#1  
Old 05-09-2020, 03:09 AM
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73LeMans 73LeMans is offline
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Default What I did on my Summer vacation.....for 5 years straight.

A few folks have asked me to post the progress of my 73''s partial rebuild here on the board. I don't normally engage in all of this, (how else does one keep post count under 700 in 18 years?) but then I thought about everyone's posts on which I lurk, and how they inspired me to get in the garage when I was less than motivated to do so. I can't say this thread will do that for you, but you can give it a shot and let me know.

Its no Boosted Bandit Build thread (that is going to be awesome!) but its a walk-through of a decent street car that will see the strip a few times a year.

Over the next bunch of days, weeks, etc, I'll post the progress shots of the work I've done and discuss the issues encountered along the way. I'm not one to take a ton of pictures, but hopefully there are enough to keep it interesting. At the very least, you might be able to use this a guide of what NOT to do.


Lets get started -

Back in 2014, I learned roller lifters have a life expectancy. Behold the genesis of their untimely demise:

================================================== ====
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZgVmKz5tX4
================================================== ====

Tip #1 don't do that ^^^

That Summer was the last of any seat time for me. Two weeks later, I heard the engine pop, power went down, and while I was happy to make it the 5 miles back home, the car was not.





Yeah, that bearing took some heat, huh?

Wish I had more pics of the wreckage. The cam was ruined - while lifters gave up all their needles to the bottom end, the rollers were left to grind up the cam. The oil pump was blue in some areas and the windage tray had evidence of getting extremely warm in the pump area. Hard to say if it root cause was lack of spring pressure or if the lifters were just in past their prime. Guess it doesn't much matter.


Since the engine was coming out, this would be the best time to make more power. Early 2015, heads and intake went out to increase overall flow, (mainly exhaust), new cam was selected (4/7 swap), and CR was to increase to 12.5:1. Unfortunately, it was 6 months before those pieces made their way back to me. That put me the end of the Summer for that year. More on those later.

Trying to work in parallel, I turned my attention to the block. Cylinder walls weren't as bad as the pistons, and no major pieces were gobbled up by the bottom end. Re-bearing, turn crank and get new pump - right? Yeah, no.



This was documented in a previous post of mine. Number 3 main cap. Its fracture is not a part of the lifter failure, builder error (me) when putting it on. It happened when I was checking clearances on the bearings.

Tip # 2. Dont put main caps on backwards

Funny thing about those clearances too....they were tighter in the middle of the block (mains 2,3) than they were on the rest. My new engine builder (circle track guy) said its common for Pontiacs to slightly cave in on themselves over time. He said I'd be fine since I wasn't spinning a lot of RPM for any great length of time. It was likely this way for some time as well, perhaps the previous build or longer. Me though? I knew I wouldn't be able to put my foot in without second guessing my decision here. So with the cracked cap and tight clearances, I made the decision to go ProGram 4 bolt splayed mains. I'll leave you with the pics from the machine shop for now.








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Mark S
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Who needs nice and pretty, when you can have mean and nasty?
KRE Aluminum headed 463CID 73 LeMans. Used to run 10.6x @ 124.55. 3700lbs
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So much for 2020...shootin for 9s in 2021...and in 2022 apparently.
>>My 73 Build thread
  #2  
Old 05-09-2020, 07:39 AM
cdrookie cdrookie is offline
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Finally... I need some motivation

  #3  
Old 05-09-2020, 11:34 AM
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OCMDGTO OCMDGTO is offline
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Wow pretty epic post and good that you can laugh about it. Don't think I could wait 5yrs, personally. Good luck!

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69 GTO 467, 850 Holley, T2, Edelbrock Dport 310cfm w Ram Air manifolds, HFT 245/251D .561/.594L, T400, 9" w 3.50s 3905lbs 11.64@ 114, 1.59/ 60'
  #4  
Old 05-10-2020, 01:34 AM
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While the block work was being done, I sent the crankshaft to Shaftech to have it nitrided and cut. When the block work finished and all pieces were finally back in my possession, I got ready for reassembly.

- I polished and reused the same JE pistons with new Total Seal rings.
- The Eagle 6.8 rods were also reused with new ARP 2000 bolts. Rods were appropriately resized.

New Comp solid roller is a tad different than the previous stick -

- Lobe lift .4400Ē I & 4410ĒE (old cam was .400" I+E)
- Gross valve lift is .704 int .705 exh w1.6 rocker (old cam was .660"I+E - w1.65)
- Duration @.050 lift is 272 int 280 exh (old cam was 265 I 270 E)
- Lobe Separation: 112 (old cam was 106)

This is a 4/7 swap configuration.

- The Rollmaster timing chain was also reused.

All in all, the bottom end went together well. Everything spun smoothly and clearances were all dead on. Shame I didn't think about that dipstick earlier though....



================================================== ============================

Moving onward, the next step was to get a head mounted. I needed to check piston to valve clearance, as well as get started on installing the lifter brace. This however, is where I ran into problems.

With the head mounted, torqued down and using the same gasket Ive always run (FelPro 1016), I wasn't able to rotate the engine over. I feared there was valve contact with the piston. (The block was zero decked in 2010) Upon closer inspection, the push rod and rocker arm were at war with each other.



