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  1. #1
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    Default TheSilverBuick's 1977 Skylark

    I decided on this lazy monday I'd start a thread with a few highlights of my Skylark.

    A little history on the car. It's a 1977 Buick Skylark, originally with an odd fire 231 v-6 and TH200 with a 7.5" 3.23 rear out back. My grandma picked the car up used in August of '79. It was originally a light blue, and painted silver sometime in the early 90's, my uncle borrowed it regularly from my grandma and managed to bump into random things hence the re-paint. In 1996 when I got my learner's permit grandma offered the car to me, which at this point the car had been sitting for almost a year with a major lifter tick and it ran very poorly. My Dad and I drove it home and the beginning of my automotive experience started.

    A quick list of things I had to do to it (that I remember) before I got out of highschool were:
    New carb, Lifters (two were cupped), blown head gasket, another set of lifters, rod and main bearings with out pulling the engine, exploded battery after a starter change out, numerous carb tweaks and smog part modifications to meet emission requirements.

    Tried selling it twice, first time netted me a $75 ticket for having a "For Sale" sign in the window, second time just didn't have any takers (was only asking $800, and this is when it had uniform paint! and ran good). Bought a '69 Firebird, and while the Skylark sat pulled the engine and rebuilt it minus any machine work, so it got rings, bearings, gaskets, a new cam and lifters, etc. It promptly dynamited the TH200 trans after putting the engine back in (My old man was driving it to work at 5:30am, when it locked the rear wheels up at 35mph causing him to skid to a 45* angle with the road infront of the police station, haha). So I bought a running but beat '83 LeSabre for $75 pulled the 200-4r out and dropped the rest off at the junkyard. Had the 200r4 rebuilt and put it behind the v-6. Firebird was wrecked and I was back into the Skylark and figured I'm stuck with the car for life

    I've always wanted more power out of it, so my quest began for a Buick 350 with an EGR and Smog pump to meet CA emission requirements. I went to the junkyard on 1/2 price day and destiny intervened, the junkyard personal had lined the ends of the rows with various engines and one of them was a Buick 455, carb to oil pan, accessory brackets and everything with EGR and Smog Pump was just sitting there, tempting me.....So for $250 I got all that! Then while the block was in the machine shop I bought a Centurion with a blown 455 engine, so the Centurion got the engine. I spent the next four or five years trying to sieze, blow, do something to make the 231 die, but it simply refused. Ran at least three of those years with less than 20psi oil pressure hot, and that was with the Buick Oil pump booster plate AND Hi-Volume kit. It would sit at zero at idle, no knocking, no lifter rattles, nothing. Finally I gave up on it and pulled it. Then a series of issues assembling the second 455 created set backs, and once the "new" 455 was installed in the Skylark (with the TKO-600) more issues popped up that ultimately lead to that engine lasting less than 500 miles I ended up towing the car to Ely, where I did a January, 16*F weather, engine swap and put the Centurion engine in the Skylark just so I could drive it (after all why do I need a convertible in the middle of winter??) That is the engine I was using for this video, along with the pegleg 7.5" 3.23 geared rear axle. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_CCLSwdLhU

    Also during this time I took it on the Car Craft Anti-Tour, which several months later a picture popped up in CC for engine swaps.


    I then pulled the engine back out gave it a bearing and gasket refresh (as it has 50,000+miles on it) and put it back into the Centurion, and began (re-)building the 455 that dynamited on me properly with something more than a stock rebuild.

    So I started the first itteration of the build. I started actually with a Q-jet and edelbrock performer intake, along with '70 heads and T/A shorty headers. I had the SPX EFI intake, but wanted to make sure I had the engine running good and broken in before starting the efi conversion.


    I have T/A 10:1 pistons, and the stage 1 valves installed. I ground some material from the behind the valves and smoothed out the valve stem guide. Nothing fancy really, just a little clean up.


    So while in the process of getting the machine work done I started working on the car itself. I wanted to rebuild the suspension, chassis and upgrade the brakes. So I found a '77 Cadillac Seville (k-body, which is a stretched x-body) and took the 12" front spindles, rotors, etc. AND the rear 8.5" axle with rotors. Down side is they are on the 5"x5 wheel bolt pattern, but it's the same as my Centurion, so at least both my Buick's match. I can switch it over to a 4.75"x5 some day if I want to. I also added subframe connectors, new springs, shocks, all new steering parts.

    I had never set a rear axle up before so I went a little crazy with the marking grease =P The front suspension.


    The real axle all cleaned up with some richmond 3.70 gears.


    The Subframe connectors and the driveshaft loop.


    When I was running the Centurion engine I had a laughably small single pipe exhaust hacked onto the car. There is no exhaust shop here in town, and the nearest one is 185 miles away, so I got a Summit 2.5" kit.


    The pistons came in at .030" in the hole, also overbored .030". Pistons have a 20cc dish, the heads cc'd at 68cc. Unsure of exact head gasket thickness, standard felpro. For cam's I decided on the TA C118 cam, hoping the low overlap would be good for the EFI and mpg's. More on that later.


    Then my avatar picture of the engine together with the performer, HEI and TA shorty headers.


