My First GN

SteveZ82

Member
Mar 31, 2019
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First of all, I'd like to start by introducing myself. My name is Steve, I'm a 37 year old IT professional born and raised in Chicago. I've been a car/bike nut my whole life. Throughout the years my family has collectively owned a lot of cool cars. My father had a 66 K-code convertible Mustang, 62(?) ish Corvair, original Beetle, 57 Caddy, 55 Bel Air, 79 SVO Mustang, 66 Dual Glide suicide shift Harley. My uncle, his brother, an Olds 442 (don't know the year), 2 E-Type Jaguars (one hardtop and one convertible), 83 Merc 380SL (which later became mine, what a piece of junk), 69 GTO, 89 IROC, and a Grand National.

My uncle worked for GM through the late 70s until the early 90s. He was there for some really good cars including our beloved Turbo Regals. One of his company cars was an 87 GN with T-tops and a digital dash. I remember being about 5-6 years old and seeing it for the first time. We went to my uncle's house and there it was in all it's glory. I didn't know what the hell it was, I was young. But I do remember how cool it was just sitting near his nice woodsy house out in Carol Stream. We went there to drop off the IROC that he had borrowed to my Dad for a few months. My dad hated that car. Anyway, long story short, my uncle at some point threw my dad the keys to this GN and said, "all yours, don't crash."

Now, one little tidbit about these guys, they moved to the US in 1956 after being run out of Ukraine and growing up in Germany. They witnessed some horrendous things during the war as young children. So, for them, having an American car was a dream come true. I remember TO THIS DAY, the look on my dad's face when he opened that door and turned the key. He was like, "V6? turbo? What are they thinking?" Then we went for a ride. And what a ride.

I was in the back seat, my uncle in the passenger seat, my dad driving. You could tell he liked it because it was comfortable, spacious, and an all around family car. I mean, it is a Regal. I remember my uncle persuading my dad to get on it or something like that and he did and all I remember was being thrown back into the rear seat and it felt like a roller coaster. My dad had a lot of fun that day but that's just the beginning.

So, Dad took the car home. We took it on a trip to Virginia to see his dying, war-hero (Vietnam), younger brother (my other uncle). Any chance he got, he raced. He used to race in the 60s and 70s on the streets of Chicago so you could tell he was loving this car. I was too at 5 (it was a HUGE matchbox car!). Anyway, there was always one story him and I always talked about when we spoke of cars. It was the time he pulled up with the GN to a tollbooth here in the city and some ZR1 Corvette started revving his engine. Me and my mother were in the car with him because we were on our way out to Virginia. They went when the gates let up. And the story always ends, "I only saw two headlights in my rear view mirror." I do kind of remember him beating the hell out of this car but it may be my imagination. I only have one picture of it and it's parked in Virginia in my uncle's condo parking lot and you only see the rear end. But what a picture and how about those memories?

So, there is my story. My dad is almost 2 years gone now but we used to drool over GNs at car shows together and I finally got my own this year. A 1986 hard top GN. He wasn't around to see it but I did it for a lot of reasons. This car makes me think of those times back in the 80s when my Dad and his brother were car nerds, and this was the one car they always, and I mean always, talked about. My dad and I would sit on the back porch and talk cars and guess what, the GN always came up. But one thing that always stuck for me was the experience. Being so young at that time, I just remember it. Everything about it that a five year old would remember. And I think you know what I mean. Now that I own one as an adult, I ask the question, what the hell were they thinking with some of the things they did?

Maybe this is me being used to newer cars and more modern engineering but after owning this car for about 6 months, I shake my head at some of these things like the powermaster, plastic center caps, the size of the brakes, the oil leaks, the cracked DS manifold. But with all the quirks that these cars have, you can't help but love them. And I do love it.

I've been posting here and there on the community forum to get some help and I cannot thank you all enough. It's a wonderful community and I'm glad to be a part of it now. I've learned a lot more than I already knew about the car and it's great that we have this arena to help each other and keep these memorable automobiles on the road for others to enjoy. I will tell you what, every time I put my foot down....I smile. My dad did too. I get it now.

Thanks to all who has helped me and I hope to offer some help or advice in the future. Great community here. Thanks.
 

SteveZ82

Member
Mar 31, 2019
49
3
8
37
great intro and story :cool:
glad your here !
I am a newbie too
Thanks. I never knew there was this community for these cars. And the reason there is a community is because they are really awesome cars. Hopefully I can help out where I can but I’m still learning all the quirks. I just came back from a ride and wow. I was smiling the whole time even though I have some things to do to her. In the long run, it’s an 80s GM car...have to remember that.


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earlbrown

runs with scissors
May 26, 2001
7,193
1,354
113
48
lagrange, GA
The quirks are the kickers.

