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Cowpatty69
Sitting Bull

USA
137 Posts

Posted - 22 Jan 2016 :  11:34:30 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
This 1978 Espirit is the first Firebird (or Pontiac for that matter) that I ever bought. This is 30+ years later, and she's been without much love fof the last almost 20 years. No longer.

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Edited by - Cowpatty69 on 24 Jan 2016 6:11:46 PM

Cowpatty69
Sitting Bull

USA
137 Posts

Posted - 22 Jan 2016 :  11:45:38 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I have been working on this bird with my 16 year old son Benjamin with a very simple goal. Get it running, get it back on the street. It may have a "ratrod/roadkill" flavor for a while, but we feel that is better than sitting in a barn. Now that I have figured out how to post pictures (finally), I thought I'd share the progress so far. This is 1 of 4 cars we are having to split our time with, so progress varies..

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Edited by - Cowpatty69 on 24 Jan 2016 6:12:25 PM
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Cowpatty69
Sitting Bull

USA
137 Posts

Posted - 22 Jan 2016 :  11:52:07 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Last one for the night. She has a stock "corporate" chevy 350 which will eventually be replaced with a Pontiac 400.
First task, replace heater core and refurbish heater box. I had bypassed the heater core 2 years ago when I parked it in my dad's barn, thinking I'd get to it last winter (while my folks are in Florida )-didn't happen. We did not realize at the time how mucj moister the barn retained- which caused further issues. Notice the mold. Yuk

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Edited by - Cowpatty69 on 24 Jan 2016 6:12:57 PM
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Cowpatty69
Sitting Bull

USA
137 Posts

Posted - 22 Jan 2016 :  11:55:46 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Ok, one more. I had purchased 2 fenders that were pretty much rust free, so i thought we'd take an easier route on the heater core (after cleaning out the mold) Also replaced the fan while we were there.

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Edited by - Cowpatty69 on 24 Jan 2016 6:13:56 PM
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rkellerjr
Many Feathers

USA
1260 Posts

Posted - 23 Jan 2016 :  09:02:20 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Good progress and project.

Rich
1975 TA - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aR86YT69yeY
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Cowpatty69
Sitting Bull

USA
137 Posts

Posted - 23 Jan 2016 :  09:30:34 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
You all who have swapped out a heater core already know the joy. I can't imagine the mess in doing one that had a full nice interior in it-

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Edited by - Cowpatty69 on 24 Jan 2016 6:14:30 PM
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Cowpatty69
Sitting Bull

USA
137 Posts

Posted - 23 Jan 2016 :  09:34:24 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
As with any project, you run into the"well, as long as I'm here..) The support core was rusted bad around the battery box, but I had a few extras to choose from. Cleaned up and added new battery tray, and had the radiator gone thru- added new thermostat to

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Edited by - Cowpatty69 on 24 Jan 2016 6:14:59 PM
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Cowpatty69
Sitting Bull

USA
137 Posts

Posted - 23 Jan 2016 :  09:36:45 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
now things got real..

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Edited by - Cowpatty69 on 24 Jan 2016 6:15:27 PM
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Cowpatty69
Sitting Bull

USA
137 Posts

Posted - 23 Jan 2016 :  09:43:07 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Refurbished core support with new battery tray in- along with refurbished radiator. My number 1 son Benjamin (16). I can't tell you how great it is to have a pair of 16 year old eyes to see with- not to mention his skinny hands. He was instrumental in getting that heater box back in place. Speaking of the heater box, I saw a foam and rubber gasket kit for the box in one of my resto catalogs- like $200+! I got all I needed at Menards for like $15, and have enough left over to do 2 or 3 more. I'm bad about using home improvement stores for car repairs- more to come on that..