Hard to tell in that pic (only one I got) but that rocker is trying to push that rod out of the pocket. Perhaps the extra lobe lift was causing a problem? Maybe the previously used push rods were too long? The witness marks on the valve tips looked excellent so I wasn't really buying the push rod theory and the rockers were the ones used previously. In retrospect, it was likely both items conspiring against me as I solved the issue with a better rocker and a shorter p-rod.

Crower - and a Ford piece no less -



Here is what makes up the rest of the valve train -
Crower Solid lifters (no offset)
Crower Push rods 9.450 3/8s .080 wall
Ferrea 5000 series valves - 2.19 intake 1.66 exhaust
Howard Springs -98644 solid roller valve springs setup at 1.860-1.865" Int. 1.870-1.875" exh installed height
Isky adjustable guide plates
KRE Stud girdle


With the binding issue behind me, I was finally able to get the SD Mega Brace installed. I forget exactly where the recommendation to use SplashZone to seal it all up came from, but I think I turned out pretty good.




I cleaned up the casting flash of the valley on my last build in 2010, so I could get straight to installing here. Hats off to Dave @ SD - the Mega Brace is a nice piece of equipment.

Now, with that done I can put the heads on for good and lock it down.

Shame to cover all this up, don't you think?



^^^^Adjustable guide plates. Even years later I get chills thinking about them. They a PITA to get right!!^^^^








Onward to the fuel system next time.

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Mark S
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Who needs nice and pretty, when you can have mean and nasty?
KRE Aluminum headed 463CID 73 LeMans. Used to run 10.6x @ 124.55. 3700lbs
.
So much for 2020...shootin for 9s in 2021...and in 2022 apparently.
>>My 73 Build thread
  #5  
Old 05-10-2020, 05:39 PM
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73LeMans 73LeMans is offline
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Default Insert Fuel pun here...

I ran the old fuel system in my car for 18 years. It consisted of a Mallory 140 pump/filter/regulator, -8 lines, Jaz fuel cell, all deadheaded at the carb. This was fine for running 11.55 with my old iron #16s, and surprisingly, it was also fine pushing my 3700#+ barge to 10.67s when I switched to aluminum heads/solid roller in 2010. I knew I was close to maxing out this system though, so when the inevitable "next time" came when I wanted more power, the fuel system would make the top of the list.



The only constant "issue" I ever dealt with was the line routing to the carb. Initially the regulator draped over the open passenger wheel (no well) and ran legs up to the carb. Never a problem with that configuration, it was just ugly and potentially dangerous if a tire were to let go. I moved it to the back corner of the firewall, and while a tad bit safer, still ugly.



The problems came when I wanted a cleaner and safer solution. To achieve it, I ran the fuel line up the front of the block, under the Victor, out the side and up to a carb mounted regulator. The tight spacing required some tight, but doable, turns to be made.



Clean setup, but this proved later to be taking on too much heat (and likely causing a dangerously lean condition) any time I drove the car for good periods of time (45 minutes?) which was rare. I discovered the issue on a trip to a not-so-local car show where the only viable option to get there was a stretch of 65mph highway for 25 minutes. When I got to the show, the car had no idle, it died as I pulled in and didn't re-fire. It took some doing, but I managed to get it home. Safely? Who knows...did I lean it out to the point where I shortened the lifespan of a critical part? Probably.

Tip #3 - don't take a woefully under-prepared, 4.10 geared, 3800 stalled 3 spd drag car out on the highway for 25 minutes straight.

As good as that old system was, I knew I needed to rectify the issues or else forfeit this engine. I needed to fix the heat problem, as well as keep the fuel moving. For now, the fix was to only take the car to local shows 30 minutes or closer, mandating back roads to get there. Not ideal, but for a car that saw only an average of 500 miles a year, it wasn't too big of a sacrifice.

Funny too - I never had a fuel line rot or ever had to replace the filter. Of course Id check the filter constantly, but it was spotless every time. I replaced it once just because, but kept the old element because it was a good backup. I know its unpopular, but there is something to be said for not running pump gas!

The whole point of this rambling was to make it absolutely clear that my next system would be overkill for any power I planned on making. This should suffice.

Behold the Aeromotive A1000 awesomnessnessness.






Now the old trunk was never worthy of taking any picture of, so I wasn't about to start now. It was rattle can flat black, dingy and last touched in 1997. You can use your imagination, but I'm sure it was worse. Booo trunk space.

The JAZ cell strapped direct to the floor and sat flat because the I cut out the original hump for the OEM tank fuel lines. This tank was bigger than the JAZ by 8 gallons, and I wanted to make sure the filler was accessible for quick refills at the track. This meant the cell needed to sit more toward the back of the car. This presented a problem as youll see in the upcoming photos. So, instead of cutting up the trunk floor again, I decided to fab up some mounts and raise the cell off the floor. I had to replace some trunk floor to get good weld penetration but this method solved two issues - leveling off the tank, and giving the tank a way to be fastened to the floor. The tabs on the cell were done by my welder. (no TIG here). Finished it all with some store bought rattle can splatter paint.





