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Old 05-11-2010, 07:38 PM   #1
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Towing, plowing, and 60 degree V6s (from my AC cover thread)

Frank, I have been into a-bodies and 60 degree V6 engines since 96 when I got the white wagon. I have had many a-bodies since then, and still do. This is almost 2 years after I bought it with 62701 miles. Kinda sentimental.



Used to be so nice, but Michigan winters take their toll. This is why I took it off the road in 05 with 255k miles. Trailing arm broke from the floorpan. Both sides were about the same, except the drivers side the floorpan also split from the side of the car halfway up to the front.







This is after about 40 hours of cutting, welding, grinding, painting, temporary gas tank removal. Very solid now. Probably better than it has been in years. Could have put it back on the road but had another wagon.

Here are some pics of the plow. The car towed enclosed utility trailers for most its life too and towed the Sunline a few times so it is also a tow vehicle.

View of the blade assembly before painting. I actually built the plow a little while before the axle attachment broke, so this is just before I had a welder. Could have just welded it and saved some money in fittings. But the $400 I spent total on the plow has paid for itself in the times I would have had to hire the driveway done over the last 5 1/2 seasons. Plus I did not have to buy a truck.



View of the frame assembly, off the car, before painting.



The plow wagon after cleaning up 10 inches of thick drifted snow.



I have pics of it actually plowing too. The car was always a snow monster and between that and the 3.1 engine, it is a good plow vehicle.
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Old 05-12-2010, 11:12 AM   #2
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Re: Towing, plowing, and 60 degree V6s (from my AC cover thr

Quote:
Originally Posted by wagonman76
View of the blade assembly before painting. I actually built the plow a little while before the axle attachment broke, so this is just before I had a welder. Could have just welded it and saved some money in fittings. But the $400 I spent total on the plow has paid for itself in the times I would have had to hire the driveway done over the last 5 1/2 seasons. Plus I did not have to buy a truck.



View of the frame assembly, off the car, before painting.

That's wild! You have a great imagination to come up with that. I've thought about building a small plow for my garden tractor for a while, and never did black pipe cross my mind.


Quote:
Originally Posted by wagonman76
Frank, I have opened a new thread to continue the discussion. I would like to know more about your setup too. I see oddities that do not look like the factory 3.1 turbo.
Yep, it's not a factory 3.1 turbo. The motor is a 93 naturally aspirated 3.1 which happened to come out of a Lumina.

The only factory turbo part I used when I put the turbo on was the rear exhaust manifold off of a turbo grand prix. The front manifold is a stock 3.1 casting. The crossover pipe was homemade from a stock 3.1 crossover and some schedule 40 pipe to beef up the assembly to hold the turbo flange. The intercooler is front mounted and is off of an Isuzu NPR diesel truck, the tank ends were cut off and replaced to allow for side inlet/outlet configuration. The charge pipes were made up from 2" mandrel bends from Summit, cut and welded to fit where they needed to go.

The 16.8 lb/hr stock injectors were tossed for a set of Accel 24 lb/hr injectors. Fuel pump was swapped to a 255 lph Holley (walbro). The stock intake air temp sensor was changed to a threaded model and placed in the charge pipe, post-intercooler.

The exhaust is 2.5" smooth bent from the turbo to the rear bumper. High flow cat and dynomax ultra flow muffler installed to keep the neighbors (and the nj dmv) happy.

This motor has seen two turbochargers since I did the conversion. The first was a Garett T3 60 trim, the same turbo found on some ford turbo t-birds and also on the earlier Datsun Z cars. It made good power, but wasn't, uh, "violent" enough. I also knew I wanted to swap heads in the future, so I upgraded the turbo. New and current turbo is a Garett T3/T4 hybrid, T3 .63 AR turbine with a T4 T5/T6 (rather rare) compressor wheel. Should be good for about 400 hp of air, and it spools quite nicely. At 10 psi of turbo, the car will light up the tires at a 30 mph roll.

