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79 T/A 400 4 speed

This is a discussion on 79 T/A 400 4 speed within the Firebird / WS6 forums, part of the Vehicle Specific category; So I found this on craigslist and was wondering what your opinions are. Seller says it's a 400 small block ...

  1. #1

    79 T/A 400 4 speed

    So I found this on craigslist and was wondering what your opinions are. Seller says it's a 400 small block with the original 4 speed. I did some research and I think the four speed only came with the big block engines. If thats the case than would the transmission work w/ a small block? I guess if the car is 30 years old anybody could have put anything in it over the years but my suspicion is that the seller might have his facts messed up and the car actually has a big block. I was also under the impression that the 400 small block was a chevy engine. If I go look at the car is there any way to tell which engine it really is? Any insight you guys may have would be much appreciated.


    http://indianapolis.craigslist.org/cto/1154855153.html

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    Member ronnie tadlock's Avatar
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    If it is an actual Pontiac engine, then it's neither a small block nor a big block. Pontiac had one block for all their V8's. I believe it was 1979 that Pontiac used up the last of their Pontiac engines and some of the T/A's were built with the Oldsmobile 403 engine. A friend of mine years ago had one of them. The 4-speed should work behind any Pontiac, or most any GM engine if you have the correct bellhousing.

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    Member qwk93ta's Avatar
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    The 79 WS6 had a 400 4spd.....I owned one back in the day. The rims on the car are from a turbo car not a WS6. Check the door for the rpo codes and make sure it is a WS6. It should also have 4 wheel disk brakes.

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    Member waldo's Avatar
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    wish I knew something about this so I could help out!

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    Quote Originally Posted by qwk93ta View Post
    The 79 WS6 had a 400 4spd.....I owned one back in the day. The rims on the car are from a turbo car not a WS6. Check the door for the rpo codes and make sure it is a WS6. It should also have 4 wheel disk brakes.
    In '79, RPO WS6 was a suspension + rear disk brake option. I'm pretty sure it could be ordered w/ either the AT/403 Olds ("6.6 Litre" decal on the scoop), or the MT/400 Pontiac ("T/A 6.6" decal on the scoop) trans/engine combos. However, not sure what makes you think this car has WS6, nothing in the ad hints at that.

    You could not get a 4-spd w/ the 403 Olds, and you could not get the 400 Pontiac w/ the AT that year. True, " '79 was the end of the road for horsepower overload........", Sammy Haggar's reference to the last year you could get the 400 Pontiac which was much faster than the 403 Olds.

    Side-by-side, a Pontiac V8 looks smaller than an SBO (which the 403 Olds, being basically a bored-out 350 which despite being classified as a "small block" due to it's shorter deck height than the BBO 400/425/455 block, is physically larger than a Pontiac V8), so it might be understandable someone calling it a "small block". In any case, a 400 SBC was NEVER used in a T/A. But that doesn't mean that someone didn't swap a 400 SBC into this car.
    Last edited by JohnnyBs98WS6Rag; 05-28-2009 at 01:45 PM.

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    Pony_eater Pony_Eater's Avatar
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    yes the pontiac 400 came in manual form... The manual 400 engine is a pontiac engine and had 225 hp but there was also a 400 chevy automatic in some trans ams

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    Senior Member bigrondownhiller's Avatar
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    From the pic it looks to be in good shape. Around here it would go for more money in worse shape. Check it out and post some pics.

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    Firebird Encyclopedia 9T8W66's Avatar
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    Only 3 engines available in Trans Am's for 1979
    403 Olds is the standard engine and is identified by a K code in the Vin
    The T/A 400 is identified as a Z code and the other engine is the 301 4bbl (not sure of the code on this one but it's most likely Y)
    Call and ask the guy for the Vin number.

    The Vin number should read 2W87 to identify a T/A followed by the engine code (Z,K or other) then 9 for 1979 then the plant code N is for Norwood Ohio the other plant was Van Nuys Cali.

    Heres the one off my old `79 T/A for reference.
    2W87K9N121866

    I would bet that the car is originally a 4spd 301 with a SB transplant.
    That would still make it rarer then an Olds Automatic but not quite as rare as the 400 4spds.
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    Veteran Blackbird WS6's Avatar
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    tell the sell to send you a pic of the engine and we can tell you if its a pontiac or a chevy engine

    and if you get that car and you need some parts for it i have some laying around so just PM me and i can see what i have left

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    Member qwk93ta's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=JohnnyBs98WS6Rag;1942248]In '79, RPO WS6 was a suspension + rear disk brake option. I'm pretty sure it could be ordered w/ either the AT/403 Olds ("6.6 Litre" decal on the scoop), or the MT/400 Pontiac ("T/A 6.6" decal on the scoop) trans/engine combos. However, not sure what makes you think this car has WS6, nothing in the ad hints at that.
    QUOTE]

    Because only a WS6 got a 4spd in 79.

