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View Full Version : My first time with an A-body 😀



Littlebelcher98
04-24-2019, 03:42 AM
Introduction:

I am a 20 year old guy from middle Tennessee and I have a strong love for all vehicles. I have recently purchased a 1992 olds cutlass ciera with a 3300 engine.

Condition:

There is little to no rust besides the paint chips on the fenders and the rear cross bar. I got it for 650 dollars from a family friend after his grandmother passed. It was her personal vehicle, and been taken care of. I have the original purchase paperwork and all of the books.
It has had a fender and possibly a door on the passenger side replaced. The fender is off-colored and neither the door or fender line up amazing. The interior is in great shape with light wear on the driver seat.

Repairs:

The center console lid was worn badly so I quickly replaced it. I have replaced the heater core and the lines. The passenger headlight was busted up from a stray BB and I found another light at a salvage yard. The muffler was rusted off so I got a cherry bomb muffler for it.

Modifications:

I have ordered all of my bulbs from ibrightstar on amazon. I had to connect a LED compatable relay for my flashers(which I purchased from Napa/Florida brothers). I have nineo LED headlights and the small #24 bulbs on the side are from superbrightleds. I wired a 4 high relay kit from painless performance for the 88-98 Chevrolet trucks into the car and I love it. I can see everything I want to. The head unit has been replaced with a cheap dual unit from Walmart. My front speakers were shot so I removed them. In the process I discovered why my dash shook so bad at speed. (Cracked plastics) My rears still work fine. Let me know what you think of my project.

Also, How do you guys post your pictures here?

tlc1976
04-24-2019, 12:02 PM
Congrats on getting an a-body. :) I was 20 when I got my first a-body too. That was 22 years ago. They're good cars, reliable, mostly easy to work on.

You need to use a pic hosting site and link to them. There are lots of them. I use Imagevenue because it seems to take the lowest bandwidth for my slow connection, and I'm not slowed down by a bunch of ads or scripts.

Littlebelcher98
04-24-2019, 12:28 PM
Thank you I will post some pictures soon.

tlc1976
04-25-2019, 02:37 AM
I got my Cruiser from someone who inherited it from an elderly family member. A 72 year old couple bought it next to new (found out it was an Avis rental car before that), then the husband died shortly after, and the wife drove it until she couldn't anymore. It looks like it never got driven in snow. It still has all the paperwork too. It's great when you find these old cars nearly rust free. As long as the foundation is good, just about any repair is a bolt on and is worth it in my opinion.

I've replaced the heater core on just about all of my a-bodys. I'm thankful they're so easy, as I hear about them being a ton of work on other cars, like having to pull the whole dash out.

I did the 4 headlight relay on several cars, but just made up my own kit. 20-25 years ago I did it to my cars, and my friend's GM cars. The first time I rode with my friend after installing the relay in his Bonneville, he was brighted by a pickup truck, so he hit his high beams and shouted "HOOWAH" and lit up the driver in the truck. Ever since then, we refer to it as the hoowah relay, or just giving a car hoowahs.

I need to get some new front speakers at some point, one buzzes sometimes. I'll probably do all 4, then put in the amp and box that I had in my old 6000 wagon. The box was a bandpass box I built to fit the 3rd seat floor area.

Yes it would be nice to see some pics of your car.

Littlebelcher98
04-25-2019, 02:58 AM
Front driver side picture


[img=http://img146.imagevenue.com/loc396/th_60763_D997C661_6E72_4705_8ACB_101D7353216D_122_ 396lo.jpeg] (http://img146.imagevenue.com/img.php?image=60763_D997C661_6E72_4705_8ACB_101D73 53216D_122_396lo.jpeg)

Engine bay


[img=http://img243.imagevenue.com/loc343/th_60765_21DCE8B8_125B_4895_9A34_CC940885F06E_122_ 343lo.jpeg] (http://img243.imagevenue.com/img.php?image=60765_21DCE8B8_125B_4895_9A34_CC9408 85F06E_122_343lo.jpeg)

4-hi relay kit


[img=http://img199.imagevenue.com/loc488/th_60768_2C703ADD_71D2_4176_B564_D092BEF98FEA_122_ 488lo.jpeg] (http://img199.imagevenue.com/img.php?image=60768_2C703ADD_71D2_4176_B564_D092BE F98FEA_122_488lo.jpeg)

