Nameless 1972 Vega Kammaback V8 4 Speed

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Nameless 1972 Vega Kammaback V8 4 Speed

Postby burnouts&rotorblades » Tue Jul 30, 2019 9:41 am

Hello all,

I finally got around to getting the Vega I've been wanting for some time. I do have a lot of plans for this little Vega, but I am not very good at doing "normal" forum posts. However, I sometimes put together decent videos, so I put together this little introduction video for it. Let me know what you think.

https://youtu.be/HXOuFv6SsFU

Also, Thanks in advance to everyone that contributes to this forum. The amount of knowledge on here is amazing. I read all the things I could about this car and still bought one. :D
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Re: Nameless 1972 Vega Kammaback V8 4 Speed

Postby burnouts&rotorblades » Tue Jul 30, 2019 11:21 am

I've wanted one of these cars since I fist laid eyes on one while doing car guy stuff, you know, perusing craigslist ads for for cars I cant afford and don't need. But it just stuck with me. So, after a few misfires trying to buy one, I finally made it happen. Well, to be honest, I didn't do much but get money together. When I found this guy I was deployed for half a year. A good friend of mine took 2 days away from his family to fly to northern California and trailer it back to Vegas. Did I mention it was snowing at the time?
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Re: Nameless 1972 Vega Kammaback V8 4 Speed

Postby vegastre » Wed Jul 31, 2019 2:03 am

Good job with the video...

Buying an H-Body now some 40 years on takes a special person. Certainly from the looks of your introduction video you appreciate the history of the platform starting with the 72 Vega, actually 71 model year in Canada. The infamous past that the Vega carries with it has all but dissolved and mostly resides in myth today. That's not to say GM haters never pass up a chance to bad mouth the car even at this late date. While Facebook is a good place to yap, yap, yap about the car you will find yourself coming back to this forums search engine time and again if do any maintenance or mods.

It's great your enjoying the car with your son, that's what it's all about.

BTW, I will CC this to the comments section in your Video and subscribe to your channel.
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Re: Nameless 1972 Vega Kammaback V8 4 Speed

Postby burnouts&rotorblades » Wed Jul 31, 2019 8:44 am

I'm not sure if you meant special or "sPeCiAl." I can tell you which one my wife thinks I am for buying a 40 year old car. I spent a lot of time putting the introduction video together. The history of the Vega is as unique and interesting as the car itself. Even though I love the car, I have to admit the Vega wasn't a great car in its day and still isn't today either, looks aside. However, it has great potential as I've seen from so many great build threads on this forum. The number of junkyard mods for the HBody platform is pretty staggering. I hope to put together some more videos using the things I have learned from this forum and return the favor by bringing some things back to the forum. Thank you for hitting the subscribe button on the video, and if you're reading thins and haven't, please do so. That'll show me you appreciate the content and ensure I can keep making more content so I can bring these cars to the interwebs for the next generation of hotrodders, my son included.

[steps down from podium]

What is the first mod you think I should do? What is most critical HBody mod? What mod gets asked about most frequently?
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Re: Nameless 1972 Vega Kammaback V8 4 Speed

Postby vegastre » Thu Aug 01, 2019 2:02 am

LOL,
Let me preface with saying I'm a history buff myself and the reason I enjoyed your exceptionally well made introduction Vega video. The car can be a great performance car but it takes a fair chunk of change to make this happen correctly and safely because the Platform was never designed for anything other than a economical daily driver with planned obsolescence, use it up and then throw it away. Witness, 2019 there are very few first Gen Vegas left.

staying within the historical context typically first time owners will swap the four cylinder for a VB with little if any concept of the bag of worms they just created. To be real, from looking at your Wagon it fits this classic build concept with the 283 which is very cool,BTW.. The next rational but mostly overlooked Mod is upgrading the Braking system with S-10 components followed immediately by swapping in a second gen H-Body 7.5 rear end or better yet an 8" S-10 with rear discs. I could go on but hopefully from viewing your Channel I feel confident you know your way around a salvage yard.
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Re: Nameless 1972 Vega Kammaback V8 4 Speed

Postby burnouts&rotorblades » Thu Aug 01, 2019 9:28 pm

The salvage yard will be my parts supply store for sure. I'll just go ahead and lay out the list of mods I'm dreaming of doing here. Partially as notes for myself and partially so others can chime in if i'm not doing it right. and please do chime in! I will edit this as I have more information and I don't plan to blow the car apart to do this all at once either. That's how projects get started and never finished.

