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As you possibly know, I am Tom from Switzerland. I bought this 78 on 06/23/19. It was a birthday present for myself. Always loved the look of the Trans Am, but never liked the HP output of these Cars.

So I found this 90s year build with an interesting motor. Pre-Owner started to swap a brand new 454 LS6 in it. He never finalized everything.

Since June, I work on this car now. My goal is to get a mean looking Trans Am in a custom Bandit Look.

I would like to tell you what I did already;

- Finished the 454 LS6 engine swap, which the Pre-Owner started. Now the battery is in the Trunk, everything is wired up now and the engine runs great.

- In the 90s, a Body shop made a Flip-Front conversion. The work is good, but they did not find a solution to lock the Flip-Front. That is why the front was very flabby; it felt not confidence to drive that car. I build in some hood locks and release cable from the Dodge Viper, and made some custom brackets. Unlock the Flip-Front is very easy but now the front sits tight, and it feels more stable to 100%. Very big step done.

- I had to replace the hood because of street regulations. I ordered an OER Shaker hood. Fitment is very good and it was possible to make the hood fits very nice.

- A big challenge was the Air filter / Shaker. Because of the 454, an RPM Manifold, Holley Carburetor and center offset of the engine, there is no space at all for any oem or Butler Performance drop air filter housing.
I made my own Air Filter system now. So now there is a steel/aluminum base plate now with a 6 ½ Inch Air Filter. The shaker comes on the base plate and is sealed with special mounting tape. The air gets sucked in through the shaker top, which is opened. I am proud about this construction. I am not very happy about the tiny air filter, although Mr. Gasket filters told me there would be enough Air Flow for the 454. May sometimes I have a better idea.

- I removed the ugly exhaust system. Now I installed a custom exhaust system, starting with Hedman Headers, going to a 3" Magnaflow Exhaust with a Tru-X pipe.

- Replaced the Trunk Torsion springs.

- Replaced Heater Core.

- Complete Maintenance.

What I want to do on Winter/Spring 2020

- Complete Paintwork, Black.

- Repaint Engine.

- New suspension. Think about 2" Lowering Springs in the Front, 3" Lowering Leaf springs in the Back and Hotchkis Shocks.

- Interior; Black Headliner, Black everything what is blue right now :), new seats in the front, Yearone Door Panels (to fit 16.5cm speakers), Sound system.

As you see I have a lot to do this winter and hope get this done that I can drive next summer. Following steps will be new Wheels, Decals and so on. Cannot spend that money at once and I have to find time also.

Thank you for comments and feedbacks! This thread will be continued so soon as possible :)

How i bought the car on 06/23/19.

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Flip Front tilted to the front

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Dodge Viper Hood Lock on Chassis

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Dodge Viper Hood Lock, Front latched

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Bottom Fender

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Self Made Base Plate

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3" Magnaflow Exhaust, Tru-X

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On the Sea :)

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Interior how it Looks now.

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Excellent fabrication work! Can't believe previous owner hinged the entire front clip like that and kept the hood "original". Given the obvious intentions for the car, I would have welded the hood down and filled the gaps for aerodynamic reasons, or, went to a full 1 piece fiberglass front end. Regardless, that's one of the meanest looking 'birds I've ever seen.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
<a></a>Thank you very much for your comments. I hope you will be not disappointed about black paintwork what will come this winter.

Sadly, the paint needs to go. The hood has not the same paint now; the paint on the fenders is broken because of work on Flip-Front locks. In addition, the airbrush on the side, it screams 90's.
If I do new paint, must be black. Planning to do a mean looking black T/A like we don't have a lot of in Switzerland. Hope you people in the U.S. are not bored about this.

Also, hope the Stance will be even better with lowering leaf springs and new springs in the front.

One thing about the Flip-Front. I am very happy the previous owner made the complete front like it is. It needs two people to flip the front to the front.

Not a big thing, but if I have a breakdown I will be happy to pop-up the hood normally instead. Open the complete front is great for bigger work, changed the heater core very fast this way. And nice for Show.

A functional Shaker would not work with the Flip-Front as well. I am happy about how it is.

Thank you very much for every comment. Will be continued for sure.
 

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Before you do the black paint, your bird's body must be worked to perfection. No other color shows a less than perfect car body more than black does.

Every ding, shallow dent, low & high spots will show plainly. As an example; my 90 f-body has a shallow dent on passenger door. With the light blue paint that's on the car, you really have to look closely to see the dent. But if paint was black, dent would stand out like it had a neon sign pointing to it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hi

Just want you to know that my Trans Am is back from Body Shop now. It took so much time because of this Covid Situation and I am not happy with their Work at all.

