1999 News

  3-22-99 - I am in the process of fixing the TCC solenoid in my transmission. I contacted Paul C (see the links), who later put up how to fix this problem. I know that I have the same faulty component he had with similar conditions. The 4th gear pressure switch will be replaced too. There will also be a shift kit installed.  
  3-25-99 - My transmission is getting fixed tomorrow. It may already have a shift kit. If not, a B&M shift kit is going in, along with the TCC solenoid and 4th gear pressure switch being replaced.  
  4-3-99 - The repairs to my transmission were completed last week. Unfortunately, what I did had no effect on the problem at hand. Thus, my transmission is still acting the same. However, I have been talking to a personal friend that is a long-time mechanic, and it seems that there are a couple of other factors affecting my transmission's conditions. The foremost is the voltage on the secondary feed of my TPS switch on the carburetor (throttle position sensor). He says that if my voltage is too high, the computer will tell my transmission to act otherwise to normal conditions. Well, it turns out my voltage is .8V at idle, and it should be at .48V. I did replace the TPS last year, but I never recalibrated it. So, we are going to tackle this problem tomorrow.  
  It is possible that my problem is not related to Paul C's with the TCC solenoid. I never checked to make sure I have the "CZ" version of the TH200-4R transmission. I am not having cutoff problems where the torque converter clutch is staying engaged to a point where the motor is cutting off. It is my belief that the torque converter clutch is simply engaging at too low a speed, and in both drive and overdrive. The clutch will disengage once I slow down below 25mph in drive. I think this is too low. As for overdrive, the clutch will stay engaged indefinitely unless I give the engine enough gas to cause it to disengage without actually flooring it.  
  Another problem we are going to tackle is my idle itself. Currently, my idle is at 750 RPM in gear and 1,000 RPM in neutral/park. I know it should be lower, but my engine acts funny if I adjust the idle stop bar itself. Well, when my father and I rebuilt my carburetor last year, we did not adjust the idle screws in the bottom plate of the carburetor. We will readjust these to make a more smooth, lower idle.  
  One last note. I am running real rich. I was told this is a result of my float being out of adjustment. Again, we did not check this when it was rebuilt. Aside from rebuilding my carburetor again, I am going to compensate with the air bleed valve at the top front of the carburetor.  
  4-4-99 - Well, not all the anticipated work was completed today. My buddy and I were only able to tap out the plugs for the TPS voltage adjustment and the idle mix valves at the bottom of the carburetor. He and a couple of others have told me that my fuel mixture is definitely too rich. So, it is within my best interest that I rebuild my carburetor again and do it right by measuring the float to maintain the right mixture. I also replaced my spark plug wires. They old ones were cut in a few places from rubbing the steering bar and one rubbing the windshield wiper movement bar.  
  I have decided not to worry any further about my transmission's condition until I get it rebuilt completely. I went to a local car meet last night, and I talked to a gentleman that has an '86 IROC-Z. Even though he has the TH700-R4, he said he had just about the same problem I have with mine. He also reminded me that those days were really experimental as the 200-4R and 700-R4 were the first overdrive transmissions for Chevrolet. So, I will just bite the bullet until I get it rebuilt. I shall do that before I put in the new motor.  
  4-21-99 - Hold on to your hats, folks. I've got a sweet opportunity to get an LT1 motor from a friend complete with a TH-350 for $300. It's not known if it has been rebuilt, or if any of the parts in it are different. I will be doing some research to deterine what horsepower these motors crank. If it's good, I will not even bother with rebuilding one from the ground up. Just so you know, I'm still going with the TH200-4R transmission. The TH-350 will be sold later.  
  Well, my transmission is now acting a little different than before. For 3rd gear, if I ease my foot off the accelerator, the torque converter disengages. This seems backwards, as it should disengage if I do a moderate acceleration. Overdrive is still the same. But, there is some good news out of this. The guy that worked on my transmission said he would rebuild a TH200-4R at better than stock specs for $500. This includes swapping out mine (he does not rebuild the one in the car, but rather another 200). No one will be able to beat that, as the best deal I had for work recommended was $950 at stock specs.  
