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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I know this is a truck site, but you might be interested my new project. My first car was a Beretta...had a couple since then. My last one (that I just sold for insane money) was a 3.4 swap/5spd summer daily that ran [email protected] on 87 n/a. Pretty sweet car for a FWD...and looked amazing.


This new one, I just rescued from the junkyard. I recently bought a low-miles 2000 truck LR4 that's drive by cable and the harness to go with it. I tuned it for free with my phone from LS-Droid. I already have a 2wd NV3500 5spd (not super strong, but I'll be small displacement, lightweight and small tires) and just picked up a Explorer 8.8 3.73 LSD for $200. There's a lot of fab work to be done...but my goal is a RWD v8 Beretta to slide around for $5000 in about a year. It's gonna be a quick and dirty build...my never-ending 80Z Camaro has kinda soured me on perfection.










I don't have a whole lot for pictures, cause I've been doing most everything on youtube channel:
https://www.youtube.com/c/GEARHEADdezign

And here's the video picking up the car:

I've also got a lot of stuff on converting the truck LR4 to LS2 intake and LS1 pan on the cheap. Just made some DIY trap doors for the Fbody pan baffle. Let me know what you think!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Really jealous of the gray truck, always wanted that color with colormatched bumpers. great looking and sick project!
I'm a pretty big fan of the truck, too. I may actually go a different color at some point...always kinda wanted a red truck...but I do like how it looks now, too. I have some videos about the truck on youtube too:

I also made some cheap oil slosh baffles for the LS1 pan in the Beretta. Don't want to uncover the pickup and lose oil PSI doing donuts or drifting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I guess all my updates come in the form of videos now...haha

I've been impressed by some of the cheap China stuff, but some of it is definitely junk. You're taking a risk, but I'm still under $1000 for a running LS that will fit under a car hood. I think that's pretty good.

 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Ok, I just bought the stuff I need for rear suspension from Barnes4WD and Speedway. Gonna end up doing coilovers instead of messing with the stock style coils, and maybe even a 3link instead of the torque arm I was thinking. The hole for the VSS in the Explorer center section would make a nice spot for the 3rd link. Maybe tap for a heim right there?


Barnes has threaded poly bushings that I'm going to make the LCA and Panhard bar out of. I got the hex tube ends in LH and RH so they will be easily adjustable on the car, and if my bracket placement on the rear axle isn't 100% perfect it can be squared up.


Speedway has AFCO "hot rod" coilovers for relatively lightweight vehicles that are pretty small overall. And there's enough room to nestle them in. It should work pretty well. I went with 200lb springs that should be about right. I bought them in pieces, but it's basically these with yellow springs. That way the ride height and the spring rate are both easily changeable. There's no adjustability in the shock valving, but the Beretta is gonna be a tire burner. The Camaro will be the competitive one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
More progress on the Beretta.

Most of the internet can't agree what the center section of the Ford 8.8 is, but after some testing and one good source (Hiltsy torque arm kit)...I determined it's probably nodular iron. Also found a way to MIG it successfully with stainless wire. That means I can build my torque arm mount and weld it up. I also gotta weld the tubes to the center section. Don't want to end up spinning the tubes like the Camaro (quick 2008 clip of that failure too). haha
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
More rear axle progress! Got the lower control arm mounts trimmed, drilled and welded up. I also lathed my tube ends down to match the .120 tube I'm using for the LCAs and torque arm. Cut all the explorer brackets off and tried to see if I could reuse the shock brackets for coilovers, but that wasn't gonna happen. I need the coilovers a fair amount below the axle centerline, so I found an adjustable mount for cheap! $25 straight from China I'm sure, but it looks like they'll work decent. I'm gonna weld them pretty close to the LCA brackets and weld a brace to span the gap. I picked up "shock mounts" for the panhard bar also. I think that will work out nice. Seems to be coming together, and still looking good on the budget. Probably have it driving for 1/3 the sale price of what I sold my old one for. haha


 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
You know there's video coming soon...but I'm too excited not to post these pics. The axle is done! Ready to install under the car. Mounts for the lower control arms, torque arm, panhard bar and coilovers are all done. They're all adjustable so I can dial them in perfect in the car. The 3.73s and LSD are back in and my Motorsports Tech custom order Explorer 5x4.5 to Beretta 5x100 hubcentric and wheelcentric spacers are on. I also tested my 15" slicks and they clear the Ford brakes by a mile.





Did get the first half of the video done:
Measuring for the the adapters and making them work on the axle. That whole axle was pretty rusty too, so I blasted and rebuilt the calipers for $4 a side. And I picked up some more truck parts for it!

Just finished the lower control arms tonight but forgot to get a pic. Adjustability will be sweet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
This is awesome! I always loved Berettas back in the day. I like how GM did the door handle in the B pillar too.
Yeah...the build quality and longevity of the drivetrains was not so good compared to other GMs. But the Beretta styling was freaking MINT! Some 2dr Grand Ams and Grand Prix had the same B pillar door handles too. And Luminas.
They break in the winter though...a lot. I've broken like 4 or 5. That's probably why GM stopped doing them. But they look so clean.
 

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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
Digital dash Beretta would mean 88-90, so it was a 2.8 or 3.1 and mid 16-sec 1/4 mile @ 85ish. I 3.4 swapped my last Beretta and got a 13.2 out of it. N/A Beretta world record actually.:cool:

I actually got my car in my old man's garage finally and did the FWD delete! Got his lift functional a few weeks ago. Heat will be done this week. Sucks working in the cold when I'm used to my heated garage, but that lift is awesome already. I appreciate the room too, cause my garage is pretty full with the Camaro.

Time to start cutting and get all this stuff in there. I'd love to have it done by May 21...that's the day I sold the last one. But Auhust 29 (when I bought the new one) is probably a more realistic goal. haha






Byyeeeeeeee
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
It's in, and this will be final placement - offset to the pass side. Figuring out radiator, fans and hoses. Just bought the Camaro steering rack too. Need to cut the firewall and floor out to fit the trans and weld up the engine mounts. Probably should wash it too. haha
Gotta keep making good progress to get it done before June. haha
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
More solid progress this week...and a huge upgrade! Screw the budget, I'm going t56 6spd. I mocked up my Camaro trans just to compare and it fits basically perfect. And every single thing about the t56 is better than nv3500...shift feel, strength, aftermarket, gear splits, highway rpm... Just price is the only issue. And it looks like I've found a nice solution to that, buying a Tick Performance level 2 for my Camaro and using the stock Camaro trans in the Beretta. I'll have to swap input shafts, front plates and bellhousings...but well worth it to upgrade both cars at the same time.
Got the motor mounts all done. The subframes will become one piece with a C channel crossbar for the steering rack up front, and a skidplate/brace in the back under the oil pan/bellhousing.
Got my brake math figured out and the Wilwood pedals and Afco masters ordered. Next step is to make them coexist with the steering column.
Bought a rockauto full-aluminum radiator and pushed it forward for some more fan and water pump room. Looks like it will work pretty mint.
Also got the crossmember in and the back half of the raised floor mocked up. Not too far away now! Just trans mount...torque arm mount...front floor...tunnel...pedals...steering...wiring...





 
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