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So i have done it again,

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  • So i have done it again,

    Ok, so I have done it again! But this time my goal is...... Different!

    For those that may not remember I am similar to mater here and have a fondness for 97-03 grand prix's as well as have a flair for the not normal. This time those paths shall cross!

    Typically guys with these cars are hard core lower and supercharge / faster. And I am no exception..... Normally!

    The quick version is I have almost always had a third or spare vehicle. Just. Because! One for her, one for me, and a spare/beater ect. This last summer I had to sell our third due to some financial issues with work and not having a spare has been nagging at me. Then the trans started slipping in my avalanche! Then I started getting quite nervous! So it was due time to fix this little issue.

    This adventure started on Facebook as I saw a guy trying to sell some...... Questionable items ( being kinda crappy looking) but amongst them he had an 03 grand Prix gt that he was asking $250 for. What. Wait.. $250?? Do tell!!!! So I get with him and have him fill me in on the details. And he sends me these pics

    Figure long as not too rusty not too bad looking. Said had possible head gasket. And some brake issues and well several items that screamed a bit of neglect. But me having knowledge of these. And a spare parts car, this was looking pretty good for me! So after work 7a-7p I loaded up and drove 2 hours with trailer to have a look see! Well.

    After I got home. And again in the morning I gave it a quick look over. And well here is what I saw!

    Overall. Not too bad! Tires worn uneven, dents , scratches and overall neglect and general lack of care and plenty of use. With the overall condition and the choice of lights and musical selection in the stereo and location received I have at this time dubbed this car......the Ghetto hoopty!

    Now. Time to restore sanity to this mess! This poor thing ( this car is the replacement for it. It was unsafe to drive and was offloaded to some extent one day. ). Shall help the efforts to let this beast live on!

    Much more to come!
    Last edited by bigdog9191999; November 28, 2016, 04:29 PM.

  • #2
    Congrats on a cheap car . I hear you on having a spare . I'm without a spare running car right now. And the blue vette is running rough right now . Not a comfortable feeling .
    Previously HoosierL98GTA


    • #3
      We have a spare and everything is running well - so all is right in my world! Curious to see what you do with this.



      • #4
        Cool! I love dirt cheap beaters.
        Chris - HRPT Long Haul 03, 04, 05, 13, 14, 15,16 & 18
        74 Nova Project
        66 Mustang GT Project

        92 Camaro RS Convertible Project
        79 Chevy Truck Project
        1956 Cadillac Project


        • #5
          Originally posted by 74NovaMan View Post
          Cool! I love dirt cheap beaters.
          obd2 dirt cheap beaters.

          I gotta catch up too. my spare is 30 years old ready for 4000 miles at 35mpg.. in a masochist way.

          those grand prix get me thinking. There is more than one in that design in my northern place. They keep going a long time.
          imagine a new motor and trans..steel done a stronger way.

          good score. pontiac always has fun things to look at, driving experience. I have a plain old delco from a pontiac in a subaru, it has extra lights.
          Last edited by Barry Donovan; November 29, 2016, 08:40 AM.
          Previously boxer3main
          the death rate and fairy tales cannot kill the nature left behind.


          • #6
            well I am glad you guys are enjoying so far.. I actually drove it to work today, am hoping to get most if not caught up on here of what has happened to get me this far. as well as what the potential plans are for it.. is a little unorthodox from the normal build on these. unfortunately the goal is to get it running/driving for the time being to use while I get the trans in my avalanche fixed, then to keep the wifes 40th out of the salt for the remainder of the winter, so there may be a bit of things that will have to wait till spring, but will be doing what I can till then!


            • #7
              Ok so now we know what plays what role. Time to get with it! First up. Get the good parts ready! So.

              Under 3 hours later

              This poor thing looks worse and worse! (. There is MUCH scrap I'm the trunk )

              She waits her turn !

              I see you!!

              Another 3-4 hours of work ( on another day)

              I knew this motor was going to need a few things but was otherwise a good runner. So valve cover, Lim gaskets, coolant elbows while easy to do!

              Going after a couple parts off the motor out of the car I decided to pop a cover just to see. And well my instinct was right to not use it!!!

              Can even see this crap in the upper intake!

              Cover what can to clean the rest proper

              Back together and ready for new home!

              Almost done with this part!

              Now that it runs. It is time to get after other things like brakes that were junk . And an axle. I found that the pass inner fender was gone and there were chinks of rubber crammed everywhere. A tire had definitely exploded and took a few things out. It had bent the brake hose to the point it was touching the axle boot. This both cut the hose and ripped the boot.

