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Thread: 89 Cutlass Ciera Race Car Build

  1. #436

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    Quote Originally Posted by Keiths1976 View Post
    I run timken bearings up front on my 95
    Thanks! I've always heard good things about Timken, so that's what I was assuming would be a good budget-friendly option.

    Quote Originally Posted by Duke George V View Post
    Timkens are $32 on Rock Auto for the fronts.
    Interesting, I'm not showing that. Mine is only giving me Timken fronts for $66/ and rears for $78/. Unless I'm reading it wrong, and they're sold in pairs?



  2. #437

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    Also, for me being an idiot. For some reason, Fel-Pro doesn't make a 'whole engine gasket kit' for these, so, I'm taking HST9957PT2 and adding some more things to it, instead of the one I posted earlier. It's even $101 (instead of $153) on wholesaler closeout! And, of course, the headbolts as well (Fel-Pro ES72892). It looks like I'll need to throw in an oil pan gasket, timing cover gasket (and seal?), and crankshaft/rear main seal, to get all the same seals (there's a few pictures on the Mahle kit that I can't figure out what they are, but, hopefully if it's something we need, the local parts store will have it close & reasonably priced). That gets me the better Fel-Pro gaskets, with at least most everything else we should need, for not much more money than the Mahle set itself. I'm also going to do a 160 degree thermostat (and seal), new radiator hoses, the dummy distributor cap o-ring, and a transmission fluid filter/pan gasket, to get that side of things fresh too. I'm sure

    As always, many thanks to Daniel and a whole slew of supporting-members for making working on this car exponentially easier and, therefore, removing just a little bit of stress from my life.
    https://www.a-body.net/forums/showth...sket-Job-blind

  3. #438
    Senior Member Duke George V's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mthew_m View Post
    As always, many thanks to Daniel and a whole slew of supporting-members for making working on this car exponentially easier and, therefore, removing just a little bit of stress from my life.
    https://www.a-body.net/forums/showth...sket-Job-blind
    Cheers mate.

  4. #439

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    Hey all,

    Quick question: We are looking at getting our gauge setup together, and wondering what we might be able to pull out of the OBD2 port on the '96. I am just assuming not much, but, if the information is there, would probably be easier/cleaner to try to run a screen or something from there, instead of individual gauges for everything. We are looking at Temps for Coolant, Oil, and Trans Fluid, as well as Oil Pressure and Voltage. I have a setup that does that in my Trailblazer, which I'm going to try to remember to grab (it's at my sister's house), but, I am assuming it won't work, as I believe the TB (2004) is a CAN-bus system.

  5. #440

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    If you have a mid grade OBD2 scanner, you can look in it and see what information is available. I have a TopDon Elite, and it lets me view the available sources, coolant temp, STFT, LTFT, O2 Status, etc. If you can view it there, you should be able to put together a cluster of some sort.
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  6. #441
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    ODB2 has a lot of info you can pull. Mine is just the odb1 which doesn't have much info and even when the car isn't running right hasn't even triggered an error. With ODB2 you should be able to get an old tablet of some kind and connect it to the odb2 port. There are a number of apps that will let use the tablet as a custom gauge cluster where you can put whatever gauges you want. Either use it to replace the existing one or as a supplemental one.

  7. #442

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    Hello again! Big update (that I've been meaning to post for, oh, about 4 weeks now) - engine swap is complete! And when I say 'engine', I mean, pretty much the entire front end of the car.





    It was pretty slick, there were just 4 massive bolts holding all of that in. Plus, of course, all of the connections for coolant, electrical, breathing, etc - the time consuming part. Getting the electrical all disconnected was very tedious, but, we got it done. We decided to do that for two reasons:

    - 1, since we needed both the engine and transmission, figured that would be easier than trying to remove them separately, reconnecting them, etc
    - 2, and probably more importantly - since the race car had an indicated 150k+ miles on it (quite a few of them racing), and the parts car had <90k miles, we figured everything on the parts car should be much, much fresher. We did grab spares off of the race drivetrain (ignition coil, the new cam position sensor we bought, etc), but, mostly just junked it, since it's all seen an ungodly amount of abuse. While we had everything out, we did decide to go ahead and do new LIM and Head Gaskets on the donor engine - probably wasn't needed, because the head gasket (I believe) had been replaced at some point with Fel Pro parts. But, at least now we know that it has good parts in it, and will hopefully hold up for awhile.

