Author Topic: 1981 Turbo Trans Am project  (Read 33004 times)

TATurbo

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Re: 1981 Turbo Trans Am project
« Reply #200 on: May 28, 2018, 08:53:42 PM »
Thanks everyone...Yeah, I catch the same tools in lots of post... I think I was late to finding Harbor Freight, it seems everyone's got something from there! 

Got a few more things done, and ran into something unexpected that solved a mystery from years ago....

First the win...
Got the AC compressor and bracket installed.
These parts originally came with my vintage air order way back...almost 2 years ago!  A 'Thank you' to Vintage Air...When I ordered the kit, I ordered it with a high mount bracket for a Corvette LS (Not really knowing the difference at the time).  > 18 months later, they happily exchanged that for an F-Body LS bracket.   Looks like they source them from Qwik Performance these days.

IMG_2267 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

IMG_2269 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

IMG_2270 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

IMG_2271 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

It's a nice piece...Easy to install. It uses the stock tensioner (I had to order a new one 'cause my motor didn't come with one).

You can see from that last pic that the power steering pump is also installed...I hit a bit of a hick-up here.
I was certain that my '81 box would bolt right up to the new pump using the newer o-ring, metric fitting line.  That didn't work out, but it may have solved a mystery power steering leak issue I had at one point...
I put the new pump on using the stock bracket:
IMG_2239 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

When I went to put the line on the box I found my box had flare, standard size fittings:

IMG_2243 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

Trying to figure out what happened here I remembered replacing the box at one point from a second gen Camaro.  It was from a 'U-Pull it' yard, I have no idea what the year was.   As we talked through it my wife reminded me of how bad my power steering leaked for while back in the day. I had to fill it up almost daily. I remember trying to figure it out, but have no recollection of getting to the bottom of it.  Now I think I know...

I think this box is out of a '78 or 79...
IMG_2244 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

I bet I pulled the box and the lines off that donor car and forced them to mate up to my '81 pump (hence the leaks).
THEN...about a year later, I replaced my (second) '81 Turbo motor with the '79 403 out of a TA my buddy wrecked.   I think that swap (which now included a matching pump) finally 'fixed' my chronic PS fluid leak!  UGH. 
That ill advised junk yard swap is coming back to haunt me again.  After looking at a few options, I found a fitting that'll convert the O-ring metric fitting on the pump to a flare, SAE fitting.  I'll try that first and see if I can make the '79 line work.  If not, I'll get a 3rd gen box and replace the box.  Ideally I'd like to just replace the box, but budget wise it'd be better if I could solve the problem for $13.00 vs. $100 bucks.

Aside from that little detour I started preparing for the wire harness to arrive. I rigged up this little table in order to extend some of the stock wires...
IMG_2279 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

We also temporarily installed the radiator support and inner fenders to take some measurements for routing wires and lines....

IMG_2281 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

As it stands now, I think things might slow down a bit.  At least parts wise. 
On my immediate to do list is finishing the fuel line, clean up and repaint the inner fenders, hooking up the Trans shifter linkage, and getting the exhaust manifolds cleaned up.  I need to replace the studs on those and take 'em to someone who can weld an 02 bung on the passenger side for me.

Thanks for checking in!

-Tom
 
P.S.  Welcome to page 6!.  As a bonus...I think Mereness asked earlier, so here's a pic of Marilyn.  This way I always have someone to yell at in the garage when things don't go my way...


IMG_2262 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

« Last Edit: May 28, 2018, 09:00:37 PM by TATurbo »
Tom
King of Prussia, PA

1981 Turbo Trans-Am
Build thread - http://transamcountry.com/community/index.php?topic=69897.0

mereness

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Re: 1981 Turbo Trans Am project
« Reply #201 on: May 29, 2018, 04:40:37 AM »
Tom - Everything looks great.  I am away from getting to that point, but I like reading your tips.  And yes....Harbor Freight has saved me tons of money.  It definitely isn't the greatest quality, but it gets the job done.

Keep up the great work and stop yelling at Marilyn!  LOL
1979 TATA (Restoration has just begun)

roadking77

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Re: 1981 Turbo Trans Am project
« Reply #202 on: May 29, 2018, 05:12:33 AM »
Id like to have a shop helper like that!
Finished!
77 T/A - I will Call this one DONE!
79 TATA 4sp-Next Project?
79 TATA - Lost to Fire!
86 Grand Prix - Sold
85 T/A - Sold
85 Fiero - Sold
82 Firebird - Sold
'38-CZ 250
'39-BSA Gold Star
'49-Triumph 350
'52-Ariel Red Hunter
'66-BSA Lightning
'01-HD RoadKing

ryeguy2006a

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Re: 1981 Turbo Trans Am project
« Reply #203 on: May 29, 2018, 05:46:11 AM »
Looking great Tom. Great steady progress. For the PS box, you can also look at the 94-98 Jeep Grand Cherokee. They are a direct bolt on, have 12:1 ratio, and have the metric fittings. I have that same box on my '68. I got mine from a pick a part yard for $30 bucks.

1976 Trans Am LS1, 6 speed, C5 12.8" Brakes, LS1 rear 12" brakes, 17" Aluminum Rims, and much more...SOLD
My Build: http://transamcountry.com/community/index.php?topic=24465.0

New project: 1968 Camaro with 6?.?0?  5.3 w/ Z06 cam/T56
http://transamcountry.com/community/index.php?topic=74591.0

TATurbo

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Re: 1981 Turbo Trans Am project
« Reply #204 on: June 05, 2018, 10:13:31 PM »
Thanks for the PS box tip Rye.  I'll keep it in mind if I end up looking for a new box.  As it stands now, I'm trying to work with what I have...And it's starting to get personal.  It's been a frustrating week working with new tools and trying to make the parts I have on hand work.   More on that later...Tonight I have a question about AN Hose end fittings I'm hoping someone might be able to chime in on...

