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Shelter at home 67 convertible project


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37 replies to this topic

#1 Martin Cooper

Martin Cooper

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  • Year: 1967
  • Make: Pontiac
  • Model: Firebird
  • Engine: 326
  • Transmission: Auto

Posted 11 April 2020 - 01:19 PM

With the COVID-19 social distancing and stay home guidance in full swing I thought I'd move forward with plans for my 67. Those plans include a new rear gear and 200R4 trans swap. The intent is to complete the work at home in my under-equiped garage with the help of one or possibly two masked assistants. Wish me luck.

#2 Martin Cooper

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  • Year: 1967
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  • Model: Firebird
  • Engine: 326
  • Transmission: Auto

Posted 11 April 2020 - 01:28 PM

First will be the removal of the original rear axle and differential. The plan is to replace the 2.56 open differential with a 3.36 posi.
The removal started today by myself and progressed well considering some of the bolts have presumably been in place for 53 years. Fortunately I had replaced all of the suspension bushings and spring pads about a year ago.
I also built a stand to place the entire axle assembly on to dismantle and assemble the gear set and differential on.

#3 Martin Cooper

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  • Model: Firebird
  • Engine: 326
  • Transmission: Auto

Posted 13 April 2020 - 06:50 AM

I've encountered the first significant road blocks. One is the break line removal which I haven't been able to break free with standard open end wrenches. That should easily be overcome with tubing wrenches. Second is that I don't see how to release the parking brake cable from the rear shoe. I understand how to get the cable assembly free from the backing plate. Can anyone give me a clue about disconnecting the parking brake cable end from the rear brake shoe? Thanks

#4 Martin Cooper

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  • Model: Firebird
  • Engine: 326
  • Transmission: Auto

Posted 18 April 2020 - 01:44 PM

Problems solved for now. Tubing wrenches made short work of the brake lines. I just removed the backing plates and left the e-brake attached.

#5 Martin Cooper

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  • Model: Firebird
  • Engine: 326
  • Transmission: Auto

Posted 18 April 2020 - 02:25 PM

The rear end is out and completely disassembled. In the process I discovered that the axle bearings and seals that were sent were, of course, for a Chevy 10 bolt. I guess it is difficult for people to understand that Pontiacs, real Pontiacs, are not the same as Chevys.

#6 ZumpTA

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Posted 18 April 2020 - 05:07 PM

I had no idea myself until finding this place.  I was 8 when the 3rd gens came out, and by then Pontiacs *were* Chevys, so, "Pontiac" was just a formality for me.  Now, I know better.  Never heard the term BOP until coming here either.  ...now, consider that most in automotive retail were born during the 4th generation, or, just as Firebird was killed off in 2002 (and were 4 when Pontiac was laid to rest) and be amazed they even know Pontiac as a brand.  Expect the ignorance, times have changed and changed again.  I also think this issue is why many choose to get Pontiac specific parts from Pontiac specialist websites.


"There are two major products that come out of Berkeley: LSD and UNIX.
We don't believe this to be a coincidence."
-- Jeremy S. Anderson

"Man is the best computer we can put aboard a spacecraft...
and the only one that can be mass produced with unskilled labor."
-- Wernher von Braun


#7 Martin Cooper

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  • Model: Firebird
  • Engine: 326
  • Transmission: Auto

Posted 19 April 2020 - 06:50 AM

I agree with supporting Pontiac specialists whenever possible for all first and early second generation Firebirds.

#8 Martin Cooper

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  • Engine: 326
  • Transmission: Auto

Posted 20 April 2020 - 01:56 PM

Assembly has begun. With a Harbor Freight hydraulic press (about $150) bearings and bearing races are being pressed on. My masked assistant has been invaluable in this project.
While working on the rear axle assembly today I received a call that my transmission will be delivered in two days. It is difficult to be "COVID" bored with a project like this in progress.

#9 Formula71

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Posted 21 April 2020 - 11:58 AM

Sounds like good progress. Be sure to post photos when you get a chance.




