1978 Pontiac sunbird safari wagon 2.5

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1978 Pontiac sunbird safari wagon 2.5

Postby lleelduo » Mon Mar 03, 2014 6:00 pm

Back in 1983 I bought a 1979 Monza Wagon with 100k on it and a blown 3.2 liter v-6. I needed a car to drive long distance cheaply. The car was owned by an extermination company that had all sorts of chemicals spilled in the back trunk area. It smelled bad. I was the service manager for a chevrolet dealership at the time. I striped out all the rear interior and scrubed and scrubed. I went to the junk yard and got a 4.1 4 bbl v-6 from a buick park avenue and bolted it right in. had to use the dual snorkel air cleaner from a camaro to clear the hood, but everything else was a simple bolt in. I LOVED THAT CAR!. My fiance was diagnosed with cancer and I drove that car 850-900 miles every weekend for a year to be with her till we were married. fast forward to 2013. New wife but missed the car all those years. I looked occasionaly on craigs list or other places for another one. I found in august 2013, a gem. 1978 Sunbird Safari sport wagon. 2.5 liter Automatic, Air, P/steering, Power brakes, Deluxe interior, deluxe exterior moldings, Tilt wheel, am/fm. It had 33158 miles on it! I bought it for $1600.00 It is one of only 3900 made! I had to take tires with me when I went to get it. because they were the originals. This is the story of me making it over for a car to drive when I retire.
Attachments
ME day bought.jpg
ME day bought.jpg (254.51 KiB) Viewed 2822 times
Last edited by lleelduo on Wed Jul 29, 2015 2:48 pm, edited 4 times in total.
Larry Leitz

1978 Pontiac Sunbird Safari sport wagon
1969 Chevrolet Impala SS 427 convertiable
2016 Chevrolet Volt
2016 Chevrolet City Express
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lleelduo
 
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Location: Bluffton IN.

1978 Pontiac Sunbird Safari Wagon


Re: 1978 Pontiac sunbird safari wagon 2.5

Postby bugdewde » Mon Mar 03, 2014 11:21 pm

Great find and a cool story. Good luck. Keep us posted with pics.
Where are you located?..... I see green grass and short pants.
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'73 Vega GT Hatchback, mostly stock....
'72 Vega GT Kammback, 215 V8
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Re: 1978 Pontiac sunbird safari wagon 2.5

Postby lleelduo » Tue Mar 04, 2014 10:13 am

NE Indiana We have 15 inches of snow on the ground now. I Found a picture of the car I had back in the day. I bought the sedan deliver panes new from gm it was so long ago. ($28.00 for both of them new at the time!) the front spoiler is from an 1983 S-10 and bolted to the valance panel. I painted the side window panels and below the lower body crease GM dark carmine, to match the original carmine color. I blacked out the window trim and put gold pinstripes and wheels. I Loved that car. With the big 4.1 V-6 4 bbl. it was like having a small v-8 in it.
Attachments
Monza(2).jpg
Monza(2).jpg (133.41 KiB) Viewed 2794 times
Larry Leitz

1978 Pontiac Sunbird Safari sport wagon
1969 Chevrolet Impala SS 427 convertiable
2016 Chevrolet Volt
2016 Chevrolet City Express
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lleelduo
 
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Joined: Wed Jul 03, 2013 4:47 pm
Location: Bluffton IN.

1978 Pontiac Sunbird Safari Wagon

Re: 1978 Pontiac sunbird safari wagon 2.5

Postby lleelduo » Tue Mar 04, 2014 10:38 am

Drove car home from Columbus OH area to Bluffton IN. About 250 miles. No real problems except a rough idle and surge at cruise speed. The car needed 20 years of maintainance and a lot of cleaning. So I started with finding the surge problem. LOTS of bad vacuum hoses and I found a plug to the secondary fuel curcuit on the Holly/rochester carb. had fallen out. I tried to find a plug. but it is an odd size. I got a reman carb off ebay instead. Looked pretty crudy under the hood when I started last august.
Attachments
engine start.jpg
engine start.jpg (246.96 KiB) Viewed 2792 times
carb plug.jpg
carb plug.jpg (176.65 KiB) Viewed 2792 times
Larry Leitz

1978 Pontiac Sunbird Safari sport wagon
1969 Chevrolet Impala SS 427 convertiable
2016 Chevrolet Volt
2016 Chevrolet City Express
User avatar
lleelduo
 
Posts: 303
Joined: Wed Jul 03, 2013 4:47 pm
Location: Bluffton IN.

