DIY: “While I’m in There” syndrome is a slippery slope


My 1965 Chevrolet Corvair has been an ongoing project for 18 months, but the latest fix was was unplanned. For that, I have a failed 50-year-old cooling fan to thank. The last article I wrote about my Corvair lamented the extent of the damage that a lone cooling fan hell-bent on destruction could impose. The magnesium fan seemed to pick no favorites and instead broke everything it could reach—the dispassionate force of entropy. I got the engine compartment apart, then moved onto ordering parts.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2018/12/21/diy-1965-corvair-update


By pass mistakes I have learned that if you take something apart it’s best to return it back as close to when it left the factory as possible. It has saved me time from multiple tear downs.


I’m a repeat offender. Last winter I did a brake job on my 69 Grand Prix. When I was finished, I had replaced the ENTIRE brake system as well as the fuel lines because I broke them replacing the brake lines. I want to upgrade the cam this winter but I’m a bit gun shy…


No doubt about it…if this was a crime I’d be dressed in prison-orange, taking sewing classes with Vito and Dominic.


On the other hand, if it is something you know you are going to do at some point any way, doesn’t it make sense to do it now as it would just be more work to do it later? Especially if you are putting it down for the winter, now is the best time to do this stuff so that you aren’t eating up prime driving time in the spring!


@spsmailbox - You are right, I’ll give you that.

But my garage is unheated, and I had other project already lined up. Spending money and time on work that does not need to be done just delays other items that much further. But I do now have just a bit more faith in this engine thanks to the extra work done.


Hey Kyle,

It’s a valid point. Does your 65 have the 110 HP engine? My boy’s 63 has a 110 HP engine from a later year (thinking, perhaps the 65 model year) and this past summer, we had 2 calamities with it that we still have yet to recover from…

1.) Gas gauge was reading incorrectly. 1/4 of a tank was actually bone dry empty-brought on by a good old fashioned gas leak that we took care of.

2.) After the out of gas issue was fixed, the car experienced a runaway high idle condition. We got home in record time, but the 4 drum brakes were tested to their limit to keep the corvair from flying away.

So, I’m stuck at 3 with this…

while it is winter here
it’d be nice to have it sorted before the next spring. Any idea what I can do about this runaway idle issue?
Once spring/summer driving really kicks in (it is a convertible, after all) what kind of procedure do I do to calibrate the fuel gauge?

Let me know,

(really, that’s my name as well.)


Pride is a major contributor to the “while I’m in there” syndrome. My daughter’s '96 Miata blew the head gasket and it turned into:

  1. Pulling the entire engine and port & polish the head. Inspected the bottom end and found it was in perfect shape so I actually left that alone. Amazing
  2. The intake casting looked like hell and had sharp edges on it. Someone could get hurt with that thing, like ME! Gasket matched that and completely smoothed and powder coated that.
  3. Can’t have all those other nasty looking aluminum bits on an engine with a really nice looking intake. Cleaned up all of those and powder coated all of that.
  4. Don’t want her coming back and bugging me about a bad radiator hose. Replace ALL the hoses with silicone racing hoses.
  5. That valve cover is ugly. Ground off all the lettering, smoothed out the entire thing and powder coated that to match everything else.
    Here’s where pride and Murphy stepped in to help me kick myself in the backside.
  6. I’m 45 years old and I’ve never rebuilt an automatic transmission before. I ain’t scared! I can do it! I’ve got several crappy manuals for this car. It’s about time I learn how to rebuild a transmission!
    Step 7. After more than a year of taking up the garage and leaving my daughter without a car…I bought a remanufactured transmission and installed that in place of the perfectly good original one I managed to mess up “while I was in there.”

Still doesn’t work right and I’ve got no idea what to do.

Anyone have a match?


Automatic transmission - first thing they tell you is how tightly some of the parts are machined. You realize any dirt can cause real issues.
Next is sometimes special tools are needed specific to the trans to disassemble and reassemble.
For a match -
Neighbor traded a snowmobile for a 1969 Buick GS 350 in pieces. Owner had removed front end, engine, and transmission to rebuild them. Made the trade realizing he had no clue how to do the job and reassemble. Neighbor waited 5 years before taking me up on my offer of ‘help’.
It took us a week to get it back on the road.
Now original owner is trying to buy it back.
So two got in way over their heads.


