The H-Body Organization FAQ Intro-- Monza, Vega, Astre, Sunbird, Starfire, Skylark
H-Body FAQ

provided by

Last Updated 04 Feb 2005.
First posted 30 Sep 1999.
Updates since 19 Apr 2000 are in green.
Updates since 07 Sep 2000 are in red.
Updates since 20 Mar 2001 are in purple.
Updates since 01 Aug 2006 are in blue-green.
Can't find it here? Look in the forums.

Frequently Asked Questions about these car models from 1971 to 1980:

Maintainer: Dennis Brown

Contributors and Sources:

Some of the links above may be dead, but they remain to give credit.

HEY! You too can contribute! If you see something that's wrong or missing (look for "???") and have the correct info, let me know!

NOTE: Some information in this FAQ was gathered from the above sources. This information is not copied verbatim, and where such information is not considered "common knowledge," permission was granted to use the information here (specific cases will be noted). Thus to my knowledge no copyright violations have occured. Please still visit the sites listed above! They have much more info that is NOT listed here!

Disclaimer: This information is provided free to the reader. It may used for any purpose, however, the maintainers and contributors take no responsibility for injury to yourself or damage to your belongings as a result of your reading this document and following its advice.

Names: In this document, in most places, "Vega" can be understood to mean "Vega or Astre," and "Monza" can be read as "Monza, Sunbird, Starfire, or Skyhawk."

Chevrolet, Buick, Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Vega, Monza, Sunbird, Starfire, and Skyhawk are all names owned by General Motors Corporation.

H-Body FAQ Contributors

The following club members have written posts on the HBOA Yahoo! Club message board or e-mailed me information that I have included in the FAQ. I have listed only their first names and Yahoo IDs--see Yahoo profile for more information, if they have to provided any. The numbers indicate the number of times I've included a direct quote from that person.

These members' posts are quoted with credit given with only changes to fix typographical errors. If a member wants me to alter or remove his/her information, please see the contact page.

The H-Body Organization FAQ Table of Contents -- Monza, Vega, Astre, Sunbird, Starfire, Skylark Contents
  1. General Information
  2. Stock Engines
  3. Transmissions and Rearends
  4. Steering and Suspension
  5. Wheels, Tires, and Brakes
  6. Exterior/Chassis
  7. Interior and Safety
  8. Electrical System
  9. Engine Swaps
  10. Transmission Swaps
  11. Groups, Clubs, Organizations, Websites
  12. Vendors

Click here to get the whole FAQ as one HTML document.

H-Body FAQ Section 1

1 General Information

1.1 What is the GM H-body, basically?

The H-body was GM's subcompact car for the seventies, sold in six different models: Chevrolet Vega and Monza, Pontiac Astre and Sunbird, Buick Skyhawk, and Oldsmobile Starfire.

Each model has a 4, 6, or 8-cylinder engine in the front and a solid rear axle to move the car. All bodies are of unit-body construction (no separate frame). All styles have four seats, two doors, and are available in notchback, hatchback, or wagon forms (depending on brand). There are economy- and performace-tuned models.

The line was replaced in the early eighties by the transverse front-engined front wheel drive GM J-Body (Chevrolet Cavalier, Pontiac Sunbird, etc.).

??? The H-Bodies were developed by GM Lead Engineer Ed Cole, who also developed the Corvair and Fiero. The Vega was designed with a Chevy Small Block V8 in mind, but the Corvette group protested enough to kill that option.

H is the internal code GM used to identify the car platform. For example, some other codes are F for the Camaro and Firebird, P for the Fiero, Y for the Corvette, G for the RWD Monte Carlo and Grand Prix, and so on. Letter codes change and get reused. Most recently, H was used for the large FWD platform used by the Pontiac Bonneville and Buick LeSabre.

1.2 What are the different H-body models?

There are two major variations of the H-body, one based on the Chevrolet Vega and one based on the Chevrolet Monza.

Vega sales began in 1971. The Pontiac Astre, almost a clone of the Vega except for minor cosmetic changes, was sold in Canada, then introduced to the US in 1975. The Vega was sold in hatchback, notchback, wagon, and panel wagon versions. All Vegas were sold with 1bbl or 2bbl 2.3L four cylinder aluminum-block OHC engines, except the DOHC Cosworth Vega sold in 1975 and 1976. The Vega 2300 won Motor Trend's "Car of the Year" for 1971. Vega sales ended with the 1977 model year.

The Monza was introduced in 1975. GM's other brands also introduced their versions of the Monza: the Oldsmobile Starfire, the Buick Skyhawk, and the Pontiac Sunbird. The Monza, based on concept cars designed by Pininfarina (1971/1972 Ferrari GTC+4), was designed to use a two rotor Wankel engine, but that engine never reached production. Instead, the Monza appeared with either the Vega's 4-cylinder or a 262ci small block V8 (350ci in California). Later engines include the Pontiac Iron Duke 2.5l inline four, a 3.2l V6, the Buick 3.8l V6, and the Chevy 305 V8. The Monza 2+2 hatch won Motor Trend's "Car of the Year" for 1975. All H-body production ended for the 1980 model year.

1.3 What are the special or rare factory H-bodies? 1.4 What are some aftermarket H-bodies? 1.5 What changes were made to the Chevrolet Vega for each model year?

NOTE: Questions 1.5-1.10 aren't meant to be complete lists of changes, but enough to help you spot different models. Complete details are in the book "Standard Catalog of American Cars" (see Sources).

1.6 What changes were made to the Pontiac Astre for each model year?

Most changes shadow the Vega, but here are some Astre-specific notes:

1.7 What changes were made to the Chevrolet Monza for each model year? 1.8 What changes were made to the Buick Skyhawk for each model year? 1.9 What changes were made to the Oldsmobile Starfire for each model year? 1.10 What changes were made to the Pontiac Sunbird for each model year? 1.11 How many of each model was produced?

Note: Around 4 million H-bodies were produced!

1.12 What's this I hear about a rotary engine in the Monza?

The Monza was intended to showcase GM's new 206ci 2-rotor Wankel engine. For example, the transmission tunnel was made larger to house the engine and its transmission. However, the engine never reached production. In 1976, the transmission tunnel was reduced in size to make more interior room.

Ken (mahoy78spyder) expands on this:
"A rotary in an Hbody is a 25-year-old idea, and to some extent, I'm sorry it didn't come to fruition. After researching the Wankel some time ago, I discovered some real advantages it had over the other engine choices offered in '73-'74. Here are some stats on the Wankel as compared to the V8 engine offered those same years:

Weight: only 255lbs, compared to 465lbs for the V8
Number of parts: 698 in Wankel; 1,103 in V8
Moving parts: 154 in Wankel; 388 in V8
Space requirement (cubic feet): 5.5 Wankel; 23 V8!
Net HP @ rpm: 150 @ 6,000 for Wankel; 130 @ 4,000 307 V8 (NOTE: 145hp was the highest factory Hbody HP
attained, in the '78 V8!)
Net torque @ rpm: 125 @ 4,000 for Wankel; 230 @ 2,400 307 V8
Hp per lb.: 0.59 for Wankel; 0.28 for V8
Cost per hp: $1.80-$2.20 Wankel; $3.00 for V8

With that said, the Wankel beat the V8 on size and weight, and it was also cheaper than the V8 to manufacturer and assemble. It also had 100,000-mile-plus seal life, 24,000 miles or more between oil changes, and only needed cheaper low-grade motor oil. It was also vibrationless when running, had very low noise levels, a wide speed range, and a high RPM range (up to 8,000 rpm!).

It was supposed to be introduced in October of '73 as an option in the '74 Vega. GM President, Ed Cole, was so confident of his rotary project that even though GM had plopped down $50,000,000 to obtain rights to the Wankel only 3 years earlier in November of 1970, he projected the October 1973 release. I'm not sure how long you've been an employee of GM, Paul, but you may know the name of Bob Templin. Bob was the chief executive officer in charge of all rotary-engine research at GM. Ed Cole was so involved in this project that he would leave from his office in Detroit twice a week for the Tech Center in Warren MI where Templin was. Once there it was said he would personally take charge of the program.

What killed the Wankel project? You're right in saying gas mileage, reliability, and meeting emissions did it in, however, that's only partly true.

The "emissions" problem was mentioned in a few articles I have on the engine, however, no specific cause was mentioned. Conversely, other data I have shows that GM planned on introducing the Electronic-ignition system in the 74 Rotary Vega so that they could have a cleaner burning system and also meet the 50,000 mile emissions compliance. The Wankel was indeed an internal combustion engine, and could be cleaned up just like a V8, but the Wankel was "easier" to purify.

As for "reliability", the Wankel had so far proven much more reliable than any of the 4,6, or 8cyl engines offered for that time period. GM had tested some rotary engines that lasted 400,000 to 500,000 miles with minimal wear. Also, the rotary had a much fewer number of parts, and even fewer "moving" parts, so the chances of something breaking were reduced.

The "mileage" problem was what really killed the Wankel in my humble opinion. The ill-timed Arab oil embargo is what I think took the wind out of the Wankel project. No one seemed to care anymore if the exhaust could be easily cleaned, but rather, they wanted to know how the car was for fuel economy. GM admitted fuel economy for the rotary was sub-standard and postponed production in favor of "further development". Another little-known fact that hurt the GM Wankel rotary was the EPA's misleading fuel economy data that crucified Mazda's rotary for that year. So a rotary engine in general was not looked upon favorably. When did GM finally call it quits? I don't know... maybe it was when Ed Cole retired as you mentioned Paul. What an expensive loss!

I don't have any photos of the Wankel installed in an Hbody, but I do however have a very interesting drawing (illustration) of the Wankel installed in the '74 Vega. Items of interest in the picture are a completely different grille; a lower, more sloped hood line; a center hood "hump" shaped like a "V" (straight lines, not curved like a normal Vega); and the "GM Rotary" badge on the rear quarter panel with also what appears to be the Wankel "crest" following the text. I would be extremely interested in seeing any pics of your friend's rotary Vega body. It was published that the GM Rotary Vega would have its own grille, and would be sold as a package with performance items, such as mag wheels, radial tires, and rally stripes. Also, you might want to check for these other unique identifying items on his Vega. The taller trans tunnel is an obvious difference, which you already mentioned, because of the Wankel's output shaft position. But it should also should have a softer suspension, which included redesigned front control arms to accept longer coil springs (same as CV and Monza maybe?); a torque-arm suspension (yep, no kidding); and for some reason, GM was to add plenty of sound isolation. Not sure why this was offered, except to maybe squelch the critics of the noisy 71-73 Vega, because the rotary was already extremely quiet.

1.13 What's up with the 1999 Chevrolet Monza and other reincarnations?

The 1999 Chevrolet Monza is sold in Mexico. It looks a lot like a Chevy (Geo) Metro sedan but it's not the same car. It has a 1.6l 4 cylinder TBI engine putting out 78 hp and 91 lb*ft of torque. Don't expect to see it in the U.S. See

The 1984 Opel (a GM make) Monza was only sold overseas and looks a lot like the 1984 Chevy Cavalier with a longer hood. However it has a 180hp 3.0l SOHC I6 engine, rear wheel drive, and independent rear suspension. It was built to compete with the BMW 5-series and mid-sized Mercedes. A 3.9l engine with 210hp and much more torque was optional in the Bitter SC, a tuner-version of the car by Erich Bitter.

In 1984, GM planned to introduce a new H-body in 1988. It was meant to be a FWD replacement for the B-body (Chevrolet Caprice and clones). It came out as the 1986 Buick LeSabre, 1986 Oldsmobile Delta 88, and 1987 Pontiac Bonneville. Note that it did not replace the B-body and has nothing to do with the original H-body.

And, finally, many older people who hear "Monza" think of the Corvair Monza, 1961-1969. The Monza Sport Coupe version of the Corvair was the best-selling model, so many people think of the Corvair when they hear "Monza."

So, there was no H-body like "ours" before or since the real thing!

1.14 How do I decode the VIN on my H-body?

For 1971 Cars:

  1 4 1 1 1 1 U 1 0 0 0 0 1
  | \_/ \_/ | | \_________/
  |  |   |  | |      |
  |  |   |  | |      +-------- Production Sequence
  |  |   |  | |
  |  |   |  | +--------------- Assembly Plant
  |  |   |  |                    U = Lordstown, Ohio, USA
  |  |   |  |                    2 = St Therese, Quebec, Canada
  |  |   |  | 
  |  |   |  +----------------- Model Year
  |  |   |                       1 = 1971
  |  |   |
  |  |   +-------------------- Body Style
  |  |                           11 = 2D Sedan
  |  |                           77 = 2D Coupe
  |  |                           15 = 2D Station Wagon
  |  |
  |  +------------------------ Carline Series
  |                              41 = Vega
  |                              ??? = Astre
  +--------------------------- Make
                                 1 = Chevrolet
                                 2 = Pontiac

For 1972-1980 Cars:

  1 M 2 7 V A 7 1 0 0 0 0 1
  | | \_/ | | | \_________/
  | |  |  | | |      |
  | |  |  | | |      +------ Production Sequence
  | |  |  | | |
  | |  |  | | +------------- Assembly Plant
  | |  |  | |                  N = Norwood, Ohio, USA 
  | |  |  | |                  U = Lordstown, Ohio, USA 
  | |  |  | |                  1 = Oshhawa, Ontario, Canada
  | |  |  | |                  2 = St Therese, Quebec, Canada
  | |  |  | |                  4 = Scarborough, Ontario, Canada
  | |  |  | |                  7 = Lordstown, Ohio, USA ???
  | |  |  | |
  | |  |  | +--------------- Model Year
  | |  |  |                    2 = 1972
  | |  |  |                    3 = 1973
  | |  |  |                    4 = 1974
  | |  |  |                    5 = 1975
  | |  |  |                    6 = 1976
  | |  |  |                    7 = 1977
  | |  |  |                    8 = 1978
  | |  |  |                    9 = 1979
  | |  |  |                    A = 1980
  | |  |  |
  | |  |  +----------------- Engine Code
  | |  |                       A = 140ci (2.3l) Chevrolet L4 1bbl (1971-1976)
  | |  |                       A = 231ci (3.8l) Buick V6 2bbl (1978-1980)
  | |  |                       B = 140ci (2.3l) Chevrolet L4 2bbl 
  | |  |                       C = 231ci (3.8l) Buick V6 2bbl (1975-1977)
  | |  |                       C = 196ci (3.2l) Buick V6 2bbl (1978-1980)
  | |  |                       F = 260ci (4.3l) Oldsmobile V8 2bbl
  | |  |                       G = 262ci (4.3l) Chevrolet V8 2bbl (1975-1976)
  | |  |                       G = 305ci (5.0l) Chevrolet V8 2bbl (1979)
  | |  |                       H = 350ci (5.7l) Chevrolet V8 2bbl (1975/California)
  | |  |                       I = 151ci (2.5l) Pontiac L4 2bbl 
  | |  |                       K = 350ci (5.7l) Chevrolet V8 4bbl
  | |  |                       O = 122ci (2.0l) Cosworth/Chevrolet L4 EFI 
  | |  |                       Q = 305ci (5.0l) Chevrolet V8 2bbl 
  | |  |                       U = 305ci (5.0l) Chevrolet V8 2bbl 
  | |  |                       V = 151ci (2.5l) Pontiac L4 2bbl 
  | |  |
  | |  +-------------------- Body Type
  | |                          11 = 2D Sedan/Notchback (Vega & Astre)
  | |                          77 = 2D Coupe/Hatchback (Vega & Astre)
  | |                          15 = 2D Station Wagon (Vega, Astre, & Monza)
  | |                          V5 = 2D Panel Wagon (Vega & Astre)
  | |                          07 = 2D 2+2 Hatchback (Monza etc.)
  | |                          27 = 2D Coupe/Notchback (Monza etc.)
  | |
  | +----------------------- Carline Series
  |                            C = Astre
  |                            D = Starfire SX
  |                            H = Vega Panel Wagon \
  |                            H = Astre            |---- Depends on make
  |                            H = Skyhawk          /
  |                            M = Monza 'S' Coupe or Hatch (round lights)
  |                            M = Sunbird 
  |                            R = Monza 2+2 Hatchback (quad lights)
  |                            T = Starfire 
  |                            V = Vega
  +------------------------- Make
                               1 = Chevrolet
                               2 = Pontiac
                               3 = Oldsmobile 
                               4 = Buick
1.15 How do I decode the trim tag on my H-body?

There are two styles based on the plant. However, Brian Melka (Bacchus_101573) notes that his '75 Canadian-built car has a tag like that shown below for the Ohio cars. So, check both...

1.16 What are some Vega/Astre option codes?

Many are the same as Monza codes (below), but these are probably unique to Vegas:

    BX3 Woodgrain
    D88 GT Stripes
    Y10 Door and Quarter Custom Buildup
    Z10 Spirit of America appearance package
    Z29 GT package ?

1.17 What are some Monza/Sunbird/Starfire/Skyhawk option codes?
    11L White paint (lower body)
    11U White paint (upper body)
    11V Black Vinyl interior
    15L Silver Metallic paint (lower body)
    15U Silver Metallic paint (upper body)
    16L Medium Gray Metallic paint (lower body)
    16U Medium Gray Metallic paint (upper body)
    19X Black carpet floor
    19V Black Vinyl interior
    21L Silver Blue Metallic paint (lower body)
    21U Silver Blue Metallic paint (upper body)
    24L Medium Blue Metallic paint (lower body)
    24U Medium Blue Metallic paint (upper body)
    26L Bright Blue Metallic paint (lower body)
    26U Bright Blue Metallic paint (upper body)
    44L Medium Green Metallic paint (lower body)
    44U Medium Green Metallic paint (upper body)
    49L Dark Green Metallic paint (lower body)
    49U Dark Green Metallic paint (upper body)
    50L Yellow paint (lower body)
    50U Yellow paint (upper body)
    51L Bright Yellow paint (lower body)
    51U Bright Yellow paint (upper body)
    59L Beige paint (lower body)
    59U Beige paint (upper body)
    61L Light Buckskin paint (lower body)
    61U Light Buckskin paint (upper body)
    62C Tan Cloth interior
    62N Tan Vinyl interior
    63L Tan paint (lower body)
    63U Tan paint (upper body)
    64W Buckskin Vinyl Interior ???
    65L Buckskin paint (lower body)
    65U Buckskin paint (upper body)
    69L Dark Brown Metallic paint (lower body)
    69U Dark Brown Metallic paint (upper body)
    71V Firethorn Vinyl interior
    72L Medium Red paint (lower body)
    72U Medium Red paint (upper body)
    74J Red Durham Cloth interior
    75L Light Red paint (lower body)
    75U Light Red paint (upper body)
    77L Carmine Metallic paint (lower body)
    77U Carmine Metallic paint (upper body)
    78L Medium Orange paint (lower body)
    78U Medium Orange paint (upper body)
    79L Dark Carmine paint (lower body)
    79U Dark Carmine paint (upper body)
    80L Orange Metallic paint (lower body)
    80U Orange Metallic paint (upper body)
    85L Gray paint (lower body)
    85U Gray paint (upper body)
    A01 Glass, Soft-Ray Tinted
    A44 Adj pass seat
    A51 St supp ctr bkt
    AB8 RR quarter window
    AD1 Tinted Glass
    AD3 Vista-Vent sunroof with removable top
    AK1 Deluxe Seat Belts
    AN6 Adjustable Seat Back

    B37 Mat, Front and Rear Floor
    B80 Roof Drip Molding 
    B84 Body Side Molding
    B85 Moulding, Belt Reveal
    B90 Side Window Reveal Molding
    B93 Moulding, Door Edge
    B94 Body Emblem
    B96 Wheel Opening Molding
    BS1 Acoustical Insulation Package
    BS2 Acoustical Insulation Package
    BY1 Body Emblem

    C06 Astroroof (Skyhawk only; like a fixed glass Targa top)
    C09 S/T Toof Padded
    C18 Black Windshield Wiper
    C60 Air Conditioning
    C80 Front Door Jam Switch
    C49 Rear Window Defroster
    CD4 Intermittent Wipers
    CF4 Sky Roof with sliding glass panel

    D31 Mirror, Inside Day/Night Rear View
    D35 Sport Mirrors
    D55 Sport Console
    D80 Front and rear spoilers, body color
    D92 f dh tp decor
    E1Y Adaptor
    E6F Sleeve

    F41 Heavy duty suspension
    F59 Front stabilizer bar, 1.25" diameter

    G80 Positraction rear axle
    GH2 Axle, 2.29 Ratio
    GM8 Axle, 2.56 Ratio
    GU2 Axle, 2.73 Ratio
    GU4 Axle, 3.08 Ratio
    GW9 Axle, 2.93 Ratio
    GX9 Axle, 2.92 Ratio
    J50 Power Brakes
    JL2 Power Brakes

    K19 Air Injection Reactor
    K81 Generator, 63 Amp
    L11 2.3l 4-cyl engine, 2 BBL
    L65 350ci (5.7l) V8 engine 
    LC9 3.2l V6 engine
    LD5 3.8l evenfire V6 engine
    LD7 3.8l oddfire V6 engine
    LG3 305ci (5.0l) V8 engine
    LX8 2.5l Iron Duke L4 engine
    LV1 262ci (4.3l) V8 engine
    M16 TH200 automatic transmission
    M20 4 speed manual transmission
    M29 TH200 automatic transmission
    M38 THM 350 automatic transmission
    M40 THM 350 automatic transmission
    M75 Borg-Warner T-50 5-speed manual transmission

    N31 Sport steering wheel
    N33 Tilt steering wheel
    N41 Power Steering
    N65 Wheel, Space Saver Spare
    N66 Wheel, rally (Starfire GT only - chrome) 
    N73 Wheel, cast aluminum (Sunbird, Skyhawk)
    N77 Wheel, forged aluminum (Monza, Skyhawk)
    N98 Rally II wheels with trim rings
    NB2 California Emissions Systems
    NK3 Sport steering wheel

    P06 Wheel Trim Ring
    PA3 Cover, Deluxe Wheel Trim

    QAG A78 whitewall tires
    QKX BR70-13" blackwall radials
    QRA Wide oval radial tires with raised white letters

    R07 Sport hatchback

    T63 Buzzer, Headlamp On

    U14 Tachometer and gauge package
    U26 Lamp, Engine Compartment
    U35 Clock, Electric (non-digital - in guage cluster)
    U58 Radio, AM/FM Stereo
    U63 AM Radio
    U69 Radio, AM/FM
    U76 Antenna, Windshield
    U80 Speaker, Rear Seat
    UA1 Heavy Duty Battery
    UE8 Clock, Electric Digital (above glove box)
    UM1 Radio, AM w/Stereo Tape
    UM2 Radio, AM/FM Stereo w/Tape

    V01 HD Radiator
    V19 Calif. Emissions Compliance
    V30 Bumper guards
    V55 Rooftop Luggage Carrier
    VE5 Bumper pad
    VK3 Front license plate
    VK5 Vert-a-pact

    W66 Sunbird Formula package
    W84 Additional ga ???
    WJ3 Leather interior, Starfire 

    Y02 Front Custom Seat
    Y03 Rear Custom Seat
    Y64 Starfire GT option package (LD5, N66, QRA, U14, U35)
    Y65 Starfire Firenza option package (D35, QKX)
    Y92 Lamp Group
    YA7 Calif. Asm. Emissions
    YC6 Estate Wagon
    YF5 Calif. Emissions Certification
    YJ8 Wheels, Cast Aluminum (Sunbird)
    YR2 Deluxe Front Seat
    YS1 Custom Rear Seat

    Z01 Monza Spyder equipment package (D55, F41, N31)
    Z02 Monza Spyder appearance package (D35, D80, N98)
    Z05 Leather interior, Monza 
    Z29 Monza Spyder option package (D35, D80, F41, F59, N98)
    Z49 Canadian preparation
    Z60 Sport Equipment option
    Z87 Facia, flexible front end (quad headlamp)
    Z87 Sport Cabriolet option ???
    ZJ9 Lighting Group, Auxiliary
    ZM5 Exterior Decor
    ZX1 Monza Mirage package (IMSA AAGT-like body panels)
1.18 What's a restoration pack?

It's a stack of information GM may send you about your car. Call GM at (800) 222-1020 and give them your make and model (some people were asked for a VIN).

[Author's note: I called once and got someone who didn't know what I was talking about and said to call Chevrolet's restoration department at (517) 485-6229. I called back later and got someone who knew what I was talking about.]

About two weeks later you should get two booklets: One is a generic list of car clubs, parts suppliers, etc., for all Chevrolets. The second is specific to your make and model and gives information about the body, options, etc. It was sent at no charge.

Some alternate info from Denis (calgary_spyder): If you're in Canada, try (888) 467-6853.

Some of the information included: when and where you car was built, where it was sold, production numbers, decoding of information on the build sheet, a 16-page booklet on the car for that year, and how to paint the car. The package came from GM but was billed by Vintage Vehicle Services of Oshawa, Ontario. This may not be the "official restoration pack."

1.19 Where can I find magazine articles about the H-bodies?

Most of this information was contributed by Al Howe (alfred_howe).

  All Chevy:
    01/92 ???
    04/92 ???
    10/92 ???
    12/92 ???

  Automotive News:
    03/02/81 "Vega, Pinto called 'damn jokes' (no answer to Japanese imports)" 
    08/74 ???

