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Thread: The Pontiac

  1. #1
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    Default The Pontiac

    So I'm starting this thread as a way to keep track of all that I've done to this car. I love it and like working on it so it'll be nice to have everything in one place to see the progress I plan on making. I am not a mechanic and had very little knowledge or experience before I owned this GP, so it has been quite the learning experience for me. Also I'll probably be posting my thoughts and ideas for future mods so feel free to let your thoughts on my thoughts known, I won't be too offended if you think I'm stupid.

    Anyway, here's the story. I used to drive this beauty -> http://i.imgur.com/3iOFh3m.jpg?1 - http://i.imgur.com/rlu4W6v.jpg

    Ok, so not beautiful at all really. I bought it salvaged-rebuilt, it didn't drive very straight and probably needed all new suspension, it had a giant gash on one wheel (not to mention that most of the wheels were out of round anyway according to the most recent tire guy I saw), a ridiculous paint job, and worst of all: I bought it that way for $3500. I was a stupid 18 year old... But it only had 46k miles on it and by the time I finished driving it to both coasts (OR->NY->OK->OR) the exhaust leak I had been sitting on finally got too bad for me and I sold it for a whole $800. Which got me a down payment for my uncle's car, the first car he ever bought brand new, a 1998 Pontiac Grand Prix.

    http://i.imgur.com/Wyd2McV.jpg - http://i.imgur.com/6AtyrSZ.jpg

    Probably going to be the nicest car I've ever owned, and it only had 86k miles and brand new rims (only 1k miles ago).

    When my aunt and uncle quit driving "the Pontiac," as our family calls it, they parked it at her mother's house so she could drive it when she needed to. She didn't really drive it though and the Pontiac would sit for months at a time. So 8 days after purchasing the car it died on me while I was at the grocery store. Put in a new battery and still wouldn't budge. Had it towed and replaced the starter and it fired right up. I was excited because that broke the ice on working on my new car, even though I was pretty mad that it was so inconvenient.

    Next I found this forum and immediately knew what needed to be done... http://i.imgur.com/GiR9XXC.jpg

    I also didn't care for the stock stereo and missed having Bluetooth, although the steering wheel controls were nice, so I spent about $150 and installed a head unit all by myself, steering controls and all. Pretty proud of it really. http://i.imgur.com/eU1gTgX.jpg

    I noticed that there was an oil leak around the same time. My uncle promised me he'd get the Pontiac in tip top shape before we signed the paper work, so he would take care of the leak (1qt every ~1k miles). Got it diagnosed at a GM dealership as dried gaskets from being parked so long. Problem was they wanted 1,550 dollars to do it. Forget that, we'll see if I can get it cheaper. Not long after that though, and the LIM gasket got so bad that this happened-> http://i.imgur.com/r9ltwBW.jpg

    This is my only car. I drive it every day. I needed to get the gasket fixed. So I did it myself. http://i.imgur.com/eMYcZzU.jpg
    While pulling parts, the tensioner pipe broke inside the water pump. Fortunately the end of the pipe finally came out after enough prying but it was quite the ordeal. But I did get a new tensioner so that's cool I guess.

    1 month into ownership and I feel like I know this car better than I did my previous car of 6 years.

    The oil pan gasket is the next thing to get fixed since it still leaks and was the only gasket GM told me I needed that I haven't fixed yet. I don't own a cherry picker though and don't want an engine dropping on my head so I will concede to letting a professional do that, especially if uncle's paying

    Taking in that fresh Oregon air -> http://i.imgur.com/1fIqg21.jpg


    As far as what I'm planning to do with this in the future:
    I really want a top swap, but need to save money, so I'll getting used parts as I see them cheaply. Probably not soon soon, but I really want it. So we'll see..
    A top swap would mean I need headers, so there's that. I'll get headers.
    Which all means I need a tune...
    Any top swap info is always appreciated. Right now I'm considering grabbing a parts car off craigslist for under 500 and salvage whatever I can for supercharger stuff.

    I need new speakers. These speakers have no bass and I'm all about that bass.

    I'll probably do a TransGo shift kit soon. I'm approaching 90k and it's probably never had a tranny flush. So that'll probably be my next thing.


