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GTO Project Update-04-2009
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65 Pontiac "GTO" Project
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April, 2009:  After a long delay, I finally got back to working on the GTO.  The new engine and transmission have been ready for well over a year.  Other parts have been sitting in boxes waiting on me.  Now that I have retired, and the Corvettes are running solid, it's GTO time.

Ready to receive some power!

Late in 2008 we took off the whole front radiator core support.  It's out getting power coated and "fitted" with a new custom made aluminum radiator.  With that out of the car it sure is easy to work in the engine area.  A must these days is dual brake cylinders.  At the same time, we installed a power brake booster.  I believe both were optional back in 65.  This car was a "bare bones" model and did not come with such "luxuries"!

Off to the shop to get the power
On the lift to check out the transmission mount

At Rick Jaeger's Inland Transmission shop in Fullerton, CA, our task is to install the engine and transmission, and to get the drive shaft cut to size.  Rick built the Turbo Hydro transmission for me over a year ago.  it's been sitting around his shop waiting for the engine (and me) to be ready.   

Looking good!
Not obvious from the picture on the right, but the driver side exhaust manifold is pressed against the frame.  This is a product of poor casting on these reproduction Ram Air manifolds.  The passenger side has plenty of room so no issue.  But unless this gets trimmed, there will be a terrible vibration in the car when it is running.  Sure would have been great to learn of this while this engine sat on the engine stand for a year!!!  Now, it will be a major hassle to remove the manifold so I can take a grinder to it. 



Note the emergency brake cable running behind the transmission.  Again, because this is a much larger transmission the brake cables need to be redirected.  I need to buy the front (longer) and middle (shorter) emergency brake cables used in 67 with the TH400 transmission.  Also a different support hook.  That's why these projects take so long.  Surprises!!!   
First, get rid of the old brake system
And replace with a dual master power brake system

It sure is great to have friends with equipment.  A Corvette friend owns this 2 wheel dolly.  No need to rent one when I want to transport this car somewhere.  Of course, that will change once we install a drive-shaft.  Here she is loaded and ready to go over to another friend's transmission shop where we will install the motor and transmission. 

Let's get this in here.
View from the back

Here we see the motor now sitting in the car.  It sure looks good.

What's wrong with this picture?

The next part of this job is to install the transmission.  Again, access to the right equipment sure makes life so much easier.  Some people try and "lift" these transmissions up into place while on their back with the car on jack stands.  Again, thanks to good friends with the right tools and equipment, we "simply" raise the transmission into place, with little or no strain!

Transmission mount location change
Turbo Hydro 400 transmissions were not "native" to GTO's in 1965.  Although many people have swapped them in, it does require the movement of the transmission brace back about 6 inches.  The picture above shows just how much that is relative to the original bolt holes.

We did finish installing the engine and transmission, and did get the transmission support moved back as planned.  Also accomplished was getting the drive shaft shortened to fit with this transmission.  I think it was only shortened 1 inch but it had to be done.  As advice to others who do this swap:  try and get the same drive shaft that was in the original car with the transmission.  You could likely avoid this step at least.  While your there, get those brake cables as well!
The drive shaft is not yet installed as I still need to tow her to get other stuff done.  But first, I need to deal with that exhaust manifold.
More to come! 

GTO Updates-07-2009