1983 FireBird Upgrade - Drivetrain - Firebird Nation

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1983 FireBird Upgrade


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8 replies to this topic

#1 Chevyboy33

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  • Year: 1983
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  • Model: Firebird
  • Engine: 383
  • Transmission: 700r4

Posted 3 weeks ago

Hello, im a noob to this, looking for direction on this build i have. I currently have a 1983 Firebird with a V6. In the process of removing engine and putting in 383 stroker, trying to see what tranny, rear end, gears yall running with a setup similar. I do know i want to go with a 700r4 87-94 model (earlier years have to many issues my personal opinion) with no lock up. 

 

You think this is a good combo? Any advice is much appreciated!

 

Thanks



#2 Injuneer

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  • Year: 1994
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  • Model: Firebird Formula
  • Engine: 381ci LT1 stroker
  • Transmission: TH400 + GV O/D

Posted 3 weeks ago

Welcome to Firebird Nation !
 

The 700R4 is a good choice, but if you're planning on a healthy 383 build, the trans is going to need to be beefed up.  In 1993, they changed the 700R4 designation to 4L60, and changed some internals.  1994 and newer Firebirds used the 4L60E, which is an electronically shifted trans, requiring a factory PCM or a standalone controller.  Just curious....  why no locking converter?

 

Among 4th Gen owners, the favorite rear axle ratio is 3.73 behind the 700R4/4L60.  Again, if you are looking at decent torque out of the 383, and planning on running sticky tires, the stock 7.5” 10-bolt rear axle assembly can be a weak link.  Does your V6 have a limited slip rear?


1994 FIREBIRD FORMULA
FRED

 
381ci all-forged stroker (Callies Stealth, Oliver billet rods, BME 2618-T61 nitrous pistons) - 10.8:1 - CNC LT4 heads/intake - Comp Cams solid roller - MoTeC M48 Pro engine management - 8 LS1 coils - 58mm TB - 74#/HR injectors - 300-shot dry nitrous - TH400 - Gear Vendors 0.78:1 O/D - Strange 12-bolt - 4.11 Pro-Street gears - AS&M headers - true duals - Corbeau seat - AutoMeter gauges - roll bar - Spohn suspension - QA1 shocks - a few other odds 'n ends. 800HP / 800lb-ft at the flywheel, on a 300-shot. 11.5 @ 117 MPH straight motor
 
https://www.firebird...9_698_32777.jpg

 


#3 Chevyboy33

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  • Model: Firebird
  • Engine: 383
  • Transmission: 700r4

Posted 3 weeks ago

Thanks for the reply! Well i was going to use this build for sunday funday/track, be best if i did no locking right? Like i said im new all this. (so i could be wrong) LOL

 

As for the rear end, yes it currently has limited slip.



#4 Injuneer

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  • Year: 1994
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  • Model: Firebird Formula
  • Engine: 381ci LT1 stroker
  • Transmission: TH400 + GV O/D

Posted 3 weeks ago

Key benefits depend on use.  Locking converter reduces heat buildup, increase fuel economy - important for street use.  As far as racing, I believe the 700R4 only locks in 4th gear (overdrive) - although this can be changed to lock up in lower gears.  You aren't likely to be using 4th at the track.

 

Hard core racers seem to be split on using lockup converters.  Some run non-locking, others use lower gear lockups as well, for better times.  Goes beyond my knowledge.  Current transmissions go beyond the days of the ‘glide and TH400 with non-locking converters.  I think most of the 4th Gen casual racers with the 4L60E stick with a locking converter.

 

That said, I run a non-locking converter.  I didn’t select it, the shop that built the engine  did.  But it isn’t a typical application.  I run a TH400 with a Gear Vendors O/D, behind a 381ci LT1 making 800 HP / 800 lb-ft at the flywheel. A The converter is designed to flash to 5,000 RPM as the nitrous hits, and the car runs the length of the track between 5,000. - 7,000 RPM.  Didn’t have the GV on it initially, but with 4.11 gears the engine was humming along at almost 4,000 RPM ar 70 MPH on the freeway.  Doesn’t get driven on the street much, but when it does, 3,000 RPM cruising is a bit more bearable.  The GV also comes in handy, keeping the engine from hitting the 7,000 RPM nitrous cutoff in 3rd gear at 135 MPH, when it's capable if running the traps at almost 140 MPH.

