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I had first spotted this car sitting down the backlane, a few blocks away from where I live back in '95/'96. I ran into and spoke with the owner of the car, while at the same time scoping out the car. It was in good shape, with very little rust. He told me everything is for sale, and he'd consider selling it for around $2500. The car was also safetied at that time. Well, back then, $2500 was WAY too much for me, and in my opinion was too much for that car.
Back in 1995 when I got to first drive the nova, I wasn't able to do anything to it but drive it. The Nova had to stay in running condition/shape as it was my grampa's only means of transportation and he couldn't afford to be without a car. My plan woulda been to buy the car, and trade it with my grandfather for the nova ... if he'd go for it. I REALLY wanted that Nova :).
As the years passed by, I always kept my eyes open down the lane to see what's was happening with the omega. From time to time, I stopped and spoke with Harvey (old owner). This time, he said he'd let it go for $1500. It was still too much for what I was thinking. Later on found out his son was now driving the car, and in the winter time too. The car also appeared to be aging alittle, showing some rust and a small dent in the drivers door.
Some time had passed since then and I don't know much about the history of the car after that. Time seem to take it's toll on the poor ol' car, which was starting to really show some wear, and it's age.
Years later, one night while cruising and hanging out with some friends, my friend Brandy mentioned her step-father had a 74 Olds Omega and she was trying to get her hands on it, so she would have something to cruise in. I found out later on where this *omega* was and as it turned out, it was the one down my backlane. All that time and I had no idea we were talking about the same car. (hehehe ...)
During the fall/winter of 2004, Brandy had informed me that her step-father was looking to get rid of the Omega, and was asking $1000. I drove by and took another look at the car, which wasn't looking good (as seen in Pictures section, 'As I Found It'). The rear quarters were rusted out, the drivers door had a good ding in it, and they had some business stickers on the doors, paint pailing and coming off in chunks and a cracked rear taillight lens. There was more oil in the engine bay then probably in the motor. $1000 was definitly out of the question. The car looked more and more like a parts-car to me. My response to Brandy, was to tell her step-father to contact me if or when he'd take $200 for it.
Through out the winter season (2004), I received a few emails from Brandy, informing me of what Harvey was asking for the car. Time and time again, I sent back the same reply to Brandy. I guess he was getting desperate to get rid of the car as Spring time was nearing. Brandy told me to go down and talk to him, he's willing to deal. I once again mentioned the '$200 price mark' in my email reply and Brandy said to just pick up the phone and give him a call.
Right on!, $200, now we're talking my price range ... :) $200 would be the most I'd ever consider paying for a parts car, depending on the condition of the car and what parts/options the car might of had (ie. a/c, disc brakes) and what I could use off of it.
Finally took a moment and picked up the phone and called up Harvey. After some talking on the phone, I went down to talk to him in person. We did a little wheelin' and dealin' and agreed upon $200 for the car. Harvey also had a small cache of parts for the omega and we came to settlement of $200 for the parts. The parts included new half-quarters, HEI distributor (for a 6) and some new brake hardware/parts, and alot of misc stuff in the trunk. So $400 later, I'm the owner of a 74 Oldsmobile Omega. I asked Harvey if he'd be able to do me a small favor and allow the car to sit at his place for another 2 weeks, until I'm able to find a spot to take/park the car at. He agreed on a 2 week period, which helped me out more then you could imagine. I had absolutly NO WHERE to park the car.
Now I had to come up with a place to park the omega, and then decide what I was gonna with the car. I was thinking of parking it over at my grandparents place once I had pulled the nova out of my grampa's garage (where it sits for the winter season), but this would be my ABSOLUTE last resort. If I had ended up parking it there, it wouldn't of been long before my dad would of found it and all hell breaks loose. There was 2 other possible places where I could park it. I required some help from either Kelly or Kyle, to see if I could park it over at their place in the meantime until I could get it roadworthy. As Kelly already had his driveway full, I asked Kyle if he would help me out.
The big deal behind where to park the car or where to hide the car, was my dad. He was already upset with me because over the past few years, I've been slowly taking over his garage with tons of spare parts I've been collecting over the years for the nova. The last thing he'd want, is for me to bring home any more parts/junk, let alone a car. The same for over at my grandparents place too, as I have a small stash of parts there too.