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Edited by - Cowpatty69 on 24 Jan 2016 6:16:36 PM
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Cowpatty69
Sitting Bull

USA
137 Posts

Posted - 23 Jan 2016 :  09:50:17 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
so what's this "Frankbird" thing? Here you go. I have 2 '78s, so swapping the nose on this one seemed a better option than adding to the fleet (which the wife veto'ed anway..)This was another one of those "as long as we're here" things.. Quick test fit to see how it goes together



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Edited by - Cowpatty69 on 24 Jan 2016 6:17:59 PM
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Cowpatty69
Sitting Bull

USA
137 Posts

Posted - 23 Jan 2016 :  09:54:08 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
So, here's a lesson learned. We installed the cleaned up inner fenders and then tried to install the fender over them. I know this can be done, but we found it much easier to install as a one-piece unit, though the inner fenders were still loosely attached.



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Edited by - Cowpatty69 on 24 Jan 2016 6:18:44 PM
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Cowpatty69
Sitting Bull

USA
137 Posts

Posted - 23 Jan 2016 :  09:57:01 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
window sweeps were showing their age. I had OEM GM replacements I purchased 20 years ago- package yellowed, but good to go (just not on yet)


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Edited by - Cowpatty69 on 24 Jan 2016 6:19:40 PM
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Cowpatty69
Sitting Bull

USA
137 Posts

Posted - 23 Jan 2016 :  10:06:02 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Brake system: This was part two of our original 2-part project. When I dropped the car off at my dad's 2 years ago, I lost the brake petal and the brake light was on. No brake fluid anywhere to indicate where the issue was. Well, the car sat in a very moist environment for almost 2 years, and I don't recall ever changing the brake fluid. So I started by sucking out the old fluid (Thanks to my Bro in law for the idea), and bled the rest out to have all new fluid. I was sure that I'd be replacing the rear wheel cylinders anticipating twisting off the bleeder screws. As luck would have it, the back was no issue, but twisted off both fronts! Replaced those calipers. Now here's the weird thing- everywhere I read you are supposed to hold in the bottom on the end of the metering valve when bleeding- but that thing was stuck solid. I bled it anyway, starting at the furthest back to the closest. Brake lite still on. I messed with the metering valve, looked at replacing, but ended up stomping on the brake and voila! It re-centered and off went the light!

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Cowpatty69
Sitting Bull

USA
137 Posts

Posted - 23 Jan 2016 :  10:15:05 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
So now, we are just about current with my project. Last night we cleaned the floors (inside and out) and applied a POR15 type substance. The floors are almost solid- about 5 holes the size of a pencil eraser in the passenger side, and around 3 pin holes in the driver side. Remember the home improvement store fix? Not proud, but keeping in mind the goal- get it on the road, the plan became: encapsulate rust, cover small holes with a drywall (yes drywall) patch, apply the rust encapsulater over the patch, and spray under coat. Today is the patch and undercoat day.




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Edited by - Cowpatty69 on 24 Jan 2016 6:21:22 PM
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Cowpatty69
Sitting Bull

USA
137 Posts

Posted - 23 Jan 2016 :  10:17:26 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
While I was painting, Benjamin was doing more test fitting.


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Edited by - Cowpatty69 on 24 Jan 2016 6:22:13 PM
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Cowpatty69
Sitting Bull

USA
137 Posts

Posted - 23 Jan 2016 :  10:23:17 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
so, after we placed the fenders back on, I noticed the passenger side has no nuts welded in place for the hood hinge. WTH? I am exploring the use of a nutsert here. Anyone have any experience? I am going to check out China Freight (Harbor Freight). I'm not nuts about the idea of taking the fender off..again-!
Any input is appreciated!
Also got the door hinge rebuild kit today- so that is is the works. Can't really get the alignment done when I have saggy doors..

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Edited by - Cowpatty69 on 24 Jan 2016 6:22:44 PM
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Phil
The Great White Buffalo

USA
7215 Posts

Posted - 23 Jan 2016 :  11:31:14 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Great project and it seems like a straight car. Are you keeping the Esprit theme? I've always been a big fan of the 70-73 front end but lately I've grown to like the 77-78's more. Are you planning to keep the OEM front end in case you guys ever decide to go back?

Sidebar: The headlight/parking light wiring will need mods with the later being a bit wonky. Should be done so that it is reversible at a later date if you so choose.

