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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
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    443
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    Default 69 Impala SS convertible

    Decided maybe it was time to start.



    I always kind of wanted a B body with a manual transmission since highschool and didn't really know they existed until I found this car. It was an Ebay find, maybe not a real SS but I only paid an Impala price anyway and without documents, well, it's just the car I decided to work on. It was a big block manual car and will keep the SS theme.

    It's a compromise car. Acting alone, I probably would have done a TR7 convertible with an LS engine swap but I got the mandate for a useable back seat so we can carry friends around too. This is first and foremost a driver. I ok'd the big back seat and will just have to make up the difference in hp.

    So, here she is:
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
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    Default

    I would call it a 20 footer though a lot of friends think it is in great shape. I know I'll be finding some "not metal" under there when the paint is finally stripped. Since I want to drive this boat, I plan on staging the work, keeping it not to crazy on the fabrication and letting someone else do the paint/body. For now the AC has been upgraded and converted with the Four Seasons kit (wish I had known we owned that company when I started my new job) and the refurbed Saginaw box started telling me it was ready to retire. I just received the Hurst Driveline Tremec conversion kit and have the old parts out, waiting on this weekend to get a friends help with the install.

    When summer is over, the body will come off the frame for a suspension upgrade, likely some chassis boxing and stiffening, sand blasting, paint and then back with rear disc brakes and the new engine. I am on the fence with the engine as the car started out life with a 427 and there are really only 2 choices on that. Will keep it simple with a carb for the next season and likely move to FI.

    Paint and body are a ways off but I'm all over the map on what to do. Thinking lately about the RS look from the smaller cars, just don't know if this boat can pull it off.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
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    443
    Country Flag: United States

    Default Transmission out

    Pulled the Saginaw box. I could wiggle the input shaft back and forth about 1/2 inch. Thinking that's not supposed to happen?

    I've done the Tremec swap before in an XJ-S and learned on British cars in general. Man, is this thing easier to work on. No lost tools, no swearing, didn't get frustrated to tears just trying to get a wrench on a fastener so I could turn it 1/16 before having to spend another 10 minutes repositioning. If I hadn't opted to change the oil pan gasket this would have been a 1 day job. Took me 2 weeks on the Jag just to get the TH400 out.

    Leaving the install for this weekend with help from a friend.
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Spokane, Washington
    Posts
    125

    Default

    Very cool! I'm looking forward to seeing this build!
    My 65' Impala SS
    6.2 L L92
    4L80E
    13" Disc Brakes
    18/20 Wheels

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
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    443
    Country Flag: United States

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    Still slogging away on the 5 speed conversion. Would have been a 1 day job if I had more tools. Bell housing/crank shaft runout was good so the clutch and pressure plate got put back on. Doh, been so long I forgot to take out the old pilot bushing, which was stuck.

    Picked up the puller and slide hammer today after trying the clay in the hole and dowel trick. Probably literally 2 hours work away from having a 5 speed.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Posts
    443
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    Long time away on this.

    I let the car sit an entire season just getting around to ordering a drive shaft, which I did. Running and driving again is a good thing and this car really needed the TKO gear box. Drives like a completely different (large, unwieldy) car.

    Next stop is a working gas gauge and radio. I bought a complete cluster on Ebay so I can put a DIN size radio in place of the factory unit and have an un-hacked dash if I ever need one. Since the tank and sender have been replaced, the gauge itself is suspect so I'll basically be rebuilding the entire instrument cluster while I'm in there.

    Since the trim plate for the radio is cast and my extra has two broken posts, I'm thinking my best option for holding it in place will be too drill out the posts and use button head cap screws. Has anyone ever repaired broken posts on pot metal parts?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Location
    South Florida
    Posts
    27
    Country Flag: United States

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    Is this a factory 4 speed car or did the pryor owner convert it over? Does it still have big block?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Yuma, AZ
    Posts
    668
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    Fantastic looking car! I'm pretty sure Hotchkis makes some bits to help get some of that sway under control....
    Dan W
    1968 Plymouth Road Runner
    1962 Dodge Dart 440

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Posts
    443
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    It was a factory 4 speed with the shift console. It's tagged as a big block car but had a 350 swapped in earlier in it's life.

