Motortopia: Where your passion parks

Motortopia: Where your passion parks.

Why Join Motortopia? So you can participate in groups... Create Group! Join Club! Join Group! Invite Friends!

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

Cars > battmann’s Garage > Blog

 

battmann’s Profile Photo

battmann

M –36
North Chili, New York
United States

 
 

Advertisement

The Camaro gets new rims!

By battmann

Haven't really done anything to the car since last spring when I did a 4L80E tranny swap. Last summer was the first summer I actually drove the car for the whole cruise season without having a mechanical issue. Hooray for that!
Now that spring is here, I got the itch to do some work on my car before the nice weather arrives. Seems like these spring upgrades are becoming an annual event. This year I decided to do something that really wasn't very difficult - upgrade the rims and tires. I sold a 327 engine I had in the garage to fund the new purchase - that way the wife couldn't be mad at me. Get rid of one thing to buy something else.
I ended up getting some Boss 338 rims (black with polished lip) off Ebay. Fronts are 18x8 and rear are 18x9.5. They were a great deal - $630 for all four wheels, lugnuts, center caps AND shipping. For tires, I bought Sumitomo HTR Z II from Tirerack. Total for everything was only $1100. I also did some brake work since the wheels were off. I installed Earl's braided stainless steel brake hoses and ceramic pads up front. I wish I had more extra money because Wilwood makes a direct fit dual piston caliper. Those would look nice now that you can see them through the rim. Oh well, there's always next year.

Been a while.

By battmann

I haven't been on here in forever. I've got a lot done since last fall though. The biggest improvement was I installed a 4L80E transmission in my Camaro. The tranny came out of a '96 Chevy 3500 pickup. I needed to buy a TCI transmission controller and wire harness to install it, but it turned out pretty sweet. I also needed to fabricate a custom crossmember and have the original driveshaft shortened and rebalanced. Everything takes longer and costs more than you think though. It was worth it. Nice to have the car back on the road. I've already racked up over 500 miles on the car since I got it up and running last month.
Over the winter I also replaced the stock worn out rear suspension with new Bilstein shocks and new springs from Pro-TouringF-body.com. What an improvement! I got lowering springs to match the front and then my longtube headers started bottoming out so I ended up getting new ceramic coated short Patriot Clippster headers. Then we rerouted the exhaust pipes for more ground clearance. The engine bay looks way better without those old rusty headers!
The last major improvement was my wife bought me a front chin spoiler for my birthday. I think it makes the car look pretty slick. It's probably the coolest gift she's ever given me.
I'll try to take pictures of my latest progress soon and make an album on here.

I'm still alive

By battmann

Been a few months since I've been on the site. To bring everyone up to speed:
In late July I installed a 700R4 tranny in my Camaro. The tranny only lasted a little over a month. I guess a stock 700R4 can't handle a supercharged 350 engine. The torque converter blew up and the tranny is filled with metal shavings. I hope to save up money over the winter and install a 4L80E sometime next year.
This past weekend I sold my 1984 Trans Am. I spend most of the summer swapping out parts with the another '84 TA I have. The TA I kept needs a total resto, but it's nearly rust free so it will be a much better car when it's all done.
So as of right now I have no running "fun" car. Good thing winter is here and I couldn't drive them anyway. I really hope to have one of these cars back on the road by next summer.

My '72 Camaro wins it's first award.

By battmann

I went to the Tri-Five car show in Clarence, NY on July 6th with a couple members from my car club. It was super hot at the show - like mid 90's with really no breeze. Good thing we had a ez-up canopy to sit under. Final count for the show was around 550 cars. Lots of really nice stuff.
My Camaro ended up getting a third place in the 1971-1979 Modified class. I was really surprised! Two other guys I went with got first place trophies in their classes.

