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Old 03-14-2016, 09:27 AM   #1
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Harlock - 1998 Chevy Camaro 3.8 V6

Hi all, now that I've officially purchased my Camaro I've been plaguing you all with for the past couple of weeks, I figured I'd make a thread in here with updates and mods. For now, "his" name is Harlock. If anyone is wondering, the name is from a very old cartoon called Captain Harlock, from the same people that made Speed Racer. He's pretty much the most BA space pirate ever.


So, I got everything done on Saturday! He's officially mine now, has current inspection, registration and insurance. Everything was pretty quick and painless, except for when the lady at the notary couldn't find the title. But she eventually found it, she just wasn't looking in the right place. I met the previous owner's brother there, handed him the money for the car, shook his hand and off he went. We drove up right after doing the title transfer and put the new plate on. Feels good I'm having Halye's Garage put him on the lift today to fix that exhaust rattle and change oil/reset the low oil switch.

Then my dad is going to pick it up and take it to the Chevy dealership to get any parts/work done with his employee discount. I'll have them give him "the works" like I had them do with my Honda. Then dad and I can take over and start making him look BAF I gave my dad a list of parts to quote for me: tires, headliner, LH interior door handle trim, and a free set of floor mats from the huge pile they have in the detailing area, haha.

The silver is definitely gonna go, as are those Konig wheels. I'm getting a set of factory ones with the Chevy center caps.

Ideas for colors:
T-rex Colorshift

Diamond Green

Tahitian Green

Coral Green Pearl

Covert Black


(and yes, these are all liquid wraps; if there are any problems with me linking images from other sites just let me know)
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Old 03-14-2016, 12:14 PM   #2
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Diamond Green or Tahitian Green, the 2 colors remind me of the British racing green that was on the first gens. In 1998 they did have a bright green metallic, I like that color.

You just want to spray it with the wrap and be done with it?
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Old 03-14-2016, 02:18 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cferrel4 View Post
Diamond Green or Tahitian Green, the 2 colors remind me of the British racing green that was on the first gens. In 1998 they did have a bright green metallic, I like that color.

You just want to spray it with the wrap and be done with it?
I like the Tahitian Green and T-rex the most right now. I dunno why I gravitated toward green so much, haha. I think I might ask them to give me a custom, more blue-green color; maybe add some turquoise or deep blue to the green. Like a "mermaid's tail" sort of color.

The wrap will probably be the final thing I do with the car, once I get it all mechanically sound and get the interior done. The body isn't in that bad of shape so I won't feel embarrassed riding around in it while it's silver or anything. My Honda was black and had horrible sun damage/rust/what have you all over so I wrapped it like a month after I got it, just to ease the "ouch" factor when anyone saw it, lol.
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Old 03-16-2016, 10:50 PM   #4
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I like the black


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Old 03-18-2016, 09:12 AM   #5
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Okay, first question!

I replaced the stock head unit and door speakers in my Honda Accord without much difficulty despite not knowing much about audio wiring and setup. I just followed the instructions. I only did the front door speakers and head unit, though. I didn't add a sub or rear deck speakers because running wire and installing new hardware where there previously was none was a little out of my league, and honestly I don't need a bangin' sound system in my Honda.

Harlock has this head unit:


From the brand and horrible wood grain trim I assume this is not the stock unit. The car is a 1998 base model.

My questions are:

How difficult is it to replace the hu in this car? I've heard they're more complex than other cars because they came with a better sound system, but I have no idea what the stock system is.

Can I trust Crutchfield to give me the correct info on what audio parts are compatible with my car? Stereo, speakers, wiring harness etc.

Last edited by Harlock; 03-18-2016 at 09:14 AM.
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Old 03-18-2016, 10:22 AM   #6
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Pm ercmann on here. He is a car audio guy and can help you out. Swapping the hu out is not hard at all. They make an adapter that is really easy to work with, i think walmart even sells them.

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Old 03-18-2016, 10:25 AM   #7
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I basically would like to know if the system in this car is on the same skill level as in my Honda: remove old unit, match the colored wires, connect them, ground the black wire, put new unit in with dash kit. Or is there more to it than that? I'd like to know before I tear it all apart.
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Old 03-18-2016, 11:18 AM   #8
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Never done one on a honda before, but with the wiring kit i used, it was color to color.

