442 Project: Looks can be deceiving

rogue_ryder

rogue_ryder

Greasemonkey
Oct 27, 2017
135
63
Colorado
It all began late last summer; after I sold a Jeep Wrangler that had been my project vehicle for the last 6 years. I really wanted to get a G-Body to build into fun street car. I think a GNX would be my dream G-body but that just isn't in my budget unless I win the PCH Sweepstakes or find a winning lotto ticket.

I've always like Gbodies from the time I was a kid with hot wheels and then later several friends owned them in the early to mid 90s when they were plentiful and cheap in my teenage years, they grew on me even more. My favorites were always the 82+ Montes, Regals and Cutlasses and especially the Turbo Regals and the Cutlass H/O and 442. But other than the 87 Grand National these cars were like Rodney Dangerfield; they just didn't get any respect. They also had a stigma for a long time as being cars only a mullet haired individual from the G.E.D class of 1986 would drive. I think as these cars slowly become accepted by the car "enthusiast" community as classics and collector cars that stigma will disappear.

Initially I thought I'd get a cheap $2500 former Grandma Supreme or Regal, but IMHO bench seats, column shifters and horizontal speedometers have no place in a muscle car. Not to mention the 7.5" rearend isn't up to task of supporting high hp/tq. So the cost of swapping interiors, gauges and rear ends drove me to increase my initial budget and find a 442 or H/O. I found some really beat 442s for $3500-$4000 but they were all really far away and would require just as much if not as modifing a clean. I eventually stumbled across this car on craigslist and eBay:

I thought the asking price was kinda steep; so I waited the guy out a few months and we finally settled on a price (30% under the initial asking price and he'd ship it up to me from Texas). After I got the car; it wasn't quite the car the seller represented online. In fact it was so bad that I couldn't even drive it because the fuel pump was pouring more gas on the ground than in the carb! I should've gotten it for half the asking price!

442_12 by Greg, on Flickr
442_11 by Greg, on Flickr
442_10 by Greg, on Flickr
442_9 by Greg, on Flickr
442_8 by Greg, on Flickr
442_7 by Greg, on Flickr
442_6 by Greg, on Flickr
442_5 by Greg, on Flickr
442_4 by Greg, on Flickr
apparently before the repaint:
442_3 by Greg, on Flickr

The Fuel Pump was just the tip of the iceberg, after closer inspection it was found that:
There were some bad Oil leaks oil pan and rear main, transmission pan and rear drive shift slip yoke seal.
There was no Engine Oil Dipstick or Tube
Coolant overflow bottle was shot
The carb needed a rebuild badly
Belt squeal
Alternator was bad
Headers leaked BAD and were smashed severely
The new "Dual Exhaust" consisted of a nice Pypes Xpipe and tail pipes, but 1 Muffler was a Pypes Street and the other was a Flowmaster 40 series "WTF? Seriously?"
Missing catalytic converters
Blinkers didn't
Radio would not work
Blower motor did not work
outer window sweeps were hacked up to point they were almost non-existent
Dash cluster didn't work well (no lights, no oil pressure, no temp, no fuel and no speedo)
Dash cracked (knew prior)
Power seat coupler broken
Power steering pump leaked
Power steering gear box leaked
Lots of leaky Vacuum lines
Both Grilles broken
Chrome trim beat up bad by the body shop trying to remove it (although I was furnished with new replacements)
Broken wheel stud

There was some work ahead of me, just to get the car to a point that it could run/drive safely.
 
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rogue_ryder

rogue_ryder

Greasemonkey
Oct 27, 2017
135
63
Colorado
First project on this project, after replacing the fuel pump was to tackle that cracked up dash since the previous owner included a new cap with the sale of the car.

Step 1:
Untitled by Greg, on Flickr
Get that cracked up dash outta there.

Step 2:
Pull the replacement cap out of the truck only to realize the dang thing is the wrong color! He ordered up light grey and not the correct grey for the 442. Grrr. My project that wasn't gonna cost me any money ends up costing me over $100 in paint from gbodyparts.com.




Pulled out the 90s era stereo and aftermarket car alarm while I had the dash out:

Pulling the aftermarket alarm and going back to stock wiring, I was able to get the blinkers working again! Plus I can have piece of mind knowing that the car will never fail to start because some ancient alarm system was disabling the ignitions system.

Looks pretty good after paint:
Untitled by Greg, on Flickr
Untitled by Greg, on Flickr

Got a period correct working stereo installed too! A huge thanks goes out to Flemming442 who hooked me up with the stud on the back of the stereo so I could get it mounted correctly.
Untitled by Greg, on Flickr
Untitled by Greg, on Flickr
new front speakers too! Scored them on eBay for steal of a price.
Untitled by Greg, on Flickr
 
TURNA

TURNA

Rocket Powered Basset Hound
Jul 24, 2009
11,009
113
Socialist NY
Looks good !!

Do you need the hood molding?