Bowties are for Pee-wee Herman. "Chevy": even the name sounds cheap, but not as cheap as your Pontiac will be with an LS transplant.

Edited by - Phil on 23 Jan 2016 8:55:36 PM
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Cowpatty69
Sitting Bull

USA
137 Posts

Posted - 23 Jan 2016 :  2:32:03 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks Phil and Rich-
I have the fiberglass formula hood going on it- honeycombs (not snowflakes)15". Once I get to the paint part, it will be a burnt orange (at least that's today's plan). Need to do some patching on the lower quarters. I love the 77/78 also, and this nose is pretty much mint- so I'll keep it around just in case.

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Cowpatty69
Sitting Bull

USA
137 Posts

Posted - 24 Jan 2016 :  6:07:09 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
New door sweeps- new GM from 20+ years. A little tip when windows are dragging or very slow. Have you cleaned the windows? It makes a HUGE difference. My passenger side window would not budge with the new sweep. My dad (from a time before PWs) gave me the tip. Also suggested a window wax they used to use back in the day that makes them even better. Just food for thought..




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Cowpatty69
Sitting Bull

USA
137 Posts

Posted - 24 Jan 2016 :  6:10:32 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hope to rebuild the door hinges this week and get ready to reinstall the interior (which has been out for almost 20 years..)

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Edited by - Cowpatty69 on 12 Feb 2016 9:50:16 PM
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Admin
Ye Olde Webmaster

844 Posts

Posted - 25 Jan 2016 :  06:02:48 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
You're making good progress with your son helping every step of the way. That's great to see.

"Dedicated to keeping the classic Pontiac engine alive."

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Cowpatty69
Sitting Bull

USA
137 Posts

Posted - 12 Feb 2016 :  9:40:11 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
So, not surprisingly,the doors are sagging- rebuilding hinges. I'm rebuilding spares and swapping them in- but may change my mind..

[/URL]

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Cowpatty69
Sitting Bull

USA
137 Posts

Posted - 12 Feb 2016 :  9:44:32 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
It was nice enough out a couple of weeks ago to have the door open while we worked-
[/URL]

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Cowpatty69
Sitting Bull

USA
137 Posts

Posted - 12 Feb 2016 :  9:48:08 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I left Benjamin to replace the starter-I wanted to help on many occasions, but stayed back- he was very proud to get it. And then we realized we had the starter for a manual trans, not an automatic (bolts to long), so he took it back out and we got the right one. Hopefully installed tomorrow (while he still remembers how it goes-!)
[/URL]

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Cowpatty69
Sitting Bull

USA
137 Posts

Posted - 13 Feb 2016 :  2:15:54 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
New starter installed (by Benjamin) and problem solved. Took him less time to install than it took me to reinstall the duct under the steering wheel-. Then had to remove duct under glove box (again) to re-route some wiring behind the heater box. Did get the floor jut padding laid out and mostly installed. Carpet next time, and hopefully back to the hinges..

[/URL]

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Cowpatty69
Sitting Bull

USA
137 Posts

Posted - 23 Feb 2016 :  8:53:28 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Getting the carpet going..rear seats, seat belts

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Cowpatty69
Sitting Bull

USA
137 Posts

Posted - 23 Feb 2016 :  8:59:12 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
so, the passenger side fender that had no hood hinge bolts is it? Welded some in. Found some poor filler in the wheel lip, attempted butt-welding a patch. Not pretty, but worked. Benjamin chillin in the front seats while I applied some filler over my patch. It was a nice 65 degree day that day-we'll take that for February in Illinois!

[/URL]

[/URL]

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Cowpatty69
Sitting Bull

USA
137 Posts

Posted - 23 Feb 2016 :  9:01:05 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
more scope creep- roached 6x9s. More on the way

[/URL]

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Cowpatty69
Sitting Bull

USA
137 Posts

Posted - 23 Feb 2016 :  9:08:49 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
On to the headliner which we installed tonight (2/23/16). it would be nice not to have to work for a living- I don't have time for work and cars (but can't afford cars without work..). And my number 1 helper (Benjamin) starts track next week and Dad will be home in a month! Got to move it move it..

