My 76/77 Buick regals going to the darkside!

Discussion in 'V-8 Buick Powered Regals' started by Norman Martin, Aug 14, 2020.

  1. Norman Martin

    Norman Martin Well-Known Member

    Update moved the fuel filter/regulator and that took care of the majority of the noise and gave me enough clearance. That is not going to be the end. I ordered the new coil and some coil spring isolators. The factory coil is simply too saggy. The rear is an inch lower than the front and I do not like that. So Sunday I will swap coils when they come in and hopefully The isolators will solve the rest of the noise. I actually think that another source of the noise is going to be the exhaust tips hitting the ground due to the sagginess of the springs during big dips.

    Other than that, the car handles very well already. I believe that once I install the new coils it will handle even better.
  2. Norman Martin

    Norman Martin Well-Known Member


    Update... 10 min spring swap and she gained about 1.5 inches of height back prior to any settling. Looks way better and time for a drive to get it settled.
  3. Norman Martin

    Norman Martin Well-Known Member

    Weekend update.
    Not much completed but what was done took forever!! Man i almost gave up on the double adjustable shocks. I was driving every day trying to get them set up for basically a "new car factory but firm style ride". I was getting pissed because I kept getting this, for lack of better words, "Man boob bounce" type of ride. Every time I would approach that intersection between a great ride and firm, I would go one click firmer and there it goes again. I called QA1 and it was not really any help. Finally, I decided to just start all over completely one more time. I got the silky smooth marshmallow ride first. Damn, that thing drove so nice as if I was on a cloud but had absolutely no cornering ability at all. Then I got the "Um, that's nice" ride with a little thud and a little better cornering. That one just was not there yet. Next it was the "I could live with this" type of ride. Not good enough. After going after it for a while, I finally got there!

    What I have now is a new car factory ride that is good for whipping around corners reasonably fast. There is no bounce to it and I could definitely invite any family member on a ride without complaints. My next step is to document where I am at so that I can always go back to that setting but start dialing in some corner cutting action to the car. For now, I am happy with the ride though and that feels good.

    I am starting to get happy and sad though. In just a few weeks I will put her on the lawn as my annual Halloween prop with smoke machines and assorted items to make it look scary for the kiddo's. After that, it is getting put up so I can begin tearing it down again for winter. There is tons of sanding, metal work and priming to do. I am getting every bit of rust that I can out of the car so that next spring I can be riding in pure bliss again.
    sean Buick 76 and Taulbee2277 like this.
  4. Norman Martin

    Norman Martin Well-Known Member

    Ok, Just an update as to why the audio portion of the build has not yet begun. A couple reasons but the main one is that the car is going to have to go through a major rehab of the rear window area. At the moment, every time it rains I get a trunk full of water. This is due to the couple holes in the floor that should not be too bad to fix but the window frame area is pretty rotten and I will need to remove the rear window to get rid of all the bad metal. That is okay though because in a couple weeks, after the annual "park the car on the lawn for Halloween" the car is getting parked and up on wheel cribs for the winter.

    Second reason-

    The dash is going to have to get an extensive overhaul. The factory radio location is horrendous and I wont be able to put any kind of cool head unit in there. I am either going to cut the factory dash up to swap a few things around or I am going to build a complete dash from scratch. I an heavily leaning toward one of the Joying Android radios for the SPDIF outputs that will go to a Helix processor. With the factory location there is no way that it would work.

    That is all for now.
  5. Norman Martin

    Norman Martin Well-Known Member

    Okay, I am almost certain that I have solved one of my issues with the car and it is not quite unique but I have never seen it done the way I am going to do it.

    The issues-

    1. Due to the fact that I am using a Gen IV LS based motor, the old speed sensor cable no longer works. All of the info is via CANBUS which is quite convenient. As of this moment I am using the old Android tablet that I had laying around with the Realdash app and it works great. It is highly customizable and displays everything that can be seen through canbus which is anything that the ECU can see essentially. That is basically a whole bunch!

    2. The factory radio location in this car sucks ass. It is buried behind the steering wheel and under the dash. It is barely visible and there is no chance of even installing a flip out screen or anything.

    3. I want to have a modernized dash with a nice screen similar to a modern vehicle. This car is a resto-mod after all. Old car with modern guts.

