84 le convert - First Generation Forum

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84 le convert
Friday, May 11, 2018 1:25 PM
Hello everyone just picked up a 84 turbo bird with a seised engine only 49k. Got the head off, rust in the cylinders. From what I've read these have bad heads. This is my daughter's first car, she wanted something cool and different, really she wanted a 77 T/A. I asking all of you how can I make this engine as bulletproof as possible. What is the best head gasket. And parts to get this done. I still can't rap my head around how these engines fail GM would have been sued I would think. We buy a 87 grand am se the warranty was 10yrs 10000 miles on the drive train

Re: 84 le convert
Friday, May 25, 2018 4:34 AM
Hi Richard-

Wow - those are some low miles. Sounds like the car has been sitting.

GM did improve the 1.8 in 1987 when they offered the 2.0 Turbo. Now that I got that "snarkey" comment out of the way, I am still running my 84 with the 1.8. The whole head gasket/head/stretch bolt setup on these cars is a known weakness. I had my original engine replaced at 120k after the original launched a rod. Even if you shore up the gasket and bolt situation, the design of the head does not lend itself to performance use due to the kidney shape of the combustion chambers. I just got comfortable with doing a head gasket every 5 years and using it as an excuse to keep things clean. My head has had a crack in between the intake and exhaust ports on one of the inboard cylinders (I forget which one). It is still driveable, and you really only notice it on the dyno when the car is wound up at full boost.

I am getting near the 5 year mark and was able to find a clean, low mile 2.0 head in a u-pull-it close by me so I am looking at putting that head on my car. For $40, it seemed worth it. I will have to throw in some machining, new bolts, and a gasket and will be good to go.

For the Head Gasket itself, I used the Fel-Pro that is listed for the 2.0 Turbo (HS9188PT).

Making the car bulletproof is another story. There are definitely improvements to be made in the engine management system, and the turbocharger itself. Not sure how much you want to spend on that. There are also several performance improvements you can make to the air intake and exhaust, just like any other car

Hope this helps. Happy to talk further. Feel free to look me up on facebook - Paul Steepe, or check out my youtube video of my 84 on the dyno (Paul94Z28).


Re: 84 le convert
Thursday, May 31, 2018 4:40 PM
Just talked to the machinist. I need a crank,atleast 3 rods and a piston. 2 cylinders had rust in them and the pistons rusted also the rod journals took the brunt and 1 piston smacked the crank and shrunk. And we haven't looked at the head. As I was growing up these were all over the place. I forgot just how old they are. My daughter doesn't want to let it go she calls it her mini bird. Finding the right engine parts this is what worries me. CASH FOR CLUNKERS . The original owner replaced the turbo and head just before he locked up the engine. The cam has rust on it. What I mean by bullet proof is reliability
Re: 84 le convert
Friday, June 01, 2018 4:34 AM
Sounds like the cheapest route for you may be to find a complete short block. The short blocks ARE specific to the turbo cars as they are hardened. I am pretty sure I saw I have seen them on eBay.

For reliability, I would look into making sure your fan sensor and turbo timer work properly. Better yet, see if you can find a turbo with a water jacket like they put on the later cars, it helps keep it cooler than just oil cooling.

These cars are not fast, but they do feel kinda zippy and are fun to drive with the boost up. My daughter loves driving my bird.

Re: 84 le convert
Friday, June 01, 2018 9:26 AM
Looked for a short block what I find, non turbo. If like you said blocks for turbos are indeed hardened. Well It sounds like I'm SOL. So it looks like my block has to be done. The machine costs this is whats killing me. Remember right now it's just the short block no head work involved. Just have to take it, but w/grease
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