Knight of the Phoenix

Jesus Freak

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A couple weeks ago I went and bought another Firebird for my wife (really it's for her, I can't fit in it. I don't know how Hasslehoff did it except he got paid $1500 a day). It's a 91 GTA and it will be her new KITT. Of course I didn't get a running car but it was supposed to be in better shape than what was advertised but I had driven 300 miles to Atlanta so there was no way I was driving 300 more miles back home without a car. I paid too much, but it's an extremely solid body and all defects can be cured. I'll make individual post for the defects and use this post as the new KITTs introduction.

Her original KITT was really rough, but I bought and fixed it on the cheap to make sure my wife would really enjoy driving a sports car. She did really like it, so I decided to get a better one than try to fix the one we have. The original one is a T top formula, it leaks like the dickens. I've done new gaskets, silicone, and we still have to tarp it and she can only drive it on sunny days. But sunny days are a problem because it becomes a greenhouse and the AC doors won't work correctly, so even though it blows cold air it blows in the wrong places! As well as the floorboards are mostly rusted out and there's a bunch of Bondo and I can show you the seam where it's two different cars put together.

The new KITT is a hard top. It does have surface rust where the paint is cooked, but the underbody is rust free and really solid. AC blows cold where you tell it to and all are happy.
 

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Jesus Freak

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The new KITT was supposed to crank up and run, but not shift out of first. I got there and........it wouldn't crank up........ wouldn't even click or spin over. I got from him that he had a new key made weeks prior so I knew what was up. It was the STUPID Chevy VATS thing. Look it up, it's stupid. But I now had leverage to negotiate, not much but some. I was 300 miles from home, I wasn't leaving without a car. Anyway got it home, bypassed VATS(stupid!) and she runs like a top. And sure nuff, no shift. I'll get to the tranny in the next post but I want to tell you about this on this post:

Pontiac flipum up lights are obnoxious. They do all this spinning and clicking and clicking and spinning. Our original KITT does it too, but I actually looked it up on how to fix them and guess what I saw! Something VERY familiar to us Ford guys, and it's probably why I couldn't find out what was obvious to a Ford guy but would completely elude a GM guy no matter how I googled it. The motors that run Pontiac headlights use the same type of mechanism as our window regulator motors. Though I'm not an avid picture taker I did take pictures of that. I even had a Ford window gear to lay next to the Pontiac one for comparison. A few years back I bought a 100 pack of those plugs, so if anyone of y'all are coming through Crestview and have Ford window issues or Pontiac headlight problems, I can fix you up.
 

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Jesus Freak

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Now my transmission issue:

It's a 91 so it's still a 700R4, though they were calling them 4L60's at this time. It will be couple more years before they get the "E" designation and become electronically shifted. At first it was obvious that it was either the governor or the TV. So I tried this and that, pulled the governor, moved the TV adjustment, etc., etc., Concluded that the TV was definitely stuck, but would like to know if the tranny is legit otherwise. So I finally found a recommendation to pull the springs out of the governor and block the little wings out with a piece of rubber hose. So I did that and got it to shift. Of course it shifted crappy, but I could feel the different gears and they were strong.

Now I've pulled the valve body and checked it out, it's really tough to say that the TV was stuck though it had to be. It would only take a nanoparticle to stop it and as soon as you touch the valve with a pick the particle disentigrates.

But anyway, the pan is off the valve body is out there's no chunks of stuff in the pan. The fluid is red/brownish, not burnt. I've ordered gaskets and a "transgo TV kit". It's a much improved TV with springs on both sides to make it impossible to stick (which seems to be the 700R4 issue). I'm not a fan of changing the fluid in a automatic transmission, but it looks like I have to on this. Oh well.

So my question is this: I've googled it to death and the answers are all over the place and the videos are impossible, so I'm bringing it to the table for you, my trusted friends at Oil Burners.

Check balls...... I have 8 of them plus 2 that are encased in the tranny itself. I've got a factory schematic of where the 8 go. Apparently I can leave some out, I used to do that in high school to hop up THM350s, but I don't want performance stuff I just want reliable for the wife. If I can leave some out to improve things I'd be glad to, but if the concensus if leave it be I'll leave it be. If y'all have any thoughts, let me know. I'm going to post the factory schematic of y'all want to point out which check balls to change.
 

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Jesus Freak

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Oh yeah, because @XOLATEM and @Nero are scouring the previous post in this thread looking for cupholders, this is actually a firebird model that had cupholders. Note the word "had", it now officially has A cupholder. They put them in the door panel and the passenger side one is MIA. I'll try to take pictures at some point. I'm not sure that the 3rd gen Camaros got cupholders, but some of the firebirds did apperantly.
 

XOLATEM

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If you are sure that info you have is for the unit you have...(that the unit is truly a '90 and up but not an 'E'..) I would not leave out any check balls unless you want to have to R-n-R the valvebody again after the first time...the only one that I see that could be left out in the past would be #91 copper flash....but what it does is a failsafe function...

If your kickdown/throttle pressure cable comes loose or is 'way out of adjustment...it keeps you from smoking the clutches from low main line pressure under high load...

