The Garage

Endurance racing

The Family


Historical info on changes to the TA



Ongoing Maintenance:

MAJOR issues for the TA: the T56 stuck in top gear due probably to a failed blocker bar. I therefore decided that since the engine/gearbox has run 175k miles, I would give it a major rebuild. The car will get a Tick Performance TR-6060 uprated 6 speed transmission, with my choice of ratios, plus a Texas Speed LS 376 engine, fitted with various tuning parts, including TSP’s PRC aftermarket heads. Should be good for around 550hp.

The rebuild is begun, I am removing the engine/transmission and crossmember complete... You’ll have to look at the new pages for the rest...go here!


Changed ABS sensor and it’s OK again, but why did it fail (again)?  Fuel gauge sender had hung up inside tank & stuck on full! - fixed. Swapped the 2 rear marker light bulbs out to LEDs.


The alternator failed AGAIN (mind you, I revved the car to 7000, and it immediately failed...). Looking at it, it has welded itself into a lump! Had to buy a new AD244 from GM. Done and fitted and it’s all back to normal. I also changed the coolant whilst replacing the coolant level sensor, which failed months ago. Annoyingly, the rear ABS sensor has also failed AGAIN last week, for no apparent reason, I checked and its gone open circuit, had to buy a new one from Strange Engineering, 77USD!!! But they told me the manufacturers part number, so in future I can maybe source alternatives.

Even better, the fuel gauge has started showing full all the time, I suspect the sender is worn, has to be checked..


Replaced the seat material on all 4 seats with new, bought from a classic car site in US. Not mixed leather/vinyl like the originals, but all vinyl, but they are indistinguishable from the originals as far as I can see. Not a very easy task, as you have to dismantle the seats etc. It does look a lot better though..  Also took the opportunity to clean up the carpets, fix the air pump for the bladders that change the seat shape (actually a wire had just fallen off).


Replaced the original Monsoon stereo head/CD unit with a more modern JVC unit, quality much better, plus I get Bluetooth etc. etc. Even a reversing camera if I wanted.

  Since this was taken I fitted a proper surround which is much better.


Much work done.. New PS pump fitted and no more leaks. New TR55 plugs fitted. Homebrew big brake kit fitted with no problems at all. The alternator in fact seems to be fine, it seems a lead shorted momentarily and no harm done. I have insulated the (bare) standard ground leads so that could not happen again.  Below a before and after picture, I guess you can tell which is which <grin>.



The rebuilt PS pump started weeping after a few months :( , so a new one is on the way.  Plus, I have a new set of NGK TR55 plugs to fit, plus, a bigger thing, a ‘homemade’ big brake kit, consisting of a pair of Corvette Z06 front discs (drilled ventilated 355mm, around 14”, as compared to the existing undrilled  12”) plus a pair of CTS-V 4-piston Brembo calipers which will bolt right on. Also I have new front brake lines and some 15mm wheel spacers on order, because usually the bigger callipers will touch the wheel spokes.

I also had an odd episode with the alternator, where it went to full (i.e. 200amps!) charge for a minute or so (until I noticed the characteristic noise and stopped the engine). I don’t know why it did that, but it seems to have fried a diode and I think I’ll be ordering a new diode pack shortly...

Finally got a replacement volume knob for the Monsoon stereo as well!


The power steering lost all it’s fluid 2 weeks back, leading to a power steering rebuild. Since it’s been leaking since I got it, I bought a remanufactured rack for the car, and a rebuild kit for the P/S pump, plus a new pressure hose, pump > rack. Removing all that and fitting the new rack (plus new rod ends/tie rods) was quite hard, due to GM fitting the 2 rack mount bolts in such a way that one can’t be removed without lifting the engine out!  However, in the end I cut it’s head off and fitted the replacement the other way up, plus loctite.. After fitting all this, found that the (original) return hose for the rack > pump almost fouled the alternator, grr, a lot of playing around and it misses now by maybe 8mm, which isn’t enough, so I’m looking for other solutions to that. However the car is fine with new rack, feels better and (strangely) seems to have less general “engine noise”. I also found that the upper A/C idler pulley bearing was dry as a bone (not unusual) and so I took it apart & regreased it, this maybe helped as well. Angle ground one bracket off the exhaust, which did nothing and could possibly hit the ground on bumps.

Had to buy a new battery as well, the other one was flat if you left the car 2 days.


Replaced the serpentine belt, which finally got rid of the annoying squeak it had developed. Tweaked the pinion angle yet again, found a more accurate way using my phone(!) which is accurate to around 0.2 of a degree by the looks of it.  Changed both front door panels for ones without any cracks!! (yaaaay). At the same time, fixed the dodgy connection on LH door speaker.  The LH speaker is a different type to RH, I’ll have to source a correct one. Also replaced the 2 underbonnet rubber bonnet stops, which were totally cracked up (they all do it...).


Stripped and greased the “sealed” bearings for the 2 idler pulleys on the serpentine belt, they’re well known for having no grease & then crapping out. Mine were dry but not kaput, luckily. Adjusted the axle pinion angle for about the 15th time, but finally it dawned on me to take a picture of the angle gauge rather than try to read it under the car, so now finally I may get it right!


