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Buying a Non-Running Corvair
Posted by: Gr8daneh ()
Date: November 06, 2019 12:34PM

Hi,
Brand new here, so feel free to speak out against my ignorance. I've been looking for a Corvair to go in on with my Dad for a while now. We found a possibly good (possibly disappointing) option on Craigslist. The good is, it's a Corsa (4-carb) convertible for $5,000. The bad is, it does not run. Seller claims the only reason is it has been stored for the last 7 years.

Visually the car looks good. No major rust, interior looks good, etc.

What I'm looking for help with is minimizing my risk in buying a non-running example. How much of the condition/functionality can I check without the engine firing up, and without a test drive?

Here's my list of things to check so far:
1. Engine is visually complete.
2. Oil and other fluids are full and look ok.
3. Engine spins freely.
4. Transmission goes into all gears.

How much risk am I left with since I can't test drive it?

Is it just a bad idea? Curious to hear other people's take on it.

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Re: Buying a Non-Running Corvair
Posted by: alphasud ()
Date: November 06, 2019 12:53PM

Best thing you could do is ask the seller if you could put a battery in it and at least try to get it running on some fuel squirted into the 2 primary carbs. You want to see if it fires on all cylinders. Also really check over the rust issues on the car. Especially on a convertible. Might be a lot more rust than what meets the casual inspection.

David North Idaho
1965 Corsa Turbo converted to 140
1971 Super Beetle with 2.5L Subaru engine
2004 F350 work truck
2004 Cayenne Turbo

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Re: Buying a Non-Running Corvair
Posted by: azdave ()
Date: November 06, 2019 12:54PM

If it doesn't run and they are asking $5K then it should have a really nice rust-free chassis in my opinion. Rocker and door post rust on a LM convertible can be a serious problem.

A straight, low-rust body is more important to me than a running engine. Most people can fix a bad engine but not so many can fix rust or hidden crash issues. Not many people park a good running car for 7 years without a reason so be cautious.

A non-running engine is a great bargaining point for you since that means a buyer can't test many essential things when the car won't move down the road. Things such such as the gearbox, differential, clutch action, brakes, etc. will all be untested and purchased on good faith that they all work properly. I don't put much faith in sellers when buying a 50+ year old car.

Dave W. / Gilbert Arizona
65 Corsa 140/4
66 Corsa 140/4
66 Corsa 140/4 w/factory A/C
66 Corsa 455 Toro V8
65 Monza Convertible 110/4
66 Monza Convertible 140/4 A/C
65 Monza 4DR 140/PG w/factory A/C
65 Monza 4DR EJ20T/5



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Re: Buying a Non-Running Corvair
Posted by: steve c goodman ()
Date: November 06, 2019 12:56PM

My best advice (others may vary) is find a local club
near you or at least join CORSA and get the membership
roster to find someone near you and also give us the
city/state where you are because someone here may be a
block away from you. Hopefully then you can have some
experienced eyes to look over a car with you.

For your first Corvair I would suggest buying one that
runs and that you can test drive for several miles incl
highway time.

best wishes, Steve
Rear Engine Spec. Inc. Golden, Colo.

1962 spyder 3.0L turbo---1965 Crown V8
1967 monza 110/4---1968 monza 110/4
1971 amante gt 110/4
CORSA/RMC/PPCC

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Re: Buying a Non-Running Corvair
Posted by: jcorvair ()
Date: November 06, 2019 01:12PM

Check the inspection checklist available on this website, under the Stickys I think.

If you look down through the base of the windshield and see no rust and the floors and trunk have no rust, you should likely buy it immediately. In reality, the floors can be pretty good and there can still be rust in the panel at the base of the windshield. Replacing that panel is 40 to 50 hours of labour to cut it out and weld in a replacement, if it is shot. Replacements are readily available.

I just bought a car that was not driven for 40 years and stored in the garage. It had the typical rusty panel at the base of the windshield (visible from outside) but was otherwise pretty rust free. It also had a non-seized engine that was a great candidate for rebuild. I tend to assume any 140 needs to be rebuilt due to the propensity for them to drop valve seats.

Good luck.

James
West Kelowna, BC

1965 Corvair, Corsa, Convertible 180/4 - Artesian Turquoise w/ white interior
1966 Corvair Corsa Coupe, 140/4 - Aztec Bronze w/ black interior
2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Turbo
2016 Dodge 3500 Crew Cab 4x4 (for hauling cars, trailers, fifth wheels, quads, etc.)
2013 Victory Car Hauler (enclosed)
2019 Express Car Hauler (Aluminum, Enclosed)
2015 Polaris 570 EPS
2016 Polaris 570 SP
2017 Corvette Z06 Convertible

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Re: Buying a Non-Running Corvair
Posted by: Timothy Shortle ()
Date: November 06, 2019 01:23PM

What is the sellers claim on why it quit running 7 years ago (ran out of gas?, dead battery?, points are closed up?, engine "blew up?, etc.)? I would start with that. I wouldn't necessarily believe what he says but it is a starting point. If car is truly nice, it probably is worth 5000 if it is a real Corsa. Like mentioned above have a local Corvair guy look at with you. Where are you?

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Re: Buying a Non-Running Corvair
Posted by: Gr8daneh ()
Date: November 06, 2019 01:25PM

I live in central PA, but the car is near Akron, OH. I'm still waiting to hear back from him on his history with the car.

These are all good points, thanks for all the responses everybody!

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Re: Buying a Non-Running Corvair
Posted by: azdave ()
Date: November 06, 2019 01:41PM

Not a bad first impression from the pics but no engine photos. VIN indicates a genuine Willow Run built 65 Corsa.

