Author Topic: 1979 TA restore almost done  (Read 751 times)

4wheeling79

  • Active Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 222
1979 TA restore almost done
« on: November 19, 2017, 10:27:49 PM »
I should have posted as I went along but PB shut me down until today better late than never. I picked this complete 79 TA 400 with auto TH350 last August up in Dallas I knew when I picked it up it had rust issues but hey they all do had I know the extent of the rust though I would had past it up. But I brought it home for what I thought would be a pretty quick rebuild fresh paint, new interior and let it roll little did I know this would turn into a total restoration. Upon getting home I found the electric windows didn't work, door locks didn't work, only the driver seat was bolted down, no passenger seat track, shaker was glued to the hood, brakes barely working and trans was slipping. So she had a list of issues it had been half a$$ restored back in the 90's paint and motor rebuild from previous owner.








4wheeling79

  • Active Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 222
Re: 1979 TA restore almost done
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2017, 10:48:46 PM »
What I always find amazing is the work and extent a person will go to absolutely do it all wrong upon removing the carpet I found garbage bags covering this poorly floor pan repair. What I found under the paint was even more puzzling to me to the point I wanted to choke the life out of the person who did the repair. All four corners had this poor excuse for a repair the best I could figure that was bath or window cocking squeezed in then painted over. So the rust repair began I cut out and repaired all rust issues in the car along with new floor pans. Note the ugly spray painted dash horrible color it had to go!








4wheeling79

  • Active Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 222
Re: 1979 TA restore almost done
« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2017, 11:14:35 PM »
Once I was into the car 2 months I knew I was in for the long haul it was like the more I took a part the deeper I was getting the light at the end of the tunnel was very dim. Going into this I knew enough about paint and body work to be very dangerous. But I have always been fabricator so doing the metal work just came natural to me but for the paint work I had to call in reinforcements.






4wheeling79

  • Active Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 222
Re: 1979 TA restore almost done
« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2017, 11:59:10 PM »
Once I got all the rust repaired which seemed like it would never end I hate rust! Nothing on the sides of the car was straight door dings front to back. Once we started sanding on the car I found the car had been brown its entire life and had been repainted up to 7 times in most spots. But the car was not a numbers matching car and I did not want to go back with original brown so a complete repaint was in order just had to find the right color. But first prime and wet sand what seemed like for ever but I wanted it as straight as possible. I sand blasted the bottom side of the car the best I could repainted the entire bottom side.




This what was left of the front sub frame bolts not much left.


Primed and wet sanded multiple times







Jack

  • Oracle Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 8848
  • 1971 Esprit TA Clone W72 1972 Formula 68 350 HO
Re: 1979 TA restore almost done
« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2017, 01:17:48 AM »
Nice job, although the car looked pretty good in the first few pics.




Regards, Jack

Re: 1979 TA restore almost done
« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2017, 01:17:48 AM »

tlucas03

  • Active Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 11
Re: 1979 TA restore almost done
« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2017, 03:02:44 AM »
Thank you for sharing your project.  The work you have put into it looks well done, and I greatly admire you and the other members of this group for your ability‚Äôs and thank you for sharing the journey with people like me.

4wheeling79

  • Active Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 222
Re: 1979 TA restore almost done
« Reply #6 on: November 20, 2017, 08:15:34 AM »
Nice job, although the car looked pretty good in the first few pics.

Looks can be conceiving and they were with this car the man I got it from kept it in his garage. But when I opened the door and set in it I could smell the mold so I knew the floor pan was toast. The paint was a 20/20 job had scratches top to bottom front to back. Had I have know about all the rust issues on the T-top and windshield channel I would had left it setting in the mans garage. The good thing is I picked it up for pennies on the dollar it was a complete running TA with a decent running 400. So from a starting point I thought I was money way ahead I had no idea what I was in for. Nor did I an on a complete restore job.

4wheeling79

  • Active Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 222
Re: 1979 TA restore almost done
« Reply #7 on: November 20, 2017, 07:40:32 PM »
After I looked at tons of TA pics I ended up deciding on PPG Martinique blue with about 5 coats of clear, gold bird and gold wheels. Spraying the base and the clear is the 2 things I didn't do on the car in fear I would screw it up. I was at work all day and the guys came over and knocked it out so when I came home and found the car sprayed I was blown away! I couldn't had been more surprised!
Now it seemed the hard part was all over the rest would be down hill I ordered tons of new parts to make reassembly a breeze plus at this pointy I wanted this car to be brand new.