I'm using 'Russell ProClassic Hose -10 AN' nylon braided hose for (part) of the heater lines (https://www.jegs.com/i/Russell/799/632163/10002/-1)
I got these Earl's 'Ano-Tuff AN Swivel-Seal Hose End' fittings:https://www.jegs.com/i/Earls/361/AT800110/10002/-1 for each end of the hose.

IMG_2312 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

The pic of a AN Hose End fitting in the instructions, and all the online video's I found about installing AN Hose Ends show what appears to be a 'double wall' type 'nut' that fits over the end of the hose.  You can see it in this pic from the instructions...
IMG_2314 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

See how the 'wall' of the fitting is real thick with threads in the middle?

And the instructions talk about pushing the hose into that fitting until it 'seats' into the socket...which makes sense..The hose is fitting into a little 'pocket' inside this part of the fitting.  Between an inner and outer wall. 
BUT...
The hose end fittings I have don't have that 'double wall' type construction...Here's a pic of the two pieces of the fitting...
IMG_2311 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

There's not really a 'seat' or 'step' inside the hose side of the fitting. There are a couple little 'bumps' inside there...but nothing the hose could really press up against to 'seat'?

Did I get the wrong fittings?  Or maybe these are just a different type of hose end? And if the latter is true, how do I know how far in to push the hose into its side of the fitting?

Any insight would be appreciated!

Thanks for checking in...
-Tom
Tom
King of Prussia, PA

1981 Turbo Trans-Am
Build thread - http://transamcountry.com/community/index.php?topic=69897.0

Re: 1981 Turbo Trans Am project
« Reply #204 on: June 05, 2018, 10:13:31 PM »

TATurbo

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Re: 1981 Turbo Trans Am project
« Reply #205 on: June 05, 2018, 10:37:22 PM »
Nevermind...I found instructions for this type of hose end.  Not sure how I didn't come across this in my hour of reading while I was out in the garage.  Ugh!
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dDf1CJI0HnI" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dDf1CJI0HnI</a>

Thanks anyway!

-Tom
Tom
King of Prussia, PA

1981 Turbo Trans-Am
Build thread - http://transamcountry.com/community/index.php?topic=69897.0

TATurbo

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Re: 1981 Turbo Trans Am project
« Reply #206 on: June 09, 2018, 10:54:42 PM »
Although the past week was frustrating at times, I did get some stuff done.  I'd like some input from you guy's too...regarding wiring. If you're so inclined I wouldn't be offended if you skipped to the bottom.  For the rest of you I got some stuff figured out that might be useful to others, so read on...

I'll start where I left off, with my Power steering problem. Remember, due to a poor decision in my 20's my '81 TA has an earlier steering box with SAE size flare fittings.   I found this fitting which has the Metric, o-ring fitting for the pump on one side and the SAE flare fitting on the other.  Allowing one to use the older hose w/ the newer pump...

IMG_2291 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

The down side to this solution was that the older hose wasn't as close a match, shape wise, as the newer hose would've been.  Time to dust off my tube bending skills.  Unfortunately those don't exist and my old hose ended up looking like this...

IMG_2300 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr
IMG_2299 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

What to do?  I figured I could cut up the newer style hose, change the fittings, bend it up a little (now that I had some practice) and use -it-.

So, I cut the ends off...
IMG_2313 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

Slid the old SAE nuts on, and tried out my Harbor Freight flaring tool.  This was my first attempt at flaring tubing.  The internet says it's important to get the cut end really straight and filed down even...
IMG_2319 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

Than, you need to use a blade to put a bevel on the inside diameter of the tube.  Turns out this is critical to allowing the flaring chumpy to get a start spreading the end of the tube.  If you don't do this the clamp with the spreader on it will just push the tube out of the clamp that holds it. 
IMG_2324 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

One other thing that sounds stupid, but really worked to keep the tube from pushing out of the vice/holder...Tighten the clamp furthest from the hole holding the tube first...Then tighten the one closer to the end where the tube is being held.  For some reason, this really made a difference and allowed me to get two good flares on the new hose.

After a few tries, and some frustration...I got the power steering hose installed!

IMG_2327 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

We'll see if it actually holds fluid under pressure.  I'm expecting to have to do this again and I've already researched BRP Hot-Rods' Custom PS Hose kit which comes with nice AN fittings and PTFE hose.  It's a nice kit, but pricey, so if this contraption holds pressure, it'll stay.  But I do have a plan B.

Speaking of AN fittings, I got the heater hoses set up too. After feeling a little deflated not being able to figure out those simple AN Hose Ends, the internet came through, showed me how easy it was (see video above) and I got two around 2.5' sections of hose set up...

IMG_2315 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

These hoses hooked up to the AN fittings I had put on the water pump earlier...
IMG_2308 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

And, run over to the 5/8 rubber hoses from the Vintage Air system inside the fender...
IMG_2316 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

This was mostly for looks.  But, I have to say, if all these AN fittings hold up I'll be fully sold on them.  They are really nice to work with and look great!

And...We installed the throttle cable.  It was nice to get the gas pedal back in the car.  We used a Lokar 36" cable and a matching throttle cable bracket:

IMG_2294 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

A couple things I had to figure out with this...1) how to connect the lokar cable to the pedal and 2) How to address where the cable passes through the firewall.  The Lokar cable has a round terminator and nut, while the FW hole is square, here you can see the two side by side (Note the inner cable from the new Lokar chumpy isn't shown here, but you can see the little stock connector that fits into the pedal and the grommet that terminate the stock cable where it passes through the firewall...

IMG_2296 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

I cut the stock cable to take that plastic fitting for the pedal off the end...
IMG_2298 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

Here you see the inner cable end fitting from the Lokar cable next to the piece I removed from the stock cable. 
Just slide the Lokar end off and slide the stock one, which fits into the top of the stock pedal, on to the new cable in its place...
IMG_2307 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

Then...for the grommet where the outer cable terminates and passes through the firewall...I cut the end/grommet off the stock cable, then had to drill out the center (so the Lokar fitting would fit through) and do some trimming with the dremel to get a flat face on this piece
IMG_2301 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

The dremel trimming was required to make this peice thin enough to allow room for the threaded piece of the Lokar cable to go through the FW and thread the nut on..On the pic below you can see how it fits on there...
IMG_2305 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

Slid that into the square hold on the FW from the stock cable, screwed the nut on the back side and...done. 
The inner cable clicks nice into the stock pedal and we got it roughly adjusted.   One more thing connection making the LS1 part of my '81 TA. 

