6 7 8 9 10
SilverFleet
SilverFleet UberDork
10/7/16 11:21 a.m.

In reply to Brett_Murphy:

Ha, the cat now lives with my wife's aunt. She (the cat) is very old, and has some health issues, but is a good one. Her name is now Kit Kat.

And Queensryche would fire the aging, rusty, finicky car and replace it with another one that's a little newer and easier to deal with that also is proud to be a car.

I've been looking for parts cars this morning. What is wrong with me?

NOT A TA
NOT A TA Dork
10/7/16 12:04 p.m.

I haven't driven mine since 2010 so I know how that goes, but hopefully pretty soon.

You don't have to pull the engine. There's not much on the pass side that prevents you from supporting the body and removing the 2 body mount bolts/bushings on that side which would allow dropping the sub frame a bit so you have enough working room (it would be tight)to remove the rusted sheet metal mount and weld in a new one. You can avoid welding the seam at the floor board over your head (while under the car) by plug welding it to the floor pan from inside the car. The triangle side of the mount probably isn't rusted bad enough to need replacement. Grind rather than trying to drill the spot welds holding the remainder of the mount to remove, it's much quicker and easier.

OR, you could remove the fenders & hood, disconnect driveshaft, separate steering column, unplug wires, disconnect fuel tank and front brake line, and a few vacuum lines. Then roll the whole loaded subframe out of the way with front bumper, core support etc intact. It's actually quicker than you'd think to do this and if the fenders and hood need to be off for repair/paint prep anyway......

Here's a very short video of me swapping a loaded 78 front subframe assembly to a 80 Formy body. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-XA4JM20W8

As for getting out of it, you can probably get more out of it than you've got in it because the late second gen prices have been going up pretty quickly and TA project cars are sought after. If you do sell and buy a comparably valued 4th gen the V8 cars are faster and handle better stock although garden variety models seem to still be going down in value. The 4th gen interiors didn't hold up well but the body appearance held up better, although they still rust underneath. Electrical issues become more and more of a pain with age and they're not nearly as easy to work on as 1st/2nd gens IMO. There's many electric components and many of the replacement parts don't hold up as well as the originals. I've replaced window motors on some 4th gens more than once. The VATS system usually fails and shuts down the car at some point. All the electrical engine management sensors and other parts like fuel pump start to plague reliability with use/age. If you buy a 4th, take your time, save up and buy the nicest, lowest mileage, garage kept one you can find and afford.

If you go forward on the 2nd gen, I make a slew of sub frame upgrade parts you might want to look at which include reinforcements for the cowl area body mount bracket on the sub frame that's probably rusted pretty thin on yours.

SilverFleet
SilverFleet UberDork
10/7/16 12:36 p.m.

In reply to NOT A TA:

Again, great info. Thanks!

Doing a full blown resto is not really what I had in mind right now. It's a bit beyond my scope, both skill-wise and financially. I also have one tiny little garage to work from, so taking everything apart and having a place to put it is not easily done. Heck, right now, the garage is full of Trans Am, and the car is not even in there yet. I was hoping to get the thing patched up enough to drive it around, and go from there, but I think at this point that's out the window.

Right now, the car needs A LOT of work:

-subframe mount fixed

-floors welded in

-door skin replacement

-P/S fender replacement (again)

-nose replacement (it's warped)

-hood replacement (it's bent)

-rear D/S quarter patched

-address subframe rust

-patch cowl panel

-full interior replacement

-go through suspension completely

...And more.

Selling is tough, because I have emotional attachment. I also have put a lot of time and money into the project with almost nothing to show for it, so it has crossed my mind several times. I am not sure what I could get out of the car, but if it's enough to get myself into a 98-02 4th Gen Trans Am, then it's definitely on the table at this point.

To put it plainly, I'm sick of not having a fun car.

mbruneaux
mbruneaux Reader
10/7/16 1:54 p.m.
SilverFleet wrote: To put it plainly, I'm sick of not having a fun car.

I know what you mean so don't give up! I haven't driven a fun car in 20 years and a few years ago I bought my project to drive and fix up while driving it on the weekends. It's still not even running right let alone able to be a daily driver three years later. The POs absolutely fubared every aspect of it. I get so frustrated with the amount of "emotional capital" I've spent on it and have sold it three times to back out at the last minute. I know when it's done it will be supercool and it will all have been worth it. Yours will be much more valuable and collectable when you are done. Didn't you sell your beloved CSX so you could work on the T/A?

