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Project Fallen Star


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Howdy, muchachos! Starting my project, a 1987 Conquest featuring a LM7 swap from a 2001 Z71. I'm a fan of the G54B, I really am. I rebuilt the one in my first Conquest back in high school. Deleted balancing shafts, Marnel head, all that good stuff. The novelty has kind of worn off now and I don't want to go through and fix all the little idiosyncratic problems the Astrons have again. I also want something I can go to any parts house in America and find parts for. Lastly, I just f*ckin' love V-8s and I don't have to explain myself to you, dad.


I'm guessing this project will take roughly a year to complete (someone remind me of this later when it takes 3). I'm going to use this as a welding and fabrication learning experience as well as a shot to figure out painting and powdercoating. May even throw laying CF in there for good measure. I'll be keeping this foum updated with progress and using the forum as a journal and goal tracker.


So, without further ado.....



*Project Fallen Star*


GOALS(subject to change!):



-LM7 rebuild and swap. Mild performance upgrades for useable power in the low-to-mid RPM range.

- Figure out what transmission I want to use. Requirements: manual, compatible with factory rear diff and the LM7.

-Upgrade clutch and flywheel for occaisonal track use, comfort on the streets, high rotational weight, and reliability.

http://i.imgur.com/9rk7ghE.jpgMuddy mouse. Soon to be a master mouse. Long ways to go.....


Suspension and steering:

-maintain factory handling with heavier motor and potentially heavier nose.

-adjustable ride height and dampening.

-replace any and all worn bushings.

-correct all the crap-awful play in the steering/steering column rebuild.

-figure out power steering that's compatible with swap.




-polish wheels (already stripped)

-fix P.O.'s half-cocked paintjob and decal removal. Possible color change.

-engine paint/engine bay and engine dress up without making the wiring harness longer (no wire tucking.)

-find or fab front license plate mount (required in VT!)

-in general, keep appearance close to factory optional/sleeper. (No drift missile antics, as awesome as those can be).

http://i.imgur.com/rcmhSkc.jpgNothing too special....yet.



-figure out something with factory seats. (Love all the adjustability, hate how low the headrest are. Possible fab on factory seats or just replace them with something compatible with automatic seatbelts.)

-Bluetooth/casette/CD capability.

-component speaker upgrade

-better steering wheel. (Like all the radio control options, hate how thin it feels in my hands. May have to pick one or the other.)

-fully functional A/C system, including facotry controls.


I think that's it for now. I'm sure there's some stuff I'm forgetting, so this list may change. Thanks in advance to the forums for all the technical advice I'm sure I'll end up needing at some point! Also, everything on this car is for sale as it pertains to the motor and its peripherals, so hit me up and check out my For Sale thread! See you guys on the road!

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There will be many! And thanks! She's very, very clean and rust free, especially for a New England car. The P.O. did some kind of weird cover up job on the Imported for Chrysler decal (don't know why he didn't just remove it) and painted over the rubber seal on the sunroof. Other than that, perfecto.
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Welcome and good luck! Post wtb OEM license plate bracket or junk yard. Plenty of people removed them (including myself even though they are required here also) and run without them and just run the risk of a fix-it-ticket at worse case. I find if you don't drive and look like a ricer, the cops don't bother me with it. Get plenty of thumbs up and "nice car" comments from cops when they are controlling traffic manually in my area.
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Awesome. Definitely have some more research to do on suspension but I've heard a lot of good things about D2. Also.......http://i.imgur.com/0CCen75.jpg


Got these suckers in the mail today. Hopefully, my hardware woes won't be so severe in the future but, if they are, I'll always have the internet. Will definitely have the motor on the stand this weekend and the teardown can begin in earnest. I'm going to work on getting the G54B out first but that Vortec is taking up a lot of real estate in my shop. There will also be an extremely high risk, high reward chair installion. You know, for chillin'.

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I got a Pre vortec 350 I been wanting to put in a starquest. It's got a lot of wiring for the tbi injection on it that scares me a little bit.

Make sure to take lots of pics I'll be following this.

Nice looking ride you got there . Gratz.

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Little update. Not much engine work, just added some gear to the shop and did some organizing. Broom, trashcan, a chair, some degreaser. Than kind of thing.


I did manage to get the motor up on its stand. This thing is a behemoth. It's not too terribly heavy, it's just tall as all hell. I have to keep reminding myself the stand is rated for somehting like a ton and a half. Also, there will definitely be an engine leveller purchase in my future. Getting it on the stand was hard enough to do by myself. Doing it with the engine wanting to lean forward a few degrees the whole time didn't help. It's like trying to put shoes on an aggravated toddler.