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Old 03-18-2016, 04:49 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harlock View Post
Okay, first question!

I replaced the stock head unit and door speakers in my Honda Accord without much difficulty despite not knowing much about audio wiring and setup. I just followed the instructions. I only did the front door speakers and head unit, though. I didn't add a sub or rear deck speakers because running wire and installing new hardware where there previously was none was a little out of my league, and honestly I don't need a bangin' sound system in my Honda.

Harlock has this head unit:


From the brand and horrible wood grain trim I assume this is not the stock unit. The car is a 1998 base model.

My questions are:

How difficult is it to replace the hu in this car? I've heard they're more complex than other cars because they came with a better sound system, but I have no idea what the stock system is.

Can I trust Crutchfield to give me the correct info on what audio parts are compatible with my car? Stereo, speakers, wiring harness etc.
Yes, that Panasonic is an after market HU and not factory. Radio removal and install is really easy too. Just pull off (toward you) the radio bezel, by grabbing the top, above the vents, it just pops off. It will reveal 2 screws that mount the radio, in this case, Dash Kit. Remove the 2 screws and you will be able to just remove the radio, being careful of the wiring, this will reveal the wiring for the radio, fog light switch and SGS switch.
If you want, just let me know what you are looking for and I can get them for you. I can easily beat Crutchfield's prices by quite a bit, as long as it's the same brands I have, or can get.
Here's a link to my website:

ErcsAudio | Electronics | Arkansas

Quote:
Originally Posted by 94z28 View Post
Pm ercmann on here. He is a car audio guy and can help you out.
This

Quote:
Originally Posted by 94z28 View Post
Swapping the hu out is not hard at all. They make an adapter that is really easy to work with, i think walmart even sells them.

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Also This!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Harlock View Post
I basically would like to know if the system in this car is on the same skill level as in my Honda: remove old unit, match the colored wires, connect them, ground the black wire, put new unit in with dash kit. Or is there more to it than that? I'd like to know before I tear it all apart.
Yes, It is on the same level, Pretty easy. ................ especially since there is already an after market HU in it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by 94z28 View Post
Never done one on a honda before, but with the wiring kit i used, it was color to color.

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Yes, same matching of the colors.
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Old 03-18-2016, 04:50 PM   #10
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Thank you :3 I'll look into your site!
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Old 03-23-2016, 09:35 AM   #11
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Placed an order with ErcsAudio yesterday for a set of speakers, stereo HU and install items

Bit of an update:

Called the shop that Harlock is at and they fixed the exhaust rattle. Turns out the one hanger just got squished, they bent it back out and clamped it. No more rattle! They're also getting me a set of Hankook Ventus V2 tires, and mounting them on a set of OEM 5022 double spoke wheels that I am buying from them.


(for reference)

I talked to my dad yesterday, he ordered the oil sensor for me through the dealership, $20. They tried cleaning the original one at the shop and apparently the light stayed off for a few days, but then it came back on. So I'll just have it replaced.

I also had some more ideas about the exterior:



My car will have the same wheels as the '93 pace car, and I like the black and white look. Without the colored stripes and decals of course. Possibly another color other than white on the bottom.

These are the colors I like most:




Then a black for the top.


But for now, my next big project is the headliner and visors. Dad wants to try and recover them by hand before ordering a new one. I'm thinking if I go to a store like Hobby Lobby or something I'll be able to find some kind of fabric that matches the interior color close enough. I was thinking maybe like a faux leather or vinyl-type material.

I also have a guy who makes/sells different leathers that could hook me up with real stuff. I think he has some in gray, I'll have to check with him and get some measurements. I think he quoted me something like $25 for enough leather to recover both sun visors with enough left over to cover mistakes, haha.


(something like this)

Last edited by Harlock; 03-23-2016 at 02:42 PM.
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Old 03-23-2016, 09:23 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harlock View Post
Placed an order with ErcsAudio yesterday for a set of speakers, stereo HU and install items

Bit of an update:

Called the shop that Harlock is at and they fixed the exhaust rattle. Turns out the one hanger just got squished, they bent it back out and clamped it. No more rattle! They're also getting me a set of Hankook Ventus V2 tires, and mounting them on a set of OEM 5022 double spoke wheels that I am buying from them.