Checkin' in

By battmann

I haven't posted a blog in almost two months so I figured I'd give an update. Since my last post I have got the car pretty much dialed in. It's runny really good now. Before it ran great, but if you mashed the gas from a dead stop it would bog down and sometimes stall out. Now I can slam the gas and it burns out for a good 5-10 seconds before getting traction. That brought a smile to my face!
A few weeks ago I upgraded the whole front suspension. I bought a front end rebuild kit and lowering springs from www.Pro-TouringF-Body.com. I also ordered Bilstein front shocks. It took about half of a day to install the stuff with my friend's help. The front end rides great now. The rear suspension needs to be replaced next as it's all original and pretty much shot. I hope to do that project this coming winter since I can't afford it right now.
This past weekend I painted the front header panel to match the rest of the car. I replaced the panel over the winter, but never got around to painting it. I just used some Rustoleum spray paint. It's not a show car paint job, but it sure looks better having the car all one color. Someday down the road I'll get the car painted professionally. I have a lot to do before that happens though.

The Camaro is disturbing the peace again!

By battmann

Been working all week on getting my Camaro running and today I drove it to and from work with no problems. I'm pretty excited to have the car back on the road. I have a small oil leak at the back of the engine though so I'll have to look into that soon. Not a big deal. Now I just have to wait for the cruise nights and car shows to start!
Check out the attached photo album to see pics of all the projects I finished this past winter.

Custom cold air intake almost done.

By battmann

Last week I had the intake tubes welded together for my custom cold air intake. I installed the assembly today and it looks great. I started making a custom air box in the fender well for it - should be done in a couple more days.
I also got my fan shroud back from my friend. He had to weld some stuff on it for me since I've never welded. The shroud needs some bodywork and paint to be complete.
I finished my day in the garage by finally installing my new carpet. The interior looks way better now and I don't even have all the pieces back in yet. I still have to do some under dash wiring and then i'll reinstall the middle console and front seats.

Down the home stretch to cruise season

By battmann

Last weekend my friend helped me make some adapter brackets and weld those new GTP seats to the stock Camaro seat tracks. They turned out great. Now I just have to wait for my new carpet to get here and I can mount the seats and test them out.
This past week I realized that I wasn't going to be able to afford all new Autometer gauges for the dash like I was hoping. So in the meantime, I installed the oil, water & volts gauges in the stock radio location. Eventually I'll move those gauges to the dash and install a CD player.
I also ordered some Spectre 4" diameter modular air intake pieces from Summit. I have the routing mocked up. Now I have to mark the tubing and get it welded together. The engine bay is really starting to look pretty sweet with all these winter projects wrapping up.
Lastly, I installed some Cragar centercaps on those rims that my father-in-law gave me. They really make the car look more "put together".

Half way to spring!

By battmann

Well, winter is about half way over and i'm about half done with my "planned" projects. So far I was able to install my new valve covers (which I have been trying to do for over a year), organized about 80% of my wiring and replaced my damaged header panel.
I still have to finish wiring the Autometer gauges, put the front end of the car back together, fabricate a fan shroud and install the electric fan. I also hope to install some leather Pontiac GTP seats I got for free from a friend and put in a new carpet. The seats should fit if I modify the original Camaro seat tracks a little. The carpet I'm not sure how I'll get yet - I'm hoping someone buy it for me for my 30th birthday this year!
I made an album to follow my progress. Enjoy!

Time to start the winter project(s)

By battmann

I'm hoping to get a few things done to the Camaro this winter. No plans for the Trans Am right now. Since it's supposed to be in the mid 40's this weekend, I started tearing down the Camaro's engine to replace the leaking intake manifold gaskets. This gasket job is starting to create a long list of smaller somewhat associated side projects:

Since I had to drain all the coolant for this project, I'm upgrading to an aluminum Griffin radiator.

Since I'm replacing the radiator I might as well install that 16" electric fan I got laying around. Of course to mount the fan I have to fabricate a shroud and install a thermal switch to run it.

