Buick Skyhawk - First Generation Forum
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I currently drive an 84 skyhawk and am about to be getting a near complete 87-89 skyhawk from the junkyard. My 84 is in decent shape considerieng 220k miles, leaking oil pan, a tbi that has caught on fire multiple times, disconnected ac, a once fried electrical system, and having bad luck with alternators. From the day i saw this car it was love at first sight. I would like some input on making her carbureted, t top or convertible, 5 spd manual, and increaseing the whopping 88 horsepower. For audio i have a 1200 watt amp and about 12 speakers plus 2 12 inch subs, also for my head unit i have an ac delco cassette player out of an 77 olds cutlass. The interior is black with wood accents and chrome trim. I would also like to paint her black with a clear coat over it and switch the white stripes to red.
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Welcome, glad to see another Hawk around here. Mine is an 85.
Would love to see some interior pics, especially with wood accents, never saw that before.
With so many speakers and Watts, why the ancient head unit?
If you really want a drop top, you're better off finding a sunbird and swapping bumpers and the interior...imo
I meant to ask...what stripes?
I am currently in the process of finishing the interior, i hate those god awful cardboard/carpet door panels. So i took mine off and used some nice finish grade plywood about the same thickness. To be honest i ripped out the entire interior minus the dash. My headliner was falling to pieces so i repaired it and went with a nicer fabric. It's still a work in progress but is to be finished soon. Im working on the interior for now until i get the other skyhawk from the junkyard. Im having minor engine problems but im waiting till i have that juicy 5 spd manual. When i bought the car last year after i smashed my crappy toyota, the car is and was in rough shape. However it still runs strong. I havent installed the audio yet because i wanted to put three speakers in each door but with the originals on it that are rotted out on the bottom i dont risk it yet. The white stripe im referring to is on my car it has the custom trim which features chrome trim on the exterior and a little in the interior. The white strip runs the length of the car on the side roughly starting near the top of the fenders. Im in the proccess of restoring the car and want to keep that nostalgic feel to it. The didnt have a head unit when i bought it so i went with one that could have been in the car. I stuck with the the orig maker but i couldnt find the model supplied in my owners manual so i bought the one i have now. I have a cassette adapter for my ipod so as long as the radio came equipped with a cassette deck i was more than happy. I really looks nice with chrome knobs and doesnt look to out of place in the car. As far as the roof goes i may lean towards making it a t top. So i will hunt around the junkyard for a gm t top to cut up.
The major thing that sucks here in ct is we dont use salt, or molasses, we use straight up calcium carbonate on the snow. I coated my driver side door in a generous amount of rust reformer and just 3 months go by and it seems like i did nothing. So i am resulting to coating a majority of the car with truck bedliner in an attempt to combat the acid they put on the roads here.
Idk how your pictures are turned upside down unless using a phone to upload? Try in the future using photobucket or fixing them for a better shot with the pic programs.Anyhow a tbi does not just catch on fire repeatedly for no reason.My question is have you rebuilt the tbi and ensured all the connections were solid as these are solid and problem free for the most part.Going carb'ed is not even going to happen with the real problems those pose.Anyhow welcome to the site and if you have questions your not sure about by all means just ask!At least you have interest in a car that has a small following as far in the platform for 1st gens.
When the electrical got fried the first time. We didnt know about the fuel pressure relay, so when we were trying to get it running with carb cleaner. It had a tendency to ignite it. Surprisingly when the system was fried the only things that happened was the starter wires melted, the relay was fried, and so was the ecm. My car has the single port tbi and other models came equipped with the rochester 2 barrel. I trying to cut down on amount of electrical draw on the system to make up for the audio. So far things have gone great. I originally went to the junkyard to find some replacement doors and thats when i came across the 88. To my amazement only a few parts had been taken from it, and was in nice shape. That transaxle was just icing on the cake. It running me $638 and thats with delivery and taxes included. God forBid i total the car, i can just swap the parts and switch the vin and bumper and no one would know any better. As for convertible roof i was gonna hunt down a 84-89 chevy cav. Im just worried how well it would line up with the doors. As for the images its on an ipad, so sorry about the orientation of the images i prefer it side ways i can see better.
Some more pics of the car. I have been busy and using it as temp storage, lol. Anyways the engine has been cleaned a little. The air filter assembly was completely coated in rust so i cleaned and repainted it. I sealed the valve cover and am moving onto repairing the floor pan. Im using fiberglass with a heavy coating of bedliner all the floors, before i lay the new carpets down. I picked up plenty of insulation at the flea market. The rot spots arent horrible, but the doors are.
