My first '86 GN

Mrnaid24

New Member
Hello all, how are y'all doing? Me, not to well. I just purchased my 1st gn & I love them. The 1st time I ever saw one was at Kmart in 1985, it was awesome. Time went by & I forgot about it - then one day about 3 years later ,down here in Mobile Alabama at a very dangerous intersection off of I65, I found myself behind a very old man,his wife & what I assumed was their granddaughter strapped in the back. Well I did not hear the exhaust because of my radio, but after about 4 min of steady 55 to 65 mph of oncoming traffic, ole pops got into that car & the back end went sideways & he shot into a hole of 2 cars. I was tripping out (this was the '80s). I had to catch up w/ that car & when I did it was the car I had dreamed of just a few years earlier, wow it was fine & the couple was old,lol. Time went by & I kept getting into a lot of trouble & luckily the Marines accepted me(thank God). After Paris island & Marine Combat Training I was being sent overseas, I'm not sure where I was but I was waiting to be processed & I just happened to look down on the table in front of me - low & behold it was like a car & driver magazine with the results of the '87 GN vs the zr1 corvette????(Not sure which vette it was) Don't remember but the Grand National blew it away in almost every category, that was it - I was hooked & I've always leaned toward the dark side of the force.

I'm sorry for being so long winded but I also have a passion for these cars.

My car had been backfiring & popping when I would get in it & I found a vac Line off. Thought all was ok.
Driving down the interstate from work at about 75mph (hey I'm from Alabama) no noise & I did not get into it. The next thing I know I looked like Earnhardt jr in NASCAR - white smoke coming from the left side of the hood & out of the tailpipe.i watched the temp which was still in specs & pulled over about 3 x's on the way home because I did not want to hurt the car anymore. Got home & water was in the oil. I drained everything & almost performed a compression test but was depressed.

Well that's all fine for now, I wanted to rebuild her so I would know what is in her. Which I have a great deal of questions about.

The only mods I've made to the vehicle was Turbo Tweak 60# & street chip package, adjustable waste gate accuatior,fuel pressure regulator & a RJC boost controller (which was not on the vehicle at the time). Other stuff like 5 elite series guages. Plugs & wires. Also new exhaust, I believe 2.5".

I am going back w/as stock motor as I can. I finally found a machinist that I trust a little (after about 6 different visits to various folks). I am getting the iron heads & intake ported & the engine balanced.
I'm not sure if the cat conv is on the car or if it has an o2 sensor.

I intend on upgrading =
Fuel pump (prob warlbro)
Hot wire kit caspers power pack
Ignition coil ac/delco
Ignition module ac/delco
3" down pipe not sure
Gas filter ac/delco
Vacuum lines replace all lines
Thermostat 160
High flow MAF pipe

What I am so confused about is how to tune the car!!!
What I need help w/ is what type of bolt on turbo to get?
I was told to get a B&M torque convertor. Lockup,2800 stall,what size?
I was told to place a 700r transmission (built) instead of the original??
Does my down pipe need a waste gate dump - blow off valve?
If I upgrade the MAF to read a higher boost do I have to buy the translator?
Do I buy a scanmaster & a power logger? If so what do I tune with. Also I read about digital dash hookup & PL??
Is there Tuning software?
Anyone in my area that can tune?
A wideband o2 sensor

Please believe me when i say my g-friend is pissed at me for reading through almost 3,000 threads of engine tech, & other forums & magazine articles. She's also mad because I'm going to be dropping about 10k in this car??
Please guide me through this process.
Going to the strawberry festival in the am where they will have a carshow, & I'm going to ask around.
I really want my car to be ready (with engine, transmission & rear end) by the time cruising the coast 2013 gets here. Hey if you read all of that, I want to thank you - this is almost as good as therapy.
 

oldsracer

Identity Crisis
READ, READ, and READ again. You can easily do more damage then good with not knowing. At least you were smart enough to come here first then just jumping into it like some people on here try to do... hint hint me:oops:
 

pacecarta

LOGGED OUT
Staff member
dont know who told you to put a 700r4 in place of a brf 2004r ...but you need to stay far away from that individual

same goes for the BM torque converter ..you dont want a cheap converter , you need one with anti-balloon plate

MAF reads airflow (not boost ) and you dont need a larger one just one that works , the 3" LT1 is fine and with a 3" maf tube and 3" KN cone filter its an easy bolt on .. and you will need a MAF translator to use one

get the scanmaster

you dont need a dump on your down pipe until you learn how to tune ..even then you dont need one unless your exhaust is restrictive .. i dont have one on any of my cars
... and a blow off valve (BOV) goes in the up pipe not the downpipe and you dont need that either with an auto trans
 

HouTX87

Active Member
I noticed you didn't mention an adjustable fuel pressure regulator. You'll need that too along with a gauge to adjust pressure. And definitely get a scanmaster asap.

