PDA

View Full Version : $600.00 84 Celebrity, 2.8 V6, A/C, JA1, Cali emissions.



bob_raitz
06-08-2013, 09:24 AM
First off, allow me to introduce myself.

I'm Bob Raitz. I used to work at a shop that had Celebrities and 6000s for loaner/run to get parts cars. I fell in love them, and have owned two others previous to this one. The first was an 84 with the diesel. A sudden failure of the serpentine belt spelled doom for the head gaskets. The second was another 84 with the 2.8. This one was a coupe with power everything. It was a sweet ride until my partner decided to bash the trunk side panel with someone else's front bumper because he couldn't yield to the other driver, like he was supposed to.

Anyway, that was then. I have been looking for a project-worthy A body to show up at the same time as a good chunk of change. That happened, and I wound up with a rather sweet 84 Celebrity. I say, "sweet", as in the potential it shows for being a decent project car.

The body and interior are in very good shape. Since it's a California car, that means it hasn't spent time up north to really tear it to shreds as far as salt corrosion is concerned. Unfortunately, it did spend some time near the coast, and that's almost as bad. There are some spots of definite salt-induced rust, but it's not wide spread. Because the previous owner was so meticulous with the care of the outside of the car, the extra cleanliness kept the worst of it at bay.

As I said, the interior is sweet as well. The front seats aren't noticeably worn or faded. The rear seat is at the top, as they pretty much all are if they aren't in a garage. The driver's carpet is worn, but the rest of the carpet is clean. The headliner is still attached to it's cardboard anchor.

The unfortunate thing is that the guy who worked on it for the previous owner was a hack. Any mechanic worth their pay knows you always replace brake hydraulics in pairs. Not this guy. The passenger caliper is new, and appears to be working. The driver's side is old, and was making smoke roll out from under the fender today. It appears as if the carb was rebuilt, but it doesn't appear as if the dwell for the M/C solenoid was set properly. The rear brakes also appear to have had their shoes replaced at different times. This makes the right driver's side a bit grabby, as it has newer shoes. Both wheel cylinders show some signs of leakage, but very slight, and likely to wait.

Which naturally brings me to the list of so-fars and yet-to-dos, so here we go.

DONE:

New EGR valve
New EGR solenoid
New heater hoses
New lamps in rear (brake, running, and reverse)
New tires (more on those)
New oxygen sensor
A/C oil charge/recharge/134a conversion


To do; ASAP:

Front brakes (calipers, pads, rotors)
Carburetor adjustment and/or rebuild
Get SES light to work
Replace axle shaft seals on trans


To do; eventually, and wish list

Rear brakes (wheel cylinders, shoes, hardware)
Radiator
Radiator hoses
Water pump
Thermostat and gasket
Valve cover gaskets
Timing chain/gears
Intake reseal
Stainless steel cat-back exhaust
Get the body flaws fixed
Paint job
Convert to JA2 (down the road a piece)


The tires were an adventure. They were will-pops. The backs had severe tread separation. The fronts were just about to show wear bars. I went to America's Tires. Apparently, they no longer carry 185 80 R 13 in anything but trailer tires. They were substituted with 175 70 R 13s. As I look, it appears 185 80 R13 tires are still made, but they're very expensive. In the long run, if I plan to move to JA2, that means I'll need a new set of fourteen inch rims/tires anyway. So, for now, I'll take that road hazard warranty, thanks! I don't have an unlimited budget. Still, with what I have to spend, I think I'll wind up with a pretty sweet set of wheels.

Of course, there are the things that will show up as I'm fixing other things along the way. I figure I'd rather deal with a car I know, and stay a bit lower on the radar of car thieves and carjackers. I always thought A body cars were fun to drive, well built, and ready to take lots of abuse. I'm not planning on abusing this one. If I change my mind, at least I'll know it's ready to handle any and all abuse.

If I do anything to deviate this car from stock, it would be to move up to the JA2 brake system. The lines are the same, you just change the spindles on all four corners, the master cylinder, calipers, pads, rotors, drums, rims, backing plates and hardware; and voila, JA2! Sounds like a fun way to waste a weekend.

Pictures will follow.

Cheers,
Bob

bob_raitz
07-08-2013, 04:11 AM
Here come the pics. The first is a shot from the front porch of the passenger side:

http://www.kernel-seeds.org/.car_pics/from_porch_02.JPG

front:

http://www.kernel-seeds.org/.car_pics/frontal_shot_hood_closed.JPG

front with hood up:

http://www.kernel-seeds.org/.car_pics/under_hood-02.JPG

close-up under the hood:

http://www.kernel-seeds.org/.car_pics/under_hood-01.JPG

driver's side:

http://www.kernel-seeds.org/.car_pics/med_shot_driver-01.JPG
http://www.kernel-seeds.org/.car_pics/med_shot_driver-02.JPG

passenger side:

http://www.kernel-seeds.org/.car_pics/long_shot_passenger.JPG

trunk closed:

http://www.kernel-seeds.org/.car_pics/rear_shot_trunk_closed.JPG

trunk open:

http://www.kernel-seeds.org/.car_pics/rear_shot_trunk_open.JPG

The cancer there on the deck lid shows me it was near the ocean for some time. The leaves and sticks and other stuff that keeps coming out whenever I wash it tells me it did sit for a long time. When luck smiles, the hood and deck lid are going bye-bye for units that aren't bondoed or cancered out. The rear passenger door might well meet the same fate, as it looks as if it has some rust bubbles coming from inside the door.

Come on, good luck!

Cheers,
Bob

bob_raitz
07-08-2013, 07:08 AM
The lists changed a bit, so here's the low down as to where that car is in project state. It's become the everyday driver. I am very happy for that, as it was a bit of work to get things going properly. First the list, then explanations.

DONE:

New EGR valve
New EGR solenoid
Proper restrictor installed in EGR valve (at long last)*
New heater hoses
New lamps in rear
New tires
New oxygen sensor
A/C oil charge/recharge/134a conversion
Front brakes (calipers, pads, rotors)*
Front brake hose (passenger side)*
Carburetor rebuilt and readjusted (with $75.00 tool (rip-off!))*
Valve cover gaskets*



To do; ASAP:

Replace axle shaft seals on trans (have parts, need to buy pry bar, etc.


To do; eventually, and wish list

Rear brakes (wheel cylinders, shoes, hardware)
Radiator
Radiator hoses
Water pump
Thermostat and gasket
Timing chain/gears
Intake reseal
Stainless steel cat-back exhaust
Get the body flaws fixed
Paint job
Convert to JA2 (down the road a piece)


Getting the EGR right was a bit time consuming. I'm not sure whether I misread the directions, or what, but according to my reading, I was not to use any of the restrictors that come with a Borg Warner aftermarket EGR valve. The guy that smog checked it told me I should use the restrictor with the smallest hole. I tried, and it turns out that the engine runs great with the smallest restrictor. It used to chug, surge, and buck violently. Now, you can just feel the slightest hesitation as the EGR kicks in. Nice! I'm not sure how that's going to translate when it comes time to sniff the tailpipe again, but I know it will pass with no restrictors.

The carb was an adventure in, "what idiot worked on this?" It was fairly clear that the car had some water in the tank at some time in the past. I can tell because there was rust in the bottom portions of the float bowl. In and of itself, that wasn't a big deal, and easily cured. The bigger problem was the need for the 2mm double "D" tool required to set the mixture control solenoid dwell. Seventy-six dollars and two days later, it shows up on my porch. I don't have a dwell meter, but duty cycle can also be translated roughly into voltage, and that can be used to set the M/C solenoid, as well.

When I went to do the front brakes, I noticed that one of the hoses had been replaced, probably very recently. The other one was looking a bit rougher than I like. I also staked down the pads properly; a seemingly lost art. It stops really well now. The right rear is grabby, which means new proportioning/metering valves somewhere down the road.

The valve cover gaskets also presented themselves as serious oil leak sources. They were dispatched in rather quick order.

At the end of all that, I must say that it runs really nicely for an old beast. For an initial six hundred dollar investment, it's turning out to be a good little car. I hope it stays that way.

Cheers,
Bob

white89euro
07-10-2013, 01:29 AM
Hi Bob! Welcome to our forum for A-body cars. My first A-body was a 1985 Wagon with the 2.8 carbed V6, so this brings back some fond memories. You're using a great approach, making affordable improvements as you go along. I really like your car!

