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  #11  
Old 06-17-2011, 03:24 PM
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I like your write up I will be subscribing, I also like the "shoe string" budget approach!!
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  #12  
Old 06-17-2011, 06:42 PM
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Nice project and great write up. I like where you are headed. I have a soft spot for those wagons since I have a '82 olds cutlass cruiser. No one understands why I love that car. Looking forward to seeing more.

Chris
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  #13  
Old 06-17-2011, 10:12 PM
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Cool little project!
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  #14  
Old 06-20-2011, 09:49 AM
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More parts and art...

For the car's interior I definitely want to get rid of the bench seat. During hard cornering it doesn't give much support, the cover is pretty banged up, and it doesn't match the rest of the build at all. I considered getting some seats from Summit Racing, they have the Summit brand seat for $149 and the lower line Procar for $156, but I was concerned that the lower end seats may not be fantastic quality and I wanted something unique. With having worked last year as an apprentice in an upholstery shop I decided to find a used seat I like and customize the covers.

I'd love to keep my car all GM, but as I went through the local wrecking yards it's difficult to find a GM with a real performance type seat. Seems a lot of the seats are made to compensate for big Americans and my somewhat smallish 5'-10" and 160 lb size didn't fit snug in anything. Then I stumbled upon a '98 Mazda MX3 in the import section. After sitting in the seat I knew these were the ones. They fit me like a glove, have great supports to keep me planted while cornering and I like the hole under the headrest so I can run a 5-point harness through for seat belts.

The driver's side foam is beat up just a little but that's very easy to fix. Other than that they're in decent shape and a great base to start with. Not bad for $50 for the pair. The plan is I will remove the covers, take all the seams apart, using the old panels as a pattern cut out the new material and then have my old boss sew it all together. He offered to let me run the machine but I want perfect lines and curves so I'd rather the guy with 25+ years experience do the sewing. When he's done I'll assemble them back together and build custom mounts to bolt them into my floor pan. Doing a lot of the work myself I should be able to have the front and back seats done for about the same cost or less than the pair of Summit seats.



Here are the materials I'm considering. I took a paint chip book with GM 2008 Avalanche orange over to the upholstery shop and we found that his British Tan was a fairly close match. I also looked at some black vinyl with the same grain as the tan, as well as some "carbon fiber" pattern vinyl. These are all high quality products and will last for years to come.




Here are some design ideas I was toying with. So far I think I'm liking A, B, E, & F the best.

I like A & B because they're mostly black and have a bit more aggressive look. The outer perimeter will be smooth vinyl and the center black area will be carbon fiber pattern.



C & D- a couple more mostly black variations.



E & F I like because they would really brighten up the interior. I need to do a paint spray out card first before deciding on these, if the tan didn't actually match the orange very well it would be a big mess. If that were the case having just a small accent strip like A would be a better choice.



Another variation of mostly tan center.



Finally a different color combo. With the car being black and orange I will be using brushed aluminum and silver as my accent color. In this variation I'd use smooth on the perimeter and both silver and black carbon vinyl on the inserts. After seeing this one I decided I'd rather stick with the tan to tie it into the exterior a little more.



Feel free to let me know what you all think.
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  #15  
Old 06-28-2011, 06:23 PM
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Nice to have this kind of school! Working on Your own car helps alot when on a budget. We dont have something like that over here...
For the seats i would prefer a simple design like F to match with the exterior. But with accents in brushed aluminum, design I would be nice too. You can stitch a logo in the silver stripe to make it more pretty.
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  #16  
Old 07-16-2011, 12:36 PM
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Took my 2 boys up to the mountains camping a couple weeks ago. We drove through a few small towns on the way and I came across this little gem, an old Sinclair gas station. Pretty cool find- I love old gas stations and diners, and we had a great time camping.



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  #17  
Old 07-16-2011, 12:45 PM
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My goal is to be able to eventually get the car into the 140mph club. I've been wanting to upgrade my 85 speedo to something more accurate to the car's abilities and I recently scored this from Ebay, just under $17 dollars including shipping, new and never used! You guys remember Mallory selling gauges back in the 80s and 90s?

It's old and had a little surface rust on the back side, but it's perfect and brand new inside. I will be incorporating it into the factory gauge layout to make it look factory stock.





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  #18  
Old 07-16-2011, 12:50 PM
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I went to the local track's open track day this past Wednesday to try out the new rear sway bar and get one last set of runs in before I tear into the suspension and change things around.

Unfortunately I had two problems with the car, the alternator quit charging on the way to the track and for some reason the right front caliper was grabbing harder than the left. You'll see in both videos how that caused the right front wheel to lock up and slide under hard braking. Got kinda scary at one point on the road course. I have a flat spot on the right front tire now, kinda sucks but at least I planned on upgrading to 17s in the near future.

