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Old 12-08-2007, 01:41 PM   #1
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Default Adopting mom'* Caprice..... a few questions on a buildup.

Well, my mom is on a hunt for a "new" car, and has decided to retire the Caprice. It'* having a assload of driveability problems, so I decided to take it, as the scrapper only wanted to give her $75 for it in running condition. I am going to store it at my Dad'* friends house (total GM muscle car nut) and will start on it next spring. It is a '89 Brougham LS, and if anyone knows, they are "invisible" 9C1s. They have everything the 9C1 has (Posi rear end, heavy duty brakes/suspension), and some other 9C1 specific stuff.

So, my question is, what do you guys think I should do with it? I am not looking for a 9C1 clone, as there are too many around here. I am wanting to retain the Brougham look in and out, except for a 9C1 speedo. I was either thinking a built up LT1, or another SBC, I would LOVE to do a BBC, but the cost isn't in my budget.

Stock engine is the L03 305 TBI, and burns oil. Car has 120k on it, and has mostly surface rust. There are only 2 places that I know of that are rotted, part of the radiator support has some rot on the top, and the one front fender has mild rot. On the other hand, the underside is nearly spotless, except for the rotting brake and fuel lines. So, tell me what I should do! And for anyone that wants to know, the car weighs 3798lbs.

Some pics for those who don't remember it. I hated taking those pics, that'* my mom'* trailer, and she lives RIGHT on Lake Erie, it was extremely windy that day.

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Old 12-08-2007, 01:56 PM   #2
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I would do a SB 350 in that car... Easy to get parts for... and you could use a Carbed 350... Or you could use the LT1, But the LTI build will cost you a bit more in parts..

The car is a good base to start with tho as you have all of the tight parts.... Its not hard to get 350 Hp from a 350..

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Old 12-08-2007, 01:57 PM   #3
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Default Re: Adopting mom'* Caprice..... a few questions on a buildup

In a case like this, I would attack the bodywork first. You have plenty of bodywork to do from the looks of those photos and the time to address it is now before it gets any worse. During the course of fixing the bodywork, you may find some structural problems that render the car not worth fixing, so better to find out sooner than later.

2nd, do the Engine/Driveline... Stick to TBI and start with a new longblock. It isn't sexy, but on a budget a iron head 350 SBC would be a good replacement. In your case, I would pull the motor, turn in the stock block and heads as cores for new pieces...or just turn the whole thing in as a core on a new/reman long block. You will want to get a new or reman TBI throttle body, or at the very least get the injectors cleaned/replaced.

You will have the high pressure in-tank fuel pump, so you can hop up the 350 later, go to a mini-ram, TPI, etc.. after the rest of the work is done to make the car a good driver that looks nice. The extra 45cid of displacement shouldn't give the stock computer fits, so you can still run the stock calibrator until you figure out where it needs tweaked to get more power out of it. TBI computers are the simplest to work with.
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Old 12-08-2007, 02:09 PM   #4
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Default Re: Adopting mom'* Caprice..... a few questions on a buildup

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bonneville92V688
Stock engine is the L03 305 TBI, and burns oil.
That'* probably part A of the driveability problems. You'll keep fouling out plugs and O2 sensors if it'* burning oil. Most SBC'* of that milage will puff a little on startup (valve stem seals) but not really burn much oil.

Part B of the problem is likely VAC related. The engine bay in the photo looks completely stock...and un-touched in the nearly 20 years the car has been on this earth. The vac lines are probably cracked and leaking and need replaced. On the good news side, get lots of photos for reference, you can put it all back to showroom stock..there'* nothing "missing" from the systems. Be carefull of the AC compressor..if the system is still charged with R12 and working, you will want to keep it that way.
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Old 12-08-2007, 02:24 PM   #5
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Yeah, it just puffs at startup, and at some takeoffs.

All the vacuum lines are new, those are old pics, I replaced all the vacuum lines, no change, plus there are only 5 or 6 lines on the whole engine.

Yeah the body is rough, I been all up under the car, and see no major rust on the underside, most is on the body. Rockers are solid, as with the frame.

As for the motor, if I DO stick with the TBI, I'm going with a 454 TBI out of a truck. I figure I pop that in there in stock form with a trans, I am set to go.
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Old 12-08-2007, 05:34 PM   #6
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Forget the TBI. Its a torque motor but doesn't rev high enough to make good power. Since there is little aftermarket everything you do to it would have to be custom. I say buy a cheap 94-96 Buick Roadmaster or Caprice 9C1 and swap out the LT1 motor and PCM/ wiring harness into your car. Then just part the rest of the donor car out to make your money back.
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Old 12-08-2007, 05:59 PM   #7
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Body on frame....that car is built to last. Forget perfomance that car is meant for smooth cruising. Put some nice rims on it and take care of the random rust spots. Not 24s but some decently big rims
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Old 12-08-2007, 06:48 PM   #8
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id say, put a 350 in it and get some good performance out of it. something simple with a carb that is easy to work with. and then just go for the sleeper look
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Old 12-08-2007, 07:03 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bonneville92V688
As for the motor, if I DO stick with the TBI, I'm going with a 454 TBI out of a truck. I figure I pop that in there in stock form with a trans, I am set to go.
That would be a bit hard on gas and a heck of a lot of work to get it in the car, though you are thinking down the right path (IMHO)...

Think "C/K1500" of about the same vintage and that would be the 350 TBI setup to run, perhaps with a peppier cam. Except for the larger TBI throttle body and injectors, you already have the entire system to work with.

For a performance build, you could also do a 350 short block with Vortec heads and a TBI Vortec manifold (GM Performance) That would pump out a fair amount of power and still look as stock as you want.
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Old 12-08-2007, 07:49 PM   #10
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I had one of those in high school, a good solid car. It'd do some pretty good one wheeled wonders too. I always wanted to strip all the chrome off, the vinyl top, maaco it black, put some 18'* on it and drop it about 2 inches. I think that'd be hot, combined with a mild 383 or even a sb 400, get some torque to get that thing movin. It wouldn't do much for your carbon footprint though.
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