Author Topic: Modifying 79 blue bird without affecting originality  (Read 260 times)

mohcat96er

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Modifying 79 blue bird without affecting originality
« on: September 05, 2019, 02:34:58 AM »
Hello TAC all over the globe,

I am TA lover since childhood, originally from Amman-Jordan, used to drive a Turbo TA 4.9L, 1981, white color with T-Tops, owned by my family in the 80s-90s. Several months ago, I finally bought a blue hardtop TA with 403 Olds engine, almost in original condition except the paint (vin #2W87K9N129120). I got the car from Michigan USA for $ 8,000, shipped it to the country where I reside now. Restoration is very difficult here and costly like hell due to lack of parts and vehicle’s condition (parked for 8 years before I shipped it). Restoration is undergoing until the moment; however, I enjoyed driving the car daily for the past month.

80% of the restoration is done with the assistance of an old GM lead mechanic who works on containers vessels currently. I need your advice to strengthen the heart of this blue bird with slight modifications not affecting the originality to improve performance. Acceleration is not bad, but I need much more out of it, max speed is 188KM\H according to my mobile! I feel the car is not stable at this speed beside engine’s noise. Unfortunately, and despite my age now, I still like speeding, used to drive RT, BMW545 and 1983 Benz E class with 3.2L engine, reached speeds over 260KM  :-P

What I am looking for is to order; (i) dual cat back exhaust; (ii) headers; and (iii) air intake kit. All orders will be from the USA since there is nothing that fits TA’s in this country. The purpose is fast acceleration and more high speeds without noise\non-stability as this car will be my daily driver from home to the port.

I have been searching and I found the following parts:

Magnaflow Performance Exhaust 16830 Exhaust System Kit\ on eBay for $700 + $211 shipping.

K&N Performance Air intake System\ on souq.com for $400 + $18 local shipping.

STAINLESS LONG-TUBE PERFORMANCE HEADER EXHAUST MANIFOLD  by JY MOTORING\ on eBay, $155 + $51 shipping.

I very much appreciate your advise on the above parts, do they worth it? Magnaflow is terribly expensive with its shipping fees but this is the only part I found that fits my car. Sirs, from your experience, do you have any opinions or better recommendations, taking into account that shipping fees are high  :-( 

On a separate note, I got the build sheet , but I don’t know the history of this blue bird before 2013, according to the seller, this is 1 owner car lived all her life in Michigan. Tried my best to obtain further information without success. Any hope\advise?

I look forward to hearing from you.

Thanks in advance

Mood
Custom 1979 Blue TA 6.6L
Tahoe 2014
Previous owner of:
Charger RT
2009 BMW 335Ci
2001 Mercedes E24
1986 BMW 545i
1983 Turbo Nissan ZX 280
1983 Mercedes E190 3.2L

Aus78Formula

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Re: Modifying 79 blue bird without affecting originality
« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2019, 02:45:28 AM »
For much of that I'd just go to the local exhaust shop, even the kits don't always fit on without mods. And an exhaust kit is a large parcel to ship, and also to not arrive bumped about.

Long headers, be sure you want the matching burning floor affect and having to lift the engine to install or change gaskets. I wouldn't expect $150 stainless headers to be very good quality, probably cheap stainless that browns with heat and thin-walled, doesn't last at all. Also, look at Thornton/Ram Air cast iron manifolds for converting to dual exhaust but without the dramas of servicing your car.

Not sure what the K+N kit is beyond a filter element but that doesn't explain the price.

If you plan high speed driving, obviously look at upgrading or at least renewing the suspension and brakes, perhaps adding larger diameter rims with modern tyre designs. Fast acceleration as well as High-speed don't really work unless you do a rear gear swap and include an overdrive box. It's only money...

mohcat96er

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Re: Modifying 79 blue bird without affecting originality
« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2019, 04:23:24 AM »
Thanks for the details Aust78Formula,

I will take all your notes into account when I order\install the exhaust kit. Will check if there are exhaust kits in a neighboring country.

As for the headers & KN filter, I posted the links with each part but they are not appearing! :?, What do you recommend a performer header for 403 Olds engine.

With regard to the suspension, all parts are new, got them from USA in the same container together with the car. I also replaced the brakes lines & cylinder with new ones from AC Delco locally.

Thanks again, much appreciated  :-D
Custom 1979 Blue TA 6.6L
Tahoe 2014
Previous owner of:
Charger RT
2009 BMW 335Ci
2001 Mercedes E24
1986 BMW 545i
1983 Turbo Nissan ZX 280
1983 Mercedes E190 3.2L

roadking77

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Re: Modifying 79 blue bird without affecting originality
« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2019, 06:56:46 AM »
Welcome to TAC. I dont know mechanicals so no help here, but good luck with your project and keep us posted.
Finished!
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79 TATA - Lost to Fire!
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85 T/A - Sold
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Aus78Formula

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Re: Modifying 79 blue bird without affecting originality
« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2019, 07:53:00 AM »
Also, I wasn't trying to sound negative with your parts requests, just offering alternate ideas.  I tend to find the negative results so share them to make an informed decision.

