Longtime .... Update on my 1985 Grand National

Big Dawg

Hey Everyone, Its been almost a year since i posted any updates, thought I would update what I have done to the 85. I have been back and forth between the couple forums getting information and would like to thank you. Here is what i have done so far and few things that i have lined up.

I have done a lot of small upgrades to the 85 in the past year. After getting the exhaust all buttoned up, I upgraded the ECU to the 87 setup, the Ignition was upgraded to 86-87, Scanmaster was installed, fuel pump hotwire kit, fuel pump upgrade to a 340lph, installed a set of rear Digi-tails lights, installed 87 GN grill and Wheels, also upgraded all of the speakers and stereo to a Pioneer DIN that fits the stock space ( found a Bluetooth plug for it on Amazon that plugs into the disc changer plug in) I also got a trunk kit off of Rockauto as well. I also mounted 3 AutoMeter gauges on a Pillar Pod ( Coolant Temp, Boost and Oil Pressure). I made a cold air intake with some leftover parts as well, installed the MAF translator and LS1 MAF.

The powermaster failed ( I knew it was going to, as it had been making some whining noises since i first fired it up). I replaced it with the power booster and MC that came with the V8 Regals. I removed the rad shroud and mechanical fan along with the stock radiator and replaced it with an aluminum 3 core radiator with dual electric fans. There is so much space in the engine bay now!

I also upgraded the Alternator to a 150amp and replaced the AC compressor and drier/accumulator and had the system upgraded to R134.

I also got my hands on a New Bison Performance Turbo (almost identical to TA33-C), T04e 57 trim compressor wheel and t31 stage 3 turbine. I was blown away as a buddy of mine found the add on Facebook, and it was OBO...i got a really good deal.
I just ordered a 3"downpipe and a dump pipe from Gbodyparts and a Big Mouth cold air intake as well from BuickGN ( this will be my winter project). I can finally remove my homemade ColdAir setup. Just waiting for the parts to arrive. While I am upgrading the turbo I am going to remove the stock headers and clean up some oil that has leaked over the last 37 years. I had managed to replace the drivers side valve cover gasket, but couldn't get to the passenger side unless I removed the entire top end. This will all be taken care of when I tackle the turbo, Injectors and the pipes..... also weld up a crack on the driver side header at the same time.

Actually now looking back i have upgraded quite a bit of things in the 85....it has all been worth it. I have the car insured in BC with Collector status year round now....alot of fun.
Digi-Tails in the Rear:






Some pics of the Cold Air Intake that i made up of some extra parts I laying around, my main objective was to get the filter out of the engine bay, so I relocated the charcoal canister and just cut a hole big enough to get the filter on the other side of it. Once i get the Big Mouth Cold air i will put the charcoal canister back to its original location.







Here are a few pictures of the Pioneer Stereo Scanmaster the Trunk kit:




I went ahead and removed both headers and test pipe and the up and downpipes. Unfortanetly i had to cut the downpipe in two to remove it, which i welded back together.

I welded up the cracked Drivers side header (pretty bad crack almost all the way around) and the slight stress crack on the passenger side header as well. I even went ahead and welded some small metal braces to help prevent the drivers side header from cracking again....I know not the greatest welds but I think they will hold...im new to welding. I went ahead and sprayed them Flame Proof Flat Silver VHT header paint...says on can will handle heat up to the upwards of 2000F.













I removed the valve covers off and cleaned them up to the point where I am deciding weather or not to paint them....I was thinking VHT Black or Flat Silver VHT that I used on the headers. The only thing is I will have to paint the intake on the engine as I am not removing it at this time. It should be pretty bare once I get the fuel rail and injectors off and the coolant lines and vaccum lines out of the way.

Also I read that alot of you use the FelPro PermaDry valve cover gaskets so I ordered a set of those as well, they should be here by Wednesday......just a couple dabs of rtv on the 4 corners against the valve cover will be enough? And than put them on dry on the head side torqued to spec?




I have fitted my new upgraded turbo to the throttle body and am just waiting for my 3" downpipe so I can install it.




Took a bit of time getting the fuel rails, injectors and some shields and brackets off.

I spent almost 5-6 hours degreasing and brake cleaning all the oil and dirt from the past 30 plus years and cleaning and sanding all the old paint that was on the intake.

Here is a before and after picture of the Intake.....I am really happy with how it turned out. I will be sanding the fins in the next couple days, I think it will look really good with metal on cast aluminum contrast. I need to find a turbo 6 emblem for the intake. I know there are repops out there but I don't feeling spending $50 us on one.





