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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
89 RS Restore & Mod

In the next year, I won't be using my 89 RS as a daily driver. Hopefully I'll have a new 5th gen Camaro by then or some other new car. However, I refuse to trade in or get rid of the thing, so instead I've planned to mod my car.

As far as mods go, I'm looking to mod the following areas:

Chassis
Suspension
Drivetrain
Brakes
Engine

My car is an 89 RS with a TBI 305 engine (LO3) and a automatic transmission (700r4). The attached Excel spreadsheet is the current list of parts I have and it will be updated as I make changes to it.

Starting with the chassis, I just want to stiffen it up and make it last longer. I am going to be using UMI SFC's since it provides the best support for the rear LCA mounts and is the least intrusive to the underside of the chassis. I will be getting a Spohn LSx K-member to accept the LS3 E-Rod engine.

Current suspension is front strut and rear shock and I am sticking with that style of setup, just making it a great all around performer.

The drivetrain will be all new: Dana S60 rear end with Truetrac and a rebuilt 700R4 using the Mega Monster rebuild kit.

I am converting to 4 wheel vented disc brakes. Wilwood offers the best kits to date that I can find. I'll be using the Wilwood FDL Front & Rear kits. Both kits have 4-piston calipers and the rear kit features the parking brake integrated into the rotor hat. I'll be getting the rear kit from Spohn at the same time I get the S60 rear, so its just plug & play.

Thankfully, after two years of waiting, I've found the perfect engine: the LS3 E-Rod. Its 50-state emission legal, turn key, and has everything needed for an LSx swap.

Any and all help is appreciated. I'm not going to be doing anything to my car soon, other than taking care of the body and minor repairs. However, I'd like to get a solid plan laid down before I go restoring my car.
 

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Interesting project, sounds a lot like what I have done with mine. Are you dead set on keeping the 305? Reason I ask is that you can build or purchase a 350 cheaper than what you will end up with in the forged bottom end 305.

As for suspension, your front end uses struts and rear uses shocks. You could change over to an airbag suspension which would be really nice but can get extremely expensive. For the rest of the suspension components you could replace all of the formed sheetmetal components with tubular components. I used Spohn for all of my tubular suspension pieces.

Upgrading of the brakes should be one of the easiest upgrades / conversions you can do to the car. You have numerous options depending on how much money you want to spend and whether or not you want to change wheels. If you are not against going with a 17" wheel you can custom fit a 4th gen Camaro setup on the car. You could also use a C4 or C5 setup also. Or you could go aftermarket with a Baer or Aerospace components setup.

If you have questions feel free to ask, I'll help you out anyway I can.


David
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Yep, I'm for sure going to stick with the 305. While I do understand that just building up a 350 would be cheaper and easier, I'd like to keep the same engine in the car that it came with.

On the suspension, I was thinking along the lines of struts and shock on all wheels (if thats possible). As for brakes, vented disk brakes on all four wheels (again, if its possible). I want the car to look as stock as possible, yet have more modern performance and handling.

About the drivetrain, Hughes has several street/strip converters with stalls built in, so I don't really have to worry about that. But could I ask, what rear end gear would you recommend? I want to maintain a good fuel economy, but have a little better performance. I was thinking around a 3.08 (like the one the 89 Z-28 had) or a 3.27.
 

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Yep, I'm for sure going to stick with the 305. While I do understand that just building up a 350 would be cheaper and easier, I'd like to keep the same engine in the car that it came with.

On the suspension, I was thinking along the lines of struts and shock on all wheels (if thats possible). As for brakes, vented disk brakes on all four wheels (again, if its possible). I want the car to look as stock as possible, yet have more modern performance and handling.

About the drivetrain, Hughes has several street/strip converters with stalls built in, so I don't really have to worry about that. But could I ask, what rear end gear would you recommend? I want to maintain a good fuel economy, but have a little better performance. I was thinking around a 3.08 (like the one the 89 Z-28 had) or a 3.27.
If you are going to go to the the road course or auto cross track as much as possible I would invest in an adjustable strut and shock combo. They sell the Koni's for our cars at Jeg's and Summit. Then buy a quality set of subframe connectors and have them welded in. If you have a t-top car you will not believe the difference it will make in the way it rides and handles.

Look up Ohio Crankshaft and see if they carry a forged bottom end assembly for the 305, it will be pricey though. And as far as a stall converter goes, get your cam specs, car weight, rear end gear ratio and other mods you plan to do. Every combination is different when it comes to the converter. You will have a 700R4 transmission in your car and will need a lockup converter for it. I would recommend a 3.08 or 3.42 ring gear, the 3.42 will help you coming out of the corner on the track and will also be good on the street.

David
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Thanks for the info. Found a crankshaft and rods for my car at Ohio. However, I'm still having trouble finding forged pistons (either steel or aluminum) that allow for about a 9:1 to 10:1 CR with 58 cc heads.

I went to Baer last night and found a set of brakes that would fit the stock wheels. They were the Serious Street series brakes. Also went to Spohn and found a wealth of items that would help out my chassis, suspension and rear end. I think I'll be going with coil over struts on all 4 wheels (if I'm missing anything, let me know).

I'll try and make a list of parts (to my best knowledge) this week and let you go over it and see what you think. I've got some minor body work I've got to take care of (rust on the fender flares and a hole in the wheel well) and thats going to cost me about $1400 to get done. The small joys of being a college student.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
I think I'll probably go with the 3.08 rear end in a new axle. This car will be mostly a DD after I'm done with it, but I'll do some AXing in it for sure but probably not enough to warrant a 3.42 or lower rear end.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Thanks for the info demon, I'll keep that in mind. I'll probably find something on there that I will need.