As for the J2 wheels - I've got the J1 bolt pattern on my '89 Celebrity Eurosport. It takes the steel rally wheels, the alloy wheels and the 15" steel rally wheels that were used on the Berettas. Unless you want to convert to rear disk brakes (which are pretty hard to find anyway) you may just want to stick with the J1 bolt pattern since there are nice sport wheels to choose from in the GM lineup, including the original Celebrity wheels through end of production in 1990.

Keep up the good work and the interesting writeups.

George

Tyson
07-10-2013, 05:56 AM
Bob, that's a great introduction and I enjoyed every bit of it! Sounds like you've found a very worthy project candidate. The body is in remarkable condition. What's the interior look like? For that price, you really can't complain! I've been on the lookout for a similar project Celebrity myself. Best of luck with the build and I look forward to staying tuned to your updates. Thanks for sharing and welcome aboard.

Electra_T_Type
07-19-2013, 05:53 AM
Nice to see another SoCal member!

bob_raitz
07-20-2013, 09:35 AM
Thanks to everyone for appreciating the car.

The interior is a bit rough. The seats aren't torn, but the back seat back is really sun bleached. The carpet is fine, except on the driver's side, where it's torn and worn. The dash pad has been on and off a few times, and apparently screws have been lost at every removal. The heat has messed up the part that covers the instrument cluster, albeit not badly enough that I can't make out how fast I'm going, or whatnot. Replacing the dash pad would really help things out. It's on the list of things to do.

I will most likely rethink going to ja2 if I can get rims that will hold tires that will make the speedometer accurate. As of now, I know it's off. Fortunately, it's off such that I'm going slower than the speedo says.

I do know that when the time comes for body work, the deck lid and the hood are being replaced. The rust is pretty deep. It's easier to just replace and repaint.

I saw a Buick Century Wagon at the grocery store yesterday. It was looking good, except the exhaust was about to fall out from under it. I want it!

Cheers,
Pappy

Prospeeder
07-26-2013, 12:49 AM
Thats a sweet celebrity. I want to convert mine to having that front end. but all black like the eurosports. Sure looks like the tires are way too small.

bob_raitz
07-31-2013, 09:48 AM
I thought the tires looked a bit small myself. I am planning on doing a junk yard run some time here in the near future in search of fourteen inch rims, and the speedo drive gear to make it work right. The tires on there now would probably look much better on a J body than my A.

I'll be adding photos of the interior, soon. It's not pretty, but it's not the worst Celebrity interior I've ever seen.

At this point, it looks like I'm going to have to do a complete reseal on the engine. I'm going to try the intake first, but I have a feeling the rear main is leaking as well as the front seal and the intake. It will be awesome when I can keep the oil inside the engine and off the driveway.

That's the sin of buying a car that's sat for a while. For six hundred bucks, and an opportunity to do a motor job again (it's been too long), I'd say it's worth it. It sure will be when it's all done the way I want it. Yes, I plan on documenting the engine reseal as it happens. More pictures!

Cheers,
Pappy

Kristopher Gerbracht
08-09-2013, 05:21 PM
Welcome Bob:

It is amazing that you have an early Celebrity, intact. I bought an 85 6000 and I had a shop do the minor work it needed. Congratulations and Welcome!

Kristopher

bob_raitz
08-16-2013, 08:49 PM
I found a weird wiring issue. It seems that somehow the ground for the A/C compressor came loose or was cross-wired into the ECM, because I set a TPS code when the A/C is on, but not when it isn't. I'm going to be testing that theory today.

I also found a site where I can get new parts for it from Chevy. That would rock, because I seriously want to redo the interior. I'm going to be selling a 94 E150, and I want to invest in at least a new dash pad and carpet. Getting that stuff fixed would go miles in making it into the car of my dreams.

Cheers,
Pappy (my nom de plume, in case you were wondering)

turbokinetic
08-17-2013, 02:16 AM
I found a weird wiring issue. It seems that somehow the ground for the A/C compressor came loose or was cross-wired into the ECM, because I set a TPS code when the A/C is on, but not when it isn't. I'm going to be testing that theory today.

I also found a site where I can get new parts for it from Chevy. That would rock, because I seriously want to redo the interior. I'm going to be selling a 94 E150, and I want to invest in at least a new dash pad and carpet. Getting that stuff fixed would go miles in making it into the car of my dreams.

Cheers,
Pappy (my nom de plume, in case you were wondering)

Hi, just a thought on the TPS code. The TPS is part of the carburetor on those cars. I had one years back, and it was very difficult to get it adjusted correctly. It must have exactly 0.45V when the carb is at fully-closed throttle (off the fast idle cam, with throttle stop backed out to fully-closed throttle condition).

I don't understand how the A/C system would alter the TPS reading, but it's worthwhile to check it and see if it is indeed affecting the voltage, or if the ECM is messing up when it gets the A/C ON signal. The TPS does not have any ground, other than internal to the ECM

Here are the wiring diagrams I could find online. Courtesy www.autozone.com repair guides.

http://68.209.87.173/temp/1984_1985_2i8L_Vin-X_Carb.png

http://68.209.87.173/temp/1984_celeb_wiring.PNG

http://68.209.87.173/temp/1984_Celeb_wiring_1.gif

http://68.209.87.173/temp/1984_Celeb_wiring_2.gif

Hope this helps!
Sincerely,
David

ttnnyygg
08-17-2013, 03:14 AM
What site did you find that has new parts for a celebrity? Would love to see it.

bob_raitz
08-17-2013, 05:34 AM
The problem turned out to be the body ground strap. It's the stock factory one that's molded into the main negative cable. I removed the bolt, scratched the area clean of paint, scratched the eyelets, and scratched up the bolt as well. That not only solved the computer issue (yay), but it also brought the brightness up on the dash lights; something that made night driving just a touch unnerving.

I tested it by driving to the main road furthest from our house and back. Before I did this, I couldn't get to the closest main road without the check engine light setting. That is a big relief. Even though I can get a computer for that, Cali emissions and all, for seventy-five plus core, why bother if I don't need to? Tomorrow will be the acid test. If it can handle my delivery route with the A/C on, and the check engine light off, then I'll be very happy indeed.

I plan on making a better grounding strap, because the one that comes with the car is really small. I can't imagine it can carry much current. The one I make will, oh yes indeed!

The site with those parts is http://www.gmpartsdirect.com/ . I think the dash pad was a hundred and eighty-five. I was sort of meandering through the site, so I didn't take serious note of everything there. I figured I'd be looking again as soon as the van was gone, or some money came my way that wasn't being spent on catching up with the real world.

I used to be way into computer carbs in my madcap youth as a wrench. The GM CCC was seriously easy to work on. Chrysler feedback carbs on K-cars were another specialty. I worked with a guy who went to every Mopar school there was, so he knew every dirty trick, and so did I!

I actually had a CCC computer set up and operating on a bench. It blew numerous minds, but I found out the ECM was bad (M/C solenoid driver went poof). I made good money on that ticket. :) Two hours diag; thank you very much!

Cheers,
Pappy

turbokinetic
08-17-2013, 03:25 PM
The problem turned out to be the body ground strap. It's the stock factory one that's molded into the main negative cable. I removed the bolt, scratched the area clean of paint, scratched the eyelets, and scratched up the bolt as well. That not only solved the computer issue (yay), but it also brought the brightness up on the dash lights; something that made night driving just a touch unnerving.

I tested it by driving to the main road furthest from our house and back. Before I did this, I couldn't get to the closest main road without the check engine light setting. That is a big relief. Even though I can get a computer for that, Cali emissions and all, for seventy-five plus core, why bother if I don't need to? Tomorrow will be the acid test. If it can handle my delivery route with the A/C on, and the check engine light off, then I'll be very happy indeed.

I plan on making a better grounding strap, because the one that comes with the car is really small. I can't imagine it can carry much current. The one I make will, oh yes indeed!

The site with those parts is http://www.gmpartsdirect.com/ . I think the dash pad was a hundred and eighty-five. I was sort of meandering through the site, so I didn't take serious note of everything there. I figured I'd be looking again as soon as the van was gone, or some money came my way that wasn't being spent on catching up with the real world.

I used to be way into computer carbs in my madcap youth as a wrench. The GM CCC was seriously easy to work on. Chrysler feedback carbs on K-cars were another specialty. I worked with a guy who went to every Mopar school there was, so he knew every dirty trick, and so did I!