I've also played with two different engine management systems. The first was the factory GM 1227730 ECM running highly modified code from a 91 pontiac turbo grand prix. Ran very well, but some local guys are playing with Megasquirt (diy engine management) and wanted some help. So after Christmas I built a Megasquirt 2 kit and got it installed in the car. It's rough tuned and drivable, but currently on hold until the homemade trailer project is completed..

Right now, the 3.1 makes an estimated 250 hp at 10psi, which is quite the bump from the stock 140 rating. Swapping to the later generation heads should increase that figure by a large amount. I have a friend with the same car, but running the gen 3 60* V6 ("3400" stock, sans turbo and fueling), also with a homemade turbo system. He's over 400 hp and the car runs 11's in the quarter mile.

Here's a couple of proofs with pictures of the car from a calendar done by a website I'm active with.





If you're interested, build pictures from the day I bought it (it was pretty trashed) are here: http://gallery.shadetree.org/main.php?g2_itemId=592

There's a lot of pictures there, as there isn't a bolt on that car I haven't removed. Quite a bit of work has been done, including a rear disc brake conversion using spindles from an 89 Dodge Daytona and custom rear axle.

It's not your usual "hot rod" but it's something different. Doesn't get much respect from the younger generation ("it's not a honda") but the old timers love it. All the work was done here at home in my little 1 car garage, except for the exterior paint - I farmed that out.

- Frank
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Old 05-12-2010, 09:14 PM   #3
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That is pretty cool about the turbo. I know very little about turbos. Some people have said that you will turn the 3.1 into shrapnel if you just put a turbo on it, without using the stronger crank parts from the actual turbo 3.1. But it looks like yours is doing just fine.

I am more into going stronger rather than faster. Whenever the 3.1 gave out in the wagon, I had thought about putting in something that would make it a towing monster, like maybe a 4.3 or something. I have pics of where someone put a 350 V8 in a 6000 and had to notch the unibody a bit, so the 4.3 is just shorter and might fit stock. (But the 3.1 never gave out!) I had towed my utility trailer with the car for many years, almost since I got the car. I towed the Sunline with it a few times. Power was actually pretty decent and it handled the trailer well. But when I would crank up the weight distribution, it would flex the back end of the car a little. If I had a welder then, I would have beefed up the unibody. The car actually towed my utility trailer a lot better down the highway that my 3800 Trans Sport does. Back in its highway days I had thought about swapping the knuckles/brakes from a Trans Sport into the wagon for more powerful brakes. Never got around to it.

I converted the utility trailer to disc brakes too. And machined hubcentric/wheelcentric wheel adapters to properly fit matching wheels on the trailer. The calipers are from a Pontiac 6000. The rotors are from a 1/2 ton Chevy pickup, redrilled. The hoses are from an 89 Bonneville. Even with the very early design 600psi Hydrastar unit it stops so well I might as well not even have brakes on the car. I had a brake line go on the car once when towing and aside from the pedal feel, you would barely know the difference.





I also converted 4 different a-bodies to rear disc brakes using the parts from the 6000 STE. I always wondered how I would go about converting a J/L/N body to rear disc. I figured I would start with an STE caliper and backing plate and redrill the plate. Then use a rotor that would fit (I think I figured a Fiero rear rotor would do it). But your approach is quite interesting. I did read once about someone using parts from a Neon to do it. Probably quite similar. Right now my daily drivers are an 89 Celebrity sedan (summer) and an 89 6000 wagon (winter). I got a feeling the 6000 is going to need the same floorpan weld treatment as the plow wagon pretty soon.

This was 10 inches of thick drifted snow. It needed two passes to clean it up. It takes longer than a truck plow but is faster and warmer than a snowblower and I can plow and move the other vehicles to plow around them on my own time.











I will have to check out your car build thread when I get a little more time. Looks quite interesting and I always like to see how others go about things like that. I am all GM, always have been, probably always will be. No import brands for me, regardless of where they are built. I like your homemade trailer thread too. Looks good so far.
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