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Old 06-30-2010, 12:24 PM
 
1,417 posts, read 2,145,116 times
Reputation: 1913
Default 1978 T/A Where to start?

I bought a road worthy 1978 T/A in 2001ish. I had full intentions of restoring it. I am not a SER# matching nut, but I wanted to keep it as original as possible. Not long after I bought the car and a couple of quarter panels and a 455 to replace the 400, my exhusband fell off the deep end and I left him. He was/is? a mechanic. I took my car with me. It ran fine, no problems. There are body issues. No dents but some cancer on the quarter panels, nothing major, but it needs to be repaired, and the floor pans were gone, as was the seat track on the driver's side.

I parked the car after my last state inspection in 2005. I didn't have the funds to keep the gas guzzler happy. Now I am at a place finacially where I can begin my task again. My ex refused to let me take the 455, saying it was his, at the time it wasn't worth the fight. I do not want my ex within 300 feet of my car... lol. I don't know where to start now. I am somewhat mechanical, but not enough to even attempt this on my own. any suggestions?
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Old 06-30-2010, 12:52 PM
 
Location: Vancouver, B.C., Canada
9,216 posts, read 12,515,633 times
Reputation: 3914
hmm wow the 78 T/A are nice but with not motor and rust reapirs it will take alot of $$$ to get it nice if you don't need a pontiac 455 a SBC might be a better cheaper route to go.

for interior and body parts I would check out year-one and for a motor you could go with a reman or order from GMPP depending on budget even a GMPP crate 454 is not to bad for what you get

Musclecar power at a low-buck price!
Now, this is the stuff that legends are made of. Big-block, street-sweeping power just like the '60s GM musclecars that you grew up with or have worshipped for years. Now, GM Performance Parts has a 454 cubic inch crate engine that is big on power and low on dollar. Let's take a look ...
We started with a brand new (not remanufactured or sourced from a scrap yard) Gen VI four-bolt big-block. The 454 HO is stuffed with a forged steel crank, forged connecting rods, and forged pistons. A roller camshaft with .510/.540" lift generates a nasty idle. Cast iron cylinder heads deliver a pump-gas friendly 8.75:1 compression ratio. Horsepower comes in at 425 with 500 lb.-ft. of big-block torque.
The 454 HO is delivered to you complete with water pump, balancer, intake manifold, and 14" automatic transmission flexplate. Add your carburetor, ignition, and starter to complete the engine. Check out the GMPP line of valve covers and chrome accessories to give the engine a more eye appealing, under-hood look.
*Applications have not been validated. They are merely suggestions of how you might enjoy your GM Performance Parts crate engine. Some applications may affect engine warranty. Some applications may not be emission legal; check state and local ordinances.




MSRP
$5,560.00

Last edited by GTOlover; 06-30-2010 at 01:07 PM..
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Old 06-30-2010, 01:07 PM
 
13,569 posts, read 16,431,255 times
Reputation: 11638
The first thing I would do that will be the most expensive is getting the body in order. The longer it sits with the issues you listed the worse it will get. Since reparing, prepping and painting the car will most likely be the most time consuming and expensive, I would start there. There are many parts of the process (especially prepping for paint) that you can do yourself to save money and get better results. I would leave the panel replacement, repair and welding to a professional, ditto with the paint.

Assuming the car is in good running order, there really isn't a need to replace anything until you want to. Once you have the other issues ironed out you will have a lot of time to think about what kind of engine you want in the car and look at all your options.
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Old 06-30-2010, 01:09 PM
 
1,417 posts, read 2,145,116 times
Reputation: 1913
Quote:
Originally Posted by GTOlover View Post
hmm wow the 78 T/A are nice but with not motor and rust reapirs it will take alot of $$$ to get it nice if you don't need a pontiac 455 a SBC might be a better cheaper route to go.

for interior and body parts I would check out year-one and for a motor you could go with a reman or order from GMPP depending on budget
YearOne, Inc.
GM Performance Parts | High Performance Crate Engines & Engine Parts
even a GM 454

Musclecar power at a low-buck price!
Now, this is the stuff that legends are made of. Big-block, street-sweeping power just like the '60s GM musclecars that you grew up with or have worshipped for years. Now, GM Performance Parts has a 454 cubic inch crate engine that is big on power and low on dollar. Let's take a look ...
We started with a brand new (not remanufactured or sourced from a scrap yard) Gen VI four-bolt big-block. The 454 HO is stuffed with a forged steel crank, forged connecting rods, and forged pistons. A roller camshaft with .510/.540" lift generates a nasty idle. Cast iron cylinder heads deliver a pump-gas friendly 8.75:1 compression ratio. Horsepower comes in at 425 with 500 lb.-ft. of big-block torque.
The 454 HO is delivered to you complete with water pump, balancer, intake manifold, and 14" automatic transmission flexplate. Add your carburetor, ignition, and starter to complete the engine. Check out the GMPP line of valve covers and chrome accessories to give the engine a more eye appealing, under-hood look.
*Applications have not been validated. They are merely suggestions of how you might enjoy your GM Performance Parts crate engine. Some applications may affect engine warranty. Some applications may not be emission legal; check state and local ordinances.




MSRP
$6,843.75

Ohh, it does have a motor. It has the stock 400 pont with the 4 bolt main. I wanted a 455 b/c it was bigger... lol.