The last thing and what I thought I wanted input on was this wiring diagram....
IMG_2341 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

BUT...I realized...I can't ask questions about it yet 'cause I've figured some stuff out already. I'm going to update it and will post it again later to get  inptu from you all to see if you see anything out of whack.

Next up...Need to adjust the NSS/Reverse light switch now that the shifter cables installed.
My new engine harness and PCM should be here next week...So I hope to start wiring things up maybe next weekend!
There are a bunch of smaller things too...I need a pulley to finish up the accessories, those inner fenders need some love...Trans cooling lines need to get figured out...And on it goes...

Thanks for checking in!

Take care.
-Tom

« Last Edit: June 10, 2018, 10:34:30 PM by TATurbo »
Tom
King of Prussia, PA

1981 Turbo Trans-Am
Build thread - http://transamcountry.com/community/index.php?topic=69897.0

LeighP

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Re: 1981 Turbo Trans Am project
« Reply #207 on: June 11, 2018, 03:08:31 PM »
Some excellent progress.....so many small jobs to finalise a project like this. Good luck.
Regards,
Leigh

Sydney, Australia
1969 Pontiac Firebird 400 coupe (project)

Former Firebirds -
1971 Pontiac Firebird 455
1977 Pontiac Trans Am
1976 Pontiac Trans Am
1967 Pontiac Firebird 400 convertible
1967 Pontiac Firebird 400 coupe


737driver

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Re: 1981 Turbo Trans Am project
« Reply #208 on: June 11, 2018, 11:22:53 PM »
Great looking project! It is very interesting to see the LS swap. I have been thinking about a similar project in the future! keep up the great work!
Jim
1979 Trans Am- Heritage Brown -W72 (Pontiac 400) -4Speed-WS6
1972 LeMans Convertible
1972Firebird
1971 Firebird
1970 Firebird

TATurbo

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Re: 1981 Turbo Trans Am project
« Reply #209 on: July 03, 2018, 09:44:05 PM »
Thanks for the kind words guys.  I appreciate them...At this stage it seems every time I get something done I realize another detail to work out.  But I'm making some progress....

The Harness arrived from Swap Specialties and Performance.  I was so excited I didn't get any pics of it by itself. But you can see some sections in the post below. The quality seems really nice.  I immediately started figuring out how it'd fit in my engine bay.   That's when I noticed a problem..
Somehow I incorrectly ordered it with EV6 injector connectors...My injectors are EV1.  I remember researching this question before ordering...I must've just selected the wrong option on the form.  Anyway, Swap Specialties offered to send me the EV1 terminals, no charge.  A huge 'Thank you' to those guys.
Waiting for those to arrive we soldiered on...
We placed the harness in the engine compartment with the computer and fuse block around where they'd need to be.  I intend to mount the PCM on the firewall around where the AC/Heater box block off is located, and the PCM harness fuse/relay box just inside the inner fender in the same area. The OBDII connector wires will (hopefully) run though a grommet in the FW(currently hosting some Vintage Air wires) and into the glove box where I'll try to mount the connector.

IMG_2380 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

IMG_2382 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

From there, it looked like time to work out integrating the PCM harness with the existing Chassis harness wires.
We routed wires that need go from the PCM harness fuse/relay block to the car's main chassis harness across the fire wall over to the driver side. These include the Check Engine light, fuel pump + wire, and a couple wires that'll need to connect to 'converter' boxes which will be mounted in the driver side fender area. (Tach, speedo). Then, took the wires that need to go from the main chassis harness to terminals on the passenger side across in the opposite direction. These wires include the Starter wire, and temp sender (for gauge).
Here you can see how I intend to route them over the trans tunnel. In this pic you can see some of the Swap Specialties harness neatly wrapped and looking nice and new:
IMG_2392 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

I want to route the wires under the wiper motor, over the steering column and under the brake booster to the main chassis fuse block connector.  To gain space we removed the wiper motor and outlined its position with tape for reference...
IMG_2390 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

With everything roughed out and taped together it was time to pull the whole thing out...The new PCM harness along with the chassis harness wires (by disconnecting the bulkhead connector). That's this mess...
IMG_2426 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

We took that and laid it out on a piece of 1/8 in. Luan board, same as we did when we went through the main interior harness a while back:
IMG_2427 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

My wife is going through the process of extending some wires, shortening others and tightening things up.  We'll tape it all up and re-install it with the actual retainers to get a final bead on a few terminals that need to be added and to double-check before it gets wrapped. 
Meanwhile... I needed my workbench for other stuff, so we had to set up a little work area on the other side of the garage.  Its tight, but we are able to work separate projects in this little one car garage...
IMG_2455 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

Meanwhile, I test fit this stock PCM mounting bracket:
IMG_2417 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

And, I needed to figure out mounting the Swap Specialties fuse/relay block.  It's a nice weather tight peice:
IMG_2422 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

But, on the back side the terminal for the main 12V power is just sort of hanging out in the wind...
IMG_2421 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

I tracked down the part number for this piece, but mounting solutions are few and far between.  I didn't see any offered from Swap Specialties themselves, or other vendors that do standalone harnesses.  I figured you'd want something non-conductive, short (since space is tight where I want to mount it) and with clearance for the 12v main power AND the wires exiting the bottom of the block. 
The solution I'm trying is this...fashioned from a old kitchen cutting board:
IMG_2420 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

I just cut a square and a few strips from the cutting board using a jig saw:
IMG_2418 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

IMG_2419 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

 And epoxied them together.  I intend to put two mounting bolts out the bottom, sand it and paint it black.  I'll let you know how it works out.

