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1977 Pontiac Cam Am Build

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Limey SE
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Post by 73ss Fri Jul 02, 2021 7:15 pm

g3chevy wrote:Good info. I'll keep this in mind when I rebuild the rear end somewhere down the road. So I'm guessing I'll need a new carrier unit (posi of course) to get better gears?

Yes, If in fact it does have a 2.41. You'll notice when shopping for gears there is a carrier cut off point, This is what it is referring to. I believe it is 2.73~4.11 & beyond will use a smaller carrier & 2.41/2.56 will use the larger one. The good news is aftermarket posi units have become a lot more affordable over the years. I should have bought a new one when I did my rear but decided to freshen up the old one. So far so good. Lays 2 very nice black marks. Twisted Evil

https://www.g3gm.com/t11646-olds-rear-axle
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Post by g3chevy / Mr Pontiac Fri Jul 02, 2021 9:22 pm

73ss wrote:
g3chevy wrote:Good info. I'll keep this in mind when I rebuild the rear end somewhere down the road. So I'm guessing I'll need a new carrier unit (posi of course) to get better gears?

Yes, If in fact it does have a 2.41. You'll notice when shopping for gears there is a carrier cut off point, This is what it is referring to. I believe it is 2.73~4.11 & beyond will use a smaller carrier & 2.41/2.56 will use the larger one. The good news is aftermarket posi units have become a lot more affordable over the years. I should have bought a new one when I did my rear but decided to freshen up the old one. So far so good. Lays 2 very nice black marks. Twisted Evil

https://www.g3gm.com/t11646-olds-rear-axle

I remember reading through this earlier thread. Lots of good info there. So I'm thinking the carriers for all these 10 bolt rear ends are interchangeable? They are all 28 spline axles? Someone mentioned rear disc brakes would be an issue with the Olds bolt in axles?

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Post by Limey SE Fri Jul 02, 2021 9:31 pm

4 words for you G3chevy

Impala SS rear end

Direct bolt in gains Posi 3.08 gears (Some have disc brakes) and can have the axles drilled for 4.75  Bolt pattern

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Post by REVINKEVIN / Mr. 600+HP Sat Jul 03, 2021 12:08 pm

4 words for you g3chevy:
You are the man
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Post by Mob City Pontiac Fri Jul 09, 2021 5:48 pm

Kudos to you in picking these up and attempting to save one of them. I too own a Can Am and it's been in my family for 31 years. Bill Ostovich, myself, Rick Lightfoot, and a few others are excellent sources of info on these cars.

Was reading about the rear axle questions/concerns you have and if Pontiac equipped you should have a 3.23 8.5" 10-bolt limited-slip in it. These rears are plenty stout enough for most folks. I ran one in my '79 T/A weighing 3850 lbs. race ready on nitrous making 800-HP and the weakest link was the ring and pinion gear (which they don't make a softer "pro" gear for the 8.5" 10-bolt). Everything else lived.

If I were you I would send off to PHS for all the info on both cars. This is similar to the Marty report for Mustang owners. It will tell you how the car was equipped when it left the assembly line, when it was built, what dealer it went to, etc. Also, you may want to drop the fuel tank in each to see if you can locate the build sheet. That's where I found mine, taped to the top of the tank with masking tape. Other Can Am owners have found theirs in this location as well.

Verne Howard began a Can Am registry in the early 90's, to which roughly 400 of the 1,377 built have been accounted for. Not all accounted for survived, some were found in junk yards. Rick Lightfoot tried picking up where Verne left off with the registry, as Verne seems to have lost interest in actively updating it. Not sure if Rick is still actively updating but it's worth a check.

Look me up on Facebook under Brian Baker or B.K. Baker and I'll get you on all the 73-77 A-body and Can Am pages.

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Post by g3chevy / Mr Pontiac Fri Jul 09, 2021 11:43 pm

Mob City Pontiac wrote:Kudos to you in picking these up and attempting to save one of them. I too own a Can Am and it's been in my family for 31 years. Bill Ostovich, myself, Rick Lightfoot, and a few others are excellent sources of info on these cars.

