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Big project this spring


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I joined Dave at his friends house for a look see at the new engine. It was a pleasure to watch a pro in action and the engine was torn down in short order, despite the fact several of the pistons are stuck in the bores. Nice facilities too, I am so jealous. Unfortunately the block and pistons are toast. The upside is there is a perfect crankshaft, perfect '88 camshaft, like new timing set with the good O.E. Morse chain. Heads are not good looking but only tearing them down will tell if worth it to save them. I think Dave has a new plan but I will leave that to his discretion.

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In case anyone might make a mistake regarding who was the "pro" it was my friend Kendall 2seater is referring to. He's the man that will be helping me take the next step as he has been there many times before. We are doing the work at his house and he has everything we need, knowledge, tools, my money and shop manual.

The next step;

I am buying another engine and taking the parts that 2seater refers to and installing them in the "new" motor along with 1995 pistons which bump up the compression a bit giving me additional horsepower. I am hoping with the '88 cam, '95 pistons, and a couple other things to get about 10-20% more horsepower all while keeping a stock engine with the same chips, no supercharger and not still overpower the tranny as I might with the supercharger.

I have also decided not to swap back the recently installed tranny from the Black. My thought there is that I am now have about 30,000 miles on it and the engine in the Black has about 200,000 on it they can "wear out" together. I can save on labor and going this way saves me from later sticking more money in a car I may not have in 2-3 years depending on if I keep storage at a widow lady's house.  It's a great car but I only have so much space. Besides if I part it out I still have everything anyhow.

I have a line on two trannys, one the yard says is recently rebuilt and has a 6 month warranty and the other has 84,000 miles on it. Both are the same price.

I am leaning towards the tranny with the recent rebuild and 6 month warranty.

Ordering the engine today and the tranny as I need it this spring.

Will keep everyone posted.

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0126171554-00.jpgNew suggested piston on the left vs original and height difference mounted on a common pin between the two.

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That looks like quite a difference. I guess it is about .045" like the calipers show? More compression and a hotter '88 cam should make a difference.

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Sorry about the quality of the photo. I didn't realize I had that glare on the dial. It is .044" actually. It winds up about zero deck to the block. The reason I posted it here is I couldn't attach it to the PM to Dave without doing the URL thing. I do think about a half point more squeeze and a little more cam should give a friendly shove.

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Picked up the engine this morning. He had two engines available and as luck would have it he had the wrong one waiting for me. I was able to walk with him to get the correct engine out of storage. After he got it off the rack he cranked it over with a breaker bar and it turned over with no signs of seize. My machinist friend was with us and gave me the "thumbs up" that it sounded right.

So we are good to go.

It is now at Kendall's house and we will get together next week to dismantle this one and start the rebuilding process.

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I think you're going to end up with a really good engine. Probably better than the 5000 mile motor even if it had been what the said it was. This way you will know exactly what you have when you get done. I hope the rebuild cost won't be too high by using some of the parts from the 5000 mile motor.

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2seater can probably back me up on this, but the motor I originally bought was a 1988 with about 5000 miles on it for $450.00. I would have had to buy a gasket set and lifters as well as send the heads out for work.

This engine was $150.00 and I still have to buy the gasket set, lifters, and the head work, but my additional expense will be pistons [$200.00] and a head gasket set.

So all in all I will be about the same.

Everyone is saying I will end up with a better engine, I am sure they are right.

Another questionto ask, I am going with higher compression pistons to improve horsepower, can I have the head milled to add a bit more? If so how much can I mill? How much HP will I gain? And is it something I should consider or leave it alone?

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I do not know how much could be milled from the head as I have never done so, but my theory is to leave as much metal as possible unless it is required to get the head flat. My experience has been that the Buick 3800 head is nice and flat on a good running engine and requires no additional machining. Only checking with a straight edge will tell. The 3800 has a small chamber to start with, about 38cc's, with a 10* valve angle so they are quite shallow. I wouldn't encourage any additional reduction in head volume. The later engines, such as the Series 2 has an improved heart shaped chamber shape that tolerates 9.5 :1 compression ratio, or better, on 87 octane.

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If you get the compression too high on 87 octane fuel the engine might ping causing the knock sensor to tell the ECM to retard the timing. When that happens your extra horsepower will be lost. You might get a little extra power out of opening up the exhaust manifold if it has an obstruction like in the photo below.

1302178930_88header_restriction.jpg.1771f96de402797480b816f189f049eb.jpg

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  • 2 weeks later...

OK while my friend was working on pricing for the engine rebuild, I went after geting a transmission. I found a yard near where I grew up and stopped in to see what the car looked like that the transmission was in. I was really impressed. It is an 1990 Olds 88 that still looked great on the outside with no visable rust and the interior was immaculate. The yard says the guy who junked it said he just had the tranny rebuilt. It is priced fairly at $250.00 and based on the care this car had and the fact that the yard gives me a 6 month warranty it makes me more comfortable about buying it.

