Adding the Extra Pedal

So it’s been a while since I’ve done an update.

Lots has changed.

I’m a fledgling official GM mechanic now, apprenticing at a dealership and going back to college for formal training. It’s exciting and life-changing.

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My Pontiac 400 also managed to kill the TH400 I mentioned at the end of my last story. So yeah, I built it a little too well I think.

So in my first term at school; which took place in Ottawa; which is a little over 150KM from my home, I stayed with my dad for the two months. This afforded me the luxury of being able to work on my project almost daily thanks to his heated shop. My dad and I took it upon ourselves to say “F*ck this. We’re installing a Muncie.” and we did it in two days. A 1971 Muncie M20 now sits comfortably behind my Pontiac 400 and good grief does it work well.

It took us about a week to fabricate our own clutch linkage and engineer it to line up using a mish-mash of original Firebird parts and snowblower linkage rods. Then we cut down a third gen Firebird clutch and brake pedal and machined them and made them work with my Apollo pedal hanger. The brake pedal still sits about two inches too high but screw it I’ll fix that later.

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We moved the car around the shop successfully but we didn’t allow ourselves to cheer until enough snow melted for a true test drive. That has finally happened and we took it out yesterday. Holy crap did I build a good motor or what. We cranked it up and down the side roads, roaring past the little farmhouses and angering the neighbors quite a bit. It goes like a bullet.

And that forty some year old manual transmission that hasn’t seen a shift since about 1980 rowed through the gears like an absolute champ. Our custom made clutch system was almost effortless and super responsive with just the right amount of freeplay. Now I just need to adjust my driving style to fit the much more direct and mechanical feel of the whole setup. It’s almost alien when compared to my very modern Camaro daily.

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We still have some kinks to iron out such as the oil pan gasket that has blown out again around the rear main bearing cap, but a solid BOP Engineering one-piece oil pan gasket will fix that problem in a second. Otherwise the car is working very well and we’re almost ready to focus on the body once again.

I have the intention of signing myself up for the Hagerty Maple Mille taking place in September so that will be a fun challenge and an exciting weekend getaway. I am also planning on driving my monster almost daily in the coming months to finally enjoy my closer and closer to completion project.

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It’s only been like... 14 years.

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