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The spoiler looks great! Thanks for posting all the how to's. Keep the updates coming Ryan. This thread is very helpful for following along to do repairs on my car.
 

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i always read your post....keep the thread going. I havent posted on mine in a while but i am getting ready to update my build to current status...

what other forums are these that have been spoke of?
 

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Discussion Starter #284
Thanks for all of the compliments, I was beginning to think nobody read this anymore. I have this same thread on pro-touring.com and TransAmCountry.com. I have been a member of the TAC site for a really long time and that's where I posted up the first car I restored. It was a restomod 1976 T/A with an LS1/6speed. People there seemed interested in the build so I continued to post there.
 

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Discussion Starter #285
In keeping with the Penny Pincher theme, here's a DIY project that I completed to save a few bucks. The hardware for the rear speakers needed to be installed before the package tray could be installed, but I didn't want to buy new speakers right now since it's really not a top priority. So rather than get new speakers, I decided to use some old speakers I had, but the problem is they are round 6.5" and the package tray accepts 6x9 speakers. So my solution was to make an adapter that mounts to the existing hardware, but is set up for a 6.5" round speaker. I broke out some old speaker covers I had and made a trusty cardboard template.



Then transferred it to some 3/4" board I had laying around.



Once I got them cut out, I realized that the hard edge would likely make for some weird sound from the speakers. I used a router to soften the edge and smooth out the transition. And I also realized that when I used my compass, I measured out 2.25" rather than 2.75", so my circle was an inch short. So I had to go back and cut the wholes out larger then bevel the edges.





Here you can see the speaker installed and how you can't add hardware once the package tray cover is installed. The metal covering the speakers isn't ideal, but I have a tough time cutting up the package tray considering it's lasted 51 years already... I can live with a little distortion as it gives a little of that retro feeling.





I then moved onto the original mono single speaker from the front dash. The speaker was falling apart, but I thought this would make for a great platform to mount a pair of 3.5" speakers. I created a template and cut out the parts to make the speakers fit. I still need to finish the edges, but this will work nicely.







I pulled this stereo out of my old Silverado before I sold it, and thought I would see how it fits down low. It surprisingly fits really well and I'm going to make a bracket to mount it right here. I'm not sure if this will be a permanent thing, but for now it's doesn't cost me anything but time.





My interior is really coming together. I have a few more finishing touches to do and then I can button it up for good. I still need to mock up the rear seats again and I can measure for some car seat anchors. Last year I used the stock seat belts and it worked "Ok", but I'm going to do something stronger. I'm going to make some plates that anchor into the seat belt mounts that will allow me to hook into the car seat latches.



Cheers,
Ryan
 

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Discussion Starter #287
I've been plugging away this last week doing some work here and there. I finished fitting up my speakers to the old mono speaker, got the holes drilled and then painted the whole thing. I think it turned out great and only cost me the time to modify it. Turns out the front speakers I have are crackling, so I'll have to get some replacements. They won't get better right?? The rears are perfect, so I may just leave these out for now and worry about it later or I may just pick up a cheap set of 3.5" speakers on eBay.





As I've been working away at getting my interior buttoned up, I turned my attention to the sun visors. My originals were in really good shape, with the exception of the trim that goes along the outside. So I put on my upholstery hat, needle, thread and went to work. I didn't spend too much time on it, but was able to get the trim lined up right and was able to put the needle through most of the original stitching holes.

What I started with.



After a little elbow grease.





Installed. It helped out tremendously installing the screws in the sunvisor holes before I installed the headliner. took just a minute to find them and cut the holes.



Some parts came in and I was able to swap over the female to male terminals for the metripack connector. I struggled when I first went to install the reverse light plug on my car and come to find out they installed the wrong terminals in the connector. I bought a pack of new ones and the metripack removal tool. That little tool was invaluable and worked like a charm. Definitely worth the wait.





It's been so rainy here in NY, that I haven't been able to dye the last parts for my interior. I saw the forecast and Saturday looked to be dry and 60, so that was my chance to get the doors panels dyed. I first had to strip the door panels down just like I did the rear panels. Those glued lower trim panels from the door panel didn't want to come off. I pried and pried, then started to tear the actual vinyl on the panel which lead to some cussing. Then I came up with a better idea and grabbed about 12" of welding wire and made a couple 90* bends with enough room in the middle for the trim. I used that along with a heat gun and it cut through with steady pressure and worked like a charm.





This is the first one where I started pulling from the left side. Once the tool got through the part that I tore, it worked so smoothly. You can see where I stopped prying up by hand and then using the tool.



The other side worked perfectly and too so much less time.



