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  1. #1
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    Default Turning a 99 Firebird into a 97 Trans Am

    After working on my project for almost 2 years now, I figured it's time for a build thread. All I have to go off of is pictures and memory, so I'm probably forgetting a lot of things I did.

    So, two years ago I wrecked my 97 T/A on the freeway. Got cut off, lost control, slid sideways into a few sign posts. One of the signs didn't break off very clean, and tore a nice path of destruction across the floorpan.

    In it's former glory when I bought it.

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    Aaaand the carnage. Very disheartening to see it like that.

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    The driver fender, door, and quarter were destroyed. The floorpan was pushed in on the driver side, windshield cracked, bumper torn, and my muffler smashed in. But it still started and puttered around. I was able to pull it into the garage, where it sat for a while. It was my DD too, I had to drive a rental for a couple weeks while I looked for another car.
    Last edited by Spartan7; 07-30-2013 at 05:38 PM.
    1997 Pontiac Trans Am WS6 clone | Build Thread | - just needs paint!
    2001 Chevy Silverado 2500HD (the DD)

  2. #2
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    Default

    I ended up buying myself an 01 Silverado 2500HD. It had pretty much everything I wanted, except for the miles being a little high. But I got it for a great deal. And it came with the full tow package, so I could haul around my new paperweight.

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    The T/A sat for another month while I decided what to do. I almost parted the whole thing out and swore myself off F-bodies, but I'm glad I didn't go that route. I ended up finding another car, a 99 Firebird. It was the same color, T-tops and 5 speed (pretty rare for a V6). The engine had a blown head gasket, and it had sat in a field for 3 months. I paid $800 for it, figuring I could sell the rebuilt T5, interior, tail lights, and T-tops for that much. It even came with the sought-after T-top shades!

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    What a mess...

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    The original plan was to sell off the parts, and cannibalize body panels off it to fix my T/A. That plan faded quick when I pulled the carpet and saw just how destroyed the body was on the T/A. So plan #2 was to swap EVERYTHING over to the 99 subframe. I told myself, it'll be a fun project! Let me just say this now, I wish I had just bought a damn LT1 car and swapped my drivetrain over. Oh well!
    1997 Pontiac Trans Am WS6 clone | Build Thread | - just needs paint!
    2001 Chevy Silverado 2500HD (the DD)

  3. #3
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    Default

    The very first thing I did was find a buyer for the cloth seats in the Firebird. With them gone, I started tearing the interior of both cars apart. I got a storage unit for all the big stuff coming off the T/A, like body panels and interior. Taking the dash off was the worst part.

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    Fun times...

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    Weight reduction a little too far...

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    The Firebird dash was actually in better shape than mine, so I kept it. It had a couple small cracks starting to form, which I repaired with an Eastwood dash repair kit. I also replaced two of the broken dash vents.

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    Cleaning out the interior of the Firebird was a HUGE pain in the ass. It was filthy and stunk. And on top of that, I found a few old spider nests in it, gross. I cleaned out the whole thing with soap and water. The great thing about Texas cars is no rust to deal with. I meticulously cleaned the floor and firewall, because I had plans to put sound deadening all over.

    While I waited for the sound deadening to show up (ordered up some Raamat), I tore everything I could out of the engine bay. And I mean tore.

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    More to come...
    1997 Pontiac Trans Am WS6 clone | Build Thread | - just needs paint!
    2001 Chevy Silverado 2500HD (the DD)

  4. #4
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    Default

    :thumbup:

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    1996 Camaro Z28: RIP 09/25/2016

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  5. #5
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    The first body panels I swapped over were the T/A hatch/spoiler and rear bumper, which made the ass end look tons better to me. I decided to swap back to the LT1 tail lights, because I personally like them better. And let me tell you, installing and aligning a hatch by yourself is no fun. Note the tiny little V6 exhaust pipe sticking out. lol

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    My Raamat came in, so I started on the firewall. No pictures, but I cleaned up and started reinstalling everything. Got the whole mess of LT1 wiring into the car, as well as the dash and steering column. Already starting to look like a car again. The nice thing about the V6 car being a manual was I didn't even have to cut the holes for the MC or shifter.

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    IMG_1752.jpg
    1997 Pontiac Trans Am WS6 clone | Build Thread | - just needs paint!
    2001 Chevy Silverado 2500HD (the DD)

  6. #6
    "Project Storm Trooper"


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    Default

    so, you are rebuilding your car in the V6 chassis?

    Official Member of $30k Club ​- Work in progress
    1993 Z28- 24x EFI, Clayton Racing 383ci, F1a w/FMIC, AFR 210's, LE Custom cam, LE LT4 Intake/heads, 80# injectors, 255lph/340lph pumps, T56 Conversion, 9" 4.11 w/spool, LPP LT w/Borla, Full UMI suspension....
    1987 Iroc-Z - Stock Summer DD

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by CamaroZGuy View Post
    so, you are rebuilding your car in the V6 chassis?
    Yep, I used the V6 chassis and just swapped everything over. It was more difficult than I thought, there are a few 98-02 differences that make things more difficult that you'll see further on.
    1997 Pontiac Trans Am WS6 clone | Build Thread | - just needs paint!
    2001 Chevy Silverado 2500HD (the DD)

  8. #8
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    I remember at this point I got a nasty-gram from my apartment office for working on my car, so I moved it somewhere they couldn't see it and focused on tearing down the wrecked 97. Complete disassembly of the front end only took a few hours. After a couple long days of work, I had almost everything but the engine out.

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    You can see the plastic front bumper/headlight bracket is broken. Finding a good intact used one of these proved harder than I thought. Also the HF cherry picker I picked up in anticipation of engine swaps, yay.

    IMG_1767.jpg
    1997 Pontiac Trans Am WS6 clone | Build Thread | - just needs paint!
    2001 Chevy Silverado 2500HD (the DD)

  9. #9
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    Bueller? Just got back from business, so I've got more time back home to actually update this. I also changed the title, since the first one might have been slightly confusing.

    The engines came out uneventfully. I forgot to take a picture of the engine sitting on the k-member, but you get the point. By the way, doing this in a tiny little garage sucks!

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    The big pile of parts I get to put back in later, oh boy.

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    And the ugly duckling, the V6 engine. This thing was such a huge piece of crap that I ended up selling it for $20 just to get it out of the way.

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    1997 Pontiac Trans Am WS6 clone | Build Thread | - just needs paint!
    2001 Chevy Silverado 2500HD (the DD)

  10. #10
    "The Rock"


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    Make it happen!

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    Our BIG MOMENT @ the 2012 LTXshootout

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    1996 Camaro Z28: RIP 09/25/2016

    1994 Trans Am GT: SOLD 05/2017

    1985/1996GS clone: SOLD

    1996 Impala SS H/C, LT, with true dual exhaust, 4.10s, lowered, with CPT trans, many cosmetic mods, and a whole lot more to come...

    2002 Caddilac EscaladeL CAI, lowered, 6.0 , AWD..





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