1979 Firebird engine questions


Old 08-28-02, 05:23 PM
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Talking 1979 Firebird engine questions

1979 Pontiac Firebird
Auto 118,000miles

I have the chance to pick up a 79 firebird for the cost of me helping the owner drop an engine into one of his other cars. I will probably get the car (How many times have you come across free cars from total strangers in Jersey?) But to be honest I have very little experience with GM cars. He thinks that the engine in the car is a 305. But from what I have read elsewhere some say a 305 was never put in in 79. Is this true? I have also considered the engine being the 301, how do I tell the difference between the two engines? Also, just so no suprises take place, how can I tell the difference between those two and the 400?

Also, could someone please direct me to a website that has good information on the second generation Firebirds?

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Old 08-28-02, 05:28 PM
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I get those cars free, all the time, running .

If the 5th digit of the vin is a Y, you have a 301 2 bbl. If it's a W, you have a 301 4 barrel. If it's a G or an H, it's a 305. If it's a K, it's a 403. If it's a Z, it's a 400, and you scored (someone gave me a car with a 400 one time )

That's going by what is ORIGINALLY in the vehicle. If it's a Chevrolet engine the alternator would be on the RH side. Pontiac engines have them in the middle to left.

If the oil filters is in the left back corner, it's a Chevy V8. Pontiac and Oldsmobile engines are on the right. An Olds engine has a large tube in the front where the oil goes. Pontiacs and Chevy V8's have it on the LH valve cover.

Need more information to help. Probably a plane jane Firebird. Not worth much

Post the full Vin # from the dash, as well as the engine #s (behind the alternator on a Chevy, under the water pump on the RH side on a Pontiac V8 and I'll tell you what you have.
Old 09-03-02, 07:22 PM
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Ok the "seller" has emailed me the VIN; 2U87G9L12955
So if my information is correct the car is;
1979 Formula
305 2bbl V8
built in Van Nuys California

It is also the rarest body style for the 1979 year! Not to bad for a free car!

Old 09-03-02, 10:06 PM
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Sure for free, why not .

The 305 2 barrel is a collosal pig and devalues the car immensely though A 400 4 speed T top Formula is what I want, there are only 346 of those. VERY rare.

Yes it is a Formula (2nd digit is a U), 305 (fifth digit a G, making it a 2 bbl), Van Nuys built (L), and 1979 (9).

I own a 1980 Turbo 301 with 26k original, a 1979 10th Anniversary T/A 400 4 speed with 57k original and a 1980 Turbo (was originally) with a 77 400 with a few tricks. The latter car was given to me.
Old 09-04-02, 08:10 AM
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Joe, Where did you get the production figure for the Formula 400 4spd? I was talking with John Witzke at Classical Pontiac, he is a W72 historian, and he said that Pontiac never kept track of the # of Formula 400 4spd produced. Apparently, they would need to go through 40,000 invoices on microfiche to determine! I recently bought a '77 400 4spd with t-tops, and alot of rare options--original owner car--special ordered. I do know that Pontiac made almost 70,000 T/As in '77 and only a little over 8,000 were 400 4spd cars. They only made a little over 20,000 Formulas, but no figures exist for engine/trans allocation. It would be safe to say very few 400, 4spd, Formulas were produced--and the t-tops were reserved almost exclusively for the T/As--making my car even rarer. But until I get a hard #--it is difficult to put a value on the car.
Old 09-04-02, 09:39 AM
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I believe Texas Trans Am Sales has a 79 W72 T-top Formula for sale and the numbers are listed there.

I'd like that car. It's a wolf in sheep's clothing .
Old 09-04-02, 02:18 PM
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I have always loved the body style of those cars. In particular I like the 73-74 super duty 455's trans ams(did I get that right?) The 79's were fantastic looking as well, but weren't they overburdened with emissions components? What is the horse power/torque rating on a 79 400?
Old 09-04-02, 07:24 PM
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No. The 400 was pretty "loose" in the emission department. Only an EGR and a converter. Not much else . 220 hp on the 79 400, they are leftover 78 220 horse 400's.

If they are uncorked a bit, they will go like raped apes. In stock form they move nicely too. 125 top speed, zero to 60 in about 7.5 seconds. Not bad for a 3700 lb car

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