Since the top of the engine will be ripped apart I'm adding some gauges since my car only has idiot lights. I got 2-1/16" Autometer Ultra Lite oil pressure, water temp and voltmeter gauges. Eventually I want to have all Autometer gauges, but I couldn't afford to buy all the ones I want at the same time.

And lastly, since most of the engine wiring is disconnected I'm going to try to organize it better when I put it all back together. I had a lot of the wires just zip tied out of the way to get the car running, but it looks pretty bad. I hate when a guy spends a ton of time and money building a sweet ass engine and then they just throw the wiring together.

Winter is coming - Boooooo!

By battmann

Well, car show season has been over for a couple weeks now and it's starting to get cold. Won't be long until the cars will go into hybernation for the winter. I bought some good 4 layer, indoor/outdoor car covers at Sam's Club last week. They were only $30 each so I got one for each of my cars. Since they're in a garage I figured why buy the $100 covers, right?
Don't really have any winter plans for the Trans Am. It's pretty much where I want it until I can afford to paint it (which will probably be a looonnnggg time). The Camaro needs a lot of work. I'd like to install new wiring, new gauges and upgrade the suspension, but I'll most likely only be able to afford to do one of those projects. We'll see. Maybe I'll get lucky around Christmas time... yeah right.

The Camaro's first show

By battmann

This past Saturday (Sept. 1st), I attended the Olcott Beach Super Cruise with both my cars. This was the Camaro's debut show. The day before the show my friend helped me work out some engine bugs and install new brakes so I could take it. The show was awesome - over 800 cars was the final tally. Everything at the show was really nice so no awards for me. Doesn't matter though. I'm still smiling from just being able to drive the car!
As of today I have about 200 miles on the engine break-in. I still have to make some adjustments, but at least it's finally drivable. I got it on the road just in time. Only a handfull of shows left in the season and then the cars go away for the winter. BOOOOO!

Long time - no post.

By battmann

It's been a while since I've posted on here so I'm just checking in. A couple weekends ago I attended the 40th anniversary of the Camaro / 50th anniversary of the 1957 Chevy at the GM Tech Center in Warren, MI. It was awesome! I created a picture album on my main garage page for you guys to look through. I was a little bummed that there was only one other third-gen Firebird/TA besides mine at the show and that guy won Best Third-gen Firebird/TA. Oh well, I still had fun though.
Last weekend I attended 2 show in Buffalo, NY - The GM Powertrain Show and the Fantasy Island Car Show. I was lucky enough to take a second place in my class (1980-1989 modified) at the GM show.

SHE'S ALIVE!!!

By battmann

Worked on the car this past Sunday and Monday and finally fired her up Monday night at 9:30pm. Car sounds awesome! As with every first start, we ran into a couple minor problems.
First problem is the intake manifold gasket was leaking coolant on the front passenger side. We tried tightening the manifold bolts, but they were already tight. We took the 2 front bolts out rechased the threads and the bolts went in tighter. Leaked fixed. Not sure what happened there.
After that, the thermostat housing started to leak a little coolant. I think it is warped so I'm going to buy a new one. Too bad I have to remove the blower to replace it.
The next problem was the engine cranked, but wouldn't start. After a lot of test light and voltmeter troubleshooting we discovered that the keyed ignition was only giving the MSD box 9V. The box needs 12V to work properly. Something is obviously wrong with the dash wiring (which was most likely the handywork of the previous owner).
After all that we just wanted to start the thing so we wired the box right to the battery, turned the key and the engine fired right up on the first try! No problems, backfiring, knocking, pinging, nothing - everything worked perfect. We ran the engine for about 10 minutes and then noticed fluid was coming out of the distributor hole so we shut it off. It was milky fluid. I think when we took the intake manifold bolts out to fix the first coolant leak some coolant went into the lifter valley. Now I'll have to change the oil and start the break in process again.
All in all everything went great and the stuff that did go wrong should be easily fixed. Hopefully my friends will email me the pics and video soon so I can post it up.

