Find answers to Frequently Asked Questions for First Generation Firebirds that have been asked on First Generation Firebird-L mailing list. Special thanks needs to be given to all the Firebird-L owners that took the time to respond to other subscribers questions. These pages are continuously updated as new information is posted on the mailing list.
|Q:||Headrest Seat Option for 1968|
|A friend of mine is looking for the headrest option for deluxe interior seats for his 1968 Firebird 400 Ram Air 1. Anybody know of this option? If so, anyone know where some seats could be procured!!! I'm not sure of this next bit though. Apparently the '69 seats had the headrest and they are 99% identical (maybe some internal bracing is the only change?) to the seats from '68 ... I think the deluxe seat pattern remained the same for both years. Anyone care to comment? If there are no '68 seats does anyone know of some '69 seats? The colour ..... any colour as long as it's black|
|A:||The frame of the two years (68-69) are the same. The difference is in the padding. 69s were slightly wider. If he wants it 68 correct, use a 69 headrest seat and buy 68 padding and seat cover.|
|I have a 68 conv. with the headrests. Is this original equipment?|
Should have checked closer instead of going from memory.
|Q:||Seat Belt Emblem|
|I need to find some replacement seat belts and found some on eBay which say they are for a '67-69. The emblem shows a Fisher Coach emblem. Is this correct for a '68?|
Actually, the Fisher Coach emblem was last used on the '67 models.
"GM Mark of Excellence" was used on the Custom and Standard Belts.
(found on the button of the latch assembly).
Latch Housing was metal for Custom Belts and Plastic for Standard.
**The above information is based on evidence I have come across; as always there will be exceptions and variations in usage due to production errors, part shortages, running changes and carry-over build-outs.**
|Q:||Seat Belt Cleaning|
|How do I clean my seatbelts without ruining them.|
An article in one of the muscle car mags last month covered seat belt cleaning. I followed their instructions and it worked perfectly.
|Q:||Seat Belt Adjustment|
|The buckle won't let the belt slide at all-and I lubed that sucker up pretty good and yanked about as hard as I could. I thought maybe there was a catch to it but I bet its just froze in place from years in the same position.|
|A:||The plastic buckle just snaps into place. Take a small screwdriver and gently pry it off from the sides. You can then feed the belt upward through by the metal bar and create a big loop. This will make the belt much easier to clean. One trick I used is to loosen all the belts and put into the dishwasher. This usually loosens all the old dirt. I still had to scrub my belts with a brush to get them really clean. When your finished, let them dry in the sun. They will then be nice and soft. If you want, you can paint the plastic buckles before you reassemble everything. They'll look new.|
|A:||That plastic piece does pop off with a small screwdriver, but pry the rear portion of the buckle off first, not the part where the male part of the belt connects. I made that mistake and snapped off one of the tabs that holds the plastic cover on. Learn from the school of hard knocks. Once you get that off, you will see how the belts works. The rounded long knurled (spelling?) bar should have tab ends on it that slide back and forth in the slots on either side that you see. If it does not, that is your problem, try to free them up with the detergent soaking or household oil etc. I feel you pain, I just got done doing this myself. I was able to gently pry these knurled bars out and blast off the rust that mine had on them (old owner had them sitting in a moist basement). Clean the belt, put together and it looks new! Plus hopefully they still have the white tags sewed on them near the anchor point.|
|Q:||Seat Belt Replacement in a 1968|
|I am having a problem finding 1968 seat belts for my Firebird, but I came across an almost complete set of belts for a 69. Will these belts fit properly? And also the firebird I purchased has new floors in it, is there a way of telling what seat belts go where? If you have any information I would greatly appreciate it..Thank you|
The seat belt are the same for 68 and 69 except for the date stamp at the end on the belt. There is a white manufacture label at the end of each belt that shows the year is was made. Not a big deal unless your trying for 100% originality. 69 coupes used shoulder belts with extra buckles mounted on the tunnel side.
