3800 Supercharged Astre

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Re: 3800 Supercharged Astre

Postby vegastre » Fri Jan 05, 2018 2:31 am

Legal Eagle :th:

I went ahead and insured and tagged the SJ even though it has no muffler and is not driven. The weather has been just too darn cold ever since I got the H-Body off the dirt. Over a hundred hours below freezing and mostly highs just in the teens. Let me tell you that is cold for Texas. Not like the eastern seaboard is experiencing but cold for my whiny butt.

I went with Hagerty on my classic insurance. In Texas its $50 bucks for antique tags for five years and no state inspection sticker required. Oh, and the bonus you only run one tag in the back, very cool for me. Hagerty wasn't the cheapest but seemed to be the most comprehensive. Back in the day I used Hagerty and my full coverage for my Trans Am was like $60 for the year.

The other motive for tagging the SJ is I can park and work on the car in my driveway without Code Enforcement all up in my S**t. Nothing more to report other than just these ramblings. It's good to ramble after not posting a word for over a year on the SJ.
Last edited by vegastre on Sun Feb 11, 2018 12:35 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: 3800 Supercharged Astre

Postby vegastre » Sun Feb 11, 2018 11:56 am

Hood Hinge Fabrication

Let me start with a disclaimer:
Having owned H-Body cars for more years than I can count the one thing that has bugged me or I should just say I out and out dislike is the "Front" opening hood of the early GM H-Body cars. Its a poorly designed and executed feature wrapped around an absolute horrible pin setup. The cheap approach GM went to with these early offerings is never more evident when you want to remove or replace your hood. For the longest I thought it was e bad joke that some pissed off GM designer was playing. I downloaded a video to my YouTube channel which sort of explains the Disclaimer. BTW, in this video I mistakenly called the Header panel the Cowl, Excuse the brain fart.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ecI6xo3iLSg

Dateline: Saturday the tenth of February, a cold gray overcast winter day that begins close to 60 F degrees early morning day break and dropping rapidly. The hood hinge setup GM designed completely wore out and in need of attention immediately because opening and closing the hood was impossible. The original pin design had to go. I started by removing the welded pins from the hood hinge arms. I then machined up a couple of stainless steel bushings which fit a 3/8 inch threaded shank bolt. I then machined out the SJ hinge plates on the core support or what was left of them to accept the new bushings. Couple of welds later the hinge plates and new bushings are ready to accept the 3/8 bolt which is almost the exact size of the original GM pins. So... the hinge arm is held in place to the bushing by the 3/8 bolt sandwiched between two stainless washers with a self locking stainless nut to hold it all tightly together. A bit of heavy grease on the parts and the hood opens and shuts with almost pure perfection.

Sunday Update:
Hood is installed and is aligned better than the factory thanks to the new pin set up. It pains me to talk negatively about GM and the Vega hood design but I think I have earned the right after four decades of ownership. Every time I see an H-body hood it's almost a personal embarrassment these cars rolled off the assembly line looking as poorly as they did. BTW, sunny and 38 degrees F today, that works for me...or not.
Last edited by vegastre on Wed Mar 07, 2018 3:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 3800 Supercharged Astre

Postby vegastre » Tue Mar 06, 2018 1:28 am

Wholy Hood And Gas Charged Struts

Warmed up a little when March arrived in Texas which has allowed me to continue on the SJ. This short video shows how someone can get carried away with a hole saw and at the same time highlights one of the best modifications I have ever done to the SJ which is the installation of Gas Struts to open and close the hood. Exceptionally simple design but the functionality of this Mod raises the bar on quality and feel of the car.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fP-V6ZYhJ0E

As I state in the video this is not a new Modification. I did gas struts back in 2012 and started the Wholy Hood back in 2004 and finished it up this year when designing and install of the new pin set up for the hood. Over time it all comes together to form a pretty sweet hand crafted package. Here is the link if you wish to do this Mod on your H-Body.

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=37170

EDIT: An H-Body Member had PM me (private message) Asking about the Wholy Hood. I thought I would go ahead and share the genesis of the hood project. First conceived in 2005 as a better way to raise and lower the hood. I came up with the Gas Strut idea independent of any input from the board or any where else. I had weighed the hood years earlier and knew it was a very heavy for such a small hood. I wanted a light. easy opening action and the way to do this was by drilling holes in the frame work... a whole lot of holes. A process which took many hours. next which was figuring where the gas struts would go and not be in the way. This was an arduous task and came up with the best design bar none. The simple small gas struts tuck up out of piece. (See post and video). Finally was the installation of the hood pins which again was a entire process and design on it's own. In close, Hopefully you will realize all three work in coordination with each other.
Last edited by vegastre on Tue Feb 19, 2019 10:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 3800 Supercharged Astre

Postby vegastre » Sat Apr 21, 2018 11:15 am

April Update

CUSTOM HOOD LATCH

Another hood video featuring a design I came up with to do away with the H-Body latch. While the factory latch is certainly beefy it's a rather crude setup not the least of which is the plastic latch release cable. Having owned two H-Body''s for years I have replaced several of these plastic sheathed cables. My idea and design was more on how to replace the plastic cable and what evolved was sort of what shook out. The finished latch you see in this video was an end result rather than having a blueprint or drawings to start with.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YD_0Lw6Vh0I

