Archive for the ‘Engine’ Category

Stainless Brake Lines

Sunday, April 18th, 2010

All of the stainless steel fuel and brake lines from Classic Tube (distributed by National Parts Depot) worked well except the two short lines from the master cylinder to the proportioning valve.  One is 1/4″ diameter and the other is 3/16″.   Both lines came up short.  The old stock brake lines measure 11.25″ (0.25″ dia) and 14″ (.188″ dia).  The new stainless lines measure 9.25″ (0.25″ dia) and 11.5″ (0.188″ dia).  Each measurement was taken by tracing a string from tip to tip and then measuring the length of string.


**Update, 5/04/10**  I called Classic Tube about the issue last week.  The representative was surprised that the lines didn’t fit since he said they’ve sold many with no issue.  He suggested that I send my old and new lines in for evaluation.  Their team was a delight to work with, and the response was quick too.  The new lines came a few days later.  They were able to make exact copies of my existing lines which look great.  I inquired about the problem and was told that their techs were still investigating the issue.  Differences in factory master cylinders or changes during the ’81 model were all possible culprits at the moment.  The rep said they had saved my bend dimensions.  Interestingly, there’s a good chance that if you order a set of stainless master cylinder brake lines for an ’81 Trans Am, you could very well be receiving an exact copy of my lines.  What a neat thought.

Master Cylinder and Brake Booster

Saturday, April 10th, 2010

The brake booster and master cylinder were installed on the firewall.  The two pieces were painted with Eastwood Brake Gray which has a nice cast appearance.  Today I got a hard lesson in double checking the headers to make sure there’s nothing contacting them before starting the engine.  The steering column is not yet connected to the steering box.  The plastic cylindrical case that snaps around the steering column was touching the headers as they heated and melted.  This left a round black spot of melted plastic on the header.  I bought some plastic scrapers to try and remove the burn mark next week.


First Engine Start

Saturday, March 27th, 2010


Fuel Pump Problems

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

Today marked the installation of the second fuel pump.  I thought the first fuel pump was bad since it quickly stopped pumping fuel.  Enough to fill the lines to the pump but sent no fuel to the carburetor.  The pump’s lever arm could be depressed a slight amount which was enough to produce noticeable suction.  After turning the motor over for a few revolutions with the pump installed, no more suction.  It appears that the pump is being damaged.  The fuel lines were then disconnected and the inlet tube was placed directly into a bottle of fuel.  Curiously, the inlet tube pushes air into the bottle of fuel every revolution instead of sucking.  When the pump was removed and operated by hand, no more suction like before.  The two pumps were for a Pontiac 301 motor.  This pump was chosen for the correct direction of the fuel inlet tube.  I stopped by CLC Machine Shop in Lynchburg to pick up a pump for a ’73 400 motor.  I’ll try this pump to eliminate any possibility that there may be a difference between the two pumps.  If anyone has any ideas, please feel free to leave a comment.

**Update, 3/27/2010** CLC supplied a fuel pump for a ’73 Bonneville which had the fuel inlets pointing to the driver’s side which is correct for the ’81 Trans Am.  It is still unclear whether the fuel pump for the 81 was the problem or it was actually two bad pumps.  At any rate the pump for the Bonneville works fine.

Be Cool Radiator

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

Today a Be Cool Direct-Fit aluminum radiator (model 10010 from Summit Racing) was installed.  The stock fan shroud had to be modified by notching the plastic at each inlet and outlet tube of the radiator.  Also, the stock radiator bushings cannot be used.  Custom brackets will need to be fabricated.