The overall concept will be a kind-of resto-mod version of what I think the car should have been. Fun, spunky, comfortable, and easy to drive. Something that can do a little road course, occasional drag racing, or road tripping but is not great at any one thing other than looking awesome doing it. The look will be a nod to the pro touring scene but I'm not going to hack it up or have it cost a boatload of money to do. I 100% do not want to change the look or tarnish the charm of the car either. Clear as mud, great! here's the list:

- Front brakes/spindles from a 2000-ish 2WD Blazer:
The big benefits are the sealed bearing and the 2 piston calipers. I know they will fit on a GBody and from what I understand GBody stuff will fit on the Vega. Plus, there a bazillion round-body blazers in the junkyard.

- Possible shortening of the steering arm on the spindles for better steering angle and turning radius. I'm on the fence because I have heard horror stories. It is a workaround to having a rack in the car. thoughts?

- Front Upper control arms:
I plan to either: swap them side to side and mod them for the S10 Balljoint, or get the adjustable ones with the S10 Balljoint.
I know swapping them will increases steering difficulty but I have something later that will remedy that downside.

- Front lower control arms:
There are a number of ways to tackle this in the FAQ section. I don't know if I want to spend money on some lowers or weld in the S10 balljoint adapter. I'm cheap so I'll probably weld in the UB Machine adapter. either way, I don't want to use the ball joint spacers because I think it's hokey. If you have used them, what is your experience and confidence level in going this route?

- Complete 2000-ish 2WD blazer S10 rear axle with an RPO code of GU6 G80:
The RPO code 'GU6' from the glovebox means a 3.42 gear ratio which is very common on these and I think might be good for a low powered V8 and 5 speed combo. The designation G80 designates limited slip which is less common. I think the I might have to piece the axle together in the junkyard or buy two and return one. The big benefits are; 5x4.75 lug pattern, stronger diff and axles, and it comes with disc brakes to match what will eventually go on the front. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the width should be about right. I'll have to get new wheels anyway so I'm not scared to measure for another offset.

After some reading it looks like there is a big problem of the 2WD blazer brakes hitting the body of the Vega and "requiring" a mini-tub. I know the 2000 4WD blazer brake backing plates are 100% the same as the 2WD except, they put the caliper below and behind the axle. They will still be shielded by the wheel but not interfere with the body during their range of travel.

http://www.lsxharness.com/336816530

- Anti-hop 'tabs' on the upper control arm mounts.

- Power vacuum brake booster and a disc-brake-friendly master cylinder that fits.
this is something I will need help nailing down. I planned on using a S10 one, but read somewhere it doesn't fit.

- 5 speed swap
I have an unknown-to-me 4 speed behind the v8 now. So I need to figure out what bell housing I have vs which one I need, but I think I want to use an fbody V8 5 speed with an s10 5 speed tailshaft housing. I read that a Chevette tail housing was better somewhere, but I need to look more.

- A/C
I'm looking at the vintage air Gen II mini. Room in the engine bay is at a premium so this will help me get it all inside in the pass footwell. Passengers don't need legroom.

- Electric power steering
2002-07 Saturn Vue or 2005-06 Chevy Equinox power steering and Bruno controller. Splice it into the stock Vega Column. Possibly make some hybrid Late-model-Monza/GBody tilt column with intermittent wiper switch all at once.