EDIT: The video is not quite accurate, Sometimes when you I make these videos I don't explain the genesis of what prompted the design. In this case the Factory latch had to go to make room for the throttle body and it's related components. Also this present design is more mock up with a finished design to come later. I never settle on any thing quickly although I will admit I like this design a lot.
Last edited by vegastre on Tue Feb 19, 2019 10:29 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: 3800 Supercharged Astre

Postby 283vega » Sat Apr 21, 2018 12:45 pm

I think you may be able to replace the outer plastic cable housing with bicycle brake cable housing. This is just a guess never having done it
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Re: 3800 Supercharged Astre

Postby vegastre » Sun Apr 22, 2018 5:01 am

Good idea Brian,
I will try this when I restore my 72 GT. Not sure I explained myself so good but to further confuse everyone my point is the factory latch itself is a very beefy latch with the exception of the H-Body's steel cable encased in plastic. The plastic gets brittle with age and is of course the weak link. Let me retrace and say it's not a totally bad design but more evidence where General Motors was cost conscious with the cable design during the Era where wide use of plastic and ABS was used everywhere they could..
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Re: 3800 Supercharged Astre

Postby vegastre » Mon Jul 30, 2018 3:01 am

July Update

CUSTOM REAR TRUNK LID

Well folks,
It's July in Texas. Something like 20 or so 100 F plus days in a row. It's brutal out there and as such not a whole lot of work on the SJ Astre. I did do a rear trunk lid custom creation which I'm very pleased with. Done earlier when It was much cooler I recently did a video which I have uploaded. This video is basically my answer to the cheap factory metal deck lid.It must be said that having owned H-Body cars for decades I have had plenty of time to think about all theses custom improvements. I know their most likely not your cup of tea. I only present these videos as more a record for me and at the same time share my ideas. Love it or hate it this creation is very functional with the split trunk design. Check it out.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nwIgHYWPYrQ

EDIT: The genesis for this design was the installation of a bass speaker. With the 75 Astre their is almost no trunk space. Really none to speak of. You have a spare tire well on the driver side and about three inches of depth on the passenger side. In a very functional way their is no room for stereo components whatsoever. I use to be big on stereos for my cars...not so much any more. Today with the digital revolution you can stream everything off your phone. This has changed the entire formula of this car somewhat radically from engine management to music. I dare say this entire car eventually will be ran off my Samsung Tablet. I'm not being futuristic here I'm just being practical with the hardware I have. This is after all the digital age. The big bass speaker hovering over the spare tire is more a answer to a 80's mind set and the split trunk design was a functional must result of this. I still like it and I will leave it for show. In reality I will be streaming to my single speaker Bose blue tooth for my music in the car.
Last edited by vegastre on Thu Feb 21, 2019 8:24 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: 3800 Supercharged Astre

Postby vegastre » Sat Feb 09, 2019 12:04 am

UPDATE

I know, It's been six months.

It's February in Texas. 22 degrees F for a high today but just a few days ago we had record highs in the 70's. Crazy Texas weather. The warm weather did let me re-design the firewall and the throttle bottle "Air Intake Box". The original design was poor and not functional. the new firewall and box is or I should say a quantum leap with a pretty neat large air filter which allows lots of air intake and seals off the engine compartment fumes. noise, etc.

Checking my camera phone for the video I realized the video was on my old phone that up and died on me. Damn, I will do a new video as soon as it warms up a bit. Anyway, I think you will find it interesting with the Throttle Body in the back of the Supercharger.
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Re: 3800 Supercharged Astre

Postby vegastre » Thu Feb 21, 2019 6:33 pm

OK, here we go...

After much thought it became clear a series of videos will need to be presented to somewhat understand the task I created for my self. MY old friends and followers of this project here will understand but the new kids on the block will need to review this thread because simplicity doesn't exist here anymore with this build.

First, let me mention the reason this car is not down the road and being driven is the throttle body design to include the air intake, the firewall, air filter and related components to include the throttle cable and insulation heat and insulation noise. This video highlights the air box design, the first design was poor at best the second design you will come to learn is a rather unique answer to a rear mounted TB extended through the firewall into the passenger compartment.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tsjDqJXitl0

EDIT When I'm talking about the throttle body sealing off bad fumes etc I said to prevent fumes from entering the engine compartment but I meant to say "Passenger Compartment".

