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SilverFleet UberDork
4/22/16 7:48 a.m.

In reply to NOT A TA:

Thanks man! Your build has always been an inspiration to get off my butt and wrench on mine.

I need the tank in so I can move the car around. There are no fuel leaks anywhere else, so I should be fine. On my CSX, most of the welding/cutting was done with the leakiest, rustiest tank I have ever seen IN the car, so I'll probably be fine.

It's amazing how many restoration parts they make for this car now. You can buy brand new doors, hoods, fenders, floorboards with the toe boards, etc. Just 5 years ago, half of that stuff was not available! I can't believe they don't make those extensions. If I end up needing some, I know where to get them!

SilverFleet UberDork
4/28/16 8:16 a.m.

Look what showed up yesterday!

Got these from Golden Star Auto via Jegs. Yes, they are made overseas, but I could give a crap honestly (let's not flounder this up) because they were only $135 shipped!!! They also showed up a day before they were even supposed to ship, so color me impressed.

It's tough to find these floors with the extended toe board for a 75-81 Firebird. They are different than the earlier ones because of the catalytic converter hump in the floor. I think only one other company makes them, and they were more than double the price, plus you have to pay for extra heavy freight shipping on top of that. They look like they are very nice quality, and the metal is plenty thick. Just a couple years ago, they didn't even make these for a 75-81 Firebird. I guess waiting so long to get floors for the car worked to my advantage.

crankwalk Dork
4/28/16 7:48 p.m.

Keep it up! $135 shipped for new boards? I'm floored.

mbruneaux New Reader
4/28/16 8:06 p.m.

One day we will beat them with all the cheap crap we bought from them!!

BrokenYugo UltimaDork
4/28/16 8:24 p.m.

If they're stock thickness and fit ok there isn't much to complain about.

SilverFleet UberDork
4/29/16 7:45 a.m.

Yeah, the floors look as nice as any other ones I've seen. Thickness is good, and they have plenty of material in the toe board section where I need it most. The company is part of SEMA and fairly new, but the people I've seen use their stuff seem to be happy with their products. And yes, $135 shipped is an insane price. I thought it was a mistake, but they are sitting in my garage right now, so I guess not!

Dusterbd13 PowerDork
4/29/16 8:29 a.m.

Just remember, a harbor freight Flux core with Lincoln wire will weld air to rust and water. Perfect for floor pans.

SilverFleet UberDork
5/17/16 8:59 a.m.

More parts!!!

Over the weekend I hit up a swap meet. Specifically, this one:


As usual, there were a decent number of vendors hawking Firebird parts, and I was on the hunt. About 10 minutes into our walk, I came across a vendor that's always there every year with used F-Body parts, so I stopped to check out the prices. Used shaker hood: $299. 77-78 urethane bumper cover (no rear supports or anything): $200. Gutted door shells: $500 a pair. These prices were basically full retail, and I wasn't going to pay that.

Then, I ran into the guy I got my Pontiac 400 from! He had a huge pile of parts, and some really good stuff. He has a number of cars, including a 1969 Trans Am, a 1970 Trans Am, and a 1970 GTO. He also has an AMC AMX that's grafted onto a 2005 GTO chassis. He mostly had early stuff, which doesn't fit my car, but he did have a console box in nice shape that I scored for $5. Mine's held together with hardware store hinges.

More hunting turned up a set of tall chrome valve covers to replace my pitted ones and a drop air cleaner base with the Holley bump outs for my “Let’s make my Trans Am’s shaker great again!” project. And then came the big score of the day.

As we were wrapping up for the day, I spotted this pair of 2nd gen F-Body doors.

They were a little banged up, but they were complete with door glass, hardware, and mirrors, and RUST FREE. Guy was selling them for a friend, and they had been sitting in his barn for years. I've always been told that Camaro/Camero/Cramit doors don't fit Firebirds because of the hip line of the car, so I tried to find a way to ID them. I looked for the VIN tag on the door, and cleaned it up enough to figure out that they were off of a 1977 Firebird. I offered $100 for the pair, and he accepted. Even with new door skins, they will be a lot cheaper than that other doofus's $500 gutted doors. Now that's what I'm talking about!

My total haul for the day:

Pair of doors, valve covers, console box, air cleaner base, and one screen bezel for a Donkey Kong arcade machine for my game room. I also grabbed some random badges from a seller that had a table full of them, including a Mazda RX3 badge. Got out of there for under $150, including $20 total admission for both my friend and I.

IndyJoe HalfDork
5/17/16 11:19 a.m.

Woot! Woot!
Nice score

crankwalk Dork
5/17/16 7:22 p.m.

Nice haul.

SilverFleet UberDork
7/9/16 9:00 p.m.

It's been a pretty busy few months for me. After my last post, my wife got really sick, so taking care of her became my first priority. Then, we had a family wedding to go to. Then, a million BBQ's, family parties, etc. took up all our time until today, when I had a few hours to work on the car.


