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1981 Trans am Turbo
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18 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everybody! As a new Firebird owner of a 1981 turbo, there are a lot of things that need either tuning or to be replaced. I had a few questions.

Number one when I’m driving the speedometer jumps a lot almost like it goes up and down to where I have no idea what speed I’m going. Is there some sort of setting or cable that needs to be replaced?

Number two the hinge on the trunk lid is rusted out and water is getting into the air and seeping into the trunk. We tried to align it, and now that just made it worse. Is there a video or instructions that we can follow when aligning at the trunk?

Number three. The door inside panel is in terrible shape. The top is cracked where it would actually be the weatherstripping. My question is can I replace the stripping or do we have to replace the panel?

Thank you all so much!!!
 

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1977 Trans Am W72 400/4speed (swapped)
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478 Posts
Answers for #1 and 3. The speedometer cable could be routed poorly so that it binds as it turns which causes a jumping needle. In my experience that tended to happen with my car under 35is mph and it smoothed out overall above. If it’s doing it above as well it’s possible the plastic gears in the transmission are worn and not making good and constant contact with each other. There is a drive gear which is inside the trans on the output shaft and the driven gear which is also technically inside the trans but it is removable and replaced more easily. I’d look there first. I’ve replaced the drive gear on a 4 speed trans but never an automatic. It’s a pain either way.
#3, I believe inner window sweeps are available but there are staples that must be removed and replaced when installing new. There is (at least on earlier panels like my 77) plastic at the top of the door panel that can become brittle and I don’t believe those are available so be careful.
Don’t have an answer for #2, sorry.
 

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1,464 Posts
If you have rust and rust holes then I'm not sure what you are trying to align. There's just the hinge to lid adjustment, sometimes shims are used to lift it to match the body, or the latch on the trunk to meet the striker plate. Not sure what you are trying to do.

Change the speedo cable, check for kinks and melted areas near exhaust if not in the retainer or has had exhaust swap etc. Easy swap to try first.
 

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I still don't understand, there is no alignment involved in trunk for a good seal. The trunk seal is good? Is it installed backwards or with join not at the lowest point? I'm not sure about messages, I just check everyday especially if I am waiting on a response.

Where does it leak or get in? As mentioned, if it has rust holes that water can get to, generally how they got there, then a seal doesn't matter and will always leak.

Here's a trunk seal installed backwards, leaning inwards. This will leak.

Trunk seal installed backwards wrong by Ben, on Flickr

GM trunk seal by Ben, on Flickr
 

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1981 Trans am Turbo
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18 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Can you explain what you are trying to do with the trunk lid? Maybe shoot a pic if can't describe it.
I’m gonna upload a little video where you can see. I really am thinking it’s because the hinge is rusted out and it doesn’t seem to be closing right. Not sure how I would fix this one since it’s pretty much a body issue.
 
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