Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
5/12/21 12:21 p.m.

Had a couple minutes to scope out the transmission situation today. 

Ok, there's definitely a sizeable leak. But where is it coming from? Was it a pinhole in the pan? Let's clean that up a bit and take a look:

Well, it looks solid to me. I checked up and around, looking at all the lines and everything, and they seem fine as well. Then, I noticed this:

The gasket has swelled big time all around the pan, and it's the most oily here at the front corner. I'll drop the pan, replace the gasket, and hope for the best. If there is a pinhole, I can putty it for now until I can get my hands on a better pan. Been looking to upgrade the pan at some point anyway. 

Oh, and that ungodly grinding sound? Check this out:

I don't know why, but the exhaust now hits the driveshaft. I'll have to tweak this pipe to move out of the way, but I think I should be good after that. I also have an older Flowmaster American Thunder header-back system I could try, but I'm not sure it would be any better than this. I should be able to make some room by spinning the pipe or adding a hanger. Either way, this is a relief! 

SEADave Dork
5/12/21 1:03 p.m.

Awesome.  Nothing like an easy fix.   Hope to see this beast on the road again soon!

Stefan (Forum Supporter)
Stefan (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/12/21 1:16 p.m.

Huh, you get your Trans-Am running again and the east coast suffers a gas shortage.  Coincidence?  laugh

Seriously though, so glad you're making progress on this.  Congrats!

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
5/12/21 2:06 p.m.

I just had a BFH session with the exhaust. I can now fit a finger between the pipe and the driveshaft. Still closer than I'd like, but it will do for now.

Once I get this and the trans sorted out, I'm going to put it back on the road. Still needs A LOT of stuff even before I can reliably drive it, but it'll get there.

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
5/13/21 3:22 p.m.

On my lunch break today, I dropped the trans pan to replace that old gasket and to see if there are any chunks in there.

No chunks, but this is ugly!

There's most of the reason why it was leaking. Old cork gasket swelled up and broke in spots, mainly here.

But then there's all this gray goop. Not sure if it's from me abusing the hell out of it when I was younger, the fact that it had not been changed in 18 years, or because I bolted on a new converter and never changed the fluid after, but it was nasty. It was likely all of the above. I'm going to just pretend I didn't see that.

There, that's better.

The good news is that the inside of the trans was remarkably clean inside. Fluid also was not burned at all.

The 18 year old filter also didn't have any chunkies inside, so that's good.

I fired up the car, got it warm, and added fluid as needed. I plan on dropping it on the ground tonight for the first time in a decade and seeing if it shifts. I have the feeling like it's just going to fail spectacularly with parts shooting in all directions, but there's only one way to find out!

Dusterbd13-michael (Forum Supporter)
Dusterbd13-michael (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/13/21 3:38 p.m.

It'll be fine. If it worked before  it'll probably work now. 

Hood luck on driving around the neighborhood!!!

Norma66-Brent Reader
5/13/21 3:47 p.m.

You can't really break it worse. Send it!

GCrites80s HalfDork
5/13/21 7:50 p.m.

That goop is probably from 18 years of condensation on the same oil.

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
5/13/21 8:59 p.m.


After checking for leaks (there were none!) I dropped it on the ground for the first time in about a decade and DROVE IT to the top of the driveway. I filled the tires up and drove it down the street, and shockingly, back home. The brakes even worked and it sorta drove ok. All gears are present to boot! I am beyond pumped. 

This is the first time these tires have touched pavement in many years. 

There's still a ton of work to do before I feel safe driving it around, but it felt GREAT to putt it around. And most importantly, it's now mobile. There's something else that needs to occupy the "repair bay" in my driveway for a bit. wink

Dusterbd13-michael (Forum Supporter)
Dusterbd13-michael (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/13/21 9:01 p.m.


AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter)
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) Dork
5/13/21 10:55 p.m.

Great news and great looking car.  It needs to be driven so people can be exposed to cars from when looks were a thing :). 

SEADave Dork
5/14/21 12:08 a.m.
Tony Sestito said:

Everything about that is awesome!

ZOO (Forum Supporter)
ZOO (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
5/14/21 7:13 a.m.

I'm not even hating the Firechicken . . .  and I loathed them back in the day.  Nostalgia does weird stuff to the brain.

crankwalk (Forum Supporter)
crankwalk (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
5/14/21 8:54 a.m.


