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Thread: 89 Cutlass Ciera Race Car Build

  1. #451
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    The oil cooler we used the sandwich plate which is easiest route. FOr the cooler we just used one we found off an old plow truck in a junkyard. For the trans cooler we took one off some cadilac. Don't remember the model but that was a much nicer cooler one with the fluid going through the cooling fins. and how long fluid poured out of it, it seems to hold 50 gallons of fluid.

    I've been using valoline synthetic dot 3 dot 4 fluid. has lasted pretty well and the synthetic doesn't absorb water as much as most of the non synthetic and still not that expensive. You'll want some kind of dot 4 fluid. You'll know how it does when you bleed it with what color it is. If you can get some air to blow on the brake rotors it will help too.



  2. #452

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    Anyone want to volunteer some assistance on getting the OBD2 port plugged back in? I am assuming that the wires come out of the PCM and feed over to the port, and thus I could just run wires directly from the PCM over to the port (and probably mount it near the PCM). What's the best way to find out which wires I need? Or, am I completely off base. Would like to get this figured out before we get the whole engine back together, in case I need to go in and add mechanical readers for all of the engine vitals, although we're getting together to work on it this weekend, that might be happening this weekend.

  3. #453

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    We got our racecar running! Once we got all the electrical and vacuum lines and things lined up, it runs like a dream. So, that's a really big step forward. The seat should be here in a few days, and belts will be here in a couple of weeks (but, we have the expired belts the car came with for test-fitting purposes), so, it's really starting to shape up!

    - We ended up using the A/C condenser as a transmission fluid cooler; I was worried about how tiny the tubing is in it, but, all of the incoming fluid can go through any row, so, I'm a little less worried about it changing the pressure too much (I thought all of the fluid went through every pipe, and that it might overtax the pump, but, that's not the case).

    - We snagged a good-looking radiator out of a '93 Cutlass Ciera at the yard, it's 1" thick vs our 5/8" rad. Ideally I'd like to have more, but, in the interest of time, I think that's a good intermediate solution, included with a hefty amount of external oil cooling.

    - Speaking of oil cooling, I didn't know that some of the 3x00 cars came with factory oil cooler fittings - basically, a sandwich plate adapter to add oil cooler lines in. 2nd gen U-bodies, and a few other cars (including Malibus(?!) according to RockAuto) have them, so, I'm going to see if I can snag one of those from a yard as well.

    - I've walked back our brakes a bit, I was gung-ho about doing the DTS/Lucerne V8 12.8" twin-piston fron brake setup, but, I think we're just going to go with U-body brakes with high quality parts. Slight problem in getting parts from a U-body, but, I've found 2 yards that have them, one an hour away, and one an hour and a half away (different directions, of course), so, hopefully between the two I can find the front knuckles I need. Can always upgrade the brakes more later, and we've already looked at 3rd gen U's for their rear brakes (our yards around here are littered with those).

    - Suspension, we're not quite sure what we're going to do, but we may try getting some U-body springs and cutting them down, and RockAuto sells a camber kit for the front (can't have too much negative camber). I know there are some options out there for stiffening up the chassis, but, not a ton for a firmer suspension (don't have the time/$ to start looking at coilovers just yet).

    More updates to come soon, glad we're getting close to having the car move under its own power again! Hoping our race isn't postponed (24-26Apr), but, it's not looking great...

    Edit: Was trying to edit, and, instead it deleted my post? So strange. Anyway, I discovered that, apparently, not all 1996 vehicles had OBDII, there was actually a cutoff date sometime in 1995, so quite a few 1996 model year cars were produced without it. So, that sucks, and I'm going to guess our car was made prior to the cutoff date.

  4. #454
    Senior Member Duke George V's Avatar
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    Variable rate springs in the front may give you what you're looking for, as will van springs in the rear. My notes show Moog part number CC667 being what you would want for the rear, and Moog CC632 for the front. I put together a combination of van strut with variable car spring for my wagon, and with the variable springs in the rear, it was great for the limited handling tests I can do in a city. It held a cloverleaf onramp pretty good at about 5 mph faster than I usually take it. (Note: I also have a van sway bar in front.) If you also want van springs in the front, it's CC652, but that raises the front of the car by between 1.5 and 2 inches.