More on the yard...

When I was in High School I bought a 1966 Mustang, it was an Arizona car with no rust, but needed some parts so I went to this You Pick yard near me... this is that yard.

Anyway as I was walking with the yard guy to find the car I spotted a Riv of our vintage, then another, then a Reatta, then another Riv, wait is that a Trofeo?, Holy Smokes another Reatta! Then as we were walking back to the office, I spotted the "Holy Grail" another Reatta, a 1990 Red/Tan with 16 way seats. The cornering lights are nicer then mine, the seats are in great condition as are the floor mats, interior door panels,all interior trim pieces, and visors. Also there was a rebuilt IPC and very nice headlight switch.

I am definately going back for what I didn't already buy [Headlight switch, IPC, visors, and floor mats]. Also bringing a meter to test all the cars with ABS leads. I was so excited I didn't even look at the windshield, but you can bet if it is good it will be mine.

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There was a Red/Tan some time ago on Criagslist with "Brake issues" and didn't sell for a long time and then disppeared and was never listed again. I think this is that car. Probably was quoted for a new Teves master cylinder and didn't want to pay so junked it. It is missing the hood and trunk lid now but everything else is there.

The Rivs are 1-'89,1-90-1-91. The Reattas are 1-'88, 2 -'90. The other two Reattas are rough, I don't even care about the Trofeo...

I am going back soon with my wifes Enclave and will be shopping as he quoted insanely cheap prices. They won't recognize the "nice" Reatta when I am done.

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Dave, are you grabbing the full interior on that one? If the dash is nice you should get it also. And if the seats are decent, grab them. If you end up not wanting them I could be persuaded to take them off your hands to put in my 'vert. Seems I recall you wanting to swap the interior in the black from grey to tan? Here's your chance, unless it is torn up.

 

On the Trofeo, if you don't mind checking, see if it has the nice grey leather shift knob with the thumb button and the squared plastic shaft cover (this was on 90-92 only as far as I know). If it does, grab it and I'll buy it. Wonder if this one has the VIC? And if the Reatta you are parting is the 88, grab the CRTC from the console if you get a chance. The 88 CRTC has different PROMS than the 89, not sure what is different in the programming but would like another spare for experimenting purposes.

 

I assume the one missing the hood is the 88? Too bad, since that means the hood emblem is gone too.

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I'm going back tomorrow for the seats, inner door panels, cornering lamps and some interior trim pieces. If the parts are there I will add the CRTC and shifter knob for you.

I am leaving the dash for spring as well as the windshield as I don't want the weather to attack the car until I get everything I want.

The '90 Red/Tan is the nice one and is missing both the trunk lid and hood. The '88 has a front end hit and the hood is folded up so bad I can't open it to test the ABS leads.

The some of the other Rivs/Reattas the headlight switches and IPC's are still there.

This is really a fine.

BTW I tested the '90 IPC and Headlight Switch today on the'vert. They both work great. The IPC has a 11 year old rebuild sticker from United Radio...

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I went back yesterday and got a whole bunch more stuff. Two more 1990'91 IPC's, Passenger Seat [Driver's Seat forward/back motor didn't work tried another switch from a Riv too so I left it for now], Fog Light Lenses and surrounds, Cornering Lamps, both Inner Door Panels, some Interior Trim, Console Lid, Antenna, CD Cubby Box/wDoor [already sold] other misc. items.

Going back for the driver seat [taking more tools and a friend] outside mirrors and corner glass, dash.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Took the engine in for the cylinders to be honed and for a valve job. There are a few engines in front of me and we won't be doing the engine/tranny swap until April when it warms up. I will be going with the used recent rebuilt tranny. I'm spending a bit more then I thought I would on the engine so I have to save a bit on the cost of the transmission. [When has that ever happened before?]

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Went back to that yard I recently discovered to return the two IPCs that didn't work. I ordered the dash, windshield, outside mirrors w/corner glass, and the drivers seat. I also ordered a recent rebuilt transmission that has a $50.00 core. He gave me full credit on the IPC's [$40.00 total] and waived the core chrage. Then he threw in the license plate lights [not broken look great], trunk gasket, front air dam, Drivers side threshold plastic.

I pulled the glove box and the two vents by the glove box, dash grill and pad, light sensor, and IPC trim panel to make it easy for the guys to pull the dash. They were considered part of the dash and less for them to lose or break.

The teves unit and steering column are already out so pulling the dash should go well for them. At this point in time everything looks great, if they crack or break anything then there is no deal.

As kdirk said to me, it is like parting a car but not having a carcass to get rid of. I think I did good.

I already have the front corner lamps from this car installed on the Red. Big step up in appearance!

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