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Since J-Bodies are unit construction you won't be able to just start cutting away at the top to make a Convertible or T-Top. The top of the car serves as a major structural reinforcement and if the car doesn't have this it will simply cave in between the wheels upon setting on the ground it certainly will upon the first pothole or speed bump you happen on. I'm sure you can do this provided you set the body on top of an S-10 frame like Cody Matthews has done, short of such heavy mods the best choice would be a Sunroof option. Many shops will install one for a reasonable fee.
Be persistent with rust - it will be persistent with you. Once it gets started you just have to stay on top of it.
Swapping in the 5 Speed is a bit more involved than a simple bolt on job since yours isn't a 4 speed already. You will need to install the pedals out of the donor and the master cylinder. It is possible you may need to swap in the ECM but I'm not the final word on that - someone better knowledgeable can help you in that area.
One other item I might add - I think the Buicks used both the OHV and OHC engines. Please make sure your donor is the same (OHV) as you have in your driver because the OHC and OHV transmissions are NOT interchangeable. It is possible you might get away with a bell housing swap, but again I am not the last word on that. I hope the more knowledgeable can jump in here to advise.
Wow - Flashback!
Thorn, your car is just like my 86 I had for a few months back in college.
I can tell you that the droptops have a lot of special work to hold together. I would stick to getting a body from a convertible if you really want to go that route. Keep in mind first gens stop at 1987 so tops are different starting in 1988. I like what you are thinking with the iPod input. You can get the correct cassette unit for your car and go your current route or get the radio only version and use a Fm Modulator with a flash drive or ipod input. They are all over eBay for <$10. Your stock radio should have a shiny black face with chrome accents. If I remember right it is a green led clock/readout.
I can't help you much with the OHV engine, but if you are going to swap, IMHO, I would not bother with the OHC Turbo setup. I would go right for the rather common (and well documented) 3400 V6 swap for a reasonably powered, streetable car. If you want something much more sinister, talk to Cody about his hatchback.
Welcome to J-Body.org!
The donor is an ohc. I dont want too much power as i have found that my ohv doesnt handle a whole lot of abuse. So i was gonna go the route of a 2 barrel carb with a cold air intake on it. I have found them just taking care of the structure and engine work first. As far as the top mods, i am well aware that the body needs to be reinforced to make up for the fact of not have the roof anymore. As far as rust its not that bad, apparently the car came undercoated so its only in the few areas where it has come off. The spot in the sheet metal i showed was the drivers side floor pan. The previous owner tried to jack it up and crushed the floor pan and removed some of the undercoating. Right now im a stay at home daddy with my 9 month old while the misses works. I have been getting money from her each week and every monday i do a little more and this week is finishing the headliner and reinstalling it. I cant put the new black carpets down until i fix the rot issues. I need to pick up a grinder with a wire wheel, all i have now is a wire brush head for my cordless drill and it just doesnt have enough power to take it down to bare steel. Naval jelly works wonders, and i have used it to remove rust and bluing from my firearms, be careful and follow the instructions cause it can be quite aggressive. Once its clean i am riveting fiberglass over it then spray bedliner to cover it up to act as diy undercoating. As a matter of fact im coating the roof, doors, and floors in it. I have all the supplies, i picked them up while i still had a job and with tax returns. I have one door panel cut out and will mount it when i get the other door. The only thing missing from the 88 is an altenator. Everything else is there and the glass is in nice shape, no carcks at all. So not bad for $638 with delivery. So far i only have around a grand into mine and that includes purchase price, registration, and parts. I only paid $500 for my 84 so i have lots of room when it comes to money.
I don't think a Carburetor will work unless you replace the ECM with something else. The ECM requires input from the throttle body via the TPS. The early 2 bucket models did come with carbs but they were not any more powerful. All OHC J's were FI.
Turning your Coupe into a Convertible will also involve some kind of modifications to the front glass. True Convertibles are reinforced there and also fasten the convertible top to them as well.
If you take a look at your OHC donor you wont see the starter - it is buried underneath the intake manifold on the firewall side while your Coupe has the starter on the radiator side - hence the incompatibility issue.