    You could also install Monroe 58427 rear shocks, which are essentially an non-adjustable coilover intended for towing and hauling, but it might make the rear too stiff and induce snap oversteer.

  5. #455

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    Success! I was able to find a bright-red 1995 Trans Sport in a yard near here (mostly whole), and it still had all of it's suspension parts. I took the front strut assembly, but wasn't able to get the knuckle off (didn't have a 33mm socket and didn't think to just take the whole axle ), and didn't have a spring compressor for the rear springs. Hoping all of that is still there when I'm lawfully allowed to go back and get it. We're going to look at cutting the front van springs to get down to the height we need, since I won't feel bad if we 'ruin' a set of junkyard springs. If that doesn't work, we will probably look into those Moog options (thank you ever so much for the part numbers )

    But, of course, more problems turn up. So, I did not know that not all 1996s were OBD2. I thought it was a model-year switchover, whereas, apparently, it was actually a date-of-manufacture switchover. I also believe that our race car is OBD1.5, and our parts donor (RIP) was OBD2. Would that cause any issues? If you scroll up a bit, we took basically everything mechanical from the donor, and just bolted/plugged it up to the racecar. The current problems we are getting are, 1) The transmission seems to have defaulted to 3rd (just like the transmission we pulled out of the racecar), and 2) The electric fan is shorting out it's fuse, even when there is no fan hooked up to it. Could this possibly be a bad PCM (BCM, ECM, TCM, etc) - we all swear we pulled the computers out of the donor car, but can't find them ANYWHERE. Are parts like that interchangeable, or are we going to need to have stuff from an OBD2 A-body to fix us up? They don't seem to be that easy to come by anymore.

  6. #456

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    Well, small update. We've now got the better part of the suspension from that 1996 Trans Sport onto our car! Interestingly, the one yard anywhere around us has both a 1996 3400 Trans Sport (in red, no less), and a 1990 3100 Oldsmobile Silhouette, which I find interesting. The Olds has 307,000 miles on it, and donated a nearly perfect radiator to the cause. I keep forgetting to get pictures when the car is actually on the ground, but, we cut the van springs, and lowered it a few inches - much, much stiffer and, with the cut van springs (I know, I know, 'don't cut springs', but, Racecar!), new van struts up front (still need to get some beefier rear shocks), van front brakes, van front sway bar (insert Blues Brothers joke *here*), and now much thicker van radiator (same dimensions as the sedan, but 1.25" thick instead of 5/8"), we're inching closer to 'good to go'.

    Now, the problems. We installed dual fans from a Pontiac Torrent/Chevy Equinox, which use the same size radiator as us, but, ever since we've swapped the engine, the fans don't work. Even with the fans unhooked, the fuse in the harness pops just turning the key to the accessory position. WTF. And, the transmission is very, very sluggish, and doesn't seem to have any idea what gear it should be in (and first isn't on the list). We have switched over to OBDII - the engine harness is from an OBDII car, and we grabbed the full body harness and computers from an OBDII car in the yard and put them in. Still the problem with the fans and the trans though.
    Codes we're getting (yes, we can pull codes now!!! ):

    P1864 - Torque Converter Clutch Solenoid
    P1651 - Fan 1 Relay Control Circuit
    P1652 - Fan 2 Relay Control Circuit (It's a '96 car, so has the accessory A/C fan. We hooked the main fan up to the main fan, and the accessory fan up to the second fan on the 'dual' setup).
    P1655 - EVAP Purge Solenoid Control Circuit

    The first one is 'Confirmed', and the last three are 'Pending'. All of them (except P1655) either aren't mentioned on this site, or are mention only in Daniel's post. Daniel: I see that we're having almost exactly the same issues you had with George. However, our fuse (I'm assuming it's the same one?) blows every time, no matter what, even with fans unplugged, and all of the fan relays unplugged. And, it's doing this with not only two different computers, but two completely different wiring harnesses. We're thinking it may be something with the transmission shift solenoid, but, are kind of just taking stabs in the dark at this point.

