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"The Juggernaut" build thread

Discussion in 'G-Body Build Threads' started by Rktpwrd, Feb 22, 2015.

  1. Rktpwrd

    Rktpwrd G-Body Guru

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    Hi all, welcome to the build thread of my Olds Cutlass.

    I'll start with a brief history, then break down the build as done so far into sections:
    Engine, Transmission, Frame, Suspension, etc.
    So, here goes...
    This is "The Juggernaut"
    As defined by Wikipedia:
    "A literal or metaphorical force or object regarded as unstoppable, that will crush all in its path"

    It was thusly named after a difficult couple of years in my life during which I went thru a divorce, a grandparents death, a dogs' death, and several career altering layoffs. All during this time tho, it seemed the one thing that never changed was the progress on the car. It seemed as if nothing could stop or slow it down, hence "The Juggernaut" seemed a fitting name.

    She is a 1980 Olds Cutlass Calais, and I am the third owner. She was purchased in 1994 as a new home for the 455 Olds big block I was building, a remainder from my first car. Shortly after buying the car, I swapped the egg crate grilles and header panel of the Calais for the Cutlass Supreme header and grilles. I just liked the Supreme header a bit better and thought it made the car look a bit more aggressive.

    As she looked shortly after the header panel swap, and an el cheapo lowering job on the front (NEVER heat your springs guys!)
    Unrestored Cutlass '95 (1).jpg
    The car served as a daily driver for a time, even acting as my delivery vehicle when I did a stint delivering mail as an independent contractor for Canada Post!
    After a while, it was time to get serious, and the car was parked to do the engine swap. It was supposed to be a straightforward procedure: Remove the front clip, yank the 305 and trans, blast and paint the firewall and the insides of the fenders for the color change, rebuild the front suspension, and drop in the new 455. Boy, how wrong I was about how things were to go...
    Decent progress was made until one night with a little mishap involving a battery charger and a gasoline leak... Long story short, some months after the fire damage to the inside of the garage was repaired and I was able to get the car back, I now had a whole new list of things to work on and repair. Upon removing the swollen fire damaged gas tank, the dreaded G Body framerail rot was discovered, and so begun a frame off restoration.
    Here's the fire damaged passenger side quarter panel.
    Fire damaged quarter.jpg
    The first entire frame off restoration was done in a one car garage. No easy feat, I assure you! I won't bore you with the details of that, besides, most of the pics are on old school film, and not scanned into the computer yet.
    Once the first restoration of the car was done, I got it appraised, insured, and enjoyed the hell out of it! I took it to car shows, raced it, (at the track, AND on the street, gasp!), did a 100' dash competition, and generally had a blast. I was proud of the car, and the fact that I had done almost all the work on it myself learning as I went. Not bad for a twenty something year old, I thought.
    Here's a couple random pics from those years.
    Lethbridge 2002 (2).jpg Donovan & Art @ Race City (2).JPG
    Fast forward to 2008...
    I had attended a car show with the Cutlass, and after walking around and observing the quality of cars in attendance, I returned and began looking closely at my car. There were SO many things I wasn't personally happy with on the car, and my own skill level had advanced so much (keep in mind a good portion of it was built by a twenty year old) that I was no longer content with the car. Dejected, I drove home and parked the car for the rest of the summer. Come that fall, it was time to take things to the next level, and pull out all the stops, with the emphasis on again doing as much as I could myself, and challenging my skill set.
    Originally, the build style of the car was a street brawler; something that was street legal, but I could race at the track and go fast in a straight line. This was fine, as long as you didn't want to go anywhere on the highway, crawling along at 50 MPH in the slow lane 'cause the 4500 rpm stall converter had the engine revved out at stupid rpm and watching the temp gauge climb the whole time! Not fun. This time, things were going to be different...

    I felt it was time to build my vision of the ultimate G body, a full tilt, balls to the wall, heavily modded Pro-Touring beast. The more wild I could dream it, the better. But it had to do one thing above all else:
    BE FUNCTIONAL, and BE VERSATILE!!
    With that in mind, I set out to build as many adjustable features into the car as possible. Everything, from ride height, to brake bias, to shock valving, to the exhaust sound was to be adjustable. That way, it didn't matter what struck my fancy on a particular day, I would be able to go out and do it. Wanna go drag racing? Cool, lets preload the passenger side rear airbag, loosen up the shocks, throw some stickeys on the back, and go have fun. Wanna go autocrossing? Sweet, lets change the setup on the suspension, and have at 'er. Wanna drive cross country? Throw it into double overdrive 6th on the stick shift, and... well, you get the point.
    So, with that mindset, the transformation was to begin. Enough with the history, lets get onto the good stuff...!!!

