Author Topic: 1979 TA Restoration project  (Read 9905 times)

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Offline smelly$cat

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1979 TA Restoration project
« on: September 30, 2014, 07:54:55 PM »
Hello, I'm new here... first post. I've always wanted a TA and finally picked one up a few months back. I had seen it parked in someone's carport. After asking around I finally met the owners and eventually struck a deal. 2500.00

Car runs and drives, but, it needs just about everything. Paint, interior, rubber seals, it goes on and on. I don't think it has the original 403 in it but a replacement 403. I still haven't figured out how to check to see if the #'s are "matching" or not. Maybe someone can help me with that. It does have 4-wheel disc brakes which is a plus. I don't think it's the WS6 package though. It has T-Tops as well. Other than that, it seems pretty standard.

On the bright side, I haven't found much rust if any so far. Just lots of back road dust and some light surface rust here and there. Time will tell... I live just outside of Boise Idaho. They don't use salt on the roads here as far as I can tell, so, I'm sure that has helped things. Not a lot of records on the car, so, not sure where it was born or where it has lived all these years. I'd like to know.

I recently finished building a shop (48'x30') and now have lots of space to work on this car.

I have 2 boys, 7 and 11. I'm hoping to make this a fun father/son project.

At this point, we've just started tearing down the exterior of the car and plan to work on the body and under carriage of the car first. Then will come the interior. Last will be the drive train (since it already runs and drives "ok"). I'm flexible on all of this, but that is my thought at this point.

I'll post some pics next and keep this thread going as I progress on this.

I look forward to learning more from this site and all of you!
« Last Edit: September 30, 2014, 08:02:32 PM by smelly$cat »

Offline smelly$cat

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Re: 1979 TA Restoration project
« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2014, 08:29:11 PM »





















Offline PonchoVia

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Re: 1979 TA Restoration project
« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2014, 08:59:42 PM »
Welcome man.
The car looks pretty solid, that shop is OFF THE HOOK! (which is a good thing)
My grandfather was a mechanic, I wish I could have worked on something with him.....priceless.
"We build excitement-PONTIAC"

Offline smelly$cat

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Re: 1979 TA Restoration project
« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2014, 09:28:06 PM »
Thanks for the kind words PonchoVia!

Offline RENOVATIONS

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Re: 1979 TA Restoration project
« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2014, 08:09:14 AM »
Hello, I'm new here... first post. I've always wanted a TA and finally picked one up a few months back. I had seen it parked in someone's carport. After asking around I finally met the owners and eventually struck a deal. 2500.00

I'd say you got a pretty good/fair price from the description and pix.

I still haven't figured out how to check to see if the #'s are "matching" or not. Maybe someone can help me with that. It does have 4-wheel disc brakes which is a plus. I don't think it's the WS6 package though.

If you have 4 wheel disc brakes, ther's a good chance you do have the WS6 package...you can read more about it here: http://www.78ta.com/ws6.php
You can also order a packet which deails what your car originally came with (if your original build sheet is gone) here: www.phs-online.com
The partial VIN stamp  (which , if they match the VIN of your car, make your car "matching numbers") on an Olds engine are in a different location than on a Pontiac engine...this pic should help. The stamp on the transmission is on a pad above the pan on the driver's side. Even if your T/A isn't matching, it's a great looking project :)





And I have to agree...that is a beautiful shop you have...nice looking property, too.


Keep the progress pictures coming and we are all here to help with any questions you might have.

You can find tons of info here on the forum and there are also lots of helpful links to more info on the left-hand side of the home page: www.78TA.com
Jeff

Projects:
_____________
1978 Trans Am
1970 Camaro
1970 'Cuda

Offline JupiterBandit

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Re: 1979 TA Restoration project
« Reply #5 on: October 01, 2014, 09:21:29 AM »
This is great.

Make sure you bag every little part. Writing what it goes to on the bag is great. Put a piece of paper inside the bag with the bolts inventorying what's in the bag. Sometimes or a lot of times the writing comes off the bag due to the amount of time it takes to get the car back together. Take lots of pics of each part you take off incase you need to reference it. And take lots of pics of the wiring and vacuum line routing. That will save you hours of searching the net.

I bought one of those bolt organizers at Harbor Freight. It is on wheels and it has hanging baskets on both sides. Label each bin and this will hold every single group of bolts you may possible need including engine disassembly.



Putting this car back together was a lot easier with this floor rack. It made the experience a lot more fun.

