CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Bringing this corvair back to life

hello fellow car lovers. ok i might be able to work on a 1964 chevy corvair with the dual carb engine ( not with turbo). and according to the owner the engine needs two new pistons due to holes in them. i already know that those will need to be replaced and i kno i have to get gaskets for everything. i just need to kno what else i need to do to get this car on the road again

" i just need to kno what else i need to do to get this car on the road again"

Spend A LOT of money. It will be cheaper to buy one that’s already roadworthy…

If this engine needs 2 new pistons due to holes in them (running the timing with too much advance is the cause) then you should figure on a complete engine overhaul.

Sounds like the owner is trying to cheap out and this will become a major league headache.

i kno thats easier but this car when i saw it it just called me. every man/woman has their car and this week i found mine the beautiful cherry red corvair convertible that’s in need of some good lovin which me and the current (about to be exowner) are going to give it

no shes not shes just financial issues and is just now startin to be able to save up for it ( previous back surgeries and what not) she loves the cr and me and her and who ever in the family wants to help rly want to get this car running. and when we do get it runnign itll be under my name so itll be nice to own and drive around town and take to beach etc.

Covairs, despite their undeserved bad reputation that made Ralph Nadir (sic) a rich household name, are pretty neat old cars. I’ve had a couple of '64s as well as others. The '64 had a redesigned rear suspension that was said to eliminate any tendencies to “tuck under” and cause an unsafe roll over problem. Believe me, the early ones were very hard to roll too. I tried, when they and I were both younger.

If you truly want to make THIS car run again, I’d suggest finding a FACTORY shop manual. Try ebay. They’re there. The 1964 manual is just a supplement, so you may want both the '63 and the '64. If the car in question is a desirable model, Monza, or hardtop, or convertible, it will be worth spending some money on. If it’s just a 500 four door, you might want to reconsider.

Rather than overhauling the existing engine, which it obviously needs it if two pistons are indeed holey, you might want to consider finding a good engine or perhaps a parts car which would also have a myraid of other parts.

Good luck on this but generally when pistons get trashed due to a timing issue cylinder damage and cylinder head valve damage also occurs. Other pistons may also suffer damage but may not be holed yet; it’s a matter of the engine giving up before the other pistons do.
Also ask yourself where the shrapnel from the holes in those pistons went.

Just curious. Has this engine actually been torn down yet?

its a corvair monza but not the spyder just monza. man i cant wait and ya i foudn this guy on ebay who used to own a corvair shop and since he sold the shop hes selling the parts over ebay now

ya they took it out and disassembled it and its in a couple boxes on the side of the vehicle

Any idea on when it was disassembled 1965? no telling whats missing.

resource for help:

Sounds like you are undertaking a major project. Are you prepared for such an undertaking? Do you have the tools, work place, funds, friends, and most importantly the patience for this project.

Not trying to be a downer and don’t know your skill level. Just be aware of the pitfalls. Give us updates so I can relive my youth vicariously through you. Best of luck. Covairs are soooo cool!

A Corvair convertible is a worthy project. The car will be a very big challenge. Starting off with a motor in a bushel basket is not good. The blown pistons mean all new pistons, new rings, bearings, and everything that goes into an engine rebuild. The heads need to be evaluated for soundness and either replaced or ground with new valves installed too. The carbs are likely junk with old gas clogging the jets and need to be rebuilt and recalibrated. You’ll need to get the motor running before you consider installing it back in the car.

Once the motor is running you’ll have the body of the car to deal with. It should be sanded down, all the rust dealt with, and the frame must be evaluated for structural integrity. Wheel bearings, ball joints, tie rod ends, springs and sway bars all have to evalated, taken apart and reassembled with new bushings as the rubber parts are rotted out.

The car has an independant rear suspension that is complicated and you’ll have to see if the transaxle is still OK. Then there is the matter of brakes.

All this mean tons of labor, and lots and lots of money. My guess is if you are near 20 now, you’ll be near 30 before you’ll have this car on the road again.

I learned to drive on my dad’s Corvairs, first a '61 and then a '65. Uncle Turbo expressed what you’re up against perfectly, but like MG McAnick I too think that if you’re up to the challange it’s worth it. They truely were a decent affordable car for their time, despite one crusading lawyer that never had a driver’s liscense having used them to make a name for himself.

Corvair is a subculture that still lives. I would not be surprised if you could find a rebuilt engine on the internet. If the rest of the car is in decent condition that may be worth looking into.

One point: this is constructed of obsolete technology. Don’t expect it to perform and stop like a modern car. If you can accept this truth you’ll have a really fun ride.

You talk like the rest of the car is in good condition, is it? Has it been sitting so long that brakes, belts, carbs, etc would need a lot of work? If the engine is the most that it needs, I’d go for it.
I think all cars should have the engine in the rear.

she claims everything was kept together and she said it hasnt ran in 17 years so i guess they disassembled it around 1992

then im going to make it a major challenge. this may sound silly but i plan on having this car running before thanksgiving of NEXT year. all my free time will go into this car no matter what

ya i havethe heart for it. this is the car for me i know it! btw would you happen to know of a website that might have the engine?

not sure about the condition on the 2 carbs but im probably going to rebuild them anyway to be safe and the bels im going to replace.

Go to E-bay. In the search window, enter “Corvair Engine”. I got 84 hits. Several complete motors for under $100

thank you. i will look on there you know and other sites by chance?