    Putting the car up on the lift and going over it was great, it appears to be a decently solid car. Not much rust to speak of, and everything seems to be in decent shape, especially considering it was raced. I should add a small disclaimer to my 'complete' statement above - while the parts car stuff is in the racecar, it isn't actually all hooked back up. We ran out of time, so, that's pending to be done. Pretty sure we've forgotten everything we did taking it apart to do the reverse, but, how hard could it be?

    So, next steps. Our race is the last weekend in April (25-26), so, we've got some time, but we've also got a lot of work to do. Stuff I've got to figure out, but am having trouble with:

    A. Radiator. Not only are we racing, but we're racing in the sometimes ungodly-hot South. We need absolutely as much cooling as we can possibly get. I don't want to spend mega bucks, but, what's the best radiator I can get for a reasonable price? I remember reading somewhere that our cars and G-bodies - is that true? I'd think that would probably be my best bet. I also want to do without the built-in ATF cooling - we need mega transmission fluid cooling (see below), and, that just seems like another failure point (the transmission fluid in the racecar was very milky, so the radiator probably failed). I also figure that, without the extra cooling tanks for the ATF, a radiator for a manual trans car might have more coolant cooling capacity. Overthinking this? I've been thinking about just getting a good quality 3-core like seem to be popular in big-block G-bodys. I realize that would probably have the ATF coolers, but, I know there will probably be compromise somewhere.

    B. Oil. I think oil cooling will be simple - since the oil filter is right on the front of the engine, will probably just do a sandwich plate, with some short lines running to a cooler. A bigger filter, right there in the line of airflow, would probably also help cool the oil. Thoughts on an upgraded oil pump? I've read that they exist, but, that they tend to wear out... whatever it is that spins the pump. We will probably just go the route of adding ~1qt extra of oil and hope for the best, but, might not be a bad idea to look into upgrading the oil pump, especially since we'll be seeing a decent amount of rpm.

    C. Trans Fluid. For this, the current plan is to use the AC condenser. The tubes in it are a little smaller than I would prefer, but, is should work fine, and, bonus, it's already designed to fit into the car. Because it's so much cooling capacity, I don't see a need to use the auxiliary tanks on the radiator (it's not like we're going to have a problem heating the fluid up), but, I don't want to be overlooking something important.

    D. Brakes. I don't want to use the stock brakes. Debating the merits of the U-body brakes vs. the DTS/Lucerne V8 brakes - namely, U-body brakes are easier (and probably cheaper), but, DTS brakes are almost certainly a lot better. Not going to worry with the rear drums for now, other than making sure they're in good alignment, but, just can't make my mind up on the fronts.

    E. Gauges. So, I looked and looked and looked, running (okay, slowly stumbling) back and forth from the parts car to the racecar, and I just could not tell where they'd yanked the OBD2 port out on the racecar. I did yank the OBD2 port out of the parts car, along with as much wire as I could get. Is there any chance that that could be wired directly back to the computer? Is that how it is from the factory (just tucked away under the dash in a loom)? It would be helpful to pull codes from the car, and to use that for gauges (again, simpler and less chance that our home-done plumbing for sensors would blow).

    F. Suspension. Honestly, not my biggest concern at the moment. But, still may look into stiffening things up with van springs, building a strut tower brace, and getting that front sway bar, since none of that seems particularly difficult. But, it's also not necessary for our first race.

    Outside of that, we've got plenty of other work to do - relocate the battery to the trunk, install fire suppression system, buy and install a seat, try to cut the support out of the hood (weight savings - will also require hood pins). But, as always when working on the A-body, we do our best to make sure safety is 3rd.... ish.