  Car Craft:
    01/71 Dick Harrel V8 Vega
    04/72 Grumpy's Pro Stock Vega beats Hemi
    11/72 Blown 72 Panel Wagon
    06/73 Scuncio Vega (from Scuncio Chevrolet in Rhode Island)
    01/74 Road test of 454 V8 4-speed Motion Performance Vega, IECO 190 HP 4 cylinder vega
    02/74 Radici & Wise Vega Funny Car story. Story about David Cowan and his Pro Stock vega
    03/74 Marshall Gardner's Motion 350 Vega (p.100)
    04/74 Cosworth Vega road test, U.S.A.F. sponsored Vega Funny Car
    06/74 74 Vega GT ad. Vega Funny car photo shoot. Story about 
          Steve Norris and his 74 V8 Vega.
    09/74 "Chevy V8 Monza" (Factory info and Pro Stock buildup) pg. 44 
    03/75 Mini Car shoppers guide including all H-Bodies, Bud Shelton and 
          his street/strip Astre, Starfire ad
    06/75 Jerry Gwynn's Monza Funny Car, Motion ad
    08/75 Gary Wilson and his Pro Street Vega, Ted Dzus and his 71 Street/Strip Vega Panel Wagon
    12/75 ???
    02/76 Gary Bryson, build up of Buick Skyhawk V6
    03/76 Bill Shanks Vega panel funny car, Don Prudhomme's Monza Funny Car
    05/76 Starfire ad, Motion ad, Vega GT ad, Mark & Bill Yuill and their Pro Stock Monza
    07/76 Vega ad
    10/76 Monza Spyder and Pontiac Sunburd road test, H-Bodies at drag strip
    11/76 Monza Spyder ad, Bob Mann's 402 V8 Vega
    04/77 Bill Meyer and his Vega funny car, Sunbird ad, Dick Callagy
          and his Monza funny car, John Lingenfelter and his Pro Stock Monza
    05/77 Pro Stock Monza crash photos
    07/77 Albert Clark and his Pro Stock Monza, several Pro Stock H-bodies
    08/77 V8 Monza road test, Warren Johnson and his big block pro stock Vega 
          match race car, John carpenters V8 vega gt street car, 
          Green elephant funny car vega story 
    09/77 Hooker V8 Vega build up
    07/78 Monza Spyder V8 road test; Ray Lockes and Rick Delis
          and their Pro Stock V8 Monzas
    12/78 "Vega Invasion" Sam Gianino's Pro Stock Monza, Starfire Ad,
          Grumpy Jenkins, Jack Trost's modified production Vega, 
          Yenko turbo Vega, seven street Vegas.
    08/79 Budget Vega build up
    03/80 Don Hardy V8 Vega build up part one
    07/80 Story about Ernie Lamoureuz and his black v8 Vega.
    02/82 77 big block V8 Vega street driven 9.32 at 152 mph.
          How to on opening up the wheel wells on a Vega for bigger tires.
    07/82 "Image Maker" Leatherwork's '75 Pro Street Monza pg. 72
    12/82 Ron Didonato and his 72 V8 Vega. IMSA inspired V8 Monza by Bob Boen.
    1982 Street Freaks special edition; 2 Vegas + rear-engined big block Vega
    08/83 How to build a V6 Vega
    09/84 Don Hardy 12-bolt on Vega, curing wheel hop
    03/85 "Deliverance" Bobby Bowman's '75 Pro Street Monza pg. 52
    08/86 Photo gallery blurb about Greg Tolman's 72 Vega
    05/98 Engine swaps (general, not specific to H-body)
    09/99 Photo gallery blurb about 454 Vega "EEK ARAT"
    10/99 1975 Monza 262 is one of the 10 worst V8s
    01/00 Photo gallery blurb on an '71 Vega
    02/00 H Body in Readers' Rides section
    05/00 Monzabudd's and Bob Gumm's websites in Readers section
    06/00 Kyle Howe's 73 Vega pg. 13
  Car and Driver: 
    09/70 Vega and Pinto road test
    01/71 Small car comparison
    10/72 72 Astre in a Quaker State ad
    09/74 ???
    02/75 ???
    03/75 ???
    09/76 Yellow Spyder
    11/77 ???
    02/78 ???
    04/78 ???
    07/78 ???

    01/75 ???
    12/75 First test of Vega/Monza 5-speed OD transmission
    07/76 ???
    05/77 Andy White's Monza Pro Stock crash
    07/77 Monza Spyder vs. Mustang II
    08/78 ???
    1984 Chevy Yearbook: Mike Reidys and his 73 V8 Vega

  Chevy High Performance:
    05/99 Useful transmission swap info
    03/01 Club member Larry (vega_man_larry) gets into article "Forgotten Vegas"

  Chevy Power:
    11/74 1975 Monza introduction
  Chevroland Nues:
    10/77 Experimental Aluminum 350 V8 Monza with Mirage Panels
  Collectable Automobile:
    02/90 "Likeable Look-Alikes," "Cheap Wheels"
    04/00 Large Vega article

  Consumer Guide Magazine:
    01/80 "General Motors Corporation" Monza and clones evaluation/description
    03/80 "Chevrolet Monza" evaluation (p.30)
    03/80 "Oldsmobile Starfire" evaluation (p.174)
    04/80 "New cars" Monza and clones
    05/80 "Buick Skyhawk: it files into the sunset next year" (p.196)
    05/80 "Chevrolet Monza: space takes a back seat to styling" (p.202)
    05/80 "Oldsmobile Starfire: mostly unchanged, and that's the trouble" (p.174)
    05/80 "Pontiac Sunbird: on the way out--and none too soon" (p.161)
    07/80 "Used cars: Rating the best 100" Monza 
    08/80 "Oldsmobile" comparison p.53
    07/81 "Used car rating the price guide, 1971-1981" (p.64)
    05/83 "Used cars: rating guide" 
  Consumer Reports:
    Annual Auto issue (77, 78, or 79 ???): Application of decals
      to H-bodies during manufacturing
    04/80 "Which cars are safest?" Monza (p.221)
    04/82 "Good bets in used cars (1976-80 models)" Vega (p.208)
    04/83 "Good bets in used cars (1977-82 models)" Monza (p.209)

  Custom Rodder:
    05/82 Monza Mirage build up

  Consumers Digest:
    01/80 "American Automobiles" Monza and clones

  Drag Racing USA:
    06/71 First look at a Vega funny car
  Grassroots Motorsports:
    05/97 "Monzter - Ken Mersereau's ITA Chevy Monza"

  High Performance Cars
    08/72 Turbo 4-cyl Vega show car, story on Grumpy Jenkins
    11/72 Don Hardy's first V8 Vega, how to build a Vega funny car
          fiberglass body, several Vega funny cars, Briggs Chevrolet's
          (Amboy NJ) Vega 4-cyl project
    12/72 Hiner/Miller Pro Stock Vega
    01/73 Motion Performance 350 V8 Vega
    05/73 Atco Dragway Nationals with Jungle Jim and several other Vegas,
          Wonder Bread-sponsored Vega wagon funny car
    08/73 Grumpy Jenkins and his shop in PA
    01/74 Motion Performance 454 V8 Vega
    03/74 Briggs' finished project car (see 11/72) Vega SS
    10/74 Road tests of 1975 Monza 2+2, Olds Starfire, Buick Skyhawk,
          1974 summer nationals with several Vegas

  Hot Cars:
    10/73 Story about Hory's Chevrolet and their v8 vega wagon.
          AD: Scuncio Chevrolet V8 vega conversion cars--starting price $3995.00

  Hot Rod:
    11/70 Vega road test, muscle parts review
    03/71 Vega and Pinto Funny Car review
    07/72 GM prototype all-aluminum 302 V8 in Vega road test, buyers guide
    10/73 Grumpy Jenkins Vega at NHRA Nationals
    04/??? Funny car pictorial, first look at 16 valve Cosworth head
    06/76 "Monza Fever"--how the IMSA body panels are added to a Monza
    12/76 Monza Mirage "The Great Escape" pg. 44
    07/79 ???
    03/80 "Parts Car" Camaro engine in Vega. (p.119)
    05/80 "The Ultimate Street Machine" V8 Vega: Don Hardy 74 Vega, 
          V8 Vega Swap buyers guide (p.28, 47)
    08/80 "Go four it." Modified Vega (p.52)
    09/80 "Backfire!" Chevrolet Vega (p.64)
    ???/81 Story about Phil Ferrari and his bright yellow V8 Vega.
    02/81 "Randy's Dandy" Monza (p.81)
    08/81 "Volksvega" VW engine in a Vega body (p.88)
    09/81 "Chevys!" (p.51)
    02/82 "Outlaw Vega: One of the most wanted Chevys in the West" (p.60)
    02/83 "Northern Light" (p.32) Chris Fletcher's yellow Big-Block Vega
    05/83 "Road Warriors" (p.69)
    07/83 "Subtle Shuttle" 1976 Monza (p.62)
    05/85 Buick 215 V8 into Vega
    02/87 "Nitrous Bandit" 1977 Olds Starfire (p.110)
    08/87 "This Pro Style '78 is One Mighty Monza" (p.97)
    08/87 "Slyhawk: a 12-second Buick-powered Skyhawk" (p.73)
    01/88 Chevrolet prototype Z-29 V8 Vega (picture and subprint) pg. 52,
          Monza Mirage (pic and subprint) pg. 55, Gary Kimball's Pro Stock 
          NHRA Vega pg. 51
    04/88 "Scared Straight" Vega hot rod (p.54)
    11/99 "Popular Swapular," little info about H-bodies
    01/00 Vega GT Wagon powered by a supercharged Buick 215 (4 pages)
    ????? Hot Rod special edition/Chevrolet No 4: Complete story The Ultimate Street 
          Machine Don Hardy V8 Vega. Story about Larry Bradshaw and his Super Pro 71 
          Vega Panel van 454 V8 9.70 at over 140 MPH in the Quarter.
          Story on where to locate all V8 vega vendors.Story on how to build a 190HP 
          4 cylinder vega, built by IECO. Story about Wayne Overbeck and his rear 
          engine V8 vega.
  Motor Trend:
    08/70 Road test of Vega Sedan, Wagon, and GT Coupe, interview with
          John Delorean
    01/71 Road test of Vega and Pinto
    02/71 Car of the Year (Vega) road test, comparison, engineering study
    12/74 1975 Vega ad
    03/75 ???
    06/75 California 350 Monza
    10/75 ???
    09/76 Monza Spyder Coupe
    12/76 "Monza Mirage"?
    01/77 Monza Super Spyder II pg.64, Racemark Monza (Road Racing Monza 
          designed by Mark Donohue & Bob Baily) pg. 73
    08/79 '79 Monza Spyder V6 review  pg. 74 
    07/80 "Econo coupes under $4500" Monza (p.65)
    11/84 "Bitter perspectives" foreign-market Opel Monza (p.46)
    09/99 "Cars of the Year (cars of the past)" Brief writeup about
          1971 COTY Vega--doesn't mention 1975 COTY Monza (p.79)

  Popular Hot Rodding:
    02/73 Vega funny car review
    04/73 Jungle Jim Pro Stock 72 Vega Wagon
    04/74 Joel Rosen's 1974 Motion Station Wagon Super Vega (w/Turbo),
          Jim Nichol's Speed Equipment World Revell Vega, Warren Johnson's Big
          Block 1973 vega hatchback Pro Stock car. 
    ??/74 Motion performance ads; Grumpy's Toy (Vega) center pull-out
    02/77 ???
    01/78 Monza Project Car part 1/4
    02/78 Monza Project Car part 2/4
    03/78 Axle and gear change for Vega and Monza, V8 Monza in Centerline ad,
          Monza Project Car part 3/4
    04/78 Send drag Vega funny cars, Monza Project Car part 4/4
    06/78 Bryan Thatcher and his 77 Vega Wagon
    08/78 Pro gas drag racing H-Body style, Randy Diephuis and his Pontiac V8 powered 
          Astre drag car
    10/78 Bob Stanek and his Vega drag car
    12/78 Bob Zooks and his C-Gas Monza Drag Car
    01/79 How to Install a Don Hardy 12-bolt into an H-Body, Motion ad
    02/79 402 BB in a street/strip Vega, Skyhawk drag race car
    03/79 Complete install of Don Hardy V8 kit, Hooker Headers V6 Vega 
          with body kit
    04/79 Reggie Jackson (of baseball fame) and his BBVega, Ronnie Reed and 
          his Pro Gas Vega, Al Garcia nad his Vega drag car, Doug Nash 5 speed 
          in a V8 Monza
    05/79 Hooker-built V6 Vega story. Oakland roadster show with Randy Brockman 
          and his D/gas Vega on the show floor. Ed Figgins and his radical custom 
          Vega wagon. How to on tuning a tunnel ram with an automatic tranny 74 Vega.
    07/79 Greg Cragg and his 71 Vega show and drag car
    08/79 How to install a turbo charger in a stock 4 cylinder 72 vega, Bernie Agaman's 
          Pro Stock Monza
    10/80 Story about Robert Myers and his vega drag racing wagon.
          Motion Performance ad: 74 small block blown wagon
    02/81 ???
    12/84 Story about Mark Runges and his blown small block Vega.
    01/85 Curtis Hull's 71 Pro Street V8 Vega
    06/88 Story about Mike Herbert's 74 Vega V8.
    10/89 Pro Street Spyder "Monza Mania"
    10/99 "Tech Letters" contains a basic rundown of how to put a V8 into a Vega
    12/99 Nice picture of Scott Shafiroff's 74 Pro-Stock Vega at 
          1974 Winternationals (2nd to last page)
    09/00 Hometown Hot Rodding: 1971 Vega V8 belonging to Mike Smith in SC
  Popular Mechanics:
    09/70 Test of 3 pre-production Vegas (GT, sedan, wagon), info on 
          Lordstown plant and its robotics.
    09/79 Pontiac Sunbird V8 Owners Report
  Popular Science:
    ??/77 Mini Muscle Cars Test (Monza Spyder V8, Cobra II V8, AMX Hornet V8,
          Plymouth Volare Road Runner V8)
  Road & Track:
    09/74 ???
    01/75 ???
    06/75 ???
    08/76 ???
    04/94 "Us vs. Them," B. Levy.
  Road Test:
    11/74 Monza vs. Mustang II
    04/75 Pontiac Astre
    01/77 Monza Mirage and Mustang II 
    04/77 Monza Spyder Road Test (4 pages)

  Rod Action:
    Summer 1976 Special issue (street machines) David Schopp and his 
                clean V8 Vega panel wagon.

  Speed and Supercar Magazine:
    08/73 Motion Super Vega (4 pages, 12 photos)	  

  Street Freaks:
    Summer 82 Dave Russell and his V8 Vega story

  Street Machine:
    11/75 Article on The Vegabonds (the very first H Body car club)in California
    03/76 Cosworth Vega hop-up parts wiht part numbers
    05/77 Story about Dave Volk and his V8 Vega
    Summer 78 How to build a 9-second street/strip Vega with a big block,
              how to clean up looks of IMSA body panels for Monza

  Street Racer:
    03/78 How to build a big block Vega.
    11/78 Story about how to build a big block Vega the right way.
          Story about Chuck Reeves and his 1972 Vega wagon that he transformed 
          into a V8 powered Vega pickup(looks like a mini El Camino).

  Super Chevy: 
    04/74 Project Vega build-up
    06/74 More project Vegas
    08/74 Emissions-legal hop-ups
    10/74 How to replace air cleaner with replaceable paper element
    12/74 1975 Monza road test
    02/75 Factory-built V8 Vega road test
    04/75 Interview with Bill "Grumpy" Jenkins
    10/75 V8 Monza road test
    12/75 Motion ads
    04/77 ???
    08/77 ???
    10/78 ???
    12/78 ???
    02/79 ???
    10/98 Chris Wheaton's '75 Cosworth, page 149
    01/99 Motion Vega; "Bow Tie Keepers" section shows Alfred and Kyle Howe's 
          three cars
    04/99 Motion Performance cars, includes 350 LT1 Vega
    12/99 "Cosworths A Plenty" (brief writeup) in Bow-Tie Briefs section   
          "Top 10 Chevys of All Time" mentions Cosworth Vega   
    01/00 seven Vegas at Super Chevy Show (p.115)
    11/00 History of Chevy part 11, story of Grumpy Jenkins and his Vega.
          V8 Vega on p.73. Page 10 Bowtie Keeper section they have a photo and 
          story about Ernie and Dianna Nunes V8 Vega.

  Super Stock:
    07/73 Small car comparison (9 cars), Vega funny car on fire on track
    03/74 Speed Specialties of Woodbridge Va builds a 10 sec 130 
          mph street driveable V8 Vega. NHRA Supernationals Ontario Motor Speedway. 
          Grumpy's Toy was runner up to a Mopar. Scott Shafiroff and his Pro stock 
          Vega. Gainsville Nationals Wonder Wagon Vega funny car driven by Raymond 
          Beadle won.

  Super Street Cars:
    01/81 Marshall Gardner and his V8 Vega

1.20 What are some H-body books? 1.21 What are some H-body models?
    2214    Monza SS (IMSA) 
    T488    Monza 2+2 

    ???     Promotional Monza hatchbacks 76-79

  Johnny Lightning:
    ???	    1:25 scale Jungle Jim Vega die-cast 
    ???     1:25 scale Barry Setzer Vega
    ???     1:64 scale 1977 Jungle Jim Monza funny car

    ???     1974 Vega Bomb (if light green instead of orange, worth $800-$2000!)
    7571    Vega Funny Car 1974

    1-0711  Long Shot Monza 
    1-0722  Street Spyder IMSA 
    1-0757  Monza Pro Street IMSA 
    1-0810  Twister Vega 
    1-7616  1976 3-in-1 Monza
    1-7716  1977 Monza 2+2
    1-7827  1978 Chevy Sportback (Vega coupe w/Monza front end)
    ???     1971 Vega Mild & Wild 
    ???     1972 Chevy Vega
    ???     1974 Chevy Vega
    ???     1975 Monza 
    PR212   1978 Monza (promotional) 1/25
    H-1346  Super Spyder Chevy Monza 
    H-1469  Jungle Jim Monza Funny Car 
    7356    Jungle Jim Vega 
    ????    Don Prudhomme Army Monza Funny Car
1.22 What movies have H-bodies in them?

For more info, look them up on the Internet Movie Databse (

1.23 What TV shows have H-bodies in them? 1.24 How fast are stock H-bodies?

Top speed: 119mph, V8 Monza Spyder

1.25 Where can I buy H-body stuff? 1.26 Are there 1974 or 1981 Monzas?

In short, no.

Kevin (SoloII_74) elaborates:
"You can have a '74 production date on a '75 vehicle. My '69 GP was built in August of 1968. I have seen several cars mis-titled as the previous years model, when they were not from that previous year. If a production date is after July (from late July to late November), it will be the next years model.

In some cases significant model changes occurred half way through the model year. The '70 1/2 F bodies are an excellent example of this. These cars were produced for only half of the model year, from December 1969 to June 1970. There were minor changes which occurred in 1971, but overall the '71's were very similar to the '70 1/2's, but very different from the '69 model year cars.

So if '74 Monzas exist, they were manufactured during the '75 model production year (from late July 1974 to June of '75), and mis-titled as a '74 by the dealer. They would STILL be a '75 model year car. The same would be true for any so called '81 H bodies. They were '80 production cars not titled by the dealer until 1981, and given an incorrect model year on the title. The only way to correctly tell the model year is with the production sticker on the door (if it has not been changed), or the vin. The title is not always an accurate way to determine the year of the car. Title clerks and dealerships frequently make mistakes (big revelation there! :) ), but the factory documentation on the vehicle is the only really reliable source for model year info. My '74 was manufactured in 5/74, so it is without a doubt a '74 model year car.

Some factory oddities were produced during the '50's and '60's, and something like an air conditioned ZL1 Corvette may have been produced, or a 421 HO tri-power Pontiac Star Chief (That engine was not supposed to be available in that base level car), but the production monitoring in the factories at that time was quite limited.

By the '70's factory oddities were not happening by accident any more. Computers generated the build sheets, and the cars were built following those build sheets. They were either ordered as an oddity, or were built according to the manufacturing plan that way. Any Olds Starfires with the 260 V8 were either an engine swap, or by using factory order codes, ordered with that engine. If that engine were not available as an option, none would even exist in that manufacturing facility to allow the production of that car (with that engine). As long as the factory could create a certain combination, AND it was available in the dealers' available option listing (which indicates availability, from the logistics, accounting and engineering standpoints), they could build that car; otherwise, you would not end up with combinations that were not available to be produced in that production facility. Different noses on cars, which would not normally have that nose, would not be out of the question, since those noses would already be available in the production facility. The same would be true for interior and trim options."

1.27 How can I insure my restored H-Body?

Clyde (CJBIAGI) suggests:
"It is important to have proper insurance on these old cars. Especially if it is in the type of condition that you are talking about. Book value is going to be of very little help in a situation like this. It's also going to be tough to have the car "appraised" after an accident. It is also amazing to me that even people who like these cars never seem to think that they are worth much money. If we don't think they are worth much, how are we going to convince others that they are worth decent money? I have my 75 monza insured for $10,000 (State Farm) and I am seriously considering having it profesionally appraised. When I purchased the antique/collector insurance I could have it insured for this amount without having it appraised but I am beginning to think that I low-balled it when I talk to others and find out how much their cars are insured for. Granted, this is for a show-worthy modified car but think about how many "drivers" are out there insured for more than $10,000. You don't get much of a used car for $10,000 any more."

Bill (bhrinc) says:
"What you need to MAKE SURE your car is covered is a competent agent to sell you what is called in the business as stated amount give a value that can be substantiated by receipts or an appraisal and that is how much your policy pays in a loss. My 77, which isnt even done, is covered for 3500, even if it is my fault. I pay 135 a half... great value if you ever need it... as good as full coverage. I even have roadside service and towing for that low price. It is through American Family by the way. So everybody, please insure your h-body so no one loses out... with regular insurance your gonna be lucky to get 500 bucks out of most h-bodies in an accident."

Ken (mahoy78spyder) adds:
"I knew someone who had a completely original, low mile 71 Vega that was totaled and I spent lots of time researching and providing the owner with my proof that these cars are worth more than the $300 the insurance wanted to pay this person! Unfortunately it didn't work. Clyde has the best answer of all.... get it insured for the value you think it's worth and/or the value you have in it, taking into account any modifications. I also like the idea of getting a professional appraisor to come and document it. That's the only way we're going to get the insurance companies to take us seriously."

Dave (vegatex) had this experience:
"I was hit in my recently-restored '76 Vega wagon. I showed the adjuster every receipt I had from everything I had purchased in the past year -- paint shop, weatherstripping, parts and labor, etc. I showed him before and after pictures. I showed him all the old parts I has removed and still had-- all to substantiate the restoration. Next, I got multiple sources for value--, and an Oct, 2000 Old Cars Pricing Guide (any decent book store will have one in the periodical section.) I faxed these to the claim agent at the insurance company. The NADA site has three levels of vehicle quality and the Old Cars Guide uses a typical 5-1 scale. Five is a dog, One is a near-perfect show car that isn't driven. There are definitions in the front to describe specific things to look for to rate your car. In my case, I knew my car was better than a 3, but not quite a 2, so I took the average value between the two- it worked out to $2800.00 on the Old Cars scale, and that was also the average of the middle and top value on the site. They only wanted to total the car at 1900.00 until I sent them this stuff, then they agreed to value the car at $2800.00. I settled with them for $2226.00 cash and I keep the car and original title-- $2800 plus TTL, minus 200.00 deductible, minus $560.00 salvage value (I thought that was too high, but decided to quit while I was ahead!). I found good junkyard parts to fix the car for $242.00 and the frame shop is straightening it and fixing dings in the body panels for $1200.00. Bottom line-- NEGOTIATE!! Don't let them tell you what your vehicle is worth if you can substantiate its quality and find numbers to back you up!"

Ken (kckken) writes:
"I can relate to your dilemma -- I went through the same things when my 1980 Starfire GT was hit by some little puke who decided red lights didn't apply to him. Oddly enough, the other 1980 Starfire I now own _is_ red:-) But anyway, here's what I did to get my settlement ($3300.00 and keep the car):

1) Get any info you can about the car. The H-Body FAQ is extremely valuable when it comes to production numbers, and you'll find the Starfires are much rarer than a comparable Monza. I found out that there were more Monzas made in 1980 than the total 1975 - 1980 Starfire production run!

2) Look for _any_ H-Bodies for sale. Get as many as you can, in as close to the same condition as your car was or better. If you can find Starfires, even better. I believe that if I could have found Wade's Starfire (the one I now own) before I settled for the car I could have had them buy it and ship it to me. But if I would have done that I would have missed the fun of traveling back to South Carolina, meeting Wade and his family, picking up the car, traveling back up to Charlotte and seeing all we saw there, then driving back to Kansas.

3) Compose a letter that includes the exhibits listed above. In this you'll want to show what comparable H-Bodies are going for and just how much rarer your car is, er, was. Insist that you want to be restored to the place you were (with another Starfire if possible) prior to the accident. After all, isn't that what we carry insurance for? Besides, it was _his_ fault, not yours.

Farmers Insurance actually told me when they asked about a settlement they "didn't know what the car was worth", and I reiterated this to them in the letter as well, thus my belief that I could have had them ship Wade's car to me.

My car is repairable, and will be eventually. If you have the room and time to deal with it you still might be able to salvage some parts off of it to make it worth your time to keep it and get a settlement like I did. Here's a page that I made dedicated to my Starfires:"

1.28 What Monzas came with white letter tires?

Ken (mahoy78spyder) explains:
... On that 79 "Take It To The Limit" Monza Spyder ad, you can clearly see that the tires say "Firestone - Steel Belted Radial". You can also see these same white letter tires used in another ad, the 1980 "The Anatomy of a Spyder" Monza Spyder ad. Here's the rundown on what I've seen in the "majority" of Monza publications (whether it be dealer brochures, magazine ads, or articles)

1975 - dealer brochures (two different ones offered that year) did not show any white letter tires. This was a wierd year for the white letter tire. Looking back through probably 30-40 magazine articles I found only a handful of examples of 1975 Hbodies with white-letter tires. Road & Track featured a "General Steel Radial", another article featured a "Goodyear", while the June '76 issue of Hot Rod clearly shows a California 350 Monza with "Firestone Steel Belted Radial" tires. *shrug* That blew my theory that those Firestone's didn't appear on the Hbody until '77.

1976 - Another iffy year. A '76 Monza 2+2 "A small car and then some" ad I have shows a "General" tire on the action shot of the Monza that's kicking up dust, but on the same ad, there is a closeup of a Monza tire w/ aluminum wheel that clearly shows a "Goodyear Belted Radial" (different tires on the same ad) In a 1976 "Street Machine" magazine article it featured a '76 Skyhawk with "Uniroyal Steel Belted Radial" tires. The Motor Trend Sep '76 article on the notchback Spyder shows the "Firestone Steel Belted 500." And finally, the dealer brochure for this year did not even show a white letter tire. What a weird year for tire selection.

1977 - This year things started to standardize for the Firestone tire. In the dealer brochure it shows a car fitted with the "Firestone Steel Radial 500" Other magazine articles also show the same tire. Also this is evidenced by Bob's (blbeck's) pristine original 77 Spyder.

1978 - Same for this year - the dealer brochure shows the "Firestone Steel Radial 500" (to include the 2-page spread of the red '78 Spyder - yea!) and other articles from 78 too, such as the 1978 Car Craft "The Meeting of the Monzas" article.

1979 - This year we're on to the "Firestone Steel Belted Radial" white letter tires. (dropping the 500's) But oddly enough, in the dealer brochure the black Spyder has purposely "disguised" white letter text on it. (this is probably the one you were talking about Marco)

1980 - "Firestone Steel Belted Radial" tires in every ad and even on the cover car (white Monza Spyder) of the 1980 dealer brochure.

To be honest, it really depended on the availability of the tire when the car was produced. If you read the fine print of the dealer brochures, it states: "...white-lettered tires which are supplied by various manufacturers."

Another interesting note about the reputation of those Firestone tires in those days. The Sep '76 issue of Car and Driver tested the best 13" tires they could find using a 76 Olds Starfire (yea!). Of the eight different brand tires tested, Firestone was not one of them. C&D said, "We did not waste time on pretenders. Only a very small group of tires made the cut. We chose those that had reasonable credentials." Guess the Firestone was a "cost-effective" tire for GM to use but not the most favored one in the auto world. Oh well.

