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Thread: Out of mothballs... finally!

  1. #1
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Out of mothballs... finally!

    We've had brutal, pig-biting cold here for the past 3-4 weeks (including ice storms) so taking the Trans-Am out of the garage wasn't possible.

    But this week, it suddenly warmed up to the 50s and, after rain washed away the road salt, I was able to fire the car up and go for a long drive yesterday.

    The one good thing about not having been able to go out for so long is that it makes you realize what fun a car like this is when you do get to drive it again. Nothing like a new car. It's less passive; you're involved. You have to actually drive the thing - and pay attention to what's going on at all times. There's no ABS, no traction/stability control to swat you down if you feel like doing a burnout.

    It shakes, it rumbles and vibrates. Things that would be the object of much complaint in a new car.

    And as efficient as FI is, there is nothing quite like the sound of a Quadrajet's secondaries opening up!

    With luck, the cold days are close to over... let's hope the groundhog was right... .

  2. #2
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    Re: Out of mothballs... finally!

    Eric,

    That's great you had a chance to drive your Trans Am. We had the nice rain up here too a few days ago, unfortunately it dipped below freezing. The salt trucks then came by and dumped a whole mess of salt on the roads in my subdivision. The stuff will be around for a least another month until the April rains wash it away. >

    You hit upon a great point, no matter how much you think you remember how fun driving a 2nd generation Trans Am is, when you get behind the wheel and drive it you get the thrill like its the first time driving the Trans Am. You are right these cars are a blast to drive, and the driver is feeling the entire road and conditions (no ABS, no traction control, etc.).

  3. #3
    DonTom
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    Re: Out of mothballs... finally!

    There's no ABS, no traction/stability control to swat you down if you feel like doing a burnout.

    In all the cars I own with traction control <most>, it can be turned off with a flick of a (stock) switch. But the default is "on" when the car is started.

    I wonder if they should do that with ABS too. I hear the stopping distance on a dry road is quite a bit less withOUT ABS. This would be very easy to do in most vehicles, such as my Jeep. Just put the wire to the ABS pump (or power to the ABS controller) on a switch in the cab.

    But I assume such a switch will never be stock.

    -Don-



  4. #4
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Out of mothballs... finally!

    Quote Originally Posted by Disco Man
    Eric,

    That's great you had a chance to drive your Trans Am. We had the nice rain up here too a few days ago, unfortunately it dipped below freezing. The salt trucks then came by and dumped a whole mess of salt on the roads in my subdivision. The stuff will be around for a least another month until the April rains wash it away. >

    You hit upon a great point, no matter how much you think you remember how fun driving a 2nd generation Trans Am is, when you get behind the wheel and drive it you get the thrill like its the first time driving the Trans Am. You are right these cars are a blast to drive, and the driver is feeling the entire road and conditions (no ABS, no traction control, etc.).
    Amen, brother!

    I do wish I had the extra garage space (and extra cash) to buy Jack's Formula... it has some rust (and high miles) and needs a thorough going-through... but it is a really neat car.

    But first things first... I told Jack I need to have my car cosmetically re-done (stripped and repainted, etc. - the interior's still near-perfect and the mechanics are fine). I figure that's gonna set me back $15k or so - to do it right.... and that's about what Jack wants for his car, I think



  5. #5
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Out of mothballs... finally!

    "d]In all the cars I own with traction control <most>, it can be turned off with a flick of a (stock) switch. But the default is "on" when the car is started."

    That is changing; I can tell you that on many new cars, the DSC system is never completely off. Only partially. It will intervene if, in the judgment of the computer, you are puhing it beyond what the designers think is "safe."

    "I wonder if they should do that with ABS too. I hear the stopping distance on a dry road is quite a bit less withOUT ABS."

    I doubt that; few drivers have the reflexes and feel to threshold brakemore effectively than the ABS pump! But I agree; I'd like to be able to turn it off (so that certain hi-perf maneuvers that require wheel lock-up can be executed, etc.)

  6. #6
    DonTom
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    Re: Out of mothballs... finally!

    "I doubt that; few drivers have the reflexes and feel to threshold brakemore effectively than the ABS pump!"

    To my surprise, it is NOT the dry smooth solid pavement where you're better off withOUT ABS.


    "ABS can actually lengthen stopping distances on some surfaces, such as loose snow, dirt, or gravel, because of effects that occur during locked-wheel skidding that are unique to those surfaces."

    See:

    http://www.aaafoundation.org/resourc...utton=abs#stop

    -Don-

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    Re: Out of mothballs... finally!