    To back up a moment. I don't really have any pictures of the actual first 455 conversion modifications. But essentially it was bolt in. I had bought '70 A-body 455 mounts to get the engine to sit low. In a series of comedic errors, when I was trying to make this swap happen while living 500 miles from the car, my old man hired a guy to weld the cast iron mounts to the steel crossmember So when I got the car up here, I ground the welds off and properly bolted the mounts to the frame. He didn't want to remove the lower control arm to do it, but I had them off for the suspension build.
    There are a lot of holes in the crossmember, I figured one set of them would have to line up with the '70 mounts.


    I had to oblong one hole a tad, but otherwise they lined up with a set of holes. They line up so well, dropping the engine in sets perfectly on the mounts, I never have to force the long bolts in or out of the mounts, the engine sits on the pads with no tension on the cross bolts


    All in, the valve covers have ample clearance around brake booster and evaporator box. I put roughly 8,000 miles on this combination. I seemed to run into a vapor lock issue at WOT though. It would stall out going down the 1/4 track and the car wouldn't ET better than 15.5 seconds at 94mph. Eventually I really boiled the Q-jet and it started leaking internally somewhere (I still haven't pulled it apart) and that prompted me to switch over to the EFI.


    I'm going to start a second post for the EFI on stuff.
    The Silver Buick- '77 Skylark coupe w/455, SPX, MegaSquirt 2 & TKO-600 (Drag Week 2011!), '72 Centurion Conv't - 455w/TH400, '67 T-bird 4Dr (suicide) w/428, MegaSquirt 1 & C6. '69 Firebird replaced, now building a Pontiac Turbo L6!

    My Skylark thread
    http://www.v8buick.com/showthread.php?t=208168
    My Pontiac OHC Six thread.
    http://www.v8buick.com/showthread.php?t=219250

    I'm just a regular guy that fuel injected an old Buick and Thunderbird.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    Ely, NV
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    Default Re: TheSilverBuick's 1977 Skylark

    On to the EFI swap!

    After boiling the carb at the track so bad I needed to be towed on the return road It ran like crap the 100 miles home. So I figured it'd be a good time to swap the intake over and finish wiring in the megasquirt.

    I mounted the MegaSquirt ecu on the heater box under the dash. You don't even really see it unless you are looking. This picture was taken with the glovebox removed, but it doesn't interfere with the glove box at all.


    Decided to use the airgap on the SPX for the wiring.


    Installed on the car. You can see the relayboard from DIYautotune.com in the background. I still ran a standard 4-pin HEI at this point with mechanical and vacuum advance.


    I installed a fuel return port in the fuel tank sending unit. As well as ran a steel return line from the engine bay.


    I installed a surge can/pipe where the carbon canister used to reside. There is a ford high pressure pump below it. Even though it's a 5/16th feed through it it hasn't seemed to be a limitation. It's supposibly capable of 80psi and I have the regulator set at 43psi, and WOT at 5500rpm in 4th I had a 10.5 AFR, so I haven't reached it's limits yet. Now that I know this system is proven I'll eventually move the whole thing to back by the gas tank, but for now it resides there. I have an OEM mount bracket for the ford pump now too.



    All hooked up and running. I ran the power wire to the fuel pump along the hose going from the fuel rail to the high pressure pump so in theory if something were to take the hose out it will also break the wire or at least pull the plug on it. But it's mostly behind the power steering pump.



    When I first made the jump to the Megasquirt controlling timing I bastardized a 4-pin HEI (the original oddfire 231 distributor no less!!), changed out the pick up coil for a 7-pin V8 one (uses a different plug than the 4-pin) and changed the reluctor out for one I think was off and Olds or Cadillac because they were more common to find. Then I drilled and pinned the mechanical advance. Worked pretty good for what it was.
    Here is a quick video of checking the timing controls. The check is to command three different timing settings, like 20*, 35*, 45*. I pushed for 50* at 1200rpm.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BLeG1TQY84M



    Eventually I took the same distributor and had the pickup coil feed a signal straight to the MegaSquirt, and have the MegaSquirt send a trigger signal to an MSD 6AL-2 box. It could trigger the coil directly, but I wanted the box (and the two step rev limiter, which I have wired to the clutch pedal's neutral safety switch).


    I also put a new radiator hose on the engine and swapped the accessory brackets over to the ones off the 231 V6 so I could run the OEM A/C compressor so I can get the A/C working hopefully before summer ends =P It's a Buick, it ought to have A/C


    I'll make a third post for the latest developments.
    The Silver Buick- '77 Skylark coupe w/455, SPX, MegaSquirt 2 & TKO-600 (Drag Week 2011!), '72 Centurion Conv't - 455w/TH400, '67 T-bird 4Dr (suicide) w/428, MegaSquirt 1 & C6. '69 Firebird replaced, now building a Pontiac Turbo L6!