1978 Pontiac Sunbird Safari Wagon

Re: 1978 Pontiac sunbird safari wagon 2.5

Postby lleelduo » Tue Mar 04, 2014 1:16 pm

At first all I was going to do was clean the engine up a bit. You all know how one thing leads to another. I finally had the engine striped down to the long block in the chassis before I knew it. lots of pressure washing, wire brushing, and paint later.
Attachments
engine 2.jpg
engine 2.jpg (146.07 KiB) Viewed 2785 times
engine 3.jpg
engine 3.jpg (153.51 KiB) Viewed 2785 times
engine 4.jpg
engine 4.jpg (182.85 KiB) Viewed 2785 times
engine 5.jpg
engine 5.jpg (179.41 KiB) Viewed 2785 times
Larry Leitz

1978 Pontiac Sunbird Safari sport wagon
1969 Chevrolet Impala SS 427 convertiable
2016 Chevrolet Volt
2016 Chevrolet City Express
User avatar
lleelduo
 
Posts: 303
Joined: Wed Jul 03, 2013 4:47 pm
Location: Bluffton IN.

1978 Pontiac Sunbird Safari Wagon

Re: 1978 Pontiac sunbird safari wagon 2.5

Postby lleelduo » Tue Mar 04, 2014 1:21 pm

I glass beaded everything i could and repainted all of it. It took about 5-6 weeks in my spare time.
Attachments
engine 6.jpg
engine 6.jpg (184.01 KiB) Viewed 2783 times
engine 7.jpg
engine 7.jpg (209.4 KiB) Viewed 2783 times
engine 8.jpg
engine 8.jpg (168.29 KiB) Viewed 2783 times
engine 9.jpg
engine 9.jpg (199.29 KiB) Viewed 2783 times
engine 10.jpg
engine 10.jpg (178.33 KiB) Viewed 2783 times
Larry Leitz

1978 Pontiac Sunbird Safari sport wagon
1969 Chevrolet Impala SS 427 convertiable
2016 Chevrolet Volt
2016 Chevrolet City Express
User avatar
lleelduo
 
Posts: 303
Joined: Wed Jul 03, 2013 4:47 pm
Location: Bluffton IN.

1978 Pontiac Sunbird Safari Wagon

Re: 1978 Pontiac sunbird safari wagon 2.5

Postby lleelduo » Tue Mar 04, 2014 1:38 pm

Replaced all the hoses, belts, PCV grommets and hoses, Painted mounting brackets, block, head, intake, etc. I pulled out the radiator and had it checked. It was fine, but it got cleaned and painted. I fixed the broken fan shroud with epoxy and cleaned the A/C condencer from the back side while it was out. Scrubbed and spot painted the inner fenders while all was off the engine.
Attachments
engine 11.jpg
engine 11.jpg (150.25 KiB) Viewed 2782 times
engine 12.jpg
engine 12.jpg (163.92 KiB) Viewed 2782 times
engine 13.jpg
engine 13.jpg (172.99 KiB) Viewed 2782 times
engine 14.jpg
engine 14.jpg (180.66 KiB) Viewed 2782 times
Larry Leitz

1978 Pontiac Sunbird Safari sport wagon
1969 Chevrolet Impala SS 427 convertiable
2016 Chevrolet Volt
2016 Chevrolet City Express
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lleelduo
 
Posts: 303
Joined: Wed Jul 03, 2013 4:47 pm
Location: Bluffton IN.

1978 Pontiac Sunbird Safari Wagon

Re: 1978 Pontiac sunbird safari wagon 2.5

Postby lleelduo » Tue Mar 04, 2014 1:56 pm

Rebuild Distributer, bad lower bushing (common to 2.5), full tune up, all the belts and hoses. Dist cap, wires, and reroute and put on wire retainers. make better hose routing for the emissions. Put it all back together. Runs like a top. Next the A/C and Heater.
Attachments
engine 15.jpg
engine 15.jpg (184.99 KiB) Viewed 2781 times
engine 16.jpg
engine 16.jpg (188.93 KiB) Viewed 2781 times
engine 17.jpg
engine 17.jpg (160.58 KiB) Viewed 2781 times
engine 18.jpg
engine 18.jpg (180.26 KiB) Viewed 2781 times
engine done.jpg
engine done.jpg (137.9 KiB) Viewed 2781 times
Larry Leitz

1978 Pontiac Sunbird Safari sport wagon
1969 Chevrolet Impala SS 427 convertiable
2016 Chevrolet Volt
2016 Chevrolet City Express
User avatar
lleelduo
 
Posts: 303
Joined: Wed Jul 03, 2013 4:47 pm
Location: Bluffton IN.

1978 Pontiac Sunbird Safari Wagon

Re: 1978 Pontiac sunbird safari wagon 2.5

Postby cjbiagi » Tue Mar 04, 2014 2:24 pm

Looking very nice Larry, love the attention you are giving it.
Clyde.........75 Monza 2+2
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Re: 1978 Pontiac sunbird safari wagon 2.5

Postby lleelduo » Tue Mar 04, 2014 3:35 pm

Thanks Clyde. By the way I think I got the pulse wiper problem figured out. I think I have a motor with a park curcuit problem in it. When I get the car back in the garage as the weather warms up. I have some things to try.
Larry Leitz

1978 Pontiac Sunbird Safari sport wagon
1969 Chevrolet Impala SS 427 convertiable
2016 Chevrolet Volt
2016 Chevrolet City Express
User avatar
lleelduo
 
Posts: 303
Joined: Wed Jul 03, 2013 4:47 pm
Location: Bluffton IN.