I decided that the best thing I could do right now is start gutting the interior. I pulled the passenger seat, the rear seat, the interior plastics, the headliner, and started to pull the driver's seat. I got three bolts out, but the slider is all messed up and I was unable to slide the seat forward enough to access the last bolt. I sprayed the tracks down with some penetrating oil and hopefully that will loosen them up.

With most of that out of the way, I started removing the gross carpet and jute padding so I could assess the damage to the floors. I already posted the driver's side, which was not great. So, here's the passenger side!

Bad news: it's really, really bad. Like, if I step on it, it will likely just fall out. Good news: The floors I bought will cover all of this. Other good news: the rot is confined to the front of the pans, so under the seats and back are all good.

Also this:

This is gross. The headliner has been sagging for some time, and I suspected a rodent got up there and made a nest. Boy was I right. YUCK!

Plans are to gut the rest and get these floors in ASAP. Hopefully it doesn't take me two months this time!

Esoteric Nixon
Esoteric Nixon UltraDork
7/10/16 5:08 p.m.

Oh my god, that headline is vomit-inducing bad.

crankwalk Dork
7/11/16 12:55 a.m.

I can smell that headliner from here.

SilverFleet UberDork
7/11/16 8:31 a.m.

Yeah, that headliner was disgusting. The material itself is somehow intact, but the board is going to have to get tossed. They make ABS plastic boards now, so I can just get one of those when I get to that point.

I'm trying to see what is even salvageable from the interior. So far, the rear seats, the front seat frames, and some of the interior plastics are going to get re-used. The rear armrests and sail panels are junk, as is the front seat covers, door panels, carpet (obviously) and the dash needs a cover of some sort. The steering wheel is worn, but that's the least of my worries. The console has a big crack in the side, but I think it's repairable. If not, I have a non-cracked console as well, but it's a power window unit (I have crank windows).

I'm leaning toward recovering my stock front seats, because I think it's more cost effective at this point. I can get new seats, but that means I also have to get new sliders, and I want to keep the red interior, so non-black seats drives up the price. Advantage of the aftermarket seats is more lateral support. I also have two sets of seats to recover at my disposal: a set of 1988 Starion/Conquest "handling package" seats, and a set from a 1990's Impreza 2.5 RS 2-door. Both would need recovering and brackets fabricated, if they even fit.

Next steps are to remove the last bolt of the driver's seat and rip up the rest of the gross, moldy carpet. I couldn't get that far over the weekend because a random cat showed up in my yard and decided to make the Trans Am her home.

Can't make this stuff up!

SilverFleet UberDork
7/11/16 7:37 p.m.

Not much to update today except a few more pics.

For a New England car, this could have been a lot worse. The rot stops before it gets under the seat, and the rear is ok too.

My guess is the heater core or box leaked for years, and this happened. I replaced the heater box with an A/C Delete one years ago, so I don't think that will be a problem, but I will keep an eye on it.

In here is not my lunch. I bought this 3-section storage case to keep my interior hardware in one convenient location.

Found these New Hampshire transportation tokens deep under the gross carpet. No dates on them, but they definitely aren't from me. The car has only been to NH once under my ownership, and I wasn't hopping any buses.

I thought this 1979 Quarter was pretty cool, because I found it in my 1979 Trans Am. I may make it into a keychain or something.

Still wasn't able to get that bolt out of the seat, but I didn't have a lot of time to look at it after work tonight. Hopefully I can get it out over the next few days.

SilverFleet UberDork
7/14/16 8:44 a.m.

More progress.

After hours of fighting with it, I was able to get the driver's seat out of the car. It's thoroughly berked.

After all that time, I figured out why it wouldn't slide on one side. The track on the side closest to the driver's door was broken off! This looks like old damage, and something that happened pre-2002 (when I took ownership). The seat itself is trashed. I'm going to have to weigh out the pros and cons of restoring these or going aftermarket.

After removing the seat and carpet, I was left with this mess. Half the carpet had already disintegrated, so pulling it out was easy. Absolutely disgusting.

There, that's a little better. I know it looks bad with the rust spots here and there, but this is as solid as a New England car gets. The rusty spot behind where the driver's seat was is actually solid.

There had been a leak through the window in the past few years (window regulator would let the window fall down a little when sitting) and this happened. Nothing a little POR15 or Rust Bullet can't fix.

Rear floors are all there, which can't be said for most cars of this vintage that spent their years up here. Shockingly solid.

I still have a little more disassembly to do. The front kick panels and the rear package tray need to be removed, and I need to do some scuffing and cutting before I can start test fitting the new pans. Not gonna lie, it's pretty exciting!

SilverFleet UberDork
7/14/16 12:21 p.m.

