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1986 Buick Grand National, 41,XXX Original Miles
Key Options: solid roof, digital dash, manual seats, power door locks, power windows, all other standard GN options for 1986.

(Note: all modifications mentioned below were completed between 2000 and 2005 with mileage between 30,000 and 40,000 except where indicated)

Exterior: Body was completely stripped to bare metal, smoothed, and professionally repainted between fall 2011 and summer 2012. No accident damage was noted. All of the black trim was smoothed/painted, all of the bumper fillers were replaced with G-Body Parts stock replacement style. Visible areas under the car (roll bars, frame visible behind the rear tires, etc.) and underhood (radiator top plate, etc.) were detailed. All bumperettes and impact strips were re-conditioned or replaced. All weatherstripping except for the belt moldings were replaced with new. Other details like screw heads and the grill were also touched-up to like-new. The car shows beautifully and should have a good shot at winning local car shows. There are two minor blemishes on the car from me working on it – a light scratch on the top of the header (can be easily sanded/buffed out) and a couple of small scrapes on the right rear wheel well molding (again, a light sand and paint will take it out). If you see the car, this will all speak for itself. The car has not seen a burn-out or quarter-mile pass since it was painted.

Interior: The interior is a “9” out of “10”. I have installed two A-pillar gauges (boost/vacuum and Casper’s knock gauge). The speaker cover has the cracks in the usual locations over the speakers. The headliner and visors were recovered when the car was painted, and the cracked windshield was replaced. Otherwise, it is completely stock and in excellent condition. Seats are clean and have no rips, tears, etc. The original carpet is still in excellent condition. The plastic trim is in excellent condition. Again, if you see the car, the interior will speak for itself. If you want a car with a very nice interior, this is it. I will include a very clean drivers side A-pillar trim piece in the sale since I damaged the original one when I installed the gauges.

Engine: Stock LC2 long block, only modifications are Kirbans valve springs, double-roller timing chain, new water pump, and head gaskets replaced in 2011 with ARP head studs. Head gaskets were replaced only as a maintenance item, they were not blown (I have never blown the head gaskets). The heads were given a light clean-up cut to remove warpage when the gaskets were replaced – the block was not touched. Pistons and cylinder walls looked excellent (I was pleasantly surprised). Earlier this year, I verified that the factory cam lobes are not wiped using a dial indicator. I believe I still have the stock valve springs for the new owner (if they want them).

Intake System: “Tin-Man” cold-air kit, 3-inch LT1 MAF with no screens and Translator Plus, 3-inch MAF pipe, new TA-49 turbo just installed on 6/30/2013, CAS-V2 FMIC, ported throttle body with matching ported plenum, Power Plate, stock intake manifold. All of the intake piping is powder-coated satin black (looks very nice in my opinion). I will include the original stock turbo, original throttle body/plenum and original stock intercooler/brackets in the sale.

Exhaust System: GSCA/Hedman Headers installed last winter (also coated in satin black, look nice), Precision Turbo exhaust housing on TA49 turbo (wastegate hole has been ported), 3-inch Terry Houston downpipe, Terry Houston test pipe, ATR dual 2.5” exhaust with pit bull mufflers. I will include the original stock exhaust manifolds, turbo exhaust elbow and downpipe in the sale. The turbo exhaust shield has also been coated satin black and matches the intake pipes.

Fuel System: Modern Muscle “OPS” fuel pump with hotwire kit, Siemans 57 lb/hr injectors, brand-new Bosch 237 fuel pressure regulator. Fueling can be tweaked via the Translator-Plus or the Extender chip. I will include the original stock injectors and 233 fuel pressure regulator with the sale.

Ignition System: Stock module and Casper’s high-output coils, similar-to-stock wires, NGK UR5 plugs that I’ve run for years. Timing can be tweaked via the Translator-Plus or the Extender chip. I will include the original factory coils in the sale.

Engine Management: Currently running a Bob Bailey Extender Rev. F chip that I have custom modified for my car (I burn my own chips). The stock ECU has been modified to run DirectScan or PowerLogger. As mentioned above, it’s running an LT1 3-inch MAF with no screens and a Translator-Plus. It runs very nicely on the street. The boost is controlled by an RJC-style check valve with no creep or spikes. The stock boost control solenoid is still installed and connected to the ECU if you want to go back to stock boost control. A 3-bar map is already installed in the car, as is a heated oxygen sensor. I recently installed a Caspers volt booster. I will include the original unmodified Bob Bailey Extender chip for my combo in the sale.

Cooling System: 160-degree thermostat, Nick McCale radiator, “Ramchargers” (Intrepid) dual cooling fans set-up to run in low-mode and high-mode depending on coolant temperature and A/C status. Fans normally run on low but will go to high if the coolant temp gets to about 195, or if the A/C head pressure is high. With the A/C on in hot 90-degree weather, the coolant temperature will not exceed 200F even in traffic. In most normal driving, coolant temperatures stay in the 170’s. I will include the stock cooling fan in the sale.

Lubrication (Oil) System: Original stock oil pump, stock turbo feed/drain lines, stock oil cooler (still functional), Wix/Carquest PF52 replacement oil filter. I have mostly run 20W-50 oil and GM EOS in the engine for added protection for the cam. I currently have Valvoline 20W-50 racing oil in the car, just changed at the end of June.