  One last note. My buddy and I are going to finish the work on my carburetor this weekend, including rebuilding it. It is possible that, once we adjust the TPS voltage, my transmission will work properly. However, I am not holding my breath on this one. But, at least, the float will be properly adjusted for fuel flow. I did readjust my idle to a lower setting. After the work done on my carburetor last time, it took a couple of days to fully work correctly again. Why, I don't know. But, now my idle in gear is around 600-650RPM, with a curb idle of 750RPM respectively. I lowered the fast idle cam to shorten the range of idle down to 150RPM, versus 250 from before (i.e. 750/1,000RPM respectively).  
  5-2-99 - Well, I have yet to get a new motor to go into my car. The deal I thought I was going to have is not all that it is cracked up to be. It turns out the motor had an Edelbrock intake and double-hump camel heads. The individual was not willing to sell the motor for $300. However, he does have an original LT1 motor in his back garage. He's currently debating on selling that one. I do have another source for a 350 w/double-hump heads, but that person is not sure what he is going to do with it either.  
  The carburetor has not been rebuilt yet. This is exam week in college, and I have had little time to get to it. However, I installed a CB and scanner last night. That's something I've missed since I no longer have my truck. I've updated the section on the improvements I want to make on my SS (further down the page). It now explains in detail the parts I want to put into the motor.  
  5-21-99 - Not much happening right now. I'm financially challenged, so it has been slow as to continuing the work on my SS. I put on two new tires on the back; I wore the others out (I wonder why). The carburetor still needs rebuilding to tweak the voltage on the TPS sensor. I hope to get to that this weekend.  
  I test-drove a buddy's 1997 Mustang Cobra today. Man, what a feel. The 4.6L motors have a 6.7K redline. I took it up to 47MPH in 1st, 87 in 2nd (with some to spare), and just hit 90 MPH in 3rd when he told me to back off. They really kick it beyond 4500 RPM, when the 300+ HP is there. He said the 2000 Cobras will have about 345 HP. If you ask me, speed is the name of the game. Be careful challenging one of those suckers.  
  6-2-99 - Well, I decided to get rid of a squeak on my motor. For awhile I thought it was the power steering pump since I replaced the belts last year. So, I replaced the pump last Friday, and the squeak is still there. I guess I will have to replace that belt again. I even gained another squeak. I think it's the A/C pump, and I just replaced that 6 months ago. Interestingly, the new power steering pump is stiffer than the old one.  
  I recently noticed that my carburetor is really opening up when I floor it. I am not sure if it's the horespower kicking in at higher RPMs or a flow problem. All I can say is when I make my toes hurt on the floor, she really moves. And, since I put in the shift kit, the gears are holding out longer. Whereas the transmission used to kick out at 4500 RPM, it's not holding to 5200 RPM. I'm now getting used to not keeping it to the metal, for I fear I will hit the redline sometime. And I have no explanation for why the carburetor is performing better, except that I am putting in better-than-stock parts on the motor.  
  A recent contact at the local weekend car meet said he could build me a 400 HP 350 for $1,100. This includes double-hump 58CC heads and a solid lifter cam as opposed to a hydraulic system. I'm not sure about changing what I want to do, but, if he can build it for that price, he's got a new customer (when I get the money).  
  6-19-99 - I put some springs overtop my shocks last night. Even though the SS Monte Carlo has a Z-28 suspension, only the front shocks are inside the stock coil springs. The rear shocks are not. So, I put some support springs on them. Man, what a difference in handling they made. I think my rear end is even an inch higher or so. The ride is definitely smoother. But the tires are not staying on the ground as easy in water. Oh well. The springs only cost $20 at your local Auto Zone.  
  Unfortunately, I had to replace my battery. I was dumb enough to play my stereo for three hours. It was leaking acid anyway. So, I put in a truck battery. Nothing like 925 cold-cranking amps for power.  
  I've been hanging out with some new friends I met at the local car meet. They want to start a race team at Langley Speedway, and they want "me" to be on the team. Some people are going to fall over when they hear that. More on this as it develops.  