Car is painted Black now in Brilliant-Black from VW. Color looks nice and Paint/Finish is well. But beside this nothing is been done. Nothing lines up. Flip-Front, Hood, Doors, nothing closes well and Gaps are terrible. Nothing works anymore. Body Shop took all wiring out.

Dash in the Cabin nothing works on Dash because it was out for Leather Work (Black). But same stuff, nothing is re-wired.

I think the Body Shop was massively overwhelmed working on American Cars.

Good thing paint looks good and I paid not much for new paint.

I already spend few days working on the Trans Am now. Gaps looks good now, everything closes well and lines up properly, was a lot of Work, especially the Flip-Front.

Now I rewire everything. New Power Supply from Battery, new distribution box, new Fuse Box (Painless 30003), new Power Lock System, Relay controlled Headlights with DRL and so on.

Will be lot of work I'm hanging in.

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My Wiring Plan :lol:
 

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What a transformation!
 

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Hi

Thank you for your comments!

After a lot of work this week, 90% of the electric is finished. Everything is re-wired, everything fused separately. Here is a list of what I done.

  1. Main Power Box on the outer Firewall LHS. The Power Cable comes from the Battery in the Trunk to this Power Box. On one hand there are heavy duty Power Cables going to the Starter, Alternator and Cabin from this point. On the other Hand, there are modern ANL-Fuses for direct main Power for the MSD Box and the Fan in the Engine Bay.
  2. Heavy Duty 120A Relay for Battery + Dispatcher and High Power ACC.
  3. Painless 30003 Fuse Box, everything Re-Wired, everything fused separately.
  4. A bunch of Relay's for better functionality and relieve the Cabin power circuit. So, there is a Fuel Pump Relay. Still to do is an intelligent Relay Control for this Relay. The Fuel Pump have to Work for 3 Seconds and then Stop, if the Engine will not be started. If Engine will be cranked, Relay have to work until Engine goes out.
    Then I have a Relay instead the Alternator Idiot Light, so I can replace the Idiot Light Bulb with a LED. The Brake Check Relay will switch if the Brake Fluid Level is low or the Emergency Brake is pushed. Low Beam and High Beam Relay's speaks for themselves. DRL 1 and DRL 2 Relay is for Daytime Running Light. I replace the inner Headlight to H4. The Inner Low Beam will be used as DRL. If ACC is on and DRL Switch is activated, the Inner Low Beam will work, without any other Lights. As soon the Position Light is on this Lights go off. High Beam from the inner H4 will be used with usual High Beam.
    Trunk Release Relay is for the Trunk Actuator. It will be possible to open the Trunk with Wireless Power Lock.
  5. I mounted an additional Fuse Block on the right side. There is no fuse on the Painless Fuse Box for the Rear Window Defroster. Now I can place this fuse here and there are more slots for other things if I need. I have an ACC for the Trunk this one is fused here.
  6. New Power Locks from Electric Life with Wireless Remote.
  7. New Speaker cables from the Trunk and Cinch also.

As you see, a lot is done. Next step is the Instrument wiring if I have some days off again!

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Power Box Firewall

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Power Box Wiring

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New Painless Fuse Box, OEM Location

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Additional Relay's

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Additional Fuse Box
 

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1994 Firebird Formula 381ci LT1 / TH400+GV O/D
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The inclusion of the O2 sensor and A/F ratio gauge is interesting. Is the O2 sensor narrow band, or wide band with its own controller? Will it only monitor one bank of the engine? Is that primarily for your personal information and tuning, or do Swiss motor vehicle regulations require it? Does it require emissions checks? Does the LS6 still have its original solid lifter camshaft? Be interesting to see what that cam, with high overlap, does for the A/F ratio.

Very interesting and challenging build. Please keep us up to date on your progress.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
As you probably know a narrow band O2 Sensor would be not very useful. I have an Innovate MTX-OL AFR Gauge, this one has an Lambda-Controller included.

As I was building my Exhaust, I already prepared both banks from the engine for O2 Sensors. But I will run one O2 Sensor only on the left Bank. Should be ok, do not want two gauges and I can mount the O2 Sensor to the other bank easily to check if both Banks run similar.

The AFR Gauge is not needed for Emission Check in Switzerland. We need to Check Vehicle Emission every year. This Test will be done at idle Speed, Emissions should be not to high, done.

But I would like to know if the car run's good and not to lean, especially at WOT. So I need a AFR Gauge for this.

Engine and Cam should be stock. Have a Holley Carb and RPM Intake.

Thank you very much!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Latest news after a lot of work.

The complete electric works fine and Powerful as never before. Sadly, the Fuel Pump Relay Control stopped working after first start. VaporWorks send me an exchange. Very nice. I hope the new Unit will work then.

I wrapped the Wiring Harness in Fabric Tape, looks nice and properly now.

Then the Dash Panel found the way back in the car.

