Thread Number: 42182  /  Tag: Other Home Products or Autos
My dream car found, The 1985 Pontiac Firebird!
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Post# 444291   8/1/2021 at 10:10 (600 days old) by thevacuumman (Borger, TX)        

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I bought this 1985 Pontiac Firebird off of a coworker for $250! It has no motor or transmission, but the body is in decent shape other than the paint and some dings and dents! It does have quite a bit of work that needs to be done before Iím ready for the power train though. More than likely Iím going to start rebuilding the front end since Iíll more than likely be replacing the K member so I have the clearance to swap in a 5.3L V8 out of a newer Silverado. Itís going to be a long road ahead getting this car back on the road, but Iím so happy to have another F Body car!

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Post# 444309 , Reply# 1   8/1/2021 at 16:20 (599 days old) by human (Pines of Carolina)        

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That sounds like quite a project. It'll definitely take a lot a work. It's not nearly as easy as they make it look on those TV shows, especially tricking the computers into thinking they're still installed in the vehicle for which it was intended. Good luck with it, though.

Post# 444341 , Reply# 2   8/2/2021 at 00:03 (599 days old) by thevacuumman (Borger, TX)        

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It will be a big project for sure, but fortunately my best friend had done this to his 1991 Camaro Z28 so Iíve got somebody whoís been there and done that with this kind of swap. The way I look at it and the way my wife has told me is Iíve got nothing but time to get it back on the road. I just know itíll be a fun journey especially since my brother, and best friend are going to help me get it going once more!

Post# 444410 , Reply# 3   8/3/2021 at 19:46 (597 days old) by Brando_husky (Las Vegas Nevada)        

Nice find! Looks like a good project. I've got to get to working on all of mine some day hah

Post# 444414 , Reply# 4   8/3/2021 at 23:06 (597 days old) by Lesinutah (Utah)        

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A Silverado motor and not a newer LS1 motor?
I always wanted one of this gen but that never happened.

Post# 444435 , Reply# 5   8/4/2021 at 22:27 (596 days old) by MadMan (Chicago, IL, USA)        

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Yay! Project car!

Post# 444441 , Reply# 6   8/5/2021 at 12:59 (596 days old) by thevacuumman (Borger, TX)        

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It honestly depends on what I can find when I hit the wrecking yard. H&H over in Amarillo has Engine & Transmission combos with the wiring harness and ECM for $1200 with a 90 Day Warranty. A LS1 will be ideal but I will be open to going with a truck motor if I canít find one when the time comes. Whatever I do get will be pulled apart to check for wear and Iíll freshen up the motor if thereís not excessive wear to be found. I intend on making this where I can daily drive it if I wanted to and make it a little more exciting to drive than going back with a 305 that this car originally left the factory with.

Post# 444456 , Reply# 7   8/5/2021 at 22:52 (595 days old) by Lesinutah (Utah)        

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The 5.0 v8s with there low geared rear end aren't ideal.
I was thinking of going with fuel injection. I'm not sure if this is fuel injected.
I do really like the color and body style.

Post# 444500 , Reply# 8   8/7/2021 at 10:13 (594 days old) by midcenturyfan (Kings Lynn, Norfolk, England)        

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I have always liked the 3rd Gen Firebird and Camaro. They are good looking cars, with fantastic potential for performance and handling.

There should be plenty of information and parts available to build it to whatever spec you want.

I look forward to seeing progress reports.


Post# 446505 , Reply# 9   9/26/2021 at 06:36 (544 days old) by kirbyklekter (Concord,Ca.)        
Can you tell me

With installing completely different motors in a car, what do you have to do to get the car passed when DMV sends you the notice for smog inspection? I'm sure it's easier in Texas than here in Cali. Do they use the standard for testing that car model or the different engine's specs? Always wanted to know when I see "street legal" engine swapped cars on the road. Good luck, you have a good attitude and I hope the project isn't as daunting as I think it could be. Can't wait to see the results!

Post# 446555 , Reply# 10   9/26/2021 at 23:43 (543 days old) by Lesinutah (Utah)        

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Your car is over 25 years old it's considered a classic. Classic cars have to pass safety. I believe if th we car came without seat belts stock you don't have sea belts in it.
When I was in California over a week ago I seen toyogS, electric cars and hot rods.
They had a big car show and people were doing the. To the car show.
Everything in California is so bad exhaust fumes which causes alot of cancers like 6 systems. When inhaled you'd look like the mutants off the hills have eyes.