    My Skylark thread
    http://www.v8buick.com/showthread.php?t=208168
    My Pontiac OHC Six thread.
    http://www.v8buick.com/showthread.php?t=219250

    I'm just a regular guy that fuel injected an old Buick and Thunderbird.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    Ely, NV
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    Default Re: TheSilverBuick's 1977 Skylark

    So the latest changes occured when I drove the car down to LA for the Car Craft Anti-Tour back in March. We started in LA then drove to Phoenix to race at Firebird. I had bought a set of drag radial's to try out, but wanted some baseline runs in with the standard BFG's (235/60R15). On my first run I had zip for traction, time sucked, MPH sucked. On my second run I feathered it but still couldn't keep the pedal on the floor until 4th half way down the track, at which point it was running pretty good, but there was a TON of smoke behind me. Got my ticket for laughable 14.7x seconds at 100.xx mph and went back to the pits were I noticed I was pouring oil out the rear main. After checking a few things, I noticed besides the oil leaking, it seemed to have a lot more blow by. I decided I was done racing for the night The next morning I pulled all the spark plugs and #6 looked funny to me, so I unplugged the fuel injector and spark plug to #6, which reduced the blow by and oil leaking some. I essentially drove it home, but was stopped 250 miles short of my 520 mile trip home (or 1800 mile total round trip) by the alternator going out. That was just random bad luck. Anyways, I didn't have time to work on the car immediately but when I did a compression check, the number six cylinder came back with ZERO compression. I checked it a few times even going back to it, zip, zero, ziltch. I figured I had holed a piston or something, guessing rings would of given me some compression, and with no backfiring or popping figured the valves were good (plus removing the valve cover for inspection of the spring side of them).
    The Compression Test: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8K-WB6xvAMc

    What it turned out to be was a massive failure of the headgasket on #6 into the lifter valley. That would explain the pressurizing of the crankcase and blowing out my rear main seal. Further inspection showed that the head gasket on the #3 cylinder had also blown, just not as severely, the metal ring was missing a section but the head gasket mesh was still there and the cylinder was still making compression. I'm operating under the assumption that the headgaskets may of been slightly damaged since it had two cylinders do the exact same thing (you can lay the gasket's over each other like when they are packed, and get the broken area right over each other). If it lets go again I'll have to take the block and heads to a machine shop for inspection (185 miles away). I figure I got about 12,000 miles out of them.


    So while I had the engine out, I decided to switch cams. I had picked the 118 cam because I thought the EFI would like it for fuel mileage, but I was quite disappointed. I routinely averaged 17mpg on road trips, and I was hoping for much more (yes you can laugh now). So I figured if I was only going to get 17mpg I'll bump the HP and see what it does to the mileage. When the Centurion's engine was in the car, and it had 3.23's, it routinely got 23mpg (.454 lift Isky cam). So I picked the 290-08H cam from reading about it here at V8Buick.com. I have a few optimistic thoughts on this cam in regard to fuel mileage, namely kicking down the engine vacuum to reduce pumping losses and from Jim Weise's dyno sheets and posting that indication that this cam (series?) seems to make more efficient air pumps of the Buick 455 than some other cams. I also topped it off with some rhoads lifters, which I've heard mixed reviews on so I decided to try for myself. Some people describe the sound as tapping, other's mechanical, to me it sounds mechanical, almost like a slightly louder version of a bicycle chain. So far it hasn't bothered me. So now that I just got it running last thursday night, I need to put a little more polish on the tune (though the 118 tune seems dang close!) before I can get a real measure of the fuel economy (or lack of). I had set the initial timing at 25* based on some reading here, but have since backed it off as I was occassionally getting a kickback on the starting and it was a little slow cranking. I dropped the initial to 15* below idle rpm then have the idle rpm timing set around 23* at the moment. Cranks real easy now and starts up nicely. I currently am averaging between 10-12inHg of vacuum at 6500', which means that should go up as I go down in elevation. It idles nicely on a 15:1 afr, 23* timing and 700rpm. I was even pleasantly surprised this morning that on the cold high idle, it was at 1100rpm and a 15:1 afr, and the warm up table is based on the C118 cam. I've driven it to work one day and around this sleepy town with out an issue with the brakes.

    Also why I had the block out I drilled and tapped one of the water drain plugs for a knock sensor. I'm haven't wired it all up yet, but it's there for when I get to it. I live at 6500' elevation, so when I tune the engine, the timing settings and gas grade are a lot more forgiving in the thin air, and I find I have to back the timing(settings) off before I head out of town and get into denser air. With the knock sensor I hope it will adjust it for me. It's an OEM location for Chevy trucks so I expect it to work decently.


    Now it's back in the car and running good. I did a re-torque of the heads today.


    And a couple video's

    Revving on the engine a bit after I got a timing issue sorted out (my rotor was out of phase with the pick up coil).
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0WzvZHFepFc

    And a short 4 minute drive to the car wash, nothing spetacular.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UgUv7_TUEkQ
    Last edited by TheSilverBuick; 07-05-2010 at 08:43 PM.
    The Silver Buick- '77 Skylark coupe w/455, SPX, MegaSquirt 2 & TKO-600 (Drag Week 2011!), '72 Centurion Conv't - 455w/TH400, '67 T-bird 4Dr (suicide) w/428, MegaSquirt 1 & C6. '69 Firebird replaced, now building a Pontiac Turbo L6!

