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Pighuntingpuppy

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 14, 2019
Messages
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Location
Albuquerque, New Mexico
It seems to me with the number of folk here doing the vast majority of work on their rides, that logically, some of you have projects involving more than 2 wheels cooking or in the works. For me....I got tons of irons in the fire. I am slowing finishing each of them off. My last completed project(like 3 weeks ago now) was turning a Starcraft pop up camper into a hardside camper with a rear slide.

This thread starter is not about that project. Its my long term project. My 1988 Chevrolet C1500. There is a massive story with this truck cause I have owned it for 18 years and I am the 3rd owner. Both previous owners were a father and son deal.

My current project with this truck is converting to SAS(Solid Axle Suspension). Here is the progress of that so far. 11 Truck.jpg
This is my truck before work commenced on it. It is no where near as pretty now. Front Diff Install 2.jpg
Axles are Ford. Dana 50 front, Sterling 10.5" for the rear. Since I am not powered by a diesel and not planning on hard core rock crawling this thing, these axles should be more than adequate. I mean, if a GM 8.5" handled the abuse well, these should shrug off it no problem. Front Diff Install 4.jpgFront Diff Progress 2.jpg
The front completely done. I didnt remove the rear diff cause I needed the truck turned around. Ever drive a vehicle with no brakes and 2 different vehicles worth of steering held together with Vice Grips? Thats the fun I had turning this around. 20 minutes with about 15 degrees of steering movement. All in all, it wasnt bad, just time consuming. Rear Diff Old Shackle.jpg
This is the trucks stock rear suspension shackle set up. Mind you....this was a New York truck. Rust is present. Rear Diff New Shackle.jpg
Now while in my excitement and haste, I mocked up this one on the wrong side. It has been since corrected. These are from an outfit in Colorado to give trucks a 4 inch boost in lift on normally stock height vehicles. They are called a shackle flip kit. Rear Diff Block.jpg
When I did my base measurements with the original rear diff installed, I needed an 8 inch lift. So, with the 4 inch flip kit, I got 4 inch blocks. This should get me in the ball park of my target height. Rear Diff Mock Up.jpg
And with this, I needed the mock up to order the correct length U bolts for this. If you look carefully, you will see two sets of the leafs with the same spring length. My first year of hog hunting, I learned that a stock 1500 rear suspension was no where near adequate to carry hogs out of the scrubland of Texas. So I got another set of 1500 leafs and stacked the leafs. Now while this is NOT adviseable, I was able to haul about 4500lbs of hog at a time out. The suspension would just level out. The suspension shop I deal with, thought I had stock springs and was trying to get me a set already to go. However, if they were wrong, they are mine regardless at about $100 a pop. So, I told them to hold off while I mocked up everything and gave me actual numbers. The set up he wanted to give me was a 13.5" long ubolt. It may have worked....barely. The bottom of the U to the top plate is just under 14 inches. I figure an inch or so would give me enough bolt for clamping force. I am gonna get 15.5" made up.

This truck will not be road worthy for a while. After this, I got steering, brakes and suspension to do. Next, I need to do transmission and transfer case with custom made drive shafts. Naturally, doing all the diff angles will follow. In conjunction with this work, the interior will be gutted, floor cut for the standard transmission and transfer case shift handles, under dash modified for the clutch pedal bracket, replacing the clicky HVAC actuators, and dyna-matting the interior to make the bucket a tad quieter. I will be running demo derby headers, 1" tubing into 4" collector about 2' above the hood with a 20" long bug catcher intake. Details aside, that will be the end of that portion of the project. Estimated time was supposed to be about 3 years. I am behind. During this project, I bought the Vmax. Pushed me back a year. Following year, had a truck stolen. So not one, but two used vehicles were bought and repaired. I got caught up this year due to COVID, but am running out of good weather days to work on the truck. So, in the next two years, I expect, if nothing else pops up, to have this project completed.
 
Dang that’s a lot of work. And for a New York truck, that’s not much rust at all.

