Pro tip: Check all the fluids when the car has been sitting for 23+ years….

Well,  I learned a good lesson this weekend in patience and common sense.  Friday night I went out an picked up a master cylinder bleed kit, a brake bleed kit and some Dot 3 brake fluid from my favorite place AutoZone.   My plans were to bleed the brakes on Saturday.  I woke up and started pulling the air filter to replace it.  I opened the new one I purchased and much to my surprise, it was not the correct filter even though it stated it was a fit for a 1971 C3 454.  Fail.

I then moved on to the master cylinder.  I pulled the top off and was surprised to see it was bone dry.  I filled both chambers, closed the lid back up and secretly hoped that it would solve my brake pedal issue.  I climbed in the car and started it up.  As I listened to the engine rev very high, I punched the gas a bit to settle it down… no luck.  I turned the car off and then fired it back up.  I am not sure what happened but the idle settled in to a normal cadence and the car sounded pretty good.

As I was enjoying the sound and playing back the master cylinder issue, it wondered what other fluids maybe low.  I turned the car off and let it cool a bit.  I popped the radiator cap and sure enough, it appeared to be dry.  This isn’t good I was thinking, I need to put coolant in.  Before doing so, I started to squeeze the upper and lower radiator hoses.  The upper felt a bit soft but not terrible.  The lower hose on the other hand, felt like there were rocks in it.  I could feel things in the hose as I squeezed it.  I am not a mechanic but even I know that isn’t good.

I mulled over what was happening, took a look under the car to see how to get to the hoses and determined I could handle it.  I then retreated inside and headed over to Zip-Corvette to order new reproduction hoses and brackets.  The order is currently in process and I am hoping to get the hoses by the weekend.

Next steps:

  • Change the upper and lower radiator hoses
  • Add engine coolant
  • Bleed the master cylinder
  • Bleed the brakes
I am still a bit concerned that the transmission fluid may be an issue and I still do not have a reading on my oil pressure or the temp gauge.  I do feel hopeful that once I bleed the brakes and master cylinder that I will at least the brake pedal working and with engine coolant in the car, I can at least try to back it out.  If I can get that far, it will be time to get it registered.  Stay tuned for more adventures of a completely novice car guy!

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