Posts Tagged ‘Engine’

I know I usually give these messages retroactively, but I thought I might change things up a bit and let you know that I will be taking a small break from the FrankenJeep build… before too much time goes by and I realize I forgot to write anything here. Okay, I understand that you may have already clued in on the fact that it has already been some time since I was actually working on this project… alright, it has been four months since I have been in the garage. It is not for lack of want but, contrarily, I have failed to get into the garage and work on the little truck due to having… now this is embarrassing, too many projects.

WHAAAAT?!? Too many projects? You?!?

Ha. Ha. Yuck it up. I know. I am still working on this truck; I am just trying to get these other things in order first. The old job situation threw a wrench in all of this, and then I was gaining so much ground in the J20 build, then the new job situation… Anyhow, both the FrankenJeep and the J20 will be on a slight hiatus while I get the shop worked out, we are moving shops and are in the process of reallocating the importance of all builds in progress.

Whether it makes any sense to you or not, I will be working on my 2006 Grand Prix next.

WAIT… WHAT??? When did you get a Pontiac?

I told you about it earlier; I did! During the Quarter Panel Quandary, I specifically mentioned my “inability to focus on a single project … the Grand Prix … etc…” Does any of that ring a bell?

Okay. Okay. In the beginning of spring I was trying to fix the Camry and juggle cars between the drivers of the house. I figured there had to be a better way, and I went looking for a vehicle on the cheap. The wife had her Jetta, the teenager’s Camry was obviously out of commission as it needed head work, and although the Regal worked, it was showing signs of wear. The three of us needed a full time vehicle, but there were only two available. I picked up a sweet Crown Victoria ex-cop car [if only there was a facetious font]… that is, it was a sweet ride until I actually needed to depend on it. I drove it over the long weekend and decided it was going to be my daily driver. I paid for it and the next day it threw a check engine light; I found out that cylinders 2, 4, & 6 had low compression. It turned out they had put in some oil additive to temporarily fix the problem… just long enough for some sucker to come along and buy it.

Screenshot_20170507-131336

Alright, perhaps I deserve that one. Anyhow, I spoke with them and told them the situation – basically, I needed a car that worked and was reliable. Having half an engine was not “reliable” enough for me. I have played that game too many times. We came to an agreement and the Crown Vic went back to them, and instead, I got a Ford Explorer for the teenager to drive. So far, he is stoked with his new truck. Awesome.

That still did not account for my Regal that was tired of driving. Cylinder #4 has low compression on the Buick, and I do not want to open up the engine to find out it is a problem I need to rebuild; then I am out of a car. Right now the vehicle drives and gets me from point A to B. Sometimes it even gets me back. There are a whole mess of little tiny problems with the Regal that do not affect the drivability of the car but are very annoying, nonetheless.

  • Rear windows do not roll down
  • Front windows roll down, but the passenger’s side does not always roll up
  • The VATS (Vehicle Anti-Theft Security) system is on the fritz and it will keep the car from starting for three minutes at a time… whenever it feels like it
  • The car alarm has taken to going off whenever it wants (even though I never lock the car)
  • The A/C will not turn off… unless I have a passenger, then they have to kick the dashboard bottom to get it to turn on
  • The Daylight Running Lights do what they want… sometimes they will both come on, other times only one will
  • The CD player and tape deck are broken, I only have AM/FM radio… this is not a problem until I am driving anywhere east of Globe, AZ
  • I cannot get into the trunk… the fob is broken and the key will not work
  • The windshield washer fluid reservoir will not hold washer fluid

I am sure you get the point. None of these make the car inoperable, and it would probably only take me about $150 or so and a solid weekend to fix all of it… but at the end of the day, I am still in a 1997 Regal.

If you hate the car so much, why did you buy it in the first place?

Well, I did not exactly buy a 1997 Buick Regal. I would not have any interest in that. However, the supercharged 3.8L V6 inside of that car, I do have interest in. So, I bought a supercharged engine and got a running car with it.

What did you do next?

I saved my dollars and bought a Suburban.

20170316_081832

…you can see why I had no interest in fixing anything on the Regal other than what was required to keep it running for the last year or so.

Why did you buy a Suburban?

Good question! If you read the J20 Build, you will know that a Suburban and my Jeep truck share the same wheelbase… and if you know your Suburbans, you know that I bought the wrong one.

