Author Topic: Project 1979 Trans Am  (Read 15734 times)

Ford5of5

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Project 1979 Trans Am
« on: January 15, 2016, 09:40:08 PM »
So, I bought this '79 TA clone to use as a daily driver while building my '72 Esprit. It started life as a Gold 301 Formula with tan deluxe interior and no options other than t-tops. It had been converted to a TA with dark blue ext and blue birds with black deluxe int. It looked ok. Not great but not bad. I knew it had a few issues, but didn't care because it's just a kick around car. I only paid $6k for it with a rebuilt 400.

The first issue was the backyard paint job; it's not horrible, but had a few runs in the clear coat. Even though it has TA trim, it still had Formula decals on the doors and huge 400 badge from a 60's Bird on the rear spoiler. The dash had been hacked for a newer stereo and had a half dash cover installed. All the trim had been changed from tan to black with what looks like spray PAINT. And every piece of weather strip was dried out. The first thing I did was change the t-top and door weather strips and that quieted that car down big time.

A year or so after I bought it, I rebuilt the front suspension and steering. Just a weekend project that wouldn't break the bank. That's where the problems really started. I noticed a terrible repair to the radiator support using angle iron, but I ignored it because this was just a kick around car. My '72 project got sidetracked by my Dad's and brother's '55 Ford Vic. Then it got sidetracked by my Dad's '66 T-bird.

And now the '72 has been sidetracked by this car. The more I looked at the previous owner's repairs, the more I felt like I should just sell the car. Instead I decided to fix it. The PO managed to install the engine at an angle and askew. I know the engine should be offset to the car's center-line, but this is something you'd have to see. I'm really surprised there wasn't any odd vibrations. The motor mounts were trashed and welded in. The rad support was rotted beyond repair. There's some collision damage to the bumper plate. The toe panels, forward floor, rear floor, and rear seat panel on both sides had huge rot holes with repair panels welded on top and slathered in ROOFING CEMENT! The wrong body bushings were installed in rotted out holes; this is the most surprising problem because I drove the car that way for almost 2 years in an extremely dangerous state without even a clue.

So far, I replaced all the rot on the floor pans. I had to smooth the firewall because the PO bolted a remote oil filter through the gutter; it caused massive rot to the heater area. The upper cowl needed to be replaced and I had to fab windshield braces. All the body mounts and drivers forward torque box have been repaired and all the caged nuts have been re-caged. Thankfully the rockers are good! Next up is to replace the rear torque boxes.

These are my 'Birds:




Here's the blue 'Bird laid bare:



















































« Last Edit: July 06, 2017, 11:42:11 AM by Ford5of5 »

1975 ta

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Re: Project 1979 Trans Am
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2016, 09:54:18 PM »
nice work!

Ford5of5

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Re: Project 1979 Trans Am
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2016, 10:20:54 PM »
Thanks 75TA.

My plans are white TA clone with red interior and red birds. All bright work will be blacked out. Like this:


Also in the works is vintage air, pw and pl, speedhuts, retrosound and maybe overdrive. It's not set in stone yet, but I'd like to use these switches for pw:


I may use the old pull for the fresh air vents, attached to a momentary switch, for the pl's. I was toying with one button locks, it's possible but beyond me and overly complicated. I may go with keyless entry and auto window up & down from a remote. Also, I want to change over all bulbs to led. I'll either build shades or use blackout tint on the t-tops. Pypes duel exhaust with TA splitters. Lots and lots of insulation. New front seat cushions.

If I can put together the cash, I'm gonna go with all new glass. Both side windows are scratched up pretty bad from worn out felts. I broke the windshield trying to remove it. I don't know what the PO used to set the glass, it was rock hard and I couldn't get it to cut with a wire or knife. Heat didn't help either. It too was showing scratches from the windshield wipers. The rear glass just looks shabby, it might clean up.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2017, 11:46:49 AM by Ford5of5 »

Ford5of5

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Re: Project 1979 Trans Am
« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2016, 08:40:27 PM »
Here's a few rotisserie pics.







