1981 Pontiac Trans Am

Any questions or suggestions regarding restorations
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pietpetoors
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Re: 1981 Pontiac Trans Am

Post by pietpetoors » Tue 17 Jan 2017, 08:28

Look awesome.
Would love to hear it.
Only Dead Fish Go With The Flow!

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lumi-fan
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Re: 1981 Pontiac Trans Am

Post by lumi-fan » Thu 19 Jan 2017, 16:27

The LS motors, for some reason, dont have a lot of low range power. My Lumina only came on song after 3500rpm. That was pre supercharger though.

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Picard
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Re: 1981 Pontiac Trans Am

Post by Picard » Thu 19 Jan 2017, 23:54

lumi-fan wrote:The LS motors, for some reason, dont have a lot of low range power. My Lumina only came on song after 3500rpm. That was pre supercharger though.

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Boy how I remember that drive in the blue monster :mrgreen:
Hope you well Nico.

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Scar
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Re: 1981 Pontiac Trans Am

Post by Scar » Fri 20 Jan 2017, 20:04

This car is really looking good bud. Great work.....one of the nicest Ive seen. These cars have been underrated for way too long.
Scar

58 Chevy Biscayne
69 Barracuda 383
Audi S4 supercharged V6 (daily driver)

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lumi-fan
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Re: 1981 Pontiac Trans Am

Post by lumi-fan » Sat 21 Jan 2017, 10:39

Picard wrote:
lumi-fan wrote:The LS motors, for some reason, dont have a lot of low range power. My Lumina only came on song after 3500rpm. That was pre supercharger though.

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Boy how I remember that drive in the blue monster :mrgreen:
Hope you well Nico.
I'm ok, enjoying my milk bottle immensly.

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Picard
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Re: 1981 Pontiac Trans Am

Post by Picard » Fri 02 Mar 2018, 12:24

Thought I would do a quick catch-up on my post on this forum for those that were following it.

I have had quite an entertaining time with the Trans Am over the last few months. I’m put on about 3000km’s and some of them happy miles with smiles and some really frustrating niggles.

I fitted the under hood blanket
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Then I had some fun times trying to make the shaker fit. Many people end up welding it up to the bonnet, but I decided I wanted it to shake. Although the LS is smooth, it is nice to see it moving around.
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I started taking the car out on longer trips and making up my snag list of issues that were bugging me.
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Picard
Posts: 140
Joined: Mon 26 Sep 2011, 10:12

Re: 1981 Pontiac Trans Am

Post by Picard » Fri 02 Mar 2018, 12:28

First up was a drivetrain vibration. I kept experiencing a vibration on acceleration and while cruising.
I landed up taking the wheels to Monte Carlo wheels in Edenvale and had them make up some spigot rings. This exercise was extremely frustrating as the level of workmanship is quite scary. Anyhow, after two attempts, we managed to get it sorted and it the vibration issue improved slightly.
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I still was not happy with it though and landed up back at Propmaster in Edenvale. I had them make up the prop during the build using the Lumina’s original prop. After hoisting the car up on the lift and running it in the air, we picked up what was happening. Something simple….yet enough to give me so much grief. The Lumina has a rubber piece (Think it’s called a Guibo) and it was just slightly rubbing up against the underside of the car. I had never spotted this.

When I fitted it, it seemed to clear with no issues. A new prop was made up, using an Isuzu bit and all vibrations are gone.

Second up was the rear suspension. I was not happy with how the car with sitting and riding. It felt as if the rear had sagged and it was extremely low. It would scrape the exhausts over every bump.
I landed taking it through to Golden Spring in Selby. They removed the leaf springs and made up a new set. I also messed around with the rebound rate on the Koni's. What a difference! The car rides nicely now. You can actually carry people in the back and it handles the bumps nicely. It may sit a bit higher than I like, but it is more practical with the quality of our roads.
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Picard
Posts: 140
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Re: 1981 Pontiac Trans Am

Post by Picard » Fri 02 Mar 2018, 12:29

After sorting out the rear suspension I managed to finally finish up the Aircon. Finally, after 12 years of owing it…..The Trans Am has a functioning aircon. Blows nice cool air. :cool:

While all of this was going on, I took the car through to Izak Schoeman to have him give it a once over on the Dyno. It was quite an expensive exercise, but I must say, I felt it was worth it.

