Author Topic: 1981 Turbo Trans-Am Project  (Read 2502 times)

TATurbo

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1981 Turbo Trans-Am Project
« on: March 03, 2021, 10:18:42 PM »
Hello TAC.  I've been waiting to see if my build thread can be revived before posting an update on my winter punch list.  I can summarize it by saying...
Got a bunch of little stuff done, but the list just will not disappear.  Every time we knock something off we find another little tid-bit to add!   
I figured maybe you guys might enjoy this to kill some of your Car related internet surfing time.   It's the article Hotrod.com just posted on our Turbo TA build!!!!
https://www.hotrod.com/articles/readers-ride-1981-pontiac-firebird-trans-am-turbo/


Tom
King of Prussia, PA

1981 Turbo Trans-Am
Build thread - http://transamcountry.com/community/index.php?topic=83354.0

ryeguy2006a

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Re: 1981 Turbo Trans-Am Project
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2021, 08:52:01 PM »
I'll say it here too Tom, congrats! I knew who's car that I as immediately when I saw the article pop up on my phone this morning!

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

New project: 1968 Camaro LS6, T56, Speedtech, Hotchkis, DSE, Z51 13.4" front brakes, LS1 rear disks, etc.
http://transamcountry.com/community/index.php?topic=74591.0

RamblerRacer

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Re: 1981 Turbo Trans-Am Project
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2021, 09:06:35 PM »
Very cool!  Saw this early in the am but did not post as it was early in the am. Not one to post overnight, just lurk a bit. The car is a rolling piece of art brother. Just a great story about a guy and his car like many others out there. Your story is a parallel of me and the AMC.  And you are wheeling the heck out of it like it should be.  Congratulations on the ink.

JT

5th T/A

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Re: 1981 Turbo Trans-Am Project
« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2021, 04:55:27 AM »
Nice article and beautiful transformation!
1980 T/A 4.9 Non turbo

Gone but not forgotten;
1973 T/A 455
1975 T/A 400
1978 T/A W72
1982 T/A cross fire injected

Two wheel toys;
2014 Harley Ultra Classic Limited
2013 Honda CB1100
2010 Yamaha Vmax
1982 Yamaha Seca 750

roadking77

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Re: 1981 Turbo Trans-Am Project
« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2021, 08:03:27 AM »
I saw the link in the lobby. Congrats Tom, to you, your wife and brother for doing a great job with the car. I dont know you personally, other than texting, but from the beginning I think you were rebuilding this car for your own personal satisfaction. I am sure the custom touches you did were ideas you had to refresh a tired old trans am that you had known for so many years. I highly doubt at any time during the process you had the 'end game' thought of car shows and trophies. That being said, you need to be prepared, I think there are going to be many more accolades in the future.
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

Re: 1981 Turbo Trans-Am Project
« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2021, 08:03:27 AM »

sensei451

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Re: 1981 Turbo Trans-Am Project
« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2021, 07:40:17 AM »
Congratulations on the recognition Tom, well deserved.

Missing your regular thread, very much hoping we get that old data back here.

TATurbo

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Re: 1981 Turbo Trans-Am Project
« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2021, 11:45:49 PM »
Thanks again, everyone.
You're right Roadking, I hadn't thought much about shows, or submitting this thing for consideration for calendars, Hot Rod.com, or magnets (Yeah..I did that too...See below ;-)). 
I had been loosely planning to get this car back on the road for literally 20 years when we started the project.  I made a parts list back in '99.   Like, the day after I parked it in my newly acquired garage.   When that early list got to 5 figures I stopped at the realization I wasn't in a position to take it on.   Some of the ideas I've had since way back then, (the 68 marker lights, and a digital tach in place of the Turbo lights in the hood).  Others came from talking through it with others... Originally I was going to restore the interior exactly to stock.  An upholstery shop I visited talked me out of the NOS velour. Suggesting red leather would be a better option.   Julie suggested adding some black to the interior would look more modern and address my pet peeve related to the 4 -different- reds in the original GM interior.  Chris helped me decide to go back to Black instead of the original Dark Charcol Metalic I considered for a while. Closing up the decklid hinge/spring cover and front marker lights, adjusting the body line, and other exterior touches were also all Classic Auto Painting's ideas.
At any rate, I was building the car just looking forward to driving it.  I was honestly blown away when I saw the finished project.  Everything after that has been about wanting to share it with people.  I think it's stunning...A beautiful example of these cars we all love...A great ambassador for one of the coolest cars GM has ever produced.   I'm not a vane person at all.  I get ample satisfaction sitting behind the wheel, or even just sitting in the garage staring at it. This sounds corney, but this car has really brought me joy this past year.  I want to share it with everyone I can. Especially like-minded individuals and friends like you all.   The affirmation and recognition that come with that are pleasant side effects.     
Speaking of which...I got a package and letter from Rock Auto this week with 50 of these inside:

IMG_5568 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

Sensei,
Thank you! I have a backup copy of my thread up to September, I might restore it myself. But, either way, I did have a couple of interesting projects come up this winter which I want to share with you guys. So, I've started looking through pics for an update post sometime soon.

Thanks again for checking in!
Take care.

-Tom
Tom
King of Prussia, PA

1981 Turbo Trans-Am
Build thread - http://transamcountry.com/community/index.php?topic=83354.0

737driver

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Re: 1981 Turbo Trans-Am Project
« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2021, 12:38:10 AM »
Great article! Really good story about you and your car. You have to be really booming with pride on that car!
Jim
1979 Trans Am- Heritage Brown -W72 (Pontiac 400) -4Speed-WS6
1972 LeMans Convertible
1977 Trans Am
1972 Firebird
1971 Firebird
1977 MGB  Roadster Convertible

roadking77

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Re: 1981 Turbo Trans-Am Project
« Reply #8 on: March 14, 2021, 08:55:03 AM »
Tom, they are probably all spoken for but you need to save a magnet for me. I have a bunch on my refrig, be nice to know one of them. Congrats again.

Weather is starting to break we need to seriously get together before too long.
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

Nexus

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Re: 1981 Turbo Trans-Am Project
« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2021, 08:32:57 AM »
All caught up...love this car!!
Charlie

79 Esprit but like many, it will be a T/A clone
(20 years and counting but still have her)
http://transamcountry.com/community/index.php?topic=79648.0

TATurbo

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Re: 1981 Turbo Trans-Am Project
« Reply #10 on: March 22, 2021, 08:47:09 PM »
Thanks again for the kind words guys!
Roadking, believe it or not, I don't actually have 50+ friends who want pictures of my car for their 'fridge or toolbox.   I'll definitely get one out to you soon...Along with your window tool!

Unfortunately, based on info in the Lobby, it sounds like the old content is lost, despite our Moderator's best efforts (Thank You MrBandit!). 

I have a local copy of my project thread from May 2020. I'm going to play around with it to see if I can resurrect the thread.
 