              Can see the hose in the back

              So to work we go!

              Grabbing what we need as we go!

              Now she is looking really sad!

              Well it runs and moves. Had to get it out of the way so I could get a few things done with my truck. So out it goes for now

              Still more to do so I am trying to get the brakes to give me something after changing the hose. Moving and stopping. Trying to work them in.... No luck!! So figured get it back in cause now the window don't want to go back up. And it lurched and speedo jumped but car didn't move. Great!

              So we get it back in and it waits another day off to do more work.

              After being at work and thinking about what it did. And the work done. And narrowed the issue down to one of a couple things. Main hope being the axle I put in simply didn't seat all the way in. And once back to it, was exactly what I found! Wheew. Now on to driver wheel bearing that had tons of play

              And boy did it! Fell apart getting it out

              Typical. Bolts want to be stubborn

              Good thing for spare parts

              Got that back together. Now let's try to bleed this side and see what we can get.

              Oh wait.. what??

              Yep bleeder was missing!! Caliper looks like a replacement. That never had a bleeder put in as the threads had rust in them

              But wait. I filled the master and had pumped the brakes several times. And this thing is dry!!!!

              So let's see what we get straight from the master and go from there.

              This is what I got after unhooking both lines and pumping several times. Not good! Should have a fluid bath by now and only have some dribbles.


              • #8
                After swapping masters about two pumps I had fluid at the hose. Pit the caliper on and another couple had fluid. Crap. Still need a bleeder!

                So back to my shelves were I have a .....few spare parts. Yes. This should work nicely

                Found a trans leak too. Just needed to tighten it up!

                After getting things together was time for a drive! . And judging from the gas gauge that was going from full up to empty and back. I figured gas should be first! Didn't drive all bad really. My luck it has no overdrive but otherwise not too bad.

                I later drove it to see my nephew and how fixing his Prix was coming. And to get a replacement blower motor for wife's 40th ( again!! ). I came to notice on this longer drive that it rides ok. But the struts are not that great. As long as the road is smooth it isn't too bad. But on these lovely Michigan roads. Ehhhh. They work and don't go bouncing around to bad. But bumps and dips are not absorbed as well as they could be. I will have the fix for this in due time!

                On this outing I didn't thing about it being dark on the way home, and well I should have! Cause those lights SSSUUUUCCCKKKK!!

                So. Let's fix that!! Some extra stocker laying around.

                A couple before with the 40th just because . Which also is a great example of lights not right. Vs not!!

                Here was an example of the crappy output of the painted corners. I mean the dome light is brighter!!

                Just a little difference.

                Can't hardly tell the one is on at all!!

                Yah that is better!!

                And even tho the tails are ugly they have decent output. But I noticed on the way to work that they had moisture in them. So not sure if to keep them or use some stockers. Or led I have.

                Much different look! And now I can see and be seen!!!

                Somebody says thank you!!

                And this is about how it will look for near future. Wheels / tires may change for winter. But will see how that goes.

                Ok and the part I know you guys have been waiting for!!!

                While working on it i had a few things laying around that i have test fit and that I am going to try to do. I will start by saying the potential new nickname as of now is. Rally Prix!

                And a few test fit parts that will help make this happen.

                50" led lights bar.

                I had toyed with the idea of a 20" also. But didn't care for the look on the hood

                There was the right of tires. Stock tires are 225-60-16 and about 26.5" tall . So I tested a jeep wheel I had with a 235-75-15 ( about 29" tall) It was very close to clearing but rubbed the inner fender a bit. And it would not clear the brakes on the front. But I have a couple style aluminum jeep wheels to try as well as some Malibu wheels. Once I figure what wheels with clear I can decide what size will fit and clear ( mostly the spring plate on the strut ). Figuring something in the 225-70-15 range at about 28-28.5" tall

                Now there will be a minor issue of clearance to the body. So searching some donk pages I may make some strut spacers in the 1.5-2" range. And add some mud flaps for the look. With a tire of about 2" taller should net about an inch of height gain. And with spacers a total of 2.5-3". Taller than stock and with light bar, all terrain tires , mud flaps. And probably some sort of push/bumper bar with some smaller lights. It should have a unique look to it and actually improve its winter ability and still be quite drivable.

                Planning on tie rod and boot tomorrow then will see about other little things like stereo/ struts and other things.


                • #9
                  So far this is how I figure the breakdown so far.

