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INNOVATIVE ENGINEERING

Of course, no new automobile in today’s highly competitive sporty car market is likely to make it on good looks and structural integrity alone, Fortunately, Pontiac not only has the best design staff in the business, but the best mechanical engineers as well.   

In addition to state-of-the-industry design and quality construction, fit and finish, the objective for the '82 "F" car program was to achieve the highest level of handling and performance—together with much-improved ride and interior comfort—despite the fact that the new "F" would be smaller and considerably lighter than previous models. A final and all-important objective, and perhaps the engineers' greatest challenge, was to package all of these "road-car" attributes into a sporty automobile that would deliver "real world" fuel economy.

Of course, the 1982 "F" car program objectives were  achieved...and the results will be a shot in the arm for all those American driving enthusiasts who had begun to question their confidence in good old Yankee ingenuity!

1982 Firebird mechanical components include:

   A 2.5 liter Electronic-Fuel-Injected (EFI) L4 engine that develops 90 horsepower at 4000 rpm (see EFI Bulletin-1982 Phoenix Study Guide pages 4 and 5). Combining the high technology sophistication of EFI, with the rugged dependability of the proven, Pontiac-designed "Iron Duke" engine, results in a responsive power plant of predictable reliability and performance.

A stainless steel tubular exhaust manifold is used on Firebirds equipped with this engine. The manifold provides more efficient exhaust flow, faster preheat for inlet air during warm up and significant weight savings, and is the first volume usage of such a design within GM.

This engine is standard in the Firebird coupe .., a credit option in the SE...and not available in the Trans Am.

   A 2.8 liter 2-barrel V-6 engine that develops 102 horsepower at 5100 rpm is standard in the SE ... available in the coupe... and not available in the Trans Am.

   A 5.0 liter 4-barrel V-8 engine that develops 145 horsepower at 4000 rpm is standard in the Trans Am ... and available in both the coupe (only with automatic transmission) and the SE. (Heavier front springs are included when this engine is ordered in the coupe or SE.)

   A 5.0 liter Dual Throttle Body Injected (TBI) V-8 engine offers the ultimate in performance. Developing 165 horsepower at 4200 rpm, this engine will only be available on the Trans Am. (See the Trans Am section of this Study Guide for more details about this engine.)

   GM's Computer Command Control (C3) monitors the engine electronically, controlling the air/fuel ratio for proper exhaust emissions and efficient operation under all driving conditions. C3 is standard on all gasoline-powered GM automobiles.

  The exhaust pipe and transverse mounted muffler feature heat shields to protect the gas tank, while the catalytic converter has an upper shield for insulation of the passenger compartment ... and a lower shield for isolation from underbrush while the car is parked.

   A Muncie 4-speed manual transmission is standard with the 2.5 liter L4 and 2.8 liter V-6. It has a high 3,50:1 first gear ratio for quick acceleration and a 1:1 direct-drive fourth gear ratio for efficient highway operation. Combined with the EFI L4 engine's high torque at low rpm (132 (6 2800) and accompanying 3.42:1 axle ratio, the 0 to 60 time with this transmission is 145 seconds and the EPA estimates are 24 city/34 highway (same in CA, 24/35 without air conditioning in federal areas). With the V-6 engine and 3.23:1 axle ratio, the 0 to 60 time is 13.5 seconds and the fuel economy estimates are 20 city/32 highway (a 4-speed manual transmission is not available with the V-6 engine in California ).

   A heavy-duty Borg Warner 4-speed manual transmission is standard with the 5.0 liter 4-barrel V-8 engine with a 2.73:1 axle ratio. This powertrain gives 0 to 60 performance of 10 seconds with fuel economy estimates of 16 city/24 highway (            in CA). A 3.23 rear axle ratio is included when the special performance handling package is ordered. The 0 to 60 performance with this combination is 9.5 seconds

Both manual transmissions have been redesigned for simplicity and lighter weight and have a push down to reverse feature. A neutral start switch only allows the engine to be started when the transmission is in neutral. The Dual TBI V-8 engine is not available with a manual transmission.

   A 3-speed automatic transmission is available for all models and features a torque converter clutch that locks into direct-drive at highway speeds to eliminate internal slippage. This transmission features a cable parking lock system that mechanically locks the transmission lever in park when the keys are removed. for safety and security. With the EFI L4 engine and 3.08:1 axle ratio, the 0 to 60 time is 16 seconds and the EPA fuel economy estimates are 23 city/35 highway (same in CA).

With the V-6 engine and 3.08:1 axle ratio, the 0 to 60 time is 145 seconds and the fuel economy estimates are 20 city/32 highway (19/31 in CA). With the V-8 engine and 2.73:1 axle ratio, 0 to 60 performance is 10.5 seconds and fuel economy estimates are 17 city/23 highway (17/24 in CA). When the special performance handling package is ordered with this powertrain, higher, 3.23 rear axle ratio is included. The 0 to 6: performance with this combination is 10 seconds With the Dual TBI V-8 engine and 2,93:1 axle ratio, 0 to 60 performance is 9.0 seconds and fuel economy estimates are 16 city/24 highway.