If you haven't already read this, there is excellent info on the vortexbuicks site and the technical articles on gnttype.org

http://vortexbuicks-etc.com/TuningBasics.htm

http://gnttype.org/techarea/techpage.html

I knew very little about these cars 15 months ago and I'm still a rookie, and I started with a car that had been parked for nearly 20 years. They're definitely a challenge and require dedication, patience and $$$, but it is rewarding.
 

Mrnaid24

New Member
Thank you all for the very quick replys. When I said stock motor I should have said short block, sorry for the confusion. I want to add some horsepower with bolt ons & also with ported heads and ported intake. Putting a 212/212 comp cam in it. Ok great thanks for guiding me on the transmission, MAF & the dump/valve.

I will be getting a new 3" MAF w/ the translator (cause I'm not sure what blew the headgasket) along w/ the pipes & k&n
Sorry for not posting but I do have a fuel pressure regulator - running 43psi w/ vac line disconnected.
I will be getting the scanmaster & powerlogger
As far as the transmission & torque Convertor i reckon I will stay w/ the raptor website parts

Ok I had not yet come across the new turbo regal owners website - thank you very much. Looks awesome.
The other 2 websites vortexbuicks & gnttype I already have bookmarked & have been reading them, also thank you very much.
Any other comments no matter how petty you might think they are, will be appreciated. Any tips, tricks.

I will continue reading, so please bear w/ me if I don't fully understand. I'm not a gear head - while all of my friends were turning wrenches - I was drinking beer, I'm not that good at multi-tasking.
 

Mrnaid24

New Member
Also my g-friend is insisting that I inform you guys that my GN is factory t-tops & has 46146 original miles. She tried to get my car on Overhauling but the producer called her Friday & said that they don't fool w/the GN's because of the plastic bumpers & it was not old enough?? The producer said he will keep my car on file in case Chip ever wants to rework a GN..sigh. I'm not sure how I would have reacted coming home and my car was stolen, I might have had to start a thread for getting some help w/ my bail.
 

HouTX87

Active Member
You blew a headgasket because you are cranking up the boost with a stock fuel pump! "Raptor"? Are you still talking about building a 700r4? :eek:
 

Mrnaid24

New Member
I am located in mobile Alabama.yes I do have a stock fuel pump but the only thing I did to the boost was adjust the wastegate accuatior rod. Now I'm not saying how much the Turbo Tweak chip turned up the boost or timing. I do have a boost controller but it was not hooked up at the time of the headgasket incident. all of the ignition and fuel pump upgrades I posted earlier, will be installed b4 the car is drove again. Any more suggestions will be appreciated.
No I will stay with the Buick transmission - & I found this website when I first bought the car, pretty cool transmission site =

Http:// www . 200raptor .com

Heading to a gun show & then on to a car show, ask or post any questions. Thank y'all for helping me.
 

GullsGN

OLD HIPPIE
I am located in mobile Alabama.yes I do have a stock fuel pump but the only thing I did to the boost was adjust the wastegate accuatior rod. Now I'm not saying how much the Turbo Tweak chip turned up the boost or timing. I do have a boost controller but it was not hooked up at the time of the headgasket incident. all of the ignition and fuel pump upgrades I posted earlier, will be installed b4 the car is drove again. Any more suggestions will be appreciated.
No I will stay with the Buick transmission - & I found this website when I first bought the car, pretty cool transmission site =

Http:// www . 200raptor .com

Heading to a gun show & then on to a car show, ask or post any questions. Thank y'all for helping me.
By "adjusting" that rod you raised the boost. Every turn of that rod shorter raises boost by about a pound (short rod, short engine life). Do you have a boost gauge, not the one on the dash. It is not accurate. With pump gas you should not be setting the boost any higher than about 14lbs if you want the HG to survive. If you want more boost you need better gas or alchy.
 