Time for an update!  The rear end has been fixed, all parts bought from USA either new (lights) or secondhand (hatch, bumper...). Now better than it was, actually. Also, I sourced 2 uncracked door trim panels. Further, it’s had a new water pump as the existing one started weeping. Even more.. a set of new Brembo front brake pads went on.  Had to fix the bank 1 (LH) 02 sensor wiring, it had worn through, presumably on some speed bump somewhere..

 ....& Fixed!!



A clumsy, incompetent git in a bus has reversed into the back of the TA whilst it was parked! The useless sod. The insurance will pay... But it will take months & months... :( 



Changed the fuel pump, the car was showing signs of fuel starvation sometimes, I made a guess that the pump was dying, for once it seems like I was right, ‘instant fix’. Had to cut an access hatch in the rear hatch area floor because it’s MUCH easier than taking the tank out. The new pump is a high performance Racetronics one, just in case I upgrade the engine one of these days...  Changed the rear ABS sensor also 2 months back and it’s fine now, the old one had a hairline crack, presumably it got oil contamination.


Changed the headlight gears for brass ones, much better. The electric aerial failed (again) and had to rip to bits and change the mast, plus a component in the raise/lower motor was buggered. Fixed & it’s fine now.  Still got to change the ABS sensor, which HAS failed (why...??  Maybe I’ll find out when I remove it next week...).


The ABS sensor on the Strange axle has failed (looks like). To be checked out. Also, the gears on the passenger side headlight finally failed, fixed in the usual way by swapping the gear around by 180 degrees, but I’ll order some brass gears as well, the nylon ones are crap anyway.


2 weeks after doing all the work below, the alternator promptly failed yet again. Grrr. Replaced it with a much later/stronger/better AD244 variant.


Fitted new radio LCD backlight, fixed non-functional sail base drivers on the stereo (dodgy connection). Installed halo (angel eye) front foglamps, the halos come on with the sidelights. Replaced the battery. Fixed intermittent issue with front headlight doors (bad connection). Fixed minor damage to front rad Angel Eye fogs!

support bracket (under car). Changed the rear hatch gas rams for new. Removed the unused air injection pump hardware.


The axle has fitted ok, with no issues except that the BMR torque arm was not a ‘bolt on’ since a chunk of it had to be removed to make room, despite Strange’s info saying specifically that a BMR did NOT need any alterations. New rear propshaft UJ as well (larger). Stainless brake pipes all fitted ok, brakes bled etc., also the new track rod ends and antiroll bar links. Oil cooler fitted ok although it was quite hard to find a location—it’s horizontal under the LH front corner, right by the bumper air intake. The oil takeoff was a bit harder.. It wouldn’t fit between the exhaust and the block, until I chopped a few mm off the edge of the block... Lucky it’s alloy..

Discovered that the power steering rack has a leak as well :( so ordered the bits for that also, hopefully I can just change the seals.


Time for an update: all the springs and shocks in the suspension are now done—much better!  However the ol’ dog broke a tooth on the rear axle ring gear (they are known to be weak), and after a bit of debate, I decided to get a complete new aftermarket axle imported from USA. It’s a Strange Engineering 12-bolt with a US Gear clutch (Salisbury) type LSD, (the old LSD was a Torsen) and stronger halfshafts etc. The complete axle is a more-or-less “drop in” replacement. I also got a BMR adjustable torque arm for the axle... And stainless brake lines.. I am bolting the whole lot in now, so far with little problem.


The AC compressor failed a few weeks back. Quite a major task to fix as almost all of it except the heat exchanger in dash got replaced. I bought most of the bits in an “AC repair kit“ direct from the States, about $300, very reasonable.  I also now have a complete set of revalved Bilstein shocks and new custom-made springs from Sam Strano, a well known Firebird supplier in US. I also have braided brake lines and bump stops ready to fit.  I’m also considering why, although it’s not slow,  it’s not as fast as expected... Crate engine time???


Update: done a few of the minor tasks, replaced the window “furry” on drivers side, and also the AC knob, air vent, and radio aerial, as mentioned below. Had to rip the power aerial gearbox to bits to get all the smashed bits out of it & allow the new one to be installed. In pipeline to get T-Top sunshades and a set of springs & shocks...


Little has needed to be done in the last year—mainly routine oil changes, all the pads, etc. The alternator failed AGAIN very recently. I am no longer convinced that it was changed the first time, and even if it was, the one in it was a “no name” model, without the correct fan ducting—not good! It had lost 2 diodes and one bearing was also failing. I bought a correct AC Delco model myself and fitted it myself also.

Fitted LED bulbs to all minor lights (running, stop/tail, indicator) which is much better. Also, a number of other small parts have been obtained to fix various minor items like the dash broken air vent, cracked A/C knob, faulty power radio aerial etc.  I hope to move to a few nicer improvements soon, such as better spring/shock combination etc...

Also had to improve the silencing a bit as it was too noisy at it’s yearly test, done via adding a centre small silencer, but I’d like to change the whole Y-pipe back part of the exhaust, I don’t like it much.


So far the following things have been fixed; New alternator (old one had one shot diode), and 2 new door window motors. 2 new front tyres and all 4 wheels balanced. Changed the engine oil.