1975 ta

  • Active Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 339
Re: 1979 TA restore almost done
« Reply #8 on: November 20, 2017, 08:27:38 PM »
looks good

Grand73Am

  • Oracle Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 9151
Re: 1979 TA restore almost done
« Reply #9 on: November 20, 2017, 08:28:29 PM »
Enjoying seeing your progress.
Steve F.

4wheeling79

  • Active Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 222
Re: 1979 TA restore almost done
« Reply #10 on: November 20, 2017, 11:03:06 PM »
I ordered a the complete LE kit from Pro Touring for suspension, the rearend I totally rebuilt with Richmond axles, Auburn carrier and 3.42 gears. All new lines, fuel tank and every nut & bolt front to back.


For the transmission it was slipping from the start so I ordered a complete rebuild kit so me and a friend rebuilt it at his transmission shop one afternoon. Upped the clutch packs, new pump and shift kit for the converter he got me a 2200 stall converter which turned to be close it actually stalls at 2K



As for the motor I thought I would save a little money here the car ran pretty decent so I figured I would just freshen up the gaskets and changes cam shafts. So not the case once I got a good look in the spark plug holes I seen it had the dreaded 8 valve relief pistons. So I tore the engine a part and to my surprise internals was in awesome condition bores were perfect, crank had zero wear even though bearings had 1994 on them. It had a generic rebuilders cam in it and very low miles from what I could tell.
The good was I had the 988 block out of 1975 but heads were the larger 5C-8 castings. A stroker was out of the budget and roller cam wasn't in the budget either at this point. But who ever did the machine work back in 1994 did really work and ended up saving me some $$


LeighP

  • Jedi Council
  • Oracle Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 20181
Re: 1979 TA restore almost done
« Reply #11 on: November 21, 2017, 12:40:56 AM »
Starting off with a complete car, even in poor condition is a boost to the project.....interested in seeing the final result. :)
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


olds403

  • Oracle Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1656
Re: 1979 TA restore almost done
« Reply #12 on: November 21, 2017, 01:18:40 PM »
Nice work.....well ahead of us.  Least you just needed floors and some areas around t tops.  Once these need floors, quarters, and tail panel you are in for a lot of money. 

4wheeling79

  • Active Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 222
Re: 1979 TA restore almost done
« Reply #13 on: November 21, 2017, 10:01:00 PM »
I wanted to put as much muscle as I could into the motor rebuild on a limited budget and time frame both of these issues was killing my dreams. I tried looking for a reasonable priced 455 but couldn't find anything so I resorted back to the 400. Since 5C heads are basically 6X heads and I have been porting heads for close to 25yrs  I did a full port and polish job on the intake and exhaust side and lots of bowl work. I used 1 piece SS valves 2.11 intake and 1.77 exhaust. I did end up milling the heads but only enough to clean them up they ended up with right at 99cc's on the chambers. Finished them off with 3 angle valve job, comp springs, machined for positive seal and 10 degree locks.
The block was perfect bores where straight already .030 over, and main saddles was just like it was line honed yesterday it couldn't had been any better. So I ordered up all new bearings, Comp XE264 flat tappet, roller rockers, new balancer, trickflow pushrods, a set of Speed Pro pistons the machine shop I used is a Pontiac racer and he gave me a set of forged rods. He balanced the rotating assembly to a zero balance and polished the crank for me. I honed all the cylinder bores to fit the new pistons and put it together. Compression ratio ended up at a solid 9.2, I ported the factory intake and ordered up a Q-jet from summit. It should run pretty decent for a 400




















scarebird

  • Oracle Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1035
  • Parts vender
      • Scarebird Classic Brakes
Re: 1979 TA restore almost done
« Reply #14 on: November 22, 2017, 11:21:03 AM »
Very nice to see.  my 70 was originally Martinique Blue, interesting to see what it looked like proper.

Re: 1979 TA restore almost done
« Reply #14 on: November 22, 2017, 11:21:03 AM »

1975 ta

  • Active Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 339
Re: 1979 TA restore almost done
« Reply #15 on: November 22, 2017, 08:01:42 PM »
looking good!

