Downunder '81 Berlinetta RHD

Discussion in 'Project Progress' started by Liam Beale, May 24, 2017.

  1. Liam Beale

    Liam Beale Member

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    May 17, 2017
    Thanks guys! I paid $9.5k for the car (ouch!). My understanding is that the car got converted over in the US so it was imported as a RHD model. This was in 1989. Back then it originally had the 305 in it too. Now with the 350 running the 305 exhaust its choking a little... its a single 2.5" from the trans back. Has headers though. Unsure if custom headers however. Definitely dual 3" exhaust when the funds allow!!
     
  2. Liam Beale

    Liam Beale Member

    36
    0
    May 17, 2017
  3. Liam Beale

    Liam Beale Member

    36
    0
    May 17, 2017
  4. Liam Beale

    Liam Beale Member

    36
    0
    May 17, 2017
    If you look closely at the under shot of the front of the car (page 1) ---

    I found out that the drag link and the tie rods were flipped! That is what was stuffing up my steering geometry. I flipped the bar back around the other way, and woohoo we can turn properly. However.......

    I can only go full lock left.

    I get one turn to the right before the castle nut on the pitman arm hits the chassis rail! Oops. I have just order a pontiac firebird TA pitman arm as these have a bit of a step down in them. hopefully that will give me the clearance below the chassis rail to go full lock right. Otherwise I will get a local fabrication shop to modify it.
     
  5. Wow, that is not an easy task to convert a car to RHD if it was never intended to be so.
    Aren't there any Holden F-body equivalents from the 70 / 80s that might help you in correcting the oversights made back in the day.

    The broken steering gear is huge step back, that has to hurt. I feel with you.
    But you will be able to source the right stuff and get her back on the road ;)

    Interested to see this proceed
     
  6. Liam Beale

    Liam Beale Member

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    May 17, 2017
    Cheers!

    Yes there's some HQ holden gear floating around, namely out of aussie, but still rare as hens teeth and cost an arm and a leg.
    Managed to find a good steering shaft locally with tight bearings so have dropped that into place. I picked up a drag link and tie rods from an hq holden, but they foul up on the harmonic balancer on the front of the engine. so either raise the engine or drop the steering assembly. Don't want to do either so going to try my luck with the Trans Am pitman arm first.

    She's back on the road currently. But being winter here, the weather isn't playing ball and I don't want to drive her in the rain ! RHD definitely makes it a lot easier to drive over here tho :)

    Few holes in the firewall need to be repaired so will be attacking those with fire sealant very soon.

    Here is full lock left
    [​IMG]20170726_161312

    here is to the right where the castle nut hits
    [​IMG]20170726_161247

    Aaand you can see the nut here fouling the front chassis rail
    [​IMG]20170726_161209



     
  7. Scott51

    Scott51 Veteran Member

    400
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    Jan 2, 2012
    New Zealand
    Surprised it managed to get a rego in Aus. Not sure if it helps but these guys are the GM RHD conversion wizards in NZ http://www.bunce.co.nz and our certification requirements are similar to yours.

    You know the dropped firebird pitman is also shorter than the camaro version and uses a different centre-link?
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2017
  8. Liam Beale

    Liam Beale Member

    36
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    May 17, 2017
    Hi Scott

    I'm in Christchurch not Aus thankfully :)

    I found a Nasty thread about a guy who had an LS swap in his 81, and that the straight pitman arm was fouling the alternator. The folks recommended he swap to a TA pitman arm and by the sounds of things it swapped in just fine. So I think its worth a go. I understand it is 6" whereas the camaro is 7". I think I am running an HQ pitman and pivot however. It does look like the later trans am have different pitman arms all together incorporating their own ball joint.

    So long as you can run the same drag link and tie rods, keeping the pivot arms and the pitman arms the same length I don't believe there will be any adverse reaction to the steering geometry. At the moment, it can only get better!

     
  9. Scott51

    Scott51 Veteran Member

    400
    20
    Jan 2, 2012
    New Zealand
    Oh S@#$ sorry dude, not sure where I got Aus from, sounds you like you've got it under control. So was it ever legal on NZ roads?

    Really interested in how they did the conversion, is the dash fibreglass? and did they also weld up the firewall and flip the heater/blower motor?
     
  10. Liam Beale

    Liam Beale Member

    36
    0
    May 17, 2017
    Yep car is fully road legal with WOF and Rego. Bit of a surprise with the state its in to be fair. I think it was a WOF for a dozen double brown..... the name has been scratched off the sticker.

    Unsure about the dash to be honest. the gauge cluster has been cut up and swapped about. but it still has the original gauges behind the dash. I want to replace them with a speedo that goes over 140km. Tacho is about twice out. So not sure whats happening there. No more AC but the heater works, ish. Heater is now on the RHS of the car, in behind the gauges. Think there were a lot of patches in the firewall, but have since gone missing so I will be sorting those out as I can.

    What part of NZ are you from Scott51?

     

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