NOT A TA SuperDork
5/14/21 10:00 a.m.

Congrats! More progress!

Don't forget to cover it with some type of water shedding plastic tarp or put it in the garage WHERE IT BELONGS ahahaha.  Those leaks around the rear window etc. will allow the rust cancer to keep eating away while you're distracted by the other project.

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
5/14/21 11:26 a.m.

In reply to NOT A TA :

I plan on pulling the rear window and addressing that situation soon. Don't want it to get any worse. Also, most of the rear leaks are due to failed door weatherstripping. There's a sizeable gap between the window and the door frame. I have the door seals, but I need to repair the doors before I install them. 

The garage is another project in itself... laugh

NOT A TA SuperDork
5/14/21 11:37 a.m.

In reply to Tony Sestito :

As much as I'd like to see you keep working on the TA, repairing the rear window channel and associated rust along with fixing the door situation is probably going to take a lot of time. If you want to work on the other project this summer you'd probably be better off covering the TA and mostly ignoring it for a while. 

Dusterbd13-michael (Forum Supporter)
Dusterbd13-michael (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/14/21 12:53 p.m.

What is the other project? Or is the garage repair it?

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
5/15/21 7:32 a.m.

In reply to Dusterbd13-michael (Forum Supporter) :

I needed to free up the spot to work on the truck. Doing some big stuff to that that in the next few weeks. 

logdog (Forum Supporter)
logdog (Forum Supporter) UberDork
5/15/21 8:23 a.m.

Nothing beats that feeling of a first test drive!

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
9/20/21 11:37 a.m.

It's been a while since I updated this thread, due to my other vehicle from 1979 getting all the attention this summer. I didn't forget about the car!

With things settling down with the Power Wagon, I decided to see if the Trans Am would start after sitting in the same spot since May. The battery needed a bit of a boost, but after that, the ol' bird started right up and settled into an idle. No leaks, no weirdness, nothing. Awesome. I'm looking at getting this thing back on the road either this fall or next spring, so I started looking at what I need to get that done. One area of concern is the interior and the seats.

The interior is mostly removed right now due to the floor repairs, and I have my spare set of 2nd Gen Camaro seats in there so I can move the car around. I noticed yesterday that there was some standing water on the floors, so that's a concern. I know it's coming in through the door seals and somewhere up front in the cowl area as I've noted in the past, so I'll be hunting those leaks down and sealing them up. Other than that, it's the usual stuff, like brakes, tires, and all that.

Now... the seats. I've been waffling back and forth on what to do for a permanent fix for a long time. I have the Camaro seats as well as the original Deluxe seats that came in the car. Both need recovering, and the Deluxe seats probably need foam and a complete rebuild. Covers and foam (and pretty much all other interior soft parts) are hard to get and fetching ridiculous money right now.

Another option popped up recently: C6 Corvette seats. My dad's 2010 Corvette had an issue with the driver's seat where the hinge broke on the tilt mechanism. He went out and bought a new set of seats to replace them, and offered me the old ones. Passenger seat is fine, but the driver's seat needs a new upper frame, which is apparently a common issue with C6 seats. I can get the frame for between $150-200. They are comfortable seats, should fit inside the car well, and since it's a 3LT Vette, they have power adjustment, heat, and adjustable bolsters. I'm thinking that I can fix the seat over the winter and do the swap in the spring. Apparently, they are a near bolt-in affair, too with similar track dimensions. And I think I can even get red covers for them.

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
9/22/21 11:09 a.m.

...And it turns out that Corvette seat frame is actually about $400-500, if you can get one. It's made of plastic, too. Hinge areas are fiber-reinforced plastic, which is not great, and that's why they snap all the time. Not sure if it's worth it unless I can find that seat frame on the cheap.

Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
9/22/21 11:17 a.m.

Can you repair and reinforce the broken ones?

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
9/22/21 11:43 a.m.

In reply to Dusterbd13-michael :

The thought had crossed my mind, but I'm not sure if it's possible or safe to do that. They usually splinter and crumble apart, so I don't know if I could get it to be the same shape again. I could certainly try. Not sure what I could use as material to repair and reinforce it.

Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
9/22/21 12:23 p.m.

In reply to Tony Sestito :

If its frp, just use glass. It'll work essentially the same. Or, sheetmetal. 

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