I actually had a CCC computer set up and operating on a bench. It blew numerous minds, but I found out the ECM was bad (M/C solenoid driver went poof). I made good money on that ticket. :) Two hours diag; thank you very much!

Cheers,
Pappy

Glad you got it fixed! That's never good when the body ground is bad. Not only is it bad for the electrical system; it passes current through the mechanical parts of the car (transmission bearings etc) to the body. This is very damaging.

That's good having a working knowlege of the feedback carb systems. I'm sure you can help many people here with the older cars! I have only a little experience with them. I started on the early EFI cars and my working knowlege is with them.

Sincerely,
David

alex_van_gee
08-21-2013, 08:50 AM
Very nice Celebrity! And it's nice to see another carbureted car )

Did you measure your mpg?

bob_raitz
08-24-2013, 08:22 AM
I haven't measured the mileage, but due to the tires, I'm just going to assume it's not as good as it could be. I am disappointed in that, but right now, getting tires to bring up the MPG's is down on the list of things to do with the car. I would like to get it to close to 30, which is doable. The thing is, the A/C works really, really, well. I know that kills the mileage, but I'd rather be cool and collected than warm and irritable. On the good side, in California, it's not nearly as necessary as in Texas, so I do drive it at times with 420, er 4-60 air conditioning.

I need to get the motor mounts (side and dog bone) plus the tranny mounts as well. There is some bearing noise, but it seems more due to the fried mounts than anything else. It may bode badly, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed. It doesn't seem to be wheel bearing noise, although it would be a lot cheaper to fix than a trans bearing.

I'm more than willing to help with carb details. I truly love the art of working on them, and I admit that I miss playing with them as well. I am hoping that my idea of making a hobby out of fixing junkers with otherwise good bodies might get me back in practice.

That's a pretty 6000. I always preferred the way the dash was laid out in them over the Celebrity.

Cheers,
Pappy

turbokinetic
08-24-2013, 10:15 AM
I am hoping that my idea of making a hobby out of fixing junkers with otherwise good bodies might get me back in practice....


This has been a great hobby for me for a while!

My primary car, a 1984 Buick Century, was from a junkyard.

As Found:
http://68.209.87.173/84_Century/Junkyard/MVC-005F.JPG
http://68.209.87.173/84_Century/Junkyard/MVC-004F.JPG

Today:
http://68.209.87.173/84_Century/Restoration/Polish%20(4).JPG

And the 435HP 3.8SFI Turbo engine:
http://68.209.87.173/84_Century/3_8_SFI_Turbo/Engine_Installed/LG3_turbo.jpg

It's a great hobby. Much enjoyment.

Sincerely,
David

bob_raitz
08-26-2013, 06:02 AM
Yes, it is. I've rebuilt a few vehicles, but it's been a long time since I really went there. I'm hoping it becomes as lucrative as it does fun.

Nice turbo. I shudder to think what would happen if I were to sidle up to a smog check station with something of that nature.

Cheers,
Pappy

turbokinetic
08-26-2013, 08:21 AM
Yes, it is. I've rebuilt a few vehicles, but it's been a long time since I really went there. I'm hoping it becomes as lucrative as it does fun.

Nice turbo. I shudder to think what would happen if I were to sidle up to a smog check station with something of that nature.

Cheers,
Pappy

With the current state of economy; plus the unwanted nuisance features mandated on all new cars - the vintage cars are holding value very well. At least in my state they seem to be.

As for the smog check. I am sorry you have to deal with that. It is one of the many reasons I thumb my nose at california and their unsustainable nanny-government culture. Most of the other states with emissions inspections do not inspect older cars. We do not have any inspections whatsoever in AL.

The (few) cars I plan to sell have not had any emissions equipment removed. However, by virtue of modifying the exhaust system for turbo, they would probably fail it without even testing.

What is interesting is; even without any inspections whatsoever, we don't have extra accidents due to mechanical failures here.

Sincerely,
David

bob_raitz
08-28-2013, 10:37 PM
Amazingly enough, it seems to me that little or no safety testing is done in California. If something is obvious, they may or may not gig for said offense. In Texas, all vehicles had to be safety checked ($12.50 when I was a checker there), but any vehicle older than twenty-four years did not have to be emissions tested. In California, you are exempted if your vehicle was manufactured before the inclusion of catalytic converters. Diesel vehicles of certain years, and electric vehicles are exempt as well, to the best of my knowledge.

I have been told by many who have lived in California all their lives that at one time, the smog in LA county was unbearable; downright unhealthy for man or beast. Considering what I see today when the Smog Berries are blooming, I'm glad emissions testing is done here.

It's not about nanny-state-ism, or any other political nonsense like that. That's a complete cop out. There is no doubt the effects of excessive NOx mixed with sunshine and stagnant air: smog. I saw it in Texas, Detroit, and some other places, but nowhere holds a candle to the smog that comes to visit California on a daily basis in the summertime.

It's about people being able to breathe the air instead of having to chew it. When you add the fact of this state's population with the fact that we have the most cars of any state, you can see that unchecked NOx is bad news here. It needs to be controlled. While I'm all for as much horsepower as you can get, I also realize that we don't get planet B if we make this one's atmosphere unbreathable.

With that in mind, I am not averse to smog testing in the least. It's a necessary evil. Perhaps when we get to the point where electric cars have made it over their biggest hurdles, this will all be moot anyway. There won't be a need to smog check. Until that happens, I'm fine with it.

Cheers,
Pappy

bob_raitz
08-28-2013, 10:38 PM
Why was the Buick in the junkyard? I never asked that question.

Cheers,
Pappy

turbokinetic
08-30-2013, 02:29 AM
Why was the Buick in the junkyard? I never asked that question.

Cheers,
Pappy

I never found out for sure, but I have a theory. The original engine was missing the carburetor and looked like it had been in the middle of some repairs, and then they stopped working on it and let it sit.

The car dealers in the area sometimes have 'push, pull, or drag' trade-in specials. If you can bring them a car (in any condition) which you have owned for more than 6 months - they accept it for a trade-in, with a minumum value. Often you can get far more than the car is worth.

I bought this car about 6 years ago. Back then, used cars weren't worth what they are now. It was probably a non-running trade in which (at that time) was not worth fixing.

turbokinetic
08-30-2013, 02:38 AM
Interestin detail about the original engine. I tried to fix it, and used a turbo system from a 1978 Buick Riviera on it. I actually got it running, but the engine was contaminated in the oil, and the rod bearings failed.

Original 3.0:
http://68.209.87.173/84_Century/EFI/MVC-001F.JPG

With draw-through turbo:
http://68.209.87.173/84_Century/Turbo/fabrication/Overview.jpg

Plastic timing gear failed, and this was the reault. Clogging of the oiling system.
Burned cranksaft bearings:
http://68.209.87.173/Temp/bearings_close.jpg

Clogged oil passages in turbo (timing gear chips):
http://68.209.87.173/Temp/clogged.jpg

After that, I got the LG3 engine that's in the car now.

I plan to install the turbo system shown above into an 84 Ciera convertible some day. I kept all the parts.

bob_raitz
08-30-2013, 08:58 AM
The nylon timing gear is not a good idea. It keeps down the noise, but what a cost! When I pull the 2.8 to replace the rear main, I'm also going to redo the timing gears and oil pan at the same time. I noticed a dent where it seems something hit the oil pan near the timing cover. Things don't look too mangled, but if I'm going to go through the trouble of pulling the engine, I don't want any leaking from anywhere when I put it back in the car. If I can't bend things back in shape, then it's time for a visit to the junkyard.

Cheers,
Pappy

turbokinetic
09-01-2013, 12:39 AM
The nylon timing gear is not a good idea. It keeps down the noise, but what a cost! When I pull the 2.8 to replace the rear main, I'm also going to redo the timing gears and oil pan at the same time. I noticed a dent where it seems something hit the oil pan near the timing cover. Things don't look too mangled, but if I'm going to go through the trouble of pulling the engine, I don't want any leaking from anywhere when I put it back in the car. If I can't bend things back in shape, then it's time for a visit to the junkyard.

Cheers,
Pappy

Yeah - I've never been happy with the nylon gears! My 72 Chevy Nova had one. It broke and bent 7 of the 16 valves. This was when I was a little kid and it was my mom's car. I was so so sad because I thought the car was 'dead' and it was going to be junked. So glad I talked mom and dad into letting me fix it.

