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Thread: Project Chupacabra KP61

  1. #1

    Project Chupacabra KP61

    Nov 7, 2006

    The Chupacabra is an 82 Starlet, complete with floor pan rust and half assed body work. Normally, those things would have made this car destined for the scrapyard but the engine is absolutely the cleanest engine I've ever seen. No leaks any where, no smoke, no grime.

    I've already stripped and primed that rear quarter. The body needs a lot of work's a small car.

    Changed the fuel filter. Seemed like a good thing to do since there was a new one sitting on the back seat.

    I tried to remedy my flashing battery light by cutting out a corroded and burnt up connector and splicing in a new connection. No good. Still have to track that down.

    A pair of stock front springs are on the way.

    Bought new belts to install.

    I managed to use my Yahoo Japan skillz and bought a set of mint interior vents for a whole $5.00.

    Planning the interior work has been fun. The door panels are simple flat pieces so I can just make my own.

    I'll be needing a new driver's side seat belt as the current one is in sad sad shape.

    Nov 10

    Haven't had any time to work on Chuppy but parts are trickling in. The front springs arrived and I got some new front seats. A 32/36 carb is on the way.

    Nov 11

    Powder coated the license plate lights today.



  2. #2
    Today I pulled out the entire dash in order to fix the climate controls which weren't controlling much of anything. Happily, once the dash was out, I found the solution was simple:

    The pivot pin had fallen I used a long bolt and nut. I now have heat where is should be and all of the controls work--expect for the A/C switch which I'm still working on.

    Since the dash is out I might as well go ahead and refinish it. Some before pics highlighting the bad areas that will get repainted:

    This is the worst area. Since it is a soft material and cracked, I can't simply repaint it. So, I'll use a carbon fiber laminate from Alsa Corp to cover it.

    I also steam cleaned the carpet-no more dead animal smells and I can reuse the carpet instead of trashing it.

    Carb came in today. Now I just need an electirc choke, filter, and adapter plate.

    Dash repair done. I decided against the CF laminate--this turned out better and was free.

    Rest of the dash was prepared and refinished:

    New center vents also arrived:

  3. #3
    The Chupacabra is progressing slowly. I found a set of stock rear springs, a mint head liner, and black sun visors that are on their way.

    The exhaust parts are also on the way. From the manifold it'll be a 2" resonator to 2" piping to a Walker 2" inlet and outlet muffler. Should keep the car plenty quiet while not sacrificing power. Stock exhaust is 1.5" piping.

    Fender mirrors are also on the way.

    TulsaTurbo and I also went out to a junkyard and just happened to show up on half off everything day--this is what I came back with:

    14x7" will require flares but they're the required old school flavor and were only $64.

    Pulled the stock shift lever, stripped it and powdercoated it:

    Finally, some pics of the floorboard rust I'm working on eliminating:

    I decided to take advantage of the warm weather and get as much painting done as I could. The interior of a KP61, like many older cars, features exposed metal usually painted to match the car's exterior color. Mine was about five different colors, bondo filled, and chipped like crazy.

    So, I stripped ALL of the jambs and interior metal sufaces and repainted them black. The floor and trunk, after being stripped of rust, got a coating of Krylon Anti Rust primer and paint, followed by three coats of 3M rubber undercoating, and then topped with DupliColor black.

    Everything else got sanded smooth and painted with Duplicolor self-etching primer and top coated with Duplicolor black.

    The rusted out foot wells are still present but slowly getting patched. The driver's side is just about done. They'll get painted using the same methods as the trunk but will also receive seam sealer top and bottom.

    Since I had to take the rear side windows and hatch off, I went ahead and tinted the glass--and of course, added the most important piece to any project....see below. Camera's batteries died so I couldn't get pics of all of the jambs.

  4. #4
    Began replacing the springs today. I had thought the rear shocks would be blown and the front struts would be okay. So, I bought rear shocks. Of course, the rear shocks were fine and the front struts were struts should be on by the end of the week.

