Firebird Nation banner
41 - 60 of 86 Posts

·
Registered
'70 Esprit TA clone Pontiac 400
Joined
·
1,275 Posts
Couple quick tips for ya if you're working on your floorboards this weekend.

In order to remove the drivers side plastic kick panel you'll need to remove the parking brake assembly to get it out of the way (not an option). There's two nuts you need to remove in the engine compartment to get the brake assembly out that are a pain to access. Baggie brake hardware separate from panel hardware and mark their use. DO NOT TRUST HARDWARE PLACEMENT TO MEMORY! Start a baggie file.

When you remove the black plastic piece on the drivers toe board be sure to either tape those special bolts with the large washers to the part or baggie and file.

You'll want the console out for more room to work. Open the glove box and remove the two screws in the bottom, lift out glovebox with lid still attached. Remove the screws under the glovebox that hold the console bracket to the mount on the tunnel. Remove a screw on each side of the console that holds the console bracket to the dash. Remove the screws that hold the gear selector bezel. Break the selector bezel and you can then lift the console. There's only one wire to the console (stock) for the selector light bulb. The bezel looks like it needs replacement anyway and it's a pain to fuss with removing the shift knob so why waste the time when you're planning a manual swap anyway which requires a different console and bezel. Hardware in baggie file with description.

Both the drivers and passengers side plastic kick panels have a long thin section that extends up beside the dash on the A pillar. Be very careful not to break off the thin part when you're removing them. Patience is key. Hardware in baggie file marked right & left (two bags).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
44 Posts
Discussion Starter · #43 ·
Couple quick tips for ya if you're working on your floorboards this weekend.

In order to remove the drivers side plastic kick panel you'll need to remove the parking brake assembly to get it out of the way (not an option). There's two nuts you need to remove in the engine compartment to get the brake assembly out that are a pain to access. Baggie brake hardware separate from panel hardware and mark their use. DO NOT TRUST HARDWARE PLACEMENT TO MEMORY! Start a baggie file.

When you remove the black plastic piece on the drivers toe board be sure to either tape those special bolts with the large washers to the part or baggie and file.

You'll want the console out for more room to work. Open the glove box and remove the two screws in the bottom, lift out glovebox with lid still attached. Remove the screws under the glovebox that hold the console bracket to the mount on the tunnel. Remove a screw on each side of the console that holds the console bracket to the dash. Remove the screws that hold the gear selector bezel. Break the selector bezel and you can then lift the console. There's only one wire to the console (stock) for the selector light bulb. The bezel looks like it needs replacement anyway and it's a pain to fuss with removing the shift knob so why waste the time when you're planning a manual swap anyway which requires a different console and bezel. Hardware in baggie file with description.

Both the drivers and passengers side plastic kick panels have a long thin section that extends up beside the dash on the A pillar. Be very careful not to break off the thin part when you're removing them. Patience is key. Hardware in baggie file marked right & left (two bags).
yea organization is definitely going to be key for sure...so easy to end up with a puzzle at the end!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
44 Posts
Discussion Starter · #45 ·
well, another small bite of the elephant done today. The main 2 projects today were getting the passenger door to open, and to get the passenger seat out. Check and check!

The door needed a spray down into the mechanism with penetrating blaster, and then I used a thin metal rod to scrape out some gunk, and then rocked back and forth with the rod and the lock mechanism until it un stuck it self. One I got it to move a bit, just kept massaging it till it freed itself. After that, door opened just fine. Simple stuck lock mechanism. Also noticed the outer door handle connecting rod was floppy around. Long term Ill need to take the door panel off, take it all apart, and restore it. I was happy to see looking down in there, it's much more solid and free of debris then I was expecting to see considering other rust areas.


Once I could get the door open, made pulling the front seat track bolts thru the floor more accessible, and was able to get those out. I'm about 95% sure these seats aren't correct, so I will likely just toss them, as they are pretty roached, and the metal is pretty fubar. There was a squirrel nut stash in the seat itself, so definitely not worth the time and money to fix incorrect seats. I still have yet to decide how anal I want to get on exact 70 year only pieces...so haven't really figured yet if Ill try to track down some 70 seat cores to have re done, or if I am just going to throw in a set of aftermarket race seats, or maybe some period correct seats, but not the 70 only.
 

