Just got my first GN

Wld87GN

Active Member
Joined
Feb 21, 2013
So I just purchased this 1987 Grand National. It appears very clean, and runs very well. However the problem is that I have no idea what has been done to it. Before I start ripping things apart, I figured I would ask a few questions...

First of all I will not ask the typical question of which fuel pump to use with my (fill in the blank) combination.

But I will ask a few others:

1. How can I tell if the fuel pump has been changed? Hot wire kit addeed?

2. When I turn on the headlights (actually it is only when I turn on the dash/interior lights), the car has the dinging noise as if the door is open. (goes away if lights are turned off) My gut tells me a bulb is burned out.. but that is a guess ONLY.

3. The battery cable has an extra hookup, basically there is a post connector and a screw in type (which is what is being used). Is this normal? If so, what is typically done with the extra lead? (I will supply pics if needed).

4. I am guessing from looking at the pictures that this engine or car is not stock, but since I have no idea what has been done to it, I am in the dark. What are the typical first steps I should take when determining what I have?

I am fairly certain I will come up with more questions, but this should be a good start, and thanks in advance for helping me out.
 

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:)
So I just purchased this 1987 Grand National. It appears very clean, and runs very well. However the problem is that I have no idea what has been done to it. Before I start ripping things apart, I figured I would ask a few questions...

First of all I will not ask the typical question of which fuel pump to use with my (fill in the blank) combination.

But I will ask a few others:

1. How can I tell if the fuel pump has been changed? Hot wire kit addeed?

2. When I turn on the headlights (actually it is only when I turn on the dash/interior lights), the car has the dinging noise as if the door is open. (goes away if lights are turned off) My gut tells me a bulb is burned out.. but that is a guess ONLY.

3. The battery cable has an extra hookup, basically there is a post connector and a screw in type (which is what is being used). Is this normal? If so, what is typically done with the extra lead? (I will supply pics if needed).

4. I am guessing from looking at the pictures that this engine or car is not stock, but since I have no idea what has been done to it, I am in the dark. What are the typical first steps I should take when determining what I have?

I am fairly certain I will come up with more questions, but this should be a good start, and thanks in advance for helping me out.
Congradulations on your turbo car, I bought mine in 1988 and still like it. For starters your brake system has been changed over to a vacuum boost set up. And it looks pretty nice under there. You will want to get to the chip and see what ID tag is on it, its located in the foot area kick panel passenger side. also see if you can get any numbers off the injectors for us to work with. also you may want to pull the inlet bell off the turbo and take a picture of the compressor wheel and remove the turbo cover so we can see the other side better. Does it have a hot wire? take pics of the above items and we can help you figure it out. Do you like her and how does she run? No way of knowing what pump is in there we will have to do a pressure test and see if it can keep up Have a good day and get us some more info .
 
So I just purchased this 1987 Grand National. It appears very clean, and runs very well. However the problem is that I have no idea what has been done to it. Before I start ripping things apart, I figured I would ask a few questions...

First of all I will not ask the typical question of which fuel pump to use with my (fill in the blank) combination.

But I will ask a few others:

1. How can I tell if the fuel pump has been changed? Hot wire kit addeed?

2. When I turn on the headlights (actually it is only when I turn on the dash/interior lights), the car has the dinging noise as if the door is open. (goes away if lights are turned off) My gut tells me a bulb is burned out.. but that is a guess ONLY.

3. The battery cable has an extra hookup, basically there is a post connector and a screw in type (which is what is being used). Is this normal? If so, what is typically done with the extra lead? (I will supply pics if needed).

4. I am guessing from looking at the pictures that this engine or car is not stock, but since I have no idea what has been done to it, I am in the dark. What are the typical first steps I should take when determining what I have?

I am fairly certain I will come up with more questions, but this should be a good start, and thanks in advance for helping me out.
1. You probably cannot tell if the pump has been changed unless it has been changed to an inline pump which you would bee able to see along the fuel line under the car. If a hot wire has been added then there will be a fused wire from the back of your alternator to the rear bumper area. There will also be a relay in the rear bumper area.

2. The dinging is the chime modual under the dash. A part that usually goes south. You can either unplug it or replace the modual. A burned out bulb does not cause the chime modual to ding.