So then, I did not mention that I ordered Custom Gauges from NVU (New Vintage USA). I already ordered the 70-81 Firebird Package from them in Performance Black with some changes/customization.

So now, I have everything Metric/EU Style. The Speedometer is in KPH up to 260. Water Temp Gauge in ° Celsius and Oil Pressure Gauge in Bar. Beside this, I have an additional Voltmeter. Instead of the regular Illumination, I got them with Backlit. Then I ordered an Innovate MTX-OL AFR Gauge. I prepared wiring completely and build everything in already.

First, I used the two Vent Holes for the additional Volt- and AFR Gauge. It was possible to mount these Gauges in the Center Vent Housing. Somehow. Then I replaced the OEM Fuel/Volt Gauge to the NVU. At least I mounted the NVU Speedo and Tach.

Of course, I had to do some additional work: Wiring the additional LED for the "Lights Wiper Wash", wiring the Signal Light LED, add some Buttons for the NVU Gauges and so on. After the first check, everything works perfectly fine. Tach works nice with Tach output of the MSD Box. The Triangle warning light works as Alternator Warning light, the "!" Warning light works when Parking Brake is pushed or the Brake Fluid Level is too low.

I could not test and calibrate the Speedo and the AFR Gauge. Soon I will find time for this for sure.

After NVU Gauges where mount I installed the Dash Bezel. Looks very nice with the NVU and additional Gauges.

Finally yet importantly, I installed a NRG Steering Wheel. Everything looks fine now.

Next steps will be fabricate some seat brackets to mount the new Koenig Seats. Then finish the Interior&#8230; still need to order some parts like the Dome Light, Trunk Release Button and stuff like this. Then Install the O2 Sensor, Speed Sensor and so on.

In addition, there is a Radio waiting to be installed.

After this, it will be time to engineer a better Air Filter I think. One-step to another.

Thanks for watching!

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Some news today. I was able to find a solution for my biggest concern, the air filter.

As you see above, I found a solution with the air filter from the pre-owner. But I didn't like the size of the filter. The LS6 should have something about 450hp so there shouldn't be a constricting air filter.

I tried a lot of stuff&#8230; Butler Performance Drop Air Filter Kit and a lot of other drop Bases. With the 454 Engine, the RPM Intake and the Holley Carburetor everything failed by far. Not only there's no room for the shaker, most of times it wasn't even possible to close the hood because the Air filter base was too high, although the Shaker Base isn't even mounted.
By the way I don't like the solution with an air filter mat in the shaker, because the mat is very small too.

The last day's I started a new attempt and spend hours and hours. And finally, I have a functional Shaker Induction with a good-sized Air Filter.

Long Story Short: Fist I was cutting a strip out of the Butler Performance Air Filter Base housing. I think it was a strip of about 2 Inches in height, then welded together again. I combined this housing with the Offset Air Filter Base Plate from Spectre. I mounted this on the Carburetor, together with the Butler Performance Cone Air Filter. The delivered Air Filter Top Plate was too big, that's why I had to mount that one with a Flat Air Filter Top Plate.
Then&#8230; next was the Shaker Base. The Shaker did not want fit on the filter. A company near here made a Spacer out of Aluminum with Laser cutting.
I was fighting a lot of hours for every Millimeter I could get. With the Spacer, the Shaker hood fits now exactly on the Filter, every room is used. From the Shaker to the hood, I think there is an Inch of space. With the normal Shaker to Hood Seal the Hood did not close anymore so I took a Universal Seal. Hood closes, Shaker sits perfect and there is room that the shaker does not hit the hood while driving.

I am very happy now. It was so much work. But the Shaker is a very nice feature from the Trans Am. It has to Shake and it has to be functional. And it is now.

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Very nice. Excellent fabrication work!
 
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Sadly, I am still waiting for some parts. The Speed Sensor and other Parts shipped with USPS in April are still not here. Cannot understand why Shipping with USPS is that horrible at this moment.

Yesterday I made a short Test Drive to the Garage near here, because I had to adjust the Headlights. These lights you see on the following Picture is the inner Low Beam converted to DRL. In Switzerland, we need to have light at Day and I think this way to go without putting some LED rubbish on the car. AFR Gauge works very well. Next step will follow:

- The Exhaust touches the rear axle at bumps. First, I need to work on this. May I can customize the over-the-rear Pipes from Magnaflow or may I have to build new one.

- Car runs too Rich. Need to tune the Carburetor. It's a 3310-S from Holley. My goal is to tune the Carb to 14.5 - 15.5 AFR at idle and mild load. And hope to reach 11.5 - 12.5 AFR at WOT.

- Then new Suspension needs to be done and a general Maintenance.

I think in June, the car will be ready and I will take it for some rides.

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Such an unbelievable transformation! I liked what you started with a lot, but I have to admit, love where you're going with it.
 
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