Motortopia: Where your passion parks

Motortopia: Where your passion parks.

Why Join Motortopia? Connect with other enthusiasts... Chat! Add Friends! Challenge! Private Message!

  1. cars
  2. bikes
  3. boats
  4. planes

Cars > Carolina_29053’s Garage > Blog


Blast from the past! 70 400 Ram Air III Engine :)

By Carolina_29053

I've heard of them, I've seen them in pictures and maybe even seen a few in person, but I've never owned one. That is until now! Barn find for sure. I scored this 70 400 RA III complete engine (less carb, intake and distributor). The engine is a numbers matching engine that was used in 70 GTO's and Firebirds. It is one of the higher horsepower engines produced by Pontiac for that year (366 HP with 400 RA III heads). It has been sitting for a long time and does not turn over, but I am about to get to the root cause of that. Everything looks fine in the valve train (except for really worn out timing chain) so I suspect maybe this engine might have jumped time and was parked. Then corrosion probably has a piston seized up in the cylinder (which is repairable) but I am looking at a re-build either way, but this is one engine I don't mind putting money in to get it right. (it will cost less to rebuild than I lost in my 401k plan - how's that for justification) This engine combo came with gobs of horsepower and I can't wait to get working on the build (might be going in my 73 in place of my 455). Tearing this thing apart is like opening a time capsule. To put things in perspective:

Aug. 1, 1969, the production date of my "WT" block - Elvis Presley performed at the International Hotel in Las Vegas.

Aug. 7, 1969, the production date of one of my # "12" heads-
UAW workers would be listening to Elvis songs from the Top Ten list such as "In the Ghetto" and "Suspicious Minds" while building these heads.

Aug, 8, 1969, the production date of one of my # "12" heads -
The Beatles were putting the finishing touches to what would be their final studio album at the EMI Studios on Abbey Road when they came out of the studio, crossed the street and made history.

I tell you, wrenching on this old engine takes me back in time! Seems like the older I get, the more I want to go back!

2nd Gen f-body R134 A/C Upgrade

By Carolina_29053

This album is a walk through of how I upgraded my old R12 system to a newer R134 CCOT (cycling clutch with orifice tube) system. I used a Sanden compressor, modified evaporator, high flow condensor and an accumulator and cycling switch from a 95 Chevy S10. I get about 46 degrees at the center dash vent with blower on high. The Sanden Compressor is super quiet and pulls my rpm's down very minimally when the compressor clutch engages. I plan on doing the upgrade to my other two 2nd gen Trans Ams as well. Very happy with this system and the simplicity over the original factory set-up, but what's most important is I now have cold air for the first time in many years! Money well spent.

Sanden A/C compressor conversion on 75 Firebird

By Carolina_29053

Hello all. I am in the process of converting my old R12 A/C system over to R134a. This will include a complete new system (CCOT) under the hood, with all the old stuff left stock on the inside. New condensor, compressor, lines and V.I R. Eliminator Kit from Classic Auto Air. I was wondering if anyone else has done the conversion and how they liked it. Did it get you nice cold air (unlike the old stock system that never really used to get cold). The new system sure cleans up the engine bay and I'm hoping it performs as good as it looks. Just looking for some positive feedback while I'm in the middle of changing all of this stuff over. From what I've read, the old VIR (Valve in Reciever) is not calibrated for using R134a, and let's face it, the old A6 compressors never did really have a good service life, not to mention being big and bulky. Changing that #2 spark plug always used to be something I dreaded. Any feedback from your experience would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Pontiac Assembly Line

By Carolina_29053

If you love Pontiacs, this video is a must see! There is a whole series of old Pontiac films out there on You tube after you go to this one. Fisher Body, etc..very interesting stuff, yet sad to see this all time great automobile line dropped from GM.

Florida Love Bug Season -May and September

By Carolina_29053

The timing and location for the Bandit Run this year have me concerned about my car's paint and cooling system. Have you ever seen a car coming up the interstate covered with big black juicy bugs all over the front? You can bet it has been through central Florida. Just google Florida Love Bug and read up on it.

Hopefully in the years to come, Bandit Run planners can choose a cooler climate for the runs where these automotive finish destroying pests aren't out and about. It is for this reason that I think I will sit this run out and since I have the time off already, maybe take a trip to the northern states. Mountain trip anyone? Maybe next year, a Bandit Run down Skyline Drive in Virginia in the Fall??? Or for that matter, what about Fall of this year?

Anyway, I was looking forward to the run and meeting all of you. I do look forward to seeing pics and vids from all who are brave enought to take on the Florida bugs. I just don't feel like using my classic car to help the State of Florida control their bug population. Dead love bugs decaying in my defroster and heating vents only to be blown out every time I use my heater or blower for the next several months isn't my idea of a good time. I know, I'm a killjoy. I deserve all the negative comments I may receive. :( Atleast now you know!


The "Pontiac Wall"

By Carolina_29053

This is an idea I had during the week of the Bandit Run '09, in which I decided to take my "week off" and do some catching up on a project I had been thinking about for some time now. This idea was a wall in my garage dedicated to nothing but my favorite car of all time, the Pontiac Trans Am. I had squirreled away posters and signs over the years and just never got around to doing anything with them. There were, after all, frames to be built for the posters, acrylic faces for these posters to be had and I had a whole week off to do it!

