Find answers to Frequently Asked Questions for First Generation Firebirds that have been asked and answered on FGF. Special thanks needs to be given to all the FGF members who took the time to respond to other member's questions.
Interior - All
Q: Installing AC on a Non-AC Car
I presently own a 1967 coupe with custom black interior. I’ve been toying with the idea of installing AC (black vinyl is HOT!), but am at a bit of a dilemma……I actually collected some original AC parts -evap., condensor and all the necessary ductwork under the dash. I have the center dash panel with the heater/AC controls and the center vent as well. (Not much invested -about $150). I’ve been told that it’s an uphill attempt to get all this together and working, especially since R12 isn’t readily available anymore and a compressor and dryer/separator isn’t cheap, either.
To make a long story longer……Has anyone had any experience with an after-market AC kit like the one offered by Classic Industries? I’m interested in maintaining the original look of the dash that I bought with the center vent, but am HESITANT to cut holes for the side vents. I’d also like to use the original type heater/AC controls. Any help would be greatly appreciated!!
A: I, too, am collecting original A/C components to convert my non A/C convertible to A/C. There are only a couple of cuts needed to convert to A/C but one is a biggie… The firewall. The holes in the firewall are shaped differently between the two. The other cut is for the fresh air flapper valve in the cowl area on the passenger side. Other than that, there is just a lot of plumbing.
Another project I’m working on is a 1968 (sorry guys) Camaro. I’ve ordered the Vintage Air A/C from Classic Industries. It’s cheaper than buying it directly from the factory. I’ve talked to several street-rodders who’ve installed this unit and all said it was great.
I spoke to the Vintage Air boys and they said that you cannot mix and match parts from there kits (i.e., A/C to A/C car, A/C to non-A/C car). I say this if you are planning on using the factory A/C controls with the Vintage unit on your non-A/C car. This means that the firewall block off plate that they supply will be either for a A/C car OR a non-A/C car.
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Content last modified: January 24, 2014 at 10:15 pm
Q: AC R12 and 134a
What do I need to do now to my AC system that R 12 is no longer available.
A: OK lets clear up the mystery about R 12 to 134a first of all you dont need to go with a newer compressor and mounts. All of the newly rebuilt A-6 GM compressors are rebuilt using seals and oil for either R-12 or 134a. Check with your local parts house but this is true if it hasnt been sitting around for a couple of years or so. You must use a conversion kit that will replace the rest of O-rings and change to an Ester (not PAG) oil thru out the system. Dryer must also be changed to a 134a type but I believe that almost all manufacturers of replacement parts are doing this. You must flush out the entire system and blow out solvent and all traces of old R-12 oil . I do each component seperately to insure that all oil is blown out, use compressed air and denatured alcohol. Give it plenty of time to evaporate and add the proper amount of oil in each component before connecting togeather. Use the new style fittings for a proper conversion and have the system evacuated and charged at a licensed repair shop. If iit were me I would cap system and wait until I was at the repair shop before I installed the dryer as it can be ruined before its used if enought moisture is in lines and the air. Speaking of lines this would also be a good time to replace any rubber lines with the newer R134a type hoses. This is commonly refered to as barrier hose and is neccessary for a happy system.
Any proposed updates, changes, pictures, and/or corrections, please use our comment section below (may need to click on permalink to access comments feature). Information is subject to change and offered as is without any warranties or guarantees. Please review our Term's Of Use for more information.
Content last modified: January 24, 2014 at 10:17 pm
Q: A/C Refrigerant
Has anybody had any experience with R406A ? I’ve finished repairing my wife’s factory installed A/C ( `67 Fairlane ). It’s claimed to work better than R12, and safer as well. I know not many of you have the original A/C system’s, but I was asking if anyone’s even heard of this stuff before ? The web site claim’s compatability with the old R12, and the oil. Thanks for the help.
A: Ive done alot of research on alternate refrigerants. It seems that all have their drawbacks. NONE are a drop in replacement for R-12 REGARDLESS of what salesman or repair shops tell you. In the case of Autofrost, the mineral oil(R-12 oil) will react with some internal components. Autofrost has similar siblings and all the claims are the same. At least flush entire system, change to compatible dryer and use a compatible oil and appropriate charging fittings . I have a new oil that is compatible with all types of refrigerants. and has no harmful effects when mixed with any other oils. It is not mineral,PAG or ester but will mix with them all. In the case of the Firebird system, I would use 134a refrigerant 134a dryer, new multiuse oil,and a 134a expansion valve. Sure theres other alt refrigs but 134a isnt a real bad choice considering the widespread use and avaliablitly. 134a does operate at higher head pressures( high side) so a twin flow condenser is also recommended.
Any proposed updates, changes, pictures, and/or corrections, please use our comment section below (may need to click on permalink to access comments feature). Information is subject to change and offered as is without any warranties or guarantees. Please review our Term's Of Use for more information.
Content last modified: January 24, 2014 at 10:18 pm
Q: Freon R-12 Replacement
I know that there were some in the group very knowledgible about A/C from some previous discussions and I know very little about A/C systems.
I heard from a mechanic that requiring R-12 to be purged from a system before installing R-134A is a hoax. He said that R-134A could be put into an existing R-12 system that is low.
Do these refrigerants mix? What would happen to the system if they were mixed? Regardless of the freon. What are the recommended pressures on the low and high sides. I have a 89 chevy that is low on freon and do not want to fill it with the incorrect freon or fill it too high. This will also come in handy when I replace the A/C unit on my bird.
A: The two freons are compatable. Some of the blends out there called R-12 substitutes actually contain both R-12 and R134A as well as other gasses such as butane(not safe). The problem is the oil. R134A is not compatible with the oils used in R-12 systems. The oil must be soluable in the refirgerant so it can flow with it and therefore lubricate the system. The correct way to change the system to R134A is to remove the compressor and drain it. Then flush all the lines with solvent. Removing about 80 to 90 percent of the old oil is acceptable. Refill the compressor with the correct oil, PAG or Ester oil, and reassemble. Evacuate and recharge with R134A.
I have seen conversion kits at some of the discount auto parts (Auto Zone, etc.) that have an oil that you meerly add to the system and it suppossedly changes the oil so it works, but none the seminars I have attended could recommend such an additive or even understand how it could work.
Content last modified: January 24, 2014 at 10:19 pm
Q: Clocks for 1967 and 1968
Anyone have information about original clocks, how they were mounted and correct colors.
A: I’m trying to sort out some particulars regarding the Clock option for 1967 and 1968 Firebird. Here’s what I know (or suspect) so far…
1967 Firebird Gauges, Tach & Clock had a ‘black’ face; 1968 Firebird Gauges, Tach & Clock had a ‘steel blue’ face
1967, 1968 Clocks mounted to the console used a special adaptor base and a mounting bracket for under the console.
1967,1968 Clocks mounted to the floor used only a bracket which was mounted under the carpet.
The 1968 Service Manual does not show the adaptor base for console mount.
I’ve had an NOS Clock w/black face and orange hr/min hands with a white sec. hand.
I’ve had an NOS Clock w/steel blue face and white hr/min hands with an orange sec. hand.
Can anyone with documented factory original equipment verify the above information?
Content last modified: January 16, 2014 at 8:20 pm
Q: Firebird with M/T and A/C 1968
Could the 1968 Firebird with manual transmission come with air conditioning.
A: I found an original 1968 Pontiac air conditioning sales brochure (SP 2819) that states, “Firebird Custom Air Conditioning. Available only on Firebird, Firebird 350, Firebird H.O., and Firebird 400 models with automatic transmission, Combines heating and cooling units in a single system for balanced all-season comfort. Features easy fingertip control.” Unless this was changed in a later update, this supports the A/C (order# 582) was not offered on a standard transmission.
Also, the Pontiac Chassis Parts Catalog Revision Number 5 (Effective with Parts Release and Change Notice 68-3 dated March 1, 1968) does not list an Air Conditioner Package for the 1968 as a ‘Dealer Installed Accessory Package’ (pg C-65, Revised 2-1-68). This is also supported by the ‘Pontiac Dealer’s Confidential Price List’ for factory approved accessories (P68-1 effective September 21, 1967, pg. 1 of 19).
A: Since I was the one that sent information saying air conditioner could not be ordered on any 1968 M.T. Firebird, I thought I would let everyone know about some more information I found about this. I found this in the 1968 Pontiac Sales Album in the Firebird power train section as of 08-10-67 (earlier date than the other documents I mentioned) http://FirstGenFirebird.org/1968-info/1968-technical-information/sales_manual/selling/o-chart1/:
Item Number 1 – 5, 3-speed:
Car Order Engine Code 341, 343, 344, 345, and a 3.23 axle could be ordered with air conditioning BUT not with the 3.55 axle.
Car Order Engine Code 342, 250 6 Cyl., 4 Bbl., engine code ZD, 3.55 axle could NOT be ordered with air conditioning.
Not that this matters much except to people looking for a M.T. with air and it conflicts with the other information. Anyone with a documented M.T. with air 1968 Firebird?
A: Check your 1968 service manual and look up radiator useage and rear end useage charts. They both show that a/c wasnt avaliable in M/T V8. I also know of orginal owners that were denighed this option when ordering their new (68) car. Perhaps one could have slipped by.
A: what I said was that 1968 wasnt avaliable with a 400,3 or 4 speed manual trans AND factory a/c. this also goes for R/A and Sprints with auto.or standard trans. . In 1967 a/c was avaliable in all except the R/A(even Sprint) but you couldnt get the higher ratio rear ends. 3.36 was the highest gear for an a/c car. In 1969 things changed a little but a/c wasnt avaliable with Sprints with auto. or standard,as in 1968.There were some R/A cars built in 1969 (there were even 32 T/As) with a/c.
Content last modified: January 24, 2014 at 10:21 pm
Q: Clocks for 1969
My PHS documentation shows the Electric Clock option ordered (Sales code 474), but I have no clock. BTW the car is a 1969 Firebird Conv. with a 350. Is the code 474 clock the one that went in the rectangle shaped pod to the right of the two main pods or was it the one in the left main pod? For reference, no gauge package was ordered except for the hood mounted tach, which is still there.
A: For 1969 Firebirds, the clock went into the upper right rectangular pod.
Content last modified: January 16, 2014 at 8:22 pm
Q: AC Loses Freon Problem
I’ve got a 1969 with AC which slowly loses it’s freon. All O’rings were replaced by the previous owner about 4 years ago. When I got the car last year – it blew kinda cold. This year, it just blows. Yes, the compressor does kick in. I would say that the hoses are probably all original. Would this be an ideal time to convert to a newer “freon” and if so, what would need to be replaced. Recommended sources of parts and technical “tips” are appreciated!
A: Napa and may other parts stores sell a conversion kit to convert to 134a. It comes with new O-rings and Ester oil. While your replacing the O-rings and hoses, spray brake cleaner into the evaporator and condenser and blow with compressed air. This is to help remove excess oil that may not be compatible with the new oil. Brake cleaner drys very fast and is a good solvent.
There is a plug on the bottom of the compressor. Remove the plug and drain the old oil and add the new oil. make sure you lube all the new O-rings with the new oil before you re-assemble the system. You’ll also have to replace your receiver-dryer.
But, before I would disassemble the system, I would try to find the leak. If a service center cannot find a leak, the cost of a re-charge may not be as bad as you think considering everything you are planning on replacing.
The interesting point is you say the compressor is coming on but the air doesn’t blow cold. It’s my understanding that the compressor will remain off or will contentiously cycle on and off if the system charge is too low. You may want to check this out a little more closely.
I just had my whole firewall box apart and I couldn’t believe how plugged the evaporator was. This would definitely affect the systems ability to cool. This may be part of your problem.
A: I wuld disagree about using brake kleen to blow out old oil, its too harsh on old rubber. Used denatured alcohol, it too evaporates quickly. Actually you should replace any rubber with “barrier” hose, which is designed for 134a. Seems as tho 134a will leak in places R-12 wouldnt. It will actually permeate rubber hose as the molecules are smaller. Theres a real good site on conversionsby the EPA under alternate refrigerants. Dont know the URL. use search engine to find.
A: I need to point out that pressure/cycling switches were not yet being used in 1969, so the compressor runs with the power from the controls, even with no freon. Those switches came on the scene I believe in the late 70’s or early 80’s.
Content last modified: January 24, 2014 at 10:23 pm
Q: Console Clock Mounting
I just bought a console clock for my Firebird but do not know where to mount it. Does anyone have the dimensions where to mount it?
A: If you turn over your console you will see the plastic already has holes in it where the screws go.
A: By George there are some nice holes cast on the bottom side of the console with some nice re-enforcement where the clock goes. Those engeeneers think of everything.
Content last modified: January 16, 2014 at 8:22 pm
Q: AC Actuators and Antenna Plug
As I am taking apart the front end of my bird, I have found two things and I don’t know what they are. One is come kind of canister and the other is a strange wire, like a plug or something. I took pictures of them so you can see what they look like. If you know what it is please tell me about it.
A: The canister is the vacuum reservoir for your AC system actuators (Fig s2.jpg). The plug appears to be for your radio antenna (Fig s1.jpg).
A: The one in the door jam looks like a antenna wire. The can with the vacuum hose looks like a reserve vacuum can. I took one of those off of a 7# Nova when I removed the A/C system. It was used to add additional vacuum to the ventilation controls.
A: The AC actuators are actually only used for the COLD IA position of the heat/AC selector. This actually means “cold inside air” and is just to the LEFT of the COLD position. In this position, the heater core is completely bypassed and the AC compressor is on with air recirculated from inside the vehicle. There are two vacuum pot actuators which are plumbed with a tee in parallel: One for the cowl plenum, which is a normally open spring loaded flapper that shuts off the outside air intake. It is located on the passenger side of the cowl area under the cowl grille and basically blocks off the cowl area to the fender side of it. The second one is in the passenger side kick panel vent which is normally closed. This one opens to allow inside air to be drawn (sort of backwards) into the AC evaporator intake. The position to operate on outside air is called COLD OA, which is just to the RIGHT of the COLD selection. This is where the actuators are switched off from the vacuum source and springs open/close them to their relaxed positions. About halfway between the COLD and the HOT selection, the compressor switch shuts off (temp. door is also allowing some intake air to the heater core after it passes through the evaporator, giving you a mixed temp.) All the way to the HOT postion allows air through the (now ambient temp. with no compressor) evaporator and then fully through the heater core for hot air. Incidentally, the kick panel flapper actually replaces the manually operated one that is used for non AC cars. There is a domed plastic cover (matches kick panel color and texture) that covers the vent so that the actuator is protected. COLD IA is like the MAX AC or RECIRC positions found on cars today; the air from inside the car is recirculated for those hot sweltering days like we have here in Maine for about a week out of the year :). If you don’t install the actuators, you won’t get the “MAX AC/RECIRC” and I’m not sure of the performance. Anyone know for sure? (I’ll bet it’s sufficient for us Northern folks without it).
P.S. The VENT position allows the plenum to open and the kick panel recirc to close in their relaxed states. The compressor is off and the heater core is bypassed. You just get outside air coming in through the (ambient temp.) evaporator and into the AC outlet distribution. Hope this helps.
Content last modified: January 24, 2014 at 10:24 pm
Q: Console Clock Color
What color were teh console clock case?
A: The consol clocks were all black.
Content last modified: January 16, 2014 at 8:23 pm
Q: Adding After Market AC Unit
My 1968 did not come with AC and now that I live where it hits 110 easy in the summer, welllllll. How hard is it to add non stock AC and I won’t even ask about the money, HA HA Thanks for your thoughts
A: Easy… $1000 and a weekends worth of work. Vintage Air. I bought their kit for my 1968 Camaro.
A: A couple of advantages to using this product is that their systems is much more compact compared to the stock system, is R134 compatible, and probably more efficient than the original system as well. Ask any factory A/C car owners about the pain and agony of performing a spark plug change. The Vintage Air product should make this much easier since most of the system is hidden inside the car.
In a recent edition of Classic Car Garage on Speedvision, the host talked to an air conditioning pro who often installed Vintage Air systems in hot rods. Both the technician and Vintage Air’s own documentation suggested installation by an A/C pro due to the complexity and the risks of accidentally venting the refrigerant to the atmosphere.
But I would think that the Vintage Air system for your car should be fairly straight forward, custom made for that car and dash, and will include all the necessary brackets and hoses. I feel fairly competent mechanically so I’d probably install the system if it were my car, then leave the final charging and testing up to a pro.
Content last modified: January 24, 2014 at 10:25 pm
Q: Clock Mechanism Cleaning (Do-it-yourself)
How did you disassemble it? Mine is from a 69. The contacts are black and no current can get through…. Can’t get the time adjustment out of the front. Was just about to send mine out to be converted but would LOVE to have the original tick-tick back. Where did you actually lube the mechanism?
A: I just took mine apart and yes there are points in there! I was able to take the adjustment knob off by just unscrewing it CCW. The clock mechanism comes off by taking the nut that holds the +12 tab in place. This is all done after removing the two side screws that hold the “cup” in place, of course.
Now I need to get something small enough to clean the points. Maybe I can cut an emery board thin enough to fit through the little access hole.
Not sure where to actually lube the mechanism. I know that normally clocks don’t like oils and goop since dirt and stuff will build up quicker and muck them up.
A: I dressed the points on mine by removing the works from the “can” and physically taking the back of the clockworks off. There are three screws that hold it on to three stanchions. Be careful, the winder mechanism (a white-colored spring that has half of the points on it) is spring-loaded, and came unwound on me.
The “Plus 12V” side of the coil was broken off. I unwrapped one wrap of the coil to get enough to solder to.
I dressed the points with a points file; an emery board will work, too.
I lubed all the bearing points (wherever a gear shaft touched a plate). I used the straw from a WD40 can and dipped it in a little pool of WD40. Just enough wicked up into the straw that I could place a dot of it right where I wanted it.
I rewound the spring (took three wraps) and put the back on again.
Since my last post, I sanded and painted the inside of the “can” that holds the works. I used VW baby blue from Plastikote. I sprayed the housing with black eggshell finish lacquer. All I need now is the base — I’m working on it.
Checked on it this morning before work — it’s still ticking!
Content last modified: January 16, 2014 at 8:24 pm
Q: Power Flow Ventilation
1969 owners have our OWN unique problems – like finding correct blower assemblies for the Power-Flo Ventilation system option available on non-AC cars.
How does this differ from a heater only car – vendition system?? My convertible has a fan motor and a slide control to allow fresh air in. Is this the same thing??
A: No, that’s your standard heater system. There was an option offered in 1969 and 1970 full-sized (Catalina, LeSabre etc.) and mid-sized Pontiacs and Buicks (LeMans, GTO, Grand Prix, Skylark, Grand Sport), and 1969 Firebirds that had two small blowers in the upper cowling. The air came through the dash vents at the lower corners of the dash, even when the car was sitting at a stoplight. The motors were the same as the rear defogger, and the fan switch had two speeds and was marked “AIR”, “HIGH” and “LOW”. On the Pontiac, the switch looked just like the power top, power antenna or rear defogger switches, and went in one of the openings cut into the dash in that area – this is shown in the 1969 Factory Service Manual on page 15-16, figure 15-27. The reason it’s in the service manual was that in addition to it being available from the factory, it could also be had as an accessory package and could be installed by the dealer technician or anybody else crazy enough to try it.
I have 5 sets of blowers, one of which is a complete New Old Stock accessory package for a Tempest-GTO-LeMans or a Grand Prix, and its part number is a 1970 six-digit accessory package number. Other blowers I have are both this design and from some full-sized cars, but I have never seen a Firebird with this option, nor have I seen any parts supposedly from a Firebird.
Besides seeing the option listed in some production logs many years ago (before PHS) the only evidence I have that they existed is I spoke with a guy who has been selling 1969 TA and Firebird parts for many years who claimed to have a 1969 Ram Air IV convertible with the option, and I got an email a couple years ago from someone who claims to have the only 69 Trans Am equipped with the option from the factory – but I never got a chance to speak with him.
Since there were Firebirds built that were not available with AC (Ram Air IV and Sprints) this was a cheap alternative to circulating air into the car while sitting still.
Content last modified: January 24, 2014 at 10:27 pm
Q: Clock Repairing
Does anyone know of somone who repairs these clocks? Mine lights up but the hands don’t turn.
A: I have the original clock in my 1969, I just took it out and opened it up. I redressed the contact points and oiled the gears. I powered it up and it worked. It wasn’t that complicated.
A: There are a few companies listed in Vintage Parts 411, Year One, and Hemmings Motor News catalogs that repair these.
A: Go to the electronics store and get a product called ‘Blast Off’ to clean the clock mechanism. Then use a tiny bit of very light oil, run the thing hooked to the battery for several days before reinstalling. If this doesn’t work consider having it converted to a quartz.
A: I sent mine out to a company to have rebuild it using a quarz movement. It’s kept perfect time now for 3 years and you can’t tell any difference. Junk the mechcanical movement – they’re not worth the money. I spent about $100.
A: ISI, Instrument Services, Inc. 11765 Main Street Rosco, Illinois 61073
“We do them all, all makes and Models – 1920’s to 1980’s”
Instruments also, speedometer, tachometers, gauges, clusters…
Content last modified: January 16, 2014 at 8:25 pm
Q: AC and Ram Air
Was the AC option available on a 1969 Ram Air?
A: for what its worth, ac was avaialble on both auto and ac cars in 1969 (not true for 1968 see below).