I then stripped both panels down bare and proceeded to clean them up for paint. My process was two rounds of cleaning with window cleaner and a soft bristled brush, followed by PrepsAll paint prep cleaner and then a liberal coating of lacquer thinner. An old body guy told that the lacquer thinner softens the vinyl and works as good or better than the adhesion promoter. I have to say I'm impressed with the SEM products as it stands up very well to general use. I've tried scratching it with my nail and lightly with a screwdriver on the back side and it didn't flake or chip one bit. Nice a flexible just like I would expect. Time will tell how long it stands up though.





The finish looks a little blotchy, but it was still a little wet in this picture.



After I hand polished all of the trim it was time reinstall the window felts, middle trim and to glue back on the lower trim pieces. I used the same contact cement from my headliner install and it worked great. I left the original trim glue in place on both the trim and door panel. When the contact cement was applied, it re-activated the glue and worked beautifully to reinstall back on the panels. I used a few hammers to apply light pressure to the trim as it dried overnight.



I couldn't help myself and the next morning put the clips back on the panel and installed it. This is the first time I've had the door panels this complete and the right color in the car. I'm actually surprised at how well the panels turned out as they exceeded my expectations. I cleaned/polished/installed the arm rest I picked up at a swap meet last year as well as installed some brand new stainless interior trim screws. It's really starting to come together now.



Hoping to button up the interior very shortly.

Cheers,
Ryan
 

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Discussion Starter #292
I've been busy over the last week, slowly cleaning and reinstalling parts. One item I've been meaning to address was that my rear tires kept rubbing no matter what I did for a spacer. So as I was taking measurements from the hub to the inner/outer wheel houses I was getting the same measurements. I hadn't noticed until recently though that the quarter panel/outer wheel lip was about 1/4" wider on the driver's side. That means that it's been my driver's side that was rubbing this whole time, but also meant that I needed to trim off this excess... Out comes the jig saw. I used a jig saw rather than a cut off wheel because of heat. In my thought process, it was the better of two evils. It worked well, but I did stuff a little paint off. Nothing that a touch up brush can't fix though.



I ordered what I hope to be one of the last $100 batch of parts for the car. Rear package tray corner trim, new dome light bezel, door jamb vents, door panel emblems and new door lock knobs. I also have the plastic piece that goes under the pedals that needs to be cleaned up and re-installed.



I was so excited to finish up the restoration of the door panels with the new emblems. Not bad for some old original parts and a little elbow grease.





Finally, I was able to button up all of the wiring and give the car a good thorough cleaning.





Now that it's all buttoned up, it was finally time to get her out for a test drive with the new Terminator X ECU. Earlier in the week, I went through the setup wizards that the system provides giving basic info like cubic inches, cam profile (stock, mild or aggressive), and a few other questions. Once it built the tune for me, I downloaded it to my laptop and made a few changes that cannot be done with the handheld 3.5" touch screen. Sunday came around and I figured it was time to see if all the hard work paid off. Turned the key and it came to life! It was very rich, but it was a fresh tune and doesn't start the learning process until 160*, so I assumed it was part of the process. It idled and ran ok, (~10-11 AFR) so I figured it was time to take it around the block. It was sorta bucking and popping which again, not warm enough to learn, but made it to the end of the main road, pushed the clutch in and it stalled on me. Cranked, and cranked, but wouldn't start. Hmmm... gave it a little throttle and it fired right up so I got on it a little and we were up and running. As I'm rowing through the gears, it really came to life at about half throttle and just ripped up to about 5k! Now that's what I remembered! I was going to take a big loop, so I went a little farther down the road to turn on a side road, pressed in the clutch and it stalled. By now it's up to temp but wasn't learning the way I was hoping and it repeated the same story, didn't want to idle and would stall, but ran great past half throttle. Brought it back home and parked it.

I reached out to a friend (Thanks Andrew!!) of mine who has a lot of experience with the Holley EFI and I sent him my tune. He came back to me within a few minutes and asked what MAP sensor I was using. I told him the stock LS1 MAP, and he came back to tell me that the ECU was looking for the internal MAP sensor, not the one on my engine. Because of that the ECU thought I was at WOT the entire time!! I know I changed that setting, but obviously didn't save correctly. Monday night was rainy, but then Tuesday afternoon my wife and I decided to go for a drive to get away from all the craziness. I loaded up the revised tune and immediately(literally the moment it started) the idle was clean, crisp and leaned way out from where it was. (~14.5-15 AFR) I was 110% happier with this experience. I'm taking almost the same route, and get to the end of the road before the main two lane and no idle issues at all. Settled in right where it was commanded to. Took off on the highway and it had all the get up and go I remembered. I slowed down 45-50 in the reduced speed area and it started popping just slightly, but it hadn't hit *160 yet so it wasn't in closed loop learn mode yet. Then go through the drive and once it hit the *160, I could tell it was learning as the AFR started to lean out and the exhaust notes were cleaned up. By the time I got a mile or two up the road it was running as good if not better than with the stock ECU. We continued on with zero issues and the car was running beautifully. I couldn't be happier with the new ECU and that was just with about 20 minutes of run time. I want to tweak the VE tables to really dial in the idle and also integrate my VSS so that I can add in more tuning options with speed in the mix.

