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Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
10/14/17 9:28 a.m.
NOT A TA said:

Good to see you're back at it! Did the Rampage story get you motivated? Nice job on the story BTW.

Thanks for the kind words! I haven't really lost the motivation, it's having time that is a problem. The Rampage Camaro story didn't hurt, though! 

Next big step is buying my own welder setup. I'm waiting until the Eastwood MIG goes on sale to pick one of those up. I'm hoping to take a welding course over the winter to lean more of the basics so I can really tackle this project head-on. 

NOHOME UltimaDork
10/14/17 7:53 p.m.

Forget the welding course...you are only 600 ish miles from my shop. Bring a few cases of good beer and we can send you home at the end of the week-end capable of welding whatever you need for this project.  Unless you want to become a certified welder, there is no need to overthink this stuff.

Gearheadotaku PowerDork
10/15/17 9:28 p.m.

Good to see the project underway, no 'Bird left behind!

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
4/6/18 4:20 p.m.

It's spring 2018 now, at least, it's supposed to be. My Trans Am is still sitting in my driveway, with giant holes in the floors and no gas tank. It's been a long winter, and it's even snowing right now. 


But the thought of wrenching on the Trans Am persists. I'm getting ready to resume working on the car.

Last I left it, I was dealing with the rear of the undercarriage. The OE tank had a hole in it, the fuel sender also had holes in the lines, and the replacement tank's vent line had been ripped off by some ham-fisted kid I bought it from. I sold that tank for $30, bought a brand new tank, and also bought a brand new sender for the car. No more messing with broken crap. 

Hopefully in the coming weeks, I can keep focused on the car and wrench when time allows. I don't plan on buying any "quick project" cars to cut the T/A in line this time. Hopefully I'm not writing about the same crap next spring. wink

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
6/2/18 10:04 p.m.

The wife is out of town for the weekend, so guess what? I actually spent some time working on the Trans Am. laugh The car's honorary owner Greg stopped by to help, of course. 

Since there's a giant hole on the passenger side floor, and the torque box was compromised by rust, that's where we started. 

First step was to clean up the hole itself and figure out how bad the torque box was. Luckily, the torque box wasn't as bad as originally thought, and we were able to fab up a replacement patch easily. 

This was the offending chunk of torque box. Luckily, this part of it wasn't as structurally important as the rest, but it was replaced easily anyway. 

Stupidly, I didn't take pictures of the completed torque box, but yeah, FLOOR PAN!!! It's only tacked in place for now, but we'll finish it up soon. 

Since the cover was off of the car, I decided to give it a quick wash for the first time in years. Part of it was to wash the green weirdness that's been growing on it off, and part of it was to see where water leaks into the car. So far, I'm seeing water coming in around the rear window, so that will be addressed. 

No pics, but I also prepped the new gas tank for installation, which entailed hosing it down with undercoating. I'll get the sender in there and mount it this week. 

It feels nice actually getting stuff done on this car for once. Hopefully, it's not another 6 months before the next update!

Dusterbd13 MegaDork
6/3/18 3:59 a.m.


AngryCorvair MegaDork
6/3/18 6:29 a.m.

Good job, Tony!  Congrats on the progress!

mbruneaux Reader
6/3/18 10:03 a.m.

Keep it going!!

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
6/7/18 8:05 a.m.

I found myself after work in my garage looking for something quick to do to the car in order to keep the ball rolling. I turned my attention to the fuel tank. If you recall, the old one looked like this:

The tank itself had holes, and the sender was also rusty and had pinholes all over the place. I bought a new tank and sender last year, and I painted the tank last weekend with some undercoating. I decided on getting the sender in there so I can pop the tank in. 


I'm sure many of you have replaced a sender like this one on an old car. Basically, you put the gasket on the flange, pop the sender on there lined up with the tabs on the flange, and install the lock ring after about an hour of hammering and swearing.

I was thrown off by the feed line , since the big, pre-bent part was not lining up with the contour of the tank and sticking out at an angle. But, those tabs only go one way, so it had to be correct, right? Looking at the old tank, you'll see that the feed is also angled, so maybe it got bent in shipping. 


Here, it's pictured with the lock ring. I had to massage the flange slightly due to the rubber donut gasket having ZERO give. I was able to get it snug after some precision bashing with a blunt object. 

After getting the sender locked in place, I started to carefully bend it to fit the contour of the tank. I have some small clips that hold the line to the tank, so after a little more massaging, it will be ready for installation. 


6/7/18 3:03 p.m.

Good to see you're back on it! Getting the torque box/floor section in is a BIG step forward. Keep at it man! Little steps to keep moving forward whenever you have time.