1978 Pontiac Sunbird Safari Wagon

Re: 1978 Pontiac sunbird safari wagon 2.5

Postby lleelduo » Tue Mar 04, 2014 4:49 pm

When I was driving the car home in August of 2013. it was about 90 degrees. I knew that the A/C did not work when I got it. the guy I bought it from said the compressor locked up a couple years ago. He had removed the belt. I started home and rolled down the windows to keep cool. I thought I would put the vent setting on with the fan and at least get some air flow. Nothing happened, no air flow or fan. I kept driving, but forgot to turn off the fan. 20 min later some racket in the dash and I could hear the fan very loud but still no air flow. Fast forward a couple weeks. As I am redoing the engine compartment. I HAVE to replace the heater hoses. (original 1978 but with a wierd splice on one end at the fire wall.) At some time someone must have put in a heater core. they used a break away type of worm clamp on the lower heater hose! NO way to remove it except to cut it. On this H-body the A/C evap case goes on top and around the heater hoses. I had to cut a hacksaw blade in half lengthwise and use a mirror to see to cut them off. Tedious but, I am percestent. I decided to pull the evaporator case off, because I could see a crack in it by the A/C core outlet. They must have forced the case back on, when they found out the heater come out from the INSIDE. Off comes the evap case and motor. What do i find to my suprise? the whole evap case and blower is full of mouse nest! No wonder it did not work. I removed about 3/4 of a five gallon bucket of crap from the case.and the motor was about seised up. Take it all apart remove the evap core.WASH everything. Nothing worse than the smell of mouse piss. I checked the A/C core and the oriface tube was pluged and stuck. Had to take it 30 mi to an A/C shop and they cut off the evap inlet tube and replace the end and oriface tube. Epoxy the cracked case, seal it all back up. replace the motor, and put it all back. The compressor and manifold hoses will come later some one cobbeled the hose set up too. thats for a later date. But I got the fire wall back together
Attachments
AC  housing clean out.jpg
AC housing clean out.jpg (150.39 KiB) Viewed 2766 times
AC mouse nest.jpg
AC mouse nest.jpg (133.5 KiB) Viewed 2766 times
AC ready.jpg
AC ready.jpg (175.58 KiB) Viewed 2766 times
Larry Leitz

1978 Pontiac Sunbird Safari sport wagon
1969 Chevrolet Impala SS 427 convertiable
2016 Chevrolet Volt
2016 Chevrolet City Express
User avatar
lleelduo
 
Posts: 303
Joined: Wed Jul 03, 2013 4:47 pm
Location: Bluffton IN.

1978 Pontiac Sunbird Safari Wagon

Re: 1978 Pontiac sunbird safari wagon 2.5

Postby lleelduo » Tue Mar 04, 2014 5:51 pm

In the PONTIAC SUNBIRD sales liturature. They picture a Sunbird wagon with the console in it. I HAD TO HAVE ONE! I was cruising EBAY one day and found a 1978 sunbird coupe being parted out. You know the listing "one lug nut for $9.99". I contacted them after looking at the pictures of the car. I bought the console, Shifter and all the mounting brackets. $110.00 plus shipping. It was blue but I figured I could have It painted. It came and was in pretty go shape. Needed cleaned badly but was complete.(I thought) The woodgrain inserts were ok, but the silver accent trim was badly worn. I did not realise that I needed to change the bracket in the floor to mount the shifter. Again I got a bigger project than I planned. :bang: Well in for a penny, in for a pound. Tear out the interior, seats, carpet, down to the shifter. and start in. Paint all the trim. the sun had faded everything to a bad shade of purple. Mount the bracket. I had to make a rear mounting bracket because none was shipped with the console. I used silver fine pinstipe tape to redo the woodgrain trim detail on the trim plates. Looks great.
Attachments
blue console.jpg
blue console.jpg (137.61 KiB) Viewed 2759 times
new interior paint.jpg
new interior paint.jpg (164.2 KiB) Viewed 2759 times
shifter and bracket done.jpg
shifter and bracket done.jpg (174.12 KiB) Viewed 2759 times
ready for carpet.jpg
ready for carpet.jpg (172.31 KiB) Viewed 2759 times
carpet and console done.jpg
carpet and console done.jpg (166.64 KiB) Viewed 2759 times
Last edited by lleelduo on Sat Aug 23, 2014 9:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
Larry Leitz

1978 Pontiac Sunbird Safari sport wagon
1969 Chevrolet Impala SS 427 convertiable
2016 Chevrolet Volt
2016 Chevrolet City Express
User avatar
lleelduo
 
Posts: 303
Joined: Wed Jul 03, 2013 4:47 pm
Location: Bluffton IN.