1.29 What is the "Vert-a-pact" option (VK5)?

In short, it added parts to the cars so they could be shipped, by rail, packed vertically, to save space.

Ken (mahoy78spyder) researched this too: " that you know what "Vert-a-pac" is, I'll bet you're wondering why you would have an RPO for that if it only meant that it would be shipped differently. Well, the vert-a-pac rail cars required that the cars be able to be driven on and driven off with no mechanical work needed. This drive-on/drive-off requirement was difficult to meet because all liquids had to be aboard, so the VK5 RPO was created. Modifications included:

- a baffle in the oil pan to prevent flooding the forward cylinders with oil. - off-center filler caps on the battery. - a plug in the fuel-tank vent line. - an overflow hose from the float bowl to the charcoal canister. - tilting the windshield-washer bottle 45 degrees. - plastic spacers between the splash pans and the engine to reinforce the motor mounts.

Also, since you're from Oregon, your VK5 RPO would make sense as this option was only for "west coast-bound" cars in an effort to reduce shipping costs. A conventional rack rail car would hold only 18 cars (in the open), but a Vert-a-pac would hold 30 (under roof)."

H-Body FAQ Section 2

2 Stock Engines

2.1 What are some basic specifications for the stock H-body engines? 2.2 What sort of emissions controls were used on the H-bodies?

This list gives a basic idea of what came out each year. Unfortunately the H-bodies lived in a time when GM was trying to get emissions controls right, and created messy vacuum-line ridden contraptions to stick into its 1975-up cars. What's on your car may differ since some engines used different controls and California had its own set of controls.

The Cosworth Vega is a slightly special case. Its emissions sticker says "EFI-PAIR-OC EXHAUST" and also mentions a Vapor Canister.

Clyde (CJBIAGI) explains:
"I believe the first part is "electronic fuel injection," PAIR means pulse air injection (air pump going to the exhaust manifold), and OC Exhaust is the catalytic converter [OC = oxidizing converter; modern cars use TWC (three-way convertors)]. The vapor canister is just what it says, the vapor recovery system that connects to the fuel tank to capture any fumes. Usually this connects to the carb, don't know where it connects on a Cosworth though."

About the charcoal canister, Nick (nickster1_99) writes:
"It's not a major problem driveability wise if you don't have a charcoal canister hooked up to an engine. The tank will just vent into the atmosphere like older cars. DON'T hook up the tank vent to the manifold or pcv--all you will end up with is a bad running engine (vac. leak). Remember the canister was installed to reduce emissions. Everybody (me included) has disabled a emission device at one time or another. When you do this, you are removing some breathable air for your grandchildren."

2.3 My car doesn't pass emissions. What should I do?

Robert (twelve_second_vega) gives good details listed below. The basic idea is that you want your car to burn all of the gas it gets. This means that the air/fuel mixture must be precisely controlled. Computer-controlled cars use sensors and fuel injection to precisely meter the amount of fuel given to the engine. The H-bodies don't have this luxury, for better or worse. At least that limits the number of things you have to check.

In order of time/money required:

Robert (twelve_second_vega), a licensed California Smog Technician, writes: "When an engine is producing too much "CO's" it is ingesting too much fuel. High "HC's" indicate how the engine is burning the fuel. Common causes of high HC's are Engine Miss, Burnt Valve or a Vaccum Leak. If the valves are in good shape, compression is even and you have no vacuum leaks, you may retard the timing to effect a change in HC emissions. However, in California, you may only reduce the ignition timing 2 degrees either side of the manufacturers specifications. One other cause of high HC production is a faulty Catalytic Converter. Check exhaust pipe temperature in front of and behind the Cat. You should have several hundred degress higher temperature behind the Cat compared to your reading in front of the Cat. An example would be 350 degress in front and 600 degrees after the Cat."

2.4 What are good ways to increase stock engine performance?

(check yourself for smog legality)

2.5 What can I do about cooling?

Some suggestions (sort of in order of cost):

Aleck (stinkybuttihave) gives details about the generic Griffin radiator:
"I have the Griffin # 25241. This rad has the following specs:

These rads have the lower outlet angled up on the passenger side. You need to make some room on the bottom at each side for the tanks. The rad sits right on the lower part of the stock rad cradle. I have this rad and a long water pump and still have room for a good fan."

2.6 What parts make up an alternator bracket for a V8 with no A/C?

GM parts 357037, 357036, 357003, 357038

2.7 What cars have in-tank fuel pumps and what are good replacements?

All cars except those with the 2.5l Iron Duke have electric in-tank fuel pumps.

David (monzaaddict) says:
"Personally I think the pumps are junk If you are running a healthy v8 disconnect the pump and install a new tube through the top cover or a weld on sump. Then get a Holley blue pump and run either -8 braided hose or 1/2" aluminum tubing to the carb. I did not read your application so if you are just running a stock 4 cyl just try the repair I mentioned or go to gm and buy a new pump."

See 9.10 for fuel delivery ideas.

2.8 What is one way to fix sagging motor mounts?

Nick (nickster1_99) suggests: "Here is a tip for all you with sagged out motor mounts. I bought some older style mounts for a 60s Chevrolet--the "pancake" style. I then took apart my sagged out oil soaked mounts. The part that bolts to the frame of the car was saved, the rest tossed. I then took this U shaped piece and then hacked out the middle, leaving 2 legs per side. I flattened out the bends at the top of these legs then drilled holes for 7/16" bolts to go through. I then bolted these legs to the pancake style mounts and compared to the other side mount (I only did 1 side at a time). It was appx 1/4-3/8" higher. I just bolted these mounts in place when I installed my engine. I am very pleased. They sit at a good height and the steering does't even come close to the oil pan. The prevoius owner achieved the same thing by putting shims under the mounts at the frame. The mounts ran approximately $20 a piece when I bought them. It took me approximately 1 hour for each mount (measure twice, cut once).

2.9 How do I check the oil pressure/fuel pump switch?

This switch cuts off power to the electric fuel pump when oil pressure gets too low.

Denis (denisst78) writes:
"Pink wire: 12 volts when key is on. Purple wire: 12 volts when key is in the start position. Blue wire: output wire that goes to the fuel pump. First check if your fuel pump is running when the key is on the ON position without the engine running. If yes unplug the pressure switch and check if it's still running. If it stopped running then the switch is bad. Second check if you have 12 volts at the purple wire on the pressure switch when you crank the car. If not the wire that goes from the solenoid to the switch is bad. If yes then the switch is bad."

2.10 How do I swap to a serpentine belt setup?

For a small block setup, Denis (denisst78) writes:
"Here's what I did and used:

Note that ASP will build custom pulleys (see vendor section).

2.11 Why doesn't my fuel pump work?

David (monzaaddict) suggests:
"From my experience with Vega/Monza fuel pumps, I have found that the most frequent cause of intermittent functioning results from poor grounding. There is a black cable (inside the tank) that goes from the pump to the external terminal. If you can carefully disassemble the cable from the terminals, which are mounted in plastic grommets to prevent contact (and resulting sparks) with the cover plate (could not think of a better description of the part where all the steel lines lead to the outside of the fuel tank), without breaking the plastic grommets then you can clean the terminals and reassemble everything. This has worked for me."

2.12 What should I know about rebuilding a 2300?

Kevin (SoloII_74) says:
"The silicon lapping process that Chevy developed to re-hab the Vega block after an over bore basically removed a microscopic layer of the aluminum from the alloy (after boring and the finish hone to size), and this allowed the piston rings to ride on the very hard silicon particles as the wear surface. No measurable amount of wall thickness was removed in the process. You also had to have the factor plated pistons, or the pistons and walls would be scuffed.

The problem with the process is that Sunnen made the equipment and lapping compound, and they no longer have a listing for that stuff. In addition, results were unreliable when compared to the factory electro chemical etching process, and sleeving.

Bill was correct when he said that the factory bore finish, if still intact, provides a very good, long wearing (almost no bore wear) bore finish, which can be re-ringed without honing). I would be remiss if I did not point out that he was wrong about what happens when the engine overheats.

Severe overheating will disrupt that special bore finish, and cause the microscopic layer of silicon in the alloy to break down, leaving the soft aluminum alloy matrix to scuff and score, causing the type of damage which only an overbore or sleeve will fix. The incompressibility of the water has nothing to do with the scuffing or scoring of the cylinders (esp. since most of it would be flashing to vapor from the heat anyway). That is caused by the excessive heat from the overheating process.

The Vega's miniscule cooling system allowed it to overheat very rapidly when something bad happened. It usually worked like this (ie for a stuck closed thermostat): 1st stage overheat: head (or block) warps-> gasket fails. 2nd stage overheat: engine boils dry -> alloy starts to break down due to the heat of combustion, and lack of cooling. For a severe coolant leak, just go to stage 2.

Just a side note: I have seen no difference in power or durability levels in sleeved vs. stock bore Vega engine, and I have driven a cast iron sleeved engine stock class Vega to a trophy at the SCCA Solo II Nationals. I have run both types of bores in my autocross car, both in street-prepared and stock, and have not seen any difference in overall performance.

I have also helped plan and build a 300+ hp Vega Turbo 140 with steel sleeves, which were, in part, used as o-rings for the cylinder head seal.

The second attempt with a reinforced block (we split the first one in half) was still running after over 10k hard street/strip miles. It was making lots of power with reliability."

2.13 How do I clean out the fuel tank?

Brew (mongoose_brew) writes:
"If you go to your local motorcycle shop, I'm sure they can help you. Motorcycles are notorious for rusty tanks. Basically, the process goes like this....

2.14 Where can I get a replacement hood insulator?

GM no longer makes ones specifically for the H-bodies, but they do sell the material. It comes in a size large enough to do two H-body hoods--just use the old one as a pattern. The retaining clips should also still be available.

2.15 Where can I get replacement V8 motor mounts?

New ones: nowhere, so far; look for used ones. Some people make their own. Some companies that sell replacement mounts have shown some interest in the H-body market but have not produced any yet.

Some companies list mounts for the H-body but they don't actually work. Suspicious part numbers: 270-2292 is actually a regular GM motor mount (1978 and up G body with V8) and 270-2281 is a 3.8 v-6 motor mount (thanks to Denis (denisst78) for the info).

Don (mrdonjeffers) offers this advice on making your own:
"OK all, here is the scoop on how to retrofit a set of 68 327 Camaro motor mounts to your V8 Monza. However, there is one catch. First, you must be willing to hack up your original V8 motor mounts. If you don't want to do this then there are other options. Second, you must take your time doing what I will explain. Let's get started. You first need to have full access to your motor mounts(this means removing headers, etc. You then place your car on jack stands, making certain the car is level from side to side. Next, measure from the block (each side)to the floor, logging these measurements. Now, place a flat piece of wood on a jack and slightly lift on the engine at the oil pan. Unbolt the motor mounts from the mounting pads(not the block). Now,remove old mounts from engine block. Go to the auto parts store and purchase a set of 68 327 Camaro motor mounts ($10 each). Now comes the scary part. First, drill apart the 3 rivets that hold the flat plate of the block side of the motor mount and the clam shell that holds the rubber portion together. Seperate the two halves, giving you better access to the loop of the mount. You are going to cut(with a steel cutoff wheel in a die grinder or drill motor) your original motor mounts at the "bend" on each leg where the leg bends going into the rubber portion of the mount(not the nut end of the leg). It is critical that you cut as close to the bend as possible. Be careful to not cut downward from the bend on the leg too far towards the welded nut end. You will need as much of these legs as you can get. Now, bolt the Camaro motor mounts to the block. Remeasure your distance from the block to the floor and match the height to your earlier measurments. NOTE: since your original mounts probably let your engine sag, you may wish to raise the measurement by 1/4" to 1/2" to get the motor where you want it. Next, bolt the cut off "legs" in their position on the motor mount pads(the pads on the unitbody portion, not the block). CAUTION!!!! this next part is the most important part of all. Manuever the legs into the proper position (install the bolts, but just finger tight) on the pads and line them up so that the holes in the sides of the Camaro motor mounts will provide the most "meat" on the legs to hold the motor once you drill the holes in the legs. So, to rephrase, you are using the "legs" of your original mounts, drilling holes in them to line up with the side holes in the Camaro motor mounts and using grade 8 or grade 5 bolts and lockwashers to bolt it all together. The best way to get the markings on the insides of the "legs" of where to drill the holes is to use a 90 degree bent pick and scribe through the holes in the Camaro mounts onto the "legs" of your original mounts. Once you have the locations scribed of where you are going to drill the holes, simply unbolt the legs, drill the holes, put the legs back in place and bolt it all together. There you have it. Simple, straight forward and cheap. However, if you are afraid to cut your V8 mounts ask yourself what is better: Driving with loose, floppy motor mounts or having new rubber motor mounts. Finally, for those of you who are concerned about the strength of this set up, I am running a 350 horse 350, with 3.73 gears, Auburn posi, 15" x 8 1/2" Centerlines on z rated tires and nothing and I mean nothing moves. This set up is the best thing I have done to my Monza. Also, I recommend that you put Energy Suspension's polygraphite transmission mount in while you are under the car. You will have to cut the bottom plate off of your original tranny mount and drill a 7/16" hole in this plate to bolt into the new Poly trans mount. Once all this is done your V8 hbody will be solid and secure."

H-Body FAQ Section 3

3 Transmissions and Rearends

3.1 What transmissions were sold in the H-bodies? What engines did they come with?

The gear ratios listed are for 1976. The ratios change year to year even for the same transmission/engine combination. You can find complete data in the Standard Catalog of American Cars.

Ken Mahoy adds, regarding 4-speed manual transmissions: "The 3.75:1 low gear was "first" offered in '76 on both the Vega & Monza. The gears were as follows: (1st) 3.75:1; (2nd) 2.16:1; (3rd) 1.38:1; (4th) 1.00:1; (Rev) 3.82:1. This new transmission was lighter weight than in previous years, but was "only" used on the 4cyl cars. (believe it or not, it was even an option on the Chevette!) The V8 Monzas for this year (as well as the Cosworth Vegas) had the other 4spd available with the gears close to what you mentioned Clyde. They are as follows: (1st) 3.11:1; (2nd) 2.20:1; (3rd) 1.47:1; (4th) 1.00:1: (Rev) 3.11:1. Note: The 5-speeds available this year came with a 3.10:1 low gear.

1977: This year they dropped the 3.75:1 option in the Vega & Monza and went with a 3.11:1 for the 4cyl cars, and a 2.85:1 low gear for the V8 cars. Also, the new-for-1977 5-spds came with a nice 3.40:1 low gear, but all the research I've done on the 5-spd shows you shouldn't put it behind a V8. The V8 5-spd was originally an option for the Monza if you pay close attention to the dealer literature, but the option was dropped early in production due to "reliability problems". (it couldn't handle the V8) One other interesting note about 1977 -- Even though it was dropped from the Hbody, the 4spd Saginaw with a 3.75:1 first gear could "still be found" in the Chevette.

1978: The 3.75:1 4spd could still be found in the Chevette, however with the Vega now gone, and a new 2.5liter Iron Duke engine available, the 4cyl Monzas now switched to a new 3.50:1 low gear. (not bad) The V8's came with the same 2.85:1 first gear as before, and the V6 Monza's w/ the 5spd came again with the 3.40:1 first gear.

1979: Gear ratios for 1979 are the same as 1978.

1980: No more V8's or 5-spds this year, so only one Monza 4spd was offered and it came with a low gear of 3.50:1. (However, the Chevettes "still" had their 3.75:1 ratio available and continued to until their last year of production in 1986.)

SUMMARY: Monza/Vega 4-spd w/ 3.75:1 low gear - 1976 only! Chevette 4-spd w/ 3.75:1 low gear - 1976 thru 1986"

3.2 How can I improve my automatic transmission?

Install a shift kit, use hi-po fluid, higher stall converter for drag racing, add an aftermarket overdrive gear (turn 3 speeds into 6!), aftermarket shifter, etc.

3.3 How can I improve my manual transmission?

New fluid (Redline MT90 is a favorite), aftermarket shifter, better clutch, shift light for drag racing, etc.

3.4 How do I convert my manual to and automatic (or vice-versa)?

See the Transmission Swaps section.

3.5 What rearend gear ratios were sold in the H-bodies?

The gear ratios listed are for 1976 (Vega) and 1978 (Monza). The ratios change year to year even for the same transmission/engine combination. You can find complete data in the Standard Catalog of American Cars. Or, just check your rear (see question 3.6).

3.6 How do I find out the ratio of a rearend?

If you have your build sheet, look for a "G" option code and compare it to the option codes list--this will tell you what ratio is supposed to be in the car.

John B (vegadad) has provided information about identifying a rear end here.

To get a good guess, you can jack up the rear of the car (BOTH wheels). Mark one tire and mark the driveshaft. Turn the driveshaft until that tire makes one revolution. While you're doing this, count the revolutions of the driveshaft. This number of revolutions is your ratio. Your ratio is not likely a whole number so you'll have to estimate how much of a revolution the driveshaft makes as the tire finishes its rotation. The number of revolutions is the ratio.

To be completely sure, open up the rear. Count the teeth on the pinion and on the ring gear. The number of ring teeth divided by the number of pinion teeth is the gear ratio. For example, a 1980 Monza 4cyl automatic has 41 teeth on the ring gear and 15 teeth on the pinion gear. 41/15 = 2.73333333, for a 2.73:1 final ratio.

3.7 How do I find out if the rearend has Positraction?

Positraction rears are supposed to have a tag reminding you to use a special GM friction modifier when you change the fluid. This tag may come off.

If the tag is missing, jack up the rear of the vehicle and spin a rear wheel. If the other one spins the same way, you have Positraction (or a locker or spool or something!). If it spins the opposite way, you have an open (regular) rear. If it doesn't spin at all, you have a problem (locked up brake, broken axle, etc.).

3.8 How do I find out if my Positraction is working?

Do a burnout. If you have two patches of rubber, it probably works! :)

Or, jack up one rear wheel, leaving the other on the ground--make sure the car is in neutral and the parking brake is OFF. Next, chock the front wheels so that the car WILL NOT move. Then, using a torque wrench, attempt to turn the raised rear wheel. At some torque value ("breakaway torque"), the wheel will start to turn. If this value is above 60-70 ft*lbs then you're OK. Otherwise, try changing your fluid (see question 3.9). If that still doesn't help, it's malfunctioning.

3.9 What fluid should I use in my Positraction rearend?

For street use: 75W90 gear oil plus GM's friction modifier. The friction modifier makes the lube more slippery. This allows the clutches to let go more easily, and last longer. It also keeps the rear quieter. (Note: Redline's 75W90 doesn't require the GM modifier, they claim.)

For race use: straight 75W90 gear oil with no GM additive. The posi will grab better but make lots of noise and possibly not last as long. (Note: Redline recommends their 75W90NS in this case, since their 75W90 is "slippery" enough to act as if it has the additive).

3.10 Why and how do I add Positraction to my rearend?

Positraction is kind of like a part-time locker for your rear end. When you're going in a straight line, the two rear axle shafts are connected together by a mechanism (cone, clutches, or gears, depending on the type) in the carrier. This aids traction greatly. When you make a turn and one wheel needs to spin faster than another, it can because the mechanism gradually lets go and allows the axle shafts to spin at different rates. However, having the partial-locking action helps in turns too because without it, the inside rear wheel would spin, keeping you from accelerating as fast. If you have an open rear end, the rear wheel with the least traction will get the most power, leaving you to spin the wheel uselessly in low-traction situations. If you have a locked rear end, you'll scrub your tires around turns. This is OK for drag-strip only cars but not a good idea for the street.

To add Positraction:

3.11 How do I use common GM 10-bolt rearend gears (S-10, F-body, etc) in my H-body's 10-bolt housing?

The main problem is that, in the differential case, the hole for the pinion bearing is smaller in the H-body differential than in other GM 10-bolt differentials. You can either get a machine shop to enlarge this hole or use a special pinion bearing and race.

So, the list is:

While you're in there, you can upgrade to a new or different posi carrier by getting a 26-spline carrier of the right series for your gears (see question 3.10).

NOTE: Installing new gears requires setting the proper pinion depth and carrier position. Doing this wrong will destroy your gears. Even the most die-hard shadetree mechanics leave this to a professional. If you want to try it anyway, this is the basic procedure and tips from Robert (twelve_second_vega):
"When you pull the carrier, mark the shims on the side of each bearing. They are cast iron and must be handled with care. Put a new crush sleeve on the pinion and install it in your 7.5" housing. Set the preload (about 10 inch pounds with used bearings) and set the carrier in place. Gently tap the shims you took out into place with a PLASTIC hammer and torque the caps. Only 1 gearset I installed needed to be reset. 99% of the time, you can just throw them in and go. If the backlash is off (.005" - .008" with used gears) you will need different shims. Subtract the amount you need (in backlash reduction) from the right shim to move the ring gear deeper into the pinion. BE SURE to add this SAME AMOUNT to the opposite shim. You MUST maintain the preload on the side bearings. When properly set-up, you will have to pry the carrier out of the housing and putting shims back in should not be easy either."

Bob (botizan) adds this tip:
"When installing F-body or other 7.5" gears in your H-body car, you can keep the H-body U-joint by using the yoke from a 76-79 X-body car (Nova,Apollo,Omega,Ventura)"

3.12 Can I use a complete S-10 rear end?

Yes, but you'll need to transfer (cut then weld) the brackets for the coil spring suspension since the S-10 uses leaf springs. Also, you'll need to figure out how to mount the torque arm if you have one, or revert to the previous 4-link rear suspension.

Lee Abel of Abel Performance (Phantom402) gives more details:
"Found out a neat thing today the springs on an S-10 are exactly the same width as the rear control arm mounts for my 75 2+2 factory v8, so I'm gonna cut down the springs, clamp the leafs together, and bolt it in. Add the spring mounts and panhard bar and its done except the brake line... no problem, tack weld piece of metal to frame some where convienent and hook up s-10 hose. BTW some later 80's earlier 90's S-10's came with 8.5 10 bolts so all ya gotta do is up grade to a 2wd vesion an boom ya got a rear end that is about as strong as a 12 bolt after a lock right, moser axles, "c" clip eliminators, summit pre load cover, and mobil 1 gear oil. If ya find a f-body from 70's or early 80's you can swap the disc brakes."

3.13 Can I use a complete F-body (Camaro/Firebird) rear end?

Yes, but first you'll need one from an '82 or newer car with the torque arm suspension. Then you'll need to have it narrowed if you're not using the wide IMSA body panels. Make sure the brackets end up in the right place! Finally you'll need to modify the torque arm mounting area.

Roger (monza_madness) gives more details: "The stock F-body (3rd gen 1982-1992) rearend will fit an IMSA panel Monza using 10" wide wheels with 4" back spacing. No shortening required, just relocating the H-body spring perches and H-body control arm mounts. Widen the H-body control arm to fit the differential housing. The front differential mounting holes have to be redrilled in the control arm. The control arm upper and lower ridges have to be notched, and control arm has to be pulled to a 90 degree angle to the rearend and the ridges have to be rewelded. Careful not to use the German made firebird rearend, identified by finned aluminum brake calipers, as this is a light duty rearend. Also can be identified by the 9 bolt differential cover.

"When moving the spring perches and control arm mounts, I used the differential case as a reference point. Then I double checked the distances between the spring perches to guarantee proper positioning. I used an angle gauge mounted to the pinion bolt holes, set at 5 degrees down, then used the level to set the perches and control arms. For the pan hard bar mount, I installed the rearend with spring perches and control arms tacked in place into the car (monza). With control arms and springs and torque arm in place, I lifted the full weight of the car with the rearend. The mount, with the pan hard bar attached, was placed on the rearend centered with the marks that were measured off the old rearend. Check that the wheels are centered in the body, then tack the pan hard mount into place. Then I removed the rearend and finished welding everything into place."

3.14 How much power can a stock 7.5" rear take?

If you're hooking up well (for example, using slicks and getting low 60' times in the 1/4 mile), people seem to agree on 300 rwhp. After that, start looking at aftermarket 12 bolt or 9" or similar rears. Don't get an S-10 rear thinking it will be stronger because it probably won't be. Also, people with Camaros making just over this much power break rear ends, so don't look too hard in that direction either. If you're making much more than 300 rwhp, you deserve a custom rear anyway. :) Don Hardy 12-bolts seem to be popular.

If you're not hooking up, then it almost doesn't matter how much HP you drive through the rear end because you're just spinning the tires anyway!

3.15 How can I upgrade my 9 1/4" flywheel to 10 1/2"?

Some have reported that a stock Chevy 10 1/2" flywheel won't fit. Hayes 30lb 10 1/2" will fit: part #490-10-330, 153 tooth. A flywheel from an '88-up Camaro (153 tooth) will also work. Note: use diaphragm pressure plate if using a stiffer clutch to prevent stress on clutch cable/firewall.

Bob (venom_symbiot) writes:
"I installed a larger flywheel and clutch in mine and tossed the recessed Monza unit. Everything fit inside the factory V8 bell housing. I would suggest you take the bell housing and see if it will fit over the new flywheel and clutch assembly. If it does, your next concern will be the starter motor. If it clears the bell housing then the only thing that could possibly be a problem is whether it clears the uni-body or not. If it does contact the uni-body, it is usually a simple matter of grinding or cutting the offending material away (as mentioned in Hooker Headers installation instructions). I would add that once the material is removed, if any spot welds were also removed that you get a MIG welder and run a bead along the area to fuse the layers of the uni-body back together to retain structural integrity.

It's not as hard as it sounds, I didn't have to remove any material to clear my starter, the flywheel fit, as did the starter without any modifications. Eventually, I replaced the bell housing with a Lakewood scatter shield that I modified to accept the Monza clutch fork and clutch cable."

3.16 What's that big box-shaped metal lump attached to the rear of my transmission?

It's a tailshaft counter balancer. It dampens vibrations in the drivetrain.

3.17 What are good transmission/rearend combinations?

This is very subjective, of course, depending on what you want to do with the car being the biggest factor.

For a street-driven car, Robert (twelve_second_vega) recommends:
"I favor the Saginaw due to its wide variety of available ratios. I would like to share with you the combination I am using on my Vega, not that it is amazing, but rather an example of compromise. My Chevrolet 302 is a 9.8:1 Compression engine using Stock Iron "993" heads and the GM "Pop-Up" piston. The intake is an Edelbrock #2101 fitted with a Q-Jet that has 76 jets/.051" Metering Rods, "BH" Secondary Rods and a "B" Hangar. The Hydraulic Camshaft is a mild 467" 490" - 225 236 @ .050" with a 113 L/C. A basic, straightforward engine.

I am using Monza Motor Mounts and Manifolds including the factory 1975 V8 Monza "Y" Pipe with (1) 2-1/4" pipe exiting in the stock location through a single Dyno-Max "S" Turbo Type Muffler. My concern was having an agressive ratio down low, yet still retain good cruise speed and economy (relative) for extended driving. As a result, I discovered the following combination.