So, my next post will be my initial attempt at restoring my First post here from March 27, 2015.  It's gonna need some finagling so, bear with me as I figure out if it's feasible for me to restore the original thread...
« Last Edit: March 22, 2021, 09:10:25 PM by TATurbo »
Tom
King of Prussia, PA

1981 Turbo Trans-Am
Build thread - http://transamcountry.com/community/index.php?topic=83354.0

TATurbo

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Re: 1981 Turbo Trans-Am Project
« Reply #11 on: March 22, 2021, 08:49:11 PM »
ORIGINAL POST DATE: MARCH 27, 2015 10:01:28 PM

Hello TAC.
Well, I've finally made it to a point in life where, after almost 20 years of down-time, I can finally start rebuilding my 1981 Turbo Trans Am. I'm excited to get going on it after so much time but I'm planning on 4 or 5 years to complete the job. Of course, I hope to finish sooner, but figured planning for a long build was best for budgeting and to ensure I can take time to enjoy the project. The goal is to finish in time for my 13-year-old son's HS graduation.

While this technically isn't my first car, it is the first car I bought for myself. I purchased it in 1990 when I was 19. It had 70,000 miles on it at the time. The car had a fresh coat of paint...and a freshened up 4.9L turbo motor. I'd loved TA's since I was around 7 or 8. When I was 12 my dad bought a 1977 TA, red, white interior, and a 400. I was hooked! I drove that car through HS...a lot of stories about that '77! But that's getting off subject...

This 1981 was my daily driver from 1990-1996. Over that time I broke 2 of the Turbo 301 motors before picking up a '79 403 from a friend who had twisted the body of his '79 TA by running it up a curb.  You could see the twist in the rail between the T-Tops! My 2nd 301 was blowing smoke by that time so I bought his 403 and did my first engine swap in a rented garage stall. My Brother and I ended up finishing that swap in the driveway of my girlfriend's (now my wife's) parent's house. I remember almost rattling the windows out of their house when we fired up the engine with open headers about 6 feet from their front porch!  We pulled that 403 out for a rebuild a year or two later...this time in my older brother's garage.  That was around 1995.  In 1996, I decided it was more economical to park the TA to buy my first brand new car to use as a daily driver. The TA stayed registered but driven rarely until 1999 when I bought a house and parked it in the garage. It was driven around the block once in a while until my son was born in 2002.  Since then it's been sitting in the garage in hibernation.

This past summer, my son old enough to help wrench on it, we dug it out and got it fired up.  I started planning over the winter and have started disassembly. It's been interesting, funny and a little embarrassing coming across old work me, my brother, and our friends did back in the day. Lots of wires to nowhere, hacks, and even a not so flattering note my brother left in wax pen under the rear wheel well back in 1996. Had a good laugh when I finally got his message, 20 years later.

Anyway, the plan is to rebuild the suspension with a mid-level kit from PTFB, an LS swap...adding a Turbo to it down the road, new paint (My brother now owns a body shop), new interior etc.   I'm calling it a rebuild and not a restoration though...doing as much of the work as I can myself.

So that's the story...Thanks for checking it out.

Below are some pics and video, both recent and from back in the day. I'll try to post pics of progress as things go along.

Circa 1992:



Around 1994:


Video of my brother and I doing burnouts around the same time in 1994 or so:

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XW6Hcp5Y3Nw" class="bbc_link" target="_blank">https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XW6Hcp5Y3Nw[/url]

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1YgP0WAN4Pg" class="bbc_link" target="_blank">https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1YgP0WAN4Pg[/url]

This summer finally out into the sunshine


Video..Pulling out of garage for first time in 10+ years:
<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QiY7sXmDlok" class="bbc_link" target="_blank">https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QiY7sXmDlok[/url]
« Last Edit: March 31, 2021, 09:51:31 PM by TATurbo »
Tom
King of Prussia, PA

1981 Turbo Trans-Am
Build thread - http://transamcountry.com/community/index.php?topic=83354.0

ryeguy2006a

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Re: 1981 Turbo Trans-Am Project
« Reply #12 on: March 23, 2021, 05:45:28 AM »
Love the retro burnout videos. Especially at the end with the 5.0 Mustang!

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

New project: 1968 Camaro LS6, T56, Speedtech, Hotchkis, DSE, Z51 13.4" front brakes, LS1 rear disks, etc.
http://transamcountry.com/community/index.php?topic=74591.0

sensei451

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Re: 1981 Turbo Trans-Am Project
« Reply #13 on: March 23, 2021, 07:39:42 PM »
Nice, noticed there was a crack in the dash but I cant recall reading about any dash repairs in your thread. I would have gone back for the 10th time to read it over. What a shame its all gone.

jonathonar89

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Re: 1981 Turbo Trans-Am Project
« Reply #14 on: March 24, 2021, 01:05:18 AM »
Definitely cool to see someone from our little community here make it to the magazine.

Good stuff!

Re: 1981 Turbo Trans-Am Project
« Reply #14 on: March 24, 2021, 01:05:18 AM »

Jack

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Re: 1981 Turbo Trans-Am Project
« Reply #15 on: March 24, 2021, 03:16:01 AM »
Love the retro burnout videos. Especially at the end with the 5.0 Mustang!

I think the Mustang was scared to submission.




Regards, Jack

sensei451

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Re: 1981 Turbo Trans-Am Project
« Reply #16 on: March 24, 2021, 04:56:02 AM »
A Jake and the fatman 5.0 mustang, also similar to the one used in Basic Instinct is definitely something thats on my list to own one day

Seemed however that only the trans am had a limited slip in the video  8-)

RamblerRacer

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Re: 1981 Turbo Trans-Am Project
« Reply #17 on: March 24, 2021, 12:49:27 PM »
Love it

JT

TATurbo

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Re: 1981 Turbo Trans-Am Project
« Reply #18 on: March 31, 2021, 10:25:12 PM »
It was sorta nice to revisit that first post from back in 2015.  I'm happy I was able to preserve those old videos.  We all know doing burnouts never gets old.  I didn't realize watching myself do them on VHS quality video also never gets old. Who knew?

I have a love/hate thing for the 5.0 Fox-body Mustangs.  I sorta like 'em, but I hated them back in the day.  Mostly because they were faster than anything I had...But I remember one time in particular, I was cruising Front St. in S. Philly (A popular street racing spot back then) with my neighbor, Mike.  We were in my Dad's 77 TA. Mike was a car guy too, but he was into imports. Not a 'muscle car' guy at all.   We were buddy's but he wasn't one of the guys I usually hung out with...And he had never hung out with us at Front St. Anyway, a new (probably '88) Mustang GT pulled up alongside of us at a red light   He rev'd the engine and did a little 'bump' to suggest we race. I knew better, but Mike egged me on, so I accepted his challenge.  Next thing I know, the Mustang is backing up leaving a full car length gap between us.  Essentially giving me a two-car length head start.   Well...the light turned green, I 'dropped the hammer', and the guy drove right past us.  That left a permanent emotional scar.  To this day I can't love Mustangs.   I "get" 'em...They look cool and the newest ones are amazing, but I just can't.   BTW...My brother's GT (In the old videos above) was much quicker than the Olds 403 I was running in my TA at the time.  Even with one leg, that GT always got the jump on us.

