Never meet your heroes! '86 Grand National

This project snowballed like every other. The mold is different from the pod I removed. This taper is a lot sharper which means I need to move it further down the pillar if I want it to fit even remotely close. Great.


But since the old one was screwed in, moving it down means I expose a hole.

I'd also have to make the passthrough bigger, so at least I'll have plenty of filler material.


Good as new? No, but I think paint will go a long way.

I'm not done though. This pod doesn't fit worth a s***!


The issue is only at the very bottom on the inside, so you should only ever notice this cut through the windshield. I'm not at all happy about needing to modify a part that's molded specifically for my car, but I'm still pretty sure that the pillar pod on the A-pillar is not a long term solution. I just want this to look better than what I removed.

As per the recommendations, I held it on with double stick tape. I am not convinced it will stick forever, but we'll see.




A couple spots got super glue. I'm not sure it'll make a difference, but it can't hurt I guess. It was sitting pretty nicely when I took all the clamps off last night. I'm hoping nothing popped apart since then. I'm debating whether it's worth buying interior paint from Kirban or G-body. They're both expensive, and the pillar looks pretty good as-is. Let me know what you think!

A bunch more hardware and my brush assembly should be in my mailbox when I get home. This means I can finish the alternator and engine bay completely! I'm really excited for that. I've also heard from a buddy who order his Racetronix pump assembly a couple weeks before me finally got a shipment notification. With any luck, mine will be on the way soon!
The super glue on the gauge pod turned everything in that area white which means I had to buy paint. I bought a can from G-body parts. I'm still having problems keeping the parts together, so I may need to swallow my pride and put a rivet or two in there. It stinks that I might end up with something that looks worse than before, but I'm tired of playing with this. Maybe down the road I'll move the boost gauge to a cubby pod with an oil pressure gauge.

In other news, I got my chrome kit and alternator brushes.

I'm super happy to have the car looking so complete, but I might end up putting a black fan back on. The chrome is looking a little too blingy.
Alternator rebuilt 1.jpg

Alternator rebuilt 2.jpg

New problem


It took me a while to figure out why the intercooler was sitting so crooked, but I never would have thought twice about it if the shroud fit. It's only ever had 6 of the top 12 screws holding it on while the bottom 6 were missing. Instead of sitting flat against the intercooler it rests on the sway bar.

Brackets were bolted on tight so what gives??


I determined that I could fix this by bending the driver side bracket, so maybe this was racoon damage that I just never noticed before? Who knows. It would explain a lot though! Bending this thick steel rod would require a lot of extra muscle, so I broke out the baby strap.

I may try to give it another good yank tonight, but it's already looking and fitting so much better than before! All my new screws can be installed in the shroud now.
Looks good. I just notice you're still running the OEM worm gear clamps on your intercooler hoses. I switched mine to SS T-bolt clamps years ago after having the intercooler hose blow off while passing a car on a two lane highway. The car went pig rich, fell on its face and nearly didn't complete the pass. That was enough for me. I wish mine were black, though.
If I haven't made this clear yet, I do not recommend buying the A-pillar gauge pods. They simply do not fit. I'm forced to doing some serious hackery which is fine since my A-pillar trim is already destroyed. However, if I cut a nice one up just to install this I'd be beyond pissed!

Despite using double stick tape all the way around I had areas popping up and looking like trash. I had to resort to desperate measures.

I cut this corner even further back before adding the epoxy.

JB Weld is a shockingly good match to GN interior plastic. :LOL: I have a spray can of the supposed "matching" stuff though. Hopefully that turns out nicely and I don't end up throwing this entire piece in the garbage.
There is a manufacturer (Lokar?) that makes or made the whole pillar with the pods but I believe the fit was really poor on that piece, too.
There is a manufacturer (Lokar?) that makes or made the whole pillar with the pods but I believe the fit was really poor on that piece, too.
I'm personally not a huge fan of the pillar pods to begin with. If I had T-tops I would get the molded trim piece for up there, but mine's a hard top. I'll probably just look for a virgin pillar trim and move the boost gauge down to the cubby. I don't really want to do that either, but it should look nicer than what I have. Ideally, I just wouldn't have the gauge at all, but it would be nice to know what's going on.
Yeah, I hear ya. I plan on installing a boost gauge where I can see it. I was actually considering a larger boost gauge and large mechanical fuel pressure gauge with external cowl gauge pods. Orient the gauges so both are pointing straight up at target boost levels. That way it's in view and you could see it when going down the strip to keep an eye on fuel pressure. Not sure I want external gauges all the time, though.
There are a few options for gauges, but sometimes none of them are “good” options for what the goal is. has a 3 gauge to the right of the factory gauges, a 4 gauge mount under the radio and a glove box mounting plate to house a variety of items including individual gauge holders.

There’s also the flat pod guy, bpman1234.

Some of the solutions don't look terrible, but the only ones that won't look ridiculously out of place to me are the cubby pods. Unfortunately they're kind of out of sight and better for gauges that don't move a lot like volts or water temp.

This isn't a race car, so I may just go blind. The stock boost gauge and Scanmaster may be good enough for how I use the car. I only ever really paid attention to KR anyway.
I wish I could see pictures in some of the old threads regarding TSA air box mods. I'm not planning to go nearly as wild as those guys, but I'm still inspired by their work.

I was about to throw my air box back on just the way I had it. I know I'm still leaving power on the table by not switching to a cone filter, but I was having plenty of fun with just the lower half of the box removed. At first I was hoping that a quick cleaning of the upper half would keep me happy.

But there was an unexpected disagreement between the paint and the brake cleaner. Oops.


At this point I knew that t a repaint was inevitable, so I blasted the rest off and remembered that there was a pretty quick modification I could do for more flow.




