Author Topic: 1979 SE Project Arrives  (Read 4213 times)

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Offline Atco Rebel

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1979 SE Project Arrives
« on: January 16, 2015, 10:41:12 PM »
I am the new lucky owner of a completely worn out Trans am. I say lucky because I have looked on Statewidelist nearly every night for the last two years to find a complete original S.E. in my price range. After negotiating for two months, the guy brings me the car to my home, in South Georgia, from North Carolina. Its a non-running 403. In fact, someone had robbed the alternator,starter, belts, and distributor from the car. The front left fender looks like someone beat it with a bat. The interior had the deluxe vinyl. No cruise, electric locks, or defogger. Someone just drove it until it quit. It is a very low optioned car for a y84. But I am a fan of roll-up glass. I am anxious to find out if the engine is buildable.  I will post pictures soon.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2015, 11:45:18 AM by Atco Rebel »

Offline solargold

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Re: 1979 SE Project Arrives
« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2015, 06:11:08 PM »
I am the new lucky owner of a completely worn out Trans am. I say lucky because I have looked on Statewidelist nearly every night for the last two years to find a complete original S.E. in my price range. After negotiating for two months, the guy brings me the car to my home, in South Georgia, from North Carolina. Its a non-running 403. In fact, someone had robbed the alternator,starter, belts, and distributor from the car. The front left fender looks like someone beat it with a bat. The interior had the deluxe vinyl. No cruise, electric locks, or defogger. Someone just drove it until it quit. It is a very low optioned car for a y84. But I am a fan of roll-up glass. I am anxious to find out if the engine is buildable.  I will post pictures soon.
congratulations. I also just picked one up I have chased for 2 years. 79 Y84 400/4 spd numbers car. Mine runs but Finding rust in the floors
L8R G8R

Offline Atco Rebel

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Re: 1979 SE Project Arrives
« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2015, 06:57:52 PM »
Awesome, The four speeds are very rare and hard to come by. I'm not sure if the original 403, in my car, is salvageable yet. I have 1970 Pontiac 400 as back up. I am getting it ready to pull it out.

Offline Atco Rebel

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Re: 1979 SE Project Arrives
« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2015, 10:11:06 PM »
I am going to start pulling the engine this weekend. For some reason I am having some second thoughts on rebuilding the original engine. I have always considered the factory 403 as being very durable but I am considering building a 400 horse motor using my Pontiac engine. Does anyone have any opinions on my options. I will probably never sale this car.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2015, 11:32:09 PM by Atco Rebel »

Offline tata

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Re: 1979 SE Project Arrives
« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2015, 03:09:11 AM »
I would keep it original matching numbers. So many people yank them for upgrades, but just like the dime a dozen 80s rustangs, it's getting harder to find matching # and  most people have really retro them for racing. Same with the 67 68 69 barracuda, they were hacked up for racing. It's great going fast, but for me I like off the line power instead of top end speed, which = more gas$. Lol

Offline 1981Y84TA

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Re: 1979 SE Project Arrives
« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2015, 06:45:36 PM »
I see what you are saying as I am in the same mix, 81 with a matching numbers 305 and 4 spd, would love it with 400 but it's numbers matching and I have no where to store the engine if I went to a poncho block.
right now I am disassembling her for body patching, and under carriage clean up.
working on the dash panel removal, lots of surface rust under the dash on all the steel, will need to get stuff bead blasted.
this one is computer controlled so it's a debate whether to keep it original or modify her to my likeness.

Offline tata

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Re: 1979 SE Project Arrives
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2015, 05:33:59 AM »
I also just got done parting a 81 305 4 speed. The parts flew of the shelf.  They didnt make many of those cars, it was a shame to part, but some of them just can't be saved.

Offline dodgeram106

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Re: 1979 SE Project Arrives
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2015, 12:04:45 AM »
Con-grats on the buy and a really good one looks like to,I post mine on here a few years back but had to sell it.Mine was 1 of 1100 made in 79 Black on Black,T-top's,400 motor with 4 speed Ws6,SE loaded.Looking forward to seeing the build with yours and good luck with it.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2015, 10:23:44 PM by dodgeram106 »

Offline Daddy Rick

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Re: 1979 SE Project Arrives
« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2015, 07:53:23 PM »
I am going to start pulling the engine this weekend. For some reason I am having some second thoughts on rebuilding the original engine. I have always considered the factory 403 as being very durable but I am considering building a 400 horse motor using my Pontiac engine. Does anyone have any opinions on my options. I will probably never sale this car.

Agree with TaTa...keep the 403 for the value of matching #s!! Build it for what it is; a low rpm torque master. Put your goal on the torque figure instead of HP and you'll burn rubber forever. lol. Remember, torque is "quick" HP is "fast". A street machine needs lots-o-torque. From stoplight to stoplight you'll be da king!!!

Offline Grand73Am

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Re: 1979 SE Project Arrives
« Reply #9 on: March 29, 2015, 02:46:09 PM »
Good to see another 79 being saved, especially an SE. I have 3 79 TA's myself, all 403 cars. I wouldn't be surprised if you could get that 403 going. One of my 403's was very rusty looking, but I cleaned the top end up and got it running. I made one mistake though. I didn't want to pull the engine from the car, so I didn't pull the oil pan. I ran several oil changes through it before driving it and figured that would clean it out. And it ran fine for a while but after a couple months, something in the pan clogged the oil pump screen and I lost oil pressure running 70 mph on the interstate, so it's got to be torn down now. So, my recommendation is to pull the pan and make sure it's cleaned out and the oil pump and screen are good if you try to run it as it is. 
Made any progress yet?
Steve F.

Offline Atco Rebel

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Re: 1979 SE Project Arrives
« Reply #10 on: March 30, 2015, 03:58:43 PM »
I have made slow progress so far. Ready to pull the engine to find out if it is salvageable. I am still trying to figure out how to post pictures. Didn't know I was so computer illiterate. But thanks for your comment.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2015, 02:05:58 PM by Atco Rebel »

Offline Daddy Rick

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Re: 1979 SE Project Arrives
« Reply #11 on: March 30, 2015, 04:12:21 PM »
Good to see another 79 being saved, especially an SE. I have 3 79 TA's myself, all 403 cars. I wouldn't be surprised if you could get that 403 going. One of my 403's was very rusty looking, but I cleaned the top end up and got it running. I made one mistake though. I didn't want to pull the engine from the car, so I didn't pull the oil pan. I ran several oil changes through it before driving it and figured that would clean it out. And it ran fine for a while but after a couple months, something in the pan clogged the oil pump screen and I lost oil pressure running 70 mph on the interstate, so it's got to be torn down now. So, my recommendation is to pull the pan and make sure it's cleaned out and the oil pump and screen are good if you try to run it as it is. 
Made any progress yet?

Agree!! My engine was on an engine stand as a short block when I got it. PO said it was rebuilt and never assembled. Off his stand to the bed of the truck. Once home, I put it on my stand and pulled the pan to find the sump pipe and screen laying in the bottom separate from the pump!!
Glad I pulled the pan to check the bottom end before re-assembly!!!

Offline jonathonar89

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Re: 1979 SE Project Arrives
« Reply #12 on: March 30, 2015, 11:57:13 PM »
I'm a fan of 403's...huge freaking pistons in those engines!  It's too bad no one wants to build them...400+ cubic inch small block!  I think the best route to go on that engine would be a FAST EZ EFI 2.0 on a Edelbrock Victor manifold or hitting up megasquirt efi with a turbo charger. 

Either way you go with the engine, nice car man.