    I'll get a 7.0L back in it in a couple of years but it's going to be an LS this time around.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Location
    South Florida
    Posts
    27
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    Excellent!!!! From my understanding the only '69 Impala to get 4 speed was the SS427. As far as I'm concerned, a 427 is a 427....no matter if it's a big block or an LS. Make it happen.
    '83 El Camino
    '84 Monte Carlo SS
    '79 El Camino SS

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Kennewick, WA
    Posts
    198
    Country Flag: United States

    Default

    Looks like a Saginaw transmission, was it cast iron?


  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Posts
    443
    Country Flag: United States

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    It was, and likely filled with sawdust. No way it was original to the car.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
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    443
    Country Flag: United States

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    You could get a manual with any flavor Impala. They were just rare because people had switched over to buying pony cars for performance. I am lucky the 4 speed console survived. That is a rare piece.

    There isn't a way to verify a 69 SS without the build sheet so it doesn't really add value to the car but everything about the VIN and mechanicals make this one a likely candidate.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Location
    South Florida
    Posts
    27
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    Saw your pictures here and in the Mutimedia section. Got any shots of the interior? Factory buckets? Manual console?
    '83 El Camino
    '84 Monte Carlo SS
    '79 El Camino SS

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
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    443
    Country Flag: United States

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    Both of those. I'll try to get a picture over the weekend.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
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    443
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    So the next repair is a working gas gauge but really that means the entire instrument panel needs to be refurbished. I want an aftermarket radio but didn't want to cut up the dash for the next guy so a bought this gem on ebay:
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    Several days and a plastic repair kit got me here:
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    I'm way happier with the result than I though I would be, especially since I thought there would be a distinct crack left behind. I do have something going on in the repair area still though. It's a light haze that can be seen in the picture and it doesn't seem to want to polish out. I used 250 through 1000 grit sandpaper on top of Eastwood's plastic repair kit and followed up with aluminum polish on all the smooth plastic. Has anyone seen this effect before? Maybe I should try a real plastic polish?

    Next step is a single DIN hole in the metal trim plate and a decision on what to put over the wood grain. I like carbon fiber trim but can't help also thinking about using a real wood veneer back in place of the printed sticker. Whatever I use will be repeated through the rest of the interior.

  17. #17
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    Feb 2013
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    443
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    Here it is:
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  18. #18
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Location
    South Florida
    Posts
    27
    Country Flag: United States

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    Absolutely love it. YEARS ago a good buddy also had a '69 Impala SS427 convertible. His had bucket seats with an automatic and horseshoe shifter. But this stick with factory console is way over the top. Please keep this moving forward.
    '83 El Camino
    '84 Monte Carlo SS
    '79 El Camino SS

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Posts
    443
    Country Flag: United States

    Default Gauge cluster rebuild

    Didn't want to bore everyone with restoring/refurbishing a stock gauge cluster but thought this might be interesting. I was missing a plastic clip for the top of the cluster and the one I had was mangled. I haven't seen these available so I took it in to work and printed a couple out this morning.
    Went from here:
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    To here:
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    Hoping to get all these parts back together next week so I can move on to the more interesting suspension stuff. Just waiting on a tach to mount in the clock blank off plate.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Posts
    443
    Country Flag: United States

    Default Finally got a tach

    Fixing the gas gauge led to a complete R&R of the entire instrument cluster. I decided to put in a tach where the clock blank off plate was. Very happy with the results. Also found NOS switches for the AC and generally repaired or replaced any electrical components. Hopefully I'll get another 45 years out of these controls.
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    The goal this year is a daily driver with no issues but with the dash out of the way I can move on to more interesting things like new control arms and brakes. Kore 3 is producing a small run of hubs so I'll be able to use their C6 kit on the front and SSBC for 12" rear discs while keeping a parking brake.

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