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V6Buicks
V6Buicks New Reader
7/21/20 12:07 p.m.

Thanks everyone!  I'm definitely slowing down due to finally having a fully functioning vehicle and good weather, but this build is far from over.

In reply to AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) :

Yep, and I admit that I did not follow that procedure very well.  First of all, this particular unit only has a torque capacity of 417 which leaves me no room to grow and even less for poor break-in.  While I attempted to tune this thing, I was simultaneously breaking the clutch in.  Overall I probably put 250 miles of normal driving on it, but stop and go traffic isn't really a common thing where I live.  I would probably still be breaking it in now If I waited that long.  I'm still kind of a stick shift newbie, so I didn't know any better at the time.  I'll probably be roasting this one and upgrading to the 5th and final stage soon. sad 

V6Buicks
V6Buicks New Reader
7/21/20 1:39 p.m.

You got me researching now.  That Spec Stage 5 is considerably more money than the clutch I have in the car now and still won't last through all the goals I have.  If I want, I could spend even more money to get a RAM dual friction which appears to be rated higher than I'll ever dream of making.  Sounds good to me!  I don't like money anyway. cheeky

V6Buicks
V6Buicks New Reader
8/14/20 12:02 p.m.

Dang!  Long time no update.

I spun 3rd gear off the shaft.  The car still drives around just fine in the other gears, but it sounds like I'm grinding rocks.  Therefore, the car is parked until I pioneer my way to a stronger transmission.  Transmissions are the worst part about being into 3800s even in RWD format.   There are some bolt-in options, but none of them are any good.

I think the 3rd-gen Camaro V6 bell housing I ordered is going to be the big ticket to a fairly easy GM style TKO 600 swap.  However, I'll have to take some measurements when it arrives.  My hopes and guesses are that it's shallower than my stock bell to accommodate for a shorter input shaft.  I guess I'll find out in about ten days.  If that's not the case, I'll have to say "screw it" and automatic swap the car.

Is anybody interested in my barely used Pro 5.0 short shifter?  It made the T5 shift smoother than I ever thought was possible.  $150 shipped

V6Buicks
V6Buicks New Reader
8/18/20 9:16 a.m.

Just kidding!  My bell arrived early!

The only trouble is that my fears met reality.  The depth is the same, but I think there are a couple ways to fix this.  I can see if Tremec will build me a GM TKO with a Mustang input shaft.  This will put me at just 0.1" longer than stock.  I can manage that!  Plus, since TKOs share the same gear ratios regardless of whether it's a Ford or GM unit, the swap should be as easy as legos.  The other option would be to make an off the shelf GM unit work with a custom pilot bushing extended by 0.45".  This is assuming that there is enough spline on the input shaft for the clutch to be fully engaged.  I'll have to remove my T5 soon and start taking measurments.  Hope is not lost!

Vigo (Forum Supporter)
Vigo (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/18/20 10:10 a.m.

The pilot bushing sounds like something anyone with a lathe could make, but needs to be the correct material.  If you get another clutch disc made you can ask them to offset the splined hub a bit, maybe enough to cover your need with stock ingredients. If you're only looking for .4", have you considered just machining the front or front and rear flanges of the bell by that much? 

V6Buicks
V6Buicks New Reader
8/18/20 5:08 p.m.

In reply to Vigo (Forum Supporter) :

I did a LOT of research in my free time today.  I also contacted a couple TKO suppliers who were very helpful.  What seems to be the best bet is still to use the GM style transmission with the GM shaft.  Doing it this way SHOULD only require an extended pilot bushing.  I'll just need to get an off-the-shelf extended bushing for an SBC and have the outer diameter turned down a little bit to fit in the smaller 3800 crank bore.  I plan to start taking the car apart tonight in order to take measurements and put this mystery to bed.

Professor_Brap (Forum Supporter)
Professor_Brap (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
8/18/20 6:29 p.m.

In reply to V6Buicks :

I love tko units with a shifter. 

V6Buicks
V6Buicks New Reader
8/18/20 7:57 p.m.

In reply to Professor_Brap (Forum Supporter) :

I'm glad to hear a positive review.  Most of what I've heard is how awful the shifting is out of the box. While that may be the case, $2500 for a brand new trans capable of holding 600 lb/ft right out of the crate is a pretty good bargain in my opinion.  It seems like a great place to start with room to upgrade later.

V6Buicks
V6Buicks New Reader
9/15/20 8:27 a.m.

Saving up for a transmission is going to take a while, and my itch to make some form of progress on this car is getting the best of me.  To keep myself from spending frivolously, I'm going to start the laborious process of building a new downpipe.

Unfortunately, I didn't build the turbo system with a full exhaust in mind.  This all started as a "no (cares) given" kinda build, and ended up being a car I actually enjoy driving.  I think I'll be able to get away with cutting the J right before the turbo flange down about 45 degrees and the waste gate perch will get cut down about two inches.  This should allow me enough room to route a three inch curly "bull horn" type thing over the strut tower and valve cover and down where the AC box used to reside.

Wish me luck!

I'm amazed that unwrapping didn't expose a ton of rust! yes

V6Buicks
V6Buicks New Reader
9/29/20 6:48 a.m.