Using a 2.92 Axle ratio and the 3.75 First Gear ratio of the 4-Cylinder Saginaw 4-Speed. The Final Drive Ratio (FDR) is 10.95. Lower than the 10.41 FDR of a 2.54 First Gear (T-10) and a 4.11 Axle Ratio.

Performance figures look like this:

First Gear @ 5,000 RPM = 35 MPH
Second Gear @ 5,000 RPM = 60 MPH
Third Gear @ 5,000 RPM = 95 MPH
Fourth Gear @ 5,000 RPM = 130 MPH

After each upshift, RPM returns to near the center of this engine's powerband:

RPM Drop @ 1-2 Upshift = 3,000 RPM
RPM Drop @ 2-3 Upshift = 3,200 RPM
RPM Drop @ 3-4 Upshift = 3,600 RPM

While not ideal for racing, I hope this example may prove helpful to those that are searching for a useable combination, for a street driven car, with parts that are laying around the garage."

3.18 What aftermarket shifters are available?

See question 7.10.

3.19 What aftermarket transmission mounts are available?

For TH350 and similar: Energy Suspension part number 3-1108G, black (graphite) (actually a universal trans mount with 3 mounting holes)

Torque arm mounts: Energy suspension part numbers 3137 (outer) and 7033 (inner).

3.20 What aftermarket clutches are available?

So far just some advice from Kevin (SoloII_74):
"A three finger or borg&beck will have way too much pressure to be used with the factory clutch cable. You will distort the firewall where the cable passes through, as well as having other problems related to the overall geometry. You need to stick with a mild diaphram pressure plate, or switch to a hydraulic throwout bearing."

And some more from Clyde (CJBIAGI):
"I agree with Kevin, you need to stick with a diaphram type pressure plate. I used a complete Hayes setup, 30lb steel flywheel and 10 1/2" street clutch, this is the same clutch assembly that would be used on a heavier Camaro or Chevelle and is more than adequate for a light car like a Monza. If you did want to step up to something heavier you may consider the Centerforce Dual Friction clutch. This is still a diaphram clutch but has much higher holding force and a light pedal feel which should not strain the stock cable or firewall. BTW, the correct way to adjust the clutch is with the adjustable pivot on the top of the passenger side of the bellhousing. Adjusting the cable is NOT the way to get the correct pedal freeplay or desired gap between the clutch disc and flywheel. Hope this helps."

The Rear Axle

The Rear Axle

Contributed by John B (vegadad)

Reference: Building the V6/Vega by John Thawley

Over the manufacturing life Of the H-body, several Gear ratios were offered in either a 6.5" or 7.5" ring gear configuration. From 1971 through 1975 all of the rear axles were equipped with the weaker 6.5" ring gear. In 1976 and 77 some of the H-Bodied cars were equipped with either the 6.5" or 7.5" ring gear. H-bodied cars from 1978 and later all are equipped with the 7.5 ring gear configuration.

The identifying code is either located on a metal tag attached to a cover bolt or is stamped on the right front side axle tube about 3 inches outboard of the carrier, approximately 30 to 45 degrees above the horizontal.





















2.92 RATIO




2.53 RATIO




3.36 RATIO







3.73 RATIO (1974)




2.56 RATIO








2.93 RATIO




3.42 RATIO

HF or HX


3.73 RATIO (1975)








2.56 RATIO

DB or EB

2.92 RATIO

HA or HD

2.92 RATIO

DA or EA

2.93 RATIO

DX or EX

DC or EC

3.42 RATIO

DE or EF

DV or EV

3.73 RATIO

DF or EF




2.53 RATIO

HB or HJ

2.56 RATIO

DY or EY

2.92 RATIO

HK or HM

2.93 RATIO

DX or EX


3.42 RATIO

DU or EU


3.73 RATIO

DT or ET


4.10 RATIO

DS or ES




2.92 RATIO

HK or HM

2.29 RATIO





2.56 RATIO





2.73 RATIO




2.93 RATIO






3.08 RATIO




3.42 RATIO





3.73 RATIO





2.29 RATIO



2.56 RATIO



2.73 RATIO



2.93 RATIO



3.08 RATIO



3.23 RATIO





2.29 RATIO



2.56 RATIO



2.73 RATIO



2.93 RATIO



3.08 RATIO







2.56 RATIO



2.73 RATIO



2.93 RATIO




H-Body FAQ Section 4

4 Steering and Suspension

4.1 What steering options were available for H-bodies?

All models use a recirculating ball steering box with a Pitman arm at the steering box, relay rod connected to the Pitman arm, idler arm attaching the relay rod to the subframe, and two tie-rod ends connecting each end of the reley rod to the steering knuckles.

Power steering and a tilt column are options.

The various boxes have different ratios, most notably in the Cosworth Vega and V8 Monza.

David (monzaaddict) adds:
"The quick ratio box has an input shaft about three inches long as opposed to one inch for the Vega manual box. The last three digits of the numbers on the box are 142. Box was also (first) used on V8 manual steering Monzas and then the Cosworth Vega. Box directly replaces power steering box with square cover (not box with round cover that came on some Monzas). Pitman arm is supposedly same as found on power steering box."

4.2 How do I convert my manual steering to power (or vice-versa)?

Get the box, steering shaft, Pitman arm, and steering center link from a car with the kind of steering you want. Those parts are all different and not interchangeable for power vs. non-power steering. See question 4.14 for tips on how to create a custom steering shaft from donor parts.

MOOG part numbers:

Flaming River sells new Vega-style manual boxes.

Special notes for going to power (V8): the alternator must be moved (new brackets belts, lengthen wiring harness) to the other side of the engine to make room for the larger power box.

After 1979, GM used a larger diameter input shaft on power steering units, so beware of this as you look for parts!

Tom (TheAstre) writes:
"Be careful not to mix apples and oranges. Last Summer, I swapped out the standard steering in my 75 Astre for power steering out of my old 76 Astre. Both were 4-cyl. But I can tell you this... Lots of little things had to change. The standard Vega Manual Gearbox is much shorter and smaller than the Power Steering Gearbox. The Steering column had to be changed because the steering shaft is different depending on which steering box is used. Also changed was the pitman arm and the center link, because the center link had a different part number. It mated up and looked OK, but I thought it hung a little too low. Also, I had to move the Alternator from the driver side to the passenger side. This required a different mounting bracket, which required changing the timing belt cover, due to a small difference. Now that the Alternator had to move, I had to change the wire harness, as the other one was too short to reach the new position of the alternator. No big deal for cutting and hacking, but to get everything to look stock, lots of tiny things had to be swapped. I have heard that the Cosworth manual steering box is larger than the standard Vega manual steering box. I heard that it is the same as the Monza V-8 manual box. I don't know for sure, but can check for you. So if you are swapping Monza gearboxes, there may be other considerations."

Then he adds: "If you decide to change to a manual gearbox, make sure to get all the other pieces you will need. The manual gearbox is a few inches shorter, so you will need to switch the steering column rod. Some years are different, so it is easier to just switch the entire steering column, steering wheel and all. The pitman arm is different, but that usually comes with used steering boxes. The center link offset is different where it bolts to the pitman arm. It will bolt up and be drivable. But your steering wheel will be offset. You could just index the steering wheel on the column post, but this leads to other problems. The turn signals will be off by [the same offset]. Worst of all, the centering dynamics of the steering box and linkage will be off by that same [offset]. The natural balance of a centered gearbox will be distorted. This will be more noticeable and critical to handling at high speeds. Even Moog lists the manual and power center links as different part numbers. If you get parts to swap. Pull them yourself. Mark the alignment of every piece with a grease crayon. Some parts only fit in one position, but others will leave you wondering if you have it lined up right. So, take the column, gearbox, pitman arm, spacer between gearbox and frame, center link, and idler arm."

Later Tom wrote: "The Vega Manual gearbox is much smaller/shorter than the Vega/Monza Power gearbox. You will need a Manual steering column to make up the length difference. Or, use a manual gearbox from a Monza or Cosworth Vega. I have heard that they are the same length as the power gearbox. Last year, I switched my Astre from manual to power and learned of all the differences.

Three BIG things to consider: 1) On standard Vega and Cosworth, the manual gearbox uses a shim between the frame and the gearbox. Without this, your gearbox will not internally center properly.
2) The Pitman arms are different. Use the Pitman arm that is correct for the gearbox.
3) The center link is different. The point the connects to the Pitman arm is about 1-1/2 inches different in length. If you don't switch the center link, your steering gearbox will be internally off center. Your steering wheel will be about 1/4 turn to one side. You could re-align the steering wheel on the column shaft, but the gearbox will still be off center internally.

Without all the correct pieces, the steering geometry will be off. The car will tend to turn easier to one side than the other. Not bad for around the city, but at highway speeds it is far more noticeable.

If you did Monza to Monza, everything is the same size. Only the Vega Manual Gearbox is smaller and shorter than the others. The steering column shaft is at least 2 inches different in length. There is no way one could "make it fit". The Vega manual center link is different where it connects to the Pitman arm. The end is 1-1/2 longer and sets at a different height. For a Vega to Vega conversion, this will cause the center link to either rub on the oil pan, if you go power to manual, or rub on the K-frames if you go manual to power. Mine did, till I changed the center link."

Kevin (SoloII_74) explains why to be careful when mixing-and-matching parts:
"I can say with certainity that the 1/2" longer steering arm will affect the turning radius, and steering quickness (a fair amount slower). The whole steering mechanism (pitman arm, center link, etc.) will be forced to move through a significantly longer arc because of this additional 1/2" in steering arm length. The steering box internal stops will most likely not allow the the rest of the steering to hit those external stops.

I had a similar problem with a small block/old mercedes swap I performed. I switched the steering to a GM rack & pinion, but the rack & pinion was a slower internal ratio, and was intended to be used with a much shorter steering arm length, and thus I could not get enough steering travel. The turning radius went from about 30' (original steering) to well over 50'(new steering). I had a set of the steering arms shortened (on the mercedes they were bolt on forgings, not a grey iron casting), and this corrected the problem. The turning radius ended up being slightly less than 30', and the steering response was much quicker."

Larry (vega_man_larry) writes about the steering shaft:
"One thing I learned from Dave at Dave's Vega Village is that the different shaft lengths can be manipulated to get what you need in a column or steering gear box swap. I have a manual steering car that I transplanted a tilt column into. I took the manual collumn shaft and the tilt column short shaft and combined them. The columns are hollow and have a teliscoping feature. You heat the shafts up with a propane torch and slide them apart. You then take the top and bottom halves that you want to keep and combine them. I relocated two of the alignment holes, and injected nylon hot glue from my wife's glue gun back into the column to fasten it back together, thus restoring the collapsing feature. You could probably do the same for a power steering to manual steering or vice versa. All you really need is the shaft pieces. It makes it easier than finding the appropriate pieces which can be hard to find especially in the case of a manual to tilt column swap as most tilt columns came in power cars."

Duke (doctorduke) adds, about Pitman arms:
"All the couplings you refer to are keyed, so they should only go together in one orientation. There are THREE H-body pitman arms. The CV uses the same pitman arm as V-6 and V-8 H-bodies with manual steering. All H-bodies with P/S use a second pitman arm. The third pitman arm is used on 140s w/o PS. Make sure you have the correct pitman arm."

4.3 How do I add a torque arm setup to my H-body?

Assuming you have the parts from a Monza with the torque arm setup:

For the lower control arms and Panhard rod, Myles (mylesgt) says:
"The Monza lower control arms bolt up. What I usually did was just leave the whole lower assembly alone (Monza), also keeping the larger sway bar. Then welded Vega upper link supports onto rear. Bolted it up. Fits great, no bad vibrations. Panhard rod's top plate bolts into another support plate that's part of the later bodies. [You] would have to fabricate/weld the upper part of the rod to accomodate it into the earlier Vegas. A couple of members have in fact added it to their earlier 4-link, and apparently it does work."

For the torque arm, you will need the arm itself, the rear axle housing from the donor car, and you'll need to find a way to mount the arm onto the tailshaft of the transmission (grab parts from a torque arm car with your drivetrain) OR you can fabricate a mount that is welded to the body.

Ken Mahoy (mahoy78spyder) explains how to mount a torque arm:
"I did something similar to my very first Monza, a 75 Town Coupe, that I swapped in a TH350 short shaft from a 1970 Chevy van. Since I didn't have the Monza TH350 tailshaft w/ the accomodations for the torque arm mount, I had to shorten my torque arm with a plasma cutter and then weld on an "L" bracket down the new front of the arm. The bottom of the L-bracket bolted to the tranny crossmember directly and worked very well - especially since I was 16 at the time and launched hard every chance I got!"

4.4 What is the stock suspension?

Denis (denisst78) compiled a list of all H-Body springs including their applications and specifications:

             Coil Spring Applications and Specs
FRONT Coil Spring Applications         
                                         With A/C  W/O A/C    
1980 monza
 4 cyl hatchback coupe and sport coupe   cs-6490   cs-5622
 4 cyl notchback coupe                   cs-6490   cs-6490
 6 cyl Hatchback ¬chback coupe        cs-5622   cs-5624
 6 cyl Hatchback Sport coupe             cs-5624   cs-5624

1979 monza
 4 cyl 2+2 hatchback Sport coupe         cs-6490   cs-5622
 4 cyl hatchback & notchback coupe       cs-6490
 4 cyl station wagon                     cs-6488   cs-6490  
 6 cyl hatchback & hatch sport coupe     cs-5622   cs-5624
 6 cyl nothcback coupe                   cs-5622   cs-5624
 8 cyl hatchback & notchback coupe       cs-5624   cs-5626
 8 cyl hatchback sport coupe             cs-5626   cs-5576

1978 monza
 4 cyl hatchback "S" coupe               cs-6490   cs-6490
 4 cyl hatchback coupe & sport coupe     cs-6490   cs-5622
 4 cyl nothback coupe                    cs-6490   cs-6490
 4 cyl station wagon                     cs-6490   cs-6490
 6 cyl 3.2 hatchback & notchback coupe   cs-5622   cs-5624
 6 cyl 3.2 notchback coupe               cs-5622   cs-5622
 6 cyl 3.8 hatchback "S" coupe           cs-6490   cs-5622
 6 cyl 3.8 station wagon                 cs-6490   cs-5622
 8 cyl   (ALL)                           cs-5626   cs-5576

1977 vega
 ALL                                     cs-6488   cs-6490

1977 & 1976 monza
 4 cyl 2+2 hatchback coupe               cs-6490   cs-5622
 4 cyl notchback Towne coupe             cs-6490   cs-6490 
 8 cyl    ALL                            cs-5626   cs-5576

1976 & 1975 vega
 ALL                                     cs-6488   cs-6490

1975 monza
 ALL                                     cs-6490

1974 vega
 ALL (exc. station wagon)                cs-6434
 station wagon

1973 vega 
 All                                     cs-6434   cs-6434

1972 vega
 All                                     cs-6434

1971 vega

REAR Coil Spring Applications         
All years and models
 CS-6377               (constant rate)
 CS-617                (Variable rate)

Coil Spring Specifications
  P/N     wire diam. installed  installed  installed spring  free 
          in inch     height    load(lbs)  rate (Lbs/inch)   height
Front Coils

 CS-5576    0.625        9        1814         384.5         13.690          
 CS-5622    0.590        9        1555         308.0         14.152
 CS-5624    0.590        9        1640         309.0         14.430
 CS-5626    0.590        9        1740         309.0         14.728
 CS-6434    0.593        9        1306         373.2         12.520
 CS-6488    0.590        9        1359         330.1         13.130
 CS-6490    0.590        9        1465         317.9         13.630
Rear Coils
 CS-6377    0.504      10.25       484         141.1         13.690
 CC-617     0.565      10.25       475         156.0         13.310
4.5 What stock swaybars came with H-bodies?



4.6 Where can I get replacement suspension and steering pieces?

PST sells most bushings in a kit.

TRW, Federal Mogul, and MOOG make replacement pieces:

        Vega front:
          CS6488 or CS6434 with no A/C, CS6490 with A/C
          (note: 6488 is probably for the wagon)
        Vega rear:
          CS6377 regular, CS617 variable rate
        Monza front:
          Engine   Bodystyle   No A/C  With A/C
          -------- ----------- ------- --------
          4 cyl    hatchback   CS6490  CS5622
          4 cyl    wagon       CS6488  CS6490
          6 cyl    hatchback   CS5622  CS5624
          6 cyl    notchback   CS5622  CS5624
          8 cyl    hatchback   CS5624  CS5626
          8 cyl    notchback   CS5624  CS5626
          8 cyl    Spyder      CS5626  CS5576
         Monza rear:
          CS6377 regular, CS617 variable rate

        K6196   Idler arm
        ES425RL Outer tie rod end (need 2)
        ES681N  Inner tie rod end (need 2)
        ES2032S Adjusting sleeves (need 2)
        DS816   Center link, 71-76 manual steering, 77-78 4 cyl manual steering
        DS889   Center link, 71-76 power steering, 77-78 4 cyl power steering,
                80-77 all 6 & 8 cyl [also Cosworth?]
      Front Suspension:
        K6118 Upper ball joint (need 2)
        K6157 Lower ball joint (1975-1980) (need 2)
        K6119 Lower ball joint (1971-1974) (need 2)
        K6112 Upper control arm bushing kit (OEM-style) (need 2)
        K6155 Upper control arm bushing kit (offset) (need 2)
        K6113 Lower control arm bushing kit (need 2)
        K6158 Lower control arm shaft kit (need 2)
        K5241 Sway bar bushing (15/16 and smaller)
        K5253 Sway bar bushing (1" and bigger)
      Rear Suspension:
        Vega (pre-1976):
          K6114 Upper control arm (need 2)
          K6115 Lower control arm (need 2)
        Monza and 1976-up Vega:
          K6166 Torque arm
          K6115 Lower control arm (need 2)
          K6180 Track bar (aka Panhard rod)
          K5241 Sway bar bushing (15/16 and smaller)
          K5253 Sway bar bushing (1" and bigger)

Note for Panhard rod: If you can't find Monza pieces, use bushings for a 3rd-gen ('82-'92) Camaro Panhard rod.

Pot Joint Boot: Rob (MonzaRob) discovered that the boot for the pot joint is the same as one from a 1986 Jeep CJ, which is much easier to find than one for an H-body.

4.7 What are some aftermarket suspension pieces?

Clyde (CJBIAGI) offers this advice:
"It's important to realize that there is not a lot of travel on the front suspension of H-Bodies. My 75 monza (when it was stock) used to top out on a regular basis. I wasn't exactly sure what the problem was initially but as I later came to find out later when I removed the front shocks, they were almost fully extended at normal ride height. Basically the car just sat too high. What I have learned now is that the front shocks have 4 inches of total travel, so what this means is when you install them you should have to compress them 2 inches to put them right in the middle of their travel range. If they are not in the middle of their range they are more likely to top out or bottom out, depending on where they end up when installed. In my case it was the shocks that actually top out before any other suspension part. So you need to take whatever actions are necessary to put the shocks in the middle of their range, adjusting ride heght, putting a spacer on the shock and making sure you have the right shocks. The Bilsteins I used to have had less than 4 inches of travel compared to the Monroes I have on now. It's very easy to see where your shocks are in there range, just loosen the 2 bottom bolts and see how far it comes down from the control arm, like I said it should be 2 inches. A very small amount of difference makes has a big effect, even if it is only off by 1/2 inch that means you only have 1 1/2" of travel in the opposite direction. It's also important not to confuse shock travel with wheel travel, because of the length of the control arms and the fact that the shocks are located closer to the pivot points there is less shock travel than wheel travel, but the important thing is that the shocks are in the middle of their range.

Kevin (SoloII_74) offers his sway bar experience:
"You should use the larger bar -with a caveat! (to come).

The Cosworth bar is 1", and the Monza bar most likely is not 1 3/16", but maybe 1 1/8", as the largest aftermarket bar for H bodies is 1 1/4", with 1 1/8" being the most common aftermarket size.

Here is the caveat --> You will need to find a matching 7/8" rear bar to keep a good front/rear roll stiffness balance. If you cannot find that larger rear bar, go with a set of Cosworth sway bars (I know you should have a spare set).

A few years ago, while experimenting with my (then) new +++ sized Addco sway bars (a special purchase from Addco through CVOA), I made the mistake of installing the 1" Addco rear bar with my 1 1/8" V8 monza spyder front bar. The car went from being very neutral, to totally out of balance as I had increased the rear roll stiffness way out of proportion with the front. The car was oversteering very badly (to use a Winston Cup term, it was "loose", "very loose").

Upon entering a sharp corner, the front would bite, and the rear would slide. It was almost like having a spike driven through the oil pan into the ground, so the car would pivot around, using the front wheels as the rotating axis. Oh, the car was a bear to drive that way! Well, next event, I installed the front bar, and the neutral handling was back, albiet at a higher level.

If you install a much larger front bar without a matching rear bar, you will experience more understeer ("push") than you would with a balanced suspension set-up. You will maintain the same roll stiffness balance as long as you install the matching Monza (or use a Cosworth set) rear bar.

As a side note, US manufacturers in general, and GM in particular tended to design a fair amount of understeer into all of their cars because the average driver does not know what to do with any amount of oversteer, and feels more comfortable with a car that steers like a pig into corners."

Britt (kiva75) adds: "I too run the Addco 1 1/4" front and 1" on the rear. I agree that this maintains the cars neutrality, while still allowing throttle oversteer. You can get the bars any time, but be prepared to wait. It took Addco over six months to send my bars, and then they were the wrong ones. My friend had better luck, it only took four to get his. They are relocating thier operations right now and told my brother (who works at an Addco retailer) that they had no company to cad plate the bars, so delivery time right now is unknown. He ordered his bars and it's been seven months.

Just a word of warning. I will also agree that they would be a lot better if hollow, because the front bar weighs aroumd 35-40 pounds.

You may want to try upgrading to hard urethane or aluminum bushings with the stock bar, that might help too."

4.8 What is a good drag racing suspension setup?

Not too much here for specifics, but basic ideas:

4.9 What is a good road racing or autocross suspension setup?

Not too much here for specifics, but basic ideas:

Kevin (SoloII_74) offers this advice:
"I autocrossed my '74 for 3 years as an H stock Solo II car. No modifications outside those allowed by the stock class rules - no urethane, etc., just stock rubber bushings. I still ripped the upper rear control arm mounts out of the body. I had them welded, and they held up ok. (I have switched to the later torque arm type suspension, so I cut out the (now) un-needed mounts.) I also have since had to re-weld some of the body welds. The stress of going around corners was just too much, and I have found a number of cracks in some of the stressed areas (both front and rear).

Most of the people I know who have autocrossed an H body seriously (and sucessfully) end up adding or re-doing some welds to reinforce the stock spot welds. These welds were never intended to handle the high stresses which the current generation of "gumball" autocross tires can place on the chassis and suspension.

4.10 How do I add a front swaybar to a car that never had one?

If your H-body never had a front swaybar, then you likely do not have the front lower A-arms that have brackets on which to mount the swaybar endlinks. So one option is to find lower front A-arms that have mounts for the swaybar endlinks, the get the swaybar and endlinks themselves--it will all bolt up.

One complication is that the lower front A-arms on Vegas do not have the same depth spring pocket as the Monza/Sunbird/Skyhawk/Starfire. The pocket is shallower and using a Monza arm on a Vega will lower the front end assuming you don't change the springs. So, one other option for the Vega (thanks to Tim (TimMcCabe99)) is to attach an endlink (cut roughly in half) to a spherical rod end to create a Heim joint. Then drill a hole in the lower A-arm and mount the eye of this joint through that hole.

Tim adds: I have found that using a locknut (nylon type) on the outside of the 3/8 bolt that goes through the lower control arm and heim joint is a good idea, I had the nut fall off a couple of times, even with a lock washer.

Denis (denisst78) gives more details about the conversion:
"Get the frame brackets from a donor car or from a part store (be sure to measure which size of sway bar you got).
Get one end link kit (rubber grommets and acc.)
Get two 3/8 rod ends (heim joints)
Get two 3/8 bolts (not sure of length)
Get six 3/8 nuts
Get two 3/8 bolts (1 1/2 inch long)

Mount the bar to the car with the frame brackets center it for the end links; when the bar is tightened on the frame make sure part of the bar that's bolting to the a-arm is level (front to rear).
Slip in this order: bolt, washer, rubber, bar, rubber, washer, sleeve.
Now tighten everything tight with the extra 3/8 nut.
Install the rod end.
Mark the location where to drill the a-arm.
Drill the hole.
Install in this order: 1 1/2 long bolt, rod end, 3/8 nut, a-arm, nut.
Tighten everything.

BTW It's a good idea to weld a piece of 1/8 thick plate or washer to the back side of the a-arm. It will make the area where you drilled a whole lot sturdier.

4.11 How do I add a rear swaybar to a car that never had one?

The rear swaybar attaches to the rear lower control arms through two bolts on each arm. Even cars that never had rear swaybars have control arms with these holes. So, you need these parts, which should all just bolt on:

4.12 How can I convert to rack-and-pinion steering?

This is a tough one. The steering rack would need to be where the relay rod now sits. If the rack were located anywhere else, the steering wouldn't work correctly due to the acute angles of the arms coming out of either end of the rack.

However, if the rack is in that position (where the relay rod is now), the steering shaft won't be able to connect to the steering input on the rack, because the driver's side inner fender (and upper control arm) would be in the way. This happens because the rack's input would be around 6" lower and 6" closer to the front of the car compared to the input on the stock steering box.

One possible solution is to mount the rack where the relay rod is now, then make a custom steering shaft that comes out of the firewall, over the driver's side headers, then into a U-joint, then almost straight down into the rack's input. [NOTE: I have no expertise in this area, but this seems unsafe!]

If you are willing to install a roll cage and new front subframe, you can get rack & pinion steering. See question 6.19.

Aleck (stinkybuttihave) says:
"Just dug out my Don Hardy catalog and they list a cross member that welds in and is used to mount a Pinto rack. The part #08-066. The crossmember also requires two clamps #08-069. They list all kinds of chassis parts as well as headers. My cataloge is about five years old so I'm not sure how many things they still sell."

Later he adds:
"I'm not sure what you consider a kit but Don Hardy sells a weld in crossmember to mount a Pinto rack and pinion in a Vega. Parts:
# 08-066 Weld in crossmember 1 1/4" tube
# 08-069 Rack +Pinion clamps
# 08-072 Flex shaft 12"
# 08-073 Adapter for shaft to R+P

4.13 My front end alignment has way too much negative camber due to subframe sagging from age/abuse/etc. What can I do?

The "right" thing to do is have a competent body shop get the frame back into specification.

The "cheap" thing to do is use new A-arm bushings. Moog and probably other places make upper A-arm bushings that have more adjustability in them than the stock pieces so that you can compensate.

If you have this problem due to sagging, Roger (ks_skyhawk) also recommends: "While you are down there, look at the area around the base of the spring towers, the outside 90 degree bend (on the ends of the part parallel to the engine) near where the control arm bolts are. Look for hairline cracks in this area. I found them on mine. I stopdrilled the top end of the crack and welded."