Transmission: 200-4R built by Mike Ridings that has been in the car for several years with no problems. Mike Ridings lock-up torque converter that was installed more recently and performs beautifully. Deep-sump oil pan with drain plug and rear/bottom feed fluid pick-up tube also installed. I have been running Mobil hydrostatic fluid in the trans since installed per Mike Riding’s suggestion. The trans just works great on the street at 17 psi or at the track on 25 psi. Love the trans and would highly recommend Mike Ridings’ work.

Driveline: Stock driveshaft, stock 8.5” rear-end. The car was not originally built with the “G80” posi-traction (not uncommon in 1986), but a previous owner has installed a posi unit. I installed a set of Moser stock-replacement axles for a little more strength. I will include the original stock axles in the sale.

Brakes: Stock up front with semi-metallic pads. In the rear, I replaced the linings and had the stock aluminum drums turned this past spring. Still running a PowerMaster brake system – the accumulator ball was replaced in the early 2000’s. The system still works well. A line lock is installed so you can do a burn-out without heating up your rear drums.

Chassis: All of the body bushings including the GNX bushings have been installed. The upper and lower front diagonal braces have been installed. The “X-braces” behind the rear seat have been installed. The car has a much more solid feel than a completely stock GN, without being too harsh (in my opinion).

Front Suspension: front suspension is stock, but completely rebuilt in the early 2000’s with new wearables (tie rods, ball joints, etc.). Polygraphite bushings were installed in the control arms, the springs were replaced, and QA1 adjustable shocks are installed. The stock roll bar is installed.

Rear Suspension: The upper and lower control arms were both replaced with HRPartnStuff tubular arms with greasable polygraphite bushings. The stock rear springs were replaced, and QA1 adjustable shocks are installed. An ATR roll bar is installed, and air bags with spacers are installed on both sides. The original stock control arms and roll bar will be included with the sale.

Whees/Tires: The front wheels are the stock originals with no-name 235/60R15 tires installed. The wheels are in good driver condition. The rear wheels are GN wheels that were widened to 9”. They are both in excellent shape, an easy 9 out of 10. The rear tires are older Nitto 275/50R15 drag radials. Both the front and rear tires are about ten years old – although they are not cracking or worn, it would be good to replace them soon. I will include the other pair of stock original wheels with tires in the sale.

Other Items: The air conditioning still works, although it could probably use a little more R12 (still an R12 system). To my knowledge, every other power accessory works – factory radio, power antenna, cruise control, etc. I have a three-switch panel with nice labels hidden in the ash tray – the three switches control the fans (on/off), the torque-converter clutch (on/off), and the line lock. Assuming I can find the original ash tray, I will include it in the sale.

(CONTINUED IN NEXT POST...)
 

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...CONTINUED FROM ABOVE)

So, what’s it run?: With 93-octane unleaded, a good set of drag radials, and a decent hooking track, the car will easily run high-12’s on about 17 psi boost. Mid-12’s would be doable with more tuning or a good hooking track. With 100-octane unleaded, I made many mid-11 second passes by simply installing a pair of slicks, adding some fuel via the Translator-Plus, and turning the boost up to 24-25 psi. Below is a link to a video of one of my better passes with this combo. You’ll notice that the car is very good at dodging small aircraft as well! I never installed a bigger turbo or tried to go faster because I had no interest in putting a cage in the car. On the street, the TA-49 spools very quickly, so you’ll have fun with the Mustang crowd if you want it.

My 1986 Buick Grand National at Norwalk Raceway Park, 2005 - YouTube

OK, so what’s wrong with it? In the interest of full disclosure, I will list all of the significant issues that I can think of. First, I think that there is still a minor oil leak that results in oil accumulating under the torque converter cover. I pulled the cover a few weeks ago and cleaned it out - did not see obvious evidence of a rear main leak. I did redo the valve cover gaskets at the same time, so maybe the oil was coming from there. Since I pulled the cover, it has not dripped again, but it might just take a while for the oil to build up enough in there to cause a drip out the little center hole. Secondly, the fuel gauge is reading somewhat incorrectly, which I’m fairly sure is due to the old, stock fuel sender. The gauge reads OK around full, but then reads higher than actual as it goes down. The car is out of gas when the fuel gauge reads about 3 to 4 gallons on the digital dash. It wouldn’t hurt to drop the tank and replace the sender. Installing a newer fuel pump wouldn’t hurt either. The only other item I can think of is that the “Turbo Power” lights in the digital dash don’t work. I confirmed that the bulbs are good, so I am pretty sure that the Hobbs switch is bad. I honestly can’t think of any other major issues with the car other than what I’ve already said.

BONUS ITEMS: I will include a one-year old California Car Cover (“Noah” type) custom fit for this car that is in excellent condition. I will also include a CD-ROM copy of the GM service manual. I might have some other original stock parts lying around that I will consider giving to the buyer after I clean out the garage and basement.

SUMMARY: This is pretty-much a turn-key 12 to 11-second car that has already been very nicely painted and has an excellent interior. There are only some minor issues to take care of, and the car will be as close to “perfect” as a 41,XXX mile 1986 GN can get. You shouldn’t need to spend countless hours fixing things on this car, getting it painted, doing the interior, etc. – it’s already 98% there.

PRICE: I'm currently asking $20,000 for the car with all of the extra parts I mentioned above. I'm asking $18,000 for the car "as it sits" with none of the extra parts I mentioned above. I am open to reasonable offers.

As I think of additional things, I will edit this post.

The car is located in NW Indiana (46375).

Photos to follow.

Thanks for looking!
 
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