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Thread: 1979 camero, change transmission or not?
          
   
   

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  1. #1
    Seagroves is offline CHR Junior sMember Visit my Photo Gallery
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    Question 1979 camero, change transmission or not?

     



    Im buying a 1979 z28 from my step dad. He bought it from original owner and its been garage kept its whole life. car has zero rust on it. the car is an automatic but my step dad bought everything needed to switch it to a 4 speed manual. the trans, linkage, pedals everything! if I want all the parts to swap from auto to manuel then he will throw in all the parts but for a lil more money of course. im wondering if I should buy just car and keep it an auto or pay lil more and swap it to a manual. only reason im against changing it is bc car has all original parts/ matching numbers. but I can always keep the trans incase I sell car one day and buyer wants original trans. im new to the muscle car world and looking to get into it. just curious what some of you guys with more experience in this car world would do. my next thread once I decide weather to swap trans or not is gonna be about recommendations on things to do to engine to make more hp. this car was part of the smog era so its not got the hp I want. think it has 175hp. id love to have more around the 350hp area. basically double the current hp.

  2. #2
    34_40's Avatar
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    Yeah, 79 isn't the best of years to monkey with.
    It's probably worth more as a "original survivor" now - to mess with it might be counterproductive as you'll spend a bunch of cash to never re-cover it. It is only original once as the saying goes.

    But, it's your car.. your wallet. If you do swap trannies, keep the old stuff of course, like you said maybe the next owner will want'em ? Probably! LOL..

  3. #3
    NTFDAY's Avatar
    NTFDAY is offline CHR Member Visit my Photo Gallery
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    Horsepower=money How much do you want to spend and how much can you handle or have you handled?
    Ken Thomas
    NoT FaDe AwaY and the music didn't die
    The simplest road is usually the last one sought
    Wild Willie & AA/FA's The greatest show in drag racing

  4. #4
    firebird77clone's Avatar
    firebird77clone is offline CHR Member Visit my Photo Gallery
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    It doesn't have the HP anyway, keep it original and enjoy the ride.

    Personally, I got tired of grabbing gears long ago. I love an automatic.
    36 sedan likes this.
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    Education is expensive. Keep that in mind, and you'll never be terribly upset when a project goes awry.
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  5. #5
    techinspector1's Avatar
    techinspector1 is offline CHR Member Visit my Photo Gallery
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    Welcome aboard Seagroves and thank you for having the common sense to seek help before you pull the trigger on this purchase. All of us on this board have been where you are and I'm sure that most of us would do things a little differently.......like asking for help.......if we had it all to do over again.

    You'll likely get several different suggestions from different board members because we all think a little bit differently. Here's mine......

    As far as the manual transmission and associated parts, that is going to be determined by whether or not you would rather have a manual than an automatic and also who the manufacturer of the transmission was. It could be a Saginaw or it could be a Muncie. The Saginaw was a weak-suck operation, intended to transfer power from a relatively low-horsepower motor. I would not use it in any application where more than 250-275 horsepower would be generated by the motor. It's actually torque that kills parts, but we will talk in terms of horsepower because that is what you will understand at this point in your schooling. I would also not use it if I were going to use some sticky tires on the rear. The first time you would rev the motor and dump the clutch and the tires would hook up, BAM....and you'd be running over the gears with the rear tires. The Muncie, on the other hand, will tolerate quite a lot of horsepower as it was used behind big blocks from the factory. Even if you didn't want to change from an auto to a stick, it might be worth it to you to go ahead and get the manual so you could offer it as an option to the person you will sell the car to eventually. Muncies are getting scarce and the ones that are out there for sale now are patched-together junk, pretty much. And don't say that you'll never sell the car, we all have sold cars that we thought would last for a lifetime of enjoyment for us, either because we came upon bad times or for some other reason.

    So, there is the reasoning behind the transmission dilemma.

    Now, let's address modifications to the car. Everyone begins hot rodding the vehicle at the wrong end. Mods should always begin at the rear of the car, with gears, positraction, upgrades to suspension, upgrades to shocks, etc., etc. The rear end components that are in the car now were designed at the factory for the engine's horsepower that was bolted into the engine bay. You stated that you believe the horsepower of the motor that is in the car is 175 hp. Be advised that the factory fitted the car with a rear differential and suspension system that will handle 175 hp and not a penny more. They are in the business of selling cars at a profit and could not make a profit if they bolted in a rear end system that would handle a 350 hp motor. See how that works?? So, along comes Seagroves with a complete motor upgrade to 350 hp and the first thing that happens is BAM.....and he's running over the differential parts that couldn't handle the additional power. See how that works??

    First thing I would do is to identify exactly what the motor and transmission are in the car. There are two places to look on the motor to tell what it is and how it was outfitted at the factory. First is the block casting number, a raised 7 or 8 digit number on the bellhousing flange where the bellhousing bolts to the block, on the driver's side. This is a little hard to get to with the motor in the car and is usually obscured with grease and dirt, so you may have to use a toothbrush and some solvent such as kerosene to get in there and scrub the numbers so you can read them. A good strong flashlight and a telescoping mechanic's mirror will be worth their weight in gold also. Those cars were offered from the factory with a 305 also, so don't just assume that it is a 350. If it is a 305, you might want to begin looking around for a rebuildable 350 short block or long block and adjust your stepdad's asking price. These numbers that I'm going to help you with will tell the whole tale.....

