Good progress today! Got the dash finished--radio, speakers, speedometer, etc. Tested hookups by connecting battery to the wire harness. Everything works-radio, turn signals, brake lights, heater blower, and interior lights!
Got the engine nearly ready for installation--checked header clearance to oil filter, valley cover edges ground to fit intake, intake port area machined to clear rocker covers. Fitted the starter heat shield and starter brace-to-motor mount bolt. Hooked up battery to test starter to engagement with ring gear--needed four shims to achieve proper engagement. I learned today that this can be measured by using a 1/8" drill as a gage. You should be able to insert the drill bit between the ring gear teeth and the starter shaft. If it won't fit, you need more shims.
Here's the engine--a 467 (455 block) with Butler stroker crank, Edlebrock Performer heads, 6.8" Eagle rods, Ross pistons, MSD ignition, Lunati Voodoo Hyd. Roller cam.
We welded the Tripower manifold and port-matched it to the heads. There was not enough material at the port areas of the manifold for the large Edlebrock head intake ports.
We're modifying a stock '68 Firebird Ram Air hood pan to fit the '66 GTO Ram Air carb pan. I'm nervous about cutting the hood brace to accept the Ram Air pan, but I have the drawings instructing how to do that.
We still haven't located a suitable material for the floor insulation (tar paper). If we can't find it locally, we'll use the Lowe's or Menard's foil backed foam which is similar to Dynamat, but much less expensive.
*How is the positive battery cable to the starter routed? Is it run along the frame crossmember under the engine? What is used to secure it?
*We're using Doug's headers. Should we use the Ram Air starter wire shield that runs parallel with the top of the oil pan?
*For the solenoid wires (purple and yellow)--Are they routed through a tube like is done on the A bodies?
*On the spring-ring battery positive lead, where does the smaller black wire terminate and how is it routed?
*For the smaller of the two heater hoses (the one off the back of the cylinder head), what have you found to be the best method of restricting the water flow so we don't blow a heater core? The fitting supplied by Edlebrock has no restrictor. I know the originals had a spiral inside the fitting to restrict flow.
*We're using Doug's headers. Should we use the Ram Air starter wire shield that runs parallel with the top of the oil pan? That is up to you. As long as it is protected and keep as much heat away as possible.
I have new wiring. The starter wire is protected with some asphalt looking insulation jacket. the wire is ran above the motor mount and is not in a tube. I could not find any reference in the service manual about that tube and I left it off. I have not issues with the wire getting hot.
Look for the junction block between the core and the battery on the diagram.
*For the smaller of the two heater hoses (the one off the back of the cylinder head), what have you found to be the best method of restricting the water flow so we don't blow a heater core? The fitting supplied by Edlebrock has no restrictor. I know the originals had a spiral inside the fitting to restrict flow. I did not have any sort of restrictor so I'll watch what others say.
I was totally unaware of an OEM restrictor and did not notice one when I took my original 400 block apart. I have E-heads on my 455 and did not put something like that in.
1967 FB 400, original CA car (smog), now 455, soon to be out of Paint Jail 2006 Mustang V6 Pony, factory ordered, retirement cruiser and future classic(?) 2019 BMW X3 (Titled to the wife, but I'm always driving it for her. So I'm claiming it) Old projects, gone but not forgotten: 1980 Turbo Trans Am 1970 Mustang fastback, 351C 4Bbl, auto 1988 Mustang GT, 5 speed 1983 F-150 4x4, built 302 1994 Chevy K2500 HD 4x4, 454 TBI
Thanks to both of you--fantastic pictures and info! I've attached a picture of the First Generation heater hose nipple for the passenger-side head. Note there is a spiral restrictor inside to limit flow to the heater core.
I've replaced many heater cores in early GTO's due to lack of restriction in the heater coolant feed line (the small hose). I don't want to take off the RF fender on this Firebird to replace a heater core any time soon. If needed, I'll use the same idea we use on early GTO's--a 5/8" diameter cylindrical piece inserted in the hose with a 3/16" hole in the center to limit flow. Meanwhile, I'm going to call Butler to see what they've done with the E-heads.
Also need to figure out where to attach the negative battery terminal to the engine. I hate to remove one of the head bolts to replace with one with a stud to accept the cable, but there may be a better way?
That's what we will do---3/8" tapped hole on the front of the passenger side head. How do you come up with those pictures and info?
I'd like to use a spring-ring cable for the ground like the positive one we already have. I believe the positive cable is an NOS one--I bought five spring-ring cables from a dealer years ago who was purging his old Pontiac parts. One of them looks to be the right length with the protective braided sheath near the starter and has the extra feed wire for accessories.
Can you give me an idea of the length of the ground cable? Can't measure until we get the engine in and measure from where the battery will set.
I've noticed that the motor mounts have an opening big enough for the positive starter cable to fit through them. The routing of the cable along the front of the crossmember puts the cable adjacent to the motor mount. And, if routed this way, the cable is not close to the exhaust components. There appears to be no need for a tube to protect that cable if done this way. Has anyone run the cable like that? Any downside?
The last time I replaced mine, I discovered a factory clip above the mount that held the cable and minimized it contacting places it could rub against. (My engine has never been off the factory mounts.) The vendors also sell a cloth wire loom for the purpose of insulating that cable.
Ours has the braided cover over the starter end--for about 15". As I said, I think it's an NOS cable. There is no clip like yours has, however. Through the motor mount looks like a safe way to go for that cable. We have the "L" shaped tube for the solenoid wires.