 

Use a manual switch for lockup on the street, try running with and without lockup on the track.  Might pick up a 1/10th or two.

 

 



#5 Chevyboy33

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  • Model: Firebird
  • Engine: 383
  • Transmission: 700r4

Posted 3 weeks ago

Thanks for that reply bro. My situation is quite similar the machine shop that did my block is a old head been racing since before time very knowledgeable guy, he recommended the setup i listed, but i wanted to see what others would do. He's pretty much a track guy but i would like to stay street worthy and hit the track 2-3 times a month just for fun and to see progression on upgrades.

 

what i figured was a ford 9" rear end (most guys i see with the f-bodys run this) As for the gears i was thinking 4.10s BUT the 4.10s will keep my rpms too high at 70mph that will kill the enjoyment for a Sunday Funday ride.. This is where im stuck, finding the proper parts.

 

Also, SWEEEEET setup you have man!!!!



#6 Injuneer

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  • Model: Firebird Formula
  • Engine: 381ci LT1 stroker
  • Transmission: TH400 + GV O/D

Posted 3 weeks ago

Ford 9-inch is not necessarily the best choice.  Yes, you can change the center section for a (not really so quick with the 3rd/4th Gen torque arm in the way) gear change.  But the 9-inch is heavy and has the highest power losses of any rear axle available.  For anything up to 750 HP I would recommend the GM 12-bolt.  Strange and Moser make direct replacement for the 3rd and 4th Gen F-Bodies.  Not cheap.... probably close to $3,000 these days, depending on options.

 

The 9-inch also creates issues with geometry.  The pinion shaft centerline is quite a bit lower than the rear axle centerline, as opposed to the 12-bolt or a Dana/Strange 60..  This is the primary reason for the higher drivetrain power losses (Dana 60 - 5% loss, 12-bolt 7%, 9-inch 10%).  Then, the pinion shaft is offset to one side of the vehicle longitudinal axis.  As a result 1) the driveshaft is stressing the U-joints, and 2) the torque arm is offset to the point where it can hit the driveshaft tunnel.

 

The 9-inch does have higher ultimate HP capacities, with the right options + plus available weight reductions.  Buddy of mine used one behind a 1,350 HP 383 Gen 1 SBC in a 4th Gen.  But that Moser 9-inch went out the door for $5,000+.

 

As a lower cost alternative some people have used a modified Ford 8.8-inch housing, converted to mount to the 3rd/4th Gen lower control arms/spring/shock/torque arm.  There are a couple smaller shops doing these conversions.

 

I have a Strange 12-bolt, and it's held up fine for 20+ years.  It took a real beating when the car still had its original T56 6-speed.  Stood up to 5,000+ RPM clutch dumps with a McLeod twin-disc clutch and sticky tires.

 

https://www.strangee...2-bolt-rear-end



#7 Chevyboy33

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  • Engine: 383
  • Transmission: 700r4

Posted 3 weeks ago

You've been a big help today!!! Appreciate your time and efforts!!! Strange has a great reputation anyways so ill just look into the setup they have for the body. 



#8 sea dog

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Posted 3 weeks ago

If you go to the 3rd gen tech articles, open it. Then hit master index at top. Scroll down when new page open. We have the 82-93 parts & illustration manual.

 

Also, if you search the internet, there's a 85 firebird service manual out there waiting to be downloaded. 85 should share about 94% of info with your 83.



#9 Chevyboy33

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  • Year: 1983
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  • Model: Firebird
  • Engine: 383
  • Transmission: 700r4

Posted 3 weeks ago

If you go to the 3rd gen tech articles, open it. Then hit master index at top. Scroll down when new page open. We have the 82-93 parts & illustration manual.

 

Also, if you search the internet, there's a 85 firebird service manual out there waiting to be downloaded. 85 should share about 94% of info with your 83.

 

thanks bro






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