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Restoration Advice



  • fintailfintail Posts: 32,941
    You're not terribly far from should take a long holiday and go on a buying trip. Those cars are a lot less uncommon in the home country.

    Restoration costs are difficult to determine, dependent upon the condition of the car and the demands of the car. On most normal cars a full restoration will far exceed the value of the car, so a simple "driver quality" refurbishment is the best idea, and even that won't exactly be cheap.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,120
    Your second paragraph hits the bulls eye. Restorations can almost never be justified from an economic standpoint. Repairs to keep an old vehicle in service are easier to justify. The economic arguments for spending more on repairs than the market value of the vehicle include...

    First, if you don't put on many miles -- say no more than 5,000 miles per year, for sake of argument -- then the annual depreciation on a new car could exceed the amortization cost of repairs.

    Second, The expenses associated with replacing certain items that wear out regardless of whether the car is old or new, such as tires, batteries, brakes, etc., should be backed out of the cost of restoring old cars. The same applies to maintenance expenses.

    All the other arguments for restoring old cars, or doing repairs exceeding the market value of the vehicle, are emotional.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 32,941
    Making a car a nice driver is the way to go, unless it is something super desirable where a profit can be made. That way you don't (usually) get in too deep, and you can actually enjoy driving it. A little patina is more interesting to me than having everything fresh, too.
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,693
    Most folks will buy a car in need of some restoration because they cannot afford, or are reluctant to spend, the necessary amount to buy that same car ALREADY restored----even when, financially speaking, it would be for more advantageous to buy the restored (or even just "clean") example.

    This is certainly okay, especially if you enjoy tinkering, but there are certain cases when you really need to slap yourself and not do it.

    One circumstance is what I call "the blind canyon". This comes from flying in Alaska, where a small plane enters an unknown mountain pass or canyon, unaware that the canyon will rise, and will narrow, faster than the plane can either climb or turn.

    In other words, you are doomed the moment you enter.

    If you buy say a 70s or 80s 4-door car for instance, that needs lots of work, you are doomed to failure. You will never get even a substantial portion of your money back.

    Me, personally? I will take on a "break-even" or even small loss restoration project, but I will not tolerate loss of thousands and thousands of dollars.
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,693
    A friend of mine wanted to restore a British motorcycle and was kind enough to consider my advice of some value at least.

    His first choice was a non-running 70s Triumph with some missing parts and shabby paint and rusted chrome. I voted NO because of a) the asking price of $2500, b) the ultimate value of this bike and c) too many unknowns regarding prior history of the bike.

    His second choice (or third) was a 70s Norton for $1500 that was non-running, covered outside for 3 years, dirty, some rust, very original looking, being sold by the original owner. I voted YES. Turns out that did work out, since the engine did run well. True, he had to clean out the gas tank, clean up the rust, buy a few parts, buy tires, rebuilt the carbs, buy a battery. But still, he's got a $4000 bike to sell now.

    His third choice was a 60s BSA for $4000 that needed almost a full restoration but had a good history. I also agreed YES because this particular model is quite valuable, perhaps $20,000 when done. So there is room for success here. Turns out this engine was soon after purchase, partly disassembled and proved to be in good condition.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 32,941
    I bet bikes are easier to deal with and not lose your shirt, due to cheaper purchase price and less things to replace or restore. Although I am sure prewar models could break the bank.

    I can't imagine trying to restore a car for profit, I just don't have that kind of luck. I'd restore something to keep forever, where a loss wasn't part of the equation...and even then, I would have feel comfortable spending such money, which I don't. Until then, my old car will remain unrestored. It is in "good enough" condition to drive around and have fun with, and I don't have to worry about $5K paint jobs.
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,693
    edited March 2010
    Well you don't have to restore them, you can just clean them up, enjoy them and then resell them when you're done. You can often do a lot with "dead" paint, small chips and scratches, rusted tire rims, scratched trim, faded black trim pieces, dirty engine, etc.

    As for mechanics, most older cars are pretty simple as long as you don't get into things like convertible tops and heater cores, or pulling huge V-8 engines out. Many older engines can be worked on in place.

    So you have to "pick your shots" carefully and not take on cars that have difficult problems.