The rockers are in pretty good condition. The springs braces however are completely shot. Even though the rocker wasn't rotted, I cut out out this section because it was bent up so bad and torn in a few spots. Then I repaired some of the wheel well.












This is what it looks like when someone fixes a frame rail with 1/4" plate and bondo.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2017, 11:56:17 AM by Ford5of5 »

Ford5of5

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Re: Project 1979 Trans Am
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2016, 11:02:04 PM »
Got a plasma cutter today. I used it to cut a patch out of 16g. My origional plan was to make the patch out of 2 pieces, but I was able to cut this odd shape out using a template. Plasma is dream compared to using an angle or die grinder.








« Last Edit: July 06, 2017, 12:08:18 PM by Ford5of5 »

Re: Project 1979 Trans Am
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2016, 11:02:04 PM »

Ford5of5

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Re: Project 1979 Trans Am
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2016, 07:50:32 PM »
Picture update





































































My welding is getting better. Some of them are still way too proud. I'm going to grind them a little bit more, but not much.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2017, 01:02:13 PM by Ford5of5 »

Spoon

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Re: Project 1979 Trans Am
« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2016, 08:56:16 PM »
Looks good!

mz-formula

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Re: Project 1979 Trans Am
« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2016, 07:20:17 PM »
Lookin good!  That frame rail patch came out awesome!

Ford5of5

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Re: Project 1979 Trans Am
« Reply #8 on: June 24, 2016, 04:20:53 PM »
Pic update of frame rail fabrication:















































Quick tip: if you have steel that's been sitting around for awhile, then clean it off with acetone or something; a quick grind isn't enough to clean it up for welding. I bought this steel about two-three months ago. It came with a layer of oil/protectant of some kind that hardened on the metal. I didn't realize it was oil and my 1st welds were contaminated and full of holes.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2017, 01:13:11 PM by Ford5of5 »

Lev

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Re: Project 1979 Trans Am
« Reply #9 on: July 02, 2016, 06:33:15 PM »
great pics of the progress, thanks for sharing, back in high school in 1982, I test drove a white 79 with red interior & graphics that was for sale at chevy/Pontiac dealership, what a nice car, wish my Dad had said yes. looking forward to seeing your car finished, good luck, rock on!!
"too much to do"

Ford5of5

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Re: Project 1979 Trans Am
« Reply #10 on: November 22, 2016, 11:17:10 PM »
Pic update, I fixed the stripped threads in both upper shock mounts as well as some rot and then moved on to replacing the inner and out out tail panels. I think I may have hit a milestone as my floor repairs are complete! Only took me a year.




































« Last Edit: July 06, 2017, 01:23:59 PM by Ford5of5 »

WHITETRASH

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Re: Project 1979 Trans Am
« Reply #11 on: November 23, 2016, 08:19:49 AM »
Wow. Lots of metal work, your repairs look great.

formula jg

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Re: Project 1979 Trans Am
« Reply #12 on: December 05, 2016, 05:31:32 PM »
I didn't realize you had this other thread going. More than half the pics are not showing but based on the ones that are showing all I gotta say it whaaaaaaat! You Got Heart brother!

Ford5of5

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Re: Project 1979 Trans Am
« Reply #13 on: December 10, 2016, 11:05:35 AM »
Pic Update! Out of order, of course.

Floor repairs are finished, trunk is patched up, frame rail segment replaced, new inner and outer tail panel. Next step, Rust Bullet on in and out of floors and trunk.







































Here's the replacement frame rail. In regards to this particular piece, I will yield to my friend Doright. The fitment was horrible and required a lot of cutting, banging and rewelding.































The AMD inner and outer panels fit like a glove. By accident I bought two different manufacturer's inner panels. One was AMD and the I THINK the other was Goodmark. Both AMD panels had crisper profiles, all the holes were either dead on or very close and pretty much fell into to place.





The trunk closed correctly on the first try, YEA!





« Last Edit: July 06, 2017, 01:55:35 PM by Ford5of5 »

Jack

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Re: Project 1979 Trans Am
« Reply #14 on: December 10, 2016, 11:06:23 AM »
I'm glad you're back at it.