It’s easy to do. I did get that trans all apart, rebuilt, and back in the car. It just never functioned right. Sad part is, the “new” trans isn’t working right either. I’m thinking it might be time for a bigger hammer…

Merry Christmas everyone!


What is not work right?
Might be something simple.
Most have a few things that can be adjusted.


@01ksdavis - A run away issue is odd. I assume you mean it would not return to idle, almost as if the gas pedal was being held down. My engine is the four-carb 140, but much of the concept is the same.

I would start with inspecting the throttle linkage, as there is multiple pivot points that can get gummed up over years. also make sure the throttle return spring is in place and at an appropriate tension, the carb linkage should snap closed if opened by hand in the engine compartment. Lastly, make sure the linkage between the carbs is not damaged or misadjusted in a way that one carb is holding open while the other closes.

Those are the easier things to check. if it was running and driving okay prior to this issue, I would doubt the problem is deeper into the carbs than that.

Best of luck and let me know how you luck goes.


Exactly why I resisted rebuilding Corsa’s secondary carbs for 2 years. Well, I really should take the turkey roaster off to paint it, and while that’s off I should deflash the heads, regasket the top cover (milk the chickens . . .)


I decided 15 years ago to do a little detailing on my 65 Vette 10 years later i completed it it now has 700 miles on the odo. So I feel your pain. But it is a labor of love. My 89 camaro RS is next I hope i live that long.


Had to replace one of the inner fenders on my 69 Mustang fastback because of an old accident. Decided the job would look better if I took the engine out. Then decided I needed to scrape off all the grease and old undercoating. Then decided to take the other fender off so I could spray the outside of the inner fenders red oxide. Then decided I needed to change out the inner and outer tie rods and change the power steering hoses. Two months later it looks like it just rolled off the assembly line. Next, going to completely degrease the engine and paint and reseal it. Hope I don’t see anything else.


Yep, just changing the spark plugs:



The three hardest words to say in auto repair/restoration . . . .“That’s good enough”
“I’ll leave it at that” is pretty difficult also.


Oh, yeah, “while I’m here”,
My 1st Road Runner was essentially a worn original car, but the top of the rear seat had blistered. Started on that, and within a couple weeks, I’d blown apart the whole interior & exterior, the engine was off to get rebuilt & blueprinted, the trans was getting rebuilt, and it was in a budy’s bodyshop for a complete inside/out refinishing. Never resented that little personality quirk, as it turned into a really nice car with great performance. That restoration is still holding up in the hands of a subsequent owner; I’ve proceeded to perform the same While I’m Here on numerous cars after that one, to the extent that I get some heavy ribbing from friends every time I’ve bought another car “that I’m just gonna drive”…it’s a great way to bond with a vehicle and know it inside & out.


I purchased a 69 Corvette Coupe with the intention of doing a quick “mop and glo” to make it pretty enough to sell and make a few bucks. That was a complete restoration and 4 years ago! Call it while I’m there or “project creep” I’m a victim. On the other hand, the Vette is terrific now!


I’ve been there too! I had a new wiring harness for my 66 Mustang sitting in the house for nearly three years so last summer I decided to tackle that issue. Along the way I rebuilt my heater box, changed the third member (which meant new bearings and seals), replaced the rear brakes from backing plate to drum, replaced the entire brake line to the rear, corrected the emergency brake linkage, replaced the battery tray, installed a DuraSpark ignition, ran new fuel line rear to front, replaced the fuel sending unit, flushed the engine with citric acid, replaced the water pump, replaced the intake manifold gasket, repaired the threads for the thermostat housing, replaced the carburetor gasket, disassembled and greased my seat tracks and built new linkage for the throttle. Whew, I got tired just writing all that. After 15 months and 4500 miles of driving I’m happy it’s done.