78 Camaro Type PT

Discussion in 'Project Progress' started by 70rsss, Jan 2, 2018.

  1. 70rsss

    70rsss Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

    374
    1
    Mar 29, 2000
    Houston, TX.
    Hi all, some of ya'll might remember me from my 70 original RS/SS 396 rebuild I did a few years ago after a roll back wrecker dropped my car off the back while loading to go to AutoRama. Now I’m starting my first Pro-Touring build. The car is a 78 Camaro Type LT I built for my daughter about 15 years ago (Below). It’s been sitting and taking up space in my garage for the last 8+ years. Every time I tell my daughter I’m going to sell it she through a fit…lol. So if I can’t sell it I might as well build it! I started this build in April a week before I broke my ankle having to have surgery. It’s dangerous to be on short term disability with a working computer and a good credit card………20k later my house looks like a parts department!

    The build will include a 6.0L LQ9 with ported heads, big cam and a Holley throttle body Terminator. A roadrace compatible 700r4 for a trans feeding into a full floater 9” . Suspension is all SpeetTech with upgraded JRI shocks and an adjustable splined anti-sway bar. Inside will have upgraded seats a digital CF dash and vintage air. Here is what I'm starting from.

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  2. 70rsss

    70rsss Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

    374
    1
    Mar 29, 2000
    Houston, TX.
    First thing I started on was the motor……from a wheelchair! The plan was to have the stock head ported, add a cam, timing chain, oil pan, head bolts and rod bolts and bearings. Once I had the motor painted and ready to go back together I found a bad cam bearing. At that point the motor went to the machine shop. After cleaning I had the cam bearing replaced, crank polished and the cylinders brushed honed. Now main studs were added along with new bearings and rings including total seal gapless top ring and finally together.

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    First time I built a motor while in a wheelchair!

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  3. 73rsltz

    73rsltz Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

    105
    5
    Aug 19, 2013
    taylors,sc
  4. 70rsss

    70rsss Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

    374
    1
    Mar 29, 2000
    Houston, TX.
    After I assembled the motor it was time to start on the car. But still in the wheelchair this looked to be an issue till I found a buddy, Roger, that needed a motor and trans for a project he was working on. So we worked out a deal, he would come over and help me get the 78 on my lift, pull the front sheet metal and nose and he left with the running 350/350 in the car. All I had to do was stay out of their way and watch them go! One thing I wanted to do was to back the 78 onto my lift so I could work on the firewall once the sub-frame was out. This also gave Roger more room to take out the drivetrain.

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    The next weekend, after my Doc cleared me to transition into a boot and crutches, it was time to pull the sub-frame. I made a couple of temporary ramps off the front of the lift to roll the car onto. Once in position I blocked up the body and un-bolted the sub-frame. Then it was a simple matter of rolling it forward lifting the car rolling it back under for a big work area for deconstruction. I found out when my motor was dropped off the lift made a nice engine hoist but turns out it does a good job as a hydraulic press too! Used it to push down on the sub-frame so I could compress the springs for a-arm removal.

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  5. 70rsss

    70rsss Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

    374
    1
    Mar 29, 2000
    Houston, TX.
    After the sub-frame was dis-assembled it was time to wash of 39 years of grime. Turned out better than I thought using only some gunk and a small power washer.

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    With the sub-frame set up back in its spot I needed to locate the new motor & tranny mounts. I am using CPP fully adjustable motor mounts and big block frame stand offs. On the 78 the stand off is on the motor and the rubber mount is on the frame witch is opposite of my 70 Camaro. So I had to locate and drill new holes in the frame for the BB mounts. Based on some measurements of firewall location at the frame I was able to push the motor all the way back on the adjustable CPP mount. The tranny mount was moved back where the front mtg hole on the crossmember lined up to the back mtg hole in the frame. Just needed to drill two holes. I did notch the FL side of the crossmember as the oil pan on the 700R4 is offset that way. Just wanted to make sure I had clearance if I can push the motor back any more. I have a ½” front to back to play with where the engine and frame mount come together depending where I add the spacer they need.