    My Skylark thread
    http://www.v8buick.com/showthread.php?t=208168
    My Pontiac OHC Six thread.
    http://www.v8buick.com/showthread.php?t=219250

    I'm just a regular guy that fuel injected an old Buick and Thunderbird.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Ely, NV
    Posts
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    Default Re: TheSilverBuick's 1977 Skylark

    I just realized, I didn't post any pictures of the actual car, LOL.

    Here are some fairly recent ones.




    The Silver Buick- '77 Skylark coupe w/455, SPX, MegaSquirt 2 & TKO-600 (Drag Week 2011!), '72 Centurion Conv't - 455w/TH400, '67 T-bird 4Dr (suicide) w/428, MegaSquirt 1 & C6. '69 Firebird replaced, now building a Pontiac Turbo L6!

    My Skylark thread
    http://www.v8buick.com/showthread.php?t=208168
    My Pontiac OHC Six thread.
    http://www.v8buick.com/showthread.php?t=219250

    I'm just a regular guy that fuel injected an old Buick and Thunderbird.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Long Island, NY
    Posts
    65

    Default Re: TheSilverBuick's 1977 Skylark

    Great thread, cool build. Keep us updated.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Milwaukee WI
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    Default Re: TheSilverBuick's 1977 Skylark

    Yours will idle at 15:1? Holey crap. mine barely idles at 13:1 in gear. it likes 14:1 in park.

    However today it will cruze at 17.5:1 (though way too lean for my liking)

    You gotta get yours dialed in and let me try your MSQ.


    -nate
    1970 Skylark Custom convertible
    Megasqurt EFI
    My Build in the Garage
    2004 Chevrolet Malibu Maxx
    Looking for cheap and long '77 Ford F150 bed

    Nate

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    Ely, NV
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    Default Re: TheSilverBuick's 1977 Skylark

    PM me an email address when you want mine. Remember, mine is a manual, so idling is always unloaded. I once had the tune dialed in on the C118 cam where I was cruising at 16:1 and climbing grades with no misfires or bucking. But it was before I figured out the baro-correction settings (I have the second mapdaddy mapsensor installed) and I tweaked the tune soon after and didn't save it =P
    The Silver Buick- '77 Skylark coupe w/455, SPX, MegaSquirt 2 & TKO-600 (Drag Week 2011!), '72 Centurion Conv't - 455w/TH400, '67 T-bird 4Dr (suicide) w/428, MegaSquirt 1 & C6. '69 Firebird replaced, now building a Pontiac Turbo L6!

    My Skylark thread
    http://www.v8buick.com/showthread.php?t=208168
    My Pontiac OHC Six thread.
    http://www.v8buick.com/showthread.php?t=219250

    I'm just a regular guy that fuel injected an old Buick and Thunderbird.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Kalama Washington
    Posts
    776

    Default Re: TheSilverBuick's 1977 Skylark

    there are so many similaraties between our builds that it is scarry. my car was my grandmother's too, i had a 231, then put in a 350, then a 455. and now have a tko600. i plan on going to fuel injection too but i need to decide which one i want to go with and get the money for it too. mine was my first car after my grandmother gave it to me. weird!
    BTW, i love your car! it's inspiring well, i cant think of a nicer thing to say!
    Dan Lemyre
    75 skylark stage 2 455 (Bittersweet)
    2002 Trans am Ws6
    http://www.v8buick.com/showthread.php?t=181075

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    hesperia,calif
    Posts
    513

    Default Re: TheSilverBuick's 1977 Skylark

    looks good randall !!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    southern california, land of no race tracks
    Posts
    842

    Default Re: TheSilverBuick's 1977 Skylark

    Most important of all-IT'S A STICK! keep working on it Randall, you're getting there!


    Stage1Scott
    2005 GTO
    1967 427 Fairlane sedan Totalled rip9/13
    1973 455 Century-1 of 99!--SOLD
    1972 455 skylark-Sold! longest 4 sale ad in v8buick history!
    Winner West Coast Nationals Las Vegas 2002 AND 2003!!
    "Drove it there-Drove it home-Twice!"

  11. #11
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    Jun 2008
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    Default Re: TheSilverBuick's 1977 Skylark

    Quote Originally Posted by chris lee View Post
    looks good randall !!
    Chris! You remember the car when it was a 231 headache, haha, and definately was the inspiration for the upgrade, even if it was a bit delayed. Hope you are doing well.
    The Silver Buick- '77 Skylark coupe w/455, SPX, MegaSquirt 2 & TKO-600 (Drag Week 2011!), '72 Centurion Conv't - 455w/TH400, '67 T-bird 4Dr (suicide) w/428, MegaSquirt 1 & C6. '69 Firebird replaced, now building a Pontiac Turbo L6!