    So, that leaves left on the list (assuming we're able to get the transmission and fans worked out):
    - Seat and Harnesses Installed
    - Fire Suppression system Installed (should be pretty easy, have done it before)
    - Auxiliary lights mounted (1st race is a 24hr)
    - Buy tires
    - Maintenance - Change Oil, new trans filter, flush brake fluid, new pads, rebuild calipers (and make sure rear drums are at least functioning), change power steering fluid, etc, etc.
    - Determine if the ABS light means our ABS isn't actually functioning (don't want square tires!)
    - Likely a mountain of stuff I'm forgetting

    Our first race is now scheduled for 06-07 June, depending on how South Carolina's (and Georgia's) grand experiment to ease restrictions goes. So, if everyone in SC doesn't die from COVID-19, that leaves us only a month!

  7. #457

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    Some success! After a good bit of trial and error, it seems the culprit is a small group of wires that run up from under the master cylinder. Haven't yet determined what they are or what they do, but, unplugging that connector seems to let everything run as intended - transmission shifts good and picks the right gears, and the main fan comes on at 220deg on the nose. The only code we're left with is for the 02 sensor, which isn't hooked up (there's currently no exhaust - add that to the list above. BTW, I really want to do an exhaust setup from a late Eldorado or early 2000s deVille with the quad setup, just for the humor of it). We'll try to figure out what that wiring is for, but, currently assuming it's just a grounded wire, and it happened to be a rather important one.

    Question - does anyone know what the parameters are for turning on the auxiliary fan on the '94-'96 cars? I'm pretty sure it's A/C related, but, we don't have A/C. Since we're keeping the climate control panel (for defrost), is there a simple way we could set it up to come on when we flip it over to the A/C side. Are there any temperature parameters for the fan turning on? I know the main fan is supposed to come on at 220deg, will the aux come on at a set higher temperature (230deg, 240deg, etc) in an attempt to cool an overheating engine? And, since we are keeping defrost, if we somehow can program the fan to turn on whenever the A/C is 'on', would that also command it to be on when the defrost is on? Not sure if these automatically run the compressor when the defrost is on, like a lot of vehicles do.

    So many niggly little details, but, I really do appreciate the help y'all have given so far! I think we're beginning to get close.

  8. #458

    Pontiac6ksteawd's Avatar
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    The fan is programmed to come on WITH the AC Compressor, and is part of a relay circuit. No AC compressor engagement, no fan. I would probably just run both fans off a relay to come on at the same time 220*. At least thats what I would do.

    There really isnt a way to trick it either, as it has computer programming to adjust the pulse band at the IAC to prevent the engine from stalling from the added stress of the AC compressor.
    Brian - Carpe Diem

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  9. #459

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    That makes sense, but good to know. Interesting about the about the cutout to prevent stalling, smart design there. Probably not worth trying to trick it into using the stock controls - I guess one more switch won't hurt. I do want to keep it separate from the main fan - likely either switched, or just have it come on whenever the car is on. That way, if there's ever a problem that prevents the main fan from activating - say, a bad coolant temperature sensor, ect - we have an easy backup. Both fans use the same type of plug, so, could just swap them (to use the much larger main fan) and keep racing.

    Any idea if our car uses the traditional GM 36 spline steering column? Trying to fit a steering wheel quick disconnect, as our large full-containment seat and awkward cage bars makes getting in and out awkward. Pretty sure the earlier A-bodies are 36 spline, but, not sure about our '96 with airbag.