RIP Jay - So glad to have known you

#10 Martin Cooper

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  • Engine: 326
  • Transmission: Auto

Posted 24 April 2020 - 03:28 AM

Rear end is nearing completion. It only took 16 trial fits to get the right backlash and gear mesh pattern. How do you like my high tech work stand?Attached File  20200423_090657.jpg   86.39KB   0 downloads
  • frauhansen likes this

#11 ZumpTA

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  • Transmission: 6-Spd

Posted 24 April 2020 - 01:30 PM

Doesn't  matter how many tries it took.  Only matters that you did it right.  Many just assemble and go, and thats no good.  Love the stand, I would have had to use the kitchen table, and no, I'm not single so that would have been messy, back breaking, and irritating in more ways than one. 


"There are two major products that come out of Berkeley: LSD and UNIX.
We don't believe this to be a coincidence."
-- Jeremy S. Anderson

"Man is the best computer we can put aboard a spacecraft...
and the only one that can be mass produced with unskilled labor."
-- Wernher von Braun


#12 Formula71

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  • Engine: 400
  • Transmission: M22 "Rock Crusher" 4 Spd

Posted 24 April 2020 - 01:54 PM

Great stand. Improvise where you need to and use supplies you already have, lol.




RIP Jay - So glad to have known you

#13 Martin Cooper

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  • Engine: 326
  • Transmission: Auto

Posted 24 April 2020 - 03:12 PM

Thanks for the comments. Since I'm pretty much stuck at home for a while it dosen't make sense to rush through things and I'm making the most of using what I've got around the house.

#14 Martin Cooper

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  • Engine: 326
  • Transmission: Auto

Posted 26 April 2020 - 07:25 AM

The rear end is completed. Gears are now 3.36 Yukon with an Auburn posi. New axle bearings are pressed on and have been test fitted but will not be installed until the the axle housing has been reinstalled. This helps save weight while wrestling the rear end into place. When I put the differential cover on and torqued it down the paper gasket pushed out at several points around the circumference. I had to pull the cover back off, clean up the flanges and order a new gasket. Summit Racing to the rescue. I can install the new one with the rear end in place.

Attached Files



#15 Martin Cooper

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  • Engine: 326
  • Transmission: Auto

Posted 30 April 2020 - 07:39 AM

The rear end is installed but I need to get a few hardware pieces that didn't look good when installing it. I've got a request out to OER to try to get the pieces since they were part of a leaf spring installation kit that is only about a year old.
The trans is now out. No small feat for a couple of mid-sixties, masked shade tree mechanics working with the car on Jack stands.

#16 Martin Cooper

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  • Engine: 326
  • Transmission: Auto

Posted 03 May 2020 - 03:42 AM

Yesterday's challenge of the day. I am converting my 2 speed automatic shifter to work with my new 200R4 transmission with a Shiftworks conversion kit. One of the very first steps is to drill out the spot welds to remove the old gear selector detent plate. It appears that the detent plate was induction welded to the shifter body. What that means is that I have to grind the old detent plate off. I'm no where near being finished with the grinding.

#17 Martin Cooper

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  • Engine: 326
  • Transmission: Auto

Posted 06 May 2020 - 01:10 PM

After significant modification to the shifter body to accept the new detent plate the shifter is going together. I have more time involved in the shifter than the amount of time it took my masked assistant and I to get the new transmission in place and attached to the engine. All in all progress is being made and that is my goal.

#18 ZumpTA

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  • Transmission: 6-Spd

Posted 06 May 2020 - 02:57 PM

Progress at any rate is still progress!


"There are two major products that come out of Berkeley: LSD and UNIX.
We don't believe this to be a coincidence."
-- Jeremy S. Anderson

"Man is the best computer we can put aboard a spacecraft...
and the only one that can be mass produced with unskilled labor."
-- Wernher von Braun


#19 Martin Cooper

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  • Engine: 326
  • Transmission: Auto

Posted 08 May 2020 - 03:17 AM

Wiring for the torque converter lockup is now complete. I used a Bowtie Overdrives lockup wiring kit. I wired it so that I can add a vacuum switch or time delay relay easily in the future.

#20 Martin Cooper

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  • Engine: 326
  • Transmission: Auto

Posted 08 May 2020 - 12:33 PM

My masked assistant and I were at it again today. We got the shifter in, the TV cable attached to the trans and got the G Force crossmember in place. We spent a lot of time messing around with the shifter linkage and transmission & shifter arms to get a good match. We might have it now. Thankfully the heat and humidity wasn't bad considering my under-equiped garage is not air conditioned.




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