You're probably already aware of it, but there is a one-piece gasket available for the 2.8 which will really reduce the likelyhood of leaking. Make sure to get this one, and not the multi-piece cork one. It's well worth the money!

Tyson
09-20-2013, 04:11 AM
I am hoping that my idea of making a hobby out of fixing junkers with otherwise good bodies might get me back in practice.
There is definitely a great feeling in resurrecting a junker! Don't want to de-rail the thread, but I did a similar one myself.

Paid $500 for this 1988 Legend with only 98k on the odometer. It had been parked for 2 years.

http://drivetofive.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/88_legend_key.jpg

Entire fuel system was full of bad gas. Dropped the tank & cleaned it. New fuel pump & filter. Fresh timing belt & water pump, battery, power steering rack, wheel bearing, brake master cylinder, and a few other things. It drives like a champ and has cold a/c too. Spent the weekend doing a detail.

Two weeks into the project, I already have it looking like this.

http://drivetofive.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/side.jpg

bob_raitz
09-24-2013, 09:16 PM
The driver's side front wheel bearing has been a little noisy since I first bought the car. It's been getting steadily worse, as tends to happen. I replaced it today, and wow, what a difference. I imagine my mileage is going to crank on up since I replaced it. I also won't have to crank the radio up as loudly, either.

I mention this to let everyone know, if you don't have an impact, and want one, but don't want to pay through the nose, nor have to buy a compressor and tank as well, try Harbor Freight. I just picked up a half-inch drive electric impact for forty-nine ninety-nine, and this thing is amazing. It buzzed off the big nut that holds the CV joint in the hub, and everything else. I was done in a flash, well about twenty minutes. It's a little loud when the impact is hammering, but you can't have everything, I suppose.

If you're looking for an impact that has more than enough power, this little beauty rocks the Casbah! I wouldn't say it if it wasn't true!

Cheers,
Pappy

thesam1984
09-25-2013, 03:49 AM
hey do you know the name of that impact? Harbor Freight is right around the corner from me and that is definitely something I could use. I work on a lotta rust vehicles

bob_raitz
09-25-2013, 06:00 AM
It's a Chicago Electric, apparently their house brand.

It's build in China, but then again, so are the new tranny mounts and the dog bone. It should be with the rest of their power tools. It really is a hell of a bargain. I can't wait to change the other hub. I think I'll change it before it gets as noisy as the driver's side.

It is advertised as having 230 Ft/lbs of torque. The way it buzzed the spindle nut off and on, I'd have to agree. I'm going to be putting it to use later on in the week when I start the great clean-up to get rid of the Ford E150 that brought me from the Dallas area to Pomona. Zip the rims off, clean them up, and put them back on. I have all kinds of projects in mind where that little sucker is going to come in very handy.

Cheers,
Pappy

bob_raitz
09-30-2013, 10:18 AM
Speaking of those mounts, they are now all installed. How sweet it is.

I mentioned when I started this thread that whoever worked on this car before was a total hack. I now have proof. The motor mount that bolts to the cradle and the front of the engine was halfway there. It was bolted to the engine, rather well, I might add. It was not; however, bolted to the cradle. As a matter of fact, it was sitting on the cradle, not through it. It's a good thing the old torque shock and tranny mounts had those little retainer fingers, otherwise this engine would have jumped out from under the hood.

That is no longer an issue. The mounts are nice and fresh, and bolted on tightly. Now that the drive train is in line, I can do the half shafts and not have to worry about damaging them with misalignment. The driver's side is shot, both inner and outer boots torn. Passenger is passable, but I know as soon as I change the first one, the other will rip a boot and spray. Besides, I have to change the axle seals, so I might as well go for the full Monty while I'm there.

I figure since it's my everyday driver, it has to be as right as I can get it. I hate driving a car I can't trust.

It is starting to look like this was a cab or some such, and the engine had been replaced at least once. It's probably not the best deal I've ever gotten, but once I get all the bugs worked out, it's going to be a sweet ride. I might even decide to sell it and start fresh with a different A body. Perhaps something with a Tech4.

I haven't made up my mind, yet.

The next repair is one that scares me. The thermostat housing appears to be leaking. My dread is that the thermostat bolts are cold-welded, because it's a surety that the hack that screwed the pooch on the motor mount wouldn't be smart enough to use Anti-Seize when putting an iron bolt into an aluminum hole. While I had assumed I'd change the intake just to do it before I have to, I'd rather put it off if I can. Snapping a bolt off in the intake would force my hand. That would make me an unhappy Pappy.

Cheers,
Pappy

thesam1984
11-05-2013, 06:59 PM
By the way I just bought that impact wrench at harbor freight man are you right. I used it 3 timesjust doing my rear shocks. someone at tighten my lug nuts too tight, used it to loosen the shocks bottom bolt, and to remove the shock tower mount from the worn out shock... it will really help me because im actually at a slight disadvange as I'm a burn survivor and I dont have the strength in my hands that most people do.

babyivan
11-05-2013, 07:22 PM
You NEED those 14" wheels!
You dont need to change the speedo gear. Use THIS (http://www.miata.net/garage/tirecalc.html) to get the same wheel diameter as the OEM set up.

bob_raitz
11-07-2013, 08:03 AM
This coming Saturday is fix the leaks day. I've got drive axle seals to install, plus the intake and valve cover gaskets. If that does the trick of stopping all my oil and tranny fluid from disappearing into puddles on the driveway, I will consider tires/rims of a size that will bring my speedometer back into proper operation, and it might even add to my gas mileage. That is a good thing. Depending on how the day goes, I may even replace the water pump just because the hack that worked on it previously coated the gasket in orange silicone, way too much silicone.

Speaking of silicone, I had to replace the lower radiator hose, as it was starting to leak. When I got it off, I saw how the hack had used silicone on the nipple that holds said hose to the radiator. I've never seen that. I shudder to think how much silicone goo is floating around in my cooling system. I shudder to think that someone actually feels a need to do such a silly thing. A good, tight hose clamp is all I've ever used. :shaking head:

Cheers,
Pappy

bob_raitz
11-11-2013, 08:17 AM
Fix the leaks day appears to have been a success. You can check it out in, "what did I do to my A car today". I am so happy with the progress the car is making. I hope to have all the mechanical issues fixed by the new year, if not a bit after. Then, it's time to get the body work done. It's the only thing on cars I'm not good at doing, actually. I may replace the hood and trunk lid myself, but I would not have the guts to even attempt to paint it. It is good to know one's limitations.

I did find some interesting things.

Firstly, I've never seen the plastic wire holders in a GM distributor crumble to dust. I got to see that yesterday. I have worked on HEI systems from the time the coil lived in the cap, and I have never seen one fall to pieces like that. Add distributor (or at least a new internal wiring harness and a new pickup coil) to the list of things that need to be repaired.

The thermostat housing was a study in corrosion. I feared that job most of all, because I know too well the nightmare of twisting off the bolts for a thermostat housing in the manifold. I know hat one really well. While my worst fears weren't realized, while using a drill-powered wire brush, I found that the corrosion had eaten a hole in the housing. It was down low, but I could temporarily put a hose back on. Yes, I used Anti-Seize, like every smart person who bolts iron into aluminum should. I have to replace it, so naturally, I'm going to put it together so it can be taken apart again. Add stat housing to the list.

The driver's side half shaft is shot. It's not noisy yet, but both boots are shredded. I think part of my saving grace is the fact that it doesn't rain a lot here, so I could probably get a bit of life out of that shaft. Of course, I know better, so a half-shaft is on my list. I've thought about replacing the passenger's side at the same time, partly to do it even though the boots are intact, and partly because the engine was misaligned in the cradle, which could have put strange stresses and so on on the joints. I'd rather be safe than sorry. Besides, if the boots on one side are shot, how soon will the boots on the other side last before they come apart as well? Fix it all and be done with it for another ninety thousand miles, or so.

I can't wait to be done, and drive the end result. Woohoo!

Cheers,
Pappy

Century7667
11-13-2013, 10:53 PM
Fix the leaks day appears to have been a success. You can check it out in, "what did I do to my A car today". I am so happy with the progress the car is making. I hope to have all the mechanical issues fixed by the new year, if not a bit after. Then, it's time to get the body work done. It's the only thing on cars I'm not good at doing, actually. I may replace the hood and trunk lid myself, but I would not have the guts to even attempt to paint it. It is good to know one's limitations.

