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Corvair for the Not So Mechanically Inclined

Updated on May 12, 2009

A Book for Corvair Dummies

Odds are that if you are 40 yrs or younger, you know little or nothing about the Chevrolet Corvair car, the first and only American air-cooled engine car produced from 1960-69. They have become a "poor man's" collector car. "Poor man" because one can easily still find them in various conditions on Ebay, Craigslist or local markets from $500-$5000.

Unlike all other American collector cars, this car's heritage is more associated with the German Porsche and VW air cooled engine, which Chevy more or less modeled their engine from. But, the engines and car's are not similiar enough to where one can transfer knowledge between them.

Many books exist on this unique car, the GM manuals for it can be found, there are a few How-To books on it from renowned Corvair owers BUT all have been written from the experienced mechanic point of view. The reader is presumed to know certain fundamentals about engines and Corvairs. They are not really beginner types of books. Thus, certain procedures glossed over lacking the detail a beginner mechanic or Corvair owner needs. They all help, however.

Corvair for the Not So Mechanically Inclined, which can be purchased on Ebay or from Lulu.com, fills this badly needed void. The 70+ pages of content will provide provide several key step-by-step procedures that are a must for any new Corvair owner, such as, replacing the O-rings, Push rod tube removal, adjusting carbs and synchronizing air flow, adjusting valves. There are many other important items covered and how to repair or troubleshoot associated issues like automatic transmission issues (powerglide), convertible tops, weather plates, fuel senders, radio repair, windshield wipe motors, carburetor removal and rebuilding, oil cooler,various specifications for tuneup and really many other things you may have to deal with when restoring your car.

For me, had this book been available when I bought mine, it would have saved me so many questions and prevented many costly errors (and my car was in very good condition). It taught me how to be my own Corvair mechanic. Mind you, I had bought all GM manuals and other How-To books, yet there remained unclear areas and questions that only a newbie would ask. Silly simply questions that might be obvious to others. For one, I had no idea where the oil cooler was, had no clue about valve adjusting, did not even know what the "weather plate" was or where it was located and why it is important. I knew nada about carbs or how to rebuild them or the critical issue of how to install the push rod tubes correctly.

So, if you are a new Corvair owner with limited knowledge about the car (even if you know V8 engines) it is a very good book. It is not the only one you need BUT it will clarify your own knowledge of this car and how to fix it to a nice restored condition. This book and others will allow you to be your own Corvair specialist and save hours of headaches and tons of money. For instance, if you hire another (assuming you can find another experienced with Corvair engines) to replace the O-rings so the car stops leaking oil, it will cost you a minimum of $600 in labor. The parts themselves are not more than $20!

Like any book, it is not the answer to all. Not the Bible for Corvairs. It is a great "primer" and addresses many other issues others do not cover. A worthy investment and addition!

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    • daveyboy1957 profile image

      David W. Braddock 

      5 years ago from Lake Villa, Illinois

      the only rear engine mass produced American Car possibly but there are 40+ Tucker autos running around and they were built long before the Chevy Corvair.

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