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Discussion Starter #1
Hi guys, I am feeling a little blue about my restoration project. We all have heard the phrase "I do not even know what I do not know"...well that phrase comes to life more often than not with me. For I keep finding new things on my restoration project that shows me how much I do not know. As of right now, I am stalled on a relatively small project and the question of scrapping the entire project is creeping into my thoughts.

I understand that we all face challenges when working on a restoration project....money, time, skill level etc all seem to play into the formula. I of course face all of the challenges too. But the one that kicks me in the craw is the lack of mechanical skills and lack of tools. I keep running into even small projects that set me back. It often feels like the small projects are going to derail the entire project.

When I discover I am not able to handle the small projects, I rapidly find myself falling into the trap of wanting to scrap the entire project. The logic of if I can not handle this small projects, how can I possibly handle the larger more complicated projects?

I can easily see how guys loose interest or run out of money when they are working on a restoration project. I have not quite run out of money for I have been able to keep somewhat on budget. I have not quite run out of interest, for I love classic cars. I am however, running out optimism in finishing the project. I am currently stalled on the rear end project, and now I find myself questioning whether or not I should even bother finishing the car.

So here is my question, for those that have gone through the restoration blues, how did you get past the set backs? How did you get over the restoration blues?
 

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Mr. V.....Many of us have been in your shoes.

I remember being at a point in my project where I knew no one would want to buy it because it was so far apart and wrestled with the idea of scrapping the whole thing. One rule I made from the very beginning was that the car would never become a shelf. No one could set anything on the car no matter how small, it was a car, not a shelf. Six years of late nights, missing out on car shows ( couldn't hardly bear to see others shiny cars when mine was in primer and a million pieces) all the while working and attending school. Sad thing was I had done all this before and watched my car go up in flames 6 months after completing it. That was hard. :nopity:

My advise is to not let that get you down. Do what you can. Some stuff you might have to farm out. If something has you stumped look it up on youtube to see if anyone out there has done the same thing and can show you how. Read the how to articles and books.

You can do it if you want it bad enough. If something has you stumped or you find yourself getting pissed; STOP. Move on to something else or find an easier project and come back. Actually doing something and completing it, even something simple can give you a sense of accomplishment and that will help you move forward.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Mr. V.....Many of us have been in your shoes.

I remember being at a point in my project where I knew no one would want to buy it because it was so far apart and wrestled with the idea of scrapping the whole thing. One rule I made from the very beginning was that the car would never become a shelf. No one could set anything on the car no matter how small, it was a car, not a shelf. Six years of late nights, missing out on car shows ( couldn't hardly bear to see others shiny cars when mine was in primer and a million pieces) all the while working and attending school. Sad thing was I had done all this before and watched my car go up in flames 6 months after completing it. That was hard. :nopity:

My advise is to not let that get you down. Do what you can. Some stuff you might have to farm out. If something has you stumped look it up on youtube to see if anyone out there has done the same thing and can show you how. Read the how to articles and books.

You can do it if you want it bad enough. If something has you stumped or you find yourself getting pissed; STOP. Move on to something else or find an easier project and come back. Actually doing something and completing it, even something simple can give you a sense of accomplishment and that will help you move forward.
I truly do hear you. But it is really getting frustrating to keep running into road blocks. I have checked YouTube (and other online sources) and it always seems I have something that is different than what is shown online.

I try to ask a lot of questions from guys I know, but the sad truth is I actually know very few guys who are car guys and have the skills themselves to help me out. The few I do know constantly give me the non-committal phrase "call me if you need help" but when I do call them, of course they are busy.

I am always trying to figure out how to do two-man jobs by myself, for I simply lack the additional strong backs to help me out. Like everyone, I truly wish I had the funds to buy a turn key car, or have someone build it for, but neither is possible. Although I lack the skills, I am trying to read up, ask questions, watch videos, and etc to get the knowledge, then I find out I lack the tools to do projects correctly (i.e. rotisserie, welder, lift, or other specialty tools).

Since I have always had the dream of owning (and building) a classic dream car, I will likely find my way through it all. But right now, I am truly suffering from the restoration blues.
 

