My Boss Lady's 2002 Trans Am Collector Edition!

Discussion in 'Build Ups & Projects' started by g36 monkey, Oct 10, 2017.

  1. g36 monkey

    g36 monkey Moderator Staff SN95 Supporter

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    Alright so we’ve been busy doing stuff with the house, but in the interim the boss and I were on the hunt for a new addition to the garage. It’s something she’s always wanted and something I’ve been particularly interested in myself.

    So, the search began for a 98-02 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am WS6.

    We test drove a 2000, but it was a bit of a wreck and the guy refused to move on the price. He was pretty interesting. He was really excited about how clean the oil was in his car, and repeatedly pulled the dipstick and wiped it off with his fingers. Any time we would address another issue with the vehicle; be it cosmetic or something not working properly, he would return to the dipstick and point out just how clean the oil was. No problem, he didn’t need her money.

    The next car we looked at was a 2002 Collector Edition. These were the last Firebirds to ever roll off the factory line from what we understand. The car is in incredible shape. No cracked dash, the seats are in great shape, carpet, etc.

    The guy we bought it from bought it approximately a year ago, but had not ever registered it or driven it. He said he just parked it and put some Sta-Bil in there. As such, he was not necessarily aware of any issues aside from a squeak on the passenger side, but based on how clean everything was and the overall condition of the car, she knew it was the one.

    Bought the car, brought it home and the boss has been ecstatic.

    On the way home the service engine light came on. Codes PO154, PO300, PO135 and PO155. Basically O2 sensor codes, a random misfire code, and a “powertrain†code. Meh.

    Further inspection of the “random†misfire (using the Torque app and a Bluetooth scanner) showed that all the cylinders missed occasionally, but number six missed a LOT.

    So, here’s what we’ve done so far… There will be more pics to follow:

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    This was us looking at the car. The big guy is our body who has owned about 2 dozen F-Bodies, and the Boss made an appearance.

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    First picture I took of it in our driveway!

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    Couple engine pics. Sorry it was dark out!

    So, first day I had to get to work. On the drive home (in the dark) we noticed the passenger side headlight and fog-light were out, and the pop up headlight rode up on the hood on the driver’s side so it would not open all the way. Pop ups are a huge pain but so cool at the same time.

    So, first thing was replacing the passenger bulbs, and then adjusting the driver’s light assembly:

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    Yay working lights and brights!!

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    Yay working fog lights too! All the lights need to be aimed, but right now we were looking for function first. Finesse later.

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    The rain kept interrupting our plans.

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    Next step was getting the brakes done. I knew there was a brake related noise and we needed to address it. I got the rotors all taped up. I usually do this and paint them black so they don’t get all rusty. In the future we can upgrade to better pads and rotors, for now we needed something on the car.

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    You can tell it’s been sitting. Look at these weird egg things.

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    Got the pads out; and just take a look at old to new. Every single pad was pretty much down to the metal. My guess is the guy who sold it to the guy we bought it from, did one serious burnout before selling it. That and it’s possible they were original pads at 125k. They were GONE needless to say.

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    Here’s the brake fluid that came out. It could still probably take some more flushing, but for now I am sure what we did is better than what was in there. I will be able to do a better job with some speed bleeders in place. They were out of stock and brakes were a huge priority.

    While the car was up for the brakes I got under it to see just what kind of exhaust it had, because I knew it was throaty. Turns out it has long tube headers back to straight pipes. No cats, no mufflers, no resonators, just pipe. It does some weird bendy stuff by the axle but I guess that is probably normal on these cars. WOOT!

    Next I went ahead and got the fuel filter changed. Figured I couldn’t go wrong with an AC Delco filter, and it probably needed some love:

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    This is the fuel from the filter. NICE!

    Next on the agenda were the spark plugs. I have always heard the old fable of how terribly impossible these plugs are to do. I guess not having EGR and having LT headers made it really easy? I am not sure. The plugs were a breeze, did the first 7 from the top and number 8 from the bottom. The ones that came out were Autolite Iridiums. Well, seven of them were. Number 8 (the one everyone cries about) was a factory AC Delco. NICE! All of the plugs were gapped over 60, besides the AC Delco which was at 40. I put NGK TR5 plugs in and they were all gapped at 40 and I used an untold amount of ant seize. Some pics:

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    I am not an expert on reading spark plugs, but they all looked about the same. I think it’s probably running well?