I decided to wrinkle paint the valve covers black, I like the look of the Champion valve covers that the intercooled cars have.

Before I started painting the Valve Covers I decided to do a little arts and crafts project. I had seen a couple of videos on YouTube where a couple people made a DIY curing oven out of a cardboard box, aluminum foil and a heat gun...so I decided to give it a shot.

I even splurged and put a BBQ thermostat on...all in all I think I'm into it for maybe $15.00. I had a heat gun already so I was good to go. I lined the inside of the box with two layers of foil and cut a hole on the top of the box for the heat gun.

The oven:






The oven worked amazing. Again very happy and surprised with the results!!!

Degreased and brake cleaned the valve covers, than sanded down with 200 grit and another wiped own with brake clean:



Painted the valve covers with 3 heavy coats from from all angles:


I placed the freshly painted valve covers on the aluminum foil that I had a couple of cresent wrenches to lift the covers off the aluminum foil. Once placed, i carefully put the box over top, and turned on the heat gun and patiently maintained the temps between 200F-250F for an hour.

Here is how they turned out, very happy with the results. Hopefully in a day or two I will sand the fins down as well, and paint the oil filler neck black as well.




I got the valve covers and the top of the intake sanded down, and I must say they look good!!

Got the 60lb injectors and fuel rail installed along with the shield on the intake.

Got the FelPro Gaskets, Torqued the covers down to spec 44 inch pounds is what I had. The Engine is finally starting to come along.

Okay guys thats all I have for now, I am just waiting for 3 Downpipe and Big Mouth Cold Air Intake to arrive on Monday. I have replaced my tranny mount and my drivers side engine mount, just waiting for the downpipe before I do the passenger side mount as it needs to be unbolted to fit the downpipe so thought I'd change it out then.

Thanks A.
Nice work!! Very tasteful mods.
You won’t know what to do without the mechanical fan running all the time. Now you’ll be chasing other noises you never knew you had. Lol
With that new turbo you might have to change your user name to Scalded Dawg. Lol
Thank you for the update.
Ya have to appreciate all the great talent on this site.
P.S. The oven works great for baking the paint, just don't let the Mrs. catch you! :eek:
KC87, are you perhaps a Divorce Lawyer looking to drum up some business??? LOL
- Jerry

With a 50%+ divorce rate with 70-80% initiated by the wahmans there's never a shortage of business. :D
The wahmans new saying now is, "The first marriage is for money, the second for love" :eek:
Sad where the institution has ended up.
Great work man! The small details are what makes the the job stand out. Looks great. Tastefully done!
I picked up my new goodies for the 85 today

New Downpipe

Big Mouth Cold Air Intake

Ported Billet Inlet Bell

Installed the new oil drain Grommet

The only bummer was that I had ordered reproduction Turbo Oil Drain Hose, but recieved the incorrect one. Hopefully Gbodyparts sends me the correct one with no issues. All I was going to do was just machine off the lip on the intake end of the hose and take the nut off and than slide it into the grommet. From what I had read the hose was a bit longer than the stock one, which would have been great.

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Update ...

Car is almost ready to be fired up.

Replaced the rear main seal, took my time and replaced the oil pan gasket with a cometic gasket with a thin layer of Ultra Black RTV.

Got the headers and crossover pipe all installed . Replaced the motor and transmission mounts. I ended up going with the Autolite 24 gapped at 0.34 spark plugs. I realized I broke one of the boots at the spark plug when I was disassembling everything. So I ended up going with a the Blue Streak low resistance plugs...I am impressed at how nice and rigid they are.

I got the new Gbodyparts 3 inch downpipe all installed along with the test/dump pipe. I decided to go with an electric exhaust cut out as well, should be here tmrw along with a lap joint clamp I had replacement uppipe which I ceramic coated and exhaust wrapped today....just waiting for SCE flange to turbo copper gasket, so I just temporarily installed the stocker.

I also installed the TR customs Big mouth Cold Air Kit. Very happy with it, has a slight curve to it as well so it doesn't block the Oil Dipstick.

And finally I installed the Turbo Tweak chip I had burned for the car over a year ago.

I am very excited to fire it up.....hopefully tmrw!

Here is a pic of the motor when I pulled it out of barn after 20+ yrs.

Picture of the engine bay now

I agree with GX1 !!!
Looks killer!!!
I'm excited to hear about how it runs!
Congrats on getting it out and back up on its feet !!!
- Jerry