I got a couple of trucks in the pipeline too. First is a 74 short bed with a nasty 383 in it. My son and I are turning it into a fun little street/strip terror. Second is a sweetheart of a 73 one family farm truck. 350, M20 Muncie and 4:10 posi. Original paint with a bit of rust since I picked it up in Globe, AZ. All in all a very solid project. It’s a long bed and will be in a work truck.

Square bodies are the next big thing you know...

E1D20BB8-D18B-4C45-B22C-AE2FFAA4C463.jpeg313F77DC-73ED-4CCA-A9A9-A339FD04656A.jpeg5DAFB081-5BBC-4C74-B908-ABACD0B036FA.jpeg1A88CF3B-33A9-4389-A79C-F4A1959AB6E5.jpeg
 
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Then there’s this thing. 79 Firebird. I bought a lot of three old Hondas From the son of a fellow who had passed away. He was cleaning out the house so he could sell it. There were bits and pieces of the bikes stored in a garage that had not even been opened in many years. It was a chore just to get the garage door open.

Then this thing had to be moved out to access all the bike stuff. My son asked him what he wants for it and the guy says “I’d like to get about five”. Came with a rebuilt 400 two BOP TH350s, NIB Edllebrockintake and carburetor, interior parts and TONS more. Turns out he meant $500! Took the three Hondas home, turned around and came back and got this beast. Almost wish I had passed on it as it needs a lot of work. Everything, But Zero rust Arizona car.

This was probably one of the nastiest motors I have ever pulled out of a car. And I mean nasty on the outside and nasty on the inside. The original 305. Truly one of the worst corporate engines GM ever produced. Good riddance.

C1B5CD7A-D83F-4561-891E-9083DF35DD11.jpegA60ECA4C-3A09-4BAC-8E38-3667673A4B74.jpegF707F9F9-575F-40CE-9631-6B5457544448.jpeg1D8A4D7F-F21C-491C-B427-2F2EB4405E51.jpeg
 
I had a 1977 Trans Am S.E., 400 Pontiac TH auto, WS-6 handling pkg., Y-82 (t-tops) bought from the original owner. I had it for maybe 15 years. Yes, Hurst Hatch t-tops, the gold pinstriping, it always got lots of attention, wherever I drove it. The 1970-1/2-1981 F body was a good car for GM, I had three of them, two '77 T-A's and a '80 Z-28. All fun to drive. I had three Fox-body Mustangs after that, and the Fox-body handled better than the GM F-body.

Are you gonna build it as something useable or are ya gonna-make it a barn-burner?
 
I am an avid GM guy. Stone cold reliable. Long lasting. But I never really was a fan of the squarebodies. I never felt comfortable with the dash design and placement of accessories in the dash. Also, I know the 1987 came TBI, but I am just not a fan of carbs. I spent way too much of my youth messing with them and when I moved to NM, learned that carbs dont like anything above 10000 foot. Now the body.....I love the brick look. Thats why the GMT400s that came after it appeal to me. The squarebodies are so versatile, you can make a 2WD into a 4WD if you have all the components. Raise, lower, street, strip, off road....these trucks are literally blank canvases for whatever your imagination holds.

Before stuffing the Dana 50 under the truck, I was gonna do the square body D44 front diff. However, with the mixing and matching and plan changing....I changed. Originally, I was thinking about under chassis exhaust. The exhaust on a GMT400 runs on the passenger side. The D44 squarebody diff is a passenger drop. So the exhaust would need to be moved to accommodate the transfer case and drive shaft. But the 36 gallon fuel tank under my truck is on the driver side. From behind the driver door to the left rear wheel well....there is no easy way to move the tank. So I opted for a driver drop front diff. Toss up between Dodge and Ford. And the problems Dodge has with their actuation system in their front diffs made me roll with a manual lockout D50. That way the exhaust and fuel tank would not need to be moved. However, now with the demo derby headers I want to install....the D44 could have been used. But we are a year past that now as the front as already been assembled and the original ideas for axles have long since been sold.
 
Are you gonna build it as something useable or are ya gonna-make it a barn-burner?