    As an example of how controling traction control has become, check out this Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 in factory stock form can run 13.3 - 13.5 second 1/4 mile times all day long (which would beat most stock classic muscle cars)and not a tire screech or chirp:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CnWqRm9LbIs

    The 420 horsepower SRT8 Jeep Grand Cherokee makes it pretty difficult to lose traction and lose contol of the car even under full throttle, in other words almost idiot proof. Years ago stupid or inexperienced drivers especially teenagers with muscle cars used to wrap their cars around trees on a regular basis due to losing traction and control of their cars. I think the manufacturers are going to this trend of total control of traction since it keeps insurance premiums down for a given car which equates to more sales generally. However those who want to do the parking lot burnouts with these new powerful cars it's becoming more and more difficult to bypass these traction control systems.


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    Re: Out of mothballs... finally!

    DonTom,

    The articles states exactly what Eric said the average driver can stop better with ABS in most driving conditions. Gravel, dirt, etc. are encountered in an off-road terrain so that's not a normal everyday real world occurrence. And concerning loose snow, generally folks drive slower and give more distance to the car in front of them during snowy or icy conditions.

    Most accident avoidance requires not only heavy breaking but also intense steering/maneuvering at the same time. Do you really thing a Soccer Mom with a minivan (without anti-lock brakes) can pump the brakes perfectly and steer/maneuver around a sudden obstruction emergency braking from 45 miles an hour and safely bring the vehicle to a stop? With anti-lock breaks this Soccer Mom will be able to do this panic maneuver better and has a better chance of avoiding an accident in this type of situation than without anti-lock brakes.

  9. #9
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Out of mothballs... finally!

    Quote Originally Posted by Disco Man
    As an example of how controling traction control has become, check out this Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 in factory stock form can run 13.3 - 13.5 second 1/4 mile times all day long (which would beat most stock classic muscle cars)and not a tire screech or chirp:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CnWqRm9LbIs

    The 420 horsepower SRT8 Jeep Grand Cherokee makes it pretty difficult to lose traction and lose contol of the car even under full throttle, in other words almost idiot proof. Years ago stupid or inexperienced drivers especially teenagers with muscle cars used to wrap their cars around trees on a regular basis due to losing traction and control of their cars. I think the manufacturers are going to this trend of total control of traction since it keeps insurance premiums down for a given car which equates to more sales generally. However those who want to do the parking lot burnouts with these new powerful cars it's becoming more and more difficult to bypass these traction control systems.

    Absolutely!

    But you know what? As quick as these new cars are, they're much less fun. The element of wildness is not there - and since (as you rightly observe) any idiot can get one through the 1/4 mile "without effort" (or skill), there's much less satisfaction to be had...

    I'll stick with my TA!

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    Re: Out of mothballs... finally!

    Eric,

    I know what you mean, Jack offered to sell me his Firebird after you turned it down. I recommended that he keep it, since once he sells it he was not likely to find another as nice and rare. I told him I would consider buying it. He then said he would get back to me. When he got back in touch with me a few months later I had moved around some money in some new investiments and I also was saving to buy a new car since I needed to replace my old Wrangler (the frame was rotting due to the former owner taking the Jeep out on OBX on a regular basis). I purchased back in May a new 2006 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland (5.7 Hemi). Henceforth I had to turn Jack down. Does he still have the car? Is he planning on keeping it? You are right the car is in good condition but it does need a little work on it.

    Eric concerning your '76 T/A, check out this guy - Jason D. he restores 2nd generation Trans Ams. His work is the best I've seen and he's very reasonable. He's done a lot of fellow club members' 2nd gen T/As on TAC. He does everything from a repaint/refinish to a full restoration and everything in between. A guy up here in Potomac, MD sent his '77 T/A black SE to Jason and the car was a basketcase, Jason restored it - it now is beautiful. I know another guy with a '79 black SE that just need a retriping of the SE strips, Jason did that for him and it was the most perfect striping job I have seen. On top of that Jason will complete the car in a reasonable time frame. Here's the link to the Page with some of Jason's projects, (Jason is located in central PA) there are pictures:

    http://www.transamcountry.com/forum/...62750097e2475e


  11. #11
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Out of mothballs... finally!

    Jack still has the car (or did as recently as about a month or so agao, the last time I heard from him).

    Thanks for the heads-up on Jason D - I will definitely check it out and maybe even get in touch with him. My car still looks nice for 31 years old, but it is getting to the point that I'd like to have it redone. Other than some light rust in the rear window (by the molding, where they ALL seem to get rust) and a small spot on the driver's side lower fender, etc., the body is extremely solid. It mainly needs a few small dings fixed, the panels aligned - and of course, the old paint stripped, etc. (It is "spider webbing" in several places).

    I will drop Jason a line and see what he says...

