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Discussion Starter #1
Hey all-
So this has been a long time coming after joining the forum last year. I have decided that it is finally time to let everyone know what has happened with my ride, what I've done to my ride, and what I plan on doing in the years ahead.
First a little about me. I am a born again Christian, and thankful to God to be where I am and the family and friends I have. I also don't post anything on Sunday, because I am in church a good part of the day. I am 21 years old and in my 2nd year as an electrician apprentice, while also learning the HVAC trade. I'm with an awesome company and learning a ton about both trades. I play several musical instruments and play in 2 orchestras and some chamber groups. I play string bass, violin, and mandolin occasionally :)
I absolutely love driving my car. I am hard pressed to find anything I like better. My trip to work is 74 miles round trip 5 days a week, so I put on a fair amount of miles over time.
I have owned my car since October 19 2014. Paid $2700 cash for it. Had 137,000 miles on it. Have 188,000 now.
The very first thing I had done was replace the solenoids in the trans. A couple weeks after buying it, it started slamming into gear from a stop and 1-2 shift was strange. A local guy did them for $500 and it hasn't missed a beat.
Next I had a terrible rear-end kickout when going over bumps. I had some decent used tires installed, but that didn't fix much (btw, always get new tires unless getting a wheel set), then replaced the rear shocks and sway bar links. That helped some.
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Eventually figured out it was an alignment issue, so I had it aligned and problem solved. Definitely worth $70!
Next post I will cover my top end job. Stay Tuned...Stay Strong
 

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Discussion Starter #2
So I had never really done any serious engine work before, and I wasn't necessarily planning to on this car, but when I started throwing a constant misfire code and overheating all at once, I knew I had big problems. I made it home and replaced the plugs and wires, hoping that would fix it; course it didn't. Then I did a compression test and found cylinder #3 was low.
I called around and $1200 was the going rate for a head job; more if there was something else involved. Too much for me at 19 years old. So I decided to do it myself.
Everything went fairly easy considering. Had to buy some tools like a torque wrench and stuff. Broke a couple exhaust bolts but that was expected.
Once I got the heads off I checked them out and sure enough, it was cracked between a couple of the valve seats. So I went off to the junkyard and got some heads off a 3.8 Grand Prix that looked good.
Next got gaskets, exhaust bolts, head bolts, aluminum coolant elbows, water pump, and a head job done. Man I love those fresh heads!
Put everything in, torqued everything down, and good to go!
Had a coolant leak at the water pump gasket, so I replaced the gasket with the felpro plastic one, no leaky :)
Took me just over a week and about $1,000. I'm really glad I did it and wouldn't trade the experience for anything! Now about 50,000 miles later, it runs like an absolute clock. Stronger than ever!
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That is awesome that you dove into a job like that and got it done. Congrats! If you decide to tackle more stuff don't be afraid to ask questions.
 

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Nice! Where did you find the torque specs?
 

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Attempting it yourself is a great way to learn. I'd like to do some engine work to mine such as a cam and possibly a LS2 intake. But it's a daily and I can't really afford down time right now. Plus I'm still paying on it. But it will come with time. I have no plans of getting rid of it.


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Now thats love for ya car! Good to see one kept on the road instead of tossed /props. Ya obviously put heart in ya car, looking forward to what's next.
I feel the work commute (daily round trip for me is 184 mi through seattle free/highways)


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Discussion Starter #8

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
3,000 miles after the rebuild, I put on 2 rear hub bearings. Then proceeded to spin out on I-75 at 70 MPH into a ditch. Thankfully, my car was surprisingly unscathed. I had popped a bead off a tire, bent a rear trailing arm, and a rear hub bearing was loose. I'm so glad nothing worse happened. A couple hundred feet closer or farther, and I would have a different car.
After that ordeal, I replaced the radiator, the loose rear bearing, the passenger front bearing, both trailing arms replaced, tie rod ends, trans lines, rack boot, and an alignment. It sure handled a lot better and no more leaking trans lines!
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I-75 huh. Noticed you live in Michigan. I probably asked you before but where do you live? I myself am in the South East corner right by Ohio.


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Discussion Starter #11
I-75 huh. Noticed you live in Michigan. I probably asked you before but where do you live? I myself am in the South East corner right by Ohio.


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I'm just south of Flint. In the country but only 3 mins from 75. I like it :)
 

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Oh, not terribly far from me. Couple hours or so. I seem to find a lot of impala people in Michigan and a decent amount of LS4 owners in Texas.


