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  1. #1
    Asshole.


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    Nov 2008
    Name
    Chris
    Vehicle
    1994 Trans Am
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    PA, USA
    Posts
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    Default Project: 1994 Trans Am

    Where to start, where to start...


    I bought this 1994 Trans Am (non-GT) in January 2007 for $5,000. I am the third owner. The original owner bought the car from a local dealer and it had Firebird wheels, molded spoiler, etc. The second owner picked it up at the same dealer and she is a friend of the family. She bought the car "because it was hot and had t-tops." Someone, somewhere along the line was horrible at parking and the rims were chewed up. Not to mention big scrapes on the pass. side ground effect and front bumper. The clear coat is gone on the right pass. side 1/4 panel and there are two mysterious dings on the driver side.


    I picked it up with about 67,000 miles. It currently has 80k on it and ran out of inspection 6 years ago! About a week after I took it to a track rental, it started pouring coolant out of a water pump bolt hole (left bottom side). It still ran fine, but I didn't want to fry the second opti I put in it. Cranked the bolt too hard and it snapped half off inside the block. Being pissed off, I bought a Trailblazer SS to add to the collection and lost interest since the TBSS was faster. Now, the car is getting closer and closer to rising from the ashes after years of collecting parts. The rest of the story is below.




    2007





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    20072






    Got the car, drove it around in the middle of winter. I was in love. First car I bought completely on my own and didn't know anything about LT1's or Fbodies in general (was originally looking for a clean IROC). It was quiet and I wanted it to make some noise. First "mod" I did was a bluetooth CD receiver. Had big plans for the sound system I never had, but just as I bought all the pieces, I decided to sell it off in favor of performance mods. Always loved the sound of Magnaflow, so I bought the catback and did a K&N FIPK. While doing the CAI, I cleaned the engine bay and toasted the optispark. Welcome to the LT1 world!





    20073






    After the CAI, catback, and opti I wanted to show off the car. Hooked up with a local fbody club (Eastern PA F-Body Association -rip-) and went to my first meet and greet. Followed by a few more.

    Quakertown, PA



    20074





    Nockamixon State Park (Lehigh Valley), PA



    20075




    Philadelphia, PA



    20076






    Drag raced for the first time with some friends at a track rental. It was middle of summer, dry, and during a heat wave. I know it was around 100*, who knows what the track temp was. My tires were pretty bald from burn outs lol. Ran a best of 14.8 all day. Around 99mph. Took 2nd place and got a trophy. Balls and head could barely fit in the door that day.





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    Not fast enough, time for moar! Hooker SuperComps, Hooker 3" Y pipe, Summit TB (ended up sending it back), 3.73 Richmonds, and a PCMForLess mail order tune were ordered! Also descreened the MAF (why? because Internet)





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    Enjoyed the car for the rest of the Summer and Fall. November comes around and I bought an 87 IROC and a mullet wig.





    200716
    Last edited by harner; 01-10-2015 at 04:31 PM.

    Chris.
    1994 Trans Am
    Under the knife - who knows when it'll run (5.3 LM7/CPT 60e/QP 9")
    2018 Camaro ZL1 CAI/Catback | 1987 Iroc Sitting in the weeds | 2006 Silverado Z71 5.3 "HO" L33/60e, Baby cam'd at 240k and top end refresh, still going strong!

  2. #2
    Asshole.


    Status
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    Nov 2008
    Name
    Chris
    Vehicle
    1994 Trans Am
    Location
    PA, USA
    Posts
    2,273
    Supporting Member

    Default

    2008


    Now the car sounded good and I went through two sets of header gaskets before using some SBC's. I drove the car in the snow, didn't care at the time. It definitely made me more cautious and never spun out or anything. Even drove it home in a blizzard 70 miles. It never drove in the snow after that lol - 3 hours white knuckling. It was parked for a few months.





    20081






    Then it thawed out. Hit some March meets early in the year.

    NE Philly, PA



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    NE Philly, PA



    20083





    NE Philly, PA



    200833





    Brownstown Sonic (Tri State Tuners meet), PA



    20084



    Time to make this thing look like a Trans Am. After envying other T/A owners with their ram air hoods, spoilers, and wheels, I bought some of my own cosmetic improvements. First, was the high rise spoiler. I think I paid $250 shipped freight from car-part.com. Picked it up in Allentown and installed it later that day with a friend and my Dad.