Best of all, the wheels no longer rub in the rear!

I'll try and get some screenshots from the laptop next time I'm in the program to maybe help others with similar issues.

Cheers,
Ryan
 

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Discussion Starter #294
Thought I'd post up some pictures of the car out in the wild. I took the car on a cruise to Watkins Glen, which is a really neat town that's about 45 mins from me. Most probably know it from the international racetrack, but it's also a really neat town. My wife and I took the day off from all of the craziness that's been happening the last few months and just went for a cruise. We stopped and got some icecream so I grabbed a photo and I also stopped at a Harley store that was on the way to snap some better pictures of the car.











I need to find a much better place to take a picture and washing it would help too haha.

Cheers,
Ryan
 

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Discussion Starter #296
Haha, I'll have to get with you next time I'm out that way Mitch. I want to check your Z/28 out too.

Haven't been doing anything to my car, but driving it which feels really nice. I've been playing with the Holley software and reading up all of the tables that are in the more advanced features. I've been taking it on a drive about once a week with my wife at lunchtime which has been really nice. The car is a blast to drive and I've been trying to improve on things ever so slightly to make it that much better.

Eventually this will be a cruiser for my family and I want to be sure that my two boys are safe and comfortable. I've been searching online high and low for a set of retro-fit LATCH hooks and a few months ago I finally found a set that will work for me. They are from Ford to retro-fit some model year Mustangs and Crown Vic's, part number F3LY-63613D74-A. As I always do, I price matched online and found that TASCA Ford has them at a unit price of $0.01! I couldn't even come close to making them myself for that price!

I thought that it must be an error, but I added 6 to my cart (3 for each seat) and hit the check out button. It ended up coming to around $11 with shipping and arrived about a week later. They are going to work perfectly, but I need to get the rear seat installed so that I can make sure that the seats are centered squarely in the rear seat. I'm hoping to install those soon, but here's a picture of what you get.







I've always really liked the way the LS motors look with remotely mounted coils. I found a great deal on a set of brackets, coil extensions and wires. Since there is a limited driving season in NY, I'm going to leave this for a winter project.



Speaking of projects... I've also started collecting parts for another project, but I'm just going to tease with a few pictures.











One last thing is a maintenance item... I've sprung a leak. I'm not sure yet, but my fuel tank has started to leak. I'm assuming it's leaking from the adapter ring that I installed. Unfortunately I just filled up the tank, so I'm trying to drive it a little more before I drop and drain it to see what failed. While it's out, I've also ordered a new fuel sender so that I'll be able to have a more accurate fuel level reading. I've been using the 5th gen pump's sending unit which is something like 250-40 OHM full empty, but Dakota Digital has a preset for 240-33 OHM. So I bought a new Bosch universal sending unit so it will a little easier. The DD gauges are programmable, but I find it more difficult to fill the tank 1/3 at a time and hope it's right, than just installing a new sending unit and go with their presets.



I'll update the thread when I have more progress.

Cheers,
Ryan
 

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Thought I'd post up some pictures of the car out in the wild. I took the car on a cruise to Watkins Glen, which is a really neat town that's about 45 mins from me. Most probably know it from the international racetrack, but it's also a really neat town. My wife and I took the day off from all of the craziness that's been happening the last few months and just went for a cruise. We stopped and got some icecream so I grabbed a photo and I also stopped at a Harley store that was on the way to snap some better pictures of the car.











I need to find a much better place to take a picture and washing it would help too haha.

Cheers,
Ryan
Hey Ryan, my wife's opposition to Camaro spend seems to melt away when she gets a little time behind the wheel. Your ice cream strategy sounds good, I'm going to try that too.
 

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Discussion Starter #298
Ice cream makes everything better ritght?! haha

I'm finally getting around to installing the LATCH hooks for my car seats. I've been mulling over how to install these for a while, and after much consideration I've decided to utilize the same bolts as my stock seat belts. This required me to slightly enlarge the hole on the LATCHES. I considered that it would give less material for the hook to bolt to, but at the smallest part of the bolt hole it's as thick as the part that mounts the car seat's LATCH hook. I felt OK with this and moved forward with the install.



Then bolted them down to the stock position.





Now, once I got the rear seat back in place, it did interfere with the main support structure, so I had to tap the outer one's down slightly to be parallel with the floor section in that spot.

Then I centered the rear latches in the rear support structures using the large flat washer and hardware in the kit. That part was super easy. Drill the hole, install in the proper order, torque and done.



