1997 Pontiac Firebird

Update your progress on your various car projects.

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Basement Paul
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Re: 1997 Pontiac Firebird

Postby Basement Paul » Fri Dec 06, 2019 6:47 am

I think the tumbler and locking mechanism is frozen. It's impossible to turn it with a key. It's probably the right key we have. The only way to open the hatch is with the button on the dash. We lubed it but it hasn't helped. We'll have to tear it apart when it becomes important. For now, at least it can be opened.

-BP

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Fred32v
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Re: 1997 Pontiac Firebird Wheel stud replacement

Postby Fred32v » Wed Dec 18, 2019 12:16 am

We are replacing the wheel studs on the TrackBird so I thought I would go to Youtube and find someone who has done it.
This fellow was actually very helpful. Taught me a lot.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rp0A8at1YD8

Pretty straight forward, check it out. Let me know if it helped you.
Fred32v
GMC Canyon Crew Cab Short Box 4x4 V6!

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Basement Paul
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Re: 1997 Pontiac Firebird

Postby Basement Paul » Wed Dec 18, 2019 6:46 am

Muh man is keepin' it real, and helping brothers out. All good!

-BP

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Basement Paul
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Re: 1997 Pontiac Firebird

Postby Basement Paul » Sat Dec 21, 2019 6:09 pm

Today we basically finished the new 3.90 gear install. During the week 32V finished the axle stud install, so all that was left was to add fluid and put the new muffler on it for our test drive. During this process we also installed the new urethane torque arm bushing, the "new" aluminum driveshaft with actual new u-joints, and the "new" used tubular lower control arms. We still have to fabricate a bracket extension for the exhaust hanger on the drivers side and we'll be able to put at least one tailpipe back on.
The new muffler fits perfectly and is actually a little quieter than the flowmaster we took off. It's also a lot smaller and lighter, but the smaller aspect is the best part as we can now actually slide a jack under the pumpkin from straight behind the car, which we couldn't do before because the car was too low and the muffler was too big. We'll only have one tailpipe now, but I'm willing to sacrifice a little look for more function, simplicity, and weight reduction.
We got the wheels back on, dropped the car down, and did take it for a quick trip. We didn't beat on it because the rearend gears still need a few more heat cycles, but at least everything we did seems to function as designed. With the nice weather sticking around for several days, I expect 32V will be happy to finish the heat cycling and put a few miles on it after that.

Now we're going to go under the hood to see if we really have an oil leak or if it's still just power steering fluid coming out of the cap. As of now, I'm leaning toward the power steering cap still being bad as the fluid level was down considerably when I checked it today. We'll get a new cap on there and put a new PCV in just in case and go from there.
Then after that we'll dig into the interior for some floor repair and stage one lightening as we start to remove unnecessary bits.

-BP
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firebird new rear3 12-21-19.jpg

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Basement Paul
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Re: 1997 Pontiac Firebird

Postby Basement Paul » Sun Dec 22, 2019 9:50 pm

Tonight I did a bunch of reading and I'm convinced the Trackbird doesn't have a real oil leak and our leak is still power steering related and it's coming out of the cap.
We'll replace the cap, but I'm not convinced it will cure our problem. Next time at the track I'll bring my temperature meter so we can check for overheating still, but there are baffled P/S fluid reservoirs out there in case it's just splashing out. If overheating is the case, I'll get the pump redone to flow less fluid at RPM.
In the meantime, I read that a hair scrunchie will at least keep it from splashing all over the motor to keep the mess down.

-BP

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MostMint
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Re: 1997 Pontiac Firebird

Postby MostMint » Mon Dec 23, 2019 12:23 am

I am not sure the difference but my 95 Camaro was on that track a few times and never had this problem with spitting out p/s fluid. And no external cooler. It was a 3.4 and not as good a ratio in the steering rack which make it not quite apples to apples
[quote="Basement Paul"]Is that a mint rocketship on the hood?? :shock:
-BP[/quote]

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Basement Paul
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Re: 1997 Pontiac Firebird

Postby Basement Paul » Mon Dec 23, 2019 6:55 am

Literally every LT1 and early LS Camaro/Firebird guy that runs track days complains about this, and even some autocross and drag racers. There's not enough 3800 guys doing this to find a discussion about it. I'm not sure what RPM's you ran with the 3.4, but that's the killer apparently. Higher RPM applications seem to have more complaints. I'm running mostly between 5-6k.

I just looked and the 3.4 runs the reservoir right on the pump, kind of old school. All the ones with the issues have external reservoirs. Somewhere in this design is a GM engineering flaw.

