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1970 Cutlass Slow Build - Sloppy Inspired

Discussion in 'The Turbo "Builds" Board' started by 20112011Cummins, Jan 29, 2021.

  1. 20112011Cummins

    Jul 4, 2014
    I'm finally getting around to starting a build thread on this car. I received a lot of help last year trying to sort out some issues (https://www.theturboforums.com/threads/4-8-gt45-th400-sloppy-build-slower-than-expected.386737/) and I've been lurking for years. I enjoy build threads, so maybe someone will enjoy this one.

    Going back a few years... I pulled this out of my uncles barn in 2009. He bought it in 77, and parked it in 83. The pictures below are untouched except for a run through the car wash.

    It was a moderately optioned Cutlass S, black interior with buckets and quite a bit of body rust. Not as bad as it could've been considering it was on a dirt floor for 26 years!

    I thought I could put something fun together in a year or two and have some fun. Wishful thinking.

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    91turboterror, jaquetapus and nxcoupe like this.
  2. nxcoupe

    Jan 10, 2008
    I love these cars. What's the plan?
  3. 20112011Cummins

    Jul 4, 2014
    Burnouts and ice cream! I'll get there, lots of pictures between then and now!
    jaquetapus likes this.
  4. 20112011Cummins

    Jul 4, 2014
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    2009 progress continues. In hindsight I should've pulled it off the frame.

    Pictures shows the VFN quarter panels and the Glasstek hood and fenders. If panels have to be replaced why not cut some weight off this porker
  5. 20112011Cummins

    Jul 4, 2014
    So some cool stuff happened in late 2009 and 2010. For reference this was my senior year in college so progress was sporadic at best.

    The seat bottoms were repaired by an old upholstery guy that had NOS material from the 1970s. No joke, seats looked mint. 100_0370.JPG #ad
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    It went to a painter and he did an amazing job on the quarters and all of the bodywork really.
    Disney Lincoln likes this.
  6. 20112011Cummins

    Jul 4, 2014
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    Straight out of paint in 2010. After this life got in the way and it sat for about 8 years.
    Disney Lincoln likes this.
  7. 20112011Cummins

    Jul 4, 2014
    Jumping ahead to 2018! So I finally made a plan to work on this thing, set a little money aside and defined some goals.

    I went at it with a little more safety in kind, so the whole drivetrain was stripped and prepped for new parts. Every moving wear component was replaced.


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  8. 20112011Cummins

    Jul 4, 2014
    Exposed frane wire brushed and painted. Bushings beat out caveman style!

    $275 4.8 purchased and stripped down. Starting to make progress.

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    Disney Lincoln likes this.
  9. 20112011Cummins

    Jul 4, 2014
    Motor mocked up, starting on down and forward manifolds.

    I didnt get some pics during reassembly, but the thing is a roller again.

    Custom alternator mount because I'm cheap and I needed manifold clearance. My motor didn't come with the factory mount or I probably would've used it.

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    Disney Lincoln likes this.
  10. 20112011Cummins

    Jul 4, 2014
    Core support update. I had it acid dipped, then took it to work to lock it down on our fixture tables.

    The bottom center was cut out and replaced with tubing. The sides had some rust on the laps so that was replaced also.

    Id like to come back to this and do a lighter weight version.

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    62CometTurbo likes this.
  11. 20112011Cummins

    Jul 4, 2014
    Chewing through assembly... this was over the course of a few months in early 2019.

    4" Exhaust to axle, fuel cell lines, inner fenders, fenders, electrical, brakes, etc.

    I met my goal of having it running in May 2019, 10 years nearly to the day since I drug it home!

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  12. 20112011Cummins

    Jul 4, 2014
    One of the first starts..

    The very first start was at midnight or so and the IAC was wide open. With the garage door closed and what was supposed to be a quick fired turned into 3000rpm scare the shit out of me loud!

    Crank trigger offsets hadn't been set yet, so it was both retarded and running a bit rich I think.

    Vergil and Disney Lincoln like this.
  13. 20112011Cummins

    Jul 4, 2014
    So after the startup the first summer (2019) was spent driving around and trying to learn to tune this thing. Some of the smaller things were cleaned up like the pi dash. Linux / Rasbian was a learning curve for me but for the cost this thing is amazing, less than a standalone GPS speedometer!

    I sold the original gauges and used the dash insert to house the touch screen. Jumping way ahead I added a seperate oil pressure and fuel gauge. I would've liked to implement them into the pi but this was cheaper vs. adding IO to the microsquirt. 3d printed bezels for style points.

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  14. nxcoupe

    Jan 10, 2008
    What is a pi dash?
  15. 20112011Cummins

    Jul 4, 2014
    A Raspberry pi (single board computer) running tunerstudio to be used as gauges. Think holley but without the price tag. It talks directly to the microsquirt.
    Pro-SC likes this.
  16. Disney Lincoln

    Feb 14, 2003
    Rasberry Pi is very popular with the megasquirt crowd. Low up front cost, but a lot of learning.
    nxcoupe likes this.
  17. 20112011Cummins

    Jul 4, 2014
    So mid spring 2020 I started to prep the car for a year of shenanigans. A little wiring cleanup, a budget DIY water meth kit, and some general tidying. I thought it was going to be an easy year of burnouts haha I was WRONG

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  18. 20112011Cummins

    Jul 4, 2014
    My first trip to the dragstrip was uneventful. I was and still am learning to tune this thing, but the first time out it ran a very lazy 13.3

    The other thread covers this, but the takeaway was basically more gear and more converter. For gear I looked at several options but settled on the most budget friendly option which was a 8.5" 10 bolt from a 1971-1972. I found one local from a 72 buick.

    The cool part is my bolt in axles with studs swapped over, the brakes swapped over, and I had leftover Trans Am parts to put a new posi carrier in it.

    3.90 gears are a different animal from the 2.56 it had in it!

    The old rearend and the Buick axles were sold, and so even with new gears I think my out of pocket was only about $250. Not bad
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    91turboterror and Disney Lincoln like this.
  19. 20112011Cummins

    Jul 4, 2014
    I'm trying to catch up to current with this thing. I have a lot of things planned for 2021, hopefully exciting stuff.

    Anway, converter... my budget converter wasn't having it and shifts were taking way too long according to the logs. A 4000 rpm Freakshow was ordered, as well as a rebuild kit for the th400 and a 34 element sprag. All the clutches and bands were toasty. Later logs post rebuild show much quicker shifts.

    I made a mistake during reassembly and didn't set the snap ring fully on the intermediate clutches. The details are fuzzy but it went from a snappy three speed to a 2 speed and had to be torn back down. Easy enough fix on the lift, thankful I didn't have to do it off the floor.
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  20. 20112011Cummins

    Jul 4, 2014
    And a last detail was a boost controller. I wanted full adjustability but I'm cheap. A 12V PWM board running a mosfet board to a 4-port mac valve got me 5-20psi adjustability for about $100. Cheap Amazon parts. A playstation inspired controller was printed and here we are. It works really well for what it is.

    Driving around I leave it off and let it go to wastegate setting, then on is full send. I may add a hobbs switch at some point like others have done just to keep the solenoid from cycling all the time.

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