    None of the wires appeared to be burned through or anything, which is a plus! MSD wires will be going on when they get here with some dielectric grease. Getting the old wires off was not easy, so that should help.

    Next on the agenda are the O2 sensors. I ordered Denso sensors because that is apparently all the AC Delco sensors are.

    We ordered O2 extensions just in case the new sensors are not long enough for the headers. Someone put in sensors with about 18 feet of cable and it’s all bundled up under the car. No thanks.

    I will also be doing an oil change and adding a Fumoto valve on the pan to preserve the threads and make oil changes even easier.

    Hopefully all of these little things will clear up the codes and make it so I feel comfortable with her out driving around reliably!

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    Hoping to have it on the rollers this weekend at a car show to see what it puts down!

    Future plans:

    Probably keeping it mostly stock because it is the collector’s edition, but we can play that by ear.

    Tie rods will probably go soon. It would not surprise me if the clutch is going to need an overhaul soon. If it does, we may let someone rebuild the T56 and beef it up a bit.

    The passenger window motor is on its way out, but that’s a huge issue with these cars so I expect that.

    I discovered today that the door key holes are not the same as the ignition, we will need to either re-key them all the same, or at least get door keys for when the remote does not cooperate.

    The speakers are pretty much blown. Eventually we will probably just replace them, no crazy system or anything.

    So, that’s where we’re at. Hope you guys like it!
     
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  2. 96blak54

    96blak54 Well-Known Member

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    I like it!

    Guy i work with has a perfect low mileage black ws6.....wished you'd had said something. He has been trying to sell it.

    Granted i like the yellow! Dont see many.

    Sent from my SM-G900P using Tapatalk
     
  3. ForcFed93

    ForcFed93 Well-Known Member

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    I've got a friend locally who's an F-Body collector. He's got a 1999 T/A 30th Anniversary, a 2002 CETA, and a 2002 35th SS. All are mint and all are low mileage.

    I've only had one 4th gen and it was a 1993 Z28. I didn't like it at all so I was never interested in any 4th gen from that point on.
     
  4. g36 monkey

    g36 monkey Moderator Staff SN95 Supporter

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    Kentucky would have been a bit of a haul for us. This car was about an hour away, and it's a Collector Edition so we like that about it :)

    They have their quirks but I can already see why people rave about the LS. It's a good motor.
     
  5. ForcFed93

    ForcFed93 Well-Known Member

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    Oh I know. I was thoroughly impressed with the LS3 in my old 1LE Camaro. So much so that I've considered the swap on my Cobra...
     
  6. BMAC96GT

    BMAC96GT Well-Known Member

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    Nice pickup. Really don't know much about these cars but I do know they're pretty stout. Didn't know they came with a T56....nice
     
  7. evilcw311

    evilcw311 Well-Known Member

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    Hey, I was just in your neck of the woods and could of brought that car for ya from Kentucky!!!! Lol

    Sucks I got sick and plans got changed while we were down last week. Otherwise I’d of loved to of seen that beast in person!!! :)


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  8. 97stanger

    97stanger Well-Known Member

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    Nice! I'm partial to WS6's as well. My bro has a black 99 WS6 with a lot of work done to them. Very rare to see them on the streets anymore. Keep it up!
     
  9. g36 monkey

    g36 monkey Moderator Staff SN95 Supporter

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    Yep, those, the 03 cobras, corvettes and vipers.

    Was wondering what happened! I was hoping to meet up! Next time!

    They are definitely not on the street as much as they were in their prime! So far it's actually been pretty simple to work on too.
     
  10. 96blak54

    96blak54 Well-Known Member

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    Pretty simple to work on is questionable. Let us know when you change the sparkplugs...lol.

    Ok, honestly i dont know, but ive helped friends with older 95,98 camaros and it was a pain! Im assuming the platform is still the same with your car.

    Sent from my SM-G900P using Tapatalk
     
  11. g36 monkey

    g36 monkey Moderator Staff SN95 Supporter

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    See the first post. I already did it, and it was a breeze lol.
     
  12. Poisoned Pony

    Poisoned Pony Well-Known Member

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    soooooo, when is it gonna get a cam? lol Nice pickup!
     