Anyway, restoring my original thread isn't going to work.  The local copy I have here changed all the image links to point to copies on my hard drive.  Plus a bunch of the HTML get's 'escaped' when I try to copy it here. (So it shows up in the text rather than doing what it's supposed to do behind the scenes.)  It's too much to clean it all up.  BUT...I think what I'll do every once in a while is post an old fav, or one that's relevant to a current project or question.
 
This leads me to Sensei's question/observation about the dash...
There -were- a few cracks in the dash.   At the time a full replacement wasn't available (I think they are now). I considered repairing it, but decided to try one of the dash covers first.  I'd seen some crappy installs, but the part  was cheap enough to warrant trying it out.   I'm pretty sure there's a post or two about that experience.  I'll dig it out, clean it up and re-post it here next.

I also still intend to post a summary of my first winter with a 'completed' project.   A lot of stuff came up, and there are a couple projects I think you guys might find interesting.   Things keep coming up to delay that update, but it's spring now! I want to share my first winter before summer comes! Maybe this weekend.

Thanks for checking in guys!   Promise, I'll post something more interesting soon.  LOL

Take care.
-Tom
 
Tom
King of Prussia, PA

1981 Turbo Trans-Am
Build thread - http://transamcountry.com/community/index.php?topic=83354.0

TATurbo

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Re: 1981 Turbo Trans-Am Project
« Reply #19 on: April 02, 2021, 08:27:03 PM »
Based on Sensei's inquiry about the Dash...
Here's another post from the first page of my original project thread.  Looks like I didn't mention much about the Dash cover install other than I used the 'Palco' part.  At the time (2016) it was 85.00, now it looks like they run  between 120.00 and 180.00.   For around a hundred bucks I think this was a good part.  You do need to take time installing it, and having the dash out of the car allowed us to really work it with a little heat to get a really good
fit.  I'd recommend trying one if your dash is in rough shape.

ORIGINAL POST MARCH 24 2016:
Hey TAC....
Didn't get my fuel system last month, but we did get a few projects done...

We removed the T-Top weather striping, cleaned up the channels and installed new weather strip. We also installed new outer window sweeps that came with the kit from F-Body Warehouse. I installed Shiftworks Overdrive shifter conversion and the reverse/neutral safety switch relocation kits and a Palco dash cover. The Palco cover isn't perfect. But it fit relatively well and it is a very big improvement over what was there.  For $100 vs $700 for a new dash, I think it'll really good after everything's painted.

I never had a T-top leak problem, except when running through car washes...But the weather-strip was in bad shape:
 

No surprises...just a lot of cleaning...




And the new weather strip.  It's being left just dry fit for now since it'll be pulled out for paint.


Here's what was left of the outer window sweep...



And the new one installed...


We also disassembled the Tops themselves to clean them up, paint the trim and black out aluminum drip rail. I also used plasti-dipi to re-cover where the original plastic latch ends had worn away. Not sure how the plasti-dip will hold up but it's the closest I could find to the original dip.
 


There's one nasty chink in the drip rail I couldn't get pushed out, but I like the black much better than the 'bright' drip rails...


Here's the original 'dip' on the end of the latches...


And the plasti-dip after...


Finally the Shiftworks kits...
The OD Conversion went in OK, but I was a little disappointed in the feel. The detents were really rough where the shifter cam rides along them. It felt really rough. So I pulled it out and sanded down the bottom edge of the detent plate...
Here you can see what I mean by the rough finish...


Here's the detent plate installed...



The Reverse/NSS relocation switch install went OK...with one slight annoyance...Maybe I misread the instructions or got a kit that was not packaged properly, but it seemed that the instructions say the two screws to hold the mounting plate are 'provided' in one place, and 'Not included' in another diagram.  There were no screws in my kit...so I riveted the mounting plate to the shifter...





And the Dash:



That's it for now...researching electrical stuff and hope to get the fuel system ordered soon.
Modify message

« Last Edit: March 24, 2016, 10:09:07 PM by TATurbo »

<END ORIGINAL THREAD RE-POST>
Tom
King of Prussia, PA

1981 Turbo Trans-Am
Build thread - http://transamcountry.com/community/index.php?topic=83354.0

TATurbo

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Re: 1981 Turbo Trans-Am Project
« Reply #20 on: April 02, 2021, 08:39:23 PM »
And a snippet from a later post with a Dash cover update:

ORIGINAL THREAD
 Reply #43 on: August 22, 2016, 08:13:34 PM
...
We also did some more work on the Dash and steering column so the are ready to go in once the A/C's installed...
Primed and painted with SEM.  I decided to go with the a stock looking red interior which has at least 2 shades of red. The Dash, column and console are this SEM 'Napa Red' which is almost an exact match for the stock darker red on these parts...


Here you can see how the dash panel is a darker red then the rest of the interior...



The Dash is all but finished now...


Except for the gauge clusters, which I sent out to AutoInstruments this week...



...
Thanks for checking in.

Take care

Modify message
« Last Edit: August 22, 2016, 08:55:12 PM by TATurbo »

<END ORIGINAL THREAD REPOST.



Tom
King of Prussia, PA

1981 Turbo Trans-Am
Build thread - http://transamcountry.com/community/index.php?topic=83354.0

TATurbo

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Re: 1981 Turbo Trans-Am Project
« Reply #21 on: April 02, 2021, 10:14:48 PM »
OK.  Finally, Back to our regularly scheduled programming.   
My first winter with a 'completed' project was interesting.  I mentioned earlier on that there was more on the punch-list than I expected.  But what sorta surprised me more was how the list seemed to never end.  Every time we knocked something off I found something else that needed attention. It was crazy and kept us busy all winter as things tended to snowball.

Here are some of the projects I thought were interesting, noteworthy, or might maybe be useful to someone else...

One of the first things I tackled was my passenger side mirror.  It was totally locked up and could not be adjusted.  I had never taken one of these apart before and wasn't sure what I'd find inside.   I learned that the mirror assembly and the 'bullet' shaped part are held to the post by these two hex screws inside:

IMG_5239 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

Unscrew them and the mirror assembly and bullet come off the stem in two peices:
09-IMG_5240 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

And, here's why it was locked up...In the pic below you can see all rust and corrosion on the ball joint where it pivots:
10-IMG_5247 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

I filled a small wonton soup container full of Evapo-rust and set the mirror on top so that ball and socket were below the surface.  24 Hrs. later all the rust and corrosion were gone and the mirror is adjusting like new. 
Cheap fix win!

Another little cheap win...
These little guys are Lower control arm braces off of a WS6 car:
IMG_5258 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

I didn't know they existed until I was looking at an assembly manual or something and I saw them there.  I mentioned them in my original thread...Posting this diagram and asking what #2 was:
1-IMG_3072 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

Someone here tipped me off to a used set for like 40 bucks.   I picked them up, cleaned them off and they bolted right in to my non-WS6 car:
13-IMG_5333 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

So BAM!  My car is now pretty much a WS6 I think! JK...But, I figure for 40 bucks if GM thought they were useful I might as well bolt 'em on. 
 Can't say I notice a difference, but that might be because I made bigger changes in the front-end department around the same time...Which leads me to my first snowball story:

What got me started on the steering was a small PS Fluid leak.
I thought the leak was coming from my high pressure hose.  That was a stock hose I bent and hacked up to make work with my 'older' (SAE fitting) box and the newer metric LS1 pump.  Well, upon closer inspection I learned these boxes have a weap hole underneath behind the pulley.  Who knew? (LOL. I'm sure a lot of you guys probably did.) Simiilar to a water pump, the PS pump will leak a little when the bearing starts to go. This was a reman ACDelco pump with about 5000 Mi. on it.
So, the 'remove and replace a hose' project turned into making a new hose + buying and installing a  new (not Remanufactured) PS pump. 
That (of course) lead me to the steering box...