Next I was thrilled to finally install the panels that I refinished. They turned out incredibly well using SEM vinyl dye.



Now because I didn't want to cut any holes in the seats or rear package tray, this is the most difficult part of the install. It meant that I had to put the rear seat back in place, put both seats in the back, clip on the rear support strap over the rear seat, then I could install the rear seat normally. What's nice about it is, the straps seamlessly disappear into the truck and look really clean from the outside looking in. It just makes installing the rear seat bottom incredibly difficult.



Then I just took my time and slowly moved the rear seat bottom in place. I basically had to move inch by inch so that everything would line up properly. It also took some work to get all the straps nice and tight, but I feel so much better about this than using the stock seat belts. Once my son get's older and grows out of this seat I'll have to figure out a rear shoulder strap similar to what Clint (Bandit) did on his Nova. I'm stoked to have a completed interior!!





Full disclosure, please do this at your own risk. This is not a how-to and I'm not an engineer. I'm using parts from Ford that weren't designed for this car, but feel comfortable my installation is much safer than the 50+ year old seat belts installed in the car currently.

Now as luck would have it, my car is up on jack stands again. I had an appointment this past Friday at the shop for a proper alignment using Speedtech specs, installing new smaller diameter 245/40/18 tires and inspection. However, I got a call that they couldn't perform the front end alignment because of a bad outer driver side tie rod. I was still able to get the inspection, so that's good. When I got it home, I immediately put it up on jack stands, pulled the wheels off and confirmed that it was toast. Then luckily as I was pulling the wheels off I was checking everything else and wiggled the wheel studs and I had two loose on the driver's side, then checked and had two loose on the passenger side. Not sure what happened when I was drilling them out in my dad's drill press, but it looks like I bored the holes too big. I used a 39/64 drill bit for the .625 Knurl studs, but maybe there was some run out on his drill press.

So after considering all of my options (new studs with a larger knurl, CPP C5 spindles, and etc) I decided to give Flynbye (Ed Miller) a call and he hooked me up with a set of his custom Aluminum hubs with new 1/2 -20 wheel studs already installed. Great value and are about half the price of any other custom wheel hubs I could find online. I'm hoping to have them soon and get the car back on the road. I also bought all of the parts to hopefully fix my gas tank. Hoping to get that figured out too.

I rescheduled my alignment and tire install appointment for 7/6, so hopefully all of my parts arrive by then.

Cheers,
Ryan
 

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Discussion Starter #300
So this tie rod ended up getting expensive... First I got all the parts to fix the tie rods. New Moog inners and outers with new adjusting sleeves. I also grabbed a nice overflow jug from Dorman while I was already making the order.



Pulled the old side and got it close to the new assembly. Should be close enough to get me a few miles up the road when it comes time to get it aligned next Monday.





Once I got that straightened out, it was time to focus on fixing the wobbling wheel studs... After pricing out what it was going to cost to get new wheel studs the next size up, I contacted Flynbye with their bolt on aluminum hubs and cut me a good deal shipped to my door. They are very high quality and am very impressed with them considering they are half the price of other aluminum hubs. They came to me very quick and Ed was great to chat with on the phone. He answered all of my questions. The hubs came with new Timkin Bearings and 1/2" wheel studs already pressed in.



Unfortunately upon test fitting, the wheel studs weren't long enough and only allowed for about half of a lug nut of thread engagement. After a lot of back and forth trying to decide what to do, I decided to pop out a lug nut to determine the knurl diameter and get some new studs. Wouldn't you know, they measured right in at .625" which is the same as a set of ARP studs I had on my shelf! Very lucky, so I opted to just press them all out and run the longer ARP's.



Since I don't have access to a press, I decided to work with what I had... a ball joint press. I made sure to put some cardboard between the press and the hubs when I was making the press which saved the anodizing. It worked surprisingly well although a press would have made it much easier. Oh, and the wheel studs can be installed both ways so be sure to press them in the right direction. Not that I would do that...







Then I packed the bearings with high temp grease and installed the new hubs. I torqued to 12 lbs while rotating the wheel and the driver's side pin slid right in, and the passenger side I had to back it off as the cotter pin hole fell right in the middle of two of the crowns. I backed it off to the next hole.





What was interesting is that the new hubs were supposed to be a direct replacement, but when I did a test fit of the abutment brackets, the rotor wasn't centered. It required that I add another .100" shim to center it between the pad mounts. Thought I would include this for someone that may be swapping them out.



The car is all back together and I quickly dialed in the toe measurements and will go for a test drive sometime this week when we get some clear weather. Should be ready for a front end alignment now. Overall, I'm glad that I found the loose stud, since I ended up with a much stronger hub and matching color wheel studs with the rear. (if that matters haha)
 
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