The plan is to make this one a Formula clone. I hate clones, but I gave it to my son. His call.
 
I had two 1977 Trans Am Blackbirds (Smokey and the Bandit editions). One was an Ohio car that I bought in 1983 with a 400 Pontiac engine off the lot for $4,300. I drove that to California when I got stationed here with the Navy. The second T/A was from a sailor on base that was heading home and couldn't take his Trans Am. His was a California car with the Oldsmobile 350 403 engine, but had a blown head gasket, so I got it for a cheap parts car. We rebuilt the 400 Pontiac T/A engine, 0.010 over rings, added an Edelbrock intake, Holley 750 double pumper, true dual exhaust with crossover, twin mufflers and headers (since it was registered in Ohio). The tool and die maker helping me had a '67 GTO camshaft sitting in his shop, so we used that as my camshaft had no lobes left. I gave him the California T/A and he welded the head and got it running. That was his daily driver until he passed, then his wife gave the car back to me.
 
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I had two 1977 Trans Am Blackbirds (Smokey and the Bandit editions). One was an Ohio car that I bought in 1983 with a 400 Pontiac engine off the lot for $4,300. I drove that to California when I got stationed here with the Navy. The second T/A was from a sailor on base that was heading home and couldn't take his Trans Am. His was a California car with the Oldsmobile 350 engine, but had a blown head gasket, so I got it for a cheap parts car. We rebuilt the 400 Pontiac T/A engine, 0.010 over rings, added an Edelbrock intake, Holley 750 double pumper, true dual exhaust with crossover, twin mufflers and headers (since it was registered in Ohio). The tool and die maker helping me had a '67 GTO camshaft sitting in his shop, so we used that as my camshaft had no lobes left. I gave him the California T/A and he welded the head and got it running. That was his daily driver until he passed, then his wife gave the car back to me.

I thnk the rare Olds 350 cu.in. engine F-body Trans-Am is a unicorn. As-in, 'never-heard of one.' There was a lack of production capacity for the Pontiac 400 engine in the mid-1970's, and for the 1977 model year, there were more Oldsmobile L80 403 cu.in. engines installed in Trans-Ams specifically in 1977 models, than there were 400 Pontiac engines (180 or 200 net H.P.), but I never-heard of the 350 cu.in. Olds being used in a F-body Trans-Am during those years. At the end of the F-body second generation there was the 305 cu.in. turbo Trans-Am. From what I've read, all the 1977 T-A '6.6 litre' S.E. cars got the Pontiac 400, while the garden-variety T-A got the Olds 403 cu.in. engines, mostly. I did see an article that 'high-altitude' dealerships received the L80 403 cu.in. S.E. Trans-Ams, though, rated at 180 net H.P. There was a class-action lawsuit against GM in the 1970's because people were buying Buicks with Chevrolet engines installed, and as-above, Pontiacs with Oldsmobile engines installed.

You may-be referring to the Olds 350 overbored engine which ended-up at 403 cu.in., because GM dropped the Olds 455 cu. in. engine, and developed the 403 cu.in. engine to at-least have a larger-displacement engine for their full-size cars, or to 'loan' to other GM divisions for use as happened with Pontiac and their 403 Olds/Pontiac second-generation F-bodies, when the foundry couldn't supply sufficient numbers of the 400 Pontiac.
 
I have two seemingly never ending projects( like the Vmax LOL). The first is the 47 caddy limo.
Among other more cosmetic issues its got a 346 flathead that cylinders 2 and 4 just stopped firing,
I had just rebuilt the carb, its linkage also the shift linkage and trunnions all20180829_190951.jpg20180829_192531.jpg20200904_131131.jpg precisely adjusted for smooth, on time shifts.

Then we have the 1969 CJ(Chang Jiang) 750 BMW side car that has its own transmission issues, it jumps out of 2nd and 3rd gears, this machine has an infinitely adjustable gear box. When I have gotten 2nd and 3rd then I loose 4th and reverse.

I have one guy in china , he is American who knows these bike's. His strongest advice has been to"be patient" and make smaller adjustments.......20151224_193349.jpg042913165626.jpg042913173913.jpg Notice my bike in its early stages (background).
 