(for reference)

I talked to my dad yesterday, he ordered the oil sensor for me through the dealership, $20. They tried cleaning the original one at the shop and apparently the light stayed off for a few days, but then it came back on. So I'll just have it replaced.

I also had some more ideas about the exterior:



My car will have the same wheels as the '93 pace car, and I like the black and white look. Without the colored stripes and decals of course. Possibly another color other than white on the bottom.

These are the colors I like most:




Then a black for the top.


But for now, my next big project is the headliner and visors. Dad wants to try and recover them by hand before ordering a new one. I'm thinking if I go to a store like Hobby Lobby or something I'll be able to find some kind of fabric that matches the interior color close enough. I was thinking maybe like a faux leather or vinyl-type material.

I also have a guy who makes/sells different leathers that could hook me up with real stuff. I think he has some in gray, I'll have to check with him and get some measurements. I think he quoted me something like $25 for enough leather to recover both sun visors with enough left over to cover mistakes, haha.


(something like this)


Before you decide on paint; a big decision because it is (LOL), check out Street Sweets from PPG - new and really vibrant colors. Here's a few of them: and pics of what you end up with pleaseeeee:
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Old 03-24-2016, 07:57 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by AARPROCKER View Post
Before you decide on paint; a big decision because it is (LOL), check out Street Sweets from PPG - new and really vibrant colors. Here's a few of them: and pics of what you end up with pleaseeeee:
I'm actually doing a liquid wrap so unless those are compatible with "dip", I can't really use them lol. Most pigments made for liquid wraps can be used with automotive paint though!

KP Pigments
Didspade
Alpha Pigments
Dr. Pigment
DipYourCar (the original)

If I get my way I'll be having the wrap done by DipOne Coatings in NJ. I'm friends with the owner on Facebook and his shop is one of the best out there
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Old 03-24-2016, 10:28 AM   #14
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Had another idea.

-Do the two-color look, but with black and yellow or black and gray, and do a Batman theme for the car

-Black satin finish, with wolves on the sides in dark gray or gloss black vinyl decals

Something like this, without the ground underneath:

Last edited by Harlock; 03-24-2016 at 10:59 AM.
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Old 04-08-2016, 10:24 AM   #15
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Don't know why I haven't kept this thread updated! Well, time for a huge update. Pic for attention, haha:



I put in the new stereo:


Remember how I said the exhaust rattled, and that the garage I bought it at (not from, just where it was sitting at) said they'd fix it for me? I'll post a photo of the "fix" they did on my exhaust...My car is safe and sound in a real shop now. It's at a Chevy dealership that my father works for. My mechanic is Derek and he is apparently the lord of all F-bodies at that shop.



Like, what the H were they thinking?! They had my car for 3 weeks and did nothing to it but this BS. If they ever attempt to speak with me again they're going to get some choice words.

Wednesday's exciting garage escapades:

The oil was getting nasty and was NOT changed, which I made a note of before having it taken to this garage. They replaced the oil and replaced the oil sensor while they were in there. The transmission fluid was drained and refilled.

There was a C-clamp holding my exhaust manifold together. I have ordered a new one to replace it. The bolts holding it together were snapped off.


And, it turns out my car WAS supposed to have dual exhaust...so now it does. The awful rattling noise was my exhaust pipe hitting and rubbing against the frame of the car. This has been corrected and the part of the frame that was rubbed against has been cleaned and had undercoating sprayed on it.


In other news, the front right brake pad had the "squealers" BENT BACKWARD to keep them from making noise, as the bare-ass brake pad was being forced down onto the rotor. Not only that but the caliper pin was so rusted and lacking lubrication that the caliper tool they used on it broke.


The rear-most spark plug on the driver's side had not been changed while the other ones had, and the plug wire was TOUCHING the exhaust, apparently.

Thursday:

This could have ended up costing an arm and a leg to fix everything, paying full labor and parts rate (and if we weren't doing some of it ourselves!). And I haven't even found out the full extent of everything yet; today is round two of diagnosing and fixing. They're waiting for my exhaust manifold to come in as well.

Dad just sent me a photo of the new right front caliper on the resurfaced rotor. I had my front rotors resurfaced; they had a thin layer of rust and since the rotors still have good thickness I had them just shave 'em down a bit.