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
6/7/18 4:31 p.m.
NOT A TA said:

Good to see you're back on it! Getting the torque box/floor section in is a BIG step forward. Keep at it man! Little steps to keep moving forward whenever you have time.

Yeah, feels good to finally get that behind me! I still have plenty of rust repair to do, but it's minor compared to what it could be. I will hopefully have time this weekend for some more wrenching to keep this going. 

Mezzanine Dork
6/7/18 4:55 p.m.
Tony Sestito said:

I found myself after work in my garage looking for something quick to do to the car in order to keep the ball rolling...

I always worked just off the top of my head on projects...Lately I started keeping a to-do list since I often have only a few minutes to spare here and there. The list makes it super easy to pick out the quick jobs from the long ones. Maybe a detailed punch list could help you prioritize work based on how much time you have?


Keep up the good work. Nothing worse than wrestling with replacement parts (like the gas tank) that *almost* fit right.

Dusterbd13 MegaDork
6/7/18 5:25 p.m.

Yup. I keep a white piece of butchers paper on the windshield to keep track of tasks. Helps a lot to keep momentum. 

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
6/8/18 8:20 a.m.

I have a whiteboard in the garage, but I rarely use it. I've had this car so long that I know what it needs. laugh

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
6/18/18 10:15 a.m.

I didn't really have a lot of time this week (or weekend) to work on the car, but I did have a few minutes to get the car up on jack stands and take a look at how the fuel lines are currently routed. 

The feed line to the engine is on the driver's side, and the return and vent appear to be on the passenger side. Currently, there's no charcoal canister in the car, and the vent is blocked by a bolt in the line up under that floor that just got welded in. Not sure if I'll vent to atmosphere near the rear of the car or what, but I'll have to clean that up. The lines are still solid front to rear, but I'll probably replace them with some pre-bent stainless ones at some point soon. All of the rubber hoses on the hard lines in the rear of the car need to be replaced; they are old and brittle. 

No pics, but I also noticed that the passenger side muffler is almost touching the driveshaft yoke for the rear end. Might be a good time for me to swap to the Flowmaster H-Pipe and crossflow muffler setup I've had in the garage for years. I am sick of tripping over it anyway. 

I also popped the hood for the first time in a while, and I had help! 


AngryCorvair MegaDork
6/18/18 12:29 p.m.

In reply to Tony Sestito :

Posi tag FTW!

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
6/18/18 12:50 p.m.

In reply to AngryCorvair :

And it's a WS6 car, so it has factory rear discs too! 

Gearheadotaku UltimaDork
6/25/18 9:26 p.m.

Looking forward to the day this car rolls into the Challenge. It may be over budget, but we all want to see it!

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
6/27/18 8:57 a.m.

Last night, I wanted to do something to the car. It was a nice night, and I didn't have time over the weekend to go near it, and I wanted to keep the momentum rolling. 

I ended up attempting to weld.

Last I left it, the torque box repair was welded in and the floor pan was tacked in on top. The floor needed some more welding to make it part of the car. My friend's MIG setup was sitting there in the garage, so I busted it out and started throwing sparks. 


It started with this:

Those welds were done by Pseudosport. 

I haven't welded since I had my CSX a few years ago, and I was using flux core. This was my 1st time using a MIG and my second time welding EVER. Be gentle. cheeky

This was my first attempt. It was boogery as hell (a theme that will continue) and wasn't very good. Some text message critique from Pseudosport mentioned that I was probably going too fast, so I slowed down and tried some new techniques. 

A little better. 

More silver boogers. 

That's a little better! I tried making small circles and dragging the tip a bit. That made things a little nicer looking. 

And done for the night. Is it perfect? Not even close. But is the floor more attached to the car now? Yup! Next step is grinding all of the boogers down to see how much more I need to weld. 

I learned a few things:

-Surface prep is EVERYTHING when it comes to MIG. There were some spots that were still dirty/greasy/rusty, and that made things difficult and slaggy. Keep those surfaces clean. 

-MIG is a lot easier, cleaner, and more forgiving. Once I dialed in the right speed and heat, it worked great!

-Like anything else, practice makes perfect. As many of you know, I'm also a musician. When I started playing drums at age 10 and bass at age 13, I sucked. I am now 36, and I suck a lot less at those things. 

I'm eager to keep practicing. smiley


Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
7/9/18 10:28 a.m.

I had a few days off last week, and even though the heat was unbearable, I found a few hours to continue welding the floor in. Again, it's not pretty, but I'm getting better at it. 

I continued welding the pan in at the toe board. The corners are the biggest problem right now, especially that curved part on the left. 