Jack

  • Oracle Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 8848
  • 1971 Esprit TA Clone W72 1972 Formula 68 350 HO
Re: 1979 TA restore almost done
« Reply #16 on: November 23, 2017, 07:19:24 AM »
I like the color, it goes nicely with the motor.




Regards, Jack

TransBam

  • Active Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 32
Re: 1979 TA restore almost done
« Reply #17 on: November 23, 2017, 10:29:04 AM »
Very nice work and in an open air carport! Nice reminder that the average person with knowledge/skill can build a car anywhere. In MN, it's harder to work outdoors... either too cold or the mosquitoes zero in on the light and carry you away.
Your car is looking great!

4wheeling79

  • Active Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 222
Re: 1979 TA restore almost done
« Reply #18 on: November 23, 2017, 11:55:22 AM »
Thanks guys! I actually went to Harbor Frieght and bought some tarps washed out my entire shop and carport. Then turned my carport into a paint booth. I put in fans to pull out the over spray and even radiate heaters to help cure the paint it looked like an awesome built getto paint booth it worked pretty good. I got one bug on the hood, one on the door and some trash on the deck Lid luckily every bit of it wet sanded out. One would never guess it was painted out side looking at it now.  :D

4wheeling79

  • Active Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 222
Re: 1979 TA restore almost done
« Reply #19 on: November 27, 2017, 10:20:25 PM »
This was like putting together a lego set just one piece at a time there was so much to do and so many parts everywhere. I had to just focus on one thing at a time if not it would seem like it will never end for me I'm sure we have probably all experienced this part of a build. So I set the rebuilt rear end into place then started on the front the AC hadn't worked in no telling when so with the entire dash a part I replaced the entire AC/heater and put back all the factory duck work. I learned on youtube how to install the front and rear windows that worked out perfect.
I relined the front sub frame into place and installed all new brake lines, fuel line, brakes, bearings, rotors and so on....





Then set the engine and trans into place bolted up headers and accessories


Bale9

  • Active Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 167
Re: 1979 TA restore almost done
« Reply #20 on: November 27, 2017, 10:28:56 PM »
You are doing some amazing work on your car and all from your drive way.

Were you nervous swinging the engine and auto from the intake manifold? I'm assuming its the factory cast iron manifold.


Keep it up, looks great.

4wheeling79

  • Active Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 222
Re: 1979 TA restore almost done
« Reply #21 on: November 27, 2017, 11:35:28 PM »


Were you nervous swinging the engine and auto from the intake manifold? I'm assuming its the factory cast iron manifold.


Keep it up, looks great.

No I have been using carb mount lift since the early 90's but back then I built my own now they looked kinda sketchy, but yes it is a factory manifold and you can do the same with aluminum. Thanks I will post more pics tomorrow I lost 3/4 of the pics I took so having to really to get these.

4wheeling79

  • Active Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 222
Re: 1979 TA restore almost done
« Reply #22 on: November 28, 2017, 09:56:13 PM »
The next major task was the interior someone before me thought it would be a good idea to take some ugly off yellow spray paint and paint over the camel tan. The seat covers, door panels, head liner and rear package tray I could order but the dash and center console had me really worried. So I got out the center console and figured I really couldn't mess it up any more than it already was. I got some aircraft paint stripper for plastic spayed it inch by inch on the console and took my time removing that ugly paint the results was unbelievable. Hard to believe that was the same console!

Before


After



Why anyone would do something like this is beyond me?? I used the same approach on the dash removed as much old paint as I could. I ended up redoing the dash in black turned out looking pretty good. I really liked the black dash with the camel tan interior setting on black carpet. The old school Hurst dual gate shifter was in the car when I got so I restored it the best I could. I traced down all the electrical issues with the windows, door locks, blower motor and instrument cluster all of it was easy fixes just real time consuming so now all factory parts work.

UGLY before pic


After






roadking77

  • Oracle Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 6394
Re: 1979 TA restore almost done
« Reply #23 on: November 29, 2017, 04:10:43 PM »
I like the two tone interior. See them once in a while on the older cars but not too many as they get towards the end of the line.
Finished!
77 T/A - I will Call this one DONE!
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

TransBam

  • Active Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 32
Re: 1979 TA restore almost done
« Reply #24 on: November 29, 2017, 04:51:50 PM »
I like the two tone interior. See them once in a while on the older cars but not too many as they get towards the end of the line.

I agree and the tan and black look great together.