SilverFleet
SilverFleet UberDork
10/7/16 2:53 p.m.

In reply to mbruneaux:

Yes, I sold my CSX to focus on the Trans Am. But I also sold the CSX because I didn't have the capacity to fix the rest of the rust issues. This car has just as many, if not more.

It's no longer a "matching numbers" car, as I tossed the original Olds 403 in favor of a Pontiac V8. The Olds had issues, and was never going back in the car anyway. Usually this hurts value when selling, but I'm not sure how many guys are going to care that I ditched a crappy windowed main Olds engine that had no business being in the car anyway. The car was also a train wreck when I bought it, and things have just gotten worse over the years, mostly due to age and living in New England.

Is it all fixable? I think so. Part of me wants to dive in further and detach the subframe and roll it in the garage for some winter detailing while I pick at the body. But I know full well that may mean they stay separate forever. That's also crossed my mind.

NOT A TA
NOT A TA Dork
10/10/16 12:35 p.m.

Having the Pontiac engine might just make it worth more (or easier to sell) than the 403.

It's fixable from what I've seen if you're willing to spend the time.

Tough decision you've gotta make.

Maybe sell everything, clean out the garage to put new toy in and buy a Miata?

Agent98
Agent98 New Reader
10/10/16 5:53 p.m.

You went all in - nothing to regret here. How about putting it on Craigslist for $3500, the non-original Pontiac 400 is a plus....see if you get any bites. Don't totally write off a decent LT1 1993-07 TA either

SilverFleet
SilverFleet UberDork
10/11/16 11:13 a.m.

I did some thinking over the long weekend. Plan for now is to keep plugging away and see if I can fix what I need to fix. I don't want to take it completely apart if I can help it, because "project creep" will set in and nothing will get done. I learned this the hard way with the CSX, and I don't want the same thing to happen again. But if it does need to come apart, then so be it. The motivation to stay on task will need to come from within.

I really need to take the opportunity to learn how to weld on things myself. Everything in New England rusts, and if I want to be a car guy up here, that's the reality of things. I have friends who are willing to lend me MIG equipment, so I will use that until I can get my own setup eventually.

If I do end up selling at some point, I want something similar to replace it. I want RWD, V8 power, 2 doors, and something that was made that way from the factory that's a decent platform with aftermarket support. Also, I don't fit comfortably in Miatas and probably never will, so those are out.

This is becoming a "personal journey" at this point.

crankwalk
crankwalk Dork
10/11/16 12:29 p.m.
SilverFleet wrote: I did some thinking over the long weekend. Plan for now is to keep plugging away and see if I can fix what I need to fix. I don't want to take it completely apart if I can help it, because "project creep" will set in and nothing will get done. I learned this the hard way with the CSX, and I don't want the same thing to happen again. But if it does need to come apart, then so be it. The motivation to stay on task will need to come from within. I really need to take the opportunity to learn how to weld on things myself. Everything in New England rusts, and if I want to be a car guy up here, that's the reality of things. I have friends who are willing to lend me MIG equipment, so I will use that until I can get my own setup eventually. If I do end up selling at some point, I want something similar to replace it. I want RWD, V8 power, 2 doors, and something that was made that way from the factory that's a decent platform with aftermarket support. Also, I don't fit comfortably in Miatas and probably never will, so those are out. This is becoming a "personal journey" at this point.

That's it. One thing at a time. My Datsun had one thing after another but I just took apart only what I was messing with. Complete that task and hit up another thing. It's nowhere near perfect but it's a driver now and you have so much more motivation when you can occasionally drive it for 30 minutes and renew why you like it instead of it sitting on jackstands for 6 years.

My vote is finish the floors, do a little rust proofing, put the seats back in and enjoy it for a bit.

SilverFleet
SilverFleet UberDork
10/11/16 2:15 p.m.

In reply to crankwalk:

That's basically the plan. Torque box gets fixed, floor pans get installed, floors get painted/seam sealed/undercoated, interior parts get replaced. Then I can worry about all the other stuff.