    Unfortunately, there was a casualty of our work weekend - due to a misunderstanding between myself and my mechanic teammate involving a forklift, our poor parts car bit the dust. But, we did salvage a lot of spares that will be good to have (sadly, no body panels or glass - damned forklift), so, it will live on. I'll spare you the pictures - it's pretty depressing.

  8. #443

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    Can anyone offer some assistance? Especially about the radiator - that's the next big move we've got to make.


  9. #444
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    I don?t know about g bodies. Maybe or maybe not. But I thought someone put in a 3 core radiator at some point. Maybe the guy who goes by High Mileage?

    Either that and/or more fans. I think that what the guys do who put in a 3800sc or similar. Seems to me I remember a pusher and puller fan on the passenger side.

  10. #445
    Senior Member Duke George V's Avatar
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    I have all-aluminum radiators in both of my cars right now, but I'm having a hell of a time locating them for sale now. Manufacturer: Silla. Part number: 2348AA.

    If you can't find an all-aluminum unit, replace it with a new OE-style, pull the thermostat and wire the fan(s) to be on at all times. It's not that big of a deal to wire it to a source that's hot at key on.

  11. #446

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    Quote Originally Posted by tlc1976 View Post
    I don?t know about g bodies. Maybe or maybe not. But I thought someone put in a 3 core radiator at some point. Maybe the guy who goes by High Mileage?

    Either that and/or more fans. I think that what the guys do who put in a 3800sc or similar. Seems to me I remember a pusher and puller fan on the passenger side.
    Quote Originally Posted by Duke George V View Post
    I have all-aluminum radiators in both of my cars right now, but I'm having a hell of a time locating them for sale now. Manufacturer: Silla. Part number: 2348AA.

    If you can't find an all-aluminum unit, replace it with a new OE-style, pull the thermostat and wire the fan(s) to be on at all times. It's not that big of a deal to wire it to a source that's hot at key on.
    - So, fans tend to not be a big deal in racing. Unlike a street car, you won't spend a whole lot of time stopped. Most teams go with the stock setup, or actually remove fans, because most fans actually block airflow at speed (and rob power). At least, that's what I've been told. We will probably leave the stock fans for now, but may look into taking out the main fan, and just leaving the small pusher fan on the front (in this series, you do tend to need some sort of fan for people who insist on going 15mph during full course yellows when it's 95 degrees out. The previous team put a janky little fan in place of the main fan, with a switch, but, I think we're going to try to wire it back into the main circuit, and let the car control it (and maybe add an override switch, time-permitting).

    - Everyone is tempted to remove the thermostat, but a lot of cars weirdly don't cool right without one. I know several teams with 3800s that require a thermostat for the cooling system to function correctly. I did order a 160 degree one though, so that we're maximizing our available cooling.

    - Looked through a lot of posts by 'High Mileage', but didn't see anything about a radiator upgrade.

    - I just don't think a radiator the stock size is going to be enough. It would probably do marginally, but I would bet we'd run into a point where we'd have issues with it. I've started looking around for radiators that are sized to fit into the space available for the stock one - haven't found exactly what I want, but, there are some upgrade paths out there. The biggest problem seems to be that our hose is a slightly weird diameter, but, if it comes down to it, I think they make hoses with different size ends on them (would have to keep some spares handy). Hoping to find a good 2-3 row with 1"+ cores and no transmission fluid coolers taking up dead space at the end, but, it looks like I'm just going to have to live with the trans coolers. The search continues though...

  12. #447

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    Find a radiator shop that will custom re-core your current radiator. The tanks are wide enough to support a standard 3 core, or a thin body 4 core. But you have to find a shop willing to do custom work. When I had my TGP, I only found one, and they were actually reasonably priced in St Louis.

    You could also have them plug the tranny cooler ports if you are running an exterior cooler.
    Brian - Carpe Diem

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    More people have died in the name of "God" than in all wars combined thruout history
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  13. #448

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pontiac6ksteawd View Post
    Find a radiator shop that will custom re-core your current radiator. The tanks are wide enough to support a standard 3 core, or a thin body 4 core. But you have to find a shop willing to do custom work. When I had my TGP, I only found one, and they were actually reasonably priced in St Louis.

