Author Topic: New lease on life for a 1980 Firebird  (Read 9972 times)

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Offline Tailgater

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New lease on life for a 1980 Firebird
« on: July 10, 2013, 06:01:35 PM »
Well I've always wanted to build a 2nd gen Firebird or Trans am, and have been looking for awhile now, and finally found what I think is a good candidate for a build up.



Its a 1980 Firebird, very basic car, no power options, no A/C, and a v6 engine.  Overall its not in bad shape for a car its age around here, the windshield has been leaking for awhile and rotted out the front floor pans, the quarters have been replaced at some point in the cars life, but they didn't do a very good job of it and they will have to be fixed or replaced, but the rest of the car looks pretty good.







First order of business... get a proper engine, while the Buick 231 is a decent little engine, I'd like to have something a little bigger, I found a Buick 455, but it didnt feel right to go with anything other then a Pontiac engine, so after some more searching I found this ;D




its a 455 out of a 1974 Grand Prix a proper engine for this Pontiac ;D  I also had to order the proper F body engine mounts and will have to drill and tap a couple holes in the block to bolt them up



Offline Chuckles

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Re: New lease on life for a 1980 Firebird
« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2013, 07:52:58 PM »
What are you planning on doing for the transmission?

Offline Tailgater

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Re: New lease on life for a 1980 Firebird
« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2013, 08:18:39 PM »
I'd like to build up a 200-4R, but I haven't found one with a BOP bellhousing for a reasonable price yet, if I cant find one I'll probably build a TH 350 for it

Offline 81

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Re: New lease on life for a 1980 Firebird
« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2013, 09:25:33 PM »
A junk yard in my area (Pick and Pull) just placed a '79 fire bird in their yard.  No rust, no dents, 100% complete and had a decent respray paint job.   Needless to say, by the time I found out about it, it was reduced to a shell.  While pulling a few parts,  I overheard one of the yard workers say he had it running before they put it in the yard.  I still can't believe a junk yard would do that.  Glad to see you rescued one!

Offline pancho400cid

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Re: New lease on life for a 1980 Firebird
« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2013, 01:20:37 PM »
Nice looking car!

One comment - If the block is a 74 Pontiac you should not need to drill/tap it.  If you have the right frame mounts & motor mounts it should be a bolt-together situation.  If you are drilling and tapping, something is wrong.... unless it is a early block with 2 bolt pattern....

Good luck on the project...
1978 Trans Am - Brown - Current Project
1978 Trans Am - Silver - Future Uncertain

Offline SA74SD

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Re: New lease on life for a 1980 Firebird
« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2013, 02:25:21 PM »
Pancho is correct. If you are using the motor brackets from the GP, it is not going to align with the mounts on the subframe. The F body brackets have an "F" stamped on them.  Late model "F" brackets and clam shell mounts and you should be good to go.

Offline Tailgater

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Re: New lease on life for a 1980 Firebird
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2013, 04:58:41 PM »
A junk yard in my area (Pick and Pull) just placed a '79 fire bird in their yard.  No rust, no dents, 100% complete and had a decent respray paint job.   Needless to say, by the time I found out about it, it was reduced to a shell.  While pulling a few parts,  I overheard one of the yard workers say he had it running before they put it in the yard.  I still can't believe a junk yard would do that.  Glad to see you rescued one!
I always cringe when I see something like that in a yard, hopefully its parts are at least being put to good use on another bird.

Nice looking car!

One comment - If the block is a 74 Pontiac you should not need to drill/tap it.  If you have the right frame mounts & motor mounts it should be a bolt-together situation.  If you are drilling and tapping, something is wrong.... unless it is a early block with 2 bolt pattern....

Good luck on the project...

Pancho is correct. If you are using the motor brackets from the GP, it is not going to align with the mounts on the subframe. The F body brackets have an "F" stamped on them.  Late model "F" brackets and clam shell mounts and you should be good to go

The motor currently has the full size mounts on it, and I have a set of the correct F Body ones for it, I thought the F body ones used different holes on the block? and that not all blocks had all 5 pads drilled and tapped? I may be getting mixed up now that I think about it,  the correct mounts are here at my house and the motor is at my parents house with the car which is about 3 hours away.  I'm heading up there for the weekend and will check it out and make sure everything bolts up I'm also hoping to get a good start on stripping the car down so I can figure out what all needs to be fixed or replaced.

I'm excited to get started! 8)

Offline Chuckles

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Re: New lease on life for a 1980 Firebird
« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2013, 07:41:08 PM »
You should fuel inject it and turbo it... ;)

Offline Tailgater

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Re: New lease on life for a 1980 Firebird
« Reply #8 on: July 13, 2013, 03:00:18 PM »
You should fuel inject it and turbo it... ;)

I like the way you think!  ;D

Well I got a few things done to the car, the interior is mostly out now





I also started taking apart the front end,

the Buick 3.8


front clip and bumper removed


passenger side fender off


New Parts!
Dual Exhaust

Weatherstripping

Subframe connectors, solid subframe bushings, and motor mounts

Offline Tailgater

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Re: New lease on life for a 1980 Firebird
« Reply #9 on: July 14, 2013, 06:37:44 PM »
and drivers side fender off

Offline oldskoolubr

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Re: New lease on life for a 1980 Firebird
« Reply #10 on: July 15, 2013, 12:18:14 PM »
Very Good Start and Components!  Keep the pics coming!

Offline CT Bird Fan

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Re: New lease on life for a 1980 Firebird
« Reply #11 on: July 21, 2013, 10:27:52 AM »
Nice project and great work so far! Makes me miss my 1980 Esprit even more. Keep the updates coming!
Gone but not forgotten - 1979 Formula, 1980 Esprit.

Being birdless sucks!

Offline Tailgater

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Re: New lease on life for a 1980 Firebird
« Reply #12 on: July 27, 2013, 05:32:02 PM »
Well I got a few more things done the the car, progress is slow, but it is coming

Core support removed


engine out


and transmission out


Aslo found out part of the frame is rotted pretty bad


so I'm going to have to either find a replacement  subframe, or a good peice I can weld in.


Offline Greenbird76

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Re: New lease on life for a 1980 Firebird
« Reply #13 on: July 28, 2013, 10:43:39 AM »
Nice project!  That exhaust system you have there looks like the one I bought a few years ago from Summit for my project.  I have the 3 inch system.  I am very happy with the way that system sounds on my 76.  And I say patch that sub-frame if the rest of it is in good shape.  I would take it apart completely and get it off the car to give it a good look over and to clean it up.
Anyways, nice work so far!  I have several hundred pictures of my build if you need any help along the way, just give me a shout!
« Last Edit: July 28, 2013, 10:51:27 AM by Greenbird76 »

Offline Tailgater

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Re: New lease on life for a 1980 Firebird
« Reply #14 on: July 28, 2013, 11:00:05 AM »
Nice project!  That exhaust system you have there looks like the one I bought a few years ago from Summit for my project.  I have the 3 inch system.  I am very happy with the way that system sounds on my 76. And I say patch that subframe if the rest of it is in good shape.  I would take it apart completely and get it off the car to give it a good look over and to clean it up.
Anyways, nice work so far!

Thanks!

I bought the 2.5 inch kit from Summit, I think it should sound pretty good, The rest of the subframe looks really solid, but I wont know for sure until it comes off the car.