I thnk the rare Olds 350 cu.in. engine F-body Trans-Am is a unicorn. As-in, 'never-heard of one.' There was a lack of production capacity for the Pontiac 400 engine in the mid-1970's, and for the 1977 model year, there were more Oldsmobile L80 403 cu.in. engines installed in Trans-Ams specifically in 1977 models, than there were 400 Pontiac engines (180 or 200 net H.P.), but I never-heard of the 350 cu.in. Olds being used in a F-body Trans-Am during those years. At the end of the F-body second generation there was the 305 cu.in. turbo Trans-Am. From what I've read, all the 1977 T-A '6.6 litre' S.E. cars got the Pontiac 400, while the garden-variety T-A got the Olds 403 cu.in. engines, mostly. I did see an article that 'high-altitude' dealerships received the L80 403 cu.in. S.E. Trans-Ams, though, rated at 180 net H.P. There was a class-action lawsuit against GM in the 1970's because people were buying Buicks with Chevrolet engines installed, and as-above, Pontiacs with Oldsmobile engines installed.

You may-be referring to the Olds 350 overbored engine which ended-up at 403 cu.in., because GM dropped the Olds 455 cu. in. engine, and developed the 403 cu.in. engine to at-least have a larger-displacement engine for their full-size cars, or to 'loan' to other GM divisions for use as happened with Pontiac and their 403 Olds/Pontiac second-generation F-bodies, when the foundry couldn't supply sufficient numbers of the 400 Pontiac.
The 350 Olds engine was an option in all Firebird and Trans Am models except 1977. VIN code R is how you know.

According to the Standard Catalog of Firebird 1967-2002, the Olds 350 was optional in the Firebird, Esprit, and Formulas sold in California. VIN code "R". Here are the specs as they list them: 350 c.i., bore & stroke: 4.06x3.39, Compression ratio: 8.0:1, Brake hp: 170 @ 3800 rpm. Torque: 275 ft. lb. @ 2000 rpm. Hydraulic valve lifters. Carburetion: 4 barrel. Sinlge exhaust. From what I can tell, 1977 was the only year the Oldsmobile 350 was used in the Firebird line.

They should be 3A heads and would have 1.880" intake and 1.507" exhaust valves with 75cc combustion chambers. The heads aren't the best flowing, but unless you find a set of '72 or earlier heads you'd be just as well simply having yours machined to flow better. You would also have to have earlier ones drilled out for 1/2" head bolts as you would with a 403.

You might have the same windowed mains as the 403, but you won't know for sure until you look. Even if you do, they are plenty strong enough for a street motor.

Stock compression was 8.5:1. You can raise that with pistons with a shallower dish in them. (They got deeper in later years to reduce compression.)

Like I said, I am a GM guy, LOL.
 
I'll see your 'R' code and trump you (no, not that Trump!) with a 'K' engine code in my '77 "T-A 6.6 litre" cars (says-so, right-on the shaker scoop). Going-off a long-ago recollection there, too-lazy in the COVID pandemic to confirm that.

Didn't the Olds cyl heads have a 'bump' to alter the intake flow, for lower emissions? Pretty clever engineering.

One I bet you don't know-about, GM saw a Honda engineered CVCC-style 350 cu.in. engine in the 1970's. The engine they made gave some surprising results.

https://jalopnik.com/when-honda-gave-gm-one-of-historys-most-amazing-smackdo-1576732771
https://www.hemmings.com/stories/20...missions-and-a-cvcc-equipped-chevrolet-impala
https://nepis.epa.gov/Exe/ZyNET.exe...ge&MaximumPages=1&ZyEntry=1&SeekPage=x&ZyPURL
 
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I remember reading about that. I didnt know Honda was involved with the lower emissions though. It wasnt from that magazine. It was one from the 1990s where the talk was about lowering emissions and that engine came up. There was also if I recall correctly in that same article about a 1980s engine that was a cross with Renault and Peugeot. 2.8L V6 that ran without any emission control devices, 130(ish) HP that was getting close to 40mpg on the highway. Was tested in the US, was off by some ridiculous low number. Told them to put the emission crap on it. They did and it was on par for similar engines for power and MPG.