I did find some interesting things.

Firstly, I've never seen the plastic wire holders in a GM distributor crumble to dust. I got to see that yesterday. I have worked on HEI systems from the time the coil lived in the cap, and I have never seen one fall to pieces like that. Add distributor (or at least a new internal wiring harness and a new pickup coil) to the list of things that need to be repaired.

The thermostat housing was a study in corrosion. I feared that job most of all, because I know too well the nightmare of twisting off the bolts for a thermostat housing in the manifold. I know hat one really well. While my worst fears weren't realized, while using a drill-powered wire brush, I found that the corrosion had eaten a hole in the housing. It was down low, but I could temporarily put a hose back on. Yes, I used Anti-Seize, like every smart person who bolts iron into aluminum should. I have to replace it, so naturally, I'm going to put it together so it can be taken apart again. Add stat housing to the list.

The driver's side half shaft is shot. It's not noisy yet, but both boots are shredded. I think part of my saving grace is the fact that it doesn't rain a lot here, so I could probably get a bit of life out of that shaft. Of course, I know better, so a half-shaft is on my list. I've thought about replacing the passenger's side at the same time, partly to do it even though the boots are intact, and partly because the engine was misaligned in the cradle, which could have put strange stresses and so on on the joints. I'd rather be safe than sorry. Besides, if the boots on one side are shot, how soon will the boots on the other side last before they come apart as well? Fix it all and be done with it for another ninety thousand miles, or so.

I can't wait to be done, and drive the end result. Woohoo!

Cheers,
Pappy

Heat is a killer to plastic ain't it? These 80's cars got so hot under the hood.

On that thermostat housing, I'm not sure, but I would have been tempted to try Permatex No. 2 (non-hardening) on the bolts (and the gasket if it's not an o-ring /compression like the later models). The permatex will resist coolant, and since it's non hardening and won't get as hot an an exhaust manifold....I think that would be the way I would go. I'm not sure if the anti-sieze will resist the coolant.

The early model FWD half shaft boots aren't very good. I replaced one on my '84 Skyhawk, as the joint was ok. If you are considering just replacing the boot, I have the tool that presses (or pushes it on). It's been kicking around in my garage for nearly 20 years. You're if you are willing to pay the shipping. I can send a pic, if you are interested. I'm guessing the j-body boot and the early a-body boot may be the same.

Thanks,
Ken T.

turbokinetic
11-14-2013, 10:46 PM
Heat is a killer to plastic ain't it? These 80's cars got so hot under the hood.

On that thermostat housing, I'm not sure, but I would have been tempted to try Permatex No. 2 (non-hardening) on the bolts (and the gasket if it's not an o-ring /compression like the later models). The permatex will resist coolant, and since it's non hardening and won't get as hot an an exhaust manifold....I think that would be the way I would go. I'm not sure if the anti-sieze will resist the coolant.

The early model FWD half shaft boots aren't very good. I replaced one on my '84 Skyhawk, as the joint was ok. If you are considering just replacing the boot, I have the tool that presses (or pushes it on). It's been kicking around in my garage for nearly 20 years. You're if you are willing to pay the shipping. I can send a pic, if you are interested. I'm guessing the j-body boot and the early a-body boot may be the same.

Thanks,
Ken T.

Hi Ken, yeah! The heat is a killer for these cards. You probably saw all the connectors on Project Camilla that I had to replace! That car lived in Florida in the heat and it shows!

Pappy, as for the CV shafts, watch out for the "new" ones the stores sell. They are made in China junk. They are not even close the original! The joints and the shaft are half the size of the original. The best deal is the remanufactured OEM ones. They are original Saginaw joints with re-machined races and oversized balls. They are really stronger than new due to the oversized balls. I have been puttin more than 400 HP through them without problems.

The boots are very easy to change, if you don't mind getting greasy! If the joint is still tight that's probably your best option.

Sincerely,
David

bob_raitz
11-18-2013, 05:26 AM
Heat is a killer to plastic ain't it? These 80's cars got so hot under the hood.

All cars get hot under the hood. I can accept that reality. The thing I always wondered about was why they put the trans cooler on the hot side of the radiator. When you consider how much heat is created in an automatic, putting the cooler on the hot side of the radiator always seemed to me more of a way to make sure tranny shops got steady work. I am planning on getting a tranny cooler and circumventing the radiator. It just seems to me that a cool tranny is a happy tranny, especially when you consider that heat is the number one destroyer of TCC solenoids.

As for the CCC plugs, they're all pretty much shot. One that goes to the diverter valve is down to a small piece of plastic with two bare nubs sticking out. One more attempt at removing it could spell the end for that connector. It still has the first generation coolant temperature sensor. The wires are fried out, and the connector is no longer attached to the thing that held it to the sensor.

I was hoping to find a drive line/gear wholesale house in the L.A. area (anyone who knows one, tell me) as a source for the axle shafts. While I don't necessarily mind the up to my elbows in grease experience of rebooting an axle shaft, I'd just rather replace the whole thing and be done with it. Considering the misalignment of the engine for however long, I'd rather know that any damage that could have been caused by that is fixed.

I'd rather just replace the shafts. That way, they are guaranteed for life. I don't know that I plan on keeping the car once I get it done, although the thought is attractive, but if I do, I'll know it's up to snuff. I'd rather do the five-minute quicky. I've done that with every front-wheel drive car I've ever owned. As the old saying goes, 'all new parts, no old come-backs'.

As far as anti-seize, I've used it for a very long time. It is coolant resistant since it is oil-based. As far as I'm concerned, it is the only way to bolt steel into aluminum and not wind up with cold-welded threads and other corrosive festivities brought on by dissimilar metals and 50/50 coolant mix. I consider it an absolute must when screwing spark plugs into aluminum heads.

I use it because I've snapped more than one bolt off in a manifold. Customers usually don't like hearing that their repair cost has just doubled, or more, due to cold-welded threads. I've used it on every car I have owned, and I have never stripped out or broken thermostat housing fasteners on any of my own vehicles.

The oil leaks seem to be stopped. I'm not so sure about the trans. I smelled something like burning tranny fluid yesterday. I am going to take it to a local place and have them clean the underside of the car, specifically, the areas I can't reach at the car wash, to be sure I got all the leaks. I hate the thought of pulling up into someone's driveway, and having my car 'mark its territory'.

Cheers,
Pappy

turbokinetic
11-18-2013, 12:48 PM
All cars get hot under the hood. I can accept that reality. The thing I always wondered about was why they put the trans cooler on the hot side of the radiator. When you consider how much heat is created in an automatic, putting the cooler on the hot side of the radiator always seemed to me more of a way to make sure tranny shops got steady work. I am planning on getting a tranny cooler and circumventing the radiator. It just seems to me that a cool tranny is a happy tranny, especially when you consider that heat is the number one destroyer of TCC solenoids.

Youre right! Seems like GM learned this in the late 80's early 90's. Not sure if you're reading the Project Camilla (http://www.a-body.net/forums/showthread.php?11247) thread. It's an 85 Celebrity that I am restoring and installing turbo for another member here. One of the 'updates' is a late model radiator with a cold-side trans oil cooler.

http://68.209.87.173/85_Celebrity/Build/IMG_4192.JPG

This came from a 1994 Ciera with 3x00 engine. one word of warning - on the Celebrity cars, the extended filler cap WILL HIT THE HOOD. The hood has a double-wall bottom in this area. You'll have to cut a hole in the double wall portion to clear the filler neck. I almost broke this radiator first time I closed the hood!


As for the CCC plugs, they're all pretty much shot. One that goes to the diverter valve is down to a small piece of plastic with two bare nubs sticking out. One more attempt at removing it could spell the end for that connector. It still has the first generation coolant temperature sensor. The wires are fried out, and the connector is no longer attached to the thing that held it to the sensor.

Like this TCC connector (new and old)
http://68.209.87.173/85_Celebrity/Build/IMG_4983.JPG

or this temp sensor
http://68.209.87.173/85_Celebrity/Build/IMG_4977.JPG

or this injector power connector
http://68.209.87.173/85_Celebrity/Build/IMG_4979.JPG

Those are just a few of the ones I had to change out!

I learned long ago about the importance of keeping the underhood area as cool as possible. Making sure the exhaust sheilding and insulation is in good shape is important. I usually add extra insulation when possible. Another good thing to do is modify the fan so that it runs LOW speed whenever the engine is running. This will do wonders to keep the heat from building up. When you are slowing down and stopping, before the coolant gets hot enough to activate the fan on HIGH, the low speed is providing air circulation under the hood, to clear the heat rising from the exhaust.

