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Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito UltimaDork
10/10/23 2:19 p.m.

A few more months have passed since I last checked in on my Trans Am, which is in storage while we renovate our house. I realized that the state inspection was due, so I dug it out, wiped it off, and got it running. 

Only drama this time around was with the carb. The fast idle cam wasn't kicking down after getting it running, so I had to pull the shaker off and manually actuate it. It was just a little stuck from sitting, and never did it again after that. 

After the inspection, I figured I'd take it around town and let the horsies run a little. That included going on my "old" test loop from when I lived with my parents. 

The road is more congested than it was 20 years ago when I was putting this thing sideways around corners on the loop thanks to urban sprawl and a million more condos in town, but I did "test the Positraction" a couple times. wink The car runs fantastic, and I hate that it has to sit until the house project is done. 

Also, it doesn't matter that it's a rusty, crusty rattletrap; people LOVE them some Trans Am. I felt like I was a damn celebrity driving this around town on a nice day. People were quite literally hanging out their car windows to yell "TRANS AM!!! YEAH!!!" and other epithets at me and the car. A guy on a construction crew even stopped traffic to step out into the road and let me go, saying "SWEET TRANS AM MAN!!!" as I rolled by. It's really something. 

I've been coming up with a laundry list of things that need to be done to make it "reliable transportation", and nearing the top is sorting the suspension, especially in the front. I need to replace the OEM ball joints, the decrepit control arm bushings, and do a brake service before I put serious miles on this car. I can feel how loose the car is in the corners, and it's sketchy. This car used to handle like it was on rails, and now it feels like those rails are on a mountain of marshmallows. Rust repair, of course, is high on the list as well. I'd like to get an interior back in this car ASAP.

I cannot wait to get this home next year and tear into it for real. It's such a fun car. 

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito UltimaDork
10/25/23 12:51 p.m.

My sister texted me this yesterday:

I have the car sitting in outdoor storage at my parents' place while my house renovations are being finished (can't park on the property permanently until final inspection is complete). I bought this cover a few months ago, and it's already ripped to shreds. This one was a Budge "Ultra" one from Walmart. Add that to the list of covers I'll never buy again. I swear, this thing goes through car covers like Hulk Hogan went through tank tops in the 1980's. 

We'll see if the "premium" one I just ordered from Amazon will make it through the winter. Grr....angry

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito UltimaDork
3/6/24 5:23 p.m.

So, it's March, and the car is still being stored at my parents' place (cover has held up well, BTW!). I'm starting to get Trans Am Fever again. 

So, where did I leave off? 

Oh yeah, it's still rusty and the front control arm rubber bits have crumbled into dust. Great! 

Once I can get it home (and I have a proper place to work on it, which admittedly, might be a while), I need to probably tackle the front control arm situation first. A friend mentioned that I should probably just get those cheap pre-loaded control arms they sell for everything now. Yeah, about that... unless my Google skills are getting rusty, all I see available are tubular setups and a handful of expensive "restoration quality" lower control arms. I'm honestly looking to do this to restore original performance and keep things affordable, so it looks like I'll be going down the path of restoration on the ones I have. 

I think that I at least have a set of spare uppers in storage from another 1979 Trans Am, so I can at the very least restore those ones and swap them in. They will need all the bushings and ball joints replaced. Might do shocks while I'm there, as those are old enough to buy me a beer at this point. Maybe I can source some used lowers to refurbish as well. I did have the foresight to do the tie rods, poly sway bar links, poly bracket bushings, and poly body mount bushings, so that's a plus. Those are all still good, even if I did them years ago. 

I also need to address the brakes. Pads are fine and have low mileage, and the calipers all work, but I will need to at least turn, if not replace, all the rotors. I did the brakes before it sat for a decade; the fronts might have 500 miles on them but have been sitting forever. The rear rotors were turned back then, and I was told they were getting thin, so I should just replace those. For the record, it DOES stop, but it doesn't do it as well as it should for a car that has 400+hp. Sketchy would be the best word to describe it. 

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