I've got a 74 TA project car with an option listed as 'REDAPP-NC 75X' ...... black and red interior

Grand73Am

  • Oracle Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 9151
Re: 1979 TA restore almost done
« Reply #25 on: November 29, 2017, 07:22:16 PM »
Your seats look good. Are they PUI brand?
Steve F.

4wheeling79

  • Active Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 222
Re: 1979 TA restore almost done
« Reply #26 on: November 30, 2017, 07:57:49 AM »
Thanks for the compliments I looked at a lot of interiors before I made the final decision originally it was all camel tan. But being this is not a numbers matching car I wanted to build it the way I thought it should had came from the factory. Minus the 455 I couldn't make happen but without some way better tires 455 power would never get to the ground with factory size tires.
The seat covers I ordered from Classic Industies I'm not sure who actually made them? The rear seat I refoamed and recovered myself. The front seats I just didn't have the time so I had the guy up the road recover them for me and only cost $100 so I let him have at it.

Grand73Am

  • Oracle Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 9151
Re: 1979 TA restore almost done
« Reply #27 on: November 30, 2017, 09:04:19 AM »
Okay, they must be PUI then, since that is what Classic Industries sells. Camel Tan is a good choice...one of my favorites. Thanks!
Steve F.

FormTA

  • Oracle Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1589
Re: 1979 TA restore almost done
« Reply #28 on: November 30, 2017, 10:34:04 AM »
Wow! Great work. That console came out great considering what you started with.
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???

4wheeling79

  • Active Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 222
Re: 1979 TA restore almost done
« Reply #29 on: December 02, 2017, 01:54:01 PM »
The next line of business was to get that freshly built engine fired up and break in the flat tappet cam I have probably done at the very least a 100 times but I get nervous every time still to this day. But I broke it in no worries I couldn't wait for the next day to do so at 10 o'clock at night there I was breaking in the cam. I had the attention of the family and my neighbors come down and watch the show.


Once I had the engine up and running before I tried setting the front clip on I wanted to get the front end alignment done. Since I had this entire front end a part I wasn't sure how straight it was and I didn't want someone I didn't know working over the fenders. I had a 4 wheel alignment done this part I was worried about how straight did I set front sub frame and how far was the camber off? Luck would have it my crude measurements I took with a tape measure and laser was spot on straight. I was only 3 shims off on the camber the guy told me the car was straighter than most newer cars that come in I was super thrilled about this!
I brought the car home unloaded it off the trailer and couldn't resist driving it the muscle it unloaded on the ground was unbelievable! I was instantly in love as I built this car to sell at this point I wanted to keep it now. The car had no rear bumper and no front end but I drove it around the block anyway.


Next was to get the front end on this is where I ran into a real set back I used the original front and rear bumper when we painted them with flex additive in the primer and paint. We stripped them both down repainted both and they both cracked a second time. I was super upset at this point costing me a lot of money and time so we stripped them down a third time. At this point we found it was the old plastic was cracking not a paint issue at all so I had to order new repo bumper cover and fit them. 





In the mean time I ordered up an AC kit from Original Air Group to replace the original big ugly compressor it fit perfect literally had it blowing cold air in one afternoon. It worked out amazingly I would highly recommend it. Came with everything you would need.






The fitment I was super concerned about but they went on like they was from the factory I didn't have to do much adjustment to either of them at all. Washed, primed, sprayed, cleared and buffed them out bolted them right on the car sounds easy anyway. This little project took me about 5 weeks to get done but the out come looked awesome.








Grand73Am

  • Oracle Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 9151
Re: 1979 TA restore almost done
« Reply #30 on: December 02, 2017, 06:08:34 PM »
Excellent work and great pics!

Your a/c kit looks just like my Classic Auto Air kit, so it's good to see your pics of it installed.

The new bumper covers look great too. Who did you buy those from?
Steve F.

4wheeling79

  • Active Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 222
Re: 1979 TA restore almost done
« Reply #31 on: December 02, 2017, 07:49:22 PM »
Thanks! The bumper covers I got from Classic Industries I will bet there the same ones that all the other vendors sell. Aside from a few bolt holes missing they fit very well the hardest part was degreasing them.

Grand73Am

  • Oracle Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 9151
Re: 1979 TA restore almost done
« Reply #32 on: December 02, 2017, 09:03:36 PM »
Thanks!
Steve F.