    Things like rust, blown engines**, busted glass all the way round, completely destroyed leather interiors, or very bad collision damage are all no-brainers---STAY AWAY

    ** exception to blown engine might be if the car carries a commonly available crate engine.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 32,941
    Lately there is also a growing movement that accepts and even embraces faded paint, a little rust here and there, aged interiors, and so on - the car being roadworthy is the main concern. "Survivor" cars are the new cool, and they are both more affordable and easier to live with. For a lot of cars, something that isn't pristine, but honest, is more interesting than something that is totally new.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,120
    I couldn't agree with you more.
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,693
    maybe a little rust, but rust patches all over the car do not flatter the car or the owner IMO. I do agree though that original cars are much more interesting to me as well, as long as they aren't so bad that you want to shoot them to put them out of their misery.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,120
    edited March 2010
    Hey, there's no better theft deterent than rust patches all over the car. Plus, it distinguishes the owner from ordinary folks. Isn't that why people buy Rolls Royce Corniches and Bugatti Veyrons?
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,693
    Well maybe but when I look at a neglected car like that I don't necessarily find the instinct to pour admiration all over the owner---more like "how could you DO that to a nice old car?" (even if they didn't do it, they OWN it, and so it is in their stewardship).
  • fintailfintail Posts: 32,941
    Yeah I don't mean a crumbling heap of iron oxide...but a little spot of "aged metal" doesn't seem to be the end of the world anymore. I have two little bubble spots on my old doesn't get to me anymore.

    If a car is relatively straight and clean, old paint, even if it is faded or worn, has a lot more character than something new that the owner is afraid to touch. And it can actually be put on the road without worry.
  • I have a '58 Volvo pv444 and I have been having a problem with the starter that I'm hoping someone may have encountered. I purchased the car last year and since the first time I tried starting it, there was an awful grinding noise. I pulled the starter and saw that the front of the pinion gear was worn down pretty badly. I was able to locate a used starter and replaced the bendix assembly so now I was working with a good drive gear. I put the starter back in and I'm still getting that same grinding noise. The flywheel has all it's teeth and I don't see any noticable wear on the flywheel teeth. I slid under the car and removed the flywheel cover and was able, with a screwdriver, to move the starter drive gear into the teeth of the flywheel without a problem. I then had a friend start the car as I watched. It all happens faster than the eye can see. It would seem that the teeth are slipping against the flywheel teeth with moments of catching. I see the fan turn intermittently as it catches. The noise is bad and I don't want to wear down another starter gear. They are really hard to find anymore. The starter is the correct part for the car. It can't really be shimmed since it's only held on with two bolts. All seems to be fitting correctly. Is there such a thing as a weak solenoid that doesn't hold the gear out during starting? I bench tested the starter and it flies right out to the end without any load on it. I'm hoping some ace mechanic out there has encountered something like this. Pardon my verbosity. I wanted to get all the details out.
  • I would do two things right off. One, remove the starter OR the flywheel cover and examine the entire flywheel 360 degrees. If there is just one place with a few damaged teeth, it'll push the starter pinion out.

    Two, I'd remove the starter and lubricate the shaft the gear runs on, the bushing and the gear itself and try it again.

    If neither of those produces any results, I'd say your used starter is no good. If the starter more spins too slowly (starter drag), it'll disengage prematurely. Given that you're running on 6 wheezy volts I believe with that car, it might be best for you to have the starter rebuilt.
  • I just wanted to add something to what I wrote yesterday. I climbed under the car again and observed the starter in action. Forget what I said about a weak solenoid because the drive gear is shooting all the way out and staying in place as it turns. What is happening is that the starter gear is slipping and catching on the flywheel. Thus, the loud grind as it slips and then it catches to turn the flywheel a bit and slips again. This is what is happening. It's just puzzling because the teeth on the starter and flywheel both look ok. I turned the flywheel by hand and could find no worn teeth. It could be the starter is still shot but looks like it's working. It is a six volt Bosch starter and it seems to have plenty of power. I took a short video of it in action which I will post a link for when I am by my home computer.
  • Could you observe the flywheel possibly moving backwards? You have the B16 engine I believe, which is not a great motor and has only 3 main bearings holding the crankshaft. I'm wondering if the crankshaft play is bad enough to partly disengage the starter teeth from the flywheel? Sometimes the B16 crankshaft will actually split and still function!
  • The flywheel is moving in the right direction when it moves. Yes, I do have the B16 engine. I did have it running this summer by ignoring the noise and continuing to crank until it started. When I had pulled the starter out afterwards, the front third of the teeth were pretty worn. I had then replaced that bendix assembly with the used one that seemed to be ok. Here is a video of the culprit in action... rting.mp4
  • Hello, I am new here and would just like to ask if anyone knows how I might be able to sell a new 1978 Plymouth Volare hood. It's factory primed and in its original factory box, and has been stored in my garage. Does anyone have any advice on how I can sell it or who I can contact?

  • texasestexases Posts: 5,424
    There's Craigslist, Ebaymotors, or you could check Hemmings Motor News to either advertise it or to see if any Mopar parts suppliers would want to buy it.
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