jbeary

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Everything posted by jbeary

  1. Some time has passed since I've been here and it unfortunately looks the same as when I first arrived. I mean why can't people leave Ronnie alone? The guy is a pussycat without any intention of making working on this car sound easy. If you are planning to have this done or do it yourself, you should know this isn't like swapping up shocks, this is a hard procedure to undertake even if you're a professional you-tube watcher and you can jack your steering up to no end as soon one bolt comes off. Buying something that we all know does not exist from an eBay seller and then paying someone to try to make it work will probably be worse. The year to year variations of these E body cars is mind boggling. And Ronnie, please correct me if I am wrong, but as far as I can tell the only other E body that shared the same spring specs was the same year Riviera, which I think is why the 88 would have a different strut configuration. And there are two grades of springs that you could order but most Reatta's came with the "sportier" spring. I only know this because I was able to track down a set of oem springs on where else? eBay? I'm searching for actual part numbers though and you may be surprised how few listings for actual oem Reatta parts there are. I think the 90-92 Rivera is closest to your 90. So I recently did this job myself on the 91 and it's not very easy. The easiest part is scribing the knuckle with the original strut outline. This is also probably the most important step because you can potentially mess up your alignment past where a good alignment shop will be able to help you if you don't at least align the new strut to where the old was. No, wait; I was wrong. The easiest part of this job would be spending $131.64 on a set of sensa-track struts that you will never install. Unless you are going to search out oem parts, I would just use everything from your current strut except the actual strut and the strut mount which is very reasonably priced at reattastore.com for $35.29. If you had the 88 or 89 you may want to try Rockauto for a better price on the mount. For the 90 and 91 I don't think you're going to find a better price than from reattastore.com; I mean this is really a Amazon storefront and Amazon is going to be the same price anyway. How many of us have bought something from Amazon when Ronnie's web store has the same prices, shipping, etc? I bought my spring compressors from Ronnie and yes you need some anti-seize to use these so you can buy that from Amazon if you haven't already. And I'm not sure why all the hate for the Gabriel struts because they are closer to if not actually an oem part. I guess it's the difference between the warranties that come with these. The sensa-track struts are smaller in overall length. I figured I'd build two sets, one set with the Gabriels and my original springs and another set with the new "sportier" springs and the sensa-track struts. If the monroes failed after a few years, I'd just get a new set from them and use the old springs. If they are still good after I can get the 89 out of our back yard, I'll build a pair with the Gabriel struts. The only original parts in my current assembly are the rubber isolators as these are unobtainium. Energy suspension has poly isolators that should work but i haven't had the motivation to order them to do a comparison. I would also strongly suggest you replace the strut rod bushing when the strut is out. Mine were shot. And finally, you can check your subframe/body bushing more easily when the strut is out as these often will need replacing like mine do. These were probably the most expensive parts I bought for my 91. You, or whomever, also should know to take care and not let the CV shaft slip from the differential when the strut comes out. If it slips out and gets scored at all you will need to find some chump to buy your car or just plan to replace your transmission with that spare you have in the shed out back. Keep a jack under it and keep the spring compressed until the strut is in place and the lower A arm can be jacked up to where the knuckle and new strut can line up and you put both bolts in their holes. You need at least two jacks but having a third is helpful. I can tell you that my car is 110% more stable after I finished this job. I'm still driving around without an alignment but it's pretty straight and that 89 I have is so janky I think I'm just going to keep the mismatched set of tires on if and when I ever get the engine back in and I can drive it again. With the new springs the car does seem like it sits higher but I never measured it before and that could change when I put the 16" rims back on. The tires on my 89 were better and I blew a tire on the 91 rims so I just took those off. I have them in the shed out back since I had that spare set for the 89 and would rather not bust up my nice 91 rims. The car is still too low for me to easily fit a jack under so it's probably exactly the same except it handles and more importantly, launches way better. I had bad wheel hop for sure judging the wear on the tires. But I can't tell you what part was more beneficial although since the original struts were worn out, my guess the differences I'm feeling are more from replacing the strut and not the spring. Maybe someone could explain the differences in the springs from year to year again. I'm sure Barney could. I have a spare set of Daniels poly rear sway bar bushings for when I do the rear on this car. The rear struts are a much easier experience so you may want to cut your teeth so to speak with that job if you plan to do the front yourself. When it comes time for me to do that on the 91, I'm dropping the entire subframe. It took more time maneuvering the top nut when I did this on the 89 than it would have to drain the brakes and drop the subframe. Would have saved some knuckle skin too.