If your cable is adjusted right and your mousetrap linkage is working properly then the #91 copper flash ball (which is larger that the other 1/4" balls) will be propped up off of its seat and not blocking any fluid drainage. Make sure your mousetrap linkage has the little post that unseats the ball...some earlier models did not have the post...

I am not a fan of leaving out check balls unless instucted to with a shift kit...but then...'they' have a good reason...and have compensated for it in another way...

The other ball that people left out would be the one that partially blocks the feed for the Low and Reverse clutch...but I would not do that unless you want a harsh reverse engagement...that would be the ball in the #106 capsule...if the ball is 'sunk' in the capsule to the point that reverse fluid is overly restricted...I would take a little needle file and enlarge the hole a bit.

as an aside...did you know that the earlier camaros...(camaro is an Indian word for 'fill this fuel-hungry sucker up again'...) starting at about 1975...the catalytic convertor got so hot that they would burn the floorpan carpet...? You are sitting at a traffic light and the carpet starts smoking....

Wishing you success in your endeavors...anyone that is gutsy enough to tackle a transmission has to be as nutty as I am...Brother-man...
 

Jesus Freak

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Wishing you success in your endeavors...anyone that is gutsy enough to tackle a transmission has to be as nutty as I am...Brother-man...
I think automatic transmissions are a lot less scary than engine building. I haven't been in one in over 20yrs, in high school I always smelled like burnt tranny fluid.

Anyway thanks for the confirmation on the check balls. It does have the little stick to bump the brass ball up. And I tried all sorts of stuff before i absolutely dropped the pan. Moved the TV all around, nailed it in reverse because the line pressure gets higher and will sometimes unstick valves. Parts should be here in the next couple days.
 

Jesus Freak

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I got the TV kit today. The gaskets will be here tomorrow and maybe I'll have time to finish it.

But I wanted to show y'all the upgraded TV compared to the old one. It has a spring on the back side that makes it almost impossible to stick as well as some grooves in the lands so as to flush out any possible debris.

Some of the instructions are funny, "it's okay"-Gil...... like we know "good Ole Gil" and he knows what's up. I thought the kit was just for the TV, but it had a couple other improvements. One of which involves pulling the pump.........uhhhhh ......not this go around. But it also had diagrams for the check balls as well thus confirming that I should leave it as is, if it was a different year it recommends some drilling and such.

If I remember correctly, 1987 was the "transition" crappy year for 700R4 and these last generation 700R4s are the good ones. Then they screw them up by making them electronic. I can't remember it all, oh well, I'm no Chebby guy, but I sure used to be a automatic transmission guy! And BOY HOWDY, smelling old tranny fluid takes me back. It's a long story, but working on transmissions more or less brought my wife, then girlfriend, and me together. I built the C4 or 5(same thing basically) for her 84 T-bird in automotive class. I could go on but here I am again..... working on her transmission, that's love right there......I don't care how you slice it.
 

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Jesus Freak

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Welp, I got it all back together this evening......... and nothing. So, I guess the TV stuck on the previous owner and they drove it enough to toast it or maybe I toasted it running up and down the driveway trying to unstick it, no worries. So next week I'll be swapping trannys with the old KITT. I'm going to set this other 700R4 to the side to rebuild at a later date. Good times. While I was Testing it this evening the car graciously decided to let me know that it wants another heater core as well........ wasn't that nice!
 

Jesus Freak

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Slammed out the tranny over the last few days in the evenings. Got the new tires on the rims. Put a new heater core in it. And test drove it. The power seemed incorrect, almost like a miss but not quite. I checked the plug wires and they were right, checked the timing and it was off by 10-12°. So I set it correctly, the previous owner probably didn't unplug the thingamajig before he did the timing, so the ECM was adjusting with him.
 

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Jesus Freak

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These "third gen" firebird/camaros have special rims. The front has a different offset then the back. Our old KITT has Camaro rims and the offset tactfully hidden, but Pontiac made it obvious and kinda wonky. I guess the actual hubs are a bit narrower on the front and the rims compensate with the deeper offset. I took pictures and you can see the fronts are about 1.75in of space between the gold web and the valvestem and the rear is about an inch. The tires I got were directional and the rims are front/back specific.......... definitely wouldn't leave this in the hands of a tire shop......lol!
 

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Jesus Freak

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So the great thing about all this is that now the new KITT officially answers "YES" to the big 4!

#1- Is it cool?-Yes
#2- Does it run?-Yes
#3- Does it go?- Yes
#4- Will it stop?- Yes

Now my wife has a car that she can enjoy, no matter the weather. I'll get around to making it more "KITT like" eventually, but since it makes the big 4 my next move is the wheel lift on my tow truck.........stay tuned! For more adventures of........the Knight Rider......one man can make a difference! But more importantly, one MAN DID make a difference! For in one man, Adam, all were made sinners, by the righteousness of ONE MAN, JESUS CHRIST, we can all be made righteous! For more information, feel free to hit me up!

Keep on TRUCKIN' Oil Burners!
 

Jesus Freak

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The old KITT is stripped to nothing. Our joke is that we ask if this is a "season premiere rebuild"? Or is the old KITT really KARR?
 

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Jesus Freak

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Here's a couple pictures of how the Camaro rims are more discreet about the offset. And you can see they're labeled front and back. The Pontiac rims are labeled on the back of the rims.
 

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