Off colored fender


[img=http://img287.imagevenue.com/loc36/th_60770_2E512A4C_1480_4897_9A86_02F61A6A6FEE_122_ 36lo.jpeg] (http://img287.imagevenue.com/img.php?image=60770_2E512A4C_1480_4897_9A86_02F61A 6A6FEE_122_36lo.jpeg)


Wheels and tires


[img=http://img178.imagevenue.com/loc172/th_60771_FE28042A_131E_4342_80AD_A0FD59CE1287_122_ 172lo.jpeg] (http://img178.imagevenue.com/img.php?image=60771_FE28042A_131E_4342_80AD_A0FD59 CE1287_122_172lo.jpeg)

Rear end


[img=http://img199.imagevenue.com/loc548/th_60771_7BD1A3AE_32C0_41EA_9218_143AE0BDB129_122_ 548lo.jpeg] (http://img199.imagevenue.com/img.php?image=60771_7BD1A3AE_32C0_41EA_9218_143AE0 BDB129_122_548lo.jpeg)

Garbage welds but they don?t leak


[img=http://img243.imagevenue.com/loc175/th_60774_72364896_ED87_4EAD_88AA_CA212CB4FAE4_122_ 175lo.jpeg] (http://img243.imagevenue.com/img.php?image=60774_72364896_ED87_4EAD_88AA_CA212C B4FAE4_122_175lo.jpeg)

Under carriage 1 2 and 3


[img=http://img294.imagevenue.com/loc78/th_60776_7A15C09D_BA4D_4B68_B9D1_B2043811A73B_122_ 78lo.jpeg] (http://img294.imagevenue.com/img.php?image=60776_7A15C09D_BA4D_4B68_B9D1_B20438 11A73B_122_78lo.jpeg)



[img=http://img243.imagevenue.com/loc365/th_60778_064B97EC_2761_4CDA_BB14_E12A64CEDB0E_122_ 365lo.jpeg] (http://img243.imagevenue.com/img.php?image=60778_064B97EC_2761_4CDA_BB14_E12A64 CEDB0E_122_365lo.jpeg)



[img=http://img287.imagevenue.com/loc88/th_60781_EECF596F_9860_4F01_9965_9B384F9AD74C_122_ 88lo.jpeg] (http://img287.imagevenue.com/img.php?image=60781_EECF596F_9860_4F01_9965_9B384F 9AD74C_122_88lo.jpeg)

CorvairGeek
04-25-2019, 11:05 AM
Welcome! Nice looking car.

Littlebelcher98
04-25-2019, 12:19 PM
Thank you so much. I want to get some of the aluminum rain guards and there are some in a local pull a part but the windows are up and it is electric.

tlc1976
04-25-2019, 04:31 PM
Nice looking car. Underside looks pretty good, so does the pic showing the trailing arm bracket. Those seem to be the first thing to rust out on these cars.

Does yours have the long hood prop rod that lays down across the radiator support? I think it was 1992 they switched to that. Much better design.

A tip for Imagevenue, you can copy the code that says it will make a clickable thumbnail, and paste it here. Seems to work better.

Littlebelcher98
04-25-2019, 09:04 PM
Thanks for the tips. Yes I have the long prop rod. I am not a huge fan of prop rods at all though. Might try to do shocks.

Pontiac6ksteawd
04-25-2019, 10:07 PM
You can still power the power windows with a battery pack from a power drill or whatever your local yard allows. I do this all the time when I need parts, and a power seat, or window, or whatever is in my way.

Littlebelcher98
04-25-2019, 10:44 PM
Thanks again for the tips. I am already loving this community.

Littlebelcher98
04-26-2019, 10:57 PM
Does anyone know of any bolt on suspension upgrades? I want a better ride without as much body roll. I do quite a bit of spirited driving and would love to corner well. A good corner at 55-60 is kinda scary.

tlc1976
04-27-2019, 01:22 AM
You can swap your front stabilizer bar with one from a 90-96 U-van (Pontiac Trans Sport, Olds Silhouette, Chevy Lumina APV). They are considerably thicker and will reduce body roll. Make sure to grab the bushings along with it, though I believe you can still get the bushings new.