Started looking into some of the interior stuff. A set of aftermarket front seats with slider adapters is around $820. I also have to re-use my sliders, which means I need to find a new driver's side slider second hand. Add another $50 at least to that. And that's assuming I salvage my rear seats, which are not in bad shape.

Rebuilding the stock seats will cost a similar amount. They need new covers, the driver's side needs the slider and new foam, and the plastic seat backs probably need to be replaced as well. It might actually end up being a little more, and take a lot more time to re-do the stock ones. I'm leaning toward the aftermarket route.

I already have a lot of the interior plastics I need to replace, but they need to be dyed.

My dash is cracked in a couple spots. I may throw one of those cheap carpeted covers on it for now, or one of those full faced plastic dash caps. Nice dashes on the used market are over $1000, and repro ones only come in black and are very scarce. Second option is to try some dash crack filler that they recently came out with and some SEM texturing paint.

It's fun to finally think about this stuff.

mblommel HalfDork
7/14/16 1:03 p.m.

Looks like you are making some good progress. No matter what seat you go with I hope you put the red interior back in, looks friggin awesome with the silver.

84FSP Dork
7/14/16 1:43 p.m.

Keep it up! Looks like you have found all the crustiness that is there to find. Sweet score on all the replacement parts. The range of replacement panel quality variation never ceases to amaze me. Yours look really tweaky and were super cheap.

SilverFleet UberDork
7/14/16 1:43 p.m.

In reply to mblommel:

For years, I hated the red interior. I always wished it was black. After driving so many cars with nothing but seas of black cloth and plastic, I welcome the red interior! It's definitely staying that way.

BTW, the color is called Dark Carmine Red. It's quite handsome. The seats I'm looking at are the Procar Elite seats, and they come in a maroon that's close enough. Plus, they add a little lateral support, and that's a welcome change, since the stock seats have exactly zero of that.

crankwalk Dork
7/14/16 2:30 p.m.

They look like the modern GTO seats which come in a color close to that. They are super comfy too.

mblommel HalfDork
7/14/16 3:17 p.m.
SilverFleet wrote: In reply to mblommel: For years, I hated the red interior. I always wished it was black. After driving so many cars with nothing but seas of black cloth and plastic, I welcome the red interior! It's definitely staying that way. BTW, the color is called Dark Carmine Red. It's quite handsome. The seats I'm looking at are the Procar Elite seats, and they come in a maroon that's close enough. Plus, they add a little lateral support, and that's a welcome change, since the stock seats have exactly zero of that.

Those seats look pretty cool. Glad to hear the red is staying. It really bugs me that nowadays you can get basically three interior colors black, grey and beige. I was heavy into first generation Mustangs for a while. Do you know there were at least 10 different interior colors in 1965? What is wrong with manufacturers today?I'm utterly sick of acres of grey plastic.

SilverFleet UberDork
7/14/16 3:51 p.m.

A friend has the Procar Elite seats in his 1987 Monte SS, and I fit in them nicely. Pretty comfortable seats.

I like the GTO seats, but finding a red set is tough. Also, they have GTO embroidered into them, and that would look stupid in my Trans Am.

And I agree: cars now are BORING on the inside. Only a few cool cars have optional colors, and they are usually tough to find. Red is starting to make a comeback, though! BMW, Cadillac, and some Mopar products can be had with red interior if you look hard enough.

SilverFleet UberDork
7/25/16 8:47 a.m.

Small update:

I had a very busy weekend, so there wasn't a lot of wrenching time. With that said, there has been one thing eating away at me that would determine the direction of the project, and that's how rusty the rear window surround and package tray were. If they were really bad, I'd be shopping for a new shell or maybe unloading the car. So, with the 30 minutes I had to wrench, I decided to see how bad it was.

Aside from a few dead bugs, I was happy to see that everything was in great shape! I was really worried about this, because this is a common rot area on 75-81 F-Body cars with the wrap around rear window. In fact, the biggest reason I unloaded my other Trans Am (79 10th Anniversary W72/WS6) was because the package tray was rotted out. I know it is leaking, and I will have to address that, but the metal is all there so that makes me very happy.

That's what's left of the package tray after 37 years of sun and water leakage beating down on it. Not a pretty sight. Luckily, these are readily available and easy to replace.

For all you old-school car audio buffs out there, remember the Boston Acoustics "Rally Series" speakers? I bought these way back in 2001 for my old dearly departed 1989 Nissan Maxima SE, and I remember paying $200 for them back then! After that car got sandwiched in a car accident, I yanked the stereo and all the speakers out, and the 6x9's eventually found their way into the Trans Am where they have been ever since. They are still the best 6x9's I've ever heard in a car. They will be going back into the car when it's done, and the Hair Metal will flow from it's cones once again.

ValuePack SuperDork
7/25/16 4:22 p.m.

Oh man, BA Rallys! I had a set of those in 4" in the front of my 4WD Civic years ago. Love it!

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