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9/7/12 8:34am - Original Message: 'found a magician for engine mechanical work'
Former Member
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Greer, SC - USA

1978 Black with Viking mural painted under hood AM/FM/CB radio, T-top and a 2013 Cyber Gray Grand Sport Coupe, 2LT for my daily driver

Joined: 3/13/2012
Posts: 264

Someone recently posted here “how to find a good Corvette mechanic”.  Unless you live near Duncanville, TX, (that is a plug for Dr. Joel….like he needs any plugs…sheeeesh) it is a hit and miss operation to find a good Corvette expert or just as difficult to find a good engine mechanic.  Some may remember my post last May about the extreme oil usage on my ‘78 while attending the gathering in Charleston.  When I called the mechanic I had been using, he was convinced that it was the rings and I needed a $4,000 - $5,000, complete engine re-build.  He said he would not even waste my money with an engine compression check, because he just knew it was the rings.  I found a mechanic that has been working on SBC for 40 years.   30 years as a side line business while his main job was a mechanic at a steel plant.  At his day job, diagnosing the problem for of the utmost importance.  Before you stop operations, you needed to be darned sure of what the problem was.  He did what he called “a complete engine wellness check”.  Here is some of what he found:

1.       The ticking sound (which the two previous mechanics had said was a loose header bolt) was a loose rocker arm and a loose pushrod.

2.       One previous mechanic had installed a chrome (my car is more for show, than go…although it does GO) fuel pump.  The original fuel pump had a vapor return line attached to it.  The new fuel pump had no provision to attach the vapor return line, so the previous mechanic abandoned the line where it was…left it just hanging in there.

3.       Last spring, I had a different mechanic do a tune-up and replace the valve covers with matching PCV and crankcase breather.  He put in expensive spark plugs.  He said that is what a ZZ4 required…..WRONG.  He put in spark plugs for a fuel injected ZZ4 which have shorter electrodes.  A carbureted car needs the longer electrodes because the fuel delivery is not as precise as a fuel injected car (according to this new mechanic…Joel, was he correct…do you agree?).  ALSO, these expensive spark plugs were CHINESE.  He showed me how to tell the difference, and if anybody wants to know, I can tell them later.  Because my car is driven mostly around town, he did install in the next hotter spark plugs.  The mechanic that did the tune-up last spring must have plucked the spark plugs (the wrong ones) from the box and just slapped them in.  The gapping was .038, .045, .045, .045, .045, .047, .048 & .058.  The gap is suppose to be .045

4.       Carburetor idle jet settings: right side was turned 2.625 turns and the right side was 1.5 turns.  Now both are at 1.625.

5.       Oil consumption was due to 5 valve seals.  GM decided to use viton seals.  There has since been a service bulletin on this.  This new mechanic replaced the seals with the old style that will not dry out.

6.       Compression check ranged from 200 to 207 (remember, previous mechanic just KNEW that the rings were bad) .

7.       New polished aluminum PCV (to match new valve covers) was stuck shut….so pressurizing the crankcase a little bit, it is now working correctly (mechanic who installed this did NOT ckeck the operation of PCV).

8.       The valves had never been hot lashed and were way off.

9.       He replaced numerous other small items (frayed insulation on main wire from starter to fuse box...spliced in new piece, one new terminal to alternator, bad end on another wire, new flexible end on vacuum line leading to modulator on transmission (old one was about 1” long and would pop off when hard line moved from slightest touch, both previous mechanics missed this), etc.

So in conclusion, the complete engine wellness check, the repairs, AND the installation of a new chrome master brake cylinder cost me $739.  OH….and he would call me daily with an update, which to me, was invaluable.  I DID tip him.  He will do all the non-Corvette related work on my car from now on!  Next is new, polished Griffan radiator and then getting A/C working (triple black car in SC is almost as bad as that black Arizona C3).  To someone like me who is so totally not mechanically gifted (I know most of you on here are mechanically gifted) this new guy was like a magician!  So, I salute all of you out there who are mechanically gifted.