Trust me when I tell you, it took a lot of discipline for this individual to take on a task like this while the Bandit Run was happening. It was pretty much all I could think about while creating what I will call "THE WALL"! It is a wonder I didn't cut off a couple fingers during this project while working with a miter saw and daydreaming about rumbling through the countryside with a bunch of fellow Trans Am lovers. I would work a little, sweat a lot, run inside and check Motortopia for pictures sent in by Bandit Runners to satisfy my curiosity on how the Run was going. It made me that much more determined to try and hurry this project along and possibly join the Run in Pigeon Forge, but it just wasn't to be. Not this year anyway. I am so thankful for all the Motortopia folks who attended the Run and did such a great job photographing and taking great videos! I didn't make it there in person, but in mind and spirit, I was right there with you all!

Anyway, this "wall" thing. I finished building my garage a few years ago and to my surprise, my walls were disappearing. By disappearing, I mean the walls were slowly getting obscured by shelving with everything from transmissions, intake manifolds, labeled boxes of Pontiac parts, work benches, etc. I knew if I didn't act quickly, my window of opportunity to display any of my treasured Pontiac artifacts was slowly diminishing. I was desperate. I had to get a plan in motion. Being a draftsman by profession, I started out with laying out the wall to scale in AutoCad and playing with different layouts of the posters I wanted to put on the wall. Once I had the layout I liked, there was just one thing missing. The Pontiac Arrowhead. I spent 10 years in the sign business as a draftsman for a company that produced many high profile re-imaging programs, to include Nationsbank, McDonalds, Mercedes-Benz, Lexus, Ford, GM, Sunoco and on and on. No project had my interest more than GM. I just love their logos and signage. Well over the years, you accumulate stuff. My Arrowhead sign was some of that stuff. I knew I wanted to incorporate it into my "Wall" but I wasn't sure how. After careful consideration, it found its way into the layout you see in my photo album. I decided to take the lighting portion of the sign out and cut the "can" down, to give it a lower profile, sleek kind of look. A look where it hugged the wall better, not just "jutting out" into the garage. I think the elements of the sign stand on their own merit and don't need all the flashy lights. Just simple, yet stylish. Like a Pontiac.

The stoplight was a last minute thing. A co-worker told me he saw some old stoplights for sale not too far from my work, so I drove out on my lunch break, sorted through the worst stuff, and made my way back to work with my "new" traffic signal stuffed into the back of my 85 CRX workmobile. After testing the light once I got home that evening, I decided to take it apart and give it a good and thorough cleaning. Was it ever nasty! Well, after some elbow grease and a whole lot of Simple Green, my old traffic light was taking shape. The lenses are plastic and looked plenty old and dull. Now you can do one thing that is real easy with plastic lenses that are dull and worn looking. A polish with a very slight abrasive quality did nicely. I used Mother's Aluminum Polish. I love this stuff! I've used it on my clear lenses in my speedo housings to make old scratched lenses look like new again. Just a little rubbing with a nice soft cloth on a nice soft surface is all it takes. The lenses ended up looking better than new! I did notice while testing the lights that they were some kind of super duper, high energy absorbing units only our government would buy. They also put out a lot of heat, maybe enough to heat a sandwich. I replaced these bulbs with ordinary household 40 watt clear bulbs. They put out more than enough light and won't burn down my garage! That feature was important to me at the time.

I currently have the lights wired up so you can look at them by way of a 3 panel switch that will light each light individually, or all at once. The goal is to wire them to my garage doors by way of switches that will sense the door position and light up the "assigned" light for that particular position.

The plan is as follows:

Amber Light (when door is coming up - caution)
Green Light (once door is fully open - ok to back out)
Red Light (when door is closing - stay clear of door)
All Lights Off (once door is fully closed)

After I have some discussion with an electrician I work with, he will advise me of the best way to go about making this light routine a reality. I will keep you all posted, and thanks for all of the comments in my album.

95 Trans Am Automatic Gear Shifter Button Stuck

By Carolina_29053

This has been going on forever and hopefully one of you can help! My gear shift button will not depress when it is cold outside (say 50 degrees or less) to allow me to shift out of Park.
Does anybody else have this problem or know of a fix for this? It's kind of nuts not being able to drive the 95 TA on a cold day, however if I have enough time, I can let car warm up inside, then it will shift out of park just fine. This is getting to be a real pain! If I lived up north, I'd have to wait until Spring to go anywhere! lol
Thanks for any help,

Merry Christmas!!!!!

By Carolina_29053

The wife had been on my case to get the Christmas lights up for a couple of weeks.

They are up now, and for some reason she will not talk to me.

Eastern Hog Nose Snake

By Carolina_29053

I found this little guy in my garage today, 11/9/08. I put him in a bucket to take to a friend from work who likes snakes. Me, I prefer snakes to be a lot flatter than this. :) Luckily he is non-poisonous. So, with that said, I am moving! Just kiddin'.

Cars > Carolina_29053’s Garage > Blog

Print your passion at (