Well, that is not entirely accurate. This is a ¾ ton 4×4 Suburban with a 454ci engine. All of that is perfect for a diesel conversion. What is not perfect, for my application, is Independent Front Suspension. IFS is worthless to me and I need a solid front axle. No worries though, I happen to know a guy that could make very good use out of this truck, and he has just the parts I need. So we trade, but all of that is in the J20 stories. You are wondering when I will circle back to the Grand Prix.

Just a recap – the Camry was down and to replace it, I bought a Crown Vic and then traded it for an Explorer. To get my J20 running, I bought a Suburban and traded it for an older Suburban; and I bought a Grand Prix to replace the Regal.

Yeah, yeah. Whatever! Let’s see this new car!!

Screenshot_20170413-221225

This is my 2006 Pontiac Grand Prix. I bought it from a guy off the Craigslist and it turned out to be exactly what he said it was. He had a clean, well maintained 3.8L V6… with a broken transmission.

I KNEW IT!!! YOU CANNOT HELP YOURSELF, CAN YOU?!?

Perhaps you are right, but this has so far turned out to be an excellent deal…

Wait a minute! You said Grand Prix “PROJECT”… you are not planning on…

Supercharging the Grand Prix? That is already in the works. I will give this build its own mini write-up and you can see how that progress goes over there.

. . .

Do not worry, I will not allow this FrankenJeep build to be abandoned; there is far too much insanity to leave blank pages. My boss, Jack, provided the engine and drivetrain for the little hot rod; he is itching to hear it roar again. He is helping me with the logistics and the fabrication involved in creating such a unique beast, but he also has his own projects, and everything will get done in due time. Once we are settled in our new shop and we have gotten the chance to catch up with our work load, we will be working on these things like mad men.

Advertisements

Yes, you heard right… ANOTHER ENGINE REVISION! As it turns out, there are a lot more logistics to building a hot rod than just “Slap it together and let her rip!!”

As I mentioned last time, there is a shop in town that specialized in AMC, and that is true. But after doing more research, I found out that it was going to cost me anywhere from $3-10k to get where I wanted with the AMC 360. If you remember correctly, that brought me right back to the problem with the 4BT, I didn’t want to spend $3000 on an engine for this build. I have other builds in store for a 4BT, but this one was supposed to be more along the lines of a “budget build/rat rod”, and dropping $3 gees into a motor just does not make a lot of sense.

So, I will be going the way of General Motors. Yep, the tried and true Chevy 350 / TH400 is what will make my little rod go VROOM! I know, I did say I had an AMC 360 and I also have a TF727 (an AMC automatic transmission). The problem came when I went to the parts stores looking for… Parts. I could not find any off the shelf, anywhere! So I asked around to see what I could get delivered. An example follows:

[Me to the guy behind the parts counter at the auto parts store]: “Do you guys have a gasket rebuild kit for an AMC Torqueflite 727?”

[Parts guy taps away at his computer]: “… Nope. We can order one. It is $120.”

[Me]: “Man, $120! For $150, I can order a shift kit from Summit, and have a hop-up kit delivered to my house!”

[PG]: “Yeah, I know. We just don’t carry anything for that. I am sorry.”

[Me]: “No worries, I get it. What about parts for an AMC 360?”

[PG]: “Um… Spark plugs, wires, Oh! An alternator…”

[Me]: “Never mind, I get it. Thank you anyhow.”

——–

That was the beginning. In case you didn’t know, my TF727 came out of my 1984 Wagoneer. The same Jeep I got my AMC 360 from. That Jeep was 4WD, and I need a 2WD transmission, so I started looking for a 2WD Torqueflite. None were to be found, at least none under $300. Then I find one on the Craigslist: “TF727 – $150” and I go check it out.

Of course, the first thing I notice is that his is a Chrysler, and I need an AMC. The starters are opposite. But after some calling around (which we won’t even get into the incompetence I encountered with that call) we finally found out that yes, TF727 is TF727, whether it be a Chrysler or an AMC. All you have to do is switch out the shaft. Sounds easy enough!

IMAG0379 Same lengthIMAG0376 Same tail bolt patternIMAG0378[1] Same shaft

It was about the same time that I got as far as taking off the tailshaft housing on the 2WD Chrysler, when I found this on the interweb, from allpar.com:

parts_1[1]

Do you see all those little itty bitty parts and pieces? Now multiply it by two, and try to figure out which goes where! I am not saying that it is impossible, but… Why? And, Really??? Is it really worth it to go through all of this, just to make my transmission work? NOPE. Why not? Because after all the trouble I put into making this transmission work, I still need to order parts from a catalog, or get them second hand. Neither of which I want for a flogging machine.