Tim (TimMcCabe99) explains one way to adjust the frame:
"You can pull the lower frame rails back in line by attaching a chain to the idler arm and attaching the other end to the pitman arm on the steering box. By cranking the steering to the right it will pull the rails back together. After this is done, the "K" member should be boxed to add strength, and the bolt holes should have washers welded to them to eliminate the oval boly holes. When the boxed "K" member is reinstalled, the negative camber caused by the lower control arms speading should be corrected. I had my "K" member removed to fix my oil pan after it had bottomed out on the highway. After about a week of being up on ramps, I could not get the crossmember back in. I used the chain trick to pull everything back in line and it worked great."

4.14 How do I swap my non-tilt steering column for a tilt unit?

The columns interchange, but you'll need the right coupling for the steering box, and the ignition switch must be rotated 180 degrees.

Larry (vega_man_larry) adds:
"Any tilt column will work. Just make sure you get the column coupler shaft that connects to the steering gear box. The tilts I have found are on power steering cars. If you don't have power steering (I don't) you have to make a coupler from the upper part from a tilt column and the lower from the standard steering shaft. Heat up the shaft using a propane torch to melt the nylon that holds the shaft together where the shafts slip together for the collapsing feature. Then put the two parts you want back together. I drilled two new holes to line up with the inner shaft and cemented it back together using my wife's glue gun (basically replacing the nylon. Don't weld the column back together as you will be defeating the collapsing feature!"

4.15 How can I adjust the position of the rear end?

For 1976-up cars:
The panhard rod bolts to a bracket that is then bolted to the body near the driver's side wheel well. Using shims between this bracket and the body, the side-to-side positioning of the rear end can be changed. Another option is to bend the panhard rod, but that will weaken it and is not recommended.

For pre-1976 cars that came with a bent panhard rod: bending is an acceptable way of adjusting it, per Chevrolet Tech Bulletin #75-T-14 Number IV. Use chains on each end of the bar, and force in the middle, to bend the rod. DO NOT USE HEAT. The brackets may have been welded incorrectly to the body on some cars and this bending is to compensate.

The panhard rod should be kept level when the suspension is at rest. That is, the rod should be the same distance above the axle tube on each side. If the car is raised or lowered, the bracket for the bar should be relocated to compensate.

Tim (cosworth_twincams) adds:
"On some of the early 75's Cosworth's and Monza's the panhard rod was not correctly bent so there was a problem with tire rub on the left (drivers) rear tire. GM put out a rear wheel spacer kit which included a wheel spacer and longer lug bolts."

4.16 What effect does swapping my upper control arms side-to-side have?

Swapping the arms side-to-side greatly increases the caster angle.

Mike (mich_southpaw) writes:
"More caster makes the car go straighter with more effort to steer. The car is more stable, because the steering doesn't react quite as quickly due to the extra caster. Have you ever looked at a dragster and noticed how much the top of the kingpin is behind the bottom? The tires actually flop from side to side when steering from lock to lock. This is a good thing for going fast on the strip. 100 extra caster would probably work on the street but may cause other handling problems. The offset bushings are the route I would go if the car sees street driving."

Randy (monzamiler) reposted information from Tom (???): "You can swap the upper control arms side to side and get about 9.5 degrees of caster. A small amount of grinding needs to be done. I have done this to my '78 Monza that I run at Bonneville. I also cut two coils and use Moog upper offset bushings to restore the camber (the car is stable to well over 200 mph)."

4.17 What are some alignment specs?

Factory recommendation for a 1977 (posted by Nick):

                   Warranty     | For inspection | Specs 4 resetting 
  Caster         -1.8  to +.2   | -2.8 to +1.2   | -.8 +/-.5
  Camber          -.6  to +1.0  | -1.3 to +1.7   | +.2 +/-.5
  Toe in(degrees) -.19 to  +.06 |  -.42 to +.31  | -.06 +/-.06

4.18 Are Cosworth and Monza steering boxes the same?

Ken (mahoy78spyder) writes:
"The reason John Thawley (the guy who wrote "Building the V6 Vega") mentioned using a Cosworth unit box is that they are beefier, yes, but I thought I would add that they are no different than a "Monza" manual steering box. So a Cosworth one, or a Monza (or clone) one should suffice. Also, the RPO N44 Fast Steering Ratio was a planned option for the Cosworth, but was cancelled prior to production. The Cosworth was produced with the standard Vega steering ratio, but used a larger, heavier steering gear housing from the Monza V-8. The fast ratio steering gear was eventually offered over the counter and is listed in the fourth and fifth edition Chevrolet Power manuals. (thanks to Duke Williams for part of that information)"

4.19 What steering pulleys were available from the factory?

Marco (Monzabudd) explains:
"Today I found out that not all V8 Monza power steering pump pulleys are the same. there is a 5 1/2" unit and a 6 1/4" inch unit, both factory. The smaller came on V8 No-Air cars and the bigger from V8s with Air. And as you probably know the bigger pulley will turn the pump slower resulting in less drag on the engine at all speeds, and possibly even helping take some of the lightness from the factory power steering on cars without air cond."

4.20 How can I reinforce the rear 4-link suspension?

Robert (twelve_second_vega) suggests:
"Here is my method. I don't think you can do much to re-enforce the upper control arm mounting areas, so I ease the strain by making the Motion Upper Traction Links instead. Take a bushing and locate a section of tubular steel that it will press into. Weld a section of steel tubing about 4" long onto this tube and add a piece of channel at the top that will attach the the upper control arm. I don't have a good picture of one, but I found it in the "V8 Vega Handbook". I also add the Torque Arm to the stock Vega 4-Link Rear Suspension."

4.21 What is a good street suspension setup?

Robert (twelve_second_vega) says:
"As with many modifications, most people go too far. If you are not racing the car exclusively, you will be better off using a milder approach. I begin by boxing all the control arms, upper and lower for added strength. On the upper arms, I form a piece of 3/8" round steel stock around the outer lip of the arm and stitch weld it in place. One reason I feel this is necessary is the amount of material removed to facilitate the installation of the S-10 Upper Ball Joints. I add the Torque Arm to the early Vega 4-Link Rear Suspension with Moog "Cargo Coil" Variable Rate Springs to minimize "Squat" under acceleration. I use the lightest rear sway bar I can find, usually from a 4 cylinder Vega GT. I prefer Oversteer to Understeer and too much rear roll rate can make the car a bear to drive. I use 1-1/16" diameter front sway bars (from V6 Sunbirds) and Sunbird V6 Front Springs. For shocks, I use a conventional hydraulic type. Not gas charged. I don't like the dampening of a gas charged shock, other than Koni or KYB. However, these performance shocks are a waste of money on a street driven car. When set up in this fashion, the car displays very neutral handling charactaristics and good suspension movement under acceleration. For all out racing, you would probably want things different, but for the street, this is a hard combination to beat."

4.22 What is an easy way to replace the front springs?

First, you need to drop the lower control arm from the spindle so you can remove the old spring. Jack up the car, remove the wheel, remove the shock, then put a hydraulic jack under the lower control arm, leaving an inch-or-so gap under the arm. The car should be about 1 foot off the ground at the LCA mounting points, and the jack should be somewhat extended.

Remove the nut and cotter pin from the lower ball joint, then separate LCA ball joint from the spindle. When you do, the spring will force the LCA down with a couple hundred pounds of force (be careful). Then use the jack to slowly lower the LCA down. Next, remove the jack and push the LCA down as far as it will go, then pull out the spring.

To get the new spring in, the idea is to use a threaded rod with fingers or a plate on the end of it. The rod is inserted through the upper shock mount hole and the fingers or plate grab near the bottom of the spring (but not the very bottom as the spring eventually will need to sit in the lower control arm). As the rod is turned, it draws the spring up into the upper spring pocket.

OTC makes a tool just for this, but it's expensive. You can do the same with a regular internal spring compressor--Autozone loans them for free. The compressor comes with a long, sturdy threaded rod and upper and lower "fingers." One set of fingers "floats" and the other threads onto the rod. You won't need the "floating" fingers.

Put the new spring up into the upper spring pocket. Disassemble the tool and push the rod through the upper shock mount hole--be sure to use a washer or two. Position the "threaded" fingers on the 2nd or 3rd coil from the bottom, then thread the rod into them. Finally, turn the rod until the spring is compressed enough. The fingers will want to rotate and make the spring curve in undesirable ways, so you need to help guide it. When it's compressed enough you can just swing the LCA up and reattach it to the spindle.

Brian (Bacchus_101573) writes about a similar method:
"Using a 3 foot section of 5/8" threaded rod and some Gr8 nuts and washer, I passed the rod through the upper shock mount, through the spring, through the lower control arm, and through a piece of 1/4" steel that I had lying around. The steel is about 6"x6", enough to fully support the lower A-arm. 5/8" is almost exactly the size of the upper shock mount hole, so it fit very well.

I snugged up the nuts a ways (not too far) and then used a floor jack to raise the rear of the lower control arm to put the bolts in first. I think a bottle jack would work better because you can concentrate the force more. Then I compressed the whole thing until I could get the spindle attached. And that's about all it takes! Of course, it took me 4 hours to do this because of some trial and error. I anticipate that I'll be able to do the other side tomorrow in about 1.5 hours. The hardest part is getting the lower control arm holes lined up to put the bolts in."

H-Body FAQ Section 5

5 Wheels, Tires, and Brakes

5.1 What are the basic characteristics of the H-body braking system?

The front brakes are 9.5"x1" disc brakes with single piston floating calipers. The discs for 1971-1975 cars are not vented--vented rotors were added in 1976.

The rear brakes up to and including 1975 are 9"x1 1/4" drums. In 1976 the Monza/Sunbird/Starfire/Skyhawk got 9 1/2"x2" drums.

Both power- and non-power assisted brakes were available. Pre-1976 cars do not have combination/proportioning valves.

5.2 What can I do to improve my H-body's braking performance?

In general:

For front brakes, you can (in order of cost):

For rear brakes, you can:

Paul (pvgatto) offers this general advice:
"Before I upgraded the brakes on my Vega, I did a lot of research on the design of a braking SYSTEM. I emphasize the word SYSTEM, because it all has to work together to have a safe vehicle. There is some great information out there on braking systems, I recommend a book called "Brake Handbook," by Fred Puhn.

The first thing to consider is that the automakers have a pretty good idea on how to build a car. They have been doing it for close to 100 years now. The reason that many cars brake just fine without an adjustable proportioning valve is that the CORRECT proportioning valve was designed and put in the car in the first place. As soon as the front to rear weight bias, tire sizes, spring rates, caliper piston sizes, wheel cylinder sizes, master cylinder sizes, and any other number of things are changed, the brake proportion is no longer correct.

A basic principle of fluid physics is that the larger a caliper or wheel cylinder piston, the more force will be applied. Force = P x A, where P is the hydraulic pressure in pounds per square inch and A is area of the piston in square inches. This is one of the reasons for calipers with multiple pistons. By increasing the number of pistons, the total area is increased, creating more force.

Therefore, the larger the rear wheel cylinders, the MORE apt they are to lockup, given the same pressure. The statement about increasing the MASTER CYLINDER bore size to reduce lockup on the rear brakes is more correct.

In almost all automobile applications (not trucks), the front brakes do the vast majority of the work. This is due to the weight transfer that was discussed earlier. This is also why cars are designed with front discs / rear drums or large discs in front and small discs in the rear. In my conversations with the people at Baer Racing, , I learned that even when they are doing a high-end system, they recommend their smallest rear disc. The only reason their customers purchase larger rear discs is for appearance.

This is starting to get a bit long-winded, so I'll get to the point. To reduce the tendency of the rear brakes to lockup before the front, here's what can be done. The easiest ideas first.

1. Adjustable proportioning valve.
2. Smaller rear wheel cylinders.
3. Larger rear master cylinder bore.
4. Larger rear tires.
5. Different weight bias.
6. Different suspension tuning.

When I installed an adjustable proportioning valve the folks at Baer Racing recommended that I remove the insides of the factory proportioning valve to keep from reducing the pressure too much. I didn't take their suggestion at first, and I found that my rear brakes were not working as well as they should. After removing the "guts" from the factory valve, I was able to get things adjusted properly."

5.3 How do I convert my car to the 5-lug pattern used by most other GM mid-size cars? (G-body, F-body, S-trucks, etc)

The rear is EASY compared to the front! Simply put, you need S-10 axle shafts. Get two of GM part number 14030355 (axle shafts for a 1988 2WD S-10 pickup, 26-spline, 7.5") and replace your current shafts with these, which have the desired 5-lug pattern. NOTE: These shafts are 1/16" shorter than the Monza shafts. You may need to grind down the backing plate or machine the drum, or if you're brave, put a 1/16" spacer between the end of the shaft and the brake drum. This may not be a problem at all if you use aluminum drums. The GM part number for these aluminum drums is 1255496 (Buick Regal, Chevrolet Malibu, Olds Cutlass, Pontiac Grand Prix and Monte Carlo from 1981 to 1989). At least one person needed to remove his brake hardware to push the axle in far enough to install the C-clips in the rear end housing.

The front is trickier. Pick your poison:

5.4 How do I make my front suspension work with 5-lug spindles from a RWD Monte Carlo/Grand Prix/S-10/etc?

Tony (Tonyhallo) says:
"The following information is my findings while installing 1981 Monte Carlo spindles on a 1971 Vega. I have not installed the calipers yet because I have a long way to go and the brakes will be one of the last areas to address.

Ball joint clarification: The ball joint holes in the spindle are too big for stock Monza or Vega ball joints.

Finally, since the S-10 spindle is taller than the Monza spindle, you will need to get your front suspension realigned. If you have trouble getting the alignment set as you want it, you can use Dobi adjuster cams that give you more adjustability.

NOTE: If you have a '75 or older car, consider upgrading to an S-10 master cylinder to go with the S-10 brakes, or else you might have problems! However, the S-10 master won't fit in the H-body booster.

About the conversion, birdman8099 asked:
"Anyone had any problems with their centerlink rubbing on the passenger side tierod link after S-10 conversion? Mine rubs the tie rod [on the idler arm side]. This is I'm sure, because the S-10 spindles have longer tierod arms. It only rubs at one point from lock to lock and thats right when the Pitman is lined up with the steering box with the front wheels straight. You can't feel it in the steering wheel but it rubs enough to cause the tierod to deflect a slight amount. I used my die grinder to take off about a 16th of an inch off the centerlink to get it to go by without hitting but its still damed close."

Clyde (CJBIAGI) replied: "I have not done this conversion but since you say that it is the idler arm side that rubs, I seem to remember that when I changed my idler arm that there was an adjustment that you could do by turning the arm while holding the part that bolts to the frame that would effectively raises or lowers that end of the idler arm and centerlink. The objective is to have the centerlink level on both ends, you don't want one end higher than the other or it could screw up your geometry. This may be a possible reason why your centerlink is rubbing. If you just bolted the idler arm on the way it came out of the box without performing this adjustment this might be what's causing your rubbing. I seem to remember that there were some instructions that came with my idler arm, but then it's been a while since I have done this."

Roger (ks_skyhawk) adds about alignment:
"When you get all the weight and parts on the car, set the car on a smooth and level floor, to its normal ride height without the wheels installed. Support the lower control arms, and set the alignment cams to the middle position. Then use a carpenter's framing square on the floor and against the brake rotors. How flat the rotors are against the square will give the best idea of how easily it will align. Mine required moving the upper ball joint out at the top to rid myself of the excessive negative camber. ( -1.8 on Right and -.8 on the Left )"

Robert (twelve_second_vega) adds these thoughts:
"Fitting the S-10 ball Joint to the Monza/Vega Control Arms isn't that difficult, as "Denisst78" has proven with his skillful use of a Milling Machine. On the Upper Control Arm, I have noticed something that I wanted to share with the club. The Seat Area will easily accomodate an S-10 Ball Joint, but it (Ball Joint) should be rotated slightly to give its attaching hardware the best possible contact with the Control Arm Seat. Additionally, opening the hole in the Control arm is a touchy Subject indeed. Since the mounting hole in the Vega/Monza (Other "H"-Body) Control Arms is already near the outer edge of the arm, the only safe action, in my opinion, is to move the centreline of the Upper Ball Joint Approximatley .150" Inboard. This will create a Negative Camber condition on a suspension system that is know to have limited adjustability. I think one could offset the problem with Moog's "Problem Solver" Offset Upper Control Arm Bushing Kits, but this doesn't seem like the best way to attack the probelm. Also, approximately how much variation in Camber will result from moving the Upper Ball Joint Inboard .150". I prefer to set my front ends at 1/4 degree Positive Camber for Street Use. My concern is lack of adequate adjustability and accelerated tire wear in an exclusively street-driven vehicle."

Clyde (CJBIAGI) adds more about brake hydraulics:
"80's Malibu, S-10, & Camaro( & others) use the same caliper piston, & kit as the H-body w/vented rotors, so if you do change to malibu/S-10 spindles/rotors you don't need to change master or p-valve(unless you have solid rotors). Then just use all for 76-80 parts."

5.5 Can I use a Honda power brake booster with my H-body?

Yes, why else would this question be here? :) The Honda booster is smaller and offers better pedal feel. See the details in the Tech Tips section of HBOA Online ( A custom bracket needs to be built.

5.6 What wheel sizes came stock with H-bodies?

5.7 What is the widest wheel/tire I can fit in the front?

Some things that have worked for people:

Street tires:

5.8 What is the widest wheel/tire I can fit in the rear?

Some things that have worked for people:

Street tires:

Drag tires:

5.9 Where can I get 4-bolt wheels?

Ones with the correct 4 x 4" bolt pattern are scarce.

Ones with 4 x 100mm bolt patterns can be forced to work, but it's not recommended. However they're much easier to find since this pattern is used by many imports.

Some manufacturers that still make 4 x 4" wheels: Revolution, Panasport, Lite Speed, Monocoque, and Keizer. These companies make lightweight racing wheels in many sizes. They are built for racing and as such are probably more expensive and less attractive than typical "street" rims.

Also, Centerline makes the AutoDrags in 4 x 4". Jeg's sells them:
184-065351-440, 15x7, 3 5/16 backspace, about $95
184-065703-440, 15x3 1/2, 1 1/2 backspace, about $125

5.10 Where can I get a new parking brake cable?

Wagner (check your local parts store) part #f76641

5.11 How do I convert manual to power brakes or vice-versa?

First get the brake booster, master cylinder, and combination valve. If you have a parts car, you might also want to grab the brake lines and pedal assembly.

On the brake pedal, the master cylinder pin can attach in one of two places. For manual brakes, it attaches to the larger hole on top; for power brakes, it attaches to the smaller hole on bottom.

5.12 Where can I refill or replace my spare tire inflator?

The inflator part number is 9590679 the list price is $48.75. It can still be ordered from a dealer.

Some places will still refill them (with Nitrogen)--try places that refill fire extinguishers.

H-Body FAQ Section 6

6 Exterior/Chassis

6.1 What original pieces are interchangable between the various H-bodies?

For Monza Ken (mahoy78spyder) says:

For Vega:

John B (vegadad) adds about Vegas:
"As far as interchange, doors fit by body style e.g. coupes to coupes, wagons and Panel express to wagons and panel express. You can switch front clips door-to-door in year groups 71-73, 74-75, 76-77 Vega, other than that the body panels will interchange by body style. The later vegas had Fuel filler caps on the rear quarterpanels whereas the 71-73's were under the rear license. The taillight panels changed on the coupes and hatchbacks with the above listed years. Hatches 71-73 interchange then 74-77 interchange. In 74 the License mounting on the wagons and Panel Express were moved to the center of the rear door. I've always thought that an early Vega front clip would look cool on an 75-76 Astre Hatchback because of the sloted taillights (Sorry Tom). Use your eyeball and good judgement it probably won't fail you."

6.2 What are some popular replacement body parts?

6.3 What are some specs for the Spyder decals?

Spyder decal part numbers: Hood 20052964, Left Door 3063003, Right Door 3063002, Rear spoiler 356598 for these colors:
1977: Lt Blue Met #22, Dk Aqua #38, Med Green Met #44, Camel Tan Met #63
1978: Lt Blue Met #22, Ultramarine #24, Med Green Met #44, Camel Tan Met #63

6.4 Where can I find functional front and rear spoilers?

Take a rear spoiler from a 2nd-gen Camaro ('70-'81). Once the center section is narrowed, the spoiler will fit well and look good.

6.5 How much do the H-bodies weigh?



6.6 What are the exterior dimensions of the H-bodies?

Data for 1976 models, other similar:

6.7 What is the Coefficient of Drag for H-bodies?
  Vega Hatchback:  0.40
  Monza Hatchback: 0.40
  Monza Coupe:     0.42
  Monza IMSA:      around 0.30
6.8 How do I stiffen up the body? (subframe connectors)

Try adding subframe connectors, which connect the front and rear subframes giving you the stiffness of a full-frame car. Note that some aftermarket pieces require cutting the rear footwells-- Alston Chassisworks subframes, for example (regardless, these connectors get good reviews from club members and are reasonably priced).

Roll bars and cages also help, plus provide extra safety. See 6.17.

John B (vegadad) writes about subframe connectors:
"I've installed a set of the Alston [not Chris Alston's Chassisworks] sub-frame connectors in my 72. A piece of advice I may offer. Use layout chalk to outline what cuts you will be making on the upper side of the floor pan. Identify the places that are reinforced such as the area just forward of the rear wheelwells. These will appear as oval indentations in the floor that run fore and aft (old sailor don't cha know). Anyway cut these indents out so that the connectors will fit flush against the underside of the floorpan. This also will provide you with additional welding area. There are also some of these indents forward of the seat mounts as I remember. Most important, believe "Bob Villa". "Measure twice, cut once." They are not difficult to install and will, with the addition of at least a 6-point Roll bar will give you very good service."

Aleck (stinkybuttihave) adds:
"Aluminum, NOT! Think about it.Frame connectors are for strength, and you need steel for that. On my car I've used 1 3/4" round tubing. It runs along the inside of the rocker and is welded the whole length of the factory seam. They are curved upwards at each end and and cut to fit flush against the floor. At the rear they have a tab welded to them that the lower suspension arm bolts go through. They hang down about 3/8" below the rockers and offer a strong jacking point. The tubing is 1/8" wall mild steel and cost about $35.00 Canadian. Please do NOT use muffler pipe. I also changed a few seat studs because of interference. You could probably just bend them."

Larry (vega_man_larry) describes another brace:
"I have a Don Hardy brace installed in my '75 Vega. It attaches behind the passenger footwells and ties both rocker rail sections together. It has lift bars that attach to this crossmember and to the rear end housing, the stock suspension arms are removed. The setup uses a wishbone locator and uses the stock shocks. It's pretty beefy for street use and doesn't encroach on the passenger compartment. It is an alternative to the weak stock setup, and a full on race setup."

6.9 What are particularly bad areas for rust?

On the Vega, check the rear quarter panel drains. If clogged, the interior of the panel will stay wet and rust. Enlarge them if needed.

Robert (twelve_second_vega) adds:
"I see a lot of rust around the windshield and hatches on Vegas. I discovered that I can drill holes in the window channel area and let water drain into the cowling, preventing rust formation. The rear hatch's glass channel can be drilled on early cars, but I am not sure about later models. Be sure to treat the drilled area before reassembly! With the windshield out of the car, you drill a hole into the bottom of the glass channel at each corner, about a 1/4" hole is good. This will open into the interior of the car. Next, from under the dash, drill another hole through the inner firewall and into the cowl cavity in front of the windshield. I then epoxied 2 nylon tubes into these holes that carry the water out of the channel and allows it to drain into the cowling. It may be overkill in one respect, but it keeps water from standing in the channel."

Dan (dancv32) writes:
"I will always go over a restored/repainted car very carefully. Why was so much restoration needed on a car with that kind of mileage? Take a magnet to check for body fillers. Check gap between 1/4 panel and door edge to make sure the gaps are correct. Usually a 1/4 panel replacement will change the gaps based on cars I have personnally observed with replacement 1/4 panels. Rust is a problem in the following areas. Inside spare tire well, underside of hatch at lip and around window. Sometimes if moisture or corrosion is present around the windshield, it will also be present on the surface of the dash. Underside of hood at seams. Shake hood and listen for rust particles moving around. Check battery tray, underneath battery tray and around core supports for corrosion. Check mounting points for trailing arms at the rear suspension. Check lower inside edges of rear 1/4 panel. Check carefully around the lower gasket of the 1/4 windows. I have seen rust occasionally show up on the metal rail above the rear 1/4 interior plastic panels. Check battery side frame rail around the stabilizer bar mount, bumper bracket mount, idler arm mount and top of the frame rail below the battery. If extensive rust is present inside the frame rail it will sometimes appear at the exterior at these locations. I personnally look for a great body and interior. It is a labor intensive effort to repair,prep and paint a car if you do it the correct way."

6.10 Where can I get replacement Torx screws for the headlight bezels?

Body Tite part #45860, any major auto parts store.

6.11 Where can I get replacement door seals?

For Monza:

For Vega:

Also check the vendor section; other vendors still sell these and other pieces.

6.12 Where is that #@$# squeak coming from?

6.13 What do I need to convert a 2-headlight Monza to a 4-headlight front end?

If you want to put a Monza front end on your Vega or vice-versa, Key (mahoy78spyder) writes: "Basically, you've got really only one way to do this and that is to use an entire dog-house from a Monza w/ the Sport front end (4 headlight). You will need the fenders, header panel assembly, front radiator support, and hood. Those alone will be tough to line up and bolt on precisely. But the toughest part of it all is getting a rear-hinged hood to bolt onto a car that was originally a front-hinged vehicle. You can't really take the cowl of a Monza and transplant to your Vega (not without compromising structural integrity) to enable a "bolt-on" solution for your hood."

6.14 Were 4-headlight front ends only available on hatchback Monzas, and 2-headlights only available on coupes?

Nope! There were Spyder Coupe (4-headlight front end) and Sport hatchback (2-headlight front end) models available.

6.15 What can I do about the anodized aluminum trim and clips?

If you don't care about having an original finish, buff off the anodizing and polish the aluminum. Then clearcoat it. Otherwise, you'll need to have the trim reanodized. Places that perform this service can be found in Hemmings Motor News (see any bookstore's magazine rack). Or check with Eastwood for home kits.

John B (vegadad) offers this advice:
"The other member that told you about the moulding being aluminum was correct. If you are really adventurious, mask the pieces off and spray them with Regular easy-off oven cleaner. When the piece turns black the anodizing will have been melted. Clean thoroughly and color buff. For small scratches you can use 600, 800 or finer sand paper. Recoat the piece with NYLAC, available from Eastwood. The down side is that you will have to repeat this procedure from time to time and you will loose a little metal in the process, but you can really get it to shine. I've used it on Aluminum wheels and you can get them to shine like chrome again. [then later] I just looked at the EASTWOOD site. It appears they replaced NYLAC with a new product, CLEAR COAT BARRIER."