1978 Pontiac Sunbird Safari Wagon

Re: 1978 Pontiac sunbird safari wagon 2.5

Postby lleelduo » Wed Mar 05, 2014 9:15 am

When I bought the console of ebay I also bought the rally wheels from them. I got 4 rusty wheels, 3 center caps, and 4 beat up trim rings for $85.00. 2 of the center caps were ok. the center crests were faded but useable. the other the cap needed cleaning and the crest was missing. I found a nos cap on ebay for $25.00. I also found 4 real good trim rings on ebay for $65.00. After doing some research I guessed that the center cap crest on a firebird rally wheel and the sunbird were the same. I ordered a reproduction and sure as could be it was the same. Now the other 2 looked bad, so i got 2 more. I took the wheels to Snyder Fleet. in Bluffton In. They sandblasted and powder coated the wheels in a sparkle silver for $25.00 each. They have several locations aroun the country, check them out at http://www.snyderfleet.com . I decided then to 2 tone the wheels at the accent ring of the wheel openings. Some sandpaper and charcol wheel paint and masking tape and elbow grease later, and I have a great set of rally wheels.
Attachments
hubcap minus emblem.jpg
hubcap minus emblem.jpg (116.62 KiB) Viewed 2738 times
hubcap done.jpg
hubcap done.jpg (116.2 KiB) Viewed 2738 times
wheel powder coated.jpg
wheel powder coated.jpg (142.73 KiB) Viewed 2738 times
wheel paint 2 tone.jpg
wheel paint 2 tone.jpg (144.06 KiB) Viewed 2738 times
rally wheels done.jpg
rally wheels done.jpg (144.34 KiB) Viewed 2738 times
Larry Leitz

1978 Pontiac Sunbird Safari sport wagon
1969 Chevrolet Impala SS 427 convertiable
2016 Chevrolet Volt
2016 Chevrolet City Express
User avatar
lleelduo
 
Posts: 303
Joined: Wed Jul 03, 2013 4:47 pm
Location: Bluffton IN.

1978 Pontiac Sunbird Safari Wagon

Re: 1978 Pontiac sunbird safari wagon 2.5

Postby zeke » Wed Mar 05, 2014 10:13 am

It is nice to see another h-body non race car, keep up the good work! Amazing u were able to drive it home also. 8)
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1979 Chevrolet Monza 2+2

Re: 1978 Pontiac sunbird safari wagon 2.5

Postby lleelduo » Wed Mar 05, 2014 11:37 am

While I had the interior out I started on the trunk area. The rear hatch seal was bad so it leaked. I cleaned and scrubbed then did some paint on the worst spots. The spare wheel was badly rusted and tire shot. I demouted the tire and had the rim sandblasted and powdercoated. bought a new tire and mounted it. I blasted the jack base and wrench then repainted them. The jack itself just needed cleaning and a little wd-40 to keep off the rust. I then put in sheet sound deadner in the tire well and floor. Then the entire trunk area was spatter painted gray. I cut a section of closed cell urethane carpet padding to fit the well and floor of the trunk. After fitting I glued on trunk carpet like used on late model cars to the pads. I found a neat rubber sleeve that GM used to hold the wrench to the jack post and keep it from rattleing to cover the jack post. I replaced the jack hold down spring with one from the hardware store. The spare cover had bent from being overloaded at some time also. I removed the factory insulation and straightend the cover. I put a layer of sound deadner on the underside of the trunk cover and then glued on the same trunk carpet to cover it. I replace the side bumpers with some from the hardware store. New looking trunk and NO RATTLES.
Attachments
trunk start.jpg
trunk start.jpg (153 KiB) Viewed 2730 times
trunk start2.jpg
trunk start2.jpg (170.36 KiB) Viewed 2730 times
trunk sound dead.jpg
trunk sound dead.jpg (207.57 KiB) Viewed 2730 times
sound dead 1.jpg
sound dead 1.jpg (157.17 KiB) Viewed 2730 times
trunk3.jpg
trunk3.jpg (147.36 KiB) Viewed 2730 times
Last edited by lleelduo on Wed Mar 05, 2014 1:27 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Larry Leitz

1978 Pontiac Sunbird Safari sport wagon
1969 Chevrolet Impala SS 427 convertiable
2016 Chevrolet Volt
2016 Chevrolet City Express
User avatar
lleelduo
 
Posts: 303
Joined: Wed Jul 03, 2013 4:47 pm
Location: Bluffton IN.

1978 Pontiac Sunbird Safari Wagon

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