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    Next up - wheels! Bought some ABS chrome 5 spoke wheels. They were on a 95 T/A convertible show car in great condition. They were like 350 shipped with rubber on em! Also did an Automotive adjustable FPR and 30# Accel injectors.





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    20088






    The car sounded great, looked great, so I sent the car off to have the gears installed. Then, went off to the track for another track rental with friends. Another HOT as hell day. I ran a best of 13.9 at about 103. 60 foots sucked and couldn't get traction, but it was fun and the car sounded MEAN. Took second place again, got a trophy and elephantitus of the balls again with all of my friends.








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    200811






    Drove the car home in the rain. Didn't really enjoy it much after that, just started planning a cam swap and started tinkering more with the IROC. I had goals for the car and the Camaro was the new driver. Couple weeks later, started up the car and let it run until it warmed up and noticed coolant leaking. Shut it down and found a waterpump bolt was loose. I thought, WTF, and gave it a couple good cranks until SNAP. FUUUUUUU... How does that get fixed? Pull motor? Tap and die/helicoil? Shit. It's going to be a lawn ornament now.


    I was using the 87 IROC to commute to central PA every day and found a better higher-paying job just 20 minutes away (versus an hour and a half). Within the first few weeks, did the dumb thing of buying a newish car (you know, young and making decent money - can't save it for a house or anything). 2006 Trailblazer SS. AWD, 400hp, faster than my T/A and more comfortable to drive. Still had the IROC around to drive, but the interest in the T/A faded.
    Last edited by harner; 01-10-2015 at 01:22 PM.

    Chris.
    1994 Trans Am
    Under the knife - who knows when it'll run (5.3 LM7/CPT 60e/QP 9")
    2018 Camaro ZL1 CAI/Catback | 1987 Iroc Sitting in the weeds | 2006 Silverado Z71 5.3 "HO" L33/60e, Baby cam'd at 240k and top end refresh, still going strong!

  3. #3
    Asshole.


    Status
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    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Name
    Chris
    Vehicle
    1994 Trans Am
    Location
    PA, USA
    Posts
    2,273
    Supporting Member

    Default

    2010


    Fast forward two years. The car went from being a lawn ornament to being towed to a garage I started renting. Bought a set of ZR1's that have been powdercoated. Picked up some used but healthy front tires and new Nitto 555R's for the rear. Also tore down the motor. Removed everything down to the bare shortblock. Also picked up an SLP ram air hood and sanded it down and painted it semi flat black. Also did the CETA mod. Painted all kinds of stuff as well. Got loaded one night and extracted the broken WP bolt with a needlenose pliers, hammer, and some patience. Took about a $40 bar tab and a half hour, but it came out. Of course this was after everything was tore down and big ideas were being planned lol.





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    I don't know what all I bought in that time frame since it's kind of a blur. I did drilled/slotted ebay rotors with Hawk HPS pads. I think I picked up a nitrous outlet plate kit around that time as well. The heads got sent out for a port and polish and had the intake ported to match. I had a cc503 and supporting valvetrain, fuel pump and hot wire kit, and a ton of other stuff waiting to get put on the car. Then the TBSS ate a bearing in August 2010. After sinking 10k into that plus some throughout 2011, the T/A got put on the backburner for a second time.


    Not to mention, got stabbed in the back in a relationship I was in. Lost a good friend of mine because of it, as well as a kid I was a father figure/role model for.
    Last edited by harner; 01-10-2015 at 01:24 PM.

    Chris.
    1994 Trans Am
    Under the knife - who knows when it'll run (5.3 LM7/CPT 60e/QP 9")
    2018 Camaro ZL1 CAI/Catback | 1987 Iroc Sitting in the weeds | 2006 Silverado Z71 5.3 "HO" L33/60e, Baby cam'd at 240k and top end refresh, still going strong!

  4. #4
    Asshole.


