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Pontiac LeMans Project

Transmissions, Clutches, torque converters, Gear ratios, Brakes, Pads, etc.

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Pontiac LeMans Project

Postby CarSick » Tue Jun 14, 2011 9:24 am

I have a 1988 Pontiac LeMans that I'm converting to manual trans. I have a flywheel, rod shifter, MT ECU, but wasn't able to get the pedal support out. It looks like I might need to remove the dash to get to a sixth bolt up under the steering column. I also need a trans. The one in the car I'm working on at Pick n Pull has a 2"x.5" chunk out of the bottom of the bellhousing where it meets the engine. In theory it should still work, right?

Isn't that more dust shield than anything else?
Anyone taken the pedal support out before?

Do the linkage parts (swiveling tree thing on engine side of rod shifter) with the u-joint-looking part on top of the trans come off of the trans or are they considered part of the transmission?

Anything else I'm missing? It looks like my car has all of the holes it needs to just bolt all of these parts on.

Does the auto ECU differ any from the MT version? It looks like the inputs to the ECU are the same.

I also got rear beam, front struts, MC, booster from a 97 SAAB 900s for discs all around.

-- Bob
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Re: Pontiac LeMans Project

Postby gse_turbo » Fri Jun 17, 2011 12:37 am

CarSick wrote:I have a 1988 Pontiac LeMans that I'm converting to manual trans. I have a flywheel, rod shifter, MT ECU, but wasn't able to get the pedal support out. It looks like I might need to remove the dash to get to a sixth bolt up under the steering column. I also need a trans. The one in the car I'm working on at Pick n Pull has a 2"x.5" chunk out of the bottom of the bellhousing where it meets the engine. In theory it should still work, right?


I have an F16, two D16 and one D20 gearboxes. they can all go. the turret on the top of the gearbox that the shifter linkage goes to is part of the unit.

CarSick wrote:Does the auto ECU differ any from the MT version? It looks like the inputs to the ECU are the same.


you would have to check the service numbers to see if they are the same. that being said, when I was looking into the C20GET swap the auto and M/T computers were the same.

CarSick wrote:I also got rear beam, front struts, MC, booster from a 97 SAAB 900s for discs all around.


all I can say to that is CONGRATS!! I look forward to the feedback, it looks like you might beat me to the punch.
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Re: Pontiac LeMans Project

Postby CarSick » Sat Sep 17, 2011 10:39 pm

Trying to make some headway on this project today. The rubber is all shot in this suspension. Is polyurethane/delrin available for these cars? LCA and end links look bad. I was thinking polyU for end links and maybe delrin for LCA.
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Re: Pontiac LeMans Project

Postby CarSick » Sun Sep 18, 2011 12:09 am

The struts from the SAAB are different in the following ways:
-- Slightly taller
-- Three bolts on top instead of two
-- Half-shafts are larger diameter
They appear similar in the following ways:
-- Geometry of the hub and strut (cant, width, offset, height)
-- Ball joint taper *looks* the same, but I haven't tested it
-- Steering joint size and taper *looks* the same
-- Steering arm geometry looks similar

Because the hub is larger and meant for a heavier car, my preference is to use the SAAB hub because my intended use stresses the hubs. At my last race, the team had to replace three hubs due to bearing failure during the 24 hour race. Since that's no fun when everything is 800 degrees F, I'm thinking that the hub upgrade would be a good idea.

I wonder if the SAAB half-shafts will work?
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Re: Pontiac LeMans Project

Postby gse_turbo » Wed Sep 21, 2011 10:13 pm

CarSick wrote:
I wonder if the SAAB half-shafts will work?


Yes and no. The length i's perfect and the splines are the same. The problem i's with the moi ting bracket for the half shaft. It's ment for the Saab engine and won't mount to any of the othe engines. You are better off looking for a set from the euro/British chassis.
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Re: Pontiac LeMans Project

Postby CarSick » Mon Oct 17, 2011 3:11 am

Yes and no. The length is perfect and the splines are the same. The problem is with the mounting bracket for the half shaft. It's meant for the Saab engine and won't mount to any of the other engines. You are better off looking for a set from the euro/British chassis.


