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Thread: My First Car is a C3

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    Default My First Car is a C3

    I just got my first car and am lucky enough for it to be a Corvette. First what does C3 stand for.

    I am 15 and an athlete, so my jobs to earn money for the car will be slow go. My dad and I will be doing most work we can. The motor seems tight but needs a tuneup, It has sat for two years. needs tires. paint/body work.

    Any suggestions on things I need to do to get started with fixing her up. Cleaning greasing etc...

    RJ




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    Moderator bill81vette's Avatar
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    when ever I bought a car back then 1st thing to do was.....
    1 oil change (all filters)and grease(be sure to look on the half shafts in the rear,there are several back there!)&
    2 change plugs,wires and distributor cap.
    wash and wax good cleaning inside.
    then you have a baseline for the maintenance on it.
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    Member Huskerman's Avatar
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    The C3 discribes the generation that your car is part of. C3's were the cars that went from 68 to 82....the the C4's were intro'd....and so on. C7 was just intoduced this month and there is a lot of info on it and all the gererations here on the CAC....

  4. #4
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    HEY RJ! First of all, welcome to the Corvette Action Center! There are a BOATLOAD of knowledgeable people here that can answer
    almost any questions you have. C3 stands for the "third generation" of Corvette body styles. C1 is from 53 to 62, C2 is from 63 to 67,
    C3 is from 68 to 82, (no 83's), C4 is from 84 to 96, C5 is from 97 to 2004, C6 is from 05 to 13, and C7 is from 14 to ????
    First off, I would spend some money on the official shop manuals for your year. They will show you the correct way to diagnose/
    troubleshoot, and repair every system on your Vette. Then it's just a matter of following the procedures, and having the ability
    to know when to quit and take it to a professional. I'll do a lot of work on my Vette, but ripping an automatic transmission apart
    isn't one of them although the manuals will tell you how to do it. My advice would be to get everything in and under the car
    working correctly before you do the body work and paint. That way you won't have to worry about messing up a brand new
    paint job to yank the engine out. Work on it with your Dad and enjoy the time you spend together doing it. Like Bill said....change
    ANYTHING liquid, and be sure to inspect and or replace rubber items like belts, hoses, wiper blades etc.. There are a lot of vacuum
    lines on those cars, and I would recommend checking them all very carefully (one at a time), and replacing any that are bad, or
    look bad for that matter. Vacuum leaks are guaranteed to drive you nuts! The same goes for the grounds on these cars. Make SURE
    that all grounds are clean and tight. The manuals will show you where they are. Electrical problems are the same as the vacuum
    problems.......They're GUARANTEED to drive you nuts! Anyway, enjoy working on, and driving your Vette, and keep posting on the
    results of your work!
    Andy
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    Member 6880 Mike's Avatar
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    C3 = Corvette third generation. Good reading here:


    This is also good.


    Purchase a copy of each.

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    Hello everyone I am RJ's dad. I will be helping/learning with him in this new adventure.

    "With power there is responsibility" I have used this phrase with every since he hit his growth spurt @ age 13.
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    Hello RJ,
    Welcome to CAC and congrats on your new to you C3, it looks sharp! just some FYI MOTORTREND put out a issue of a 60 Years of an American Icon this month and if you have $10 or so it would be good reading material and hip you to the generations along with some of the options these cars come with. It's always good to know where you been to know where your going that's what I always say so have fun and respect all other Vetters as you you would like to be respected as some can have neg opinions for the mid years. And I beleave these were once dream cars in there day! As mine is to me!
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    "RJ" and "Dad", Welcome to the

    OldMan32, you're a pretty awesome dad to get your son a Corvette for his first car! Wow...

    Shoot me a PM with your mailing address and I'll send you out a copy of the 1980 factory service manual on CD. I have a couple extras laying around.

    Generally speaking, without knowing more about the car (mileage, engine, transmission, pre-existing conditions), all the things that you'd check on any used car apply here. In this light, "It's just a car." So check out all the usual things, starting with the safety components: brakes, seat belts, etc. If the car still has the OEM brakes, you'll probably be changing the calipers to the newer style. Then focus on the fluids. Are they all good and flowing as expected? Are the gauges reading correctly?
    After that, you can move on to the mechanical stuff. U-joints and bearings seem to be a fairly common replacement on the late C3's.