Has anyone figured out a way to keep water from wicking under the vinyl top in the bottom of the rear window channel? There is no way for water to get out of that area except by evaporation. With a vinyl top, wicking is sure to occur. We plan to use rustproofing in the channel now that the windows are in place, but that won't seal the edges perfectly.
I used to be indecisive. Now I'm not sure. I feel like I am diagonally parked in a parallel universe. 1968 400 convertible (Scarlet) 1968 400 coupe - R/A clone (Blue Pearl) (for sale) 1968 350 - 4 speed 'vert - 400 clone (the beast!) 1968 350 convertible - Wife's car now- 400 clone (Aleutian Blue) (Blue Angel) 1967 326 convertible - Sold 2008 Durango - winter beater 1980 T/A SE Bandit - Sold 2008 GXP - New one from NH is AWESOME! 2017 Durango Citadel - Modern is nice! HEMI is amazing! 1976 T/A - 455, 4 spd. Newest hatchling in the nest.
Problem---after hanging the engine/trans at the angle in the pictures, oil is dripping out of the crankshaft seal. I was hoping it was the oil pan leaking, but it's the rear main seal.
The seal is a BOP lip seal installed by the engine shop that did the machine work and assembled the crank/rods/pistons. We'll call him tomorrow, but I'm afraid of what comes next. We have the heads/cam/timing chain/cam degreed, rockers installed & adjusted, engine primed with oil--almost ready to run.
The only good news is this is better now than after we start it up in the chassis. I'll keep you posted.
Surprisingly, the engine shop apologized and is going to fix the leak. We took the engine there 7/15. He will check to confirm the leak is from the rear seal. If so, probably replace it with a rope seal. Too many "ifs" with the lip seal. I've spoken with many people about our problem. Everyone I spoke to who has put a lip seal in a Pontiac has had at least one failure. Some have found that the seal groove is eccentric with the main bearing centerline--up to .020", which results in a tight seal on one side and no contact on the other. Also, the serrations on the crankshaft seal journal tend to wear the lip if they're too pronounced. The only failure on rope seals was one guy who packed it too tight and burned up the seal.
I'll report on what was done next week.
Meanwhile, we rustproofed the quarter panels inside the trunk, around the wheel wells, and in front of the rear wheels. We rustproofed the four sides of the trunk lid between the sheet metal and bracing. We rustproofed the rear window bottom channel in the area between the window channel and inside the trunk. We also did the drip rail area on both sides since there is no headliner in the way. Also the sail panels are off, so we did the pillar area above the weatherstrip. Both doors were done inside from top to bottom. We used Eastwood black internal panel rustproofing. Four cans so far.
Engine shop checked leak, called BOP. They said this is an extreme situation and the engine "may not leak when installed in the car and run." We installed the engine tonight and will do the absolute minimum assembly to start and run it, in case it does leak. Fingers are crossed!!.
New problem--We have a repro crossmember for a TH400. When the bolts are put in the rear mount, the crossmember is about 1 1/2" off center. In other words, on the driver's side, the crossmember laps over the framerail by about 2 1/2". On the passenger side, only about 1/2". We moved the rear of the transmission as far as possible with the front engine mount bolts loose. We still are off too far. Also, the mounting holes in the crossmember are about 3" too far forward, so they don't come close to the framerail holes. This crossmember is one sold as a "Firebird & Camaro TH400" piece. It will not work in a Firebird.
If anyone has a OEM used crossmember for sale from a '68 Firebird with TH400, we'd like to buy it.
Reading the comments on installing the vinyl roof trim made me think I should post my experience in case it would help someone. My car had a new vinyl roof but the Stainless trim was pretty beat up. Who ever installed it had trimmed the vinyl back a little. The long pieces went on fine. However the windshield pieces refused to go on. The upholstery shop I use said the repro was contoured a bit different from the OEM pieces. I agree. However I was able to get the drivers side on by holding in place with one hand and tapping the edge over the rain gutter with a body hammer with the other hand. Came out fine. Passenger side refused the same treatment. Accordingly I took all the dents out of my OEM piece using a hammer and piece of wood I cut to fit. Next I filed down the high spots then sanded with 220 and consecutively fine grits down to 1500. Then ran if over my buffer. Came out great. Restoring Stainless that is not anodized is pretty simple. I hope this helps someone. Doug
Harold, I think we got a BBC crossmember by accident. I found a guy that's going to Norwalk who has an original one from a '69 with TH400. I'm going to try that. I've heard even the SBC for TH400 member is not exactly right for a Pontiac.
Thanks, Doug. I am going to try to straighten the front and rear window trim as you described. Then, will try to put it on without denting it again.
After we get the engine hooked up and run to check for leaks, we'll be back working on the interior.
Are there any tricks installing the standard interior door panels and quarter panel pieces? Do springs go behind the window cranks and/or the door handles? Approximately where do the screws go along the bottom of the door panels to secure them?
We tried putting the transmission dipstick tube in last night--no way to get it in place without pulling the engine upward and forward. It didn't go nearly as well as the original engine install. Here's what we learned:
First, if using headers , don't try to pull or install the engine with the oil filter housing in place. The starter can be left in place, but if both the starter and oil filter housing are in place, it doesn't work well. If the steering box was not in place, engine/header installation would work fairly easily, but it can be done by removing the oil filter housing.
Second, you may want to install the engine before putting the wiper/washer motor in place. Valve cover interference with damage to both could be avoided.