After the 406 broke a valve spring I yanked it and slipped the factory 305 back in so I could keep the car drivable while I build the 406. I put in a mild Crane 266 cam (.440 lift) and all the intake and exhaust accessories from the 406. Here's a shot of the engine as it is now.



The motor runs great and lays down 21 mpg with a TH350 (no overdrive) but my guess is that the stock 140 hp is prolly only up to 170-180. Backed by factory 2.41 gears you can see it's lengthy acceleration on the track and I am so looking forward to the torquey TPI 406 I'm putting together! The cones on the course are to keep the newbies and stock handling cars from going too fast. Kinda lame but it keeps everyone safe.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QTx6MJpiIc4

Because the alternator went south I decided to head over to the autocross course where the lines are usually short rather than having to keep asking for jump starts in the road course line. I got in line and the officials decided to take about 10 minutes to discuss something while we all waited in line. I kept the motor running and the electric fan and such were running the battery down. Finally after they started racing us again and I was on deck the battery was low enough that the fan quit working and the car started to heat up. It was at 240 degrees when it was my turn so knowing this would probably be my only run I went all out. Because I wasn't familiar with the course and I was stressed about the run I saw the cones in the background of the first hard turn and got disorientated. Completely blew the run but it was fun. I spent the rest of the evening fiddling with the alternator and found a wire in the harness that came loose from the connection. Got it repaired and headed home.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7r63fAbSKPo&NR=1


Despite the problems, I had a good time and felt a definite improvement in stability with the sway bar outback.
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  #19  
Old 09-24-2011, 04:07 PM
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I'm back in school and I finally have some updates on the wagon project. Mostly been project planning and price shopping over the summer and just before school started I was informed I was awarded a full tuition scholarship for the 2011-2012 year. Hard work and straight A's finally pays off! That fortunately freed up a little extra $ I can slide towards the car.

Biggest project news over the summer was landing a 5.3 from a 2006 4x4 truck with just over 40,000 miles on it. A friend of a friend set the deal up and I'm getting it for $500 for the motor, accessories, computer, and wiring harness. To keep costs down I have to pull the motor out of the truck, but that's a good thing so I can see how everything hooks up and make sure I get all the parts I need. I don't have it home yet but will be posting photos when I do.

The truck intake manifolds are just plain hideous, so keeping it under a cover is critical. I'm not a big fan of the truck engine covers, they're just a bit bulky and look like they belong on a truck, so I considered making one. I got on the web to see if anyone else has done a custom cover when I ran across a photo the 2010 Camaro SS cover. It really caught my eye as it's a little different than the average LSX cover and the color scheme fit my car perfectly. I'm not a fan of the center runner bumps, but otherwise I liked it. I checked ebay and scored a nice used one with mounting bracket for only $42.00 shipped. I'm considering a custom insert for the center portion with rounded "tubes" rather than the squared off ones and will shave the Chevrolet script and add on Oldsmobile script instead.

Here's a shot of the cover and a mock up of it on my small block minus the carb to see what it will look like. Man that engine bay needs a face lift! Coming soon...



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  #20  
Old 09-24-2011, 04:08 PM
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Over the summer I took a couple opportunities to raid the local junkyard for a few parts. Unfortunately useable old car parts around here are rare so I have to get a little creative.

One of my favorite scores-

Part of next semester's chassis class is narrowing rears. The 7.5" is a weak link in the G-body cars and for a long time I had planned on a late model disc Mustang 8.8". After considering the near bullet proof 31 spline large bearing 9" and the fact that I can swap centers to change gear ratios I decided to grab one of those and use it as a narrow guinea pig. A trac loc center is a real bonus, so I checked every Ford truck rear axle tag in the yard on two different occasions. The second time I found a 78 4x4 Bronco that was missing the tag so I turned the drum on one side and with a big grin I watched the other side move in the same direction. Out of about 40-50 trucks I checked this was the only one with a track loc, so after an hour and a half of wrenching on rusted bolts I had it in the back of the wagon. Because the tag is missing and I haven't cracked it open yet I don't know what gears are in it, but I found most of the trucks had 3.50's and that'll be perfect for autocross. I also have a set of 2.75 gears I will be transplanting into another center for daily driving. I will be keeping my TH350 so the highway gears will help get the fuel mileage up there without overdrive. A third center with 4.10s would be nice for the drag strip, but that's on the back burner for now.

I suppose for a 5.3 that I will be setting up for somewhere around 400 hp at the flywheel a 9" is a bit overkill but the potential of a 5.3 with a pair of hairdryers on the exhaust is pretty intriguing. That'll have to wait until after I graduate but is on the future plans. By then I should be able to afford a larger cube motor too so hp options are wide open, no pun intended, lol!

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