One of my near-future purchases will be the Aeromotive pump speed controller. If I waited a tad longer..about a year.. I could have gotten the brushless pump with the controller built in, but I had no way of knowing. The A1000 moves A LOT of fuel, but its pretty loud. Almost makes me miss my Mallory....almost.

__________________
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Mark S
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Who needs nice and pretty, when you can have mean and nasty?
KRE Aluminum headed 463CID 73 LeMans. Used to run 10.6x @ 124.55. 3700lbs
.
So much for 2020...shootin for 9s in 2021...and in 2022 apparently.
>>My 73 Build thread
  #6  
Old 05-12-2020, 12:01 AM
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73LeMans 73LeMans is offline
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Default Electrical

I've always dealt with a slow crank/hot start electrical issues with this car. To get by, I either fixed it just enough, or bypassed it when possible. (Think alligator clips) Its been ongoing since the car was stock and driven to high school as well through all stages in the decades since. The issue was no doubt changing (along with the car) and that made it difficult to narrow down. Its also no coincidence that electricity is my weakest skill here, and that's saying something, because my welding is friggin terrible. The root cause however, was likely to have been a myriad of factors over time. Time to solve ohm. (It gets better)

Since I was going through all the systems for this rebuild, I wanted to rectify this. Figuring, but not really knowing, the 48 year old wiring in the column to be the main culprit, (nothing else seemed to work and this was common to most of the issues) I decided I would no longer start the car from the column. I was also tired of multiple switches all over the place (fuel, fans, dumps etc) and wanted to consolidate. This is the route I chose. All the cool guys on Street Outlaws have something similar, so I had to get it:



This would do no good if i didn't first start with good size cable for the heavy loads. I had done so in the past (so I thought), but in reality only the starter cable from the remote solenoid to the starter was duly rated for its load. As the car evolved to require a cutoff switch and remote charging lugs, lesser gauge wiring was introduced into the system, likely a result of dealing with time constraints and taking whatever Summit or local NAPAs had on hand. Regardless why, a hodgepodge of various gauge was in play. I was revolted. (nailed it) For my chance to correct this, all of the heavy duty work for starting/charging/grounding had to be decently sized. This should do it, don't joule think? (I kill me)



All lugs were to be heavy duty. All ends were be soldered and shrink wrapped. You know, the basics of good wiring.




This effort also meant the small auxiliary fuse panel I used for high powered items for the previous 20 years bought from a stereo place, (top of this photo) had to go. And finally, I would incorporate some quality relays for the high draw components. (If ohm being honest, fuel pump and fan were directly wired prior - bad, I know). Here was the mock up for the new board -



Here is the "current" board in action. (I can do this all night) The new fuse panel is from Blue Sea products. Its a Split Bus Fuse Block that allows one side to be hot all the time and the other to be key on powered. Wicked joule. The whole panel is mounted on the interior firewall above the passenger foot well.



Not bad for a battery from 2006 and sitting for the past 5 years. Didn't take too much of a charge to get there, and it held. I was "shocked". (This is some of my best stuff folks) Gotta love Optima.



Too bad I melted it a few months later when I forget to disconnect the charger one night. It Hertz to look.



Tip#4 - Don't use a 30 year old dumb, non AGM battery charger on high for 12 hours straight on an AGM battery. Pretty embarrassed about this one. I may not know electricity, but I know better than to do this.

I actually only noticed the meltdown when the top of the battery box showed signs of corrosion. Hard to believe those were brand new terminals. Nasty stuff those battery thingys.


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Mark S
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Who needs nice and pretty, when you can have mean and nasty?
KRE Aluminum headed 463CID 73 LeMans. Used to run 10.6x @ 124.55. 3700lbs
.
So much for 2020...shootin for 9s in 2021...and in 2022 apparently.
>>My 73 Build thread
  #7  
Old 05-15-2020, 01:03 AM
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73LeMans 73LeMans is offline
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Default radiator

Since 1997 when the car was first built to any level, I've wanted an aluminum radiator. Being 24 at the time, without a lot of extra money to spend, (plus any rad that would fit this chassis would need to be custom) I continued to go with the tried & true copper/brass 3 core from the local radiator supply house.

An opportunity presented itself in 2005 when I punched a hole in that 8 year old radiator trying to bolt it the car, but sadly, my surgery with a cutting wheel and solder proved to be too awesome and it lasted the next 11 years. (plus it was seriously hard to argue replacing a $100 part that worked with a $700 part that worked)

In addition to that ugliness, I had also picked up a 16" junkyard fan in 97, off some 4 cylinder a (Saturn I think it was) for about $15 IIRC. Believe it or not, that has been on the car the entire time. Never replaced a motor even. Fastened with zip ties, but it never let me down.

This time around, that wasn't going to cut it so C&R got the call.