Was reading about the rear axle questions/concerns you have and if Pontiac equipped you should have a 3.23 8.5" 10-bolt limited-slip in it. These rears are plenty stout enough for most folks. I ran one in my '79 T/A weighing 3850 lbs. race ready on nitrous making 800-HP and the weakest link was the ring and pinion gear (which they don't make a softer "pro" gear for the 8.5" 10-bolt). Everything else lived.

If I were you I would send off to PHS for all the info on both cars. This is similar to the Marty report for Mustang owners. It will tell you how the car was equipped when it left the assembly line, when it was built, what dealer it went to, etc. Also, you may want to drop the fuel tank in each to see if you can locate the build sheet. That's where I found mine, taped to the top of the tank with masking tape. Other Can Am owners have found theirs in this location as well.

Verne Howard began a Can Am registry in the early 90's, to which roughly 400 of the 1,377 built have been accounted for. Not all accounted for survived, some were found in junk yards. Rick Lightfoot tried picking up where Verne left off with the registry, as Verne seems to have lost interest in actively updating it. Not sure if Rick is still actively updating but it's worth a check.

Look me up on Facebook under Brian Baker or B.K. Baker and I'll get you on all the 73-77 A-body and Can Am pages.

Thanks so much for the info Brian. I've been a Chevy guy most of my life so this is quite new to me. These are cool cars for sure and I'm very much looking forward to restoring this one to its former glory. I was unable to find any information on 1977 rear end gear codes until I purchased a factory GM manual for it. So going by the book the axle code "AA O" tells me its a 2.41 open gear made by Oldsmobile but the decal inside the trunk shows it to be equipped with an "Anti-Spin" differential. Not sure what that's all about. I'll see if I can locate the build sheet which should answer that question. The previous owner did send off for information from Pontiac and was able to get the Option Code Sheet which is hard to read and doesn't mention anything about the rear end gears. Below are pics of the axle codes in the manual, the stamped code on the axle tube and the options sheet. Let me know your thoughts on these.

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Post by Limey SE Sat Jul 10, 2021 12:06 am

Brian Bake I gave him Links for the groups already and Bill O is also a Member here since 2013 and was actually his last post also LMAO

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Post by Mob City Pontiac Sat Jul 10, 2021 5:28 am

All Can Ams were assembled at the Pontiac, MI plant. Those built with the Pontiac engine, as part of the Can Am package, came equipped with the W72 400 (rated at 200-HP), the TH400 transmission, and the 3.23 limited-slip differential. Those that were built for California and high altitude counties came equipped with the Oldsmobile 403 engine. Thus far in the registry, only 43 Olds equipped Can Ams have been accounted for. I'm not savvy on GM axle codes, I can only speak to what came standard as part of the Can Am package. I've seen enough anomalies over the last 35 odd years with codes that should or shouldn't be to go by the "never say never" edict. It was only recently within the last 5 years or so that we discovered Pontiac built the large side window A-bodies in '73 with the Sport Coupe VIN code (2F37).

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Post by g3chevy / Mr Pontiac Sat Jul 10, 2021 10:58 am

As Limey mentioned I've joined most of the A Body groups that he suggested. Lots of great information and parts on those groups. Still need to go to the Can Am Registry and sign up there. Just really anxious to get this beast back on the road. Should have a new water pump and alternator installed this weekend and then I'll take it down the road for its first drive in decades. Let me know what other resources I might tap into for sources of info and parts. Thanks Brian and Limey!
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Post by REVINKEVIN / Mr. 600+HP Sat Jul 10, 2021 11:00 am

Hey g3pontiac, I am not sure if you know this but I have been following your thread on these cars and I am extremely excited about their progress. As you may know, I have become extremely proficient at pulling the gas tank on the GM A Body cars. I would very much like to stop by and help you out one day this week. Humbly, REVINKEVIN.
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Post by g3chevy / Mr Pontiac Sat Jul 10, 2021 1:49 pm

