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Old 10-11-2012, 09:50 PM   #1
Wgflatliner
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New to Pontiac, not new to wrenching

Hey everybody.

I'm getting a 99 grand am SE 2-door next weekend. It's got 98k on the clock.

I am already making plans to eventually do a conversion to the GT variant, to include everything mechanical and aesthetic, and eventually the sc/t body kit.

I have already done a significant amount of research on what's required to do most of the conversion aesthetically, but not mechanically. I'm sure I will learn about it soon enough.

I am not new to forums in general and this will be a relief to some as I know how to use the search function!

My other whips are my current plus future projects. The future one is a 92 geo storm gsi with a 1.8 dohc four banger. I know, it's a geo but I have some plans for it.

My other current project is a 91 Isuzu Impulse RS, in which is one of 800 imported to this side of the globe. Stock, the car comes all wheel drive, turbo, intercooled, and handling by lotus. I've done pretty much everything possible to it mechanically, and its at a tuner shop that's going to get it dialed in on the dyno currently. Being the car is rare, there are no off the shelf upgrades available so it does involve some r&d and custom fabrication.

The next phase for it is body work and paint, but most of the body work is done but cutting out the rust, welding in new metal, shaving the door locks, antenna and drip rails on the roof. The bumpers are off right now getting worked on.





And some engine shots





I'm really looking forward to getting my grand am, and look forward to being part of the community.
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Old 10-11-2012, 10:22 PM   #2
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Looks like a fun project! Good luck to you.
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Old 10-11-2012, 10:38 PM   #3
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Welcome to the madness. Hope you have thick skin.

I've seen one of these before, never realized they were turbo, AWD things. I do like oddball cars, interested to see where that goes.
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Old 10-11-2012, 11:02 PM   #4
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Definitely keep us updated!
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Old 10-11-2012, 11:15 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by [ChaosweaveR] View Post
Welcome to the madness. Hope you have thick skin.

I've seen one of these before, never realized they were turbo, AWD things. I do like oddball cars, interested to see where that goes.
Thick skin? Check.

Regarding the impulse, there were also fwd non turbo variants that were more common.

I have a lot of money sunk into it mechanically and hope to get to 400awhp with it, and later on, up to 560awhp. Just waiting for the tuner to get on the ball. Not bad since it weighs 2800 empty.

I do have goals with the grand am, which is to eventually convert it to gt specs, and supercharge it. First things first, get the car, then start taking care of any issues that it has, then upgrade later. I am somewhat studied up on the trac etc lights due to vehicle speed sensors or the possibility of condensation in the passenger kick panel which I guess is where the body control module is at. I know the foam fresh air filter thing under the cowl probably needs to be replaced to prevent further condensation too. It also has a power steering leak that needs to be addressed.

Either way its going to be fun.
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Old 10-11-2012, 11:38 PM   #6
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Is the Grand Am LA1 or LD9 powered? That alone will will dictate whether or not it's worth building.
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Old 10-11-2012, 11:59 PM   #7
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3400 v6 is all I know at this time. The 170hp motor. Not sure if that means LA1 or not though.

Edit: definitely an LA1.
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Old 10-12-2012, 12:01 AM   #8
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Yeah that's the LA1 engine.
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Old 10-12-2012, 12:08 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wgflatliner View Post
3400 v6 is all I know at this time. The 170hp motor. Not sure if that means LA1 or not though.

Edit: definitely an LA1.
Meh...I wouldn't bother really going all out with the LA1. The LD9 has more potential, as the most powerful street Grand Am was a turbo LD9 coupè, he made 420ish HP to the front wheels, IIRC. Not to mention, the LD9 came with the F23 five speed. The LA1 was never offered with a manual.

My advice: do the SE --> GT --> SC/T swap, basic bolt ons for the LA1 and a tune, nice set of aggressive wheels, drop, throw some black housing headlights on it, and call it a day.

I just refer to GM engines by their RPO codes.
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Old 10-12-2012, 12:33 AM   #10
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The only thing holding back the LA1's is the god damned transmission behind it. It's simple, ,

1- Swap in the F40 or the getrag 282 or 4t65HD(built of course) or be a tester and get the 4t45 built and find its limits.
2-Stock bottom end(ARP bolts if you'd like)
3-Boost+ported heads(turbo more likely as the s/c built for us are impossible to get a hold of and limit you to a lower power level. Or be cool and mock up a centrifugal s/c)
4-Tune

350-400HP with a good tune with no KR, hell maybe even more hp. run 13's easily with 12's in sight.

Easier said then done.
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Old 10-12-2012, 12:40 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by [ChaosweaveR] View Post
Meh...I wouldn't bother really going all out with the LA1. The LD9 has more potential, as the most powerful street Grand Am was a turbo LD9 coupè, he made 420ish HP to the front wheels, IIRC. Not to mention, the LD9 came with the F23 five speed. The LA1 was never offered with a manual.