I had to think about how I was going to hold on to it. (This hotrodding stuff is hard) The old radiator just used it own weight to hold the isolaters in place, then I bolted the top to the core support. You can see that in this Don Keefe kick ass pic taken at the 2006 VMP Pavement Pounders Shootout. (you can see the ziptie for the fan too, if you look closely) Man that was a great time! (dont even get me started on that hideous master cylinder)




I could use the stock rubber isolators, recage them and weld to the core support, but this radiator was so fat compared to the old one, I thought it more prudent to use a fatter type of support so I went with the one on the far left. I caged it better and lined it with 1/4" rubber mat I cut up instead of the foam you see here. I wont show you them on the car. The welds were ugly. Like real ugly.



On top had to be something better that some muffler hanger and bolts to hold it in place, so I designed these out of cardboard. They made contact with existing threaded holes in the core, and then reached out and leaned over the rad to keep it from falling over.



I scraped this idea very quickly. Way too much work, and they were so thin where the bolts were going to go, they likely wouldn't have held up to much abuse.

I say we go with something more traditional, and easier to bend -



Now doesn't that look a lot better? A couple of fancy screws and now it looks like something Chip Foose might have made...or maybe his cousin...distant, long lost cousin. Cousin's friend maybe.



I really didn't want a piece of polished aluminum in the bay to be honest. My goal was to make a lot of the shiny pieces appears like carbon fiber this time around. Since I knew I wasn't going to paint the radiator, or the heads, or the valley pan, or scuff up my brandy new valve covers for the wrap to stick, I decided I'd leave it as is.

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Mark S
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Who needs nice and pretty, when you can have mean and nasty?
KRE Aluminum headed 463CID 73 LeMans. Used to run 10.6x @ 124.55. 3700lbs
.
So much for 2020...shootin for 9s in 2021...and in 2022 apparently.
>>My 73 Build thread

Last edited by 73LeMans; 05-15-2020 at 01:53 AM.
  #8  
Old 05-15-2020, 01:46 AM
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73LeMans 73LeMans is offline
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Default shifter pedestal

This always having been a column shifted car, mounting a good looking shifter on the floor always presented a challenge when it came to reach. I originally put the ProStick directly on the tunnel but when harnessed in, I could never manipulate the reverse lockout. Time to make it a fix! (I heard an old Italian F1 mechanic say that once... Once.)

Starting with an educated guess in rise, I made a cardboard template, borrowed a brake and bent this up.





Instead of bolts through the tunnel this time, which if ever loosened were next impossible to tighten, I put thread-serts in the floor. Man I love thread-serts. But, make sure you don't drill too big of a hole, and make sure when you do drill, its on a flat plane and the drill is straight. Otherwise, youll have to weld the thread-sert in place. Stupid thread-serts.

Next time I think Id rather weld a mount off the floorboard brace and bolt the shifter to that. But thats next time. Back to the parallelogram.


Mmmm.....ooooh, ahhh. Dimple dies. So cool. And a little bit of shiny paint. And one more for Jenny and the wimp.



I didn't want the shifter mount to look brand new. Under any of the Rustoleum black I typically spray, I lay down Rustoleum's Rusty Metal Primer as what else? A primer. This was no exception and would prove a good contrast for my experiment in patinanessness.



The reality is I likely used the wrong gauge steel for this piece. At the very least, it needed some cross bracing. it was pretty flimsy. I was hoping the dimple took care of that, and while slightly better, not rock solid like a mount needs to be. At the very least, the simple fix below added back some strength. We'll see what a season of driving does to it all.




Finished product with the satin clear....minus one pin, plus one finger. (Fear not, that cable takes a better path now!)



I mocked up the seat and love where the shifter sits now. So comfortable and easy to operate.

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Mark S
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Who needs nice and pretty, when you can have mean and nasty?
KRE Aluminum headed 463CID 73 LeMans. Used to run 10.6x @ 124.55. 3700lbs
.
So much for 2020...shootin for 9s in 2021...and in 2022 apparently.
>>My 73 Build thread

Last edited by 73LeMans; 05-15-2020 at 01:55 AM.
  #9  
Old 05-15-2020, 06:32 AM
cdrookie cdrookie is offline
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Polished aluminum... thread serts... dimple dies,,, OH MY!!!! I thought I was reading the wrong build thread till the Rustoleum rusty metal primer brought it back to reality. That shifter mount does look pretty badass though. I'd love to have that rad and fan set up, looks so clean.

  #10  
Old 05-15-2020, 10:32 AM
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Ben M. Ben M. is offline
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Default

This is awesome. I appreciate your documentation of these things! The willingness to admit mistakes is also greatly appreciated as I've more than made my share as well and seeing someone else admit to them makes me feel better about mine.

  #11  
Old 05-15-2020, 08:24 PM
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73LeMans 73LeMans is offline
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben M. View Post
This is awesome. I appreciate your documentation of these things! The willingness to admit mistakes is also greatly appreciated as I've more than made my share as well and seeing someone else admit to them makes me feel better about mine.
NP man. That's what this forum is about right? Sharing ideas, avoiding mistakes and helping others.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cdrookie View Post
Polished aluminum... thread serts... dimple dies,,, OH MY!!!! I thought I was reading the wrong build thread till the Rustoleum rusty metal primer brought it back to reality.
Someone knows me all too well.