-BP

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Basement Paul
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Re: 1997 Pontiac Firebird

Postby Basement Paul » Sun Dec 29, 2019 10:11 am

Yesterday we were able to finalize the exhaust after I brought the welder over to 32Vs place. We welded up an extension to the hanger, welded a spacer into place, and then had to cut out a section of the tailpipe to complete it. We also got the new steering wheel install done.
32v got the rearend break in done over the last week, and we went for a more aggressive test drive. The new exhaust sounds good, and the new gearing and aluminum driveshaft have definitely helped out the performance. It's noticeably quicker than before.
Next we turn our focus to the interior. We'll be removing unnecessary parts and fixing the holes in the floors.

-BP
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IMG_20191228_114210357.jpg

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Fred32v
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Re: 1997 Pontiac Firebird Interior cleanup

Postby Fred32v » Sat Jan 04, 2020 3:22 pm

Shortly after Saturday morning breakfast at Bob's with BP and 'Smoke,
there was a fun busy couple of hours in the 32V Garage.
The pictures show what's been done.

010 DSCF9385.JPG
Mileage after the gear change & upgrades

020 DSCF9390.JPG
Removed most of the interior

030 DSCF9389.JPG
not a lot remains

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Rust

050 DSCF9393.JPG
Waiting for what's next


So much more to do.

(Looking ahead to what this could turnout to be.)
Fred32v
GMC Canyon Crew Cab Short Box 4x4 V6!

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Fred32v
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Re: 1997 Pontiac Firebird

Postby Fred32v » Mon Jan 06, 2020 2:20 pm

After diner Sunday, I went out to the 32V Garage to see what it takes to remove
unneeded brackets and continue the process of weight reduction.
DSCF9394.JPG
9 spot welds held each bracket in place

DSCF9395.JPG
Much damage after removal

DSCF9396.JPG
Tools involved

I invested an hour and a half to take those two brackets out. This was labor intensive,
sparks and grinding dust filled the car. When done it looked like a sandy desert
and you can see the damage from this extraction technique.
I have ordered a Spot Weld Drill Kit, expecting this special tool to reduce the huge mess,
eliminate much of the damage and to reduce the amount of time to undo a spot weld.

(OK, it was still fun.)
Fred32v
GMC Canyon Crew Cab Short Box 4x4 V6!

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Basement Paul
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Re: 1997 Pontiac Firebird

Postby Basement Paul » Mon Jan 06, 2020 4:28 pm

We'll fix those holes right up. Good thing the welder is over there already.
It will be fun to see if the new tool helps the process.

-BP

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Fred32v
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Re: 1997 Pontiac Firebird

Postby Fred32v » Thu Jan 09, 2020 4:51 pm

Spent the afternoon in the 32V Garage using the new spot weld drill.
It still takes some effort but the tool does make it possible to remove
unwanted brackets if you can get at the spot welds.
Capture.JPG
two hours to remove

Some came clean, others not so much.
There will be some welding up of holes and damage.
I have red paint somewhere.

(I think I lost more weight than the Bird.)
Fred32v
GMC Canyon Crew Cab Short Box 4x4 V6!

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Basement Paul
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Re: 1997 Pontiac Firebird

Postby Basement Paul » Thu Jan 09, 2020 9:26 pm

That's probably more weight than you gain on a cruise laying there. Good work! It all adds up at the end of the day.

-BP

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Basement Paul
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Re: 1997 Pontiac Firebird

Postby Basement Paul » Sat Jan 11, 2020 4:10 pm

Today we started after breakfast with a trip to The Basement at Tiresmoke Central where we worked a deal with Dave for some nice Sparco seats for the Firebird. These are not for weight savings, they are for support on track. The factory seats have very little support, and these will work much better keeping us in the seat on track.
Back to 32Vs place and I spent a few hours getting the dash assembly removed. This has created some extra work for us, but it was a pretty noticeable amount of weight, so it was worth it.

-BP
Attachments
IMG_20200111_100801851.jpg
IMG_20200111_135623027.jpg

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Basement Paul
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Re: 1997 Pontiac Firebird

Postby Basement Paul » Wed Jan 22, 2020 6:15 pm

Last Saturday we started tearing up the rusty parts of the floor on both sides. I ran out of weld wire while finishing the driver's side. So today after buying new wire, I went over to finish what we started.
It's not beautiful nor does it make the car faster, but at least the Flintstones won't feel at home in it now. We're still planning to put down paint on bedliner on both sides of the floor in front too.
Then on to the seats, radio, and HVAC.

-BP
Attachments
IMG_20200118_111927299.jpg
IMG_20200122_163114397.jpg
IMG_20200122_163118288.jpg


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