The turbo is moved down to a much nicer location.  I can fit a filter directly onto the inlet of the turbo now.  I'm not a huge fan of the look, but I will probably do that for simplicity.

New downpipe in-progress!

I like how this is turning out, but I don't want to go much further without a transmission and a connection point.

Therefore, I decided to toss in a band-aid transmission solution.  I had to drive all evening to get it, but I found this core on Facebook for $150.  I was a little worried since it was stored outside and had a hole in the cover, but it's not exactly easy to come across these transmissions at all, let alone this cheap.

I brought it home, checked the insides for damage, nd wasted little time getting the parts I needed to (hopefully) make it last a while.  I felt super lucky to not find this thing full of rust considering how much water I dumped out.

 

I'm no trans guru, but my understanding is that this plate is a must have if you plan on doing any sort of hard driving with a T5.  Let's see if it works!

This stamped retainer works just fine for keeping the cluster bearing race from popping out of the case.  However, it doesn't capture it or keep it from egging the case bore.  This is what allows the gears (mainly third) to start chipping teeth.

Beef!

Frankentrans is in one piece!  I ended up swapping both the top cover with the shifter assembly and the tail housing from my old trans since they were in much better condition.  Hopefully, I can shove this into the car tonight.  I reset the counter gear end play to spec, and the main shaft was reinstalled the same way it was pulled out.  Shrug.  I guess I just cross my fingers now.

AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter)
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/29/20 7:25 a.m.

In reply to V6Buicks :

As I understand it, crossing fingers is a time-honored tradition in the transmission business. I like this build. Carry on!

V6Buicks
V6Buicks New Reader
10/8/20 8:55 a.m.

Transmission is in the car and ready to be tested.  I'm super anxious to find out how it does.

...but I still have work to do.

I rerouted the downpipe a bit.

Braced!

Bunged!

Painted!

I'd say my welding has improved a lot.  lol

Now I need to reconfigure my drain line.  The old fitting that came with the turbo was leaky and poorly made anyway.  It had a stepped round hole in it which was smaller than the turbos square outlet.  SMH.

These oring style seals are kinda slick.  I hope this one seals better than the paper gasket.  The tapered transisiton from square to round is MUCH improved as well.

Getting closer!

Professor_Brap (Forum Supporter)
Professor_Brap (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
10/8/20 10:21 a.m.

Frankentrans makes me so happy. 

V6Buicks
V6Buicks New Reader
10/8/20 10:27 a.m.

In reply to Professor_Brap (Forum Supporter) :

Haha I'll be pretty amped up if it actually goes into all the gears smoothly.  It will certainly deserve the obligatory "It's alive!"

V6Buicks
V6Buicks New Reader
10/16/20 8:21 a.m.

 

The ship date for my wastegate v-band was pushed back to 10/28. sad  Of course it was.  It's the only part I need in order to finish this thing and drive it.  I might need to cancel it and turn to amazon.

V6Buicks
V6Buicks New Reader
10/20/20 8:16 a.m.

I just cut the flange off the old downpipe and rewelded it.  No regrets.

I also fixed an exhaust leak I've been ignoring since initially installed the turbo.

I'm finally back to putting miles on this odometer.  It's still way too loud for my taste, but I will fix that in short time.  It's already a big win to snot smell like exhaust whenever i exit the car. 

By the way, the $220 total invested frankentrans is mint!  It shifts into all gears without grinds, and only has an intermittent issue with popping out of second when I down shift .   I'm not going to worry about it.  The TKO is coming and the issue only occurs once in a blue moon.  I'm so excited to be driving this car for the remainder of the season.

Professor_Brap (Forum Supporter)
Professor_Brap (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
10/20/20 9:06 a.m.

Clock in some miles. We need a burnout video

V6Buicks
V6Buicks New Reader
10/26/20 10:15 a.m.
Professor_Brap (Forum Supporter) said:

Clock in some miles. We need a burnout video

I need to, but I can't leave stuff alone.  After driving it to work a few days, I got super annoyed by not being able to listen to anything except the 3800s moo.  The radio worked, but one of the speakers was so terribly blown that I would rather just have it turned off.  I also had to turn the map lights on to turn on the heat because the back lighting was burnt out.  Enough of that!

 

Normally I like to keep original stereos in the car, but most of the bulbs were burnt out of this as well.  I looked into replacing those and adding an aux port, but the cost even to do it on my own with new 10 ohm speakers was just not adding up.  Luckily I had this pretty nice Pioneer in my basement.  I love when random parts like these find a home.

 

This was the first time I had ever bought from Crutchfield, and I certainly have a new favorite place to buy stereo equipment!  These speakers were only $45 a pair and fit into the stock locations like a glove just like the site said!  To add icing to the cake, harness adapters are free!  No need crimp your own terminals. yes

 

THIS will absolutely be heard over the open dump. lol  I still want a full exhaust, but the stereo was cheaper. cheeky By the way check out this original tweeter just chillin'.  That'll do it!

