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Author Topic: 1979 red Trans Am  (Read 15711 times)

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Todd Stahr

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1979 red Trans Am
« on: April 19, 2009, 10:23:55 PM »
I just started on a red 79 TA tonight. Its getting repaired as a daily driver, not a full restoration, but most of the work involved relates to a full blown restoration as well as some race oriented things. I take progress pictures of the work as its being done, and I was thinking it would be cool if there was a section where I could start a thread detailing 'how to' as well as why as I go. Right now its in rust eradication and repairing the rear frame rails that are almost completely gone. It runs and drives, but needs all sorts of work. Its an opportunity of sorts, and I need to have it drivable by June 1st so it will go rather quickly. There are things planned for it later, like engine swaps, maybe some handling improvements, suspension rebuild, and interior work.

What you think, just put it in a certain section and sticky it, or maybe have a section for projects and updates?

Sorry I been gone so much, I was mired in Ford hell for the last three years... I am excited to be back under a Pontiac.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2009, 10:10:11 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?

firebirdclub

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Re: Hey Frank...
« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2009, 09:57:43 PM »
Ok we will try a section for projects and updates.  If it is successful we will keep.  If not I will move the topics to the General Discussion area.

Frank
National Firebird and Trans Am Club
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North America's oldest and largest club for all Firebirds and Trans Ams including GTAs and Firehawks.  Established in 1984 and offers color magazines (EAGLE), emagazines, technical advice, free member classifieds, member repair shop recommendations and much more!

Todd Stahr

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Re: 1979 red Trans Am
« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2009, 10:15:07 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?

gorin002

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Re: 1979 red Trans Am
« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2009, 01:32:13 PM »
i am not a ford fan either
like the mondeo and focus fiasta looking cute new ka is much better looking than old ka
love big F 350 trucks



Todd Stahr

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Re: 1979 red Trans Am
« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2009, 02:36:32 PM »
I like Fords ok, they just take longer to rebuild than a Pontiac. Also some parts for the particular cars I have are hard to come by. Havent been able to do much, the weather is changing and that means I am barely able to move. Im going to try to get out in the shop and continue on it later today, I will post pics when I can get moving again.
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
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  • Posts: 88
Re: 1979 red Trans Am
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2009, 04:53:41 PM »
Ok been working on the red TA since 0845 today, been taking pics of the progress. The subframe looks bad, but the repair seems to be pretty strong. I will keep an eye on it for a while once its drivable again. Of course the proper way to repair it is with a new piece and replacing any rusted parts near it was well. This is a budget job and the car is more of a mule than a race car and it wont be driven hard so this repair will work even though it is ugly. If your car is rusted this bad, have it fixed by a professional or find another car. If it fails on me then maybe it will end up with a back half or a full frame under it, and the pro touring treatment.

For right now, just a cruiser to test a few things as far as mileage goes. 

Looks decent here, not great but not complete junk.



Closer look shows the floors.



Previous owner did this fine work. ::)



Sand some paint and filler off to find good metal...


The rust was rather nasty, not as bad as some vehicles I have done, but plenty of the car is gone.



Yeah there was supposed to be a seatbelt mount and a frame rail here, so it got replaced with square stock. I'll patch the floor tomorrow.


All the patches welded to the passenger side, need to grind on the rear one some more, and adjust the body line in the wheel well. Its hammer and dolly time..


Thats where I left it for tonight. So far I am three days work into it, I wonder how long this one will take me.
« Last Edit: April 23, 2009, 09:52:05 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
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  • Posts: 88
Re: 1979 red Trans Am
« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2009, 09:00:06 PM »
Had to take a break for a couple days, got back to it yesterday. Tomorrow afternoon I will rebuild the drivers side rear quarter and patch the front fenders, then sand down the hood and both bumper skins. My respirator leaks a bit since I have a beard at the moment, so all I can smell is paint and filler dust.






I figure I could detail the Qjet rebuild too, that could be fun to do. We'll see if I get the chance to take pictures while I rebuild it and clean the wires underhood. It looks like some poorly trained monkeys did a tune up.
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
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  • Posts: 88
Re: 1979 red Trans Am
« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2009, 07:36:08 PM »
Did a bit more sanding on the nose, ground down the welds and applied some filler. Most of the filler will be sanded off, but I wanted to avoid low spots so its on there thick.

After grinding the welds down and prepping the area for filler with the grinder.


Mud on the fender.


These things are incredibly time consuming to sand.


The paint and sealer get here tomorrow, they had to mix it and order activator for the sealer besides I am not in a rush. Once I repair the other quarter, the front fender, and do a bit more disassembly and sanding, then the primer can go on.
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
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  • Posts: 88
Re: 1979 red Trans Am
« Reply #8 on: May 07, 2009, 10:40:18 PM »
Pulled the mirrors, door handles, locks, and windshield trim, then patched the rear part of the drivers side quarter panel. I will do the front section tomorrow, finish sanding the spots I havent gotten, and probably pull the front wheel spoilers. Then break out the epoxy primer and masking tape. We'll see how much I can get done in a day.


