My 61 Restore Erath County Texas - Impala Tech
Restoration Corner Aimed at Originality

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post #1 of 82 (permalink) Old 03-15-2018, 04:56 PM Thread Starter
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My 61 Restore Erath County Texas

Thought I'd start a thread to query/update progress for my specific car. Seems like others have done this.

"polly" is sittin in line at the restoration shop. Looks like a late May/early June active work begin date.

I've been reading and searching a lot the last couple of weeks. Spent some time at Texas Motor Speedway for the Good Guys car show last week.

So ... first query. I discovered Wilwood brakes. Look very nice. Does their performance warrant the higher price over the TRS kit?

photo album:

https://imgur.com/a/BRKro

1961 Impala. 4 door. 283, turbo 350. Imron Midnight blue metallic with silver stripe.

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post #2 of 82 (permalink) Old 03-15-2018, 06:03 PM
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Yes

They and Wilwood are premiere brakes designed for serious racing. If you are thinking of racing that is what I would buy.

If you are not racing then your drum brakes will work just fine: once. The heat that an emergency stop creates from seventy miles an hour or above will heat check the drums as they were designed to stop your car from only 45 to 50 mph. If you are not over working the brakes then they will last for another fifty years (assuming you can find parts).

Brakes are sized by the weight of the vehicle (why semi trucks have drum brakes that have four inch wide shoes in a foot and a half diameter drum). So if you want a heavier duty brake look to a heavier vehicle (police cars used the brakes off of a half ton pick-up truck that when fully loaded weighed nearly twice the weight of the police car). Those police car brakes are still available as a service part or from a junk yard.

The other factor that affects brakes is in how fast you are trying to stop the car from. For this reason Corvette brakes have gotten bigger and bigger as the top speed of the car has been climbing annually to near 200 mph. Funny thing is the full sized cars had C3 Corvette brakes as an option in 1967-'70. They still bolt up but will require a 15 inch wheel to clear the Girling fixed bridge four piston calipers.

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post #3 of 82 (permalink) Old 03-15-2018, 10:07 PM Thread Starter
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I'm definitely going disc brakes because of the speed. Interesting, though, the speed limit was 70 mph when this car was built.

I was just shocked at the difference in the price of the kits. Looks like the WilWood caliper is larger/covers more of the rotor arc. I think the TRS 4-brake conversion system will be just fine for me, then.

Yes, I've decided to get 17" x 7 -6 offset cragar SS wheels ... with a 235/55r17 michelin tire.

Thanks Big Dave!

1961 Impala. 4 door. 283, turbo 350. Imron Midnight blue metallic with silver stripe.

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post #4 of 82 (permalink) Old 03-15-2018, 11:41 PM Thread Starter
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the plan for Polly:

frame-off restoration
- sandblast, treat rust, epoxy/paint the frame
- sandblast, treat rust, undercoat the entire body; paint/clear coat midnight blue metallic/silver stripe
--recondition trim/replace as necessary (most of it is in good-great shape)
--LED lights
-- replace all glass

-chassis
-- 4 wheel disc brake conversion (as previously stated)
-- ridetech's coil over suspension kit
-- rack/pinion steering
-- fuel tank/lines
-- overhaul differential

Interior
-- replace all cloth/vinyl to existing style; crushed velour, cut carpet
-- front bucket seat upgrade, with console and cup holders! USB ports.
-- braided interior weatherstripping
-- dynamat
-- custom emblem of Dad's signature to mount next to the impala logo on the dash.

Electrical/HVAC
-- replace all wiring (harnesses)
-- Dakota Digital HDX; black ... Ice Light
--bluetooth OEM-look stereo
-- Vintage air A/C (retain factory registers)
-- replace heater core
-- tilt wheel steering column

Engine
-- Blueprint 383 stroker with EFI
--Cold Case radiator w/ dual elect fans, 180 deg thermostat.
-- March Performance Sport Track serpentine kit; PS/AC, idler
--Headers, cherry bombs, downdraft tips.
--"preoiler"
-- oil cooler.