A week later, 4 days after I brought the nova out of storage, I broke a rocker stud while out cruisin', which took the nova off the road. I got a lecture from my dad on how I waste my money and am always throwing it away, because I didn't have the money to fix my nova right away. How could I tell him that I just spent $400 a few days eariler on the purchase of the omega. I had mentioned it to him a few weeks back that I could get that omega down the lane cheap and part it out. He told me he stopped by and looked over the car which he described as being rotten and not being able to salvage much. As well, I didn't have the room for any more parts nevermind the fact I didn't have a place to part out a car.
So as promised, I had the omega moved from the Harvey's backyard within the 2 week time period he gave me. Kyle & I went over to and were planning to tow it over to his place using his truck, until Harvey mentioned that they're may be a problem with the brakes. They tend to fail and you would have to pump them up. OH GREAT!, the last thing I need to do is rear-end Kyle's truck. It was decided I would have the car towed over to Kyle's place.
One day, Kyle and I were leaving my parents place when my dad was yelling from down the street, "Dave, that car is gone ... did you buy it?", and of course I denied everything. Kyle then spoke up saying "If he did, it's not coming over to my place", which is exactly where it was. I hate having to lie to my dad, but sometimes it's just easier then listening to him freak out and go off giving me the usual speeches about how I'm always wasting my money.
Kyle and I then began the task of cleaning up the car. We backed the car out into the lane and next to the big garbage bin and began the task of cleaning out the car. We cleaned out the interior and then, sorted through the trunk. I wanted to clean the car up so I could get an idea of whether or not it was salvagable it, or would I end up parting-it-out. I wanted to find out just what I may or may not of wasted $400 on.
After spending a better part of the day cleaning, vacuuming, and washing out everything including the removal of 3 mice nests, Kyle & I then gave the car a good once over. With the exception of the rusty rear quarters and wheel wells, the car was in decent shape. The floors were solid, the door jams showed no signs of stress or rott and the interior was decent. Actually, one of the best features of the car was the push-button velvet headliner. After weighing tho everything, I then decided that maybe I'll have some fun and fix up this car and end up using it as my NEW daily driver. It'd be nice to have something new to tinker around on and if I ran into any trouble, I can always use my nova as a template. I also have the complete service manuals and everything for my 73 nova, which should be mostly the same for the 74 omega.
Through the summer weekends, a bunch of us would get together over at Kyle's place and start tinkering on the omega. All depending of course on money, and when I was able to buy parts for the omega.
Kyle who came up with the name for the omega, 'SLOMEGA' and it kinda stuck with the car.
The next task was fixing the braking system. With some help from Kyle, we revamped the whole brake system. We replaced the master cylinder, front brake lines, wheel cylinders & shoes. I tackled the rear brakes. I started by cleaning and adjusting them but eventually replaced the shoes. After that was all done, we bled the system.
Thanks to Kyle and my dad, I now know how to work on drum brakes with my eyes close. My dad has shown me a few times over the years how to do them on the nova. It wasn't until I basically had to disassemble and reassemble them a few times on the omega, that I finally gotten the hang of it. I bought new cables to get the emergency brakes working again.
As we where putting the front brakes back together, we noticed some slop in the front end. Looks like the old girl is gonna need some front-end work. There was alot of slop and play in the idler arm and the tie rods weren't looking too good either. I took this time to re-evaluation whether or not continuing on this car, was a good idea, or a waste of money. Guess I got a little discouraged. Worse comes to worse, I can always use parts for the nova down the road.
Next step was to start saving up some money, shop around and price out the parts, and buy them. Purchased a new idler arm, inner & outer tie rods, not sure if the ball joints need replacing at this time. I guess we'll find out as we move along working on the other things.
Next I began tuning up the motor, I also started to clean and detail it at the same time. Changed abunch of gaskets, new NGK plugs, wires, air filter, and some fresh 10W30 Quaker State Oil and filter. Flushed out and changed the anti-freeze, bring it up to strength as the omega would be outside for the winter and it can get REAL cold here. I installed the HEI distributor into the car with needed some help from Trevor with the wiring. Trev was kind enough to use himself as a multi-meter and held the coil wire to see if I had spark. 3 GOOD ZAPS later, and with the plug wires back on the spark plug, the omega roared to life again.