    You could also have them plug the tranny cooler ports if you are running an exterior cooler.
    Interesting, I'm surprised that's still a remotely cost-effective option in this day and age. And it makes sense - the end tanks are way, way wider than the dinky little core. I'll look into that, there may or may not be someone locally, but there's almost certainly someone between here and Charlotte/Mooresville (NASCAR country). I finally wised-up and took measurements and headed over to Summit, where you can search for different radiators by measurements. It does look like a radiator from a G-body or a third-gen F-body will fit - probably won't bolt in exactly as stock, but it'll fit in the space.

  14. #449
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    for the radiator, I used a stock and eventually replaced with an oem style replacement when the trans cooler in the radiator started leaking a little into the radiator. The whole core model was really an older setup than these use, this is more a measure of how thick it is which allows more water to flow in and through it. Now that said we stuck on a trans cooler and oil cooler, and with the stock oem radiator we never saw the car go above 190 while racing. it would go up a little in yellow but not dangerous and we put the fan on a switch which on hot days we will flip on the fan when going into the pits and turn it off once back up to speed. Personally I think an oil cooler will net you more benefits than a bigger radiator since the oil can remove a lot of heat from the engine too and in different parts that the radiator won't so it is a big improvement in efficiency, plus probably saved our engine when the water pump locked up while we were racing.

    Oh for brakes be sure to get good quality fluid and bleed them between days, would show how hot everything is getting. Spare pads and tires are probably also necessary because if I remember right CMP is hard on brakes and tires.

  15. #450

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    Quote Originally Posted by lemons bob View Post
    for the radiator, I used a stock and eventually replaced with an oem style replacement when the trans cooler in the radiator started leaking a little into the radiator. The whole core model was really an older setup than these use, this is more a measure of how thick it is which allows more water to flow in and through it. Now that said we stuck on a trans cooler and oil cooler, and with the stock oem radiator we never saw the car go above 190 while racing. it would go up a little in yellow but not dangerous and we put the fan on a switch which on hot days we will flip on the fan when going into the pits and turn it off once back up to speed. Personally I think an oil cooler will net you more benefits than a bigger radiator since the oil can remove a lot of heat from the engine too and in different parts that the radiator won't so it is a big improvement in efficiency, plus probably saved our engine when the water pump locked up while we were racing.

    Oh for brakes be sure to get good quality fluid and bleed them between days, would show how hot everything is getting. Spare pads and tires are probably also necessary because if I remember right CMP is hard on brakes and tires.
    I definitely agree that radiator core count is only part of the equation when looking at cooling capacity - there are two row radiators that will cool a lot better than one with four. But, generally, more is better, as long as you're buying a well-designed, quality made unit. I've been measuring around the engine bay, and I believe we've got about 34" for width and 18.5" for height, but, I'm not sure where we are for depth. But surely something more than the 5/8" thick I'm thinking depth may be easier to account for - just make brackets to mount the fan a little further back. There's a Champion 3-row that the F-body community seems to like, and it's not terribly expensive, so, thinking about that one. Good to know that the stock radiator can suffice, ours is in decent shape, so I'll keep it for a backup.

    Also agree on an oil cooler - did you use a sandwich plate adapter to install one off of the oil filter? I'm assuming the 2.8 has it nice and easy on the front of the engine, like the 3.1, so I'm thinking that's ideal - minimal tubing, etc. Our car came with a dinky ~6x9 cooler that they were using to cool the transmission fluid (the only auxiliary cooler they had, other than some janky brake ducts...), so we may just throw that on for an oil cooler (or, could get a bigger one, who knows-we're going to start running out of time here soon). The original plan was to use the AC condenser for a trans cooler, but, it seems kind of flimsy, and has pretty small coolant channels. It'd probably get it good and cool, but may stress the pump out. When I was at the pick-n-pull last weekend, there was a '77 Century, a bustle-back Seville, and a Continental Mk 6 that probably would have had good coolers on them, but I didn't even think to check. Will have to go back soon since, although it would be convenient, I don't think the AC condenser is the best option on this car.

    CMP is hard on everything, lol. Do y'all have a particular fluid that you've found that you like?

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