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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just bought a 96 firebird. Got it cheap, but has problems. One is tranny. Start it up, won't budge. Put fluid in, and it takes right off. I'm taking it has a leak. When looking under it I noticed that the flywheel and torque converter is exposed.. Is it supposed to be? A young kid owned it, and no telling what he's taking off.. Second, the engine, tho sounding strong, is loud.. Doesn't appear to be exhaust leaks. How can I quiet it back down. Third, I have access to a 98 camaro.. Will any of these parts swap?.. Would appreciate any info. New to firebird, but love to fix up cars..thanks. Tim
 

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1994 Firebird Formula 381ci LT1 / TH400+GV O/D
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Are you saying the trans fluid was low, when measured with the stick, and when you filled it to the correct level, the trans now operates fine? How much fluid did you need to add? Is there any indication of leaks on the trans case, near the torque converter, at the output shaft seal?

There is supposed to be a dust cover on the torque converter.

Is "loud" referring specifically to the exhaust system? Or are there mechanical noises? Does the car have a catalytic converter? Does the intermediate pipe extend all the way over the rear axle, to a crossflow muffler? It the muffler stock or aftermarket?

Camaro and Firebird parts (except things like exterior body panels, interior trim) will generally interchange. Drivetrain parts are mostly engine specific. In yor case, both cars would have to have the 3.8L V6.
 

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Thanks..

There's was barely any fluid on dipstick. Afraid of a leak and wasting, I only put a couple pints in it. It ran. Then couple hrs later wouldn't move again. I don't really have a setup here to raise it up high enuff to get under it. Not that I trust anyways. There was a little fluid on the ground, but not as much as I put in it.
The engine just seems a lot louder than should be. Doesn't appear to be exhaust leak, so maybe just worn. The exhaust is factory I believe. Dual exhaust all the way to rear bumper w stock muffler.. I'm just wondering if I have to replace bearings or rebuild the whole engine to get it quieter again.
 

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1994 Firebird Formula 381ci LT1 / TH400+GV O/D
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No 4th Gens came stock w/ a true dual exhaust system. They all had a Y-pipe to an intermediate pipe, over the axle and into a single cross-flow muffler. The V8 models had dual outlets, so it looked like dual exhaust. Most V6 models had a single outlet, although there was an option for dual outlets.

Is the engine noise valve train clatter? Have you checked the oil level?

Trans sounds like time for a rebuild.
 

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Are you checking the trans fluid on level ground, engine warmed up and running. About 1/2 the trans fluid is in the torque converter. So if it was really low, then you started it, the trans pump may have "moved" the fluid from the pan to the torque converter making it look like the fluid is just "disappearing". Since you saw a small amount of fluid on the ground shows that there is a leak. So while the amount of fluid on the ground was not close to amount you put in, Who is to say that over time, a bunch didn't leak out when the previous owner had it and it has just gotten really low.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Oil level is fine..needs changed, but plenty in it. The exhaust I guess just appears as dual..it comes off engine as 2, joins together and goes thru catalytic converter, then to a sideways setting muffler by rear axle, then comes out back as 2 separate pipes (from what I can see).still ain't got it jacked up and don't trust the cheap scissor jack under it. Doesn't appear to be holes n it anywhere for noise..
I checked tranny fluid while running and hot.. Only added a little fluid twice. Was waiting till I can get under it good and look for leaks..would it leak with the dust cover off of torque converter? Is it bad to run without that cover(for working on purposes, not drive all around)..
As for engine, it runs strong. It had set when I got it, so took a minute to get it to start and idle. But now it fires right up and idles. Its loud. Not clatter, but just the sound of it running. I planned on doing a tune upband putting a few new parts on it when I get money. Right now more worried about fixing tranny.
Like I said, kid put it up for sale for $300..said it starts but won't move..could be fluid or linkage. He had got a truck and left firebird alone..I'm far from a mechanic, but have worked on a few cars and used to build up bikes. Plus with YouTube and Google, not alot of info u can't find
 

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1994 Firebird Formula 381ci LT1 / TH400+GV O/D
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Missing dust cover will not cause a leak. Won't hurt to leave it that way for a while. But you don't want to expose the seals and rotating components to excessive grime and water. My car is pretty much limited to track use, and hasn't had a dust cover since the TH400 was installed about 14 years ago. I'm not even sure there is a dust cover available for the JW Ultra-Bell explosion proof bell housing. But your 4L60E trans left the factory with one.
 

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Sounds to me like the trans is just about wiped out and the filter is stopped up or collapsing. Ive seen this many times with the 4L60E and even the AODE's in the rustangs. My bird did the same thing when I got it. I'd shut if off for a while then start it up and it would shift all the way to 3rd but upon the first stop...nothing. Would have to shut it off again. My filter was completely stopped up as the intermediate clutches were smoked in it and chunks of the PG ban were laying in the pan as well.
 
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