NOT A TA
NOT A TA Dork
10/13/16 3:12 p.m.

Sounds like you've made the decision to keep at it! Perhaps you can clean out the garage and get the car in there for the winter so you can get the floor and other necessary rust repairs done during the crappy months? Back the car in so you can split the car in half and with some helpers wheel the front out so you have room to work. Pile all the unnecessary parts with the loaded sub frame outside and tarp for winter. Having a borrowed welder will nudge you to move along so you can return it.

SilverFleet
SilverFleet UberDork
10/13/16 4:29 p.m.

This is starting to sound like my CSX project.

My garage is a very small single car garage. To do any work in the garage, the doors need to come off, because there's no room to open them for working inside. That's if it even FITS in the garage.

My plan was to stuff it in there whole and roll it out when I could on the mild days, and work in there as a last resort. I was going to get door skins and repair my spare doors over the winter at a "remote location" (aka one of my friends' houses), so the doors coming off is fine, as long as the go back on. It took me until the day before I sold it to bolt the CSX doors back on.

I will be buying my own helmet and gloves, but I'll be borrowing all the other welding equipment for the time being. I need to make this a priority. I may even take a welding course over the winter.

As far as keeping it, yeah, I guess I will for now. But I am getting very sick and tired of not having a "fun car" to drive. Trying to use that as motivation to fix this one.

NOHOME
NOHOME PowerDork
10/13/16 5:05 p.m.
SilverFleet said: I will be buying my own helmet and gloves, but I'll be borrowing all the other welding equipment for the time being. I need to make this a priority. I may even take a welding course over the winter. Don't bother with the welding course. Chances are they wont even touch on sheet-metal welding. Seriously, it takes a day to get going if you follow the process I teach. Pretty sure the process is in the Molvo build thread, but easier for me to find it on the Volvo board thread since it is only one page. Actually, since it is a bodywork tutorial, the whole post should apply to what you want to do, the welding specific post is #14 I believe. This wont make you a "Welder" but it is a process that reduces all the variables down to just the time it takes to make one pulse with the welder.
mbruneaux
mbruneaux Reader
10/13/16 7:24 p.m.

Congrats on keeping it!

SilverFleet
SilverFleet UberDork
10/17/16 8:37 a.m.

I got a better look at the subframe mount/torque box over the weekend. It looks like I should be able to patch it instead of replacing the whole thing. Above the flat part where water collected on the floor, it's dry and rust free, so this will probably be a simple fix. The drivers side is still all there, too. I lucked out big time here.

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito UberDork
2/24/17 12:18 p.m.

Today, it's almost 70 degrees in the Boston area, and it's still February. AWESOME.

This has my wheels turning, and I'm thinking about the Trans Am again. I need to do some work to my weekend beater Dakota soon, and the Trans Am is parked where I need to work, so that means I need to get it running again.

Over the weekend, I'm planning on swapping the guts out of my old gas tank into the new one that I painted a while back. Before I install it, I need to also treat the area around the tank with Rust Bullet or POR15 to neutralize the rust that's there. At least for now, that will stop it from getting worse.

Don't worry, I'll post pics when I start the process.

After that's done, I'll start in on the floors/torque box again. I really want to make progress on this car this year. If I could get it back on the road, that would be even better.

Also, if anyone has a line on a driver's side seat track that doesn't cost an arm and a leg, please let me know. I need one desperately.

chandlerGTi
chandlerGTi UberDork
2/24/17 4:11 p.m.

Woohoo! Name change for some brand recognition too, nice.

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito UberDork
5/8/17 10:45 a.m.

Between my last post and today, New England got "2nd Winter" and then a rainy stretch, so not much was going on with the car. Also, I bought a $100 Saab that took up some of my free wrenching time between then and now. ANYWAY... On Saturday, I finally had a bit of time to work on the T/A. Since it was raining off and on, I spent some time staring at the two gas tanks I have for it in the garage. The original tank seemed like it was leaking from somewhere, so I picked up another used tank to swap in. In typical fashion, nothing went as it should.

First, I pulled the sender out of the old tank. All looked great, until I started cleaning up the lines.