As far as the location, look under the car in the drive shaft tunnel. You should see seat belt attachment nut (welded to a large oval plate). use a small nail and push it through the carpet from underneath. Now you have a reference at the top. DON'T USE A DRILL THROUGH YOUR CARPET. You may snag a loop and unravel your carpet. The door jam side attachment can be found by removing the sill plate and rolling the carpet back. All this is assuming that whoever replaced the floor pan didn't do something stupid like removing or covering these holes. Good luck.
|A:||Sometime in 1968, the seat belt buckles switched from plastic to metal. It was once thought that the plastic were used on standard cars while the metal ones were used on the custom trim cars.|
|Q:||Convertible Shoulder Belts|
|It has been rumored that a shoulder belt option was available in 1 gen convertibles, but I know of no one who has laid eyes on them. And I would have no idea of how they would be anchored (at the top point).|
|A:||Get your hands on a 69 Fisher Body Manual, they show the installation of shoulder belts front and rear in F-body convertibles. The front belt outer strap anchored near the conv top pivot and came through the box surrounding the top mounts, and the rear belt outer strap mounted in the trunk at one of the cocktail shaker bolts. If you look at the upright rear seat support of any F-car convertible, you'll see an indentation at either side about 3 inches wide for the seat belt to come over the support. What strikes me as odd is if a rear seat passenger is belted in tightly, and you lower the top into its storage well, will you choke the passenger? Quite likely!|
|Q:||Shoulder Seat Belt Installation|
|I have taken some photos of my installation of original shoulder belts in my '69. After looking though the 69 Fisher body manual I discovered that my install is incorrect. But, I think they work better in location I placed them. The mounting location I used is stronger. I did not have a Fisher body manual when I installed them, and it was at a time when I was doing a lot of high speed highway driving (50 to 60 miles a day) and just wanted the addition safety.|
We have the following photos of the convertible
shoulder belt modification for the front seats (Fisher Service Manual shows actual locations). View the following
Outside view of shoulder strap:
Inside view of shoulder strap:
Closer look at the inside view of shoulder strap:
A good look at the mounting of the shoulder strap:
|Q:||Custom versus Standard Seat Belts|
|Can anyone with a factory set of deluxe belts in their bird tell me what the buckles are like. Can someone with a set measure the button area and tell me how wide the slot on the polished cover is supposed to be.|
Deluxe: Buckle cover is brushed chrome finish, spade has narrow slot, 9/16" wide.
Standard: Buckle cover is plastic (color-keyed), spade has wide slot, 1-1/8" wide. The 67 and 68 Deluxe had a Fisher coach emblem in black on the bushbutton, while the 69 (and later) used a GM Mark of Excellence in blue on the pushbutton.
Not quite sure what you refer to by 'spade' but here's what I have from my original '68 Deluxe Seat Belts:
1) Buckle (the part with the button - 'Female' half) Metal Housing, Brushed 'Silver' finish on top, chrome on sides. "GM MARK OF EXCELLENCE" button (black background) Slot for Latch (Male half, spade, hook) measures 2.1875" wide
2) Latch ('Male' half that hooks into Buckle) Chrome Plated, with .50 wide x .625 long slot
'68 Firebirds with Deluxe Belts used the above components (Metal Buckles, GM Mark of Excellence Button)
'67 Firebird with Deluxe Belts used Metal Buckles with GM 'Coach' Emblem in Button
'69 Firebird with Deluxe Belts used Plastic Housing Buckle with GM Mark of Excellence Button (Blue background)
*MYSTERY: Why did some Firebirds come with Deluxe Seat Belts when it wasn't noted on any of the documentation ? My '68 RA I Conv. has it's original, date coded correct Belts (deluxe) yet, the documentation says nothing about Deluxe Seat Belts. I've never seen any correct, original '68 Firebirds with the 'Coach' emblem Button (not to say none were built with them) Seat Belts are yet another mystery- right up there with the 'Bird' Glass. ;)
What I meant by "spade", was maybe not a technically correct term
by GM nomenclature, but just a simple common-sense description of the
flat bladed male part that slips into the buckle assembly. I guess I
think of a "latch" as something with moving parts, as opposed to what
you are stating it to be, I'm assuming from GM literature.