Genesis: An H-Body member asked me awhile back why I chose not to have AC/Heat with this build? It was a little hard to explain but I will try. I deleted the AC/Heat and it's related components years ago to put in an after market set up. I spent a sizable amount of money on this unit but never installed and this is the reason. I realized if I wrecked this car I would most likely never rebuild it because of the rarity of the parts, time considerations, etc. More over, it was no longer my daily driver and hadn't been for many years. I treat it now like my motorcycle, on hot July days I don't drive the Astre, on cold days I don't drive it either. More over, I discovered I don't miss either the AC or Heat at all. Plus with the limited driving I do in the car I enjoy the car even more. Percentage wise It also cuts down on the likely hood I will have a severe wreck which precludes saving the car. I know, an odd way to look at it but it works for me. Ultimately, this is all to say it was an easy choice to swap the 3800 Supercharger with the TB in the back with no AC/heater to worry about.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AQUwH4y9qa4
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Re: 3800 Supercharged Astre

Postby vegastre » Sat Aug 31, 2019 6:22 pm

Update

It's been awhile since the last update and as usual the Texas heat has shut me down for the most part. Well, I use that as an excuse anyway. Fact of the matter I have been too busy doing other stuff as well as tending to my health. I use the SJ as a quite place when on occasion I just need to get away for a minute and think things over. Last night I was relaxing inside and I looked up at the roof and said to myself. "That's freaking awesome" which brought me to the conclusion I needed to post a video on my very unusual roof.

I think you will get a laugh when i say this is my latest update followed with, "I did the roof seven years ago". I drew my inspiration from the custom vans of the 70's. Shag carpet and diamond tuffited heavily padded velour roofs. Do i have your interest yet? Click on the link and take a magic carpet ride back to the 70's

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W5oA75BAOJ4

Edit: When I was making this video I had a neighbor stop by and look at the SJ. It sits mostly in the rear driveway, the alley if you will. A nice alley might I add. The car is pretty distinctive and people stop by to look at it and see if I have made any progress. Anyway, he thought the roof hilarious and he commented what caused me to do such a roof? My simple answer was the brutily hot summers and cold winters we have in Texas. I explained the factory roof was made of a pressed cardboard and a very thin sheet of insulation and offered nothing in insulation value. I went on to further explain I had spent many a uncomfortably day in that car due in large part because of the roof. My point, visually it looks like I went overboard but believe me their was a rhyme and a reason for it and let me tell you it works wonderfully. One of the best improvements if not the best.
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Re: 3800 Supercharged Astre

Postby vegastre » Tue Mar 03, 2020 1:39 pm

The Trickle Down Theory

I had a friend who use to own a Vega stop by the house to look at the SJ. He hadn't seen the car in a number of years and was a bit shocked to see what I had done to the SJ. I had to refresh his memory on the fact that we had always talked about putting a 3800 motor in a H-Body. We never did because our cars were pretty sweet and a 3800 really hadn't came down in price for a fairly decent one. I went on to explain this motor had practically fallen into my lap. Consequently, I had sold my shop and I had decided to return to the open air back yard shade tree mechanic that I loved because folks I have a huge shade tree in my back yard. The yard is big, the tree is big. I never liked being cooped up in a dark dungeon shop. It was bit hard for him to swallow since he has a three car garage full of Snap-On's and a lift. Sill, he thought it cool, he informed me he was looking for another Vega to build and thought I might sell my 72 GT. I told him it wasn't for sale but I would leave it to him in my will. I told him I was serious and to trust me.

No Videos: it's been a difficult winter with record lows and over 9 inches of rain in the last two months. In a couple of weeks will have our last freeze and warm up fast after that. First project is pull the dash out and totally rewire the entire car. The harness over the years has been hacked to death and corrosion rampant. Also move the PCM to a better location.

I took the car out for a spin and a number of issues raised their ugly head, namely, with the addition of the lighter motor swap and 5 speed the front end is noticeably very bouncy and stiff. So, at this point I will re-install the original 4-cylinder springs and see where I'm at on the front end. Presently I have the V6 AC springs on the car. Oddly enough, I have in my possession multiple Spring sets GM offered for the H-Body. Except I don't know what they are off.

Lastly, I have a guy coming by to give me a estimate on building me a shop out back. I'm sure I will wind up contracting the building myself but I would like to get a starting ballpark figure/permits/etc. Not to worry the shade tree will be an integral part of the build.
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Re: 3800 Supercharged Astre

Postby Diesel Dan » Fri Mar 13, 2020 10:20 am

Make a open work station.
Pour a nice slab, install 2 post lift and car port over it.
Sheltered from rain and sun but still open air feeling.
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Re: 3800 Supercharged Astre

Postby burnouts&rotorblades » Fri Mar 13, 2020 5:24 pm

Just watched your video. Pretty sweet!
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Re: 3800 Supercharged Astre

Postby vegastre » Fri Mar 13, 2020 9:55 pm

install 2 post lift

For sure, lifts have come way down in price (thank you China). Ya, I am very tired of crawling around on my back. The lift is about the only thing I miss from my old shop. Hard to believe it's been ten years since I sold my shop which means I have been crawling around on my back for 10 years. LOL.
Last edited by vegastre on Fri Mar 13, 2020 10:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 3800 Supercharged Astre

Postby vegastre » Fri Mar 13, 2020 10:02 pm

Just watched your video.

Thanks, not up to your production standards but hey, a fast video on YouTube is just too handy for me to document and further explain a rather unusual build.
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