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kaymo's 94 sunchicken

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Hi yall

People call me Kaymo, among things i am a mechanic, customizer and fabricator. i picked up this 94 pontiac sunbird from the ex gf after she abandoned it and i had already done some work to it.


it had rear ended someone by the previous owner, and the two headlights were flopping in their buckets. while somehow the glass survived, the buckets were broken out and the hood latch + headlight support was mangled. the bumper was twisted and the cover was sagging. since i couldnt locate a sunbird, i picked up the headlights, turn signals, hoodlatch support, and nose panel for a cool 80 bucks from my local junkyard off a CAVALIER. i actually like the slanted look a bit better, looks more aerodynamic and makes the bumper stick out like a fat lip much less.

i removed the bumper beam and plastic energy aborbing bullshit from the bumper cover, and simply bolted the cover back on. it worked quite well like that but i added a bungee cord and some zip ties to pull the center tight and keep less tension on the bolt holes as some of them are starting to slightly rip. it looks perfectly straight now and doesnt flap around in the wind even. ive pushed on it to pick myself up from stooping next to it and it hardly deflects. very happy with it. im not planning on using this car as "car ram-rod", but i am thinking about bolting in some sort of metal beam. if nothing else to make sure the flimsy unibody car stays together!

the reason the car was abandoned was the starter on this 2.0l car decided it just didnt want to work anymore. sometimes it would if you beat on it, but alas one day it stopped for good. at the time i didnt think the starter was bad because i replaced the solenoid and it APPEARED to fix it. only lasted a short time before it resumed its NO START condition. i could not for the life of me figure out how to get the starter OUT of the car without tearing down half the motor. i ordered a J-CARLINE 94 service manual from ebay for 3 dollars less than the WORTHLESS haynes manual. of course what did it say? i had to tear down half the motor....

so once i removed the alternator, alternator bracket, power steering pump, accessory bracket, coil, fuel rail, throttle body, and intake manifold, i could EASILY remove and replace the F#*&%!G starter! luckly i convinced advance to take back the solenoid that did me no good, as well as the second one i got from oreilly's, and took my old unit down to my LOCAL starter shop. they had mine apart and showing me where it had failed in under 3 minutes. with my core i picked up a reman unit they had done WITH new solenoid for a COOL 50 bucks! the oreilly solenoid was 30 bucks!!!

while i was back there i made sure to replace the 4 or so hoses that are otherwise INACCESSIBLE without removing the same list of things i had already taken off. one hose was NOT EVEN LISTED at ANY of the auto parts stores i tried (advance, vatozone, oreilly, napa) and if they were looking at the right one, dealer price was 30 dollars! the hose was only a few inches long! i couldnt use just anything since it actually stepped down in size. i ended up spending a few hours with the napa boys who eventually found me a VW hose that happened to be the correct step down in size, with a slight S bend. mine had a more severe bend, but i stuck a spring inside the hose to keep it from collapsing. worked out quite well.




while tearing down any engine, i always find things i dont like that i wont feel better about until i fix. this car was no exception!! the intake manifold ports looked simply unfinished. they were rough and looked like they had been chiseled out by cavemen. the hump for the fuel injector was there on the intake manifold, but not on the head! the fuel injectors had almost half its spray pointing at the flat machined surface of the intake side of the head!! if you dont know what happens when you spray a mist of liquid at a super smooth surface, go get a bottle of windex and spray it at glass from 12 inches away. you should get a nice mist and good coverage. then spray it again 3 inches from the glass. instead of a nice fine mist, you get the liquid forming back into big drops that collect with each other into a liquid stream that runs down the glass. this means reliquefying the air fuel mixture which means unburnt fuel out the tailpipe.



the intake didnt match the gasket, there was a 1/4 inch difference in some places. the head matched the gasket a bit better. but had the completely round (with no fuel injector hump) ports. i port matched the intake manifold to the gasket, and the head to the gasket as well. i had to grind out about 3/8ths of metal to match the fuel injectors hump. once i bolted the intake back on, i could look directly down the injector hole at the intake valve itself. my cutting had cleared a perfect path for the spray pattern to shoot right around the intake valve.

i also did some smoothing of the TB on either side of the butterfly. not sure if that part did any good, but i know the intake did some good! 0-50 is a little better, while 50-80 mph is MUCH quicker. it runs smoother and revs faster. first thing i did when i got her running was to cut the factory exhaust can off and slap a rice cannon i had on there. sounds great LOL and is held on with coat hanger! i will weld it on later.




i also relocated the coil from the engine where it could soak up heat to the other side of the master cyl where it is 1,000,000,000 times easier to access the spark plug wires, as well as keeps them further from hot engine where they could be melted. i added an engine and coil ground, as well as an extra alternator charge wire. i didnt check before, but i have a solid 14.66 volts at idle. i read where someone else with the same alternator went from 13.7 to 14.5 by upgrading this wire so im happy with that.