Maybe I'm confused or just plain wrong as to when GM changed from the Fisher Body coach design to the GM Mark type.
|Q:||Custom Trim Option (Code 554)|
|My billing history indicates my '68 came with custom trim. What was included with this option?|
|A:||For the '68 Firebird, the Custom Trim Option (554) included the following.... Custom Seat Covers (Morrokide and stitched knit vinyl) Custom Molded Door and Quarter Trim Panels, Assist Bar (above Glovebox) Dual Horns, Deluxe Wheel Covers, Deluxe Steering Wheel, Custom Pedal Trim, Front & Rear Wheel Opening Moldings, Drip Rail Mldgs (Coupes), Windshield Pillar Garnish Mldg. There are some who have been saying (in error) that only those cars with the Custom Trim Option had the etched white 'Bird' on the front side glass; this is not so and has been proven by many original STANDARD trim Firebirds. The RH sideview mirror was not a part of the Custom Trim Option. Many owners upgraded or opted to delete certain things beyond the Custom Trim Option (wheel opening mldgs, wheel covers, steering wheel). Additionally, all of the components of the Custom Trim Option could be ordered separately on a Standard Trim car except for the Custom Seats and Trim Panels and Assist Bar|
|Q:||Custom Interior and seatbelts|
|Did the custom interior automatically come with custom seatbelt's ??|
|A:||No, custom interior automatically come with custom seat belts. Did some '68 Firebirds invoiced with Std. SeatBelts come with Custom Seat Belts .... Yes.|
I' ll back that up Ive got 2 custom interiored cars that have standard
belts and 2 standard interior cars that have deluxe belts. Go figure????
Seat belts were a different option than the interior option. Same as the shoulder belts. Just because you ordered deluxe seat belts doesnt mean you got shoulder belts. Rarest would be the convert that had deluxe shoulder belts.
|I have a 68 convertible. Are the convertible seatbelt sets different from the coupe? Is anybody selling a set that will fit my car (black interior)?|
|A:||The Seatbelts are the same, coupe or conv for the Firebird. Difference is: Standard or Custom. (Plastic or DieCast Latch Cover). *NOTE: Some very early '68 Firebirds w/Std. Belts used the DieCast Latch) Source for Belts: Used or one of the companies who restore yours (not cheap). Best bet is to hit swap meets. Repro belts are coming. Orig. had a date code for you number-nuts out there.|
|Are the seats for the '67 same as the ones for '68?|
|A:||The 68 and 69 Custom trim had the Knitweave vinyl, whereas the 67 used the same seats (dielectrically molded panels with 1" ribs) for both Standard and Custom trim. The same seats were used again for 68 Standard only, and the 69 Standard used the same molded panels, but with wider side bolsters.|
|Q:||Vinyl Seat Installation|
|Any tips for installing vinyl seats?|
|A:||The vinyl seats are not bad either, key is good foam padding and a air operated hog-ring gun if doing it with one person.|
|A:||A tip to make the job of installing vinyl upholstery easier is to heat the vinyl prior to slipping it on. Set it in the sun or put it inside a pillowcase and put it in the dryer for a few minutes. It is also a good idea to have a hair dryer handy to spot heat where needed. Put plastic trash bags over the seat foam prior to slipping on the vinyl covers. Makes them slip on easier. Then reach up and rip the bags off when you're done.|
|Q:||Coupe vs Convertible Seats|
I'm restoring a convertible and using a coupe as a donor car. Both '68.
I've had about 5 dealers tell me the rear seats are the same, and about 5 tell me the conv. seats are narrower. Coupe seats seem to fit, but the interior isn't finished (lift cyl, side covers, etc.) so I can't tell for sure. The old conv seats are a pile of rust with a cover on them, so I can't measure.
What say the list?
You've been talking to camaro guys!
Camaro coupe had no rear armrests, hence the coupe seat is about six inches wider than camaro convertible. Firebirds, being luxury cars relative to camaros had rear armrests, making the seat the same width as convertible seat. The only camaro coupes (at least 68 and 69 I'm sure of) that had the narrow rear seat were the cars equipped with the fold-down option. (I remember a 67 that a friend from my youth had back in 73-74, I thought it had rear armrests, but memory is the second thing to go - I can't remember the first.)