    Status
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    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Name
    Chris
    Vehicle
    1994 Trans Am
    Location
    PA, USA
    Posts
    2,273
    Supporting Member

    Default

    2012


    Started to get a little interest again in the LT1 car. Maybe painting stuff and cleaning it up will help with the motivation. Did a window regulator on the driver side, cleaned the interior up from sitting, and did some small things. Motivation was hurt, though. Bought a 98 Grand Prix GT and it LOWERED my car insurance haha. Bought parts in favor of a GTP top swap and basically a GTP conversion. HUD, blower, radiator, tranny, put new brake lines on it, slotted/drilled rotors and pads, and some other stuff. Retiring the TBSS from DD status helped pad my wallet a little between ins and gas. I did pull the trigger on a 24X group buy with BP Automotive and then started planning everything else I wanted in the car.


    Also bought my house this year on my own.





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    20123
    Last edited by harner; 01-10-2015 at 01:24 PM.

    Chris.
    1994 Trans Am
    Under the knife - who knows when it'll run (5.3 LM7/CPT 60e/QP 9")
    2018 Camaro ZL1 CAI/Catback | 1987 Iroc Sitting in the weeds | 2006 Silverado Z71 5.3 "HO" L33/60e, Baby cam'd at 240k and top end refresh, still going strong!

  5. #5
    Asshole.


    Status
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    Nov 2008
    Name
    Chris
    Vehicle
    1994 Trans Am
    Location
    PA, USA
    Posts
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    Supporting Member

    Default

    2013


    Motivation comes back to life. The TBSS started to nickel and dime me and I was driving it less and less. Picked up an 08 Caddy STS as a DD and parked the Grand Prix in favor of project car status. Got two new jobs in middle to late '13. It kept me crazy busy. Traded the Caddy in for a 2013 Cruse Eco 6 speed. Got great gas mileage, but shit I still miss that Caddy. Had to downgrade due to the new job's commute around 100 miles a day. Kind of broke even financially and had a lot less free time. Towards the end of 2013, I accepted an offer to start yet another job at the start of 2014 and I also was accepted into graduate school to work on a Master's degree, also starting beginning of 2014.


    I started buying parts for the LT1 car again, having a new goal in mind. I wanted a built bottom end on the cheap, so settled for a low compression 355 with rings gapped for nitrous. Stock crank and rods with ARP rod bolts and Probe pistons. I figured I could bump it to about 10:1 for now with my heads and some Impy gaskets, and if I wanted to go turbo with it down the road, I could use different gaskets and cam.


    Made another couple big purchases in '13. CPT Pro Race 60e (96 core), ProTorque 3400 stall, Pypes catback, Corsa clone tips, Canton valve covers, custom grind LT1Z cam, suspension parts out the ass, etc. I think I hit every holiday special on performance parts.


    Also to note, I started liquidating parts. Parts I would no longer need went up for sale to help offset the money I was dumping in parts. Old motor, opti, trans, everything. I was kind of glad the car was sitting so long, keeping the mileage off of it. Not a whole lot of LT1 cars under 100k.





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    20136
    Last edited by harner; 01-10-2015 at 01:25 PM.

    Chris.
    1994 Trans Am
    Under the knife - who knows when it'll run (5.3 LM7/CPT 60e/QP 9")
    2018 Camaro ZL1 CAI/Catback | 1987 Iroc Sitting in the weeds | 2006 Silverado Z71 5.3 "HO" L33/60e, Baby cam'd at 240k and top end refresh, still going strong!

  6. #6
    Asshole.


    Status
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    Name
    Chris
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    1994 Trans Am
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    PA, USA
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    2014


    Steph, my amazing better half, had patience about as thin as a piece of paper with the mountain of car parts in our living room. I knew between starting the new job and Master's in January that my time would be limited, even though the job is remote. The shop who did the install and tune on my TBSS offered to pick my T/A up and assemble it for me. The shop manager and personal friend of mine, Ryan Stump, loved the idea of the 24x kit and was eager to dive into it. So, off it went. I let them know I wasn't in a hurry and knew it wouldn't be touched for awhile. But, I trust them and they have a good reputation in the area when it comes to performance cars.

    They are also the only dyno tune shop in 30-40 miles.