REVINKEVIN wrote:Hey g3pontiac, I am not sure if you know this but I have been following your thread on these cars and I am extremely excited about their progress. As you may know, I have become extremely proficient at pulling the gas tank on the GM A Body cars. I would very much like to stop by and help you out one day this week. Humbly, REVINKEVIN.

g3Pontiac sure does have a nice ring to it. But I must decline this offer until the 1976 Laguna you have, known as "The Beast" is running and driving before we do anything more to the Can Am. I have spoken...
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Post by REVINKEVIN / Mr. 600+HP Sat Jul 10, 2021 2:08 pm

“So it shall be written, so it shall be done”
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Post by Limey SE Sat Jul 10, 2021 2:25 pm


g3chevy / Mr Pontiac wrote:
REVINKEVIN wrote:Hey g3pontiac, I am not sure if you know this but I have been following your thread on these cars and I am extremely excited about their progress. As you may know, I have become extremely proficient at pulling the gas tank on the GM A Body cars. I would very much like to stop by and help you out one day this week. Humbly, REVINKEVIN.

g3Pontiac sure does have a nice ring to it. But I must decline this offer until the 1976 Laguna you have, known as "The Beast" is running and driving before we do anything more to the Can Am. I have spoken...




REVINKEVIN wrote:“So it shall be written, so it shall be done”


STEP AWAY FROM THE COFFEE POT AND NO ONE GETS HURT ^^^^ LMAO

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Post by g3chevy / Mr Pontiac Sat Jul 10, 2021 2:25 pm

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Post by Mob City Pontiac Sat Jul 10, 2021 6:54 pm

As you know, parts for any 73-77 A-body are hard to come by. The only Can Am specific parts would be the spoiler and shaker assemblies, which come up for sale now and then, and there are some for sale as I write this from one of the members of those Facebook pages you joined.

When it comes to electrical parts in the dash and under the hood, I found out that these cars are more Grand Prix than they are Lemans. We know the dash is from a Grand Prix. Apparently Pontiac found it easier to just keep everything associated to whatever controls are in the dash Grand Prix as well. For instance, several years back I was at a local GM dealer looking for a relay switch for fan/AC and nothing the parts guy came up with matched the relay I had in hand. That's when it hit me...so I asked him instead of looking in the A body parts catalog on the computer, to check the G body (or Grand Prix) and low and behold there was my relay I needed.

Another thing I've discovered is that later Impala-Caprice chassis/suspension parts are direct bolt ins. The coil springs I have on my Can Am now are Hotchkiss part # 1922 intended for the '94-'96 Impala SS. They lowered the car front and rear about 1-1/2" overall from the stock ride height. There are some pics that were taken July 4th on the "Historic Ellicott City Cars & Coffee" Facebook page of my car sitting next to another local Pontiac club member's C/A that shows the difference in ride height clearly.

Frank's Pontiac Parts in California is a good source for used 73-77 A-body parts.

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Post by g3chevy / Mr Pontiac Sat Jul 10, 2021 9:50 pm

Just looked up those pics from the car show. Can't believe there were 3 Can Ams there! Really like the stance on yours. I'll end up doing something like that with mine...after lots of cancer surgery. I figure it will take a year to replace all the sheet metal that's bad. I probably should start looking for Lemans body panels to replace all the rusty ones. Do you have a good source for that? Or should I just looks for a 76-77 Lemans parts car? Thanks for the tips on the dash. That's my next step after finishing the water pump replacement and transmission fluid and filter change this weekend. None of the gauges are working so I'll have to clean up all the grounds and if that doesn't work, I'll pull the gauge cluster and clean up all those connections.  I also did confirm the transmission is original as the last 5 digits of the VIN are stamped onto the flange above the pan. When pulling the old water pump I noticed it was lighter than the stock replacement. Then I realized it was aluminum and also made in Japan! Crazy, never seen that before. Oh and I did check out Franks Pontiac Parts and everything that was listed on their site that I needed was marked sold. But that place has a ton a great used parts.