Bottom line is if car had rear armrests, the seat is the correct width for a Firebird, either body style.
|Q:||'68 Saddle Leather Int (281)|
|While we are on the topic of seat material, can you clear up for me when the leather seats became available and in what colors?|
|A:||Leather was an option in late '68 on the Firebird starting June 6th 1968. It was only available with the Custom Trim Option and was only available in one color.... code 281 which a Saddle color. This is a very rare option and has only been documented on a few '68 Firebirds in the Registry.|
|A:||I have taken several pics (yet to be scanned though) of the interior of my RA convert which has factory 'saddle trim' (ie leather). the leather was just redone this past spring but it is nearly identical in color feel and apperance as the original. the rest of the interior is factory orig. the door panesl are 'faux' leather grain. the backs of the seats are orig (and are also tan). the dask is gold/tan and is in great condition but looks very different (ie when you are VERY used to seeing first gens with the black and occasional red dashes). other oddities of this option include a 'tan' carpet as standard. also my deluxe wheel is tan to match the interior. again, ill gladly post what i have if anyone would like to the set up.|
The URLs for the saddle leather interior (281) for his '68
RA I are found at the following links:
In response to his's query about leather, it was offered in several GM
cars, my 69 album shows leather in Bonneville Brougham convertible
(black only) and available in the Grand Prix (green, gold, black) as
well as Firebird (trim 293 gold). The 68 Firebird also offered leather
(trim 281 saddle). The Firebirds were based on the Custom trim option,
with the entire seat face in leather, just the sides were expanded
Morrokide (actually Madrid grain vinyl). This is different than the
Custom trimmed seats; they had a bolster panel of Madrid on each side of
the 4 wide strips of knit-weave vinyl.
I believe the leather to be one of the rarest options in Firebirds. After almost 20 years of searching, I found a restorable 69 interior for my 69 Sprint convertible, and the guy who sold it thought there were 54 cars built in 69 with leather. I have been around these cars 25 years, and have only heard about or seen maybe 4 69's and 2 68's with leather. One of them is Scott Misus' 69 Sprint hardtop, another is a Sprint convertible that was listed on the owner's listing of that "jersey68" list. (Whatever happened to that guy, did he just abandon that list? It never seems to be updated!)
One odd thing I saw at the Irvine CA POCI meet was a restored 69 convertible that showed Burgundy/Leather on the trim tag (PNT65/TR293), but the car had Parchment Custom and I don't remember what color it was repainted. I never found the owner to ask him about the car. My album does not show this combo to be available, but it's what I would like my Sprint convertible to be. Who knows what may have slipped through on an order form? The album shows black, white, gold, champagne, maize, yellow, brown, and 3 greens could be had with any gold interior, but no reds, blues, or silver.
While I was digging around my parts book, I learned something else that may be of interest regarding the 68 Custom interiors without the knit-weave inserts. There are "first type-w/grained vinyl fabric" and "second type-w/knitted vinyl fabric" listed, and this only applies to a few colors. They are Teal (255), Turquoise (256), Gold (257), and Parchment (260, and 275 bench seat). I seem to recall seeing a couple of Black interior cars, but my parts book is dated July 1, 1969 and didn't indicate any 1st/2nd type material for any black interior codes.
I'm in the process of removing the driver's side seat mount from the floor of my '69 'bird to get at some nasty rust spots. (holes actually)
1. Can anyone who has done this before tell me whether the seat mount comes out as 1 or 2 pieces.
2. It looks to me like there are 2 pieces that are spotwelded together. Is this correct ?
3. If so, should I drill out the welds to get them apart of is it easier to leave them together ?
Also, am I correct in thinking that the frame mount bolt under the seat must be out to do this job ??
The seat mount should be removed in one piece. In my experience, the best way to remove it is to first drill out the spot welds on the upper rocker by the door jam. This will reduce the amount of damage in this area which is important since the replacement floor pan welds on is this area.
Next, unbolt the rear subframe bolts (as a hint, spray the top of the bolt - through the opening in the pedestal - with penetrant and let it soak overnight). Then just cut around the whole pedestal and pull it out. To remove the remaining floor pan from the pedestal, you can either drill the spot welds or use a impact chisel.