Unfortunately I was once again busy playing in a ball hockey league and my other friends having lives of their own, not much got done over the summer. During that time, it give me a chance to save up to buy some more parts.
The next big step will be to do the rear quarters, which my friend Ken will help with his welding skills, but I need to get some inner wheel wells first. So it's time to start saving some chump-change and pick up some inner wheel-wells once all my other expenses are taken care of.
Finally winter season was slowly arriving, and it's getting colder, and now the car is just sitting in Kyle's driveway. The wait for Spring 2006 is on.
I'm hoping to have the car on the road by late spring/early summer of 2006, but all depends on money, and the Nova needs a tranny. We'll see how the funds work out. Maybe I CAN have my cake and EAT IT TOO!! ... :)
In the first week of March 2006, Slomega was dug out of it's snowy spot and transported out to Selkirk, where the long awaited work needed to get it on the road.
Once again a big thanks goes out to Glenn Evans, who as always has donated some time and his garage to help me out on another car project. With some assistances from Kyle, we haul 'Slomega' out of his driveway and got it out to Selkirk. Thanks to somewhat nice spring-like weather, the trip out was easy.
March 9, 2006 - Project 'SLO-MEGA' begins !! The major work that needing addressing was the replacement of the rear quarters and outer-wheel wells. The front end would also need some attention too, to get the car ready for safety so that I may register and have it on the road.
A plea for help was answered by some of my good friends. Kelly C, Shelly & Brandan, Ian, Kyle and of course, Glenn. At first, I didn't really have anyone to help out, and then Glenn got intouch with Kelly, and Kelly was the first and was more then happy to lend a hand. Altho Kelly said he had never done this kind of work before, but had read alot about it ... you'd never be able to tell. At first, we ran into some obstacles, but Kelly was there with a cool head and some solutions. Of course, he was good at keeping me from flying off the handle on more then one occassion, as I tend to hit the "PANIC" button quickly.
There were many times as we progressed, and ran into an obstacles, like more rust, or a hole here or there ... I had to stop and think a few times, "Was this worth it?", "Am I just throwing away my money". What kept me going, was thinking of the experience and the skills I was learning and how one day, I may be able to fix the body on my nova myself. I had already sunken some change into buying parts to fix up the car mechanically. Even went as far as installing them before I know the FULL extent of the bodywork needed to get the car fixed up. Nevertheless, the project continues ...
Shortly after the project began, a few other friends jumped on board. Shelly & Brandan came out, really gave her hell, coming on almost everynight with me and working hours and hours on end. Luckly we had Kelly to guide us, as we tackled the drivers side and got it done. Kelly became ill and it was up to Shelly, Brandan and I to keep on moving with the passenger side. After working with Kelly on the drivers side, I felt we were able to continue on the passenger side. Once Kelly recovered, he soon returned and again was a big help to the project. Ian came out one night to give me a hand patching up a few small holes in the floor boards, Kyle came out one evening and helped out Brandan with all the front-end work. Everyone worked well as a team.
I owe Kelly C., Shelly & Brandan a HUGE thank you, as they dedicated ALOT OF NIGHTS, some weekends, hours & hours of their time into this project. Glenn Evans for once again, allowing me the us of his garage, tools, supplies and endless amount of questions I had for him. Some others I need to thank, thanks to Ian & Kyle for ALL OF YOUR HELP with getting the car on the road. It'll take sometime for me to repay everyone back, and repaying these debts by fixing up their cars, but Thank You Guys!, ALOT !!!
Almost a month later, the majority of it all is done, lotsa little stuff remains, but atleast it's mobile and I can get it out of Glenn's garage, as I don't want to over-stay my welcome. This little stuff I'll be able to do myself and have the tools for ... just time to find a new spot to stash the car to get the small stuff done. I don't want to bring it home until it's more or less complete, and all in black primer ... :) Still had some bodywork to do to finish the car completely, and then I'll worry about the interior.
The whole project has been documented and HUNDREDS of pictures in the PICTURES Section under 2006. I believe there is close to 500 pics so far, with captions ... or you can use the button below to access the pictures directly ...