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Hang in there MrV. One thing i see is the "i gotta have that" syndrome. It gets taken apart for one thing and all of a sudden it multiplies, like with your 12-bolt, then disks, then .... so on. Usually the simplest, cheapest and most direct route is to use what GM made for the car, if for no other reason than it fits. That said, like Alky says hit you-tube you can find anything on there. Section your projects into smaller goals and if you start getting frustrated walk away and do something that makes you smile. This hobby is supposed to be fun. You will be surprised what you can do once things start coming together, and they will.

When i bought my car the wife said you hated working on cars when we could not afford the mechanic what makes this different, my response was I don't have to drive it to work tomorrow so i can walk away if i get frustrated, and thats just what i did.
 

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Hang in there MrV. One thing i see is the "i gotta have that" syndrome. It gets taken apart for one thing and all of a sudden it multiplies, like with your 12-bolt, then disks, then .... so on. Usually the simplest, cheapest and most direct route is to use what GM made for the car, if for no other reason than it fits. That said, like Alky says hit you-tube you can find anything on there. Section your projects into smaller goals and if you start getting frustrated walk away and do something that makes you smile. This hobby is supposed to be fun. You will be surprised what you can do once things start coming together, and they will.

When i bought my car the wife said you hated working on cars when we could not afford the mechanic what makes this different, my response was I don't have to drive it to work tomorrow so i can walk away if i get frustrated, and thats just what i did.
I hear you. As mentioned, likely this frustration with entire project will likely pass.....until the next set back.

Currently, I am stumped on the rear end. I am converting it to disc brakes simply because when I bought the rear end, it had no brakes on it what so ever (just the drum brake backing plates). So I am only upgrading because I must. I did look on You Tube, and ironically, the inside of my differential looks different that the few I have seen on You Tube. I grant, I have a posi, but after several very close examinations, I simply can not find anything that looks like a retaining bolt, and definitely there is no bolt of any kind where the pics on You Tube show. I do not see any C clips. I see the ends of the retaining pin (or center shaft) but the center shaft goes through gears and can not be seen in the opening of the differential.

If and when I do figure out whether or not I have C clips, then figure out how to remove the axles, I have to hope/pray that nothing in the differential falls out of place. Then hope the axles themselves are okay (which by the way, I have now idea what a good or bad axle looks like). I am thinking I may be better off spending the $2K-$3K to get a full complete rear end already done. Of course, that is simply not feasible right now.

The rear end is like the engine for me. I have a full complete '67 400 engine and tranny. However, I know at the very least the engine needs new main bearings and possibly the crank to be reground. I also know the heads or pistons have not been converted to today's fuels. I do not know how to rebuild an engine. I do not know anyone that does, nor are the any reputable Pontiac engine builders in Northern California (that I am aware of). Since the entire engine (and heads) likely needs to be completely redone, I would likely be better off just dropping the $5K-$7K for a built engine from one of the online builders. But again, that concept is simply not feasible at this time.

Additionally, if I am just going to drop as much as $10K for just an engine and rear end, I might as well just drop $15K-$20K for a project already done.
 

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The bolt you seek is small, like a 3/8 head, and it sits into a depression in the differential. You won't see the 'C' clips until you pull the axle back a bit then they fall out and down to the bottom of the case where you use a small magnet to pull them out (sometimes).

I'm in the restoration business and have been for the majority of my 40+yr working on motorized vehicles. You think you got it bad? They don't make parts for Packard, Ruxton, Cord, Duesenberg, Woods, etc. They have to be made by competent machinists who are quickly becoming as rare as the obsolete parts we seek sometimes. "Well at least the sheet metal is in decent condit---, WTF?!?", when they return from the stripper or you hand strip to find over an inch of mud where it doesn't belong. All restorations seem to hit a brick wall, some huge, some only a day long, but worse than sledge hammering that wall down you have to inform the client of the "bad news" and hope they don't become a victim of the resto blues and pull the job. Time and material adds up quickly and you can't always charge the client for 'bad' time regardless of the reason. That's where the relationship factor comes in for me. Every restoration is more than a job. Even for yourself it's a test of one's relationship within the car community you enjoy. Are you the ONLY person you know diggin on GTOs or other muscle cars? Did you ever consider trading labor? Help someone who helps you? "Tag team" a job so you can move on? Just a few random thoughts cuz "...there ain't no cure for the restoration blues..." (sung to the appropriate music in yer head!) except to dig in and keep punching.
 