    My Skylark thread
    http://www.v8buick.com/showthread.php?t=208168
    My Pontiac OHC Six thread.
    http://www.v8buick.com/showthread.php?t=219250

    I'm just a regular guy that fuel injected an old Buick and Thunderbird.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Pahrump, NV
    Posts
    90

    Default Re: TheSilverBuick's 1977 Skylark

    Very Very cool, and a great thread! Was the 1/4 track lvms or is there another? Just curious cuz its about 80 miles from me but luckily I work right around the corner so I get to go often. Glad to see the progress, and I remember that car craft issue! lol
    Parrish and Kelly
    In order of modification priority:
    1. 1973 Green Buick Apollo (Kelly's)
    2. 1974 Black Buick Apollo (Parrish's)
    3. 1973 Silver Buick Apollo (Parrish's)
    4. 1999 Chevy Corvette
    5. 2007 Dodge Charger R/T

  13. #13
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    Jun 2008
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    Ely, NV
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    Default Re: TheSilverBuick's 1977 Skylark

    I'm not positive I know what you mean by lvms, Las Vegas Motor Sports? I broke the car in Phoenix, AZ at Firebird, then drove it on 7 cylinders to Las Vegas (actually just past Vegas to the new Love's station on Hwy 93).
    The Silver Buick- '77 Skylark coupe w/455, SPX, MegaSquirt 2 & TKO-600 (Drag Week 2011!), '72 Centurion Conv't - 455w/TH400, '67 T-bird 4Dr (suicide) w/428, MegaSquirt 1 & C6. '69 Firebird replaced, now building a Pontiac Turbo L6!

    My Skylark thread
    http://www.v8buick.com/showthread.php?t=208168
    My Pontiac OHC Six thread.
    http://www.v8buick.com/showthread.php?t=219250

    I'm just a regular guy that fuel injected an old Buick and Thunderbird.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Ely, NV
    Posts
    4,390

    Default Re: TheSilverBuick's 1977 Skylark

    Small update. I had the TBI pusher pump that's at the tank go out on me last week. I always keep a spare one in the trunk though, so it was a quick change out on the side of the road two blocks from my house. That prompted me to finally get around to installing some ammeters for the two fuel pumps.

    Months ago I purchased a couple of 0-15 amp ammeters from ebay for a $1.50 a piece with the intent on installing them inline with the fuel pumps wiring. So this weekend I got around to it. Ideally I'd of liked to install them laying flat on top of the dash next to the a-pillar, but I'm not going to take the time yet to set it up right in that location. So I took a radio shack project box I had and used it instead.

    For a little background. My car has two electric fuel pumps. There is a relatively low pressure ~12psi Universal TBI pump mounted back at the gas tank that pumps to my surge can/pipe up front. Then there is a Ford high pressure pump that feeds the fuel rails. I wanted to be able to monitor both. I don't know if watching the amperage will give me warning of pump problems (or plugged filters), but at least I think it will.

    I mounted the two ammeters in the box, and because of space/looks I added two toggle switches to the box as well. Currently the toggle switches control each pump, but I could always make them control something else down the road as realistically they will be left in the ON position all the time. I drilled a hole in the back of the casing to add a light so I can see the gauges at night and after doing that I'm thinking of moving the high pressure pump switch to the backside of the box, leaving the low pressure tank pump on the front. Who looks for two fuel pump switches? Especially when you hear the tank pump turn on with the switch? It'd make a nice kill switch.



    Both pumps should be under a constant load regardless of the engine rpm/load (at the very least under normal driving conditions). The Low Pressure pump pumps to the surge can/pipe that has an open return back to the gas tank, so it shouldn't see a pressure change, the High Pressure pump supposibly pumps upwards 80psi, but the regulator is set to 43psi, so the fuel pressure load there should remain pretty constant as well. Taking it to the store and back, the amperage was the same everytime I looked at the gauges, rather I was idling, accelerating, or cruising The high pressure pump draws just under 6 amps and the low pressure pump draws just under 2 amps.


    Playing with the switches. Turning off the high pressure pump as expected kills the engine pretty quickly (hence why I think I may move it to the back side). The low pressure pump switch though, because the surge can/pipe takes time for it's effect to be noticed. I used to have that pump on a switch with the old carburetor as an anti-theft device. The idea was to let them "think" they had the car, then a block down the road when the fuel bowl in the Q-jet dried up they putted to a stop. Hopefully safely and in a place they aren't comfortable spending time screwing around with it and attracting more attention. Same principle applies this time too, only there is more fuel in the can to get a few miles out (I figure there is about 1L, or a shade under 5 miles worth). So if I leave that switch off, the car will start and hopefully they don't "think" to hit that switch when it start's sputtering, well actually it dies pretty abruptly, so hopefully confusion would make them abandon the car. I know I know, who steals a '77 Buick :P

    This picture is for tlivingd (and taken at a different time than the above pictures). I tried uploading the video I took of it idling away (as well as revving a few times and letting it settle back into it's idle), but Youtube made it so grainy you couldn't read the numbers any more But yeah, it's idling between 15:1 and 16:1 no problem at ~700rpm. I accidently had two coolant temp gauges up, D'oh! Engine is showing it's pulling around 10.5 inHg if I've calculated it right (atmopheric pressure is at 80kpa, manifold pressure at 45kpa, so a total of 35kpa vacuum...). Can you tell I'm at 6500ft elevation? haha. My vacuum/boost gauge on the a-pillar shows I'm pulling a hair over 12inHg, but I think it doesn't account for the lower atmospheric pressure at this elevation.
    Last edited by TheSilverBuick; 01-23-2013 at 04:53 PM.
    The Silver Buick- '77 Skylark coupe w/455, SPX, MegaSquirt 2 & TKO-600 (Drag Week 2011!), '72 Centurion Conv't - 455w/TH400, '67 T-bird 4Dr (suicide) w/428, MegaSquirt 1 & C6. '69 Firebird replaced, now building a Pontiac Turbo L6!