Those little black specks are pin holes in the feed line. That also may be where the leak was coming from. My old tank looked crusty in a few spots, but aside from one questionable spot on the top where there's some sort of putty/JB Weld/ factory gunk, it appears to be fine. That brings me to my next pic:

Here's a terrible picture of the two tanks. The black one is the replacement slathered in POR15 hootus coating, and the stock one is on the bottom. You see how the black tank has two holes covered and the bottom only has one? Well, the previous owner ripped this part out of the tank:

It's supposed to go here:

That, I believe, is a vent line to a charcoal canister which I'm pretty sure no longer exists. It's supposed to be attached to the tank and non-removable, yet here it is. New tanks have it molded in as part of the tank:

That makes me think that my new tank is junk. Good news is that it only cost me $15, and no hootus paint got on my, well, hootus. I could probably JB Weld it back on, but that's probably not such a great idea. Then again, it's just a vent, and it goes to nothing now anyways.

Likely solution: I'm either going to take another look at the old tank for leaks, or break down and buy a new one. And they still make senders, so I'll add one of those to the list as well.

SEADave
SEADave HalfDork
5/8/17 11:48 a.m.

Lots of folks are switching to FI tanks when they LS swap their TA's. If you put a "wanted" post on TA Country someone probably has a decent carbed tank they would sell for not much. Shipping might get you, but maybe you can find one semi-local.

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
7/10/17 9:53 a.m.

Now that the tough stuff with the Saab is out of the way (I hope), I can focus back on the Trans Am.

Not much of an update, but a local guy had these Camaro seats up for sale really cheap, so I snagged them. They even came with the tracks! Problem is, the left driver's rail is bad like mine. Between this one and the ones that came out of my car, I can cobble together a set. I refuse to pay $300 for stupid seat tracks.

The guy is also parting out the remains of a 1979 Z28. He offered me an entire subframe for free (not sure if I'm taking that yet), and I might cut some stuff out of the shell before he scraps it.

I also picked up a new fuel sender for whatever gas tank ends back up in the car, as well as some 16 gauge sheet metal to fab the rest of the torque box on the passenger side. I'm hoping to get those floors in ASAP.

mbruneaux
mbruneaux Reader
7/27/17 10:39 p.m.

Keep it going!

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
10/13/17 7:20 p.m.

Man, spare time has been few and far between this year. I made some spare time and took a day off from work to get in some Trans Am time. 

Today's task was simple: Clean, paint, and undercoat the rear frame and trunk floor before I can get a gas tank back in the car. 

If you've been following this thread, I was concerned with the rear frame area. This is why:

I thought for sure the frame was going to be compromised. I mean, look at that! 

So, I hit it with a wire wheel and poked around...

Somehow, the frame and where it mounts to the tail end of the car were ok. I thought for sure that when I hit it with the wheel, it would just crumble, but no! The inner tail panel has some holes, but it's not structural so I should be fine. 

I painted the rear frame up to the wheel wells and the trunk floor with Rust Bullet. It was my first time using it, and I like it better than POR15. During the application process, some of it ended up on my skin and, unlike POR15, it came off with some light scrubbing. That's a plus right there. 

After the Rust Bullet dried for a few hours, I hit it with a coat of rubberized undercoating. That looks a lot better now, huh? 

But as we know, rust never sleeps. Before I pulled my gas tank, I thought I smelled raw gas, like there was a leak somewhere. As I posted earlier, there were some pin holes in the sender. Thinking that might have been the culprit, and seeing I had the wire wheel out, I hit the tank in some trouble spots. And yup, a hole!

I dropped off the other tank at a friend's to get the vent line tacked back onto the tank, so once I get that back, up it goes and the car will run again. 

Progress!!!

AngryCorvair
AngryCorvair UltimaDork
10/13/17 8:31 p.m.

the first post on this page was over a year ago.  I'm glad you're back at it.  :-)

NOT A TA
NOT A TA Dork
10/13/17 9:16 p.m.

Good to see you're back at it! Did the Rampage story get you motivated? Nice job on the story BTW.

NOHOME
NOHOME UltimaDork
10/14/17 4:51 a.m.

Welcome back. 

6 7 8 9 10
Our Preferred Partners
ScvBDwZcbfbtwYZI26Yc9an2kUFaPN1PN2vaEW2GL4ABhXTXFNhNQO5aogAaIv8j