After you've cleaned up the edges but before you completed all the trim work, install the pan and cut the hole in the new pan for the frame bolt. Then set the pedestal in place and bolt it down to the subframe. This will spread the load and insure that the pan is a tight fit. Scribe a line around the pan and remove. Trim to about 1/2 inch below the line. Re-install the pan and weld SOLID. Don't forget to caulk the seam from underneath.
In answer to your questions, based on my experience with my 68:
Q2: Yes, there are two pieces.
Q3: You have to take them out seperately - the inner smaller piece also welds to the floor, and you can't get to those welds with the bigger piece installed.
Q4: Eventually you have to get the bolt out - the nut is captured in the inner brace. Soak it in penetrating oil for a couple of days and it comes right out. You don't have to remove it to get the upper piece off.
If you get the spot weld driller from Eastwood, only half the weld is cut and you have solid metal to align the pieces and to MIG it back together. Take your time - it's pretty straightforward.
|Q:||Rear Folding Seat Parts|
|I am looking for any and all information on fold down rear seat for a 68 bird.|
|A:||....The Fold-Down Rear Seat was an option on all '67-'69 Firebird and Camaros. UPC Sales Code: #604/A67- $42.13 in '68/'69 Various components are available from reproduction companies including the hardware (latch, catch, brackets, knobs, carpet, partition). Used Rear Seat Assy's are commonly seen advertised in Hemmings and most other parts magazines in the $175 - $350 range. Make sure you get all the parts. As far as scarcity, I'd say they were desirable options but not actually 'rare'. I think I've seen more Firebirds WITH this option than without (at shows).|
|A:||Folding rear seat option was a sales dud, because it did not open to the trunk. It was available in both body styles, the 67 is different from the 68-69. The 67 had retainer clips, but on a panic stop the seat would release and fold. The 68-69 has a notch at the right side for a latch, even the upholstery was the same both years (except a couple of colors). I think the latch and brackets can be purchased reproduction. You would also need the cardboard backing and the track it lays in, they were also available for a time, and may still be.|
|Q:||Rear Seat Removal|
|How do I unbolt the rear seat (not fold-down) in a '68? I can't locate the bolts -- or whatever mechanism holds the two pieces in...|
|A:||Push the bottom of the seat towards the rear of the car to unhook it and lift up and out. Then you will see the two bolts that hold the seat back in place.|
Mine is very tight. You have to [a] move the front seat all the way forward to give yourself room, [b] sit with your back against the front of the rear seat cushion, [c] keep your hands under the bottom of the rear seat, [d] in one motion, jolt down and back on the rear seat cushion, and then immediately lift up with your hands. This will unhook the front of the cushion. Once you get it off, you can see why this is necessary - the hook that holds on the front cushion has a large lip on it.
You need to repeat this process on the other side of the seat too.
Good luck. It's not back once you get the hang of it. And look for your build sheet while you're under there!
|Q:||Rear Seat Removal|
|I was trying to pull out the back seat last night and i couldn't get it out. I pushed back like I heard a while ago and got one side out but..... the other side remained in the "clips" or what ever they are. I can not seem to get the other side out. Do I need to put the side thati got out back in an start over? Is there a really easy way to do this that I'm just no thinking of? Or is it just really stuborn? Ihave worked at it for about 4 hours with no success.|
|A:||You may have to put the one side in if the other side is pulling up a lot. Usually all you do is get in the back, face the back seat and squat down and push with your knees and hands while pushing against the back of the front seats. The bottom should go back about 1" or so and clear the hooks on the floor and allow you to lift up. Maybe one side is rusted together.|
Pretty simple to do this. First, position front seat seatbacks in the
forward position (torward the dash), climb into the back seat facing the rear
of the car with your back almost resting on the front seatbacks. This will
give you leverage to push the rear seat. Push the rear seat straight back
torwards the trunk approx. 1-2 inches, keep tension on it and then while
still pushing lift up on the front of the rear seat (only need to lift up
approx 1 inch also) and start releasing the pressure that you are applying to
the back (torwards the trunk). You will feel the front of the seat start to
lift up and out (out meaning moving torwards the front of the car). If you
cannot get it the first time, try doing each side of the seat at a time.
