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  • #16
    Also wanted to add that I had to change rear hatch lift shocks and I also tinted the side windows to 5%. I’m not tinting back window. I found a complete rear hatch that I’m gonna get. It has the high rear spoiler and it’s all together so I’ll get that and tint that one.

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    This guy must have a few of these cars and is stripping them because I ended up talking to him again when I called about this front bumper cover.

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    I worked out a deal with the guy for both parts. I’m not totally committed to transforming the front end to the newer style but making it a package deal, I know I can at least recoup the $250 for the bumper cover. Then I

    Came across some leather seats that are suppose to be decent shape. Wouldn’t you know it, same guy. We agreed on $700 for all this I gave him a $100 deposit and he verbally confirmed via email so I just have to make the ride to go get this stuff.
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    I almost had a nice WS-6 hood for $100 but I was 2 hrs too late. I’ll find one soon enough. I’m not swapping the front end until I do the engine swap because I need to make bumper supports anyway because the factory supports are too bulky and big to fit an intercooler in the front end.

    And then I found this local to me. I need these tail lights. I might go get them today.

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    • #17
      Been driving the Firebird on decent days and every time I drove it I had to top off the coolant. Seemed like it kept burping and didn’t want to purge the air out. Then I noticed it had another coolant leak from somewhere in the back of the engine. Figured it had to be the steam line off the back of the heads. The heat didn’t work so I started with that. I used compressed air to blow any crap out of heater core and I had to work at it and finally got that cleared out. So much stop leak was in there, I hate that stuff. I know this little steam line had got to be plugged too so I went in after it.

      Can’t get to the back of the engine so I decided it was in my best interest to remove the intake.









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      • #18
        The passenger side pass thru bolt came out and that’s when I noticed how plugged it was.

        Thought I had a pic of it but I guess I don’t. But here’s the steam line where that bango bolt passes thru.



        The drivers side was another story. It wouldn’t budge. I tried putting some heat in the head to get it to free up without any luck. The head finally rounded off and I started getting creative to get this thing out.



        My trusty extractor socket has never let me down. I’ve removed rounded exhaust manifold bolts along other stuff with this thing.



        It wouldn’t fit in there, it hit the damn firewall. So my fix was to dent the firewall in a little to gain clearance.





        I couldn’t get enough pressure on the socket to get it to grab the bolt. I tried a small pipe wrench, vise grips, and even some hog jaw pliers and nothing would work. That’s when I said screw it and pulled out the welder and welded a nut to the bolt head and was able to wrench it out.





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        • #19
          While I had the intake off I decided to go ahead and clean the throttle body and put some new gaskets in it. The throttle body has a coolant passage that supposedly is there to warm the intake air in cold weather. Don’t want it, don’t need it so I bypassed the coolant hoses and cleaned all the stop leak out of it. It was plugged solid, same as the steam line.



          I decided to ditch the EGR valve and hose while I was in this deep. No emissions anyhow. I was gonna make some block off plates for the intake and exhaust manifold. While removing the pipe from the manifold, the damn bolt broke off. I wasn’t about to pull the manifold. If I had done that I would have had to buy full length headers which would mean I would have to redo the exhaust and that would be throwing stupid money at an engine that I don’t plan on keeping anyway. So I found that a 3/8 NPT pipe tap would give me enough threads to just put a pipe plug in it. It’s way down in the back and it about killed me laying on top of the engine trying to tap the hole. The pipe tap I had was a starter tap and it bottomed out in the hole before giving me any good threads to install the plug. I had to get a different tap to give me the threads to install the plug. I put grease on the tap to catch the shavings and it worked.





          The back of the heads were a 1/4” NPT thread so I ordered some 1/4 to -6an fittings in a 90*. I also ran a tap in the holes and also had to chase the threads on the fittings with a die to get them to go in more than 3 threads.




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          • #20
            After getting the fittings installed I made up some -6an hoses and had to pick up a tee to attach one side to the other and then run that to the radiator so this thing would actually purge the air and do what it’s suppose to do.



            You know me, I had to blast the intake and give it a fresh coat of epoxy black paint.



            I also blasted the hardware and gave it a shot of cast aluminum engine paint cuz it’s what I had laying around.



            Installed the intake and put everything back together. 2mrw I’ll grab some antifreeze and refill it and hopefully I’ll be able to drive it for a couple more weeks before they start throwing salt. Then it’s time to pull the engine and start the good shit.




