Project Trans Am – Month 27, Brakes, Firewall and Rear Axle

Another busy month with the Trans Am, progress is slow but steady. Below is an outline of everything that has been happening since in June, 2012.

Firewall

I got a little further with the firewall, installing the cowl vents and the wiper motor. I’m not as pleased with the paint I picked for the wiper motor cover, I may re-spray that with black, but otherwise everything is looking pretty good up front.

Gas Tank

I got the old gas tank out of the car! From reading the online forums this sounded like it could be a difficult job. Come to find out, it was easy and all the preparation I did to catch the tank from falling was needless. The tank didn’t even have a quart of gas left in it, making the tank super light.

I have a new gas tank that will be going back in, should be a pretty simple install. I’m going to leave the tank out of the car until I am done working on the rear axle and brakes. I may even hang the rear portion of the exhaust before I install the tank.

Rear Axle

Before I install the rear disc brakes I decided to inspect and change the oil in the rear axle differential. While inspecting it I noticed the passenger side axle had a bit too much movement up and down and side to side, an indication that the bearings may be worn. While I had the cover off of the axle, I took the axle shafts out to inspect the bearings. To my dismay, the axle shafts have serious damage where the bearings chewed up the axle. Unfortunately the axle shafts and bearings need replaced before I can go any further. I rented a rear axle bearing puller slide hammer from the local auto parts store and removed the old bearings. I assumed this would be hard to do, but actually they both came out quite easily.

I ordered a set of Moser 28 spine axle shafts with new bearings, seals and c-clips. This last weekend I got the axle ends painted, I figured this is the chance to paint them without the axle shafts in the way. Once I get the axle re-assembled and filled with fresh limited slip additive and 80W90 gear oil, I’ll paint the pumpkin (axle center) and axle shafts up to the axle ends with the same Eastwood Chassis black.  Then I can finish installing the rear brakes!


Brakes

Not much has changed with the brakes this month. I got the remaining emergency brake lines off and repainted the e-brake brackets for the rear wheel wells. The Emergency brake lever was not ratcheting correctly, so  I started looking for a replacement and researched if I could repair it by adding a spring. I decided I would try to fix it, which lead to cleaning and lubricating it with a touch of white lithium grease on the spring mechanism, which to my excitement brought the emergency brake lever back to life. This was the easiest restoration so far! Lesson learned, clean and lube before trying to fix. 🙂

Pontiac Nationals

This last weekend I went to the Pontiac Nationals in Norwalk, OH. I got to watch some drag racing, purchase some odds and ends from vendors, and hit the swap meet. I picked up a 78′ front bumper all the reinforcement fiberglass in tact, as well as some sail panels, T-top interior panels and a cut open shaker scoop. I made out pretty well at the show, though I did not find any 70-78 wheel flares which were at the top of my list. I may have to buy reproductions, we’ll keep an eye on eBay in the mean time.

What’s Next

Hopefully August will be very productive and we’ll see the firewall finished, rear axle and brakes done, and the engine top end assembled.  September may just be the month this car get’s back on the road! I’m so confident I just ordered the exhaust system. 🙂