However, NONE of the true ram air cars ever received factory AC. (ie 1967-1968 ram air I, 1968 ram air II or 1969 ram air IV equipped cars)
now the 1969 400HO cars (dubbed ‘ram air III’ in 1969 when you also added cold air induction option) could get AC no matter what tranny you ordered…
why? well im guesing because the RA III cars, aka 400HO in 1968, were esssentially standard 400 cars (especially the auto equipped “RA III/400ho” cars). Outside of the longbranch manifolds all 400ho/ra III all cars received, they were pretty much std 400 cars (ie no mandatory 3.90s, no special 400 heads, no upgraded cam, no beefier lower end (all 2 bolt mains), etc)
note: the manual 1969 RA III s DID get the upgraded 068 cam but not much beyond that. so since RA III cars were very close to std 400 cars mechanically/performance wise PMD must have figured that it was ok to get ac for these cars.
Please though, no RA III flames! the pontiac 400 is an awesome block in *whatever flavor* it originally came in! its just that i think the ‘RAM AIR III’ monaker is a bit misleading to many espeically since its ‘numerically higher’ than RAM AIR I and II.
1968 manual tranny and ac…
ama specs show that pontiac did NOT offer ac if you ordered a manual gearbox in 1968 note however that this was NOT true in 1967 and 1969 when ac and manual birds COULD be ordered. why this is so is one of pmds minor little mysteries….
Content last modified: January 24, 2014 at 10:28 pm
Q: Clock Wiring
I have a clock i bought off of EBAY a while back and it seems to be in great shape. I wanted to hook it up to a battery, but didnt know the best way to do this. It has the complete wire harness 3 wires —
2. grey – two connectors on the end
3. reddish orange – two connectors on the end
How did you hook yours up?? This is a very solid clock and I do not want to hook it up wrong and break it.
A: Orange wire is +12V. Black wire (has a clip on the end) is ground. Gray wire is for the light. At the clock end, the gray wire is attached to a quick-disconnnect.The other half of the disconnect is attached to a blue wire, which is attached to the bulb socket.
A: Black is ground, Orange is constant +12V, and Grey is connected to the light on your console shifter.
Content last modified: January 16, 2014 at 8:26 pm
Q: Heater Cables 1969
My heater cables are broke on my 1969 Firebird. How do I hook these up?
A: I just fixed a broken heater cable one of my 1969 birds. I’m way behind on reading this digest so maybe someone has already covered it. I’ll keep it very short and you can drop me a line if more detail is necessary. Assume this is not the A/C vacuum type. Three cables, all cables have mounting tabs that go on the controller end, each tab is color coded. Blue tab controls defrost and hooks on top and left on the controller and to the defrost gate near the gas pedal. Black tab controls heater on/off and hooks on top and right on same slide as defrost cable (controlled by same lever). Other end of on/off cable hooks almost exactly opposite of defrost cable on passenger side. Red tab cable hooks on bottom of controller and controls temp. The other end of temp cable goes on top of the heater core box behind the glove box.
Content last modified: January 24, 2014 at 10:29 pm
Q: Console Differences
What were the differences between the consoles for the first generation Firebird.
A: Hey folks, the 1967 console had a top with a finish called “camera-case grain”, and was satin black in finish. In 1968 and 1969, they added a metal applique with the burled walnut finish, matching door and rear cover, and eliminated the rear ashtray and light. The main console structure and the chrome rails were the same for all 3 years of Firebirds and also for the 1967 camaros. If you unbolt the walnut applique from a 68-69 console, you’ll be looking at a 1967 console with holes drilled for the studs on the applique. The appliques were different for standard and automatic equipped cars.
Content last modified: January 16, 2014 at 9:01 pm
Q: Factory Radio Identification
I am going to a swap meet this weekend but am not exactly sure how to identify a factory correct radio. Anyone have some codes?
A: Here are the numbers:
AM/FM (mono) Radios; (Model Number):
1967 Firebird AM/FM
1968 Firebird AM
1968 Firebird AM/FM
1967-1968 F AM Die-Cast Face Plate
1967-1968 F AM/FM Die-Cast Face Plate
1969 Firebird AM/FM
Content last modified: January 26, 2014 at 3:45 pm
Q: Woodgrain Console Covering for 1968 and 1969
Is there any company reproducing the correct style woodgrain material for the 1968 and 1969 consoles? All I have seen so far is a cheap rip off; can’t anyone realize that people are willing to pay for an exact reproduction.
A: Regarding the recent discussion on the Woodgrain Material used on the ’68/1969 Firebird Console, Dash Trim, Radio Face, AshTray…..
The ‘hobby’ is definitely in need of some correct reproductions here. Yes, there are repro’s out there in the form of ‘contact paper’ to actual die-cut pieces. The obvious problem is the attention to detail. Correct graining/texture is important (I say.. if you’re going to do it, do it right). The forming around edges and within recessed areas is important. The integrity and longevity of the adhesive is very important. In the case of the Console and Dash Trim, the ‘contact paper’ was bonded to thin sheets of metal. This metal backing is also a good candidate for correct reproduction since it too does not wear too well after 30+ years. Based on some of the repro pieces I’ve seen out there, it seems to me that many companies have offered the cheapest form of a ‘quick-fix’ which may be ‘ok’ to some who just want an ‘ok’ appearance. If someone goes to the trouble of preparing Die-Cutting Tools, obtaining correct material and using some sort of forming process, why would they not pay attention to detail and avoid obvious mistakes ? Because not everyone is that picky (they think) and why put alot into something when you can keep costs down and still make a tidy profit for these ‘Best We Can Do Parts’ ? The big difference between 1968 and 1999 is technology. Yes, things are basically more costly today than they were then but thanks to advances in technology, we now have the capability to duplicate an old process much more accurately (and many times even cheaper). I’d agree with Gary here; the key element here is obtaining the correct ’embossed’ material for appearance, grain, texture and wear. Once this source is found, the next steps are relatively easy. Dies must be formed and a process defined for fitting the woodgrain onto the thin metal parts. If someone comes up with a source for the material, I can approach several shops I work with regularly about the die work and forming process. If all we wanted here was a new looking woodgrain, we could simply go down to the local Home Depot and buy a roll of contact paper; so why spend money on cheap repro parts ? Do it right and the price will be justified.
Content last modified: January 16, 2014 at 9:02 pm
Q: Radio Question
I’m about to buy an in-dash Kenwood AM/FM/Cass (KRC3006) and install a 6 CD changer in the glove box of my 1968 Firebird (with AC).
Any suggestions, comments, warnings before I buy the stuff and begin the install?
A: Before you lay your money down, I would be very careful and check into how the radio mounts into the dash. As you are probably aware by now, the 1967 and 1968 FIrebird radios differed greatly on the way they were mounted in the dash from most radios/cars of that era.
Most radios back then were mounted into the car by three mount points, the volume and tuner “styles” supported the front of the radio, and there was usually a bracket that supported the rear of the radio. In the 1967 and 1968 Firebirds, the radio actually has two tabs on the front of the radio, (one on each side), which are used to bolt the radio to the dash in the front. The volume and tuner “styles” do not in any way play a part in holding the radio in the dash.
Also be aware that the dashboards on these cars slope “back” which requires an “angled” face plate on the radio to “clean”
If the radio you wish to install is a generic radio, you probably will not be happy with home the radio fits in the dash.
Content last modified: January 24, 2014 at 10:52 pm
Q: Console Usage Firebird vs. Camaro
I know this is a pretty wide question but can any one give me the rundown on consoles (particularly manual trans) usage in the 1967, 1968, and 1969 firebirds (particularly 69’s). Are they the same as a Camaro ? Can you use a Camaro one ? I ask because I’m sure a Camaro one is easier/cheaper to find.A friend told me they are the same exept for the Pontiac has the woodgrain overlay.I know, I know, how can I suggest such blasphemy!
A: Only the 1967 Camaro console is the same as the “Standard” console in the 67-69 Firebird. The shift plate insert can be changed to install either an automatic or standard transmission.
Content last modified: January 16, 2014 at 9:03 pm
Q: Radio AM to AM/FM Conversion
Does anyone know how to install an am/fm factory radio into a 1968 firebird that originally had an am radio?
A: I don’t have any experience with the 1968 Firebird’s but if they are like the 1967’s, then the swap should be very easy. The mechanical mountings are the same between the AM and AM/FM radio. The electrical connections are also the same. It should be a drop in replacement.
Content last modified: January 24, 2014 at 10:54 pm
Q: Console Removal
Hey all, my 68’s carpet is trashed and I am going to replace it. Can anyone offer a step by step removal of the console for me?? I can’t find anything in my manuals other than “Remove the console.” How do you take the “T” Handle off? How does the plate that covers the gear indicator “P R N D L” come off? Where are the bolts that fasten it to the hump? Any and all help would be greatly appreciated!!
A: I just went through the same process. Here are the steps I followed:
Remove the black plastic button by pulling up. It just snaps in.
Inside the T-handle there is a set screw on the right side that holds it to the vertical shaft. Loosen the screw and remove the T-handle.
The plate that holds the selector indicator snaps onto the console. Use a thin blade screwdriver to pop it off.
The console is secured by small screws on each side of the front of the console and by two larger screws that secure it to the floor. One of these larger screws is inside of the console bin on the bottom and the other is located under the rear cover of the console. Remove the sheet metal screws of the cover and remove it and you will see the larger screw.
A: You’ll need to remove the shift plate (the thing that has PRNDL) so the console can slide over. Depending on which one you have, the shift plate is held in place by either 4 chrome screws or hidden clips. The screws will be obvious (4 through the top). If you don’t see any screws, then it is held in place by clips that are cast into the plate and snap into the shifter base. To remove just gently pry up the shift plate until the clips release.
The console attaches to the floor with two small screws (one on each side) on the sides at the front , with a bolt in the glove box, and a bolt under the rear trim (the corner piece behind the glove box.
Content last modified: January 16, 2014 at 9:04 pm
Q: AM/FM Stereo Adapter
Was there an option for an adapter to be plugged into an AM/FM Pontiac Stereo? If so, what did it do?
A: I just took my 1968 AM/FM radio to a local guy here in PA that is listed in Hemmings. He is an old radio “guru”, talked to him for almost 2 hours one day….he then pulled out I beleive the auxilliary plug for the stereo amp hook up and looked at the number of prong holes in there, he was able to confirm from this that the radio was indeed a Pontiac radio and a 1968.
A: The guy is correct in the description of the “plug” in the Firebird radio. The factory supplied an am/fm radio with this shorting plug, which was removed at the dealer when the FM multiplex adapter was installed. This plug has a pin set up thats the same as an old vacuum tube,and has the controls for volume ,balance,and tone running thru it. When the multiplex adapter is installed by plugging into the socket where the plug was , it disables these functions in the radio and moves them to the adapter. The adapter adds the other side of the stereo signal to the 4 speaker system. This was the dealer installed setup for 1967 and 1968 on the Firebirds,however all other models could get a similar system as factory equiptment. I am looking for anyone that has or had the 1967 and 1968 stereo adapter.
Content last modified: January 24, 2014 at 10:54 pm
Q: Optional Instrument Cluster Console
Besides the 1967 article I ran across, I have not seen an optional instrument console cluster. Was this only offered in 1967 or in the other years? If this was offered as an option for Firebirds, what sales code did it have in each year? I have seen the dash Rally Gauge Cluster and have the sales codes for it but do not have the information for the console style.
A: What you are seeing is an early production photo. The Firebirds never could be ordered with the console gauge package. However, their cousin the camero could. The console gauges were necessary on the cameros because the factory tachometer on a camero was in the dash cluster next to the speedo. As we all know, Pontiac choose to put the tach on the hood to allow plenty of space in the right speedo cluster pod for the other gauges.
Content last modified: January 16, 2014 at 9:05 pm
Q: Radio Part Numbers for 1968-1969
I am after a 1969 AM/FM and want to be sure I get the right one. I will likely have to get it mailed to me and I want to verify it by part numbers. My 1968 radios have only a part number but in 1969 there is a part number and a model number, can anyone give me either of these for the 1969 Firebird. Any chance this radio was shared with any other cars, i.e. Tempest??
The Firebird part numbers I do know are :
7307322 Model #92AFB1
???? Model # ???
Content last modified: January 26, 2014 at 3:43 pm
Q: PMD Walnut Shifter Knobs
What is the correct Pontiac Motor Division walnut shifter knob style?
A: Use the following link for a photo of an Installation Drawing for the Walnut Shifter Knobs for 3 and 4 spd M/T Pontiac’s:
These are the “PMD” style knobs:
3spd – “PONTIAC MOTOR DIVISION” w/Red Crest (pt. # 9794301)
4spd – “PONTIAC MOTOR DIVISION” w/shft.ptrn. (pt. # 9794300)
Note the application (“1968 w/M/T Floor Shift”) Also note the date on the drawing (1-23-67)
There have been reports of the earlier (’66-’67) “GTO CREST” Knob being used on the ’67/’68 Firebirds. This may have happened as the result of Dealer Stock but I doubt that any 1968 Firebirds came from the factory with a “GTO CREST” 4spd Knob.
Also note, the 1968 Accsry. Book notes that the Custom GearShift Knob (code 524) was used in (2) different styles (3 and 4 spd). 3spd used the “Pontiac Vee Crest” 4spd used the “Shift Position” (pattern).
In 1967 this knob was described as having (2) applications: 3 and 4 spd with “Ebony appearing Pontiac Crest and shift pattern”
In ’66 this knob was described as being available for only the GTO with the 4spd trans.
If you have any comments or corrections, please forward them.
Content last modified: January 16, 2014 at 9:08 pm
Q: Radio Part Numbers
I’d like to put an original radio in my bird. Does anyone have the part numbers from the AM and the AM/FM radios that were in the 1967 birds? Were the 1967, 1968, and 1969 units interchangable? Any other GM car have use the same radios?
A: AM/FM (mono) Radios; (Model Number)
1967 Firebird AM/FM 986824
1968 Firebird AM 7305572
1968 Firebird AM/FM 7305582
1967-1968 F AM Die-Cast Face Plate 7298249
1967-1968 F AM/FM Die-Cast Face Plate 7298474
1969 Firebird AM/FM 92FFP1
1967 had a Black Face w/White Numbers
1968 had a Steel Blue Face w/Green Numbers
1969 had a Black Face w/White Numbers
1967/1968 will physically interchange; 1969 is unique
Firebird and Camaro radios were physically the same with minor cosmetic differences.
1969 AM/FM Stereo had a ‘Red Dot’ (light) in the face
Most obvious distinguishing feature is the angled face plate
Content last modified: January 24, 2014 at 10:59 pm
Q: T-Handle Shifters
Did TH400 trannies ever come with T-handle shifters in any Firebirds?
A: Yes, the 1967 400/400 has a T handle for the automatic. As far as I know the handles were the same for all 1967 automatics ( T handle with the “button” above/inside the T).
In 1968 they went to a T handle with the “button” that sort-off wraps around the top and sides for the automatic.
In 1969 the THM-equipped went to the new simulated walnut knob round knob with the button on top (Knob shaped like the new real walnut knob available in the manual floor shift) and a T-handle ONLY for the 2-speed automatic. Keep in mind this was a new shifter for the automatics, with the ability to speed-shift without skipping up past the next gear. Sort of a poor-man’s Dual-Gate. Just lean the knob to your right, and when you push it to the next gear, it stops in a detent at the next position.
The differences were in the linkage mechanism and not in the handles (for the different types of automatics). All years had the early “bird” emblem in the pushbutton style.
Content last modified: January 16, 2014 at 9:10 pm
Q: Alternatives to Cutting Holes for Sound System Upgrades
What are my options for adding an aftermarket stereo system to my first generatin Firebird?
A: One way to add to your first gen sound system without doing ANY drilling, screwing, cutting, etc. WHATSOEVER to the interior or anywhere on the car for that matter:
Find a vintage Audiovox AM-FM converter. My car had AM radio only from the factory. I found that the Audiovox unit fits perfectly inside the ashtray. The wires out the back run directly up to the back of the factory AM unit. To change from AM to FM or to change FM channels, just open the ashtray, and voila!
I know, I know, you audiophiles scoff at the lousy sound out of the single 32 year old dash speaker. But I already have a killer auto sound system in my daily driver. With the top down and the oldies FM station on, I’m turning back the clock 30 years! And, more importantly, I haven’t made a single new hole that wasn’t there the day it came out of the factory. For us sticklers for originality that’s important. And the Audiovox units are cheap, easy to find, and even correct for the era.
A: I used to install car stereos when I was in college and have done many custom jobs. I wanted to install a system in my 1968 that could be removed without a trace and minimize space taken but still have a good sounding system. I achieved about 80% of my goal and I’m quite pleased with the results.
I installed a Sony system (most tolerant to engine and alternator noise). The dash has the receiver/tape deck. Below the dash behind and above the console clock I installed and EQ which is actually bracketed to the ash tray brackets. Below the EQ are 3 mini gauges which are bracketed to the EQ. The whole setup is very attractive (lights look great at night) and can be removed without a trace. The console clock does block viewing the center gauge a bit. Need to change my angle of view and I can see it.
I installed a pair of 5 1/4″ flush mount speakers in the location where the dash mono speaker is located. These are the type that don’t have an extruded ring that allow a speaker grill to be snapped on, they must be screwed on. I tried the after market speaker kit but found that the bracketing doesn’t support the speakers well and the 4″ speakers are too small to run with an amp (got it from Classic and wasn’t worth it). I bolted the speakers side by side using some sheet steel and found a location under the dash to slip the speaker sheet steel between the firewall and the dash. The whole thing is held in place using another brace that bolts from the speakers to spot behind the location where a factory installed center air conditioning port would be located if it were installed (no a/c in my car). 1/3 of each speaker is blocked by the opening of the mono speaker opening but it still sounds pretty good. I need to add a baffle to get more bass response.
In the trunk, I mounted 2 6×9 speaker enclosures I bought from Wall Mart for $13 each. There’re suspended from the stationary part of the trunk deck using metal brackets and angled somewhat upward to push sound over the rear seat. They are spaced apart from each other with enough room to mount CD changer between them (which I’ll add later). The boot muffles the sound a bit and it really gets muffled when the top is down. The way the speakers are mounted, I could cut an opening into the boot and mount the speaker grill over it giving it a nice finished look and exposing the speaker grill. This is a far better approach then installing those “factory” speaker brackets because there is an enclosed baffle for bass response to develop. The way the speaker enclosures are mounted, they don’t interfere with the trunk spring bar and allow access to removal of the spare tire. They also maximize trunk space.
Lastly, I have two Sony amps in the trunk. One 100 W amp for the front speakers mounted on the floor next to the passenger side cocktail shaker, and one 200 W amp for the rear speakers mounted on the vertical brace holding the passenger side cocktail shaker. Together, there is enough power to get good bass response with the top up or down, and there is almost no modification to the car (other than drilling some holes for mounting screws).
I might add that in this system I didn’t need any noise suppression adapters. Why? Because good quality systems have them built in.
Content last modified: January 24, 2014 at 11:00 pm
Q: Hurst Shifters
I was wondering if anyone out there has replaced their click-clack console in a 1967 with something else. I am converting my car from a ST300 to a four-speed, and will be using a Hurst shifter. I was thinking of trying to find a shift boot that will fit in the opening, but wanted to see if anyone else has any ideas.
A: 1968 and later Firebirds came standard with Hurst shifters. This would be more correct in apperance that the aftermarket Hurst shifters. The factory shifter came with a round stick that was locked into the shifter body Replacement Hurst shifters have a flat, bolt-on stick. You can convert the 1967 automatic console very easily, just take out the auto. shift plate and replace with the 1967 4 speed shifter plate, which is avaliable repro. DO NOT use the orginal 1967 4 speed shifter. Bad news is the 1968-1969 shifter hits the front of 1967 console with this combo. I used a 1967 4 speed console in my 1968 with correct 1968 shifter and found this out. easy fix was to leave the console loose and live with it. You might consider using a 1968-1969 4 speed console. I saw one that the burled elm was shot so the owner removed the veneer and painted it semi gloss black. To tell you the truth it didnt look too bad that way. Then you wouldnt have a mismatch or wood trim 1967 vs 1968-1969.
A: I did this conversion many years ago, using stock parts. The 67 console is the same, in either manual or automatic applications. They use a seperate bezel which is specific to the transmission type. Replace your auto trans. bezel with a stick shift unit, and get the stock boot and retainer plate. The transmission I used had a Hurst Competition Plus shifter, useable with or without a console. There were no fit issues regarding the console.
Hurst makes another shifter, the “Street Super Shifter”, which uses straight rods and does not fit any console. And of course, there is the Indy shifter. I don’t know if that shifter will fit a console, but may prefer to use a stock shifter instead. Maybe.
As for boots… You can use any boot you like, since they are nearly entirely covered by the shifter plate. And the boot size isn’t hindered by the console or plate either. If you happen to have a badly butchered trans tunnel, as many of our veteran cars do, get any aftermarket boot that will cover the hole. Otherwise, the stock boot will work with the Hurst shifter.
I hope that this helps.
Content last modified: January 16, 2014 at 9:11 pm
Q: After Market Radios
I would like to put a stock looking radio in my 1969 firebird with a CD player located somewhere else , like trunk or CD player in dash would be good .They list them for 1968 Firebird but not 1969 .Anybody have any neat trick they have done , I want it to look stock . My dash is already hacked .
A: You can get cd changers that play through the fm radio in your dash. you mount the changer in the trunk and then tune your radio to a certain frequency (89.1 on mine) and you hear the cd player instead of the radio. you control the changer with a remote that you mount somewhere. this way you can put a stock looking radio in the dash.
Content last modified: January 24, 2014 at 11:01 pm
Q: Hurst Shifter for 1969
How do I identify a Hurst shifter on my 1969?
A: Here are some clues. The original 1969 was a Hurst Competition Plus, and said so on the body of the shifter. The chrome handle is rounded except for a flat spot on either side where the name Hurst is stamped, and the handle slips into the top of the shifter arm. It’s held in place by a couple spring clips, removed by slipping two feeler blades down the sides to release the springs and pulling the handle upwards. Under the car, the shifter has molded rubber where each of the rods connects to the levers. Aftermarket Hurst shifter do not have the molded rubber, just a thin separate bushing of nylon or steel, and the handles (usually flat) bolt onto the shifter assembly.