Bruno controller unit: https://www.epowersteering.com/purchase ... /basic-kit

- front splitter, sway bars, springs and shocks, oil pan that doesn't hang below the k-member, Cragar soft eight 16" wheels and low profile tires, modern seatbelts, electric fans, relocate battery maybe. . . Drive it!

Let me know what you think!! Please jump in with suggestions and recommendations.
Last edited by burnouts&rotorblades on Fri Dec 06, 2019 1:32 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Nameless 1972 Vega Kammaback V8 4 Speed

Postby leander » Fri Aug 02, 2019 1:37 am

Nice car! I enjoyed watching the video.
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Re: Nameless 1972 Vega Kammaback V8 4 Speed

Postby vegastre » Fri Aug 02, 2019 2:26 am

Wow, it appears you have done you're homework....good job

Hmmm, I'll sprinkle in a few suggestions. The UB machine and larger S-10 ball joint is the way to go. economical and it cures any camber/casting and especially so as you migrate up to larger rims and tires. As you have found out the turning radius on the Vega is just horrible for such a small car. But again GM never saw this as a road racer. It of course boils down to if you're interested in straight lines or curves.

G-Body salvage stuff is hit and miss on the Vega where as the S-10 is traditionally what is used on the H-Body because as you mentioned the availability of S-10 parts is still very good and virtually bolt on. On the rear deferential stay away from 4WD of course. If you happen to luck upon an 8" G80 def with discs you really don't need the Vacuum boost. Four wheel disc will throw you through the window in a Vega Wagon.

Ya, 3.42 is right on with a Blazer five speed or auto overdrive for that fact. The Tremic in the blazer sets the shifter position all the way to the back. so.. a GBody may have a better position Tremic.

Power steering is a must. Never did the electric deal but the The Vega uses the power box found on virtually every car GM produced for fifty years. Tilt wheels for H-Body are pretty rare but still available from time to time.

Finally, my best suggestion is stay with the 283 it's a cool motor. If you decide to go 383 or larger you must be aware by now these little cars have a lot of twist in them and are very easy to hurt when you over power them without the proper amount of attention to creating a dynamic and rigid structure to handle horsepower above 250.
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Re: Nameless 1972 Vega Kammaback V8 4 Speed

Postby burnouts&rotorblades » Fri Aug 02, 2019 6:45 am

The brakes in current stock form are pretty pitiful. Emergency braking is almost non-existant. If I did hydraulic power steering I was going to go with hydraulic power brake assist from a safari van or something. Maybe I'll see how everything feels after the disc brake upgrades.

I know the Vega power steering box was on everything, but the issue is everything else. All the steering linkage after the gearbox and the space the power steering pump takes up in the engine bay are not something I'm looking forward to figuring out. There is an oddly large amount of space under the dash which I can make an electric power steering box fit into with relative ease. Then a knob on the dash controls sensitivity. No fluids to check, belts to service, just one finger steering with the help of some electrons. Also, the parts can be had for less than $100 and they are everywhere in the salvage yard. I figure if I'm cutting and splicing steering components, I might as well go full retard and grab a Gbody upper tilt wheel with intermittent wipers and throw it in the mix. I'd try to us the term frankenvega, but someone already took it. But all this only works in my head until you see it in a video.

I have read about sub frame connectors. I know those are in the plans if I start building up the engine. The same as I did with the #FamilyBurnoutWagon, I will get to the engine last and build everything around it to handle the power first instead of repairing what engine power breaks. The T5 is not known to handle much over 250hp anyways. 300hp with a WC if I can find one. The motor might get some love but I don't have any plans to go bigger. If I did it would be the LS like everyone else. Mostly because of weight. I will probably just go with some heads and a cam if the bottom end is healthy enough. Maybe I'll do another supercharger if I can get the boss to approve. I'm thinking 300hp max If I can make it handle like it's on rails or teach it to drift. I could go more, but then I have to change transmissions to a TKO500 and the rearend to an 8.8 and I just don't want to. Anyways, that's all too far out to even really plan for and I'm really just dreaming all that stuff, except the subframe connectors. I'll probably do those. Thanks for reading this far.
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Re: Nameless 1972 Vega Kammaback V8 4 Speed

