Doing the dirty deed

Our race team is continuing to make progress on the Chevette/T1000 endurance racecar.
We tackled one of the more undesirable tasks this weekend, gutting the interior. In this car’s case, the interior is pretty trashed after sitting for many years with the windows up. It’s basically turned the interior into a petri dish for mold, bacteria, and other nasty stuff. The best part about this job is that we will both be removing all of the disease-riddled interior and taking another step towards racecar status.

Click the link below to see how the transformation.

Glass removal on the car was the first job and ended up being pretty straightforward. GM didn’t waste any money on fancy glue or adhesives for this economy car, the windows were just press fit with the glass wedged between the molding and the chassis. It was actually a nice break from other glass removal we’ve done for racecar preparation, as we didn’t break a single pane of glass.

The door panel removal was similarly routine as there actually wasn’t much of a door panel to speak of. A few screws, fasteners, and retainers and the panel was out. The plan is to further gut the door itself for roll cage clearance on the driver side with a side benefit of weight removal.

The next job ended up being the hardest of the interior removal. Seats are understandably a large safety feature of the car as they are what attach you to the vehicle. Safety requires that you bounce around the interior as little as possible, so the mounting of the seats is usually pretty substantial. These mounts are usually not in very good shape after long periods of time and resist attempts at removal quite well. This car was no different. The driver seat didn’t put up much of a fight but the passenger seat was another story. The floor pan is so narrow that GM had to put the inner seat rail on the transmission tunnel. This lessened the clearance between the mounting bolt for the car and the mounting bolt to the seat mount to something best measured in nanometers. I attempted to wrangle a wrench in this space, realized it was a futile effort and grabbed a sawzall. I’m guessing power tools will be the solution to many, many problems on this car.

The detritus from the interior was starting to pile up nicely.

Once the seats were out of the picture, the true nature of the carpet was revealed. It was not a sight for those of weak constitutions. Luckily this carpet’s destiny was the dumpster.

Removal was a quick, if not revolting process.

The carpet removal exposed a common problem that Chevettes have, rotted floor pans. Our car is surprisingly limited in it’s rust content in other areas, it either must have spent relatively little time on Minnesota’s salty winter roads or never experienced them and just accumulated rust while it sat neglected. Repairing these floors shouldn’t prove too difficult, as our previous racecar had similar issues that weren’t too hard to solve.

The next step in stripping the car was the headliner. I was not excited in any way, shape, or form for this part. I had noticed earlier when removing the spare tire that the headliner had served as a residence to someone. A rodent to be exact. A rodent who had shit all over the place. The only thing saving me from a shit shower was a thin piece of fabric and presumably rotted press board. I removed all the fasteners for the headliner, grabbed a long prybar and tore it down while trying to breathe as little as possible. After the dust settled, I wrestled the liner remnants out of the car and promptly cleansed it in fire.

Once I had a semi clean working environment, I set to work on dismantling the dash. Continuing with the economy theme, there wasn’t much substance to the dash. There were only a couple distinct pieces and the emissions control computer and associated wiring. A few bolts and screws were are all that held those pieces to the chassis, with only minor prying with a screwdriver and bashing with a hammer needed to facilitate removal. The dash bracing that was exposed will most likely be deleted to make way for a dash bar for the roll cage, though it will temporarily remain to hold the steering column in place.

Once the dash was gone, most remnants of the car’s street traveling heritage were gone laying the groundwork for its transformation into a racecar.

5 thoughts on “Doing the dirty deed”

  1. OMG vomit inducing. Let’s hope your tetanus shots are up to date.

    Oh and I’m pretty sure that “shit shower” has never been written on Jalopnik. Kudos.

  2. What is the trick to removing the back seat back? My chevette is in the same moldy condition, and I’ve pried on the black rubberized ‘stops’ on the seat back without success..

  3. After pulling and prying, found it is an 11mm bolt on the passenger side near the hinge. pull away the fabric and it couldn’t be easier to get out.. hopefully this will help out someone else in the future..

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