  2. Ah yeah... forgot how scary it is when you're riding on something without wheels. Last time I did something like that was on a hopped up jet ski... Fun but not funny.
  3. Want to feel unsafe at any speed? Find a Fiat x19 of the same vintage and take a spin. Makes the Fiero seem like a space capsule.
  4. Probably not as the ones I have seen get beat down by dragging shoes across them. Check to see if there's splits on the underside. I know my doors aren't hanging well either because of wear on the sill plate. So possibly that's a problem too.
  5. Received a seat back last week and it looks great, thank you Jim. Be aware the 16 way seat backs have a completely different structure to both the cover and the foam form. Wish I could use the foam form but the cover itself is mucho appreciated. Very cool and more seemingly comfortable design possibly better leather. Certainly nicer stitching over the originals in my 91.
  6. The serial number on this car is 22 before mine. Same options aside from the body molding and has the same issue with the defroster flap. What are the chances for that?!?!? I had to remove my entire dash to fix this issue. Love my car but beware that this is NOT an easy fix.
  7. Well that seals the deal for me. THANK YOU. I will start a new thread about piston alternatives for the SC rebuild when I can gather those funds to move forward.
  8. Okay 3.8 experts and others who may have run into the same issues, I need advice on a rering job. First off, please don't berate me or think I want to do something half assed. In a perfect world, I'd already have my block down at the machine shop with no worries. I'm trying to rering a single cylinder rather than do a complete rebuild out of sheer necessity. Heres my issue, the 89 FSM calls for compresion and second rings that are 2-5/64 and I think I could have a later model block or perhaps a correct block but a later rebuild since the Pistons I have require the 1.5 top and second rings. Anyone know when GM started using the 1.5 on the LN3's or perhaps just on the series 1 EV6 blocks? I know all of the SC series's 1 Pistons used the 1.5mm rings and some 95's used the newer series 2 1.2mm top rings. Block casting number lines up more with the 88 but isn't exact for either the 88 or the 89. (25532646). Reason I need help is because the end gap on the 2-5/64 rings fall well into the tolerance range stated in the FSM. When I went to fit them onto my piston I realized they were too big and measured the existing rings and had to order a more expensive set of 1.5mm rings which fit the piston great but have a end gap that falls out of the 89 FSM tolerance range. This cylinder had no compression while the others were okay. Already ruled out valves. Have everything to reassemble the engine without going all the way and doing a full rebuild. So today I went out to try and determine if the cylinder is out of round or is too tapered and needs a full bore rather than honing. I mean there's barely a perceptible lip at the top of this cylinder so I thought this would be a cake walk especially since there's no good reason I see I'd need a ridge reamed. The 1.5 rings measure a whopping .030 end gap at the top landing of the bore and then go down to .024 at the bottom of the bore. I don't see that the piston skirt is marred and this was a good running motor albeit one with a dead miss on #5. So now I'm worried about out of rounding and taper. Well some online experts say that's okay and the taper can be .005 while my taper seems to be around .0036 or .004 just to be safe. I'm taking the difference between the top ring land and the bottom of the bore and dividing that by 3 (not entirely pi but pretty close to get an idea). That would mean I'm measuring the bore correctly since I come up with 3.8 exactly at the top. Actually a little under at the bore bottom. And that the taper is still in tolerance if it's at .004, correct? Anyone ever rebuild an LN3 with the 1.5mm rings and if so were you also close to the same end gap measurement? The ASE chart I found online and other calculations say I can be at a .030 end gap and still be okay at the bore top. Sure smaller would be better, but without any real evidence of piston skirt wear, and because the other 5 cylinders showed good compression numbers, I think the rings just walked into alignment and there was some blow by going on too that supports that idea. Wasn't using or burning oil just no compression in that one cylinder. Unless someone yells at me, I think I'm just going to finish what I started with the single cylinder rering. Of course a light honing and Plastigauge are in order but I'm not planning to replace even the rod bearings at this point. Crank is not at all scored, neither are the bearings so I think those are okay to reinstall. Would a full rebuild be better? Sure thing, just can't do that with this block if I even want to think of completing the SC rebuild I had planned with the 93 L67 I pulled from a bonneville ssei. Now I know I need new Pistons for that block and those are not at all inexpensive. Been considering a low milage L67 without the SC from eBay which would be $500 delivered but still no garauntee. Maybe a trip back to pull a part is in my future but future for sure unless I can find a sucker who'll trade a rusty Reatta roller for a good/rebuildable L67. Thanks in advance.