  12. #12
    DonTom
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    Re: Out of mothballs... finally!

    The articles states exactly what Eric said the average driver can stop better with ABS in most driving conditions.

    Of course, or why else would so many cars have it? Almost everything is for "most driving" cases. One in a million might get killed from wearing a seatbelt, etc.

    But "stopping better" does not always mean stopping in less distance on all surfaces. But I was wrong about it being the dry pavement. It's just what somebody told me when ABS first became popular. I never checked into it until now.

    I certinly am NOT knocking ABS. Or else I would not have recently paid $140.00 to fix the ABS controller in my Jeep.

    -Don-

  13. #13
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Out of mothballs... finally!

    I just checked out the site... the guy seems to be VERY good! I already dropped him a line...

    I will let you know what he says...

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    Re: Out of mothballs... finally!

    Eric,

    Thanks for keeping me updated. I have been checking out different restorers/painters the last few years since I know it's only a matter of time before my two T/As will need to be repainted and his work is the best I have seen.


    Tom,

    I agree. What kind of Jeep do you have?

  15. #15
    DonTom
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    Re: Out of mothballs... finally!

    What kind of Jeep do you have?

    I have a 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo (5.2L).

    -Don-

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    Re: Out of mothballs... finally!

    Don,

    Great vehicle! I also own one of the first generation Grand Cherokees - a '94 Grand Cherokee Laredo 5.2. And I just purchased a new 2006 GC Overland 6 months ago. I still drive my '94 daily at about 128,000 miles it drives and rides like new. I bought the car new back in 1994.

    Here's a picture:




  17. #17
    DonTom
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    Re: Out of mothballs... finally!

    "I still drive my '94 daily at about 128,000 miles it drives and rides like new."

    Ours doesn't get too much use because we have many 4 wheel vehicles (7) as well as several two wheel motorcycles (four). We normally only drive the (4WD) Jeep when we expect to be in snow or when we expect to drive on dirt roads, etc.

    Our '97 Jeep has 170,000 miles on it, but we purchased it used, years ago, when it had 155,00 miles. The only problem we have had besides the ABS controller, is when the PLASTIC power steering pulley broke apart. I assume your 1994 has a metal pulley. You might want to check yours, just so you know. When it breaks, it will take all of about ten seconds before you overheat and pin the temperature gauge, as the serpentine belt runs the water pump.

    -Don-

  18. #18
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Out of mothballs... finally!

    Hi Pete,

    I have exchanged e-mails with Jason; he seems like a good guy who knows his stuff. I have to decide whether I just want to do a major exterior cosmetic re-do or go a little bit deeper and have the front subframe removed, stripped and painted, etc. I am leaning toward doing that .. which Jason thinks would bring the tab to around $15k.

    I'mthinking about doing this in the fall sometime - so the car's finished by Spring of 2008...

    Will keep you posted!

  19. #19
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Out of mothballs... finally!

    My "driver" (other than the press cars!) is a '98 Nissan Frontier with 100-somethingk on it right now... it, too, still runs like a new truck. I am very happy with it - and intend to drive it another 3-5 years (maybe more).

    I don't like that there are very few compact trucks left on the market - since I neither need nor want a fat-ass gas-pig with a V-6 or V-8 engine (for this purpose). I may just buy another of the old Frontiers (the new ones are basically mid-sized) as aback-up if I can find one with the equipment I want (four-cylinde engine, 4WD and manual trans. - that's all).

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    Eric,

    That's a tough dilemma, however I would probably go for the extra stuff you spoke to Jason about for $15k. Even though it brings the price up to a higher level, once you do all those items, your car will not need any body related work on it for many years to come. Nothing is worse than getting a paint job and then 5 years later having to take the car down to do the subframes. Also doing the extra stuff will really make your car stand out at the car shows.

    The '98 Frontier is pretty reliable truck, should give you many future years of good service. It's ashame all the compact trucks have bit the dust or become behemoths. A perfect example of this is the Dakota which was a nice smaller trucke when it first was released back in the late 1980s, now it's about 90% of the size of the full size Dodge Ram. I know when I have driven full size pickups their great on the road, but they stink when it comes to driving around town and fitting them into small or average size parking spots. One of my favorite compact pickups is the 4.0 I6 Jeep Commanche Pickup (4x4), it was the perfect size, had great off-road capabilities, and was pretty reliable.



    DonTom,

    The GC's are certainly good in the snow, had my '94 out in the 6" of snow we got today and it performed flawlessly even up some iced over inclines.

    Thanks for the heads up about the pulley, I know exactly which pulley you are talking about, however I can't remember if it's plastic or metal. I'll inspect it to make sure its in good shape.

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