    My Skylark thread
    http://www.v8buick.com/showthread.php?t=208168
    My Pontiac OHC Six thread.
    http://www.v8buick.com/showthread.php?t=219250

    I'm just a regular guy that fuel injected an old Buick and Thunderbird.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Milwaukee WI
    Posts
    4,591

    Default Re: TheSilverBuick's 1977 Skylark

    Thanks for that. I did tweak my EGO settings ("innovate LC-1 default" now) and more realistic numbers idling. Closer to what you've got. I've got an antifreeze leak somewhere. I think and hope it's the expanding and contracting of the aluminum heads and a retorque is all I need. I've forgotten if I've done it with these TA perf. orange crush gaskets but I thought they weren't supposed to need it. I'm getting a idling and cruising tune very close. I may need to rethink my TPS however as it looks like it looses signal at WOT. The antifreeze leak I want to take care of, along with it being due for an oil change. But there aren't enough hours in the day or week. But I won't hijack your thread.

    btw. I dig the amp gauges. and I think you should be able to see if there is a problem. Did you try your bad pump to see what it's amp draw is?
    1970 Skylark Custom convertible
    Megasqurt EFI
    My Build in the Garage
    2004 Chevrolet Malibu Maxx
    Looking for cheap and long '77 Ford F150 bed

    Nate

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Ely, NV
    Posts
    4,390

    Default Re: TheSilverBuick's 1977 Skylark

    Hopefully it's just a retorque. Have you checked your oil to make sure it's not leaking into there? I accidently pinched a small ground wire between the intake and head at the front of the engine and didn't notice, sending coolant right into my lifter valley :*( Fortunately I noticed after running the engine for less than a minute. (when I first installed the EFI and I shut the engine down right after start up to check for fuel leaks and the water was coming out the rear main...oops). I retorqued my heads last week after running the engine for a week, but I'm using iron heads and felpro gaskets.

    I didn't bother hooking up the old pump, but I probably could use my DVOM and a battery to see what it draws, but I'm not sure how acurate that would be with out the fuel lines hooked up.
    The Silver Buick- '77 Skylark coupe w/455, SPX, MegaSquirt 2 & TKO-600 (Drag Week 2011!), '72 Centurion Conv't - 455w/TH400, '67 T-bird 4Dr (suicide) w/428, MegaSquirt 1 & C6. '69 Firebird replaced, now building a Pontiac Turbo L6!

    My Skylark thread
    http://www.v8buick.com/showthread.php?t=208168
    My Pontiac OHC Six thread.
    http://www.v8buick.com/showthread.php?t=219250

    I'm just a regular guy that fuel injected an old Buick and Thunderbird.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Ely, NV
    Posts
    4,390

    Default Re: TheSilverBuick's 1977 Skylark

    Well the car ate one lifter/lobe. Oh well. But I've now figured how to pull the engine in record time leaving the headers and trans attached make quick work of pulling the engine. Fortunately I caught it fair quickly, noticed a slight tick in the vacuum gauge. I thought about just sliding the 118 cam back in there, but decided to just order another 290-08H cam and lifters. I figure I must not of greased that particular lobe well enough on installation as it spun freely in the lifter bore, slide right out and all the other lifters/lobes look mint.





    Last edited by TheSilverBuick; 01-23-2013 at 04:53 PM.
    The Silver Buick- '77 Skylark coupe w/455, SPX, MegaSquirt 2 & TKO-600 (Drag Week 2011!), '72 Centurion Conv't - 455w/TH400, '67 T-bird 4Dr (suicide) w/428, MegaSquirt 1 & C6. '69 Firebird replaced, now building a Pontiac Turbo L6!

    My Skylark thread
    http://www.v8buick.com/showthread.php?t=208168
    My Pontiac OHC Six thread.
    http://www.v8buick.com/showthread.php?t=219250

    I'm just a regular guy that fuel injected an old Buick and Thunderbird.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Ely, NV
    Posts
    4,390

    Default Re: TheSilverBuick's 1977 Skylark

    I haven't updated this in a while.

    Basically I slid old reliable 118 back in there. Figured out how to pull the condensor so I just had to pull the timing cover, intake and valve covers. Pretty easy job. The 118 cam keeps chugging away and I drove the car to Bonneville towing a trailer. Then followed it up with a 1200 mile round trip to CA to visit friends and family.