Post# 446623 , Reply# 11   9/28/2021 at 12:31 (542 days old) by human (Pines of Carolina)        

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The law in North Carolina requires emissions inspections for vehicles 1996 and newer. That was the year that OBDII electronics became the standard across all makes. The emissions testing equipment used in most (maybe all) states that do emissions testing gathers necessary data from the vehicle's computers via the OBDII port. That would make it impossible to test a 1985 model car in its stock configuration but I would assume that if the new engine came from a post-1996 vehicle, you would have to at least partially retrofit the Firebird with OBDII for the engine to run, essentially tricking it into thinking it's in a different vehicle, which is a special can of worms all on its own. The big question is whether the vehicle maintains its exemption because of its model year or loses it because it now has OBDII and presumably therefore can be tested. It might be worthwhile to check with a local inspection station or even California DMV's Web site as there is bound to be an official policy on this for custom vehicles.

Post# 446639 , Reply# 12   9/28/2021 at 20:52 (541 days old) by suckolux (Yuba City, CA)        

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Les, sometimes your posts have me scratching my head, or wondering if you maybe have a different sense of humor but nothing more. Your post on California is just being blatently offensife! Not sure I will keep an open mind when you are out of step with your furture posts.

Post# 446674 , Reply# 13   9/30/2021 at 00:23 (540 days old) by huskyvacs (Gnaw Bone, Indiana)        

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Borger, Texas is part of Hutchinson County, which like the entirety of the Texas panhandle, does not do inspections. Only 17 counties in Texas have inspections. Hutchinson is not one of them.

The laws vary from state to state but in general the DMV does not like engine/chassis swaps on a VIN. You have to fill out a lot of paperwork that requires you to prove with hard documentation and photo evidence that you did not steal or illegally acquire the parts. Some states do not check for engine replacements/serial numbers, but in any case the car is classified with a salvage/rebuilt title and will always show that plus the mileage discrepancy on the title. If trying to flip the car for resale, you will always get buyers shying away from titles like that because they do not know what monkeys have monkeyed around with the car unless they can blatantly see its a custom and is a weekend toy.

Some info on what the TxDOT looks for and their regulations on motor swapping (all parts that came with the newer motor must remain with it)

To the people from California - OP doesn't live in California. The rest of the USA is not government controlled, you are free to drive what you want and not have to have the Stasi ask for your papers ever time you take your car out on the road. ;-)

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Post# 446684 , Reply# 14   9/30/2021 at 15:15 (539 days old) by kirbyklekter (Concord,Ca.)        
Boy Howdy

While reading this thread I was thinking it's a good thing he's in Texas. I have cousins in San Antonio who have modded out their engines in ways I could probably never do in California. Cars produced before 1976 are exempt from emissions testing I'm told in Ca.

Before testing began you could swap out engines all day long and no big deal, unless you were a car dealer, even then it wasn't a big deal. I had to register a couple cars I've owned to another county just 30 miles away to pass the inspection. Each county has their own set of rules. Some had no inspection required but those are getting hard to find. Population density plays in to the equation.

High test is just under 5.00 a gal.

@Les, I'm sorry you didn't enjoy your visit. California is a beautiful state and there are still a lot of really good people living here, despite what you see or hear on the news. With 26 million people living here there's a lot going on. I'm a native and love it here, I'd be hard pressed to live anywhere else.

Post# 446694 , Reply# 15   9/30/2021 at 21:02 (539 days old) by MadMan (Chicago, IL, USA)        

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In Illinois, again, only some counties require inspections. Even then, only for 1996 and newer. The reason for that is that owning and maintaining emissions testing equipment AND keeping employees trained in using them, is VERY expensive. 1996 and newer OBDII cars don't need any test equipment, they ARE the test equipment, and all tests are performed constantly while driving. All the inspections people do is ask your car if it's passed its own tests. A really good system - until you realize that a car manufacturer's software programmers could quite easily cheat the system, as Volkswagen did with their diesel cars lol.

Anyway, if your car is 95 or older, you can pretty much do whatever to it and nobody will ask no questions. I mean, you might get pulled over for having a loud exhaust, but that's about it.

Post# 446817 , Reply# 16   10/5/2021 at 00:17 (535 days old) by Lesinutah (Utah)        

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I loved my trip.and I love california. I was being rhetorical as california laws on car emissions is strict.
My mother iaw said "there isn't many junker cars here." I said there cost of living is higher so a more expensive vehicle for us is like us having cars not as expensive. I also mentioned cali if your car pollutes or runs bad you can't drive it. I'm pretty sure cali will only allow electric cars. I pulled up next to a high end tesla 0-60 in 3 seconds. It was sweet.
But yes I love cali and the beach in Oceanside favorite location in the world.

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