Chevette Road Trip Part #2!

After the smooth decent from the mountains, I stop in Rocklin to get gas. The Chevette did not like the uphill portion of the mountains and I was averaging about 14 miles per gallon. Pretty sub-par. While gasing up I notice a small amount of gas leaks as I’m adding it into the tank. It seems to be coming from the filler tube but, because of the shape of the Chevette’s fill area some gas leaks out anyway. I figured it was fine, I’d just be extra careful when filling it. With a 3/4 tank, I got back on the road.


Sunny with a chance of awesome.


From Rocklin through Fairfield, it is a lot of highway with flat straights. I cruised at a steady 65 mph through this section. Thanks to the amazing California roads (ie. bumps, potholed, cracked), I went over a fairly large bump just outside of Sacramento and I began hearing a metal-on-metal tick over every small bump or crack in the road. At first I was thinking it was the exhaust or I was a ping from the engine, but it only occurred over small bumps that caused slight suspension movement. I stopped to investigate.


Note: The spill was already on the floor when I got there.


I inspected the engine and the exhaust and it looked fine. I pushed down on the bumper and each push caused the metal sound. I turned the wheel and checked what I thought could be my brake lines. It looks like there was some interference with the brake lines scraping but not a metal on metal sound.


Notice: >Abrasions from brake line in dust >Destroyed control arm bushing

Further inspection showed that the bushing was definitely done and was the reason for the noise. 65 mph all the rest of the way for sure. I was a tad worried.

As I reached Martinez, I pulled over at the vista point because the noise wasn’t going away and It gave me an excuse to take a picture of the amazing view here especially in the spring weather. I’d hit this road up another time for sure.





Greener Pastures

Other than the noise coming from my driverside control arm bushing and the fumes, the rest of the trip went swimmingly.


Mission Accomplished

The total time for the trip was 6 hours with an average of 15mpg.

Main issues found on the Chevette from the trip down:

  • Gas Filler hose leaks
  • Lots of fumes get into the cabin
  • Front control arms need new bushings
  • Oil pressure stayed low(>20psi)  the whole trip.

Victory Beers Taste so sweet.

Stay tuned for some more Chevette updates and fixes. Maybe a part 3.

Chevette Road Trip Part #1

Maybe it was a test of strength for the Chevette, a test of will for me, or maybe I was watching too much Roadkill episodes but I thought it would be a good idea for the blog and for the Chevette for me to drive from Reno, NV down to San Jose, CA for a couple of days. The drive was 500 miles in total. 250 down and 250 up. 


500 miles there and back.

I grabbed a couple of things at Auto Parts store that I thought may go wrong: I brought extra tires, a jack and stands, tool, oil , radiator fluid, brake fluid, snack and water, etc. If anything was going wrong I would be ready for it or I could limp it to a spot where I could fix it. I was going to watch oil pressure because when I was driving it around town, it had fairly low pressure. I was going to watch water temperature because the electric fan fuse holder sometimes got lose and turned off the fan. I check all my fluids, filled it up with fuel and began the journey. 


A bright and early 9:30 am (haha)





Not pictured: Junk in the trunk.


10 gallon tank

1st Stop: Vista Point over Donner Lake. Up until this time I was driving with the windows up. It was fairly cold when I left. While, driving I notice I’m getting tired and nausuous. Then I realize it could be some exhaust fumes/ carbon monoxide seeping into the cockpit. I pull over and take a break for a few. I’ve only been driving for 30 mins but all the vitals seem good, the carb hates the upward climb though. Kinda funny how I’m the one that needed the breakfirst. I snap a few pics (it was such a nice day) and continue. I drive with my windows down for the rest of my trip. 


Chevy Gas Chamber


Hello, Hills make me thirsty


Snow helped with cooling ability.



Windows down from now on.