Transmission
-- 700r4 ... 500hp rated. locked TC.
-- cut driveline to fit.
-- secondary transmission cooler
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1961 Impala. 4 door. 283, turbo 350. Imron Midnight blue metallic with silver stripe.

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post #5 of 82 (permalink) Old 03-16-2018, 08:18 AM
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Originally Posted by shaark92 View Post
I'm definitely going disc brakes because of the speed. Interesting, though, the speed limit was 70 mph when this car was built.

I was just shocked at the difference in the price of the kits. Looks like the WilWood caliper is larger/covers more of the rotor arc. I think the TRS 4-brake conversion system will be just fine for me, then.

Yes, I've decided to get 17" x 7 -6 offset cragar SS wheels ... with a 235/55r17 michelin tire.

Thanks Big Dave!
The Wilwood brake system is a multi cylinder brake system. Instead of one big hydraulic cylinder pushing the pads together it uses multiple smaller ones to do it. In theory this means you shouldn't require as much force on the brake pedal to stop.


For my purpose I keep going back and forth about going to front disc brakes or keeping the drums. I know I need a dual master cylinder upgrade as the 63 used a single. Only reason I am considering disc brakes is I'm building a motor that while I am only shooting for 400-450 HP the feed back on my build is putting me around 500 HP. With great power comes a requirement for better stopping. Granted if I get into a 500 HP engine with my current rear end and transmission the weak link will be found and most likely brakes will become the least of my worries.
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post #6 of 82 (permalink) Old 03-16-2018, 12:03 PM Thread Starter
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....


For my purpose I keep going back and forth about going to front disc brakes or keeping the drums. .....
If I kept the drums, they'd need a complete overhaul ... so my thinking is ... instead of buying wheel cylinders and rotating drums ... just buy the rotor and caliper and, yeah a two port master cylinder. Be done with it. The difference in price is relatively insignificant (unless we're talking WilWood!) in the overall price to restore the car.

I"m liking the FSC594DCCS from TRS. Don't need the "flashy chrome" accessories ... don't want 'em really. Like those serpentine kits. My goodness the bling available. Nope ... just gimme powder coated black for ease of maintenance ... though I am looking hard at the cold case big radiator ... and evidently those are a bit flashy. But I don't want to have need of shades when I pop the hood to check the oil! LOL.

1961 Impala. 4 door. 283, turbo 350. Imron Midnight blue metallic with silver stripe.

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post #7 of 82 (permalink) Old 03-16-2018, 12:19 PM Thread Starter
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... Granted if I get into a 500 HP engine with my current rear end and transmission the weak link will be found and most likely brakes will become the least of my worries.
I've read about this elsewhere ... what can be upgraded? I've checked summit and ecklers ... I don't see any overhaul kits with "better" hardware for higher-HP ...

Planning to overhaul the differential, but that's just replacing what's there ... seals/wheel bearings, 3rd member ... and of course, fresh gear oil. I don't remember ever having changed that!

1961 Impala. 4 door. 283, turbo 350. Imron Midnight blue metallic with silver stripe.

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post #8 of 82 (permalink) Old 03-16-2018, 12:31 PM
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In 1963-'64 the Impala and the Corvette shared many common parts (the 1953-'62 Corvette was a full size car with the frame shortened where the rear seat would have been and a plastic body dropped over it). Since the 1961 shares parts in common with the 1963-'64 (not all of them unfortunately) so I would think a 1964 Corvette steering knuckle with the then standard Corvette calipers and rotors would bolt right up to your existing ball joints. They may have gone with a bigger ball joint on the Corvette than the full size that the Chevy engineers pulled from a light truck's part bin, but there exists a Chevrolet part that will still interchange.

All GM cars were built from a limited number of parts that interchange to one degree or another (the disc brakes you are looking at come off of a 1969-'72 Chevelle). GM engineers were not allowed to design a new part (Ford's better idea) if there exists another part that can be adapted to fit the application.

This is why you can ask for a water pump gasket for a SBC and it will be the same part from 1955 through 2004 (same water pump casting as well, but they changed the direction of the rotation of the pump in 1986). This is GM corporate policy in effect from October of 1957 forward.

