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I'm sorry if I'm posting in the wrong place but I'm looking into getting this real old 94 firebird that's been sitting in my driveway for years running. I have no idea where to start and I've never worked on cars and I have no idea where to start, I just know it's a real piece of work. Here are some pictures so you can get a general idea of what I'm working with. I guess the best way to go about this is to answer questions from experts and go from there. Thank you!

White Speedometer Vehicle Motor vehicle Steering part
Motor vehicle Vehicle Automotive exterior Mode of transport Automotive design
Wheel Car Vehicle Tire Automotive parking light
Car Gear shift Vehicle Steering part Hood
Car Vehicle Hood Motor vehicle Bumper
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Welcome to the forum.

Since you have no experience repairing cars, I suggest you go to your local library and get books on the following subjects

Basic auto mechanics, auto electrical, computer control & fuel injection. Then go to the following site & download the 94 factory service manual. www.mediafire.com/?40mfgeoe4ctti

Now for things to check out once you've learned basics on cars. Since car has been sitting for an extended period, gas tank needs to be drained & cleaned out. This involves dropping rear axle and disconnecting some exhaust parts. When tank is clean & installed, add some fresh gas to the tank.

Fuel filter will need to be replaced. After doing these things get a good battery and install it. Turn key on. Do you hear the fuel pump run? If it does, you'll need a fuel pressure gauge to make sure you have around 43 PSI of fuel pressure. See if engine will crank over.

If yes, have assistant crank engine while you test for spark on several cylinders. If you have fuel pressure, injectors are opening to spray fuel, & ignition system is giving good spark car should run.

If no run condition, try spraying some starter fluid directly into the throttle body. If engine runs with starting fluid then fuel injectors are likely clogged.

But you could have other problems. Does the security light come on when ignition is turned on> If security light doesn't work at all, it will need to be fixed. If security light comes on then goes out after a few seconds, this is normal operation. If security light stays on then the system is going to keep injectors from spraying.

There also could be some codes that when set, disable the fuel injectors. You'll find all the codes listed in the 94 service manual.

Finally, if your going to work on your car, you will need some tools. Socket set in metric, wrenches in metric, various other hand tools. Now comes the fun part. You'll need a digital multimeter, fuel pressure gauge, noid lights to test injectors.
 

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1997 Pontiac Firebird WS6, 5.7L V8, LT1 348
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I'm sorry if I'm posting in the wrong place but I'm looking into getting this real old 94 firebird that's been sitting in my driveway for years running. I have no idea where to start and I've never worked on cars and I have no idea where to start, I just know it's a real piece of work. Here are some pictures so you can get a general idea of what I'm working with. I guess the best way to go about this is to answer questions from experts and go from there. Thank you!
So I am a little confused, what do you mean by "years running"? As in the car has simply been sitting for years or does the car still run? That is usually an excellent place to start. Follow Sea Dogs advice, I am new at this point. You could also consider getting an OBD1 scan tool and see what kind of codes the car shows. That may narrow down where you need to start learning about stuff and even give you a better idea of what is wrong with the car, if anything. A good start would be working on simply getting the car started.

It is a good looking car, unfortunately it looks like the clear coat has worn off in some places but it has on my 1997 as well. It looks like the car might clean up nice if you degrease it, clay bar it and seal it with your choice of wax.
 

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If it's a free car, or $500, that's a great place to begin learning. If it's any more expensive, buy one that runs for $1,500. You'll save $1,000 worth of headaches and hair pulling. With the column and shifter being torn up, I assume the owner was trying to fix a problem and either lost interest, gave up, or realized the problem was not worth fixing. ....so, where to begin? Talk to the owner and find out what the problem is and what they were thinking/doing to resolve it.

A member of this site (GaryDoug) has scanned all the 4th gen Factory Service Manuals and made them available to download FREE of charge. Gary has also written "scanning software" called Scan9495 for 93-95 'birds. There is a v6 specific version for you, also available free of charge but there is a small investment to be made. $20-$60 for the USB ALDL connector to plug into the diagnostic port of the car, and a Windows laptop/tablet/PC to run he software. Scan9495 lets you view live sensor data in real-time, record datalogs, play back datalogs, graph up to 4 sensors output, retrieve and clear codes, and actuate relays to test some specific systems.

I'm all for learning, but if you can't get a history up front, you may need to reconsider. I would. Here's why. Let's say the transmission isn't going into gear. Owner was told "it's this problem OR it needs rebuilt". Owner investigated and determined it's a bad transmission. No problem, they're rebuildable, but if you pay someone to do it, $1,500.

...and it's a $1,500 car. For $1,500 you could get one that runs as-is.

Very expensive "first lesson" if you ask me.

If it's free, sure, it's worth putting $1,500 into, but above $500, you'll likely soon have more into it than it's worth. For some, it's about nostalgia not money, so this isn't an issue to them. If this is you, go for it, we're here for you. If not, move on to something much less questionable.

Also, if they were still using the 3.4L in 1994, you may be happier looking to the next year up or whenever the 3.8L was put in them. The 3.4L performs closer to a i4 than a v6, and the 3.8L is closer to the v8 than the typical v6 of the era. The v8 cars are where the fun truly is, but the 3.8L is definitely a respectable second. If performance isn't your thing, the 3.4L is a good and reliable engine, it's just not powerful, even at v6 levels. If that's not a problem, it's not a problem.

Good luck deciding what to do. ...just use your head. Plenty of v6/auto 'birds out there in nice condition for $2,000 and under. The market is flooded with them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Welcome to the forum.

