'83 Olds Cutlass Cruiser

S

streetrod

Not-quite-so-new-guy
Sep 15, 2015
34
18
Toronto
It's about time I started a build thread. The project has been idle for a few months as I slowly accumulated some parts and continued doing research on a few issues; namely, what to do for EFI fueling with the wagon tank. She will receive an '01 LR4 4.8 backed by a 4L60e. It'll receive an upgraded 'stock' cam and Z06 springs, better gaskets and head bolts and eventually a medium sized single turbo.


The car itself is a low mileage 1983 Cutlass Cruiser that I picked up last year. It had been in storage indoors since '92 when the original owner passed away, with 14,237km on the odometer. I believe it spent last winter outdoors. In any case, the wagon is in pretty good shape overall with some surface rust, and the bottoms of the driver's side doors are soft. So those will be cut and replaced. Otherwise, she has some surface rust underneath and the rust pattern leads me to believe only a couple areas of the car were exposed to occasional/seasonal humidity while stored indoors.






The engine ran ok at first but like an idiot I ran it too long with 24 year old oil and gas and it led to some pretty ridiculously bent pushrods!!! I should have known better but I was excited at the prospect of finally having found a wagon project and having it at home, I guess.


So I changed the oil, failed to drain any gas but added 30L of 91 octane and octane booster and it's started to run better. Still missing though. I did replace the three bent intake pushrods on the driver's side head but didn't do the other side as it didn't make any noise. It actually idles relatively well. Brake lines were toast as was the proportioning valve, so I replaced it all front to back.
Unfortunately, I hurt my back so I had to enlist a friend up the road to help bleed the brakes. Snapped the rear bleeders, Order new wheel cylinders, turns out backing plates are soft. So I mothballed the project for a bit to get my daily driver up to par.




Then the front bleeders broke. But look at all that pad! Not bad for 33 year old brake pads!!


Instead I opted to just wait and pick up some S10 front brakes/spindles and I'll do the Jeep steering shaft at the same time with some upgraded pads and rotors. For now, I have the motor, harness (which I've started to hack at), ECU, an 8.8 with 3.73s and 5 lug axles, and the BRP mount kit. I still need a 4L60 trans and to figure out the fuel system. I think I may try to run the stock tank with a Holley Hydramat sock, it looks promising. I will most likely run the stock truck manifolds with this engine. Eventual plans include the aforementioned single turbo setup, down the line an aluminum L33 5.3, bucket seats, and sooner than later some proper suspension with a Fox Mustang 8.8 out back. Here's the 4.8:


In the meantime, I picked up some '85 vintage American Racing wheels. They're 15x7 and 8's. I need some rubbers and shanked lug nuts for em. I figure 255-60s and 215-65s would be a decent setup.



I'm really looking forward to getting this project moving. I want it running and driving before my birthday in August. Any input is greatly appreciated, and looking forward to sharing more as the project progresses!
 
Texas82GP

Texas82GP

Geezer
Supporting Member
Apr 3, 2015
5,385
113
Spring, Texas
Great looking project. Subscribed. I like those wagons.
 
Longroof79

Longroof79

Rocket Powered Basset Hound
Oct 14, 2008
10,490
113
Gainesville, Fl
Great car to start a build with. It's going to be sweet with the new drivetrain, wheels, etc.
I will definitely follow your progress, and stay tuned to this thread...;)
 
S

streetrod

Not-quite-so-new-guy
Sep 15, 2015
34
18
Toronto
Oh I can't wait to get it going! Just saw a post on the G-Body Forums Facebook page recently of the same wheels on a Cutlass Supreme and they looked awesome! Got me pretty hyped to get some tires and get those puppies installed.

No pics, but today I changed the front calipers. Still gotta bleed the system some more, was alone so I did the front calipers but not the rear yet. At least it stops. Thinking I might just drain the gas and run it with the 6 for a couple weeks, accumulate some more parts then get the swap under way.
 
Blake442

Blake442

Geezer
Apr 24, 2007
6,807
113
Minneapolis
Sweet! :banana:
Same color mine was before I painted it!
If you're keeping the woodgrain, I should be able to get the tailgate molding you're missing...
 
S

streetrod

Not-quite-so-new-guy
Sep 15, 2015
34
18
Toronto
Thanks Blake, but that molding is somewhere in the car! I'm eventually going to repaint it, strip the woodgrain but will consider re-applying it after the car has been painted. I've checked out your build thread in the past, really like what you've done with your project!!!!
 
S

streetrod

Not-quite-so-new-guy
Sep 15, 2015
34
18
Toronto
Finally, an update!

Pictures to follow shortly, but I've got the wheels installed with a pair of well worn 255-60's and the fronts got a new pair of 235-60-15's. Quite the 80's look.
On the LS Swap side, I've purchased a Holley 300-130 dual plane carb intake manifold, I will try both my 580cfm and 750cfm Holley vac sec carbs once I go through them to see which feels/performs best. I've also picked up a Turbo 350 trans with stock torque converter, gotten the GM flexplate spacer and bolts and also elongated the holes in the stock flexplate. I'm hoping everything just bolts right up as it should since it's got a BOP TH350 in it now. Got a great deal on an MSD 6010 ignition box. I also picked up a Holley Sniper 96gph electric fuel pump. Just gonna pick up a few gaskets, a cooler thermostat, and possibly upgrade the valve springs and maybe swap in an LQ9 camshaft. I plan to run it with the stock exhaust manifolds for now.
I'd like to get the engine/trans swap under way within the next week. Once it's back together and running like it should, I'm planning on dyno testing the little 4.8. I would be pleased with close to 300 flywheel HP.
 
Mike buttafuoco

Mike buttafuoco

Apprentice
Sep 27, 2016
86
28
Carlisle, pa
Cool deal! I always had a soft spot for the unusual. Meaning, if there was something out there considered the "down trodden" or the forgotten or just plain. That's the stuff I really like. I think it's great what you are doing with it.
 
Longroof79

Longroof79

Rocket Powered Basset Hound
Oct 14, 2008
10,490
113
Gainesville, Fl
Lookin' good, man.
Thanks for the updates.
 

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