“Well, you are still going to spend money on a Chevy 350!” You are right, but… I got a Chevy 350. For free!! Yep. That beautiful backwards luck of mine, hard at work again. And, I got a 2WD TH400 for $100. And, I sold my AMC 360 for enough to cover the cost of a transmission. AND, he didn’t even want the whole engine, so I ended up with more parts to sell in the end. Thanks Larry!

Since I have converted to a complete GM system (with the exception of my front end), I can go to the grocery store and buy parts for my engine and transmission. Okay, maybe not the grocery store, but those of you here in The States understand what I mean… For those of you abroad – GM, Holden, and Opel are basically the same company. I hope that helps you understand that a bit more. Parts are cheap and plentiful, but still quality. That is why I will be going with the Chevy 350/TH400 set up.

Now, my good friend, Nathan, brought up a good point: “A slap-stick auto, huh? Wouldn’t you rather have a 3 or 4-speed, with overdrive?” Well, Yeah! But, I have a right hand drive, and that makes manual transmission linkages difficult. Yes, I could get a hydraulic conversion kit, but there I am again, spending money where it need not be spent. I will, however, be hanging three pedals, and all of that will come at a later time. Right now I need to get back into the garage and start grinding!

You are probably wondering why I have yet to finish the grinding. Well, mid-frame, I got the idea to start working on the transmission. I stopped grinding and… Well, you got some of the story up there. I ended up with an open engine and three open transmissions. Not really a good place to be sending thousands of red hot little tiny pieces of metal. So that put me in pause mode, then there was the Mazda 6/Neon fiasco.

—— Explanation of Time Lost (a.k.a. The Great Stereo Debacle) ——

Tony is not allowed to drive his car any more. It (the car) is scary. It has 300+,xxx miles on it, the wheel fell off, and it makes too many moans and groans when moving. Basically, he needs the whole subframe of his Mazda 6 replaced. So, he is now driving the Neon, and since I have started work in the Canary Islands, it sits more than anything.

Anyhow, his Mazda 6 did come with a Bose stereo system. We thought it would be cool to have that in the Neon. “This shouldn’t be hard at all… a couple of speakers, some wire, a head unit, stock amplifier…

Uh, no. Not at all. After 20 hours of stripping out the two vehicles, the only thing we got accomplished was a good vacuuming of the Neon. Chris came over and asked what we were doing. We told him, and he laughed at us. Later on, he needed speaker wire, and I asked what gauge he needed. “I am wiring my sub” he said. I took him to the Mazda and showed him the speaker wire we retrieved from that system. He decided it would work and asked what the speakers laying on the floorboards were. “Those are the Bose speakers? Mind if I…” Have at it dude. We are literally going to throw them in the dumpster.

Very long story short(er), Chris ended up with a kick ass sound system in his K5. We learned that it worked for him, because he had an aftermarket amp and was powering the speakers with it, where we were trying to swap the whole system into a vehicle nearly ten years older and failed to realize the Mazda stereo was wired through the car’s computer.

Now, we could have powered the speakers with the aftermarket head unit, but that was not the only issue we ran into. His Bose speakers were too deep to fit into the front doors, and it kept the windows from rolling down. Until we converted it over to electric windows, we couldn’t make the rings come out enough to compensate for it, without hitting the window crank. Then, the rear speakers, for the Bose unit, are 5″x7″. (Actually, they are not. But they are close enough to stay out of an argument over semantics.) The rear speakers for the Neon are 6″x9″. And then we found out that you cannot run the subwoofer, unless you have the stock amp, which does not run without the stock head unit, which you cannot run without the Mazda 6 computer…

Between the Great Stereo Debacle and the Transmission Shaft Swap Calamity, I learned that if you are not going to swap same for same, and use the whole system… Well, stand by, because it will be a bumpy ride!

——

So, now that I have buttoned up all of the transmissions, and sold the engine, I can now continue on with my grinding. I have one more weekend before I go back to Spain. I will let you know how far I got, with pictures for proof, before I leave.

Until we meet again…

——

[Edit: I ended up having to pack up earlier than I thought. We did not get done with everything for the frame fabrication, but we did get a great start! I do have a few pictures of the boy doing what he likes to do best – GRINDING!!]

IMAG0354[1] IMAG0356[1] IMAG0355[1]