So how do we see more pics of your Can Am? Can you post them here on the forum?
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Post by Mob City Pontiac Sun Jul 11, 2021 3:24 am

I'll try posting some more pics of my Can Am here. Obviously your water pump has been replaced at some point in the car's life. I remember in the 90's when those aluminum pumps from Japan began hitting the market. Flowkooler, when they got their start, was buying them up and modifying the impellers on them. I tried one on my 455 powered '79 T/A that ran high 12's weighing 4100+ lbs. with my fat arse on board and it ran hotter with the Flowkooler pump so I canned it for a Napa aluminum pump.

Steve Barcak has a huge yard in Arizona with over 400 Pontiacs in it. Check him out at PontiacHeaven.org. I recently spoke with him about sheet metal for my '73 Grand Am and he says he has quite a few 73-77 Lemans' that could be sheet metal donors. The few Grand Am's he has however he said he wasn't going to cut up. No worries though as you need a '76-'77 quarter panel to work on the Can Am.

Check on eBay with seller trampas206. That guy has some NOS parts for 73-77 A-bodies for sale every week it seems. I've purchased a few things from him in the past year for my '73.

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Post by g3chevy / Mr Pontiac Sun Jul 11, 2021 10:11 am

Again, great info Brian. Thanks so much for your help! Looking forward to becoming a true Pontiac junkie.
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Post by Mob City Pontiac Mon Jul 12, 2021 1:41 am

1977 Pontiac Cam Am Build - Page 2 Can_am10
Let's see if this works. Here's a shot from last summer at the GTOAA East Regionals with my wife driving.

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Post by g3chevy / Mr Pontiac Mon Jul 12, 2021 10:36 am

Now that's what I'm talking about! Vice nice Cam Am! Hope to have mine looking like that someday. Where the snowflake wheels an option for our cars? I see most with the rally wheels but a couple with these wheels which I like better.
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Post by Mob City Pontiac Tue Jul 13, 2021 10:42 am

The standard rim on the Can Am was the Rallye-II painted white to match the body. Snowflakes were optional, but only the 15x7 inch version. I have the 15x8 inch Snowflakes on mine, which weren't available until the '78 model year, technically making them incorrect, but I like the way they look better than the 7" version.

The stance you see in this pic was achieved with the Hotchkiss springs intended for a '94-'96 Impala SS that I previously mentioned. She's also outfitted with Bilstein gas shocks. Everything else in the chassis is OEM spec.

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Post by g3chevy / Mr Pontiac Tue Jul 13, 2021 1:51 pm

Definitely like the wheels and the stance. Thats on my bucket list for sure.
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Post by REVINKEVIN / Mr. 600+HP Tue Jul 13, 2021 2:00 pm

Hey g3pontiac. Here are some cheap billet snow flake wheels. I like how it says “lug nuts not included”. I guess you buy billet wheels but go to AutoZone for some chrome, soon to be rusted, lug nuts. I love this country.

https://store.restoreamusclecar.com/custom-snowflake-billet-aluminum-wheels-for-pontiac-trans-am.aspx
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Post by g3chevy / Mr Pontiac Tue Jul 13, 2021 2:03 pm

Finally got a chance over the weekend to address the noisy water pump and locked up alternator. Also dropped the trans pan and changed the fluid and filter. The drivetrain seems to be rock solid. I'll know for sure after I replace most of the brake components and then take it for a real test drive.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iaQXt2jKvQE


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Post by g3chevy / Mr Pontiac Tue Jul 13, 2021 2:05 pm

REVINKEVIN wrote:Hey g3pontiac. Here are some cheap billet snow flake wheels. I like how it says “lug nuts not included”. I guess you buy billet wheels but go to AutoZone for some chrome, soon to be rusted, lug nuts. I love this country.

https://store.restoreamusclecar.com/custom-snowflake-billet-aluminum-wheels-for-pontiac-trans-am.aspx

Love those wheels! Wonder if the optional 18x12 will fit in the wheel wells???
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