As usual Rescars readers will know, I own a slightly warn 1996 Pontiac Firebird. My father and I bought the car while I was in college just as a fun project which turned out to be more trouble than it was worth at times. After replacing both heads after they both cracked when head gaskets went, and doing an entire engine swap after a broken piston-rod cracked the original engine block, my Firebird is back to normal. After the last time I wrote about the car in October, I drove the Firebird around for two months without any issues. Since winter was coming, I had to park the rear-wheel-drive Firebird for safety reasons. The car has now been sitting for four months and I am anxious to get the car back on the road and get out of the Aztek.
There are, however, a few things that we need to take care of before the Firebird returns to the road. First thing that we really need to fix is the heater hose hack that has been on the car for about a year now. The original heater hoses on GM’s 3.8L V6 are very strange. They are attached using flimsy plastic clips with a screw cap to hold the hose on the block. I use the word flimsy because it’s the best way to describe them. One of the clips broke during the final assembly after the engine swap, and in able to just get the car back on the road, we used about 12 zip-ties to hold the hose in place.
The good news about this is that a solution for this was created some time ago. A kit was created by GM that will replace the old fittings with something much more substantial. The plastic clips and screw tops are replaced with a small metal nozzle that can be firmly screwed into place on the block. This kit was actually semi-difficult to get a hold of a year ago, meaning that the zip-tie fix was one of the few options. Having found the kit at a good price we can go forward with getting the car back on the road sometime in the future. I’ll continue the updates as we continue to fix up the Firebird.