3. Probably an aftermarket universal cable. Just tape up the unused connector.

4. The first thing I noticed is that your Powermaster brake system has been changed to vacuum brakes. The next thing I noticed is that it appears you still have the stock fuel pressure regulator. Some closer pics of the engine bay may tell us more. If it is the stock regulator it will have a 233 in the numbers on the side of the regulator. If it is an upgrade it will have 237 on the side. Most of the time when we upgrade the fuel system we go with larger injectors and a new chip to go with a new fuel pump, hot wire, and adjustable regulator. The car seems to be very nice. You have no way of getting in touch with the previous owner? Knowing the history can save you a lot of dollars. It is necessary to know what injectors and what chip is in the car. hope this helps ya.
Looks like a beautiful car. Welcome to the dark side. It is an insidious disease that will make you smile a whole lot, cry a little, cause the well meaning christian to make up his own curse words, and make you perpetually dream of hitting the lottery. The most important thing is to enjoy. You have found absolutely the best place to keep the smile on and the white lines moving!
 
Thanks fo rthe kind words... The car is really, really clean, the underside looks spotless, trunk is perfect, interior is same way. Hopefully the rest of the car is just as clean... I will say that when it was delivered last night, it was a little sluggish, but it was 6 degrees outside and once it was in the heated garage and warmed up it ran a whole lot better.

Here are a few more pics that I was referring... Steve you are correct it still has the stock regulator (see pic). There is an extra red wire (see pic) that is coming off the back of the alternator, no idea what it leads to and I will need to do some investigation. As for the extra battery lead (see pics battery 1&2) I am not sure if this is factory or not.
 

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That last picture scares me with the top post battery terminal laying next to that circuit breaker. Might go to ground ? :eek:
 
Thanks fo rthe kind words... The car is really, really clean, the underside looks spotless, trunk is perfect, interior is same way. Hopefully the rest of the car is just as clean... I will say that when it was delivered last night, it was a little sluggish, but it was 6 degrees outside and once it was in the heated garage and warmed up it ran a whole lot better.

Here are a few more pics that I was referring... Steve you are correct it still has the stock regulator (see pic). There is an extra red wire (see pic) that is coming off the back of the alternator, no idea what it leads to and I will need to do some investigation. As for the extra battery lead (see pics battery 1&2) I am not sure if this is factory or not.
The cable with the clamp is not stock, neither is the unit that it is bolted to. Stock set up was just the screw type cable to the starter (pos) and to the front of the block (neg).
 
The cable with the clamp is not stock, neither is the unit that it is bolted to. Stock set up was just the screw type cable to the starter (pos) and to the front of the block (neg).
Now that you said that I see what it was the car pry had a stereo system in it and used a dual post battery in it (combo side post/ top post like some optima's batterys), and maybe had a extra battery for a system in the trunk.
 
XXQuick6XX, you are correct. I went into the trunk again and looked around.. I found a few things that I thought were very interesting.

1. This car had one hell of a sound system in it...
2. There are several amplifiers that are still in the trunk (Rockford Fosgate)
3. There is a brand new box of Eibach springs
4. There is a subwoofer box with a set of 10" JL Audio speakers
5. The spare tire looks brand new

So in addition to this I decided to pull the ECM and took a picture.. Let me know what you all think. (BTW, how in the hell does that chip come out of the plastic holder.. i'm afraid to remove it as I don't really have a need to yet).
 

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First of all nice ride and welcome to the turbo Buick world.

The plug behind the alt doesn't plug into anything. I think it is for tach signal or something along those lines. You will also find another plug that isnt plugged into anything by the relays on the passenger fender. Don't worry about that one either. The chip comes out with the plastic piece. I may be wrong but yours appears to be a factory chip. There are several chip makers but a lot of people including myself use Turbo Tweak chips made by Eric Marshall. Everyone has their opinion on what chip they like.

Does the car have a scan tool? If not, at the minimum get a scan master. I would say it has saved my motor. You can get one from full throttle, Cottons or Kirban. You can go to the vendor section of the board and find a lot of places to buy what you need.

