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Discussion Starter · #341 ·
Got the battery cables made up. I crimped, soldered and used heat-shrink tubing on all the connectors.

From the top down they are:
2 gauge positive battery cable with a 4 gauge secondary to fuse block.
2 gauge negative battery cable with a 10 gauge secondary to fuse block.
6 gauge positive alternator cable
6 gauge alternator ground cable

Here is the fuse block mounted on to the flat portion of the inner fender behind the battery tray and under the fender:

Here's the info on it:
https://www.waytekwire.com/item/45977/Littelfuse-880094-LX-Series-Power-Distribution/
And btw, this is the same part as Blue Sea Systems markets for marine use. They call theirs a Safety Hub 150 and it has a clear cover instead of black. I bought the Littelfuse version because it was a better price.

Here's a photo of how I wired it:

The 4 gauge secondary wire attached to the positive battery cable powers the fuse block and connects to the fuse block at the top of the photo.
The secondary 10 gauge wire attached to the negative battery cable is connected to the ground bus at the very bottom of the photo.

For the 4 MIDI screw down type fuses, here are what they power. From the top down:
10 gauge wire to the main fuse panel under the dash using a 60 Amp fuse
10 gauge wire to the HVAC blower motor relay (30 Amp) fuse
10 gauge wire to the stereo amp mounted behind the glove box (30 Amp fuse)
6 gauge alternator wire (150 Amp)

Only using 1 of the 6 available ATO fuse slots and it is for the Edelbrock EFI power. The only ground used on the ground bus bar is also for the Edelbrock EFI.

Here are photos of how I decided to route all the battery wires. As you can see, I used 2 vinyl coated wire clamps to help with the positive battery wire to the starter. I mounted one to the unused mount hole on the front of power steering pump and one on the front motor mount bolt.





Grounds for the body and the frame:

I made up 2 wires with connectors using 6 gauge welding cable. Then connected one wire from the passenger side engine head to the firewall body mount bracket. The other wire is connected on the same point on the bracket and then goes to frame. I had to drill a hole on the bracket but used an existing hole on the frame. I installed 1/4" steel rivet nuts in both holes for the attaching bolts.

With the car powered up, everything I was able to check works correctly so far. The radio, HVAC blower and Dakota gauges seem to be working fine. The blower does seem like it blows a lot of air. At least through the bottom vents it does. I can't change it to the top vents without engine vacuum.

Also got the passenger side fender installed:

 

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Discussion Starter · #343 ·
Every day you are one day closer - I'm going to miss this thread - learned a lot. Thanks for chronicling everything.
Don't worry about that yet! I still have a long, long way to go to call this car done.

A few updates to report:

Installed the front bumper, valance and hood and got them all lined up.
A couple of people warned me not to have the bumper up against the fenders so I left about a credit card thickness gap. I hope that is enough.
Seeing it all together now makes me want to start getting to the cutting and buffing process.





I finished up all the wiring on the engine. All I had left was the A/C compressor and the alternator.
I ran an ignition wire with an inline 470 ohm resistor for the alternator excite input and another ignition wire from the main fuse panel for the voltage sensing input.
Also installed the new valve covers and the chrome on them is really nice. Makes a big difference over the old ones. Installed the air filter and finished installing the heater hoses as well.


I did try cranking the engine briefly just to see if the wiring was all working. Cranks OK but the starter doesn't sound right so I need to put it back up in the air and check that out. Then my plan is to finish the brakes, get the wiring done back to the fuel pump and gauge, fill all the fluids and get the car running.
 

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Discussion Starter · #344 ·
I had reported in my last update when I did a test crank of the engine that the starter sounded funny. When starting to dig into that issue, I first noticed that the plastic inspection cover that I got with the 200-4R transmission had broken at the retaining screws. It didn't clear the flexplate obviously. After taking it off and cranking the engine from underneath I could see the flexplate had a bit of runout to it. It also appeared that the runout was causing the pinion gear to wobble. I took a video of it and sent it RobbMc (where I bought the starter) to get his advice. Here is that video:


Robb (the owner) told me that I needed to add shims under the start bolts to move the gear away from the flexplate and suggested adding shims 1/32" at a time until I could tell there was no gear contact at the root diameter of the pinion gear. He also said that I could keep adding as long as the backlash didn't go over .031 at any point of an entire rotation of the flexplate but don't add any more than necessary.
So I added 1/32" but it wasn't quite enough. I then added 1/32" more and that did it. Sounded normal and the wobble was totally gone. It's still not that close to the .031 maximum either.

