'78 Z28 - Pro Touring Or Bust

Discussion in 'Project Progress' started by PFZ28, Aug 6, 2010.

  1. PFZ28

    PFZ28 Veteran Member

    469
    2
    Dec 6, 2009
    ThornTown, Colorado
    Yeah, me too.
     
  2. PFZ28

    PFZ28 Veteran Member

    469
    2
    Dec 6, 2009
    ThornTown, Colorado
    Got to give a big THUMBS UP to Sears Auto Center in Thornton!! I had purchased a RoadHandler lifetime alignment for the Z way back in 1989 when I was in college. Sears had no problem honoring it this weekend and I got the Z aligned for FREE! This was actually the first time I'd had it aligned since installing the Hotchkis suspension, and in fact, the first time since I'd had the whole subframe off the car! Believe it or not, it actually drove fine with my eyeballed alignment, though Sears did say that it was pretty far off of true. I did worry that they would find it could not be aligned without fixing something first, but it apparently went just fine. Wheeee!

    One cool by-product of the alignment is that the top of the left front tire is now tucked in a skosh more. This makes tire contact with the fender happen way less often.

    In other news, I adjusted the brake pedal position a half inch further out. Made no changes to the brakes themselves, but the new pedal position makes them feel a whole lot better. The pedal felt too close to the floor in heavy braking before.
     
  3. PFZ28

    PFZ28 Veteran Member

    469
    2
    Dec 6, 2009
    ThornTown, Colorado
    I tore into the rear end last weekend. After installing the much quieter LS1, I realized how much noise was coming from the diff. I decided for long term reliability, I'd better go through it. Plus, I bought some 79 Trans Am disc brakes several years ago that needed to go on. I had been putting it off because I knew there were lots of potential showstoppers. Well, I was right about that. Luckily I had my friend Rey to guide me through some of the pitfalls of this project.

    [​IMG]Untitled by pfz28, on Flickr

    The first thing I did was to make sure I could get the fill plug out. I'd heard horror stories of getting the diff all buttoned back together only to find the plug was seized. Fortunately, the plug came right out with no trouble. It was one of the few things that didn't give me any trouble.

    [​IMG]Untitled by pfz28, on Flickr

    Once we got things apart, Rey showed me the gears were in good shape but the axles were shot. At least I was right to worry about the noise.

    [​IMG]Untitled by pfz28, on Flickr

    It was clear I was going to need new axles. Showstopper number 1. 2nd Gen Camaro axles are not in stock anywhere in Denver. Sigh. Done for the weekend.

    I ordered new Moser axles and they came in Friday. When I showed them to Rey, he noticed the flanges were too big for the disc brake hats. Long story short, they'll have to be turned to remove about 1/8". Showstopper number 2. Too late to get them turned before the weekend. Grrr.

    [​IMG]Untitled by pfz28, on Flickr

    Though the second showstopper was a disappointment, it actually saved me from a bigger "Uh, Oh" later on down the road. Since the axles were not able to be installed, I focused on the emergency brake cables. This is when I figured out that I had the backing plates reversed, with the right one on the left side and vice versa. With them backwards, the E-brake cable mounts faced rearward instead of frontward. If I had waited to do the E-brakes til everything was back together, I would have had to take it all apart again to fix the error. So there was a silver lining after all.

    [​IMG]Untitled by pfz28, on Flickr

    The E-brake cable project was not without its own difficulty, however. Once the backing plates were corrected, the right side cable went on just fine. But, the left side didn't - the cable housing was an inch too short! :whine: Stupid Chinese parts!! Now at least my showstoppers were starting to overlap! :screwup: Of course 2nd Gen emergency brake cables aren't available in Denver either. To top it off, I learned that the 1.25" studs I bought for the new axles were too short. The Moser flanges and the disc brake rotors are much thicker than the old brake drum, so I needed 1.75" studs instead.

    So here I am again. End of the weekend, project not done. Waiting on the brown truck. Better luck next week.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2017
  4. Jas0n

    Jas0n Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

    953
    3
    Apr 27, 2010
    Verona, ITALY
    OMG! There was a lot of troubles! Sorry to hear that, nothing is more disappointing to get stopped by things out of your control! that sucks.
     
  5. PFZ28

    PFZ28 Veteran Member

    469
    2
    Dec 6, 2009
    ThornTown, Colorado
    Hi Jas0n! Thanks for your note! Well it's frustrating, but I'm gaining valuable knowledge - the next one will be smoother.
     
  6. PFZ28

    PFZ28 Veteran Member

    469
    2
    Dec 6, 2009
    ThornTown, Colorado
    Wow, this disc brake swap continues to be a PITA! :cool: All of the E-brake cables I bought for the left side of the car (three of them) were too short. I ended up modifying the shortest drum brake cable, and sticking that on there. We'll see if that's a permanent solution. After that, I had brake line drama. The tubing flare tool I've had for years fell apart in my hands, so it was replaced with a Harbor Freight double flare unit. This actually worked out pretty well. Good thing too, cos I had to make all new hard lines along the diff. Once the hard lines were made, I proceeded to bleed the brakes. Got them all bled, but apparently the calipers that I bought years ago are junk. :mad:

    Oh, well. The good news is they have all the hard-to-find hardware with them, and new calipers are fifty bucks each. Not too bad a deal, other than once again waiting on the brown truck. Anyway, here's a pic of the brakes installed, to inspire me onward...

    This will be awesome when it's done!

    [​IMG]Untitled by pfz28, on Flickr

    By the way, I made a disappointing discovery in this process. I always thought the rear-end had Positraction, but alas it does not. One tire fire for me, until further notice.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2017
  7. TheFastForester

    TheFastForester Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

    1,317
    3
    Feb 9, 2008
    Broomfield, Colorado
  8. PFZ28

    PFZ28 Veteran Member

    469
    2
    Dec 6, 2009
    ThornTown, Colorado
    Ok, been a little while. I did finally get the brakes done. It was a nightmare. Two different wrong shipments of brake calipers from Advance Auto Parts and a couple quarts of brake fluid later, the car is back on the road. Whew! And the brakes are better. I'm not going to say that they're the best they can be, but still better than the drums.

    [​IMG]Untitled by pfz28, on Flickr

    Turns out the cool cross-drilled rotors are 4mm too thick. They still work but the e-brake can't ratchet properly. Eventually I'll get some correct discs and pads, but for now I'm just gonna drive it.

    Took it on a test run Wednesday afternoon in moderate I-25 traffic with the weather in the mid 80's. Happy to report that it kept itself cool. With my Ultragauge Blue, I was able to watch the temps very closely. At 226*, the fan kicks on and runs til it gets to 217*. Worked great in stop-and-go traffic.

    Only weak point is the heater core. Sometimes I get a little whiff of coolant when I drive, so I'm thinking there's a pinhole leak there. I got a new aluminum Spectra Premium heater core, so I'll be putting that in this weekend. Wish me luck. At least with the status of the car at this point, I have no problem removing the (outer) fender to do this job. Shouldn't be too bad, I hope. At least this is a job I've done before.
     
  9. TheFastForester

    TheFastForester Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

    1,317
    3
    Feb 9, 2008
    Broomfield, Colorado
    Have fun with that heater core P-F, having been there before should help you out this time around.
     
  10. Jas0n

    Jas0n Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

    953
    3
    Apr 27, 2010
    Verona, ITALY
    Hey PFZ28! Nice to see some update here! ;)
     

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