Jeff (monzafan) adds:
"The moldings are held on by plastic clips. There is a special tool that slides underneath the molding to release these clips. Do not rush and break the clips when removing the parts! They are old and may be a little brittle. Just pulled mine a whle back and sent them out for re-anodizing. Look terrific now, but the cost... Minimum charge is $200. Expect upwards of $500 if you want every stick of aluminum trim redone."

Windshield trim clips are reportedly produced by MRG or Motormite, available through a number of retail outlets.

John B (vegadad) adds about Vega wagon trim:
"You'll have to remove the rear quarter windows in your wagon to facilitate the removal of the trim. From that you have choices. 1) Clean, polish and replace the trim pieces. 2) Replace the quarter window and fill the trim slot with a black RTV and carefully form it, or 3) Find a "plain Jane" donor Car for the trim.

Just make sure you reseal the window gasket material as it was originally installed. The side benefit is you can clean up any corrosion under the window gasket and renew the seal."

Clyde (CJBIAGI) adds, about the clips that hold on the trim:
"These clips are held in place by sliding on little rivets or studs. You should be able to slide one off and match it up with a new one. Try the stores that were mentioned in the previous post or if that fails try a body shop supply store, they usually stock them. If that fails, I'm sure someone who is parting out a car should be able to get you as many as you need."

Tom (tjvanoverbeke) continues:
"I just replaced some of the clips on my hatch. I used a dull screwdriver to drive/breakup what was left of the old clips. I took in a semi-good clip to the auto/paint shop to get the correct clip. Dorman or motormite has ones in small packages, but the shop had them in bulk cheaper. There are many different ones that look similar. To get some of the new clips in I had to cut away some of the window caulking/sealing. Probably would have been easier to cut the sealing first rather than breaking the clips out. I'm also thinking that I should have used a knife with a dull point to better insure that I didn't penetrate the underlying paint and start a point for rust."

Keith (mr_phelcher) writes:
"These clips in question are called gm reveal molding clips. BODYTITE PN# 45600. They are 1.69 for a package of three."

6.16 How do I install a back-half chassis kit?

Tony Hallo has a write-up about his experiences in the Tech Tips section of HBOA Online:

6.17 Where can I get a roll bar or roll cage?

(also see question 7.5)

Autopower sells SCCA/IMSA-approved roll bars and cages for H-bodies, bolt-in or weld-in. Their cages may or may not be NHRA-approved.

S&W Race Cars sells NHRA/IHRA/NMCA-approved bars and cages, weld-in. The 10-point cage is pre-bent but will need to be cut to fit.

Alston Race Cars (in IL) sells a 6-point cage, but only the main hoop is pre-bent. The installer must cut and bend the remaining pieces as needed. The 8-point cage might be pre-bent.

6.18 Where can I get replacement hatch struts?

For Vega: Strong Arm brand part # 4717, about $40

For Monza: Monroe makes replacement struts, part # 901250. These are the same as used on the Chevette and Citation. Or, Strong Arm barand part # 4445, about $40.

6.19 How do I install an aftermarket racing front subframe?

One option is Jeg's front clip.
Kirk (kcdragmonza) writes:
"About two years ago I bought the full frame and 12 pt. cage from them. The clip must be used with the frame and rollcage because they are what hold the clip in the car. The two frame rails and rollcage tubes are all that hold the clip in place.

Because of the angle of the rails any swaybar used would have to have custom mounts welded to it. All other suspension pieces are used except for the Pinto [steering] rack which calls for the spindle holes to be drilled oversize to accept the tie rod end. Jegs recommends using "lightweight 4 cyl. springs" and the upper A-arms are switched from left to right."

Ken (mahoy78spyder) adds: "Jegs also notes that it works with off-the-shelf headers, and deep sump pans, not to mention it'll take 200lbs off the front of your car!

Part# 550-910001
Price: $494.99

Another useful kit that you may need to utilize in this swap is the rack & pinion adaptor kit. It consists of rack & pinion extensions, rod ends, bolts, jam nuts and spacers.

Part# 550-40201 (Vega/Monza w/ Pinto Rack)
Part# 550-40230 (Vega/Monza w/ Wilwood Rack)
Price for each: $83.99

Also, that rack & pinion kit does "not" include the actual rack & pinion itself. You would either have to find a used Pinto R&P, or you could buy the Wilwood/Pinto R&P unit (Part# 950-350-2038) from Jegs for $219.99 (chrome plated is all they have)."

6.20 Where can I get a driveshaft loop for a torque-arm car?

One option is to get one for an '82-'92 Camaro and modify it to fit. It will require some basic cutting and welding.

6.21 How do I fix my sagging/mis-aligned doors?

First, remove the hinge pins; replace them and the brass bushings. If that's not good enough, the holes for the bushings are probably messed up--weld them up and re-drill new ones. Finally, loosen and adjust the door striker, then tighten it.

Clyde (CJBIAGI) adds about hinges:
"My door hinges are welded to the body and to the door. Not exactly sure how they aligned them but from what I under stand from at least one body man is that the way to make minor adjustments is to place a large piece of wood under the door along with a hydralic jack and gently "adjust" the door hinges. Seems a little crude but it does work, especially considering that there is no adjustment on the welded hinges."

John (vegadad) says:
"Chevrolet still offers Door Pins & Bushings for h-bodys. The Pins are part # 9655646 and retail at $9.00 ea., although I seem to remember they come two to a pack. The bushings are sold 10 per pack Part # 9822198 at about $20 per pack $2.00 ea."

6.22 How do I convert my '74-'77 Vega front end to the '71-'73 style?

John B (vegadad) says:
"In my experience the answer is yes. The only problem you may experience is where the 71 - 73 front facia (upper Grill piece) mounts to the chassis at the bumper line. On the 71-73s there are two bolts per side that mount to an extended piece of sheetmetal at the battery level on either side. You may fabricate this extension by test fitting the front end and see what's required. Other than that you shouldn't have any problems.

Take a look at the donor car, or if you are installing fiberglass, the mounting holes will be identified by depressions in the new piece. I've seen at least two racecars that have had this done. Be patient and take your time."

Dan (vegon71) adds:
"What I did was drill out spot welds on radiator support panel on donor car which was a 71 hatch. It fit right up in my 74 wagon. I had to open up the radiator opening for more air intake."

6.23 How do Mirage panels attach to the Monza?

Ken (mahoy78spyder) says:
"The four Monza Mirage panels were screwed or rivoted in at the bottom, and then attached at the top using a plactic V-channel strip. The strip itself was rivoted every 2-3 inches to the fender or quarter panel, and then the upper lip of the Mirage panel was tucked in neatly underneath that strip, thus hiding the rivots and providing a nice-looking, seamless line across the top of the panel. Unfortunately, the urethane panels were prone to warping, and the V-channels were prone to drying out and chipping or cracking and over the years they deteriorated badly. [...]

They are extremely hard to come by because no one wants to take the time to drill off each rivot carefully to save the strips. Most people just pull off the Mirage panels only and leave the strips for ruin. Unfortunately, your only option without those strips is to bond the top of your panel to your fender/quarter panel. Ironically enough, that is what Chevrolet did in one of their first attempts at a Mirage. Look closely at the Mirage in the hard-to-find 4-page Mirage flyer and tell me if you see any strips there."

6.24 How do I convert a Vega Wagon to a Panel Express?

John B (vegadad) writes:
"In order to make a Panel express from a station wagon you will need the following:

  1. The panels--these panels are reinforced on the interior side to aid in holding them in place.
  2. The interior Clamps--these attach to the reinforcing strip welded to the interior of the panel to hold the panels to the inside of the gasket, and
  3. The gasket.
The slot for the panel is smaller than that of the glass since the panel is about 16 - 18 gauge steel with a flange to aid in holding the panel's shape. You can fabricate all of this and it shouldn't take any welding as the panel is installed the same way the Quarter window would be. By the way take a look at The Astre's website on the Astre Panel, you'll also identify the storage box that replaces the back seat in a Panel. This would be a great place for mounting amplifiers and sub-bass speakers for a kickin stereo system.

6.25 How do I remove the fixed rear windows?

Tom (TheAstre) writes:
"To ease the effort of removing the windows, pull back the rubber from the inside, then spray in plenty of oil where the rubber contacts the body. The windows push out at the top front. I've worked them out that way by just pulling the rubber back on the inside, oiling good, and pounding the window out with my fist. It'll take some time, because they work their way out just a very little bit at a time. Don't pry at the window, it will crack into a million pieces."

John B (vegadad) adds:
"In addition to providing lubrication. There is a sealant on the outside of the gasket to keep water from getting into the interior. Some folks wrap twine around the interior side of the gasket, then firmly push the window out as you pull the gasket away from the body. Just the reverse of installing the window, if you've ever done that. Be careful as it's safety plate glass and if it goes it will shatter into beads. Take it easy and you should be able to save everything."

Then he adds:
"The rear Quarter windows are a snap to remove. I recommend starting on the interior at the lower rear point on the gasket where it comes to a point. Lift the seal with a wooden spatula, if you have one, or something flat & dull. Don't want to cut the gasket material. Work from the point in both directions, along the bottom and up the back part of the seal, a little at a time. The seal is glued on the exterior side with an RTV type material, (The same stuff your windshield is out in with.) Be gentle but persuasive and a little Stern (finesse) once the back of the window frame is loose the window and gasket will push right out. everything is apart you can remove the trim pieces."

6.26 What should I know about the cowl seal?

For the cowl seal on either car, the opening faces the rear of the car.

panel73 has part numbers for Cowl Seal fasteners:
"I found fasteners for the cowl seal at Pep Boys. They look like OEM parts. Made by 'Body-Tite!'.
Part number 45502.
UPC number 0 37495 45502 2
Listed on package as GM & FORD hood insulation retainers."

6.27 What are likely sources of a water leak?

Britt (kiva75) writes about water in the floor board:
"90% chance it is coming from the grommet around the hood release cable. easiest fix, go to a windshield shop and ask for some scrap butyl rubber, or "dum-dum". it's a sealer for the glass. just pull the cable in the car a little, wrap some butyl around it and push it back up."

Tony (tonyhallo) adds:
"Check for rust holes in the cowl section under the hood, near the wiper linkage. Typical problem, I suggest fiberglass cloth and resin for repair if you find holes there. I would remove the wiper motor and linkage for clearance."

AJ (sbc77vega) writes:
"A place where I found water coming in once before is the vent in the kick panel. It used to leak in around the seal on my 76 hatchback. Pull it out and use the same stuff that Britt talked about a few posts back."

Robert (twelve_second_vega) adds about prevention:
"It is most helpful to fabricate cowl opening covers from wire screen and have the pieces powder coated for a neat, corrossion-free appearence. This will help break up heavy sprays of water, such as a car wash and prevent tools/parts from dropping down in the cowling, where they rot away, usually taking the cowling with them. BMW uses a neat trim screw that consists of a flat, plastic washer with a countersink, a screw and a cap that snaps over the screw effectively concealing it. They come in Black, Tan, White and Burgandy. I used them on my Shifter Trim Plate, the Cowl Screens and a few other areas where a neat, detailed look catches the eye. Another thing to check for on the Vega is the Water Shield made onto the Kick Panel. The tall, vertical plastic shield is difficult to remove and I often see Kick Panels that have this part chopped off, probably to ease installation. Without it. water spills over the Cowl Bulkhead and drops right onto the panel and into the floorboard."

Tim (TimMcCabe99) adds:
"I had a water leak coming onto the drivers floor. I thought the water was leaking in around the hood release cable, but after sealing the cable around the grommet, I still had water leaking in. I found the water was dripping out of the end of the hood release cable, there was a crack in the cable cover where it bent to come through the kick panel, water was running through the cable like a straw and leaking on the floor. Replacing the cable fixed the leak."

Bill (bill504a) suggests:
"A small piece of thin aluminum (6-8 in. by 3-4 in.) can be glued to the end of the rain drain area on Vegas to prevent water inside the car - use silicone sealant as a "glue" - it throws the water outward 2 or 3 inches which is sufficient to stop it from going inside the car."

6.28 What other brands of cars can supply body accessories?

Dick (monza75tc) says:
"Not to deter you from restoring your Monza, but some of the ground effects off of an Opel Ascona B, or Manta B will fit your Monza with only minor adjustments. I have some ground effects that My son brought back from Germany, and I think they will look very nice once I get them modified. Taking the time and working with fiberglas are the major hurdles to overcome."

Erik (erik_norway) made a really nice custom body kit for his Vega out of various existing parts and handmade pieces. He writes:
"Here is the list of cars that has donated parts. Front bumper and airdam: from Toyota 4Runner 94'
Front spoiler the lowest: hand made with in steel.
Rear rollpan: hand made in steel.
Side skirts: hand made in steel.
Wheel openings: From German Ford Escort XR3i.
Hood: Fibre Glass form World Products.
Door handels: From 94' Mazda 626.
Back door: Removed plate whole and key whole.
Side mirrors: From Formula 3 racing.
Plus some extra hand made steel pices to make it all fit.

If you are thinking about the Toyota 4Runner parts they were pretty easy to fit. All I did was remove the lower plastic part, then I cut the upper crome part on the middle almost in half, bent it to fit the vega's V shape (seen from above). Then I welded it together and mounted the plastc parts. Because the plastic part are so fleksible you van just bend it in to plase and fasten the it. You could splitt some of the stiffenings on the rear of the plastic to make it easier to mount. Since I mounted a hand made spolier below it we mounted the plastic to this as well. I also redesigned the front wheel openings and at the same time I made the front fenders longer in front to fit the lower spoiler and look better with the airdam.

The rollpan is made out of two pices, because I did not have big anough tool. The rollpan is roled in a machine (I do not know what wou call it) the tool is made out of to flatt tubes on top of each other. I took the steel plate in between the roles and roled it sevral times this made the shape from top to bottom. Then we welded the two pices together on the middle and grinded it. Then a friend shaped it from side to side in what we call an "english wheel" its a tool used by the ones who hand made complete cars it's just two wheels pushing together. This shaped a slite curve from side to side. It was welded to the car you can see where if you remove the rear bumper from a 74 up vega and look at my pictures. If you need a bigger picture I can mail you one. And for the sides I made some litle pices with a shape I think look nice to the rest, just to cover the whole behind the sides of the orginal bumper. The last thing we did was to cut out and weld in the plates around the lisence plate and a little cutting to fitt the tail pipes."

H-Body FAQ Section 7

7 Interior and Safety

7.1 What interior options were available?

See the option codes list in part 1.

7.2 Where should I look for my build sheet?

The build sheet is the factory's listing of what options they put on your car. It is "hidden" somewhere in your car during its construction.

For Vegas, try under the carpet behind the passenger's front seat.

For the Ohio-built (78-80) Monza/Sunbird/Starfire/Skyhawk, they are usually under the carpet behind the driver's seat. Also try the driver's side door panel and behind the passenger's side seat backing.

Other places to look are under the front seats between the wire and foam, and just about anywhere someone could hide one.

7.3 What are some things I can do to improve the interior?

Clyde (CJBIAGI) tells about carpet:
"I have recarpeted the cargo area. For the bottom I had a upholsterer sew edging on the carpet for a finished look. I did the side area myself. It is a little tricky but what I did was just go over the original carpet. I tucked it in under the plastic beneath the window and then folded the bottom part under the floor carpet, I left about a inch so that the floor overlaps the side pieces. I used some spray adhesive to adhere the side pieces over the old carpet. I can't remember if I was able to do it in one piece or not, I may have had to splice it to go around the wheel well. Since the original side pieces are molded I felt that leaving them in place and just going over them was the best alternative. It came out very good and I have had no problem with it, it's been done for about 5 years. I used carpet from ACC and I just purchased extra carpet for the hatch area.

I didn't shave or do anything special to the old carpet before I glued the new one to it. I used a contact type glue that you spray to both pieces, let sit for a few minutes, then put the pieces together. If you were to remove the old preformed carpet you wouldn't have anything to attach the new carpet to, the old carpet acts as a "backer" for the new carpet. I also did the compartment by the spare tire well, I think I had to do that in a few sections since there are so many curves involved. It takes time and patience to trim the pieces so that they all fit together, almost like a puzzle, but again if you take your time it will come out looking like new."

7.4 How do I refinish the interior plastic pieces?

For shiny bits, polish them and spray on a layer of clearcoat paint for protection. The finish will probably not match the original, but should still look good (fair warning).

For plastic parts: Clean thoroughly. If you've used a protectant, make sure it's off or paint won't stick. Don't sand unless you don't care about ruining the grain. Get some "vinyl prep" to open the pores of the trim piece. Then primer and paint using paint designed for interior plastic and vinyl trim. Mar-Hyde is one brand. Shops can mix up custom colors of it.

Randy Agee posted this on the Fiero mailing list (should apply to almost any car interior): "I have used the vinyl and Fabric recoloring sprays for years on a multitude of objects and products - even steering wheels and gear shift knobs. Being a paint product, it will eventually wear off on areas with a lot of frictional contact. But, it is easy to recolor again when this happens. The edges blend perfectly. Today's products will not crack on seats and soft vinyl like those of a few years back - they are more flexible.

I have not had too much luck in recoloring carpet and carpet on door panels. They do not hold up well in the long run. There is too much bulk to get good coverage and penetration with the colorant.

I prefer a vinyl colorant sold in auto paint stores with the brand name of SEM. It seems to hold up better than those I have found at AutoZone and Wal-mart. You can also buy it in bulk to use in a spray gun, and have virtually any color custom mixed.

The secret of getting a good job is to pre-clean the vinyl extremely well. I use a paint prep solvent first to remove grease, Armor All and dirt. R&M #203 Clesol happens to be what is on the shelf right now. Wipe on cleaner, scrub with a terry cloth, and then wipe dry with a clean cloth. Work small areas and keep turning the cleaning cloth so you to not reapply the stuff you are trying to remove. When finished, do it a second time all over again.

Just before I spray the colorant, I wipe the surface down with lacquer thinner - letting the thinner sit wet on the surface for 30 seconds or so before wiping with a lint free cloth. This will actually dissolve and soften the vinyl surface a little giving better adhesion properties for the spray. Wear rubber gloves when wiping with lacquer thinner, the stuff is rapidly absorbed through the skin and ain't too healthy. On hard plastic & vinyl surfaces a light scuffing with 400 grit sandpaper doesn't hurt either.

Use a tack rag to pick up lint or dust. Unfold the tack rag and wad it up in a loose ball. Lightly drag it over the surface, being careful not to transfer any gummy material to the object being tacked.

Application method for the spray colorant is important too. Do not spray in high humidity. Be sure the spray can is slightly warmer than the surrounding air. You can warm the can under running water only hot enough to hold your hand under. This is important as humidity will cause the spray to "flash" (white hazy areas) on the vinyl and the temperature of the spray will drop as it leaves the tip, causing condensation to form in the fan. Any moisture is the bane of this stuff and reduces the chances for good adhesion.

Spray light, thin coats. It should flash (surface dry) in less than a minute. If it takes longer to flash, spray lighter coats. But, you do not want it to go on "dry", just wet enough to penetrate the base material. Apply 2-3 coats in this manner. The final coat is sprayed a little wetter.

Put it away and allow to dry completely. Remember the surface will feel dry, but the colorant and vinyl underneath will be soft for several hours.

Resist the temptation to apply vinyl treatments like Armor-All to the painted surface. If you ever need to recolor again it creates a nightmare of fish-eyes, puddles and runs, unless all the old colorant is removed first (can be removed with rags wet with lacquer thinner).

If you take care and follow this procedure, rather than just grabbing a can and spraying, you will be very pleased with the results.

I first used vinyl colorants back in the 70's when vinyl tops were popular on cars. Dupont had a product called 1-2-3 Vinyl Lacquer that was new to the market and I was the only paint shop using the stuff to refurbish and recolor vinyl tops in our area. I had used car dealers from miles around coming to me to freshen up their vinyl top cars. I know of none that had later problems.

Randy Agee
The Fiero Ranch
Mechanicsville, VA"

Roger (ks_skyhawk) writes: "I first repainted my parts w/ DuPont stuff custom mixed @ $28.00 per quart. I got an exact color match. But, it was a pain to use and I should have gotten semi-gloss instead of flat. I redid it all w/ stuff from a can I got at O'Reilly's. The colors they had closely matched the Carmine red, and was too easy to use.

I thoroughly cleaned parts at the carwash, then wiped with thinner, then applied "BullDog" brand primer, before the paint. They didn't call it primer, but said it was designed for vinyl products and promotes adhesion.

7.5 How do I install a rollbar or rollcage?

(also see question 6.17)

John (vegadad) offers this advice:
"The Jegsster roll bar kit is a weld in. What you will get is the main hoop and enough tube stock to make the down tubes and a cross tube to run behind the seats. for the Vega Kit this cross tube is an elongated curved piece to allow you to use the stock seats. You will also get, as part of the kit, some 2"X3"X16" stock for footing. If you elect to get the "Bolt-in" kit you will get a bunch of 6"X6" plates to fabricate and weld to the hoop and down-tubes to make the bolt-in. Also, the barstock for the rear down tubes are straight so forget using your back seat. I would suggest looking at the Chris Alston chassisworks Kit, they have an option of bent rear tubes that will allow the use of the rear seat as well as offering swing aways for the crossbar behind the front seats. If you are making an exclusive 2 passenger ride the Jegs kit will do. Also Review the installation instructions available from Chris Alston they contain some good instructions on insatallation of your rollbar, no matter which kit you choose. It's your choice. Anything you buy will require fabrication to some degree. Personnaly if I had it to do over again I think I would look at the Alston setup."

7.6 Are all Monza and Vega seats the same?

Brian (Bacchus_101573) says:
"The Monza seats are WAY different than the Vega seats. The Vega seats are nearly identical to 2nd-generation Camaro seats. However, I do believe they are slightly narrower [and shorter]."

Britt (kiva75) adds:
"72 seats should fit in a 73 and vis-a-versa. The only problem i could see would be 75/76/77 seats. They have different vrackets due to the catalytic converter."

7.7 What's special about H-body air conditioning?

The pulley/driven plate is different than most GM A/C compressors for belt clearance. If you buy a rebuilt compressor, be sure to compare the pulley and swap it with your core unit if it's different. Tip: the compressor for a 1976 Oldsmobile Toronado fits if you can't find an H-body-specific compressor.

7.8 How can I change my speedometer to one that reads higher speeds?

If looking stock isn't important, try an aftermarket one. There are plenty of choices.

7.9 My fan blower won't work on high anymore. Why?

The switch may be bad. It's discontinued but a switch from GM cars of the same era may be adaptable. Also check the blower relay.

7.10 What aftermarket shifters are available?

Tim (joyride_23_98) writes: "The 72 [and 71] Vega used an Opel trans and shifter that had the shifter coming out of the floor up under the dash. To install the 75 shifter, you will have to measure and cut a new hole in the trans tunnel. You might want to cut and weld the shifter surround from the 75 into the 72 to ease the installation."

Kevin (SoloII_74) adds about '71 and '72 Vegas:
"The '71 & '72 Vegas both used the european Opel 3 & 4 speed transmissions, not the Saginaw. The Saginaw's first year in the Vega was in '73.

The Opel transmissions have a single lever external shifting mechanism similar in concept to the internal rail shifter in the t-5 & t-50, so the shifter mounting is way up under the dash area, with a really long shifter arm. Your best bet with the Saginaw would be to go with a Hurst shifter (Super shifters for the Saginaw are still available, the Comp plus Vega Saginaw installation kit has been discontinued). For the Hurst you will have to cut your floor. At that point, why not step up with a Hurst shifter to a Super T-10, or a Muncie for the added strength.

This may be you only choice, even though you want to maintain a "sleeper" look to your '72. Just try to diguise the Hurst to look like the Saginaw shifter. Most people (& even most serious street racers) will not notice."

B&M Megashifter into '76-up Monza: Ken (mahoy78spyder) writes:

7.11 How do I clean my steering wheel?

To get the gunk off, one recommendation is "Prep" by Cosmetomobile.

7.12 How do I get better airflow through the dash vents?

Chvyfan1 writes:
"1. Make sure the vaccum control lines are all connected to the vac motors and make sure you have a vac source to the motors.
2. Make sure your rubber seals are good and not rotted; my evaporator box on the inside was not bolted all the way to the firewall. Resealing this fixed my problem.
3. Make sure all the control doors are working; these are a common problem.
4. Make sure your air intake is not clogged up in the cowl (leaves, pine needles,snow??)."

7.13 What are part numbers for the heater core and evaporator?

Heater core:

Evap Core:

7.14 How do I remove the kick panels?

Clyde (CJBIAGI) writes:
"Remove the screws around the vent and slide the panels to the rear of the car since it hooks on to the fender area. The whole thing comes out as a unit, the kickpanel, the cable assembly and the flap. I think it also goes under the door sill (the aluminum piece that covers the edge of the carpet) and that has to be removed also, it shouldn't be a major problem to remove these."

Marco (Monzabudd) adds:
"The kick panels can be a pain... 1st the seal around the vent may be sticking the panel to the body... and also the plastic extends up into the hole, you'll see what I mean when you finally get it out... I've always had to fight with mine to get them out, many have broken along the way, but not to the point of being unusable. If they at least come loose after ALL the screws are out (there's one at the top of the vent) then just wiggle them and they should eventually work loose. They go in easier than they come out also."

Jon (jon72vega) writes:
"You have probabally already removed the door sill mouldings as well as the plastic trim piece that is by the edge of the windshield, right? You have to pull up and towards you to get the kick panel to loosen up. The factory used some kind of sealer around where the vent is, and it can be a bear to break the bond. Once you get it broken loose, you tilt the bottom up to get the kick panel out. There is a piece of the panel that goes way up into the cavity of the car that causes it to catch, but once you have the kick panel loose, it will come out without breaking."

7.15 What interior parts interchange between H-bodies?

For Vegas, Dave (vegatex) says:
"Pretty sure the inside door trim panels are universally interchangeable. I believe the molded plastic ones I'm using on my '76 wagon were originally on a '73 or earlier Vega hatchback. The only big difference I believe you will find is the window framing is different on notchbacks and wagons compared to hatchbacks, so the actual doors aren't interchangeable between those body styles. From the doors back, however, there are major differences in inside trim panels between '71-'73 cars and '74-77 cars. BTW, if you can't find the right color panels in good condition, I have had good success wiping saddle-colored panels down with acetone and spraying them black with vinyl paint. Don't know how they will do long-term, but they look good, the color stays on, and only requires a minor touch-up if they get scraped or dinged."