After solving the starter issue I started to do some research on getting an inspection cover that would fit. I hated that plastic one but that's all that's available. They do make a metal one but it has the cutaway for the starter on the wrong side for a Pontiac engine.

So, I dug out the original inspection cover for the Turbo 400 to see if I could modify it to fit the 200-R4. Turns out I could and it wasn't that hard. Just some trimming and modifying the screw holes a little. After blasting and painting I think it looks a lot better than the plastic one too.


So working towards being able to start the engine, I needed to run the power wire to the electric fuel pump and decided to get the tail light wiring done at the same time.

That was fairly time consuming. I didn't like the way American Auto Wire wanted me to run these wires so I did quite a bit of modifying to make the wires close to the way they were done with the original harness. I also had to add a ground wire to each tail light since I'm using the plastic tail light lens housings. Even if I were using the metal housings I think I would have done that anyway.

After putting in some gas and other fluids, I got the engine running. Here's a video I took:


After starting, the first thing I noticed was a ticking noise. It also had a bit of engine shaking at idle. I left it running a while and got it warmed up well while I filled the transmission. The ticking didn't go away and when revving I could feel the shake up over 1500 rpm before it would start smoothing out.

I checked and changed some of the parameters on the Edelbrock EFI. The machine shop didn't get some of the adjustments done that were in the instructions. That made the engine start easier but didn't change the shake.

I was afraid that I might have a lifter problem as I had been warned as well as read that these Lunati lifters can have problems sometimes.
Anyway, I decided the first thing to do was pull the spark plugs and do a compression check. 7 of the cylinders where very close being just a couple of psi either side of 150. But one cylinder (#5) measured 180 psi so about 30 higher than the others. #5 was also the side the ticking noise was coming from. Pulled the valve cover on that side and turned the engine to see what was going on and quickly could see the the #5 exhaust valve rocker was loose. Really loose. I measured the lash at 1/8". That explains the higher compression reading. The nut had backed out some and I could turn it with my fingers. Must have been a bad nut. The nuts were a new set that came with the Magnum roller-tip rocker set. Anyway I was kind of hoping the ticking noise and the engine shake issues were related and it appears that is the case.

I did some research what poly lock type nuts would work and ended up ordering a set of Comp Cams 4606 which are 1" long. I think they will be the right length for the studs and clear the stock valve covers too. They will be delivered tomorrow.

I thought about getting the paint stripped off the grilles and repainting them but decided to do a trial fit of The Parts Place chrome trim first. That didn't go so well. I broke one of them. More info on that here:
Aftermarket 68/69 GTO Chrome Grille Trim Question - PY Online Forums - Bringing the Pontiac Hobby Together

So I guess I order another one and try again. I wish they fit better and didn't require the bending.
 
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What an emotional roller coaster, it's finally running then the noise then the fix. In the video it surr sounds smooth, glad it all worked out...closer every day for that first drive, hope you video that 👍
 

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Discussion Starter · #346 ·
A bit but I don't get too worked up about bugs. I just do what I have to do. It's the little things that get to me worse. I was much more worked up about the breaking the grille trim than I was with the engine issues.

Yes, hard to tell in that video with the shaking. It was kind of like half of a misfire on one cylinder.
 
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My start up was more nerve racking as it was a Butler 461 dynoed then stored for 4 years and I bought it off of ebay...I know, cue the eye roll and head slap. But I couldn't pass it up at 7500.00 for a 475 hp Butler with a Cliff Ruggles carb, MSD ignition, flywheel to water pump. The problem was the American Autowire engine harness sold by NPD I bought was never listed as having a resistor wire so the motor shook bad so bad the hood slid off the roof and dinged it up. I thought what did I get myself into, but figured it out finally after some frustrating times.
 