    4. I want to run the floor console and horse shoe shifter from the car that started all of this and trying to install the radio under the dash in the center will block the view of the console and Buick emblem. I do not want that.

    The Solution-

    If you have ever seen the holley or the autometer digital dash, they are pretty cool but Damned expensive! I live the look but I am not spending $1500-$2500 on a dash.



    Now I Love the look of both of those but fortunately for me, all I need is something that can communicate with the ECU to access everything. Well I already have that. I was thinking about actually buying a surface tablet to install in the car. That way I can tune the car on the go and have access to the gauges and data. But again we are back at spending over a grand and I dont even get a radio with it.



    Multiple Joying videos-

    If you know about them you know that there is a good following for their products. What I am going to do is purchase the skinny Joying radio which is about 9.4"wide x4.1" tall and use the removable face plate as my digital dash. The benefit of this is that is is a fraction of the cost of the Holley/Autometer units, it has radio, GPS, optical output, coax SPDIF output and looks absolutely great. It will install easily with an extension cable and allow me freedom to do alot more stuff. The Speedhut gauges that I was going to purchase will cost more that the headunit/dash. There is no Proprietary connectors used and I have the benefit of multiple USB inputs, reverse cam etc. It can be made to look like whatever you want.

    Now, The truth of the matter is that I will additionally be adding one of the bigger Joying head units to the dash in the modern radio location (center dash) but this skinnier unit would be specifically meant for gauges. You can barely beat the cost of this thing as a tablet purchase alone.

    An added benefit of installing the skinny Joying unit in the dash is ease of fabrication. There is only 1 cheap plastic panel that will need to be modified in order to make it fit. The black factory gauge surround simply clicks in and out. It can easily be reversed too. Just take the factory gauges out and a little minor fiberglass work to fit the screen. Mount the brain box aka the radio part somewhere within 3 feet of the dash and wire it up. There would be nothing blocking the view of the Joying unit and it will be shaded by the gauge overhang.

    More photos to follow....

    Stay tuned!!
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2021
  6. Norman Martin

    Norman Martin Well-Known Member


    I freaking love it!!
    Max Damage and FLGS400 like this.
  7. sean Buick 76

    sean Buick 76 Buick Nut

  8. Norman Martin

    Norman Martin Well-Known Member

    Well, I purchased my "Digital gauge cluster" today.
    After agonizing thought, I finally decided to purchase the smaller of the Joying wide format head units to use exactly as I am using the android tablet now. I will remove the factory gauges and modify the cluster surround to fit the 8.8 unit. I really wanted to fit the 10.25 model in there but it was just not worth the extra dash modification. I just might do more thinking on it in the future but for now, I am happy with my decision. For the moment, this will serve as the headunit (radio) and the gauges. I will have a superb signal to the future signal processor that will be used for the audio system. I will also have a backup cam that was purchased with the unit too. That will be nice since the mirrors on this thing are tiny and I usually cannot see crap.

    I also pulled the dash pad out of the car while doing all the measurements. I am still contemplating adding the large 10.1in Joying headunit here+> ( )to the center of the dash to serve as a dedicated Head unit. I know, two separate radios in the same car. Sounds goofy until you think of it as having the smaller radio as a gauge replacement and the bigger one as the infotainment center for the passengers. The cost of these units is so reasonable that it is not so burdensome on the pockets.

    I am having trouble figuring out when I am going to start really tearing the car apart since the weather is not so bad yet. I am really going to miss driving it this winter.

    In other news, I found the perfect shifter for the car. It seems that this company makes a replacement 6l80/6l90 horseshoe shifter that has built in tap shifting....It will 100% be getting installed into the factory console.
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2021
    FLGS400 likes this.
  9. Norman Martin

    Norman Martin Well-Known Member

    Change in plans again. I started fitting the Joying wide-screen in place it see how it fit and I did not like the idea based solely on the structure of the car. I have since purchased the bigger 10.1 screen after having found a way to fit it in front of the console and centered. I will be purchasing the speedhut gauges after all. Overall, I am happy with this change. I unboxed the Joying wide unit completely so it will be going back.

    This upgrade will give me way better resolution, a much bigger screen, symmetry and will require much less work to get it in there. It cost me about a hundred more though. Yolo. The new location will also be easier to retrofit any newer components in the event of equipment failure or future upgrades.
  10. Norman Martin

    Norman Martin Well-Known Member

    Yes, this is much better. Without turning this new Joying head unit on I can already tell that it is the better choice. The new proposed location will not distract much from the original console. It is out of the way. It will not require any permanent modification to the car to install either.