In fact there used to be an unpublished (hidden from public view) parts book that had every GM part number with an interchange so that the cheaper Chevrolet part could be substituted for the same part on a Cadillac that cost three times as much.

There was a time before computers that your Chevrolet service parts counter man knew what parts fit what without ever opening a paper catalog to look it up. I used to know a lot of them in the late sixties but they are all retired now. They could tell you if what I suggest would work or not just from memory.

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post #9 of 82 (permalink) Old 03-16-2018, 02:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shaark92 View Post
So ... first query. I discovered Wilwood brakes. Look very nice. Does their performance warrant the higher price over the TRS kit?
Forgive my ignorance but a quicky Google didn't help me out.......who/what is the TRS kit? Not a name I'm familiar with.

HOW A NOVICE REBUILDS A 66 IMPALA CONVERTIBLE:
http://www.impalas.net/forums/blog.php?u=1432
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post #10 of 82 (permalink) Old 03-17-2018, 10:00 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Big Dave!!!

.... TRS .... the right stuff. Get disc brakes .com.

1961 Impala. 4 door. 283, turbo 350. Imron Midnight blue metallic with silver stripe.

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post #11 of 82 (permalink) Old 03-19-2018, 07:17 PM Thread Starter
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I discovered my use of this board on my phone is NOT good. :P Sorry for the confusion above.

@BA.

Thanks for your posts, too.

1961 Impala. 4 door. 283, turbo 350. Imron Midnight blue metallic with silver stripe.

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post #12 of 82 (permalink) Old 03-19-2018, 09:08 PM
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Thanks Big Dave!!!

.... TRS .... the right stuff. Get disc brakes .com.
Oh!! Them! . Got it! I should have gotten that, maybe. Duhh. Lol.

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HOW A NOVICE REBUILDS A 66 IMPALA CONVERTIBLE:
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post #13 of 82 (permalink) Old 03-20-2018, 06:26 AM
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I've read about this elsewhere ... what can be upgraded? I've checked summit and ecklers ... I don't see any overhaul kits with "better" hardware for higher-HP ...

Planning to overhaul the differential, but that's just replacing what's there ... seals/wheel bearings, 3rd member ... and of course, fresh gear oil. I don't remember ever having changed that!
You can't just bolt on Horse power. I'm building my engine from the ground up. I've got a 348 engine that I am going to stroke and bore for between 434-440 cid. Going to make it look like a 409 engine. You really just can't replace displacement unless you start going into forced induction.


You could do something similar with your car, but even though mid production a 409 became available I would make it look like the 350 HP 348 with triple deuces.


W engine performance builds though are not for the faint of heart. Number estimates keep climbing a little and by the time the engine is in the car and running I'll have close to 10 Grand in it. All the little things you forget when doing something like this adds up. New larger exhaust, accessory brackets, fan shroud, and more all cost money when they have 409 in their description.
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post #14 of 82 (permalink) Old 03-20-2018, 07:33 AM Thread Starter
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You can't just bolt on Horse power. I'm building my engine from the ground up. I've got a 348 engine that I am going to stroke and bore for between 434-440 cid. Going to make it look like a 409 engine. You really just can't replace displacement unless you start going into forced induction.


You could do something similar with your car, but even though mid production a 409 became available I would make it look like the 350 HP 348 with triple deuces.


W engine performance builds though are not for the faint of heart. Number estimates keep climbing a little and by the time the engine is in the car and running I'll have close to 10 Grand in it. All the little things you forget when doing something like this adds up. New larger exhaust, accessory brackets, fan shroud, and more all cost money when they have 409 in their description.
Sorry ... I was referring to the rear differential. How to upgrade the rear differential to TRANSFER the higher HP to the wheels, not produce it.

The dressed blueprint engine which has my eye is the 383 stroker which is rated at 425HP/430 ft/lbs. I thought that was quite a lot! ... I don't want to spin the rear-end out of it, but I've had it perform with the 283 quite well (smoked the tires from a down shift 3 to 2 at 40ish mph back when it had a manual)

LOL ... yeah, no replacement for displacement.

