The smoking wheel... Parking brake stuck partially engaged!

The Corvette gods just didn't seem to want to let me have a working Corvette. After all the headache to get the corvette back, the better part of sorted, inspected, and registered... I drive home and smoke is billowing out of the right rear wheel. Awesome, I now can't risk the Corvette for fear of it catching on fire, or a wheel seizing or something else exciting.

Stressed and angry, I stomped around for a bit pissed that all my tools were on the other side of the country. I then remembered I had all of my fathers Craftsman tools I'd put aside to bring back with me, and what I believed to be enough tools to get the job done. Fuck, yes. I was going to tackle this!

First thing first was to remove the silly spare tire. There weren't even tools in the car to change the tires out, so there wasn't much sense in having a spare tire now was there? I pulled it, stashed it aside, and removed the entire assembly. 50lbs or so of weight gone off the rear of the car, and a cleaner space in which to work. I jacked the car up and tossed it on stands.

I removed the right rear tire, not sure what to expect. The entire area was quite gross, obviously not having seen the light of day for a decade or two. I took some break cleaner in there, broke through the grit, and then pulled the caliper off. I gave the pistons all a good squezze, and they moved one. Caliper issues, eliminated. Plus the rotor looked fine.

I removed the rotor, and noticed there was some scoring on the inside and noticable buildup around the rotor. This appeared to be my culprit! Checking the emergency brake shoes (they apply to the inside of the rotor) they were adjusted way the heck out, and the mechanism had a spring on it in a fashion I just couldn't comprehend. I adjusted the parking brake all the way in to ensure it wouldn't apply anymore, and then began to piece it all back together.

This is where things started to go wrong.

As I'm changing the brake pads out on the other wheel (I figured I'd replace them so as not to have to worry) I went to remove the caliper, and noticed one of the bolts was stripped. Apparantly this is common on C3 corvettes and upgrading to grade 8 steel bolts is recommended. In the mean time, no removing that caliper! I snuck the pads in after an hour of headache worthy struggle (C3 pistons have springs pushing them out, making the task a serious headache). I mounted up the wheel, and then went to check the original side that was an issue.

There was a puddle of brake fluid.

I removed the wheel, hoping to find that I'd just done something silly like forgot to tighten a bleeder valve. Unfortunately, I'd done a great job and the real issue was from brake fluid weeping past the pistons. I called it a night as it was approaching midnight, and no shops were open.

The next morning I drove to Oreilly auto parts and picked up one BreakBest 18-7019 caliper. It had stainless steel sleeves, was the same going price as any other budget remanufactured caliper, and seemed to do the trick.

I drove home, changed out the caliper, bled the brakes... and all was well. I spent the next three or four hours doing some detailing. I washed the soft top as it was trashed from decades of sitting and mildewing. Amazingly the cleaner and sealant I purchased brought the soft top back to life, to the point it looks brand new and has an amazing luster to it.

Next up, I washed the car, dried it, and then waxed it. The car looked stunning. I got some high quality glass cleaner and cleaned the windows and mirrors thoroughly. I thin used a nice interior cleaner and really brought the car out to the best presentation I could manage. The car was looking great.

With the car sorted tolerably mechanically, I took a nice drive down the backroads of New Hampshire with my mother. We visited places where I'd been raised, where my mother had spent time with my father, and places where our family had all shared time together. She enjoyed it immensely, and I was happy to have my fathers Corvette sorted enough to drive.