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Mr V, I have not looked back through your postings, but do you know you have a Chevy rear end with c clips? Or is it a BOP? If it is a BOP, just remove the 4 backing plate bolts and use a slide hammer to pop the axle out.

Not sure I have ever had the restoration blues, so I have no frame of reference here. Sounds like you have several opportunities to learn something you don't know. I would look at those thing just that way. And of course, if you need a tool you don't have... well, that is a bonus - go buy it! Best wishes. Matt
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Mr V, I have not looked back through your postings, but do you know you have a Chevy rear end with c clips? Or is it a BOP? If it is a BOP, just remove the 4 backing plate bolts and use a slide hammer to pop the axle out.

Not sure I have ever had the restoration blues, so I have no frame of reference here. Sounds like you have several opportunities to learn something you don't know. I would look at those thing just that way. And of course, if you need a tool you don't have... well, that is a bonus - go buy it! Best wishes. Matt
The fact I am still asking questions, seems to me I am fighting through the restoration blues. Just in case I am chasing my tail here, Is there an obvious sign that the axles are the bolt in kind (using a slide hammer to remove)? I saw that video as well, and it begs the question, if I need a slide hammer to get axles out, how do I get axles back in? Do I hammer them in?

666bbl...I can not find a depression with a bolt. I saw the videos and pics, I saw the what the indention looks like and where it should be, and I do not see that indention or bolt on my differential. I also saw a video where the bold seemed more obvious, and that bolt is not on my differential. One video says to not remove the "S" clips.....mine does not have the "S" clips.

Although I am struggling with the little jobs, which makes the big jobs even more monumental, I have not done anything stupid like list car for sale or sell off my parts.

As for trading services, I am familiar with that process, for I have done that before. However, my specialty is not mechanical and I know very few actual mechanical guys. But I am not opposed to do so if the opportunity presents itself.
 

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Mr V, Bear and I said this a long time ago to you on another thread: if you don't know you need to stop, slow down, and learn. Get away from tearing stuff apart and start researching your parts. How can you possibly expect a rear disc conversion to work out if you don't know what kind of rear end you have? Pontiac rears have no c-clips...the axles slide out in 5 minutes simply unbolting the flange. If you don't know, you need to learn, period. If you don't want to take the time to learn, be prepared to spend a TON of money for somebody else to finish it. Not trying to be punishing here, but ignorance is much more expensive than education. I restored a '15 Ford in 6 months.....a lot simpler car than a Pontiac. I was overwhelmed at times. But, every night after dinner, I went out into the shed and did SOMETHING. You can't eat an elephant in one sitting. But after a few bites a night, it's amazing what can be done. It sounds to me that you have the drive and ambition and soul to get this job done.... and that's the hard part. You just do not have the automotive knowledge...that's easier. Stop what you're doing and start asking specific questions, order some books and manuals, take classes, etc. We will help you all we can. Hang in there.
 

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Geeteeohguy,my restoration blues are not just about this one project. The rear end dilemma is just the most recent set back. I did not go into this blind, for I have the instructions, I reviewed as many videos as I could find, I looked up what I could find. As it turns out, the instructions that came with the brakes have pics that are not all clear. the videos showed a different set up than I have. Other sources state it is a relatively easy job but not necessarily clear.

My restoration blues are simply states, I start working on the relatively easy projects in order to accomplish what I can and as stepping stones for bigger items. But when I get set back on the easy projects, it casts a shadow of gloom over the larger projects and the entire project itself. Then I start thinking I may have bit off more than I am able to handle. That is when the restoration blues start hitting hard. Yes, I know the easy answer is just throw money at it. Or as a close friend says "anything is possible as long as you do not let your wallet or common sense get in the way".