    THE ENGINE
    Oldsmobile 455
    1976 block
    0.30" overbore, balanced and blueprinted, line honed, internal surfaces dry film coated
    CRANKSHAFT
    Stock cast, mains and journals turned 0.10" 0.10", polished, chamfered, and nitrided
    RODS
    Stock, balanced and polished, with the small ends resized to fit lighter BBC wrist pins
    BEARINGS
    Clevite 77. Mondello neoprene rear main seal upgrade. Mondello oil galley restrictors.
    PISTONS
    TRW, Forged Aluminum, 9.8:1 compression for pump gas
    HEADS
    1972 Delta 88 455 "Ga" casting pre-emission. Extensively ported, center dividers welded and machined. Opened up for oversize W30 valves, milled 0.10" to increase compression ratio
    VALVETRAIN
    Comp cams roller tip rockers, Comp valve springs, 0.100" longer 3/8" pushrods, Engle/Mondello camshaft 0.512 / 0.520" lift, oversize W30 valves, hardened valve seats, performance 3 angle grind
    TIMING CHAIN
    Cloyes Tru-roller
    OILING SYSTEM
    Moroso 7qt oil pan dry film coated inside, ceramic coated outside, Mondello windage tray, Melling high volume oil pump
    INTAKE
    Edelbrock Performer 2151 Dual Plane, port matched, plenum divider notched, smoothed, extra water ports welded up, ceramic coated. Mondello heat riser block-off plates, Mondello lifter valley tray
    CARBURETOR
    Holley 750 HP Double pumper, Aeromotive Fuel pressure regulator
    DISTRIBUTOR/IGNITION
    MSD Pro billet distributor, MSD 6AL ignition box and Blaster 2 coil, MSD 8.5mm plug wires, NGK V groove plugs
    EXHAUST
    Hooker Headers G Body 455 Olds swap specific. Ceramic coated. 1 7/8" Primaries, 3 1/2" collectors, 2 pc design, #7 & #8 cylinder tubes wrap around framerails and tuck back into collector. More info on the rest of the exhaust system to be covered later.
    MISC
    Meziere HD electric water pump, polished.
    Polished O-ring swivel thermostat housing
    Rare '74 only "Oldsmobile" embossed valve covers, chromed
    Custom smoothed block and heads
    Base/clear Viper blue metallic paint
    Custom cut down front cover and oil fill tube eliminated
    Custom owner-designed one of one low mount alternator and power steering mounting brackets with integrated timing tab for use with the electric water pump
    Powermaster 200 amp alternator, chrome
    Powermaster Hi-torque mini starter
    Custom owner-fabricated and polished stainless steel tubes for gauge functions and to hide wiring in (fan temp switch, temp gauge, etc)
    Custom owner-fabricated aluminum block that mounts to back of head to clamp the tubes
    Custom owner-fabricated stainless steel fuel lines
    Crankcase evacuation system
    and probably lots more I can't think of at the moment...

    A few engine pics
    455 Assembled on stand (1).JPG
    455 Assembled on stand (2).JPG
    View attachment 38324
    455 accessory drive (2).JPG
    455 accessory drive (4).JPG 455 Stainless tubing (1).JPG 455 Stainless tubing (2).JPG

    Ok, that pretty much covers the engine. If there's any questions, feel free to ask.

    I'm going to let you decide what topic you'd like to see covered next. The choices are (for now):
    1) Suspension
    2) Side exit exhaust
    3) Frame (boxing, welding up holes, gussetting, etc
    4) Air Ride
    5) Brakes, wheels and tires

    I'm sorry, but I've got to do it this way. I've got SO much ground to cover, so much to explain, and so many pics that I need to narrow the scope down to individual areas, and that's just so I can cover what's already been done, never mind where I'm at now.
    So please, feedback from you is what's going to dictate what gets covered next and in what order.
     
    #1 Rktpwrd, Feb 22, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2015
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  2. bbarbulo

    bbarbulo Apprentice

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    great looking car! glad to hear it kept you grounded and pushing forward through the challenges that were thrown your way.
     
  3. pencero

    pencero Royal Smart Person

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    Man. If anyone went down a 'long road' to restore their Cutlass it's you. You have definitely motivated me to get through similar obstacles I am facing
     
  4. instro84

    instro84 Apprentice

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    man that engine looks killer!
     
  5. Rktpwrd

    Rktpwrd G-Body Guru

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    I'm glad that I can be a source of motivation for you. Sometimes life throws obstacles at us, and it's how we cope with them that defines us. It was definitely a rough time in my life, but I survived and learned more about myself and my inner strengths in the process. I'm truly sorry to hear you're going thru similar trials in your life. I wish you all the best. Hang in there.
     
  6. theoldsone

    theoldsone G-Body Guru

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    See I did not get a chance to see all this. Looks like you have a long history with the car. I think you should do each area covering the work done but just a light overview. The part that definitely interest me is the suspension and air ride.
     
  7. mr evil

    mr evil Moderator
    Staff Member Moderator Silver

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    I'm in for suspension too. Glad you got through all that AND kept the car. Been through some crap myself and many times thought to leave the car behind, but I've stuck with it, still have it, and if I could just get back to working on it I'd be a very happy man! Just got a place with 2 car garage, so no more rolling around outside, that'll keep me from making excuses.

    What part of Canada you from?
     
  8. Rktpwrd

    Rktpwrd G-Body Guru

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    The way I look at it, if the car is paid for, and you're not in debt over it, keep it. Yeah, it takes up a bit of room, and can be a bit of a problem if it's immobile, but if it's not costing you anything, who cares! It could sit idle for years if need be whilst crap is dealt with and other pursuits are followed, but it will still be there when you're ready. To me anyways, the price of regret is much more steep if you had it and then sold it.
    Congrats on your getting into your own garage. That'll make a huge difference for you.
    I'm in Calgary, AB. Born and raised.

    Looks like theres interest in seeing the suspension and Air Ride covered next, I'm open to your requests...
     
  9. pencero

    pencero Royal Smart Person

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    Exactly. Why couldn't my family see it that way? RIP to these cars. Don't take your garage for granted some of us don't have garages and owning more than 1 car becomes like a game of musical chairs. 79MC3.jpg cad.jpg
     
  10. Rktpwrd

    Rktpwrd G-Body Guru

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    Oh trust me, I certainly don't take my garage for granted. I'm very grateful to have a place of my own to let my creative juices flow. It took some years to get to that point, but now that I have it, I don't know how I ever made due before. The first time I built the car, it was in my dads borrowed one car garage. Try doing a frame off in a one car! After that, it was renting, begging, and borrowing buddies garages or out on the street or alley to work on my stuff. Even used the underground parking area where I lived in an apartment style condo for a while! Where there's a will, there's a way I guess.
     
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