🔧 BUILD Quarter Life Crisis. It's a thing. v.GN

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Your highest dreams will not come true overnight, and even if they do your life will never be perfect. It took me way too long to realize that, but this car was the expensive lesson I needed to get me there. Let me explain.

I've been a Buick fanatic nearly my whole life. Being the owner of a show quality intercooled Grand National race car was a life goal of mine. After being fed up with an overly ambitious restoration project that wasn't even Buick bodied nor powered I dropped everything and gave up. The project got parted out, and I started shopping for something better. I couldn't afford a good Buick yet, so I looked for something I could fix up and flip. Meet Nacho!

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I had always had a little thing for El Caminos and I picked this beauty was only $3800. It ran like complete garbage, but it was completely rust-free! I thought that fixing the obvious vacuum leak would make this an easy $5000 car.

I brought it home and immediately removed the carb. Some goof put a spread-bore to square-bore adapter between the stock intake and quadra-jet.

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Score! I didn't want to fall in love with it, so I started taking it to cruise nights with a for sale sign in it. I even tried to road trip it home to Lisle, but I didn't make it far.

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I was about to stop for gas when I noticed white smoke rolling out behind me. I knew I was not going to make it, so I turned around. I knew it was officially game over when I heard a loud pop and saw a big splash hit the windshield. Only I would blow a head gasket and pop the radiator hose on a stock low output 305. :rolleyes: A tow truck got me the rest of the way home.

I wasn't taking a lot of pictures of my work back then, but here's a little taste of my first major start to finish engine repair!

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I had always wondered why the car ran so consistently rough and painfully slow, but I figured that was just the 305 life. As it turned out, this POS had terribly mismatched heads! One side was stock, and the other side had some kind of large chamber 350 head with a 305 gasket. The fact that it ran without blowing the head gasket for as long as it did was a miracle, but I was not happy about blowing the flip.

After scoring some very cheap ebay reman. heads, painting a few parts, and slamming it all together I got serious about selling. Within a couple days, I sold it to a very motivated buyer for $5100. After the purchase, tires, engine repairs, plates, and insurance, I made $200. Those were not the profits I wanted, but a profit nonetheless. Nothing ever goes exactly as planned.

Once again, I was without a project and still without a Buick. Depression resumed. I started my search for the "perfect" 30 year old car. Not wanting another basket case, but also not wanting to get hosed, I turned to the family friend who got me into Buicks in the first place. He helped me find "the one". Here I am in 2016 about to drive a Grand National and call it my own for the first time in my life.

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...Now the real story begins.

v6buicks

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It rained Saturday morning, but the weather cleared up and racing resumed.
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Although we missed qualifying, none was required for the all inclusive bracket racing. Buddy dialed into B1.
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This was a great way to end the week. He got three personal best E.T.s in a row and won third place in B1. He was a bit rattled by being lined up with John Stevens (probably the most consistent Buick racecar in existence) and lit the red. Oh well. We all left with smiles on our faces.

My chariot awaiting.
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I wasn't about to stick around another night with a pregnant wife at home. I barreled up 65 and got home around midnight.

...but a Buick trip isn't complete without one last kick in the dick right?

Oh well.

Nothing critical broke, but the car wasn't ready for this trip either. It randomly decides to run pretty lean to the point where the car falls on its face, pops, and displays a lot of KR. I don't know what's up with that. I'm going to change the fuel filter just because I never have, and make some logs. This is still a very fun and successful trip though. I sold both Powermasters and my DIY diagnostic tools, so I'm all-in on vacuum brakes. I also sold the original intake manifold, crappy MAF pipe, Racetronix 255, old gauge pod, ATR scoop, and a bunch of other miscellaneous crap. That was enough cash (and free space in my trunk) to score a brand new Pypes exhaust system! :love: A swap meet vendor had it in his hoard and ended up selling it to me for about $100 less than if I had to have it shipped from JEGS. I also picked up a used 3" 304 stainless test pipe/cutout from Brian Lorenz's tent so that I can get obnoxious.
 

v6buicks

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Automotive inspiration was rekindled and the clock is ticking again. The GN doesn't run right and the AC leaked out, but the power antenna actually takes a small priority. I need a way to get a cover on the car and the antenna is stuck up.