  9. Last set of raised white letters I had on a car were the G70-15 Uniroyal Tiger Paw's that my dad bought me as a birthday gift for my '73 Monte Carlo. With the deep dish beauty rims and independent center caps, these looked pretty good from what I recall.
  10. I've seen videos of the fwd Toranados and the Eldo Fleetwood's with that 429 cu engine they had smoking the tires all the way down the street. After high school I bought an AMC Eagle that used the same outter half shaft and hub as these. One icy x-mas I drove down from Illinois to Louisiana all the while the front end went clunkty clunk. When I looked, there were no needle bearings left. Couldn't find the parts or they were too expensive at the time. Put it back together and drove it for a year like that before I was able to replace the bad parts. That was some iron. This is why you need two Reattas Daniel.
  11. I've shopped new seat covers and to have them done like new is really about $2k. Another major money sink is all new rubber which will absolutely lead to other suspension work. Weird stuff as these were "hand crafted". I had a problem with my AC in the 91 where the defroster door had come disconnected from the vacuum actuator. That probably cost someone a new windshield and it came to me in the dead of summer with ice cold AC blowing from the defroster vents only, so it wasn't worth the PO fixing. Took weeks to dismantle the dash and fix that. Actual replacement carpet, like the original, is pricey as well.
  12. Have to agree with Keith. Some stuff ages well, some stuff does not. The stuff that does not is pretty hard to replicate. New seats especially. New leather is bitchin'. That goes without saying that you can't enjoy anything as found. Value, especially in terms of something you have invested time into, is prone to subjection. I'm pretty OCD about how I want it but in the end, put up with what I think is a great deal of compromise. Personally, I wouldn't want to drop 10k on yet another Reatta unless it was so clean it sqoke. Love my cars and think I will keep them. I tell y'all what's funny; a good friend is coming up on 50, isn't happy with the Audi he bought last year, thinking about getting a Ford or something else European, and I tell him he could get a daily driver GNX for about $50k. I see the light come on and realize I probably just talked him into getting a Mazda.
  13. @Bushwack. I already had two project cars I could have turned around when I bought the two Reatta's that have been nothing but project cars since they arrived. When I started lurking on this forum, a comment from Fox W. about the rotisserie resto he had going on his 89, should have given me a clue. He started with something like: "and I don't want to hear about how I could have had a minty fresh Reatta instead". Not a direct quote, but like the more desirable GS & GN cars, the Reatta's saw limited years in production. They made more Grand National's than you'd think If you only tracked prices. Try and find a decent quarter panel for less than some entire 85 - 87 Regals are worth. One and only Reatta I picked over, every day someone (who didn't aready work there) came up and said, "Oh, you better get that part, anybody hits you there, you ain't never going to find a part like that." Like TB says, after market can be a big deal.
