I'm baaaaack

VegasJen

Formerly Known as Clutchdust
Joined
Mar 3, 2014
Messages
197
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In transition
Hey guys. It's been a while since I spent any time here. I have occasionally popped in from time to time to ask questions, because this is the forum where people actually know what they're talking about.

Anyway, I got vacationed over in that other place for a month. They've gone all woke and you get punished for wrong think.

Glad to see this place is still here, although it looks like it's a pretty small core group now.

But some of you probably remember what i was going through back in the day. Just an update, that's all done. Now I'm spending time actually working on things I want to work on. And that's not cars so much any more. I still have my projects and I want to get them done, but my ambition has been tempered by age and budget.

Getting ready to take the '81 down one more time. I bought a 4-bolt block and AFR heads for it years ago, but the project got put on the back burner like everything else. The engine that's in there now is strong, but I think I would be right on the edge of keeping it together if I built it the way I want with the AFR heads and cam. So that engine, as fresh as it is, is coming out and is going to be a donor short block for my Suburban.

I bought the Suburban about three years ago from a couple of body guys who tried to figure out why it wouldn't start. In typical fashion for a 90s era SBC it had cracked heads and the cylinders were rusted. This I didn't know when I bought it. I was under the impression it had only been sitting for a few months. I found out after the fact it had been sitting for more than three years. I thought I was going to get lucky and have an easy fix, and it would have been if I had gotten to it before the pistons rusted into the cylinders. Turns out the only reason it went down is because the distributor gear lost three teeth. If the geniuses had bothered to check the distributor for rotation, they would have found that then. Unfortunately, by the time I got to it, the pistons were so rusted into the bores that I literally had to beat them out with a wood 4x4 and 3 pound mallet. But I just wanted to get it back on the road so I honed the cylinders and dropped in stock pistons. Sadly, I'm burning almost as much oil as I'm pumping out of it due to the blow-by.

So I'm using the vette short block, fresh pistons and the reman heads I bought 3 years ago and sealing up that Suburban engine. I figure some full length headers, 1.6 rockers and an MSD and it should be a pretty stout little tow engine. That's the plan anyway. Not really going to do much else to that. I just want it to be a strong and reliable truck that I can occasionally use to tow, especially if I ever get my little track car put together.

The c5 has been a nightmare for the last month. I have an overheating problem I have not been able to track down. I have replaced the 'stat. I ran an open orifice. I've made sure my fans come on. I've pulled the radiator and made sure it's not blocked. I've put seal tape all around it to make sure I don't have air escaping. I pulled the water pump and made sure the impellor is not loose on the shaft. I can't think of anything else to do at this point, but literally within minutes the thing is up to 240*. I'm at my wit's end on this one. And since my Sonic went down last year, it has been my DD the whole time.

And the Sonic is a whole different problem! Last year it blew a head gasket, so I pulled the head off and got it machined. I was in school back in the spring because the classes were required for work so I was busy day and night between work and school all spring. Then two weeks after school let out my dad passed, so I went back to spend some time with my mom. That's when I got the call from my employer that because of the China virus, they had to let me go. So I spent most of the summer back east with mom. Then I started school full time last fall. I finally got the engine all put back together around the end of the year but I again went back to spend a couple weeks with mom between semesters. Finally got the engine back in over spring break a couple months ago. Starts up and runs like a champ! Only problem is the car doesn't move! No idea why. The weird thing is I can put it in any gear with the engine running and the car doesn't move. It's FWD so I had to fight with it to get the engine to drop back in but everything seemed to line up. No idea what's going on there but I'm afraid I'm going to have to pull the engine back out to see what failed.

Seems like it never ends. It wouldn't be so bad if it was just one project at a time. And I had money. I should be so lucky.
 

BBShark

Garage Monkey
Staff member
Joined
Mar 5, 2008
Messages
4,544
Location
Right here
Looks like you have been way more productive than me. And I only have one car to work on.

Didn't you build a 240Z a while back?
 

VegasJen

Formerly Known as Clutchdust
Joined
Mar 3, 2014
Messages
197
Location
In transition
I would hardly call it productive. I have just collected a lot of junk.

