Barn Find 1989 Chevrolet Corvette: Will It Run Again After 2 Decades? | Taza Khabre

Key findings

  • Dalton of YouTube channel Pole Barn Garage discovered a hidden treasure trove of classic vehicles, including an abandoned Chevrolet Corvette C4, a 1968 Oldsmobile Cutlass and a 1971 Pontiac Le Mans.
  • The Corvette had not been driven since 2002 and needed significant work to get it running again. Dalton decided to build a stripped-down Vettekart instead of restoring it to its original condition.
  • Dalton faced several challenges, including replacing a tuned port injection system with a carburetor, diagnosing starter problems and performing maintenance on a problematic transmission.
  • Despite these problems, he was eventually able to get the Corvette running and took it for a test drive after stripping it down to reduce weight.


It’s amazing what you can find in an old yard, and Dalton with Pole Shed Garage A YouTube channel has managed to come across a hidden treasure trove of classic equipment. He managed to find an abandoned one Chevrolet Corvette C4 as part of a package deal when buying a set of old cars.

It also included a 1968 Oldsmobile Cutlass and a 1971 Pontiac Le Mans. Dalton’s challenge was to ignite the Corvette for 20 years since it had been parked and left to rot, though it would prove to be more difficult than he first anticipated.

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A $500 Corvette C4 is planned for the “Vettekart” project.

Dalton opens the video by introducing barn find The Corvette in all its tired glory. He explained that he bought the car as part of a deal consisting of three found sheds, adding that he only paid $500 for the trio.

Since the Corvette was a 1989 model, it had a General Motors 350 ci L98 V8 engine that produced around 245 hp when new. This C4 came with a four-speed automatic transmission and covered 106,000 miles in its first 13 years on the road.

Having been on the road since 2002, Dalton noticed a few key issues with the vehicle. The plastic roof completely collapsed, the blue paint peeled off a lot, and a seemingly unique ecosystem began to develop in the interior.

There was also no steering wheel, and the fuel line was disconnected and left hanging under the car. He shared that he wasn’t going to restore the Chevrolet Corvette C4 to its original condition, but instead wanted to build a “Vettekart” anyway, so most of the car had to be scrapped.

The established port injection system has been replaced with old-school technology

With the Corvette unexpectedly refusing to start, Dalton’s first order of business to get it running again involved swapping the tuned port injection system for a carburetor. He wanted to make the change because he preferred a more mechanical carb over the electronically controlled TPI.

Removing the TPI parts proved more difficult than he had hoped, mainly because the engine compartment was tight. He had to cut off the end of the bolt that held the valve cover in place, but eventually removed it and removed the stock intake and distributor covers. After vacuuming the rest of the engine to get rid of any remaining debris, Dalton then treated the venerable Corvette C4’s V8 to some new parts he found in his backyard.

Installed new Corvette engine upgrade parts

  • New valve cover gasket
  • Replacing the thermostat and water nozzle
  • Longer radiator hose for new system
  • Holley 600 carburetor

After installing the new kit, Dalton plugged in a temporary replacement fuel tank rather than cleaning the old one to try to start the car. However, the Corvette refused to fire, so he had to go back to try to diagnose the problem.

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The Corvette V8 finally exploded into life after some coaxing

C4 Chevrolet Corvette engine
YouTube @ Pole Barn Garage

Judging that the fuel pump wasn’t the problem after hooking up the spare tank, Dalton figured the problem might be the Corvette’s starter motor. He needed to find the connection between the starter and the solenoid to restore power to it.

He eventually found it under the car, so he quickly attached a jumper so that the battery could be connected to the connection. His method seemed to work because the engine revved when he tried again, so he filled the tank with gas to see if the V8 would start.

It stuttered a few times, although it eventually started up and started for the first time in 21 years. Dalton noted that it was a little rough, so he tweaked the timing a bit to make things smoother. But there was still work to be done to get it running reliably as he noticed the water pump was leaking badly.

1989 Chevrolet Corvette C4 Specifications

characteristics

Transmission

350 ci V8, four-speed automatic transmission

Power/Torque

245 hp/340 lb-ft

0-60 mph

6.1 seconds

The highest speed

157 mph

weight

3223 pounds

Source (Chevrolet)

The Corvette moves, but only in one direction

C4 Corvette reversing on field
YouTube @ Pole Barn Garage

With the V8 now purring, albeit with a worse-than-ideal tone, Dalton moved on to see if the Corvette would move under its power. First, he pumped up vintage tires and installed a random steering wheel he found so he could steer it.

He found the easy-to-use automatic transmission to shift into drive mode and propel the vehicle forward, although he ran into problems when he tried to reverse. He tried several times to get the transmission into reverse but was unsuccessful.

After finding that there was enough transmission fluid and that the shifter was moving the lever enough, Dalton concluded that the solenoid had probably gone when the car was moving forward by simply putting it in gear without the throttle. He decided to drive the Corvette to his workshop, where he would then perform a transmission service to see if he could breathe life into the tired unit.

The old automatic transmission remained in terrible conditionC4 Corvette transmission in the workshop

Dalton put the underrated C4 Corvette on a few stands so it could get some much-needed maintenance done on its troubled transmission. He quickly noticed that there was only one catalytic converter left in the car, as one had been stolen and the other had been almost completely cut open.

Fixed Corvette transmission issue

  • After removing the transmission oil pan, he discovered that the transmission fluid was in poor condition, although fortunately there wasn’t much metal hidden underneath.
  • He then cleaned it thoroughly and replaced the filter which was completely blocked and one of the worst he had ever seen.
  • After completing the service, Dalton was eager to test the transmission. To his delight, he found that reverse now worked, so he took the car out of the workshop and took it for a test drive.

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Before going out on the open road, he had to weld the telescopic part of the steering column, because it kept falling off together with the wheel. After quickly fixing the problem, as well as replacing the leaking water pump, he got the Corvette back on the road for the first time in two decades.

The Corvette is stripped down, ready to run on the open road

C4 Chevrolet Corvette Stripped in the workshop
YouTube @ Pole Barn Garage

Dalton found that the engine and transmission worked quite well, although the Corvette suffered from a distinct lack of traction due to worn tires. To try to improve this, Dalton returned to the workshop to take the weight off the car.

He removed most of the body panels, the remnants of the roof and all the necessary interior trim to transform the car into the “Vettekart” he envisioned at the beginning of the video. His second trip almost ended in disaster after he encountered a battery problem that nearly left him and his son stranded in the countryside when the sky turned dark.

Fortunately, Dalton was able to quickly correct the situation and steer the car safely back to his yard. He ended the video by promising that he will soon work more on the Vettekart to ensure it is reliable and fast.

While many Corvette fans may be disappointed that the sports car hasn’t been restored to its former glory, it will be interesting to see what Dalton can cook up once his project is finished. However it ends up, it’s hard to imagine a better way to have fun for just $500.

Sources: YouTube @ Pole Barn Garage, Car Catalog,

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