Also, the ignition advance is important to keeping the exhaust temps down. I know you have a CCC system, which I am not too familiar with. On the EFI systems, which can be programmed, it helps to add advance to the maps in the "around town" driving range. This makes the engine more efficient. More of the energy in the fuel is converted to shaft power, and less to heat escaping the exhaust. The newer cars have a near perfect ignition advance map, probably due to emissions and federal fuel milage requirements. But the old ones left A LOT of room for improvement.


...I'd rather just replace the shafts.....As the old saying goes, 'all new parts, no old come-backs'.

That was true. Until the Made in China era hit us. Now it is FAR FROM true. I've been burned by more 'new' but not-made-like-the-original junk than old stuff! We won't even talk about chinese air conditioning compressors.......


As far as anti-seize, I've used it for a very long time. It is coolant resistant since it is oil-based. As far as I'm concerned, it is the only way to bolt steel into aluminum and not wind up with cold-welded threads and other corrosive festivities brought on by dissimilar metals and 50/50 coolant mix. I consider it an absolute must when screwing spark plugs into aluminum heads.

Yeah! I got really lucky getting the manifold and thermostat housing off the 85 Celeb. It had rusty water in it. Had been sitting for years. I cheated and heated up the aluminum with a torch. I would rather soften the aluminum and have the threads come out with it, than break the bolts in the housing! Heli-coils can replace the missing threads much easier than a class 9.8 bolt can be drilled out of aliminum! :)


The oil leaks seem to be stopped. I'm not so sure about the trans. I smelled something like burning tranny fluid yesterday. I am going to take it to a local place and have them clean the underside of the car, specifically, the areas I can't reach at the car wash, to be sure I got all the leaks.....

Hope you got it fxed! Those multiple oil leak jobs can be a PITA to find everything. One place to look on these old cars when you have an "intermittent" leak is the steering gear. Sometimes this will leak at the ends of the rack rod, and fill the boots with oil. Then it will leak every once in a while when the steering is in certain positions!

Take care,
David

bob_raitz
11-21-2013, 08:30 AM
When I looked, the rack was dry. Unfortunately, it appears as if I have a case of rack morning sickness. Yes, the old familiar leaky, aluminum spool valve housing. It clears up usually in about a half hour of driving. As the weather gets cooler, the symptoms are much more apparent, and disconcerting.

The good news is the rebuilt rack is 64 bucks plus 12 core. The thing of which I am not sure is whether or not I can cheat; do the job without mandatory cradle-dropping. My compliment of jacks and stands may not be totally up to the challenge, and I'm not so sure my courage is up to being more or less underneath a dangling cradle. I'd feel so much better about doing the job myself if I could get it up on a lift. Long bottle jacks allow graceful cradle descent.

If I have to drop the cradle, I'll have to psych myself up for that. I'm sure I'm making a bit of a mountain out of a molehill, but it has been a while since I did an A-body rack job, and while I did to a Taurus on the ground, I can't make the same claim with an A-body. I will do what I must, but if there's a cheat for this, let me know. Thanks.

Cheers,
Pappy

turbokinetic
11-21-2013, 12:56 PM
Hi Pappy - I can give some advice on the steering gear. I've got multiple A-cars and virtually all of them develop rack morning sickness. There is an oil viscosity treatment called Lucas Power Steering treatment which will cure morning sickness, as long as it's not too far advanced. It's not expensive and it's worth a try. My 87 Century turbo Sedan (brown car I got from junkyard with bad timing chain) had morning sickness when I got it. The oil in the steering system was black, so I flushed the system out very well and put about half Lucas and the rest normal Dexron trans oil. That car has been a part of my 'family' for several years now, and the steering is still good. It's worth a try and may buy you a couple more seasons of use before you have to change the gear.

If that's not effective, the R&P replacement does require lowering the rear of the subframe. I tried to replace one on Project Camilla with the engine/ trans out of the car, and even with being able to stand in the engine bay, it was not possible to remove the rack. The problem is, the bolt on the right side can not come out of the subframe / rack without hitting the car body. The bolt is too long. With the subframe down, that bolt has room to come out. I feel this is a "Defence in Depth" design against loss of steering failure. Even if both nuts come off, the steering rack can not become free because that one bolt is trapped. The same goes for the steering column shaft. It is too long to become (easily) disengaged from the R&P input shaft until the subframe is lowered. Even if the pinch bolt falls out, the shaft can not disconnect.

The bolt on the left in this picture (the car's right side) is trapped even without a nut:
http://68.209.87.173/85_Celebrity/Build/IMG_4930.JPG

One thing to be careful about. I would support each of the 4 corners of the subframe with a jack, and remove each bolt one at a time for inspection. I found one snapped off, so that could cause an accident if it broke while you were tilting the rear of the subframe down.

The steering column shaft bolt requires a 7/16" (11mm) which is an odd size socket for these cars. Trying to get a 10 on it, from under the wheel well on a long extension, with it at an odd angle and bad visibility can be frustrating! :)

Hope this helps!
Sincerely,
David

billkandi
11-21-2013, 09:25 PM
This gives me a clue for when I finally put an F41/FE3 rack in mine, which for now, is still ok. Thanks!

bob_raitz
11-23-2013, 11:39 PM
Yeah. That's another thing that worries me. This car, while a Cali car, spent some time where there was salt in the air or on the road. While for the most part, the rust is superficial, I shudder to think about zapping off the cradle bolts only to hear the impact suddenly sound like a big ass power drill. That would not be a good thing.

I'm definitely going to look into the Lucas steering treatment. There is already an inline filter for the rack, so I have a convenient drain point. Considering the morning sickness doesn't last too long on the first start, that might solve my issue enough to kick it down the road when I have a bigger jack, two more jack stands, more available daylight, and no chance of it getting really cold at night...you know, like around mid June. Thanks for the tip.

I didn't think there was a cheat, but it's been a while. The owner of the taurus had a floor jack, too. That made it a bit easier. At this point in time, I'd like to stop investing in this car, and maybe save up for the next one. Considering what this car was when I got it, I have to say that I don't mind the fact that I didn't haggle on the price. It's well worth the initial cost, and all subsequent repairs.

Cheers,
Pappy

turbokinetic
11-24-2013, 01:34 AM
,.....
I'm definitely going to look into the Lucas steering treatment. There is already an inline filter for the rack, so I have a convenient drain point.... Considering what this car was when I got it, I have to say that I don't mind the fact that I didn't haggle on the price. It's well worth the initial cost, and all subsequent repairs.


I expect that Lucas treatment will take care of your steering all together!

These old cars are fun, and they are so much simpler than the new stuff when it comes to working on them or making them faster.

Sincerely,
David

bob_raitz
11-26-2013, 09:29 AM
I deliver medical marijuana with the car, and some of my more discerning patients compliment me on it. I delivered to a mechanic today who made a comment about it. It always makes me smile when I remember what a wreck it was when I got it.

Beyond that, I'm really happy with how it's come along. It still has a bit of a bog when going for WOT, which is probably due to the flapper valve spring on the secondary not being wound tightly enough, or some sort of jet issue. It may also be a cat issue. If so, I'm going to get the highest flow cat I can put on it, plus a stainless steel cat back with a throaty muffler. I am planning on keeping this one for as long as I can, or until someone begs to buy it with the proper number of Ben Franklin portraits. I want it to make me proud when I'm out on the road.

Cheers,
Pappy

turbokinetic
11-26-2013, 02:15 PM
I deliver medical marijuana with the car, and some of my more discerning patients compliment me on it. I delivered to a mechanic today who made a comment about it. It always makes me smile when I remember what a wreck it was when I got it.

Yes, when your old car starts to get compliments - it makes one feel good!

I was test driving Project Camilla and got comments on it, even though the paint is bad.


Beyond that, I'm really happy with how it's come along. It still has a bit of a bog when going for WOT, which is probably due to the flapper valve spring on the secondary not being wound tightly enough, or some sort of jet issue.

When I had the VareJet II carb, I found that the metering rod on the secondary was critical. It ran lean all the time. It's been a long time but I remember there are multiple ways to adjust it. It has to be adusted up-and-down as well as the spring on the air flap adjusted. In the end, I had to "turn down" my metering rod to a smaller taper at the bottom. That cured the bogging. I had a very free flowing exhaust and intake on that car, though.