Also, getting the metal parts washer there was a huge help. I highly recommend if you are not buying all new bolts, buy the parts cleaner, fill it with purple stuff degreaser and soak all your bolts for a day, then sand blast the rusty ones and paint them. The ones that were not rusty, depending where they went, I didn't paint them. Or have all of them re-plated.

I did this on this car and it was nice having most of the stuff ready to go right back on. My other cars I waited until I was ready for them and it felt like forever to get them done and it dragged on. Food for thought.

Anyway, these are the things I've learned after tearing 4 cars down and putting them back together.

Offline smelly$cat

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Re: 1979 TA Restoration project
« Reply #6 on: October 01, 2014, 03:28:47 PM »
Thanks guys! I'm going to get out there and check the VIN on the block asap. Great helpful pic! I'll also see if I can make the final call on the WS6 package or not. Seemed like when I tried to use one of the VIN decoders before I didn't have it, but, we'll see. I can always just measure the sway bars too.

That is a cool bolt organizer! So far I've just done what you said, sandwich bags with a sticky note inside describing the contents.

I need to get one of those part washers. I've seen those before. That would be a big help for what I'm doing.

I'll be in touch guys. Thanks again!

Offline Daniel78ta

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Re: 1979 TA Restoration project
« Reply #7 on: October 01, 2014, 04:51:38 PM »
sandwich bags with a sticky note inside describing the contents.

This is very helpful..!!  The Sticky Note & Sandwich Bag trick saved many hours of looking for the correct bolts, parts etc.....!!
Trans Am Fever!!!

Offline smelly$cat

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Re: 1979 TA Restoration project
« Reply #8 on: October 01, 2014, 11:01:15 PM »
So I did some looking at the VIN #'s this eve. This is what I see.

The VIN on the car is: 2W87K9N173625
The # on the block is: 39M2513?3  (Where the ? is, I can't read it. The last 3 is also very faint)
On the trans, on the drive side, on what I would call the "bell housing", I see this #: 8640399 (Far as I can tell when driving it, it's a 3 speed)

So what do you guys think? Looks like a bunch of mismatched parts to me.

Offline smelly$cat

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Re: 1979 TA Restoration project
« Reply #9 on: October 01, 2014, 11:02:25 PM »
Also, on the build plate on the top of the firewall, one of the codes is WS4. Does that mean it's not a WS6 for sure? Even though it has rear disc brakes?

Offline smelly$cat

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Re: 1979 TA Restoration project
« Reply #10 on: October 01, 2014, 11:05:18 PM »
There is one other thing that I think detracts from the value of this car. The VIN plate in the dash is missing. There is a Idaho issued vin plate next to the hole were the stock VIN plate would be. There is also a new VIN plate in the door jam. It says something like "relocated VIN" on the plate. The VIN on the plate matches the title. This is where I found the VIN that I listed 2 posts ago. I'm not sure what the history is behind this. Maybe someone put a new dash in it and the state had to put these new plates on the car?

Offline RENOVATIONS

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Re: 1979 TA Restoration project
« Reply #11 on: October 02, 2014, 12:38:32 AM »
WS4 just means it's a Trans Am. The WS6 option won't be noted anywhere on the vin tag or cowl tag.

Click the link titled "numbers" on the left side of the main page of this site for info decoding vin and cowl.
Jeff

Projects:
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1978 Trans Am
1970 Camaro
1970 'Cuda

Offline RENOVATIONS

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Re: 1979 TA Restoration project
« Reply #12 on: October 02, 2014, 12:43:24 AM »
You'll also find info in this thread: http://www.78ta.com/HTAF/index.php?topic=14821.0

My '78 has a relocated vin tag also from being stolen in it's past life. It was recovered with both vin and cowl tags gone.

There are also 2 hidden partial vins that should match your dash and title..behind heat/ ac case on firewall.
Jeff

Projects:
_____________
1978 Trans Am
1970 Camaro
1970 'Cuda

Offline RENOVATIONS

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Re: 1979 TA Restoration project
« Reply #13 on: October 02, 2014, 06:39:22 AM »
Without use of a mirror (and difficult even then), it will be hard to see the vin stamp on the trans with it mounted in the vehicle. It is on a pad on the main body of the trans..facing up...in the area right above the pan....not on bellhousing.
Jeff

Projects:
_____________
1978 Trans Am
1970 Camaro
1970 'Cuda

Offline smelly$cat

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Re: 1979 TA Restoration project
« Reply #14 on: October 07, 2014, 11:51:18 AM »
Thanks for the info and the links. I noticed the 15x8 wheels are also indicative of the WS6 package, which my car appears to have, so, maybe it is a WS6 after all. Next up, I'm going to check out the sway bars.