I took a look at the junk yard today. Those SAAB shafts look really nice, but alas, that integral mounting bracket/bearing for the passenger side shaft looks to be a lot of trouble.

I was there today with my daewootech list of engine/transmission combos going row by row looking for a transmission for my AT to MT conversion. I came across a 2000 Lanos with 78,000 miles and it still had all the parts I needed. I pulled the transmission, half shafts, clutch pedal, master/slave cylinder, radiator, and the starter. I pulled a clutch master cyl. reservoir from a Toyota as my SAAB brake MC doesn't have an outlet barb to feed the clutch. I really wanted a cable activated clutch, but I couldn't find one, so I settled for the hydraulic one.

The curious thing is that the Lanos half shafts fit the big brake SAAB hub. That was worth the price of admission right there. I think that means this swap just got a lot easier. I'm assuming that the lengths will work , of course.

Do these transmissions use ATF for the differential and gear lube for the gearset? It appears that I need to replace the input shaft seal because the goo all over the inside of the bellhousing smells like gear oil.

Sadly, the clutch pedal doesn't look like a bolt-on. The location where it should mount is the spot where the dash supports bolt and th spot where the clucth MC passes through the firewall is where the wiring harness passes through.
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Re: Pontiac LeMans Project

Postby benzino » Mon Oct 17, 2011 4:31 am

i use hypoid gear oil not sure if ATF is suitable in a manual
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Re: Pontiac LeMans Project

Postby MMamdouh » Mon Oct 17, 2011 3:17 pm

atf is not suitable for manual gearboxes

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Re: Pontiac LeMans Project

Postby benzino » Wed Oct 19, 2011 5:32 am

didn't think so, otherwise it would say "auto and manual transmissions" on the bottle
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Re: Pontiac LeMans Project

Postby CarSick » Wed Oct 19, 2011 4:45 pm

benzino wrote:didn't think so, otherwise it would say "auto and manual transmissions" on the bottle


Most older Borg Warner/Tremec T5 manual transmissions required ATF. If the T5 was in a GM product, it called for Synchromesh, which tended to work better in all of the applications.

The fluid at the half-shaft seals is quite red, so it looked like ATF to me, but the 2000 Lanos S manual states to use SAE 80 gear oil. So gear oil it must be.
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Re: Pontiac LeMans Project

Postby PrecisionBoost » Wed Oct 19, 2011 11:09 pm

Yes, smelly gear oil ( I managed to spill it out all over the floor twice this summer during swaps :? )

Where are you located?

I assume you have read some of the information here on the background of the Lemans, the Pontiac Lemans is an Opel Kadett E or Vauxhall Astra MK2 around the rest of the world.

So to answer your question about poly bushings... yes, there are multiple companies ( easiest to get them from the UK )

The Lemans/Kadett/Astra has a large aftermarket in the rest of the world, sort of similar to a honda civic, they were cheap and easy to modify.

Some are up into the 1000hp range using the 2.0L engines... given you have the Lemans I assume you have the crappy TBI 1.6.

I have one Lemans and two Passport Optima GSi ( basically the Lemans with a 2.0L TBI )

Hope you enjoy your time here, glad to see another Lemans owner interested in motorsports and modification.

Chris
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2002 Daewoo Lanos
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1989 Passport Optima GSi (Astra MK2 ) --- SOLD! :(
1990 Passport Optima GSi (Astra MK2 ) ---SCRAP! :(
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Re: Pontiac LeMans Project

Postby benzino » Wed Oct 19, 2011 11:50 pm

Stinks so bad... Like burning tyres almost.

I was always taught that fluid that smelt burnt was getting burnt but when it comes fresh out the bottle... Lol :lol:
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Re: Pontiac LeMans Project

Postby CarSick » Thu Oct 20, 2011 3:00 am

PrecisionBoost wrote:Yes, smelly gear oil ( I managed to spill it out all over the floor twice this summer during swaps :? )
Where are you located?


