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Author Topic: Mileage tips and mods for a 455 HO Formula and 79 Trans Am  (Read 13684 times)

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Todd Stahr

  • Firebird & Trans Am Club Tech Staff
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  • Posts: 88
Mileage tips and mods for a 455 HO Formula and 79 Trans Am
« on: September 05, 2006, 01:31:47 PM »
The 72 Formula needs to be driven, that is what old cars are about and built for right? So in the quest for better driveabilty, economy and yeah even some performance, we are installing a Qjet and Performer intake. The previous owner installed a Torker II and Edelbrock AFB, along with 3.70 gears. That needs to be changed for a myriad of reasons..

I wish I had the original intake, those things are pricey now. Its a numbers matching car with bad paint, that will be adressed later, right now I want it to run well and not have a "kill more dinosaurs" attitude towards $3/gallon fuel..
« Last Edit: April 20, 2009, 12:55:34 PM by Todd Stahr »
Performance and general repair tech. Traditional Pontiac V8 is my specialty, as well as automatic transmission repair/diagonossis. 2nd gen speciality, and with the addition of the 98 Formula 4th gen LS1 I am getting to know them real well. Holley and Qjet advice as well.

Chalk mark restoration and date codes arent my thing. W.O.T. is my thing..

Is it strange to have 9 firebirds?

Todd Stahr

  • Firebird & Trans Am Club Tech Staff
  • ****
  • Posts: 88
Re: Coming soon! Mileage tips and mods for a 455 HO Formula!
« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2006, 01:10:50 PM »
Update.. still need to get it legal and baseline it.. Got the Qjet swapped on, really changed the way the car runs and drives. Want to swap the gears this weekend, need to fix on the daily driver and take pics while doing the work on the Formy.. Workin on it though!
Performance and general repair tech. Traditional Pontiac V8 is my specialty, as well as automatic transmission repair/diagonossis. 2nd gen speciality, and with the addition of the 98 Formula 4th gen LS1 I am getting to know them real well. Holley and Qjet advice as well.

Chalk mark restoration and date codes arent my thing. W.O.T. is my thing..

Is it strange to have 9 firebirds?

Todd Stahr

  • Firebird & Trans Am Club Tech Staff
  • ****
  • Posts: 88
Re: Coming soon! Mileage tips and mods for a 455 HO Formula!
« Reply #2 on: September 29, 2006, 12:33:03 PM »
This is how my Formula looked when I bought it last year from a friend. Since its numbers matching I plan to restore it to its original color, fix all the rust, and make it a nice driver. Even though its one of the rarest Firebirds my friend I bought it from and I feel it should be driven, not tucked away as a museum piece or only moved on a trailer. Its what it was built for. My friend, Ja decided he wanted it back earlier this year, but I am not ready to sell. Especially since there is more I want to do on it to make it a much better car. I feel it deserves to have all the issues fixed so its 100% reliable. Ja is a good friend, but now he is somewhat tweaked with me, because I wouldnt sell it back yet.

In time Ja, in time...

So this was the starting point. As work progesses on it I will update this thread with pics and info for what I have done to it. Ja had lowered the car, added headers and a few other items. All of those will stay, but electrical gremlins and drivability issues plauge the car, so that is where I started. The 455 HO was rebuilt and has a larger cam with full roller rockers, they will stay as well. We might as well have a bit of rough idle for the muscle sound, since it isnt too big for the engine.

The TH400 works well and is the only non original part of the drivetrain, the original was long gone before Ja bought the car. It has a 2800-3000 stall that doesnt slip too much while cruising, seems like a well built converter at this point so it stays.

Originally the car had 3.08 gears with an open diff. It wasnt ordered with a limited slip because the original owner just wanted to tow his boat around with it. Strange I know.. Ja added 3.70 gears and a limited slip diff, the gears are a bit steep so its in the works to drop down to a 3.42 or even a 3.08 gearset, because a 455 doesnt like or need lot of RPM to move a car.

The performance goal is 20mpg, daily driver reliable, 12 seconds in the 1/4 mile, and get the AC working again.

So far I have swapped out the Torker II intake and Edlebrock carb for a Performer and Qjet, its the Qjet destined for the GTO but is on the Formy untill I can get the original one rebuilt. The baseplate is severly worn, so I need a bushing kit for it. more later...
« Last Edit: August 14, 2007, 11:44:10 PM by firebirdclub »
Performance and general repair tech. Traditional Pontiac V8 is my specialty, as well as automatic transmission repair/diagonossis. 2nd gen speciality, and with the addition of the 98 Formula 4th gen LS1 I am getting to know them real well. Holley and Qjet advice as well.

Chalk mark restoration and date codes arent my thing. W.O.T. is my thing..

Is it strange to have 9 firebirds?

84S/E

  • Message Board Member not current NFTAC Club Member
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  • Posts: 7
Re: Coming soon! Mileage tips and mods for a 455 HO Formula!
« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2006, 09:20:31 PM »
Thanks for updating us on your progress. It will be interesting to follow along as you go through the car and see the results. Great looking car!
Brad
Brad
1984 Firebird S/E

Todd Stahr

  • Firebird & Trans Am Club Tech Staff
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  • Posts: 88
Re: Coming soon! Mileage tips and mods for a 455 HO Formula!
« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2006, 02:29:44 PM »
We'll see how it comes out, and if I ever get to it! Currently there is a 71 Mustang fastback in the shop getting a full ground up rebuild, and my first car a 67 Cougar that I want to have done and driveable before June next year.