The only numbers here on the 2 shifters in my hand are date codes and a patent number.
Content last modified: January 16, 2014 at 9:12 pm
Q: AM/FM Connections 1967
I bought an AM/FM radio that is supposed to be for the 1967. The dash speaker is missing and so is the original radio connector. The connector on the radio has 3 connections. I would imagine they are ground, +12 and speaker out (common ground). My question is, does anyone know the sequence of the connections (the plug is close to one side of the radio)? I don’t want to hook it up wrong and cook the radio.
A: My wiring diagram shows three “tabs” in the connector on the back of the
radio. Reading from left to right, they are speaker, speaker, +12V.
Here is a lame attempt at an ASCII drawing.
+------------+ | -- -- -- | +------------+ ^ ^ ^ | | +----- +12V | | | +------- Speaker +----------- Speaker
Now I realize that the connector on the back of the radio actually faces toward the floor, so this diagram is looking into the connector if you would have rotated the radio such that the faceplate was facing you and you are looking down into the connector on the back of the radio.
Content last modified: January 24, 2014 at 11:02 pm
Q: Hurst Shifter Problem
And I thought that I was the only one having problems getting a Hurst shifter to fit. I had 3 similar problems putting a Hurst Competition Plus in my 1968 4 speed with console
A: If you use an original Competition Plus shifter you wont have any problems with console. The only functional difference between the aftermarket Competition Plus and PMD model was the linkage rods used rubber bushings and were smaller diameter than the over counter ones. An upgrade kit is available from Hurst to change the linkage to the later style and steel bushings. You will get more vibrations thru the shifter than with stock linkage but its a trade off for tighter shifter feel and control. Every magazine test of that era raved about the Pontiacs choice to use Hurst as standard equipment, which is one reason they sold so many performance models compared to other GM lines. I used to love to pick on the early Chevelle SS396s as they were guaranteed to hang up between 2nd and 3rd with the POS Muncie shifter.
Content last modified: January 16, 2014 at 9:12 pm
Q: AM-FM Stereo Installation Questions 1969
Can anyone shed some light on this question ? Do the AM FM Stereo Radios for the 1969 F bodies need to have the amplifier unit installed or were they made to stand alone also. Also, when using the factory 8-track player, do you need to have the amp unit installed ? Any insight you may have on these radio installs will be greatly appreciated. Have you converted your bird to factory AM-FM ? If so, drop me a note, I have some questions.
A: The 1968 radio had a removable plug to add the multiplexer, but in 1969 they went to a separate radio for stereo. You need to have both units, and they are supposed to be a matched set. The label on the side of the radio will identify it, but here’s a couple clues. The 69 Firebird radios, all 3 of them, had longer pushbuttons than other Pontiacs to reach through the angled dash. The AM and AM/FM had black pushbuttons, while the stereo radio had chrome PB’s. On both the AM/FM and the stereo units, the left-most button had AM molded into it, and the right-most button had FM molded in. The AM and AM/FM radios worked by themselves, meaning no external components except power and a speaker. The AM/FM Stereo requires the external multiplex unit to function, it mounts above the glovebox, and has a cable with a connector that has 9 pins, and the cable is on the radio, plugs into the MPX. (That is opposite the 1968 design, the MPX had the cable attached to it.)
Since you could buy a Firebird with AM/8-Track only, I assume the 8-Track is also self-contained. The 8-Track used kick panel speakers like the AM/FM stereo system did, but with the AM/8-Track combo, I believe the AM played through a dash speaker, and the tape played through the kick panel speakers. There are special harnesses for each application, and they are available repro from many Pontiac parts vendors. I don’t own a 1969 Delco Radio manual, but I know a couple folks who do, and might be able to get more info as you need it.
I have a couple 1969 AM/FM Stereo systems that are currently on the shelf, but both systems came from cars that did not have the tape player, so I bought a harness to connect them. I have not tried to make the system work yet. If you have a Stereo radio that is missing the MPX, I have at least 1 unit spare, maybe 2, but a radio restorer would probably have to calibrate them to your radio.
A: I had a 1968 400 coupe that had a factory 8 track and an AM radio it used the 4 speakers for the 8 track (kick panels and dual rears) and a single speaker in the top of dash( same as all Other single front speaker radios) It didnt have any switch to cange from one system to the other so you could play both at the same time.
Content last modified: January 24, 2014 at 11:03 pm
Q: Dual-Gate Shifter Installation for Automatic
I want to put a Dual-Gate Shifter in my Firebird. Does anyone have any tips or recommendations?
A: I recently did a dual-gate installation on my 68. I talked with someone several times about the details of making this installation work who installed a GTO console and shifter, and I looked for a long time at other ways to get the GTO shifter into the Bird. I finally used a Hurst dual-gate shifter out of a 442. It is the exact same size and form as the shifter out of the Firebirds — even the mounting holes matched. The console fits smoothly over the shifter. Its not quite as “beefy” as the GTO model shifter, but I don’t think I will ever break it. The 442 model has a “bent” stick, where the GTO model is straight. The bent stick puts the stick a little closer to the driver, plus I like the looks better. The 442 shifter also has a little more positive locking system when using the manual side.
Since the GTO shifter plate was smaller than the Bird’s, it didn’t cover the hole in the console. I cut out the middle of the Firebird shifter bezel and “transplanted” the GTO shifter plate into the hole using JB weld. I made a custom woodgrain insert out of a piece of walnut veneer to fit the new piece; it’s sexy!
If you’ve never used a dual-gate, it has two slots for the shifter — a “hers” side, which works like a normal shifter, and a “his” side, which shifts the gears manually. It gives you the ability to manually work up through the gears and back down on an automatic without worrying about missing a gear or hitting reverse.
BTW, a 1968 Bird that won best of show at last year’s T/A Nationals had a 442 dual-gate installed.
A: know a couple guys were interested in pics of my dual gate shifter installation using a 442 shifter. I borrowed a digital camera, so here they are. There’s also some pics of the GTO dual gate shifter I have, as well as a pic of GTOKens dual gate install of a GTO shifter.
GTO Dual Gate and Bracket:
442 Dual Gate and Plate
Standard and Dual Gate Plates:
Modified Dual Gate Plate – Front:
Modified Dual Gate Plate – Back:
Dual Gate in Console – Top:
Dual Gate in Console – Side:
A: that looks great how did you modify the shifter plate.
A: The pic of the back of the plate shows how I fit the smaller GTO bezel into the larger Firebird one. I marked the ‘Bird plate with the GTO outline,
took a Dremel with a cutting wheel and cut a hole to fit. Then I ground the lip off the GTO plate and used JB Weld to hold it in the Firebird shell. I added a couple of gussets to beef it up.
Content last modified: January 16, 2014 at 9:13 pm
Q: Radio Fit
I have a 1968 Firebird. Will a 1969 radio fit the dash? I know there were several changes from those two years and not sure if the radio would be one of them.
A: Unfortunately no. The 1967/1968’s have a different dash than the 1969’s and the radios are different in every way. The 1967/1968 radios are virtually identical except for the color of the face (one is black and one is blue and as I recall the blue was the 1968).
Content last modified: January 24, 2014 at 11:04 pm
Q: Removing the Shift Knob on a 1969 3-Speed
How do you remove the shift knob on a 1969 3 speed?
I need to pull the console pannel so that I can do some refurbishing and I can’t figure out how to pull the knob off. I tried to spin it but it won’t budge and I don’t want to bust it. It has the push button with the bird in the middle.
A: To remove the shifter knob, first remove the push button (use a rag to protect it and and plyers to pull it); under the knob, around the shaft is a small snap ring, use expanding snap ring plyers. After you remove the snap ring, the knob should come off.
Content last modified: January 16, 2014 at 9:17 pm
Q: Radio Noise after Upgrade
A: During my college years after GM, I installed over 100 car stereos working at a shop and on my own and noise was all too common. I warned anyone thinking about installing an “amped” system that this would be a problem, and it usually was. The secret to eliminating noise is to eliminate resistance in power and ground and in signal distribution. Resistance points act as an antenna for noise. Isolate the power and ground from other systems in the car. Circuits sharing the “ground buss” tend to emanate crap onto the ground (chassis) and power lines. Even the best filtering won’t get rid of it. Garbage in, garbage out!
1. You get what you pay for! Cheap amps like the ones they sell at Radio Shack will whine and pop. Use quality products. Sony has some of the best filtering in their power supply inputs.
2. For amps and accessories such as a CD player mounted in the trunk. Use heavy gauge stranded wire from the battery (protected by a circuit breaker at the battery), twisted with a battery return line, and surrounded in braided shielding grounded at both ends. Avoid grounding the amp to the chassis.
3. Your in-dash unit and equalizer should be on a dedicated power circuit as well. Bring in a shielded power and ground from the battery as well after the circuit breaker. Switch the power on/off using a separate 12V relay operated by the original radio power source.
Once you clean up the power delivery problems, move on to the signal distribution.
4. Too much hype off of gold plated RCA connectors. It’s true, gold is the best conductor. However, in my tests with a spectrum analyzer I’ve found that a good quality connector, one that provides good contact between the shield of the jack and plug, makes no difference. It’s a signal with very low current and therefore very little chance of voltage drop due to current. Use very good braided shielded wire between the dash and the amp. I make my own custom RCA cables using teflon covered RG178 coaxial cable (not TV antenna wire – it’s too big but will work if you can’t get the small RG178).
5. Speakers located near the amp need not have shielded wire. It’s a good practice to shield speaker wires servicing doors, kick panels, or anywhere near the firewall.
6. As far as fidelity in a convertible goes, make sure the speakers are in an enclosed chamber like a speaker box, such that sound that travels backward in the speaker is reflected forward. The highs are going to get lost unless you mount tweeters next to your ears.
Content last modified: January 24, 2014 at 11:05 pm
Q: Custom Walnut Shift Knob for 1968 / 1969
Does your shift knob have a crest on it? I am having a hard time finding a reproduction one that looks correct.
A: For those who are interested, I’ve posted (2) pictures on the “Generation-1” WebSite that show the difference between the Original and Repro Shifter Knob (984700….’68 F, P 4-Spd Custom Walnut Shifter Knob) (9794300..1969 All 4-Spd Custom Walnut Shifter Knob) *** http://members.aol.com/Framair/TechTips.html ***
A: The below Web Site address shows (2) Pictures of the 1968-1969 Custom Walnut Shifter Knob.. (1) is an original, the other a repro. (Note the difference in size, detail). This was the original Factory/Dealer Option for all Pontiacs however, there WAS a unique one for the GTO (used from ’65 – ’68) that had a ‘GTO’ Crest in the back ground and was a somewhat smaller profile knob.
Content last modified: January 16, 2014 at 9:44 pm
Q: Factory Kick Panel Speakers
What did the factory kick panel speakers look like?
A: Photos for the factory A/C kick panels and factory kick panel speakers:
Left kick panel:
Right kick panel:
Both kick panels:
Speaker opening (w/tape measure for reference):
Content last modified: January 24, 2014 at 11:09 pm
Q: Custom Walnut Knobs for 1968
Do you know if the walnut shift knob was an option installed at the factory, or the dealer. There is a lady I work with, who owns a 1968 OHC 6, 4spd, that she has owned since 72, and it has the walnut shift knob. One thing I noticed though, is it has what looks like the GTO “crest” on it. Were all the walnut knobs like this?
A: The Walnut Shifter Knob was a Factory (or Dealer) option in 1968. Only the GTO had the unique ‘GTO CREST” Walnut Knob. All others including Firebird used the “PONTIAC MOTOR DIVISION” w/shift Pattern Design. I’ve heard from several who claim their car originally came (from the Dealer) with the GTO Knob. I guess anything is possible. Could be, the dealer had only those in stock and stuck them on a few cars to dress them up to attract customers (as was done with wheels, stripes, chrome exhaust extensions, etc.). By the way, only the GTO Walnut Knob has been ‘correctly’ reproduced. The repro for the “PMD” Knob is a cheap version that has an incorrect adhesive lucite medallion (no detail) and an incorrectly formed knob. Figure around $75 and up for a correct original used/NOS “PMD” knob.
Content last modified: January 16, 2014 at 9:45 pm
Q: Kick Panel Speaker Replacement
I am looking for advice on what after market speakers I can fit into the space behind the kick panels yet still use the stock grill covers. The idea is to put the best possible speaker into the existing opening. Please include manufacturer and model number in your reply.
A: If you are referring to the stock grilles as being the factory 4 speaker system with kick panel speakers, then theres really not much you can do to upgrade in the factory location.
Trouble is the brace for cowl gets in the way of any magnet larger than stock. Since no one else makes a magnet like Delco did then its too tight for after market ones. I got a good set of Jensens 4×6 at Walmart for around $40 and used a BFH (Big Fat Hammer) to reshape the cowl brace to fit.The other option is to fabricate a spacer to fill the gap between grille and kickpanel and install a larger speaker with brace intact. Happy hammering
Content last modified: January 24, 2014 at 11:11 pm
Q: Shift Knobs for 1968
Do you know why some 68’s got a black shift knob, and others white?
A: I’m not aware of any ’68’s that had the white 4spd knob installed from the factory unless this was an early production ‘carry-over’ situation (using 1967 stock). I’ve seen some pretty early ’68’s with the Black Knob; never a white one though.
Content last modified: January 16, 2014 at 9:46 pm
Q: Rear Speaker Placement
I see that Year one sell boxes for rear speakers for Convertibles. I’ve seen a picture of a rear convertible seat with a speaker mounted in the center top of it but were dual speakers factory mounted in the rear of the car ? and if so where and were “grills” used ?…under/in the well liner ? All the catalogues refer to a “rear parcel shelf” but this would only be for the coupe?
A: All 1967, 1968, and 1969 Firebirds with a rear speaker option had them mounted on the right side, whether coupe or convertible. Cars with the Stereo options had 4 speakers – 2 in the kick panels, and 2 in the rear. There were no center mounted rear speakers. The convertible needed a housing, and it was the same cardboard material used for the glovebox. It hung by 2 screws from the support that the rear seatback support was connected to, and went under the top storage well. There was a hole cut through the well, and the speaker grille clamped the well liner between it and the speaker housing.
Most every option a Firebird could have that required something screwed to the car had indentations stamped in the location the optional components mounted to, so you might find exactly where the speaker housing screws go. I believe the Service Manual has some diagrams for installation, as some were dealer installed as accessory kits.
Content last modified: January 24, 2014 at 11:12 pm
Q: Firebird Walnut Shifter Knob for 1968
What is the correct Walnut Shift Knob for a 1968?
A: Thanks for your insight on the Walnut Shift Knobs. In addition to the numbers your shared, I found others….
984700 4spd- all 1968 (per 1968 Accsry Book)
984848 3spd- all ’66-1969
984989 M.T. 1967 Firebird
9794300 4spd- all 1969
I’ve seen photos & cars showing the 1969 Style on a 4spd ‘Bird and I’ve also known of one individual who has the ‘GTO’ Crest Knob on a 1968 4spd that he claims is how he got it from original owner. What I’d like to verify are part numbers from other year Part Books against the above numbers.
From the 1968 Full-Line Accessory Booklet:
Custom Gearshift Knob (524)
Walnut appearing…for 3 or 4 spd…
Has shift position indicated on 4 spd knob.
Has Pontiac “Vee” Crest on 3 spd knob.
Available all models… (factory/dealer)
I find it difficult to believe that the Factory and/or Marketing would have designated the “GTO” Knob for a Firebird. Certainly the Dealer would have/could have installed anything the owner wanted or, whatever they happened to have in-stock at the time. Problem is, finding actual evidence (photos) from 1968 showing the 1969 Style 4spd knob on a Firebird. Personally, I think this knob (“Pontiac Motor Division” w/pattern) is what the factory would have installed on the 4spd Firebird. But then, nothing is certain especially without sufficient evidence. I have no doubt that variations in usage occurred during 1967-1969. Perhaps the 1969 Style Knob was factory only and/or it only came out later in the 1968 model year.
Anyhow, thanks for the info and if you find other evidence, please let me know.
Content last modified: January 16, 2014 at 9:47 pm
Q: Rear Speaker Installation
I have a 1968 Firebird and according to PHS my car was equipped with an AM radio. But my car actually has an AM/FM radio which appears to be correct for the year. My guess is that the first owner of the car had the AM/FM installed by the dealer after the car had been built and delivered to the dealer.
Anyway, the radio has a “fader bezel” on the right hand side so I decided I would install a rear speaker to make use of the radio’s full (?) potential. I purchased an accurate cardboard speaker housing, speaker and grille as well as supporting hardware to attach the speaker behind the rear seat. I’m just not sure whether I should attach the speaker on the right or left side.
The diagrams in the 1968 Pontiac Shop manual seem to imply that if you had just one speaker in the car it was placed in the right rear. I have not seen a 1968 convertible with one rear speaker at any shows so I’m asking you all. Does anyone know for sure which side of the car a single rear speaker goes? Or does it go in the center.
Another question. I am assuming that the well cover goes over the speaker and that I have to cut a hole at least as large as the speaker opening in the speaker housing in the well cover and then attach the grille over that area of the well cover. Is that correct? Again, the shop manual’s diagram leaves a lot to be desired and to the imagination.
A: You are correct in the installation or the rear speaker, and it goes on the RIGHT SIDE. The assembly goes under the top well, and the speaker grille goes on top, so you can see it when you look in the rear window.
Content last modified: January 24, 2014 at 11:13 pm
Q: Shifter Hole Template for 4-speed for 1968
I want to convert my column shift 4-speed to a floor shift. Does anyone have a template where I need to locate this?
A: For those of you that are interested, I’ve completed the template for 4 speed shifter mounting hole:
Actual Size Template:
1.) You will need to remove the seam sealer along the top of the tranny tunnel, (just underneath the dashboard). The sheetmetal edge is used as a reference point. All “Y” coordinates are located from that line. There is also a second line drawn on the template that aligns with the edge of a rolled crease in the tranny tunnel. Due to the soft radius of that crease, it would be a less accurate point of reference. CAUTION: I would check both reference lines to make sure that they line up within reason. GM may have not cared about the edge of the sheetmetal that I used as a reference point. I have no way of knowing. If the edge and crease look to be in alignment, then there is a higher likelihood that the reference points are good to use as standards.
2.) You will need to draw a centerline down the middle of your tunnel. All “X” coordinates are referenced from there. The centerline is not easy to determine due to the soft radius of the tunnel sides. I found it best to locate the center of the tunnel in about 10 different locations and then draw a straight line down the center of the dots. I found that all of the dots I made were within 1/16″” of the line I drew, so I felt that accuracy was pretty good.
3.) When drawing and cutting the hole, keep in mind that GM did a very very sloppy job of cutting the hole. It looked like it was cut with a torch. My template provides a nice smooth hole pattern. If you cut it and it looks sloppy, you are still probably better than GM. If you want to duplicate the GM factory look, cut the hole about 3/16″ smaller all the way around and then melt the edges slightly with a torch in a bunch of spots at random. It will look like melted candle wax on the edges.
4.) After you have cut the hole, then align the bezel for the rubber shifting boot with the shifter hole. I would use the bezel to locate the screw holes for the bezel and boot, not the template (although the template is very close to being right on).
5.) For those of you who will wonder if the template is correct, the shifter hole is not in the center of the tunnel. It is in fact offset to the left. It makes sense when you remember that the shifter is mounted on the side of the tranny.
6.) Last but not least, please keep in mind that I’ve done the best I can to produce an accurate template. Still, I’m certain that it has some error to it. Judging from the hole that GM cut in my car, I don’t think the error is worth worrying about.
Good luck and may the Sawzall gods be with you!!
Content last modified: January 16, 2014 at 9:48 pm
Q: Speaker Locations 1969
When a 1969 convertible was ordered with an AM/FM radio, did the speakers get located in the kick panel or behind the back seat? Was the back seat location an extra cost option? My car originally was ordered with an AM/FM but when I bought it the dash and kick panels were butchered for aftermarket equipment.
A: You’ll need to specify if you mean the AM/FM monaural radio, or the AM/FM Stereo Multiplex radio. AM and AM/FM came standard with one (1) speaker, mounted in the front center dash. You could order a single rear seat speaker option with those two radios as well. In convertibles, the rear speaker was on the right side. It hung on the rear seatback support in a cardboard housing facing the window, with the speaker grill in the topwell and the speaker and housing hidden behind the topwell.
AM/FM Stereo or 8-track stereo cars had the 4-speaker system, with the kick panel mounted fronts. If AM or AM/FM monaural radios were installed with the 8-track, the radios played through the dash speaker, and the other 4 speakers played the tapes. The rear speakers in convertibles had 2 through the topwell, on the left and right.
This was different than the stereo systems installed in A-bodies. Surprisingly, the 1969 LeMans, Tempest and GTO stereo only had one front and one rear speaker, with the stereo signal cut that way. I think even the Grand Prix was the same.
Content last modified: January 24, 2014 at 11:13 pm
Q: Shifter for 1969
What is the correct shifter for a 69′ 350/350 with console? If it is the type with the push button,is the black center knob supposed to stick up past the brown outside? if so how much? Any help is appreciated
A: Yes, brown wood grain knob with a black push button. The button has the bird emblem on the end. Yes, the button is supposed to stick up above the knob when released, about 1/4 inch.
Content last modified: January 16, 2014 at 9:51 pm
Q: Rear Speaker Grille Color
Does anyone know the original color of the rear speaker grilles in the 1968 coupe? I need to repaint and want to get it correct.