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

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  • Posts: 88
Re: 1979 red Trans Am
« Reply #9 on: May 30, 2009, 11:00:22 PM »
Here is the progress, been busy with other stuff so the TA has taken a bit longer. The drivers side fender had a rust spot, so its getting a patch. Just need to weld it in there. The other pics here are the rear quarter prior to filler, now this isnt the best way to repair rusted quarters, because getting the body lines right and welding everything so it fits is a challenge.





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?

gorin002

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Re: 1979 red Trans Am
« Reply #10 on: June 15, 2009, 12:40:07 AM »
i wish i could do that i can t
so how fair are you ?
how long wil it take til its full restored ?


Todd Stahr

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Re: 1979 red Trans Am
« Reply #11 on: June 18, 2009, 03:29:36 PM »
Im not restoring it, just getting it drivable again and making it look a bit nicer in the process. I shot the color on it yesterday and today I will be sanding the orange peel and a couple runs out of it.

Making my own patches allowed me to do it cheap but at the expense of more work, so paying someone to do it the way I did it would be more expensive, but if you can learn to shape metal with caveman tools, or have some items that make things easier, like shrinker, stretcher, shear, and a metal brake, then it would go much easier. The total cost for me to get it back to looking decent and fixing the rust has been right around $240, I couldnt buy the quarter panels for that. On the other hand it takes me a bit longer to make a patch panel than it does to weld one already shaped in, so I have a bunch of labor in this thing. I cant work more than a couple days a week, unless I can sit for most of it because my knees cause me too much pain, so it gets spread out over a month or more just waiting until I can move easier.

Here it is taped up, the filler done on the big stuff, I do the smaller dents and low spots with primer on it so they are easier to find and get smooth.




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
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  • Posts: 88
Re: 1979 red Trans Am
« Reply #12 on: June 18, 2009, 03:35:35 PM »
Then I taped off the bumper skins, because the primers I use on the metal wont flex enough on them, and shot primer on the rest of the body.





Block sand the filler to find the low spots, and fill in anything else I find like a rather obvious one in the rear quarter. Using high build primer to fill in the low spots and take the waves out of the metal, it takes a few applications to build up the low spots while knocking down the high stuff. The most tedious part of the entire process, but if you screw up its still easy to fix it at this point.






After that another coat of epoxy primer and some sealer on the flexible parts, its ready for final color.
It just looks gray in those pics so I will skip right ahead to the color shots, primer isnt very exciting to look at. I think I didnt get the paint thin enough, needed more reducer so it would lay down. It orange peeled on me in a few spots, came out nice in others. The trick is getting it thin enough it lays down but not so thin it runs off the vertical parts of the car. Primer and base color coats are easy to shoot, clears and single stage enamel are a bit tougher, and they are what gets the worst orange peel in 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: 1979 red Trans Am
« Reply #13 on: June 18, 2009, 03:40:27 PM »
So here it is in color again. My better half is going to drive the Ol TA to work because it gets better mileage than her Jimmy, and the Jimmy needs a transmission rebuild along with a new converter. So she needed something other than my 98 Formula to drive to work, this being the case she got to pick the color. Considering we have 4 red vehicles and an sunset orange metallic truck in the yard, she opted out of the original red. I was happy with her choice because it makes my body work look better.  This is very bright in person, the pictures dont really do it justice as to how bright it is. I will get some of it outside in the sun when the sun comes out and we have the color sanding done.






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: 1979 red Trans Am
« Reply #14 on: June 18, 2009, 03:46:31 PM »
If everything works out I will have it running and drivable before the end of the month. I still need to rebuild a Qjet, or pull the one from the 72 Formula. I need to do some other stuff before I switch it to ethanol fuel, mainly get my stills making enough that I can get her enough fuel to get to work every day. I want to compare mileage with gasoline and ethanol anyway, so driving around with gas wont be that bad for now. Eventually this car will get a 455 with 13:1 compression to take advantage of the ethanol. So really the bright yellow is fitting considering ethanol is made from corn and in my case, cattails and potatoes.

So its on to the mechanical aspect of getting this thing running, including a new fuel line since the old one was rusted off. Brake lines, because of rust, and getting the 403 running better. It needs a carpet, but I cant afford one right now, so she might just get to drive around without one, it wont be that hot and loud will it? Anyway I am glad to be almost done with paint and body work on this ol car. Someday it will get a better rebuild, and I will fix everything wrong with it, but right now I just need it running. :)
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: 1979 red Trans Am
« Reply #14 on: June 18, 2009, 03:46:31 PM »

 

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