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Pontiac of the Month

Pedja's 1968 Firebird

2019 March
of the Month

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Kurk_Kurk

My '78 Firebird Esprit

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9 hours ago, Frosty said:

Agreed - the large 2nd-gen and 3rd-gen F-body doors are notorious for being heavy and sagging.

Hey i resemble that statement..

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17 hours ago, indymanjoe said:

Hey i resemble that statement..

So does my 3rd-gen Trans Am and me buddy!

Edited by Frosty

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WOO warm weather means i can start working on the car again. Here we go,

This time on Project Blue Bird:

front radiator support and mounts have been removed, finally, for replacement. The actual radiator support itself is not bad so i'll be wire brushing it and painting it to make it look fresh. The mounts were not too bad but they were awful enough to merit replacement. While doing this, i noticed "Shredded Mozzarella" in my motor mounts, telling me i did too many burnouts. So, as anyone would to, i pulled the engine out for further prep work until parts come in. 

This is where things got worse

In the photo attached, i've circled the area that's been rotted out because of a bad Heater Core. At first, i saw the rotted out toe board which seemed to be an easy enough fix. Unfortunately i jinxed myself when i found that the Acidic Antifreeze ate through all three layers of steel by the toe board. If you look, you can see the red mount from the Energy Suspension Part going into that frame-body connection point. The structure point of the car i guess. I've drawn out what's happening with the metal with my handy MS paint skills below. 

I have no idea how i'm going to fix this at all....

CAR ISSUE.jpg

The Car Issue.png

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There is only one way to fix this and that is to cut in a replacement / patch panel. Luckily for you, National Parts Depot carries replacement firewall / toe board panels. So for $400 plus S&H, I think cutting up this new firewall panel will save you a lot of headaches of having to fab up all that wild sheetmetal.

https://www.npdlink.com/product/panel-firewall-front-lower-incl-toe-boards-and/197317?backurl=search%2Fproducts%3Fsearch_terms%3Dfirewall%2B%2526%2Bcowl%2Bassy%26top_parent%3D9%26year%3D1978&year=1978

 

Also if the floor rot continues past the toe board into the floor board, you have replacement panels for that too.

 

Edited by Frosty

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Wow, such valuable information.

Didn't think my only option was to buy the whole firewall, then again, i guess that's good because my dad's 1979 trans-am that he's building alongside mine is going to need firewall pieces too. (yes im in a 'race' with the old man.) I'm just hoping that that when the discription says "Incl Frame Cushion Brackets" that means those triangle torque box things are on there too. There's not a whole lot of photos :/ And the rot did make it to the floor board, but my dad has some left over floor board pieces that will fit in there. 

As for the lifespan of my bird, it was kept in a garage...on a carpet that retained moisture from rainy days in the salt belt of america. It was also driven regularly throught the 40+ years on the road. The two rear frame rails are also rotted out because of this and they need welding too. 

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Well it's comforting to know that virtually every piece of the Firebird is available in the aftermarket. Only the F-Body and A-body owners can really say that (up to a point). The big car guys (B and C cars) are out of luck on a lot of other stuff like replacement sheet metal and such.

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One other avenue you could consider if you can find a good candidate, maybe from the south! Is to cutout the firewall lock stock and barrel, as I did with my wife’s “74” Z.

1FFCDE56-EE17-43B1-A3EA-51D3E0247EEF.jpeg

AF35BAC4-1958-47C4-AEEF-F8BFDE1D576E.jpeg

The whole firewall from the pillar post to the floor was replaced using a wrecked “81Firebird as the donor. In this case the firewall was welded in at the pillar post, mid point, & then the rockers. As the the entire car was redone.

Edited by Last Indian

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On 2/20/2019 at 5:48 PM, Last Indian said:

One other avenue you could consider if you can find a good candidate, maybe from the south! Is to cutout the firewall lock stock and barrel, as I did with my wife’s “74” Z.

The whole firewall from the pillar post to the floor was replaced using a wrecked “81Firebird as the donor. In this case the firewall was welded in at the pillar post, mid point, & then the rockers. As the the entire car was redone.