A: Same color as the rear package tray (i.e. black would be black,parchment(white) would be black red would be red) and make sure to use FLAT not semi gloss.
Content last modified: January 24, 2014 at 11:14 pm
Q: Rear Speaker Package Tray
I found out about the package tray. As I now understand it, the coupes had a mesh package tray and no grills if they had rear speakers. Is this correct? Thanks again in advance.
A: This is another example of vendors dictating to the consumer what is correct. Ive never seen any factory rear speakers installed with a mesh package tray for 67-9 I have seen this on the 70 and up models only. Cut the orginal cardboard out in the shape of speakers from under neath. Use GM speaker grills to cover the speakers. I wouldnt try and “save” your old package tray, as its most likely sun faded and brittle. Easy way to route wiring to rear is remove the scuff plates at rocker or use a stiff wire or fish tape to fish wiring under the carpet. You dont say if you have a console but thats another easy way to get wiring from front to back. Stereo can be acomplished with one pair of wires(ground speakers at rear shelf.) but for better sound quality use a pair for each with shielded wire. I remember installing a new gadget in my bird in 1970. It was a “cassette” deck and I put it in the glove box. Car still looked orginal and no one ripped off my tape deck. Good Luck
Content last modified: January 24, 2014 at 11:15 pm
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 1969 seats had the headrest and they are 99% identical (maybe some internal bracing is the only change?) to the seats from 1968 … I think the deluxe seat pattern remained the same for both years. Anyone care to comment? If there are no 1968 seats does anyone know of some 1969 seats? The colour ….. any colour as long as it’s black
A: The frame of the two years (1968, 1967, and 1969) are the same. The difference is in the padding. 1969s were slightly wider. If he wants it 1968 correct, use a 1969 headrest seat and buy 1968 padding and seat cover.
Content last modified: January 25, 2014 at 9:33 am
Q: Bird Emblem on Glove Box
What determined if a 1968 got the bird on the glove box door? Mine has the bird glass, but not the glove box door.
A: Good question. According to the option packages, the ‘Bird’ on the Glovebox was included with the Custom Trim option and ‘available’ ? on all Firebird models. I’m assuming that ‘available’ meant as part of the Custom Trim Option since there was no specific UPC Sales Code for ‘just’ the Glovebox Emblem. All 1967 Firebirds had this emblem and I’ve seen many Standard Trim 1968 Firebirds with this emblem (early builds). Could be that a few early ’68’s had this emblem installed. So far, no definite ‘rule’ on why some Standard Trim cars got it though. As for the ‘Bird’ Glass, this one is still a mystery since no factory documentation has surfaced explaining the criteria for the ‘Bird’ Glass. We have proven that it was not directly linked to Custom Trim, Conv, “400’s”, Power Windows, Tinted Glass, A/C, etc. It does seem to only apply to early build ’68s though the cut-off date has not yet been established.
Content last modified: January 17, 2014 at 9:08 pm
Q: Headrest Option
I have a 1968 convertible with the headrests. Is this original equipment?
A: Should have checked closer instead of going from memory.
From Billing Card/Manifest:
Content last modified: January 25, 2014 at 9:53 am
Q: Glove Box Door
Any idea if the 1967/1968 Glove Box Door is the same as the 1969
A: Well, externally they are the same but on the inside they are different. The latch is different as well. The 1967 (probably 1968 also) uses a little hook for the latch and the 1969 uses a cylinder with a small latch that pops in and out. Also the 1969 has 3 circles (like cup bases) on the inside where the 1967 has 2.
Content last modified: January 17, 2014 at 9:10 pm
Q: Seat Belt Emblem
I need to find some replacement seat belts and found some on eBay which say they are for a 1967-69. The emblem shows a Fisher Coach emblem. Is this correct for a 1968?
A: Actually, the Fisher Coach emblem was last used on the 1967 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.**
Content last modified: January 25, 2014 at 9:46 am
Q: Glovebox Door Problem
I can not get my glovebox door open. It appears the lock is jammed but I can not pry it open and do not want to scrape or break it. Anyone have a suggestion?
A: Forget metal objects use ID cards, anything laminated or flexible plastic (look in your wallet). My glove box does this all the time.
Content last modified: January 17, 2014 at 9:11 pm
Q: Seat Belt Cleaning
How do I clean my seatbelts without ruining them.
A: An article in one of the muscle car mags last month covered seat belt cleaning. I followed their instructions and it worked perfectly.
Remove belts from car.
Fill bucket with scalding hot water.
Add high quality car wash soap.
Soak belts for a while (not long enough for H20 to get cold).
Using a soft bristle brush, scrub each belt from end to end, front and back.
If they’re at all dirty you’ll need to change the water 1 – 2 times in the process.
After each belt is scrubbed, rinse with hose and lay it out in the sun to dry.
This is an important step. If you just set it aside to dry, it’ll end up very stiff
If you use the sun to dry it, the belt becomes nice and soft and it brings the color back.
For the buckles, I used high pressure air to clean the water out of the mechanism.
If you don’t have a compressor, use your vacuum in reverse. I keep an old cannister electrolux in my shop for this purpose. Using the crevice tool, the pressure is perfect – and you can use it as a leaf blower to boot!
Content last modified: January 25, 2014 at 9:55 am
Q: 350 with Hood Tach for 1969
What were the restrictions on ordering the hood tach in 69. I can’t find any reference to this at all in any of my literature. So, were they offered on the entire line of Firebirds, or could you only get them on 400s and 350 HOs. Were they included in a package or were they an orderable line item. Any info will help.
A: According to my order sheet:
UPC Code = U85
COL = 471
“Tachometer, Hood Mounted – N.A. w/322”
322 = Trans Am Pkg.
Looks like it could be had with anything but that Trans Am….seems odd.
A: After I got your reply I looked in Thomas DeMauro’s “Firebird Decoding Guide 1967 – 1981” and found it immediately. He has it listed as UPC code UB5. Perhaps a misprint in either of the documents. Also he has no mention of the T/A restriction, but it makes sense considering the hood design.
A: The above answer says the option was N/A for the T/A. Thats usually because that particular equipment was included the T/A package, in other words, when you ordered the T/A option, you got that equipment and didnt have to order it separately.
Content last modified: January 17, 2014 at 9:12 pm
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.
Content last modified: January 25, 2014 at 9:56 am
Q: Hood Tach Placement
I just bought an aftermarket hood tach for my Firebird. Now, where to I put it?
A: I’ll give it a try… here goes….All references are as though you are sitting in the drivers seat; therefore “right” means closest to the center of the hood, “front” means closest to the bumper, etc. Aussies, you’re on your own!
From the left rear corner of the tach to the left edge of the hood is 4.75″
From the left rear corner of the tach to the rear edge of the hood is 3.75″
From the right rear corner of the tach to the rear edge of the hood is 2 13/16″ (two and thirteen sixteenths inches)
Ulitmately, I would fudge these numbers a little bit in order to get the tach face square to the axis of the car.
Hole size required in the hood is 3.75″. It is not drilled directly in the middle of the tach space, but is offset in one direction to accommodate the tach housing and wires below. I had a paper detailing this hole as well, but I’ve misplaced it. You’re on your own with that. If I find it, I’ll let the group know…
A: Some good videos:
Content last modified: January 17, 2014 at 9:17 pm
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
A: The seat belt are the same for 1968 and 1969 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. 1969 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.
Content last modified: January 25, 2014 at 9:57 am
Q: Hood Tach Placement Variation
Did the hood tachs get place in the same spot over the years.
A: There is a difference between the hole size, mounting holes and location between 1967 (tall style) and ’68-1969 (short style).
Content last modified: January 17, 2014 at 9:19 pm
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 1969 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!
Content last modified: January 25, 2014 at 9:59 am
Q: Hood Tach Information
What is the story on the hood tach.
A: Just a little background….
The Hood Tach was not exclusively a Dealer Installed Option; Most were factory installed though, I’m sure many dealers did install them as have many enthusiasts over the years. The factory would not have cut a hole just anywhere; there was likely a punch operation for factory hood tachs (an assembly line does not allow for a cutting operation). Sure, you can install one wherever it looks good but if you want it to be correct; get the dim’s from a factory hood with the tach. Also, the factory and dealers used rivets in addition to the nuts (for security).
A: The repor Hood Tach has gone through many revisions since it first came out in the mid-80’s. The most significant thing about the one you can buy today is it’s functionality. It is much better than the original GM Hood Tach (better circuits, lighting) however, as good as it works and looks, it has one obvious thing that distiniguishes it from an original GM tach; the face is plastic and has a sort of ‘fuzzy’ look to it. Not really a big deal unless you’re picky (like me). Those who must have ‘perfection’ can send theirs off (or buy one) from a number of Tach Restorers around the country who offer silk-screening in addition to rebuilding. I’m sure others on the list can elaborate more on the repro tach since all I’ve ever used is original, used, rebuilt or NOS Tachs.
A: The Hood Tach first became available sometime in Feb/Mar of 1967 on all Pontiac Models. The first style was the “TALL” style which refers to the height of the case. Also, the first style used only a single light bulb and there were variations with the face colors and redlines depending on carline and engine.
1967 Firebird (and very early 1968 Firebirds) used the Tall Style. Face background was Black with Green characters while the GTO and Full-Size had Steel Blue Backgrounds with White characters. After supplies of the ‘Tall’ Style Hood Tach were exhausted, the 2nd style came into production. This was a ‘shorter’ case (by an inch or so) and now had (2) bulbs instead of the previous (1). This new style was released into production on April 20th 1967 (even though early 1968 Firebirds continued using the Tall Style). The face on this first ‘short’ style was of a circular pattern. On June 29th 1967, this face was changed to an ‘oval’ pattern.
Face background was steel blue with white characters. The final major design change came with the 1969 model. The face background was changed to black with white characters. The Hood Tach lasted through ’72 production. From 1967 – ’72, there were many Redline variations for different engines/models including the OHC-6 cars and Ram Air engines. The 1967 OHC-6 Firebird had a 6500 redline. This was later changed to 5500. RA II used the OHC-6 5500 redline. All other applications used a 5100 redline. The rarest would be the ‘supposed’ Hood Tach released for the RAV engine. Back in the 80’s, “Purely PMD” from NM built a 1969 Judge with a complete RAV engine and found what was described as the only known RAV Hood Tach that had a lights for ‘shifting’ built into the face.
Anyhow, there’s my ‘long-winded’ reply on Hood Tachs. As with any information, there will always be exceptions to the rule and other variations. I welcome any constructive criticism provided there is some inkling of supporting evidence. What I’ve shared is from various PMD Parts Books, GTO/Firebird restoration guides, articles, and Service Bulletins.
Content last modified: January 17, 2014 at 9:20 pm
Q: Shoulder Seat Belt Installation
I have taken some photos of my installation of original shoulder belts in my 1969. After looking though the 1969 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.
A: We have the following photos of the convertible shoulder belt modification for the front seats (Fisher Service Manual shows actual locations). View the following photos:
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:
Content last modified: January 25, 2014 at 10:02 am
Q: Hood Tach Servicing
Does anyone know a good place I can send my hood tach to be rebuilt?
A: Randy Watson
The Tach Shop
2201 Surry Rd
Jeffersonville, IN 47130
….Rebuilds, Restores Hood Tachs.
*Not sure if he uses silk screening or decals for the Face.
“The Tach Man”
*Aprox. $175 to rebuild/restore including silk screening
NOTE: The repro Hood Tach that is currently on the market has been ‘refined’ over the years but still differs (slightly) in appearance to an original. This difference is in the face (plastic, fuzzy) and the Face Trim. The functionality and lighting is superior to an original Tach. Both Randy Watson and “The Tach Man” can rebuild/restore to appear original but use updated components/circuitry.
A: I agree, Randy is very good at what he does and very knowledgeable about Tach Restoration techniques. I had a price schedule of his services somewhere but I can’t seem to locate it at the moment. From what I remember, these are the basic elements to a restoration……
– CASE… (repair or replace case, face trim, base)
– FACE… (restore, silkscreen, replace faded, rusted faces)
*NOTE: there were some repro ‘adhesive’ faces being sold awhile back. Certainly a cheap alternative to silk screening though, not as ‘concours’.
– CIRCUITS… (repair or replace Printed Circuit and/or components of it)
*By the way, for all you elect. types, these pieces can be purchased cheap at most Electronic supply shops.
– HEAD (or movement)… This is the where the ‘needle’ resides and may require repair or recalibration.
– WIRING… The correct ‘rubber’ Bulb Sockets were also used on certain year tailights. Duplicating a correct harness is not that difficult and much cheaper than buying a repro harness (if you have the correct sockets, connectors which are all easy to find in a junk yard).
Now, if all you want is a Hood Tach and you don’t want to spend over $200, you might be better off with a repro Hood Tach. Internals, Lighting is better than originals and the only major difference is that repro’s have a somewhat ‘translucent’ Plastic Face (letters/numbers seem ‘fuzzy’). Those who must have 100% original/correct appreance.. contact Randy.
Content last modified: January 17, 2014 at 9:21 pm
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.
A: 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 1967 and 1968 Deluxe had a Fisher coach emblem in black on the bushbutton, while the 1969 (and later) used a GM Mark of Excellence in blue on the pushbutton.
A: Not quite sure what you refer to by ‘spade’ but here’s what I have from my original 1968 Deluxe Seat Belts:
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
Latch (‘Male’ half that hooks into Buckle) Chrome Plated, with .50 wide x .625 long slot
1968 Firebirds with Deluxe Belts used the above components (Metal Buckles, GM Mark of Excellence Button)
1967 Firebird with Deluxe Belts used Metal Buckles with GM ‘Coach’ Emblem in Button
1969 Firebird with Deluxe Belts used Plastic Housing Buckle with GM Mark of Excellence Button (Blue background)
Why did some Firebirds come with Deluxe Seat Belts when it wasn’t noted on any of the documentation ? My 1968 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 1968 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.
A: 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.
Content last modified: January 25, 2014 at 10:05 am
Q: Hood Tach Accuracy
I think the hood tachs look great, but are they very factional? Can you read them clearly. Could you very a shift point from 5200 rpm to 5000 rpm? Can you read them that accurately?
A: I’m going to create some more waves and say that I never liked the hood tach for “function ability”. It is not that accurate, hard to read(at least for my poor eyes) and doesn’t have dampener circuitry that most good tachs have.
I have always used the Sun Super tach which I upgraded to a Sun Super tach II in mid 70s when they came out with that. I mount it on the steering column with a band clamp wrapped with rubber tubing to prevent scratching of the steering column. For those of you that are worried about originality the tach has a plug at back to disconnect the wiring harness, which can be tucked up under the dash,while showing the car.
Content last modified: January 17, 2014 at 9:22 pm
Q: Custom Trim Option (Code 554)
My billing history indicates my 1968 came with custom trim. What was included with this option?
A: For the 1968 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
A: Use following link to find more information about the Custom Trim Option on FGF: More Information
Content last modified: January 25, 2014 at 10:11 am
Q: Printed Circuit Boards Repair
Is there a way to repair the printed circuit board? I don’t think it would hold up to any type of heat and it is just a small break in one of the circuits causing the malfunction….
A: I have successfully repaired several printed circuit boards by soldering a small piece of bare stranded copper wire across the break. Use very small rosin core solder and a small tip on a low wattage iron. Remember to clean and tin the wire ends and foil before mating together.
Content last modified: January 17, 2014 at 9:24 pm
Q: Temperature Gauge Problem with Rally Gauges
I’m having some problems with my Temp gauge. The rally gauges were redone at some point before I got the car by a reputable shop. But the Temp gauge jumps as I start the car but then goes to the cold side and stays there when running. I haven’t tested or changed the sending unit yet… Other than that, any suggestions?
A: I experienced this very problem when I installed my rally gauges. There’s a wire that goes to the ignition that was used to test the idiot light for temp when you started the car. I didn’t disconnect it at first, and it caused my needle to peg when starting the car. It eventually got stuck. After I removed the wire, the problem was gone. Cutting this wire is mentioned in the FAQs for rally gauge install; I don’t remember the color (maybe green) but its the only connection on the harness that had two wires going to one point. I ‘ll dig into my notes at home if you’re still stumped. Sounds like maybe the shop didn’t know this little detail.
A: I got under there last night and double checked all the connections and found something similar. My needle would peg on start up.. anyway checked everything and it seemed like the sending unit was part of the problem as mentioned in the FAQ’s… After leaning all the contacts for all the wiring and replacing the sending unit with another unit for a gauge, it works! YESSS!
And stays about 190-200 even under hard throttle this morning! But this afternoon will be the test… even up here in Seattle it will be about 75-80 today… Gotta love that and a convertible too! Life is good! Now if I can get my Hood Tach figured out I’m golden!
Content last modified: January 17, 2014 at 9:25 pm
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 1968 Firebirds invoiced with Std. SeatBelts come with Custom Seat Belts …. Yes.
A: 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.
Content last modified: January 25, 2014 at 10:18 am
Q: Stock Cluster to a Rally Gauge Cluster
Converting a Stock Cluster to a Rally Gauge Cluster on 1967 Firebirds.
By Tony and converted by Al
For those who wish to convert their stock, (idiot lights) speedo cluster to a Rally Gauge Cluster, on their 1967 Firebirds, here is the background information you will need to accomplish this task. This information has been verified using two bone-stock 1967 Firebirds, one with a stock cluster, and one with a Rally Gauge Cluster.
First, the Rally gauge cluster is NOT a drop in replacement for the idiot light cluster. The pin-out of the cluster connector is completely different between the two clusters.
Second, the Rally Gauge cluster uses two additional wires, (heavier gauge BLACK and WHITE wires), that are NOT in the standard idiot light cluster wiring harness. Therefore a simple re-pinning of the cluster connector and replacement of engine sending units will allow all BUT the voltage gauge to work.
Third, to make the generator gauge functional without replacing both the instrument panel harness and forward headlamp wiring harness, you will need to add two additional wires.
Stock Cluster Information
Let’s start out by looking at how the stock cluster works.
The stock cluster connects to the Firebird’s electrical system via a 12-pin connector. This connector has the pin numbers molded into the connector itself. The following diagram illustrates the pin-out of the connector for a stock cluster:
Connector pin ordering:
12 ——- 7
Idiot Lights (Stock Cluster)
Pin # Wire Color Usage
1 Light TAN Fuel Gauge
2 GREEN (2 wires) Water Temp Light
3 GRAY Illumination Lights
7 PINK (2 wires) Ground
8 BLUE/WHITE Stripe Oil Pressure Light
9 Light BLUE Left Turn Light
10 Dark TAN Brake Light
11 Brown Generator Light
12 Medium BLUE Right Turn Light
The TEMP, OIL, GEN, and BRAKE indicators in the stock cluster are used to notify the driver of a possible trouble condition under the hood of the car. The wires associated with those indicators on the stock cluster connector will get connected to wires located in either the “engine harness” or “forward lamp harness” under the hood of the car. These connections are made through two connectors on the firewall of the car.
Under the hood of a 1967 Firebird, on the firewall just below and to the right of the brake master cylinder, you will find two 10-pin connectors, with two wiring harnesses attached to them. When standing in front of the car facing the firewall, the connector on the left is the “Engine Harness” connector, and the connector on the right is the “forward Lamp Harness” connector. The following diagram shows the connector positions and wire colors associated with indicators on the stock cluster:
Dark Tan -+ | +---+---+ +---+---+ | | * | | | | +---+---+ +---+---+ | | | | | | +---+---+ +---+---+ Dark Green | * | | | | | +---+---+ +---+---+ Dark Blue | * | | | | * | Brown +---+---+ +---+---+ | | | ( | | | +---+---+ +---+---+ +---+---+ +---+---+ | | * | Dark TAN | | | +---+---+ +---+---+ | | | | | | +---+---+ +---+---+ Dark GREEN | * | | | | | +---+---+ +---+---+ Dark BLUE | * | | | | * | BROWN +---+---+ +---+---+ | | | | | | +---+---+ +---+---+
The Dark TAN wire connects to a pressure sensitive switch on the brake master cylinder. This wire gets connected to the Dark TAN wire of the Cluster connector and is used to turn on the BRAKE light if the line pressure in the master cylinder drops below a safe level, (indicating loss of fluid, internal seal failure, or open brake line.)
The Dark GREEN wire is connected to the coolant temperature switch located on the engine. This wire gets connected to one of the two GREEN wires of the Cluster connector and is used to turn on the TEMP light if the coolant temperature raises above 210 degrees, (indicating a possible overheating condition), (the second GREEN wire is connected to the ignition switch and I’ll explain why at the end of this section.)
The Dark BLUE wire is connected to the oil pressure switch located on the engine. This wire gets connected to the “BLUE with WHITE stripe” wire on the Cluster connector, and is used to turn on the OIL light if the oil pressure in the engine drops below a certain level.
The Brown wire is connected to the voltage regulator. This wire gets connected to the Brown wire of the Cluster connector and is used to turn on the GEN light if the output voltage of the alternator drops below a certain level indicating a possible alternator failure.
Earlier I mentioned that pin 2 of the stock cluster connector had two GREEN wires connected to it, one which went to the coolant temperature switch, and one which went to the ignition switch. The reason for the second GREEN wire to the TEMP light has to do with a courtesy that GM built into the stock cluster that most people do not realize. On all GM cars of that era, when you turn the ignition key to the “RUN” position, before starting the car, your OIL, and GEN indicators are supposed to illuminate so that you can verify that these indication circuits are functioning correctly. Without the engine running, the oil pressure should be at zero and hence the OIL indicator should illuminate. Without the engine running, the alternator is not turning, so the GEN indicator should illuminate. Under this condition, (ignition key in the RUN position and engine not running), you are able to verify that all the components of the GEN and OIL indication circuits are functional. However, the TEMP circuit is entirely different. Under normal conditions, the engine should never be in an overheated condition, so GM had to provide a “cheat”. When you turn the ignition key to the “START” position, the ignition switch illuminates the TEMP indicator to allow the driver to verify that the TEMP indicator bulb in the stock cluster is functional. However, it does NOT verify that the coolant temperature switch, or the wires connecting that switch to the stock cluster are functional, hence the “cheat” and the reason pin 2 of the cluster connector has two GREEN wires.