No worries, I hear you and understand. Thanks for the help.
 

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If you've never worked on a car before a full frame off restoration might be a bigger bite than you want to chew. Very few on here I would wager did everything on their car themselves. Me, I farmed out the rollcage and the engine final assembly. Yes, I could have done those but I had friends who were literally experts in their respective fields and I knew they could do a better job than me because they have the experience.

It's like being the lead violin player in the New York Philharmonic. He didn't just pick up a fiddle one day and was a virtuoso, It all takes time and practice. And I guarantee you that even when you are aaaalllll done.....you will know every imperfection and you'll also know that the next car will be better.

I always pick up the rustbuckets, they are like neglected puppies to me and my problem is I can see the finished product. They real key is to start with the best car you can if you are going to "restore" one.

I know you have already "started over" once, there is no shame in that.
 

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:agree Heaven knows I went for quite literally years feeling all down in the dumps and completely overwhelmed by my car, rather, my big ugly pile of rusted parts. I couldn't see it done, imagine how I'd ever even get started much less finish. I felt like a failure, like I'd somehow let my departed Dad down (we bought the car together while I was in college). I disassembled my car in about 1984. It sat in pieces in a storage facility until 2004. I didn't actually get started working on it until 2006, 2007, didn't get "serious" until June of 2008. Do the math.

Trust me. You aren't the only guy who's ever felt the way you feel.

For me it was Mrs. Bear, helping me get my pile o' parts organized to the point where I could actually find things, being patient, and encouraging me. I did have an advantage in that I knew how to do all the mechanical work and already had a pretty decent collection of tools and equipment, however when it came down to the paint and body work I was just like you. I knew zero and had no experience on any of it. It was terrifying to take a car that represented such an emotional investment and start hacking away at sheet metal with not one shred of confidence that I wasn't actually just systematically destroying it.

So, it's no small degree of "been there" that I can say to you now that it really is true. You haven't failed until you quit and give up. No matter how long it takes to finish, as long as you keep plodding along the worst you can say is that you just haven't finished yet.

Bear
 

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Mr V, so back to the rear end. Whatcha got? I'm betting you do not have a Chevy c-clip rear end, since you do not see the bolt on the carrier. Matt
 

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Not sure what you do for a living but San francisco is HEAVILY populated and the car scene is pretty big out there- if you can do something that others generally pay for you can barter those skills to get someone to help you- post and ad on craigslist to trade skill for skill, try going to some car shows and talking with people who have restored cars. look at this Swap Meets and Car Shows and see if any of these swaps/shows are near you.
I am not a mechanic but I was able to build a pretty nice car mostly from doing research and asking lots of questions- yes I did do many things twice and some three times but I knew that no one else was going to build this car for me except me. The best cure for the resto blues is to get it done, so instead of waiting for an "opportunity to present itself" go out and present the opportunity to other people.
The odds of a rear end expert walking by as your trying to pull your axles are slim to none but meeting someone like that at a swap meet booth thats full of rear ends are pretty good. and he may be selling those parts to buy the exact service you can offer.
 

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If you verify you don't have a C-clip rear, you don't have to buy a slide hammer to remove the axles. If you have an old drum that fits the bolt pattern, you can install it backwards with a couple lugs tightened a few threads, remove the retaining bolts, and give a couple quick yanks. Usually, the axle will pop right out.

Again, to repeat what everyone else says, slow down and enjoy the project.
 

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Once you do get the aftermarket brakes on there's a chance your wheels won't fit in the openings. I had that issue on a 65 I did and I ended up narrowing the rear axle a total of 1 1/2" to clear 16" TQ Thrust Ds and Firehawk tires. The axles had enough spline to cut off 3/4" and grind a mild taper back in for easy fitting into the spiders. Still had lots of spline left over. At the end of it all the car had a tough stance and lots of rear tire. The other option was a severe backspace which would have looked like hell wouldn't have it, or like some front wheel drive mutant. The process took a full day to pull off.
 
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