There's a list of maintenance parts that need to be replaced on general principle, a list of tasks to do that will address weakness's from the factory, and mandatory replacement of parts that's timed out over the last 1/3 century.

Once that COMPLETE list is done, the car will be reliable and haul ass. Leave one part off that list, and you'll quickly learn these engine make enough power to really hurt themselves! (and your wallet).


There is ZERO need for cool guy parts just yet. That includes, headers, gearz, heads, cams, and the usual things that work ( kinda) on other cars.
 

SteveZ82

Member
Mar 31, 2019
49
3
8
37
The quirks are the kickers.

There's a list of maintenance parts that need to be replaced on general principle, a list of tasks to do that will address weakness's from the factory, and mandatory replacement of parts that's timed out over the last 1/3 century.

Once that COMPLETE list is done, the car will be reliable and haul ass. Leave one part off that list, and you'll quickly learn these engine make enough power to really hurt themselves! (and your wallet).


There is ZERO need for cool guy parts just yet. That includes, headers, gearz, heads, cams, and the usual things that work ( kinda) on other cars.
Absolutely. This car had mostly original everything in it. You should have see the rad support bushings. The PO shimmed them rather than replacing them.
 

SteveZ82

Member
Mar 31, 2019
49
3
8
37
I know. Luckily I have a resource to a shop with a lift. The PO bolted on a hotwire kit, cold air kit, AEM gauges, Magnaflow stainless exhaust, TT chip and some hotchkins springs. Basically, everything i wanted to do is already done. What he didn't do is fix the upper passenger control arm bushings, the body bushings that were mush, the cracked DS manifold... he did manage to weigh down the rear with 2 12" speakers and an amp which promptly came right out.
 

earlbrown

runs with scissors
May 26, 2001
7,193
1,354
113
48
lagrange, GA
All DS headers crack. Just have it welded, add a triangular gusset to keep it from happening again, and call it good.

Need to get the number off your chip and get with Eric to find out how it burned. If it's burned for stock injectors, you need a new chip burned for 60's (and a set of 60's)

Upper bushings are easy. They all melt on the rear one. I did mine with a framing hammer.


While you're doing body bushings, go ahead and get or build some X braces behind the back seat too.
 
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SteveZ82

Member
Mar 31, 2019
49
3
8
37
All DS headers crack. Just have it welded, add a triangular gusset to keep it from happening again, and call it good.

Need to get the number off your chip and get with Eric to find out how it burned. If it's burned for stock injectors, you need a new chip burned for 60's (and a set of 60's)

Upper bushings are easy. They all melt on the rear one. I did mine with a framing hammer.


While you're doing body bushings, go ahead and get or build some X braces behind the back seat too.
I already spoke to Eric. Found out I’m burned for 42lb injectors, 18psi @93. Everything matches there. I just need to get the brakes in order as well as that DS manifold. I’d rather not weld it because the crack went all the way around the tube. Just makes more sense to replace it. I already have the new header.

Body bushings are already done with the added GNX bushings. Thanks for the tip on the rear seat braces.


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earlbrown

runs with scissors
May 26, 2001
7,193
1,354
113
48
lagrange, GA
If it's an OEM header you might be OK. ...and if that tube was broken all the way around, that car was a DOG!!!!


On your brakes, I'm guessing your powermaster is showing it's age?
 

SteveZ82

Member
Mar 31, 2019
49
3
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37
If it's an OEM header you might be OK. ...and if that tube was broken all the way around, that car was a DOG!!!!


On your brakes, I'm guessing your powermaster is showing it's age?
Check your PM, Earl.


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1986 Buick GX1

GX1 #001 [The One and Only]
Apr 24, 2015
1,402
351
83
55
Manly IA
I already spoke to Eric. Found out I’m burned for 42lb injectors, 18psi @93. Everything matches there. I just need to get the brakes in order as well as that DS manifold. I’d rather not weld it because the crack went all the way around the tube. Just makes more sense to replace it. I already have the new header.

Body bushings are already done with the added GNX bushings. Thanks for the tip on the rear seat braces.


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Welcome.
Another option is the GNX rear seat brace which is available form www.kirbanperformance.com


89B34A51-325C-4654-8DCA-8F2A4370DD0E.jpeg
 

michael evans

Active Member
Feb 27, 2008
911
92
28
Louisville, Kentucky
If it has the power master brakes on it flush the brake fluid. It will live longer.

Once you have issues with it, you will want to replace it with something else.

I like mine very much.
 

SteveZ82

Member
Mar 31, 2019
49
3
8
37
If it has the power master brakes on it flush the brake fluid. It will live longer.

Once you have issues with it, you will want to replace it with something else.

I like mine very much.
Bought it with the PM on its last leg. Thought it was the pressure switch, it was the pump. Replaced it with a vacuum setup from Earl Brown.


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