    Here's the casting number shown looking from the rear of the motor toward the front of the motor at the bellhousing flange location......
    http://cdn.speednik.com/wp-content/b...asylum-com.jpg
    Here is another photo showing the location of the casting number......
    http://www.thecamaro.com/images/Part...N_Location.jpg

    There is another set of alpha-numeric numbers on the block, at the very front of the motor on the ledge where the cylinder head ends. This location is very close to the top water pump bolt on the passenger side of the block and is stamped into the metal, rather than being cast in. It is on the machined deck of the cylinder block and will look something like this....
    http://www.nastyz28.com/2gcog/blkvin.jpg
    The second numbers/letters is the suffix number we will be interested in, the other one is a partial VIN number.....
    http://www.crankshaftcoalition.com/w...c_block_id.jpg
    These numbers are normally obscured by either an alternator or an AC compressor, so you wil likely have to remove some parts to see them.

    The third numbers we will be interested in will be the cylinder head casting numbers. You will have to remove the valve covers to see them. Look at both heads, because sometimes they are different heads on the same stock motor.
    http://cdn.speednik.com/wp-content/b...tockCastNo.jpg

    I would very much enjoy coming along with you on this journey and I think I speak for the others on this board as well. Post back soon.

    .
    PLANET EARTH, INSANE ASYLUM FOR THE UNIVERSE.

  6. #6
    36 sedan's Avatar
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    As always, "techinspector1" as written a plethora of information that is precise, well written and easy to read. Thank you Mr. Tech!

  7. #7
    glennsexton's Avatar
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    Welcome to CHR!
    The 79 -81 Camaros are somewhat like the red headed step child that nobody really wants to own. It’s unfortunate as they are good looking cars and can be made into performers – but there are a few things that need to be considered.

    Before you touch anything, make sure that the car is exempt from any smog/DEQ/Air Quality Board regulations that prevent modifications to engine and drivetrain. If you’re good-to-go, I’d start much like Tech has recommended at the rear end. If you want to go with the 4 speed (more on that below) you need to change out the current 3rd member as it in all likelihood a PC (3.08:1) or PE (3.42:1) code. Here’s the rear end codes so you can verify:
    PA 2.73:1
    PC 3.08:1
    PE 3.42:1
    PF 3.73:1
    PH 2.56:1
    PJ 2.41:1
    PS 2.41:1 Locking
    PT 2.56:1 Locking
    PU 2.73:1 Locking
    PW 3.08:1 Locking
    PY 3.42:1 Locking
    PZ 3.73:1 Locking (Z-28 4 speed option only)

    If you have a PY – that’s a good thing and you can just swap the gears. The 8.5-inch will withstand some abuse as it shares the same pinion shaft diameter as the 12-bolt rear ends it replaced. All ratios above 2.73:1 can be swapped without having to change carriers. GM factory gears stop at 3.73, but Richmond and others make some pretty big ones if you really want to launch. I think 3.73 would be okay for a street vehicle, especially with a good 4 speed.

    If the transmission you have access to is a Super T-10 that’s a good thing. It’s a strong transmission and will handle 400 horsepower. They’re easy to identify by the code on the driver’s side of the case – vertical stamping with codes as follows:
    W = Borg Warner
    2nd position – Month, A-M (letter “I” not used, i.e., A=Jan, B=Feb, C=Mar, etc)
    3rd position – Day of month, 1-31
    4/5th position – Year, 4=74, 5=75, 6=76, etc. through 0=1980. 1-4 are reused for 1981-1984
    Last position – Shift, 1, 2, or 3

    The compression is the '79 350 is 8.2:1 – not the greatest; however, a good set of headers, Flowmaster 40 series mufflers, and replacement of the stock computer controlled ignition and Q-Jet (again make darn sure you can make these modifications!) with a stock GM HEI (vacuum advance) and a rebuilt non-computer controlled Q-Jet on the stock manifold will give you a jolt in the pants. Do not mess with the cam – big bozo no no on this engine as anything more than stock will give you a bog-dog and really disappointing performance.

    Set the initial timing at 8 degrees and allow the distributor to do the rest and then drive the pants off this car. It’s old enough to have some swagger and the above will not break the bank yet give you some great hot rod experience and provide a lot of fun.

    Let us know what you decide and once again, welcome to CHR!
    Glenn
    "Where the people fear the government you have tyranny. Where the government fears the people you have liberty." John Basil Barnhil

  8. #8
    NTFDAY's Avatar
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    If you do go the manual route be sure and install a pilot bearing in the end of the crank.
    Ken Thomas
    NoT FaDe AwaY and the music didn't die
    The simplest road is usually the last one sought
    Wild Willie & AA/FA's The greatest show in drag racing

  9. #9
    techinspector1's Avatar
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    I just have a feeling that we may have seen the last of Seagroves....

    .
    NTFDAY likes this.
    PLANET EARTH, INSANE ASYLUM FOR THE UNIVERSE.

  10. #10
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    Now that would be sad as the information you guys take the time to write out is so valuable and I know I never get tired of reading this sort of info, so thanks guys from an older member .
    glennsexton likes this.
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  11. #11
    NTFDAY's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by techinspector1 View Post
    I just have a feeling that we may have seen the last of Seagroves....

    .
    Maybe information overload. Switching from auto to manual is more complicated than just hanging a 4 speed on the end of the engine. Driveshaft length, difference in yokes splines, shift linkage, clutch linkage or hydraulic, neutral safety switch, tranny mount, back up light switch, things that tech mentioned and probably I've missed something but it ain't easy as it seems, been there done that.
    glennsexton likes this.
    Ken Thomas
    NoT FaDe AwaY and the music didn't die
    The simplest road is usually the last one sought
    Wild Willie & AA/FA's The greatest show in drag racing

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