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            • #21
              Yeah, I know I’ve been slacking here lately. I’ve been lurking, checking in to see what you guys have been up to. I’ve been contemplating moving but I don’t think it’s gonna happen anytime soon. I think that I just get it stuck in my head once in a while that I’m not content with what I have or where I’m at so I scramble to make a change only to realize I need to slow my roll and not rush just because I have an urge. I think the biggest reality check was what I can get if I sold my house right now. Housing market is up, but not for us here in Illinois. This state is so bad that more people are leaving every year in record numbers. So my house may be worth X but I’ll only get Y for it so it’s not practical to make a sideways move. I might want to leave this state all together so going thru the move isn’t worth it right now. What I’m gonna have to do is make do with what I have, make a few improvements in the next few years while stashing some money and then decide if a move is right for the entire family rather than putting my wants first. Ok, I’m rambling. Let me get to the meat and potatoes here with what I’ve done with the Bird since I last posted.

              The car ran great for the time I drove it before the salt started flying. I started digging into the LS but decided to not spend the money on the engine until I know the car was ready to take the power I wanna put into it. There are a few details I needed to address before I pulled the engine and have another projection pieces. Little at a time so I can still drive it while I upgraded.

              Once the car was parked for the winter I started inspecting the body to get an idea of what I’m gonna have to do before it gets painted. I didn’t want to start sanding because winter is not the best time for a paint job and I’d rather wait til it’s running like I want and do the paint last. But I started looking at the imperfections the scratches and chips and decided to see if I could clean it up to buy me some time.

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              I picked up a touch up paint stick that has a fine point, a brush and some clear all in one.

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              I touched up a few spots and then I started wet sanding.

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              Started with 1000 grit, then 1200, 1500, 1800 and then added more paint and a light coat of clear.

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              • #22
                I stepped up to 2000, then went 2500 and finished off at 3000. I was starting to get nervous that I was gonna get thru the clear into the paint but I kept checking while sanding and it seemed like I was ok.

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                I then got out the polisher and used some Chemical Guys cutting compound and started to see the shine come back.

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                After I was happy with cutting it and couldn’t see any of the sanding scratches I moved into a polish. The polish did a great job and the door looked great. Made the rest of the car look like crap.

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                • #23
                  There were a few bad chips on the front fender as well so I did the same process to it. Sand, touch up, sand, clear, sand, sand, sand, cut and then polish.

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                  • #24
                    Turned out really well. I’ll have to work my way around the entire car. The passenger rear quarter has sun faded clear on it and I’m not sure if it’s gonna polish out. I’ll have to make a determination once I get into it.

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                    • #25
                      Back to the mechanical aspect of things. When I put the wheels and tires on I realized that the lugs only grabbed about 4-5 threads on the studs. I knew that wasn’t good so I ordered some ARP studs.

                      ​​​​​​​

                      Here you can see the difference in length. This is just what I needed.



                      Old studs came right out with a few trigger pulls from the air hammer. New studs, as you can see, I have to pull the axles.



                      Looks like I need to change the seals while I’m at it. So I ordered seals and bearings. Why not? Don’t plan on having this 10bolt in here much longer but I still want to do it right.




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                      • #26
                        So I pulled the cover and surprisingly the oil wasn’t too bad. Has the 3.42 gear set just as expected.



                        Pulled the pin retaining bolt and removed the pin. Pushed axle in and removed the c-clip.



                        Slid axle out and yanked the bearing and seal. Slide hammer and axle bearing puller made quick work of this



                        Installed new bearing using socket and hammer then drove in seal with seal driver.



                        Axle went back in and installed the new studs with a stud installer tool. This tool is a must for installing studs. Using washers and an old lug has mixed results. It can pull the threads when it’s just about seated. This has never failed me.




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                        • #27
                          Installed the c-clips and put pin back in. I always use some medium strength lock-tite on the pin retaining bolt. Cleaned the gasket surface and then washed and blasted the cover. I had to paint the cover and I even broke out the airbrush and painted “Formula V8” on it before spraying clear over it. You’ll never see it, but I had time while I was waiting on the seals and bearings from Yukon.



                          Since I was under the rear I figured I would start doing some upgrades. First I turned the car around and set it up on stands. Then I removed the tail lights and rear bumper cover. I’m gonna ditch the crash pad that’s behind the cover and bend up some pipe to support the cover.



                          I found some surface rust that I need to address. I’ll knock it down and slap on some POR before installing the bumper support bar.








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                          • #28
                            The rear suspension has served its purpose over the past 24 years but will not perform or even last for what I’m gonna do to this thing. I did a lot of research to find what parts from which manufacturer I wanna use. I ended up back on Spohn Performance website more than a few times due to the joints they use. Poly bushings were my first choice but the downside of polyurethane bushings is they prevent the necessary movement of the suspension's arms during body roll, which in turn produces significant binding in the suspension when the vehicle is cornering. The polyurethane bushings also place high stresses on the suspension arm mounts on the vehicle. Polyurethane bushed suspension arms do not allow for rotation of the arm during cornering because of the stiffness of the bushing. Spherical rod ends are strong and allow flex without binding but from what I’ve read they are noisy and are more suited for off road or track only. Direct quote from Spohn:
                            “The Spohn Performance Del-Sphere pivot joint solves the shortcomings of the factory rubber and aftermarket polyurethane bushings. Our Del-Sphere pivot joint incorporates a spherical ball which is surrounded by delrin bushing cups.