  7-10-99 - Not much is going on right now in the way of improvements. I did have to put gaskets on the left exhaust manifold. Last year when my father worked on my SS, he did not put any on the manifold; he only used RTV gasket sealer. As you can expect, the seal failed. That was a time-consuming job, taking me some 5 hours to complete.  
  I believe I'm gonna need some head work done soon. After tightening some of the rockers on the left set of heads, I developed a lifter knocking the valve cover. It's getting worse, and I'm not sure what's going on with it. It is certainly a distinctive, annoying knock none-the-less.  
  7-12-99 - I discovered that I had to replace the right exhaust manifold gaskets, as I did so yesterday. It took only two hours this time. Since more air is flowing through the exhaust system, the chambering in the mufflers is louder. I can only guess that I will have to replace the gaskets more often. And, even after doing all this, I'm finally considering stepping away from legality and installing some headers that I've had for a while. But, I may still keep my O^2 sensor (by tapping a hole).  
  7-15-99 - Some finalizations took place yesterday. I had to tighten the exhaust pipe up to the manifold on the driver's side. In doing so, I snapped one of the bolts. Well, I thought I was going to have to buy another manifold. It turns out the bolts are removable; they just appear welded in after awhile. So, my buddy's father was able to remove it with the application of some heat and patience.  
  My carburetor is back in the performance ring again. Since I did not record the settings for the lean mixture screw and the air bleed valve, I have had to constantly readjust them. The rebuild kit calls for 3 1/2 turns on the lean mixture screw and 4 turns on the air bleed valve. But, I've had better performance by closing the air bleed valve just a 1/2 turn. For some reason, the secondaries are opening up more at higher RPMs. Of course, you should not change them unless you are sure the carburetor is having problems. My OEM # is 17085202, so I don't recommend changes unless your number is close to mine. You can get a good amount of informattion from the rebuild kit GP Sorensen makes. This can be picked up at Autozone for a meager $20.  
  I do have one more slight problem that will be fixed today. In the spark plug kits, a couple of the wires have straight tips rather than angled ones. This presents a bit of a problem, as they are made to fit a couple of the plugs that are in tight places, the #5 plug inparticular, as it is next to the steering column. It's not really possible to feel these "snap" onto the plug. Well, I broke that wire last night, but I was able to repair it. To make sure I am getting good spark, I'm going to buy another spark plug wire kit and convert those particular wires to angled tips.  
  8-10-99 -Not much happening right now. I put a downpayment on a special set of heads for my new motor. I've been spending too much money on upgrading computers lately. But I've picked up an old job in addition to my current one, so I should be able to buy more motor parts sooner.  
  8-23-99 -I've got the heads. I also bought an Edelbrock intake, one similar to a Victor Jr. There will be a dedicated page to the building of the new motor soon, along with photos of the parts. I have in the past put up specs on the parts for the engine, but I'm now seeing what I'm putting together as real competition. I'm going to leave it up to the imagination of the people reading this to guess at exactly what my finished product will be.  
  9-10-99 -Some routine maintenance has been completed, along with some more in the works. I replaced three of the four belts. I'm replacing my rear brakes, with the front ones to be done in the next few days. The front brakes were Z-rated, and I'm surprised that they have worn out so fast. But my calipers are out of alignment, as is the front end itself. I'm not sure if the two are related.  
  The page dedicated to my new motor is behind schedule. I have not been out to take any more pictures to finish off the roll of film for development. This should be done soon, however.  
  9-12-99 -The front brakes have been replaced. After much debate, I've decided to go with a Turbo 350 for my new transmission with the new motor. Also, I was considering a 4.10 gear and posi rear, but I'm goint to stick with the stock rear end.  
  9-26-99 -I had to replace my fuel pump Wednesday. I guess that would explain why I've been getting bad gas mileage. The fuel pump, to my surprise, is mechanical stock. You can convert to an electric one easily. Just ask your auto parts dealer to explain it. I recall that the electric current line is tapped from your oil pressure sensor.  
  I also had to retighten my right exhaust manifold. The knocking rocker is getting worse, but I'm going to stick it out until I get my new motor in. Then I will work on this motor for my S-10. Soon I will have the Turbo 350 transmission, steel roller-tip rockers, and HEI ignition purchased.  
