1983 Malibu Wagon
When it was new to me (1995)
This is similar to what my wagon looked like when I bought it. I installed the dual sport mirrors shortly after I bought the car.
The interior has changed slightly since I bought the car. The dashboard warning lamps were replace with gauges. The steering column with automatic shifter handle was replaced with a custom steering column with a key release lever to accommodate the conversion to a 4-speed Saginaw.
Rear sway bar
Originally the car had no rear sway bar. I installed a rear sway bar that I got from a sedan in a junkyard. Then I installed an aftermarket 27-mm rear sway bar. The sway bar bolts to plates that bolt to the inside of the lower control arms.
The first exhaust modification I made was to install a Torque Tech 3-inch cat-back system with Flowmaster® mufflers. When I installed the 350, I also installed Jet-Hot® coated Edelbrock T.E.S.® headers and y-pipe.
I originally installed coil-over rear shocks to avoid too much squat when carrying heavy loads. I was not satisfied with the amount of wheel hop I was getting with the coil-over shocks, so I installed Air Lift® air bags and keep them inflated to 10 psi. The valve stem is behind the gas filler door.
The old engine was removed with all accessories attached, except for the air conditioning compressor.
In with the new engine
The intake ports were gasket matched. The lifter valley and cylinder heads were painted with Glyptal.
Corvette cast aluminum valve covers
After installing the new engine the stock valve covers began leaking, so I installed a set of used 1969-1977 Corvette cast aluminum valve covers. I had to shim the cruise control bracket away from the back of the driver side cylinder head in order to provide clearance. I used two old hardened exhaust washers. I also had to bend the AIR bracket slightly for clearance on the passenger side.
How it looks in December 2001
Stock S10 shifters uses a taller tower than the stock F body shifter, so it makes for a cheap short-throw shifter. I ran a 3/8-16 die down the top of the S10 shifter stub to fit a standard Hurst knob.
After driving the car, I realized the shifter is too far away and too low for my liking. To remedy the problem, I mated a Mustang T5 shifter pivot to an F body base so that I can bolt on a handle that is taller and leans toward the driver.
After a short while driving with the hybrid shifter, I decided that the throws were too long compared to the Hurst shifter in my Monte Carlo. The S10 shifter uses a much higher tower than the F body shifter, as seen in the photographs, because the S10 application uses a much longer handle than the F body. So, I modified my S10 shifter to accommodate a bolt-on handle. After disassembling the shifter, I straightened the lower bend, drilled 2 holes, cut off the remainder of the handle, and ground opposing flat sides. During reassembly, I included an additional wafer spring to increase the sideways effort. The feel is tight and firm, and the throws are short, just like the Hurst shifter in my Monte Carlo.
The OEM return spring hole is at the top edge of the fork. The centerline through the lower pushrod pushpoint, the bellhousing pivot, and the input shaft is much lower. Therefore, the spring puts a twisting motion on the fork causing the release bearing to scrub the front bearing retainer. I drilled 2 new holes for the return spring. The center point between the 2 holes intersects the centerline through the lower pushrod pushpoint, the bellhousing pivot, and the input shaft. The result is a significant decrease in the twisting motion of the fork, which equates to a softer/smoother clutch pedal and decreased wear of the front bearing retainer.
8.5-inch Differential with Eaton Limited Slip
The Powertrax No-Slip unit did not work well in my application, so I removed it and installed an Eaton limited slip unit. I wish I had bought the Eaton at first.
Originally Released 11 February 2002
updated 21 October 2007
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Copyright © 2001-2012 Marc Hichens