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1991 Lumina Z34

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  • 1991 Lumina Z34

    You read that right... I've had this car shoved off to the side for about two years now. Do these things get better with age like a good whiskey? Maybe I should have stored it in a barrel. :-D

    Anyways, I snagged this thing for $300 a couple years ago off Craigslist. Engine was "locked up" according to the seller. Which was sorta true. The timing belt had broken and wrapped around the intermediate shaft which prevented it from turning. i threw a timing belt on it and it fired right up. Unfortunately it had ZERO oil pressure so I shut it back down. It wasn't even trying to pump any oil with the filter off. I assume it sheared the pump drive when the timing belt brought it to a quick halt. Normally you can just pull the drive out where the distributor would normally be but NOOOOOOOOO. The rear cylinder head hangs over the drive necessitating removal of the head first. !@#$%. I didn't care too much though. I was just trying to get it to run enough to move around easily until I could get to the real plans for it.... Since I have some time, I figured I'd post up some pictures to you guys and gals as I work through this beast.


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  • #2
    I worked for an auto rental company in the early 90s, those were our 'luxury' in the fleet - but to a person, we'd get the disappointed "oh" when we brought the car (insurance rentals), but no one ever complained about them - some were ambivalent, but others were very surprised that beneath the acres of plastic was a fun, comfortable car to drive.

    the Camaro's cool too ;)
    Doing it all wrong since 1966

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    • #3
      Originally posted by SuperBuickGuy View Post
      I worked for an auto rental company in the early 90s, those were our 'luxury' in the fleet - but to a person, we'd get the disappointed "oh" when we brought the car (insurance rentals), but no one ever complained about them - some were ambivalent, but others were very surprised that beneath the acres of plastic was a fun, comfortable car to drive.

      the Camaro's cool too ;)
      Thanks man! I know that disappointment feeling at the rental place. I had reserved a Buick Verano (or whatever Buick they had for rent) out in Denver and when I arrived they had a freshly washed Kia Soul waiting for me. I was in a bad mood already and wasn't having any of that. They ended up giving me a new Charger instead.

      I had a 97 GTP years ago and loved that car. It rode nice and was plenty quick. This Lumina though, I've wanted to do a V8 swap on one since the 90's but could never bring myself to spend the money on one. I could never justify the cost for one of these vs F-bodies and Corvettes. So I always ended up with the latter.

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      • #4
        For those of you that have never messed with one of these engines. Here's some pics from back when I threw the timing belt on it. If you want a good "WTF" laugh, look up the timing procedure. You gotta wonder what was going through the engineers heads when they designed this thing. I recommend putting this engine on a stand for lookin' at, not for using.

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        • #5
          So I'm going to take an image dump all over this place the next few days to catch up to where I am on the car right now.

          The donor car was a 2008 Impala SS sitting out in one of my favorite junk yards. I'll sometimes go wander through the yard during the week to see if there is anything good and then come back and hope it's still there on the weekend. Luckily this one hadn't been touched yet.

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          Well that was easy. One LS4 with trans, CV shafts, accessories, harness, and computer. came out to be $526 bucks including core costs since I wasn't bringing anything back.


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          Poor Impala.

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          Dan Barlow and SuperBuickGuy like this.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Skeptical View Post

            Thanks man! I know that disappointment feeling at the rental place. I had reserved a Buick Verano (or whatever Buick they had for rent) out in Denver and when I arrived they had a freshly washed Kia Soul waiting for me. I was in a bad mood already and wasn't having any of that. They ended up giving me a new Charger instead.

            I had a 97 GTP years ago and loved that car. It rode nice and was plenty quick. This Lumina though, I've wanted to do a V8 swap on one since the 90's but could never bring myself to spend the money on one. I could never justify the cost for one of these vs F-bodies and Corvettes. So I always ended up with the latter.
            I'm building a 64 Buick special wagon that has an LS right now, but eventually will have a turbo 3800.... never realized how much steam those things could make... the plan is eventually do drag week with it.
            Doing it all wrong since 1966

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            • #7
              Originally posted by SuperBuickGuy View Post

              I'm building a 64 Buick special wagon that has an LS right now, but eventually will have a turbo 3800.... never realized how much steam those things could make... the plan is eventually do drag week with it.
              I saw the wagon in the other thread. Looks like you're making some good progress. The turbo 3800 will be cool as hell too. There's no doubt they are stout little engines. I've been wanting to do drag week for years myself. Maybe we'll both end up doing that the same year.