For such a simple part, this job is a bitch! The videos online make it look easy but I swear my body was slapped together on a Friday. The fender didn't come off without a serious yank and putting it back on without warping or kinking it took a lot of strategy.
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Hopefully the tape was enough to not beat the fuck out of my paint while unbolting the screws in the door jam. At least I know what I'm up against when I get to toss the rebuilt antenna goes back in.
 

sktchy

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All the swapping panels and doors I do at work, and having close friends in auto body, and I still never stop to think to tape things like that to keep from scratching the shit out of them. Maybe now that I've seen you do it I'll remember to next time :rofl:
 

v6buicks

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I got my shit together and cleared a space out for the GN to come home again. The car show for work is coming up again, and I want to store the car at home this winter.
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I started making attempts on this bullshit again.
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Gross
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After a lot of cleaning, relubrication with white lithium grease, trying my best to hook in a new steel cable from The Parts Place, and sealing the top with RTV, I smashed it back together.
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My pop rivet gun doesn't do 1/4" rivets so I used some bolts instead.
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I plugged it into the connector on the car and got nothing.... Then I turned the key and turned the radio on and heard a clunk. I turned the radio back off and heard another clunk. Damn it!

I've heard these things are tricky to get right, and that I'll need to modify my new cable a little bit. This thing just operates on limit switches so there's no homing or calibration process. It should have retracted as soon as I plugged the thing in. I'll pull it apart and give it another shot. If it still doesn't work I'll send it out to somebody. I just won't have the car in one piece for the show. :/
 

v6buicks

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I went back in with a clear mind, and looked closer at the details.
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Old on left new on right. That's obviously not the same, but not really a big problem either. As long as the end is wedged and the cable has a valley to spool up, it's good to go. I shortened the hook a little.

Then I found this.

The housing is supposed to center the stator as you clamp the halves together, but I had no way of knowing that it was happening or not. I tested this with a little cardboard spacer.
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I must have warped my case while tearing it apart, because this made the antenna work again.
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Now to tear it apart one more time and seal it up for real.
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I used a little RTV to glue the spacer in place, sealed the edges, and retested. It still works, so I'm calling this a win! Now I have two nights to install this MFer. Let's hope I can make it halfway presentable without breaking anything.
 

v6buicks

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Just kidding!

This mini project really put things into perspective. It wasn't fun, and it wasn't worth trying to save a few bucks and learn by doing it myself. I witnessed this mast go up and down on its own, tried to install it, and realized that it would be easier to line the antenna with the mast up. When I powered it up and turned the radio on all I got was clunk. :mad::mad::mad:
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The car is here at the work car show with a hole in fender. Oh well I guess. I did at least figure out the tight fender issue, so I shouldn't have that problem anymore. I found a guy who has supposedly been rebuilding G-body antennas with even better cables than the one I bought for a long a time. A couple guys recommended him, but I'm wigged out by the fact that he only accepts Zelle and money orders. He says he stopped accepting paypal when they started issuing 1099s. Fair I guess, but also sketchy.

What would you do?
 

sktchy

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And I'm pretty sure zelle is a PayPal thing in itself? So yeah that does sound sketch. Just use Venmo and PayPal like the rest of us and the 1099 doesn't matter as long as your truthful with the rest of it. I don't see what the big deal about the online 1099s are it's no different then when a company you do work for sends you one and it doesn't hurt anybody unless they're tryin to do shit under the table. That's what cash is for and you damn well don't do it on stuff where your selling a product.
 

v6buicks

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The car is at the show with a hole in it as we speak. Lol

Venmo is PayPal. Zelle is its own thing. The 1099 thing is a big deal when you make a lot of money off PayPal sales. Fuck that. IMO he's not getting rich and really just a guy making a consensual transaction with another adult. The government can keep their hands to themselves.

...but every scammer wants Zelle or money order. I asked a couple of my G-body buddies in the Chicago area if they had heard of this guy. Hopefully it's fine.

