Woah, Greenbrier

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Travesty
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Woah, Greenbrier

Post by Travesty »

Hey there folks,

I've been intrigued by Corvairs since I stumbled upon one a couple years ago, and when I saw this 1963 Greenbrier for $850 only a couple hours away from me I couldn't pass it up.

Image

So, being the proud owner of this van, I ask myself the question "What next...?" I've never owned a Corvair before, and quite honestly I have next-to-zero experience working on/fixing up cars... especially a quirky van nearly 50 years old. But I figure that as in-over-my-head I am already, I can really only go up from here, and I am definitely motivated to learn any and everything I need to get my van up to daily driver standards.


I'm hoping someone here will be kind enough to give an extreme newbie a nudge in the proper direction! :D


The car is running and drivable; the engine is nice and strong (though obnoxiously loud due to a hole in the muffler/exhaust pipe) and most of what should work does (headlights not so much). As far as I can tell, the kicker is going to be the body: the floorpans are all entirely intact, though there is no shortage of suface rust, and the passenger side door definitely needs to be replaced and there's a crack in the windshield.

Here's a picture album showing some of the car (and its fabulous interior :P)
http://s62.photobucket.com/albums/h114/ ... reenbrier/

It came with two boxes of extra parts and a spare passenger door, though I have yet to sift through them and see what's there (hopefully the filters for the carbs and the gas cap), as well as two new bumpers and the missing Chevy grille cover.

So... assuming I know absolutely nothing and I have a few reasonable goals:
  1. Make this car a reliable daily driver
  2. Don't worry about the exterior beyond what is absolutely necessary (the paint'll have to go eventually)
  3. Avoid spending an exuberant sum of money (I'm a college student)
Where would you guys suggest I start?

I'm already a member of this form (duh) along with CorvairCenter, VirtualVairs, and Corvanatics, but are there other more useful websites I should know about? There seems to be somewhat of a literary dearth of Greenbrier-specific information, but would some of the books listed here be pertinent to my interests? Corvair Basics seems to be a good starter book... but will that be relevant for Greenbriers rather than other Corvairs?


On the more mechanical side of things, what's a good first thing to start work on? I assume that running some basic engine/transmission tests would be smart and/or doing a thorough once-over of the car to determine exactly what is missing, but maybe there is something more basic. If you do suggest that I do an engine checkup, is that something I could likely complete myself with a couple friends, or would it be smarter to take it to a mechanic until I've garnered some acceptable car know-how?

Being that there is surface rust and the paint is cracking/bubbling in places, it's obvious that the paint is going to be stripped at some point. Is it advisable to sand blast it now and then leave it with a primer until at last I'm ready to get the car painted? (Whenever that is....)


As you can see I have more questions than is probably healthy, but I'm not going to get anywhere if I don't ask. If you have the time to read all the way through this post, then I thank you immensely... and if you can contribute a bit of first-time owner knowledge by way of some suggestions, I'll be forever grateful!

Cheers,
Travis T.


Here's a simple question that could easily be answered: what sort of fuel should I be running this thing on? 87 Unleaded with a dash of two-stroke, or will just regular pump gasoline suffice?

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Scott H
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Re: Woah, Greenbrier

Post by Scott H »

Where are you located and is there a Corvair Club near you? They will be a great resource for parts and help.

Yes, Corvair Basics would be a good book to have and yes it will be relevant for Greenbriers too.
The shop manual for 1963 would be good to have as well. They are available and not too expensive. Here's one from ebay http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/1962-196 ... Literature

Has it been sitting for a long time before you got it?
Did you drive it home?

BTW, you gotta love that orange shag carpet! :coolphotos:
That's a fresh 1970's restore lol.
From the pics it looks good. The motor looks clean too.
Scott

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Travesty
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Joined: Tue Jun 01, 2010 8:12 am
Location: Appleton, WI and Novato, CA (in the summer)
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Re: Woah, Greenbrier

Post by Travesty »

I didn't specify this when I posted: I'm from California but I go to school in Appleton, WI. I'm going to be going home for the summer (without the car :\) and storing the van at my friend's house in Oshkosh, WI. So my general location is somewhere between Appleton and Oshkosh depending on where we're working on the car.

Are there any good mechanics in the area? What about a club? I could make it down to Milwaukee, but it'd be nice if there was something closer. Someone recognized this van on another forum and is trying to get me the number of the mechanic who was working on it with the PO, so I think that'll be a lot of help. The PO passed away and his son sold the car to me, so they were likely in the middle of some repairs and whatnot.

The PO passed away about a year ago, so it's been essentially sitting since then, but I did take it for a few laps around the block. The car's registration last expired in May 2009, so I won't be driving it home (legally...). I'm renting a trailer and borrowing a friend's truck to tow it to Oshkosh.

Thanks for the advice about the books; I'll definitely pick up Corvair Basics and the 1963 Shop Manual!

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SpyderMan
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Re: Woah, Greenbrier

Post by SpyderMan »

I am glad that you got that van, the guy selling it sounded like a big jerk !!

Your van has been in the Milwaukee club for a long time and I have been on tours with it on a few occasions.
Sam Russell
1962 Monza Wagon
1964 Monza Spyder

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Travesty
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Location: Appleton, WI and Novato, CA (in the summer)
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Re: Woah, Greenbrier

Post by Travesty »

Well, it turns out the car is in better shape than I thought it was (at least engine-wise). I drove it on the freeway from Milwaukee to Oshkosh yesterday and it was really sound. Driving 65+ was no problem and I didn't experience any mechanical problems at all.

I haven't done the hard-harder brake line test to see if any are about to rupture, but the brakes seemed pretty solid. There was a fair bit of play in the pedal before it actually started slowing the car down, but I imagine that isn't too out of the ordinary.

The generator seems to be having problems, though. The engine died twice while idling, and it took a bit of coaxing to get to start up once it did. Considering that the generators generally seem to go funky after a while, this is also probably not too odd. Should I look into finding a replacement alternator and adapter?

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Scott H
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Re: Woah, Greenbrier

Post by Scott H »

after looking at your motor pic again. You already have a newer style internally regulated alternator on the van.
Not that it couldn't be bad, but you don't have to go thru the trouble of converting it over. You can have it tested for free at many local auto parts stores.
Image
Scott

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Scott H
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Re: Woah, Greenbrier

Post by Scott H »

You may need to synchronize your carbs. It sounds complicated but its not. You will have to by a UNI-SYN carb tool. It's not that expensive and its a must have tool for any multiple carb vehicle.
Scott

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Vanman
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Re: Woah, Greenbrier

Post by Vanman »

Bad batt, or alt? Idle to low? Just some thoughts.
Kevin, Plainfield IL

'63 Corvan

'63 Custom Bug.

Jimbo
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Re: Woah, Greenbrier

Post by Jimbo »

Nice ride (old school) I would not sandblast it till you get ready to paint, because weather will go
through primer, wait & do it all at one time. Later Jimmy's Paint & Body Jimbo

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