As part of the original project I had replaced the intermediate shaft and all the steering linkage to correct about 3" of play in the steering.   The box seemed OK at the time.  And for budget reasons I decided to reuse it.  I later learned I was running an older style base Camaro Steering box.  Which I think is ligher and slower than the TA boxes of the same era. time. Plus the fittings are different than the later PS Pump pressure lines.
THAT conditionlead me to this
Borgeson quick ratio box:
01-IMG_5566 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

The new box and pump made my whole steering system brand new!  Awesome right? 

Well..No... The snowball kept rolling down hill:
 - I still had a fair amount of play in the wheel!  Which was super anoying considering all the work and new parts.

Some additional investigation lead me to the intermediate shaft I had purchased early on in this project.   This thing...
4-IMG_5537 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

This is what I got when I searched for an '81 intermediate shaft, from multiple sources.  But I'm not sure it's 'correct'. I think that plastic cover was only used on 3rd Gen's.  But I also noticed that  I could never get rid of a tiny bit of slop where it fit over the steering column 'DD' connectdion.   On top of all that, the was a tiny bit of play in the u-joint I think lives inside the aluminum looking fat part at the top.  That whole joint moved just a little, but combine the two and I ended up with still almost 3/4" of play at the wheel!   
So...with some more research I came up with this intermediate shaft set up from CPP (Classic Performance Products:
3-IMG_5534 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

THAT is CPP PN CSS-1DD730 - Intermediate Shaft (1"DD 3/4x30 Rag joint).  CPP said it would fit, but it took some tweeking...
First: The U-Joint that connects to the steering column is a really nice piece CNC'd to precission.  My 40 year old Steering column...not so much.   The 1" DD U-Joint wouldn't fit over the 1"DD bottom of my steering column.  I had to 'clean up' the bottom of the column to get these two peices together.  Just sanded it little by little:
5-IMG_5539 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

The good news is that that joint no longer has ANY Play in it. 
04-IMG_5541 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

BUT...The shaft was too long to install between the box and column, even when fully collapsed.  UGH.
Deep breath...Not too big a deal, just cut it down a little.  got out my trusty dremel death wheel and it down to size and slipped it in and fired it up for a test drive of my all new steering!
I didn't even get out of the driveway. 

I immediately noticed something wasn't right.  I could feel something hitting as I turned the wheel.  Felt like resistance I could turn past with a little effort and it was consistently occurring at the same spots in the wheel rotation. 
Turns out these posts on the back side of the rag joint were hitting the sub-frame:
06-IMG_5543 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

These appear to be a safety feature that 'catch' on the intermediate shaft if the rag joint fails.  Luckily I only needed to trim a little off the backside to clear the frame.  Leaving the studs long enough to perform their intended function in a worse case scenario.

In the end this intermediate shaft and steering box project was a big win.  The steering felt a bit touchy at first. But after a few miles I adjusted to it and it is a huge improvement. 

If you need an intermediate shaft do not by one of of the stock replacements like the I did.  That original replacement intermediate shaft was crap.   It's hard to judge the Borgeson box against what I had in there...Apples and Oranges.  I can say the Boregson 800 box's 12.7:1 ratio around 3 turns lock to lock feels like a good fit.

I have more snowball stories from the Winter of 20-21 to share. 
I also have a couple stereo upgrades and tweaks I think some of you might find useful and a super cheap cowl brace idea I stole from the internet I wanted to share. 

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=83354.0

FormTA

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Re: 1981 Turbo Trans-Am Project
« Reply #22 on: April 03, 2021, 05:58:59 AM »
Nice write up Tom. I know what you mean about the twitchy steering.  I put a late 80s Iroc quick ratio box in my car as it has the metric fittings and quick ratio. It is very responsive. Not bad, just takes a lottle bit to get used to it. I think mine will be even better once I get an actual alignment. I just did a backyard one (although thorough, still just backyard).
79 Trans am low buck LS swapped
79 Formula 301 (Work in progress)
67 RS Camaro (This one is next)


Names, Luke. If I hear anyone telling me they're my father....

sensei451

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Re: 1981 Turbo Trans-Am Project
« Reply #23 on: April 05, 2021, 06:28:46 AM »
Nice work, i dont trust myself to any work on steering components  :shock:  However with this writeup maybe I will someday, I too have some play.

Thanks for digging up the dash post from the archives!
   

TATurbo

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Re: 1981 Turbo Trans-Am Project
« Reply #24 on: April 08, 2021, 08:27:01 PM »
Thx guys.  I think the Borgeson box I installed is essentially the same as the late 80's Iroc box. I was actually looking for one of those GM 3rd Gen Camaro box but the ones I found new were very pricey and I didn't want a reman box.  The box from Borgeson was a pretty decent deal I think.

I was prepared to login here to vent some frustration.  It's been a roller-coaster week trying to get a few loose ends finished up before A) A first car show outing and B) A planned road trip to TN the first week of May.  My car doesn't seem to want to cooperate though. 

Instead, I think I'll post a couple of smaller projects that worked out well this past winter with no snowballing....

First is related to interior lighting...
I mentioned in my original thread that (after 30+ years of ownership) I just realized that these indicators for headlight and wiper switches were supposed to be backlit:

2-IMG_5045 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

There's supposed to be a little prism behind there that picks up light from the Tach and carries it over to that area.  Rather than go that route I decided to use a left-over red LED back there.  Julie made a little retainer and box to control light to fit back there...
IMG_5382 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

I'm happy to have a little light on that side of the dash...
IMG_5390 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

I had one other LED hanging around...We used that one to replace a fiber optic light that went to the Defrost switch indicator.   The fiber optic line seemed 'fine', but it wasn't very effective.   Now you can see the little defroster chumpy fine...
IMG_5392 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

The other interior tweak I made was to the stereo....
I had installed a sub early in the off season.  I went with this small, powered sub from Harman's Infinity line:
IMG_5256 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

Initially I installed this in the trunk facing the rear seat.  That setup added some base low, but you couldn't feel the punch, it was not very 'clear' sounding.  So, what I did was remove the rear seat and cut a hole in the sound deadener that lives back there...
IMG_5358 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

(I later cleaned and taped it up neatly)
But the key was adding some leftover weather stripping I had to the face of the sub like this...
IMG_5520 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

Then I cut the boards and angled the brackets so that I could push the sub right up against the angle of that rear firewall there.  With the sub right up against the wall there, and pushing air against the rear seat it totally cleaned up the sound.   Now I can feel the punch of the sub much more clearly with less 'noise' from the trunk itself.  Here's how it ended up:
IMG_5630 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

I made one additional change to the stereo...I replaced the 25w 2way 'Sound Ordinance' front speakers with the 3.5" Kenwood speakers shown on the right here:
IMG_5351 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

These Kenwoods handle 50W RMS (double the old speakers and double what the head unit is putting through them).  And, they have cross-over's built in.   