    I did get the rear springs and shocks changed. Here's a pic of how not to cut a spring...stock KP61 spring on left, modified on right:

    The ice storm has kept me from working on Chuppy but I did manage to get some things done before it got too cold.

    All four OEM springs are in with new shocks. I removed the b-pipe and catalytic converter to start work on the new exhaust. It'll be 2" from the b-pipe to a resonator then to the muffler.

    Examining the cat I found it to be utterly useless--previous owner had completely gutted it. No wonder the damn thing is so loud and smelly.

    In the name of recycling, I cut the flanges off of the old cat and found them to be the perfect size for the resonator. Welded 'em and powder coated them with high temp powder.

    Here you can see the b-pipe and resonator together:

    I have all of the parts to install my Holley carb. Yes, the adapter plate is already here from Australia. The old hot water choke that came on the Holley has been ditched for an electric setup:

    I also got one of these on sale today: ... mber=93252

    I have it running now as I'm typing--which is the whole idea. Let the tumbler clean the bolts while I do something else. We'll see how well it cleans rusty exhaust studs.

    Minor progress today. I went ahead and stripped, cleaned, and coated the heat shields and b-pipe:

    I installed them with the resonator. The resonator made a nice difference in the car's exhaust tone. Much deeper and smoother.

    I also figured out why the reverse lights were not working. The previous owner had cut the wires and tucked them up behind the bellhousing. Why cut the wires when there is a simple connector at the reverse light switch?

    So, I had to run new wires and a new connector. Bam! Reverse lights work.

    Also found a ground wire that had been ripped apart. Replaced it too.

    Fender mirrors are on--pics soon.

  5. #5
    Floor boards are done. It 's a lot harder getting flat sheet metal to fit a floorpan than it looks.



    Sorry about the dirty paint. I was in and out of the car.

    I've been finding that Chuppy draws quite a bit of attention. While finishing up the floorpan today I noticed a Police car stop in front of the driveway. I quickly began thinking of what I might have done to piss off the neighbors--nothing came to mind.

    The Police Officer got out and approached Chuppy and said "Is this the one I saw on Grassroots Motorsports?"

    Confused for a second I replied "Uhhhhh, I don't think so--well, yeah, I guess it would have to be."

    He says "Yeah yeah, this is it. I recognize the sticker. I checked out the sites. Keep up the good work!"

    He also mentioned he was planning on building a Challenge car. Cool dude. Forgot to invite him out to our meeting at Wings To Go. Maybe he'll see this and drop on by! ... readid=375

    So, all that's left and keeping me from driving Chuppy is mechincal stuff. I'll be replacing the brake lines and a rear wheel cylinder this week as well as removing the heater core and finding a minute leak. Then, the interior will go back inside. I'll address the alternator, belts, and final exhaust work. After that, it'll be a rolling restoration.

  6. #6
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Welcome to the forums - the car looks great! Excellent work there... Another great rescue! Keep up the terrific work and us updated. What kind of steering wheel is that?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Baltimore, MD
    Great lookin parts. I hope too see more in the future.

  8. #8
    Well, the Holley has been installed. I pulled off all of the intake and exhaust--coated both the intake and exhaust manifold in hi-temp silver powder. I also gave the intake manifold a wee bit of a port job.

    Next, I installed the Holley and much to my dismay found that the choke hit the brake MC. No problem, flip it around, right? Flipping it around was good but the throttle linkage then rotated the wrong way. So, I had to make a new cable bracket and use a little ingenuity to get it to work.

    And work it does! Starts up well and idles great. The only problem is a little bogging when I stop abruptly. Not sure what the deal with that is--I'm new to carbs. Sure goes though.

    You'll also notice that the seats are in and there's some bling! bling! in the engine bay.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Thanks for the update! That valve cover looks great! Keep up the good work :tu:

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Palmerston North, New Zealand
    She's looking good chief! Great progress!

    As an aside, I had problems with my 4K-U bogging on quick stops, found I had an air leaks between the inlet manifold and head, so possibly check that? I have aftermarket headers so they weren't quite the right thickness on the flange to match the inlet manifold one... which caused the leak

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