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              • #8
                Unloading the beast after hosing off some of the oily bits.

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                And this is where it aged for the next 2 months or so....
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                Bonus parts! The one on the right is what i run on one of my other cars. The one on the left is alllll Lumina.

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                • #9
                  Tear down vidya...

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                  • #10
                    Welcome to BS! I like the car. I am starting to see a few LS4 swaps. Are you going to get a 4T80 for it? What turbo is that.
                    http://www.bangshift.com/forum/forum...-consolidation

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Russell View Post
                      Welcome to BS! I like the car. I am starting to see a few LS4 swaps. Are you going to get a 4T80 for it? What turbo is that.
                      Thanks Russell! Right now the plan is to stick with the 4t65 with some upgraded goodies in it. With the ZZP and Intense guys keeping one together behind their cars making much more power than I plan, I think it will be ok for now. Not to mention the GM ecotec drag car ran the 4t65 as well. I have the pdf on how they made that one live. If/When I break it, I'll be sure to post up the carnage.

                      So let me throw another swap idea that would be pretty cool. How about the F40 6spd in the Lumina? The fiero guys are bolting that one up to their ls4 swap cars. That trans in "brand new old stock" form right now is cheap. That would be a fun driver!

                      And how about one more idea for good measure... The transfer case off of a Pontiac Aztek or Buick Rendezvous with the 4t65 should line up in the tunnel of the car... You get what I'm puttin down? I think GM even used the rear diff and suspension off of one of those on their Grand Prix G8 AWD concept car. It was shockingly stock appearing underneath.

                      The AWD idea might be a direction to take it sometime down the road. For now, I'm just shooting for making it live by the end of the summer.


                      Oh, the turbo is a """"Billet""""" fleabay 7875. I've only used a cheap turbo like that one other time and had good results. We shall see if it holds up (Not really worried). The little one in the picture is a TD04H 16T. Those little guys are fun, tough and cheap. I run one on my Cavalier. I think they flow enough for a hair over 300hp. I bet they would make a great twin setup on a tpi 305.

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                      • #12
                        Tear down pics... I don't know what happened to the cylinder head pics. There was quite a bit of carbon build up. The rings were pretty stuck on the pistons too. Lots of build-up in the ring lands.

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                        Rod and main bearings looked like new.

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                        All of them looked like this.

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                        The cam bearings however didn't look as happy. These will be replaced.

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                        The spark plug ceramic on a couple of the rear plugs had broken off and embedded itself in a couple of the pistons. Nothing a couple of new pistons won't take care of. Cylinder heads did not suffer any damage. Probably from the pillowy layer of carbon they had on them.

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                        • #13
                          I have never heard of the F40 I bet that would be fun. I am not sure I have ever driven an AWD car before. My car is pretty much stuck it the 90's other than the Holley Terminator X. I have to finish my paint work. Get ready for Dragweek. If there are enough pennies left in the fun account I want to put a diy China turbo on the mustang this winter. I think i have been look at your epay turbo as a possibility. Let us know what you think about it. I am not sure if the stock 5.0 will spool it.
                          http://www.bangshift.com/forum/forum...-consolidation

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Russell View Post
                            I have never heard of the F40 I bet that would be fun. I am not sure I have ever driven an AWD car before. My car is pretty much stuck it the 90's other than the Holley Terminator X. I have to finish my paint work. Get ready for Dragweek. If there are enough pennies left in the fun account I want to put a diy China turbo on the mustang this winter. I think i have been look at your epay turbo as a possibility. Let us know what you think about it. I am not sure if the stock 5.0 will spool it.
                            You'll definitely see how it works out here. I don't know if you would have a problem with a turbo this size on a stock 5.0 or not. I'd say do the math and peruse the internet for people who have already run this setup. None of us are reinventing the wheel here (that seems like it could be a dad joke about turbine wheel or something). Good luck with the dragweek car. I'll be watching for it on the stream when it comes up.
                            Last edited by Skeptical; May 17, 2020, 04:54 AM.

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                            • #15
                              Cam bearings knocked out, honed, and cleaned up.


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                              Minding that gap...

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                              All gapped and ready to rock. Note - the silveryness of the gap is from the ever so slightest whiff of the file when knocking down the burr. They aren't chamfered there I assure you.


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