Regards, Jack

Re: Project 1979 Trans Am
« Reply #14 on: December 10, 2016, 11:06:23 AM »



MNBob

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Re: Project 1979 Trans Am
« Reply #15 on: December 10, 2016, 11:46:04 AM »
Incredible work, go power and patience!  You must have to do a lot of measuring to make all of this fit together with all of the parts gone.  Looks great.
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

formula jg

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Re: Project 1979 Trans Am
« Reply #16 on: December 10, 2016, 02:28:21 PM »
How did you weld the inner tail panel to the gas tank bracket, plug weld from outside or run a bead along each of the 3 gas tank bracket tabs from the inside?

From the pics it looks like the trunk gutter corners needed to be banged down and shaped to the new panel gutter, correct? 
Now that you've been intimate with that rear tail panel how much less (or more) shaping of the gutter corners would be required if I separated that gutter strip from the original panel and attached the new panel along the original strip as we discussed in my current tail panel thread?

The pics are fantastic but I gotta admit some are like a horror movie, hard to look at or recognize when its all cut up.....hehehehe.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2016, 03:47:10 PM by formula jg »

FormTA

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Re: Project 1979 Trans Am
« Reply #17 on: December 10, 2016, 02:30:30 PM »
Wow!
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???

Ford5of5

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Re: Project 1979 Trans Am
« Reply #18 on: December 10, 2016, 04:16:01 PM »
Lots and lots of measurements and a few eyeball guesstimates were necessary. Everyplace you see blue tape is a measuring point, there's also several on the floor of the garage. Thanks to the engineers at GM there's isn't a single symmetric or straight line on these cars! LOL That's the only nice part about Fords, I don't think there are any others. :lol:

For the passenger side gas tank bracket I drilled through the inner panel and plug welded it. Whenever possible, you want your thickest metal to be the base of a plug weld. The drivers side I think should be welded in the same manner but too much of mine was missing. Ill' probably add a tab to it and weld it to the inner panel from the back with a plug.

The quarter corners got bent up because I looking for welds and how it was put together. They tapped back into place real easy, but I haven't welded them because the quarters are going to be replaced as well. I did weld the gutter to the outer panel.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2017, 05:46:06 PM by Ford5of5 »

mz-formula

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Re: Project 1979 Trans Am
« Reply #19 on: December 11, 2016, 07:38:48 AM »
great work on your bird!    Yours looks to have weathered time about the same as mine did over all, but you are making good progress on getting it back on the road.

Ford5of5

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Re: Project 1979 Trans Am
« Reply #20 on: December 11, 2016, 02:27:22 PM »
Formula JG, I forgot to answer all of your question. At this point, I believe it to be easier to remove the entire panel; this stuff is always a matter of opinion, though. You would need to pop all the welds across the outer gutter and the lock cage as opposed to 3 or 4 on either side. Then you need to hope that the new panel matches as well as the old one, which I THINK it will. Either way, the quarter panel gutters will need to be detached and the taillight extensions will need to be bent out of the way.

I'm fairly sure that there is no saving the trunk gasket in either scenario. Mine was glued in completely, 100%. It's been awhile since I've done weatherstripping but I think you're only suppose to use the glue in several areas and not the entire gasket. For instance, I think it's suppose to only be glued the beginning and end pieces and any corners.

I'm definitely hesitant to say it will or won't work because I just don't know. You're idea totally seems doable. I'm just not sure if it's worth the effort. If you go that route take pics! Generally, I like the idea of replacing/disturbing as little good, origional material/paint as possible. Problem is I prefer easier work even if there's more of it. :shock:  This is first time that I've gone this deep into a car. Giggity. In the past, I would have just sold the car.