    Troubleshooting 1980's and earlier is pretty simple. You've got fuel delivery, vacuum, and electrical/grounding. That's pretty much the big three that will keep your car from running properly. If you get those three things down, your car should be pretty much 'by the book' for everything else.

    While I don't discourage posting new questions when you have them, keep these two things in mind.
    1) These cars have been around 30+ years. If your car has symptoms/problems, I'm fairly certain you're not the first, and thus it's probably been discussed in these forums. Learn to use the Advanced Search functionality of the site...make it your friend!
    2) There are lots of members here and we have people of all ages and walks of life. Some of these people actually worked the line for Corvette production or had a piece in creating the Corvette over the years. The combined knowledge here is unsurpassed, as is our willingness to help. That being said, we don't live here. If you pose a question and don't get a reply within 30 minutes, don't repost it elsewhere on the site nor do a "bump to the top", unless it's been days/weeks with no response. Typically, someone will chime in with a response which will either help you or at minimum keep your post visible to others. In other words, "Be Patient!". Your car is a long term project...you've got time!


    Was the picture of your car taken in your yard or the previous owners? It looks like there's another C3 parts car in the background.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Evolution1980 View Post
    "RJ" and "Dad", Welcome to the

    OldMan32, you're a pretty awesome dad to get your son a Corvette for his first car! Wow...

    Shoot me a PM with your mailing address and I'll send you out a copy of the 1980 factory service manual on CD. I have a couple extras laying around.

    Generally speaking, without knowing more about the car (mileage, engine, transmission, pre-existing conditions), all the things that you'd check on any used car apply here. In this light, "It's just a car." So check out all the usual things, starting with the safety components: brakes, seat belts, etc. If the car still has the OEM brakes, you'll probably be changing the calipers to the newer style. Then focus on the fluids. Are they all good and flowing as expected? Are the gauges reading correctly?
    After that, you can move on to the mechanical stuff. U-joints and bearings seem to be a fairly common replacement on the late C3's.

    Troubleshooting 1980's and earlier is pretty simple. You've got fuel delivery, vacuum, and electrical/grounding. That's pretty much the big three that will keep your car from running properly. If you get those three things down, your car should be pretty much 'by the book' for everything else.

    While I don't discourage posting new questions when you have them, keep these two things in mind.
    1) These cars have been around 30+ years. If your car has symptoms/problems, I'm fairly certain you're not the first, and thus it's probably been discussed in these forums. Learn to use the Advanced Search functionality of the site...make it your friend!
    2) There are lots of members here and we have people of all ages and walks of life. Some of these people actually worked the line for Corvette production or had a piece in creating the Corvette over the years. The combined knowledge here is unsurpassed, as is our willingness to help. That being said, we don't live here. If you pose a question and don't get a reply within 30 minutes, don't repost it elsewhere on the site nor do a "bump to the top", unless it's been days/weeks with no response. Typically, someone will chime in with a response which will either help you or at minimum keep your post visible to others. In other words, "Be Patient!". Your car is a long term project...you've got time!


    Was the picture of your car taken in your yard or the previous owners? It looks like there's another C3 parts car in the background.
    Well we expected the problems we are having right now. Brakes were reworked by the seller, but now are bottoming out, fuel, electrical and vacuum. The lights will not close. The parking lights will not go off with the switch. I have added fuel stabilizer. It needs tires the list goes on....

    It has 67xxx miles and has been sitting for a few years. It has the original

    The car was bought from the daughter of a collector a few towns over, he owned about 50 at one time. Wow right. so the picture was from the seller.
    This old guy would rotate driving his several cars everyday and park them out front so people could see them. They still have a ton of parts that we can purchase.



    We are both really excited to join the Corvette world.

    Today is the last day driving for awhile, had no brakes on the way home from work. It has the original 350 and tranny supposedly.

  10. #10
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    The people we bought the car from could be another resource for people on this forum to get parts etc..