The surface on the left wouldn't clean up as well as I would have liked, so welds were a little slaggy. Also, notice how much space there is between the existing pan and the new one. I did the weld, then bash method, but it's still far apart. 

The right side is not as bad. I need to do more clean-up here to get that welded in. 

I also touched up some spots that I wasn't happy about last time, and ground down the nasty welds I did before. 

Another spot that I touched up.

Biggest challenge is going to be getting that left corner welded in. I bashed away with my BFH for a while, and it just wouldn't sit right. I read somewhere that you can use a sheet metal screw to bring the pans together, which I may try. I can't bash it from the underside, because there's no room to get a hammer there with the header in the way. I also need to start the pinch welds to mate it to the inner rocker panel. 

I had to stop because the heat made me feel sick (it was a humid 95+ degrees outside that day!), but progress is progress, and I'll take it. 

Dusterbd13 MegaDork
7/9/18 10:30 a.m.

When I get the floor pans in my El Camino, I pie cut a lot of Corners screwed to the flange together and then welded the whole thing up. It's the only way I could get some of the corners to fit. Lot more welding but a lot better product at the end.

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
9/10/18 8:17 a.m.

With all the stuff going on with my wife all summer, I haven't had any time to get out to work on the car. With the wife finally out of the hospital and home, I had a couple hours and some nice weather over the weekend, so I went outside and did a thing! 

Not pretty, but the replacement gas tank is in the car and fully hooked up. Getting it up and in proved to be a PITA, since the straps had somehow bent and didn't want to fit correctly with the stock bolts. I went to the local hardware store and picked up some new ones that were a little longer, and up it went. The goobery splotches on the bottom of the tank were from me re-spraying the spots that got scuffed up during it's time kicking around the garage and trying to install it twice. I'll touch that up later on. 

With the tank in, I'll be changing the fluids and firing it up for the first time in a few years really soon. I'm hoping to pick up a bottle of MIG gas soon so I can get the rest of the floor in and start patching the driver's side. I'd like to have it all patched up and moving around under it's own power again by winter. 

AngryCorvair MegaDork
9/10/18 12:46 p.m.

In reply to Tony Sestito :

glad to hear wifey is back home!  looking forward to seeing updates on the trans am!

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
9/16/18 6:41 p.m.

I had some more time to mess with the Trans Am today, and Pseudosport (aka Greg) stopped by to help, as usual. laugh

Today's focus was getting the passenger floor pan buttoned up and to try and get it running. 

This is where we left off. That back corner toward the transmission tunnel wouldn't sit down, no matter how many times I bashed it with a hammer. 

The solution? Pie cutting the corner. I will cut out a patch to make up the difference. 

The seam was also welded in place, and it fits nicely on that side now. I still need to join the torque box extension we built to the floor. I plan on drilling out some holes and spot welding the extension to the floor to finish that off. 

While Greg was working on the floor, I decided to change the engine water... err.. oil. 

That is what came out of my engine. The silver jug is a 5qt container, and along with a gallon and a quarter, it's all that gross nastiness. This engine usually holds about 5qts of oil, so that tells you how much has leaked in. I haven't changed the oil in 3 years, but for at least 2 out of those 3, the engine has been covered with a trash bag to avoid situations like this. It also doesn't help that there's a giant hole in the hood, and Pontiac V8's have a valley pan that sits under the intake where water just pools up. I filled it with some thin oil (a mix of 5w30, 5w20, and 0w20 I had kicking around). The idea is to run it for about 5-10 minutes to flush out whatever sludgy grossness is left in there and change it again. I also fitted a hose to the shaker drain, which apparently fell off at some point. 

The good news? I was able to get it to turn over, so hopefully things aren't stuck from all of that freaking WATER sitting in the poor engine. The bad news is that i realized today that my battery is 4 years old and doesn't like doing battery things that well these days. It also had signs of it doing "the starter thing" that I've detailed earlier in this build. I really hope that's not the case. I couldn't get it running, since it wouldn't turn over fast enough, but at least there's signs of life. 

So, what's next? 

-Try and get the battery to come back from the dead

-Get it running, change out the gross oil

-Finish the floor and start on the other side

-Clean my stupid garage so I can fit the car in so the water thing doesn't happen again


BirgerBuilder Reader
9/17/18 2:29 p.m.

Rain ruins everything. I'm obsessive about parking things indoors, even my parts car lives in the garage, Ha!

As for the welding, I recommend you hit it with a grinder as best you can from both sides. All those little air pockets will hold moisture and you'll be starting all over in a few years. Grind em down, especially under the car, re-weld any holes then add a liberal amount of seam sealer over the primer. 

You're moving, keep up the momentum! 

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