Not welding it shut. I like my tunes, my power antenna, and the car's original character. I would consider it if I knew the whole car was getting painted soon, but I honestly don't think it'll ever happen. I think the power antenna is cool when it's not bent to hell and actually works. lol
 

v6buicks

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Didn't get many pictures this year. Awards were cool. Best in show was awarded a trophy made out of scraps in the building. Fucker probably weighs 50lbs.
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I'm very happy with how the fender lines up now. I ended up tweaking a couple flanges and that was all it took for the fender to slide in and out like it should. Not sure what caused it to be such trouble in the first place, but it doesn't matter now. Even with a hole in the fender and forgetting my spray detailer at home, I got first place for 1973 and up! A little hardware is a nice reward for spending the night waxing and polishing.
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I loved this 240Z. I wish I could have gotten a picture of the engine bay. It was sharp.
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My buddy's polished '69 RE got first place in the motorcycle class.
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It feels nice to not have anymore "deadlines". After doing a little research, I ended up sending my antenna and a money order to that guy in Crystal Lake. A bunch of people seem to recommend his service in the Buick groups and he sells a bunch of stuff in the Oldsmobile groups without drama. I'm sure it'll be okay.
 

sktchy

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Congrats on taking home some hardware man!

I still say the 1099 thing isn't a big deal unless your tryin to do shit under the table though and putting a money order into the bank doesn't seem very under the table unless dude just cashes it out and gets on lol. Maybe that's just me not wanting to get accidentally shot by an irs agent tho :rofl:
 

v6buicks

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Grand National and Camaro status: toilet

Mice are pissing and shitting all the fuck over the place, and it's pissing me off. It's the first time I've had this much of a problem and of course it's the year I decide to keep the Buick home from storage. I have to give the GN a spray detail every few days. I've caught and killed 5 mice this week, but the traps seem to be no match for my warm garage with with tasty wires and big gaps in the door.

I now have a pack of moth balls next to all the possible points of entry. Hopefully that does something. Drier sheets went inside both cars because I've heard that works. Luckily I haven't seen any evidence of mice inside the GN yet, but the Camaro looks like the grounds at Woodstock. 🤢 I'll probably look into building a self resetting bucket trap because glue traps are going to get expensive at this rate.

Anyway, that's happening, and I hope it stops soon. Wife was willing to hold on to the baby for a few hours while I got some stuff done. I was tired of dreading the power antenna installation, so knocked that out. What a terrible job. Even now that I sorta know the tricks, it's still a bitch.

I'm happy that it works and that it's done. I'm not 100% happy with the result though. I think the guy who rebuilt it for me made the cable a few inches too short. To be honest, I can't remember how far up the original went, but I want to say it was quite a bit more than this. It's still taller than the roofline when fully extended so hopefully it doesn't hurt reception.
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As you can see, the mast for some reason doesn't center in the hole either. I don't know if it's bent or what, but I'm ready to move on. I'm done dicking with it until it breaks again.
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I pulled less than a full car length out of the garage and heard stations coming in pretty fuzzy. I won't be happy if it doesn't clear up more when I take the car out further, but I wasn't going to play musical cars just to find out.

I've spent too much time and money on this, so I'm ready to say it's good enough. Once I have the radio rebuilt with a Bluetooth receiver, this antenna stuff should be mostly for show anyway. Once spring rolls around, it will be time to install the new body bushings and exhaust.
 

v6buicks

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A Delco upgrader/rebuilder told me he was going to have this bad boy for sale soon so I put down a deposit.
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It's a correct UX1 option stereo for my '86 Buick which is not very easy to stumble on. It will be cleaned up and updated with Bluetooth and new parts as needed.

This guy has the best approach imo because everything will function and appear factory. The tape deck amplifier is not sacrificed for Bluetooth so it will still work. 👍 There also aren't any added switches or gaudy LEDs to make it happen. Super cool.

What blows is I still need at least one new speaker, and of course it's a 10 ohm system. There used to be a company that made a complete Concert Sound 2 speaker set with the correct impedance, but they aren't taking new orders. If anybody knows of a company that rebuilds or at least recones old Delco speakers I'd love a link.
 

Jimy Bilmo

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A Delco upgrader/rebuilder told me he was going to have this bad boy for sale soon so I put down a deposit.
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It's a correct UX1 option stereo for my '86 Buick which is not very easy to stumble on. It will be cleaned up and updated with Bluetooth and new parts as needed.

This guy has the best approach imo because everything will function and appear factory. The tape deck amplifier is not sacrificed for Bluetooth so it will still work. 👍 There also aren't any added switches or gaudy LEDs to make it happen. Super cool.

What blows is I still need at least one new speaker, and of course it's a 10 ohm system. There used to be a company that made a complete Concert Sound 2 speaker set with the correct impedance, but they aren't taking new orders. If anybody knows of a company that rebuilds or at least recones old Delco speakers I'd love a link.
Can Lord Tin Foilhat Lord Tin Foilhat make you something?
 

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