somewhat thinner gauge of steel for the body. In addition, your cars are convertibles, which have a somewhat weaker chassis structure since the roof section of the body was removed. The perimeter of the door section did receive some reinforcement inside the rocker panels to help compensate for the loss of the strength and stiffening provided in coupes and sedans by the roof, but that area in Corvair convertibles is noted for being weakened over time by hidden rust and body rot.
I am not a body repair guy, so I could not begin to guess at the extent of hidden damage and body rot that exists under the surface. A professional body restoration shop may be able to give you some idea of the extent of hidden damage, if there is any, and the likely cost to repair it. Severe hidden damage in the floor pans and door frame area can plague a car with continued stress fractures, and could even be dangerous if the hidden body rot is extreme.
One method of testing the convertible for body flex is to release the convertible top and open it an inch or so, leaving a gap between the windshield and the leading edge of the top. Open the doors and use each door as a lever to apply up and down leverage to the body. This can allow you to observe how much flexing occurs between the windshield frame and the top.
The fix for any convertible body that is found to have structural problems may require extensive reconstruction, welding, and sheet metal work that can be expensive. An experienced body restoration shop may be able to advise you concerning such an effort. Sometimes it may be more cost effective to find a clean donor car from a southern area for a body transplant, but a careful evaluation of your existing car will be needed to help you to decide how to approach your specific problem. Hopefully your Tennessee Corvairs will be fairly solid and clean, so that you can focus your attentions on mechanical evaluation and repairs, as needed.
It is a good idea to check over the car to evaluate its condition before investing too much money or time in what could become a "money pit". However, a major concern for aging Corvairs — particularly late model convertibles — is to make sure the body is in sound condition. Your location in the Chattanooga area of Tennessee may work in your favor, if your Corvairs were essentially "born and raised" in road salt-free territory. I would be concerned about a good evaluation of the body for decay or body rot (hidden or not so hidden) that could lead to serious restoration or repair costs. Mechanical repairs are usually something that a DIY home mechanic can tackle successfully, as the learning process is something that is achievable for the home mechanic. But body repair, body welding, etc. is really an art-form that is difficult to learn and expensive to hire. Poor body condition may also b difficult to discover, as it can be hidden from view with plastic body filler (Bondo). If you suspect problems or hidden weaknesses in your late model convertible body, it might be worth having the body evaluated by an experienced body shop technician. Contacting a local CORSA club chapter for advice or perhaps recommendations for local and reputable body shops and/or local Corvair-qualified mechanics might also help you in your Corvair projects. Hopefully you will determine that your recent Corvair acquisitions are sound and a good basis for your investment in time and money.
This link may be useful in providing you with guidance for checking over your Corvairs...
Removing your car from storage/Reviving a Dead Corvair
The link below will provide you with a list of useful websites that are Corvair-related. Some of the links will lead you to an extensive technical library that will allow you to download shop manuals and other technical references in Adobe Reader format at no cost. There is also a link that will help you to locate nearby CORSA (Corvair Society of America) club chapters. You will also find a list of essential Corvair parts suppliers. Clark's Corvair Parts in Shelburne Falls, MA is the biggest and oldest Corvair supplier in the world. You will find a link that can provide you with a series of videos that amount to a tour of the Clark's Corvair Parts facilities. Parts suppliers such as this truly make our Corvair hobby possible.
Common and Useful Corvair Websites
Corvair Forum http://www.corvairforum.com/forum/viewt ... 225&t=6007
I would like to encourage you to expand on your initial post and tell us more about yourself, your Corvair interests, and your goals for your Corvair. Helping us to know more about you will help us to write comments to you that are tailored to your needs and experience. Detailed pictures of your Corvair — including the engine compartment — would possibly be useful.
Lake Chatuge, North Carolina
1966 Corvair Corsa Convertible