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    Firebird Encyclopedia 9T8W66's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=qwk93ta;1943080]
    Quote Originally Posted by JohnnyBs98WS6Rag View Post
    In '79, RPO WS6 was a suspension + rear disk brake option. I'm pretty sure it could be ordered w/ either the AT/403 Olds ("6.6 Litre" decal on the scoop), or the MT/400 Pontiac ("T/A 6.6" decal on the scoop) trans/engine combos. However, not sure what makes you think this car has WS6, nothing in the ad hints at that.
    QUOTE]

    Because only a WS6 got a 4spd in 79.
    Incorrect
    All 400 4spd powered cars were WS6 equipped
    But 301 4spd cars could be ordered either way.

    Also Johnny B is correct in that the WS6 option could be ordered on any T/A of Formula.
    All WS6 equipped automatics recieved 2.73 gears as opposed to the standard auto's 2.41 gears.
    Last edited by 9T8W66; 05-29-2009 at 10:37 AM.

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    I think I see what he's saying now, since it has a 4-speed, it also has WS6, since all 4-sp cars came w/ WS6 (i.e.: you couldn't have a 4-sp w/o WS6).



    Quote Originally Posted by Pony_Eater
    but there was also a 400 chevy automatic in some trans ams
    Nope, there was never a 400 ci Chevy small block in any T/A (or Firebird), any year. There were 305 ci Chevys in some Firebirds (late '70s-'81), but not 400 SBC.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by 9T8W66 View Post
    Only 3 engines available in Trans Am's for 1979
    403 Olds is the standard engine and is identified by a K code in the Vin
    The T/A 400 is identified as a Z code and the other engine is the 301 4bbl (not sure of the code on this one but it's most likely Y)
    Call and ask the guy for the Vin number.

    The Vin number should read 2W87 to identify a T/A followed by the engine code (Z,K or other) then 9 for 1979 then the plant code N is for Norwood Ohio the other plant was Van Nuys Cali.

    Heres the one off my old `79 T/A for reference.
    2W87K9N121866

    I would bet that the car is originally a 4spd 301 with a SB transplant.
    That would still make it rarer then an Olds Automatic but not quite as rare as the 400 4spds.
    I was thinking that too. Everything I've heard about the 301 is that they were underpowered and only available for a few years so finding parts for them 30 years later is probably a major pain in the a$$. So it's probably alot easier to change an engine then find some engine part for an engine not produced for almost 3 decades. I have to work all weekend but if the car is still listed Monday I'll give him a call and I'll pass along what ever I find out.

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    my T/A has the 403, and its pretty hard to find certain parts.

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    Pony_eater Pony_Eater's Avatar
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    Nope, there was never a 400 ci Chevy small block in any T/A (or Firebird), any year. There were 305 ci Chevys in some Firebirds (late '70s-'81), but not 400 SBC.[/QUOTE]

    My bad I was wrong ....this is right. The chevy engine was a 305 not a 400. But im not sure if it was availiable in 79.. I know there was a 301 pontiac you could option for
    Last edited by Pony_Eater; 05-31-2009 at 01:23 PM.

  16. #16
    Pony_eater Pony_Eater's Avatar
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    Here I found the numbers...


    1979 Trans Am Production Model Engine RPO VIN Code Manual Automatic Total
    Trans Am 301 L37 W 1,590 7,015 8,605
    Trans Am w/T-Top 301 L37 W 1,530 3,301 4,831
    Trans Am 400 T/A 6.6 W72 Z 2,485 2,485
    Trans Am w/T-Top 400 T/A 6.6 W72 Z 2,917 2,917
    Trans Am 403 L80 K 48,488 48,488
    Trans Am w/T-Top 403 L80 K 30,728 30,728

    Total Trans Am 98,054

    Trans Am SE 301 L37 W 213 360 573
    Trans Am SE 400 W72 Z 1,107 1,107
    Trans Am SE 403 L80 K 9,874 9,874

    Total Trans Am SE - 10,981
    Trans Am 10th Anniv. 400 L78/W72 Z 1,817 1,817
    Trans Am 10th Anniv. 403 L80 K 5,683 5, 683

    Total Trans Am 10th Anniv - 7,500



    Total Production 116,535

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