Sometime in May, I came across a sweet deal in the local Buy 'N Sell magazine for tires for the Slomega. Brand NEW BFG Radials 215/60/15s & 245/60/15s for $250. So snatched them up, and got the 245s mounted onto some steelies. Put the brand new ones on the Nova and will use the older ones from the Nova on the Omega. I'm sure glad I made that move, as I ran the 245s one the Omega for not-even a day and noticed a little rubbing action happening, and the exhaust was rubbing and burning the inside wall of the tire. So until I get around to fixing the clearance problems with the fender lip, Shelly was nice enough to lend me some 215/70/14s on Nova Rallys to run the Omega on in the meantime. Haven't done anything with the 215s yet, as I need to get my hands on some 15x6 rims which Kyle said he has some kicking around.
As the omega continued to lose more and more paint (usually after every carwash) ... Kyle & I finally got around to painting the hood & trunk lid flat-black. I've started working my way down the sides of the car as we've been loosing or leaving paint behind at the car washes. I plan to mask off the car and sand it down and do it properly, but like anything ... no time.
So it's late-June, and I still haven't finished up the bodywork of the car. I guess from going so hard-core since we started back in March/April, I've just burnt myself out of doing car-stuff. I was so burnt-out, infact I never got around to changing the transmission in my Nova till the end of May. I only got around to the swap, after Shelly & Brandon bugged me enough to do it (hahaha). I just didn't want to see or work on anything car related.
So now Slomega is hiding over at Shelly's place for abit where we slowly worked on it, trying to get the car to run decently. Even after rebuilding the carb, and the distributor, the car is still a dog. We reseated the distributor, to make sure it faced Cyl#1 at TDC. Still runs like a dog. After doing some troubleshooting with Clint, Brandon & Shelly, it's been determined that it's the cam that's probably rounded, as there isn't much valve action on a few cylinders. This got me wondering on the true mileage of the car being that maybe the speedo has turned over twice, because I've never seen or heard of a cam on a straight 6 ever wearing down. So the search is on for a small-block v8 now.
A nova-buddy of mine who I've met through another friend, had a stock 350 from his 74 Nova that he just pulled out. He had a built/fresh 355 and just installed it into his Nova. He's also looking for some parts for his nova too, so we've come to a little wheelin' & dealin' and now have a 350 for the Omega. Ernie told me the 350 ran good & strong, but burnt alittle oil when you started her up. (It sure couldn't be any worse then the 6 in it now ...). So a trunk lid and a 73/74 front grill later, the Omega has a 350.
A BIG thank you to Clint, for helping me out here big time by getting his hand on a truck and an engine jack (as I had lent mine out ...) We headed on a 150km outside of Winnipeg to go pickup the motor & bring it home. Not sure if I'm just gonna drop it in and drive it and wait for winter to tear it down, or just tear it down right away and build it up somewhat. All I know is the ol'250 is almost dead.
Late July, the Omega is slowly dying, and is having difficulties even doing a little bit of city driving. After about 5 miles of driving, she buckles and pops and even stalls. That's it!, the engine swap must go on, despite the shape that the 350 is in.
At the last moment, I remembered my friend Kelly wanting to get rid of his Parisienne. I offered him $300 for the car and a couple of days later, the parisienne was mine. I knew this motor ran good and strong, so I thought I'd gamble. Not sure if it was a 350 or 305, it seemed quite peepy and torques alot. This motor ran so smoothly and quiet, I couldn't even hear any valvetrain noise.
Ask around the group to see who'd want to give me a hand swapping motors in the Omega. Didn't get a great response, or any response from some friends. The ones that did response I will owe a great debt too. Shelly was nice enough to lend me her garage for whenever and however long it would take to get the motors swapped. Kelly came forward to offer his garage to house Shelly's Chevelle, so it wouldn't have to sit on the street.
The swap was on, first we pulled apart the Omega till the motor was ready to come out. We then swapped cars inbetween the garage and driveway and began to take apart the Parisienne. Talk about alot of unnecessary crap, hoses and sensors and population control crap, this engine bay was FULL. Slowly but surely, there was a 305 under all the stuff.