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Discussion Starter · #349 · (Edited)
Purring like a tiger. nice.
Thanks but it's not quite a purr yet. I think it's hard to see and hear that video that all isn't quite right.
I ended up having to return the first set of poly lock rocker arm nuts. The package had mismatched sizes. Some were the correct 7/16 but some were 3/8. I installed one of the correct ones just to check the fit. I decided longer ones would be a little better anyway. I returned the set and bought a set of ARP 300-8242 and it should arrive tomorrow. They are 1.20" long and should be perfect.

Been working on a few other things in the mean time. I set up my pot blaster outside and got all the wheels I'm going to use blasted. I also did the front rail on the convertible top frame.
The seller of my car threw in 3 15X7 Rally wheels that he had stored in the back of his house. All were in really good shape. A bit of rust but not too heavy at all. I will use 2 of these for the front and 1 for the spare. I recently bought 2 new Wheel Vintiques 15X8s to use on the rear. The castings on them are very good. A lot of complaints about the charcoal paint quality and color on these wheels but that didn't matter to me as I want to paint all 5 wheels anyway so they will look exactly the same. I need to decide what paint I'm going to use and get some ordered this week. I think I want to base/clear them. I know very shiny isn't really correct but I think I'd prefer them that way.






I put in an order to Ames over the weekend. I realized I had neglected to buy a brake proportioning valve so I ordered that, a replacement d/s grille trim and a few other small parts I needed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #350 ·
Updates:

I received and installed the new ARP rocker arm nuts. Afterwards, I re-checked the compression on the #5 cylinder and it did come back down in line with all the other ones at 155psi.

I then decided that it just wasn't working out great how I had my spark plug wires run. Plus, they were cut to length by the machine shop when the engine was on their dyno. So I decided to redo them all and needed to cut some shorter for how I wanted them to be run. Had to order some new crimp on ends to be able to do that. I'm much happier with the way they are routed now.

Also drilled a hole into the air cleaner base to install the Edelbrock air temperature sensor.

When I ordered the new ARP rocker arm nuts, I looked through my Summit wish list looking for an small item to add so I could get to the amount to qualify for free shipping. I decided to order something that's been in that list for a few years. A set of 10" Race Ramp wheel cribs. I should have gotten these sooner as they are really great.

While I had the car up in the air to try them out, I decided this would be a good time to finish up the wiring for the headlights and turn signals. First I blasted and painted the headlight backing plates and buckets and installed new springs and adjusting screws. Like I did on the tail light wiring I made modifications to the AAW harness to make it fit more like the original wires did. This completes the wiring for the entire car. I was overall very happy with the AAW kit and am really glad I went that route.


I plugged a few things in to test the wires and all works perfectly but I did find an issue with the horns. One sounded sick and the other didn't work at all. I should have tested them before I took the time to blast and paint them up real nice. At this point I think I'll order a set of the new reproductions from Ames.
Btw, I did receive the driver side grille trim I ordered to replace the one I broke and was able to get that bent to fit just fine using the same process I did on the passenger side. Not easy though and I probably spent an hour and half on it while I was watching the Masters.

At the end of the day yesterday, I started the engine up. Sounds way better now and no ticking at all. Idles really well too. I did notice a little shaking from about 1100 rpm to 1700 but that seemed to go away when the engine got up to full temperature. I'm sure I need to go through the tuning procedures again now that the rocker arm issue is fixed. I'll wait until I have the brakes done to do tha so can move the car out of the shop and not fill it with exhaust fumes again.

I had the rear wheels off the ground so I ran the transmission through the gears and so far it seems to shift just fine. With it in gear and the e-brake on, the engine still idles perfectly smooth too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #351 ·
gtohurstjudge;6312241 said:
I notice you are using a repro brake booster....... On the ones I have installed on numerous GTO's including my own, I had to install a flat washer
on each stud for mounting the master cylinder in order to get the proper clearance at the master cylinder piston to push rod interface to prevent the brakes from dragging........no big deal, just put one flat washer on each stud...
not noticeable once the master cylinder is installed.
I am sure glad you gave me that tip! Thanks again. I had to put 1/16" thick washers behind the master just like you did. If you hadn't given me this tip, I can't imagine how long it might have taken me to figure out what was wrong! I think I would have have suspected a bad master cylinder first.