My biggest stumbling block is how to find someone who is willing to take on a project car. Most of the ppl I know have their own project cars or more ambition than actual skill.

I have ordered from Ames as well as yearone... I will check out the other link now
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Old 06-30-2010, 01:12 PM
 
Location: Vancouver, B.C., Canada
9,216 posts, read 12,515,633 times
Reputation: 3914
Quote:
Originally Posted by rockinmomma View Post
Ohh, it does have a motor. It has the stock 400 pont with the 4 bolt main. I wanted a 455 b/c it was bigger... lol.

My biggest stumbling block is how to find someone who is willing to take on a project car. Most of the ppl I know have their own project cars or more ambition than actual skill.
I would keep the stock 400 mill and get it rebuilt also the block of the 400 and 455 are basically the same. you could get a stroker kit and punch it out.
http://www.jbp-pontiac.com/products/...ssemblies.html
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Old 06-30-2010, 01:20 PM
 
Location: Eastern Washington
8,785 posts, read 22,177,841 times
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If the original 400 runs good, or even decent, I would not mess with an engine swap. If you want to keep the car more or less original, keep the original engine. A lot of enthusiasts prefer the higher-revving 400 anyway.

Your "cancer" comments make me think you are in rust country, I don't mean to be harsh but if this is an upper midwest/northeast car with typical rust, it's probably not worth fixing. It's damn hard to eliminate rust completely from quarter panels and etc. If the floorboards are actually gone, you *can* buy new ones and weld them in, but this is not cheap, and a hack shop will waste your money, time, and ruin your parts.

It's probably more cost-effective to buy a rust-free car and use your existing car for parts. If you get a rust-free car, REGARDLESS OF WHAT SNOW BELT KNUCKLEHEADS may say, KEEP IT OFF THE SALTED ROADS, PERIOD!

Sorry to shout - but rust never sleeps...
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Old 06-30-2010, 01:37 PM
 
1,417 posts, read 2,145,116 times
Reputation: 1913
Quote:
Originally Posted by M3 Mitch View Post
If the original 400 runs good, or even decent, I would not mess with an engine swap. If you want to keep the car more or less original, keep the original engine. A lot of enthusiasts prefer the higher-revving 400 anyway.

Your "cancer" comments make me think you are in rust country, I don't mean to be harsh but if this is an upper midwest/northeast car with typical rust, it's probably not worth fixing. It's damn hard to eliminate rust completely from quarter panels and etc. If the floorboards are actually gone, you *can* buy new ones and weld them in, but this is not cheap, and a hack shop will waste your money, time, and ruin your parts.

It's probably more cost-effective to buy a rust-free car and use your existing car for parts. If you get a rust-free car, REGARDLESS OF WHAT SNOW BELT KNUCKLEHEADS may say, KEEP IT OFF THE SALTED ROADS, PERIOD!

Sorry to shout - but rust never sleeps...
It is not snow rust. I am in the south east and the rust is only around the rear window and a spot on the front fender (I think near where the vent is). I do have a rear quarter skin and a complete front fender that I purchased from Ames back in the day. I have floor pans too... I just need to check the trunk to see if they are where I think they are.

The frame does not have rust at all.
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Old 06-30-2010, 03:14 PM
 
Location: U.S.A.
2,525 posts, read 3,674,424 times
Reputation: 1534
Spend a few bucks and have every bit of assembly/rebuild information you will ever need at your finger tips...

Faxxon (Firebird)
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Old 06-30-2010, 03:42 PM
 
Location: Eastern Washington
8,785 posts, read 22,177,841 times
Reputation: 4735
Quote:
Originally Posted by rockinmomma View Post
It is not snow rust. I am in the south east and the rust is only around the rear window and a spot on the front fender (I think near where the vent is). I do have a rear quarter skin and a complete front fender that I purchased from Ames back in the day. I have floor pans too... I just need to check the trunk to see if they are where I think they are.

The frame does not have rust at all.

OK then, it's do-able, although maybe the most practical way if you don't want to become a body tech yourself would be to start dating one...repair of rusted out panels is labor intensive, as in its' a lot of work...

Probably the best thing short term is to get it in out of the rain. If you don't have a proper garage, a relatively cheap alternative is to put 6 pressure treated posts into the ground so you make a rectangle that's 10' X 20', then get enough 10' 2X4s and roofing tin to build a flat roof (angle it a little so the rain runs off better, it does not need to be dead level) and park the car under that. It's way better than nothing. Notice I didn't specify how tall to make the shed - the best protection is with the shed as low as possible over the car (watch the antenna) but of course you will have to duck down to get into the car if you do that.

Good luck in any case. Don't let the fact that you can't afford a full-on restoration make you give up on the car, fix the rust, get it in out of the rain, work on what's "worst" first - and have fun!
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Old 06-30-2010, 04:08 PM
 
Location: Earth
4,214 posts, read 11,609,191 times
Reputation: 2017
If I may ask why do you want a 455 over the 400 that's in there now? Is something wrong with the 400? Or do you just want more grunt and an even thirstier pig?

Post some pics of your car...detailed ones. Chances are this car wouldn't take much to get on the road. of course a good solid frame (or unibody in your case) w/o a bunch of rust and rot is required, followed by a good engine that runs and doesn't knock, smoke or leak a bunch of fluids, a tranny that doesn't slip or shift erratically, brakes that stop well and don't leak, an electrical system that's not shorting....
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