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Reducing weight

1353 Views 10 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  bullheimer
Anyone tried to reduce the weight of a Trans Am/Camaro’s body?

My European Ford 2,9 litre V6 (150hp) has about half the weight of my 350 (270hp) Trans Am’s with almost equal performance.
I’m going to modify the engine this winter to keep up with these Japanese and European cars, but it would also be nice to shave of some weight.
Are there any safe areas where I can remove some material of replace it with a lighter one; Doors, hood..?

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Various pieces are available in fiberglass, but they may be better suited to more pure race cars than something you want to drive on the street.

You can strip various interior pieces. You can also run aluminum heads, wheels, intakes, etc for weight savings. Every little bit helps. Heads ain't light, neither are stock intakes. Headers may also be lighter than exhaust manifolds. You can even get carbon fiber driveshafts that are pretty light. You could even look at replacing the rear end for a lighter unit or even some custom aftermarket pieces that weigh less.
You can shave a bit of wight off your T/A by hollowing out your hood and reinforcing it with 1/4"-1/2" steell tubing in an A shape. Hollw out your doors and only keep whats needed for the interior handle itself. hollow out your deck lid(trunk) reinforce it with steel. Like Wmarden said, aluminum mechanical parts and wheels helps too.

This is not a race-car, and my budget is about 3000 and I’ve already used halve of this on the engine and gear. This limits my modifications to lowbudget work on the body and driveline.

I’ve invested a lot of time and money in modifying the heads, so those I want to keep. I’ve also installed an aluminium intake and tube-headers.

The frames ( not sure if that’s the correct word for it.. ) on the hood and trunk lid are almost decomposed by rust so this is a good opportunity to make modifications to it.
Great idea! Gluing or welding?

Are the doors a part of the supporting construction in a Trans Am?
Would it be safe to reduce some weight in areas around the back seat/trunk?
Is a T-roof lighter than the standard?

Thank you for all advises and keeping this the best car-site on the Net.

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For the under supporting frames of the trunk and hood I cut all of it out/off and welded some 1/2" tubing ever 6" till the edges of the hood/trunk. T-Top don't do much to the weight, they actually add a few more pounds when the glass is in, and when making it a T-Top some reinforcing will be needed on the uni-body to keep it from twisting. What year is the T/A? Mines a '77. The doors can be trimmed and gutted (loss of about 5-7lbs) without any adverse effects. :D


[ November 08, 2002: Message edited by: Halloweenking ]</p>
The body of my Trans Am is a ‘74. Front, hood, frames, back, bumpers, interior etc are from a ’77. I’m not sure about the doors.
I found a T-top from a ’77 in Sweden for sale. I imagine this would suit my car.. A little of the budget but cool.
Can it be done by a self-teach welder?

Yes it can be done by yourself, because I'll help you :D My '77 is a T-Top, but not original, it has an aftermarket aluminum kit. If you like it, buy it. I'd be happy to help you put it in.


[ November 08, 2002: Message edited by: Halloweenking ]</p>
Spend more on HP. HP and torque will over ride your weight problems.Like you said this is no race car so you want to keep the interior stock and not remove any braces. On our 69GTO clone we replaced a dead 350 with a rebuilt 400 pontiac with a mild cam and hooker headers, flowed heads and high rise intake 780cfm carb with great results, this puppy MOVES. :D
Replace the engine is off course an open alternative when I find the right engine/right price. “There is no substitute for cubic inches”, I read in a topic about increasing performance in 350 engines. Until then I’m stuck with my 350 and my budget.
The reason why I posted this topic was not to get advices to build a race-car, but maybe do some modification when I have the possibility. My Trans Am is in a very bad condition, and it’s now completely disassembled. This is might be good opportunity to remove some weight where it is safe do so, if this matters at all?

When I built my RX7 GT3 car I was stripping every little bit of weight I could so I could place my ballast in the car as low as possible. I used to live near a weigh scale so it was a short push to see how much I had removed, the number one item I removed that reduced the weight the most was the sound deadening tar applied to the underside and interior floorboards. There was just under 200 pounds of it on the car but I don't wish the chore of removing it on my worst enemy. A torch and some solvent took care of most of it but I would never do it again, I think everyone only does it by hand only once.

The idea of stripping it to bare metal chassis and shipping it for dipping is the only way I would do it now.
oh great! so now i feel like a chump cause i only used like 10 cans of spray-on undercoating on my rig. At a pound apiece, that means i only have 1/20th the sound deadener your MAAAHzda had from the factory. (still have new felt all around the innerds tho. that probably wieghs another 10 lbs.
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