Those two changes really cleaned up the sound of my Alpine head unit.  I get a nice clear all around sound stage, biased towards the rear but with nice crisp highs coming out of the dash.   

I guess that's it for now.  I'll document my more recent frustrations related to replacing an axle and a new (returning) Check Engine light code in a post maybe this weekend.

Thanks for checking in guys.
Take care.
-Tom

Tom
King of Prussia, PA

1981 Turbo Trans-Am
Build thread - http://transamcountry.com/community/index.php?topic=83354.0

Re: 1981 Turbo Trans-Am Project
« Reply #24 on: April 08, 2021, 08:27:01 PM »

sensei451

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Re: 1981 Turbo Trans-Am Project
« Reply #25 on: April 09, 2021, 01:08:29 PM »
Amazing creativity Tom, this is why I enjoy your updates so much. Congrats on the base module in the rear, the problem I am having is similar -- the whole trunk is completely sealed with two layers of sound deadning by PO and I need to poke some holes in it so that the base can travel into the cabin! I'll do something similar to your solution. Btw, did you consider adding a "vent hole" on the shelf itself? Just curious.

Happy friday folks

TATurbo

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Re: 1981 Turbo Trans-Am Project
« Reply #26 on: April 12, 2021, 09:34:05 PM »
I had looked into a couple of different Subs and researched building a custom box to fit in the side of the trunk...But then I found a deal on this little powered sub so I gave it a shot.  Installing it tight against the seat was the only adjustment I made after the initial install disappointment. I hadn't considered or looked into some sort of port in the rear package shelf, Sensei.

The stereo is sorted for now, but other than that this car will not cooperate AT ALL.  This winter and spring has been one thing after another.   I shared all the fun I had with the car last season, this off-season has been mostly fails!  At least that's the way it feels the past couple weeks.  I'll try to keep this brief but...

Let's see...Where to start?
This snowball of frustration started rolling downhill in December.  I shared the steering project snowballing from what I thought was leaking line to new pump, lines, intermediate shaft and box.  Although I'm considering the end result a win...I didn't really share how the car fought me along the way.  I spare you the detials, but as an example  This is the pile of tools I had under the car near the end of a week (That's right..A week) I spent trying to remove the Pitman arm from the old box:

IMG_5381 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

Ultimately I got the box out and took it to a local shop where they torched with an Oxy/Acetylene torch to get the Pitman arm off.  But, that was literally a full week and every tool I could muster.  Not for the whole steering project...Just getting the Pitman arm off the box!

Then, after fixing a leak in the Passenger side kick panel -DO NOT forget to seal the backside before running Vintage Air AC hoses through there- we started working on a little window adjustment.  Just a tweak to seal up small(ish) leak where the T-Top seal meets the seal coming around up the door frame.  Plus there the top itself was making some noise when closed up.
Well...The first good look at the T-Top seal revealed that the metal end plate that holds the post had come separated from the glass!   Right here...
IMG_5460 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

To get at THAT you need to remove the T-Top Weather strip, and the rail that retains it....
IMG_5499 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

Just in case you were wondering...Here's the blob that normally holds the end cap to the glass...
IMG_5507 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

Scrape that blob up w/a plastic blade, make a new blob with this stuff...
IMG_5510 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

And simply put everything back together.  Easy peasy  :-x   
Then I was able to adjust the window.  Which reminded me...While I'm up here I should re-install the windsheidl reveal molding.   It had been removed for the glass guy to fix a leak at the top of the windshield. Immediately above my lap of course.   But...Hmm...The molding wont clip in place?   A closer inspection found that some of the sealant he used got on a couple of the retainer clips which changed them from 'Retainer clips' to just 'clips'.

12-IMG_5263 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr 

I just needed to pick the rubbery sealant off of the clips.  Not a 'hard' job but, nerve wracking. That sealanat is tought stuff.  And, I was certain my razor, or screw driver, or poker chumpy would slip up and put a nice divot in the paint.  (They didn't) So, after an evening of my garage time 2-2.5 Hrs.), I got the reveal molding reinstalled   EXCEPT...On a quick drive the next day at around 50MPH I hear a horrible very high-frequency noise coming from the upper windshield reveal molding area on the PASSENGER SIDE! WTF!?  Turns out I hadn't engaged that end of the top molding into the corner piece far enough.  Another nerve-wracking encounter with the pointy molding removal tool...

I think I need to stop here for now...I can feel my blood pressure rising and it's getting late.  I would've started earlier, but I had to take time to write up my latest problem for Vintage Air Tech Support.  Ugh.

Thanks for checking in guys and listening to my crappy story.
I'm sure this story will have a happy ending at some point...Or will it?   
Hmm...

Take care.

-Tom



« Last Edit: April 12, 2021, 09:53:39 PM by TATurbo »
Tom
King of Prussia, PA

1981 Turbo Trans-Am
Build thread - http://transamcountry.com/community/index.php?topic=83354.0

TATurbo

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Re: 1981 Turbo Trans-Am Project
« Reply #27 on: April 14, 2021, 10:29:04 PM »
I'm feeling a little better today.  But, I feel like I can't stop pulling that snowballing frustration thread just yet...

 In case it wasn't crystal clear, although things were getting 'done'...What started as a little ball of frustration continued growing as it collected flakes rolling down my hill of projects to complete before the weather breaks.

After getting the T-Top fixed and the windows adjusted(again) we had a couple of decent short drives.
That's when a noise coming from the right rear of the car either got much worse or just sounded much worse because most of the other noises are gone.  With a couple of long road trips planned for this season, I decided we needed to address the RR axle (and related wheel wobble).   The noise and what I thought was an intermittent wobble from the right rear started after an unintentional off-road excursion the weekend after my 21st birthday.   After some research, it seemed like a relatively simple, and not too expensive project.
I purchased this replacement axle from Dutchman Axles:
IMG_5672 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

I chose Dutchman simply because they had a specific PN cross-referenced with the stock PN I found in the '76-81 Pontiac Parts guide' (RR Axle GM PN: 1263988).  Dutchman indicates that their 'stock replacement' axle (PN 'SR #63) is made of a higher quality metal alloy and more splined area.  I don't know about all of that, but it IS straight and shiny.
Altogether, with the lugs installed and bearing & Seal included the parts were $180.00. 
Replacing the axle is supposed to be a relatively simple job.
BUT
 Step one: Remove the wheel. On the first step I found that one of my lugnuts had was cross-threaded the last time it was
                installed. Not a big deal. The new axle has new studs, but the lugnut itself was hosed: Add Lugnuts to parts list.
 Step two: Remove the brake caliper.   Well...The top caliper bolt would not back out.  It just kept turning and turning! WTF?
                I still don't quite understand what happened but something looking like a washer was in-between the backing
                plate and the caliper.  Whatever it was was metal, and the caliper bolt was threaded through it.  I assumed it was
                some sort of threaded insert that should be living pressed into the caliper where the caliper bolt passes through.
                But, there is no pressed in thread insert in that inside caliper bolt hole?!   I don't know where this thing came
                from, or how it got there, or where it's supposed to live but it was turning with the caliper bolt and not allowing
                the bolt to back out.  Ultimately I was able to get needle nose vice grips in there to hold it while we unscrewed
                the caliper bolt.
                With the caliper off the rotor, the inside brake pad came apart!  The pad's backing plate just came divorced from
                 the pad! WTF!

