OK, so we'll start off with the back story. I won't bore you guys with details over why I'm doing this. I think we've all got a few screws loose to transform a Trans Am/Firebird into a replica KITT/KARR anyways. So I started to search. I looked locally, but none that were solid were being sold. I had one passed off as being solid, but to my dismay, when I crawled under it, I could shove my fingers through the floor pan. NOT GOOD! So the search continued on. I had money down on one in Indiana that I went and looked at. It was nice. An 83, white exterior, blue interior, and I wanted the car because the drivetrain was already gone through about five years prior, and it had all the stock KITT parts that were necessary except the rims and the shifter. Long story short, when I went back out to pick it up, the frickin jerk had sold it out from underneath me! Needless to say, I was PISSED OFF! Time to go home!!!! I started looking on eBay, and few local results showed up. An 84 had popped up, and man, was it FUGLY! Crap purple paint, the hilljack "skinny up front/fat in the rear" tire/rim combo was on it, someone had changed out the taillights to an 86-87 T/A, but it was all there. The guy had the car up on jackstands when I got there so I could crawl around underneath it. It was probably the most solid Firebird I have seen. Absolutley no rust (and there's an acronym that gets thrown around a lot!). But the engine and transmission leaked like an overstuffed two year olds diaper. But the "clean canvas" was there. So I bought it, and drove it home on my birthday, March 3, 2004. Here's what I bought:
The previous owner had a second set of t-top panels, the stock turbo finned rims, and two sets of original style taillights that he threw in. So when I got home, the first thing I did was took the "hillbilly look" wheel/tire combo off, and put the stockers back on. Then I drove it. The car stuck to the road like it was on rails. I couldn't get over how well it handled for being 20 years old. I had a blast driving the thing around, t-tops out, stereo blasting.......Only thing, it smoked more than I did at the time! It'd use a couple quarts every couple days, and probably leaked as much transmission fluid as well. So finally my friends started razzing me about actually restoring the car rather than driving the snot out of it. I really digged the way the car drove, and while the 305 was fogging for mosquitoes as we ventured off in it, it still had decent power for being a tired old V8. So 2007 rolled around. And deconstruction began.
First thing to come out? The 305.....I knew I wanted more power! (Cue your Tim Taylor grunting now) I saw no sense in rebuilding this thing, and I wish I could find the pictures of the cylinder walls of this thing because they shined like mirrors! I actually couldn't believe how well it ran for how worn out the cylinder were. Anyway, as you can see, it held about as much oil as it burned up, which wasn't much. Reason? Oh, I don't know, except there were only TWO (count em, ah ah ahhhh!) TWO oil pan bolts that were tight! You see the pic of the driver side where there is no oily scum? That's where the two bolts were tight. The rest were finger tight, less than finger tight, or missing. The reason the transmission leaked? No pan gasket, and the cooler lines were loose on the tranny.......
So the next things I did was buy a bunch of stuff for the car that I probably shouldn't have bought. I bought buttons, I bought tone generators, I bought all kinds of mismatched shit that I had no business buying. I should have been concentrating on the car itself, but I digress. I was like a mad man! First thing I bought for it, was Brenon's scanner.
Brenon was a DREAM to deal with. Punctual with his responses, and he had custom built this one for me. He had added an extra harness to it so I could control the various functions with either pod buttons, or lower console buttons. He had programmed the scanner sound to the season one KARR scanner sound, and added a different scan pattern in it for me as well. I don't think he had done this for anyone else at the time, so it was pretty unique. It ripped my heart out when I had to sell it because of an injury, but I digress. It has since been replaced with a newer version of the same thing. Next step? The mill....
It's kind of a funny story how I came into this engine. My friends shop, in the background of the pics when I brought the car home, used to have a freezer truck sitting there. He'd bought it for parts as he had a couple one ton full sizes sitting that he needed to get going. He used the heads from it on a repair job, and the rest was picked apart a piece at a time until one day he got tired of it sitting there, so he paid some kid to cut it up. The engine came out, and was set on the ground. No pan, no heads, no intake, just bare block and rotating assembly. It sat there for a couple years. So he calls me up one day asking me if I could haul it out of there for him. I think his words were, "you haul it off, it's yours. Oh yeah, it's a four bolt block too." Uh huh. "Yes please!" (I DID have pics of it when I first mounted it on the stand, but again, that hard drive took a dump long ago, and those pics are long gone too.) Needless to say, I had to beat the pistons out of it with a hammer and a modified 4X4. The cylinders were scaly with rust, and I thought worse case scenario, it'll make good weight at the scrap yard. I was surprised. When I popped the main bearing caps off the crank, there was still a film of oil on the journals. You could still make out hone marks on the cylinder bores where the piston skirts used to reside. This after two or so years of sitting in the gravel at his shop, outside, with no cover on it! I was amazed! I descaled the rust from the cylinders, ran a quick hone over them, measured them, and they weren't that far out of reject. Maybe .005 or a little over. So I could salvage this free four bolt block! YAY! I bought .030 over flat tops for it, took it to the machine shop, and got it back so I could start the rebuild. I painted it with POR-15's engine painting kit, and any machined surface that you could see was done with their product called Metal Mask. It's a rebuilt engine, and I wanted it to look rebuilt in the car. Too many times I see under the hood of cars and they don't take this step. We were complimented by lots of people at car shows over a Corvette that we painted the engine the same way. So that's why the machined surfaces look like they're freshly machined. I wanted it that way. I could go on with what I threw at it, cam profile specs, all that, but I won't bore you guys with that. You're probably ready to kill me for writing novels in between pics anyway. Next stop? DECONSTRUCTION!!!!! MUHAHAHAHAAAA!!!!!
As you can see, the floor pans are solid, no rust. Just in the bottom pic you can see what is a pyramid shaped dent in the floor pan by the tranny tunnel. Nearest I can tell, the previous owners ran over a cement block or something to cause this in this area of the car. It'll get pulled here this week. The spare tire well is solid, as is the luggage well. No rust at all. You don't know how many I'd seen that the very bottom of the spare tire well has either rotted away, or just started to rot.
It's now 10 till 2 in the morning as I write this, and I'm whipped. So you people are just gonna have to wait until tomorrow! I'll keep em coming though. Same Ripper time, same Ripper channel!