  14. Thanks guys. I feel a lot better after your input. The FSM is both clear and vague in section in 6A5E-28. And there's two schools of thought, the DIY or pro machinist will always tell you a definite bottom rebuild is required if a piston needs to come out. That includes a bore and hone and all new bearings as well as a freshly ground crank. Most also insist on new lifters and push rods and I honestly think that may be were these guys lose me. The second school of thought is from the dealer service perspective that says only fix what's broken. Which means leave the heads on, pull the piston from the bottom, and reuse all bearings, just replacing any broken rings with a light hone on the cylinder, measure clearance, and generally reassemble with all used parts but new gaskets. I haven't had much luck with dealer repairs and I always err on the side of caution so logically, a full bottom rebuild sounds more reasonable. I just did't want to get that far into the 89 engine, thinking all along I would eventually junk the car after getting the 91 where I want it. Still swapping parts and using the 89 as a daily driver. Had a couple of days to myself before gall bladder surgery, so I got the 89 stripped down. My dad came over the Sunday before my surgery and we looked at the broken head bolts and agreed the engine probably needed to come out. Wasn't much work to get it there so I can now just pull it. IMHO dropping the starter and unbolting the AC compressor is easier than laying under the car with crap fallin in my eyes. Torque converter bolts were nothing to remove and it's easier to break the balancer bolt using the starter method while it's still in the car. Not a big deal at all. Pulling the the engine makes me want to visit the machine shop, but I ain't got the dough to "make this right" like my machinist always tells me. Want to do a quick and dirty on this engine but those head bolts messed up that idea. I have a junker head in case the one on #5 was cracked or warped. That does not seem to be the case on the original heads. Valves are not burnt, and I did the petrol test on each to verify they were not leaking. The heads from the 93 Bonneville were trashed by comparison. That and when I did the compression test, I had good results from all cylinders except for #5. Wet test indicated bad rings, and I garauntee you there was a strong indication of blow by when air was applied to that cylinder. I didn't do that test on any other cylinder but didn't think about it until I had the heads off. The others had good compression anyway. Pretty sure I did a good diagnosis before the tear down, just wish I would have written down the numbers. Didn't have any issues with a knock on the 89 so I'm assuming the bearings, rods and crank are okay. I was going to get an auto zone loan a tool hone and leave in the crank and do a light hone. All cylinders are well within tolerance according to the HF mic I have. Some Harbor Freight stuff is junk, I know, but this thing seems okay. I did get a better torque wrench and Impact wrench from Lowes. Some of Lowes Kobalt brand stuff is very good and while I spung for a very nice cordless Craftsman impact, angle grinder, and reciprocating saw kit, the Sears branded tools just aren't that great any more. Heres es some pics showing the engine in the 89. 2&3 are compression and exhaust stroke. 4&5 are TDC on #5 and #2 showing full travel, #7 shows lifter position so the cam is probably just fine. These are pics of the buggered up timing cover hole. You can clearly see the tap (HF JUNK) and where I tried to drill around the flutes. I stopped because I was afraid of breaking off a "good" carbine bit, but the thing is actually kind of loose. Machine shop estimated $150 to remove, weld and retap which is why my machinist said to just get another block. I still would rather not plunk down yet another $300, then the labor of tear down etc. Its a timing cover bolt for Christ sakes. I could probably leave it and still be okay. Time needs to go into getting the 89 back on the road and I thank you all again for the input. I think I'm going to pull the block from the 89, weld on some nuts to those broken head bolts, and if they come out, I'll just pull #5 hone the cylinder with the crank in as planned and hope for the best after reassembly. Will also try Texas John's advice on the carbine dremel bit. If I can get something past one of the flutes, I think this will turn enough to lift out. No way this will drill, like Ronnie said, it's harder than the carbine bits I have. You can see how scored the edge of the hole is from me trying to drill at it sideways. Moral of this story is to avoid cheap ass HF taps. Get a good set of taps and never ever put sideways pressure on a tap even if it's not that deep or tight. That's exactly what got me into trouble with this one. Tap has to be dead straight. They don't flex like drill bits.