I should have the one off mine and I am not using it.
 
motorheadmike

motorheadmike

Geezer
Nov 18, 2009
5,243
113
Ottawa, Ontario Canada
You think got less than you bargined for? Go read my wagon thread... took 4 years to "fix" it.

We buy projects for a reason (cheap asses). Otherwise you could spend $40k on a 200ish mile MCSS.
 
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rogue_ryder

rogue_ryder

Greasemonkey
Oct 27, 2017
135
63
Colorado
Undertaking number 2 was getting the carb rebuilt. I've rebuilt several Kehin and Mikuni bike carbs over the years and initially thought I'd tackler the rebuild myself so I ordered the Quadrajet book by Cliff Ruggles on Amazon and after reading through it, I was not 100% comfortable undertaking the rebuild of the CCC Qjet so I sent it off to Everyday performance in CT for a rebuild:
Untitled by Greg, on Flickr
Untitled by Greg, on Flickr

Carb fixed so next up was to tackle that bastardized exhaust system:
Untitled by Greg, on Flickr
yup sure was leaking:
Untitled by Greg, on Flickr
Untitled by Greg, on Flickr
Untitled by Greg, on Flickr
Can you believe someone actually paid money to a shop to have them do this to headers that cost several hundred dollars?!?!?

So it was off to the scrap yard with that garbage and some nice new to the Market Thornton MC shorties were installed:
Untitled by Greg, on Flickr
They're no ARH Gbody specific headers but they were also a grand cheaper $299 vs $1300!
Untitled by Greg, on Flickr
Cats and a muffler so I don't have mismatched mufflers:
Untitled by Greg, on Flickr
I ended up ordering Chevrolet G-body downpipes which aren't correct for the Olds, but they actually work without leaks
(Timing isn't set right here so there's a little back flooding you can hear when I let off the gas)
 
rogue_ryder

rogue_ryder

Greasemonkey
Oct 27, 2017
135
63
Colorado
Next up was the driver's power seat repair.

I ordered up the coupler for Gbodyparts.com and when I went to install it the transmission crumbled:

so off to eBay I went and scored a complete motor and transmission from a Cadillac (the mounting plate was the only piece that was different). I thought the part was pricey at over $100 but I guess that's cheap compared to the rebuilt units that are for sale on there.

You'll notice that there isn't the new reinforced coupler for Gbodyparts.com installed. That's because it turns out I'm the first in "10,000 customers" to have a faulty part! Just my luck when I slipped the new part onto the motor I noticed that the new coupler was cracked on 2 of the 4 "legs". I honestly believe it was probably damaged during shipping by getting crushed underneath something. Anyway the 30 year old Caddy part seems to be holding up for now.
 
rogue_ryder

rogue_ryder

Greasemonkey
Oct 27, 2017
135
63
Colorado
Earlier I said the Window Sweeps were damaged, they were not even intact. I looked like a body shop had tried to pry them off and broke them in several pieces intead of pulling the door panel and unscrewing them like they should.

My interim repair job:

followed up with some nice pieces from Mike's Monte's (he had the best price on these):

Yes I know that isn't the correct part, that's because the wide chrome strip was absolutely destroyed by the body shop that painted this car. No wonder the PO wanted to dump this thing, the Exhaust Shop he used and the Body shop were both complete HACKS!!!!
 
rogue_ryder

rogue_ryder

Greasemonkey
Oct 27, 2017
135
63
Colorado
Now it was time to do something about that alternator:
by Greg, on Flickr
by Greg, on Flickr

A 140 Amp Powermaster Alternator was pretty pricey, but their rebuild kit was under $50 and it was all top notch parts:
by Greg, on Flickr
and the stator was another $60 from Alternatorparts.com
by Greg, on Flickr
Hard to beat a quality 140a alternator for $110!

I have a HF Soda Blaster that I used to clean the case and then hit with a coat of matte clear to keep it looking good. I also used my press to remove and replace the bearings in the case because using a hammer can damage the alternator cases.
 
rogue_ryder

rogue_ryder

Greasemonkey
Oct 27, 2017
135
63
Colorado
While I had the Alternator out it was easy to access the powersteering pump, lines and gear box. I bought the powersteering pump from Advacned online with a 20% off coupon which made it pretty cheap, although I was dumbass and threw out the old one before removing the mounting studs :doh!

Since the 442 has the close ratio steering box, I decided to rebuild vs buying a new one. The nice thing is the rebuild kit is pretty cheap too. Although getting the seal on the large "piston" to go back into the box is a ROYAL PAIN! I ended up having to use tape and a large hose clamp around the seal for a couple nights to get the ring to compress enough to where I could slide it back into the box. All in all the rebuild came out damn good, plus I know it was done right with good parts and not some sweat shop south of the border.

Untitled by Greg, on Flickr

Plus I got the Astro Steering shaft from ostrich to elminate that rag joint junk!
 
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8

85GPLef41

Royal Smart Person
Nov 14, 2008
2,218
63
Colorado
Nice work!!
 
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