    So now I'm going to play with MPG's. I have a set of used 3.08 gears coming to me (free!) to try out. I'll see if I get a kick in mpg's from them, should drop my cruise rpm by around 500rpm. Then I'm considering the TA-212 cam from there. I want to be able to claim I got 500 miles out of a tank of gas! I need 25 mpgs to make that happen.
    Last edited by TheSilverBuick; 01-23-2013 at 04:53 PM.
    The Silver Buick- '77 Skylark coupe w/455, SPX, MegaSquirt 2 & TKO-600 (Drag Week 2011!), '72 Centurion Conv't - 455w/TH400, '67 T-bird 4Dr (suicide) w/428, MegaSquirt 1 & C6. '69 Firebird replaced, now building a Pontiac Turbo L6!

    My Skylark thread
    http://www.v8buick.com/showthread.php?t=208168
    My Pontiac OHC Six thread.
    http://www.v8buick.com/showthread.php?t=219250

    I'm just a regular guy that fuel injected an old Buick and Thunderbird.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Kalama Washington
    Posts
    776

    Default Re: TheSilverBuick's 1977 Skylark

    you already have the tko-600. so cruising speed is under 2,000 rpm, right? this should be below your power band, so what do you hope to accomplish with the 3.08's? imho you will only make your car undrivable unless you are going to cruise at 80mph, at which point these cars are not very aerodynamically friendly. i know my tko with 373 gears dosent like 5th gear under 60mph
    Dan Lemyre
    75 skylark stage 2 455 (Bittersweet)
    2002 Trans am Ws6
    http://www.v8buick.com/showthread.php?t=181075

  20. #20
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    Jun 2008
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    Default Re: TheSilverBuick's 1977 Skylark

    My cruising speed is currently 2300-2500 rpm, the 3.08's will drop that to right at 2000rpm. 95% my driving is between 70mph and 80mph. I live in the middle of now where and the nearest small city is 185 miles out (nearest Walmart), and I don't go there, so next nearest is Las Vegas or Salt Lake City, both 250 miles out (nearest Target). Going to work is 8 miles of 70mph speed limit on a 10 mile drive. I'm ok hanging out in 4th gear around town.

    Besides, the 3.08's are free, I'm only out time and a few dollars in gaskets, pinion spacer and fluids. If I don't like them, I'll step up, or as mentioned go with the 212 cam for big low end torque numbers. I ran a '69 Firebird 400 for a few years with 2.73's and a 700r4 with lock up converter, it was happy with 3rd until the highway.


    **Also remember, the EFI/timing controls let me do things with low rpm load tuning that a carb and distributor optimized for higher rpm aren't going to allow.
    The Silver Buick- '77 Skylark coupe w/455, SPX, MegaSquirt 2 & TKO-600 (Drag Week 2011!), '72 Centurion Conv't - 455w/TH400, '67 T-bird 4Dr (suicide) w/428, MegaSquirt 1 & C6. '69 Firebird replaced, now building a Pontiac Turbo L6!

    My Skylark thread
    http://www.v8buick.com/showthread.php?t=208168
    My Pontiac OHC Six thread.
    http://www.v8buick.com/showthread.php?t=219250

    I'm just a regular guy that fuel injected an old Buick and Thunderbird.

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Ely, NV
    Posts
    4,390

    Default Re: TheSilverBuick's 1977 Skylark

    So I finally got around to swapping gears in the Skylark. Boy, is it much easier to do with the rear axle out of the car and in a well lit place.

    Started with putting the skyark into place.

    My usual area of work. That's the Centurion parked next to it.

    Pulling it all apart. The 3.70's in place.

    The 3.08's in! The pictures of the pattern didn't turn out very well. The pattern is about in the middle of the tooth, I would of preferred a little more to the inside, but considered it good enough.

    The 3.70 gears are really really shiny (polished?), and covers almost the whole tooth. They were silent, but I wonder if I had too little back-lash or something on them. I've never seen gears that shiny, granted, I haven't seen too many.

    Check out that reflection.

    Even the ring gear.

    But not with out drawing blood :'( :'(

    I have to hook the brakes and driveshaft back up, then I'll be good to go. Probably do it after work today.

    In other news, right before Bonneville my LC-1 wideband O2 sensor quit working on me. So I've been running since then with out an O2 sensor fuel correction, which fortunately I have the tune close enough to not be much of an issue. I towed the trailer to Bonneville, took a 1200 mile round trip to CA, and one 600 mile round trip to Las Vegas without it. But I much prefer to have one, so I ordered a new one from DIYautotune.com. And since I was ordering that, I decided to pick up a MegaViewer. Which will allow me to watch all the sensor readings with out the laptop hooked up. Also I can set parameters up so that it'll automatically flash to any sensors that read out of a specified range (like temp). I'll remove the aftermarket temp gauge I have in the car when I install this and rely on the stock temp gauge and the EFI sensor. Now I have to decide if I want to place it behind the cluster window (infront of where the clock delete plate) or I'm considering trying to make an overhead console and place it in there.


    The buttons are there for show, I can wire them to any kind of momentary switch where ever I decide to place them.
    Last edited by TheSilverBuick; 01-23-2013 at 05:01 PM.
    The Silver Buick- '77 Skylark coupe w/455, SPX, MegaSquirt 2 & TKO-600 (Drag Week 2011!), '72 Centurion Conv't - 455w/TH400, '67 T-bird 4Dr (suicide) w/428, MegaSquirt 1 & C6. '69 Firebird replaced, now building a Pontiac Turbo L6!