Stop 2: Vista Point at Emigrant Gap. At this point I’m an hour and 15 minuets into the drive and everything is looking good. I’m just a little concerned about the fumes still. With the windows down, there is a deadspot in the cockpit where the air doesn’t really move. With the windows down i think the fumes were just being sucked into the cockpit at this point and staying in that dead spot which was right under my nose. Maybe I was being paranoid. I take a break snap a few pics and start again. The carb was really sucking up the fuel, I needed to stop soon.



Chevette Gap


Starting to warm up. Was still nice.


Taxi thought I wasn’t going to make it.


The older fellow, thought the car was too loud.

From this point on it was very easy riding. It was all down hill with very little to no traffic. Coasted the whole way down. Gas was becoming an issue. But, more on that later! Stay tuned for part 2 soon. Problems arise. 


Interesting Comparison: 1975 280z vs 1976 Chevette

The trip in “Project Shove-It” proved to be successful and it did better than I had expected. However, that is a story for another post. While at home base, I was able to compare the Chevette and the Z because they sat no more than 20 feet from each other. Being from the same year I figured it would be an interesting exercise. What I noticed boggled my mind.

Its obvious that the Chevette is an economy car. Its in its DNA, It was thought up to compete with the economic cars of the day. The seating makes you feel suspended inside of a box. The vibrations rattle the whole car. The layout is simple and bland. Looks can be described as less than appealing. At least it has a backseat. With that being said, a stock Chevette isn’t “Project Shove-It” with a V6 swap and other goodies. For Project Shove-It take those issues and multiply them by 5.


Economy cars. At Home Base.

The Z, on the other hand, is a  sports car. The cockpit, the styling, the design, the FEELING. Now you may read this and go “Duh” but having them side by side really underlines the differences. I have gained even more respect for the Z. Everything about it felt more refined and planned out. It really explains why the Z has a huge following and the Chevette following is much less. (It may have to do with the Z’s good looks too :] ).


Dusty, Sleeping Beauty.

I understand a fair comparison would be to compare the Chevette to the Toyota Starlet or even the Datsun 210/510. Maybe one day I’ll get there. But these were available to me at the time. Wish I had taken more pictures for even more comparison purposes but I ran out of time. Maybe next time.

Soon: New Z video and Updates on the Chevette Roadtrip

Project Shove it Update #1

old chevette

Hopes and Dreams. The Chevette’s Past Life.

Slapped on on a Supercharger!… I wish. The previous owner sent me a picture of the ride before he bought it from the man who built it. Apparently, the builder kept the supercharger. :(

In reality: Probably one of the biggest things that stood out to me when initially driving the Chevette is the horrible braking ability that this thing has. A routine check-up was done over the basic systems of it and most checked out fine. However, for the brakes, I was at the point where the pedal was past the floor boards to get the thing to start slowing down. So for safety, the first thing I did was check out the braking system and address the tire situation.


Chevette Brakes are bad. Very Bad.

Rotors were fine, Brake Pads were fine, Brake Hoses were cracking. Stainless steel hoses were sourced from a Pontiac Fiero. Once I got to bleeding, I see another reason the brake were so bad. No brake booster and black tar for brake fluid. Once bled the brakes were still poor but at least the pedal held pressure and the car stopped better. The rear checked out fine and was only bled. The only issue was the Previous owner’s e-brake tie down bracket. (err..hose clamp.)


Mint by engineering standards.

I found a set of American Racing Wheels 15×7 +35 offsett (gross, i know) with a good set of tires locally and threw them on. They aren’t as cool as the 13×7 deep dish Monza Steelies but getting good tires for them was impossible. Look for updates on the wheel situation later. (its definately a situation) .


Repost, but its the best current pic of wheels.

And lastly, the interior. I added a shift knob that would pay homage to the screwdriver shift knob in my Z.


Note: only shift knob was added from previous owner

Wrapping up: the car was gone over and its going on a road trip this month. :) Keep an eye out for the road trip update!