California

PrecisionBoost wrote:I assume you have read some of the information here on the background of the Lemans, the Pontiac Lemans is an Opel Kadett E or Vauxhall Astra MK2 around the rest of the world... ...The Lemans/Kadett/Astra has a large aftermarket in the rest of the world, sort of similar to a honda civic, they were cheap and easy to modify.


Yes. I started reading about the car in Wikipedia and then discovered that the crappy little car was raced in Europe. I always slip down the slippery slope with cars. I have 7, but the LeMans I bought for $6 with 244,000 miles on it, and after fixing the basics, drove it daily to work. My goal was to get 300k mi out of it -- until the timing belt broke. The previous owner said he had changed it recently, so I should have just swapped a new one in when I bought it. It's such an easy car to work on compared to a SHO.

I have read a lot on this board, but I don't have all of the terminology memorized, so translating C20 this and D16 that is challenging. I also find relocating stuff that I've read difficult, so now I PDF a good thread when I find one.

PrecisionBoost wrote:So to answer your question about poly bushings... yes, there are multiple companies ( easiest to get them from the UK )


The end links look to be pretty standard, so any poly bushing will do there, but the LCAs could use something slippery, like Delrin and I guess I haven't been looking in the right places. The SAAB arms look to be less bindy, but I didn't measure them. There are plenty of SAABs in the junkyards, but very few LeMans.

PrecisionBoost wrote:... given you have the Lemans I assume you have the crappy TBI 1.6.


Correct. At some point, I bought a factory new 1.6L LeMans engine on eBay and that's what I'm putting in the car now. It doesn't have an alternator or power steering pump, but is otherwise complete from pressure plate to spark plugs. A screaming deal at $400, since I paid $125 just for the distributor when I first got it. I plan to put a new timing belt on it as the factory one dates to 1992.

I checked around for the Sunbird GT engine, but the used ones were too expensive at $1,000. I also have to be somewhat concerned about SMOG laws and the turbo would be obvious.

PrecisionBoost wrote:Hope you enjoy your time here, glad to see another Lemans owner interested in motorsports and modification.


I really think I have a good shot at the podium with it, but there is a lot of work to be done, before I start spending the big money on safety equipment.
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Re: Pontiac LeMans Project

Postby PrecisionBoost » Thu Oct 20, 2011 10:38 pm

I can't remember what SBD made out of their 1.6L.... for some reason I think it was a little over 225hp, but it's been quite a while and I don't see it on their site ( quick skim )

Here, have some stuff to drool over http://www.sbdev.co.uk/Parts%201_6L%20Catalogue.htm

I believe they were pushing the 1.6L up over 8000 RPM
1994 Opel Calibra 4X4 turbo ( C20LET 2.0L 16V Turbo )
2002 Daewoo Lanos
2011 Mitsubishi Lancer Raliart --- SOLD! :)
1989 Passport Optima GSi (Astra MK2 ) --- SOLD! :(
1990 Passport Optima GSi (Astra MK2 ) ---SCRAP! :(
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Re: Pontiac LeMans Project

Postby CarSick » Mon Dec 05, 2011 8:45 pm

This weekend I got to the brake lines at the MC. The SAAB MC is 2 port and the old LeMans MC unit was 4 port. So I cross connected the brakes as they appear to have been connected before: FL-RR, FR-LR. The major problem I see with this scheme is that a knee valve will likely need to be installed for F-R balance and I'd rather have one valve than two. A FR-FL and LR-RR would be easier to deal with. I wouldn't think that the SAAB MC would have any proportioning valve built into the MC, so the pressure should be the same at both, the front and rear, ports.

The clutch pedal from the Lanos would be quite a bit of work to install. Will the D28 Lanos trans work with a manual clutch cable? It seems like there would need to be something for the clutch cable outer to push against at the transmission end. That would probably be easier to fabricate than all the firewall work required to relocate the wiring harness and clutch pedal support.
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