  15. The 3.8 supercharged planned build has hit a major issue. I broke off a tap in a timing cover bolt hole so the block from the 93 pull a part engine is kaplewy. I spoke with the machinist who did the heads and crank and he agrees that I just as well get another block. In the mean time I diagonosed the 89 with bad compression rings in the #5 cylinder and since I already have most of the parts together to do a rebuild, I decided to start on rebuilding the 89 engine figuring I could do it on the cheap. Well, as fate would have it, I broke two head bolts, one in each side. Sure enough, #5 cylinder does not look like it's had compression for a long time. Heads are in surprisingly good condition as are the internals. Guess the guy I bought it from wasn't lying when he said the engine and trannie were rebuilt about 50k miles ago. Probably not the original engine or transmission from what I can tell at this point. Here's my quandry, what's the chances the compression rings in one cylinder weren't gapped correctly, or weren't clocked correctly? Like the idiot who probably did the rebuild work, I didn't write down the readings and I didn't do a leak down test on any cylinder but #5. From what I remember, all of them were close and #5 was obviously whacked. Top view of the piston looks okay. Bore isn't scored and measures round, seemingly so with a harbor freight mic. Yet oil rings do not leak. I don't know any other tests I can do without pulling the piston. I put a new compression ring in the bore and squared it with a different piston, ran a feeler around the circumference so I am assuming it's really round and does not require boring. Other than pouring oil in the cylinder are there any other tests suggested? How impractical is it to think I can just hone the bores, slap in a new set of rings and bearings and be on my way with this? I already have a freshly turned crank, a full set of new rings, bearings and gaskets and from the looks of the valves, I'm sure I can save my fresh set of heads for the supercharged build. I would still replace the guide seals and lap the valves and seats but I don't want to use my new heads nor do I want to use my SC pistons/rods. I believe the 89 and the 93 cranks are the same. Anyone think it's completely ridiculous to replace only the rings on #5 without honing? Lots of trouble, pulling the engine and risk tapping out two major bolts, to just pull one piston for a set of rings. I want to put a minimal amount of machine work into this. Meaning, I've been having thoughts of parting out this car only so I don't have to obtain yet another $300 block. Need a car and don't want to beat the 91 but that's what I'm doing the more I drive it with a busted front suspension. Really would rather the shop tap out the head bolts without having to drop the crank, but I can imagine that conversation already. Would lead to new cam and balance shaft bearings at least and I don't want to spend the dinero (I just don't have) at this juncture. What can I do to just get by??? Need some good news folks. Please tell me I can just drop in new rod and main bearings, hone the bores, slap on new rings, lap the valves and have something that may last another 50k. Thanks to all in advance.
  16. Walter, My 91 came with a grey handled dipstick. Should I pull it out and get a part number for us? Also, this appears to be the same dipstick that came with the 89 as well as what was included with the 93 Bonneville pull a part 3.8 engine. Thought these were all grey since I recall my Dad's 85 Regal Limited and then the '91 century had, at the time, what seemed to be the same gray handled dipstick that came with the '87 Grand National. I have seen junkers with a black handle and yellow type, but these all had different oil fill caps too so I had always thought these would be grey up until 94. Saw tbinvie's select 60 went for $2.2k. IMHO, even with what seems like 101 problems, it looks like a better car than the one in Houston. I looked at the Texas car two years ago and it seems like it went through a flood. There's as much rust on that car as there is on my 89 that spent most its life in Lansing (check under the front wheel wells, the body rail connecting the strut towers, all rust). Whomever ended up with the car from Massachusetts, got a great project. I don't care if the Texas car is low mileage, it still needs a complete ground up resto and then some. In fact, I think the select 60 that recently sold came from California. Maybe I'm wrong, but there was a similar one selling out of LA a few years ago with trannie trouble and a pretty beat up top looking much the same. It was stuck in a parking garage from what I recall. Another fairly "rare" 91 black on red combo was up on ebay a week ago, ended with no bids at $695. Aside from the seats, that car seems to be in better shape than the Select 60 in Houston. Just my opinion here not trying to begrudge anyone's treasure.
  17. Hi Barney, were the 91 rims specific to the Reatta or were the available on other cars as well? Someone I met at the junkyard said that the Reatta seats were also available in the Rivera but I've never seen a Riv with Reatta seats. Thanks for the clarification.
  18. Ad says the tire size is 15". That must be a mistake or did GM make this rim style in both a 15 & 16"? These rims are specific to the '91 Reatta, correct? Very pretty car!!!