i installed some 6x9s in the back and have been trying to hog out enough of the 4 inch holes in the front to fit my 4x6 speakers in the front. at the moment they are just chillin in the holes... now i just need to install a CD player (walmart mp3 FTW) and figure out how to power a couple mismatched 10's i have lying about.

this car is just a beater, my real car is a 1st gen CRX. i am very cautious of taking her out since half the car is 20 year old plastic, and im currently restoring her poor busted panels to perfection. i do not plan on doing much more to this car that cost any real money, or anything that i cant take off and use on another car. i even have plans for the factory parts that survives after the motor goes. (rat parts!!!)

while i have thought about trying to fix the clear coat, or making it look better in some way, i dont want to spend anything on it... so its staying with its crappy factory finish. it also is rather non-discript in its stock looking form, so im not gonna mess with it. i did consider hanging the rice cannon further off the back, putting a giant 2 tier aluminum wing on it and making a front air damn out of a random bumper, but cops are quick to look at modified cars first these days so its sleeper mode for me.

i have lots of pics of the car and the work i have discribed here, but im too lazy to post it now. i will add those to this thread later i guess.

comments, questions, and suggestions are welcome. one more mod i want to do is figure out some sort of rear spring swap, or helper spring in the rear. this car has a huge trunk, but if you add the slightest bit of weight she sags like hell. the front also sits a tad higher since i removed the 100 lb bumper beam...

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Nice book there!! I got half way with it and decide to stop reading because I'm short on time lol.

Anywho Welcome to Forever Pontiac!!!! Please post a progression thread with pics so we can see :badGT::lol2:

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pics added, plus here is a finished front pic:



installed a 12v accessory plug where the trunk release would be if i didnt have the lowest trim level available


runs off radio 12v constant because i am running a separate 12v constant for my head unit.

also started cutting up the dash to get rid of square radio. relocating the heater controls up and cd player in heater controls.


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Moved to the progression place section since this has turned in more than a intro thread. However I did leave a link to it in the intro thread section.

Why did you put the chevy nose on the car?

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may i ask y that exhaust


simple my dear watson

twas free! removed it from the dumpster behind the JDM shop i used to work at. dont remember what it came off of, but was prolly a nissan or something. yes i realize its a rice cannon, yes its held on with coat hanger. i havent even bothered to weld the pipe yet. its been hanging on my wall in my shop for a few years now and i finally found the perfect place for it. it actually sounds pretty good... for a sunchicken

and to Jedi3 thanks for moving my thread im a bit lazy. it says in the very beginning of the thread but i know most of you didnt read all of it. a pontiac sunbird could not be located at my local (stone's throw away) junkyard, but he gave me a great deal (80 bucks) on the entire conversion (headlights, bracket, turn signals, and nose) it came off a white cavi, so i had a white nose panel for a while but then i found a red cavi piece so it looks all factoryish now.

you can see the clear coat is shit. ive considered getting it down to the color and having it recleared, but this thing is a cheap beater so im not worried about it. perhaps if i resell it looking to make some money, but then i would have to find someone that actually wanted it.

i used to work at a body shop so i could do much of the work myself but id much rather spend that time on my OTHER whip, my 87 CRX SI. yeah thats right im a HONDA guy start the flaming now :welcomeFP:

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thanks for cleaning up my thread jedi! im a lazy shit...

' date='Mar 2 2010, 03:21 PM' post='14146']

The Cavy front end looks better anyway. Just ditch the bowtie.

i completely agree about the cavi front end. it seems more aerodynamic and less sedan-ish without the vertically flat headlights and nose panel.

and id love to shave that emblem but im too lazy. if i remove it i will have two holes. then i have to plastic weld and paint it. i got the panel because it already matched. maybe ill paint the bowtie red to hide it a tad....

plus it IS still chevy, and i do still love this brand. CHEVY 4 LYFE FOO! :lol2:

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yeah i was gonna debadge some more but when i realized its not just stick on stuff i was like nah ill leave it. i keep wanting to mod it but i keep wanting to keep it stock so it doesnt attract too much attention.

i need to go finish my stereo install. just got a new(to me) 50x6 amp today!! hopefully it works....