 Two steps in, and I have two new parts to order and a caliper problem to investigate. 

Rolling right along...
 We got the cover off, no problem.

IMG_5681 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

Next to come out is a bolt that retains the pinion shaft which goes through the middle of the Diff side gears.  Remove this little bolt...
IMG_5683 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr
 
 I wanted to be careful with that little retainer bolt, so as not to break it off in the pinion shaft. 
 I used my small 1/4 ratchet ...Surprise, surprise...not much resistance and the bolt came right out. Phew!
 BUT...The Pinion shaft wont pull out? Feels like it's hitting something?!
 After closer inspection, I found...The retaining bolt HAD broken off inside the pinion shaft. 
 At this point, I figured I'm screwed!  I'll need to buy a new Diff center section, get the car towed, pay someone to install it. OR I could order a whole new rear end and just drop it in myself?! Neither being a cheap option.   
UGH! 
  But, here's the happy ending!
 The next night I had a closer look into the hole where the other half of the bolt/pin still lived.  My little magnetic picker-upper chumpy was exactly small enough to fit into the hole deep enough to feel the end of the bolt left inside.  And, when I twisted the magnetic chumpy I could see the broken half of the bolt was spinning freely...It was backing out as I turned the magnet!  Turns out the retainer broke right on the very last thread...
IMG_5683 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

Not sure how it broke -there- where it was still turning freely, but whatever! It backed out no problem! And, the pinion shaft dropped right out! 
Phew!
The next step amazes me...That pinion shaft keeps the axle from moving inward.  With it out of the way you can push the axle in towards the center of the diff to expose the c-clip that keeps the axle from moving outward. In the pic below you can see it, partially falling out on the right side of that 'S' shaped spring, against the spider gear on the right.

IMG_5688 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr
 The C-Clip slides right out and you can remove the axle.  Crazy that's all that holds the axle in, but it works I guess.
Things were looking up! So, we made a parts store run to rent the axle-bearing puller tool.  This is where it gets REALLY crazy...Julie just happened to find a replacement retainer pin on the shelf at the parts store!

IMG_5701 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr
 
I was excited, things are finally going our way! I even found real-life professional, bearing and seal installation tools from a defunct GM dealership.  They were used, and cheap, but best of all they were local.  I could just stop by and pick them up!  The rental tool worked perfectly to remove the bearing and seal:

IMG_5691 by Tom Sherer, on FlickrIMG_5690 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

And the bearing and seal installation tools made easy work of installing the new ones. With those in place the new axle slid right back in place!

With everything back together I took the car for a short drive around the neighborhood to make sure everything back there would stay together.  WOW.  I didn't realize how much noise that rear was making, or how much vibration it introduced into the car until it was fixed.  The car cruised and coasted more smoothly and quieter than ever! 
I went back home to pick Julie up for a longer shake-down ride. 

Julie on-board we made it literally one mile down the road when....Bing...

 

WTF NOW!?! 
P0171 + P0172  'Too Lean' Bank One & Bank Two.   
These are the same codes that I couldn't solve back when we first got the LS1 on the road. Right before my trip to drop the car off in TN for body and paint.  Back then I had to take the car to a tuner to get them cleared out.   
UGH!
 The snowball started picking up speed (and more flakes of frustration) again.

Soldiering on to try to figure out the 'too lean' codes we started looking at the fuel system.  I decided to drop the gas tank (for like the 84th time) to re-install the fuel pump the car was happy with last summer.  (I had swapped that Accell FP out  for a Walbro pump earlier this winter. Because A) I had the (presumably) higher quality Walbro pump on hand and B) The sending unit seal was leaking).  Since that's the only thing in the fuel system that has changed, it seemed like a good place to start. 
Out to the garage to get things arranged to pull the tank.  I fire up the car to bump it forward a few inches so we have room at the rear and SMACK-SMACK-SMACK-SMACK!  The f'ing AC compressor starts making an awful, loud 'whacking' sound!!!!
WTF! NO WAY!!! I mean...Listen to this...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6tk0wqZSs8

Now we are going through the fuel system for the Lean codes, and are in touch with Vintage Air tech support about the AC Compressor noise.  I don't want to jinx anything, but I think we might've found the cause for one of those problems. 
So as not to look like a total idiot unnecessarily I'll have to keep you in suspense while I figure out whether or not I'm right.
 
Thanks again for listening to my rants.  It is therapeutic for sure!

Take care guys.

-Tom




   
               
   
                   
   


« Last Edit: April 14, 2021, 11:14:11 PM by TATurbo »
Tom
King of Prussia, PA

1981 Turbo Trans-Am
Build thread - http://transamcountry.com/community/index.php?topic=83354.0

5th T/A

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Re: 1981 Turbo Trans-Am Project
« Reply #28 on: April 15, 2021, 04:34:47 AM »
Tom,

Really sorry to hear about your run of bad luck. The one step forward, two steps back routine can really be frustrating. I know you will get past these current issues and be able to enjoy your car again.

Question about your speedometer. I see it has a check engine light and trip odometer, yet it’s a 160 MPH Speedo. Did you modify your original, or buy this replacement somewhere? Are the odometer and speedometer portions accurate?
My apologies for the thread hijack.
1980 T/A 4.9 Non turbo

Gone but not forgotten;
1973 T/A 455
1975 T/A 400
1978 T/A W72
1982 T/A cross fire injected

Two wheel toys;
2014 Harley Ultra Classic Limited
2013 Honda CB1100
2010 Yamaha Vmax
1982 Yamaha Seca 750

roadking77

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Re: 1981 Turbo Trans-Am Project
« Reply #29 on: April 15, 2021, 06:38:19 AM »
Tom, Im with Larry, sorry to hear about this. But I suppose thats part of the 'fun' of having an old car.
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

sensei451

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Re: 1981 Turbo Trans-Am Project
« Reply #30 on: April 15, 2021, 11:26:58 AM »
Tom, sorry man! Re-occurring issues that were previously fixed are not fun.

Did you consider something like this to monitor fuel pressure, to take out some of the guess work for your codes?

* fuel pressure "take off": https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0014BDDXK/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1
* fuel pressure gauge: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01J48RUE2/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

sensei451

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Re: 1981 Turbo Trans-Am Project
« Reply #31 on: April 15, 2021, 11:31:04 AM »
Question about your speedometer. I see it has a check engine light and trip odometer, yet it’s a 160 MPH Speedo. Did you modify your original, or buy this replacement somewhere? Are the odometer and speedometer portions accurate?
My apologies for the thread hijack.

Tom re-did the 81 speedo that comes with the CEL. Not sure why it's red though?