I have one final electrical point...This is a question I need input on from anyone who's wired one of these swaps up before.
Below is my pretty much final wire diagram for the PCM/Battery/Charging system:

IMG_2459 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

My question is this: Do I need a separate wire for charging the battery to run all the way from the alternator back to the battery? (As shown in the diagram above?  OR
Can I just run a 10 or 8 gauge wire from the alternator to that "Rockford Fosgate junction block" for charging?  By connecting the Charge wire from the alternator to that block, wouldn't allow the electrical output from the Alternator to pass back through the 1/0 gauge positive battery cable to the battery?
Could routing the alternator power back through that block cause issues with the PCM's 'main' power, which is supposed to be direct from the battery?

Any input on this question would be greatly appreciated.

Aside from those things, I'm also trying to work on the stock exhaust manifolds....trying to get these old studs out:

IMG_2453 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

They were rusted really thoroughly to the back side of the flange, so I cut that side off...
IMG_2454 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

I had gotten one out by putting two nuts on the bolt, then turning the lower nut, which catches on the higher one to allow the whole bolt/post to turn.
But, that was hard to get done and a Pain in the ass with my limited tool and skill set.  So, I'd listen to any input or suggestions on replacing these exhaust flange bolts too!

Thanks for checking in everyone!

Take Care.

-Tom
« Last Edit: July 03, 2018, 10:01:48 PM by TATurbo »
Tom
King of Prussia, PA

1981 Turbo Trans-Am
Build thread - http://transamcountry.com/community/index.php?topic=69897.0

TATurbo

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Re: 1981 Turbo Trans Am project
« Reply #210 on: July 11, 2018, 10:03:48 PM »
I didn't get any responses about my wire diagram question RE: whether or not a separate wire needs to be run back to the battery for charging. After some more research I've decided that it should be OK to run a 10g wire from the alternator to the distribution block where the positive battery cable terminates. I'm pretty sure that that'll get the output from the alternator back to the battery for charging OK.  We'll see.

So, we moved on with more rough wiring...
I found a home for the PCM.  Turns out two of the holes from where the old AC box lived line up directly with the stock PCM mount I bought. And, I had saved the bolts that originally lived in these holes when I took out the stock AC box.  So, that was a nice surprise...
 IMG_2538 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

I did test fit the fender, it clears OK. And, my rough measurements indicate that the hood hinge (which will live not far from here) should be OK too. We'll see.

With the PCM mounted I could pick a final home for the engine harness fuse/relay box and the junction block for positive battery power...
IMG_2545 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

I'm using this Kicker junction block to split the 0/1 positive battery cable out to two 8g wires (one for power to the Fuse/relay box(PCM) and one for power to the starter. And, one 10g wire from the alternator output(to send power back to the battery for charging). The other thing in this pic is the  plastic mount for the fuse/relay box, now painted black...

IMG_2570 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

With homes for these three things finalized, we were able to do a final test fit of the wire full harness (stand-alone PCM and the stock Chassis harness now joined together). Got it routed, and mounted for final measurements on terminals for things like the alternator, Oil pressure sender, etc.
I'm happy with how clean it looks so far...

IMG_2544 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

Then...It all had to come back out again. (Hopefully for the last time!) This time to go through and install all the terminals and wrap it...
IMG_2549 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

We also had to cut all the fuel injector connectors off and replace them with the proper EV1 connectors:

IMG_2558 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

Thanks again to Swap Specialties And Performance for sending me the EV1 terminals (and instructions on how to install them!) for no charge.  I had screwed up the harness order, specifying EV6 injectors.  Swap Specialties helped correct my mistake...No problem.

So, all that's left on the harness is to wrap it up and do the final install.

A couple other related things...
I was concerned about working with the 0/1 gauge battery cable.  Specifically, how to cut it, strip it cleanly and install terminals, such that I could neatly hook up ancillary connections for the Vintage Air AC, which calls for a direct connection to the battery for power and ground, a ground to the rear chassis etc. 

I learned that the Dremel does a good job of cutting this stuff, nice and clean.  Then, for stripping the ends, I used my small pipe cutter...

IMG_2547 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

Run it around a few times, until  you feel it start hitting the copper inside.  Then, used a utility knife to cut from that line up to the end and...
IMG_2550 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

For the battery terminals and those ancillary direct connections,  I found these Rockford Fosgate chumpies...
IMG_2559 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

The connection is made easy with just a set screw, and they have additional ports for the secondary connections.
(Note: The battery in this pic is just a cheapo battery I had purchased a while back for testing our work on the chassis harness. I'll be purchasing a quality AGM battery for the final install...Ugh, another thing to the parts list!)
IMG_2564 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

One other note...I had pulled out the original 1999 battery cables for reference.  The stock 1999 battery cables are 8g wire.  Had I known this I might've used 8g welding cable for all the main battery cables, instead of the 0/1g stuff. The 8g wire I found is much easier to route and work with. 

Finally, I installed this 250A fuse in the positive cable back in the trunk:
IMG_2581 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

So, the wiring is all but done, waiting on a final install with just a couple (known) loose ends to finish up! Specifically, I need to get the converter boxes for the Tach and Speedo signals to gauges, which I'll mount in the driver side fender void.

Oh, I gave up on the exhaust manifold studs...I got two out OK, then broke two. Tried drilling one of the broken ones out, but it wasn't going well.
 I've decided to take 'em to a professional with better tools and perhaps some experience dealing with this sort of thing.  So, those are still on the list of things to do.

Aside from those converter boxes, I also need to purchase Radiator and fans, Power Steering pulley (to finish out the accessories), Trans cooling lines and a drive shaft.   I have a few smaller things on the to do list, but need to get a new parts order in soon.

Thanks for checking in!
Take care.

