Bringing a 71 Lemans back to life - quick and dirty style - Pontiac GTO Forum
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-28-2016, 09:52 AM Thread Starter
 
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Bringing a 71 Lemans back to life - quick and dirty style

Don't worry, this thing will get more love in the future. Right now I have a ton of other projects ahead of it, but want to get it back on the road in the mean time.

It was a friend of mine's first car, had it in high school, etc. I don't know the last time it was on the road but it was a long time ago. Has a lot of 80s resto goodies and high school hackerage. It is a pretty good solid car though, and I am a big Pontiac guy so I grabbed it off of him. He recently moved out of town and realized that he was never going to get to it, so he gave me a good deal on it.

So we decided to do a quick thrash on it and get it back on the road in time for a car show on June 4th. Short timeline, but I think we can do it. I have a shop, although I specialize in Jeeps, so we can throw it on the lift and get it done quickly we are hoping.

Now the big issues:

The fuel system is crap, has a lot of scale and rust in the lines and tank. That was one of the issues back in the day, and sitting only made it worse. Going to install a new gas tank and fuel lines.

The distributor is stupid. From what another friend has told me, it was all goofed up and didn't run right ever. Going to swap on a stock GM HEI on it.

Tail light harness is haxored, so going to replace that.

I think replacing those things we can get it on the road, and then doing the normal stuff like fluid changes and brakes and all, we should be good to get it on the road.

It needs a lot of other stuff too down the line. The paint is not great and peeling and chipped, has some very minor rust issues, the interior is done up like an old conversion van with crushed velour, and it has a.......um......Chebby motor......

Distant plans are to rewire the whole car, install a big cube Poncho motor with a built TH400, 9" rear with better gears, and make it a badass street strip machine. This is after I finish my CJ8 Scramber, my 98 Trans Am, my 89 Firebird Formula, and other lingering projects.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-12-2016, 11:49 AM Thread Starter
 
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OK, so maybe this isn't going to be terribly quick nor horribly dirty....

I was having trouble coming to terms with running a SBC in any capacity in my Poncho. Rather than waste time/money on trying to get this 350 running/tuned/driving I decided to go ahead and buy a complete running Pontiac 400/TH350 combo that will get me through until we stick the big cube Poncho in it.

My guy is going down to pick up the donor car today, should be at my shop tonight. I still need to get the Lemans over to my shop, but that'll come once I finish up a couple other things in here that are taking up the space currently.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-12-2016, 10:31 PM
 
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OK, so maybe this isn't going to be terribly quick nor horribly dirty....

I was having trouble coming to terms with running a SBC in any capacity in my Poncho. Rather than waste time/money on trying to get this 350 running/tuned/driving I decided to go ahead and buy a complete running Pontiac 400/TH350 combo that will get me through until we stick the big cube Poncho in it.

My guy is going down to pick up the donor car today, should be at my shop tonight. I still need to get the Lemans over to my shop, but that'll come once I finish up a couple other things in here that are taking up the space currently.

Sounds like a plan. Things to consider. When you pull the Pontiac 400, you might want to consider installing a new oil pump while you have the engine out. Much easier to do this now while it is accessible and you can take a look inside the engine as well. If you install the engine and have an oil pump/pressure problem, you can't simply drop the pan as the engine crossmember prohibits this -you'll have to pull the engine again.

You probably know this, but your engine frame mounts were most likely replaced with Chevelle mounts to get the small block to work. Don't forget to swap these out from your donor Pontiac car before installing the engine or you'll never get it to bolt in.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-13-2016, 01:13 PM Thread Starter
 
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I think we are actually going to do a quick freshen up on the motor. It runs, but looks to be a backyard build. Thinking we are going to tear it down, check specs, and throw some rings, bearings, gaskets and a Summit 2801 cam in it along with oil and water pumps.

Didn't think about the frame mounts though, my buddy said he thought they used different engine side mounts and left the original Poncho mounts. The donor car was a 79 TA that had a 400 swapped in. Would the frame side mounts for that be the same? I've owned a ton of 2nd gen TAs but this is my first Lemans/GTO.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-13-2016, 01:58 PM Thread Starter
 
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Nevermind on those motor mounts. I just looked online and see they are different. I'll find some good ones.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-13-2016, 02:03 PM Thread Starter
 
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We also have a new plan for this thing. It is a VERY vintage 70s, early 80s resto and have a huge 70s disco hotrod vibe to it. Pics don't show the interior, but it like a straight up conversion van with pleated crushed velvet-like interior. Pillow top bucket seats, blue etc. Interior is actually pretty nice but outdated looking. What better way then to totally embrace it. The parts car I bought has a set of ET Slot mags on it. 15x8 in the rear and 14x7 in the front. Going to go full disco hot rod. Jack up the rear a bit, ET Slots, leave the interior, everything will be retro on it if we can. My 98 TA will be my modern hot rod, this one is going 70s.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-13-2016, 11:21 PM
 
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We also have a new plan for this thing. It is a VERY vintage 70s, early 80s resto and have a huge 70s disco hotrod vibe to it. Pics don't show the interior, but it like a straight up conversion van with pleated crushed velvet-like interior. Pillow top bucket seats, blue etc. Interior is actually pretty nice but outdated looking. What better way then to totally embrace it. The parts car I bought has a set of ET Slot mags on it. 15x8 in the rear and 14x7 in the front. Going to go full disco hot rod. Jack up the rear a bit, ET Slots, leave the interior, everything will be retro on it if we can. My 98 TA will be my modern hot rod, this one is going 70s.

Like your thinking and direction on the car - mid 1970's flavor. Gotta find a Kraco stereo unit and slap some Jensen speakers in the door panels as well. Might want to go with a Wenzler tunnel ram ( click here: GUTSRAM ) and chrome velocity stacks sticking out the hood for the correct engine look. LOL
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-25-2016, 12:51 PM Thread Starter
 
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Like your thinking and direction on the car - mid 1970's flavor. Gotta find a Kraco stereo unit and slap some Jensen speakers in the door panels as well. Might want to go with a Wenzler tunnel ram ( click here: GUTSRAM ) and chrome velocity stacks sticking out the hood for the correct engine look. LOL
It already has the Jensen speakers. LOL

We are going to go with the Wenzler tunnel ram and some chrome velocity stacks, but ditch the hood all together. The one on the car is rusted to hell at the vents and needs replacing anyway.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-25-2016, 05:06 PM
 
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It already has the Jensen speakers. LOL

We are going to go with the Wenzler tunnel ram and some chrome velocity stacks, but ditch the hood all together. The one on the car is rusted to hell at the vents and needs replacing anyway.

You're getting it! LOL. Going the same way with my '68 Lemans, but more spartan interior, ie a race look. I have the VFN 1969 fiberglass nose minus the hood. I gotta have a flip nose and I will do a little glass work on the '69 marker lights and get the '68's to fit.

Making my own tunnel ram only because the Wenzler unit looks more like a later Pro-Stock piece and I want the individual runners and an old Warrior intake goes way above my budget $$.

Set my rear of the car up 3" on a spring lift kit I got off Ebay. It'll do what I want, but I am going to have to fabricate a means to hold the coil spring pigtail in place and secure as it simply sits on top and has more room to slip around than factory or what I would like - but it'll be an easy fix. Fabricated a shock extension at the bottom bolted to the axle where the original went rather than some who use those extensions at the top. You can see them in the photo.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-25-2016, 06:12 PM
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Jim, you're a bad influence on the boy.....I love it. Don't forget some side-pipes and Gabriel Highjackers!
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