·
Premium Member
84 T/A 301T T5, 3.73s
Joined
·
1,257 Posts
Wow. just found this thread. 70-73 Formulas, and T/As are my favorite. Think they're one of Pontiacs best looking cars, since the beginning of time, and today. Congrats on your purchase. Good thing you're young, cause you'll have more ambition. The bottom of the car, looks like a New England car, (where I'm from), not a southern car. But I guess after decades of neglect, it happens. I have a 73 T/A, that I drove home....36 yrs ago. Still sitting, waiting for its turn on the priority list. Doesn't need the labor and $ yours will need. Good luck with your journey, and try not to let life's priorities get in the way. I'll be following your progress.

P.S. By the way, a WT code engine was a nice mill. Don't know if you got the head codes off the center exhaust ports, but I think the WTs had 16s, which were nice too. Also, you probably know, but your QJ is a late 70s. Probably a 170 number.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
44 Posts
Discussion Starter · #47 ·
Wow. just found this thread. 70-73 Formulas, and T/As are my favorite. Think they're one of Pontiacs best looking cars, since the beginning of time, and today. Congrats on your purchase. Good thing you're young, cause you'll have more ambition. The bottom of the car, looks like a New England car, (where I'm from), not a southern car. But I guess after decades of neglect, it happens. I have a 73 T/A, that I drove home....36 yrs ago. Still sitting, waiting for its turn on the priority list. Doesn't need the labor and $ yours will need. Good luck with your journey, and try not to let life's priorities get in the way. I'll be following your progress.

P.S. By the way, a WT code engine was a nice mill. Don't know if you got the head codes off the center exhaust ports, but I think the WTs had 16s, which were nice too. Also, you probably know, but your QJ is a late 70s. Probably a 170 number.
Thanks! Its hard to think of your 73 sitting longer than I've been alive, I couldn't wait to start getting into her, but I also understand life, responsibility, family etc etc etc.

From my research it does seem the WT was a good motor, Ive been debating if I want to rebuild it or not, Or look for a already rebuilt Ram Air motor. I debated a LS swap for a bit, but honestly I want the feeling and vibe of the old school. That and its hard to hate 68-70 motor...no computer at all...couple wires and a gas line, seems so much simpler then dealing with efi and tuning and electric fuel pumps and all that.

I've never shown cars, just gone and drooled and had fun, but out of curiosity - how would it work if I ever got it to be nice enough to start driving to local shows - points wise...would I be ahead getting a ram air / engine from a 70 firebird? Or is non numbers matching non numbers matching? I guess what I mean - for showing purposes would I be ahead at all hunting for a 70 motor out of a firebird instead of the 68 GTO motor that is currently in it. It's not really a must for me, just researching and debating. Direction for the build is still up in the air, but just spitballin ideas. Thoughts?
 

·
Premium Member
84 T/A 301T T5, 3.73s
Joined
·
1,257 Posts
I've been a mechanic my whole life Jeff, and would be like you, and wanna dive right into the eng. But because the body and interior is in the condition it is, I think you should get rid of all that rust 1st, because it'll be the most labor intensive. If you start spending money and time on the drivetrain, and for some "mysterious" reason you reach a point where you might wanna pass the car on, (I know how you feel:oops:) "That'll never happen!"...just sayin. We've all been there. Or it'll sit, undone, for maybe..."30 yrs?". Doesn't mean you can't research the drive-train, and pick-up a few pieces that can't be passed on, but if I were you, I'ld spend my efforts on the body 1st. "Before" it rots any more.

As for making it a RA clone, I think you should be grateful for what you've got. 68 to 70 400 isn't that big a deal. The biggest problem with either of those, is too much compression, for todays piss gas. You can get boosters, water inj. kick the timing "way" back, (which'll kill performance), but who knows, by the time you get to that point, our government might have out-lawed gas engs. permanently. You might think it's unheard of, but take a look around you. It's a gradual process, and spreading like cancer.
 