-Tom

« Last Edit: July 11, 2018, 10:30:57 PM by TATurbo »
Tom
King of Prussia, PA

1981 Turbo Trans-Am
Build thread - http://transamcountry.com/community/index.php?topic=69897.0

roadking77

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Re: 1981 Turbo Trans Am project
« Reply #211 on: July 12, 2018, 07:35:36 AM »
Good detailed post. Good tip on cutting the wire. I like the battery terminal you used. I want to upgrade to a heavier positive cable in conjunction with my new starter. I have a side terminal battery but when I broke down recently I realized that it was near impossible to connect a jumper. I plan on putting in a top mount terminal battery. I also like that you can hook up addition wires to the positive connection. I have the same setup but mine looks to be a cheaper rendition of what you have.
Finished!
77 T/A - I will Call this one DONE!
79 TATA 4sp-Next Project?
79 TATA - Lost to Fire!
86 Grand Prix - Sold
85 T/A - Sold
85 Fiero - Sold
82 Firebird - Sold
'38-CZ 250
'39-BSA Gold Star
'49-Triumph 350
'52-Ariel Red Hunter
'66-BSA Lightning
'01-HD RoadKing

MNBob

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Re: 1981 Turbo Trans Am project
« Reply #212 on: July 12, 2018, 11:37:26 AM »
Good tip on stripping the heavy gauge wire with a tubing cutter.  I have always used a utility knife rotating it around again and again.

I would always use a larger size cable off the alternator hot post.  With my 150 amp alternator, Powermaster recommended a 6 gauge.

I am not a fan of side post batteries; I have had a number of the corrode inside the hole where the terminal screws in.

You are making good steady progress!
1979 TATA Extreme TKO .64
Hedman elite; Pypes 2.5; Borla XS; MSD 6A; Edelbrock intake; open scoop; modified Q-jet; Powermaster 150; 4 core radiator/Mark VIII fan; RobbMc mini starter; subframe connectors; solid body mounts; fiberglass rear springs; poly sway bar and link bushings; 81 master; D52’s; Blazer disks; 225/60 & 235/60 17's TrueContact's; relays for PW, PDL, lights; keyless entry

FormTA

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Re: 1981 Turbo Trans Am project
« Reply #213 on: July 12, 2018, 11:40:06 AM »
Keep at it! You are making great progress!
79 Trans am 301 (work in progress) LS swap n progress
79 Formula 301 (Work in progress)
67 RS Camaro (Work in progress)
See the recurring theme???

ryeguy2006a

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Re: 1981 Turbo Trans Am project
« Reply #214 on: July 12, 2018, 11:59:31 AM »
Wow, looking great man! Sent you a message.

1976 Trans Am LS1, 6 speed, C5 12.8" Brakes, LS1 rear 12" brakes, 17" Aluminum Rims, and much more...SOLD
My Build: http://transamcountry.com/community/index.php?topic=24465.0

New project: 1968 Camaro with 6?.?0?  5.3 w/ Z06 cam/T56
http://transamcountry.com/community/index.php?topic=74591.0

Re: 1981 Turbo Trans Am project
« Reply #214 on: July 12, 2018, 11:59:31 AM »



TATurbo

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Re: 1981 Turbo Trans Am project
« Reply #215 on: July 12, 2018, 09:52:39 PM »
Thanks for the feedback everyone.
That side post battery was literally the cheapest one I could find at the parts store. I bought it a while back for testing purposes only. I'll be using a quality top post battery in the end.
I appreciate the feedback regarding the harness...One eagle eyed person(Ry) noted the colors of the PCM connections...Red and Blue.  Apparently, those colors are usually associated with DBW truck motors.  My LS1 is DBC and originally had Blue/Green PCM connectors.  I had checked on this discrepancy with the Mfg. after my first go-over of the harness (knowing at the time only that the colors were different).  They assured me that, because this is a custom tune inside, and the harness itself IS for a DBC LS1, it all matches and is all good.  I learned from you all, that a tell tail for DBW vs. DBC harness are two separate connectors for TPS and IAC at the throttle body(TB) on DBC harnesses, where DBW has one connector at the TB. (With a few early DBW exceptions.)
Anyway,  Thanks again for the info and feedback everyone.  I'll keep posting what I learn as I go and taking your advice and input anywhere I can.

-Tom
Tom
King of Prussia, PA

1981 Turbo Trans-Am
Build thread - http://transamcountry.com/community/index.php?topic=69897.0

TATurbo

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Re: 1981 Turbo Trans Am project
« Reply #216 on: July 16, 2018, 10:41:31 PM »
This feels like a significant milestone...A few loose ends aside, the final wiring is all hooked up!  The standalone LS1 harness and computer are installed with the necessary connections into the '81 TA harness...power back to the battery etc. etc.  I'm pretty happy with how it looks...Hope it works as well!

We got the two harnesses matted together, test fit them a couple times, then wrapped them all up...
IMG_2591 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

And got it laid out from one side to the other...
IMG_2598 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

IMG_2599 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

IMG_2600 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

All together, I'm really happy with how it looks:
IMG_2597 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

We decided to leave the labels on the standalone harness until we get things tested.

One of the loose ends that remains is to hook up the OBD-II connector wires.  We cut the connector off to install it in the glove box.
I got the connector in place...

I did some poking around to see where it would best fit with space behind and not taking up real estate in the box + would be close to the grommet where the wires come from the computer fuse/relay box.  Then cut a hole in the back...

IMG_2604 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

I have to admit, I misjudged or misinterpreted how this thing, and the mounting holes would align/fit to the box.  But that was easily corrected by creating a couple spacers (from that same cutting board I used for the mounts for the relay/fuse block and junction block...
IMG_2607 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

Using those, it fit in the hole like I wanted and is sturdy in there....
IMG_2608 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

We need to get a terminal set to connect this to the wires coming through the firewall, so that's one loose end.  The other couple are the tach and speedo...I need to purchase the converters for those.  And, a wire that the 4L60E needs on the brake switch.  That's all ready to go, just need to connect it and install the brake switch back in place.  For the record, I'm using the stock cruise control optioned brake light switch for that signal the 4L60E needs in order to know when the brake is depressed...to unlock the converter I believe.  The signal is opposite the brake light side of the switch. On the Cruise control side (now 4L60E brake switch side) 12v passes through(Closed switch) until/unless the brake is depressed.  The brake light side is opposite (Open(no power going through) until/unless the brake pedal is depressed).