    My Skylark thread
    http://www.v8buick.com/showthread.php?t=208168
    My Pontiac OHC Six thread.
    http://www.v8buick.com/showthread.php?t=219250

    I'm just a regular guy that fuel injected an old Buick and Thunderbird.

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    Ely, NV
    Posts
    4,390

    Default Re: TheSilverBuick's 1977 Skylark

    It's mobil again! Drove the car down to the gas station and back. So far so good. Ever so slight whine coasting, didn't hear any noise driving. I'll be taking it to work tomorrow to test out its new longer legs. Feels more Buick like to me, letting the low end torque move the car rather than instantly winding up the rpms. I'll run it for a while, perhaps order a 212 cam.....
    The Silver Buick- '77 Skylark coupe w/455, SPX, MegaSquirt 2 & TKO-600 (Drag Week 2011!), '72 Centurion Conv't - 455w/TH400, '67 T-bird 4Dr (suicide) w/428, MegaSquirt 1 & C6. '69 Firebird replaced, now building a Pontiac Turbo L6!

    My Skylark thread
    http://www.v8buick.com/showthread.php?t=208168
    My Pontiac OHC Six thread.
    http://www.v8buick.com/showthread.php?t=219250

    I'm just a regular guy that fuel injected an old Buick and Thunderbird.

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Abilene Tx
    Posts
    358

    Default Re: TheSilverBuick's 1977 Skylark

    Very entertaining read!!! Good luck with getting everything lined out.


    Don

    1970 GS 350 w/455 Stage 1

    usetohave:

    1970 GSX585 Apollo white 455/auto
    1970 GS 350 w/462 5 speed
    1987 Turbo T white GNX
    1987 Grand National (still in family)
    1986 Grand National T- Top
    1987 Grand National
    1987 Regal 383/ 4 speed
    Plus around 50 other makes and models

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    Ely, NV
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    Default Re: TheSilverBuick's 1977 Skylark

    Thanks! I've been driving it to work the last few days. Definately liking the new rpm range. I'm taking it to Las Vegas (250miles each way) first week of November, I'll do an MPG check then. I already ordered a 212 cam and lifters, so when I get back from that trip I'll swap cams out and re-tune for that one for a trip to CA (500 miles each way) for Thanksgiving.
    The Silver Buick- '77 Skylark coupe w/455, SPX, MegaSquirt 2 & TKO-600 (Drag Week 2011!), '72 Centurion Conv't - 455w/TH400, '67 T-bird 4Dr (suicide) w/428, MegaSquirt 1 & C6. '69 Firebird replaced, now building a Pontiac Turbo L6!

    My Skylark thread
    http://www.v8buick.com/showthread.php?t=208168
    My Pontiac OHC Six thread.
    http://www.v8buick.com/showthread.php?t=219250

    I'm just a regular guy that fuel injected an old Buick and Thunderbird.

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Ely, NV
    Posts
    4,390

    Default Re: TheSilverBuick's 1977 Skylark

    A few weeks ago I purchased a MegaView (and LC-1 that replaced my probably dead one, I swapped it out last week ) so I can see/monitor what the megasquirt is doing without the laptop hooked up, and finally put it together. It even appears to work! :D
    So I rolled out my radio shack special soldering mat again for assembly. Got all the parts laid out. You can see my JimStim in the top left which I used to bench test the MegaView. (Excuse all my photography, I suck at it)

    All the parts from DIYautotune come neatly labelled.

    In a couple places scotch tape helps out As you can see where the components go are also written on the board. I have the assembly directions up on my Laptop screen anyways.

    I'll usually install several capacitors, diodes and resistors at a time then flip it over to solder them.

    Here is the rear of it all assembled. I found a scrap plastic box in my basement I quickly cut on just to set it up to test with. I have a much more solid and nicer plastic face to use for when it goes in the car.

    It works! I clearly goofed up which side is up :P


    I'll remove my aftermarket temperature gauge when I install this, and can use my dash gauge and if I get concerned about the temp pause the megaviewer on the temperature to watch it closer. The next question is of course is where to put it in the car. I can immediately place it under the dash where the temp gauge is (similar to my fuel pump amp gauges), I've considered seeing about placing it behind the cluster window infront of the clock delete plate but it's a bit big for that area IMO. What I'd really like to do is try and make an overhead console for it. Might break out some cardboard and see if I can come up with something....
    Last edited by TheSilverBuick; 01-23-2013 at 03:10 PM.
    The Silver Buick- '77 Skylark coupe w/455, SPX, MegaSquirt 2 & TKO-600 (Drag Week 2011!), '72 Centurion Conv't - 455w/TH400, '67 T-bird 4Dr (suicide) w/428, MegaSquirt 1 & C6. '69 Firebird replaced, now building a Pontiac Turbo L6!

    My Skylark thread
    http://www.v8buick.com/showthread.php?t=208168
    My Pontiac OHC Six thread.
    http://www.v8buick.com/showthread.php?t=219250

    I'm just a regular guy that fuel injected an old Buick and Thunderbird.

 

 
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