    201401






    In the Spring, I decided that I didn't want a car with a healthy 355, stall, bullet proof trans with a 150 shot to have a rear made of glass. Bought a Quick Performance 9" and painted it up with Eastwood Chassis Extreme Black
    paint. Picked up a stock 9" center, some QP 3.89s, and a rebuild kit. Took it over to Stump's along with the insane amount of other parts. Also started hitting up Gail @ American_Powerhouse for parts. I got some gauges and a bunch of other things.


    Started getting progress pics of the car. To my surprise, the Stump's Garage team started restomodding my T/A! Every chassis part that came off got sanded or grinded and sprayed. Even the LT's got sanded down and sprayed with high temp paint!





    201401-5 by chris.harner


    ,





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    After a few months of discussion and buying little parts and kits to make life easier (line lock, ABS delete, other little odds and ends), I got some more pics. Painted engine bay and long block assembly. Bought some Plastidip in matte red for the car! I plan to paint it myself eventually, just wanted it all one color and hide some cosmetic flaws for now.





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    The next year should be interesting to say the least. I haven't driven the car in years! Sold the TBSS and picked up a 2010 Camaro 2SS/RS with some light mods. Still keeping my focus on the T/A. As corny as it sounds, 2015 will be the rise of the pheonix! Already booked it's first outing for a dyno day in April of 2015. Staying positive it'll be back together in time and make it down to the 25th anniversary of the OCMD car cruise.
    Last edited by harner; 01-10-2015 at 04:42 PM.

    Chris.
    1994 Trans Am
    Under the knife - who knows when it'll run (5.3 LM7/CPT 60e/QP 9")
    2018 Camaro ZL1 CAI/Catback | 1987 Iroc Sitting in the weeds | 2006 Silverado Z71 5.3 "HO" L33/60e, Baby cam'd at 240k and top end refresh, still going strong!

  7. #7
    Asshole.


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    Chris
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    Formatting is off due to copy/pasting from Notepad. I'll probably clean that up eventually. You can enlarge the pics by clicking on them. They are hosted on Flickr. Also, if you want details on my mod list, check out my FQuick account. There is too much to list and I used this site to keep track of them.

    http://www.fquick.com/garages/viewvehicle.php?id=14847

    edit- formatting cleaned up, but should stack the pics a little better. Too lazy for that right now lol
    Last edited by harner; 01-10-2015 at 01:28 PM.

    Chris.
    1994 Trans Am
    Under the knife - who knows when it'll run (5.3 LM7/CPT 60e/QP 9")
    2018 Camaro ZL1 CAI/Catback | 1987 Iroc Sitting in the weeds | 2006 Silverado Z71 5.3 "HO" L33/60e, Baby cam'd at 240k and top end refresh, still going strong!

  8. #8
    "The Rock"


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    Jul 2009
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    1996 Camaro Z28, 1994 Trans Am GT, 1985/1996 Corvette CLONE
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    Shillington, Pennsylvania, United States
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    Default

    Great write up man.... even more exited about seeing the car at our dyno day knowing the history.


    Our BIG MOMENT @ the 2012 LTXshootout

    http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=521756391174175

    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..





  9. #9
    "The Rock"


    Status
    Offline
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    Jul 2009
    Vehicle
    1996 Camaro Z28, 1994 Trans Am GT, 1985/1996 Corvette CLONE
    Location
    Shillington, Pennsylvania, United States
    Posts
    61,214

    Default

    Also... what hapnd to the iroc...? ...and if im not mistaken did u not have a bb gbody in there somewhere?


    Our BIG MOMENT @ the 2012 LTXshootout

    http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=521756391174175

    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..





  10. #10
    Asshole.


    Status
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    Name
    Chris
    Vehicle
    1994 Trans Am
    Location
    PA, USA
    Posts
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    Supporting Member

    Default

    Still have the IROC! I started collecting LS swap parts in 2010. Decided to go another route and sold the stuff (and made money lol). Did a TH350 swap in 2011 or so and it's been parked ever since. Between the TBSS, the T/A, the house, jobs, etc it has been bottom of the priority list. The car is sitting on ramps at my house now.

    As for the big block gbody, I cleaned out a garage last year and bought an 87 Cutlass with a 455 swap. Cool car, but trans was shot and it needed help. Ran like a monster though.

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