A couple side notes...
I started working on the driver side inner fender.  In this pic you can see the passenger side fender for comparison. Some bad paint choices in my teens/early 20's left em pretty messy...
    IMG_2602 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

I still need to do the inside of the fender well with bed liner, but the cleaned up painted driver side came out nice. 
It's hard to see in that pic, but there are also a couple little holders/separators under the hoses going over the pass. side fender... If you zoom in around the fittings, you might make them out.   I made those out of that same cutting board I had cut up earlier...So that's really come in handy.

Next up...I'm waiting on the PS pulley to finish up the accessory drive. I have a belt I think will fit, but need to wait for the last pulley to be sure.
I also need to take those exhaust manifolds for new studs, order a radiator and fans, exhaust down pipes, and drive shaft.   I'm away next week, so unless the pulley gets here soon, I don't expect to make any progress on these next things for a couple weeks.

Thanks for checking in!

Take care.
-Tom
« Last Edit: July 16, 2018, 10:55:53 PM by TATurbo »
Tom
King of Prussia, PA

1981 Turbo Trans-Am
Build thread - http://transamcountry.com/community/index.php?topic=69897.0

TATurbo

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Re: 1981 Turbo Trans Am project
« Reply #217 on: July 24, 2018, 08:38:31 PM »
Spending the week at the Jersey shore.  I was looking through pics on my laptop and doing some planning and figuring for what I need to do for next steps when we get home. So, I thought I'd share a quick update...
I did get the Turn One Power Steering pulley installed before we left.  Here's the replacement next to the original:
IMG_2612 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

It was a little pricey.  Not quite twice the price of a stock plastic replacement pulley.  I chose this pulley from Turn One because 1) I wanted a pulley I wouldn't have to remove if(when) I need to pull the power steering pump off for service, maintenance or whatever. B) I wanted the replacement to be the same diameter, so as not to overdrive the pump (I'm not even sure my rigged up pressure line will handle the stock pressure!). And 3) I like that it looks a little nicer than stock but isn't billet aluminum or otherwise overly dressy.

It presses on like the stock pulley using the same tool:
 IMG_2615 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

Using the stock diameter pulley also gave me a starting point for figuring out belt size.  This was the belt recommended with the Vintage Air (Kwik Performance) AC bracket, which assumes an otherwise stock accessory configuration:

IMG_2617 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

It seems to work OK...The indicators on the tensioner look good(I think...I will need to double-check exactly how to read them!).

So, with that the accessory drive is complete!
IMG_2614 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

I have one little related item...A return line for the PS Pump.  I think any 3/8 hose will work there.

For the time being I'm researching cooling system info.  I had planned on using the BRP radiator and fan F-Body LS Swap kit.  But I'm going to spend some time to see if I can't find a solution that's a little less pricey.   I know other's on here have found good, well fitting radiator/fan set ups for less than the $900 BRP is advertising.    If anyone has any suggestions or recommendations on combinations they've used for the cooling system, I'd love to hear them.

Thanks for checking in!

Take care...
-Tom
Tom
King of Prussia, PA

1981 Turbo Trans-Am
Build thread - http://transamcountry.com/community/index.php?topic=69897.0

TATurbo

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Re: 1981 Turbo Trans Am project
« Reply #218 on: August 07, 2018, 09:09:17 PM »
Not much to report, a few little things done over the past couple weeks.  But the list of things to do is always full...
IMG_2833 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

We did a couple little tweaks wiring wise...Extended the alternator wire from the swap harness 'cause it was just a little too short for how I wanted to route it.  Oh...and the PS return line...3/8 in. Fuel line wrapped with the same wire loom we used for our parts of the wiring.  You can see both here...
IMG_2834 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

I was able to find an appropriate dual pass swap radiator and fan set up for about half my original choice.  From Firebird Central I think.  I'll post more details once I get it.  I need to order some parts and sub-contract those stupid exhaust flange stud replacements out in order to make the next push forward...budget wise it might be a few weeks before that happens. 

One little thing maybe someone can help with...There's supposed to be an O-ring on the oil dipstick tube.  I'm pretty sure that's the one I found on the garage floor not long after the motor arrived here.   Anyway,  I can't seem to find a part number or spec's to replace it.   If anyone knows the size, I'd appreciate the input. 

Thanks for checking in.
Take Care
-Tom
Tom
King of Prussia, PA

1981 Turbo Trans-Am
Build thread - http://transamcountry.com/community/index.php?topic=69897.0

FormTA

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Re: 1981 Turbo Trans Am project
« Reply #219 on: August 07, 2018, 09:42:53 PM »
Nice clean work as always. I was going to tell you that the stock 4th gen radiator and hoses fit well in the second gen but it looks like you have already picked something up.
79 Trans am 301 (work in progress) LS swap n progress
79 Formula 301 (Work in progress)
67 RS Camaro (Work in progress)
See the recurring theme???

roadking77

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Re: 1981 Turbo Trans Am project
« Reply #220 on: August 08, 2018, 08:05:55 AM »
Motor looks great Tom. I tried the to do list with my car but became overwhelmed! Theres a pretty good Pontiac show next weekend in Lancaster if youre interested and have the time. Im not sure if im going to make it. Heading to myrtle beach on Friday not sure if I will be back by the 18th. SVGTO club.
Finished!
77 T/A - I will Call this one DONE!
79 TATA 4sp-Next Project?
79 TATA - Lost to Fire!
86 Grand Prix - Sold
85 T/A - Sold
85 Fiero - Sold
82 Firebird - Sold
'38-CZ 250
'39-BSA Gold Star
'49-Triumph 350
'52-Ariel Red Hunter
'66-BSA Lightning
'01-HD RoadKing

737driver

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Re: 1981 Turbo Trans Am project
« Reply #221 on: August 08, 2018, 10:01:05 AM »
The motor install looks really nice! Looks like that will be a great combo for your car!
Jim
1979 Trans Am- Heritage Brown -W72 (Pontiac 400) -4Speed-WS6
1972 LeMans Convertible
1972Firebird
1971 Firebird
1970 Firebird

Box

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Re: 1981 Turbo Trans Am project
« Reply #222 on: August 08, 2018, 10:09:18 PM »
Ah yes, the dreaded "To Do" list.  Though every line checked is a step closer.