7.16 How do I remove the heater core?

Ken Mahoy says:
"Unfortunately, removing a heater core requires dissembling the interior area primarily under the dash board, although it does require "some" disassembly on the outside of the firewall. To go by the book for a 75 Monza, there are 22 steps. They are:

1. Disconnect battery ground cable
2. Remove glove box
3. Remove right air outlet duct - deflector.
4. Remove instrument bezel.
5. Remove instrument pad.
6. Remove left air outletduct deflector and feed duct.
7. Lower steering column.
8. Remove instrument panel assembly.
9. Remove control assembly from instrument panel.
10. Remove radio.
11. Remove defroster duct.
12. Remove center (large) distribution duct.
13. Purge system of refrigerant. (if have A/C)
14. Remove heater hoses at core pipes.
15. Clean surface dirt from exterior of VIR assembly and all line connections. Blow any loose dirt away with an air hose. (A/C only)
16. Disconnect compressor inlet line, oil bleed line and condenser outlet line. Cap or plug all open connections at once. (A/C only)
17. Loosen the evaporator inlet and outlet connections. Remove the VIR mounting clamp screw and remove the clamp from assembly. Slide the VIR assembly off the evaporator outlet line first and then the evaporator inlet line. (A/C only)
18. Remove and discard all old "O" rings. (A/C only)
19. Remove heater-distributor case stud to firewall attaching nuts.
20. Remove heater and distributor assembly, disconnecting electrical connectors at control and vacuum plenum and vacuum tank hoses.
21. Separate heater case from distributor assembly.
22. Remove heater core from heater case."

H-Body FAQ Section 8

8 Electrical System

8.1 How can I install a Monza wiper switch into my Vega?

Myles (mylesgt) writes: "I found it easier to use donor's harness both sides of firewall. Vega uses vacuum (suitable only for tossing...imho) setup for pump. Without Monza harness, you'd have to tap power and timing to motor. If you do go with harness, Monza fuse holder same size as Vega's, bolts in. Swap done in '92 with '79 wagon into '74 GT HB, later into present '73 GT I've lost track exactly which wiper motor is in there. Monza switch poppped in dash, no mods. Plugs for back half and dome light section snapped in no problemo. Not sure if column same, used tilt from wagon."

8.2 How do I remove/replace the ignition switch?

Nick (nickster1_99) writes:
"Remove the steering wheel and pull the turn signal switch out of postion. [lockplate under wheel???] Under that you will see a screw by the tumbler. Most of the time this screw is 1/2 covered by a set of contacts in a piece of plastic. You need to pull that straight out then remove the screw. After that screw is removed, you can pull the tumbler right out with or without key. Then you can re-install it and go cruzin'!!"

Robert (twelve_second_vega) adds:
"The "Switch", the actual electrical part, is atop the column about mid-way down the tube. To replace it, remove the connector, attaching screws and pull it out. If it is the "Lock Cylinder" you need to replace, do the following:

With steering wheel removed, Insert the ignition key and turn it to the ACC position. (All the way back) If you look in the housing under the steering wheel, you will see a pin sticking through a hole ot slot in the tunnel for the lock cylinder.

Push this pin inward with an appropriate (Nail, Screwdriver, etc.) and pull the cylinder out. To replace, tune the cylinder rearward and insert it into the column. Turn it to start and the pin will extend, locking it in place."

8.3 What can I do about starter heat soak problems?

One way is to wire up a remote starter solenoid and move it away from the heat source.

Robert (twelve_second_vega) gives other options:
"I think a "Mini-Starter" is the way to go if you want to fix this problem the "Right Way." But, I also know what it's like to have bills to pay! Try these alternatives.

GM makes a "Green" High-Temperature Solenoid and there are various Heat Shields and Heat Blankets on the market. However, according to several starter manufacturers I spoke to while searching for my own starter, I discovered the biggest probelm with a GM starter is the Bronze Bushing style of supporting the Armature.

The Starter Heat Wrap (Blanket) is available from Jeg's under part #893-14150 for $22.99. It wraps around the starter and is easiest to install in the car with headers.

Or, you could use one of the smaller factory GM starters available from Pep-Boys/Autozone. The GM/Delco Part Number is 10465009 and it is a very small, planetary reduction drive unit that weighs only 8.5 pounds. I think the Rebuilder Part Number (Lester) is #6126, but just to be safe, have them cross-reference the GM/Delco Number.

H-Body FAQ Section 9

9 Engine Swaps

9A Swapping a Small Block Chevy V8

9B Swapping a Buick V6

9C Swapping a Big Block Chevy V8

9D Swapping a BOP V8

9E Swapping a Northstar V8

9F Swapping a Chevy 4.3 90-degree V6

9G Swapping a Cadillac 500ci V8

9.1 What are common engine swaps for H-bodies?

9.2 How much more weight will I add to the front of my car?

You figure it out!

Aluminum components help reduce weight. These numbers are for factory (mostly iron) engines.

9.3 Will I be able to keep my transmission?

It depends on several things:

So, basically, if you're going from a L4 or V6 to a V8, and want a reliable transmission, no.

9.4 How do I modify my tachometer?

All later tachometers are basically the same. On the circuit board is snap-in piece that goes in one of two slots. No clip = 4 cylinder, clip in upper slot = 6 cylinder, and clip in lower slot = 8 cylinder.

For Vega tachometers, the circuit board must be modified. One recommendation is to put a 1000 ohm potentiometer in-line between the meter and board, then adjust the pot until the reading on the meter is what you want (compare it to an underhood tach). Another is to add two 1u50V capacitors to the board.

A diagram of the board with modification instructions can be seen at:

If you decide to just get a V8 tachometer from a donor car, you must also replace the capacitor on the coil trigger wire.

9.5 What can I do about cooling?

See question 2.5.

9.6 How do I install a remote starter solenoid?

See question 8.1.

9.7 Should I replace my front springs and shocks for a V8 swap?

If you have a 4 cylinder engine, yes.

For a Monza, try TRW V8 Monza springs: part #CS6476 (front) #CC617 (rear)

For a Vega, shorter springs will be needed. This is because the Monza's lower control arm has a deeper spring pocket than the Vega's. So if you put Monza springs in a Vega, the front end will sit too high. You can either swap in Monza LCAs or...

John B (vegadad) offers this suggestion:
"If you want to increase the spring rate on your car, use the V-8 Monza/Air conditioning springs. When I put new springs on my 74 panel I used these. I do recommend, if you are using the stock A-arms, cut 2 coils from the top of the new spring. This will put your car back at the proper ride height. Do not use a torch to cut springs as the heat will weaken them. Mark the cuts vertically as you want to spring to sit in the spring pocket correctly."

Tom (tjvanoverbeke) writes:
"In my experience cutting two coils off the Monza A/C springs is too much. I cut 3/4 of a coil off the left side spring and it didn't seem to drop the car much. Then I cut a full coil off the right side and it dropped to around stock height (7" from the bottom of the rocker panel to the ground, around 4.5" from the 2135 headers to the ground). It would be a good idea to cut in 1/2 coil increments."
9.8 What about AC?

Short compressor: 5.5" back of case to clutch
Long compressor: 11.75" back of case to clutch

Jeff (monzafan) has some GM AC part numbers:

    Accumulator         2724048 
    Condensor           3036617 
    Evaporator          3036664 
    A/C Vac. Tank Hose  370112 
    A/C Refrig. Lines   See Chart at end of gp. 9 (which means:
      "find" the part that looks correct and match it to numbers listed below 
      the illustrations. This chart is at the back of the parts book 
      (group 9.000).

9.9 What can I do about starter heat soak?

9.10 What can I do about fuel delivery for carbureted cars?

NOTE: Carburetors require much less fuel pressure than most fuel injected cars. Thus fuel pumps aren't usually interchangable between the two, even with regulators.

If you have a stock V8 pump, people have claimed it's good for at least a 350 with a 600cfm carb under hard driving. On the other hand, the stock 4-cyl and V6 pumps aren't going to work well with a V8 (then again, see the notes from Robert Herndon...).

Mike (monzter_327) writes:
"A while back, someone asked me about replacing a Monza's stock immersible fuel pump with an external electric fuel pump. I've just removed the pump/quantity sender unit from the Monzter's tank and have a few tidbits to share with all of you who intend to do this replacement.

Regarding tubing, Denis (denisst78) adds:
"When you use a rubber hose in the fuel tank be sure you use Very Very good quality hose. The reason is this: I used an ordinary hose in mine to replace the fuel pump and one year after I removed the tank to flush it and I discovered that the rubber hose had bulged a lot (the gas almost melted it). So now I use a steel tube welded to the oem pick up and an adaptor so the sock fits on the outside of the tube."

For his drag Monza, Phill (DRAGMONZA) did this:
"Here is what I did for my Monza, although I am set up for drag racing this will work for the street also. I removed the stock fuel pump, pick-up & sending unit for the gauge. Street guys may want to leave the sending unit, nothing more embarassing than having a cool car, out of gas. I removed the pipes from inside the pump cover & modified one of them to act as a vent line, & plugged the other. Next I drilled a hole in the front of the tank near the top (look carefully before removing tank to see your clearance). I then bent some 1/2 (3/8 for street) aluminum line in the shape of a "z" so it would rest on the bottom of the tank near the back. Using AN fittings to connect to the out side of the tank, alot of work needs to done through the gauge hole on top of the tank, so keep your kids handy (I have small hands). I then used braided line to a Holley Blue Pump then Aluminum & braid the rest of the way up front. This can be adapted to the street by relocating the "z" line so the sending unit still functions. Plus the added bonus this work can be kept hidden from prying eyes if you have a "sleeper". I have had abslutely no problems with this system, plus have the advantage of the pick up at the back of the tank for hard acceleration. To add to the other message about adding a larger hose, you are still limited by the size of the fitting exiting through the top of the tank & the poor factory bends (i.e. crimps)."

Robert (twelve_second_vega) says about stock pumps:
"I have used the Vega "In-Tank" fuel pump on V8 swaps in the past with no problems. Of course, these are fairly mild engines, mostly 350's with a Q-Jet. What I do is install a one-way check valve in the fuel line, then add an auxillary external fuel pump (one of those cheap "Click-Click" ones) in the line to the carburetor with 2 "Y" fittings. I then add a toggle switch somewhere out of sight that will activate the pump if the primary pump fails. With this primitive system, I am certain I could at the very least return home.

The reason I employed a check valve in this application was to avoid pumping fuel through a dormant pump. The "Y" fitting allows the secondary pump to remain primed but inoperative and the check valve ensures that fuel will travel in one direction only. This permanant installation is hard wired to a hidden switch that provides for immediate secondary pump operation before the car stops rolling."

9.11 What can I do about fuel delivery for fuel injection?

For cars without electronic fuel injection (i.e., all but the Cosworth!), if you plan to install fuel injection, you'll need to run a return line back to the tank. Some people just use the vapor canister line but it's not recommended--it's there for a reason! The "right" thing to do is run another line. Also, it's recommended to install a baffle in the fuel tank to hold fuel near the pump inlet tube while cornering, or else you'll get no fuel (FI doesn't have float bowls like carbs!).

Denis (denisst78) writes:
"I tried a tuned port pump on my Monza and it was easilly adaptable. It was from a 1988 Camaro with a 350). For the fuel lines here's what I'd do: Use the vapor canister line for the TPI vapor canister. Use the main Monza fuel line for the TPI return line. Install a 3/8" fuel line for the TPI fuel pressure line. If you follow the oem bends it will look just like OEM."

Dave (cuzworth) suggests:
"I have also modified my in-tank fuel pump on my Cosworth. When my external high pressure pump quit working, I discovered that a replacement was about $270 (in 1991). I did a little research and found out that the pump from a '86 Fiero V6 had similar specifications for flow volume and pressure as the stock Cosworth high pressure pump. The Fiero pump is longer than a stock Vega/Monza pump, but otherwise identical in overall diameter and power/fuel connections. I had to modify the bracket that holds the pump to the main pickup tube to make it work, but that was a very simple procedure. The best part was that the Fiero pump was only $60 and has a lifetime warranty."

Roger (monza_madness) writes:
"I plan on using an 87 TPI IROC sending unit (100 psi pump) in my Monza tank, it fits like the stock Monza unit except, the tubes in the tank have to be bent slightly for location and clearence. You should be able to get a used sending unit from a bone yard. Don't forget to make a baffle to hold fuel around the "sock" to prevent fuel starvation on corners and stops. Unlike carbs with floatbowls, injection systems need constant fuel (no reservoirs). It sucks air you lose pressure, no pressure, no squirt etc."

Tim (joyride_23_98) says:
"I have a TPI in my '72 Vega, I have a IROC pump mounted to the stock fuel pick up (don't forget to use the pulsation dampner that was used with the Camaro, or you will have a very loud knocking noise). I made a reservoir from tin that the pick up sits in and added a return line into the tank. I used the stock fuel line as a return line and added a new 3/8" line to feed the engine. All of the flex lines must be upgraded to fuel injection hose, otherwise you will have a few major leaks."

Later Tim adds:
"I made a small box out of tin (it just fits in the big opening at the top of the tank). The fuel pump pick up (sock) sits in this box, I have the fuel return line that I made dumping all the fuel back into this box. I made a few small holes in the lower sides of the box so that fuel can creap in if the fuel level is lower then the top edge of the box (heaven forbid). The box hold enough fuel so when I go around corners, the motor does not starve. I used a fuel pump from a TPI Camaro; I modified the stock bracket and tie wrapped the pump to it. Be sure to use the pulsation dampner that comes on the TPI fuel pick up, or you will have a horrible knocking noise in you fuel system.

The other option is to cut the bottom of the tank and have a small sump installed that the fuel pick up could sit in. I was going to get a rad shop to do that do mine, but they wanted a couple of hundered dollars to do it, and being the cheap Scotsman that I am, I spent $2 on roofing tin at the Home Depot and made the above system.

If you have a Cosworth fuel tank, take a look at the baffle system that GM used, it is a lot more graceful then what I did, but you will have to cut open the tank to fit it in there.

Another quick note, if you are using TBI, use the fuel pump from a TBI Fiero (or the like), the TPI pump will put out way to much pressure (you also won't need the pulsation dampner, it is only used on the TPI system).

9.12 How do I install a "generic" radiator?

This question mainly refers to the Griffin aluminum radiator (#155241, 27 1/2" X 15 5/8"). Griffin may also sell a radiator designed to fit an H-body exactly, but their exact-fit radiators are typically twice as expensive as their universal-fit radiators.

Paul (pvgatto) writes:
"It took a bit of fabrication to install the Griffin radiator. I had to remove the front radiator support and weld in a crossmember between the front frame rails. In the stock location, the radiator is actually wider than the frame rails and is also too close to the fan. By moving it forward a couple inches, I gained some fan clearance and the frame rails widen out a bit where the original radiator support sheetmetal used to be. All in all, its a pretty tight fit.

In my opinion, the Griffin radiator is really nice, but is probably not necessary unless you are running a 400 and live in a really hot climate like I do. The V8 Monza radiator is probably adequate for most applications. Even with the Griffin radiator, my car still ran hot until I installed a proper fan shroud and a good, factory style steel fan."

erdowell writes: "I just bought their 27.5" x 15.5" radiator and it is a 1/2" to wide. It is the 2 core with 1" tubes. I will notch the frame, and slip it in. It is 1/4" thicker than the 3 core monza unit I currently have in it, which will leave me approx. 1/8" of room."

9A.1 What basic parts do I need to put in a Chevy Small Block?

If your H-body came with a V8:

If your H-body didn't come with a V8:

Also Recommended but not necessary:

Robert (twelve_second_vega) provides some part numbers from the Don Hardy kit:

9A.2 What are my engine mount options for a Chevy Small Block V8?

(also see question 2.15 for more information)

If you want factory pieces, get them from an original V8 car. All factory V8s in the H-bodies were Chevy Small Blocks of various displacements, so the mounts are the same. Be sure to get the mounts (including the pieces that attach to the subframe), the transmission crossmember, and even the driveshaft and torque arm.

Part numbers:

The mounts will bolt into any Monza/Starfire/Sunbird/Skyhawk without modification. However, for the Vega and Astre, they will only bolt in after the old "outer" frame mounts have been removed and you have created a place for the mounts to bolt in. This requires drilling or grinding out spot welds and possibly a BFH (big hammer) to knock the mounts off the frame due to a hidden spot weld. Then obtain 3/8ths-16 nuts. Grind the corners so that they can be tapped in the holes, then weld them in place. You may also need to drill new holes. Once you have the nuts welded in place, the Monza mounts will bolt right up and sit flush to the frame.

Aftermarket kits are sold by a few companies.

Note that mount choice affects the headers you can use, for example, Hooker 2129s will not work with side mounts.

Finally, you can make your own. Many chassis manufacturers sell motor plates for the SBC and other engines. You then tailor them to your frame. Use 3/8" aluminum if possible.

Robert (twelve_second_vega) offers this advice:
"For those of you who may be making their own motor/transmission mounts, I would like to share my method for centering. First, the car should be supported on stands and leveled in all (4) directions.

Next, attach a piece of string to (3) 1/2" Castle Nuts and tape them to the exact center of the Crankshaft Snout, the Transmission Output Shaft and the Pinion Stem. Run a long piece of string through all (3) nuts and tape it to a Brake Drum at each end of the car. Apply tension to the string and raise/lower each individual nut until the tensioned string passes exactly through the center of each nut.

Now make any adjustments you need to keep the string in the exact center of all (3) nuts. No measurements are required, you just need a good line of sight through each nut.

Now level the engine from side to side. I do this by measuring through the centerline of the lower bolt holes in the front of the block on a Chevrolet V8. You may need a different datum point on other engines. Once you have the engine level, again check the "Plumb Bob's" to be sure you have everything on exact center.

Now place a level across the carburetor mounting pad and set the angle of the engine from front to rear. I use 0 or absolute level, but some other club members may offer different suggestions."

9A.3 What do I need to do to the oil pan for a Chevy Small Block?

The pan needs to be clearanced for the steering link. You can find insutrctions with pictures for this on many websites plus or with some engine mount kits.

You can buy a new pan for this application from Milodon, Moroso, and Hamburger. The Milodon (part number MIL-31070) will work with a 400; this part is for a left-hand dipstick (MIL-31071 is for right-hand dipstick). The Moroso is part number 710-20230 and the matching oil pickup is 710-24170. See any popular racing parts catalog.

Finally, you can try to get a real Monza V8 oil pan, either used or (possibly) new through a dealer.

9A.4 What are header and exhaust options for a small block V8?

With factory-style side engine mounts:

With front engine mounts:

Ron (vega355) writes about Doug Thorley headers:
"I bought the V8 Doug Thorley Vega kit a few years ago (and they weren't making the very useful altanator bracket anymore). I chose the Doug Thorley kit for a couple of reasons. 1) The headers stay within the frame rails, so I didnt have to compromise turning radius by cutting holes through the wheel well. 2) I wanted the Doug Thorley motor mounts, so I wouldn't have to use a motor plate. The problems I had with the headers were a) I had to cut an ear off my Turbo 350 to clear them. b) you are forced to relocate the oil filter, unless you only wanted to change it once. c) I pretty much had to use a mini starter. d) the headers point out at a angle that makes if difficult to make them street leagal. Otherwise, they fit nice and tight."

For an exhaust system, Clyde (CJBIAGI) recommends:
"Over the last 25 years I have had a number of exhaust systems on my 75 Monza and the only one I ever really liked is the one I have now. I have Hooker 2135 headers and what I had done is to run both pipes parallel to each other on the passenger side of the drive shaft, up and over the rear end and then into two Edelbrock stainless mufflers mounted side by side next to the gas tank where the original muffler was. I am running 2 1/4" aluminized pipes all the way. I have the driver side pipe coming off the header and curving behind the trans crossmember. Leave enough room to drop the trans without disturbing the exhaust system. I also had a "H" pipe added between the two sides. It's a tricky system to have bent; find a good muffler man--he's worth his price in gold. This system allows very good ground clearance and you don't see the mufflers hanging way down under the rear seats.

I forgot to add that the 75 monza uses the curved panhard bar. The panhard bar is what makes getting the pipes over the rear end so difficult. Later models that use the straight panhard bar may be easier to route the pipes. I am not really sure. If you have the curved bar it seems to work out better to run both pipes on the passenger side. There is not a lot of room to do this, but it is possible. I doubt that you could go much bigger than 2 1/4" over the panhard bar, as there is not a lot of clearance between the pipes, shock and panhard bar."

Denis (denisst78) adds that he was able to pass a 4 inch pipe over the axle in his 1978 Spyder instead of passing dual 2 1/4 pipes: "Hooker 2129 headers, about one foot of 2.5 inch pipe on both side (bend at around 20), Dynomax ultraflow mufflers (one on each side), one foot of 2.5 pipe on both side, and a 4 inch pipe that goes all the way to the rear bumper. I made this exhaust with pre-bent tube so I had to piece it up together. Nothing touches the ground (exept the damn 2129`s). Now if you want, you can omit the two front mufflers and only use a 4 inch rear muffler."

Wade (wade78spyder) writes:
"I have the mufflers under the front seat. They are Edelbrock RPM series stainless steel straight thru w/life time warranty (sound very nice). My pipes are 2.5" to end (also st. stl.) and exit behind the rear wheels. I hit once w/my 13" rims (it was a huge dip on a back road traveling about 60)--actually hit the pipe on the drives side just before it turns up to the header (Sanderson)--no damage. Now with 15" rims, I'd have to be off the road to hit! From the rear you can't see the mufflers, but you can see about 1/2 of it from side on the drivers side. You can also see about 1/2 the pipe also. Just can't run it close enough to the center of the car. I think Clyde's setup probably is the cleanest looking in terms of factory appearance. It also would give about the best clearance."

On H-pipes: Usually they are beneficial. To find the optimal place to put one, ignoring practical concerns, draw crayon lines on your current dual exhaust while it is cold. Start the engine and let it warm up. Look where the crayon stops melting on the exhaust--this is where you would add the H-pipe to balance the exhaust flow better. However, in real life, you would place it wherever it fits best and doesn't interfere with transmission maintenance. Even if the placement isn't optimal, it will still help. (Marco (Monzabudd) posted this tip.)

Mark (vsvw8) writes about Don Hardy headers:
"Received my don hardy super-twister sm. block headers today and it sure seemed like christmas to me! Nice looking, good solid weight and NEW, not looking like old stock! Most complete header package i've ever purchased, and i've bought at least 15 + sets to date! Headers, gaskets, collectors, bolts, hell they even send ya some hi heat black header paint to boot! Then there was also a couple of page long walk thru directions on how to install a small block chevy motor, complete on where to dimple the trans hump ect, a template to re-cut the heater core cover. Great kit, tubes are of equal length (supposedly tuned like they ran on their drag car) and to top it all off, they send ya a pair of really slick looking don hardy stickers with his logo!"

9A.5 How do I mount accessories?

One option is to try and gather brackets and pullies from a V8 Monza.

For the Vega, Robert (twelve_second_vega) recommends:
"With the original Vega wiring having the Alternator connections on the Drivers Side, I thought it would be of great benefit to locate the V8 Alternator in the same location. Additionally, it seemed logical to place the Alternator above the Water Pump as well. I found a combination of parts that accomplish this with the Short Water Pump (SWP) and they are a mixture of GM Pulleys, and OMC (PowerBoat) Brackets. The end result is 6" crank and water pump pulleys with double grooves and an Alternator that sits just above the Intake Manifold, just right of the Water Outlet. The Alternator Bracket bolts to the Drivers Side Cylinder Head, so you need Heads with accessory holes and the Adjuster Bar bolts to the Passengers Side upper Water Pump Mounting Bolt. Here are the part numbers. It looks and works great.

You will need to shorten the spacer on the GM Alternator slightly with the 911877 Bracket. You can also substitute a Ford Aluminum Spacer from the ScrapYard too. The very late GM Alternator (with plastic rear housing) bolts right up.

Pre-1982 Corvette and early GM Truck/Van Pulleys line up with the Boat Brackets. The Boats use the Corvette style pulleys and many aftermarket suppliers offer them. My experience has shown that Chrome Pulleys are not good for High RPM work. Repeatedly, I flip 13 Series (1/2") belts over in the Chrome Pulleys @ 8300+ RPM. This problem stopped when I switched to Painted Pulleys with Bare Steel Grooves. When selecting your belts....You want the belt to ride appoximately .060" - .080" above the groove. If the top of the belt is down in the pulley groove, it will flip the belt over and/or throw it off if you turn enough RPM. I have experienced this as low as 5500 RPM."

Bob (botizan) adds:
"I went by a boat shop and looked up the brackets & ordered them. Both #s have been superseded. The 913691 brought up the new #s but the 911877 didn't bring anything up, however, it was easy to find! It's the same mount on all 4.3 & 5.7s from at least 87 & up. I don't have the new #s handy or I would post them. I'll let everyone know If they work OK. The cost was about $40 for the set. [then later...] The OMC # 913691 adjuster bracket is a good number, however, the OMC # 911877 would not come up. After looking through the books I found the superseding OMC # is 3853883. It looks like a good set up , but I don't think it wiil work on the Vega due to the hood clearence, it mounts the alt a little high."

Robert (twelve_second_vega) replies:
"I think you will find it works nicely with the Late GM Alternator."

9A.6 How do I relocate the oil filter?

To move the filter without needing to mount it remotely or run hoses, Larry (vega_man_larry) says:
"Use the following parts to relocate your oil filter away from the headers [GM part numbers]:

I have the above parts on my Vega and the filter clears Headman Hedders and is much easier to access. Before finding these parts oil change meant dropping one hedder. Sorry no PICS available. It costs under $100 and solves the filter problem. You also get rid of the remote filter hoses and where to mount a remote filter if you choose to go that route. I had a remote setup before but I was plagued with constant leaks. This is the best solution I have found."

9A.7 What should I know about the throttle pedal and cable on an early Vega?

John B (vegadad) writes:
"One thing you may wish to look at is the floorboard area around the gas pedal. If you had to expand the tunnel on the driver's side, a common adjustment, you may have interference such that the pedal no longer goes all the way to the floor. My friend used the cable from a V-8 Monza on his 73 with a 327 and has no problems."

Bill (vegasmb383) adds:
"On mine I used a cable off of I believe, a 76 or 75 camaro. The length is near perfect in that at the point the pedal is on the floor, the carb is at WOT. And it clips right in the hole in the firewall and on the bracket on carb. I am using a team g and holley 750 dp by the way on mine."

9A.8 Can I use Monza exhaust manifolds on Vortec heads?

Denis (denisst78) says:
"Yes they can, Be sure to check if the manifold matches the gaskets. Some manifold are cast with very small openings or they may have shifted when the manifold was cast. Just a little minor porting."

9B.1 V6 General notes

First, the V6s (3.2 and 3.8) used in the H-bodies are Buick engines. If you get a V6-equipped H-body, a newer 3800 engine (200-240hp) or Buick Turbo V6 will bolt in. You'll have fuel and electronics issues, but the blocks should fit easily. Look for the book "Building the V6 Vega" by John Thawley.

Hooker sold/may still sell headers for the V6 in a Vega (should also fit Monza).
Other part numbers that may be outdated:
Hurst headers - p/n 1603
Hurst crossmember - p/n 12636 turbo 400
Hurst crossmember - p/n 12637 turbo 350
Hedman/TransDapt hedders - p/n 48050

Brew (mongoose_brew) notes:
"Unfortunately, the 3.8 will only bolt up to BOPC (Buick Olds Pontiac and Cadillac) pattern transmissions. NO CHEVYS. The up side to that is v6 or v8 makes no difference it will bolt up to all of them.