RALLY Gauge Cluster Information
The Rally Gauge cluster connects to the Firebird’s electrical system via a 12-pin connector. This connector is the same form factor as the stock Cluster and also has the pin numbers molded into the connector itself. Although it uses the same connector as the stock cluster, the Rally Gauge cluster has a different pin-out.
The following diagram illustrates the pin-out of the connector for a Rally Gauge cluster:
Gauges (Rally Cluster)
Pin # Wire Color Usage 1 BLUE/WHITE Stripe Oil Pressure Gauge 2 GREEN Water Temp Gauge 3 Light TAN Fuel Gauge 4 GRAY Illumination Lights 5 N/A 6 GRAY Illumination Lights 7 Light BLUE Left Turn Light 8 Dark TAN Brake Light 9 Medium BLUE Right Turn Light 10 PINK (2 wires) GROUND (see note below: +12VDC) 11 WHITE Volt Gauge 12 BLACK Volt Gauge
The TEMP, OIL, and ALT gauges, as well as the BRAKE indicator in the Rally Cluster are used to notify the driver of a possible trouble condition under the hood of the car. The wires associated with these gauges and indicator on the Rally Cluster connector will get connected to wires located in either the “engine harness” or “forward lamp harness” under the hood of the car. These connections are made through two connectors on the firewall of the car.
Under the hood of a 1967 Firebird, on the firewall just below and to the right of the brake master cylinder, you will find two 10-pin connectors, with two wiring harnesses attached to them. When standing in front of the car facing the firewall, the connector on the left is the “Engine Harness” connector, and the connector on the right is the “forward Lamp Harness” connector. The following diagram shows the connector positions and wire colors associated with indicators on the stock cluster:
+---+---+ +---+---+ | | * | Dark TAN | | | +---+---+ +---+---+ | | | | | | +---+---+ +---+---+ Dark GREEN | * | | | | | +---+---+ +---+---+ Dark BLUE | * | | | | * | BROWN +---+---+ +---+---+ | | | BLACK | * | * | BLACK w WHITE Stripe +---+---+ +---+---+
The Dark TAN wire connects to a pressure sensitive switch on the brake master cylinder. This wire gets connected to the Dark TAN wire of the cluster connector and is used to turn on the BRAKE light if the line pressure in the master cylinder drops below a safe level, (indicating loss of fluid, internal seal failure, or open brake line.)
The Dark GREEN wire is connected to the coolant temperature sending unit located on the engine. This wire gets connected to one of the GREEN wire of the cluster connector and is used to send the voltage signal from the sending unit on the engine to the TEMP gauge on the Rally Cluster.
The Dark BLUE wire is connected to the oil pressure sending unit located on the engine. This wire gets connected to the “BLUE with WHITE stripe” wire on the cluster connector, and is used to send the voltage signal from the sending unit on the engine to the OIL gauge on the Rally Cluster.
The BLACK and “BLACK with WHITE Stripe” wires are used for the ALT gauge. These two wires are of a heavier gauge than most of the wires in the forward lamp harness because they have the potential to carry higher current levels than either the TEMP sending unit or OIL sending unit wires. The “BLACK with WHITE Stripe” wire is connected to a one end of a “fuse link” near the voltage regulator. The other end of that same “fuse link” is connected into the “power distribution splice” via an even heavier gauge red wire. The power distribution splice is a group of four very heavy gauge red wires, (contained within the forward lamp wire harness”), which are soldered together very near the voltage regulator. This splice distributes the output of the alternator to the horn relay, voltage regulator, charging junction block near the battery, AND one side of the ALT gauge on the Rally Cluster. A “fuse link” is a wire, which is designed to “open up” should too much current pass through it. (Consider it a fuse in the form of a wire, which is easily identified by rubber-like insulators at both ends.) The BLACK wire is connected to one end of a “fuse link” near the junction block by the battery. The other end of the same “fuse link” is connected to junction block itself via a heavy gauge red wire. The “BLACK with WHITE Stripe” wire of the forward lamp harness gets connected to the WHITE wire of the Rally Gauge cluster connector, (pin 11). The BLACK wire of the forward lamp harness gets connected to the BLACK wire of the Rally Gauge connector, (pin 12).
Steps to Convert from Stock Cluster to Rally Gauge Cluster
A first timer should expect the process take an entire weekend.
After studying the above diagram, you should have noticed that the Rally Gauge cluster has three additional wires that the stock cluster does not: 1) a BLACK wire, 2) a WHITE wire, and 3) a SECOND GRAY wire. You should also have noticed the BROWN (generator light) wire is missing. The Rally Gauge cluster does not use the BROWN wire.
Wire Harness Upgrade Options
You essentially have two options for converting your stock cluster to a Rally cluster car. Of course, both options start with obtaining a functioning Rally Gauge cluster, oil pressure sending unit, and coolant temperature sending unit. The two conversion options are differentiated by how you will “wire up” the new cluster.
Sending Unit GM p/n, Cost Classic Ind., Cost Niehoff n Borg Warner, Cost
Water Temp 12334869, $17.43 G1872, $17.68 DR134A, $5.33
Oil Pressure 14039612, $57.00 DR135T, $17.22
Option I – Replace wiring harnesses
For those with unlimited budgets, and a fear of messing with wiring harnesses, this is the way to go. Classic Industries and Year One both sell replacement wiring harnesses. You will need to replace both the “Front Lamp Harness” as well as the “Instrument Panel (Dashboard) Harness”. Be sure you order the version of these harness which specifically say “for cars with Rally Gauge cluster”. The forward lamp harness currently lists for $199.00, and the instrument panel harness lists for $399.00.
The appeal of this option is that no rewiring is necessary, just the times to remove your old harnesses and replace them with the new harnesses.
Option II – Modifying existing harnesses
For most of use, the cost of replacing the wiring harnesses in our cars is prohibitive. Here is a way to make do with your existing harnesses.
1 Copy Connector Wiring and Disconnect the Battery
The first step is to prepare for the “under the dash re-wiring” by printing off, or drawing out the cluster connector diagrams for both the standard cluster and Rally Gauge cluster. This will make re-pinning the cluster connector much easier. This is also a good time to remove the battery from the car!!!! This is also the time you will want to replace all the bulbs in the Rally cluster since they are easily accessible.
2 & 3 Remove the Original Cluster and Remove Connector Wires
Once the stock cluster has been removed, step three is to remove all the wires from the cluster connector itself. This is a simple process once you know the trick. At the end of each wire is a metal “pin” which is held into the plastic body of the connector by a “tab” on the pin. Using a very narrow flat-blade screwdriver, (I used an eyeglass-screw screwdriver), insert the blade of the screwdriver below each wire, (the screwdriver is in between the wire and the center of the connector), until it bottoms out on the front of the connector. You should now be able to gently remove the wire with its attached pin from the connector. Do this for all the wires in the connector. Once you have completed step three, and all the wires are free from the connector, you are ready to begin altering the instrument panel wiring harness.
4 Tape Off Unused GREEN Wire
Step four is to remove one of the two GREEN wires – the one which goes to the ignition switch. This wire was used to light the TEMP light when the key was in the “START position”, and is not needed. (I recommend you just clip this wire and tape off the ends – you may want to restore the car to its stock configuration some day.)
5 Splice Brown Wire onto GRAY Wire
Step five is removing the BROWN wire and using it to splice into the GRAY wire. If you study the Rally Gauge cluster connector pin-out, you will see that the Rally gauge needs two GRAY wires to supply voltage for the illumination lights. Since the BROWN wire is not needed, you can use it, and its connector pin to splice into the existing GRAY wire and supply the as the “second” GRAY wire. Make sure you leave yourself plenty of wire so clip the wire at least six inches down from the pin.
6 Reconnect Wires into Connector
Step six is to reinsert the wires you now have back into the connector, according to the Rally Gauge pin-out diagram. Remember, your BROWN wire is now one of the two GRAY wires. (It doesn’t matter which one.)
Wiring the Volt Gauge Circuit
By completing steps one through six, you now have successfully re-pinned your cluster connector to work with a Rally Gauge with the exception that the volt gauge will be inoperative if you stop at this point. To get the volt gauge operative, you will need to add two additional wires. Since the metal pins for the cluster connector are hard to come by, the following steps illustrate how to connect the volt gauge wire to the cluster, without going through the cluster connector. I recommend going to your local hardware store or home improvement store and picking up 20 feet of exterior grade, insulated, two conductor extension cord. This is the type of wire that is typically used in exterior grade extension cords. The covering is usually BLACK rubber and the conductors inside are BLACK and WHITE. Since this type of wire is designed to carry 120V, it is of sufficient gauge to handle the current flows of the Firebird’s voltage gauge. Another bonus of using this type of wire is that the covering is NOT likely to rub off and cause a short. (The stock voltage gauge wires are heavy duty as well). You will also need to pick up a package of “round eyelet” type wire ends. You will need three. (You will use two of these to attach the wires to the back of the gauge cluster, and to attach one of the wire to the power junction block near the battery.) Also pick up a package of rubber grommets that have the interior diameter to match the wire. You will want to use a grommet where the wire goes through the firewall. On you way home from the hardware store, stop by your favorite auto parts store and pick up a couple of “orange” fuse links as well. Fuse links are rated by their color, and that is why I specified “orange”.
7 Terminating Volt Meter Circuit Wires at the Cluster
Step seven is where you want to attach the round wire ends to the BLACK and WHITE wires at one end of the extension cord. I recommend removing three inches of the exterior insulation. You can either solder or crimp these connectors on to the wires. Now looking at the back of the cluster, you will see two screws where the flexible circuit board attaches to the voltage gauge. Attach the WHITE wire to the left screw and the BLACK wire to the right screw. (This is where the round wire ends come in handy since there is no way the wire can come off unless the nut falls off. This makes a good solid connection.
8 Preparing the Firewall for the Volt Gauge Wires
Step eight is to find a suitable place, and drill a hole through the firewall for your new “wire harness”. I recommend just above the fuse block. The size of the hole will be dictated by the “hole diameter” specification of the grommets you will use. Drill the hole, use a round file to smooth out the edges, and then install a grommet in the hole.
At this point, it is a good idea to reinstall the cluster in the dash. That way you will be able to see the best way to route the new wire from its permanent resting spot on the back of the cluster to the hole in the firewall.
9 Installing Volt Gauge Wires in Firewall
Step nine is to fish the wire through the opening in the firewall, and then up along the inside of the left front fender, preferably along side of the forward lamp harness. A trick here, (and no comments from the peanut gallery), is to use KY Jelly on the wire before fishing it through the grommet. Since the outer covering of the cord is rubberized, and the grommet is more than likely rubber also, the KY Jelly allows you to slip the wire through the grommet with easy, and since it is water soluble, it cleans right off with a damp rag. I just taped the cord to the existing forward lamp harness. Once you have the cord fished to the front of the fender, you will come out by the voltage regulator. Very carefully strip off the outer covering, exposing the BLACK and WHITE wires contained within. (You should have about ten feet of each hanging there.)
10 Terminating Volt Gauge Wire at Voltage Regulator
Step Ten is to connect the WHITE wire to the “power distribution splice” near the voltage regulator, via one of the two fusible links you bought. The “power distribution splice” is a group of three very heavy gauge red wires located in the forward lamp harness very near the voltage regulator, which are soldered together. You will have to open up the forward lamp harness to find it. I highly recommend you solder the fuse link to the WHITE wire and then solder it into the “power distribution splice” as well.
11 Routing Volt Gauge Wire to Battery Power Junction
Step Eleven is to take the BLACK wire and route it over to the power junction block by the battery tray. The best way to do this is to tape the wire into the forward lamp harness which runs along the top of the radiator support. The wire is held onto the radiator support via nylon clips which are taped into the wire harness. You can remove the harness from the radiator support by pinching the tabs of the clips with a pliers and push the tabs back through the hole. The clips will be reusable to reattach the harness to the radiator support.
12 Terminating Volt Gauge Wire at Battery Power Junction
Step twelve is to connect the BLACK wire to the power distribution block via the second orange fuse link you bought. Solder one end of the fuse link to the BLACK wire. Attach a round eyelet connector to the other end of the fuse link. Now attach the fuse link to the power junction block.
13 Reconnect Battery and Test
Step thirteen is to reinstall the battery, then test out the gauges.
A: I used the above procedure on doing the swap. It was very helpful and I recommend anyone doing this to follow it. I did notice a couple of errors:
1. The pink wire that plugs into plug location #10 on the rally cluster connector is +12VDC, not Ground as stated in the procedure. The cluster gets it ground through the shield of the speedo cable. I added a ground wire to the speedo cluster by terminating one side to a screw on the speedo housing, and the other side to metal location on the steering column.
2. The unused “Generator” lamp (Brown wire on stock cluster) does not need to be cut. As stated in the procedure, there is a second Grey (connects to plug location #6 on rally cluster) wire required for the rally cluster’s dash illumination, not supplied on the stock cluster wiring. The rally cluster’s circuit card has a built in jumper between plug location #4 and #6, so an extra wired connection is not needed. Just tape off the unused Brown Generator wire in case you return the cluster to stock later.
A: I would recommend buying a Lyle connector pin remover instead of using a screwdriver to remove the pins from the connector. You greatly reduce the risk of damaging the connector and the pins. It cost about $10.
I would also recommend not cutting off any unused connector pins. Just use heat shrink around the pin and tape the unused wire down to the harness.
A: 1968 ralley gauge pin location is: 8-illumination, 14-left signal, 15-right signal, 30-fuel sender, 31 -oil press, 33-brake warn. indicator, 35- water temp, 39-ign(batt), 105-ammeter(batt), 106 ammeter(gen) or alternator. tThese are the GM “circuit #s and are pretty much universal as far as the colors and the useage with corresponding #. I cant draw a diagram like above so here:
is pin 8 has a jumper that ties pin 1,3 – 30 is pin4- 35 is pin5 -31
is pin6-14 is pin 7-33 is pin8-15 is pin9-39 is pin 10-105 is pin 11-106
is pin 12.
And I will restate this again for everyone that all 3 wiring harnessses must be changed to make this conversion work. NO SHORTCUTS. You CANNOT just change pin location.
1968 Ralley gauge circuit board Diagram from the 1968 Diagnostics service manual
Content last modified: January 17, 2014 at 9:33 pm
Q: Seatbelt Differences
I have a 1968 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 1968 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.
Content last modified: January 25, 2014 at 10:19 am
Q: Rallye Gauge Conversion
I was able to acquire a rallye guage package recently. I would like to install it, but am unaware to the mods to the connector that will be necesary. Any help with the new/old pinout on the connector would be great!
A: There are several posts on the 67-8 gauge conversions and one thing keeps coming up. You cannot just change the pin out and get these to work. At best youll have is water temp and oil pressure( see my latest post regarding gauge inaccuracies)but nothing for the ammeter. This circuit is completely different from the beginning to end.To successfully change out the idiot lights you need the following. Main wiring harness under the dash with bulkhead connector forward lamp harness that mates to main harness at bulkhead sending units for oil and water specific for gauges of that era
Content last modified: January 17, 2014 at 9:35 pm
Q: Seat Material
Are the seats for the 1967 same as the ones for 1968?
A: The 1968 and 1969 Custom trim had the Knitweave vinyl, whereas the 1967 used the same seats (dielectrically molded panels with 1″ ribs) for both Standard and Custom trim. The same seats were used again for 1968 Standard only, and the 1969 Standard used the same molded panels, but with wider side bolsters.
Content last modified: January 25, 2014 at 10:20 am
Q: Inaccurate Rallye Gauges
I have recently added a set of temp/volt/oil gauges to my 1969 350 and am now curious as to what normal operating temperatures I should be shooting for (now that I can actually see a numerical reading rather than just an idiot light). I keep getting readings that are all over the place. Is this indicating something is wrong with my cooling system or my new gauges?
A: Good luck on your gauge conversion, hope you changed the sending units to the GM ones. 69 are easier than 1967 or 1968 no need to redo your complete wiring harness like the earlier years,they finally wised up. Given the inaccuracies of stock senders, youll be lucky to tell what the temp is. I recently took about 6 GM oil pressure senders and pressurized all to the same. None were even close to each other. Static pressure readings are even way off. This was pretty much the norm for factory gauges. If you want to accurately read temp then use a good mechanical gauge along with your factory one and compare. If the two are close then remove the mechanical one. If not then note the differences and use the true readings of the mechanical one . You can test the operation of your thermostat by heating in a pan of water along with an accurate thermometer it should fully open within a few degrees of advertised or spec ed. Your car should run a few degrees within the thermostat with everything in proper order. Check past posts for cooling tips
Content last modified: January 17, 2014 at 9:37 pm
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.
Content last modified: January 25, 2014 at 10:21 am
Q: Gauge Conversion 1967 to 1968
Did the 1967 firebird ever come with a 160 speedo gauge cluster like the 1968? I know that the 1968’s have two chrome rings on the bezels, while the 67’s had only one. I would appreciate any leads.
A: No, the 1967 Firebirds only came with 120 MPH speedos. Even the optional Rally Gauge Cluster was 120 MPH.
A: The 1967 used 120 speedo 68-9 used 160. The 1967 and 1968 bezels were identical, both had 2 chrome rings. The bezel lens was different, 1967 was deeper than 1968 on the cone height. Currently only 1967 is avaliable in reproduction. In answer to other 68 gauge setup comversion I am currently restoring the speedo and gauge sets to look like new for 68-9. As for the conversion I do have the parts and heres what it takes. Dash harness with fuse box, gauge setup with speedo (speedo is different than idiot lights),engine harness, forward lamp harness, both of these are unique to V-8 or OHC-6. Alot of work but worth it. You cannot cut corners on this conversion and get everything to work.
Content last modified: January 17, 2014 at 9:39 pm
Q: Coupe vs Convertible Seats
I’m restoring a convertible and using a coupe as a donor car. Both 1968.
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?
A: 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 1968 and 1969 I’m sure of) that had the narrow rear seat were the cars equipped with the fold-down option. (I remember a 1967 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.
Content last modified: January 25, 2014 at 10:22 am
Q: Clearing a Foggy Lense
What do you reccommend using to clear up the plastic lens to the gauges? I took mine off and what a difference. I’m almost tempted to leave it off because it looks so much better.
A: Since they are available you could replace them… OR… I had really foggy gauges on my ’63 Grand Prix,so here’s what I did:
Get some very fine grit sandpaper – like 1500-2000 grit, the higher the better. Use some warm soapy water on the paper and sand the lenses lightly. They will look really bad, but here’s the catch. You’ll also need some plastic polish or lense polish – Mother’s makes some I believe- I got it at Auto Zone. Once you’ve sanded them lightly, use the polish. It will make them clear like new again. It worked REALLY well on my grand prix, and since I could not find replacements anywhere I was grateful!! I repeated this procedure a few times on each lens and they turned out great.
Content last modified: January 17, 2014 at 9:40 pm
Q: Saddle Leather Int (281) 1968
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 1968 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 1968 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.
A: The URLs for the saddle leather interior (281) for his 1968 RA I are found at the following links:
A: In response to his’s query about leather, it was offered in several GM cars, my 1969 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 1968 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 1969 interior for my 1969 Sprint convertible, and the guy who sold it thought there were 54 cars built in 1969 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’ 1969 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 1968 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.
Content last modified: January 25, 2014 at 10:23 am
Q: Gas Gauge Problem
ok guys I have one I can’t figure out my gas gauge reads empty when I still have about 8 gallons left in the tank but my main gripe is when I turn on my lights the gas gauge swings over to empty even with a full tank but when I turn the lights off it will swing back to where it is suppose to be at can anyone help me on this thanks
A: Check the ground wire and connection. One end is connected at the sender(on tank) which you will have to drop tank to see it. The other is near the filler neck attached to the trunk floor pan with a large sheetmetal screw. Bad ground will give the sender all kinda different readings. You can test it to see if the sender or wire or gauge is the problem. Use a VOM to check for voltage and disconnect the sender(positive) wire and ground it. You should see it move the gauge full scale. When that circuit is open it will swing the gauge the other way. Set the VOM on to Ohm scale to read the sender. GM used 0-99 Ohm for the sender values. Half way should mean 1/2 tank.
A: The sending unit is comprised of rheostat and wiper arm. The rheostat is a resistive wire wound along a shaft in a progressive spacing. The wiper arm, which is attached to the float, moves along the windings and changes the resistance value of the rheostat. What tends to happen over the years is the windings become worn, then thin and begin to move on the shaft. This effect turns into dead spots along the rheostat where the wiper should make contact. These dead spots will result in a no reading on the fuel gauge or a non uniform reading. Eventually, the windings break and no fuel gauge operation is the result.
Recommendation. You’re going to have to pull the sending unit anyway to inspect it. Replace it with a new unit. Not worth trying to fix the old one.
A: Sounds like a bad dash ground. Save some time and just rig a jumper from a good ground then, reach under the dash and touch the metal housing of your gauge cluster. If the ground was bad, you’ll notice your problems will go away. Once you’ve confirmed that the ground IS t
Content last modified: January 17, 2014 at 9:41 pm
Q: Seat Mounts
I’m in the process of removing the driver’s side seat mount from the floor of my 1969 ‘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 ??
A: 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.
A: 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.
Content last modified: January 25, 2014 at 10:25 am
Q: Fuel Gauge Problem
I am having a Fuel guage problem. It always reads empty.