    If you got this far, thanks for reading! Like I said at the beginning, I mostly wrote this for myself anyway.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: The Pontiac

    Great way to learn! Have fun. Most just do a tranny pan drop and filter change. Flushes can have issues. Some add a shift kit and a second magnet in the pan for more cleaning power.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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    Default Re: The Pontiac

    Went to the junkyard today. Scored a SC fuel rail from an 03 Bonneville and some chains in the back of a Taurus all for ten bucks. This top swap idea is starting to become slightly more real all the time. Getting pretty excited!
    I'm not sure if the chains will fit but I know plenty of people in this town that might appreciate them.

    http://i.imgur.com/dBVGoHQ.jpg
    http://i.imgur.com/i9NeyPJ.jpg

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    Default Re: The Pontiac

    Didn't realize what a difference spray paint could make.
    http://i.imgur.com/ufdSfMj.jpg

    Painted the new front calipers blue, too; can't wait to get them installed

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    Default Re: The Pontiac


  6. #6
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    Default Re: The Pontiac

    I like that blue man. I wonder if I could make navy blue work on a black gp.......

    Sent from my Moto G (4) using Tapatalk

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    Default Re: The Pontiac

    I like regular blue with black, but if it's too dark it bugs my eyes that I can't tell which is black and which is blue. Go for it man! It's hardly ten bucks.

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    Default Re: The Pontiac

    So I had finally got the oil pan gasket replaced and then 2 days later I noticed the car still leaking. Quite a bit too. I took it back to the shop that did it and they lifted the car and showed me that it wasn't their fault, there's oil above the pan, it must be the rear valve cover.

    Cool! Easy fix. My buddy did that gasket when he helped me do the LIM; I didn't check his work so makes sense to me. The mechanic tightened the bolts on the cover and I drive away happy.

    Except I keep smelling oil burning like its landing on the exhaust manifold. Well I'll just redo the rear valve cover and maybe that'll fix it, I still have the other gasket from the set I bought last time I did it.

    When I went to pull the cover I decided to look at again before I did anything and it was bone dry all the way around. Looked under the car with a coworker that works on his lifted truck every week and we both decided it wasn't the valve cover. And it was odd the way the oil would pool around the oil pan bolts.

    Ok lemme take it to the mechanic one more time and tell him it can't be the rear valve cover. He lifts it, shows me again and stands by his work. I say fine, do the valve cover for me. We weren't heated at all and agreed the other had a point, but I wanted him to prove it, I will gladly pay up if you can prove me wrong.

    About an hour ago I got a call from the shop. They inspected the valve cover and it IS fine, so they used dye and found the leak coming from the rear main seal. FML http://i.imgur.com/PBjtBLc.gif

    They already order the parts and everything should be done tomorrow and they'll even reseal the pan while they're at it. Hopefully by tomorrow night my car will no longer be leaking for the first time in my ownership. UGH

  9. #9
    I can't car too good. SaukRapids's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Pontiac

    I'm a little afraid to ask the cost of the job.

    Then again, I don't know what a junk yard L36 costs either.

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    Default Re: The Pontiac

    If I were to swap the engine I might as well put in something nice, right? lol LS4 anyone?
    It's not super terrible, but its frustrating to be chasing leaks for months and I don't have a lift or cherry picker so I can't really just do it either.
    I was quoted 9 hours to get it done, it's my brother-in-laws shop so idk what the total will be yet.

  11. #11
    I can't car too good. SaukRapids's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Pontiac

    If it's relation, you're probably in good hands. Hopefully anyway, lol

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    Default Re: The Pontiac

    Lol yea he's also a car salesman. So there's that.

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    Default Re: The Pontiac

    Finally got the Pontiac back yesterday, immediately noticed it needs an alignment after what they did to replace the seal. Was quoted 8.7 hours and apparently it took them 16! Oh well, family ties helps to have.
    Today I noticed there's coolant leaking on the front of the engine, landing on the belt and spitting everywhere. DAMN THIS CAR. In all my ownership it has never held on to all it's fluids at once and I've spent way too much time and money on it for it not to be pristine.
    There's coolant everywhere so idk where to even look. First thought was plastic elbows but the one I see is totally dry. Why would it suddenly start leaking coolant out the front, right after getting a new rear main seal?

  14. #14
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    Default Re: The Pontiac

    New water pump, installed by myself. Everything is sealed tight. For now, anyways.
    http://i.imgur.com/tKJU1vr.jpg

  15. #15
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    Default Re: The Pontiac

    New plugs
    New O2 sensor, (old one looked like it was definitely from the 90s) https://goo.gl/photos/ufLEY4WqEhG43Ki78
    New License plate - Limited edition Pacific Wonderland commemorates Oregon's 150th birthday https://goo.gl/photos/kpsHvpjHNTVzRSRV6
    And relocated the coolant reservoir so the PCM can be bolted more securely https://goo.gl/photos/agYtr4oTSGeqFXHP9

    I don't update this page as often as I promised myself, but the Pontiac has been soooo nice to me lately. I love it.

    Still can't figure out why I'm getting below 18 mpg. Must be the open cone and my heavy foot. Next step will be cleaning the throttle body and still need some plug wires.

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