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cleaned
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test fit fabric
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glued
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trimmed
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Cowpatty69
Sitting Bull

USA
137 Posts

Posted - 28 Feb 2016 :  6:57:25 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Installing the rest of the interior, little paint needed on the steering wheel column
[/URL]

headliner in- with trim
[/URL]

Steering wheel back on- added the loop retainers for the seatbelts, just not in this photo
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Beautiful day, took the 79 out to spread her wings while waiting on next parts.. had a replacement sun visor at home (painted black) painted ash tray, and located the 3-finger thingies that go over the front bolts on the front seats-
[/URL]


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Phil
The Great White Buffalo

USA
7215 Posts

Posted - 04 Mar 2016 :  3:40:06 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Gorgeous Aniv. T/A.

Bowties are for Pee-wee Herman. "Chevy": even the name sounds cheap, but not as cheap as your Pontiac will be with an LS transplant.
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Cowpatty69
Sitting Bull

USA
137 Posts

Posted - 06 Mar 2016 :  3:20:29 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks Phil,- she looks best from 10', so that's where I took the picture from.. :)

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Cowpatty69
Sitting Bull

USA
137 Posts

Posted - 06 Mar 2016 :  3:22:58 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Replaced the jensons with Kenwoods- kids gotta have tunes
[/URL]

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Cowpatty69
Sitting Bull

USA
137 Posts

Posted - 06 Mar 2016 :  3:26:38 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The Rally IIs have nice meat on them, but all have flat spots. It's like driving on square tires. Going with a set of Honeycombs. Before and after shots. Hopefully get the new tires this week mounted![/URL]

[/URL]

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Cowpatty69
Sitting Bull

USA
137 Posts

Posted - 06 Mar 2016 :  3:31:11 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
That's Daniel in the driver's seat- this will be his eventually. I'm hoping to be driving it as a "rust rod" this spring, but have plans to swap a motor for some bodywork and paint.
Benjamin is the wrench in the passenger seat. Daniel is 13, Benjamin is 16.
[/URL]

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Cowpatty69
Sitting Bull

USA
137 Posts

Posted - 13 Mar 2016 :  4:44:01 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Time to dig up the hood and now have the tires mounted to the wheels-
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Out to dad's-
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Benjamin's knobby knees-lol

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Cowpatty69
Sitting Bull

USA
137 Posts

Posted - 13 Mar 2016 :  4:47:14 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Back to door hinge rebuild, which required (in my mind) the removal of the other fender too. Benjamin got the "eyeballs" in-
[/URL]

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Cowpatty69
Sitting Bull

USA
137 Posts

Posted - 13 Mar 2016 :  4:48:33 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Also a test fit of the change of wheels and tires-
[/URL]

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Cowpatty69
Sitting Bull

USA
137 Posts

Posted - 13 Mar 2016 :  5:13:01 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Door hinge rebuilding. We did the passenger side today, and did it "our"way. So, since we didn't have the front fenders aligned, and one was already off, we decided to experiment on the passenger side. I had already rebuilt a pair of lower door hinges, so they were ready to go. I went to rebuild an extra set of uppers and decided they were too wallered out. I didn't have oversized bushings, so I decided to rebuild the existing. My original thought was to have all hinges rebuilt and ready to go, but we know how planning goes..
So, what we did was this. We marked around the existing hinges with a marker and/or scratch awl. We opened the passenger door and removed the 3rd bolt to the door on the upper hinge- you can really get to it alot easier from the inside. We shut the door and removed the rest of the bolts holding the hinge in place. Took the upper hinge to the bench and rebuilt it and put it back in place. I purchased the special spring compressor for door hinges (like $10- worth every penny). It is important to remember to reinstall the spring with the hinge in the closed position (ask me how I know..)We were able to re-align the hinge in its original position. We then did the same for the lower hinge, but had a rebuilt one ready for immediate replacement. I still have no idea how to do this on a car you don't want to remove the front fenders on..
[/URL]

this is what it looks like with the fender off-

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Cowpatty69
Sitting Bull

USA
137 Posts

Posted - 01 Apr 2016 :  11:40:59 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
[/URL]
grinding off weld to remove detent roller shaft