What I don't get is the other garage that had my car for 3 freaking weeks COULD have diagnosed all of this stuff and charged me out the wazoo for it. But they didn't...? I would have gotten this stuff fixed either way, which is why I'm not even mad about this, it's just laughably ridiculous.


Don't worry, hangers coming soon.

He's off the lift...look at them tail pipes! Also, that nasty throttle body.

Dad says "Wait till you see the job he (my mechanic) did on the plug wires, evap code was a bad wire end somebody tried to fix." It seems as if someone attempted at repairing one of the spark plug wires and was not too successful. It has been fixed properly this time around and is now running on all six cylinders!

Friday:

Getting a pinion seal, right rear axle bearing, seal and new shocks today. Front brake hoses on Monday. That should be it besides the wiring next weekend.
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Old 04-08-2016, 01:17 PM   #16
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BRAKEing news:

They were going in to do the pinion seal (rear axle differential pinion seal) today, and when they got up in there, they discovered that basically everything from the axle back is FUBAR and needs redone.

After discovering this, my father called the crappy garage that effed up my exhaust and told them "You will have a complete rear end for my daughter's car sitting outside your shop on Monday. I will give you $125 for it and not a penny more. You knew about this."

They admitted that the car had NO exhaust system on it when it first arrived to them, so they KNEW about all this trouble when they "rebuilt" it, which explains why the whole underside of the car is loose and out of place. They KNEW about the brake hoses being shot, that brake pad being tampered with, the right rear shock having no pressure to it, etc. because they inspected it. Any garage would have found the brake issues at the VERY least. But no. Neither I nor my dad was informed of any of these issues whatsoever.

Also found when looking at the brake system was that the master cylinder is done for. So that needs replaced too. He just told me he ordered a new one from the local parts store, so that's taken care of. He will bench bleed it and install it for me at home. He also says even with all of that I'm still under $1000 of my $2870 remaining budget, so things are pretty okay, considering all the BS they've been finding. The car actually runs and sounds good now, but all of this stuff does need done.

The rear stuff being shot explains why it's hard to shift out of park (not just a dry shifter cable like they previously thought)...and the worn out master cylinder and worn out hoses explains why the brakes were so tight - the cylinder wasn't letting pressure out and was keeping all four brakes pressed in. Which probably explains the bald brake pad on the right rear.

So, while they're messing with all of that, I'm going to get springs for on the back as well. Might as well! I may also order a custom gauge set since dad's buddy is going to be messing with the wiring harnesses in the front to get the gauge lights working. Might be easier to just have him install all new stuff than find the problem with the old ones, provided that's the problem. Apparently it is the problem because they had the harness out from under the steering column and there's just wires all over the place, some look like they were cut and some look like they've been ripped out.

So, basically, I'm repairing and replacing 17 years of neglect, abuse and hack jobs.

My poor car.

My poor wallet.

lol
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Old 04-08-2016, 02:05 PM   #17
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I cant believe that those are the fixes for the exhaust. Did the shop do the c-clamps, or the previous owner?

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02 firebird sunset orange metallic. v6, auto, slp lid, zzp tubing, port matched upper and lower intake manifolds.


98 z28 build thread.
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Old 04-08-2016, 02:07 PM   #18
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The claim they didn't know about the c-clamp. The car has had 11 owners including myself so any one of them could have done it, no idea how long it's been there.
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Old 04-11-2016, 10:51 AM   #19
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Thank you for positing those pictures. I had a good and much needed laugh this morning looking at the rig job on that exhaust.

Did your father or any friend go over the car before it was purchased? Even on their lift at that garage? I tell people to always get a car inspected/checked over before purchasing so you do not run into these kinds of situations. I have personally gone and looked at a lot of vehicles at other shops for friends and family before purchases were done. Saved a lot of headache and money that way...

I sure hope your going to be bringing those techs a sheet pizza or some BBQ for all the free labor that you are receiving.

I am also hoping you are getting your fingernails dirty too!
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Old 04-11-2016, 12:39 PM   #20
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The techs are getting paid, don't worry, haha. My father works at a Chevy dealership and since he is bringing the car in to have work done, he is billed less than the regular labor rate that customers get. He loves working there and he's friends with basically everyone, haha. But I'll probably still buy them a huge box of donuts or a gift certificate for a local place that has delivery. Dad occasionally brings the guys at our local A&A Auto Store a box of Dunkin Donuts because they take care of his needs whenever he calls.

