I can't put the TA off any longer; I've got to tackle the upstart thermostat problem. So, marching out to the car with an armload of tools and a head full of knowledge, and after an hour of basic work, in high humidity, at the end of the day with overcast clouds, I carefully remove all the attendant hardware, sensors and electrical leads that form the nostrils of this Firebird. She's bare all the way to the intake plenum. I then manage to (carefully) knock the throttle body off the plenum (with a resounding tap from the bottom of my mighty fist) and I have (limited) access to the thermostat housing. A mixture of WD-40, psychology and extreme profanity along with the torque provided by a 9/16 ratchet manages to get one of the bolts (the front one) off with some protesting and not a little effort. The threads on the bolt don't look good and after I clean them they still don't look very good. That bolt isn't going back into the housing, it's a future problem waiting to happen. The rear bolt is kind of funky, it looks like someone drove a screw bolt into the block then spun a nut down on top of it. It's one of those inverted bolts that makes no sense being used where it is being used. I'll be replacing the rear bolt with one identical to the front bolt when I replace the thermostat. I also need to get a new throttle body gasket.
Taking a cue from the days when I owned a L98 powered Corvette, I look
back side of the throttle body and notice it is caked solid in black
grit and the interior of the plenum looks like the inside of a
chimney. Sigh. Time for some TB cleaner / solvent, a soft toothbrush
and not a little bit of elbow grease to clean it up. I'm hoping idle
quality improves somewhat, it is quite dirty. You also don't want to
anything stiffer than a tooth brush on these TBs and if you take your
with any kind of pry bar or screw driver, you're in for a special
The TB is made out of aluminum and aluminum is a soft metal (choir
"duh"). Any cracks or creases you put into your TB are going to lead
air leaks later. The intake of the plenum is also covered in a fine
layer of soot. I'd take it off and soak it but I don't have the
or the time right now. Or maybe I do. I might just get the plenum
gaskets tomorrow, yank off the plenum and soak both the TB and plenum
overnight to remove the buildup.
On a side note, I was almost surprised to see that there was no aftermarket
throttle body performance air foil in place. So far I've found the wrong
size factory wheels and tires, repainted rocker panels, missing body stripes,
missing factory decals, missing hard emblems, an aftermarket radio that
was gratefully replaced with the original unit right before I bought the car,
an AC conversion from R12 to R134A (a less efficient refrigerant used in a car
that has soooo much glass ... why?!), a really deep sounding Flowmaster
muffler complete with ugly-ass Pimp My Ride type ghetto chrome extension tips
(welded on or I would have unbolted them the day after I got the car), a K&N
air filter, and apparently a performance shift kit in the transmission.
The fact that I didn't find a TPIS fast pack set of goodies was just a little
bit of a disappointment and only reminds me that some real idiots owned this
car before I did.
Taking apart the air intake system down to the filter and canister (to wipe it
all out) makes me realize just how poor a design the intake air tract is on
the 1985 to 1992 "bottom breathing" Firebirds. No wonder the
V8 Camaros had more power, they had better air induction. How the engine
in the V8 Firebirds gets any
air at all is a miracle, let alone that it can get air that is any colder than
that available under the hood. I cleaned everything I could, made a list
of what parts I needed to replace (TB gasket, 2x thermostat housing bolts,
some tractor clips for the small coolant hoses, and perhaps some coolant hose
itself to replace the small pieces around the TB).