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 Byron's 1979 Formula 400 Build up
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79FORMULA400
Buffalo

USA
75 Posts

Posted - 19 May 2016 :  4:27:37 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Wow, how time flies.
So, I have been very busy with my college classes, my last class was all about cylinder head porting (Superflow), fuels, Ignition systems, and dyno operation. I certainly found what I would like to do with my own shop in 10-15 years. Dyno tuning is fun on a level I cant even express. Having a customer (or in my case friends cars) that come in running poorly or with a bad tune, and making changes really is something else. I dyno tuned my friends 1972 Oldsmobile cutlass 442 4 speed with a 350 olds engine. It came in running pig rich and with overall poor performance. I changed jets 4 times to prove what made the most power, and upped his ignition timing by 2 degrees and made 30 horsepower and 37 foot pounds of torque more than when it came in. (2 Degrees more than that, or 4 more than what it came in with actually lost power). All from timing and jet changes. Its amazing how something like 2 degrees worth of ignition timing makes the difference of 20 horsepower alone. We dyno tuned 3 other cars, both EFI and Carb, was certainly a learning experience.
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Anyways, Back to my car. I started with solid body bushings and Subframe connectors (summit racing house brand). The Body bushings are by proforged chassis components, are the key lock style and are only 100 bucks. The frame connectors are well built and the powdercoat is very nice. I had to oblong 2 of the holes on both sides to make them fit properly. I also had a huge problem with the rear end. I guess at some point someone tried to fix the right rear torque box area with random pieces of plate and a stick welder. Its a horrible job, and when they re drilled the holes for the leaf spring perch to sit in, they did not align the rear end back square underneath the car. The Right rear tire was 1/4 inch away from rubbing on the front of the quarter pannel and the left rear was a FULL inch and a quarter away from the same point. The rear end was literally trying to drive the car Left all the time. My spring perches were rusty as well so I ordered some new re production ones from firebird central again (65 bucks). I re aligned the Rear end under the car using multiple chassis points under the car and a level on the rear axle housing to make sure everything was square. After this was completed, I re drilled the holes for the spring perches, and bolted the subframe connectors in secureley. You can see in the picture that the connectors are "wedged" between the bottom of the frame rail and the body bushing. They also recommend drilling the sides of the subframe and installing 7/16 bolts with lock washers to prevent flexing of the connector.
Old spring perches:
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Subframe connectors installed:
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Solid body bushings (6 total)
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Overall, The car feels MUCH MORE rigid and more responsive. If you have a second gen, spend the 230 bucks. Its well worth it.
That sums up all the chassis modifications, I will update again later tonight with the engine updates.

1979 Formula 400 WS6, 1973 400 engine 4X Heads. Summit 2801 Cam, 8AN Fuel System,Edelbrock Performer MSD Dist, 6AL-2 Holley 750 Double Pumper,Super T-10, McLeod Super Street Pro, LSD Rear.

Edited by - 79FORMULA400 on 19 May 2016 4:30:09 PM
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F-Body International
Tribal Scout

USA
18 Posts

Posted - 02 Jul 2016 :  5:31:10 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Is this really a 400 WS6 Formula? The '79 400 Formula got the 8" wheels, rear disc brakes, and 4 speed from the factory.
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79FORMULA400
Buffalo

USA
75 Posts

Posted - 18 Aug 2016 :  12:30:27 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by F-Body International

Is this really a 400 WS6 Formula? The '79 400 Formula got the 8" wheels, rear disc brakes, and 4 speed from the factory.

I did some research of the VIN and as it turns out the car was originally a 301 4 speed car. The wheels are 8" (Thats a 29" Tall 9.25 inch wide rear tire out back) The front and rear swaybars are the correct diameter for the WS6 package. Could a 301/4 speed car be ordered with a WS6 package? I am now assuming someone just swapped all of the stuff over when the 400 was swapped.

1979 Formula 400 WS6, 1973 400 engine 4X Heads. Summit 2801 Cam, 8AN Fuel System,Edelbrock Performer MSD Dist, 6AL-2 Holley 750 Double Pumper,Super T-10, McLeod Super Street Pro, LSD Rear.
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79FORMULA400
Buffalo

USA
75 Posts

Posted - 18 Aug 2016 :  12:48:26 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Time for an update!
Really little has changed with the car... It has been hectic between moving back home and spending a month in Colorado. Now I am lucky enough to have a buddy with a lift that I can borrow on the weekends that should dramatically speed up my progress. I have plans this Friday to remove a leaf from the rear leaf packs (Rides like garbage) and re-install the rear sway-bar. Previously, the new springs jacked up the car way too high and slammed the rear sway bar into the diff. cover. I think now that the springs have settled about an inch, along with removing that one spring leaf may allow me to re-install the bar. The car handles very funky now that I have moved back to a state with curvy roads. I also plan to re-route my fuel line down the drivers side of the frame rail. The car currently has a fuel boiling problem, and the way it is routed is definitely not dragstrip legal. (And Contributing to fuel boil). I also purchased a 3.73 Gear set that I now realize I don't need to change. The poncho engine has enough torque to pull high gear on even the steepest hills I can find. Swapping to a slower gear set would be pointless and waste gas. The car already does burnouts by doing a 3000 rpm drop of the clutch and will fry the tires till you decide to shift. (Low compression+ +2801 for the win!) A 373 would likely make 1st gear useless. Speaking of gas mileage, I road tripped the car 450 miles from Ohio to Virginia when I moved back on June 19th. I managed SEVENTEEN MILES PER GALLON! At 65-70 MPH (For one 200 mile leg of the trip) The overall average was around 15. Invest in a wide band 02 sensor folks... Really great tool

1979 Formula 400 WS6, 1973 400 engine 4X Heads. Summit 2801 Cam, 8AN Fuel System,Edelbrock Performer MSD Dist, 6AL-2 Holley 750 Double Pumper,Super T-10, McLeod Super Street Pro, LSD Rear.
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