Copyright 2011 Webmaster: terrypowers at yahoo dot com
Thinking back to my high school days I would love to have any one of several rides I've drove and parted with, don't you. In high school while working the summers I acquired my first car, a 1958 Chevy four door with a 348ci-V8 which was called a truck motor back then. Later I acquired a 1967 Pontiac GTO from a good friend of mine. After starting a family the Goat wasn't very practical for us and it was sold to pay other bills. Also had a 1970 GTO with a 400ci HO engine and a auto trans with a slap stick shifter, an old Chevy pickup with rap-around back windows, and so-on.
Well I realize those days are past and other priorities come into play. When this car happened into my path, I thought this would be my chance to play again.
Time, I know any extra time is hard to come by now days. I think everyone needs to make time to relax and do things you love. Take the time and get'er-done.
Body work and paint needed.
Front Seats and Ratchet Shifter:
Corbeau LG1 seats purchased from Autobahn Power in Wichita Kansas installed in the front. What a difference in comfort, you fit right into them. Will have the back seats re-covered to match when time and finances permit.
Changed out transmission shifter assembly with B&M's 80692 Megashifter.
Floor Pan and Hatchback carpet:
Installed new floor pan carpet and hatchback carpet with new "OER" black cut pile carpet and installed "OER" carpet sound deadener under it.
Got a little help cleaning the floor pan form Eric, Markos, and Ivan.
The headliner and most of the hardware was missing from the car when I acquired it. I purchased a ABS headliner form Classic Industries and had it covered by Steve of "Central Kansas Custom Upholstery" in Great Bend Kansas. Steve also covered my old sun visors, sail panels, and console lid.
Custom Dash panel, Radio pod, and Console.
Constructed a cover for console and installed a leather shifter boot from Lightning Auto Customs.
The original dash panel was very limited with only a fuel gage, speedometer, and idiot lights. That just wouldn't do, I need to know what my engine was doing. I started by measuring the area I was going to replace, thin I used CorelDraw to sketch out a layout, then I printed and cut it out to use as a pattern.
Next I replaced the factory connectors connecting to the original dash gauges with two set of connectors from Painless Performance Products, one set for the original wiring and one for added wiring such as speedometer and fuel gauge.
Then I mounted my Classic Auto Meter gauges and started the long process of wiring everything to the connectors.
With only about 4" of clearance between top of carb and closed hood, I constructed a air intake system using Spectre's low profile single aluminum plenum #98499, 4" aluminum 45 elbow, 4" straight tubing, two clamps, and a cone air filter element. Running it to the drivers side front corner of the engine bay. I'm constructing a air box to help isolate the element from the hot engine air.
Install new set MasterCraft Avenger G/T tires on the factory 14" alum wheels. And YES, I mounted them myself with the tools above and with a little elbow grease.
Deciding on which exhaust system to install is nerve-racking. What system is going to give you the sound you wont and with the least backpressure? Due to a tight budget and assuming a 2-1/2" cat-back system would handle my 350 exhaust flow, I installed a Dynomax Super Turbo Aluminized Steel Cat-Back Exhaust System #17493 from Summit. After running the engine I like the sound, it's got a modest sound level with a good tone.
Installed A/C condenser, radiator with new upper and lower hoses, trans cooling lines, new heater hoses and overflow tank. I needed a reverse rotation fan assembly, I installed a 17" flex fan with 2" alum spacer and then the fan enclosure assembly. Fill with coolant and checked for leaks. Everything ran ok but I didn't like the fan noise at low rpm's, after considering several options I went with a 17" reverse ration thermal fan clutch and fan from Flex-Lite (#5560 and 5917) which fit perfectly and run's great without the noise.
I decided to installed a single serpentine belt kit to avoid the old problems with v-belt slippage. Also I needed to come up with a A/C compressor and mounting hardware which my slave 305 engine didn't have. I went with GM's part number 12497698 kit. I'm pleased with the finished setup although several bolts and studs were identified wrong in the kit making it frustrating at times. At the end everything fit OK, I like the easy access to engine top-end without removing mounting brackets.
Installed Edelbrock Performer manifold, 650 Edelbrock carb, and filter. Since I just previously installed a new in-tank stock fuel pump, I plumbed in a Mallory fuel regulator with -6AN SS braded fuel lines, adjusted fuel pressure to 5 pounds. I wired in the stock fuel pump relay "coil" positive wire into ignition fused fuse on fuse panel, say that fast three times.
Installed 153 tooth Summit HD flex plate with new ARP bolts. Installed the 700R4 trans with new input/output seals. Re-installed stock drive shaft and kept stock 3.73 gears. Disassembled old motor mounts, cleaned and painted steel shell, then I installed new inserts. Also moved brake lines back and re-secure them to clear V8 motor mounts.
Install new front struts and change out coil springs due to extra weight of the V8 engine swap.
Ivan and Destiny going for a static ride in the shop.
Loaded up bird and took to car wash to clean engine compartment and trans tunnel.
Pulled out the four cylinder and trans.
Got some help form Shantel and Flat Stanley in the shop.
Rebuild or replace?
After weighing my options I decided to go with a GM first generation 350V8 with 4-bolt mains, a THM400R7 trans, a carb system, and keeping the 3.73 gears. Being on a tight budget I'm utilizing what I have to work with but, I won't skip on quality. This being my first major build project I'm keeping with what I know and have been around.
Four or eight cylinders?
The blue bird has a four cylinder engine with automatic transmission. It dose run but the four cylinder is weak and the block is a rebuild. Should-of-had-a-V8!
I purchase a V8 assembly with transmission and hardware to make the L4 to V8 swap from an associate, thanks Chad.
With the encouragement and help of my Better-Half, we got the engine pulled out of the donor car.
Notice the red iron, two necessary pieces of equipment I needed for this project. I invested in a ATD-7485 engine crane and a ATD-7480 engine stand from Santa Fe Auto & Truck, Larned, KS.
Speaking of drivable, I took a short trip to meet with my son in Hoisington and then on to Russell with my co-pilots Caleb and Taylor. The car made it back home in one piece and it gave me long list of bird-to-do items.
Acquired a 1985 Pontiac Firebird Sport Coupe from my daughter, the car is not in the best shape, but I figure this might be the last chance for me to build myself a Street Machine.
The car needs lots of work and TLC. The positive to me is that its drivable.
When I started this page I had a list of items that needed fixed on the car, sense then I have changed my outlook on this project. Rather than listing problems I would just fix them one at a time working towards the final goal.
Please scroll up to continue.
Shop Tune's: Classic Rock 95.7 the Kar.
ThirdGen.org - Online Third Generation F-Body (1982-1992) Camaro and Firebird technical resource!
The Garage Journal - A place to talk shop and tools.