Always getting closer.

By battmann

The past couple weekends I only worked on the Camaro a little bit. I took the MSD ignition system off my Trans Am to put it in the Camaro. Most of the ignition is installed now. I only have a couple more wires to connect and spark plug wires to run.
I relocated the battery tray from the passanger side of the engine to the driver side. I did this because I want to fabricate my own cold air intake on the passanger side some day. The relocation went great - you'd never know the battery didn't come on the driver side from the factory.
Spent many hours trying to run wiring as neatly as possible. That sure takes a long time if you want it to look good. Most of the engine wiring is done now. Pretty much just have to hook up the starter, install some fuel injection wiring and connect everything to the battery.
While I was working in the engine bay I found a mouse nest in the heater box. That's gone now. It was the third mouse nest I've removed from the car. The other ones were in the rear seat and in the driver side front framerail near the spring perch. Those things sure do smell awful!
I'm really hoping to start the car this week, but I don't want to get my hopes up.

Exhaust is on!

By battmann

Yesterday my friend surprised me with some pics of work he did on my Camaro. The 2.5" Flowmaster American Thunder exhaust kit is now installed on my car. He did a great job. He's pretty anal about exhaust plumbing so I knew he'd get it pretty much perfect. I can't wait to hear this thing run. I added pics to the album here.

Won my second award of the summer 6-17-07

By battmann

Yesterday I attended the Miller Hose Father's Day car show in Newfane, NY. I went with 5 other members of my car club - The Motley Cruisers. All 6 of us ended up winning an award. Three of us got 3rd places in our class (that's what I got), one guy got first in his class, one guy got Best Paint and the last guy we gave our club participation award to because he got skunked in his class. Nice show, but man was it hot. Sitting on the side of the main street of a small town with hardly any trees for shade makes for a really long day.
So now I've taken my Trans Am to 3 shows so far this summer and placed at 2 of them.

Weekend Camaro update.

By battmann

This past weekend I completed some more work on the Camaro. Friday I put new front brakes on the car - rotors, pads & calipers. Since the calipers were new, I painted them red and they turned out pretty nice. You can kind of see them through the rims. I also installed new rear interior side panels that I got off ebay. The ones in the car had speaker holes in them and they looked aweful. I had to take the back seat out to put in the new panels and when I looked under the rear package tray, I found 2 huge holes in the rear deck. Someone cut them for subwoofers and then installed cut-to-fit hockey sticks to support what was left. I'll probably have to weld in a sheet of metal there because there's really no structural stability in the rear deck now.
Saturday I discovered that the air hat on the engine touched the underside of the hood when closed. I thought I'd have more room. So I had to buy Moroso frame motor mounts to match the Moroso engine mounts I took off the week before. With the new lower solid motor mounts, I now have about 1.5" of clearance under the hood. I'm pretty excited about not having a hood scoop on this car. However I ran into a new problem because the engine is so much lower - when turning the wheels all the way to the right the pitman arm knocks the hose off the back of the power steering pump. It's always something. I painted the flex-a-lite fan to match the motor and installed it too.
Last week I bought a 2.5" Flowmaster American Thunder exhaust system. The kit looks awesome. My friend started trying to fit stuff, but it's going to be a challenge since there's a full frame under the car. Exhaust will probably be installed in a couple weeks. I think I'm going to take a week off of working on the Camaro - the wife's getting angry.

Engine finally in the car.