A: You can test the guage by grounding the brown wire, it should go to empty. Do this by grounding the female portion of the connector located in your trunk.. (its the dark brown wire) You may also test the sending unit with a multimeter (Ohms) from the connector in the trunk… The connector, I believe, has a dark brown wire, and a tan wire. The tan being your license plate light, and the dark brown being the sending unit. Place the red on your multimeter to the brow wire (male connector) leading to your sending unit (not the female back to the guage) and the black wire of your multimeter to a good ground on the body. Bump the car a few times to see the Ohms go up and down. If the tank is full there should be around 90 Ohms. If it is empty it should only be around 1 if I remember (somebody correct me if I’m wrong)
The sending unit float over time turns to “rock” but I don’t think it will effect its function. What I had seen on my sending unit, was that the coils inside were broken causing the unit to fail most of the time. (Many years of service eats up these coils which look like a bic pen spring around a thin piece of cardboard)
The sending unit turns out to be an expensive item. I had spent 70 + on my replacement, though it was for a 350 without the vapor return. This was a good deal, but the alternative would be to have Year One rebuild the faulty unit for over $100. The ohms should range around 90-100 when the tank is full. So with your sending unit acting as a “Variable Resistor”, and the guage acts as an Ohms meter (the higher the Ohms the fuller the tank.)
Content last modified: January 17, 2014 at 9:42 pm
Q: Rear Folding Seat Parts
I am looking for any and all information on fold down rear seat for a 1968 bird.
A: ….The Fold-Down Rear Seat was an option on all 1967-1969 Firebird and Camaros. UPC Sales Code: #604/A67- $42.13 in ’68/1969 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 1967 is different from the 1968-1969. The 1967 had retainer clips, but on a panic stop the seat would release and fold. The 1968-1969 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.
Content last modified: January 25, 2014 at 10:26 am
Q: Nervous Speedo Needle
Does anyone of you guys know how to fix my nervous speedo dial? Driving slow or fast doesn’t matter I can’t get a steady reading.
A: When I was into Corvairs, they would sometimes have the nervous speedo problem too. On the ‘vair the cable went to the front left wheel. If it would jam or stick in any way, the cable would “load up” and then release. On them, the best thing to do was lube with the cable with graphite. We found you could pull the cable out of the casing by disconnecting it at one end. Then we would coat the cable and sleeve with graphite and reinstall it. The sleeve would guide you, so it wasn’t that bad of a job. I don’t know if that will work on the birds, but the cause is probably the same. You could just replace it, but it might be worth the .99 of graphite and a little time to give it a try.
Content last modified: January 17, 2014 at 9:43 pm
Q: Rear Seat Removal
How do I unbolt the rear seat (not fold-down) in a 1968? 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.
A: 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!
Content last modified: January 25, 2014 at 10:27 am
Q: Speedo Calibration
My speedometer is off by about 5 to 10 mph. How do I correct this?
A: There are three ways to calibrate your speedo. do this.
For the first one, find out exactly how far off it is… try using the odometer to check how many miles you read when traveling 10 miles according to mile markers. You might get a ratio like 1.4:1 (for example) Next, pull the speedo gear and housing out of the trans. Count the number of teeth on the gear (driven gear). Also, count the number of teeth on the gear it mates to on the output shaft of the trans (drive gear). Take the number of teeth on the driven gear and divide by the number on the drive gear. Lets say you get 35/19=1.84, now multiply by how far off your speedo is (like 1.4) and you get 2.58 (in this example). This is what the final driven gear to drive gear ratio needs to be. You may not be able to get this ratio by just changing the driven gear since they are only made from something like 35 to 45 teeth. Also, if you change the driven gear by too much, you will also need to change the driven gear housing since they only house ranges of gears like 36-39, 40-43, etc. Since the housings cost about $25 and gears are only $7 or so, you may want to find a combination that keeps your driven gear in the same housing range that you have today.
The second way to do this is to use one of these formulas.
Drive Gear = (.0495835 * Tire Dia * Driven Gear) / Gear Ratio
Driven Gear = (20.168 * Gear Ratio * Drive Gear) / Tire Dia.
And here’s a third way, call Ronnie Redd at Jerry Brown Chevrlolet in Buford, GA 770-945-4981. He’ll want to know Gear Ratio, Tire Size, type of Trans and then he can give you GM part numbers for the gears and housing you need.
When I had to do it, I actually used the first method to figure out what I needed, the second method as a sanity check, and the third method to get the GM part numbers so I could order them from my local dealer. Ronnie Redd was very nice and helpful, even though he knew I wasn’t local and wasn’t going to buy the parts from him.
BTW – Here are some of the GM Part Numbers
17 tooth 1246221
36 white 1359270
37 red 1359271
38 blue 1359272
39 brown 1359273
40 black 1342048
41 yellow 1362195
42 green 1362049
43 purple 1362196
44 gray 9780470
45 Lt Blue 9775187
40-43 tooth 25512339
Content last modified: January 17, 2014 at 9:44 pm
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.
A: 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.
A: 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.
Content last modified: January 25, 2014 at 10:29 am
Q: Safequard Speedo (442) with Rally Gauges (444)
I have a line on a speed warning set up for my Bird. Mine was missing when I got the car, and PHS listed it as being installed on my Bird. Needless to say, I’d like to have it back. I just recently installed rally gauge’s in my car, and the speed warning is standard style. I called a speedo shop ( in Hemmings ) and asked if I could “combine” the two unit’s into one. The gentleman said no problem, $65, an hour labor. It seems to me I only need to change the face of the speedo from non rally to rally style. Do you all agree ? Can this be done ? If not, then I’ll keep holding out for what I want. I remember asking about changing a `67 to a `68 face, and I was told no way. But these are both `68 speedo’s.
A: If I recall correctly (memory check needed), in the years of our beloved Firebirds the option books stated that Rally Gauges and Speed Minder were not available as a combined option. Check the option lists elsewhere on the First Gen Firebird site, or wait until tonight so I can dig out my 1968 Accessories and Options brochure – I’ll look it up for you.
A: I checked the order sheet for 1968 and it says nothing about availability of speed minder with Rally gauges. I also checked the Pontiac Accessory Group catalog and it does list a separate option for both but no footnotes stating this not available with that etc.
It is group 44 and option codes are:
Safeguard Speedo 442
Rally gauges 444
so if you had both, the group 44 # would be 446
I have heard of speedminder rally gauge sets for sale but they are very hard to find.I did see a 1968 Firebird at a local show years ago that had the speedminder,rally gauges and headrest buckets.
Content last modified: January 17, 2014 at 9:45 pm
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.
Content last modified: January 25, 2014 at 10:29 am
Recently, I bought my second 1967 with a 400/400. The options on the car are PS/PB/tilt/cruise/AC/160 speedo/guage cluster/power windows. On the speedo, there is a needle for the mph, and a white needle for ??? and has a cable with knurled knob under dash/steering column to reset back to zero. I have never seen this option listed anywhere, nor have I seen another with this. (only looked at 30 or so 67-69’s) I have owned #1 bird for less than a year, and the other for 3 months, and am not familiar with the options offered.
A: I’ll address one of the questions. The little knob with the white needle is kinda like a crude cruise control. It basically will buzz when you go past the set speed (on mine the lights have to be on for it to buzz). I have the option code stashed somewhere so if I find it I’ll send it out.
A: You have a pretty rare option there, it was called Speedminder, and you set the maximum speed you wanted to drive at and when the speedo needle hit the speedminder needle, this cheesy buzzing would emanate from the dash. According to most literature I’ve seen, you could not get it with any other gauge option, although I have seen a 1969 with Rallye gauges and Speedminder, with the PHS invoice stating it was built that way!
Content last modified: January 17, 2014 at 9:46 pm
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.
A: The following should help:
Content last modified: January 25, 2014 at 10:31 am
A: The speed-minder was an option. I have it on my 1967 326 but it has a 160 MPH speedo. Is the tach part of this assembly?? As far as I know none of the first gen f bodies had a tach available as part of the dash guage cluster. The Rallie guages gave you water temp and oil pressure but I don’t think they had a tach (I could be wrong since I have only seen one of these and it was a while back).
A: you ve got a 1968 speedminder set up… 67s had 120 speedo 68-9 used 160 check to see if your speedo is blackface with a chrome ring in middle, should be same on on the gauge set as well. 1968 changed to a greenish gray face and off white lettering /fonts.
Content last modified: January 17, 2014 at 9:47 pm
Q: Parchment Trim Colors 1968
I have parchment interior (Seats and Panels) in my 1968 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 1968 Pontiac Trim and Accessory Album and the 1968 Pontiac Sales Album, 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.
Content last modified: January 25, 2014 at 10:33 am
Q: Burlwood Dash for 1969
Question on dash and console burlwood: Would the console be burlwood and dash not, or would they both be the same i.e both burl or both black.
A: OK guys, the Burlwood trim is used on all consoles in 1968 and 1969, and all 68 dash center plates, and on the 1969 Custom trimmed dash ONLY. That means if your 1969 car came with Standard trim and a console, the console is burlwood, but the dash is not. The 1969 sales brochure referred to the dash as “camera-case grain”, and is black within the chromed finish border, and matches the interior color outside the border. The consoles you may have seen with a black grained finish are from 1967 Firebirds or Camaros, and if you take the burlwood applique off you console, you will see what that looks like. In 1967, the dash center plate had a straight grained wood-like finish, no wood on the console.
Content last modified: January 17, 2014 at 9:48 pm
Q: Parchment Color Differences Between Years
I recently purchased a 1968 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 1968 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 1967’s, The Parchment code refers to basic white. In the 1968’s, The Parchment code refers to Pearl parchment. (white, but has pearl look to it) I think that this site refers to the 1968 parchment as “pearl”, so there is no confusion between 1967 and 1968. They are different looking.
A: The 1968 Pontiac Trim Album, sister album to the Sales album, calls this trim code “Parchment.” The 1967 literature calls the similar color “Parchment” also. They very in color but are called the same name.
View 1968 Pontiac Sales Album for some more details.
The catalog companies are taking liberties to use different names for the colors since the “shade” changed for the two years.
Content last modified: January 25, 2014 at 10:34 am
Q: Dash Paint for 1968
Hi folks – In the process of rebuilding my 1968 dash w/ new wiring and prepping for paint. I have two questions, hopefully someone can answer.
The metal dash is currently black, though the interior is brown. This car has been repainted by the original owner. Was the dash painted to match the interior, or was it painted the color of the car, such as the old Mercedes and Jaguars were done?
A: The instrument panel was painted according to the interior color for 1968 Firebirds. You will want to look on your body tag for the appropriate color from the information below.
Upper Instrument Panel – (0 degrees Gloss)
Velvet Black: 253-272-259-269-260-275-262-273
Aleutian Blue: 250-255
Laguna Turquoise: 261-256
(Note: 251-257 are missing from chart above along with the April Gold row. I am assuming it should be April Gold since every number in the color bracket is missing from the chart.)
Interior – (30 degrees Gloss):
Starlight Black: 253-272-259-269-260-275-262-273
Aleutian Blue: 250-255
Laguna Turquoise: 261-256
April Gold: 251-257
Regimental Red: 252-258
Source: Pontiac Service Craftsman News, No. 1 – 1968, pg. 8.
I have the company paint codes on this chart if you need them for mixing. One of these days I will get it up on the web so the whole chart is available instead of small portions.
I finally have these codes availabe as an Acrobat PDF file at:
Content last modified: January 17, 2014 at 9:49 pm
Q: Vinyl Dye
The original interior of my 1968 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 1968 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?
A: 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.
Content last modified: January 25, 2014 at 10:36 am
Q: Custom Trim Option
I am confused that my car has the custom option trim (554) but it only has standard interior.
A: The Custom Trim Option with custom seats for the 1968 Firebird was identified on the Firewall Trim Tag as Style 22667 (conv) -or- 22637 (coupe). (22467 and 22437 were Std. Interiors). According to the sales literature, the Custom Trim Option (code 554) included the following…..
Deluxe Wheel Discs
Deluxe Steering Wheel
Door and Quarter Trim (molded vinyl)
Vinyl and Weave pattern Seats
Roof Rail Mldgs
Wheel Opening Mldgs
Instrmt. Panel Grip (Grab Bar)
There are other features that were apparently associated with the Custom Trim Option that were not so obvious such as the different (longer) window regulators. Some items have also been speculated to have been also included such as…
160 mph Speedo
“BIRD” Emblem on Glove Box Door
Custom (Deluxe) Seat Belts (brushed metal buckles w/GM button)
Small white “BIRD” etched onto fwd/lower corner of front side glass
Windshield ‘A’ pillar Mldgs (interior) ??
Wheel Trim Rings (when ordered w/Rally II wheel option)
All items in the Custom Trim Option could have been ordered individually on a 22467 (or 22437) car except the Deluxe Interior, 22667 (or 22637).
A: The body tag series number changed to reflect the custom trim option (Code 554) and had a different number for custom interior (26) or standard interior (24):
22437 std interior with custom trim option (coupe)
22467 “” (CONV)
22637 deluxe interior with custom trim option (coupe)
22667 “” (CONV)
A: Use following link to find more information about the Custom Trim Option on FGF: More Information
Content last modified: January 25, 2014 at 10:11 am
Q: Dashpad Removal
Hi folks – In the process of rebuilding my 1968 dash w/ new wiring and prepping for paint. I have two questions, hopefully someone can answer.
The dash pad appears to be fixed with something other than the 8 screws I removed. I have take off the pillar molds but cant find anything holding it in place. Is there a fastener that I have overlooked?
A: There is several nuts in the middle of the dash pad you have to remove too they are under the dash pad get to them by going in thur your radio hole and on the outside runners the are 2 push in studs one on each side that just push in with a spring clip sort of like the christmas tree fasteners we have today hope this helps
A: When replacing the dashboard on a 1968 bird most suppliers will tell you that all you need to do to remove the old one is simply remove the screws attached around the dashboard. That is a bull answer. There are nuts attached on studs molded into the origial dashboard that need to be removed under the dash. You will need to take some assesories of before doing so.
A: The attachment for dash pad at the lower ears is a spring steel clip and a peg that is attached to the pad.These are tough as hell to remove and not destroy the pad.
Content last modified: January 17, 2014 at 9:52 pm
Q: Dash Panel Replacement
How hard is it to replace the dashboard? Does it involve welding and if so how hard is it? How much would the labor probably cost? Is it Possible to remove the rust and repaint the section while still on the car? I plan on doing this when I replace the windshield glass(soon) and any tips are appreciated.
A: I’ve done this a couple of times and as far as panel replacement goes, it’s about as easy as it gets (none of the seams show)…. if the windshield AND front clip are off. I just replaced the dash panel on my 69. I already had the windshield out but not the front clip. What I did there was to pull the steering column, remove the subframe bolts, unbolt the fenders at the top and bottom, and loosen the exhaust pipes (either front or back will work), unbolt the brake lines from the subframe (not the master cylinder), and loosen the rubber fuel and return line. This allowed me to slide the front clip away from the body about 3-4 inches while leaving all the heater hoses, A/C hoses, and brake lines in place and expose the dash panel seams.
On the inside, you have to remove the dash pad and cut the dash panel loose from the dash at the top edge, under the pad. On the firewall side, drill out the spot and tack welds. You also have a tack weld on the front columns.
The old dash panel will come right off now. Now is the time to assess the damage that was under to dash panel and repair as needed. Be sure to transfer you VIN number plate to the new panel
To re-install, I used some caulk where the original foam seal was and sheet metal screws to fasten it down. Once the caulk drys, I went back and tack welded the panel into place. Calk all the exposed seams and prime and paint. Re-assemble as required.
A: Regarding rust repair under the windshield:
I had a body shop weld a patch into one corner under my windshield. At the time I did not have access to a welder, but I removed the nearby fender to make room for the welding head. They did a nice job, but they thought that the region forward of the angled bend (where the windshield seals, near the VIN in my case) would be invisible and did not do as nice a finish in that region. I was in a hurry and did not ask them to repaint it, but if you look hard at the right angle you can tell there was a repair done in that tiny spot (nobody but a concourse judge would likely notice this). Nevertheless, I suggest you make sure they know that about one inch forward of that angle needs to be a clean finish as well.
A: I’m on my third dash panel replacement so maybe I can help. Of all the panel replacements, this is one of the most simple if there isn’t too much underlying damage. To remove the old panel, you first have to either remove the front fenders or remove the bolts from the chassis, the four subframe bolts, remove the clamps holding the fuel and brake lines and remove the steering column. This will allow you to gently move the front clip approximately four inches forward and allow complete access to the dash panel.
Next, drill out all the spot welds across the cowl and upper dash (or you can just cut it off above the dash), grind out the welds in the corner and cut the tab that are welded to the windshield pillar posts (cut them flush to the panel and leave them attached to the pillars to use later). Once completed, you can asses the damage and get back to use if you need more advice.
Content last modified: January 17, 2014 at 9:53 pm
Q: Steering Wheels
I was wondering could someone physically describe what the factory correct steering wheel for a 1967 400 firebird looks like (car has deluxe interior which probably doesnt matter)
Also how , if at all, does this vary from the factory correct steering wheel for a 1968 firebird 400 (this car has the standard interior. which again may or may not matter).
A: The steering wheels are completely different between the 1967 and 1968 Firebirds.
The stock 1967 steering wheel was a solid color, had three spokes, with brushed aluminum caps and a brushed aluminum center cap which contained a turquise emblem with the pontiac V in the middle. The deluxe steering wheel for 1967 was almost the same except that the upper half of the wheel was clear plastic.
In 1968, the spokes of the steering wheel changed, and the center cap changed as well. The center cap had the original style Firebird emblem, the spokes were much wider and the horn buttons went from being brushed aluminum to color- keyed plastic.
A: I have a 1967 400 and the standard steering wheel. It’s red(match interior) plastic with the chrome horn ring and a greenish hub with the arrowhead and which states “energy absorbing”. There was also a wood rimmed wheel that could be had that year.
A: For 1967, 1968 Firebird, there were 3 different steering wheels
3-spoke, color-keyed plastic w/diecast horn button
3-spoke, color-keyed plastic w/brushed horn button (green insert) and brushed trim pieces on the spokes
Simulated Wood plastic, 3-brushed spokes, diecast horn button
Simulated Wood plastic, 3-brushed spokes, diecast horn button (not as deep as 1967, slightly different)
A: Another two cents on 1967 steering wheels. The deluxe wheel is also smaller than the standard wheel and the alum. pieces don’t swap except the center cap. It appears the deluxe wheel is a little thicker. I just did a swap for a friend. He says he has also found a place the redo the deluxe wheels clear plactic top half. It is very pricey.
Content last modified: January 25, 2014 at 10:50 pm
Q: Dash Panel Replacement
My dash panel is rusted out where it meets the windshield. How do I replace this section of sheet metal.
A: The dash panel replacement isn’t too bad if there isn’t too much rust. The old panel is spot welded under the dash pad and along the front under cowl. It’s also welded at the front corners and with a small weld on the “A” pillar.
I usually start with a wire wheel or sand blaster under the cowl area to remove the excess rust. This will show you how much metal you’ll have to replace besides the dash panel.
Assuming there is minimal rust through into the vent area below the dash pad, it’s pretty simple to install a new unit. If you haven’t already done so, you’ll need to either: remove the fenders or separate the front subframe and front clip to expose the area under the back of the fenders and, of course, remove the windshield. Once you do this you’ll see it’s pretty straight forward.
After you’ve wire brushed the excess rust away: drill out the remaining spot welds in the cowl area, Grind out the brazed welds in the corners, Cut the welds loose from the “A” pillars, Drill out the spot welds under the dash pad (as an option, you can just cut along the top of the overlapped seam). Remember to remove your VIN number plate since it has to stay with the car.
To install: Repair any hole under the dash panel in the cowl area, Prime and paint the new panel (optional) Pre-drill your spot weld holes, Reinstall your VIN plate, Use self tapping screws to temporarily secure the new panel and weld. Touch-up the burnt paint areas and caulk the cowl seam.
You’ll have to drill new holes when you reinstall your bottom chrome and remember to caulk the hole to prevent them from leaking.
As far as the order, I always do the areas that don’t show first like the floorboards, trunk, cowl, etc., then start work on the outside. This way I don’t cry too bad if I drop something and scratch the paint.
Content last modified: January 17, 2014 at 9:54 pm
Q: Steering Wheel Restoration
Anyone know of a place that does rebuild the custom option steering wheels? Is it me or do they all crack?
A: I’ve had good results in the past using PC-11. Eastwood even sells a complete kit for do it yourselfers. Why spend $200-$300 for someone else to do what you can do for under $20 ? Just takes a little patience, sanding, filling, painting.
A: Its not just you; they are prone to cracking though, I’ve found more uncracked Custom Sport (Wood) steering wheels than I have of the Deluxe or Standard type. I’ve had good results in the past using PC-11. Fills big cracks well. You just have to spend the time sanding to get a good finish for the paint. There are many places offering this service; everything from crack repair to a complete remold of your rim. Like I said before, you can fix the cracks yourself for under $20. Resto shops charge anywhere from $100 to as much as $400 depending on whats needed. Matching the Wood Grain ‘Tint’ is the toughest part and even the companies who redo the wheel are not always able to match it perfectly. It can and has been done; just requires patience and trial and error to find the match.
A: Know about the kit, but it only works if you have a solid color wheel. The deluxe wheels have a clear plastic on the top half.. Sanding and painting are out if you want the original look.
A: I have some good news for you. I work as designer/engineer and we have a process for dying acrylic. Specifically to simulate tinted glass. Pretty simple really, but you should test on samples to get the correct ratio for the color you want.