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  6. 70rsss

    70rsss Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

    374
    1
    Mar 29, 2000
    Houston, TX.
    While I’ve been working on the sub-frame I had Timmy at GAP Racing weld the SpeedTech and caliper brackets to my full floating rear end. Because the SpeedTech suspension requires a pumpkin centered housing and the Speedway full floater comes as a pinion centered housing I also had one axle tube cut down to center the housing. I can’t have it coated till I get it in the car and line up the rear sway bar mounting pads that also needs to be welded to the axle. The other thing I have planned is to swap out the 5/8 studs for some ½-20 as I also plan to update the front.
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    For brakes I upgraded the rotors to 12 x 1.1 form the 11 x .81 that comes stock with the rear, and I'm using a 4 piston Wilwood caliper.

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  7. 70rsss

    70rsss Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

    374
    1
    Mar 29, 2000
    Houston, TX.
    Once the motor was back out of the way, it was time to mock up the front suspension. SpeedTech components are a work of art but the one think I wasn’t happy with was the non-adjustable front sway bar. After calling and talking to both Blake and Roger I sent back the bar and they sent me the main parts for an adjustable splined sway bar. Luckily my buddy and ace welder Randy had the correct size DOM tubing needed for the sway bar bushings. I got held up about a week waiting for my new 12:1 steering box from Pro-Touring F-Body.com, as it was on backorder. I also bought a new performance steering kit with a upgrade for bump steer correction outer rods from P-TF-B.

    Based on some pictures SpeedTech sent me of a Chevelle they added a splined sway bar to I was hoping to place the linkage on the back side of the steering arms like they did. Unfortunately we didn’t see a path forward for that. I had to balance the travel of the arms from bump stop to bump stop and steering clearance side to side and bump to bump. To do this and not have the mounting tube sit too low where the bars were at a bad angle at ride height and clear the steering box we had to make the lower control arm linkage mounting in front of the steering arms.
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    With the high spring rates I can run with this sway bar we needed to come up with a way distribute the load to the entire lower control arm and not just the front tube. Our solution was to mill a 1 ½” slot 1/2 way thru a piece of 1 ¼” tube to match the angle of the lower tubes. Plates were added on both sides to travel below the steering arms to interface with the sway bar linkage. First we tacked up the passenger side to check travel angles, and after some tweaking final mounting tube location was set and it was welded to the sub-frame. One last check was done after welding with both mocked up lower control arms and sway bar………I’m happy to say everything passed the motion tests. The sub-frame went off to powder and the control arms went to welding to be fully burned in and braced.
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  8. 70rsss

    70rsss Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

    374
    1
    Mar 29, 2000
    Houston, TX.
    I started looking at a way to take some weight off the front end. The 78 bumper is a massive piece hung way out front of the wheels. I wanted to replace the bumper with aluminum but it wasn’t time or cost effective at this point. I did the next best thing…..I made it a Sunday bumper…….you know Holy! Didn’t take long with the plasma cutter and I took maybe 20%+ off the weight including the mounting brackets.
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  9. 70rsss

    70rsss Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

    374
    1
    Mar 29, 2000
    Houston, TX.
    After Hurricane Harvey hit us in Houston I wasn't able to do a lot of major work to my car as I was storing a buddies Camaro, under mine, he got flooded and had to fine a new house. I was able to do some secondary work like updating the studs on all four corners to ½-20 vs the 5/8” rear and 12mm front. I also was able to drop off my sub-frame for powder coating and modify my front drive. After mocking it up I didn’t like the shape of the left side plate so I cut to taste and had both sides re-powder coated…….I think it looks better now. IMG_3377.JPG IMG_3389.JPG IMG_3391.JPG IMG_3392.JPG
     
  10. 70rsss

    70rsss Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

    374
    1
    Mar 29, 2000
    Houston, TX.
    After two months of storing my buddies 69 Camaro, while he found and bought a new house, I finally got back to making progress. I finally got the firewall welded, body worked and painted.
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    Also had to fix some small rust hole in the floor pans by forming and welding in some patch panels. Wasn't pretty but this isn't a show car. Then I finished cleaning the floor pans from the rear set area forward and sprayed them with bed liner. Now it's time to assemble my sub-frame for the final time.....I hope I'll clean and paint the rear after I pull the diff out.

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