By battmann

This past Friday I was able to get some more done on the Camaro. First I put a new filter and gasket on my tranny. Some idiot tried to jack the car up by the pan and just made a big dent so I pounded the dent out since I had the pan off. I also cleaned and repainted the tranny when I was done.
Then I sandblasted and painted the old valve covers that were on the engine since the nice polished ones I have won't clear the poly locks on the rockers. I'm going to use these old ones for now. My friend says he's going to try to make a spacer for the nicer valve covers eventually. I really hope the spacer idea works because I think those valve covers really make the look of the engine.
When we went to set the engine in the car the new Moroso motor mounts I bought didn't fit the ones on the crossmember. The Moroso ones were smaller. So we had to take the motor mounts off and use the ones that were on the old motor. Then it fit fine.
My friend also ran fuel lines and mounted the electric fuel pump and fuel filter. Turned out great! I took some pics, but they turned out bad. I'll take more pics next weekend.
All in all it's coming along pretty good. Now I have to install the tranny, exhaust and wire everything up. Oh yeah - I also have to put new brakes and brake lines on this thing too.
Check out the albums under the Camaro S/C for the latest pics.

Almost ready to drive...

By battmann

Yesterday I was able to make a ton or progress on the Camaro. First, I installed the newly repainted power steering pump, new aluminum power steering pulley and Zoops power steering bracket. The new bracket and pulley match the alternator so I'm pretty happy. We found out the B&M valve covers I have won't clear the polylocks on the rockers so I need to have a 1" spacer made. I'll probably just sandblast and repaint the old valve covers for now just to get the car running.
Next I cleaned up the engine bay and repainted it semi-flat black. It took forever to mask off the car to paint it, but turned out pretty good. I also painted the underside of the hood. There's a lot of rust on the inner fenders and core support so I'll have to replace those someday, but for now it looks a lot better than it did.
Lastly I installed my new rims and new BF Goodrich Radial T/A tires. I got the rims for free from my father-in-law. They have some surface rust, but hey they were free. The front rims are 14x6's with 225/60-14 tires and the rear rims are 15x8's with 295/50-15 tires. The car looks totally different now. I just think it looks awesome! I can't wait to drive this thing!
I probably have two whole days of work left on the car before it's on the road. The first day install the engine & tranny, wire it up and reinstall the exhaust. The second day change the tranny fluid, change rear end fluid, plumb fuel lines, plumb brake lines and install new brakes.
You can see more updated pics in the albums here.
A side note on the Trans Am - the alternator went this week so I ordered a new on from Summit Racing. I should get it today. Easy fix.

Went to my first show of the season today

By battmann

I took my Trans Am to the 16th annual Cruizin for Kids Car Show in Mendon, NY today. The weather was supposed to be hit and miss thunderstorms, but we only got about 3 minutes of drizzling. Turned out to be a decent show. There were about 100 cars. Judging was by the Cruizin for Kids Car Club members. They had roughly 40 awards of excellence and 4 best of show type awards. I was lucky enough to win one of the awards of excellence. So far I'm 1 for 1 on the year - good start.

Engine finally came out.

By battmann

I got some more work done yesterday on the Camaro.
The ad for this car said that the engine had a bad rod knock, but I don't think this engine was ever running. Part of the block is broke off where the one starter bolt goes and they just put a huge grade 8 bolt in there. Because of that the starter doesn't sit straight and if you try to start the car the starter just gets jammed.
About 1/3 of the bolts we had to remove were wrong sizes and 80% of all the bolts were only hand tight. There were some broken/missing electrical and vacuum connections. Also, both motor mounts were toast. Good thing I was already building an engine because it will definitely take some work to get the one that's in there running again (if that's even possible).
Yesterday I took the original power steering pump apart, sandblasted it and repainted it. Now i just have to wait for my new bracket to get here from Summit Racing. I also pulled the engine and tranny. Now i just have to clean and repaint the engine bay and then start installing stuff. WooHoo!!

5-13-07 Progress Report

By battmann

Last week I got my block and heads baked and line honed and began to put the engine back together. So far the heads are reassembled and the lower end of the engine is pretty much done. I hope to finish assembling the top end next weekend so I can paint the engine gloss black. The top end should go a little faster than the bottom.
You can see progress pictures here.