NOT A TA

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Re: Project 1979 Trans Am
« Reply #21 on: December 11, 2016, 04:08:45 PM »
Wow are you in deep! You have my respect for the perseverance it takes to do all that metal work on a clone. Keep at it!
John Paige
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Ford5of5

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Re: Project 1979 Trans Am
« Reply #22 on: December 11, 2016, 05:43:01 PM »
Well, I have to admit I'm enjoying the metal work. Many of my contracting-customers have made the remark that demolition must be the fun part of the job. For me, it was always putting things back together that I enjoyed. Plus, I enjoy sorta reverse engineering from pictures and rotted-out pieces of steel. From the get go, I did not plan to do this much work, especially to a common 1979. I just couldn't leave the mess that the PO made. Now, it's become the practice run for my '72 Esprit. Now that car is a HORROR SHOW!
« Last Edit: February 09, 2017, 05:47:07 PM by Ford5of5 »

formula jg

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Re: Project 1979 Trans Am
« Reply #23 on: December 11, 2016, 05:53:16 PM »
I posted a reply on my thread, link here:

http://transamcountry.com/community/index.php?topic=75701.40

Ford5of5

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Re: Project 1979 Trans Am
« Reply #24 on: December 29, 2016, 04:11:02 AM »
Pic Update! All frame, floor and trunk repairs have been finished. The floor then got stripped and coated with 2 coats of Rust Bullet, 2 coats of home made Lizard Skin on the exterior, 2 coat of RB and 1 coat of home made LS on the interior, then a final coat of white on the exterior. I really should've left it silver or went with black. The texture of the microspheres requires more paint to completely hide than I bought. A quart should've been enough for 2 coats, it took the entire quart just to get coverage. It'll never been seen, I guess.







































« Last Edit: July 06, 2017, 02:01:28 PM by Ford5of5 »

Jack

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Re: Project 1979 Trans Am
« Reply #25 on: December 29, 2016, 10:06:37 PM »
That should last another 40 years, nice work Mr. Ford.




Regards, Jack

Turbo Steve

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Re: Project 1979 Trans Am
« Reply #26 on: December 30, 2016, 06:16:16 AM »
HARD CORE!
Lol nice work!
Turbo Steve
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mark369

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Re: Project 1979 Trans Am
« Reply #27 on: January 14, 2017, 05:20:29 PM »
Wow I left my shock tower in when I removed broke off bolts.   How is your garage so clean?   It is supper fun when my mechanic friend with ocd comes over to mine he cant stay in it.

  that is some good work.  looks factory.   Love the rotisserie.   Did you weigh the bondo you took out?   We tried selling a box of my original Pontiac rust at nationals a couple years  a go !

Ford5of5

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Re: Project 1979 Trans Am
« Reply #28 on: January 15, 2017, 09:32:18 PM »
HA! The garage isn't clean anymore. The plan is to do a complete and thorough cleaning of the garage once the car is back on its rear wheels and off of the rotisserie. There's dust from grinding everywhere and residue on the floor from using phosphoric acid.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2017, 09:35:22 PM by Ford5of5 »

mark369

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Re: Project 1979 Trans Am
« Reply #29 on: January 17, 2017, 08:49:11 PM »
  Ok I misspoke, I meant cluttered.  compared to mine yours is a "clean room". 

Ford5of5

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Re: Project 1979 Trans Am
« Reply #30 on: February 16, 2017, 11:05:12 PM »
Pic update. Got the rear end painted, everything on the subframe painted and all hoses and lines ready to assemble. I still need to strip and paint subframe and then I'm ready to get the car off the rotisserie.






















































« Last Edit: July 06, 2017, 02:16:42 PM by Ford5of5 »

roadking77

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Re: Project 1979 Trans Am
« Reply #31 on: February 17, 2017, 04:08:25 PM »
Clean shiny parts are nice. For some reason I thought you were in Mass, I don't see any snow in your pics.
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jonathonar89

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Re: Project 1979 Trans Am
« Reply #32 on: February 17, 2017, 10:46:30 PM »
Looking good sir.  Admirable to see all that work being done DIY.


Ford5of5

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Re: Project 1979 Trans Am
« Reply #33 on: February 18, 2017, 11:32:36 AM »
I am in Mass. The powerwashing was done a few days before the last big storm. You know what they say about Massachusetts, if you don't like the weather just wait 5 minutes, it'll change.