                  Price. - Part

                  250 - car
                  100 - lim gasket
                  20 - valve cover gaskets
                  25 - oil - filter
                  15 - coolant
                  5 - brake fluid
                  20 - tie rod

                  $400 so far

                  Still need alignment at $60 and may buy a couple used snow tires for the season. So will be right at $500 for everything said and done. Everything in working order minus overdrive . And possible speakers. But think I can find those free or cheap too

                  Now the list of what has been done / traded to get it were it is.

                  Motor out of donor - donor
                  Bad motor out - car
                  Gaskets - new
                  Motor back in car - car
                  Pass brake line - donor
                  Pass axle - donor
                  Pass rotor/pads - donor
                  Driver wheel bearing - donor
                  Driver rotor/pads - donor
                  Driver bleeder - pile
                  Master cylinder - donor
                  Driver window regulator - new pile
                  Headlights/corners - pile
                  Pass tie rod - new
                  inner boot - donor

                  Still to do

                  Cluster - donor ( trip, some bulbs out)
                  Fuel pump -donor( Sending unit bad)
                  seats - trade for struts off donor

                  Deck - lights out. And well stock
                  Speakers - half blown/rattle
                  Last edited by bigdog9191999; November 30, 2016, 05:06 AM.


                  • #10
                    That's allsome you gave it a new life! Many would say that was a throw away car.


                    • #11
                      I started to read this post last night and finished up this morning. I enjoyed reading it very much. I love these low buck builds. Kinda reminds meof my DD.
                      Overdrive is overrated


                      • #12
                        Great job! Cool to see low buck projects. I have a 02 prix that I top swapped, fun car and the motors are pretty durable!


                        • #13
                          Hmmmm wondering how hard it'd be to put one of these motors in a rwd Blazer (S-10/15) with a 5 speed manual and stand alone?
                          Probably not too easy... Probably put out pretty good mileage, comfort and surprise a few stoplighters?


                          • #14
                            Russell- basically the previous owner was throwing it away! with all the little issues an not having the know how or money to put into it, it was down to sell for cheap or scrap it.

                            Huskinhano - glad your liking it also. this so far is one of the cheaper beaters that I intended to drive and is in physically as good a shape as average I would think for the age.

                            NBraun - I have been there too! had a basic xp cam build for several years.

                            Deaf Bob - the swap isn't too hard, but there are a few peticulars to get around. starter is different fwd to rwd, the motor fits but the blower runs into the firewall.. the easiest way I know how is use a Camaro/firebird block ( and possibly trans depending on desire) and basically top swap it. and use either an aussie bend for the tb ( quite expesive to ship) or custom make something or have the tb in the cowl.. the stand alone is the easy part in comparison really.
                            or just do a full f-body motor/trans swap and chuck a small turbo at it, as they do pretty well with them and all the mods from fwd can swap over as all those parts of the motors are the same.

                            as for new development, went to head to town (after making a stop) and when to get back in to head out and had a crank no start issue.. waiting and trying it several time and it fired off.. made it about half a block and like someone turned off the key. only got it to run for a few seconds after that.. so trailer home again.. unfortunately my next day off that I will be able to look at it will be Monday.. so you will have to wait in suspense just like me till then. although I did manage to grab a couple other style wheels to try on it to see how they look and clear. but again.. that will have to wait. although I will have a few pics later today


                            • #15
                              OK. So last I left it. All was good enough and I was playing with tire size and some wheels.

                              So i started getting some of the little things taken care of. Like the inner fender.

                              But it was broken. Well. Let's " fix " that!

                              Inner tie rod boot and outer tie rod

                              So while up I rolled knee the back to see what I could do with the rear bumper. And found some things!

                              This is driver side and what it should look like

                              And here is a couple shots of the pass side.

                              So I got it as good as I could for now. But will require taking everything apart and getting some of that in better shape for it all to sit like it should. But here it is for now.

                              Well all was good till the first ride the wife took with me. Was great and car was looking decent.

                              Till we went to leave. Then. Damn!

                              Thankfully my we were close and my dad wasn't busy so he come to the rescue . We got to back to his place were it sat a few days till I had a day off and could look at it. Had a crank no start issue

                              Before I had a chance to work on it I headed to a buddy's and grabbed some wheels to try!

                              Got to checking several things and found had no spark. So tried a spare ICM and nothing. So figured had to be crank sensor. So

                              So after getting the sensor swapped she fired right up. So I proceeded to see what some wheels look like.

                              They sit good

                              But can't run them without a spacer as they hit the bracket. Can't really see

                              But I have another wheel to try and see later.

                              Also decided I had the chance on some stupid cheap snow tires so I decided to go for it and mount them up

                              Is what I had on . BFG traction t/a on the 17's. And they actually surprised me as they did quite well.