Since you have no experience repairing cars, I suggest you go to your local library and get books on the following subjects

Basic auto mechanics, auto electrical, computer control & fuel injection. Then go to the following site & download the 94 factory service manual. www.mediafire.com/?40mfgeoe4ctti

Now for things to check out once you've learned basics on cars. Since car has been sitting for an extended period, gas tank needs to be drained & cleaned out. This involves dropping rear akle and disconnecting some exhaust parts. When tank is clean & installed, add some fresh gas to the tank.

Fuel filter will need to be replaced. After doing these things get a good battery and install it. Turn key on. Do you hear the fuel pump run? If it does, you'll need a fuel pressure gauge to make sure you have around 43 PSI of fuel pressure. See if engine will crank over.

If yes, have assistant crank engine while you test for spark on several cylinders. If you have fuel pressure, injectors are opening to spray fuel, & ignition system is giving good spark car should run.

If no run condition, try spraying some starter fluid directly into the throttle body. If engine runs with starting fluid then fuel injectors are likely clogged.

But you could have other problems. Does the security light come on when ignition is turned on> If security light doesn't work at all, it will need to be fixed. If security light comes on then goes out after a few seconds, this is normal operation. If security light stays on then the system is going to keep injectors from spraying.

There also could be some codes that when set, disable the fuel injectors. You'll find all the codes listed in the 94 service manual.

Finally, if your going to work on your car, you will need some tools. Socket set in metric, wrenches in metric, various other hand tools. Now comes the fun part. You'll need a digital multimeter, fuel pressure gauge, noid lights to test injectors.
Wrote all this down to do after I read up on how cars actually work, thank you!

So I am a little confused, what do you mean by "years running"? As in the car has simply been sitting for years or does the car still run? That is usually an excellent place to start. Follow Sea Dogs advice, I am new at this point. You could also consider getting an OBD1 scan tool and see what kind of codes the car shows. That may narrow down where you need to start learning about stuff and even give you a better idea of what is wrong with the car, if anything. A good start would be working on simply getting the car started.

It is a good looking car, unfortunately it looks like the clear coat has worn off in some places but it has on my 1997 as well. It looks like the car might clean up nice if you degrease it, clay bar it and seal it with your choice of wax.
It's been sitting in my driveway, stagnant under a tarp, for a good few years now. Will look into the scan tool and study up on what I need to know. Thanks!

If it's a free car, or $500, that's a great place to begin learning. If it's any more expensive, buy one that runs for $1,500. You'll save $1,000 worth of headaches and hair pulling. With the column and shifter being torn up, I assume the owner was trying to fix a problem and either lost interest, gave up, or realized the problem was not worth fixing. ....so, where to begin? Talk to the owner and find out what the problem is and what they were thinking/doing to resolve it.

A member of this site (GaryDoug) has scanned all the 4th gen Factory Service Manuals and made them available to download FREE of charge. Gary has also written "scanning software" called Scan9495 for 93-95 'birds. There is a v6 specific version for you, also available free of charge but there is a small investment to be made. $20-$60 for the USB ALDL connector to plug into the diagnostic port of the car, and a Windows laptop/tablet/PC to run he software. Scan9495 lets you view live sensor data in real-time, record datalogs, play back datalogs, graph up to 4 sensors output, retrieve and clear codes, and actuate relays to test some specific systems.

I'm all for learning, but if you can't get a history up front, you may need to reconsider. I would. Here's why. Let's say the transmission isn't going into gear. Owner was told "it's this problem OR it needs rebuilt". Owner investigated and determined it's a bad transmission. No problem, they're rebuildable, but if you pay someone to do it, $1,500.

...and it's a $1,500 car. For $1,500 you could get one that runs as-is.

Very expensive "first lesson" if you ask me.

If it's free, sure, it's worth putting $1,500 into, but above $500, you'll likely soon have more into it than it's worth. For some, it's about nostalgia not money, so this isn't an issue to them. If this is you, go for it, we're here for you. If not, move on to something much less questionable.

Also, if they were still using the 3.4L in 1994, you may be happier looking to the next year up or whenever the 3.8L was put in them. The 3.4L performs closer to a i4 than a v6, and the 3.8L is closer to the v8 than the typical v6 of the era. The v8 cars are where the fun truly is, but the 3.8L is definitely a respectable second. If performance isn't your thing, the 3.4L is a good and reliable engine, it's just not powerful, even at v6 levels. If that's not a problem, it's not a problem.

Good luck deciding what to do. ...just use your head. Plenty of v6/auto 'birds out there in nice condition for $2,000 and under. The market is flooded with them.
This car was my dad's a long while back, so it's completely free! He worked on it a few years ago but it seems like he gave up after taking a few things apart. He said the only reason he stopped using it was because there was an oil leak somewhere and he ended up making a few more problems trying to fix it. He's not very good with cars either so I don't have much luck on knowing exactly what's up with this thing. This one's more of a passion project to get my dad's old car back into shape more than anything. When I turn the key I feel no resistance and there is not a single sound other than the key moving, so I think that and getting the shifter organized are going to be my first steps after cleaning everything. Thank you for the advice!
 

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This car was my dad's a long while back, so it's completely free! He worked on it a few years ago but it seems like he gave up after taking a few things apart. He said the only reason he stopped using it was because there was an oil leak somewhere and he ended up making a few more problems trying to fix it. He's not very good with cars either so I don't have much luck on knowing exactly what's up with this thing. This one's more of a passion project to get my dad's old car back into shape more than anything. When I turn the key I feel no resistance and there is not a single sound other than the key moving, so I think that and getting the shifter organized are going to be my first steps after cleaning everything. Thank you for the advice!
I got mine completely free as well. I was lucky enough that mine was running (just barely) when I got it. I have been on the downhill side of the project for awhile now. There is just so much that needs done and so much more I want done. That is the beauty of having a project car though. I am really trying to get it put together so at the very least it will be drivable over the Winter and I can keep it running here or there. Good luck!
 
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