1996 Pontiac Firebird Formula hardtop 6-speed

737driver

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Re: 1981 Turbo Trans Am project
« Reply #223 on: August 09, 2018, 01:34:52 AM »
I need to use a “ to do list” mainly because my memory now a days is more photogenic than it is photographic.... :)
Jim
1979 Trans Am- Heritage Brown -W72 (Pontiac 400) -4Speed-WS6
1972 LeMans Convertible
1972Firebird
1971 Firebird
1970 Firebird

roadking77

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Re: 1981 Turbo Trans Am project
« Reply #224 on: August 09, 2018, 11:02:55 AM »
My memory is more octogenarian!
Finished!
77 T/A - I will Call this one DONE!
79 TATA 4sp-Next Project?
79 TATA - Lost to Fire!
86 Grand Prix - Sold
85 T/A - Sold
85 Fiero - Sold
82 Firebird - Sold
'38-CZ 250
'39-BSA Gold Star
'49-Triumph 350
'52-Ariel Red Hunter
'66-BSA Lightning
'01-HD RoadKing

ryeguy2006a

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Re: 1981 Turbo Trans Am project
« Reply #225 on: August 09, 2018, 11:09:28 AM »
Looking great Tom! I love that Turn One pulley. I want to get one for the same reason. Maybe I can upgrade this winter.

1976 Trans Am LS1, 6 speed, C5 12.8" Brakes, LS1 rear 12" brakes, 17" Aluminum Rims, and much more...SOLD
My Build: http://transamcountry.com/community/index.php?topic=24465.0

New project: 1968 Camaro with 6?.?0?  5.3 w/ Z06 cam/T56
http://transamcountry.com/community/index.php?topic=74591.0

ryeguy2006a

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Re: 1981 Turbo Trans Am project
« Reply #226 on: August 27, 2018, 10:08:37 AM »
Hey Tom, any progress?

1976 Trans Am LS1, 6 speed, C5 12.8" Brakes, LS1 rear 12" brakes, 17" Aluminum Rims, and much more...SOLD
My Build: http://transamcountry.com/community/index.php?topic=24465.0

New project: 1968 Camaro with 6?.?0?  5.3 w/ Z06 cam/T56
http://transamcountry.com/community/index.php?topic=74591.0

TATurbo

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Re: 1981 Turbo Trans Am project
« Reply #227 on: August 31, 2018, 08:37:06 PM »
Thanks for asking!
Just a little progress over the past few weeks.  I mentioned this earlier. But, when I started this project I thought I'd get most work done in the warm months.  But it's been just the opposite. Work is busier in the summer, vacation, house maintenance, family time, now back to school, band camp for the kid, maintenance on my daily cars.  Turns out I get more done in the winter.  Anyway...Here's were I'm at:

Got the inner fenders done. Straightened up a couple bumps, sanded and painted:
 IMG_2879 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

Not sure why the one on the right looks funky in that pic.

  They look like new, with bed liner on the inside
IMG_2878 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

And, got them and the Radiator support installed.  Hopefully to stay!
IMG_2897 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

And, what's new here?
IMG_2880 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

BAM! Rear View Mirror!
IMG_2881 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

Told ya...It's been slow.

Another little odd and end that needed to be done was installing ground straps.    I think I got this right....
Battery ground runs 0/1 gauge wire to the block.  And a smaller gauge wire connected to the body in the trunk (where the battery is mounted).  There's also a 0/1 gauge wire that was stock running from the lower firewall of the body to the front sub-frame.   Then I added these for the engine and what not...

One on the right side head to the body:
IMG_2893 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

And one on the lower left side of the block to the front sub-frame...I used one of the bolts holding cross member brake line at the other end of this one:
IMG_2891 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

Then, trying to use existing holes,  I added this monstrosity from the radiator support to the sub-frame:
IMG_2909 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr
 
That lasted about a day...Not a fan...So I broke down and drilled a new hole in the front sub-frame to replace that with one hidden underneath:
IMG_2926 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

With the Radiator support installed we were able to get the front light harness unraveled, off the cowl and back to its home:
IMG_2900 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

IMG_2904 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

The only other thing I can think of is something I hadn't really thought of earlier...I assumed the trans dip-stick would fit no problem.  I decided to test fit it, to see if I should install it before or after the trans lines.  Well, it wouldn't fit between the firewall and head.  I considered installing an aftermarket one, but reading reviews it seems as though those are hit or miss. And, trans fluid level is important so I gave the stock one another try.

I took the stock dip stick
IMG_2927 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

And cut off part of the mounting tab that used to hold a wire harness holder...leaving only the part that bolts to the back of the head...
IMG_2928 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

Still not enough room to wiggle it down through there at an angle appropriate for the hole in the trans.  So I cut teh whole thing off and found a wire loom holder that is more compact and will line up nice so I can fasten it to the back of the head in the same hole as the stock location:
IMG_2937 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

So, it'll end up in the stock location:
IMG_2936 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

I thought this would look intrusive, but it's not.  blends right in with all the other black and red.
BUT...You'll want to wait to install it until after the Transmission cooling
lines are installed. 

I also got the studs removed from the exhaust manifolds. Took them to a local owned exhaust shop. The guy torched them out for $50.00. 
Those are being (re)painted and should go on this weekend.  I had painted them a metal/silver color but don't like it, so I'm repainting them black instead.

Which brings me to my next point...