Updates:

Got the master cylinder installed and brakes bled using my vacuum bleeding canister. I always think I can do this without getting fluid on the floor but it seems to never work out that way.

I thought about painting the master with cast paint but decided to try something new this time. I had read that coating the bare cast iron with this protectant works well so I bought some to try. I haven't applied it yet though.

The car now moves under it's own power. I moved it outside briefly so I could get my floor cleaned up. I stacked up some outdoor furniture cushions to use as a seat.

Oops. Couldn't resist:

I haven't gone through the Edelbrock tuning procedures again yet but intend to do so soon.

Receive my bumper back from being rechromed. Looks like they got all the dings out perfectly and I think it looks very nice but I wouldn't say the chrome quality was absolutely 100% perfect. But, I'm happy enough with it so no complaints.

Before installing the bumper, I removed the trunk lid extension stainless trim from the quarter panels so I could color sand and buff the paint in that area and reinstall the trim. They can't be removed once the bumper is in place so this needed to be done first.
When installing the bumper I was surprised to see it didn't fit the same as it did before. I guess all the ding straightening they had to do on it changed the general shape a little. It was the passenger side the wasn't fitting the same. It was a little low and too far out. To correct, I needed to loosen the both the bumper and frame bracket bolts so I could move and realign the bracket. It time consuming and pretty much took the better part of the day yesterday to get it to where I was satisfied but I did get there.


The trunk lid extension trim stainless is polished but I haven't done that to the other 3 trunk lid trim pieces yet. They are just mocked up for now.
As you can see, I have bulbs in the taillights and they are working. And btw, I know I raised a few eyebrows when I mentioned I bought the plastic repro tail light bezels but I really like them. I see zero wrong with going this route.

I had read that using oven cleaner works well for stripping the paint off of the plastic front grille pieces so I bought a can and gave it a try. I did 3 applications and it did work pretty well but I will finish it off with Scotchbrite to remove the few spots of paint remaining.
 
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I am sure glad you gave me that tip! Thanks again. I had to put 1/16" thick washers behind the master just like you did. If you hadn't given me this tip, I can't imagine how long it might have taken me to figure out what was wrong! I think I would have have suspected a bad master cylinder first.

Updates:

Got the master cylinder installed and brakes bled using my vacuum bleeding canister. I always think I can do this without getting fluid on the floor but it seems to never work out that way.

I thought about painting the master with cast paint but decided to try something new this time. I had read that coating the bare cast iron with this protectant works well so I bought some to try. I haven't applied it yet though.

The car now moves under it's own power. I moved it outside briefly so I could get my floor cleaned up. I stacked up some outdoor furniture cushions to use as a seat.

Oops. Couldn't resist:

I haven't gone through the Edelbrock tuning procedures again yet but intend to do so soon.

Receive my bumper back from being rechromed. Looks like they got all the dings out perfectly and I think it looks very nice but I wouldn't say the chrome quality was absolutely 100% perfect. But, I'm happy enough with it so no complaints.

Before installing the bumper, I removed the trunk lid extension stainless trim from the quarter panels so I could color sand and buff the paint in that area and reinstall the trim. They can't be removed once the bumper is in place so this needed to be done first.
When installing the bumper I was surprised to see it didn't fit the same as it did before. I guess all the ding straightening they had to do on it changed the general shape a little. It was the passenger side the wasn't fitting the same. It was a little low and too far out. To correct, I needed to loosen the both the bumper and frame bracket bolts so I could move and realign the bracket. It time consuming and pretty much took the better part of the day yesterday to get it to where I was satisfied but I did get there.


