This early summer I got a few things tidied up with the Trans Am.
Gauge cluster repaired, replaced headlight switch, back to white lights
Three things that have been driving me crazy, that my factory tachometer doesn’t work, the odometer portion of my speedometer was not recording anything, and the red LED lighting is not as bright as I hoped.
I tested white LEDs in a spare cluster I had in the house and found the white LEDs reflected better off of the factory light blue than the red LEDs were reflecting off the red reflective paint I used in my cluster. I then proceeded to take apart my cluster and painted the inside with a gloss white paint.
While I had the cluster apart I swapped out the speedometer with a 160 mph speedometer from a 1973 Firebird I picked up at a swap meet this March and I swapped out the tachometer from the spare cluster. I then found the clock from the spare cluster was broken, which lead me to take apart the cluster again to delicately swap the clock portion only. Replacing the clock on a 79-81 is not an easy task, you have to remove all of the needles from the clock and the tachometer in order to safely remove the clock. I also painted the inside of the fuel volt meter gauges with the same gloss white.
While I had the dash apart I replaced the headlight switch and replaced the printed circuit behind the cluster with a new one.
The results are fantastic, the tachometer matched the reading from my 2″ AutoMeter tach.
The speedometer is now recording miles as well and the speedometer needle is very accurate and no longer twitchy. While I took the old speedometer out, I discovered the gear that runs the odometer was broken, which explains why the odometer was not recording.
Exhaust system tweaks
Since I got the Pypes system installed, one of the most annoying problems with the exhaust has been the drone noise in the car caused by the X pipe. This drone was not there when I had their X pipe system paired to factory log manifolds with a mildly built engine. Last spring I had the motor gone over by Don from DCI Motorsports. He converted the motor to a roller cam, increased compression by shaving more off of my heads and also ported the heads. With the upgrade I decided to switch to Factory Ram Air 3 style exhaust manifolds, they are comparable to shorty headers except they are cast iron. Though These modifications I am sure caused the droning sound, it was unbearable.
I also had some clearance issues with the pipes over the axles, no matter how I lined them up they were hitting the bottom of the car.
One other issue was with the down pipes. I had put them on the wrong sides. I was unaware at the time that the shift linkage needed the pipes to toe-in (for lack of a better description). I’ve seen pictures of folks installing the downpipes both ways, so I assumed it did not matter, until it came time to button up the linkage with my steering column.
In May I finally had all these issues fixed at a local muffler shop. While they had the down pipes off the car, I also had them add Oxygen sensor bongs. They did a decent job. One of the down pipes is a little lower than I would have linked, but otherwise the system is no longer hitting against the bottom of the car around the axle, and I was able to utilize the bongs this August!
Speedometer cable swap to non-cruise cable
I decided I will no longer worry about hooking up the factory cruise control. I was looking at some aftermarket systems that install much clear in the engine bay as well as not require engine vacuum to work. I removed the transducer
Shift linkage adjusted
With the down pipes now positioned currently, I now have my shift linkage tied to my steering column adjusted correctly. I can now put the car in park without tapping the steering column! 🙂
Coming in August and September
MSD 6AL2 Programmable (purchased over the winter), AEM Air Fuel gauge, and FiTech Go EFI 4 with fuel command center.