Oh, i've considered it but im working in a driveway with very limited space. Besides, all other metal is still sitting with factory fresh paint. What baffles me, from the photos, is how your car didn't collapse on itself. I thought that if you cut the car up that much, it would warp around itself. How did you manage to avoid that?

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6 hours ago, Kurk_Kurk said:

Oh, i've considered it but im working in a driveway with very limited space. Besides, all other metal is still sitting with factory fresh paint. What baffles me, from the photos, is how your car didn't collapse on itself. I thought that if you cut the car up that much, it would warp around itself. How did you manage to avoid that?

Curtis, well yes and no. Depending on what, where and how you cut, sheet metal will warp or it won’t! In the case of my wife’s “74” all I really used was the roof, tops of the rear quarters and half of the upper pillar post. Would it have been cheaper to find a new car? Maybe, but it would not have had a full frame and all the geometrical weight shifts I made to allow this car to handle.

If you look, all the upset edges, double layers sheet metal, and back window structure were left in place. This held the rear quarters together. The front pillar posts are a triple structured arch with an inner roof panel to hold that whole structure together. When I put the pillar post halves together I inserted a ½ SS rod about 12” long into the hollow channel that exists, then welded them together. In this way any collision that might occur would never be able to compromise the welds of thin sheet metal. The most damaged part of this car was basically the lower firewall/frame mount area and front floor, similar to what you have found.

Here are a few more pics to give you an idea of how it progressed.

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6E7EC51B-B915-4F29-8C19-9180DCD9F882.jpeg

Edited by Last Indian
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Interesting...

I feel i certainly won't have to do any extreme cutting though, but it's nice to know what my limits may be. 

in either case, i have decided against tubular control arms since they change geometry that may not be in my favor, let alone barely cause any weight reduction. That cuts costs on this build by about $400 which opens up a plethora of buying options for little cleaning supplies. With my subframe exposed, im planning on coating that with something other than Engine Bled Oil and using a thick gloss black special plaint thing. Weather ain't warming up, so it may be a while before i post another picture of progress

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BIG progress made, in my opinion. 

got one whole wheel installed finally on passenger side. Driver side didn't go so well as the lower control arm i purchased has a screwed up lower ball joint insert or seating area or whatever. The hole where it goes into to press fit (hammer into) was too wide so it didn't seat. So that's halted some of the progress for the time being. Good thing i kept my old control arms, currently getting the old one sandblasted and painted to look all nice. 

Frame has been painted, calipers were powder coated, slotted and drilled rotors too. Coilovers need to be adjusted still, right now it's super low but i can't change that until i get a full load on them. 

20190324_142051_HDR.jpg

20190324_161158_HDR.jpg

IMG_20190324_170246_103.jpg

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Congrats on the progress! Too bad on the driver side.

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Lookin good. Like your rim/tire choice. Stick with it bro...you'll get it.  

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Agree with JustA, looks good! Keep plug away!

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Excellent progress. Keep up the good work!

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Great progress bro. Cant wait to see future updates.

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She's standing on her own two front feet now after an entire winter. All that's left for the front suspension is to grease all the fittings and replace the steering tie rods. Afterwards, it will be time to throw in the new radiator core support AND the new aluminum radiator. Welding is in the distant future at this point, as we're still trying to gather materials. A roll cage is still further along the way. 

As for the wheel wells, i want to throw out the stocks and cut my own to go in there. I think i could clean up the engine bay with sleeker looks of smooth sheet metal rather than the bulbous wheel wells that protrude through the engine bay. Look up 'BFG Tire Bird' and you'll see what i'm talking about. Lots of smooth space for those +5hp stickers

 

 

CAR.jpg

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I am please to see you moving forward. Keep up the good work. :woot:

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Definitely worthy of an update, Heater core removed and installed without removing the entire dashboard. Ha, take that pops.

my father did it by the book when he was my age and building his '78 Camaro which called for him to remove the entire dashboard. took him a whole day where me, and my trusty brain, managed in only an hour.

heatercore.PNG

heatercore2.PNG

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Posted (edited)

Kudos to you. Of course, you now run the risk of your dad swatting you over the head and saying "Smart ass kid".:clapping: 

Still - it's worth it.

Edited by Frosty

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