The trunk lid extension trim stainless is polished but I haven't done that to the other 3 trunk lid trim pieces yet. They are just mocked up for now.
As you can see, I have bulbs in the taillights and they are working. And btw, I know I raised a few eyebrows when I mentioned I bought the plastic repro tail light bezels but I really like them. I see zero wrong with going this route.

I had read that using oven cleaner works well for stripping the paint off of the plastic front grille pieces so I bought a can and gave it a try. I did 3 applications and it did work pretty well but I will finish it off with Scotchbrite to remove the few spots of paint remaining.
Looking great as usual (y)
 

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Discussion Starter · #354 ·
Thanks!
The car was originally Liberty Blue with Parchment interior. It had had one repaint in the original color during it's life before I bought it. Take a look at post number one of this thread to see how it looked.
 

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Discussion Starter · #356 ·
Updates:
Cleaned up and painted the convertible top frame with SPI epoxy primer. I think it came out really nice. Looks brand new to me.


I did remove the first crossbar to paint since I didn't want to get paint on the rubber spacers or chrome screws and had just reinstalled it before I took those 2 photos. I buffed the original chrome screws and that made them look new:

Both the original left and right hold down clamp assemblies were bent and I opted for new reproductions I bought from Ames. I'm very happy with the quality of these and like the fact they have stronger than original pins where the chrome hook bracket connects. Bought a new alignment pin as well.

I do have new steel side cables for the top frame but I haven't put them on yet. Both original cables are frayed some. It looks like they will be easier to remove and replace with the frame installed on the car.

Also sprayed black epoxy on the Ram Air hood pan. I didn't strip the ecoat first. I just scuffed it with 320 grit and a maroon Scotchbrite where I couldn't get to easily with the sandpaper.

Yesterday, I sprayed black epoxy primer on the back sides all the wheels and flipped them over and painted the gray epoxy primer on the front sides today.


I'm going to do a bit of block sanding on the spokes to make them a bit flatter. Only the 3 15X7 factory original wheels need this. The castings are better in this area on the 2 aftermarket 15X8 wheels.
 

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Discussion Starter · #357 ·
Wheels:

The next day after spraying the outer sides of the wheels with epoxy primer, I applied a bit of finishing filler to spokes on the 3 factory 15X7 wheels. The 2 aftermarket 15X8 wheel spokes didn't need to have this done.

After block sanding I sprayed a couple of more coats of epoxy primer on them and finish sanded the spokes with 400 followed by gray Scotchbrite. Next I sprayed the wheels with Argent Silver base coat followed by 2 coats of SPI Universal clear. The base coat paint I'm using is Automotive Art Motobase.


Next I put the wheels in my blasting cabinet one by one and very lightly blasted them just to etch them enough to dull the clear. I did this because it was a lot easier than scuffing them with gray Scotchbrite. Here's the first one ready for taping:

It took me about an hour and half to tape each wheel.

Early this morning I sprayed the wheel centers with Charcoal Gray Metallic basecoat.


After letting them dry for about an hour I removed the masking tape and sprayed the wheels with 2 more coats of SPI Universal Clear. I've got a lot of hours in these wheels but I think they came out great.





 

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Discussion Starter · #358 · (Edited)
Short update. Been a bit lazy since I finished the wheels:

My wife helped me put the top frame in today.
We laid it on the floor on the side of the car and she held one end of the top while standing inside the frame. Then she stepped up into the car while I was holding the other side from outside the frame.
I had the lowest bolt stuck into the body on both sides and since the bottom of the top side brackets were slotted, it allowed the top to go right into place.


Got the grilles ready for painting. I did a bit of sanding to remove the small places where paint was left after using the oven cleaner. I then put them in my blasting cabinet and blasted lightly to get them clean. There were a few very small cracks in the plastic and I ground them out a little and used JB Weld to fill followed by sanding flat the next day.

I blasted the front park/signal light housings and stripped the paint on the mounting frames. Lightly blasted those too and repaired a couple cracks as well.
I believe these are made of some kind of fiberglass. Painted the housings using rattle can chrome for the insides and cast coat for the outsides.
Also blasted and painted the retainers. The frames will get painted red later.


 
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