There are two brackets on the floor that holds the front of the seat to the
floor, one on either side. The brackets are closer to the sides of the car,
it is sometimes easier to release one at a time. After the seat is released
from the brackets, it will just pull out. Once it is out, take notice of how
the brackets hold the seat in for future removal if necessary. I still have
trouble sometimes even after removing the seat many times.
This illustration is also listed I believe in the Fisher Body Manual.
To remove the back seat you first remove the bottom by pushing back about 3/4"
or so and up. The easiest way is to get in the back and strattle the hump facing
the rear and push with your hands and knees using the front seats as an anchor.
Once you get the bottom out you will see two large screws that hold the back on. They go through some wire loops and on to the back. Take those off and you can lift the back up and out.
|Q:||Fold Down Rear Seat Recovering|
|Does anyone have some advice on recovering the folding rear seat in my convertible? I was going to order the foam seat cusions for the front seats, but I don't think they have them for the folding rear seat. How do I go about doing this?|
|A:||Seat bottom is the same as fixed seat. top portion really doesnt have any cushions to redo. Just some cotton and burlap. Springs do the rest.|
|Q:||Fold Down Rear Seat Channel|
|Does someone have the dimensions for the rear folding seat channel which holds the cardboard insert behind the seat. I am converting my regular seat to folding and need to know where to locate this channel.|
View the link below as it should do the trick.|
|Q:||'68 Parchment Trim Colors|
|I have parchment interior (Seats and Panels) in my '68 but it has black carpet, dash, dash pad, kick panels, and visors. I believe this to be original. I like this two-color scheme but not sure if it original or the seats have been replaced.|
|A:||Correct. According to the '68 Pontiac Trim and Accessory Album and the '68 Pontiac Sales Album (http://firstgenfirebird.org/firebird/1968/sales_manual/R-7.html), parchment interiors have black lower carpet door trim and black nylon blend loop pile carpet. I could not find anything else in my references but assume from the feedback the dash, dash pad, visor, and kick panels are all black also.|
|Q:||Parchment Color Differences Between Years|
|I recently purchased a 68 bird and I was running the numbers from the body tag and found that the TR (trim) code is 260. On this site it comes up as Deluxe Parchment but every catalog I look in says the 68 came with Pearl. The year one catalog also says Pearl. Has anyone come across this in the past? Is it really pearl even though this site says parchement?|
|A:||In the 67's, The Parchment code refers to basic white. In the 68's, The Parchment code refers to Pearl parchment. (white, but has pearl look to it) I think that this site refers to the 68 parchment as "pearl", so there is no confusion between 67 and 68. They are different looking.|
The '68 Pontiac Trim Album, sister album to the Sales album, calls this trim code "Parchment." The '67 literature calls the similar color "Parchment" also. They very in color but are called the same name.
View '68 Pontiac Sales Album at: http://FirstGenFirebird.org/firebird/1968/sales_manual/R-7.html
The catalog companies are taking liberties to use different names for the colors since the "shade" changed for the two years.
The original interior of my 68 convertible is in great shape except that
it is discolored - - it was originally stock Parchment, and is faded to
'off-white'. I'm considering dyeing it white (my top is white), as that fits
into my 'Master Plan', which is an Autumn Bronze paint job, white top and
white interior, the colors of the 68 bird that I had from 1968 to 1975.
I'd appreciate pointers and suggestions from anyone who has done this.
Also, I notice that the vinyl dye ads in the catalogs say that the dye is good for door panels, armrests etc., but the ads do not mention seats. Is the dye suitable for vinyl seats?
I've used vinyl dye several times. I don't bother with the spray bomb cans but instead, go to the local automotive paint supply store and have them look the code up in a book. I've also taken in samples and had them match the color. I use a conventional paint spray gun.
The dyes has a lot of pigment and covers real well in two coats. Read all the instructions and follow their recommendations for pre-clean and prep. It will amaze you how new your interior will look. As far as seats, the dye will work just fine. I would be more concerned if you were trying to cover a dark color with white but with parchment you shouldn't have any problems.