LeighP

  • Jedi Council
  • Oracle Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 20181
Re: 1979 TA restore almost done
« Reply #33 on: December 03, 2017, 07:00:31 AM »
Looking pretty darned nice!  8)
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


4wheeling79

  • Active Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 222
Re: 1979 TA restore almost done
« Reply #34 on: December 06, 2017, 09:44:22 PM »
When I acquired this car the shaker had been glued to the hood and for me this is not acceptable and luckily for me who ever did it used horrible glue. so removing the shaker wasn't to much trouble and a eraser wheel removed the rest of the glue. The problem was I did not have a drop base to use I had been looking for one since I started this project last year and paying $300-400 for one was not an option I would use. So I got me one that I believe went to a 301 but I never confirmed this of course it set way to low since I had an original drop base for my 78 I had the measurements I needed. So I cut out the center of the 301 base and added a strip of sheet metal and made my own drop base. The end result didn't turn out to bad the shaker to hood clearance was perfect.






https://imgur.com/a/HP4IG

Bolting the hood and lining up all the body lines was a major PITA it took me a whole Saturday there really close I can live with them but don't like it. But when I reached this point here I felt really good with the entire build I brought the car home August 2016 and these pictures was taken August of 2017. I had torn an entire car apart and rebuilt it from the ground up in a years time!








Grand73Am

  • Oracle Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 9151
Re: 1979 TA restore almost done
« Reply #35 on: December 06, 2017, 10:35:59 PM »
The air cleaner base you modified isn't from a 301. 301 base has a smaller diameter and looks different too.

Your base is from a 73-74 Pontiac a-body (Lemans, Grand Prix, Grand Am) with 350, 400, and 455 4 barrel carb engines. Good job on making it dropped!

If you're using a Pontiac quadra-jet, you shouldn't have filled in the 1/2" diameter hole, since that's for the bowl vent pipe to stick through, like on your 78 base.

I'd think you'd need to add the inward bulge at the back for distributor clearance too, like your 78 base has. 
Steve F.

4wheeling79

  • Active Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 222
Re: 1979 TA restore almost done
« Reply #36 on: December 07, 2017, 08:25:45 AM »
The air cleaner base you modified isn't from a 301. 301 base has a smaller diameter and looks different too.

Your base is from a 73-74 Pontiac a-body (Lemans, Grand Prix, Grand Am) with 350, 400, and 455 4 barrel carb engines. Good job on making it dropped!

If you're using a Pontiac quadra-jet, you shouldn't have filled in the 1/2" diameter hole, since that's for the bowl vent pipe to stick through, like on your 78 base.

I'd think you'd need to add the inward bulge at the back for distributor clearance too, like your 78 base has. 

Ok so it's definitely not a 301 base? I aquired the base with the 14" lid and a shaker but the shaker I found to be for a 403 it was all give to me so I couldn't complain but I knew it wasn't for the Pontiac 400 the q-jet I have is a modified Olds so no need for the bowl vent. As for the clearance for the distributor on the base it didn't need it as it fit very well without that. Had I have known I could make it all work I might have put a performer RPM intake on the car and made the drop base a little deeper. But in the end I got the shaker all back like original working like it should so no complaints from me.

Grand73Am

  • Oracle Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 9151
Re: 1979 TA restore almost done
« Reply #37 on: December 07, 2017, 08:46:16 AM »
Yes, definitely not a 301 base. Below is a pic of a 301 base. The 73-74 Lemans, Grand Prix, Grand Am base you have is about 16.5" diameter, which is the same as the 400 shaker base, which is why it works. The 301 is an inch or two smaller in diameter, so wouldn't work with a 400 shaker.

I have a 73 Grand Am, 73 GTO, and 75 Lemans, so that's why I recognize the base you modified. It's for 73-74 a-body Pontiac, but will fit 75-77 too. The 75-77's have a couple extra holes in them for more valves,, which is the way to tell the difference in the years used.

Steve F.

4wheeling79

  • Active Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 222
Re: 1979 TA restore almost done
« Reply #38 on: December 07, 2017, 09:26:13 AM »
Ok good to know so basically I got lucky in fact the that I got this base to modify other wise this would had been way more difficult. Thanks

Re: 1979 TA restore almost done
« Reply #38 on: December 07, 2017, 09:26:13 AM »
You can help support TAC!