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Mark S
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Who needs nice and pretty, when you can have mean and nasty?
KRE Aluminum headed 463CID 73 LeMans. Used to run 10.6x @ 124.55. 3700lbs
.
So much for 2020...shootin for 9s in 2021...and in 2022 apparently.
>>My 73 Build thread
  #12  
Old 05-15-2020, 09:13 PM
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73LeMans 73LeMans is offline
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Default Oil Pan

Had to do something about that dipstick situation. This was it. Behold its sexiness! Too bad it covers up that Butler Pro series pump I have no pictures of.





Tight fit -




The dip stick provision is in the passenger kickout and uses a compression type fitting. The plan was to use the stick only for reading when the car wasnt running. Id pull out the whole tube and plug the provision so the vacuum pump got a good seal, but rumor has it, that may not be necessary. Time will tell.

To further mitigate the leakage potential, I chose the twist lock, Moroso dipstick. I'm not sure what they were thinking with their crappy little mounting hardware, so I made this to actually work with my valve cover.



The fit and finish of the Canton pan was excellent IMO. Good thick level rail and virtually no gap at the timing cover with gasket in place.

Speaking of gaskets, I'm using the BOP one piece oil pan gasket. Ive used it in the past and wouldn't have it any other way. Rounded it out with ARP bolts for the pan.


I'll leave with a tip -

Tip#6 If you are going to use a magnet in your oil pan with trap doors, say like a FilterMag TM360, make sure the magnet isn't so strong it holds any of the trap doors open.

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Mark S
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Who needs nice and pretty, when you can have mean and nasty?
KRE Aluminum headed 463CID 73 LeMans. Used to run 10.6x @ 124.55. 3700lbs
.
So much for 2020...shootin for 9s in 2021...and in 2022 apparently.
>>My 73 Build thread
  #13  
Old 05-17-2020, 12:48 AM
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73LeMans 73LeMans is offline
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Default Front end tear down

Back in 1995 when life was easy, I blasted (with actual play sand) the engine bay, cowl, frame, suspension, interior fenders and and steering components with a 50lb Sears plastic sandblaster outside in my parents driveway. It looked just the one in this pic I stole off the interwebs.



I did it with a 2hp Sears compressor that definitely was NOT rated for that type of work. (Sorry Dad!)

Took three straight weeks of after work hours and sand in my ears to get it all done. My girlfriend was furious. (that's a lot of Friday nights to miss when you're 22)

I repainted the bare metal with reduced Rustoleum yellow zinc chromate primer and then shot it with Rustoleum Satin Black using a cheap JC Whitney paint gun. Don't ask how I was able to accomplish all of that and have the paint actually stick for 20 years, but that's exactly what it did. I never had any adhesion issues or rust.

The only problem I had (if you can call it that) was the bay was now so vast, with the fender wells and HVAC box/heater core deleted, I thought all that black would be waaaaaay too boring to stare at. Add to that dilemma my immense dislike of any OEM Pontiac engine color and you may start to understand why I have a Plum Crazy engine block...and transmission....and firewall...and control arms etc. Fun fact - GM had a purple they were painting their cars in 1996. I wanted to stay GM and use that color until I saw the cost. Local Allied suggested the Plum instead, so I went with it.

Fast forward. 2016. I'm tired of seeing it. Plus there was something to the effect of 456,971 chips (give or take 3) allowing the zinc chromate to show through just about everywhere. Time to clean this pig up.

Keep in mind, I blasted the front end in '96, painted the car this gray/black in '05 and then again in 2010 (fiberglass came!) and never did I ever take off the front fenders or the core support. So this look here is a first for me.





There is an army of fasteners to go along with all of this. Holy crap. (OK, I threw in some I had lying around, but still!)



I've got a 6 inch wire wheel that attaches a 1200 rpm motor I lock in my vice. No tumblers, no parts washers, no blasting cabinet. This...Ive got this.



And some wire brushes. Yeah. And some Laquer thinner.

You know how long those friggin bolts took me to prep? ^%#((% $#$^ My therapist says not talking about it is best.

Was all this my idea or was I being punished? I don't really remember anymore. And it seemed a bit late to turn back.

__________________
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Mark S
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Who needs nice and pretty, when you can have mean and nasty?
KRE Aluminum headed 463CID 73 LeMans. Used to run 10.6x @ 124.55. 3700lbs
.
So much for 2020...shootin for 9s in 2021...and in 2022 apparently.
>>My 73 Build thread

Last edited by 73LeMans; 05-17-2020 at 12:51 AM. Reason: Im a terrible proofreader
  #14  
Old 05-17-2020, 09:30 AM
cdrookie cdrookie is offline
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Default

Reading this is like dejavu...

  #15  
Old 05-18-2020, 12:29 AM
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73LeMans 73LeMans is offline
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Default Engine / Trans Paint

So if I didn't like any of the OEM Pontiac engine colors and I didn't want to see the purple anymore, what color would I be painting the engine and trans? I couldn't do black. So many people do black it never has enough contrast to look "right" to me. Plus it will be in a ginormous black engine bay. More black was not the answer.

I had given some thought to using a flat finish on the engine/trans and doing it in some off color shade, like medium gray, bronze, or champagne, you know, much like the route a lot of the customizers were taking. (Think Kindig) Then I thought about how those really only look good in bays of the same color or with something else to tie it to the exterior color of the car. A theme essentially.