    I could get contact information from the seller and post it.

    Doug

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    Oh Yeah the seller said the engine is modified, but not sure what. He said the it is 300hp and I believe I read that the 1980 C3 was factory 270hp? It seems to have a lope to it, but its the first 350 I have driven.

  12. #12
    Administrator Evolution1980's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldman32 View Post
    Oh Yeah the seller said the engine is modified, but not sure what. He said the it is 300hp and I believe I read that the 1980 C3 was factory 270hp? It seems to have a lope to it, but its the first 350 I have driven.
    Ha! 270HP would've been nice! 270 was the torque spec. 190HP was the standard L48. The L82 was 210hp.

    Here's a list of specs for the 1980. CLICK!
    Here's a list of RPO and production numbers. CLICK!

    The nice thing about the car is that it's not stock and it's not really collectible, so you can make whatever mods & upgrades you want without feeling bad. (Not that you should, but some people (not me) are purists. BLAH!) If/When you ever get urge to really make it perform, dropping a crate engine in there will be the most cost effective upgrade you can make. Otherwise, you'll constantly be in the predicament of "How much money should I throw at this old engine and how much upgrading can it really handle?" A crate engine makes it a very easy and cost effective answer!
    Oh, and RJ, don't think you're gonna go tear up the streets and shame some 4-banger Civics. Even Civics a few years old will potentially hand you a smug cup of defeat. Our cars were the best you could get at the time, but that's not saying much now. Until you have potential mods a few years down the road, you'll pretty much have to keep yourself compared to other cars from 1980. Fair is fair, right? (I spent over 10 years slowly building mine up.)

  13. #13
    Member Brooklinite's Avatar
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    Congrats...my first car was a C3 too!

    Brakes are a really good place to start IMHO. Dad, you said the brakes were reworked by the seller but are now bottoming out. If you haven't done so already, do some searches online and read up on C3 brakes. They work quite differently from the disc brakes that we are more accustomed to in that the calipers are fixed (instead of floating) and the pads ride on the rotor at all times. Rotor 'runout' is critical with this brake design, if there is too much runout it'll pump the brakes full of air. When I got my '72 I bled the brakes, had awesome pedal-feel and after 2 hours of driving the pedal was hitting the floor again.

    The best cure is to have the rotors machined on the car, as they were at the factory, but there are workarounds such as shimming the rotor and o-ring calipers which have been known to be successful too.

    Like I said, read everything you can find before tearing into them, search is definitely your friend as this subject has been covered many, many times.

    Again, congrats and have fun. Sounds like a great father/son project.
    "....long and lean, every young man's dream, she turned every head in town..."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brooklinite View Post
    Congrats...my first car was a C3 too!

    Brakes are a really good place to start IMHO. Dad, you said the brakes were reworked by the seller but are now bottoming out. If you haven't done so already, do some searches online and read up on C3 brakes. They work quite differently from the disc brakes that we are more accustomed to in that the calipers are fixed (instead of floating) and the pads ride on the rotor at all times. Rotor 'runout' is critical with this brake design, if there is too much runout it'll pump the brakes full of air. When I got my '72 I bled the brakes, had awesome pedal-feel and after 2 hours of driving the pedal was hitting the floor again.

    The best cure is to have the rotors machined on the car, as they were at the factory, but there are workarounds such as shimming the rotor and o-ring calipers which have been known to be successful too.

    Like I said, read everything you can find before tearing into them, search is definitely your friend as this subject has been covered many, many times.

    Again, congrats and have fun. Sounds like a great father/son project.


    Yes I have been trying to find a good thread on the brakes, haven't seem to find the one to enlighten me.
    It has been parked. Its not hold brake fluid. Right now its to cold to start taking it apart, so we are waiting for a warmer day.

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    Default My First Car is a C3

    Is the engine sound? I bought an '80 around 7 years ago, and started with the engine, then worked my way out. One thing to check -the cam....take off the valve cover and let the engine idle. If a cam lobe is shot you won't see the lifter move. That was my experience - didn't need a tune up but a cam! Fun project! Can't wait until my sons start turning wrenches with me!
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