I don't think I made it super clear about the circumstances of me buying this car, so I'll try to elaborate here.

My dad bought his '99 Z28 at a garage that was originally started by one of his family members way back when. It is now owned by someone else, but my dad is still friends with them and the guys that work there. I don't know if the car was owned by the garage or not but my dad bought it when it was being stored at that garage. They put a new exhaust on my dad's Z28.

After my dad purchased his, and I drove it, I really enjoyed it even though it was a little rough and still needed some work. Dad bought it as a project car, not as a pristine daily driver that didn't need any work. It does need work but he's doing it himself, besides having the exhaust installed which he can't do at home.

One day when we were out driving, he mentioned that there were four other 4th gen Camaros at this garage, and asked if I wanted to go up and see them. I did so we drove up there. I was just looking at them initially, wasn't really looking to buy another car right now. I did have the Camaro on my "wishlist" along with the Firebird and a couple other makes/models of similar cars.

The four 4th gens consisted of a black '95, a silver '97, a red '00 and my silver '98. All V6 engines I believe.

The black one had some stuff taken out of the interior and also had no interior power (nothing that had power, like the stereo, windows, locks, lights, gauges etc would power on). So those were out. The silver '97 had flat tires because it had been sitting for a while, and had scratches and more body damage than mine does; was owned by someone else who wanted too much for what it was, because "it's a 30th anniversary edition" even though it wasn't. It was just made in 1997 which was the 30th anniversary year for the Camaro. So I wasn't about to deal with someone like that. The red one was, at the very least, painted to look like a 35th anniversary edition. But you could clearly see that it had been repainted, and not well. So no for that one, too.

Which left my silver '98. Out of the four it was in the best condition, had been sitting for the least amount of time and seemed to run well when my dad test drove it (I was not present for that). It was inspected as well as had an emissions sticker. I found this out later, but before I bought the car - that the owner of the car was the garage owner's nephew who lived in Harrisburg. He had it for 6 months, didn't like the way it drove and wanted to sell it. The original starting price was $2500.

So over the next few weeks I went to look at it again with my dad. I drove it, and I knew because the exhaust wasn't secured that it made a banging noise in the back. It seemed to drive fine, maybe a little rough, but most of the road I drove it on was kinda bad and full of cracks and potholes. I didn't blame the car for it. The only thing I didn't like was the radio, the cracks in the dash, the headliner falling down. The shifter was a little hard to take out of park. Whatever, that stuff is fixable.

At this point I was pretty comfortable with buying a second car and this was at the top of my list. I also looked at a '94 that had been hit by a deer (the deer charged the driver's side and destroyed the driver's door, window and mirror), but the damage was too great for the price ($1200) so I passed on that. Wasn't worth all the broken glass, ruined body panels on the entire left side and the fact that it was a 3.4L kinda turned me off to it.

After speaking with one of the guys who worked there, who had installed the exhaust on my dad's car, for about a week, we agreed and worked the price down to $1700, plus a set of tires and wheels, and we also agreed that if I purchased the car he would fix the exhaust, which had a broken hanger and was rattling around. Simple enough fix, right? Especially for a guy who had done this before?

I did not get it on a lift, though I did ask the guy to do a pre-purchase inspection for me, which he never did (but didn't try to charge me for). I took his word that the car was in sound shape, because he told me (paraphrasing here) "Everything on this car is fine except that exhaust, which I can fix if/when someone buys it". The guy has been working on cars for years, has worked on Camaros, is my dad's friend, why would he lie to me, right? So I took his word.

So, I bought the car. Got all the legal stuff done. I informed the mechanic (the guy I mentioned in the above paragraph) and he said he'd get the exhaust done, and I could come pick it up once he got that and the tires/wheels delivered and installed. I figured, like, a week or so for him to get that done. He kept in touch with me on the tires and wheels. They had three of the wheels in storage and he said he'd pull a wheel off of the black '95 for the fourth one, since it wasn't going anywhere soon. I also asked him to look for a grille insert, the trim that goes around the driver's side door handle, some interior panel clips for the trunk plastic, etc.