Postby burnouts&rotorblades » Fri Aug 02, 2019 10:30 am

edited the top with regard to the axle needed.
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Re: Nameless 1972 Vega Kammaback V8 4 Speed

Postby Monza Harry » Fri Aug 02, 2019 9:26 pm

Welcome aboard our little piece of H-BODY heaven. Rock Auto has a listing for the 8.5" 10 bolt for the S10/Sonoma (2001) this would be a bolt in with only upper control arm mounts welding would be required. The rest of your plan is pretty much spot on. You will likely adjust as you go that is the fun of it. Harry
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Re: Nameless 1972 Vega Kammaback V8 4 Speed

Postby vegastre » Sat Aug 03, 2019 1:54 am

Good deal...
As Harry mentioned you have a good plan. The keys to the kingdom are right here for your future Vega project. Lots of information with past and present fabricators here with skills way beyond the ordinary but you have to dig and read. A person wiser than me once said, "It's not the destination, It's the journey"
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Re: Nameless 1972 Vega Kammaback V8 4 Speed

Postby burnouts&rotorblades » Mon Sep 09, 2019 10:04 am

So I took the Vega for a shakedown run. . .

https://youtu.be/8EJWyEi_Lb4

I can't figure out how to embed a youtube Video here. Anyone know how?
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Re: Nameless 1972 Vega Kammaback V8 4 Speed

Postby 74_Vega_GT » Mon Sep 09, 2019 10:27 am

Interesting video. You say, its a 4 speed? Which 4-speed is in it..just curious. Sorry I can't help on imbedding a video. Also, you mentioned in the video that you are not a fan of the plastic oil pressure line to the gauge. What would you use preferably, and where would you run the oil line? Thanks
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Re: Nameless 1972 Vega Kammaback V8 4 Speed

Postby burnouts&rotorblades » Mon Sep 09, 2019 11:52 am

74_Vega_GT wrote:Interesting video. You say, its a 4 speed? Which 4-speed is in it..just curious. Sorry I can't help on imbedding a video. Also, you mentioned in the video that you are not a fan of the plastic oil pressure line to the gauge. What would you use preferably, and where would you run the oil line? Thanks


Thanks for watching the video. I'm going to be 100% honest and admit I didn't bother looking at the transmission when I was under the car last. I am kind of resigned to the thought of changing it out for a 5 speed. I need to get under there and service it and adjust the clutch soon. So, I will check and get back to you.

Interesting you ask about the oil pressure line. I was planning to include a piece on this in the next video but I'll put it up for discussion here first.

[steps onto soapbox, clears throat]

First, the idea of 180+ degree pressurized oil being piped into the cab directly above my legs (probably uncovered because shorts are life) in a car that gets driven on the highway sounds like a terrible idea. I have seen in person and on the internet, both the plastic and brass tubes failing in the cab and dripping hot oil on the driver, or worse spraying oil all over the place. When I pulled the dash apart in the Vega (you'll see in an upcoming video) I took a section of that PVC oil pressure line and, without much pressure, snapped a piece off. It was ripe for a failure and confirmed my dislike for this set up.

My fix is to not use a mechanical oil pressure gauge in the cabin in street cars. I only use electrical gauges in the cabin, except maybe for vacuum/boost and even then I use 4AN line. If you absolutely must have a mechanical oil pressure gauge, I see no problem putting it on the cowl or in the engine bay but not in the cabin.

I know there are probably a ba-zillion cars out there that have been running this set up for eons. However, in my personal experience with the failures I have seen in; cars, heavy equipment, and in aviation, It just seems unsafe to me.

I have considered using AN line for the tubing, but it seems the only reason to use the mechanical gauge in the first place is because they are half the price of an electrical one. Start adding in AN fittings and line and its cheaper to run wire.

Thank you

[steps down from soapbox]

I would still love to hear thoughts on this.
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