Drove out to Selkirk to get my engine jack from Glenn and then began the task of pulling out the motors. First we pulled the motor and tranny out of the Parisienne, I ran the casting numbers on the block to discover it was a 305, but the tranny was a 700r4. I decided to stick with the TH350, as I was trying to keep costs down and I didn't feel like going thru the hassles of converting and changing over to a 700r4. Was also under abit of a tight schedule. I didn't want to tie up Shelly's garage any longer then I had to. We also swapped over some parts from the 250 over to the 305, flexplate & starter. The original flexplate has some chips in it and I broke the solenoid on the 305 when trying to undo the wires from it.
So after connecting the TH350 to the 305, we then lowered her into the Omega. As we were lowering in the motor, we then bolted up the wiring loops and installed the wire tube shield for the starter wiring. After a little more wrestling, sweating and swearing, the motor was in and we then called it a night.
Over the next few days, we slowly begun the task of connecting everything back up. Made some changes to the factory wiring, as we had to remove the resistance wire and put in a new one for the HEI from the fusebox harness. Also had to reorder some of the wiring as things were in different places on an 8 then a 6.
The hardest part and the most time consuming was with the Power Steering Pump Setup. I must of wasted around 30 hours (couple days) alone on this task. We tried to alter the AC brackets abit to fit the L6 style pump. After hours of fooling around and trying to line everything up, the L6 pump was not going to work. When I has disassembled both motors, I was piling everything together and got my pulleys all mixed up. I decided that I needed to get another set of pulleys from a V8, as nothing seemed to be working. After I picked up another set of pulleys, I also took that powersteering pump & brackets too. After all the hassles of grabbing pumps and pulleys, I was still having clearance issues with the outlets on the back of the pump. At this point, I'm REALLY starting to consider arm-strong steering. 3 power-steering pumps & bracket styles later, I finally got a setup to work.
The Omega now has a functioning Power-Steering System, and all the belts, everything was lining up with a different pulley set. This time I knew how much to bend the outlets to clear everything and was able to have the hoses clear the exhaust & crossmember. I can't tell you how frustrating and how close to flipping out I got over this. I was 2 minutes away from installing my spare manual steering gear box. I thought I had it setup with the second pump as I bent the outlets & hoses for everything to clear without twisted or kinking the hoses with the second pump until I went to install the manifolds. At that point I had lost it trying to straighten the outlets, ending up breaking open the back of the box because I was now rushing, struggling and then snapped, hence the trip for the 3rd PS pump.
I took the Omega to DUALS for a new 2.5" dual exhaust setup. Glenn Scott was the one who did the exhaust on my nova and gave a great deal on exhaust for the Omega. I went with the very same setup as my nova, except 2.5" piping. I was REALLY pleased with the turnout of the work, and it actually sounds kinda mean. I like it!
All said and done, it took me 8 days to do this swap. What a way to waste my holiday time from work. The worst part was the hot humide weather. +30C to +40C days in the garage took it's toll on me as I suffered heat stroke in the 4th day of the swap and had to take some time off. Drank alot of water for the rest of the day and went back at it the next day. I was careful to drink lots of water and Shelly brought out some fans from her house to help cool down the garage ... and that was a BIG help!
The car is running good right now, even with it's little problems, it still WAY BETTER then it ever ran with the 250. It's still plagued with some minor problems which took us a couple of nights to iron out, but we fixed them. I was glad to get the powersteering hooked up and working, as the 'armstrong' steering is killing me.
The whole project (Like previous projects), was documented and TONS of pictures in the PICTURES Section under 2006.
|Engine Swap - Pictures|
We had a bit of a missing problem too which we addressed. We swapped carbs from the computer control q-jet to a regular q-jet. Didn't seem to fix anything so I started looking at ignition. Went and got another HEI distributor which I was planning to swap into the car. After talking to a few people, I went back to the carb again before even touching the distributor. I didn't think it would be the distributor as it was the spare one from my nova and ran fine in the nova. After wiggling some linkages on the carb, the idle would change, hiss and it even died out. Yup!, 2 bad carbs. Big thanks to my friend Trevor (Our nova-parts guy here in the city), he had a couple of q-jets in his garage and he brought me out a couple to swap onto the car and see. I put the first carb on and WOW!, talk about responsive! So after a quick test drive and a little tire-squeeling, I bought the carb off Trev.