Re: Modifying 79 blue bird without affecting originality
« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2019, 07:53:00 AM »

jonathonar89

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Re: Modifying 79 blue bird without affecting originality
« Reply #5 on: September 05, 2019, 07:59:59 AM »
As Aus78Formula mentioned, you're probably best getting the Ram Air cast exhaust manifolds and running dual exhaust off that.  An exhaust shop in your area should have the tools and material to make an exhaust without shipping crazy distances.

From there, you may want to look into Holley's new Sniper Quadrajet efi kit.  That would allow you to bolt fuel injection on your stock intake manifold and tune the engine from your location.  I would say tuning/maintaining your carb would be a good idea but I imagine getting a complete Holley kit will beat out the total cost involved to really get your carb set up correct.
https://www.holley.com/products/fuel_systems/fuel_injection/sniper_efi/sniper_efi_quadrajet/

Grand73Am

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Re: Modifying 79 blue bird without affecting originality
« Reply #6 on: September 05, 2019, 08:20:51 AM »
I have a 79 TA with a 403. It's a mostly original engine. In order to convert it to true dual exhaust, I installed the Thornton exhaust manifolds, which fit easily and work well. I installed Dynomax Super Turbo mufflers. I had a local exhaust shop bend and install new 2-1/4" down-pipes from the exhaust manifolds to the Turbo mufflers. And I installed some pre-bent 2-1/4" Walker tail pipes with the chrome splitters, which I was able to install at home. If I had not bought the Walker tail-pipes, the exhaust shop could have made some for me. My pipes are made with aluminized steel pipe. It doesn't cost much, but it does last a long time. So, there's no need to pay for stainless pipes.

I think with a stock 403 engine, there's no need to install expensive headers and big exhaust pipes, since the engine can't take advantage of them. Just having a good dual exhaust setup like mine is all that engine needs. It will run better than original, but
you're not going to get much more power from the engine, no matter what exhaust and intake parts you put on it, without significant engine modifications to increase the compression ratio. That would include changing the heads, and the cam.

And as long as you have the original shaker and air cleaner, all you need is a good air filter. I use a NAPA Gold #2095 in my shaker.

I think with the speeds you want to drive, the car won't be safe without seriously modifying the original chassis. It's not made to go that fast. They were made to look good and drive safely at normal highway speeds. The t-tops are a weakness too. At the least, you'd need to install sub-frame connectors, bigger brakes, and bigger wheels and wider tires. It probably needs a roll-cage installed too if you want to go 150 mph. Your alignment adjustment better be spot on too. Even though a TA looks great, I just don't think the car and engine are up to the task of going that fast without a lot of extra work.

Here are links to the Thornton exhaust manifolds and other parts I used: 

http://thorntonmusclecars.com/product/thorntons-350-jr-exhaust-manifolds

https://www.summitracing.com/parts/wlk-17732

https://www.summitracing.com/parts/WLK-43744

https://www.summitracing.com/parts/WLK-43745

https://www.summitracing.com/parts/WLK-43821

https://www.summitracing.com/parts/WLK-43822

https://www.napaonline.com/en/p/FIL2095?partTypeName=Air+Filter&keywordInput=air+filter

Steve F.

jonathonar89

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Re: Modifying 79 blue bird without affecting originality
« Reply #7 on: September 05, 2019, 09:09:49 AM »
Also for the speeds you're talking, my opinion is it can be done if proper measures are taken. 

For a start, I would look into a BOP (Buick, Olds, Pontiac) 200R4 overdrive transmission, +17" wheels with tires that are z-rated, PTFB solid body mounts, and AFCO shocks from PTFB.

We're starting to get a little up there for costs in this thread but the above would be the minimum needed at the lowest cost to be somewhat safe about it.

Jack

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Re: Modifying 79 blue bird without affecting originality
« Reply #8 on: September 05, 2019, 09:44:11 AM »
Welcome to TAC.
Are you from Jordan or currently in Jordan? I'm guessing that you are somewhere with shops that don't do on site exhaust fab work? Otherwise you already got good advice and I'll just add that although 2nd gens handle well they are not meant to go that fast without some serious mods. I would enjoy the car for what it is and not turn into a dragster.




Regards, Jack

firebirdparts

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Re: Modifying 79 blue bird without affecting originality
« Reply #9 on: September 05, 2019, 03:52:13 PM »
Welcome to TAC! 