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I forget what it's like for you guys up in the Great Lakes region. I grew up on the southern edge of the rust belt in the Louisville area, but after living in Texas for 18 years, I've all but forgotten what stuff looked like after a few winters of road salt, liberally applied, does to metal.

Doug



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Discussion Starter #14
I forget what it's like for you guys up in the Great Lakes region. I grew up on the southern edge of the rust belt in the Louisville area, but after living in Texas for 18 years, I've all but forgotten what stuff looked like after a few winters of road salt, liberally applied, does to metal.



Doug







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Yup that's some solid Michigan salt on those arms.
Our roads up here are absolutely horrendous, part due to the plows and mostly the freeze/thaw rates, which are probably the most/biggest in the country. Thankfully, their act is finally getting together, so lots of cones for a long time Lol :)
 

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Yup that's some solid Michigan salt on those arms.
Our roads up here are absolutely horrendous, part due to the plows and mostly the freeze/thaw rates, which are probably the most/biggest in the country. Thankfully, their act is finally getting together, so lots of cones for a long time Lol :)

Couldn't have said it better myself. It's about damn time the work on the roads.


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3,000 miles after the rebuild, I put on 2 rear hub bearings. Then proceeded to spin out on I-75 at 70 MPH into a ditch. Thankfully, my car was surprisingly unscathed. I had popped a bead off a tire, bent a rear trailing arm, and a rear hub bearing was loose. I'm so glad nothing worse happened. A couple hundred feet closer or farther, and I would have a different car.
After that ordeal, I replaced the radiator, the loose rear bearing, the passenger front bearing, both trailing arms replaced, tie rod ends, trans lines, rack boot, and an alignment. It sure handled a lot better and no more leaking trans lines!
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Geez man, good to hear your alright! sorry to hear about what happened to your car!

it's also good to hear about the handling and the trans line improvements as well!
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
Brief break from posting about things I have done to post what I did today.
I switched over to synthetic 5w-30 5,000 miles ago. I figured since I had 185,000 miles it was sort of a gamble but it couldn't hurt so I did it. I knew I would leak more oil than I was, with the synthetic cleaning stuff out better.
I check the oil about every 500 miles maybe less depending what I'm under the hood for. I noticed in 1-2,000 miles that the oil level was decreasing rather rapidly, so I did some poking around. Sure enough, the engine mount bracket was full of oil; time for a front main.
I couldn't find any videos at all about replacing the front main on a 3800. My Haynes says just take the bolt off and pull the balancer out. Yeah right.
Bro got home with his good impact and the bolt came out no prob. Unfortunately, we couldn't get a puller on the balancer with the oil filter adapter in place. There is a small bolt behind the adapter that I took off and that allowed me to get my puller, affectionately named "Stone Age Puller" due to it looking like it came from that era, in there. It was only making contact on the edge of the balancer bolt, but it came out!! Such a good feeling when that happens :)
Popped the old seal out, didn't look too bad but after 190,000 it can't hurt to replace it. Put a little RTV on the side of the seal, minding not to put any on the bottom because there is an oil drain hole in the front timing cover there, and tapped it in place. Coated both balancer and seal lip with oil and drove the balancer back in. Tightened everything up, filled her up with oil, and we are good to go.
Took me about 2 hours including tire rotation so not bad for not seeing it done before. Now to see if the new seal does the same thing; shouldn't tho :)

Balancer off IMG_4738.JPG
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Bolt that I took out IMG_4740.JPG
New seal installed IMG_4743.JPG
"Stone Age" and seal puller IMG_4744.JPG
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
My steering wheel looked like pot as the pictures show. Let's fix it and replace the turn stalk as well :)
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Got it pulled.
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Duplicolor paint from amazon. GM Lt Neutral IMG_4757.JPG
Old leather New leather IMG_4759.JPG
All finished! IMG_4761.JPG
Gotta love that clear coat!!
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Big thanks to ChrisFix and his vid on this. I used his tips and the products he recommended:
I had to cut and trim the leather which worked pretty good. First time doing this so it's not 100% but looks pretty darn good IMHO. I am really digging the clear coat on the wheel sides, airbag, and plastic covers. Really takes the quality up a notch.
Drove it today and it's so nice. Feels like a better car. I'm going to really like this fix!
 

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Nice job that wheel looks awesome!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #20
My radiator never really has had a good top mount situation. I've tried zip tying it but they always broke. Tried metal zip ties but they didn't secure hard enough.
Finally bought some speed nuts and bolts and fixed it right. IMG_4769.JPG IMG_4770.JPG
Funny now most of my front end noise is gone
 
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