    It is a little bit of a reach but I can deal with that. 20211201_165556.jpg 20211201_165249.jpg 20211201_165238.jpg 20211201_165146.jpg
    FLGS400 likes this.
  11. Norman Martin

    Norman Martin Well-Known Member

    Wow. Those are the words I chose to describe this 10.1 Joying head unit. I hooked it up in the basement to play with it a bit and Wow! It is quick. It is a beautiful display. I am totally digging this thing. It is also super simple to figure out IMO. I cannot wait to try it with my DSP. I already found a hidden feature too. I hooked my USB Logitech mx master 3 mouse dongle up to the radio and almost instantly the cursor popped up. It works great and I am thinking running a track pad.

    I will get the thing installed asap and start installing some apps.

    Android auto testing worked great too. Very quick! I am glad I don't have the lagging of the big brand units. This thing is cool.

    The screen is leaps and bounds better than my old head units. Shiney, yes but very nice!
  12. Norman Martin

    Norman Martin Well-Known Member

    The Real dash app is confirmed to work. The ability to add any custom background is great. The video quality is sweet. About the only thing I do not 100% dig is the backup cam. I may not have it set correctly but the quality in the dark is kind of not too good. I can buy a different cam though.

    I made some modifications to my aluminum bracket that I am fabbing up for it and it now fits the car nicely. I should be able to install it pretty soon in its new home.

    Here are a few random pics of the bench testing.
    20211207_173055.jpg 20211207_173120.jpg 20211207_182012.jpg 20211207_180402.jpg 20211207_181558.jpg
    FLGS400 likes this.
  13. FLGS400

    FLGS400 Gold Level Contributor

    Wow... cool stuff!

    The stock back-up cam in my 2014 Chrysler 300 is way worse at night.
  14. Max Damage

    Max Damage I'm working on it!

    They usually use Infrared LED(s) to illuminate the area behind your car, but unless something is close, you won't see it.
  15. Norman Martin

    Norman Martin Well-Known Member

    Mine too but this one has some sort of a different issue. The image had like a blurred trail when I moved around. It might be a defective unit. For $25 I was not expecting anything great though.
  16. Norman Martin

    Norman Martin Well-Known Member

    I think I was supposed to hook up another wire now that I think about it. I will watch the setup video again.
  17. Norman Martin

    Norman Martin Well-Known Member

    Nice! I had to hook this bad boy temporarily up in the car. It boots up sooooooo fast. Key on and boom, it is on. The Obd2 port is now connected and works as expected. I will now start making the side beauty panels and running the wires to other stuff. I will take a drive tomorrow if I get everything all hooked up.

    20211209_185912.jpg 20211209_181439.jpg 20211209_181355.jpg 20211209_181357.jpg 20211209_181415.jpg
  18. Norman Martin

    Norman Martin Well-Known Member

    Here is a quick video of the speed of the bootup and snap into the Realdash app. Pretty quick if you ask me.

  19. Norman Martin

    Norman Martin Well-Known Member

    WOW...Boy do things take a turn sometimes. I have not updated this thread in a while simply because...I ain't worked on it! I mean, I have been doing some small stuff but I was supposed to be really ripping into the car by now. There is a really simple reason though....I HATE WINTER! It is so miserable working on stuff in this area when you do not have a suitable space. My garage is basically just adequate as it is but the Regal is so long that I barely have space to get to the other side. I wanted to have alot done by now but it is just too cold. I do not want to run my heater all winter because that really added up last year. I may just have to grit it out and work in the cold though. I have a ton of metal work to get through.

    I really need a lift too. I want to do all kinds of work underneath too but laying on the floor upside down gets pretty old.

    Well, that is it. There will be some pics of interior changes coming soon. I have been working but just not much.
    Max Damage, FLGS400 and DaWildcat like this.
  20. FLGS400

    FLGS400 Gold Level Contributor

    I would hold off on any body related metal work until it warms up. In my experience, fillers, primers, paints, etc. work better when the ambient temperature is warmer. I wouldn't want to do a bunch of rust repair, only to have it surface rust again, by the time it warms up outside.
    Max Damage likes this.

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