Ford5of5

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Re: Project 1979 Trans Am
« Reply #34 on: March 12, 2017, 09:08:35 PM »
I got the car off the rotisserie this weekend. It's kinda exciting to see it back on the ground, even if it's only on two wheels. Also got the entire frame prepped for reassembly, just waiting on an IROC steering box and pump.

Oddly enough, the hardest thing so far was installing the pre-bent brake and fuel lines! :eek: :lol: Thanks to everyone that helped me out with that. I had no originals to go by and some of the clip shapes are just plain confounding.

Here's some pics:












« Last Edit: July 06, 2017, 02:21:24 PM by Ford5of5 »

Jack

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Re: Project 1979 Trans Am
« Reply #35 on: March 13, 2017, 05:44:42 AM »
Good progress, it'll be ready for paint in no time.




Regards, Jack

Ford5of5

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Re: Project 1979 Trans Am
« Reply #36 on: March 23, 2017, 04:30:00 PM »
I painted the firewall a few days ago. I gotta say that I love the way HVLP guns work. My Dad suggested that I paint it black and I'm thinking he may be right. It looks good but will probably get dirty real easy. I was planning on painting the car myself. Now, I'm kinda reconsidering. The firewall came out good, no runs, misses or stripping but, I feel like I would need a lot more practice before doing a whole car.

I'm planning on getting the subframe and engine in this weekend. Can't wait for the car to be at least mobile. Then the doors can go back on and I can get into the special hell that is replacing rear quarters.








« Last Edit: July 06, 2017, 02:22:59 PM by Ford5of5 »

FormTA

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Re: Project 1979 Trans Am
« Reply #37 on: March 23, 2017, 04:48:52 PM »
I say paint it yourself! For your first paint job. Get some single stage paint. You can use the Shop line or DCC PPG paint (others will work too but these are ones I know). No clear to mess with and if you screw something up you can just wet sand it down and buff it to a shine. I have been painting for years and I use both base clear and single stage. With my TA I'm going with single as it will be a driver and I can do touch up pretty easy with single. Some guys will even wet sand single and then clear it for a really deep look.

Just saying, I think you can do it and it will come out great.
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???

Ford5of5

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Re: Project 1979 Trans Am
« Reply #38 on: April 01, 2017, 11:59:47 PM »
Got my subframe back on. Either I'm that good at repairing metal or darn lucky! :lol: Chances are it's probably a little of both. The subframe lined up without any issues at all. I'm very pleased considering how much work I did to the frame and forward torque boxes. I got my fingers crossed that I don't find out something is very wrong later down the road. I upgraded my steering gear and pump with Iroc stuff. The old gear had 3 revolutions and the new is 2.5. The old one had a leak from the front cap that I fixed with a rebuild kit. The repair worked fine for a year; when I started the car up after winter storage the front cap popped off upon startup with a very loud bang and poured all the steering fluid on my driveway.










Next up: paint and install steering column, paint dash carmine red, install engine, install core support and radiator. I need to get my engine running again because I think I may need a new timing chain or balancer. I think my timing mark is jumping around. The big problem is that I been working on so many old cars that I can't remember if it was this car or one of the others. If I need to replace the timing chain then I'm probably gonna do a cam swap once I find out what the cam is.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2017, 02:25:35 PM by Ford5of5 »

Jack

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Re: Project 1979 Trans Am
« Reply #39 on: April 02, 2017, 04:41:27 AM »
Next up: paint and install steering column, paint dash carmine red, install engine, install core support and radiator. I need to get my engine running again because I think I may need a new timing chain or balancer. I think my timing mark is jumping around. The big problem is that I been working on so many old cars that I can't remember if it was this car or one of the others. If I need to replace the timing chain then I'm probably gonna do a cam swap once I find out what the cam is.

That's nothing you'll have it done before the snow melts... lol




Regards, Jack

Re: Project 1979 Trans Am
« Reply #39 on: April 02, 2017, 04:41:27 AM »
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