                            This combination allows the control arm to articulate like a spherical rod end (28 degrees of available rotation) during cornering but the spherical ball does not allow the bushing to deflect during acceleration. This provides for great straight line traction like polyurethane bushed control arms but remains completely bind free like a spherical rod end during cornering for predictable traction in the corners.

                            Think of the Del-Sphere pivot joint as a Delrin bushed spherical rod end. After over a year of R&D testing here at Spohn Performance on a streetable spherical joint the Del-Sphere pivot joint is the final result. Designed and manufactured exclusively by Spohn Performance, we have taken street suspension performance to the next level.

                            Our Del-Sphere pivot joint features a one piece forged and heat treated chrome moly housing, a heat treated and chrome plated chrome moly spherical ball, Delrin bushing cups, heat treated retainer washer and snap ring, heat treated and chrome plated chrome moly threaded adjuster ring, an external grease fitting and a beautiful silver zinc plated housing finish.

                            The Delrin bushing cups absorb shock and road noise so you get the quiet and smooth ride of a bushing as well as 28 degrees of rotation! Our Del-Sphere pivot joints will always ship to you fully assembled, however, we also offer an optional adjusting tool that will allow you to do two things.

                            First, you can disassemble the Del-Sphere pivot joint for cleaning, inspection, etc. Second, you can adjust the amount of friction on the spherical ball. Do you want a very low friction pivot joint or a very tight pivot joint? It's up to you, the amount of tension can be easily adjusted by using our adjustment tool to tighten or loosen the end retainer ring.

                            What that also means is if over time and miles the tolerances open up you can simply re-adjust the retainer ring and have your pivot joint as tight as it was the day it was brand new. We doubt you'll ever need to replace the Delrin bushing cups, but they certainly can be. Unlike a spherical rod end, the Del-Sphere pivot joint is 100% rebuildable.

                            Delrin is an acetal homopolymer made by DuPont. It is characterized as having an excellent combination of physical properties that make it suitable for numerous applications. With extremely low moisture absorption and a low coefficient of friction (self-lubricating), Delrin is uniquely tailored for wear applications in high humidity or moisture environments. Delrin will maintain constant physical properties under high moisture conditions and out-perform nylon or polyurethane under these conditions. Delrin has a 10,000 psi tensile strength and a 120 Rockwell Hardness rating making it ideal for our Del-Sphere application.”

                            To me it was a no brainer. Spend the money and get the best and don’t settle. And boy did that state of mind cost me! I ordered their tunnel mounted pro torque arm with built in driveshaft loop designed to hold but not limited to 1700hp, their chrome moly panhard bar and lower control arms all of which used the del-sphere ends, got their weld in subframe connectors and the 22mm sway bar. I could have gone with the 25mm but I feel I would want a little more flex so it doesn’t ride like a cement truck.



                            The rear of the torque arm uses spherical rod ends but the front is del-sphere. Look at the size of these rod ends! Massive for a car.



                            Comparison photo. The factory arm is hooked to the tail shaft of the trans sitting in a bushing while still allowing it to slide in and out slightly. It’s just a stamped steel piece.



                            All of these parts will still work when I replace the rear axle. I contacted Midwest Chassis and they are gonna build me a fabricated 9” axle with the GM bolt pattern for my rims. That will be later when I’m almost ready to install the engine. With a price tag of $3500 I can’t justify it right now with everything else that needs to be done first.




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                            Last edited by Snowbound; 03-26-2018, 09:05 AM.

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                            • #29
                              All of these parts will still work when I replace the rear axle. I contacted Midwest Chassis and they are gonna build me a fabricated 9” axle with the GM bolt pattern for my rims. That will be later when I’m almost ready to install the engine. With a price tag of $3500 I can’t justify it right now with everything else that needs to be done first.


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                              • #30
                                I pulled the driveshaft. These u-joints are original. I was going to purchase a replacement 3.5’’ aluminum shaft but I would have to run a conversion joint. I’d rather wait until the axle is ready. So I tore it down and wire wheeled it.



                                Gave it a coat of POR.



                                Bought some Spicer units.



                                These things were a bear. I can usually beat them out with a hammer and vise but these I had to heat to melt the plastic out of them and then use my ball joint press to remove.




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