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.