Was it Roseanne Roseanna Danna on Sat. Night Live who said:

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by Crashnburn, Aug 27, 2019.

  1. Crashnburn

    Crashnburn Line Up and Wait

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    "If it's not one thing, it's another?"

    Anyway, that's what it seems like with my 1981 Trans Am SE (Bandit) car. I bought it about a 18 months ago after finding it here:
    https://classiccars.com/listings/vi...bird-trans-am-for-sale-in-eugene-oregon-97403

    It gets a lot of attention. The Pontiac 4.9 L is actually more powerful than the Chevrolet 5.0 L, but neither is as powerful as the 6.6L in my 1977 Formula. Part of it may also be my Formula was a 4 Speed with a Hurst Shifter, and this is a 3 speed automatic.

    The 81 Firebirds were the first Firebirds not sold with a stock Posi-Trac (limited slip differential), but a previous owner had it replaced with a slightly taller Posi-Trac differential.

    I found out a while ago the bushings on the steering idler arm were shot, so I had a new one installed, and now the alignment lasts longer than the drive out of the alignment shop driveway.

    The brakes (4-wheel disc) grabbed and pulled unevenly, and I had all four calipers, etc., replaced, along with 4 new high end shock absorbers. I also had the fuel lines replaced.

    It came from the factory with a catalytic converter, but since it wasn't owned in CA, nor NY, someone removed it. I had to add a new one to the car to smog, then register it in CA. Between all the smog stuff on the car, plus the new cat converter, I think the exhaust is cleaner than the air going into the engine.

    The carburetor has an air intake duct, and the one that came with the car had collapsed, and wouldn't fit over the oval air intake, which only came on the 80, 81 cars. It wasn't right for that carb., so it wasn't original. I found an oval to round adapter so I could use a new air intake duct.

    The car was built with factory air, but a previous owner replaced it with an off-brand A/C that my mechanic didn't recognize. I found a 3rd party retro-fit AC called Vintage Air. I bought the complete kit, compressor, condenser, hoses, under dash plenum, all required ancillary hardware, and great instructions. They just assume that the front clip has been removed.
    https://www.vintageair.com/surefit/complete-kits/?make=Pontiac&year1=1981&model=Firebird

    I am concerned about cooling, as the new condenser is 3 times the size of the original. My friend told me about flex fans. I found one about the same size as my original fan. It pulls more air at idle, and as the engine speeds up, (and presumably, the car), it flattens out to reduce HP requirements. It should compensate a bit for power pulled by the A/C, and reduction in cooling by the condenser.

    While my friend and I were installing the condenser, he noticed a battery terminal had worn through the washer jar. When I took the old jar off, I found it had been installed with metric machine screws - one #10 head, and one #11 head. (HUH?)

    I also found the coolant recovery jar had been mounted wrong, and in the wrong position. This had caused the jar to crack, and leak. I have replacements for both jars, and a mounting bracket for the recovery jar. I looked at pictures under the hood of several 1981 N/A 4.9L T/As to figure out where to put each jar.

    The coolant recovery jar goes on the fender, and we found bracket mounting holes on it. It looks like the lines running from the engine to the carbon filter canister will need to be replaced, as they seem to be too short to run from the engine to the canister once the coolant jar is correctly mounted.

    Last year, I found a CD with all the parts and assembly diagrams for the Firebird, and I can use that to help figure out where to put the brackets, and if necessary, build brackets.

    I knew the window felt needed to be replaced, and it took a while to find a place that would do it. While I was at it, I got new weather stripping for the doors. And, as the rear view mirror had fallen off, I had Kenny glue a new one in place.

    After all this is done, I want to, one project at a time, put in a 4 speed auto transmission, cruise control, EFI, and headers. I'm starting to wonder what other discrepancies we'll find as we do those projects.

    The passenger side visor had glue marks on it, and my YF wanted a mirror, so I found a visor mirror with 'Pontiac' engraved on it. It even covers the glue marks.

    They say you never completely finish a classic car. I'm starting to believe that.
     
    denverpilot and overdrive148 like this.
  2. Checkout_my_Six

    Checkout_my_Six Final Approach

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    At least it wasn't an airplane..... o_O
     
    GRG55 likes this.
  3. steingar

    steingar Taxi to Parking

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    You wan tot drive a refugee from the 80's, better be ready to wrench lots. All the parts are 30 years old, lots will need replacing. Cars don't have an annual maintenance program to keep up with this stuff.

    Steingar, who sold his 1983 Goldwing because he was tired of wrenching on it.
     
  4. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 Final Approach

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    I think she said, "It's always something."
     
  5. MuseChaser

    MuseChaser Line Up and Wait

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    Keep at it. I bought a 1988 560SL for my wife 15 years ago. Last year was really the first year I finally had it running and driving beautifully, and looking just as good. It was worth it.
     
  6. Checkout_my_Six

    Checkout_my_Six Final Approach

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    yup.... [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  7. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    "Never mind!" - Emily Litella
     
    Zeldman likes this.
  8. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down

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    And then ovarian cancer got her young. Ouch. Poor Gilda.
     
  9. Skip Miller

    Skip Miller Final Approach

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    With regard to the mismatched metric screws on the washer jar: it shouldn’tbe A real surprise that the former owner used whatever was lying around. Classic Shade Tree Mechanic stunt.

    Good luck with it, sincerely. Are you restoring it for a show car, a weekend driver, or a daily driver? -Skip
     
  10. Larry in TN

    Larry in TN Cleared for Takeoff

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    I owned a 1981 Z-28 for 22 years. I bought it while in High School when it was ten months old. I took these pictures when I was selling it in 2004. Paid $8,500 in 1981. Sold for $5,000. Spent untold amounts on it in between.
     

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  11. Crashnburn

    Crashnburn Line Up and Wait

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    Thanks. I tell my buddy that we are wrenching for fun, and off the clock, so it doesn't matter that much how long it takes. We are in N. CA, so we can work on it outside year round.

    Weekend driver, and low key car shows. I parked it in downtown Half Moon Bay last spring, and it practically started a car show all by itself.