The "new" tech I am watching right now is Mazdas compression ignition engine. An engine that runs on gasoline without spark plugs. Interesting to see what it does short term, long term and in between.
 
I thnk the rare Olds 350 cu.in. engine F-body Trans-Am is a unicorn. As-in, 'never-heard of one.' There was a lack of production capacity for the Pontiac 400 engine in the mid-1970's, and for the 1977 model year, there were more Oldsmobile L80 403 cu.in. engines installed in Trans-Ams specifically in 1977 models, than there were 400 Pontiac engines (180 or 200 net H.P.), but I never-heard of the 350 cu.in. Olds being used in a F-body Trans-Am during those years. At the end of the F-body second generation there was the 305 cu.in. turbo Trans-Am. From what I've read, all the 1977 T-A '6.6 litre' S.E. cars got the Pontiac 400, while the garden-variety T-A got the Olds 403 cu.in. engines, mostly. I did see an article that 'high-altitude' dealerships received the L80 403 cu.in. S.E. Trans-Ams, though, rated at 180 net H.P. There was a class-action lawsuit against GM in the 1970's because people were buying Buicks with Chevrolet engines installed, and as-above, Pontiacs with Oldsmobile engines installed.

You may-be referring to the Olds 350 overbored engine which ended-up at 403 cu.in., because GM dropped the Olds 455 cu. in. engine, and developed the 403 cu.in. engine to at-least have a larger-displacement engine for their full-size cars, or to 'loan' to other GM divisions for use as happened with Pontiac and their 403 Olds/Pontiac second-generation F-bodies, when the foundry couldn't supply sufficient numbers of the 400 Pontiac.

Fire-Medic - You are correct....it was a 403 Olds engine! Sorry, I got confused and I'm getting old :) My brother had a 68 Olds Cutlass with a 350. The post has been edited with a strikthrough.
 
I have my Luv Truck and the Rustang and my Bultaco among other things but these are the main things that keep me busy .
 

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The 403 Olds is an overbore of the Olds 350 so it has its roots in the 350 family.
 
My 79 TA had the Pontiac 400 4-Speed. The Auto cars were 403's (and turds). Pretty much that way when they started putting olds motors in them (olds/auto and pont/manual). My 80 Indy pacecar was the Turdbo 301 and even more gutless but it looked cool. The 81 turdbo was hit hard and because a parts car. Same with another 79 I picked up for parts car. I still have some TA parts around here too!

My old T/A
 

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I had an orange on black '69 Firebird ram air 4 with a 400 4 speed. "Back in the day." What I wouldn't give to have that thing back.
 
Well, after 2 years, the truck finally sits on its own wheels again. Doesnt mean its ready to hit the mean streets yet. Rear Diff Underneath 1.jpgRear Diff Underneath 2.jpgRear Suspension 4.jpg
I havent checked the tracking yet. The GM leaf springs were spaced like 3/4 of an inch more than the perches on the Ford differential. So, a bit of tweaking to get all the holes to seat was needed. Overall height dimensions.....

Front wheel well to ground 44.5"
Rear wheel well to ground 47"

Rear raised 2.5" higher than front. I am not complaining about this at all. Its only a half inch more than I wanted and it doesnt make the truck look that bad.

The bottom of the door to the ground is 29".

Next I gotta price out an entire brake system that converts GM to Ford and with the proper master cylinder diameter to accommodate 4 dual piston calipers. I will be upgrading to a hydroboost brake booster. With the half ton being as light as it is, I am sure these brakes are overkill. But I rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it. I also gotta find someone locally who can cut about 4 inches off my drag link and machine it to put the factory threads back on so I can hook up the steering to the GM gearbox. Once all that is done, before going to the drive line, I need to get a driveshaft to adapt to the rear diff, take it up the road to the mesa and load the suspension for shock measurement. That will complete phase 1.
 

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