Didn't realize how low the engine was sitting till I noticed marks on the pan during an oil change. I guess with the front suspension being pretty worn and the front of the car sitting so low, the oil pan is currently protecting the crossmember, which IS NOT GOOD, so I need to switch out the motor mounts before I need to swap out oil pans too. Good thing I got the proper motor mounts with that 350, I need to act quickly and swap out the mounts.
I swapped over the tires from the parisienne, All 4 tires were almost brand-new, 215/75/15's on steel rims. The use of a taller tire is helping with various clearence issues. First issue being the motor/oil pan sitting too low, and the second issue is with the inner fender lips rubbing/cutting my wide tires. I need to redo and roll in the lips on the quarters & Wheel-wells. So until I address these 2 problems, I will run the taller/narrow tires all around with a nice set of chevy dog-dish hubcaps.
I'm really starting to hate cars! I thinking of buying myself a nice cavalier or something without a headache attached.
August 1, 2006 - Just when everything is starting to look up for the 'Slomega' ... someone goes and backs into the car. That's right ... someone decided to give me a hand with the bodywork by backing into the Omega, while it was parked at my sisters apartment.
A friend of my sister witnessed it, but thankfully the driver who hit the car, left a note. He seemed pretty upset (probably more worried), but hey ... it can be fixed. It's not so bad. The front drivers fender has a nice ding at the headlight, which bent the bezel alittle and the headlight assembly. Somehow the bumper was untouched, but the rubber strip took a few chips and the license plate & bracket took the most damage being mangled and bent up under the bumper.
|Fender Bender Pictures|
So, yet another fixin' to be added to the never-ending list of things to do.
Today is also the day I've decided to bring the Omega home. After all this time, along with my friends, we've put a ton of work into this car and I'm tired of hiding it and not being able to drive it and enjoy it. I am proud of what has been accomplished, yet not finished ...
This mornings little 'fender-bender' has taught me that nothing is safe with my sister. First she smashes up my daily driver, 81 Skylark (she was rear-ended while stopped at a redlight) and now my Omega is hit (parked behind her apartment). *sigh* ...
As expected, I didn't think my dad would be too impressed. He's not big into having hobbies or anything that costs money. All he'll do, is look past all the work, all the skills learned and just crititize me for wasting ALL that money on it.
It was basically what I expected and I was not disappointed, hurt, but expected. I more or less went through the same ordeal when I built the 406 for my nova. First thing he noticed was the dinged up front fender (of course ...)
September came and went by fast, spent alot of time cleaning up and detailing the engine compartment. Got things looking a little cleaner. At the same time, was still tinkering and had some REAL issues with the car leaking fluids like crazy. I kept a few containers under the car while parked on the front street to keep from messing up the road too much. Spent over a week tighten and replacing old dried up hoses and changing gaskets. Finally got the car all dried up underneath, but not without causing YET, ANOTHER HEADACHE!
One weekday evening, while working on the car on the front street, I had a small accident when my 2-ton jack rolled into a crack in the road while I was jacking up the car and the jack tipped over causing the car to fall. I had some jack-stands roughly positioned under the car, which caused some further damage/issues. As the car was thrown over, the end result was one bent jack-stand, the passenger side one shot out from under the car, while the drivers side one ended up crushed and I bent the drivers side exhaust up into the side of the transmission.
After teaching the neighbors kids a few new words, I processed to pull out the twisted jack and jack stands, get back under the car and tried to straighten out the exhaust pipe. Obviously I didn't get it bent away from the transmission enough and I believe that is how I ended up cooking the valve body of the transmission. We'll see come spring, when I pull the tranny out to rebuild it, I will also have to get the exhaust fixed up.
One good thing did come out of September, I won an ebay auction for $25 (with shipping) which included a spare grill set, front trim and headlight bezels for the omega. I originally just wanted the bezels to replace the one damaged in the accident back in August.
2006 was a great year, thanks to ALOT of good friends, some who went WAY OUT OF THEIR WAY to help me out, I owe you all a BIG THANK YOU !!. We all did a great job, learnt alot and had a blast ........ We took a $200 P.O.S, sunk a ton (of my money) into and turned it into a decent running beater which maybe worth $400 (assuming the gas tank is FULL).
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