It got me thinking. Seeing how I'm very few pieces away from collecting most all of the NOS panels for this car, and knowing that some day Id lay down "real" paint once those were mounted, I gave thought to how I'd want it all to look. Would I leave it black and gray? (Fun Fact - The gray only came about as a result of mixing black and white Rustoleum quarts. Yeah, sheer brilliance, I know. My painting acumen astounds even me) Maybe I would finally choose a bolder color, like a candy copper, or perhaps the forever-awesome-no-matter-what-its-on Brandywine? Even some of the factory colors on these cars looked great on so many examples from the last few years...Ascot Silver, Valencia Gold, Mesa Tan, Golden Olive, Burma Brown etc. I knew I'd keep the paint design, and I knew the black was going to stay, so it was merely a question of what the gray would become.

In a nice way to pay homage to the cars beginnings and have it come full circle to the car my Grandad bought and my Dad drove, I decided the original color was too hard to resist. That means code 24, Ditzler PPG 2523, Porcelain Blue Poly would replace the gray on the car (someday) but more importantly, be my choice for engine and trans.

I wont bore you with detail on the hassles of getting the right color mixed up (This is close, and metallic so not dead on) or complain about the expense of replacing my inline desiccant dryer system, or dive into the difficulties of keeping a 3 bay garage with no dehumidifier under "optimal painting conditions" or describe the nuisance a make shift paint booth becomes when the plastic isn't secured to the floor and the line sticks to it from the over spray, or the frustration of finally getting ready to paint and having the gun leak all over the place, and I wont even complain about moving into a garage with one more bay then I'm used to but having less space than I did before, I'll just give ya the good stuff -
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wait for it.....
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drumroll
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Single stage urethane. I got a bit close in some areas because the lighting was poor and I didn't take the time to adjust it. Because its a metallic, the metal flake tends to bunch up and run quicker than non metallics when that happens. I was upset about it, but then realized if I was smarter, I could have avoided the mistake.

Tip#7 - when spraying paint on an engine on a stand, roll the engine over so your always painting on a flat surface. This will minimize the effect of gravity on areas where the paint went on heavy

Realistically, it came out just fine. Sure its got some flaws, but when bigger flaws occur elsewhere, I'll focus on those and forget all about these.









I don't know how you painters do it, but every time I gear up to paint a big ticket item, it always takes me 62.485x longer than I imagined and am usually up until 3 am by the time the gun is finally cleaned. Is it just me? Normally not a problem, but I don't always paint on weekends!

I gotta say this though, very few things are more rewarding then putting in the time with some nasty Aircraft Remover, (who can afford to have a plane, much less use remover on it?) dealing with the goo and mess of old paint, getting down to the clean natural finish clearing away years of dirt and grime, and being able to bring it all back up again. Its a lot of work, but worth it when it comes out right. (or as close to right as I care to get!)

__________________
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Mark S
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Who needs nice and pretty, when you can have mean and nasty?
KRE Aluminum headed 463CID 73 LeMans. Used to run 10.6x @ 124.55. 3700lbs
.
So much for 2020...shootin for 9s in 2021...and in 2022 apparently.
>>My 73 Build thread
  #16  
Old 05-19-2020, 11:24 PM
73LeMans's Avatar
73LeMans 73LeMans is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Berkley, MA
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Default core support / fire wall

In a galaxy far far away, a long long time ago, I took all of the bracing the inner fenders and core support provided, and removed it. Its laughable that it was probably all about 60 lbs of weight savings, fenderwells making up the bulk @ 18lbs each, but hey, when you're coming down from 3900lbs+, every bit matters. Seems funny today with power being readily available, but back in the day, my thinking was I had to absolutely lighten it up.

While its cool to watch the front fenders shimmy in harmony with the choppy idle, and as intimidating as it can be to the random Fox body that pulls up next to ya, it does very little to keep the metal from fatiguing over time.

IIRC my core support had 5 cracks in it, and don't have a single picture of any of them. The small brackets I made to tie the bottom of the fenders to the core, were also starting to split. No pics of those either.

This pic is a fix of one of those cracks. You can see where I drilled a hole to stop it from going any further. I ground it out slightly then welded it up. Then I cleaned up the weld with a grinder. I only took this pic because it normally doesn't come out so good.



The two self tappers above are holding a bracket I made to hold my overflow can.


The shot below shows the mounts for the trans cooler I made. I was tired of those crappy plastic fasteners that force you to mount the cooler to the radiator and there was no way I was going to cover up that new aluminum radiator I waited so long to buy. Screw you plastic fasteners.

The mounts are square tube with threaded rod welded through them. Then I welded it all to the core.



Next on the task list is to weld up all the holes I'm not using in the firewall, per NHRA rules. This picture is me now with confidence as a "fixer of metal with metal" taking out a spot on the firewall, for what exact reason I can't seem to recall. Just trust me. It needed to come out. (warped, rusty, too thin I cant recall)



The grounding strap and bolt, would serve as you guessed it, my ground. (The other holes already filled in were where an old fuel line was held in place going up to the isolater)

I made the hole more of a shape of something I could put back in...kinda like you would a drywall patch. Spent much time shaping the perfect piece, grinding in 45s so I could get good penetration. Nice fit too!