Finished the first of many drafts of the parts list (see my OP). Feel free to tweak it and recommend changes as you see fit. I'm willing to learn and would like to know whats best for my car before I go out buying stuff for it.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
thirdgen.org is your friend for thirdgen questions. Lots of info to search and read up on.
Yep. Thats where I've learned a ton about my car, but I'm a little hesitant to post there. They all seem to be on the bandwagon of "Just use the search function" and "The 305 is bad, save money and get a 350." Now while I agree with the former, I don't want to do the later and everytime you ask for advice, everyone who replies seems reluctant to say that working on a 305 is an ok thing to do.

*EDIT*

From now on I'll be posting the updated parts list in my OP so as to keep the thread cleaner and easier to read.
 

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Yep. Thats where I've learned a ton about my car, but I'm a little hesitant to post there. They all seem to be on the bandwagon of "Just use the search function" and "The 305 is bad, save money and get a 350." Now while I agree with the former, I don't want to do the later and everytime you ask for advice, everyone who replies seems reluctant to say that working on a 305 is an ok thing to do.

*EDIT*

From now on I'll be posting the updated parts list in my OP so as to keep the thread cleaner and easier to read.
the 305 is limited bc of its bore size. some people can get some good power from them, but i found it was easier and cheaper to make more power from the 350 block. when people want to keep the 305 i always suggest modding it so if you ever did decide to go bigger to make the mods transferable to the 350. IE: intake, headers, other bolt ons, ect.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
the 305 is limited bc of its bore size. some people can get some good power from them, but i found it was easier and cheaper to make more power from the 350 block. when people want to keep the 305 i always suggest modding it so if you ever did decide to go bigger to make the mods transferable to the 350. IE: intake, headers, other bolt ons, ect.
You ain't kidding about being limited by bore size. **** near impossible to find forged pistons for it. I think that most of the mods (intake mainifold, heads, headers, ect.) would be able to transfer to a 350. Most of the parts are for 87-94 283-400ci SBC's so I shouldn't have trouble in the future.

Could I ask your opinion on Supercharging with Water Injection? I've found out that Hawks Third Gen has 305 TBI engines for $550 including crate fees. So now I'd like to add a Whipple twin screw and water injection to my engine because now I don't have to worry about messing up a numbers matching drivetrain. If I go the FI WI route, I'm definately going to Vortec heads and intake.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I've made my final parts list minus a few tweaks. After looking into it, FI w/ WI is a diminishing return and not needed. I'll also be getting a new motor. It'll be the same 305 TBI engine, but it'll allow me to work on a motor without worrying about messing up an all numbers matching drive train. I've finally found an application for this, I'll be running it in the Silver State Challenge once I finish it.

Outside of some new upholstery, minor body work, some dash rebuild work and a few little other odds and ends that are on the obvious but not critical list, I'm ready to begin putting together my restore plan. I'm hoping to tear down the car, clean it, and put the Chassis, Suspension, and Drivetrain all on at once. That way all I have to do is finish up the motor and drop it in. I'll post a rough outline of the plan soon and update my parts list. If I may ask, what has your all's experience been with tear down and build restores?
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Update:

Made a lot of progress on the list (see OP for updated list). I only want the fiberglass body so I can make new body parts should it get in a fender bender. Leaning heavily toward using Chrome Moly tubular suspension pieces after using it extensively at school, however I'm still learning and I could be missing something really important here. Joined the student chapter of SAE at Purdue and have begun to learn how to tune, might get myself an aftermarket ECU for the car sometime in the near future and start tuning the car. Can't wait for school to end in 3 years so I can get a full time job, buy a new car, and start on this project.
 

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go with turbo over a roots/screw type blower u will be much happier, u can setup a turbo on a tpi aplication just liek u would doing a blow threw carb setup.

the biggest thing is tunning im not sure whats available for the tbi computers as far as boost code but u always have the options of a megasquirt system for 311$'s complete controling fuel or fuel and ignition.

or if u stayed low boost u could go with an fmu if u only ran 5-7 psi max, and it wont take much for u to say god dam, but i will warn you boost is adictive its very hard to resist that one extra turn on the boostcontroller to get a lil more out of it.

there are a bunch of turbo powered 305's on thirdgen just check out the poweradder section
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I already decided against FI for the most part. I was going to be keeping the boost to around 6psi, but after seeing how I'm already in the land of diminishing returns and using a TBI 305, I figured it wasn't worth it. The only turbo setup I found that I wanted was an STS universal Stage 3 kit.

The EBL from Dynamic EFI is the ECU that I'm wanting to get. Its just plug 'n play and has alot of really neat features.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
UPDATE:

Made progress on learning how to tune. I've taken what I've learned from tuning the Motec we use in FSAE and began to apply it to my car. Now while I've not made any mods or anything, I have picked up TunerPro and using the def and bin files from the tuning sticky I have began to figure out what I need to do to tune the car. Now if I can get an EBL and a pair of WBL sensors, I'll be set to tune.

I'm in need of help finding a good cluster rebuilder. I want to keep the stock gauge cluster, but its getting to the point of needing to be rebuilt. Also, I'd like to what components are required for power steering cars. I know Flaming River makes great components, but I'm not sure what I need, so any help would be greatly appreciated in either field.
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
*UPDATE*

Finally settled on a few things:

1.) I will be rebuilding the rear axle with 28 spline axles, a TruTrac and 3.23's

2.) After much research, I'll be dropping the Holley TBI and manifold for a ported 305 TBI core from CFM Tech that flows 620cfm and a Wieand single plane manifold. I'll be using the CFM Tech core as my base to build my new TBI using flow matched 350 61lb injectors with an AFPR.
 
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