Dave W. / Gilbert Arizona
65 Corsa 140/4
66 Corsa 140/4
66 Corsa 140/4 w/factory A/C
66 Corsa 455 Toro V8
65 Monza Convertible 110/4
66 Monza Convertible 140/4 A/C
65 Monza 4DR 140/PG w/factory A/C
65 Monza 4DR EJ20T/5



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Re: Buying a Non-Running Corvair
Posted by: moomba32 ()
Date: November 06, 2019 02:15PM

Would a compression test be something to do? I know people like to change oil and circulate it before spinning the engine but knowing the compression would give you insight on possible drop valve seat.

Don Marlowe
66 Monza 2Dr 140/pg
64 Spyder convertible now, 110/pg
Eutawville SC

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Re: Buying a Non-Running Corvair
Posted by: steve c goodman ()
Date: November 06, 2019 02:34PM

Have the owner make it run then show it off. I have had
numerous Corvairs and Type 1 beetles brought to me
and asked to make run so they can sell it easier. If a
good car it can be done with only small/medium effort.
At least enough so buyers can move the car and listen to
everything.

best wishes, Steve
Rear Engine Spec. Inc. Golden, Colo.

1962 spyder 3.0L turbo---1965 Crown V8
1967 monza 110/4---1968 monza 110/4
1971 amante gt 110/4
CORSA/RMC/PPCC

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Re: Buying a Non-Running Corvair
Posted by: scottymac ()
Date: November 06, 2019 07:25PM

My home was 20 miles from Akron, and if it's a local car, all I can say is RUN, RUN, RUN (away)! The front door latch and quarter panel areas looks like they've been molded out of bondo. The door panels should match the color of the seat upholstery, so it does have some history of repair. Spinners on the stock hubcaps is kind of a neat touch.

Scott
Danville, In.
'65 Corsa basket case
'66 Monza coupe

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Re: Buying a Non-Running Corvair
Posted by: Frank DuVal ()
Date: November 06, 2019 07:56PM

I agree that Eastern cars need eyes on them before buying. It could be a great buy, or it could be a rust bucket held together with shiny paint over ferric oxide/bondo/newspapers/duct tape......

Frank DuVal

Fredericksburg, VA

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Re: Buying a Non-Running Corvair
Posted by: Frank DuVal ()
Date: November 06, 2019 08:20PM

Now I will address the non-running aspect.

Cars that were perfect and parked for honest reasons (elderly owner, life got in the way, death in the family, etc.) will need some TLC to run again. As Steve said, he does that service for customers to sell long standing cars. I call it "Sitting Disease".

Fuel goes bad, at best it just does not want to burn anymore and needs to be drained out, filled with new fuel. AT worst, the Ethanol has attracted water and rusted every steel part in the system, and it all needs to be cleaned or replaced. Lucky, all the parts are available from Clark's or other vendors.

DOT 3 has attracted moisture and turned the steel parts to rust, so rebuild or replace all the cylinders, along with rubber hoses ( now very old unless just replaced by previous owner) and steel lines. Replace with Cunifer and DOT 5 and never have to do these again.

The engine is a pig-in-a-poke right now. But, it too could be fine. Even if it is stuck right now it might loosen up with some ATF in the cylinders for a few days, or after a tear down is started. But, the worst case would be a rebuild, with replacing the valve seats with "deep seats" to prevent them from falling out later, a wise choice.

So, worst case is you will be repairing fuel system, brake system and rebuilding the engine. IF the body passes inspection for rust issues.thumbs up

Best case is fresh fuel, top off brake master and drive it.smileys with beer

What are your mechanical abilities?

Buying a car needing some mechanical work is usually way better than buying a car needing body rust repair for most people.

Frank DuVal

Fredericksburg, VA



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/06/2019 08:22PM by Frank DuVal.

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Re: Buying a Non-Running Corvair
Posted by: Gr8daneh ()
Date: November 07, 2019 04:47AM

Frank DuVal,
I think you did about the best summary I could have asked for. I knew the problems with ethanol, I was not aware that DOT3 attracts water also.

Steve C, I did ask him if he is going to try to get it running. I would feel a lot better about buying a car that goes down the road (and back).

I'm pretty handy mechanically. I'm not a welder or body guy, so this car was attractive to me because (at least in the pictures) the body all looks good, it sounds like it just needs mechanical attention. But Scottymac is right, midwestern cars make great rust collectors (I grew up in Wisconsin, I've seen the horrors).

This gives me a lot to consider, thank you all!

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Re: Buying a Non-Running Corvair
Posted by: larry202br ()
Date: November 07, 2019 11:41AM

Another major rust area on convertibles is under the rear seat. Pop up the seat bottom, and check the floor underneath.

1961 rampside with a 65 / 67 110 engine, car four speed.
1965 convertible
1966 Custom two door/four door 180 Turbo.

KC0SKX
Olathe, ks
HACOA

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Re: Buying a Non-Running Corvair
Posted by: Gr8daneh ()
Date: November 12, 2019 06:16AM

Figured some of you might appreciate an update. My Dad settled on a 1963 Monza Coupe. So we are now Corvair owners...I suddenly feel that I have a lot to learn.

Thanks for all your responses and advice!

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Re: Buying a Non-Running Corvair
Posted by: larry202br ()
Date: November 12, 2019 06:28AM

That's great! Post some pictures, and tell us about your progress with the car.

1961 rampside with a 65 / 67 110 engine, car four speed.
1965 convertible
1966 Custom two door/four door 180 Turbo.

KC0SKX
Olathe, ks
HACOA

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