I will say these engines are very specific to the ecm and trans set up.So in other words your donor engine will not work off your current ecm as it is programmed for said engine with your current trans.So the donors engine would require the ecm from the car it came from along with the transmission.Seriously the carb idea is going backwards as far as power and being efficient and the tps mount up would be a problem imo.Really the only true years with Rochester carbs were the 1982's and most of the 1983 jbodies had already upgraded to the tbi as the carb is complicated not nearly as reliable and unless you had all original stuff from a true carb'd j it would be a problem.It has been a long day and some info I know to elaborate.Tired I am.
Welcome to the site!
I have a lead on an 84 Cavalier Convertible that is located in northern CT. if you are interested in doing the vert swap. It is a red parts car, but between the two cars you already have you could easily make one Skyhawk convertible. Also I live in Mass and would be interested in the 5 speed trans if you ever want to sell it. PM me if you want info on the vert.
Money is real tight right now. So the convert swap will have to wait for the time being. Ecms arent the issue where i could by a new one for 70 bucks at autozone. The 5 spd did come in my year as the book states so swap shouldnt be an issue other than time consuming. Also according to the book there isnt really much of a difference between the manual transaxles other than the amount of gears they have. I have also read into doing the carb swap. I wouldnt need to do a whole lot of modifications in order to get it to work. My fuel pressure runs at 12-15 psi, so i can keep the stock pump, the distributer would also have to be replaced as well. Doing this would almost virtually remove the need for the ecm. The goal here is to remove as much of the emissions system as i can while also increasing the amount of options i have for improving the engine. As an example right now i disconnected the ac belt on my engine. Granted i no longer have a functioning ac system i now have an open spot on the engine, for further modifications. Now one thing that has eluded me so far is how the hell to i improve how my altenater mounts to the engine. That damn thing has been causing me problems from day one! If it isnt so much as a hair high enough, the battery will not charge. I just dont rust it at all. It has come loose in the past and i would like a perminant solution to this issue.
hey guys sorry for being quiet so long, just been very busy. I got more info on the junkyard find. it is a k code 89 skyhawk with a 2.0l sohc tbi with the 5 speed manual. im doing an engine swap into the 84. so anyone interested in a 2.0l ohv tbi with an auto and new cv joints let me know. would highly recommend it get rebuilt since it leaks oil. anyways onto details, im going to get the carb from the 82 and put it on the sohc. im also going to get the tech 1 tool to reprogram the ecm with the correct parameters to run properly. this winter I am rebuilding the motor for durability. for the body I am replacing dented body panels and stripping them to get repainted. I am going to re-undercoat the car as well. I have decided to make it t top as to model as the pace car version of the skyhawk. let me know what you guys think of this whole project.
What SkyHawk pace car?
I think Buick had an Indy 500 pace car in the mid-70s, but not a SkyHawk.
You're just trying to keep me up all night, aren't you???????
I think that's a Targa top though, but WOW!!!!
I've never seen anything like it. OK, I know I've seen it, I was watching CART in 1983, but I was only 10 during the race season and just don't remember that.
Interesting process of the changes.I however must say the tbi over the old gm carbs are not even close in reliability and performance.I am not downplaying wanting to change things but the tbi rebuilds are fairly easy and the fuel injection provides better response and far more effiecent especially in cold weather.It is your ride and take what ever route you want with the changes and good luck.Keep in mind changing to a T-top changes the structural integrity of the cars safety.
im aware i was going to reinforce the body the same way they reinforce the verts. I also need help when it comes to reprogramming the ecm. I need to know what I need or where I can get it done. i have called half the garages in the area and have called the dealer, buick, and gm with very little to no help with the issue. worst case scenario I'll just stick my brand new holley 2 barrel on it and say @!#$ it to the ecm.
I just got the 88 a few weeks ago. Been busy removing the doors. Anyone know the easy way to remove the front fenders? I removed all the top screws and the damn things won't budge at all.
On the fenders you have to remove the inner fender plastic and then you can see the brackets holding the front part of the fender to the front bumper cover.There is one bolt at the bottom of the fender towards the door where the fender goes down to the rocker area as well.Once you remove the plastic fender liner you will see the array of hardware and metal brackets I said and this should be all you need.I have removed fenders from both cavs and birds and it can be a 15-20 minute task and OH remove the cowl as I do believe under that it one or two more bolts unseen until removed.Yeah the wiper arms have to come off but that is easy.Disconnect the wiper washer line as well.I am fairly tired so I might be forgetting some things but,tired and long day makes one forget.OK
Finally got some pics of the 88 and more of the 84 today. Just as a reminder the red one is the 84 and the gray one is the 88
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