My advice: do the SE --> GT --> SC/T swap, basic bolt ons for the LA1 and a tune, nice set of aggressive wheels, drop, throw some black housing headlights on it, and call it a day.

I just refer to GM engines by their RPO codes.
I appreciate the advice. I may actually take the route to sc/t. The thing that got me to the grand am was the fact my geo storm is needing a rebuild and I cannot afford to not make it to work. My buddy got an Audi S4 and he's letting me buy this grand am for 1500, which isn't bad as it only has 98k on it. So I will daily drive the grand am while I rebuild the storm.

I may be a little ambitious with my over all goal with the car. It started from understanding the gt and sc/t have the setup for dual exhaust, whereas the SE has single exhaust, which got me thinking about changing the exhaust which helps complete the gt or sc/t look.

Maybe it's me being excited about getting it that's not helping me think clearly about my goals. I would be completely happy with the sc/t looks, dual exhaust, and turn it into a nice cruiser.

Besides my little Isuzu can be my power house..

Last edited by Wgflatliner; 10-12-2012 at 12:42 AM.
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Old 10-12-2012, 12:45 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wgflatliner View Post

Maybe it's me being excited about getting it that's not helping me think clearly about my goals. I would be completely happy with the sc/t looks, dual exhaust, and turn it into a nice cruiser.
RIGHT THERE!!!

Unfortunately these just are not performance cars and to make it a contender you need to spend cash and actually love these cars. For most it is really not worth it. Just make it look clean and enjoy.
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Old 10-12-2012, 12:50 AM   #13
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I'm sure you guys have seen it a trillion times but I saw the white grand am with the sc/t kit dropped and tucked on 19s. Love it. But I'd like to see it in black!
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Old 10-12-2012, 01:42 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by [ChaosweaveR] View Post
The LA1 was never offered with a manual.
it may not have been an option back then, but there is an option now, LA1 + F40 6 speed = heaven. i personally love the 6 speed swap. and mine being the 2nd only alero out there with it, makes it so much more special in my book.

no matter what people say about the la1, im still going all out on mine.

anyway welcome to the site man!
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Old 10-12-2012, 03:35 AM   #15
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Welcome aboard, and good luck with your projects.
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Old 10-12-2012, 07:18 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wgflatliner View Post
Thick skin? Check.

Regarding the impulse, there were also fwd non turbo variants that were more common.

I have a lot of money sunk into it mechanically and hope to get to 400awhp with it, and later on, up to 560awhp. Just waiting for the tuner to get on the ball. Not bad since it weighs 2800 empty.

I do have goals with the grand am, which is to eventually convert it to gt specs, and supercharge it. First things first, get the car, then start taking care of any issues that it has, then upgrade later. I am somewhat studied up on the trac etc lights due to vehicle speed sensors or the possibility of condensation in the passenger kick panel which I guess is where the body control module is at. I know the foam fresh air filter thing under the cowl probably needs to be replaced to prevent further condensation too. It also has a power steering leak that needs to be addressed.

Either way its going to be fun.

Interesting cars, and interesting plans.


Just fyi there is no cabin air filter for these cars.


Anyway, welcome to the site.
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Old 10-12-2012, 11:16 AM   #17
Wgflatliner
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Thanks for the welcomes, guys!
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Old 10-12-2012, 12:00 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by young gun View Post
The only thing holding back the LA1's is the god damned transmission behind it. It's simple, ,

1- Swap in the F40 or the getrag 282 or 4t65HD(built of course) or be a tester and get the 4t45 built and find its limits.
2-Stock bottom end(ARP bolts if you'd like)
3-Boost+ported heads(turbo more likely as the s/c built for us are impossible to get a hold of and limit you to a lower power level. Or be cool and mock up a centrifugal s/c)
4-Tune

350-400HP with a good tune with no KR, hell maybe even more hp. run 13's easily with 12's in sight.

Easier said then done.
actually a simple tune on the 4t45 and its a good tranny, MMGT1 knows all about it, he beats the hell outta his with no problems. GM has the tranny to be tuned as a "sunday grocery getter" basically
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Old 10-12-2012, 12:53 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sleepyalero View Post
actually a simple tune on the 4t45 and its a good tranny, MMGT1 knows all about it, he beats the hell outta his with no problems. GM has the tranny to be tuned as a "sunday grocery getter" basically
Its not terrible but throw power at it and tell me that . The point is that its not a good trans from the factory and the LA1 never came with a manual
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Old 10-12-2012, 01:01 PM   #20
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I've calmed down a bit. I just want a sweet looking cruiser and that will make me happy. Don't need all of my cars to be performance based.
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