  19. Used a dental pick and they popped right off. I'm surprised no one mentioned taking these out if you plan to buff out the plastic. The chrome on these letters is very thin. Also used the regular hardware store 3M outdoor double sided foam tape like Machiner applied as described by Ronnie. So far so good. I use the silicone adhesive/sealant that Barney described for all sorts of other stuff. It's great when used to adhere speaker cloth to ABS frames. Sticky as all get out and a little goes a long way. Dries very clear too.
  20. I picked up the Leatherique line of products when the Lexol that I'd used before wasn't working for me. That stuff does work better than the Lexol imho but my primary issue was my seats were sprayed with SEM and the Lexol probably would have done okay if not for that. The older gentleman who runs Leatherique was helpful when it seemed like his product wasn't working so that was a plus. Was also using the 303 protectant on the vinyl, which is very good, yet, recently decided to try out John Deere's vinyl cleaner and protectant (TY26396) which I picked up as a fluke at a flea market a few years ago. First thought of it as a cheap alternative when I started detailing our 97 Subaru to sell but have been very pleasantly surprised. And I've used this since with a no scratch Scotch (blue) kitchen sponge with excellent results. Holds a shine for months and is actually pleasant smelling, unlike the Leatherique. Even better than the 303 imho of course. Also have used simple green with spectacular results but I have a hard time with the smell of that too. I have also used Red Wing leather conditioner on the seat bottoms and steering wheel with what seems like a better or more affordable way to go which equals at least the best results I've achieved with the Leatherique rejuvenating oil. This is product 97104 and it's mostly mink oil and bees wax and gives a super nice shine without the tack and smell of Leatherique but it takes twice the effort and it's much better to use when the leather is warm.
  21. Good reading guys. There really isn't enough time. I really wish I had more as I'm sure everyone does. I'm glad to have what I do. Used to be I'd have a "winter" project and a "summer" project. One year has run into another and then another and then another. I really think a CRT replacement is somehow possible, but the built in simplicity is a complex and elegant design to be sure. As many cars as I've owned or been in that have a touchscreen, I feel the unique set of pages the Reatta offers is among the best, or most intuitive. Thanks for putting in the time on this. Certainly, if history is left to the Facebook generation to write, this sort of intelligence will slip away. Good job!
  22. Again great work and a definite step forward. Correct my logic if I'm wrong, but now that you've proven some tandem signal riding piggyback on the E&C bus does work, yet albeit one directional where the second device signal steps on and over the originating signal, can't you now check for a reciprocal signal being sent back to the originating device, ie ca returning confirmatory signal from the radio? Somewhere I recalled reading somewhere about how the tape deck behaved that lead me to believe there was a challenge and response system of logic in place and being used. Like for instance, the radio wouldn't change inputs to the tape in if no signal was returned from the tape deck (such as a logic tree that checked if a tape was in and the deck was turning before activating that input). I'm thinking this is basic xor perhaps even xnor logic. If a reciprocating signal is getting hung up because there's an overriding signal, then shouldn't that be easy to prove with a double command from each source followed by a single command from the touchscreen? If you tune to one station with the touchscreen and then another with a translator module and then a third with the touchscreen, does the touchscreen reflect the first or third. If it reflects both, and I think it has a good chance, you then possibly could leverage the nand and invert the instructions being passed from one or the other device. Found this simple TTL NAND circuit at: http://www.allaboutcircuits.com/vol_4/chpt_3/5.html that looks like this may work for what you describe your encountering:
  23. Looks to be stock mats with a vintage rubber rear floor matt over top. Just wanted to say THANK YOU AGAIN! for the skins.
  24. IMHO sounds like you may need a brake pump motor and a headlight module. If you hear the brake pump running when the engine is off but your ignition is on then your accumulator is shot. Ronnie has some good info on his website about how to troubleshoot the brakes and you can buy an accumulator from him. The headlight issues are more about the arm failures but the module fails often too and these are both hard to find and hard to replace. The module is under the air cleaner on the same bracket that holds up the fuse panel under the hood. Take out your air cleaner and pull the two connectors and clean up the connections, test and see if the motor that opens the door stops. There's probably better info on this if you do a search. If you have to replace your brake pump, you may as well replace the whole shebang but they can be separately repaired. People advocate flushing the system because water destroys these pumps.