What you do is boil some water (rolling boil) in a vessel you wont use for anything else but this process. To this water add RID dye (liquid) green, blue, and yellow, in ratios to reach the desired color. Let boil for several minutes to insure mix and high temperature. Set up a cold water bath very near to the boiling area, like maybe a two bay sink. When the dying vessel is hot turn off the heat and submerge the wheel in the liquid for a few seconds, try five seconds to start, promptly remove from the tint and submerge in the cold water. Leave for a minute or so then remove and check the tint job, to light go one more time. To dark WHOOPS! Get the deal. Works better than you could imagine, really great look, won’t rub off! Test on acrylic sample, the part must be polished, factory sheet surface wont take tint until hit with say 1200 then buffed on wheel to a polish. Needs a little something to bond to, should not be a problem with poured cast acrylic.
A: When I bought my 1968 Gp from San Jose the steering wheel top clear part was not just cracked – it was MISSING! Because he rest of the car was mechanically stuffed I did not even think about what this problem may entail, I was too busy trying to pay and fix the car so it would go!
Anyway, when I finally turned my mind to “fixing” the wheel I could not just go down to the local wreckers and find one on a car as you people Stateside can appreciate. I had a similar wheel on a 1967 Catalina (was going – now parts car) and as soon as I looked at it, it disintergrated. So I thought – what to do? I spoke to a fried who knows everything and he indicated that he knew someone who was involved in the fibreglass resin game. What this person did was:
Stick The Wheel In A Material That Acts As A Mold (Lower Half)
A Mold Of The Lower Half Was Made
This Section Was Used To Create The Top, Missing Part
When I Got It Back, It Looked Like An Old Plastic Model With Bits Of Plastic Still Attached.
I Trimed Off The Excess Plastic And Sanded The Clear With Fine Wet And Dry.
Buffed The Upper Clear Section As One Would With Acrylic Paint (Be Careful Here) To Achieve Gloss
The only thing that I should have done was research the “tint” of the clear – I did it in clear – it was only after that I saw an original wheel – the damn things are green!! Also the lower half of the wheel is sectioned, so it is not a “mirror image” of the top. What I have is the top as same as the bottom. Aside from a few bubbles in the resin I am very happy – only $50 – looks good and better than trying to drive with a steel ring! So the moral is (is there one?) talk to your local fibreglass people – once you have the mold you can sell/give/repair as many as you like.
Content last modified: January 25, 2014 at 10:52 pm
Q: Ignition Switch Removal 1967 / 1968
Somebody know how to get the switch and lock cylinder apart without to much trouble? I guess the small hole close to the key slot is involved in some way.
A: Can’t remember the exact way but I have done it.straighten out a paper clip and stick it in the hole,insert the key,turn it and pull.play around with this and you will get it out.with any luck somebody else on the list will have the exact way to do it,good luck.
A: He has it right. Insert the paper clip or simular stiff wire into the hole. This will align a series of keys or pins that will allow you to then seperate rotate and unscrew the bezel which holds the switch to the dash. You may have to jiggle this around a bit to get full enagement, but it does indeed work.
This applies only to 1967-1968 cars, as the 1969 has the switch in the steering column.
A: Turn it counterclockwise to “accessory”. Insert something in the hole (I use my torch tip cleaners). Turn farther counterclockwise and presto!
A: Hey you guys are forgetting the most important thing… turn the switch to the accessory position before you push the paper clip in and use the key to pull the cylinder out. Re insert the cylinder without the paper clip in the same accessory position using key to then turn to off position. Gary
Content last modified: January 17, 2014 at 9:55 pm
Q: Steering Wheel Repair (Deluxe or Custom?)
Hi Group… I have a 1968 bird with te Custom interior. This of course includeds the dreaded Custom steering wheel that cracks on virtually every car I have ever seen… Does anyone make a replacement wheel or do I have to send mine to one of those rebuilders in Hemmings Magazine.. Thanks!
A: Do you refer to the Colored Wheel (Deluxe) w/the ‘Bird’ Horn Button ? The simulated wood-grain (plastic) Wheel was the Custom Sport Wheel. Either way, you’re right- most all plastic steering wheels will have some sort of cracking, splitting. The result of the plastic shrinking over the years. NOS wheels show up every now & then but figure on spending several hundred dollars for them. I know of a dealer who has (2) NOS black Deluxe Firebird Steering Wheels; he wants $500 ea for them. As for the ‘Wood’ Wheels, those don’t seem to crack and split as bad as the Deluxe wheels; still.. mint or NOS ones command big $$$.
Fortunately, there are ways to repair these wheels. PY and other companies have been ‘remolding’ certain ‘wood’ wheels for a few years. They strip the old plastic off, mold a new rim and tint it to give it that woodgrain effect. Cost is upwards of $300-$400 ea. There are many companies in Hemmings that advertise Steering Wheel Repairs. Again, costs will be in the $150-$400 range. Another alternative is to do it yourself. Eastwood sells a kit for doing just this. I’ve had good success with a few different materials over the years for fixing cracks. PC-11 is one. Doing it yourself requires patience and attention to detail if you’re looking for a ‘show finish’ but you can save yourself hundreds of dollars.
Content last modified: January 25, 2014 at 10:54 pm
Q: Ignition Lock Cylinder Removal
I have a 1967 convertable and I am having a hard time removing the ignition switch. I have the cover unscrewed, but it doesn’t fit over the face of the key insert… is there a special way to get it off???
A: It is really easy to get out if you have a key. All you have to do is put in the old key put a needle into the pinhole and turn counter clockwise after you are in the aux position.
I did not have this luxery since the previous owner lost the keys in the 7+ years the car was out of service.
There is a very easy way of removing the cylinder without the key, but it can cost you up to $25 to replace the tumbler. I am always a paranoid skitz on this one, but here goes….
(Everyone has my permission to mame or kill anyone who tries to steal a bird or any classic GM with this information:)
Take a “TiN” coated drill bit (Titanium Nitrate) about 3/8″ diameter in your trusty hand drill. Coat the tip of it with lard, I used crisco shortening. You can use regular or butter flavored, which ever you prefer. Solid bacon grease works too, but I don’t need the colesterol. The crisco will keep the bit cool as it cuts through the steel face plate on the tumbler, it acts as a cooling/cutting oil.
Next I will tell you where you have to drill. On the face of the tumbler with the key slot vertical you want to place the bit around the outer perimeter. You should drill at (10 “O”Clock) not in the morning or night you see < — art art art, but if you were to look at the cylinder as if it were the face of a clock you would put that bit right through 9:48.
Do not let the bit walk even a 1/16th of an inch out of the edge in fact stay in a 16th from the edge. Try your best. It might even be beneficial to measure offset an use a pilot bit to start the hole before you use the 3/8″ bit. Now make sure you stay straight!!! Make sure that you are drilling purpendicular with the face of the tumbler!!! Other wise you get to buy a new ignition switch.. Got it..?
Only go in about 3/4 inch, and that might even be too much. I would keep looking into your bore with a pen light moving only an 1/8″ at a time till you see a spring popping out. Only the face of the switch is steel. The rest of it is soft aluminum, so watch you feed rate when your drilling.
Now there’s more. Tap the tumbler with a screw driver handle to nock out the locking mechanism. What you have just done, is removed the back of the locking block and the spring behind it. The switch will now operate as if it had a key in it. Put a standard tip screw driver into the slot and turn it to the left till it is in aux position. This is easy cause it will go no further to the left. Insert a paper clip into the little hole. You are now going to push a spring loaded button inside the hole with the paperclip while you turn the tumbler to the left with your standard tip screwdriver till it popps out like magic.
The replacement tumbler will go back in with the key inserted into it, and the top of the briggs and stratton facing 7:00 or so. Then you just turn it to the right and it clicks into place. Make sure you clean any runaway lard off though before you put it back in.
Mine only took me all of 15 min to remove and replace. Not really, I am lying because I drilled through the tumbler into the switch. Had I not done that though I would have had the new tumbler back in, in 15 min, and that’s no lie.
Good luck, and don’t forget to have your door lock tumblers brought into the locksmith to match your ignition key. Other wise you will be carying 3,4, or maybe even 5 keys to your Firebird. 2 is enough in my opinion. Costed me 18 bucks to have the glovebox, and trunk keys matched, as well as the door tumblers matched to the ignition key.
Content last modified: January 17, 2014 at 9:56 pm
Q: Steering Wheel Interchangeability
I have been told that not all steering wheels will fit on a tilt wheel assembly. Is this true? Also, will a 1969 wheel fit on a 1968?
A: The steering wheel had nothing to do with the steering column (tilt, std. had no effect). There WAS a difference in the canceling cam. The 1969 Steering wheel will fit on a ’68; just won’t be correct. In fact, steering wheels will probably interchange physically for many years. The difference is in what is correct and possibly the wheel hub diameter -vs.- the Steering Column diameter where it meets the wheel.
Content last modified: January 25, 2014 at 10:55 pm
Q: Cigarette Lighter Removal
For a 1968 ‘Bird, how do you remove the cigar(ette) lighter? I can get my hand up there (barely) but can’t figure out how to get it out. Is it clipped in or does it screw in? The wire won’t come off either. Something so simple and it has to give me a hard time.
A: Remove the wire (it just snaps on) and unscrew the housing from the backside.
Content last modified: January 17, 2014 at 9:57 pm
Q: Horn Caps
I have a horn cap with a black background and a red Firebird (Aztec style) in the center on my 1968. My question is: is this an original item (perhaps some kind of “deluxe” interior option) or is it an after-market accessory that has no connection with Pontiac. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
A: Sounds like a cap on the 1969 wood grain steering wheel (admn: wrong answer). Is it sunk into a vinyl cap with three prongs? Is the cap black? Mine got chewed by rats. I have a red one to trade.
A: You have your years mixed up. The 1969 wood “custom” wheel used a cap similar to what you’re describing, but has a black lucite disc with “PMD” across it like the black Rally II wheel center caps. The 1968 wood wheel used a very different center cap that I think was pot metal, with a green lucite center and the Pontiac arrowhead emblem (I may be thinking of the one on 1967’s or full sized 1968 cars).
The cap that is described in the question sounds exactly like the 1968 “deluxe” wheel, a 3-spoke plastic wheel that’s rather attractive, but many discussions hereabouts attest to their persistent cracking about the center hub area, even on NOS pieces. It is actually not a “horn cap”, but just a beautifully styled center cover for the wheel attaching nut, while the 3 spokes each have a thin rectangular horn button set in a satin finished metal.
If your center cap is indeed the 1969 style and is red, that’s pretty rare. I have a black one I’d like to trade for a gold to go with my gold leather interior. I might also take a gold vinyl 1969 wheel for it, the regular “deluxe” one that seemed to be standard on all 1969 Pontiac’s.
A: On reading the parts book, I learned that there were 29 DIFFERENT Firebird steering wheels listed for the three years, NOT COUNTING the 3 different WOOD wheels, one for each year. There were 2 different SIZED wheels used in 1967, a 16 inch, and a 16-1/2 inch; no reason given as to why. The 1967 and 1968 standard wheels shared a couple of common colors in the 16 inch size.
Every time I dig in this 7/1/69 parts book it seems I learn something unexpected!
Content last modified: January 25, 2014 at 10:57 pm
Q: Remote Trunk Release Button
My button was broken and hanging. Where is your button mounted to?
A: Theres a perforation in the cardboard that will locate the trunk release button in proper spot inside the glovebox. Good repros will have this feature also.
Content last modified: January 17, 2014 at 9:58 pm
Q: Turn Signal Switch Replacement
Recently the turn signal switch has been malfunctioning on my 1968 coupe. It does not automatically turn off when I make a right turn. I know this is a common problem with any car that has been around for a number of years but I’ve never actually fixed it before. Is this a problem with the “Turn Signal Switch?” This part is in the Ames catalog (F-8c) on page 70 and it says there are two brands, distinguishable by color. If that is indeed the part I need to replace, does it require that I remove the steering wheel to get to it? My 1968 has a wood wheel and is a console shift auto… I assume I’ll need a “puller” to get the wheel off. Any recomendations here? Never done this before… Thanks in advance for your advice!
A: It was a real mess trying to determine what turn signal switch you need. I have some 1967 and 1968 columns,both tilt and non tilt, that have boyne switches. These are usually blue or red(pink). The delcos are white.
The easiest way to determine if your column came with a delco is to look at the hole where the hazard flasher knob comes thru the column. A factory delco switch will have a “D” shaped hole. The boyne will have a round one.This is especially helpful when the column is missing a switch or youre not sure what it needs.
The delco switches are still available in a superceded form, which has a generic (post 1969) pigtail and an adapter for pre 1969 wiring connector.
A: To fix the turn signal return cam you must replace the cam and wiring harness inside the column. Although it doesn’t require you remove the column, you just about have to dismantle the top portion to remove the harness plug. It will require a couple of tools: a steering wheel puller and a hub(?) puller. Both are available at your local auto parts stores.
If you’ve never had a column apart, I recommend you find a friend to walk you through it or be very careful and make detailed notes of EVERYTHING. Once you pull the “C” clip off the shaft, things and get pretty scary. If you can hold off, try to find a cheap column at you local U-Pull-It yard and practice first on it. There are three little springs that, unless your careful, can get lost quickly.
A: It is right to practice on a donor column first. But you must stick to a 1967 or 1968 as 1969 is totally different. Its no real big deal to replace switch with column in car. Tilts are harder but straight columns are a cake walk if you get the newer replacement switch with the straight (1969 and newer style) wiring connector. You should also get an adapter that has the 1967-1968 curved (half moon shaped) wiring connector on a pig tail. to get the old switch out cut the wiring about 1/2 inch from old wiring connector remove three mounting screws and pull out. After you have cut off the connector tie a strong string or wire to harness to use as a pull string when installing the new one. When installing the new one bend the wiring connector at a 90 deg angle to the wiring as to make it fit thru the small hole in column. After it is pulled thru straighten out the connector and plug in the adapter. After a couple of these you can do blind folded.
A: I replaced the switch on my car and found it very easy. I used no manual and had no practice or advice. However, I did have one problem. The “service replacement” Delco part that I bought was grossly inferior to the original part. The original switch had a white backing plate with a metallic cam that provides the ‘click’ feel of actuating the turn lever. This design had a cam loop that goes all the way around the steering shaft. The replacement was orange plastic, with a plastic catch that caused a ‘snap’ feel when actuating the lever. This was the same feel I remembered from a friend’s 1989 Cavalier some time back, and every time you signal a turn it felt like you were breaking something internally. A small (cheap) switch on the replacement sat only on one side of the steering shaft. Turns out my problem was the wiring of the connector. I junked the replacement switch and grafted its connector onto the original switch assembly. I would NEVER put one of those orange plastic Delco replacements on a nice classic Firebird.
Also, just because your switch doesn’t cancel doesn’t mean it needs replacement. It may have worn down some and now will not quite cancel, but the alignment of the internal gear may just need to be adjusted, as in the steering wheel may be centered straight with the alignment but not with the internal cam for cancellation. I’m afraid I do not recall exactly how the assembly fit together, but I’m under the impression that this is adjustable. I do know that you could pull off the steering wheel and replace it one tooth counterclockwise (or the opposite). Then you could offset this by adjusting both side tie rods during your next alignment to re-center the wheel. If you cannot get it so that both sides (left turn, right turn) cancel correctly, the switch should be replaced.
A: Ive got several replacement Delco switches here that are of same quality as originals no orange plastic in them. I ll dig one up and get part#. They have the later style flat connector(which is better for installation anyway.) And they have the flat (1969) to half moon (1967-1968) connector adapter pigtail.
Content last modified: January 25, 2014 at 10:58 pm
Am I suppose to have two keys for my Fireibrd. One is round while the other is square.
A: Hey guys, let me take you back in time a bit. The older cars had a key for the trunk and glovebox (the round one) and a key for the ignition and door locks. (Roy, your trunk lock has been re-keyed to match the ignition.) I suppose the idea was the convenience of having the ignition key already in your hand after opening the door meant not fumbling with them. However, engineers don’t think like criminals, and they learned through complaints how car thieves worked. They would walk up to a car with a dent puller, screw it into the right side door lock, and pull out the lock assembly. They would then make a key from nearby, and afterwards would walk up to the drivers side like they owned the car, turn the key in the drivers lock, open the door and get in, start the car and DRIVE AWAY! Prior to this time frame (around 1969 or 70), ignition switches were in the dash (67 and 1968 owners) and it was easy to reach the switch from behind and hotwire the car. From the 1969 models, the switch became more difficult to access, with the so-called “locking steering column and shifter” but the thieves kept getting smarter than the engineers could keep up with! I believe the 72 models of GM cars were the ones that went to the round key unlocking the door, and the ignition key being exclusive.
Content last modified: January 17, 2014 at 9:59 pm
Q: Turn Signal Too Fast
My turn signals are flashing too fast. The only flasher I’ve seen in my 1968 is attached to the fuse box located near the left kick panel. Since a replacement flasher there did not fix my too fast turn signals, I’ll look behind the ashtray for a second flasher. I thought cars were equipped with only one.
A: Sounds like you have a heavy duty flasher in there. Put a regular duty flasher in and it should be alright.Heavy duty flasher doesn’t mean it’s built better,made for extra bulbs like when pulling a trailer.
A: The other flasher is attached to a connector on a wire. There is a spring type bracket that holds it. Look on the driver side around were your under dash interior light is.
A: The one on the fuse box is the emergency flasher. The turn signal flasher is up under the dash between the heater controls and the ignition switch area.
A: You guys are great. Just last week my turn signals quit working – and I mean quit just like that -Signal like a bad boy for ever and then nothing. Anyhow I went to napa, got a new flasher part # 552, exchanged it with the one by the fuse box and well still nothing. I as going to take my steering wheel apart THIS AFTERNOON because I was sure it was the switch. Well I just read this thread and went out there looked under my dash and there it was (it’s just over the “lip” of the bottom of the dash) I still had the one from napa and i exchanged it — Whaaaalaaa
Content last modified: January 25, 2014 at 10:59 pm
Q: Cruise Lever
I found a cruise lever for sale on EBay. I wonder if it is correct?
A: I looked the part number, 6465256, in my parts book, and the description reads “Lever and Switch Assy, Directions Control-1968-70 All w/cruise control”. 6455211 would be correct for 1967. Another minor error on the part of the seller is the group number. 2.897 is the standard lever, while 3.887 is the cruise control lever group.
Content last modified: January 25, 2014 at 11:00 pm
Q: Speed-o Cable Lube
My speed-o-meter decided to quit on me. I’m pretty sure I know what the problem is. I’m planning on taking it apart this weekend to clean a lube. My question is this, what do you use to lubricate the cable? is there a special lube or do I just use a lot of graphite?
A: I did a clean and service on my cable a few months ago and what I did was pulled the housing and the cable. cleaned the cable good with solvent and sprayed brake clean thru the housing until it was clean. Then I use assembly lube (white grease) and greased the cable up good as I was sliding it back in. seems to be working great, stopped all the minor jumping. I think a good graphite type lube would do wonders also tho.
Content last modified: January 25, 2014 at 11:02 pm
Q: Trunk Paint
I’m about to start grinding out my trunk for restoration. I have two conflicting records on the trunk area. One calls for a rubberized black coating. The other refers to the GM’s spackle paint. Can someone tell what the original appearance of the trunk area was?
A: My 1969 has spatter paint. Be sure to clear coat it when your done.
A: Just a quick note. Be careful when you spray around and over the wheel wells. I went wild when I did my trunk and gummed up the rear window mechanisms.
A: I hope you remembered to order the clear coat that goes over the spatter paint. The spatter paint is a water based type stuff, and needs the clear coat to make it work. Also, the surface needs to be a little rough for the spatter paint to stick. If the surface is too smooth, the spatter paint will sag, leaving the smooth surface to show. Get everything super clean.
Take your time. Between coats needs time to cure, especially the clear. They told me 3 cans would do it. I would have 4 on hand. 1 can of clear is enough. Mask off good before you clear coat. That stuff goes everywhere, and will make you goofy. I think the marker light assembly should have a little overspray??
Content last modified: January 25, 2014 at 11:28 pm
Q: Armrest Pad Interchangability
I know the arm rest on most 1969 G M cars fit and are the same on 1968 standard interior, some have chrome strips. These can be found at the wreckers in all colors.
A: He is correct. All 1968 thru 72 GM A body cars (Chevelle, GTO/Lemans, Cutlass,Monte Carlo, Skylark, etc) use the same armrest pad and base used in the 1968 and 1969 Firebird/Camaro standard interior. The inside door handles are the same as well.
Content last modified: January 19, 2014 at 12:39 pm
Q: Trunk Floor Replacements
I am looking into purchasing the trunk floor for my 1967. I noticed differences in prices from $69 to about $105, from different companies. If anyone has ordered one that they would recommend please let me know.
A: The trunk floors vary in size. The larger ones will go all the way up the hump between the shock towers. These cost a little more but it eliminated the weld in the reinforcing ribs on the incline (which makes it harder to smooth and hide). There are also several pieces that you may or may not need. Originally, the trunks were installed in the factory as one piece. This is not practical for a rebuild because the pieces need to be small enough to fit into the trunk opening. This is why a “kit” will include the trunk floor, trunk foor extension, and two trunk floor reinforcement ribs (the pieces on the bottom of the floor above the gas tank).
Additionally, you may consider the trunk “drop offs” and “shock towers” depending on how severe the rust is on your project. If all you need is a new floor, you may still need new reinforcing ribs. Look at what is included in a kit and the cost of the components separately and compare.
Content last modified: January 25, 2014 at 11:30 pm
Q: Door Panel Reproductions (1968 vs 1969)
I can buy some repro 1969 door panels for my 1968 and wonder if it will work. The most obvious difference in theirs (as compared to mine) is the location of the opening for the door lock knob. Those who know its proper location would spot it but those who don’t, won’t. ‘m not a big enthusiast but in my opinion, it’s a poor reproduction and I intend to keep looking. I don’t want to have to deal with altering the locking mechanism, either. Any ideas?
