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My 1978 Firebird

This is a discussion on My 1978 Firebird within the Classic Muscle forums, part of the Vehicle Specific category; Originally Posted by Zapper2003 Pulled the wheels off tonight and ripped those tires off. Got lucky and have 7" rears ...

  1. #21
    ʢ ൧ ൨ ൩ ൪ ൫ ൬ ൭ ൮Ր Ց Ւ Փ Smittro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zapper2003 View Post
    Pulled the wheels off tonight and ripped those tires off. Got lucky and have 7" rears and 6" wide fronts. The front brake pads (and rotors) appear to be damn near new, and the rear brakes are in great shape as well, except for a leaking wheel cylinder on the passengers side. Got one ordered and should be here later this week. Another oddity: all four corners have shocks with mini-coilovers on them as well Once I get some proper size tires on it, I will go ahead with a shock change and see where the ride height comes back to. I assume somebody put those shocks on in an attempt to get it to sit a bit higher, I don't really know. In the little research I've done, the owners manual says that the base model Firebird sat 49.1" high, while Espirts and Formulas were 49.4", and trans ams were 49.6" high. Maybe someone was trying to get the extra height? No clue. My guess is to clear the 235/75/15 truck tires on the back
    Alot of those cars had a slight rearward rake. IIRC it was part of the design to aid handling..lol

    Sounds like they put on a set of load springs to either level the car, or to compensate for collapsing coils, possibly both.

    Also,, like Jeff was saying, not only were the cams no good in those years iirc so were the blocks.

    Egged out cylinders and deep wear ridges in the bores were common on the smogger SBC's.

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smittro View Post
    Alot of those cars had a slight rearward rake. IIRC it was part of the design to aid handling..lol

    Sounds like they put on a set of load springs to either level the car, or to compensate for collapsing coils, possibly both.

    Also,, like Jeff was saying, not only were the cams no good in those years iirc so were the blocks.

    Egged out cylinders and deep wear ridges in the bores were common on the smogger SBC's.
    Oh and so was plastic or nylon coated timing sprockets.

  3. #23
    Giant Dicks Car Club Zapper2003's Avatar
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    Maybe I'll just paint over the black thats currently on them. We all know I cant leave well enough alone and I'll end up with some aftermarket wheels on there at some point...

  4. #24
    Giant Dicks Car Club Zapper2003's Avatar
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    Updates..

    Got the rear brakes taken care of, now they just lock up and the fronts don't feel like they hold back much. I'm throwing question to the proportioning valve. The fronts work, and are free and slides arent set up, just don't grip shit compared to the rears. On a paved road the rears will squeal before the fronts even start to grab.

    New tires on the car, fresh oil change, new wires, upper half of the interior is pulled out awaiting new headliner fabric to arrive. Getting a plate and registration tonight but won't be driving it until I figure out these brakes, it's not very safe.

    On the upside, I scored an engine turned aluminum dash bezel today and the 'sport' type steering wheel as opposed to the hideous thing that's in it. Both need a little cleaning, and the steering wheel needs a horn button (got the guts for it, but other than that both are in decent shape.

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    Holler if you want me to take a ride up to play with brakes sometime. I would replace the brake hoses on the car at your first opportunity.

    Hemmings has a SD-455 featured this month and the dash does have two small gauges mounted in holes above the heater controls. Not sure if it is the same layout as yours...

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    Giant Dicks Car Club Zapper2003's Avatar
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    The Dash I picked up today has just two holes. The a/c equipped cars had 4 holes (i think) and 2 were vents. As for the brakes, going to take a little deeper look tomorrow. Going to bleed the fronts as to get every bit of old fluid out and double check that everything is working smooth and as it should. Might even change a master cylinder just for shits n giggles. I agree as well, Jeff, about changing out the lines. I sprayed down all of the front lines and fittings with aerokroil while I had the wheels off, just to be sure. Braided kits are pretty pricey.


    Took the car down to get the plate, then took it up to the mini mart to get gas. Filled the tank and drove it home. Good 10 mile trip. Ran fine, took it up to 75. Handles very well, steering is tight and quick, rides smooth and, although not a powerhouse by any means of the word, picks up and goes pretty well.

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    The engine sounded great when you started it on Sunday. Seems to rev up nice and should be a blast to drive being a 4 speed. How's the clutch feel?

  8. #28
    Giant Dicks Car Club Zapper2003's Avatar
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    Previous owner claimed it was new...chatters like a bitch. Probably a new clutch on an old pressure plate I'm guessing..if it's even been touched.

  9. #29
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    Been about a month.. Not much happening. Picked up some headers and a Pypes crossflow header-back exhaust system. Hope to get that all on this weekend. Just spent the past 2 hours ripping off the stock exhaust and Y pipe. Just has manifolds on it now. Sounds like a derby car without all of this:



    And the headers/exhaust (in the box in the background)


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    Congrats on the firebird. As an owner of a `79 with a 4 speed as well, I could tell it wasn't a Pontiac engine right off with the fuel pump on the R side as well as the alternator. You should have a much easier time with the headers than with a Pontiac engine. The bolts are fed from the bottom up on the Pontiac engine.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 260091_2051221153755_1041291986_2439125_1467403_n.jpg  

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    Giant Dicks Car Club Zapper2003's Avatar
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    Passengers side done and new heater hoses on.

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    Dude, Santa Claus is buying you a camera for Christmas.

    Looks great -- are you going to be in the garage all day?

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    Giant Dicks Car Club Zapper2003's Avatar
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    I have a digital camera...but that's too much work


    I just got back from doing all my running. Picked up a couple good collector gaskets and all 10 of my 2.5" stepped stainless band clamps this morning. Gotta make my own spacer for the power steering pump bracket once I get the drivers side on, it wasn't included with the headers. Otherwise, yeah, I'll be here all day.

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    I have a small lathe if you need to do anything fancy.

  15. #35
    Giant Dicks Car Club Zapper2003's Avatar
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    We had a sleeve from an old sway bar endlink set laying around, I'll just cut that down to length and put that in there with a few flat washers.

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    You weren't kidding when you said it had been a while since anything was posted in this thread!

    Anyway - Zach and I rebuilt the Saginaw 4 speed for his car this weekend. He picked up a kit last year at Carlisle and other than a somewhat off front bearing retainer gasket, the rebuild kit had everything he needed and it all went together good. The transmission was in great shape - only issues we found were a broken snap ring on the main shaft (all the pieces were still in place), the front bearing had some play, there was a stripped bolt hole for the side cover, and the retainer plate at the front of the shift lever had at some point in the car's life been incorrectly installed.

    We hosed it all down with brake cleaner for starters and then brought it into the garage for teardown. Everything came apart quite easily and all the components went through the parts washer. The bell housing, transmission case, extension housing and side cover, plus some of the smaller external parts, were sandblasted. The case, housing and side cover were then washed in hot soapy water, blown dry and then sprayed down again with brake cleaner before reassembly. The kit had all new bearings, syncros, clips, countershaft, seals and gaskets, and a rear bushing. The transmission will be painted prior to installation.



























  17. #37
    Giant Dicks Car Club Zapper2003's Avatar
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    Thanks for posting those, Jeff.


    Little by little this car is coming along.

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    Has this car been on the road at all yet?

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    Even made it to the track a time or three.

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    Forgot that the beginning pics of the transmission project are on my phone -- couldn't find my camera Friday night when we started the tear down. Have to upload those tonight.

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