It may also be a cat issue. If so, I'm going to get the highest flow cat I can put on it, plus a stainless steel cat back with a throaty muffler. I am planning on keeping this one for as long as I can, or until someone begs to buy it with the proper number of Ben Franklin portraits. I want it to make me proud when I'm out on the road.

Cheers,
Pappy

bob_raitz
11-28-2013, 07:27 AM
Because I live in California, having a cat is a must. Even if it weren't, I've seen the smog, and I've been told by many that it was much, much worse before the tougher emissions laws, so I'd still have it installed.

I'm sure it's going to take a bit of trial and error to dial it in. The thought of completely replacing the carb has merit, but I think I am up to the task of dialing everything in as it should be. I just have to wrack my brain a bit to remember what I used to know.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Cheers,
Pappy

turbokinetic
11-28-2013, 01:46 PM
...I'm sure it's going to take a bit of trial and error to dial it in. The thought of completely replacing the carb has merit, but I think I am up to the task of dialing everything in as it should be. ...Happy Thanksgiving, everyone......

Dialing it in is the way to go. Replacing it is a guess, as well as trusting that the replacement is actually setup properly to begin with. I remember several carb replacements that ended badly, requiring more than one new carb before I got a good one. Because I don't have a huge amount of carburetor experience, I wanted to blame my adjustments on the engine performance issues. Therefore I wasted a LOT of time trying to make adjustments on a defective replacement carb.

Rebuilding and adjusting it yourself takes longer initially, but it seems to end with better outcome. IMHO as they say.

I'm not encouraging you to remove your cat. I understand what you're up against in CA. I think I read that you have a new high-flow one. It's just that the new ones are different and don't cause the same backpressure the original ones did. If you replace the original pellet-bed catalyst with e new high-flow one, that is about the same as a straight pipe. It makes a big change to the backpressure and airflow. You may very well run into the same secondary metering rod issue I had. Just keep that in mind if you can't seem to get it to "open up" at high revs.

Sincerely,
David

bob_raitz
11-28-2013, 08:39 PM
The cat is monolithic already. The thing that bothers me is that I had an episode when I first bought it where I was stuck on a freeway, in a BIG traffic jam, with one dead cylinder. Going highway speed was out of the question, and it ran for over two hours, dumping all that raw fuel into the cat. You should have seen the smoke rolling off the oily exhaust pipes. I was sure the thing was going to erupt in flames.

Because of that, I have a thought that episode might have slightly, or a bit more than slightly poisoned the cat. I'm thinking of taking it to a local exhaust shop to get the highest flow cat I can, a stainless-steel cat-back, and something in a slightly rumbly muffler. Once that's all done, then it's time to save for body work.

Speaking of which, if there's anyone on here who has a body shop, or does GOOD body work on the side for cash or barter in the L.A. county area, Pomona and environs, or even San Bernardino, please drop me a line. I am hoping to be at a place where I can start getting body work done around the first of the year. I want my baby to sparkle like she did on day one at the dealership.

I digress...

Considering pot metal can only be played with so long before it starts to chew threads and such, and considering that when I'm not pouring on the coal, it runs nicely, I would probably open the carb again, and do some futzing before I'd replace it. No off idle lag (thanks to new drive train mounts), and once it gets up to highway speed, it's a bit more responsive. That beats the hell out of what it was when I bought it originally.

Once I replace the coil and wires, then I'm going to completely re-adjust the carb, and epoxy the main well plug, as it seems to be leaky (serious flood after hot soak, empty float bowl on the first start). Once that's all done, then I'll play a little more with the secondary and see if I can fatten it up a smidge.

As everyone who drives in California knows, you want to have all the horses you can muster for those times that the freeways aren't more like fifty-mile long parking lots. Considering that I am thinking of making this one my baby, and fixing up others to sell, I want it to be able to get me from A to B while turning heads, and freaking out the throttle jockey kiddies in their Honda Hoopties. I might even take it to the classic car show in Pomona next year. Woohoo!

Happy Thanksgiving, one and all,
Pappy

turbokinetic
11-29-2013, 12:37 AM
I know of a very good, reasonable bodyshop in Birmingham, AL if you are up for a hell of a road trip... ;)

Awesome about you deciding to keep it it for a long term car! Hope to see some pictures of it as you get the body and paint work done.

bob_raitz
12-01-2013, 04:41 AM
While I do have a road trip or two planned for it, Alabama is just a bit too far.

Cheers,
Pappy

bob_raitz
01-03-2014, 07:24 AM
It is with some bit of sadness that I must report that I've got a bit of a lower end knock. When I advanced the timing to closer to where it should be, I picked up a bit of a rod knock. The added stress of having the air/fuel charge go, "boom," just before the piston gets to top dead center has brought out a demon in the engine.

While I had planned on doing a rebuild eventually, and the timing set, I wasn't planning on having my hand forced on the issue. The front crank seal is leaking, and I imagine the rear main is as well, but with the timing retarded, the knock was inaudible. Considering how it eats gas when the timing is retarded, I've added some 20W/50 to keep up the oil pressure until I can get a different car for work. Once that's done, I'm going to put in far up in the driveway, and attempt to install a crank kit in chassis, that is assuming my knock isn't actually a spun bearing as much as it is an excessively worn bearing.

I'll know once I get the oil pan off.

Cheers,
Pappy

fixitman333
01-03-2014, 12:34 PM
good luck with that.

turbokinetic
01-03-2014, 12:42 PM
It is with some bit of sadness that I must report that I've got a bit of a lower end knock. When I advanced the timing to closer to where it should be, I picked up a bit of a rod knock. The added stress of having the air/fuel charge go, "boom," just before the piston gets to top dead center has brought out a demon in the engine.

While I had planned on doing a rebuild eventually, and the timing set, I wasn't planning on having my hand forced on the issue. The front crank seal is leaking, and I imagine the rear main is as well, but with the timing retarded, the knock was inaudible. Considering how it eats gas when the timing is retarded, I've added some 20W/50 to keep up the oil pressure until I can get a different car for work. Once that's done, I'm going to put in far up in the driveway, and attempt to install a crank kit in chassis, that is assuming my knock isn't actually a spun bearing as much as it is an excessively worn bearing.

I'll know once I get the oil pan off.

Cheers,
Pappy

That really bites. I had a similar thing happen to a car I'm working on. It ended up being the main bearings. Since your 2.8 is almost the same vintage as the one I am working on - it's very plausable the same root cause could be at play.

In my case, the root cause was VERY BAD machining quality on the engine block. The oil supply passages were not aligned with the bearing oil ports, which caused marginal lubrication. Then, when I started pushing the engine harder, the center 2 mains burned up.

The knock was very slight, and only noticable when fully warmed up, revving in Neutral.

Root cause:
http://68.209.87.173/85_Celebrity/Engine/IMG_5124.JPG

Resultant damage:
http://68.209.87.173/85_Celebrity/Engine/IMG_5107.JPG

Just curious, how are you going to get the crankshaft out without removing the engine? I contemplated this for my 85 Olds Ciera convertible (has similar damage) but the transmission and the timing gear housing and chain would have to come off first. You may have a better idea, but to me it looked safer and easier to just pull the engine out. Like I said - you may have better idea / different circumstances. I am just curious how it could be done.

Sincerely,
David

bob_raitz
01-06-2014, 09:21 AM
In the good old days, we used to change flex plates on front wheel drive vehicles by the following method:

1. Remove flex plate stone cover.
2. Remove the flex plate to converter bolts (or nuts, for Ford).
3. Remove the standard bell housing bolts, and replace them with long bolts (two to three inches longer, or more).
4. Separate the engine from the transaxle about three inches or so. Use a deep well socket or two to maintain the gap.
5. Work your hands and tools into the void created.

It can be tight, but it is very doable. I used a long breaker bar to break the crank to flex plate bolts free, and a long torque wrench to properly torque in the new flex plate. It would be simple to use the same basic thing to remove the crank and install a crank kit, if needed. Done carefully and properly, you can even pop in a new one-piece rear main seal. That can be tricky, but again, it's doable.

The only disadvantage I see is if it does turn out that I'm having oil gallery issues, I would be in a position where the engine would have to come out. While I had planned on rebuilding it some day down the road, that day might be closer if it turns out it's the mains. Even more so depending on how fried the crank looks when I pull off the caps.

