BUILD THREAD 85 Cutlass Supreme - Mulligan

Algershick

Algershick

Greasemonkey
Nov 27, 2015
224
288
43
Tacoma, Washington
#1
A year ago I bought my first G Body, a Grand Prix that I intended on making a driver out of. The car needed a lot of work and the engine was shot, and before I knew it I disassembled the entire thing and am slowly working on a total rebuild.

I often check out craigslist and other like sites to see what's out there. I happened across this 1985 Cutlass Supreme that looked pretty decent for a steal, $800.
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307, 3 speed auto, pretty clean and complete interior. I went to see it in the dark and could hear exhaust leaks, but it otherwise drove okay (gutless). There was no kickdown on the transmission. It lost all power under full throttle. Bushings weren't shot like my GP, it felt pretty solid. I paid the man and drove it home.

When I got it under some lights I identified a few problems. The exhaust leaks were coming from the unplugged catalytic converter tube and AIR injection tubes. There were severe oil leaks coming from every seal on the motor. The ccc Quadrajet secondary choke plate had been removed and the secondaries didn't even open. The line from the fuel pump to the carb was wrong, an incorrect one was installed and bent into shape. When it was bent it was crimped in 2 places and wasn't allowing fuel to the carb. The coolant was a mess, oil in it and I could see exhaust bubbles from the radiator. The frame and floor pans are immaculate, thanks I'm sure to the lubrication provided by the leaky 307.

With that, I ordered timing cover/oil pan/ head/intake/valve cover gaskets and pulled the motor to get it cleaned up and sealed. I discovered the transmission had been changed at some point; it was now a dual pattern TH350 instead of a TH200C. The kickdown cable wasn't even hooked up. When I pulled the torque converter from the flex plate, I found only 2 bolts holding them together. I doused the engine in Easy Off and allowed it to soak for a few hours while I watched the Seahawks, then pressure washed all the grease from the engine.

I pulled the heads and intake and the engine is relatively clean inside. I am going to look for some 5A heads and a 4A intake at the wrecking yard on Friday to put on my 85 roller block. The carb is shot, its broken and there are tons of cut wires and busted/missing sensors. I have an entire GM TBI setup that I may consider running with an MS2. I wouldn't have to buy anything, so its tempting.

All in all, I'm happy with it for the price I paid. Looking forward to getting her back on the road!
 
Bar50

Bar50

Royal Smart Person
Jan 1, 2009
1,146
808
83
Tulsa, OK
#2
Looks clean, I am interested in see an TBI...
 
Algershick

Algershick

Greasemonkey
Nov 27, 2015
224
288
43
Tacoma, Washington
#3
Thanks! The body is very straight, however looks can be deceiving! You can't tell because of all of the rain on the car, but it's had an awful black respray and has orange peel so bad it looks like a golf ball in some areas. Fortunately I live in Washington, so it'll be hidden by rain 9 months out of the year!
 
Bar50

Bar50

Royal Smart Person
Jan 1, 2009
1,146
808
83
Tulsa, OK
#4
Looks like a perfect driver to me. I would be looking for an Olds 403 to slap in there. $800 and you drove it home, unless the interior is full on gutted, you made out just fine. Driving them is the best part!
 
Algershick

Algershick

Greasemonkey
Nov 27, 2015
224
288
43
Tacoma, Washington
#5
I may upgrade the motor eventually, for now I plan on just driving it. My GP is getting a 400 swap and other performance goodies. Since the GP is down for the count, I may steal some F41 items from it to install on the Cutlass. :mrgreen:

Interior is in great shape. Bench front seat/column shift. The headliner was re-done by the previous owner, for some reason they didn't cut out a hole for the dome light. Otherwise stock and unmolested!
 
T

thunderball

Greasemonkey
Jan 18, 2016
231
145
28
#6
so how do cars age in washington with all the rain but i assume little to no snow/salt?

looks like a cool well priced driver
 
Algershick

Algershick

Greasemonkey
Nov 27, 2015
224
288
43
Tacoma, Washington
#7
Rot really depends here. My 78 Grand Prix had very minimal floor board rust and the frame was in great shape. The Cutlass doesn't have any rust anywhere that I've found. My first car 18 years ago was a 63 Chevy Nova that had some surface rust and some rot in the floors. A few years back I bought a 63 Corvair that had NO floors ala Fred Flintstone. The Corvair spent a lot of its life on the coast, salty environment. I live a bit inland so I don't deal with much of that. Just rain! There's a big difference between driving on wet roads and sitting in the weeds for years.
 
Bar50

Bar50

Royal Smart Person
Jan 1, 2009
1,146
808
83
Tulsa, OK
#8
Yup, 350 or 403 Olds, headers and nice duals. Olds rally wheels. Maybe a 125 shot and call it done until I could gather up a 455 Olds.
 
Algershick

Algershick

Greasemonkey
Nov 27, 2015
224
288
43
Tacoma, Washington
#9
Found another issue tonight with the 307. The coolant was nasty brown and oily and I had an exhaust leak identified with the radiator cap off. I noticed the other day after I pulled the heads that the coolant jackets around cylinders 7 and 8 were buried 1/3rd deep with packed sand-like debris I'm guessing from the oil leak over time. I broke up the deposits and got it flushed out.

Tonight however I discovered that the side rear freeze plugs on both sides are rusted through about where that pile of sand was sitting on the inside, I put the tip of my screwdriver right through when scraping them clean. Explains the coolant leak. How did this thing still run?! I'll be putting a new set of freeze plugs in this weekend.

I know you all are going to continue to tell me to yank it for a bigger Olds, eventually I will! I'm just looking for 6 months out of this 307 until I get my Grand Prix back on the road. Then it'll be the Cutlass' turn for some love. :)
 
Algershick

Algershick

Greasemonkey
Nov 27, 2015
224
288
43
Tacoma, Washington
#10
Picked up a new set of freeze plugs and ordered a rear main seal. I may give Delta Cams a call to see if I can get a cheap Vin 9ish grind. I hope to have the engine all back together by December 4th.
 

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