1981 Pontiac Trans Am

Any questions or suggestions regarding restorations
Picard
Posts: 138
Joined: Mon 26 Sep 2011, 10:12

Re: 1981 Pontiac Trans Am

Post by Picard » Fri 12 Aug 2016, 10:21

I test fitted the dash. Need to still hook up all the wiring. So far everything is sorted. Got the two harnesses working together. The car starts and idles and lights etc all work. The only issue we’ve picked up is the indicators seem to indicate slower with the headlights on than with them off. We’ll figure this out though.
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I have a hole in my bonnet :D Need to make up some contraption here still to hold the shaker hood. Lots of guys end up welding it to the bonnet, but I’d like to make it as it was intended.
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This is how she’s looking at the moment.
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Planning to bleed the brakes this weekend and get her out the garage so that we can run the motor up to operating temperature and make sure the fans all kick in when necessary and see what errors we pick up. Fluids have all been topped up. At the same time, a quick wash to get all the dust off. I feel sorry for the neighbours as that V8 with only headers is extremely loud, but sooooo nice :drool:

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pietpetoors
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Location: Langebaan
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Re: 1981 Pontiac Trans Am

Post by pietpetoors » Fri 12 Aug 2016, 20:50

Looks awesome. Where did you buy the new airvents? Did you also buy new windscreen and rear screen rubbers?
Only Dead Fish Go With The Flow!

Picard
Posts: 138
Joined: Mon 26 Sep 2011, 10:12

Re: 1981 Pontiac Trans Am

Post by Picard » Fri 12 Aug 2016, 23:36

pietpetoors wrote:Looks awesome. Where did you buy the new airvents? Did you also buy new windscreen and rear screen rubbers?
Thanks.
The grilles I had to import. Think I got them from fbodywarehouse or summit. My glass is all in good shape and packed safely away. I powder coated the trim around the glass an will try mount it all when I have the glass installed,

Picard
Posts: 138
Joined: Mon 26 Sep 2011, 10:12

Re: 1981 Pontiac Trans Am

Post by Picard » Sat 08 Oct 2016, 21:30

Been a bit slack getting to the workshop. After getting the Trans Am fired up I noticed a bit of anti freeze on the garage floor. As luck would have it a dam seal on the radiator must have let go, so I had to get it all out and sent in to Silverton. It was a bit of a mission as the transmission cooler, aircon radiator and fan shroud are all connected up to it. So to get it out and split apart was a real pain in the butt. Not really a great pic but got back the radiator all painted black, instead of the aluminium colour it was before.
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Decided to sort out the T Tops. Stripped the original seals off and they've been replaced. At the same time, I mixed up some paint I had from Barry, sanded and primed the tops and painted them up nicely.
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My brother's pretty good at painting, so got him to do it. Came out quite nicely.
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I've been busy with wiring...lots of wiring.
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Having gone with the Lumina motor, unfortunately I've had to lose the original instrument cluster. I've replaced all the gauges with Speedhut rev counter and speedometer. I've reused some of my VDO gauges that I had with the 383 and also added a VDO fuel gauge.
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I can't wait to test out the Speedhut Speedometer as it's a GPS based unit.

The fuel gauge was quite easy to hook up. Connected straight up to the original sending cable.
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Hooking up the water temp sender wasn't too difficult. I had a spare spot on the side of the head I was able to use. For the oil pressure sender, I followed a guide found on the web, where you need to drill and tap into a cover located by the oil filter on the LS1's.
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This is how it looks now with a VDO oil pressure sender sticking out of it.
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This is a friend's car. Went for a drive in it and was impressed as to how quick it is and the whole feel. Very different to a big V8 and def not made for someone of my....um...size.
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Kitt's got nothing on this. :D It's only a reflector.
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Managed to get the TA out the garage and blew most of the dust off, and at the same time a quick wash.
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And finally...after a few years and lots of work, I got to take my Trans Am for a quick burn up and down the road.

