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Thread: 89 Cutlass Ciera Race Car Build

  1. #451
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Elmhurst, IL
    1989 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera, 2007 Subaru Legacy GT


    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


    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


    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
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Lost Wages
    1996 Buick Century wagon, 1992 Buick Century sedan, 1993 Buick Century wagon


    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


    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.

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