If it's only one rod, which is what it sounds like, then it should be fairly clear which one it would be after a cylinder kill test. If it's mains, then my assumption is that a kill test would be inconclusive. Considering there is a main bearing every two cylinders, the difference would be much less noticeable.

At unloaded idle (not in drive or reverse), the engine is quite quiet, even warm. At loaded idle (in drive or reverse), I get the knock. It sounds reminiscent of the way the old Iron Dukes had that rod knock, even fresh from the dealer. As soon as I can get a hold of a decent four-banging something or other, I'm going to put the Celebrity up on stands, and pull the pan. The only way I'm going to know what's really up is to pull caps and see what I see. I'm going to be playing with plastigauge again. It's been forever since I did that. Part of me is giddy, and part of me is dreading that I might find more damage than I want to deal with.

At this point, I'm on the hunt for something that gets good mileage and is dependable to the point that I can take the Celebrity offline and spare myself excessive crank damage. It is my hope that any damage to the throw that contains the rod in question isn't too scored up or otherwise scratched to pieces. If I can get that lucky, I might be able to replace that one bearing and quiet the motor. I'd be very happy if that was the case. If I get really inspired, I could replace all the rod and main bearings without having to drop the crank at all.

That's that plan, anyway. Let's see how it works out.

Cheers,
Pappy

turbokinetic
01-06-2014, 12:19 PM
That's an ineresting procedure using the long bellhousing bolts for guides. I kind of expected that was how you might do that job.

If I remember, the 1984 2.8 engine has different main bearing journal size from the newer ones, so check the part numbers carefully!

Also, the early 2.8 engines had a very poor aluminum-body oilpump. The later model engines (such as the 3.1) had an iron pump with more capacity. It had higher pressure spring as well as more volume. That would be a very worthwhile improvement.

Sincerely,
David

bob_raitz
01-06-2014, 10:36 PM
That's an ineresting procedure using the long bellhousing bolts for guides. I kind of expected that was how you might do that job.

If I remember, the 1984 2.8 engine has different main bearing journal size from the newer ones, so check the part numbers carefully!

Also, the early 2.8 engines had a very poor aluminum-body oilpump. The later model engines (such as the 3.1) had an iron pump with more capacity. It had higher pressure spring as well as more volume. That would be a very worthwhile improvement.

Sincerely,
David

I did it on a few Escorts, and other cars owned by little old ladies from Pasadena. You charge them full book time (engine R&R), and if you're really good, and you've got the real estate, it takes about an hour at most. Those are the days that you spend just counting up those hours and giggling.

As far as this beast is concerned, the more I think about it, the more I want to do a complete bearing re-install on the lower end. I might as well. It doesn't smoke, so I know the rings and valve seals are somewhere between really good and somewhat questionable. AND since I hate the procedure for resetting the lifter lash (why, Chevy? Why?), it makes sense to only replace the lower end since that's the knock source.

I'm going to replace the oil pump with a high-volume *cast iron* unit. That's a given. I knew that the day I cranked the distributor closer to where it belongs, and the knock first let itself be known. Up to that point, the engine was about the expected noise level for it. There is still no valve train noise, so since it's not broke, I'm not going to fix it. I am also going to take the opportunity to replace the front seal, and perhaps the vibration damper as well. I imagine there's a significant groove in the present one.

That will give me the opportunity to also replace the rear main seal using the same basic trick that I described. I think I've found a substitute car, so this could all begin fairly soon. I might even replace the rack while it's up in the air. Why not? It would improve the driving experience greatly! I do love how that car runs down the freeway!

Cheers,
Pappy

bob_raitz
01-06-2014, 10:56 PM
Besides, the starter has a really funky grinding sound. I've been meaning to replace it. Since it has to come off in order to get the pan off, I might as well replace it while I'm going for everything else.

Cross fingers for the car I mentioned above. It's an 89 Nissan Sentra with a body that's as close to immaculate as I've seen in my past weeks of scanning craigslist for something with four cylinders. Yeah, it's not an A body, but I need something that sips gas better than the Chevy. I hate putting all my profits back into the frikin' tank!

Cheers,
Pappy

bob_raitz
01-17-2014, 09:22 PM
Well, the Sentra was a bust. As a matter of fact, I have to say that the month and a half that I've spent looking for fuel efficient has been a nightmare. I've seen some of the shittiest cars, and dealt with some of the shittiest people in my quest for this elusive chariot of efficiency.

I tried one car that was running on three, and had serious blowby. Rings or pistons. Not interested! Another was carbureted, and it had NO pickup. I tried passing gear, and the screaming of the engine didn't seem to correspond to an increase in speed. It slowly slid into drive, and when I pulled the trans dipstick, I was greeted with something that resembled fresh motor oil in color. It smelled seriously burnt, and had lots of suspended particles of band and clutch. It was a no go.

The worst was an Integra. It was owned at some time in its life by the kind of "mechanic" that thrills at putting big engines in smaller cars, but has no idea about the detail work of making it all work as expected. Someone wrapped muffler tape around the header tubes. I was later told that was done to deal with header leaks. Apparently, after installing this tape, the car hadn't been driven, and the smoke hadn't been burned off the tape. So, I'm driving along, and this smell takes over. By the time I got it back to the owner, smoke was rolling out from under the hood. That was a serious, "NO!"

But, at least for the moment, the searching is all done. I now own a 1989 Mazda 323 with stick. It's as base as you get. No power steering, no A/C, but strangely enough, it does have a rear window defroster. Like I'm ever going to use one living in Southern California.

The passenger side is gorgeous. No damage whatsoever. The front is the same way, except that the hood paint is fried. The metal is in one piece, so that's a good thing. The driver's side front fender and door are good. The bad part is that it's been whacked in the driver's rear corner, doing in the bumper, the quarter panel, and the hatch. Depending on what I find mechanically, this might be that one car that I actually get the body work done. It would look great all cleaned up with a fresh coat of paint.

The interior is rugged. I figure I can whip together a cover for the dash, and get a different passenger seat, which is torn to hell.

The best part is the way this car moves. A friend of mine from Texas owned one. I was the guy who worked on it when it was in need. That one had automatic and power everything. Even as loaded down as it was, it ran like the proverbial raped ape. This one does it one better because the only things run by belt on this car are the alternator and water pump. Without all that extra stuff, this thing flies down the road. It runs a lot better than my old Mitsubishi, even though Mitzi was a lot smoother.

The Celebrity is going up on stands to do the lower end. I am also going to swap out the rack, as I doubt that a thicker fluid is going to be any real help. At seventy bucks, it's worth it to me, just so I don't have to deal with it. I am also considering selling the Celebrity, since I'd really like to get one with fuel injection. Carburetors are too much of a PITA, and the carb on the Celebrity has been a real PITA. Still, the guy who buys it from me will be buying a better car than I did.

Cheers,
Pappy

bob_raitz
01-25-2014, 11:31 AM
So anyway, I was driving the Celebrity since the inner tie rod end on the small car is a bit on the loose side. I had not one, but two people pull out in front of me in a way that required me to immediately slam on the brakes. The second one did in the left pad(s) completely. They must have disintegrated or some such. I haven't pulled the wheels yet, as I dread going to Autozone to reorder all the parts, including one rotor which was decimated.

The grinding of the brakes is really bad. I can only imagine how deeply the rotor has been cut by metal on metal. Ugh! I just replaced those brakes right after I bought the car. That's six months or less. Talk about crappy parts. Color me incredibly unimpressed.

I'm even more unimpressed that I now have to drive the 323. I have the tie rod end at last. I'm just fretting it a bit as I really can't afford to have two dead cars on my hands. From all I've seen, it looks to be a quick repair. However, I've never done an inner tie rod end on a rack. I usually replace the rack. I was going to replace the rack on the 323, but the part is back-ordered, and I don't want to play bounce the money back and forth at partsgeek. No one beats their price, but that's a moot point if they can't get the part.

Cheers,
Pappy

bob_raitz
01-26-2014, 07:57 PM
It's not the tie rod end. It's a bushing on the far side of the rack that's worn. From the looks of it, this could go on indefinitely. I am going to replace the rack, but it's not a seriously huge issue at the moment. The sense of relief in that is indescribable. That means I can concentrate on the Celebrity a bit more and get it ready for the selling block. Autozone is going to be bummed when I make the warranty claim.

Cheers,
Pappy