Wld87GN

Active Member
You have 60# injectors, a TT chip and a stock FP and no hot wire kit? and then on top of that you added boost by adjusting the actuator rod. I am far from an expert, but if I did not know better I would say you were trying to blow a gasket or create havoc.:confused:
 

Mrnaid24

New Member
Wow I did not realize that adjusting the wastegate accuatior rod increased the boost that much, I was under the impression that it was just not allowing the accuatior to open so quick & changing the preload (back to reading hundred of threads) . I thought the boost controller when turned - increased the boost. I do have a 60lb boost guage (that i could never get to work - i even blew air into the guages hose & it would operate & read pressure - i moved that guages hose from about 3 diff vaccum spots to right off of the boost line going to the turbo & never read under operation) not a vacuum/boost guage. I read somewhere that I needed the vacuum/boost guage for vacuum leaks. I have hardly drove the car at all, & I was getting a fuel pump & hot wire kit, just unfortunately was not in time.

I considered an Alky system but there is only one chemical company (listed in the phonebook) selling Methanol around here?
 

ZNix

Young-Gun
Wow I did not realize that adjusting the wastegate accuatior rod increased the boost that much, I was under the impression that it was just not allowing the accuatior to open so quick & changing the preload (back to reading hundred of threads) . I thought the boost controller when turned - increased the boost. I do have a 60lb boost guage (that i could never get to work - i even blew air into the guages hose & it would operate & read pressure - i moved that guages hose from about 3 diff vaccum spots to right off of the boost line going to the turbo & never read under operation) not a vacuum/boost guage. I read somewhere that I needed the vacuum/boost guage for vacuum leaks. I have hardly drove the car at all, & I was getting a fuel pump & hot wire kit, just unfortunately was not in time.

I considered an Alky system but there is only one chemical company (listed in the phonebook) selling Methanol around here?

First of all, welcome to the dark side Mrnaid. These cars are something else, and all of us here are very passionate about these cars. You have come to the right place if you need advice! Without this site, I for sure would have blown this thing sky high in no time. First things first, lets slow down a little here. These things can be fun, but they take time to learn all the ins and outs of tuning/owning one. We need to start with the basics before you go any further, just so we don't damage the fresh engine you are putting in! There are three tools that you need without a doubt before you start modifying your Buick. A scanmaster, a boost gauge, and a fuel pressure gauge. These tools will give you most of the data you need to get her in top running shape. You said you already have a TT Chip, 60# injectors, and an adjustable fuel pressure regulator correct? These are very important also, so good job grabbing them! Those 60# injectors will supply enough fuel for a really fast car, just in case you ever need more power! (It's a disease, be careful ;). ).. The next upgrade I suggest is a new fuel pump and a hotwire kit. You can buy this from racetronix.com. The wastegate rod cotrols the amount of boost your turbo will push into the engine. Be very cautious when you adjust this rod, as what has been said is true. The smaller the rod length, the more boost the engine will see. On 93 octane, you can run about 15-16lbs of boost. The octane is the limiting factor. Down the road you can add alcohol to increase the boost, but I think we should stick with getting her to run well on pump gas first.

Once you get the scanmaster, hook it up and start learning how to use it. This device is an engine saver! It will tell you when things are running too lean and you are experiencing knock. You want to tune for NO knock. None. Not a hint. Knock is what kills engines! Especially these ones. You want to run about 800mv for the O2's under WOT. Use that boost gauge to make sure you are running the correct boost. Also, check the fuel pressure and make sure you are at 42-43 lbs with the vacuum line off. One last thing! Make sure EVERY vacuum line is tight and uncracked, preferably replace every one of them haha. The one on the fuel pressure regulator is the most important! It could cause a lean condition which = blown engine! The vacuum line tells the FPR to add fuel pressure under boost, in turn adding more fuel to the engine to burn for the added air entering the engine. The lines going from and to the turbo should be replaced. They can cause problems too!

If you need anything else, please pm me with your questions or post here. Ill try and help.

Zack
 

Howling Mad

Active Member
As for transmission I'd go with extreme automatics, or any of the supporting vendors on the board. And as far as torque converters go you need to figure out how fast you want to go and how much power you want and what turbo you want to go with. Check out peoples sigs to get an idea of what works for what speed. And a 212/212 how fast are you wanting to go?
 

HouTX87

Active Member
I hate to say it but I think you need something low maintenance like a new car. Step away from the Buick and read, and read, and read... and then ask more questions.
 
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