They did a few runs on the Dyno and the results were noticeable.
Originally, they ran the car @ 174.1kw and 367Kw.

By the time he finished, we got it up to 186.4kw and 382NM.

I was impressed as the car now felt like it just had a bit more get up and go.
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I was planning to get some of the decals made up. I went through to Bandit signs and took a design with me that I had gotten from a guy in the states who mocked up his own Bird. Together with one of the designers, we managed to mock this up:
They quoted me just over 5k to do it, but I decided to hold up on it as money was a bit tight. I will get this sorted at a later stage.
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Picard
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Joined: Mon 26 Sep 2011, 10:12

Re: 1981 Pontiac Trans Am

Post by Picard » Fri 02 Mar 2018, 12:29

I also ran into alternator issues soon after this, which did not help.
While doing a bit of spirited driving I went over a big dip in the road, which bounced the car around and popped an alternator. I sent it in…and had it repaired.

A week or two later….I went over a cattle bridge….noticed the Shaker move quite a bit and once again….popped the alternator.
I decided to get my butt into gear and get my head under the car to investigate. I knew the clearance between the cross member and the alternator was quite small, but never thought the motor would move so much that the post on the alternator would actually touch. After shining lights on the cross member and squeezing my camera in there I found this.
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That is what seems to have been popping the alternators. On hard acceleration and with certain bumps it was just enough for it to short up on the chassis. After drilling out a few holes, I managed to make a nice cut out into the cross member and all seems fine now.
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Picard
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Joined: Mon 26 Sep 2011, 10:12

Re: 1981 Pontiac Trans Am

Post by Picard » Fri 02 Mar 2018, 12:29

The big balls up I’ve had though, which has really put a damper on things has been the gearbox.

So, I originally sourced a 4l60e from Porky from American Motorsports. I purchased it from him knowing it had been refurbished and according to him beefed up to handle more power.

He agreed that he would honour the warranty on the box from when I got the Trans Am up and running.
In the mean time, I purchased the Lumina and stripped out it’s motor and gearbox. I decided it would be best to sell off it’s gearbox and use the gearbox purchased from Porky as it was “new”.

We fitted it and since day one I had a bit of a bad feeling about it. I picked up that when punching it, it would bounce off the limiter in first before shifting into second. I figured this was maybe something to do with the shiftpoints, but Izak set everything up and it was still doing it.
The other thing I noticed was that when cruising it would hunt around ever so slightly….almost as if it was battling to get into or stay in overdrive.

Somewhere in November, I was having a friendly race against my brother in his M3 when it bounced off the limiter in first to second....and then at the top of second it also didn’t change. I immediately backed off and it carried on as per normal. That evening I took it out again and this time it went into limp mode.

I called Porky….leaving messages for him for 3 days with the promise that he would call me back. On the 4th day I managed to catch him when he answered the phone. I could tell straight away he was not too interested in helping me out to resolve the issue. Immediately he became defensive with shifting the blame onto how I installed the box, wiring etc… He suggested I get the car to him where when he had a chance to put it into his workshop to work on, he could investigate. He confirmed he would get back to me with when I could send him the car, so that it doesn’t sit out in his yard.

Well, not surprisingly, until today I have not heard back from him. I decided to not waste any energy with American Motorsport and sort out the issue myself. The thought of the drama of leaving my car with them and then the frustration in trying to have them feedback to me what was happening made the decision clear to me.

We decided to take on the task of rebuilding the 4l60e gearbox ourselves.

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