1979 Trans-Am set for years, now does not move easily - Hot Rod Forum : Hotrodders Bulletin Board
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Old 04-18-2011, 12:56 PM
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1979 Trans-Am set for years, now does not move easily

So i have been trying to fix my 1979 fully loaded Trans-Am, and i finally got it started and put tires on it. so i rolled her back out of her parking spot (for the last 7 years) and cleaned her up alittle for her drive. I then check the trans. fluid it looked empty so i filled her up. The next day i go to drive her and when i put it in reverse she goes with some drag. But when i put her into drive/L/S she wont move at all and there is a clicking sound comeing from what sounds like the Tranny. My father and i jacked it up and tryed to see if the tires would move and it still did the same thing in the air. When we put it in N we couldnt even spin the tires by hand. So we think this could be the calpiers frozzen in place after sitting for a few years with E break on. and that the trans is just slipping. Does anyone know what else it could be or if the trans. is shot? Please respond ASAP Thank you

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Old 04-18-2011, 02:11 PM
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You have to cycle the trans through the gears between adding fluid with the engine running. Don't overfill it- there are "FULL HOT" and "FULL COLD" lines on the stick.
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Old 04-18-2011, 02:52 PM
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yea we let the trans run and get hot when we added the fluid. so that should be good. Its got the TH350 tranny in it how is it to blow it. it was just rebuilt about 40k ago then sat for about 7 years with out being started untill a few months ago. So its still pretty new. so i'm wondering if its shot or not or if its just slipping.
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Old 04-18-2011, 04:00 PM
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Two days after buying my '79 (it too had sat for a few years in a garage, on jack stands) I blew the rear end out. So my money is on the calipers sticking or the differential is no good.
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Old 04-18-2011, 04:13 PM
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Alright well that sounds better then the tranny being broken hahah! And if it is the rear how do i go about fixing that if its just stuck maybe not blown. I've herd there is a way to oil it? and if i take off the plate will that hurt anything if its just up on stands?
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Old 04-20-2011, 07:10 PM
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Pull the calipers off to rule them out. If you can turn the axles without any binding, then there's your problem. If it doesn't, pull the differential cover off to see if there's any shavings in the oil. If there is, then have the axle rebuilt. If there's nothing wrong with it, then oil it back up, install a new gasket and bolt the cover back on because you're back to square one.

When mine went out, I had drums, so I found an axle out of a '79 Z28 for $100. Better ratio too.
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Old 04-20-2011, 10:21 PM
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I bought a 79 Trans Am acouple of years back and all 4 brakes were FROZEN stuck. I dragged my Pontiac up the drive way with my truck and beat the calipers till it was all good



mine was a 79 trans am SE (ws4)
403 oldsmobile
with drums on the back
-(rip) it rusted away-

Last edited by vetteman2; 04-20-2011 at 10:29 PM.
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Old 04-22-2011, 06:25 PM
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yea sry to hear that
So you think if the breaks are stuck it wont let the car even try to move? I looked at the breaks and when i put the E break on and off the spring doesnt move. so thats prolly the problem. thanks for the help man!!!
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Old 04-22-2011, 06:43 PM
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If you moved it from its parking spot where it sat for years, then the calipers probably arent stuck and the rear end isnt locked up. If the engine sounds like it is free revving when you put it in gear, then the transmission isnt working. If the driveshaft is turning but the car isnt moving then the gears are striped or it has worse things going on. The 10 bolts werent exactly known for stripping teeth off, but the carrier bearings were known to wear out too soon. They might have gotten a bad batch of bearings or someone didnt know how to set them up at the factory.

A Th350 isnt too hard to rebuild, if you lived nearby I would teach you how to do it some afternoon. You could get some videos and a book on how to rebuild them, the hardest part about it is getting the apply seals in without cutting them, and then getting all the clutch plates to align with the drums.

My bet is the trans needs work because the seals dried out. Once you heat cycle them a few times then let them sit for years, you end up with dry seals, they dont like that. 40k is more than enough heat cycles, and it probably only needed seals, but now if you have been revving it trying to get it to move, the clutches could be burned. If the engine doesnt sound like it is laboring when its in gear, or the RPM doesnt drop and you hear or feel the trans engage, then it isnt the rear end.
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Old 04-22-2011, 06:53 PM
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great post thumpin. I agree totaly. You just saved the guy a lot of unnecessary work doing things that were irrelevant to getting to a reasonable summise as to what the problem actually is.
I saw this post the other day, I am glad someone jumped in here to set the guy straight.
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Old 04-22-2011, 06:55 PM
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Well running a shop you dont have time to throw parts at stuff or chase your tail hoping it isnt the worse possible thing. I am glad I dont have to run a shop anymore, too much stress.
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Old 04-22-2011, 07:01 PM
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Exactly. You have to get some direction from what the customer tells you. If it rolled into a parking space I dont see how the rear went bad just setting there unless the cover was off for all that time.He said he pulled it out of there, didnt say the wheels were locked when he did that soo....
The trans probably was out of it wich would be why it was shoved into a parking spot for seven years
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