All right! I finally have some updated pictures of my Wagon project. When they say, they're never really "done, " this is the car they're referring to.
I'm STILL messing with this thing and have a short list of projects to check off the list before I consider it done... or at least as far as I'm going to go. Those are: 1. Replace the clogged heater core. I don't need a heater in the middle of July in Cleveland, so that's been dropped to the bottom of the list. 2. Fix the gas gauge. This problem alone is going to be the end of me. I've replaced EVERY SINGLE COMPONENT of the fuel level system and still cannot get an accurate reading on either gas gauge. That's correct. There are TWO installed right now and neither one is right.
3. Rebuild the third carb that has been on this engine. The first (that came with the car) was junk and missing a bunch of parts. The second worked perfectly until I had to rebuild the transmission. I know... totally unrelated. But it would never idle below 2,000 after that and I never touched the carb. The carb on there now sat on the shelf for YEARS after going through a fire under the hood of my Buddy's Street Rod. He replaced it and gave it to me about 10 years ago. I only bolted it on and set the idle and it's running really good other than a little bit of acceleration pump hesitation.
For those not familiar with the "Buddy Buggy," a little backstory will bring you up to date. I was on the lookout for a G-Body Wagon because I have a lot of spare parts in inventory that fit mid-sized GMs. This one popped up locally on Craigslist. It was a semi-finished project which ran and drove that the guy was building for his son. The son lost interest in the car, school, or even getting a job. So the father offed the car. Most think it's a Chevy Malibu but instead it's a Buick Regal. I saw a freshly rebuilt SBC, freshly rebuilt Turbo 400, fresh custom bent Flowmaster exhaust system and a California body as VERY inviting. All of the hard and expensive work was done. I just had to tie up a few loose ends and wrap it up. It would become the perfect car to replace my current beater as my go-to mode of transport to haul the Two Terrors and their Buddies along with our Golden Retriever (AKA: Buddy) to their sports practices and events and then become my winter driver. The P.O.'s claimed limited-slip rear would help in that department. It ended up not being limited slip, but that was the least of my worries at that point.
This project was doomed from the start. I didn't follow my own advice. I didn't buy the best car I could for the money. Instead I bought my first and now LAST half-finished project. I got it last November with the goal of wrenching throughout the winter and having it ready for Spring baseball season.
Then in January I learned that my company where I worked for the last 25 years was killing off my department in favor of outsourcing it to London. So now I had time, but couldn't spend any money. I had to scrounge from parts I had in stock or worse yet, steal from the current beater while continuing to drive it.
Here are some of the things I had to deal with:
-Cleanup all the spaghetti wiring in the engine bay. Ditto for all the underhood plumbing.
-Replace the hacked up floor shifter he already installed with one that allowed the speedometer cable to be hooked back up and allow for a neutral safety switch.
-Get all interior cleaned up including remounting the front seats correctly and the interior and exterior lights working.
-Replace the wheels with something that actually fit correctly on the car that didn't need all kinds of coil spring spacers, wheel adapters and specialized lug nuts. (I know a lot of guys hate the wheels. But I had them and the tires have a lot left in them and they fit.)
-Remount the radiator, swap out the solid fan, remount the power steering pump, replace all missing chassis and body ground straps
-Change out the smashed transmission pan, replace engine oil dipstick that would not go in, replace oil pan gasket and rear main seal
Upon driving it around I quickly learned that the 3:73 rear ratio was WAY too steep for the 1:1 final drive in the trans. Also the trans wouldn't shift right. There was a horrendous vibration at anything over 45 mph. I ended up going back through the trans with a new converter. P.O. didn't have it seated right and it wiped out the pump. So much for not spending any money.
I also ended up swapping out the entire rear axle from 3:73 to 2:41s. It was cheaper to replace the whole thing than reconfigure what I had. The vibration was a dented and unbalanced driveshaft that was cut to make the Turbo 400 fit. But it was cut too short. So a completely new driveshaft was made.
The ride now rivals that of my Delta 88. For obvious reasons, I had to stop short of any body and paintwork. Instead I touched up the rust blisters with white Rustoleum on a foam brush. Then I sanded and buffed the whole car. I capped it off with a roof rack off an Olds Vista Cruiser that I had to cut down to fit. Thanks for looking.