Sometimes You Need A Ford 9 Inch In Your Trans Am

Many of the guys here at 1A have a project of some sort that they are working on.  “1ADan” is no exception, and he is racing to get it drivable for our car show on July 31st. That’s still 30 days away though, what could possibly be so hard?  Well…. if you want the full story, you can check out his entire build thread on  If you want the cliff notes, you are in the right place. 

Dan’s car is a 1987 Pontiac Trans Am, because frankly, he is totally obsessed with passionate about them.  He has had several and can probably tell you how many threads are on every bolt under the dashboard.  He started the build a little over a year ago with a sad looking Craigslist-find 3rd gen that had a nice body, but sad drivetrain.  Dan knew that mass amounts of horsepower were going under the hood and the stock engine wasn’t going to cut it, so the first step was to tear the entire drivetrain out.  Shortly after, Dan acquired a 1998 LS1 long block and a 4L60E automatic transmission from a 1998 Trans Am.  Unfortunately, the engine spun a bearing and needed a rebuild (read: he bought it cheap).  Oddly enough, the easiest way to get all the accessories, harness,  ECU, etc. for his LS1 was to grab a complete 5.3L take out engine from a junkyard.  So now he had two engines, and a variety of spare stuff!

Before I go any further, let me just say that being on can be dangerous to your wallet, because you inexplicably begin gathering mass amounts of auto parts.  It’s far worse than a kid in a candy store, but that’s the best way to explain it.  Before long, you find yourself  buying a 4th Gen F-Body Dashboard, big brakes, a 6.0L iron block engine with L92 Aluminum heads to replace your “small” LS1, along with a Ford 9″ rear end.  That is exactly what happened to our friend Dan.  It was a whirlwind of great buys that could not have been passed up.

Currently, he has a 6.0L fuel injected engine in the engine bay of his Trans Am, with his 4L60E automatic strapped to the back of it. The new dashboard is mostly installed, along with the console.  There is a solid weekend full of suspension parts to attach, along with brakes, wheels & tires. Then a few days of “working out the big issues”.   Will he be hosting a gathering of gearheads in the weekends ahead?  Will he drive it to our big car show?  Will the Trans Am spit the Ford parts out in sheer disgust?  Will the 6.0L fire up on the first try?  So many questions!  The one thing that we do know is that the month ahead will be interesting in his driveway. He will be needing everybody to cross their fingers for 70 degree, rain free nights and weekends for the entire month of July.  Get those fingers crossed people!

Jeremy Nutt

Hi, I'm Jeremy.

2 thoughts to “Sometimes You Need A Ford 9 Inch In Your Trans Am”

  1. The Ford nine inch rear end is a great piece of engineering . every one that knows cars and strips knows that is the holy grail of rear ends. Tougher read ends you can not find at least that cheaply .

    1. I agree. It wasn’t really in the budget yet, but neither was breaking the stock 10 bolt, getting a tow, and replacing the thing over and over. Sometimes you just gotta bite the bullet and do it right first (especially when a sweet craigslist deal comes around!)

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