Bought my dream car last Saturday 4-21-07

By battmann

Last Saturday I bought a 1972 Camaro. I've been looking for a 70-73 Camaro for a few years now, but they've always been out of my price range. Usually they go for $5-$6K and are in pretty bad shape. Luckily I found one locally for $3,500. The thing was a steal.
The car has new rear quarters, front disc, 4 point roll cage, sub-frame connectors, 10 bolt rear, 400 sbc, TH350 and a 70 1/2 RS split bumper front end. I was told the engine was shot, but I was in the middle of building a supercharged 350 for my Trans Am. Now that motor will go in this car. You can follow the engine build here.
The only other bad thing is there is damage to the header panel above the driver head light. I can easily buy a panel and have it painted and then that's fixed. Hopefully the car will be on the road in about a month. Then I'll be selling my 1984 Trans Am. I added the Camaro to my garage so you can see more pics there.

Update

By battmann

I picked up my polished intake manifold last Friday. It took twice as long as they said it would (5 weeks), but looks awesome - worth every penny I spent! The place that did the work is Barnes Metal Polishing in Medina, NY.
Last weekend a friend helped me take all the measurements of my engine to make sure nothing was broke, warped, etc... Everything checked out - bores were straight, all crank & rod journals were to OE specs, etc... This week the heads and block will be getting hot tanked. Then since everything will be all clean, I can start putting the engine back together. Still on target to get the engine done by mid-May. I also placed a huge order of parts from Summit today. It's real easy to get carried away with ordering parts.
As always, you can see updated build pics here.

Still polishing...

By battmann

The past couple weeks all I've done is wet sanded and polish aluminum pieces for my new engine. The parts have turned out a lot better than I thought though. I'm still waiting for my intake manifold to get done. The place that is polishing it said it would only take a couple weeks, but it's been almost 5 weeks now.
You can see some before and after pics of the polished pieces here.

Some progress...

By battmann

Today I spent over 3 hours polishing one valve cover for my new engine build. It turned out pretty good. First I wetsanded the whole thing down with 1500 grit paper. There was a lot of pitting so that evened out the surface pretty good. Then I used a buffing wheel with polishing compound and then just buffed it out with a clean cloth. It's not perfect, but it's pretty close and I saved a lot of money by doing it myself. You can see all the pictures related to my engine build here.
I also started a photo album showing how I installed 8" subwoofers in the sailpanels while keeping the interior looking stock. You can see that album here.

Finished my LCD monitor install.

By battmann

Tonight I finished my LCD monitor install. It took me approximately 6 weeks working on and off at night and on weekends. I think they turned out great. So good in fact that the monitor I installed in the middle of my dash last year now looks like it doesn't belong there. I'm done with electrical work for now so I'll deal with that next year.
I also installed an Autoloc hidden antenna. The instructions said to install it at the top of the windsheild, but the cord on the antenna wouldn't reach. I ended up mounting it next to the passenger side A pillar. It's not real noticable.
The last thing I did was hardwire a power inverter so I don't have a plug hanging out of my cigarette lighter at car shows. All the wiring is hidden and controls the PS2 that is on the floor behind the passenger front seat.
You can see all the pictures for this project here.

Coming soon: new blown, fogged & injected 350 engine

By battmann

This winter I have also began rebuilding a blown, fogged and injected 350 engine for my 1984 TA. I've had this engine for a couple years, but never got around to rebuilding it. It came in a 1971 Chevelle I bought. I've since sold the Chevelle, but I kept the engine. I started an album for this project here. I'll create more journal entries as I make progress.

Installing LCD monitors in the dash

By battmann

My latest project is to install 5" LCD monitors in my car - one at each end of the dash. For now I will hook them up to my PS2, but eventually I want to get rear view cameras and use these monitors as side mirrors. Then I can shave the exterior mirrors. I created an album for the project here. I'll add more pics as I go.
Download Drive Magazine Now!

Advertisements

    Special Offers & Deals

Advertisement

 

Cars > battmann’s Garage > Blog

Print your passion at Motortopia.com (http://www.motortopia.com)