In keeping with a long history of poor choices, I kept working on the engine despite the significant amount of other work that needed done to the car. I pulled the intake manifold and cleaned everything up with Gunk, oven cleaner, wire brushes, and the hose.
For anyone keeping score on the poor choices, chalk up another one. I stuffed plastic shopping bags down all the intake ports. Much later I pulled the heads to find rust and other ugliness in cylinder #1. Free tip for everyone–if you’re going to hose down your motor leave the intake manifold on it and be much more serious about keeping water out of it.
As part of this full service salvage yard, the owner picked my motor the seatbelts of the donor vehicle tied to the exhaust manifolds. Imagine silly old me believing you needed chains and hoists when it turns out all I needed were a few seatbelts. Incidentally I used the same seatbelts and my Harbor Freight engine hoist to pick the motor from the back of the pickup the following day.
A smart person would start by assessing the vehicle they’ve gotten. They’d tag and bag bolts and carefully disassemble the vehicle, checking items on the way. They’d probably soak the bolts and screws with WD40 for a few days even. But you know what’s way more fun than that? Going out and getting an engine. So that’s what I did.
Pictured above is the donor vehicle. It’s an 01 Tahoe so it has the 24x reluctor generation III small block. On a whim I took a photo of the VIN and it turned out to be one of the smarter things I’ve done. It’s been invaluable for parts lookups throughout the build. This particular Tahoe is the flex fuel version. I didn’t pick it on purpose. I picked it because I found it on Craigslist and they were open on Saturdays.
I got my grubby hands on the whole engine, cover to pan, the starter, the ECU, and the whole engine wiring harness for $500. A dirty and friendly man was kind enough to pull the motor at no extra charge. He had offered to fire it up if he could find a battery. In retrospect that would have been a good idea. But being the ramjet that I am I figured it would be fine, let’s just get that lump loaded in the pickup truck and get home.
July 2nd, 2015. This fine example of automobile negligence came into my life. I had a perfectly good 1990 Corvette with a 383, nice paint, nice interior, 6 speed manual. The car was nice. And driveable. So it makes perfect sense that I would sell it and buy this piece of shit. No engine. No transmission. No radiator. No carpet. No rust. Just kidding–plenty of rust.
This 1978 Pontiac Firebird Esprit with a Formula 400 hood and Trans Am spoiler would some day become the world famous Fireturd, but for now it was just a sad shitbox.