  10-11-99 -Well, a few more fixes have been completed. After all the belt replacing to isolate the squeaking, the real problem was a small leak in my radiator. At high RPMs, it would spray radiator water on my smog pump, thus making the noise. Of course, "Stop Leak" easily fixed that problem.  
  I've finally fixed my knocking rocker arm. Apparently, I made it too loose, not too tight. One other rocker was lightly knocking as well. There was also a leak in my left exhaust pipe. The mounting bracket had broken loose just behind the muffler. That has also been fixed.  
  I participated in my first car show this past weekend. TOMCAT, a local Monte Carlo club, sponsored the show at the annual Suffolk Peanut Fest. Since the car show turned out to be light, everyone placed. I received 3rd place. Not bad for a first time. I also joined TOMCAT. There is now a link to their page here. It's a modest $10/year to join. The members are very insistent on getting your Monte Carlo to show quality. And they will help you with fixing it, so long as you let them know in advance.  
  10-22-99 -Not much happening right now, aside from purchasing more parts for the new motor. I picked up an MSD Unilite distributor; this will be used instead of an HEI setup. I should have the roller rocker arms by the end of the weekend. Oh, and to match the distributor, I will be also getting an MSD 7AL ignition box, one designed for drag-racing. Love the voltage, baby.  
  11-19-99 -Well, it's still a steady pace picking up the parts for my new motor. I had to replace my radiator last Friday. Not a big deal, just something that needed to be done. I'm in the process of buying a direct-gear drive. It's a B&M, and its a real good buy. Afterward, I should be buying the cam and piston heads. Those, plus getting the block, will allow me to start the building process. Oh, I keep talking about the page dedicated to the new motor. It's still in the works. I hope to have it up by the end of the year.  
  11-30-99 -Not much happening right now. I changed my spark plugs. I seem to burn them up far sooner than their rated mileage. I replaced my AC Rapidfire plugs with the new Bosch 4+ plugs. Now, call me paronoid, but my engine actually rumbles at a different tune. I have to say that they are worth every bit of $5.99 apiece at Autozone. I replaced more exhaust manifold bolts, this time with real bolts, not the ones that should be used to connect the pipe system to the manifold. And, after replacing my radiator the other week, I still had to replace the belt from the fan to the smog pump.  
  12-8-99 -My transmission has given out. This comes at a bad time, since I have had to borrow the money from my father to fix it. But, I am getting a racing-competition rebuilt 200-4R for less than any shop would charge for a stock one. The new one will include a Coleen clutch as well as a Russell shift kit (not a wimpy one like the B&M). It will be dynoed to handle 600HP and will have a universal bolt pattern to take anything from a V6 to a 454. I will also have to manually shift my gears permanently from now on.  
  12-24-99 -One last update before the millenium on this Christmas Eve. After two days of hard work and frustration, I've come to realize that I will not be able to put in my transmission myself. I picked it up Tuesday evening and proceeded to put it in before I went out of town for the holiday. It was going to be put in originally by a friend as a favor at a shop, and they were going to work me into their normal schedule there. However, the finished transmission was delayed a couple of days, and I was told my car would not get worked on until after the millenium.  
  So my car sits for now without the new transmission. I will, unfortunately, have to re-tow my car back to their shop to get the job done right. One additional performance option was made on my new transmission: I purchased a 12-vain tranny pump. The stock one is a 7-vain, and this one is certainly going to increase the fluid flow. In the future, I will convert to synthetic transmission fluid and have a tranny cooler installed.  
  In addition to the transmission, I also began putting in my new B&M Megashifter. This part is actually gravy compared to the transmission job. I bought the wrong shifter kit; the one I bought was made for Camaros and Firebirds. But I am still able to make this one work; I will just have to drill one extra hole for one of the holding plates. And, I won't be using hardly any of the extra parts needed for installing the shifter.  
  And an update on my car engine building page. I have the pictures developed, but my scanner is not currently installed on my computers. I will possibly make an attempt to put up the page this coming Sunday (the 26th). Otherwise, it will have to wait until after my trip to London for the millenium celebration. You fellow hot rodders have a happy holiday.  

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