The four cylinder BOPC trans are few and far between. Most four cylinder Buick, Olds, Pontiac and Caddy CARS used Chevrolet engines.

The most feasible, hassle free 3.8 swaps are with that of the 4.1 Caddys and Buicks. Mostly, because they all use the same accessories, intake and exhaust equipment.

PS-TRANS-DAPT, as well as several other companies, makes adapter plates to mate the Chevys and BOPCs, if you're interested."

Don Hardy V-6 kit part numbers:

They claim to still have some Buick kits in stock (ask for Fernando).

John B (vegadad) writes:
"I've installed a 3.8 in my 72 Vega. Some tips you'll need to know about. 1) There isn't enough clearance between the starter motor and the frame on a 71-72 vega. You'll need to pound a dent in the rear of the front suspension web on the passenger side to mount the starter. I don't know if a mini-starter will solve the problem. If you can, test fit the block with starter in place and see where you need to bump it out and how much. 2) Removing the mounting pads is a necessary step this allows everything else to align properly. 3) When you go to bolt in the new frame stands You'll need to drill the holes in the upper part of the frame. The good news there are enough access holes in the side and bottom of the frame member to insert the nuts by hand using a socket and long extension. 4) when bolting the frame stands in place use weatherstripping glue to glue washers to the nuts. That way, when you put them in the socket they will sit near the top of the socket and will facilitate getting the nuts on the bolts without crossthreading. The more bolts you use the stronger the frame stand will be. 5) Use some kind of motor restraing system on the driver's side of the engine. The 3.8 is a has a lot of torque and will have a tendancy to break the driver's side motor mount. I wiped out a real nice flex fan, fan shroud and the radiator because I didn't know this. Also you will have to notch the K-bar on the drivers side to install the monza radiator. the lower mount will have to be lowered about 4" to do the trick. This can be done with a piece of strap steel. See if you can keep all the rubber vibration dampeners from the donar car. You may have to fabricate the lower mounts but not a big deal. See if you can get the adapter transmission mount from Hurst, It works for the 4 speed ot TH 350 installation. I don't know for sure, but I think you might also be able to mount a 200R4 as an option. Any other questions please ask. The 71-72 Vega had a smaller engine bay than the 73 and up cars. I think you'll like the results, I know I did and you won't tear up the unibody with the added stress of a V8. It's a natural."

Then he adds:
"The 231 swap is a natural for your 77. One word of advice. If you are going to install this new bullet. Reface the flywheel,and replace the clutch (pay me now or pay me later mentality). No the 140 flywheel will not fit a 231. The flywheel on my 231 weighs 50 lbs to cut down on motor induced vibration. Mine is an odd-fire engine from a 77 Cutlas S. Your requirement may be different if you are installing an even fire engine. You may also need to change the rear crossmember. If so let me know I have one from a 76 Buick Skyhawk you can have. It looks like a rounded trianglular piece. Some other members may be of help here. Be careful with the exhaust. if you stick to stock manifolds for an h-body you shouldn't have a problem. Headers are a different story. The v-6 bellhousing for my car has a starter buldge on both sides. This won't let me use hedman hedders as the driver's side header won't clear the buldge. Not to discourage as maybe Hooker makes a header for your application (Monza, Skyhawk, etc.). Would recommend a switch to a 4 barrel, Edelbrock offers a complete deal, with even fire cam and the works including a 500 cfm 4 bbl."

John (vegadad) adds about headers:
"I purchased Headman Headers for a V-6 Monza Application for my 72 Vega with a 77 231 Odd-Fire. Here are some problems I experienced.

  1. Power Brakes clear will have no problem.
  2. If you are running a 4 or 5-speed Stick, the headers will not clear the bellhousing on the driver's side. The Buick Bellhousing has a starter hump on both sides of the bellhousing for universal application(s).
  3. When mounting the power steering pump you will need to fabricate a Bushing spacer for the support arm on the pump assembly mount that goes to the first header bolt on the Driver's side of the block.

As far as the problem with the bellhousing goes, I don't think you would have a problem with using an automatic. If you do wish to use a 4 or 5 Speed I would suggest grinding off the starter hump on the driver's side then fabricate a plate to cover the hole. Short Machine screws may be tapped into the bellhousing as it is Aluminum ( easy stuff.) Don Hardy and Hooker, I believe, also make headers for this application. Make sure you check to make sure they will fit with the OE engine mounts. Good Luck.

Lenny (lenny1_70) adds about headers:
"I used the Hooker super competition set up and had no problems with them. They are a slip fit on the driver side (to fit around the steering shaft) and I have'nt had any problems with leaks. My Monza is a 231 with power brakes and steering plus A/C and has no clerance problems. I am also running a TH-350."

About frame mounts, Myles (mylesgt) writes:
"Spacers: Yes, toss em. Why? Don't need 'em.
First off, if you're using PS, the spacers interfere with the assembly. Eliminating them also enables the OEM monza Mounts to contact the 'frame rails' fully. As both the V6 & V8 plates (bottom part of motor mount assembly) grab the two holes from the 4, and carry the weight down/out, IMHO, it's better to snug em up against the rail. The RH (passenger side) plate lines up with only one of the 4's holes. The LH plate does grab both. As the six twists up from the LH side, this has not been an issue. To strengthen the anchoring (RH), you can always tap the spare, or the plate's tab resting on the top of the frame rail, with its two top holes/one on side. For 8s, I usually welded the plates on."

Then Larry (vega_man_larry) adds:
"The factory V6 mounts won't fit until the plates have been removed as the mounts and the chasiss pan "nest" together. You don't need to go high tech to remove the spacer pads. I used a very sharp chisel and five pound sledge once to break the spot welds holding the spacer pads to the unibody. If you have a die grinder grind away the spotwelds and break the pad free. Work slowly and carefully and you won't damage the unibody. Use some of the existing holes to attach the mounts and drill new holes as required."

About Turbo V6s, Larry (vega_man_larry) writes:
"I built a V6 Turbo car using an early GN carburator turbo setup. I used the MSD BTM box to retard ignition during boost. As it was carbbed I didn't have to fool around with a computer. I used a 4.1 engine which has the turbo (radiused fillet) crank. The tricky part was routing the exhaust across the botom of the car. I had a custom pipe made up that tucked between the oilpan and the bellhousing. The car had the 5 speed optional transmission. Fitting the works into the Vega was tight. I had to massage the unibody on the RH side for clearance. If you go the late model GN route get the whole donor car. You'll need to convert the tank over to the GN fuel pump and wire the car for the electronic fuel injection. You'll also have to get a cowl induction hood or hood scoop to clear all the plumbing. I didn't use an intercooler. I don't know where one would fit in a Vega so your inlet temps will be higher. Get a couple books on turbocharging. It's a little tricky. My car's setup looked like the one in Thawley's V6 Vega book, the setup in the jeep. Turbos are expensive. A rebuild on the turbo alone will run $400. A V8 is quicker and cheaper, but the turbo is rare."

9C.1 Big block General notes

Aleck (stinkybuttihave) writes:
"The headers you need are made by Hooker and they acually fit better than the small block ones because of the diferent exhaust port exit angle. The Hooker kit uses front saddle mounts similar to the small block kit. Motion's kits use Hooker headers. Also with the big block you must use manual steering because the headers wont clear the steering box or the steering shaft."

9D.1 BOP V8 General notes

Roger (ks_skyhawk) writes: "I have done a similar swap using a 350 Buick V-8, I have talked to KcKen about the Olds swap. Also, I believe the Olds (all displacements) and the small block Buick have similar external dimensions. I think both are do-able. In my case, the V-8 bolted right on the the V-6 mounts. That's where the easy stuff ended. Had to use u-joints on the steering, and modify the brace between the passenger fenderwell and floorpan to clear the exhaust. The waterpump cleared the 4-core radiator by a whole 3/4" (radiator in the factory location). I know the 455 Buick is at least 2" longer. Don't know about the Olds. I wanted to have the AC, and PS, so anything beyond these limits weren't an option. And, has been stated by my esteemed friends on this site, anything with that kind of brute torque and HP is destined to do a job on the uni-body unless serious stiffening is accomplished."

9E.1 Northstar V8 General notes

Randy (monzamiler) notes:
"Here are the specs that I got back on the Northstar:

9F.1 Chevy 4.3 90-degree V6 V8 General notes

Bob (botizan) says:
"I have a 78 Sunbird wagon with an 86 4.3/Th- 350. It wasn't too difficult a conversion. I used V-6 Monza frame plates, 200/229 Malibu (1980 or so) motor mounts then made a simple perch for each mount to set onto the frame plates. The oil pan is out of an Astro van. The Astro doesn't have the step in front of the sump like the Monte Carlo and others, which will hit your crossmember. I massaged the sides carefully for tie rod end clearence then removed 1 1/2" out of the sump.I don't think headers are available for this unless you buy the kit type and build them yourself to fit. I used a V-8 Monza cross over pipe and modified it to fit the exhaust manifolds and the original exhaust system (with the exception of a mini turbo muffler). The manifolds are 200/229 Malibu. The 4 brl however might be too tall for your hood. you might have to use an aftermarket intake. For accessories p/s, a/c, alt, I used all V-8 Monza brackets. The only thing different there was that I ran the p/s belt from just the w/p due to the steering box location interfering with the belt."

Then he adds:
"The Monza flywheel will bolt up to an 85 or earlier 4.3. but for 86 & up, you will need the later small (153 tooth) flywheel for a 4.3,305, or 350.If you go standard, the same goes just use the same clutch set for all years. My 4.3 set in the same place as the V8. This gives 4 3/8" more room in the front of the engine. Then using the V8 Monza W/P & accessories brackets makes it neat, simple & factory appearing(the long legged W/P might not allow P/S due to the location of the steering box). With this set up, the trans stays in the V6/V8 position. 1980 200/229 motor mounts are very close to the V8 Monza mounts & those are what I used. Besides, You can easily modify them to work in place of V8 Monza mounts. I don't think the S10 exhaust manifolds will work. Let me know if you find out different."

Denis (denisst78) writes:
"I just got a magazine from e-bay (Hot rod`s chevrolet high performance) (volume 2 number 3). It was sold in 1985. They have lots of info on swapping a V-6 90 in a vega. Here's what they used: Herbert automotive engine bracket, trans crossmember, custom oil pan (it looks a lot like an oil pan from a 4X4 s-10--BTW the oil pan was modified by Milodon). They used the easy to find long water pump and brackets. Headers were custom made (no shop are specified in the mag). They also use a holley # 300-34 intake with a Holley carb and it clears the hood.

Here's what i was thinking to do on my 1980: 4.3 from a s-10 truck (4x4 to have the good oil pan), fuel injection from the truck, V-8 monza motor mounts modified (need to have a 1 inch plate welded to them for the v-6), regular GM long water pump or I could use the S-10 brackets if they fit under the hood of the monza), V-6 monza radiator."

9G.1 Cadillac 500ci V8 General notes

Todd (tallen_77346) offers this advice:
"I'm the guy that WAS doing this swap. The engine physically fits. Here is what you have to do to make it happen:

1. Forget about power brakes. It won't work with the factory booster. Aftermarket may work.
2. Custom headers are required unless you use the factory manifolds. Big Block Chevy H-Body headers will NOT work. Yes, new flanges will allow them to bolt to the 500, but the ports exit to far forward causing the back tubes to go through the upper A-Arm!!
3. Forget power steering, the 500 hits the long steering gear box. For the manual gear box, the lower, right, bolt hole flange on the block must be ground off to clear (viewed from the front).
4. Forget factory A/C. The factory heater only cars have a cover that will fit with minor clearancing!
5. Motor Mounts: Custom mounts are not very hard if you have a welder. Use steel bolted to the front of the engine to attached to brackets on top of the frame rail (similar to the Hooker small-block mounts).
6. As with all big-block Chevy H-body swaps, you must install a new steering shaft that has an extra U-joint and a carrier bearing (this snakes the shaft farther out than stock to fit the big block).
7. 472/500 Caddys are about 1 1/2" wider than a big block chevy and about 2 inches longer (measured from Water pump studs to the back of the engine). You must notch the sheet metal near the bottom of the radiator to allow room for the crank pulley.
8. The stock Monza V-8 radiator still fits with about 1/4"-1/2" clearance!! A pusher style electric fan setup mounted on the outside of the radiator will be necessary. An aftermarket radiator will probably be necessary to cool this beast!!
9. The firewall near the steering column will need to be clearanced slightly to keep the driver's side head from rubbing.

As you can see, there is a bunch of work necessary to make this work. The 500 is cheaper to build than a big block chevy up until the 450-500 horsepower level, however, the custom headers alone are EXPENSIVE. Stock manifolds (ported) would be much better (as far as money goes). This is the very reason why I decided to use a Big-Block Chevy after all. The 500 (with an aluminum intake) actually weighs about the same as an iron Small Block Chevy (this allows you to use the stock V-8 springs).

H-Body FAQ Section 10

10 Transmission Swaps

10.1 What are common transmission swaps?

For a V8 or 4.3 V6:

For a Buick V6 or other engine with B-O-P bolt pattern:

Bad ideas:

Just in case you're curious, power loss for various auto transmissions:

    Powerglide    18 hp
    TH350         36 hp
    TH400         44 hp
    Ford C6    55-60 hp
    Ford C4       28 hp
    Chrysler A904 25 hp
    Chrysler 727  45 hp

10.2 What do I need when converting from an automatic to a manual?

First get a manual pedal assembly. These interchange for all H-bodies. Older H-bodies use a pulley for the clutch cable. Trade the flexplate for a flywheel. Might need a new driveshaft and torque arm if the transmission isn't the same length.

The transmission crossmember behind a V6 or V8 is the same for automatic and 4-speed, but different for 5-speed.

The torque arm mounting is also different for the 5-speed.

Make sure your engine crank is machined to accept a pilot bearing. For a small block, the 6.2 diesel bearing is recommended; it's a tougher unit and fits.

10.3 What do I need when converting from a manual to an automatic?

Denis (denisst78) says:
"Last year I also converted a v-8 monza to auto trans. Drive shaft was the same. Torque arm was the same. Crossmember was the same. What extra you need: tranny, tranny cooler, tubing for the cooler, auto trans oil, flex plate, converter, shifter + neutral switch, shifter cover plate, couples of wire (to rewire neutral and reverse switch), converter cover, torque converter bolts, shifter cable and bracket (monza specific)."

10.4 How do I install XXXX automatic transmission?

10.5 How do I install XXXX manual transmission?

H-Body FAQ Section 11

11 Groups, Clubs, Organizations, Websites

11.1 What clubs or groups are out there for H-body owners?

11.2 Where are websites for H-body owners?

Where did the Monzter (+ wiring diagrams) and James@LGC (DOBI catalog) pages go?

H-Body FAQ Section 12

12 Vendors

12.1 Who still sells parts for H-bodies?

NOTE: The listing a company or individual here does NOT imply any endorsement of that company or individual. Information here may not be current or correct, but probably is. All vendors are in the U.S. unless otherwise noted.

  A & M Soff Seal, Inc.
  104 May Drive
  Harrison, OH  45030
  (800) 426-0902
  --> weatherstripping for doors

  Addco Industries
  Watertower Road 
  Lake Park, FL  33403
  (305) 844-2531 or (305) 842-6065
  --> swaybars

  Aerospace Components Inc.
  2625 75th Street North
  St.Petersburg, Florida  33710
  (727) 545-4943
  --> 5-lug brake kits for Vega and Monza
  Afco Racing Products
  P.O. Box 548
  Boonvillle, IN  47601
  (812) 897-0900
  --> radiator that approximately fits H-body for V8 swap, other racing stuff
  Alston Group
  248 Depot Street
  Antioch, IL  60002
  (847) 395-3300
  --> subframe connectors, rollcages

  AP&R (Auto Parts & Recycling)
  W4726 Hwy A
  Fredonia, WI
  (800) 680-2886
  --> used H-body parts

  Auto Custom Carpet
  Anniston, AL ???
  (800) 352-8295
  --> carpets

  Auto Decals Unlimited Inc.
  11259 E. Via Linda, Suite 100-201
  Scottsdale, AZ 85259
  (602) 860-9800  
  --> replacement decals
  Auto Specialties Performance
  13313 Redfish, #104
  Stafford, TX 77477
  (281) 261-5811
  (877) 928-8678
  --> street/race/blower pulleys; custom pulleys

  Automotive Information Clearinghouse
  Box 1746
  La Mesa, CA  91944
  (619) 447-7200 
  --> reports about how many of a certain model of car still exist, etc.
  --> Roll bars and cages for H-bodies; must buy through dealer

  (ARRE Industries, Inc.)
  5412 New Peachtree Rd.
  Atlanta, GA  30341
  (770) 451-8811
  --> coilover shocks for H-bodies    

  Carter Chevrolet Auto Restoration Service
  9905 Tunnel Way
  Louisville, KY  40291
  John Carter, Owner
  (502) 231-1955
  (502) 239-2545 fax
  --> Vega door seals

  Century Performance Center
  (775) 746-4887 (try website first)
  --> much stuff, including Sanderson headers

  Chris Alston's Chassisworks
  8661 Younger Creek Drive
  Sacramento, CA  95828
  (800) 722-2269
  --> subframe connectors, other chassis parts?

  Classic Camaro
  17832 Gothard Street
  Huntington Beach, CA  92647
  (800) 854-1280
  --> Camaro armrests ('78-'81 fit the H-bodies)

  --> seats; direct fit for H-bodies???

  Crower Cams & Equipment Co. Inc.
  3333 Main Street
  Chula Vista, CA  91911-5899 
  (619) 422-1191
  --> rods for Vega 2.0 and 2.3l engines (part #SP93208B)

  CTC's Auto Ranch
  3077 Memory Lane
  Sanger, TX  76266-7329
  (800) 482-6157
  --> H-bodies for sale

  Custom Interiors  
  (800) 423-6053
  --> carpets

  D&D ???
  (810) 798-2491
  --> Buick 215-into-Vega parts
  Dave's Vega Village
  #4-3011 Murray St.
  Port Moody, BC 
  Canada  V3H 1X3
  (604) 469-9979
  --> many parts

  Diamond Racing Wheels
  --> Custom wheels; will build in 4x4" H-body pattern

  DLI ???
  (818) 314-4143
  --> B&M supercharger for Buick V6
  320 Thor Place
  Brea, CA 92821 
  (714) 529-1977 
  --> suspension kits, body parts, etc.; stopped making H-body stuff, but
      still has some inventory to sell off

  Don Hardy Race Cars
  202 W Missouri St.
  Floydada, TX  79235
  (806) 983-3774 / (806) 983-3775
  --> V8 swap kits

  Don Johansen 
  2040 Tremont Ave.
  Davenport, IA  52803
  (319) 323-8139 
  --> obsolete GM Parts

  Donovan Engineering
  (310) 320-3372
  --> larger 2300 valves

  Eastwood Company
  580 Lancaster Ave.
  Box 296
  Malvern, PA  19355-0296
  (800) 345-1178
  --> interior & exterior restoration supplies & equipment

  Energy Suspension
  1131 Via Callejon 
  San Clemente, CA  92673 
  (949) 361-3935
  --> suspension bushings

  ESPO Springs 'n Things Inc.
  701 Pine Tree Rd.
  Danville, PA  17821
  (800) 903-9019
  --> springs, front end kits, etc. 

  Fast Wheels
  --> custom made steel wheels, about $40 each, 15x7, 4x4 bolt pattern

  Flaming River Industries, Inc.
  7851 Englewood Drive
  Clevelan, OH  44130-3453
  --> new Vega-style steering boxes, better engineered

  Gear Zone
  (561) 447-9594
  --> counter gear stabilizer for T5 transmission
  GM Muscle Car Parts, Inc
  10345 75th Avenue
  Palos Hills, IL  60465
  (708) 599-2277
  --> worldwide GM parts locater--only new-old-stock items

  Griffin Radiator
  100 Hurricane Creek Road 
  Piedmont, SC  29673
  (864) 845-5000 
  (800) 722-3723
  --> aluminum radiators, for Monza and generic

  Headers By Ed
  Dept. Up
  Box 7494
  Minneapolis, MN  55407
  (612) 729-2802
  --> headers for 2300

  Helm Inc.
  (800) 782-4356
  --> Factory shop manuals (about $60), owners manuals, recalls, etc.
  Herbert Automotive
  11121 Magnolia Blvd.
  N Hollywood, CA  91601
  --> 4.3 V6 swap kit for Vega, V8 kit; still around???
  (909) 983-5871
  --> headers

  I/O Port Racing
  14 Juniper Drive
  Lafayette, CA  94549-3321
  (800) 949-5712
  (925) 254-RACE
  --> Autopower roll bars and cages for H-bodies

  JC Whitney
  LaSalle, IL  61301
  (312) 431-6102
  --> some "custom-fit" replacement items (carpet, seat covers, etc.)
      plus other miscellaneous stuff

  (800) 345-4545
  --> lots of stuff for racing, few things for H-bodies in particular

  Jim Osborn Reproductions, Inc.
  101 Ridgecrest Drive
  Lawrenceville, GA 30045
  (770) 962-7556
  --> reproduction decals and manuals for many cars including H-bodies
  Just Dashes
  5941 Lemona Ave.
  Van Nuys, CA  91411
  (800) 247-3274
  (818) 780-9005
   --> restore factory dashes

  Kenne Bell
  (909) 941-6646
  --> Buick V6 performance parts
  Kennedy Engineered Products
  38830 17th St. East
  Palmdale, CA  93550
  (661) 272-1147
  --> Buick 215 V8 to TH350/400/Powerglide adaptor, other adaptors

  17370 Alico Center Rd
  Ft. Myers, FL  33912 
  (800) 365-5764
  --> exhaust: OEM dual-pipe for Spyder with 305 V8     

  March Performance, Inc.
  5820 Hix Rd.
  Westland, MI  48185
  (734) 729-9070
  --> pulley and bracket sets for many engines

  MAS Racing Products
  2288 University Ave. 917
  St. Paul, MN  55114
  (651) 544-6811
  (651) 644-1635 (fax)
  --> fiberglass body parts for H-bodies including many spoilers
  Metro Moulded Rubber Parts
  11610 Jay Street
  Minneapolis, MN  55448
  (612) 757-0310
  (800) 878-2237
  (763) 757-7228 fax
  --> rubber restoration parts and weatherstripping
  Distributors: in CA, in Chicago, and in Victoria, BC

  Miner's Mountain-O-Monzas (Jeff)
  8071 LWE
  Fayetteville, PA 17222 
  (717) 352-7704
  --> used and new parts, performance parts 

  Monzas Unlimited 
  P.O. Box 272
  Ooltewah, TN 37363
  (423) 238-4742  
  --> parts and repairs

  Moser Engineering
  (219) 726-6689
  --> redrill stock rotors for 5 lugs; misc. axle and brake parts

  Motion Performance
  PO Box 875
  598 Sunrise Hwy
  Baldwin, NY  11510-0597
  (516) 882-0068
  --> complete V8 kit for H-bodies, fiberglass body parts

  Motormite Mfg. Div. of R&B Inc.
  P.O. Box 1800
  Colmar, PA  18915-1800
  --> replacement parts (armrests); may make new parts--
      write to ATTN: New Product Manager

  MRGUSA ???
  --> interior and exterior trim clips for H-bodies

  Performance Automotive Warehouse
  (818) 678-3000
  --> misc performance parts

  PJ's Auto Literature
  PO Box 233 
  Reinbeck, IA 50669
  (319) 345-6760
  --> various stuff, including dealer announcements, press kits, etc.

  Performance Suspension Technology
  PO Box 396
  Montville, NJ 07045
  (800) 247-2288
  --> suspension pieces

  Reider Racing Enterprises
  12351 Universal Dr.
  Taylor, MI  48180
  (313) 946-1330 
  (800) 522-2707
  --> Timkin bearing and bearing race to convert to S-10 rear gears

  Restoration Specialists, Attn: Dave
  148 Minnow Creek Lane
  Windber, PA 15963
  (814) 467-9842
  --> will make custom window seals for H-bodies
  S&W Race Cars 
  11 Mennonite Church Road
  Spring City, PA  19475
  (800) 523-3353
  --> chassis parts

  517 Railroad Ave
  San Francisco, CA  94080
  (415) 583-6617
  (800) 669-2430
  --> V8 headers

  Sherman & Associates
  61166 Van Dyke Rd.
  Washington, MI 
  (810) 677-6800
  --> Vega sheet metal
  Showcars Bodyparts Unlimited
  Ontario, Canada
  (905) 857-6345
  --> fiberglass and original body panels for many makes and models

  SMS Auto Fabrics
  Portland, OR
  (503) 234-1175
  --> OEM-type seat fabrics 

  The Speed Center 
  105 N.Cambell Dept.CC
  Rapid City, SD  57701
  (605) 348-3850 
  --> steel cowl hood scoops (not the whole hood)

  Speedway Motors
  (402) 474-4411
  --> complete V8 install kit, headers

  --> headers for big block conversion; 2" and 2 1/8" primaries

  Stencils & Stripes Unlimited
  1108 S. Crescent
  Park Ridge, IL  60668
  (847) 692-6893
  --> replacement decals for 67-up cars
  Summit Racing Equipment
  P.O. Box 909 
  Akron, OH  44309 
  (800) 230-3030
  --> lots of stuff for racing, few things for H-bodies in particular

  Supercar Specialty
  1325 North Red Gum #3
  Anaheim, CA  92806
  (714) 666-2206
  --> door seals for Monza

  TD Performance
  16410 Manning Way
  Cerritos, CA  90703 
  (562) 921-0404
  --> V8 swap kit for Vega (part #4686)

  9599 Jefferson Blvd. 
  Culver City, CA  90232
  (310) 839-7581 ???
  (310) 921-0404 ???
  --> Chevy SBC + transmission mounts for Vega, part #4686

  United Speedometer Server
  2431 University Ave
  Riverside, CA  92507-4265
  (800) 877-4798
  --> Can fix digital clocks  

  Unlimited Performance Products
  560 W Rincon St.
  Corona, CA 91720
  (909) 735-7770
  --> fiberglass body panels for many makes and models 

  U.S. Body Source
  9009 SE CR325
  Hampton, FL 32044
  (352) 468-2203
  --> fiberglass body panels for many makes and models

  VFN Fiberglass
  Addison, Illinois
  (630) 543-0232
  (888) 836-9467
  --> fiberglass dash, other fiberglass pieces

  Weatherstrip Special
  85 N 27th ST
  San Jose, CA  95116
  (888) 999-7876
  (408) 295-7611
  --> Vega hatchback weather seal (no Monza parts listed)

  World Products
  35330 Stanley
  Sterling Heights, MI  48312
  (800) 939-9628
  --> heads, engine parts