If you can't get in contact with the previous owner then you will have to pull the tank to find out what fuel pump you have in the car.
 
groumoutis - Thank you! I will start digging around in the car as this has renewed my love for getting my hards dirty. I am in the process of restoring my late fathers 79 Trans Am, and I already have a 68 GTX with a 440 4spd. But I am extremely fired up about this GN. When you reference a Scan Master (I am about to show my ignorance with these cars) what does it connect to? Is it possible the car already has one and I just don't know it?
 
A scanmaster has 3 wires. A hot, a ground, and one that plugs into a connector right above your console under the radio. It monitors a lot of stuff and should be one of the first things you buy (in my opinion). Just go to one of the vendors referenced and type in scan master and you can see what it looks like.
 
Looks like the stock reman chip. Get a tt chip ASAP lol. You can fill out his questionnaire while ordering the chip and that will let Eric burn you the correct chip for your mods. But you need to dive deeper into the engine now.
Definitely need an adjustable fpr. The stock one wont cut it.
You do have the Hotwire kit.
Find out what injectors it has.
Im guessing stock since the chip hasn't been changed but you never know. On the side of the injectors should be some numbers. Get us those. Or google those numbers and you will find out what injectors you got.

Sent from my iPhone using Turbo Buick
 
There are 2 wires behind the alt that are not plugged in. Green is a tach lead and the brown is to the fuel pump. You put power to this and remove the shrader valve or in your case the pressure guage to turn on the pump and remove fuel from the tank.

If that is the stock chip you may very well change your description of "running well" once you put a modern chip in. At the very least you will be shocked at how much better it will idle.

It seems strange that the PO would put a hot wire in and not change injectors, chip, regulator or pump. Maybe the wire from the back of the alt was for stereo equipment. I know squat about sound systems.

A Scanmaster is a scan tool that mounts in your car for monitoring a number of parameters and wires into ground, hot, and a wire from your ALDL port under the steering wheel.

How did you come to own this car? It sounds like you did not know what you were getting. Sounds like you got a nice one.
 
I did a little research and found out that I have Tomco Inc D1720AA, which look like they are 30# stock replacements. If I do have a hot wire kit, I just need to determine what FP was used?

This is starting to seem like more of a stock setup, which I have no problem with... I just need to figure out what I need to replace to avoid having issues. I will pick up a Scan Master immediately.

Thank you everyone for the help!
 
Steve,
The story I got was that the previous owner was going through a divorce and dumped the car to his friend who owned a dealership. Shortly afterwards, the guy disappeared and cannot be found. I picked the car up for a super sweet price, but the guy who owns the dealership has little to no knowledge about the car. I have no problem with taking a tactical approach to this car and make no mistake, I am not interested in making a 10 second car, but I would like it to run as good as I can make it and avoid any disasters.
 
Okay seriously that chime module or whatever the **** it is, has to go.

Ignition on, turn on lights, starts dinging... why would it do that, it makes no sense... It does not stop dinging... Can I just rip that POS out? Does it need to be in there? Does everyone else just rip it out too?
 
Okay seriously that chime module or whatever the **** it is, has to go.

Ignition on, turn on lights, starts dinging... why would it do that, it makes no sense... It does not stop dinging... Can I just rip that POS out? Does it need to be in there? Does everyone else just rip it out too?
Yup, just go under the dash between the radio and the steering column. It is a little black box. Do it while it is dinging. Shouldn't be hard to find. Unplug it and you are good to go. Cheap part to replace if you ever want her to sing again. Mine went about 10 years unplugged before I decided to replace it.
 
A couple of other tips come to mind. When you are driving and you hit a bump, especially in the cold, you may hear a noise that sounds like it is coming from your dashboard or the base of your windshield. To fix this noise you simply pull your oil dipstick, wipe your finger on the oil, and clean your finger off by wiping it on the round rubber bumper under the back of the hood between the 2 wipers.

Another thing to check is the passenger side valve cover. Do you have an open breather element on the end of the cover behind the turbo, or, is it a round black filter with a hose going to the turbo? If it is the later, which is stock, you will want to clean out the intercooler, because it may have a pint or more of oil in it.

Check the back bolts on the pass valve cover regularly as they frequently loosen.

Check the driver's side header. Does it still have the heat shield on it? If it does, it may not have been welded yet. Which means you likely have a crack by the rear tube. Virtually every stock header has this crack.

Shut up, hold on, and enjoy the ride. It's gonna be fun!
 
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