Race-Track.com Renegade Buildup

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 Installment Number one: Car inspection - what to look for.

 The engine should be removed first of all.
Your prize is at your shop or garage. The first thing you do is remove the motor and transmission. These items will be sent to the re-builders if you are not going to do them yourself. If you are not proficient at race engine building I suggest you find a source for doing the job. You could ask your local race track management who they might recommend. 
After you have pulled the motor you should inspect the old motor mounts for excessive wear. Telltale oil and engine liquids can be found during inspection. They could tell you something about your cars' history. Another place to check, even though you will make changes here, is around the upper control arms. Look for bushing wear and of course anything bent. The brakes will tell you a lot about the cars past experiences. Are the lines original? If so the car most likely has not seen a lot of bad weather. Check the brake lines for leaks and look for rusty clamps and hangers.
After inspection of the engine compartment has been completed you can take a look at the body and chassis. The interior should be removed prior to this inspection. Get the seats, carpet, wiring, interior plastic and trim out of the passenger compartment. Remove everything !! You should have nothing in your way except the floor boards, door pillars and running boards. Check these areas for rust and damage from a possible wreck or repair work. Surface rust will be common and you can simply scrape it off to get more information about how bad it has affected your body. On early mid-sized GM units there will be marked rust at the points I note in the illustration. If the rust damage is serious you may have more problems deeper down under. because we are going to take the entire body off our racer we want to be sure that rust is not a problem in these areas. Rust buildup will show up as a mound or 
clump at the points noted. The body mounts will push up through the body if the mounts have become so bad that they are out of the frame rails. They will build up a rust "clump" where they have come in contact with the body. If the rust is serious the body will have to be repaired prior to setting it back onto the chassis. Your frame will have to be repaired, as well.

You can be fairly confident that if little or no rust appears along these areas that the frame rails should be in good condition. Look for rust "clumps" or buildup around the body mount regions.
The best part of tearing out the interior is the secrets that have been forgotten and left behind for you to discover. Here some change ($1.05) that was found. The condition of the money and the screws can give you a lot of information about the car. This car was lucky, they found the original build order and even the original purchase order. The car was delivered to a dealer in South Carolina. We suspect that the car came North in mid 1998, when it was titled in PA. The motor must have been the cause of it's final demise. No one person could have possibly known of the actual condition of this car without tearing it apart. The body had the most awful repaint I have seen in a long time. The original color was painted over without any top coat of primer. The roof line
was rusted badly (surface) at the vinyl top moldings.
A very important aspect of your inspection is to look at the body to frame position. The body should not touch the frame at any point along the rails from front to back. You should be able to slide your fingers along the frame and only contact the rubber mounts that separate the body from the frame itself. This inspection will also reveal any areas where frame work has been done. Many of these cars had rear horn repairs made just behind the axle trailing arms. These areas could cause problems later and will require extensive repair if you want the car to be square and handle correctly. Note the hardware (heads of screws) at the side body panel on this Landau. These screws came undone with little or no force and that is the best sign that the car is in good (low rust) condition.    

   Next Time.. we remove the DASH BOARD and prepare to setup the steering and brake pedals.
Disclaimer: The article here was written as reference for novice builders of the RENEGADE division racer only. 
No guarantee of success is implied. Racing can be a dangerous sport and safety must be the number one priority of any builder.

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© 2002

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