TATurbo

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Re: 1981 Turbo Trans-Am Project
« Reply #32 on: April 16, 2021, 10:55:58 PM »
Yeah...I keep reminding myself how much fun we had last summer. Gotta take the good with the bad.   We'll get things ironed out soon hopefully. 
 We found a probable cause for the lean codes. I haven't verified it yet, but I want to share the gory pics with you guys. Even if it's not the cause...it looks nasty!  I txt'd a pic to my brother.  His response was "EEEWWW!".

But before I get into that... Regarding the speedo and CEL:
 Sensei is right...I had the '81 gauges refaced and recalibrated. When I sent them out to get refurbished by AutoInstruments I asked them to change the tach to run up to 8000 RPM w/a 6500RPM redline and change the speedo to 160MPH.  There was a trade-off to this change, They said they had to use an older font, and if you notice there's no yellow before the redline.  Not a big deal, but I would've preferred the correct 81 font.  I'll never use a 160MPH Speedo, but I think it looks cooler. Having the tach match the engine + a working CEL was the main idea behind the change.   The CEL looks red in that earlier pic, but it is the stock yellow color in real life.

1-IMG_3985 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

Regarding that fuel pressure gauge... I do have a FP gauge on the fuel rail from investigating previous fuel system related issues. But its a good suggestion...I -have- been thinking of installing one I can monitor while driving.  The FP appears 'OK' at the rail.  But I can't see it under load.  And, I think 'pressure' and 'volume' are like two sides of the same coin?  Like, I think you can have 60 lbs of pressure and not be flowing enough volume to keep the engine happy?   (Please...Someone correct me if I'm wrong. I don't have any 'actual' education about fluid dynamics! or fuel systems for that matter).  I do know that both this time and the last time I saw the computer complain about a lean condition, the fuel pressure wasn't below normal.
Anyway...Check this out...
 As I mentioned Earlier this winter I found evidence of fuel leaking from the top of the tank.  At the time I was running an Accell pump and had a brand new Walbro pump on the shelf.  I figured I'd fix the sending unit seal and put the better pump in at the same time.  (This was probably late January.)  When I reinstalled everything I used some 'Rubber Gasket dressing' on the sending unit's rubber gasket...'Cause it was leaking I figured this would help seal it. Sounds logical right?
When I pulled the sending unit this week, look what I found:
IMG_5720 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

The sealant I placed on the gasket never set up! It appears to have liquified and run down all over everything!
I think this is an example of what happens if you use the wrong type of stuff around fuel parts? Maybe? 
Look how gummed up the sock got!

IMG_5722 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

EEWWW!
It doesn't appear this junk got past the sock but I wont know for sure until I get it back together and fire it up. I'm going to put the old Accel pump back in because the care was happy with that one last season. Hopefully, I can get it back together this weekend. 

There was one other thing I wanted to show you guys.  I mentioned in my last post some sort of weird 'threaded insert' looking thing I found on the RR caliper between the caliper bolt ear and the backing plate.  I still don't know what this is, where it came from or how it got where it is. Below is a pic of the RR caliper looking toward the front of the car. You can see the 'washer' or 'insert' between the backing plate and the caliper here:

IMG_5735 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

To get the caliper bolt out I had to grab it like this to keep it from turning with the bolt:
IMG_5739 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr
Here's a pic of it up close.  It definitely looks threaded and around the edge it has ridges like an I think a threaded insert might?
IMG_5743 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

I ended up replacing the caliper and brake pads.  Hopefully, I don't have sealing issues like I had with the first two RR calipers I tried using back when we first did the brake system!   Fingers crossed.

Thanks again for checking in and for the encouraging words.
I'll keep plugging away...I hope to have it back on the road before next weekend. (I'm registered for a first of the season show next Saturday at the King of Prussia Mall).  I've already decided I'm not taking the car to TN the first week of may.  But, I'm still considering driving it to California...Coast to Coast this summer.  We'll see if it decides to start cooperating!

Take care!
-Tom   
Tom
King of Prussia, PA

1981 Turbo Trans-Am
Build thread - http://transamcountry.com/community/index.php?topic=83354.0

MNBob

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Re: 1981 Turbo Trans-Am Project
« Reply #33 on: April 17, 2021, 02:49:37 PM »
That lock bolt ordeal reminded me of the time I got an axle saver bearing stuck in the axle tube. I thought I was going have to bring the whole axle assembly to the driveline place to have it removed.  But after a couple of days of thinking, I used a Dremel cut off wheel to carefully cut it out .

We all have periods where it seems like it's one thing after the next, it can be frustrating.  But you have done great work and will get it done.

I have a sub like that in my Jeep and have been happy with it.  Whew, that pitman arm was a lot of work!  Your dash and gauges look great.  I think that washer on caliper might be for centering on the disk.
1979 TATA Extreme TKO .64
Hedman elite; Pypes 2.5; Borla XS; MSD 6A; Performer intake; open scoop; Sniper QJ;  110 Amp Alt; 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

5th T/A

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Re: 1981 Turbo Trans-Am Project
« Reply #34 on: April 17, 2021, 07:54:34 PM »
Hi Tom,

While doing my engine upgrade I installed a new tank, sending unit and electronic fuel pump. The tank manufacturer recommended using Permatex Fuel Resistant sealant for the sending unit and fuel pump gasket. Since you were having problems this is something you may want to consider.

IMG_7960 by Lawrence Alexander, on Flickr
1980 T/A 4.9 Non turbo

Gone but not forgotten;
1973 T/A 455
1975 T/A 400
1978 T/A W72
1982 T/A cross fire injected

Two wheel toys;
2014 Harley Ultra Classic Limited
2013 Honda CB1100
2010 Yamaha Vmax
1982 Yamaha Seca 750

TATurbo

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Re: 1981 Turbo Trans-Am Project
« Reply #35 on: April 17, 2021, 11:10:29 PM »
Thanks for the encouraging words.
Ahh Yes! 'Fuel Resistant'! Is that tube the blue stuff?   IIRC when I first installed this tank (way back early on in the project) the install kit had some blue dressing/sealant we used?  I probably used it all taking the sending unit in and out so many times.

The new installation kit I bought had a cork gasket, which seemed like an odd material. But, apparantly that's a thing. 
The rubber one that was in there didn't seal the last two times I installed it.   So, I'm going with the cork and no dressing or sealant this time.

For the record this is the stuff NOT TO USE:

REDE3427 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

Almost got the fuel system back together.   But, I broke the brand new Walbro pump in the process.  I'm telling myself it was probably screwed up anyway.   I woul've had everything reinstalled this evening, but the last wire I went to hook up (Ground for either the pump or fuel gauge) broke!   (Of course it did) Another item for the 'if i ain't broke don't fix it file.  I decided to clean it off...give it a light scuff so it's nice and shiny and makes a good connection.  it a little scuff before I bolted it to the tail panel.    And, the terminal fell off.

