photos by: the author – via GM EFI Instagram
It’s Great to Get Back in the Shop — Getting out of the Office to Turn Wrenches
Being an automotive journalist certainly has its perks, but it’s not without it commitments and obligations. Being the lone wolf handling social media, marketing, editing and assigning article to our thirty freelancer contributors, there can be an overwhelming amount of hustle and bustle on the edit end of things, without getting our hands dirty as much as we’d like. However, it was time to step away from our iMacs and jump back into our natural habitat of the shop.
Over the last few months, we’ve been burning the midnight oil in the GM EFI Garage, thrashing on Project Redrum, Project Wicked6, and to a lesser extent, Project Phoenix, Sleeper Status and Blue Magic. Never before have we consistently thrashed on a series of projects cars in a way that we’ve essentially built, or rebuilt, a vast portion of the vehicles all at once. You’ll read more about them in the following weeks, but if you’ve been paying attention to our Instagram feed, then you might have an idea of where we’re at.
But just in case you’ve missed all of it, we’ll bring you up to speed!
Our LS-swapped ’84 Trans Am project has been undergoing a complete revamp. We completed gutted the interior to make way for Heatshield Products sound deadener, along with a new headliner, dash pad, window crank, door latch, hatch and door locks, hood and rear hatch shocks, passenger side-view mirror — all from Hawks Motorsports. Of course these are just a few small details we’ll need to make the car more functional in general.
On the hardware side of things, we have also installed a Strange S60 rearend and driveshaft, Baer 4-piston calipers with 13-inch rotors up front, and two-piston calipers in the rear with 12-inch rotors for massive stopping power, as well as a Baer master cylinder and proportioning valve. The aforementioned Strange rearend is tied to fully-adjustable QA1 coil-over shocks and adjustable BMR lower control arms, torque arm, Panhard bar and sway bar. Up front, we’ll be installing a BMR K-mmeber, lower A-arms, sway bar
In the meantime, our friends at Scoggin-Dickey Parts Center have assembled a 416 cubic-inch, forged bottom end LS3 long-block that’s being ready to be shipped, as well as a TVS 2300 Heartbeat blower from our friends at Magnuson, a camshaft from BTR and several components from Holley Performance. But before we swap in the new powerplant, we’ll be taking our Trans Am down to Tennessee to our friends at American Powertrain for a T-56 swap, as part of their R&D process for their yet-to-be-released 6-speed swap kits for 3rd-gens!
Speaking of which, Hawks Motorsports has stepped up again, and is working with us on the LS-swap hardware and full-length, long-tube headers and Racetronix fuel system. This will certainly build on the two previous upgrades, the CTW wheels and Hawks front grilles.
We plan on debuting the car at this year’s Holley LS Fest in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
This thing has a whole new attitude! A new set of GBodyParts wheels and tires, side markers, headlight bezels and parking lamps… and we finally fixed that “black eye” driver’s side high-beam. On the inside, a Dakota Digital gauge cluster and a much-needed headliner from GBodyParts makes our cockpit much more use-friendly and functional, while we are currently adding a 2-gauge A-pillar pod, boost gauge and Scanmaster as we speak
Under the hood is particularly interesting, where we’ve upgraded the cooling system with a 160-degree thermostat and housing from GBodyParts, an aluminum radiator and dual electric fan kit from Alradco. A more competent cooling system will definitely be needed to keep the Precision Turbo and Engine 6266 ceramic ball-bearing turbo and a larger, stock-location intercooler. We also went with a PTE oil relocation kit for increased oiling capacity.
Our OEM manifolds were ceramic coated by our friends at Jet-Hot Coatings, as well our Pypes catback exhaust system which we also installed — we’ll delve more into this later, but for now, let’s just day the car has quite a different soundtrack.
Since we already had a Racetronix fuel pump and booster in place, we took our fuel system a step further with a adjustable fuel pressure regulator from Kirban Performance and Precision 65-lb injectors. A Turbo Tweak chip, LT1 MAF and AXiS translator also help out in the software department.
While we gear up for a transmission rebuild, we’ll also be installing our Full Throttle Speed Revolution-X torque converter. In addition to the rebuilt front suspension that we performed, we’ll also look into an aftermarket upgrade in terms of control cars, sway bars, etc., that will help improve the way the Buick handles.
Overall, we’re excited about the way these cars will ultimately perform, and while we only satisfied your appetite for the latest news on our projects with this sneak peek, you’re going to LOVE how everything turned out. Stay tuned for more updates on these two vehicles, as well as our WS6 Trans Am, Regal GS and Silverado.
Rick Seitz is the owner and founder of GMEFI Magazine, and has a true love and passion for all vehicles. When he isn’t tuning, testing, or competing with the brand’s current crop of project vehicles, he’s busy tinkering and planning the next modifications for his own cars.