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Ugly weld, but got'r done


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Bad detent roller- luckily I had spare hinges as doners. Freshly rebuilt hinges in place

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Cowpatty69
Sitting Bull

USA
137 Posts

Posted - 01 Apr 2016 :  11:50:07 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
So, with the rebuilt hinges in place, we hung the front fenders (again)-. Doors were not aligned correctly. What a bear. Long story short, we finally removed the striker on both sides and used a floor jack for some alignment, and a tow strap around the bottom of the door and over the shoulder to get positioned correctly. Passenger side is perfect, driver side is close enough.
We'll be back out tomorrow to work on fender alignment. Threw the hood on for the heck of it. Have to get new light weight springs for the hinges. Stay tuned..
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BTW, she is licensed and insured!

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79FORMULA400
Buffalo

USA
75 Posts

Posted - 01 Apr 2016 :  11:58:36 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Very nice progress, Looks great so far! Is that the carpet kit from Firebird central? If I recall its around 150 bucks? I need to get some carpet on my car to deaden the exhaust and road noise a bit.

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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rkellerjr
Many Feathers

USA
1260 Posts

Posted - 02 Apr 2016 :  10:03:03 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Logs of progress and coming along nicely

Rich
1975 TA - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aR86YT69yeY
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Cowpatty69
Sitting Bull

USA
137 Posts

Posted - 02 Apr 2016 :  4:57:07 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hello 79Formula400- I believe the carpet was from the Paddock (out of business). Most of my stuff I purchased 10+ years ago, but then started a family and put the garage time on hold. Benjamin is my oldest and is quite a wrench (16) and this can is actually for my youngest (eventually) Daniel (13).
I had the heavy rubber-ish sound deadener also, way before Dynamat and the like, so I used it. We actually got it on the road today just up to the gas station and added 10 gallons- only to find out the gas gauge isn't working! Gah! We also have one miss-matched wheel on it- going through quite a few honeycombs to get 4 good ones, but pulled another from the attic to paint and have the new tire transferred.
My folks made it back from Florida so I lost my shop space- we were a week behind schedule, but caught up now. It's still at my dads, but in a different stahl- but I ain't complaining!

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Cowpatty69
Sitting Bull

USA
137 Posts

Posted - 02 Apr 2016 :  10:22:12 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
[/URL]

Quick road trip for gas- she ran great for a car sitting for 15+ years!

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Cowpatty69
Sitting Bull

USA
137 Posts

Posted - 02 Apr 2016 :  10:24:06 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
[/URL]

Another shot- that little puddle is my anti-freeze. Need to put the reservoir on yet (with alot of other stuff..)

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Cowpatty69
Sitting Bull

USA
137 Posts

Posted - 02 Apr 2016 :  10:26:35 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
[/URL]

Cruising back to the farm- Benjamin at the wheel-

[/URL]

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Phil
The Great White Buffalo

USA
7215 Posts

Posted - 03 Apr 2016 :  11:58:10 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Moving right along!
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79FORMULA400
Buffalo

USA
75 Posts

Posted - 03 Apr 2016 :  11:25:31 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Man, Looks like you beat me to first drive of the year! I was hoping to go out for a preliminary test drive this weekend but its just not happening. We cant catch a break with the weather! I was looking back through my pictures and I have not had the car on the road since October 31st!

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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Phil
The Great White Buffalo

USA
7215 Posts

Posted - 04 Apr 2016 :  1:59:22 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Oh yeah, I hope the triangular air cleaner hits the trash can with a loud sound!

Bowties are for Pee-wee Herman. "Chevy": even the name sounds cheap, but not as cheap as your Pontiac will be with an LS transplant.
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Cowpatty69
Sitting Bull

USA
137 Posts

Posted - 06 Apr 2016 :  11:18:44 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Phil

Oh yeah, I hope the triangular air cleaner hits the trash can with a loud sound!



Ha! It'd just there to keep the birds and mice out for now!

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