Littlebelcher98
04-27-2019, 01:51 PM
So grab the sway bar?

Littlebelcher98
04-27-2019, 01:51 PM
Also, will I starve my engine of oil from hard cornering?

CorvairGeek
04-27-2019, 02:01 PM
Just to clarify, the bushings through the frame / engine cradle must match the stabilizer / anti-sway bar, but the bushings with at the lower control arm are the same. The bars are all the same small diameter at the lower control arm.

A bar from a U-van is like night and day on these cars. I have a 27mm bar from a '95 Transport on our '96, and a sport suspension (FE3 option) 28mm bar from a '90 Silhouette. The original, standard suspension (FE1) sedan bar is around 22mm (at least what I've measured on the '90+ cars).

Station wagon springs are also a great upgrade on the back of a sedan. I have them on the '96, but not (yet) on our '92. I haven't found our '92 to be as pathetic and 'broken down' feeling (and bottoming out) as the '96, even thought the '92 has a lot more miles. The rear spring perches (lower) change in '93, so you would be limited to '92 and older.

CorvairGeek
04-27-2019, 02:16 PM
I don't believe you'll ever be able to corner hard enough to starve the engine for oil unless it is really low on oil, without wrecking the car too.

How many miles on yours? The 3300 is very durable. I recently came across the highest mileage example I've seen;

https://i.postimg.cc/dkH61nmy/Hi-Miles.jpg (https://postimg.cc/dkH61nmy)

https://i.postimg.cc/VSFDyzJ4/Hi-Miles2.jpg (https://postimg.cc/VSFDyzJ4)

Very nice '91, white sedan with blue interior. Low options with the 3 speed auto. Had new tires, so I'll guess a major power train failure.

CorvairGeek
04-27-2019, 02:49 PM
Thanks for the tips. Yes I have the long prop rod. I am not a huge fan of prop rods at all though. Might try to do shocks.

I'm so partial to the Olds shorty rods, I added them to my Century's. The single, Century lift strut doesn't hold up anyway. The nearly 90 degree hood opening makes life easier for geezers like me!

https://i.postimg.cc/7fnnP7bf/Hood-Rod.jpg (https://postimg.cc/7fnnP7bf)

https://i.postimg.cc/zLvm7W3t/Lift-Bar.jpg (https://postimg.cc/zLvm7W3t)

No stress on the hood, since it hooks to the hinge.

Littlebelcher98
04-27-2019, 03:01 PM
Where can I get the small rod

CorvairGeek
04-27-2019, 03:05 PM
The were Cutlass Ciera only. I've found them on cars up through '89, IIRC.

tlc1976
04-27-2019, 04:10 PM
The thing with the small Ciera rod is it puts too much stress at the hood on one side and too far back. The overhung weight of the hood wants to fold it over at that point. Mine got bent that way, and I've read of others similar experience here. They used the small rod up through 1991, for 1992 they changed the design to the longer rod that props it front and center like it should be. I swapped mine to the later one. Even later when I did my engine swap, the rod or even the hood wasn't in the way.

If you really want the small prop rod, and you can't find one locally, you can have mine for whatever it costs to ship it. I don't want it for any reason.

Littlebelcher98
04-28-2019, 06:11 AM
There?s an 89 in a local yard, but I can?t open the hood. I don?t want to damage it in case someone else needs it.

Littlebelcher98
04-28-2019, 06:15 AM
That car is pretty well identical to mine. Except for the year. Wish it was local to me haha. My ciera is currently around 175000

CorvairGeek
04-28-2019, 12:53 PM
The thing with the small Ciera rod is it puts too much stress at the hood on one side and too far back. The overhung weight of the hood wants to fold it over at that point. Mine got bent that way, and I've read of others similar experience here. They used the small rod up through 1991, for 1992 they changed the design to the longer rod that props it front and center like it should be. I swapped mine to the later one. Even later when I did my engine swap, the rod or even the hood wasn't in the way.