As for the burnout videos, I'm working on that too!  Out with the horrible stock clutch master and in with the Tick adjustable!  I'm still figuring out how high the pedal needs to be, but I can tell you that the added volume has made a huge difference!  I was unable to do a burnout before no matter what RPM I dumped the clutch.  I thought that I had an issue with my clutch installation until I noticed the glazing on my newly installed clutches.  They were looking pretty worn after very short driving which told me that the clutch was not fully disengaging which is a problem with aftermarket 3800 pressure plates.  Anyway, hopefully this solves my issues and I'll be able to test this line lock soon!

 

V6Buicks
V6Buicks New Reader
10/27/20 7:23 a.m.

I've never been so satisfied by an aftermarket stereo in my life.  This Metra 99-3300 install plate is not for the amateur installer, but it sure looks better than the ugly non-flush mount version with the CD holder.  A little cutting of the Delco keyway and some well placed bolts in the pioneers frame made this a very nice looking install.  Having the keyway cut with the head unit sitting back further just makes for a longer lasting install as well because the flimsy slot is no longer the only thing supporting the head unit.  I'm way to proud of this. lol

Also, I have HVAC back lighting!  Woo!  I thought the white display on the radio would tie it in nicely.  It did, but it was way too bright in the dark, so I changed it to all red which matches the gauges anyway.  One of the perks of this unit is being able to change the lighting colors to whatever you want.  You can even have it smoothly transitioning into different colors on a looping rainbow if you wanted.   I personally find it very distracting though. lol  

That tick master cylinder is a really nice piece, but I am having a hard time bleeding it.  This makes adjusting the pedal difficult as well.  I'll figure it out.  I just need even more time before I make burnout videos. lol

V6Buicks
V6Buicks New Reader
12/7/20 12:13 p.m.

A lot of time has passed since making the last post, but I've been more or less just driving the car.  I scored some good deals though.

I decided that if I was going to replace the valve springs without doing a full cam upgrade, a little bump in rocker ratio would at least hold me over until then.  I scored a set of Yella Terra roller tipped 1.9:1s and oil restricted push rods for $100.  That's a steal even if you take the light wear into account.

I also took the car for a spontaneous trip to Chicago.  This would mark the first long trip in the Camaro since doing any modifications and I had no idea where any of the E85 stations were.  It was mostly a success!  I made it back under the car's power and on a new set of wheels!  I even recorded a new record of 21 MPG.  That dosen't seem too bad for a boosted 6 on E85.

 

]

I've always loved the way the ZR1 wheels look on these cars.  I'm glad I held out on buying any because I managed to get these in a straight up trade for my stock wheels.  I even got to keep my old tires which sold for $120 the next day.  I have great friends. lol

The trip didn't end without hardship though.

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/2MY_wL3kh_A" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe>

The frankentrans died in the same fashion as the original just two months after installation.  Luckily I was only 10 minutes or so from home at that point, so I was able to crunch my way home in 1,2,4,and 5.  The car now gets to sit and think about what it's done for a while.  I'm not wasting time throwing in another T5, but a TKX is a bit out of my price range.  As blasphemous as it may seem, I'm ready to sell my real GN to fund this wannabe GN.  I don't get nearly as much fun or enjoyment out of it, and I might even be able to make a few bucks on it's rising value. 

obsolete
obsolete GRM+ Memberand New Reader
12/7/20 2:31 p.m.

Just catching up on this build, good stuff! Tons of potential in the ol' 3800s.

Thanks for the tip on the o-ringed turbo drain flange. That's a really slick piece; I need to pick one of those up for my car stat.

V6Buicks
V6Buicks New Reader
12/8/20 6:33 a.m.

In reply to obsolete :

Thanks!  I agree.  These engines are a lot of fun to mess with.  I just wish they were mated to transmissions with equal amounts of potential! lol  Oh well.  The TKX should be the end all solution whenever I get my funds together.

Those drains are a great idea when executed properly, but mine leaks even worse than the paper gasket did.  I guarantee that it's because the o-ring thickness is too small because I noticed it sinking below the surface without even applying any pressure.  I just forgot to swap it out with one of the proper size before slamming the car back together.  I'll try to fix that this winter.  To sum it up, you get what you pay for.  I really just replaced Chinese junk with a different piece of Chinese junk anyway, so I didn't really expect anything different. lol

V6Buicks
V6Buicks New Reader
12/8/20 6:36 a.m.

On the other hand, drainback is probably much improved with the new piece.  Here's the old one.  Yikes!

obsolete
obsolete GRM+ Memberand New Reader
12/8/20 10:53 a.m.
V6Buicks said:

I really just replaced Chinese junk with a different piece of Chinese junk anyway, so I didn't really expect anything different. lol

I, too, am familiar with this process...

I'll check the o-ring thickness on mine when I get it, thanks!

Tmielke
Tmielke
12/31/20 2:06 p.m.

In reply to TIGMOTORSPORTS :

I have a '96 Firebird Base.  3800 with 5 speed.  I love it,  but I'd like more torque.  Its more of a GT for us so it needs reliability and creature stuff for her.  Flow heads/manifold, cam, headers, cat back, LSD, bigger injectors.  This article is making me like the turbo idea.

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