GM Firebird 1967-1981 Repair Guide

Engine

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OIL LEVEL CHECK



See Figures 1 through 6

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Fig. Fig. 1: Pull the dipstick out of its tube and look at the oil level on the end



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Fig. Fig. 2: The oil level should fall between the 2 marks on the dipstick add oil if it does not



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Fig. Fig. 3: On early 8-cylinder engines, the oil dipstick is located on the right side of the engine



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Fig. Fig. 4: Although the dipstick marks may be different, read them in the same manner as later models



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Fig. Fig. 5: To add oil to the engine, remove the oil fill cap ...



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Fig. Fig. 6: ... and, checking the level often, pour the specified amount and type of oil into the engine

Every time you stop for fuel, check the engine oil as follows:

  1. Make sure the car is parked on level ground.
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  3. When checking the oil level it is best for the engine to be at normal operating temperature, although checking the oil immediately after stopping will lead to a false reading. Wait a few minutes after turning the engine OFF to allow the oil to drain back into the crankcase.
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  5. Open the hood and locate the dipstick, which will be on either the right or left side depending upon your particular engine. (Generally, the V8 dipstick is on the left side of the engine block and the six cylinder dipstick is on the right). Pull the dipstick from its tube, wipe it clean and reinsert it.
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  7. Pull the dipstick out again and, holding it horizontally, read the oil level. The oil should be between the "FULL" and "ADD" marks on the dipstick. If the oil is below the "ADD" mark, add oil of the proper viscosity through the capped opening in the top of the cylinder head cover. See the "Oil and Fuel Recommendations" chart in this section for the proper viscosity and rating of oil to use.
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  9. Replace the dipstick and check the oil level again after adding any oil. Be careful not to overfill the crankcase. Approximately one quart of oil will raise the level from the "ADD" mark to the "FULL" mark. Excess oil will generally be consumed at an accelerated rate.
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OIL & FILTER CHANGE



Non-Turbo Models

See Figures 7 through 14

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Fig. Fig. 7: With the engine at normal operating temperature, loosen the oil pan drain plug ...



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Fig. Fig. 8: ... then remove the plug quickly, so that none of the hot oil gets on your fingers



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Fig. Fig. 9: Allow the oil pan to drain completely before installing the drain plug



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Fig. Fig. 10: Use a strap wrench to loosen the old oil filter



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Fig. Fig. 11: Once it is loose, allow some of the oil to drain into the catch pan



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Fig. Fig. 12: Carefully lower the filter (remember that it is filled with about a quart of hot, dirty engine oil) ...



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Fig. Fig. 13: ... then pour the oil from the filter into the catch pan and dispose of the old filter appropriately



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Fig. Fig. 14: Before installing a new oil filter, lightly coat the rubber gasket with clean oil

The oil should be changed every 4 months or 6,000 miles on all 1967-74 Firebirds. On 1975-78 models, the interval is 6 months or 7,500 miles. 1979 and later models increased the time interval to 12 months while keeping the mileage (7,500) the same. Make sure that you change the oil based on whichever interval comes first.

The oil drain plug is located on the bottom of the oil pan (bottom of the engine, underneath the car). The oil filter is located on the left side of the engine on all but the inline six cylinder engine, where it is on the right side.

The mileage figures given are the Pontiac recommended intervals assuming normal driving and conditions. If your car is used under dusty, polluted or off-road conditions, change the oil and filter more often than specified. The same goes for cars driven in stop-and-go traffic or only for short distances at a time. Always drain the engine oil after the engine has been running long enough to bring it up to normal operating temperature. Hot oil will flow easier and more contaminants will be removed along with the oil than if it were drained cold. To change the oil and filter:

  1. Run the engine until it reaches normal operating temperature.
  2.  
  3. Jack up the front of the car and support it on safety stands.
  4.  
  5. Slide a drain pan of at least 6 quarts capacity under the oil pan.
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  7. Loosen the drain plug. Turn the plug out by hand. By keeping an inward pressure on the plug as you unscrew it, oil won't escape past the threads and you can remove it without being burned by hot oil.
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  9. Allow the oil to drain completely and install the drain plug. Don't overtighten the plug, or you'll be buying a new pan or a trick replacement plug for stripped threads.
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  11. Using a strap wrench, remove the oil filter. Keep in mind that it's holding about one quart of dirty, hot oil. (See following procedure for the Turbo).
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  13. Empty the old filter into the drain pan and dispose of the filter.
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  15. Using a clean rag, wipe off the filter adapter on the engine block. Be sure that the rag doesn't leave any lint which could clog an oil passage.
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  17. Coat the rubber gasket on the filter with fresh oil. Spin it onto the engine by hand; when the gasket touches the adapter surface give it another 1 / 2 - 3 / 4 turn. No more, or you'll squash the gasket and it will leak.
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  19. Refill the engine with the correct amount of fresh oil. Refer to the "Capacities" chart.
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  21. Check the oil level on the dipstick. It is normal for the level to be a bit above the full mark. Start the engine and allow it to idle for a few minutes.
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CAUTION
Do not run the engine above idle speed until it has built up oil pressure, indicated when the oil light goes out.

  1. Shut off the engine, allow the oil to drain for a minute, and check the oil level. Check around the filter and drain plug for any leaks, and correct as necessary.
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Turbo Models

Due to the extra brackets and a unique exhaust pipe routing, the procedure for changing the oil filter on the Turbo is slightly different from that of other models.

  1. Drain the oil as detailed earlier in this section.
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  3. Loosen both ends of the right-hand frame reinforcement.
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  5. Remove one bolt so that one side of the reinforcement can hang down.
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  7. Unscrew the oil filter and remove it by sliding it between the turbocharger outlet pipe and the frame of the car.
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  9. Installation is in the reverse order of removal.
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