Anyone see anything wrong with this picture? I certainly didn't, until my welds started burning holes in the fire wall with each touch. .023 wire, fast wire speed, low heat, gas was on. Still blew through almost every stitch. I know most blow-through is due to heat, but with this setup, I'm guessing my grounding was also a factor. I was still using the bolt in the last picture, but the POS magnets here were the only things keeping the new metal grounded, and for the life of me couldn't get a good spot to stick. (maybe a backing bar would have helped?) If I went any further, I knew end up screwing up the whole wall, so I left it in frustration. I knew the car was going to a real fabricator for headers soon, so I would just ask him to take care of it, which I dislike doing very much. @$&$ty Piece of #$&& F&*(&%(( D*(&&%^#


__________________
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Mark S
.
Who needs nice and pretty, when you can have mean and nasty?
KRE Aluminum headed 463CID 73 LeMans. Used to run 10.6x @ 124.55. 3700lbs
.
So much for 2020...shootin for 9s in 2021...and in 2022 apparently.
>>My 73 Build thread
  #17  
Old 05-20-2020, 12:17 AM
cdrookie cdrookie is offline
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Location: NW PA
Posts: 729
Default

What tech tip number are we on? I guess we donít really need one because I might be off base but welding and magnets donít always get along. We had to drill out some studs at work a couple months ago. We had a drill fixture plate with a mag base drill lined up on the part ready to be tack welded in place: The welder dude was having a hard time getting the stick welder to work properly. Eventually he realized the magnet was on the drill. Iíve been having the same issue with burn thru with patch panels It just dawned on me about the magnets. Of course it could be the rust Iím trying to weld to..

  #18  
Old 05-20-2020, 12:32 AM
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73LeMans 73LeMans is offline
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by cdrookie View Post
What tech tip number are we on? I guess we donít really need one because I might be off base but welding and magnets donít always get along. We had to drill out some studs at work a couple months ago. We had a drill fixture plate with a mag base drill lined up on the part ready to be tack welded in place: The welder dude was having a hard time getting the stick welder to work properly. Eventually he realized the magnet was on the drill. Iíve been having the same issue with burn thru with patch panels It just dawned on me about the magnets. Of course it could be the rust Iím trying to weld to..
Haha, I'd offer a tip if I actually knew what went wrong. You might be on to something. I'm inclined to go with the magnets as well. I've done the jamb dog legs and never had a problem there, or even on the trunk floor, until of course it got rusty and just kept blowing away. But that was explainable - the trunk needed a patch much bigger than the area I was trying to weld to. Once that was in, it all went fine.

__________________
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Mark S
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Who needs nice and pretty, when you can have mean and nasty?
KRE Aluminum headed 463CID 73 LeMans. Used to run 10.6x @ 124.55. 3700lbs
.
So much for 2020...shootin for 9s in 2021...and in 2022 apparently.
>>My 73 Build thread
  #19  
Old 05-20-2020, 12:33 AM
73LeMans's Avatar
73LeMans 73LeMans is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Berkley, MA
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Default Headers

Like the rest of us, Ive lost track of how many sets of headers Ive gone through over the years. To name a few -> Blackjack, Hedman, Hooker, Maddog 2x (don't even get me started on that guy). The time had come where I was finally tired of seeing very expensive pieces just crumble to rot in short order. This time around they had to be stainless.

I debated the idea, as I'm sure most of us have; make them myself or send them out? This battle raged for months in my head.

- Pro - I get to buy a TIG welder
- Pro - it will be cheaper to build them myself, even after buying the stainless and the welder
- Pro - I learn something new. Even if its that I don't want to make my own headers

- Con - drastic TIG learning curve
- Con - Time
- Con - dport heads
- Con - expensive mistake if they suck
- Con - If I fail, I still need stainless headers


You know its kinda hard to get good at anything if you're not doing any of the work, so this wasn't an easy decision. The car had been down for so long at this point though, did I want to delay it another 2-3 months finding out what everyone was already telling me, that headers suck to build?

Well, ultimately I listened to "those people" and leaned on a guy in CT to do the work. A few guys near me could do this, but I didn't like any of their attitudes. Those were just the ones who would actually respond. Most never bothered to return a message or pick up the phone. Strange how that is, but all too common with me and contractors it seems. Must be me.

Enough about them, lets get to the good stuff.

Getting headers first means the engine had to go in -



and then I had to load it up -



And drop it off here, at JW Racing & Fabrication, 2hours and 45 minutes from home.



And through the magic of the interweb, and the fact that all of this was completed a long time ago - I can show you the finished product -















Couldn't be happier with Joe @JW and his work. Hes a kickass artist and great guy to deal with. These should last a long time.

The only drawback to all of this awesomeness was a remote oil filter was most definitely going to be needed.