Budget's been tight this summer for a number of reasons.  So, all this stuff I've done over the past month or two has been free or cheap stuff. No significant parts orders.
I expect things to free up a bit in the next month or two.  I hope to be able to order the remaining 'big ticket' things required to try to start this thing up in maybe 6 or 8 weeks.  Those are:
1) Radiator/fans
2) Exhaust (stock flanges back)
3) Drive shaft

I think that's it for now.  Thanks for checking in!

Take care
-Tom


« Last Edit: August 31, 2018, 08:45:07 PM by TATurbo »
Tom
King of Prussia, PA

1981 Turbo Trans-Am
Build thread - http://transamcountry.com/community/index.php?topic=69897.0

Nexus

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Re: 1981 Turbo Trans Am project
« Reply #228 on: September 03, 2018, 02:14:25 PM »
Impressive work and great write up for anyone wanting to do such a swap. Keep the posts coming and keep up the great work...I love theses cars!!
Charlie

79 Transprit...(T/A Clone) (18 years and counting but still have her)

mrbandit

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Re: 1981 Turbo Trans Am project
« Reply #229 on: September 04, 2018, 06:17:44 AM »
Your methodical work through this transplant is very impressive.  Also, if you need another glove box insert let me know.  I couldn't tell if you were happy with the results.  I have at least 4 in the barn and would be happy to donate one to your cause if you wanted a do over on the obd2 connector.  Either way, awesome work!

TATurbo

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Re: 1981 Turbo Trans Am project
« Reply #230 on: September 05, 2018, 10:24:26 PM »
Thanks guys.  I appreciate the complements and generous offer.  I'm just a car guy relatively mechanically inclined, working through one thing at a time with the benefit of the knowledge of so many people who've figured the hard stuff out already and a supportive wife invested in the project.   I appreciate the feedback though, I certainly believe I'll be very proud when I get this old friend back on the road.
 Regarding the glove box insert...Thank's so much,  People here are awesome!  But, I'm happy with the OBDII port install.  It looks ugly from the back side, but from inside it looks neat, and is sturdy and accessible with no problem.   Just as a side note, the Vintage Air kit I installed includes a glove box insert which is more shallow than the stock one it replaces.  So, if I -had- screwed it up I'd have to get a new one from them, or somehow cut up a stock one to fit in the reduced space back there.

Which reminds me...
 I have a complete set of stock ducts, and the under dash HVAC unit with controls if anyone is interested.  I've been planning on putting them up for sale online...some of the parts are apparently hard to find and are pretty expensive to replace.  If anyone is looking for HVAC parts, let me know.

Since I'm here, here is a brief update...
Got a couple small things done, cleaning and painting some misc. parts from the front end.  Things like installing the little 'block off' plates at the front of the inner wheel wells, finishing up the last couple wires from the AC and starting to finalize routing for AC lines. 
The only interesting new thing is that I'm halfway through installing the exhaust manifolds.   
Got them painted with VHT 'Flame Proof' header paint and satin clear:
   
IMG_2989 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

Black was definitely the right color...the brighter steel color looked terrible.  Not really trying to highlight the stock manifolds anyway.
I ran a tap through the holes where the studs mount and got new studs installed.  Most people might already know this.  Or, maybe this isn't the proper way to install them, but it worked for me...As you can see in the pick below, I put two nuts on the stud.  The bottom nut acts as a stop for the one further up.  This way you can turn the upper nut to spin the stud into its hole.   
IMG_2990 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr   

The studs are M10 x 1.50 'interference' threads.  Which makes them a little tough to get started, but apparently acts to 'lock' them in once installed.  At least that's what the back of the box said.

I also installed the EGR Block off gaskets and plates.  I thought they might look cluttered or funky, but I think they look fine.
IMG_2995 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

After that I chased and cleaned out the exhaust manifold bolt holes and installed the manifolds using new GM bolts.  The bolts come with thread locker already on 'em. Kinda nice.  The engine bay is starting to fill up and look like it's almost finished!

IMG_2999 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

Aside from that, I started looking for other stuff to get ready to put back on the car.  Pulled out the front bumper support which I'll clean up and paint.

I'm also looking forward to a plan to test fire the motor sometime soon.

Thanks for checking in.
Take care!

-Tom
« Last Edit: September 05, 2018, 11:34:11 PM by TATurbo »
Tom
King of Prussia, PA

1981 Turbo Trans-Am
Build thread - http://transamcountry.com/community/index.php?topic=69897.0

roadking77

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Re: 1981 Turbo Trans Am project
« Reply #231 on: September 06, 2018, 06:53:25 AM »
Looks great Tom! I know we've talked about the a/c duct before and Im still interested in the stuff. I just need to get my car home (hopefully in the next couple of weeks) first. Be a nice day trip to stop up and see your project. On a side note, the Radnor Hunt rally is this Saturday, rain or shine. Should be some interesting cars trolling your area. I wont be participating this year though. The concours show is on sunday if you get a chance. They usually have some really nice cars there.
Finished!
77 T/A - I will Call this one DONE!
79 TATA 4sp-Next Project?
79 TATA - Lost to Fire!
86 Grand Prix - Sold
85 T/A - Sold
85 Fiero - Sold
82 Firebird - Sold
'38-CZ 250
'39-BSA Gold Star
'49-Triumph 350
'52-Ariel Red Hunter
'66-BSA Lightning
'01-HD RoadKing

TATurbo

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Re: 1981 Turbo Trans Am project
« Reply #232 on: September 06, 2018, 08:20:11 PM »
Thanks Kerry. Let me know if/when you plan on being in the area, I'd be happy to have you over.  The duct work is all packed up...I'm not in a hurry to move it.
Thanks for the heads up on the Rally this weekend. I'm definitely going to look into it.

Talk to you soon.
Tom
King of Prussia, PA

1981 Turbo Trans-Am
Build thread - http://transamcountry.com/community/index.php?topic=69897.0

Re: 1981 Turbo Trans Am project
« Reply #232 on: September 06, 2018, 08:20:11 PM »
You can help support TAC!