Both the top and bottom of the mounting bars are welded and knife edged in hopes of cutting the air flow with the least amount of turbulence.

I even replaced the flange nut with and un-flanged nut to keep it out of the flow path. I'm not sure how much any of this is going to help, but it certainly can't hurt!
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Finished a few things up. I'm not entirely happy with the way some of it turned out, but I these parts put away and the car back on the road. I'm getting less picky about details since the remaining parts will be really easy to remove repair and replace later.

The air box was repainted, and reinstalled. It needs wet sanding and polish, but I don't have time for it right now. I'm very happy to see the engine bay looking so complete though!

Here's the A-pillar trim ready for dye.





One more coat but with vinyl prep spray this time.

I was super happy with the way this turned out until I actually installed it. It looks fine from the driver seat, but....

This looks awful

so does this gap and visible reference line

The JB weld also cracked at the bottom, so I'm viewing this as a temporary solution that at least looks a little better than what I removed. Long term, I'm starting to lean toward not having a boost gauge at all. I don't see myself modifying the car much beyond this or messing with tunes/boost, and I still have the Scanmaster to show KR. I never really paid attention to the boost gauge anyway. Once I find a nice uncut A-pillar trim, I'll do away with this thing.

I should be really excited to get this car on the road right now. This is the biggest repair/restoration effort I've ever taken on, and I do believe that the car is going to be a blast to drive. However, it's very hard to maintain that excitement when I've been telling myself and my friends "it's almost done" for several months. It's one thing to be dissatisfied and take more things apart, but it's a whole other issue to be held back by a manufacture of a critical part who can't provide. I've been waiting on my fuel pump from Racetronix since November, and they have continually dropped the ball every time they've given me a new ETA. This kind of thing makes you wonder if the car will ever get done let alone in time for the Nationals. The clocks ticking, and I'm not buying another pump form somewhere else. I guess the car's fate is in the hands of Racetronix now.
Car looks good. The engine bay looks factory. I ended up buying what was supposed to be a Walbro GSS340 from Summit Racing and it ended up being a knock-off. I think there's supposed to be a better pump out there now, a DW 300, I believe.
Car looks good. The engine bay looks factory. I ended up buying what was supposed to be a Walbro GSS340 from Summit Racing and it ended up being a knock-off. I think there's supposed to be a better pump out there now, a DW 300, I believe.
Thank you!
Wow. I would expect better from Summit.
I just got a couple emails yesterday that have me bouncing off the walls with excitement. My supplier thanked me for my patience with a tracking number and free upgrade to overnight shipping! My pump will be here today! 🥳

Now the real fun begins. I hope to get this thing swapped tonight, get some E85 in a can, and start it up. I'm pretty nervous.
Good luck! I worked on my engine getting it ready for paint. I was surprised how bad the factory overspray was on the manifold. Once I got all of the parts off the engine and got a good look at everything, it wasn't too pretty. I think I'll paint the manifold and plenum aluminum color, and probably the front cover too.
So I did in fact get my pump, and I installed it right away. The Racetronix hot wire and bigger return hose were a bit of a puzzle to get routed neatly, but I'm happy with the outcome!


Main difference between the old Racetronix sender and the new one appears to be the wiring.

I decided to remove as much of the original return line as I could without hacking.

I left it at this.
Original return hose.jpg

added a little spritz of protection and lifted the tank back in!

Believe it or not, I waited until the next day to start the car. I wanted to end the day on a high note, and continue my excitement until I had time to work on it if things went south. I expected the first start to be imperfect given the amount of stuff I had apart.

And it most certainly was!
The chirping was very concerning and there was a gnarly oil leak that needed addressed before diagnosing that issue. The oil came from the oil cooler adapter oring. Oops. Too small. This was discovered three minutes after the parts stores closed so that stunk. The next day I replaced that with the correct piece from Doorman 82560 which sealed it right up.

That concerning chirping noise ended up being a small oopsie.

It might be hard to tell, but that's my tone ring contacting the crank sensor. Once I spaced this out a bit, the car ran better and without the concerning noise but still not great. I have a new sensor on the way. Hopefully that solves the poor running.

I wish the story could end there, but minor surgery is still needed. I have more leaks. One is the oil drain flange on the turbo. My custom filter box gasket with RTV did not work. :mad: If I'm doing this job again, I am definitely studding the turbo and installing a new tube. The even if the original tube survived this install it's probably on the verge of cracking given how much I twisted it. A new pre-cut gasket is on the way as well. Hopefully it's a bit thicker than the cardboard I used. The other leak is my downpipe. I started a separate thread thread about the obsolete donut flange gasket which is the one giving me issues I would try clamping it some more with copper spray, but the bolts are shouldered and only go so far. While I'm doing the drain tube, I'll bring the original gasket with me to the local exhaust shop and see if they can help.

But wait! There's more!

The volt light is on. It's just barely shining which makes me think I botched my alternator rebuild. If I determine that to be the case, I'm probably just going to send it out. I'm tired of messing with that and I'm running out of time!
Another big step back :mad: I was showing the car to a buddy who hadn't visited in a while and noticed this little dribble on the freshly painted booster. I'm getting really tired of changing master cylinders that won't last more than a few years.
I installed a new stock drain tube last night.

I also made some studs which I found to be a great suggestion. This is certainly easier than trying to start bolts.

I am disappointed in the pitting of the turbos mounting surface though. I didn't buy another gasket this time because everyone swears by RTV. I hope it works because I'm not so sure.

My new master cylinder comes today. Hopefully I can toss that on there pretty quickly. I have to dig into my alternator too. :confused: It's always a rush to get ready for nats.