·
Ramblin' Wreck
Joined
·
5,203 Posts
I wish I have never sold my 1970 Formula 400 for $600. It had a bad engine rebuild (by me) and it did have a little rust (under the rear spoiler) but....I needed the room. Oh well, learn from my mistake.
Wheel Tire Car Vehicle Land vehicle
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
44 Posts
Discussion Starter · #51 ·
No photos for this update, just a quick one. Been working more on teardown, got the hood and hood hinges off, and most the fender bolts off. Need to pull the front nose off to get to the last ones. Got the interior mostly out and been working on getting the floor pans especially cleaned up. I have the floor pans here and waiting on the toe board panels. Im going to be taking a trip next week down to cali to see my grandparents, but when Im back Im going to tow the car down the road to pops house where the welder and air tools are all at to start working on cutting out the old floor pans. The passenger side is in much better shape than the driver's side, but still going to cut it out and replace it anyway. It looks like my passenger side fender was indeed a replacement from a later year that had the flat section to attach the leaf spring looking support. The driver's side is looking the original with the atoll blue showing underneath. but it's looking like more than likely both fenders will need replacement.

I've also got the deck filler panel ordered, and got a lead on a NOS tail panel, if that doesn't pan out, I'll just grab a classic industries re-pop. All in all, just having fun so far and plotting and planning.

Planning of also pulling the motor and trans when I'm back and get the block and heads dropped off at the machine shop. They at bare minimum will need to get tanked and cleaned, and depending on the condition of things internally, will start the debate as to what exactly will be happening with the motor. If Im going to spend money on a rebuild, rebore, and turning crank, Ill just go the extra mile and get the stroker kit. Once the motors out, that will also give me the space I need to start working on any firewall rust repairs that need to happen, as well as just general cleaning / restoring. I was pleasantly surprised to see when I pulled the hood and was able to check the cowl out, it was way more solid than I was expecting. All in all, just taking it one little bite at a time. Got my classic industries catalog in the mail to, so the fun of drooling over the catalog has started to.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
44 Posts
Discussion Starter · #52 ·
I wish I have never sold my 1970 Formula 400 for $600. It had a bad engine rebuild (by me) and it did have a little rust (under the rear spoiler) but....I needed the room. Oh well, learn from my mistake.
View attachment 231859
damn 600 bucks? made someones day thats for sure! Ive had to let go of projects in the past as well, so I know how hard it sucks. Regret and such.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
44 Posts
Discussion Starter · #53 ·
I've been a mechanic my whole life Jeff, and would be like you, and wanna dive right into the eng. But because the body and interior is in the condition it is, I think you should get rid of all that rust 1st, because it'll be the most labor intensive. If you start spending money and time on the drivetrain, and for some "mysterious" reason you reach a point where you might wanna pass the car on, (I know how you feel:oops:) "That'll never happen!"...just sayin. We've all been there. Or it'll sit, undone, for maybe..."30 yrs?". Doesn't mean you can't research the drive-train, and pick-up a few pieces that can't be passed on, but if I were you, I'ld spend my efforts on the body 1st. "Before" it rots any more.

As for making it a RA clone, I think you should be grateful for what you've got. 68 to 70 400 isn't that big a deal. The biggest problem with either of those, is too much compression, for todays piss gas. You can get boosters, water inj. kick the timing "way" back, (which'll kill performance), but who knows, by the time you get to that point, our government might have out-lawed gas engs. permanently. You might think it's unheard of, but take a look around you. It's a gradual process, and spreading like cancer.
Wish I could disagree with ya there.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
44 Posts
Discussion Starter · #54 ·
Quick update, due to the car coming from Georgia, which is a non title state, I had to first get her registered in vermont to get a hard copy of the title, finally got my new vermont plates lol. Im going to be setting up moving the car down the road to my FIL's garage and we are going to get the alternator bolt that snapped outta the power steering bracket, and work on getting the floor pans and kick panels cut out and such. Will be the first change for my brother to check the car (hes my master fabricator / expert welder / resto. Hes still giving me shit since its "to new" (he only buys 30-55s projects to turn into hot rods and rat rods, chops and such) once he checks it out, we will get a better game plan together.
 

·
Administrator
1993 6-spd T/A - 1996 C4
Joined
·
3,134 Posts
The man certainly has some sheet-metal skills. Learn what you can from him for sure.
 

·
Ramblin' Wreck
Joined
·
5,203 Posts
I love old cars that look like Lindberg's Spirit of St Louis plane on the inside ;-)
 
  • Like
Reactions: brianb
41 - 60 of 86 Posts
Top