__________________
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Mark S
.
Who needs nice and pretty, when you can have mean and nasty?
KRE Aluminum headed 463CID 73 LeMans. Used to run 10.6x @ 124.55. 3700lbs
.
So much for 2020...shootin for 9s in 2021...and in 2022 apparently.
>>My 73 Build thread
  #20  
Old 05-22-2020, 12:35 AM
73LeMans's Avatar
73LeMans 73LeMans is offline
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Default media day

So I've been to this blasting show once before as you know.....didn't like it. I certainly wasn't looking forward to it again, but it had to be done. The purple was real automotive paint and it wasn't coming off without a lot of mess. Either media mess, or stripper mess. Media mess is a faster route to paint, so I chose media mess. And man, does this story sound familiar.....

It starts with an undersized portable baster that a friend of mine was storing here for oh, 8 years. Its a Cyclone PT 40. Crappy thing doesn't even have wheels.



How undersized you ask? (you didn't really ask, just work with me here)
• 40 lb. Capacity (smaller than the one I used in 96!!)
• 8 ft. Hose
• Blast hose 3/8" ID
• 1/8" Ceramic nozzle

Not a lot happening fast here but I wasn't about to buy my own blaster only to have it sit also around for years, so I was determined to make this work. It'll do the job, it'll just be slow. After learning a few lessons last time, here is why it will be ever so slightly better:

- The compressor should handle it this time around



- I was going to use aluminum oxide instead of sand
- I bought a blasting gun that you could actually turn on and off

So besides the goggles constantly fogging up because of the respirator type mask I was wearing, which was every 15 effin minutes (insert Covid-19 preparedness joke here), it didn't go too badly.




The plan was to keep the front end together to keep the car portable and then wire wheel/brush with a drill what I couldn't blast once in the garage and disassembled. The suspension and steering components (minus the box/pitman arm) were all going to get powder coated or replaced, so I didn't have to worry about those and the core support would be blasted separately.

This physical blasting took about 12 hours. covering both a Saturday and Sunday. I was constantly stopping with goggle issues, filling up the hopper or just taking a break. Factor in time to get the car up/down/back in the garage and clean up the driveway so I'm not "that guy" in the neighborhood, and they were pretty long days.

Here is the car once back in the garage with the moving parts, removed.(ha!) You can see the areas where steering and suspension parts kept me from reaching.



Life kinda got in the way that week. I came back to the car after work on Tuesday and started the cleanup process. Looking at the cross member however, one of the earliest of the basted pieces, it had looked like some tiny spots had been missed. So I got them with the wire wheel and the drill.



Then I noticed the same type of spot on the on the firewall......and the frame rails. Then it hit me, like ah, a two ton heavy thing... (what song guys. cmon?) These were not places I missed, this was rust starting to form. Well #$@, @#$^&#$#&%#* mother%$&$**$@@#

So here's the thing....New England weather, unless its 20 degrees outside, is pretty humid all the friggin time apparently. So lets start off with a tip.

Tip#8 - When media blasting, be prepared to protect any exposed metal as soon as you are done blasting.

I may have cried here, I may have blacked out, I really don't recall. All I remember was thinking there was no way I could keep up with this. With work and other commitments, there was no way I could get this cleaned up and epoxied any time soon. It was going to take me days if I was going to do it with a drill and my drill wasn't sounding too good after the last pass with this stuff. This would all have to be blasted again. I had blasted too much area and the rust was coming in faster than I could keep up.

Tip#9 - Don't take the suspension off until you are sure you don't need to move the car again

#%^.

OK, so not only do I get to live the blasting hell all over again, but now I need to figure a way to get this thing back outside? Hold my beer....

Solution (minus one tow strap to keep it all together):



No I didn't steal it. A friend of mine gave it to me. (really!) It worked like a charm believe it or not. It rolled smoothly and the big casters allowed it to easily make back over the 1 inch lip to get back in the garage. And if I'm thinking positively about all of this, at least now I could take out the engine mounts that I left in place for some reason.

Blasting was considerably quicker this time around, so it allowed time the next day to clean up any rust formations, make the booth and get to painting.

Before:


After:


All dressed in Nason 491-35 DTM Primer/Sealer

I must be getting better at something...this shot was NOT at 3am, (just before midnight on a Sunday) I might actually be rested for work in the morning. Wonder what that's like?

I wet sanded and painted all of this two more times (320 / 400) in the coming days just because I love pain. (and to make sure I had proper coverage and enough base to stand up over time). I guess we'll see.

In an effort to actually help someone, let me say I do believe sealer can go over those tiny rust formations and stop it from getting worse or ever coming through. It bonds with and seals the metal, much like the zinc chromate of yore. So yeah, I probably freaked out over nothing, but I wasn't gathering crystal clear information so in the wake of not being sure, I opted to play it safe. Probably should have asked a question here. I'm so stubborn sometimes.

__________________
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Mark S
.
Who needs nice and pretty, when you can have mean and nasty?
KRE Aluminum headed 463CID 73 LeMans. Used to run 10.6x @ 124.55. 3700lbs
.
So much for 2020...shootin for 9s in 2021...and in 2022 apparently.
>>My 73 Build thread

Last edited by 73LeMans; 05-22-2020 at 01:17 AM. Reason: drama
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