I never thought about that since there is no slot to use it like that on the Century. A kink in the hood would match my old Squarebody Chevy pickup!

tlc1976
04-29-2019, 01:10 AM
There?s an 89 in a local yard, but I can?t open the hood. I don?t want to damage it in case someone else needs it.

Can you remove the grille, pry the end of the hood cable up and out of its slot, then yank the hood cable back to open the hood? That's how mine was when I got it, it needed a hood cable.

papawhellie
05-04-2019, 04:32 AM
All I have seen in the yards here are the short rods that hook in the middle of the hood where it always bends. I had no clue it has a spot to hook at the hinge for 90 degree access.
Is my 88 cruiser set up for that feature, it has the short rod? I try and save stuff for the next guy but in the pullapart yards here cars do not last long before they crush.If I really wanted something I would not hesistate to bust out a window. The 97 cutlass I got my wheels from the rear galass had been busted on-site for some reason. Others will come, its a rotating stock situation.

papawhellie
05-04-2019, 04:34 AM
You can swap your front stabilizer bar with one from a 90-96 U-van (Pontiac Trans Sport, Olds Silhouette, Chevy Lumina APV). They are considerably thicker and will reduce body roll. Make sure to grab the bushings along with it, though I believe you can still get the bushings new.

The redesigned vans sway bars are a no go huh? 90-96 or bust??

tlc1976
05-04-2019, 05:27 AM
I haven't checked but I highly doubt it. Completely redesigned vehicle for 97.

CorvairGeek
05-04-2019, 02:09 PM
The '97 and later van is a completely different design. Not even close.

Littlebelcher98
05-22-2019, 02:59 PM
Is the grille emblem for the 92 Cutlass the same as an acheiva of the same period?

Pontiac6ksteawd
05-22-2019, 04:09 PM
Acheiva's badge is slightly larger

Littlebelcher98
05-22-2019, 04:14 PM
I can't find the original badge online for the life of me.

Pontiac6ksteawd
05-22-2019, 05:14 PM
More than likely, you wont. The car is of an age that nobody is going to produce reproductions. Best bet is to try to find a salvage yard, and pull the badge off.

CutlassCruiser1985
05-23-2019, 03:14 PM
Littlebelcher98, I have located several NOS front grille Olds rocket emblems for the Ciera. PM me for details...

Littlebelcher98
05-24-2019, 11:42 AM
Are there and clusters that allow for a tach?

Pontiac6ksteawd
05-24-2019, 01:59 PM
There is, but for that model year, its like finding a needle in the haystack.

Tyson
05-24-2019, 10:51 PM
Congrats and welcome!

Littlebelcher98
05-25-2019, 02:04 PM
Are they only for my year or can I use other years?

CorvairGeek
05-25-2019, 03:26 PM
The big difference is whether it has the electronic speedometer or a mechanically driven speedometer. The change over is around '89, IIRC (I'm not as sure with the Olds). The range of the speedometer changes as the cars get newer. This happens to be a 115mph '92 version;

https://i.postimg.cc/SJ52W9jB/Dash-at-Zero1.jpg (https://postimg.cc/SJ52W9jB)

https://i.postimg.cc/G9LyrrZ5/92-Ciera-5.jpg (https://postimg.cc/G9LyrrZ5)

Note the lack of speedometer cable drive;

https://i.postimg.cc/NKHyb0H5/Rear-Cluster.jpg (https://postimg.cc/NKHyb0H5)

Very unusual, loaded car. The only 6 speaker car I have seen;

https://i.postimg.cc/LhxZ8wS6/92-Ciera-6.jpg (https://postimg.cc/LhxZ8wS6)

Appeared to have every single option available. No body damage, like so many old vehicles here.

https://i.postimg.cc/dkvThKDD/92-Ceira-2.jpg (https://postimg.cc/dkvThKDD)

Tested the electronics, and even the power antenna still worked! Saved the radio, was going to put it in my Caprice, but went with a more modern, but very labor intensive solution.

https://i.postimg.cc/cKfn1JxV/Stereo.jpg (https://postimg.cc/cKfn1JxV)

Picture doesn't do justice to how perfect the face is.

Littlebelcher98
06-06-2019, 02:47 AM
I need to get a dash because mine is broken, but I don't know how to remove one.