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  • 4 weeks later...

well i have been off here a while, i took a trip down to greenville. the sunchicken did quite well, but i left the girlfriend in the car with the keys when i shouldnt have. long story short, she couldnt find reverse so she found drive, as well as a cement wall. my nice front end job got fairly smashed, so i had to redo the bumper as well as the headlight bracket. its definatly not as straight as it was, but pretty decent for quick fix


i think i am going to add a steel beam to the front to give some sort of protection to the front. the bumper cover just collapsed and allowed the lights to get smashed. no more real damage to the bumper other than ripping the metal mount plates loose from the cover. a few small holes and zip ties fixed that. i broke a headlight bucket, but not the headlight glass itself. i think i have a backup of that side tho.

i was very impressed with the engine so far. power increase over stock is noticeable. even fully loaded i could pull fairly easily from 65-80, even UPHILL. i also discovered that she has a speed limiter. :lol2: not something i knew before. dont worry it was a dark quiet highway. well not while i was there.

i also forgot to mention i have a fully welded exhaust now, and i removed the fart cannon. i got stuck at 50 mph a couple weeks ago, and heard the cat rattling and making noise. then i found a small piece of cat sitting inside the tip of my rice cannon. i was sure it was clogged. i tried to unbolt it, but the first bolt broke and the second rounded off.. so just cut it off. sure enough a piece of the inside had come loose, turned sideways and jammed into the pipe. i was just going to straight pipe in between, but it was quite loud at this point. i thought i wouldnt mind obnoxious but i changed my mind when i realized how loud the droning was INSIDE the car.

i try not to buy anything for this car, so i went out back and pulled out an old rusty HONDA exhaust, a 2 incher from an old grassroots motorsports challenge car i purchased a long while ago. happened to be the perfect size and fit right up. the "turbo tube" glasspack (first pic) made a huge difference without a muffler. i tried just straight piped after that but way too loud, mainly did it for giggles. then i tried the rice cannon and it was still too loud. then i tried the rusted ol magnaflow muffler from the civic exhaust and it was just right. not only that but when i used a rubber hanger from the honda on a hanger that was already attached to the muffler, it lined up almost perfectly with the pipe (see 4th pic), and also rotated perfectly to put the exit perfectly clearing the bumper. i angle cut a piece of 2.25 aluminized and shined it up with the wire wheel to make a nice looking tip and welded it to the muffler. once fully welded i shook the exhaust around and discovered it was swaying to and fro and would contact the body, so i used the finger brake to bend up a small tab so i could weld the factory muffler hanger to the muffler. now its good and snug, and looks almost stock, altho a bit louder and much more free flowing. i will use dad's HD cam and get yall an audio clip. here are the pics for now






i didnt get a chance to install the rear shocks i got for her. i took the monroe sensatracs from my dad's suburban with the helper springs and checked them against the sunbird's. length is very close, and the upper shock mount is a rod in bushing style vs the suburban's bolt thru eyelet style. with some "imagineering" i came up with a 2x2 square tube mount that will allow me to simply bolt these other shocks on. after that i only have to worry about ride height. at this point i have no clue if these helper springs will be too much, but if they pick up the back end too much i'll have to cut some coils. if they dont give me the spring rate im looking for, i may install some coilover sleeves and springs and eliminate the stock spring altogether, altho some stiffening would probably be necessary at that point since all the weight would be moved to the upper and lower shock mount. it may just be too much force for that so i am hoping these helper springs are just right.

heres a pic of them. they werent on the suburban long but they were blown, so monroe sent me new ones. they were quite helpful, and while i wouldn't have gotten monroe in the past, i might just get them again for their warranty and customer service.


since i didnt get a chance to install the shocks, the ass end was quite saggy on the way down even tho it was not that full. since i removed the front bumper guts, the front end started pointing at the sky. while i was at the junkyard, i scored some awesome spring clamps for free. installing them and clamping them all the way down gave me the perfect drop up front. that also helped with the ass end not sagging quite so much. here are pics of it with the trunk full and the new clamps.



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i pulled the interior out to install amp wiring, as well as get the headliner out so i could try and reattach the fabric that was falling down everywhere. i ended up getting a new piece of fabric since the factory piece was cut exactly to fit, but was shrinking. i got a darker black in almost the exact same material at hobby lobby and got mom to help me put it in. of course i used a can of spray fabric adhesive that was probably too old, and almost empty... so the next day after installed it was sagging again. grrr.. i hate GM headliners...

also while i was running amp power wires, i decided to make a big power access block inside the B pillar. i was using shorter pieces of amp wiring, and one length made it exactly that far, so i put in my own custom insulated block, and ran wires off it for an overhead dome light override switch, radio, extra 12v accessory plug on the last page, and a decently big one for my power inverter.


i hate it when i go to plug something in and i dont have enough cord, so i used a pair of pretty long amp power wires that were too small a gauge for anything other than a mids amp. i ran the wires thru the hole in the carpet for the seat belt notification plug, putting it right under my driver seat. i wired up my little coleman inverter but then realized that the ends had quick screw down clamps, and i can remove them and use them as jumper cables! in fact i used them this way in my trip to greenville. they had no problem cranking the other car right up.


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