Also, old engine mounts, exhasut manifolds, and a few other key parts got a P.B. Blaster bath. This motor has A LOT of rust. I was a little worried about the block and heads but they look like their main problem is the paint is coming off. Some of the components might be beyond repair, e.g., fuel rail, coil packs. Managed to get the ECU from the previous owner, too. Forgot to snatch it with the original purchase.



As you can see, there's a lof of crap that needs to come off this motor. Monday will probably be nothing but pulling off old hoses and cable and seeing what I can keep, what can't be saved, and what I can get rid of (looking at you, clutch fan).


Last, wanted to put one more plug in for the parts sale. I have a lot of parts sitting on the sidelines of the shop that are going to the junkyard next weekend if no one shows interest. Everything on the car will be saved until this engine build is done but I can pull things off at buyer's request. Hit me up!


That's it for now. More updates Monday!

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Ha, yeah. I know what you mean. There's probably going to be a pressure washing at some point. The place opened for business two weeks ago and everything is brand new.


On a related note, here's hoping the electricity gets wired before winter. If not, I'll be using my Juke as a generator.


Thanks for the encouragement! It's a long road ahead and it's been a while since I wrenched but this site is keeping me motivated!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Very brief update. Started tearing down the motor. Smooth sailing so far. Got rid of all the old, nasty radiator hoses. Broke two bolts on the drive side exhaust manifold. Those will be a mother to get out later. Other than that, she'll be ready for machine shop by October. Well, November.


Power outlets were installed at the shop, so heat and light will be on tap for Winter. Also decided to add some more storage space for parts I want to keep, hardware, etc. So far, everything I've taken off is going into a dumpster, barring the intake manifold and wiring harness.


Last, looking for an old oven to turn into a Powdercoat oven. I think I can make a very small booth in there. There will be lots of Powdercoating, I want this thing to last forever.


Pics tonight!

Edited by Scary_TSi
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Photos from Sunday's progress. Added a few more shop essentials. Got a couple of stackable tubs to put spare parts I want to keep in. Floodlight for illumination. Brought the dremel from home. Going to look at a sawz-all this weekend and a small impact driver. Dis-assembly should go pretty quick then.


http://i.imgur.com/snMsgIj.jpgRandom pile of crap that came off.


http://i.imgur.com/z3te862.jpg Motor as of this second. The clutch fan taunts me yet. I'm thinking of just replacing the entire water pump with an electric one. Or I may have to. We'll see.

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So, today there were antics. Got my hands on some odds and ends tool for $100 bucks on Saturday. The mini-impact gun was worth it alone, the teardown speed pretty much halved. Tripled? Whatever. It's easier to take the motor apart is what I'm getting at.


Anywho, I got the water pump and all the accesoriies off. I was down to the crank pulley when disaster struck. Due to my long engine building hiatus, I neglected to chalk the engine stand while I was jamming down on the pulley bolt. Aaaaaaand this happened:



SURPRISE! Involuntary oil change. Yep, that's A LOT of oil and coolant you see pooling up there. Came out of the heads like it was coming out of a garden hose. Took about an hour and a half to clean everything up. Work pretty much came to a halt at that point.


I bought an electric pressure washer that night to take care of the gigantic oil stain that's going to leave. I'll also use it for head and block cleaning, so good for me. Pulled some parts off the Quest that buyers wanted, put some 3M hooks up for tool storage and tried to forget the whole ordeal ever happened.


So, progress. Not a stellar day at the shop but not a complete disaster of one, either. I'm starting to move more cautiously forward. I need to do more research on what is compatible on the LM7 and make a buy-list. A LOT of sensors, lines, and plastic items were damaged or rusted beyond repair, so there's going to be a lot of knick-knacks needing replacing (coil packs, fuel lines, the starter, the alternator, A/C compressor etc.). I'd like to make every replacement part an improvement over stock, obviously, but the LM7-specific performance market is pretty dry. Also need to purchase rebuild parts and find a good machine shop around here to handle that side of the build. Once the LM7 is done, the G54B comes out. Then the real work begins.

Edited by Scary_TSi
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dont feel necessary to remove window to get dash out. i did it in a driveway and no garage.

just note , mark or what ever it takes to remember all the connectors under the dash. i missed one relay

and the car didnt start for a day and a half until i found it unplugged of course.

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Ya it's kinda hard not to crack the windshield when removing it also. My old windshield was super glued in was no chance of not breaking it. $300 plus if you can find one usually.. unless your lucky and someone has one n stock locally. Edited by G54Bstore
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