  10. #460
    Senior Member Duke George V's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mthew_m View Post
    Codes we're getting (yes, we can pull codes now!!! ):

    P1864 - Torque Converter Clutch Solenoid
    P1651 - Fan 1 Relay Control Circuit
    P1652 - Fan 2 Relay Control Circuit (It's a '96 car, so has the accessory A/C fan. We hooked the main fan up to the main fan, and the accessory fan up to the second fan on the 'dual' setup).
    P1655 - EVAP Purge Solenoid Control Circuit

    The first one is 'Confirmed', and the last three are 'Pending'. All of them (except P1655) either aren't mentioned on this site, or are mention only in Daniel's post. Daniel: I see that we're having almost exactly the same issues you had with George. However, our fuse (I'm assuming it's the same one?) blows every time, no matter what, even with fans unplugged, and all of the fan relays unplugged. And, it's doing this with not only two different computers, but two completely different wiring harnesses. We're thinking it may be something with the transmission shift solenoid, but, are kind of just taking stabs in the dark at this point.
    I see you "fixed" the trans and fan problems, but what post are you referencing? The only thing I can think of is when a fuse popped in my car and made the transmission a manual 2 speed and no fans. I didn't find out what the issue was, and I "fixed" it with a larger fuse. I think it had a 10 amp, and I jammed a 20 or 25 amp in there. Glad to be of help?
    Daniel
    Kaiser George IX: 1996 Buick Century Special wagon. 214-SFI. 214k miles. Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down. First documented LX9 swap in an A-body! Click here to read my build thread!
    Goldilocks: 1992 Buick Century Special sedan. 204-MFI. 132k miles.
    Susana: 1993 Buick Century Custom wagon. 204-MFI. 121k miles. Garage ornament. Waiting for an LR4.

  11. #461

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    It was here, https://www.a-body.net/forums/showth...-George/page10 post 136. That makes sense, we think ours is grounding out, so didn't want to put a much bigger fuse in (I think we did try a 15A in). Haven't parsed the wiring diagram out to see exactly what we unplugged does, but, the fuse doesn't blow, and the car runs great with the fans on, so, it's looking like something on that part of the harness is grounding. We should be digging a little further into it this week (and installing the oil cooler and, hopefully, steering wheel quick-disconnect), so I'll report back if we are able to find anything.

  12. #462
    Senior Member CorvairGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mthew_m View Post
    Any idea if our car uses the traditional GM 36 spline steering column? Trying to fit a steering wheel quick disconnect, as our large full-containment seat and awkward cage bars makes getting in and out awkward. Pretty sure the earlier A-bodies are 36 spline, but, not sure about our '96 with airbag.
    Here is the best close up I have of a '96 steering shaft.

    Jerry

  13. #463

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    Quote Originally Posted by CorvairGeek View Post
    Here is the best close up I have of a '96 steering shaft.

    Thank You! To my best counting, that looks like pretty close to 9 splines on a quarter of that shaft. I think I'll order the 36-spline GM traditional (noted to work on GM cars without airbags, but, who knows, maybe we get lucky?) and a weld-on, just in case. Need to decide if I think I'll be able to get a real GM steering wheel to work (I'd like to), or if I just want to order a cheap aftermarket job.

  14. #464
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    Quote Originally Posted by mthew_m View Post
    S

    Question - does anyone know what the parameters are for turning on the auxiliary fan on the '94-'96 cars? I'm pretty sure it's A/C related, but, we don't have A/C. Since we're keeping the climate control panel (for defrost), is there a simple way we could set it up to come on when we flip it over to the A/C side. Are there any temperature parameters for the fan turning on? I know the main fan is supposed to come on at 220deg, will the aux come on at a set higher temperature (230deg, 240deg, etc) in an attempt to cool an overheating engine? And, since we are keeping defrost, if we somehow can program the fan to turn on whenever the A/C is 'on', would that also command it to be on when the defrost is on? Not sure if these automatically run the compressor when the defrost is on, like a lot of vehicles do.
    Now ours is just a 2.8 and older, but we just found the wire that went to the fan relay from the ecu. The fan is set to turn on when the relay is grounded so we just added a switch on the dash that will ground the relay and turn on the fan. We just spliced in another wire so the fan will also still turn on if the engine gets up to the temp the car was set for or if we turn on the ac or any other reason the fan would normally turn on.

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