Tuesday, July 22, 2008


What good is a nice car if it sounds like your 4 years old nephew is beating on your kitchenware?

this exhaust was a 6 years old nephew: just as annoying as the 4 years old, but with a much increased decibel output

I had them replaced with a pair of Flowmaster Series 40.

I unfortunately couldn't do it myself: not only do I not have the tools required, I have even less clue as to how to even start doing that. Instead, my neighbour Paul did it while i watched him squirm under the beast. A learning experience, maybe next time i will be the one crawling under.

Saturday, July 19, 2008


Let's face it, it's dirty. i don't think it has been thoroughly cleaned since the first owner drove it off the lot in 1986.

the interior is faded in a lot of place. the seats in particular and carpet. the top's interior needs to be redone entirely. it's called a headliner if you didn't know, and i sure didn't

i started my work on the trunk first and i didn't think to take pictures before so you can't see the the grime that was there, a caked mixture of dirt and oil. armed with an engine degreaser and a roll of shop paper towels (the blue ones), i tried to get off all the oily stuff that was coating everything. i tried various ways to get the cakes off. papers towels, toothbrush, soap.

in the end, i figured i'd try a scotch-brite plastic "steel" wool pad, the kind you use to clean non-stick cookware . it worked, everything is going so much faster now. i'd already seen someone mention the scotch-brite pads on the hotrodders.com forums, but i didn't register exactly what they meant until i opened the box under my kitchen sink... Doh! as Homer would say

A month's wait...

When I purchased the Grand Prix, it was with the full understanding that it wasn't in working order: the transmission was sticking in first gear. Fortunately the seller had already inquired for a new one and was going to pick it up himself and install it for me...

It took him a month, and it was unfortunately broken and didn't even fit in the car

this is the "new" one

and the "old"
the round piece that isn't in the second picture is called a torque converter. It serves the same purpose as a clutch, but for an automatic transmission. Mine has "stall speed" of 3000 RPM, that is the speed at which the highest amount 0f torque is delivered to the wheel.

I ended up paying to have the broken one rebuilt. A worthy investment.

Friday, July 18, 2008

First Look

The Car, as first presented to me


First off a bit about my background.

I like to say that I'm a server and network babysitter, working as a system administrator for an internet service provider. my usual interests are definitely in the area of the brain: computers, video games, books. As a younger lad i dabbled in cabin building, electricity, electronics and chemistry, admittedly on a very low level. My father is a mechanical engineer but never much helped me in my hands-on projects.

you could say that i was about as far as you can get from a "car guy", and in fact until recently had absolutely no interests in cars beside as means of getting from point A to B. What can i say, everyone is always talking about souping up their civics, accords, and other ugly japanese trashboxes or japanese-inspired american pancakes. You hardly ever see a classic car, or any other kind of full metal hot rods: plastics plastics plastics, it's what it's all about. And frankly, plastics are ugly as hell.

Enter the '86 Grand Prix.
it's one of the last true american cruising cars, the 86 was the second to last year that still had a rear-wheel drive and a large frame. Based on GM's G-body that saw production between 1978 and 1988, it has 108 inch wheelbase (that is the length from wheel to wheel): a full 15" longer than my daily driver (a Toyota Echo 2000). Finally a car worthy of attention and at the price i couldn't pass it up.

This one has a rebuilt for performance Chevy 350 Small Block engine, up from the 305 block that comes "stock", that is when it is fresh out of the dealer lot. As i soon found out, these numbers, 350 and 305, stand for the total displacement of the piston (the amount of air/fuel that gets moved around by the metal thingies inside the motor) measured in Cubic Inches. in metric it would equate to 5.7 Liters and 5.0 Liters respectively. Hey, i did say i was a complete newbie

in short, it's a "drag race" car. it should in theory be able to do the 1/4 miles in 12 to 14 seconds: owing to it's high weight.

Now, the previous owner did modify the motor and repaint the body. it has barely any rust, something that is rather surprising for a '86. the frame is sound and the engine loud, as any self-respecting hot rod, but the interior and overall "look" is lacking: it's a 86, and it shows.

this blog is where i will be documenting my progress, or if you prefer, stumbling, of disassembling, cleaning, painting, and reinstalling everything. there is still some work to do on the engine, this will be here too when i get to it.

on with the show... and thanks {Deity} for Google