Two weeks go by. Every time I talk to him there's an excuse to why it's not done or he didn't have time to do it. The tires had been delivered, but he made up some excuse as to why he couldn't jack that black car up, take the wheel off and put my new tire on it (something about needing a key?! Whatever). That took another 4 days before that got done. Somewhere in there the exhaust got fixed, too. Didn't do any of the other things I asked for.

FINALLY, I told him I was coming up to get it the weekend after. He said everything was good, "the car runs great, you're gonna love it, it rides so much nicer with those new wheels and tires". I went to pick it up with my dad. I was told the keys were in the center console and I could come get it whenever. No one was at the garage that day. I dropped my money off in the after-hours slot, I got in the car and upon startup it started VIBRATING to all holy hell. "Well, that's weird", I said to myself. Tried shifting out of park (it's an AT, just the gear selector shifter) and Jesus H Christ was it hard to move. The button WOULD NOT go down all the way. Finally I got it to though, and after that it moved freely on its own. It felt...weird when it shifted into drive. Took a good two seconds to shift, which was weird as well. Whatever, it's been sitting for 6 months, it's gonna drive rough for a while, right? Drove rough all the way home, any time I slowed down or came to a stop, the whole car RUMBLED in the most scary, angry way possible. I thought it was going to stall out or throw a piston through the hood, I had no idea what was going on. The exhaust wasn't banging around like before, though! Haha.

Get it down to town, stop at the gas station, go to shift the car out of park again, and AGAIN it's near impossible to shift. Yeesh. Probably just needs the shifter/parking cable greased up, I thought. We go to the car wash because this car sat outside all winter and needed a wash badly. HOLY CRAP was that car dirty. Dirt pouring out of every crease and crack in the body. It was actually kind of gross and I don't get grossed out easily.

After that was when I got on my belly and took a look under the rear of my new car, and saw that shitty exhaust "fix". I took a photo and showed it to my dad, and he was instantly outraged. He trusted this guy to fix his daughter's car! If I was in his position I would have been angry, too. But I'm the daughter in the situation, haha.

So, we take it home, back it onto the stands and my dad sees all kinds of hell going on under the car. He apologized for not personally going to the garage, having them put it on the lift and looking it over with the mechanic. In hindsight I wish he would have, but that wasn't his job, and I never asked him to, so it's not his fault at all. It's my fault for not having them do that. But who was I to not trust my dad's friend, who KNOWS Camaros and had worked on my dad's with no problems?

Dad gets under there and does everything he can to re-seat, tighten, bolt down everything that's loose under there, including a heat shield and the rig job exhaust hanger. It sounds way better after he does that, but the car still runs strangely and rides very rough. I fix up the interior with the things I ordered: dash pad, new stereo. Didn't put the speakers in yet because I didn't have enough time that weekend to do it at my parents' house. I live in a city and don't have anywhere to work on my car, so any work I do on it has to get done at mom and dad's, lol. Dad has his own little garage where he does engine work for sprint cars so it's a pretty good setup for a DIY'er.

I drive home expecting to come back up next weekend and have the guys at the dealership work on the car, and get parts/change fluids/do some stuff dad and I can't do at home (like fixing the exhaust), on Saturday, and hopefully that's all the mechanical work it needs. Well, boy was I wrong. I'm about an hour away from home when it finally gets too dark to not need headlights and gauge lights. In comes the panic when I can't get the lights to turn on. Like, real panic. It's dark and I can't see. I pull over and try changing fuses and stuff but I didn't figure it out until I stopped being an idiot and flicked the high beam control on the windshield wiper stalk. Fast forward to last week when I took it to the dealership and they found all the causes of my car's poor performance.

So...TL;DR: I trusted a mechanic at a garage that the car was fine before I bought it, and didn't look at it more closely like I should have, which is my fault I suppose. But I'm still kind of upset that the guy lied to me about problems he knew of and did shitty work on my car.

And you don't wanna see my fingernails; they're still recovering from installing the stereo and cleaning the interior of the car. I still have scabs on my knuckles too, haha. I think that's proof enough I ain't afraid to work on my own car. I've done lots of stuff on my Honda with Dad; last thing we did was plug wires and a new distributor cap/rotor, and cleaned the throttle body. My first time doing any of those.

Last edited by Harlock; 04-11-2016 at 12:47 PM.
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