I put that little 240 together and it was running pretty nice, then one night I misjudged a car turning and got smacked on the front end. Bent the frame and I haven't done anything with it since. I still have it just need to figure out how bad the frame is. Yet another project.
 

VegasJen

Formerly Known as Clutchdust
Joined
Mar 3, 2014
Messages
197
Location
In transition
Oh ya. I also moved out of Vegas about a year and a half ago. I live in Pahrump now. If you've never heard of it, that's where the Spring Mountain driving school is. The track is about five miles from the house.
 

VegasJen

Formerly Known as Clutchdust
Joined
Mar 3, 2014
Messages
197
Location
In transition
Oh, no. There's no way I can afford a membership there. If I'm lucky I once I get the track car done I just hope to be able to afford a few weekends a year running an open track event.

But back to my original point, since I'm planning on yanking the engine out of the c3 this weekend I figured I'd do one last joyride in it first. I got the battery charged up and took it around the block. That car is such a beast. I'm honestly afraid of what it's going to do when I get the other engine built for it. One thing I would bet money on is I grenade that aluminum Dana 44 that's in there now. Good thing I have a cast iron 36 housing ready to be built. I have no idea when I'm going to get that thing put together but when I do, it's going to be nutty!
 

VegasJen

Formerly Known as Clutchdust
Joined
Mar 3, 2014
Messages
197
Location
In transition
Actually, I'm at a bit of an impasse. I started to study nursing, mainly because of the security and opportunities. But I'm facing the reality that it's really not something I'm passionate about. I find certain things very interesting, and I think that if I were to get a job in a particular discipline, I would enjoy it. Or at least tolerate it. But on the other hand, I don't really have options outside of it. I could go back to my old job, and I liked it. But it didn't pay very well and there's little opportunity for advancement. So I'm kind of struggling figuring out where I want to go from here. And at my age, I need to make some decisions. I figure I have another 15-20 years of work ahead of me. Too long to be stuck in a job I hate, but not long enough that I can waste time figuring out what I want to do when I grow up.
 

VegasJen

Formerly Known as Clutchdust
Joined
Mar 3, 2014
Messages
197
Location
In transition
So an update. As I mentioned in my original post, I pulled the engine out of the c3 to use as the donor for my Suburban. Now keep in mind, I built this engine. Granted it's been about 15 years ago, but still, I put it together. So I pull the oil pan off and to my surprise this thing is a four bolt block! Now I'm all up in arms because I'm going to put this four bold block in a turd Suburban. Oh well, I guess I don't need to worry about ever blowing up the bottom end of this thing when I'm towing with it.

I still have another four bolt block for the c3, which was the plan anyway. I just need to get a forged crank for it. I'm only expecting to make about 400hp with this engine but I want it to be absolutely bulletproof. I did check with GM Performance and it looks like they still offer a forged ZZ3/ZZ4 crank so I will probably buy that sometime soon so I can at least get the bottom end put back together. My only concern is I'm counting on GM's forging to be, if not US sourced, at least not Chinese. I'm willing to pay double rather than buying Scat or Eagle Chinese cranks.
 

MYBAD79

Moderator
Joined
Mar 23, 2008
Messages
6,939
Location
sunny Florida
Hey !!!!! Good to hear from you again, it's been many moons.....

Forged crank for 400HP ?? If I'm not mistaken the L82 blocks had 4 bolt mains and a forged crank already, so why not use that ?
 

VegasJen

Formerly Known as Clutchdust
Joined
Mar 3, 2014
Messages
197
Location
In transition
Hey !!!!! Good to hear from you again, it's been many moons.....

Forged crank for 400HP ?? If I'm not mistaken the L82 blocks had 4 bolt mains and a forged crank already, so why not use that ?

Main reason is I'm never building another flat tappet, 2-piece seal engine again. And I already have the 4-bolt roller block.

I had not heard that L-82s had forged cranks. That would kind of surprise me given they were relatively low power.

Frankly, I think (hope) 400hp is on the low side of my build. The iron head and carbed 355 I just pulled out was in the same neighborhood as the LS1 in my c5. It actually felt stronger than the c5. I never compared them back-to-back but the c5 would have one in a drag race, primarily because of TC. Stabbing the gas pedal in the c3 was like riding a lion. That thing was actively looking for shit to run into.
 
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