Sorry for the long post.  I hope that some of this information will help others.


Walk in peace all you phun, phiberglass chariot drivers,


Warning: The surgeon general has declared that it is NOT unhealthy to smoke your competition AND I just discovered that my corvette is a hybred.  It burns gas and rubber! 
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9/7/12 9:57am - Reply: 'Re: found a magician for engine mechanical work'
Jaws79 Lifetime Member
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Sykesville, MD - USA

1979 Corvette Coupe Corvette Light Blue Midnight Blue interior Mirrored Glass T-tops

Joined: 4/27/2008
Posts: 4214
Man, that's a great find! I'll bet you felt like a weight was lifted off your shoulders when you found out you DIDN'T need a new engine! You have also addressed the problem that a lot of us have had. Trying to find a GOOD Corvette mechanic is so important to weather you have a good Corvette experience or not. I'm so glad I lucked into the guy I use (Joel won't come up and do my work, either! LOL). Happy motoring!

"Down on the Boardwalk...

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9/7/12 11:53am - Reply: 'Re: found a magician for engine mechanical work'
ebo Lifetime Member
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Holland Patent, NY - USA

#1 *1980 White, Red interior 14,000 mile #2 *1980 Red, Oyster interior 93,000 miles Resto project car, rebuilt to 383 stroker

Joined: 6/3/2008
Posts: 4401
David excellent post! Thanks!
I have one of those great Vette Mechanics making a doctors home call this weekend.
He'll be here tonight, work late, sleep, then be at it again in the morning till late afternoon.
Evil Smileebo


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Evil Smileebo
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9/7/12 12:51pm - Reply: 'Re: found a magician for engine mechanical work'
Adams' Apple Lifetime Member
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Duncanville, TX - USA

#1-1974 L-48 4spd Cp Med Red Metallic/Black deluxe int w/AC/tilt/tele./p/w-p/b/ Am-Fm/map light National/Regional/Chapter NCRS "Top Flight" #2-1985 Bright Red/Carmine Cp.L-98/auto Member: NCRS, NCRS Texas, Corvette Legends of Texas

Joined: 11/8/2003
Posts: 19525
Glad you found someone you are comfortable with! It's hard to do, I know.
What I don't know is what he said aboot the sparkle plugs being specifically for FI vs carb, just by the length of the electrode. Might be splitting hairs on that one, unless your ZZ4 happens to be port injected....and I doesn't think it am.
Anyway....good to know he made ya feel good, and got yer ride smilin.Thumbs Up

and for you other yay-hoos....I don't even wanna werk on MY car....what makes ya think I wanna werk on anyone else's?LOL

Joel Adams
C3VR Lifetime Member #56    
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"Money can't buy happiness -- but somehow it's more comforting to cry in a CORVETTE than in a Kia"
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9/7/12 1:14pm - Reply: 'Re: found a magician for engine mechanical work'
Easy Rider
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Mansfield, TX - USA


Joined: 12/4/2001
Posts: 110
So, how about giving up the mechanic's name and address in Duncanville - I live nearby!!!
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9/7/12 3:29pm - Reply: 'Re: found a magician for engine mechanical work'
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Oak Creek, WI - USA

1981 Great White Shark. Red Interior, 350/190hp. PS, PB (SS), A/C CC, T-Tops, Going to remain as Stock as possible. Served three years in Active Duty Army, then Retired Air Force after 34 years! Badger State Vetts Car Club. 175,000 Original miles!!

Joined: 5/21/2008
Posts: 1956
Easy Rider said: So, how about giving up the mechanic's name and address in Duncanville - I live nearby!!!

His name is Joel!!!!  Do you see the picture of the cat in a slice of bread!!  Thats his "inbred" cat !!!!  lol
Also know as Adams' Apple!! 
P.S.  I still wanna know what happened to the guy laughing!!!!!

|UPDATED|9/7/2012 12:29:43 PM (AZT)|/UPDATED|


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