A: The only difference between 1968 and 1969 is the location of the lock. You must punch it in the proper location for the year you have. Actually the reproduction door panels are better than the originals. The cardboard material that was used is prone to warpage and rot. New ones use ABS plastic which wont rot or warp when wet. Perhaps Year One can supply you with a blank set to put your own lock hole in.
A: If you purchase new Custom door trim panels, the 1968 and 1969 are the same before they punch the hole for the door lock button. In 1968 it was close to the rear of the door, but in 1969 it was relocated about 9-10″ forward so drivers didn’t have to reach around behind themselves to unlock the door. This was done across the GM line in 1969. Used panels would only work well from a 1968.
Content last modified: January 19, 2014 at 12:40 pm
Q: Tire Jack Codes
I want to find original tire jack parts but do not know what part numbers I should look for when I see them. Does anyone have the information?
A: This is what I could find about the jack codes (this is a sample from the 1967-1973 Firebird parts catalogue)
|Group||Part no.||Year / Discription|
|Base Assembly, Bumper Jack|
|8.820||9783363||1967/all – 6 x 6 rounded keystone rack|
|8.820||9781295||1967/all – 6 x 6 squared keystone rack|
|8.820||9775045||1967/all – 6-1/ x 7-1/2 squared|
|8.820||9793349||1968/all – keystone rack 1-1/4 X 1-5/32 Blue|
|8.820||9793540||1968/all – keystone rack 1-1/4 X 1-1/4 Blue/Sup-9793542|
|8.820||9794470||1968, 1969, 1970/all – square rack /Sup -9793334|
|8.820||9794472||1968, 1969, 1970/all – T -type|
|8.820||484803||1969-72/all – keystone rack /Sup -9794471|
|8.820||9775167||1967, 1968, 1969, 1970/all – also used as wheel wrench|
|Jack, Assembly, Bumper|
|8.820||9793539||1967, 1968, 1969, 1970/all – also used as wheel wrench|
|8.820||484805||1968, 1969, 1970, 1971/all|
Content last modified: January 26, 2014 at 3:37 pm
Q: Door Panel Clip Holders
I am having a hard time finding the plastic clip holders that the metal door panel clips fit into to hold it to the door. Where can I find this part?
A: Just wanted to pass along a little info…
I was ready to install my front door panels in my 1969 and was missing the plastic insert that goes into the holes on the door. The inserts are shaped like a bullet and are used to hold the metal clip that is fastened to the door panels. I took one of the remaining inserts to the local Chevy parts counter and had no luck. I also tried the paint and body supplies, also no luck. I could buy the metal clip all day long but not the plastic insert.
At this point I headed to my local hardware store to look for something that would work. I found that a 3/8 drywall anchor had the correct outer dimensions. I measured the inside of the old insert and used a 5/32 drill bit to open the inside to the correct dimension (drilled about 5/8″ deep). I then used a razor knife to trim the three ribs off the side (used to grip the drywall) and “snap”, they worked great. And the best part is they only cost me $0.10 each.
Now, I know after all this, someone on the list will tell me they have the GM part number to order the correct inserts. And, I would gladly accept it… for the next project.
Content last modified: January 19, 2014 at 12:43 pm
Q: Parchment Interior 1968 vs 1969
Was the parchement interior the same color from 1968 to 1969? I can buy some 1969 quarters and wonder if they will match or will I need to spray them?
A: As far as the correct match of parchment, 1968 and 1969 differ. The only way to get all panels to match is to spray them. I use the word “spray” instead of “dye” as it more correct. Check the achieves for more on parchment “spraying”.
Content last modified: January 19, 2014 at 12:44 pm
Q: Window Crank Interchangability
I can buy some window cranks for a 1969 coupe kinda cheap and I was wondering if they will fit my 1968 coupe.
A: The window cranks are the same for 1968 and 1969, but there are 2 different length shafts where the crank handle attaches. The short shaft is for standard trim, and the longer shaft is to clear the thickly padded and molded door trim panels in the Custom trim option cars. I believe the rears are the same standard or Custom.
A: Unless Im dreaming the 1967 is different than the later years I ll pull out some old ones and compare I ve got about 2-1/2 gallons of them ( 5 gallon bucket half full) Hey since the chrome is the part that goes sour most often buy the replacements (in the auto parts stores under the “Help” line of parts) remove the black or clear knobs and relace with your red or aqua or ivy gold knobs. Or see if the clear ones will dye. Try the Ritz dye heated to boiling in a coffee cup in the microwave. Keep dipping until desired color is obtained. Of course white is the easiest to dye but they are hard to find in nice shape. Oh yea incase no ones answered yet the 68-9 regulators are the same front, rears 1967, 1968, and 1969 Like said before are 2 different lenghts in front for standard and Custom trim.
Content last modified: January 19, 2014 at 12:45 pm
Q: Removing Window Crank
How do you get the window cranks out of the door? I was trying to take my door apart since sometimes it locks and won’t open, but couldn’t figure out how to get the window crank off without tearing it up.
A: there is a clip on the inside of the crank shaped kinda like a horseshoe that you need to pull out since it locks it to the knurled crank shaft. You’ll need a tool shaped like a small hook and it has to be thinner than a coat hanger but it needs to be steel or something that won’t bend. I use a spring puller.
Here’s what you do:
Point the crank with the handle away from you. Push the door pannel in as far as you can with your hand Use a flash light if needed to look behind the crank You should see a notch on the back of the crank where you can put the tool through and grab the wire clip Pull back hard and the clip will pop out (don’t lose it if you’re going to use the same crank. New ones usually come with clips) Make sure you also note the sequence of the spiral spring and the plastic spacer.
To re-install, snap the clip on and then you push on the crank and it will snap over the knurled part and lock in.
I hope this was clear enough. It almost helps to look at a crank already pulled out to see what it looks like.
A: Take a plain old wire coat hanger and bend a 90 degree angle at the end of it. The bent part should no more than 1/4″. Now, depress the door panel slightly. Ordinarily hidden from view, you will see a formed wire clip that is snapped around the window crank. It is very difficult to see, so use a flashlight. (look in a Firebird catalog to see the back side of a window crank). It’s easier to figure out once you’ve seen one. Once you’ve seen the wire clip, simply hook the back side of it with your new tool and pull gently. The clip will come loose and the crank then pulls straight off.
As someone else said. It’s soooooo simple once you figure it out. And once you have, you won’t need to look at the backside anymore. You’ll just slip the tool in and do your work blindfolded.
P.S. Don’t damage that door panel!!! Be careful!!!
Content last modified: January 19, 2014 at 12:45 pm
Q: Ashtray Replacement
I am looking for a replacement ashtray for my 1968. Will the ones sold in the Ames Performance Engineering or Year One catalog be an exact replacement?
A: One more thing – I checked the Year One catalog. Their ashtray has a note, ” Note: 1967-68 models were equipped with rear ashtrays with ribbed covers. The new part will fit correctly but does not have the ridges on the covers.”
A: Just one more note – these ashtrays changed size in 68. The 1967 ones are noticeably larger than the 1968/1969 ones. I know this cuz the 1967 set I found in a junkyard don’t fit in my 1968 and 1969 bird.
Content last modified: January 19, 2014 at 3:05 pm
Q: Rearview Mirror Flaking
I reinstalled the rearview last night and like some others on the list the silvering has begun to peel off the back of the mirror itself. My housing is in perfect condition, but the mirror looks awful. It looks like the mirror is piece of glass. I was thinking I could disassemble the mirror and get a new piece cut at a glass shop. Anyone ever attempted this?
A: Yes, mine is faking, too. Replacing the glass with standard mirrored glass might be OK, but you should consider that the day/night effect would be lost in doing that. You may want to find a day/night mirror to replace yours or have the original mirror re-silvered. That’s the option I might choose if I can’t find a a good quality repro at a reasonable price.
Content last modified: January 19, 2014 at 3:08 pm
Q: Kick Panel Removal
How do I remove the kick panel? I have tried everything and am worried I am about ready to break them or my knuckles.
A: When removing the panels( this is one thing that is easier to do on an A/C equipted car) I have found , as others have said, to use proper force. However with a proper fulcrum and lever,you can move the world… or at least the kick panels. heres how you do this:
make certain all screws are removed(dont laugh some are hidden)
remove complete emergency brake assembly (dont cheat here either)
gently remove the panels until they are caught by the ribbing, this will give you at least 3 inches of space between the panel and cowl
insert desired lenght of 2×4 against the part of panel that ribbing is at
push against the panel at ribbing, towards front of car with 2×4 while also prying against the cowl as to pop the panel out. keep in mind that the panel is plastic and is somewhat forgiving in that it will return to its former shape if excessive force isnt used.
You will then be able to remove kick panels in a matter of seconds, and with this new found knowledge will frequent junk yards to remove all that you can find.Well ,maybe.
If you are careful enough and you dont break the upper skinny part,you can reuse the old panels.Be sure and lube up the flapper cables and reseal the cowl to kick panel with generous amounts of duct seal. This is neccessary for a leak proof(water and wind) installation. Installation is much easier as the panels seem to pop right in . (be careful and dont push on the grille portion as this will break.)This is also a good time to remove all the leaves and dead critters from the cowl plenum and rust proof it on the inside.
Content last modified: January 19, 2014 at 3:10 pm
Q: Firewall Padding Removal
My firewall interior padding is in sad shape and I think there is some rust back there which I would like to repair. My question is how do I remove the dash to get to that area and replace everything. It looks like the dash is welded to the body without any way to remove it short of cutting it out and welding it back in?
Another question. How to I remove the parking brake assembly. Is it riveted into the Firewall, or are there some tricky bolts which are in some utterly unaccessable location which I need to remove.
A: To replace the firewall padding you do NOT need to remove the dash. But, you do need to remove the following: Air/Heater box, steering column, or anything else that is bolted through the padding and into the firewall.
The Air/Heater box is a difficult task with an assembled car. the bolts located under the passenger side fender is next to impossible to reach without removing the fender. It can be done so just take you time.
The parking brake is bolted in three places: one bolt on the bottom of the dash and two nus on the motor side of the firewall. These two are partially hidden if you have power brakes. look between the booster and slightly under the fender to the right of the wiring block. Once the pedel assembly is loose the cable is easily detached.
Content last modified: January 19, 2014 at 3:11 pm
Q: Firewall Gloss Level
What is the correct gloss level for the Firewall.
A: I sent an E-Mail to Jim Mattison regarding gloss level on the firewall since the High Performance Pontiac articles were unclear. Here is the response he sent me…..
Thanks for the kind words on my 1967 Ram Air Firebird. The car looks much better in person than it does in the magazine.
To answer your question concerning engine compartment detailing, the gloss level on the firewall area is a 85% black.
I hope that this information is helpful!
Content last modified: January 19, 2014 at 3:17 pm
Q: Assist Handle, Hood Light and Compass Location, and Head Rests Questions for 1968
Was the assist handle over the glovebox an option on any Firebird? Or only on custom Interior equiped Birds? Where exactly were trunklight and under -the- hood light mounted (dimentions?) Where was compas mounted? Was there headrests available on 1968 models?
A: Yes, custom interior equiped Firebirds received the assist handle over the glovebox. These cars also had the Instrument panel emblem on the glovebox door. Headrests were an optional addition on the 1968 (Code 572). I will have to ask around or wait for someone to tell me before I can answer the questions where the hood light and compass were mounted.
Content last modified: January 19, 2014 at 3:19 pm
Q: Colors of Interior Parts with Parchment
Anyone out there with a 1968 Parchment-colored Custom Interior. I have some questions.
What color is the carpet in your car ? Is it black or parchment ? Mine is missing.
What color are the kickpanels ? Mine are black
What color is the U-shaped (in cross-section) strip that goes in the door jam ? Mine is missing also ?
A: Your answers:
The carpet should be black.
As with the carpet, the kickpanels should be black also.
That should be parchment in color.
Content last modified: January 19, 2014 at 3:21 pm
Q: Correct Interior Colors for 1968
Does anyone know the original color of the rear speaker grilles in the 1968 coupe and other interior parts? I need to repaint and want to get it correct.
A: Flat colors : Upper instrument panel,rear window defroster grille,radio speaker grille.
DuPont # for Flat Black is 4428L
Semi-gloss: Lower instrument panel,rear seat folding back panel assembly, air outlet bushing.
Dark Red 9201LM
Dark Blu Met 94520H
Dark Teal met 9453LH
Dark Turq.met 9454LH
Dark Gold met 9456L
Dark Saddle met 9458L
Note: Rear package tray is FLAT not semi Gloss. Black would be black, Parchment (white) would be black, Red would be Red
A: The 1968 Pontiac Dealer Service Information Bulletin varied slightly for the color codes mentioned above. I would want to use them first:
Content last modified: January 19, 2014 at 3:22 pm
Q: Plastic Part Paint Stripping and Painting
Once the dash is a beautiful new rich deep color of black, what’s the best method of adding the chrome trim back on? Or even retouching the chrome? I’ve tried model chrome paint but that looked very ugly (could have been the shaky hands!)
Does anyone have any advice for stripping paint off of plastic parts? I attempted to repaint my dash and let’s just say the first attempt didn’t go so well. Can I use off the shelf paint stripper?
A: paint stripper is too harsh for plastic. It will soften the plastic and even melt the edges. A mixture of Xylene and lacquer thinner will remove just about any paint, but it too can damage plastic if not applied and removed quickly. Chemical strippers are tricky on metal and far worse on plastics.
As for the chrome trim around the bezels, I’ve used a silver paint marker made by Testors(as in model paint). This looks almost like a magic marker but uses paint instead. Be sure to wet the felt of the paint marker real good by pressing down on a hard surface. If you don’t have plenty of paint and stop you will see the seam. I m current working on another project of using chrome vinyl to refinish the chrome trim on the bezels. This will look just as the factory did but can be applied after the dash panel is painted.
Content last modified: January 19, 2014 at 3:24 pm
Q: Headliner Installation
I am about ready to install a headliner but I wonder how to approach this and have a few other quesitons … How many bows should I have? My old headliner is missing but there are four bows in place on the roof. Is there no center bow? My new headliner has a bow pocket in the center. But the car (67) looks like no centerbow existed. The interior light is there and there is a wide rail running across the roof at that point. Also there are some pointed barbs along side this rail. Do I connect the center bow pocket to these barb-hooks somehow?
A: Yes there should be a bow in the center. It’s different than the others (shorter) and does not hook into the side roof rail. Those barbs hold it (center bow and headliner) in place and give you a starting point. The center bow threads thru that pocket in your new liner. Installation is impossible without this bow.
Strip the interior(yes, everything) windshield and back glass, package tray and all weather moulding retainers etc..
Mark and number the bows to so they go back in original holes. Mark which hole they come out of too.
Put small screws in place before installing headliner. It makes it easier to find the holes after the headliner is installed. You dont need to do this for the visors, mirror or shoulder belt anchor bolts if you have them. But, make sure to cut a big enough hole for them or you could break them when reinstalling like I did. That’s a bear!
Start in the center and work your way out, forward, and then to the back. At front and rear, start at the center and work toward corners.
The glue is very forgiving of mistakes even though it sets up quickly. You will need more glue than supplied with the kit. You can take your empty can to the local auto upholstry shop for a refill, their’s come in 3 gallon cans.
When done, either steam it or spray water on it to shrink it up tight as a drum.
A: Just thought I’d pass along a success story… this weekend I installed a new head liner in my 69. Whew!!! What a job. ( I feel like the guy in the commercial who holds up a sign in front of the camera at the football game).
This is definitely a job that was made easier by having an extra set of hands. A buddy came over to assist but neither of us had a clue how to start. What we decided to do was to start at the front middle and pull it tight toward the corner (I applied a thin coat of 3M adhesive in the areas to be pulled) and slipped on the pinch molding as we went along.
We then started on the side at the second rib and pulled out. At each point we would slip the pinch molding on to hold it tight while working toward the front. When we pulled at the corner from the side we pulled out and toward the front again slipping on the pinch molding to hold it in place.
We then moved to the back middle, pulled it tight and moved toward the corner. We moved to the next to last rib and pulled it down tight. We used the tack strip that is located behind the sail panels to hold the fabric tight. At the last rib we pulled it tight under the tach strip and used a screw and washer to secure it tight.
After both side were complete the results were great. Not perfect but very nice. The car is coming together and I hope to have the interior completed in a couple of weeks. By the way, I can’t imagine how this is done with the windshield and rear window in place.
Content last modified: January 19, 2014 at 3:25 pm
Q: Carpet Installation (One Piece)
Has anyone installed the one piece reproduction carpet? If so, do you have any tips.
A: I installed a black carpet kit from ACC and was pleased with the quality. All the backing was good. I positioned the carpet over the high beam switch and the rest pretty much fell into place. It fit better than the original. One tip: Dont cut holes in the carpet to mount the seat brackets through in the rear seat area, just cut three sided slots about 1 1/2 by 11/2 inch and fold them back so that you can screw in the bolt, then fold the flap back over the bolt. Looks better than factory.
A: Thats funny all the factory installed carpet I’ve pulled out had flaps over the rear of front seat brackets. Another tip is not to cut the slots at all but use a scratch awl to locate center of holes then make a small incision just where the bolts go.Another tricky one is the boot area around a manual trans. Be sure and cut just enough for the shifter to work ok and leave the rest.Its very easy to cut too large a hole here. It wont hurt to have a little extra around the shifter hole.
Content last modified: January 19, 2014 at 3:27 pm
Q: Key Replacement
I have lost the keys to my Firebird. Is there anyway to replace these or do I need to replace all my locks?
A: If you have the billing history for your car from PHS it lists the four digit ignition key and trunk key codes. Take this to a GM dealer and they can look up the code in the key code book and get the 6 cuts and punch a key with the curtis keycutter they all have.
If you don’t have the codes the four digit codes are stamped on the original door lock and trunk lock cylinders also. The door matches the ignition (unless someone changed something) and the trunk matches the glove box.
Their are six cuts on the keys with 5 possibilties for each. Example, my 1967 bird ignition and doors are 7W05, in key cuts this is 532242. The trunk and glove box was 2X52, which is 431132. The cuts are from the head to tip holding the head to the right. The dealers use a punch or knotching tool which you set the dials to those numbers in that order. They did not use the grinders you see in hardware stores, it is a simple hand tool.
The correct key blanks for 1967 are A blank for door and ignition and B blank for trunk and glove box, the ignition has a octagon head with the Briggs and Stratton logo and the trunk is more of a rounded scallopped head with the logo. Dealers also have the tumblers to code any of the cylinders also.
Content last modified: January 19, 2014 at 3:28 pm
Q: Power-Flo Ventilation for 1969
What is “Power flow”-pardon my ignorance.
A: Power-Flo Ventilation (that’s how it was spelled in the brochures) was an option available in 1969 and 1970 Pontiacs and Buicks, Firebird was 1969 only. It was offered on non-AC cars, was about $15 and change, and was 2 blower assemblies mounted up in the cowl area which when turned on would blow air through the upper vents. The rocker switch in the Pontiacs was different than the Buicks, and looked like the ones used for power antenna, power top, rear defogger, reverb (big cars) and tailgate windows (wagons). The switch had AIR imprinted in the center, and HIGH and LOW imprinted on the ends of it. It was available factory or dealer installed, the dealer accesory kit could be purchased over the counter. It seems to have landed in a couple cars, since there were cars in which AC was NOT available, (Ram Air IV and Sprint) those are the most likely candidates. The only car I ever saw it in was a Palladium Silver 1969 GTO convertible with the Ram Air IV engine, and it was not functioning. I own a NOS kit for 70 A and G bodies, a used set from I was told a 1969 Catalina, and 3 more pairs of blower assemblies that resemble the NOS kit. Nothing I have fits the Firebird straight up.
Content last modified: January 19, 2014 at 5:24 pm
Q: Convertible Top Switch for 1968
Was the original switch all black or was the switch chrome. I’ve seen both types.
A: Mines original and chrome as I have had the car since it was new.
A: While your working on it, did the factory do a real sloppy job cutting out the hole for it on yours?
A: Yes, mine is sort of sloppy. Is their suppose to be a bezel of some sort on the outside? Mine does not have one and the looking at the diagram I do not see one.
A: No bezel, just looks like the one above.
A: I’ve burned through 4-5 switches through the years. I used to put the top up and down a lot when it was a daily driver. There are threads here where owners have put relays in the circuit to dampen the high current that burns the switch points.
A: I’ve only seen the black switch being reproduced. Is there a source for the chrome switch? I’ve seen a few Nos on ebay . I currently have a black switch.
A: Performance Years part number RFI242
A: Mine is black (early 68) and it is original. I have also had mine since it was new and know I have never replaced switch. Purchased new January 1968. Never a problem with the top motor or switch.
Content last modified: February 11, 2014 at 10:33 pm
Q: Headrest Availability
Did some 1968 firebirds come with high back seats and headrests?
A: Head rests were available as an option on 1967 and 1968 Firebirds
code for 1967 is AS2 code for 1968 is 571
69 headrests were government mandated and had two different styles: straight (early and same as 67-8) and bent or curved later in 69. The upper seat frame on 69s are the same as 67-8 so its the easiest way to add headrests to a 67-8. Just remember to use the padding and cover for your model of car.
A: And don’t forget the headrests were actually listed as an option on 1969 Firebirds built before 1/1/69 – just like my Sprint. They all got them, but were charged as optional. The 1/1/69 price sheet changed to reflect them becoming standard, because of Federal safety regs. BTW, mine was built 12/17/68, and had the later curved headrest arms, as well as the second design 45 deg cylinder head (ZH engine).
Content last modified: January 16, 2014 at 5:55 pm
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