Thanks

1961 Impala. 4 door. 283, turbo 350. Imron Midnight blue metallic with silver stripe.

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post #15 of 82 (permalink) Old 03-20-2018, 07:40 AM
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Sorry ... I was referring to the rear differential. How to upgrade the rear differential to TRANSFER the higher HP to the wheels, not produce it.

The dressed blueprint engine which has my eye is the 383 stroker which is rated at 425HP/430 ft/lbs. I thought that was quite a lot! ... I don't want to spin the rear-end out of it, but I've had it perform with the 283 quite well (smoked the tires from a down shift 3 to 2 at 40ish mph back when it had a manual)

LOL ... yeah, no replacement for displacement.

Thanks

From what I have been told the best thing to do is put a 9" ford in and it will look close enough to the factory with the 3rd member. I personally don't want to put a ford rear end in my car and am looking for a Pontiac Olds 9.3" rear end from the same years as it should be a direct bolt in and they can handle a lot more power.
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post #16 of 82 (permalink) Old 03-20-2018, 10:11 AM
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A 1961-'64 Olds rear will handle a 1970's Top Fuel car as that is what was in many of the dragsters of the era.Hard to find today though as so many of them gave up the ghost under high powered dragsters and gas class cars.

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post #17 of 82 (permalink) Old 03-21-2018, 12:46 PM Thread Starter
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I think I'll probably just change the seals/oil ... bearings ... see what happens. Be sure to avoid going "waaaa hhhaaaaa aaaaahhhh" too far from the house.

1961 Impala. 4 door. 283, turbo 350. Imron Midnight blue metallic with silver stripe.

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post #18 of 82 (permalink) Old 03-21-2018, 01:01 PM
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Before I bought an Olds rear for my '53 to put an end to blown rear ends I used to carry a spare "P" case posi rear end already set up in the trunk along with a pair of five ton jack stands and a floor jack.

After breaking the side gears into two or three pieces, I would swap out the rear end on the side of the road. Then go home and rebuild another one. After I swapped the Olds rear out for the weaker Chevy rear end I started to learn how to rebuild a Borg-Warner T-10 in an afternoon (usually ripped the second gear syncro teeth off of the gear, which could be due to my grinding off every other syncro tooth to aid in speed shifting). Trannies are much easier to replace on the side of the road, than a rear end.

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post #19 of 82 (permalink) Old 03-21-2018, 01:39 PM Thread Starter
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WOW! you sound like my old man, Big Dave. He'd do stuff like that in his youth ... tear-down and rebuilt with a better mod. He had the fastest 55 in Central Texas back in the early 60s.

I couldn't figure out the albums here on this site, so I opened an imgur account and linked to it.

I was shocked when I saw the undercarriage of this car ... despite staying in a barn, evidently the dew during this time of year really did a number on it.

https://imgur.com/a/BRKro

1961 Impala. 4 door. 283, turbo 350. Imron Midnight blue metallic with silver stripe.

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post #20 of 82 (permalink) Old 03-21-2018, 07:12 PM Thread Starter
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So I gazed at the 383s on ebay ... wow. lots of 'em. One vender/seller rails on the 700r4 ... skip white ... almost like he won't sell you one of his engines if you're going to bolt a 700r4 to it. What's with that???

I imagine a rodder for the quarter mile is better with a T400 3 speed ... but mine is gonna also cruise the highway. Why run 2300 rpm if 1800 rpm will get me 70 mph and still pull a moderate grade. I've never liked that "downshift" to climb a hill and I don't like to be wound up to cruise.

Is this guy living in the past when the 700r4 was first produced?

Thanks.

1961 Impala. 4 door. 283, turbo 350. Imron Midnight blue metallic with silver stripe.

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post #21 of 82 (permalink) Old 03-21-2018, 07:58 PM
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When the 700R4 first came out a 305 would break it. GM had a redesign out every production year for the first twelve years it was made. Even the 4L60 that replaced the 700R4 was redesigned within two years of coming out and called a 4L65 because the original design couldn't handle the ever increasing torque of EFI powered 350 SBC in trucks, and the LS-x series of engines in cars with rear wheel drive.