Hopefully there's enough room up there to install a new terminal on the wire, otherwise, I'll need to drop the tank again.  Ugh.
Tom
King of Prussia, PA

1981 Turbo Trans-Am
Build thread - http://transamcountry.com/community/index.php?topic=83354.0

TATurbo

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Re: 1981 Turbo Trans-Am Project
« Reply #36 on: April 22, 2021, 10:22:30 PM »
Hello again TAC.
 Hope everyone is well. 
 I wanted to check in to note a couple of the winter projects I had worked on before I forgot. And, to provide an update on the P0171-P0174 'Lean Bank 1, Lean Bank 2' codes that came up a couple weeks back.

First, a couple of little things to share from my winter...

I had to replace my Dakota Digital Speedo box.  Not very interesting but I wanted to share my experience in case others are using or thinking of using one of these.  This is my third box...You may recall that the first one failed when water apparently got inside.  Probably while being washed with the fenders off during the body and paint work.   They replaced it under warranty.  The second one failed for no apparent reason near the end of last season.  So, I installed the newer version...

IMG_5674 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

These boxes work 'OK'.  The ones I've had haven't been very accurate though.   Both the old ECD-100 and the newer ECD-200 seem to be accurate in the 10MPH around where they were calibrated at insall.  I calibrated them at around 40 MPH.  Between like 30 and 50 it's accurate.  Outside of that range it is less accurate the farther away from the calibrated speed you get.  So, around 55 it's off by around 5 MPH, around 70 MPH it's off by 10 MPH.  etc. etc. 
The one nice thing about the newer ECD-200 you can calibrate it via bluetooth and a phone app. 

OK, and I wanted to share this little tid-bit.  One of the unexpected things that cropped up...Screwed up fender flares which scratched up my paint...
IMG_5616 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

I had checked these a couple of times over the summer, but it looks like I missed one coming loose at some point.  When I looked into it I found that the stud inside had pulled out of its hole and was gone:

IMG_5617 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

I figured if the driver side was messed up I should check the passenger side.  BOTH Posts were no longer in place on the passenger side!  The only thing holding it up there were the screws in the wheel well and the connection to the center piece.
I ended up finding a couple similarly sized bolts, cutting the heads off and epoxying them into the holes where the original studs lived before they split town.

Finally, a winter project maybe someone might be interested in...a 'cowl brace'.
I got this idea from someone on the internet who did something simlar to reinforce the cowl where their PTFB G-Braces mount.    The area in question is the seam across the top of the cowl where the firewall and upper cowl meet.  The 2 peices of sheet metal are spot welded and seam sealed from the factory.   The brace 'sandwiches' that area between two additional peices of steel.   
I got two pieces of 1" x 3/16" x36" Flat bar steel from the hardware cut them to length and clamped them to the cowl like this:
IMG_5561 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

I marked where I thought the bolts should go, and drilled the top piece first.  Then, put that in position on the cowl to mark for holes through the sheet metal.  Then, finally installed the lower piece, marked it from the holes in the cowl and bolted it all together...
IMG_5698 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr
IMG_5699 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

Not sure how effective this is, but the idea came from an autocrosser/track day set up 2nd Gen.  And, it only cost a couple bucks, so I figured I'd steal his idea.   I'll be installing G-Braces too. So, this seemed like an OK idea.

OK On to my 'too lean' codes...Still working on those.
After installing the new (old) pump the Fuel Trims were still way high and the problem persisted.
I put a container up at the fuel rail connection and ran the pump a few times.

IMG_5761 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

  Fuel is flowing OK there and appears to be clean.  I pulled the fuel rail and injectors out to check them...I can't test the injectors, but we did find some gunk in the rail. And, the fuel that came out of the rail had some debris in it, along with  something else.  Not sure what it was/is looked like egg drop soup?  Little balls/bubles of something that is not fuel? I suspect that gasket dressing made it's way up to the rail and injectors and that maybe the injectors are clogged up with the gasket dressing crap. Because these injectors are original to the junk-yard motor, and because we found some gunk up there I broke down and ordered new fuel injectors.
I also ordered a new 10Micron fuel filter.  (I had been running a 40Mic filter, which I sorta knew was not sufficient for EFI.)

Oh, I also noticed that my fuel pressure gauge never zero's out?

IMG_5772 by Tom Sherer, on Flickr

 I always figured I was retaining 10 lbs of pressure in the fuel rail when the car was off, but now I don't know. Maybe part of my problem IS related to the fuel pressure being low.  I mean, if that gauge is 'off' by 10 lbs, I could've been running less pressure than I thought and less than what the PCM was tuned on.  IDK.  I happen to have an extra gauge around somewhere. I'll put that other one on when I get things back together.

Hopefully that'll be this weekend.

I'll let you know how things go.

Thanks for checking in.
Take care
 -Tom   

   
« Last Edit: April 22, 2021, 10:30:31 PM by TATurbo »
Tom
King of Prussia, PA

1981 Turbo Trans-Am
Build thread - http://transamcountry.com/community/index.php?topic=83354.0

ryeguy2006a

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Re: 1981 Turbo Trans-Am Project
« Reply #37 on: April 23, 2021, 06:22:54 AM »
Safe bet to get new injectors, but I'll bet that gauge is the issue with the fuel pressure being off. Good diagnostic skills!

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

New project: 1968 Camaro LS6, T56, Speedtech, Hotchkis, DSE, Z51 13.4" front brakes, LS1 rear disks, etc.
http://transamcountry.com/community/index.php?topic=74591.0

FormTA

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Re: 1981 Turbo Trans-Am Project
« Reply #38 on: April 23, 2021, 10:31:18 AM »
Not sure if I mentioned it before but I had similar codes and was chasing fuel supply problems but it endup being a dirty MAF sensor. It wouldn't hurt to buy a can of MAF cleaner and give it a good cleaning.  I was amazed at how bad my engine ran once it went to closed loop.

Also, doesn't really matter but my Dakota Digital box is still working.  I also checked it to the GPS and it seems really close. It's crazy that you have been through 3 of them! I feel bad for recommending it now.. :(
« Last Edit: April 23, 2021, 10:33:53 AM by FormTA »
79 Trans am low buck LS swapped
79 Formula 301 (Work in progress)
67 RS Camaro (This one is next)


Names, Luke. If I hear anyone telling me they're my father....

TATurbo

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Re: 1981 Turbo Trans-Am Project
« Reply #39 on: April 23, 2021, 11:02:06 PM »
Ahh, Yes FormTA...A bad signal from the MAF can cause these codes.  I bet you did mention that before, and that's probably where I learned it from...I did check and clean the MAF with an appropriate MAF sensor cleaner before I started digging into the fuel rail and injectors.  Thanks for the suggestion, it's good that it was brought up in case someone's chasing these codes in the future.  One thing I didn't do is actually check the MAF signal.  IIRC you can expect to see a certain voltage or frequency or something at idle as read on a multi-meter. If it's out of range that'll indicate a possible MAF issue (Dirty, malfunctioning, voltage problem?). 
The symptoms persisted after cleaning the MAF.

I'll definitely let you guys know where this ends up.

Tom
King of Prussia, PA

1981 Turbo Trans-Am
Build thread - http://transamcountry.com/community/index.php?topic=83354.0

Re: 1981 Turbo Trans-Am Project
« Reply #39 on: April 23, 2021, 11:02:06 PM »
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