I was pretty nervous as there's still quite a bit of testing that needs to be done to make sure everything's bolted on properly etc, but the anticipation was killing me. We fired the TA up, engaged Drive....made sure the brakes were working and off she went.
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Scar
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Location: Randburg, JHB

Re: 1981 Pontiac Trans Am

Post by Scar » Mon 10 Oct 2016, 08:03

Awesome stuff! Must be such a rewarding feeling! :D
Scar

58 Chevy Biscayne
69 Barracuda 383
Audi S4 supercharged V6 (daily driver)

Picard
Posts: 138
Joined: Mon 26 Sep 2011, 10:12

Re: 1981 Pontiac Trans Am

Post by Picard » Mon 10 Oct 2016, 12:16

Scar wrote:Awesome stuff! Must be such a rewarding feeling! :D
Very rewarding! Problem is now I have to fight back the urge to just close it all up and start driving. I need to force myself to test and finish it all properly. It's all in the small details and finishes.

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lumi-fan
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Location: Vanderbijlpark

Re: 1981 Pontiac Trans Am

Post by lumi-fan » Mon 10 Oct 2016, 17:11

Very nice!

Sent from my HTC_M10h using Tapatalk

Picard
Posts: 138
Joined: Mon 26 Sep 2011, 10:12

Re: 1981 Pontiac Trans Am

Post by Picard » Mon 16 Jan 2017, 11:37

A quick update on the Trans Am build.

The front and rear glass has been installed and the window trim all fitted.
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The dash is in and my gauges are hooked up and working. I'm very happy with the Speedhut gauges. They came out looking good and were a breeze to install. The Speedometer is a GPS unit which you litterally hook up 12v to and you're on your way. The Rev counter is really very Fast and Furious like...with a built in shift light and a couple of extra features......but it's grown on me.

I need to put in a diode or change the indicators on the dash panel as they are extremely bright.

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Next up on the build was my final big expense, the exhaust system. I called around to some of the more well known places and was getting quotes around the 10k to 15k mark :shock: for a set of pipes to the back. This was excluding manifolds/branches. I ended up going through to a SupaQuick I was referred to.

I had the car flatbed through as I did not want to drive it to far with just the manifolds on.
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I opted for 63mm stainless steel system with Cowley free flow boxes. I checked the grade of the material used and it was in order.

I spent a whole day with the guys mocking it up and explaining how I wanted it made up. They've built it in a way that if I ever need to remove the system, it splits into 3 sections.
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I had them weld in the bungs for the 02 sensors so that I could keep the originals.
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This is what the two boxes look like.
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I don't like seeing the exhaust pipes sticking out of the back of a Trans Am. When I bought my Trans Am it looked like a wheel barrow. I had them bring them down at an angle and cut them so they remain hidden.
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Unless you look under the car, you won't see them.
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It came out sounding better than I expected. There's no drone and it has a very deep typically American V8 rumble, which I like.

I've still got lots of odds and ends to do. I've put together a list of things that need to be finished and am working my way through it all.

Now it's nice work though. The sort of work that lets you tinker on the car and then go for a drive.

Took it through to grab some roadhouse lunch.
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Some competition arrived while I was there :mrgreen:
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It's still a bit to early for me to comment on the difference between the LS and my 383 Stroker. I will be able to feedback once I get some mileage into it.
So far I'm extremely happy with it. It starts immediately...idles perfectly and pulls like a train.
I've noticed that the ride feels exactly as before except that the shifts are super smooth compared to the stupid box I had in before with the shift kit.
The brakes are not even comparable. The conversion to discs on the back with the bigger discs up front with new calipers have transformed the braking system completely.
It stops now....something it never did before.
I managed to get her up to about 100KPH and she literally idles over at about 1400rpm in overdrive.
The cooling system works perfectly.

I think my 383 Stroker may have had a bit more bottom end torque compared to the LS motor. I used to just prod the peddle and it would light up the rear....well...one of the rear tires with the open diff. :mrgreen: It would run out of revs quickly though and the old cast iron heads could never give you more.

With the LS I can feel that difference in bottom end torque....but my god...as soon as those revs pick up this Trans Am comes alive!
I've only given it the beans once or twice and so far I am seriously impressed.

jevens
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Location: Midrand,Jhb

Re: 1981 Pontiac Trans Am

Post by jevens » Mon 16 Jan 2017, 17:26

awesome build there Marco. lots of time and patience.

Picard
Posts: 138
Joined: Mon 26 Sep 2011, 10:12

Re: 1981 Pontiac Trans Am

Post by Picard » Mon 16 Jan 2017, 18:15

jevens wrote:awesome build there Marco. lots of time and patience.
Thanks Jeven. Getting there....slowly but surely.

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