I think you've had good advice.  I will just add nobody really uses an air intake "kit" with the original carb in the states.  I am not sure what you are looking at there.  With a shaker, the original shape element that can suck air in the top makes some sense.  The shaker is open there so there's room for air to come in.  You can cut open the back of the shaker and at least the air temperature will be as good as it can be.  Looks like Edelbrock makes one as well as K&N.

https://www.summitracing.com/parts/edl-43662?seid=srese1&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIgOOBjtW65AIVE-DICh0RwAbkEAQYBiABEgLkhPD_BwE

https://www.summitracing.com/parts/knn-66-3040/applications/
« Last Edit: September 05, 2019, 03:55:42 PM by firebirdparts »
I want to be like Paul Kenny when I grow up
Joe Bays
1977 Y82 4-speed (red interior)
1978 Skybird 350
1978 Redbird 305
1979 Redbird 301 4-speed
1992 Lincoln Mark VII LSC/SE (red)
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80Pacer

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Re: Modifying 79 blue bird without affecting originality
« Reply #10 on: September 06, 2019, 03:15:02 AM »
I had a 79 black/gold special edition with the 403. I did some minor tuning and it really woke the engine up. Open the back of the shaker scoop and install a high flow air filter like the kind that K and N makes. Contact Cliff Ruggles at cliffshighperformance.com and tell him what results you want and he can make suggestions on what carburetor jets and rods you will need. They need to be richer. You probably have good quality fuel available there so the engine can take some more timing. You will need to bring the timing in sooner with some lighter springs or you can just keep turning the distributor a few degrees and testing it to see if you can hear any pinging. When you get to that point back off a few degrees. Headers and true dual exhausts will help a lot with the above tuning. I would just have a muffler shop custom make a system.
 

Fbird

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Re: Modifying 79 blue bird without affecting originality
« Reply #11 on: September 08, 2019, 11:56:58 AM »
in order to "cruise" at 266 kph.... your going to need quite a few more things than just exhaust and a breather.... number 1 thing is NOT getting that fast...its STOPPING when you need to AND your going that fast!!!!
Control is paramount to FUN!. The short of this would be
basic suspension package (hotchkis, pro-touring f-body, DSE..)
POWER!!!  (mondelo, dick miller...) as you are going to need at least another 100 HP and a SOLID motor
some basic calcs show 5000rpm with 2.56 gears and 28" tire gets you 162 mph.

simply put...$$$$ how fast can you AFFORD to go.
67 Firebird
1980 Turbo TA (injected 400 now :) )

Aus78Formula

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Re: Modifying 79 blue bird without affecting originality
« Reply #12 on: September 11, 2019, 04:06:55 AM »
reaching that speed, and cruising at that speed are completely different things

Fbird

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Re: Modifying 79 blue bird without affecting originality
« Reply #13 on: September 11, 2019, 06:35:37 AM »
reaching that speed ...driving a aerodynamic barn door ....add about 100 hp and you should be close.
67 Firebird
1980 Turbo TA (injected 400 now :) )

jonathonar89

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Re: Modifying 79 blue bird without affecting originality
« Reply #14 on: September 11, 2019, 07:23:00 AM »
Some of you guys are very doubtful here.  The ‘79-‘81 cars are the most aerodynamically efficient 2nd gens from what I understand.  When I was younger and drove 403 ‘79 T/A’s, I spun my 100mph speedo all the way around and past 0 on my stock speedometer a few times.

This can be done with some modifications.

In regards to stopping power, you can do the 12” 3rd gen 1LE rotor and used B spindle for around $200-$300.

Stock gearing works for 403 cars.  Find yourself a 200R4 with BOP bolt pattern if you want to lower your RPM’s though.  I would concentrate on replacing the front timing chain on those engines.

Re: Modifying 79 blue bird without affecting originality
« Reply #14 on: September 11, 2019, 07:23:00 AM »



Fbird

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Re: Modifying 79 blue bird without affecting originality
« Reply #15 on: September 11, 2019, 11:02:58 AM »
also might note that if your car is currently feeling unstable at 120.....first get get a front end alignment per custom specs...NOT GM SPEC.
add + Caster like 4-5 degree with around -1 CAMBER  and 1/16" toe IN....that should solve the "unstable" feeling for now.
67 Firebird
1980 Turbo TA (injected 400 now :) )

b3nny

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Re: Modifying 79 blue bird without affecting originality
« Reply #16 on: September 12, 2019, 08:03:31 PM »
+1 for the Thornton jr 350 performance manifolds.
I have a 403 with a fresh stock rebuild. But i agree you need the following to attain true 403 TA bad assery
#1 You need either those hard to get heads (pre 72 olds 350 smaller chamber heads that bolt on increasing your compression. Or get those kb pistons. 
#1a A killer CAM
#2 Edlebrock performer rpm intake manifold.
#3 Some friggin brakes
#4 PTFB suspension package.
#5 Dont let Al Queda get ya
1980 Turbo TA (Olds 403)
My TA

Aus78Formula

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Re: Modifying 79 blue bird without affecting originality
« Reply #17 on: September 12, 2019, 10:05:31 PM »
A Performer RPM intake will not work with the stock shaker setup. There's ways around this but not always worthwhile, as long as you know.
I had other plans for the engine in mine, pre-LS craze, but after reading constantly of how few the options were and to simply pull the 403, that persuaded me to keep it. Bumping the compression up and not much else brings it to double the factory output and where it should have been as a stock engine pre-emissions.
Naturally, being outside the US makes a lot of mods hard where you have to ship everything condition unknown. You may not wish to do too much of this.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2019, 11:03:06 PM by Aus78Formula »

Re: Modifying 79 blue bird without affecting originality
« Reply #17 on: September 12, 2019, 10:05:31 PM »
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