A 383 is an entry level big block under most car company designations such as the Plymouth Road Runner (Beep, Beep). Big blocks require a bigger stronger transmission than small blocks because they make more torque. The 700R4 was rated at only 300 foot pounds of torque. If your engine makes more than that the tranny will need special parts on a rebuild to make it meet the torque load. (bigger input shafts, more gears in the carrier assembly, stronger sun shell, and a strong sprag). None of these aftermarket parts are found in a stock junkyard transmission, so you either have to buy the parts and install them your self or buy a rebuilt tranny based upon torque rating from a competent remanufacter.

I can recommend TCI, because they have a wonderful warranty program, not because they build the strongest transmission with the "best" options (such as gearing or increased clutch holding ability).

It is like saying I want a PowerGlide because all of the top dragsters have one. The Powerglide that are used in Super Comp only share the name with the stock PowerGlide. There isn't a single GM part inside the aftermarket Super Case. Every part has been super sized and machined out of solid billet unobtanium, then cryogenically frozen to near absolute zero or hardened with heat treatments.

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post #22 of 82 (permalink) Old 03-21-2018, 08:31 PM Thread Starter
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Unobtainium.

LOL.

I was introduced to tranny rebuilds in my diesel truck circles. the 4r100 Ford put behind the 7.3 had major issues with the coast clutch ... it spawned a tranny rebuild industry just for those 99.5-03.5 trucks. The one we used was a guy in Leadville Arkansas. Brian Thompson. He used a TC from a T400 then modified it from there, special sauce or two ... reassembled and that tranny is good forever even behind a chipped/breathing 7.3 powerstroke turbo diesel.

I'm hoping for just over 400 ft/lbs and HP ... so perhaps my 700r4 selection isn't a good one???

Thanks Big Dave

1961 Impala. 4 door. 283, turbo 350. Imron Midnight blue metallic with silver stripe.

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post #23 of 82 (permalink) Old 03-22-2018, 07:26 AM
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Building a 700R4 for your torque and HP numbers would not be that difficult for a competent transmission builder. You can buy a 700R4 from companies newly overhauled that will handle it easily.


https://www.transdepot.net/700R4-Sta...SABEgJao_D_BwE


Only issue I have with going with a 700R4 is the cutting the drive shaft. I think if you go with a 200R4 you can avoid that as it is almost just as long as the Powerglide.
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post #24 of 82 (permalink) Old 03-22-2018, 10:32 AM Thread Starter
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The shop says cutting the driveshaft is no problem for them. may even be able to bypass the carrier bearing? My question, not their suggestion. I remember having to replace that carrier bearing. Was a bear for a novice teenager. If I can delete that thing, I will.

Thanks for the reassurance on the overdrive tranny.

I'm wondering, though, if the rear-end ratio of what's probably 3.08 for the powerglide will be good for the 700r4. Gotta do s'more research on that.

1961 Impala. 4 door. 283, turbo 350. Imron Midnight blue metallic with silver stripe.

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post #25 of 82 (permalink) Old 03-22-2018, 10:48 AM
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The shop says cutting the driveshaft is no problem for them. may even be able to bypass the carrier bearing? My question, not their suggestion. I remember having to replace that carrier bearing. Was a bear for a novice teenager. If I can delete that thing, I will.

Thanks for the reassurance on the overdrive tranny.

I'm wondering, though, if the rear-end ratio of what's probably 3.08 for the powerglide will be good for the 700r4. Gotta do s'more research on that.
I wouldn't worry so much about the low gear ratio portion of the system, I would look more into the cruising RPM in overdrive of the engine. If at 65 MPH your down around 1500 RPM you may be out of your engines power range resulting in excessive down shifts and up shifts.


I really want to go with a stick, but after doing my research I can get everything I need to go to a 200R4 for around $2500 new and then everything is a bolt in affair. No drive shaft mods needed. That is going with the stage one kit for 550 HP motors. I will be hard pressed to put an overdrive manual in my car at twice that cost.
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