Best part about the Formula is it currently runs and drives, I dont have a Ford that does the same..lol. Its going to be a project car that I restore and post progress and create tech articles from/for. Also will be using my 79 Formula, "Old Ugly" as its affectionately known among my friends for race tech and some body mods dealing with fiberglass, also some chassis setup for drag racing.

Anything I do on my old rides that is pertinent to firebirds I will take pics and post info on how, why, and wheres of the project. So you might se the GTOs, the 4th gen getting a trans swap, or the major rust repair my 74 Formula 350 needs.  you just never know what will show up with a Pontiac in it around here.. :)
Performance and general repair tech. Traditional Pontiac V8 is my specialty, as well as automatic transmission repair/diagonossis. 2nd gen speciality, and with the addition of the 98 Formula 4th gen LS1 I am getting to know them real well. Holley and Qjet advice as well.

Chalk mark restoration and date codes arent my thing. W.O.T. is my thing..

Is it strange to have 9 firebirds?

dpoltzer

  • Message Board Member but not a NFTAC Club Member
  • *
  • Posts: 4
Re: Coming soon! Mileage tips and mods for a 455 HO Formula!
« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2008, 03:29:17 PM »
Hello Todd,

Do you still have your Formula and how is it coming along?  I just started a restoration on a 72 Formula myself. So far so good.

Dave,

Atlanta, GA

Todd Stahr

  • Firebird & Trans Am Club Tech Staff
  • ****
  • Posts: 88
Re: Coming soon! Mileage tips and mods for a 455 HO Formula!
« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2008, 10:04:11 AM »
Yeah I still have it. Getting the Fords out of the shop has been the priority, they seem to take much longer to rebuild than Firebirds and GTOs. I decided not to drive this one due to its rarity and value, but I will be doing something a bit more interesting with its clone. Specifically a 455 purpose built to run on home brewed ethanol. It will be either the 71 Formula or the 71 T37 that gets that engine and a 2004R trans so I can see how good of mileage I can squeeze out of it on alky, and still make stupid power.
Performance and general repair tech. Traditional Pontiac V8 is my specialty, as well as automatic transmission repair/diagonossis. 2nd gen speciality, and with the addition of the 98 Formula 4th gen LS1 I am getting to know them real well. Holley and Qjet advice as well.

Chalk mark restoration and date codes arent my thing. W.O.T. is my thing..

Is it strange to have 9 firebirds?

Todd Stahr

  • Firebird & Trans Am Club Tech Staff
  • ****
  • Posts: 88
Re: Coming soon! Mileage tips and mods for a 455 HO Formula!
« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2009, 12:24:16 PM »
The Ford is out of the shop and there is a 79 TA in the shop. one Ford is still in there, but it will get worked on soon so it takes up less space. The 72 HO car has been waiting patiently, I run it around the yard a few times a year.  This 79 is the prelude to the 72, so I can wrap my brain around Pontiac again. About the same time I start the 72's rebuild, I will start a 65 GTO that needs enormous amounts of metal work.

Also I decided the 72 isnt going to be a daily driver, and I am not going to deal with fixing it just to drive it. It deserves to be rebuilt the right way. The 79 is the mileage mule, it will run on both gasoline and ethanol for comparison, until the 455 with milled 670s is done. One the high compression engine goes in, it will only run E85 or E100 that I make here at home. The idea behind it is to illustrate the benefits of ethanol as well as show how to achieve better mileage with gasoline, since most of us arent ready to switch to ethanol just yet. Im not trying to convince anyone to convert their car, the point behind it is to show what else is out there and that change might be a good thing.

I am not biased towards anything, but I do have an interest in making my own fuel rather than paying someone for theirs. I dont pay people to work on my cars, not body work, nor transmissions, nor engine work. The only thing I farm out is machine work on blocks, cranks, and heads. Why should I be any different with my fuel? Now you may not be geared toward the same amount of work, and that is ok, we all have a Trans Am, Formula, Esprit, or Firebird. We dont need to do all the work ourselves, especially if we lack certain tools, skills, or a place to do the work. There are many ways to do the something when it comes to vehicles, there is no need to limit ourselves or what we achieve with them.
Performance and general repair tech. Traditional Pontiac V8 is my specialty, as well as automatic transmission repair/diagonossis. 2nd gen speciality, and with the addition of the 98 Formula 4th gen LS1 I am getting to know them real well. Holley and Qjet advice as well.

Chalk mark restoration and date codes arent my thing. W.O.T. is my thing..

Is it strange to have 9 firebirds?

Todd Stahr

  • Firebird & Trans Am Club Tech Staff
  • ****
  • Posts: 88
Re: Coming soon! Mileage tips and mods for a 455 HO Formula!
« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2009, 12:54:32 PM »
Performance and general repair tech. Traditional Pontiac V8 is my specialty, as well as automatic transmission repair/diagonossis. 2nd gen speciality, and with the addition of the 98 Formula 4th gen LS1 I am getting to know them real well. Holley and Qjet advice as well.

Chalk mark restoration and date codes arent my thing. W.O.T. is my thing..

Is it strange to have 9 firebirds?

National Firebird and Trans Am Club Message Board

Re: Coming soon! Mileage tips and mods for a 455 HO Formula!
« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2009, 12:54:32 PM »


 

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