  13. g36 monkey

    g36 monkey Moderator Staff SN95 Supporter

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    Probably not going to do a cam lol. It's all up to the boss. I think we agree that if the LS1 poops out, it probably needs and LS3, and maybe mild H/C/I but we will see lol
     
  14. BMAC96GT

    BMAC96GT Well-Known Member

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    How much power can the LS1 shortblock hold?


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  15. g36 monkey

    g36 monkey Moderator Staff SN95 Supporter

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    I have not seen a definitive answer. I know some people have pushed them over 1k, but Idk how long that lasts.
     
  16. g36 monkeys wifey

    g36 monkeys wifey Well-Known Member

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    A couple exhaust videos...

    [video=youtube_share;l1OaxIqrK0c]https://youtu.be/l1OaxIqrK0c[/video]

    [video=youtube_share;F4gyVsfqxvs]https://youtu.be/F4gyVsfqxvs[/video]
     
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  17. g36 monkey

    g36 monkey Moderator Staff SN95 Supporter

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    October 11 and 12, 2017
    Alright next item to address was the Oxygen sensors. I got a pair of Denso units to replace whatever was under the car before. AC Delco sensors are apparently just rebadged Densos. The sensor wires were a little short for the long tubes, but we addressed that with extensions and some zip ties. It’s all good now.

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    (Sorry for the blurry picture. It looked clear when I took it!)

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    Next on the list was a set of MSD Super Conductor 8.5 mm wires. These went on fairly easily and they look nice.

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    When I changed the oil I installed a Fumoto drain valve with a 3/8 nipple. This will make oil changes a bit cleaner and easier.

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    From this angle the nipple looks like it is touching the collector but there is a fair amount of space between them.

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    Next up, I got the MAF all cleaned up. I used Q-Tips and rubbing alcohol to get the bulk off, then I used some CRC MAF cleaner for a final spray down. All of the contacts were black to start off, so, huge improvement there.

    Next I decided to clean the throttle body. On some vehicles I have owned there has been a tremendous change in throttle response just from doing this. As you can see, it was pretty dirty.

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    Next up was swapping the KNN filter for a nice new paper one. These cars are apparently very susceptible to issues related to oiled air filters. No problem, these are a cheap easy fix.

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    We also went ahead and installed some locking lugs, because well, for those who don’t know, the boss lady’s wheels were stolen years ago. Coincidentally that is what led us to meeting one another, but we don’t want it to happen again!


    So after all of this, I used the Torque app again to check for misfires. Nearly identical results to what was happening before:

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    I switched the number 2 and 6 coil pack, but this supposed miss stays at number 6. The injector sounds fine, but I did not undo the rail and start moving injectors around.

    Under load (not idle) the miss goes away according to Torque.

    On our first test drive, we now get lean codes and a random miss, but the car seems to be running much better. I bet once we drive around a bit after this tune up it will do some sorting out on its own. I will also be getting some more fresh gas for it tomorrow which should help things a bit.

    So, that’s where we are for now!
     
  18. Burninriverdiver

    Burninriverdiver Well-Known Member

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    I definitely don't see too many of these around, should be a fun car! Good luck plugging away at the little things, I'm sure you'll have it running smooth in no time
     
  19. g36 monkey

    g36 monkey Moderator Staff SN95 Supporter

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    It ran like a top yesterday! Super smooth after all the stuff we have done so far! Drove it for quite some time but it is now throwing lean codes and a code that suggests the O2 sensor is not getting warm enough.

    Ay yi yi. I just don't want it to actually be leaning out.
     
  20. g36 monkey

    g36 monkey Moderator Staff SN95 Supporter

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    I think I have finally got it mostly shaken down!

    The only codes being thrown now are slow switching codes, PO1133 which is most likely the PCM not loving the Denso sensors. I will likely replace them ASAP with AC Delco Sensors.

    I found some major vacuum leaks in the PCV system. It was all deteriorated in the rear, the two sides did not connect anymore, and the housing for the PCV was entirely deteriorated where it attaches to the intake manifold.

    Some pics of how it looked:

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    I ended up putting a new PCV in place, and replacing the split factory equipment with some new 3/8 hoses. I will likely be putting a catch can system in soon, but this made the car run immensely better!
     
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