NOTE: The preceding axle ratios are those standard with each particular powertrain/suspension specified For higher performance     with an accompanying reduction in fuel economy—a 3.23:1 axle ratio is available with the Dual TBI 5.0 liter engine. 0 to 60 performance with this combination is 8 seconds.

   The 16 gallon steel fuel tank is mounted to the underbody between the rear axle and cargo area and features anti-squeak strips that eliminate body to tank contact. The tank also features an interior baffle to lower splashing noise and reduce sudden weight transfer. A plastic shield secured to the wheelhouse inner panel protects the filler pipe from mud, salt and stone damage, with the standard powertrain, the Firebird's cruising range is 384 miles city and 544 miles highway.

   A modified MacPherson strut front suspension represents the first application of a MacPherson strut in a rear-wheel-drive automobile for General Motors. The major difference between the Firebird's and a typical MacPherson strut is that the shock absorber and coil spring are not assembled as one unit (see diagram). The shock extends from the lower control arm into the strut tower as usual ... but the spring is mounted between the lower control arm and the engine compartment cross member in a position to one side of the shock. The Firebird's struts (shock absorbers) were specifically designed with twenty percent higher stiffness to provide firm, responsive handling. Low friction, ball bearing upper strut mounts and positive caster design result in improved on-center feel for down the road directional stability. The upper strut mount also has an adjustment provision for fine-tuning front end alignment.

Besides providing the exceptional ride and handling benefits of an independent front suspension, the system's elimination of the upper control arm provides more usable space in the engine compartment for improved serviceability...and allows lower mounting of the engine for a low, aerodynamic front end.

   An innovative torque arm/track bar coil spring rear suspension replaces the leaf spring configuration of last year (see diagram). The new torque arm (a) extends parallel and to one side of the drive shaft secured at the rear to a special axle mounting and at the front with a cushioned slip joint (b) to the transmission housing. This high-strength steel member controls front-to-rear twisting forces that occur during acceleration and braking and on rough, bumpy roads, to give the Firebird good tensional rigidity for a firm, stable ride.

The full-width track bar (c) is mounted parallel to and behind the rear axle for maximum space utilization. Secured at one end to the body and the other to the axle, this unit absorbs side-to-side weight transfer during cornering for secure, responsive handling.

   There are three suspension levels available.

The level I suspension is standard on the Firebird coupe. It features: a 27mm front stabilizer bar (29mm with optional engines), 15.1 steering gear ratio, 14"x6" steel wheels and P195/75R14 glass-belted blackwall radial tires.

The level II suspension is standard on both the Trans Am and SE and available on the coupe. It features: a 30mm front stabilizer bar, 14:1 steering gear ratio, heavier front springs, a 12mm rear stabilizer bar (d), 14"x7" cast aluminum wheels and P205/70R14 low-profile steel-belted blackwall radial tires.

The level Ill suspension is a special performance handling package (option WS6) available on the Trans Am and SE. It includes: a 32mm front stabilizer bar, specific "quick" 12.7:1 steering ratio, heavier springs, shocks and bushings, 17mm rear stabilizer bar (with the V-6 engine, 21mm with the V-8), 4-wheel power disc brakes. a limited-slip differential, 15"x7" cast aluminum wheels P215/65R15 low profile, steel-belted blackwall radial tires and special "stowaway' inflatable spare tire. This suspension package is required when the Dual TBI V-8 is ordered.

   A smooth, isolated ride is achieved a number of ways, beginning with the new full coil suspension. The metric designed coil springs feature insulator pads (e) at the top and bottom that stop spring jounce. A special retainer (f) is bonded to the insulator and keeps the spring in its proper position as it flexes. The torque arm features vibration isolators where it attaches to other components, as do the front and rear stabilizer bars, the lower control arms and the transmission housing. Even the engine is mounted on rubber cushions to isolate engine vibration from the passengers and road shock from the engine all in an effort to assure a Firebird ride that is uniform, quiet and smooth.

  The tires are automatically match-mounted to the wheels at the assembly plant. This process matches the stiffest part of the tire, or "high spot" to the valve stem hole or "low spot' of the wheel. The result is more precise tire balancing and a smoother ride.

  The compact spare tire is mounted on a high-strength steel wheel for optimal cargo space and light weight, and features a 3,000 mile road life.

  Power steering is standard and features an Acme worm gear design with a 15:1 steering gear ratio (recirculating ball design with a 14:1 ratio is standard with the Trans Am and SE). The curb-to-curb turning diameter of 36.7 feet, together with the effortless response of power assist, will make parking and maneuvering the Firebird simple and easy.

NOTE: An Acme worm steering gear is much like a recirculating ball steering gear without the ball bearings. The simpler design of a worm-type gear results in a lower component cost.

   Power front disc/rear drum brakes have a low drag design that eliminates friction between the pad and disc when the brakes are not in use, to maximize fuel economy. A quick-take-up (QTU) master cylinder reduces brake pedal travel for quicker brake response and better pedal "feel." The system features semi-metallic brake pad linings front and rear for long life... and vented rotors and finned drums that dissipate heat quickly, for reliable braking even under extreme conditions, Finally, the system is diagonally split front-to-rear, so that either side can stop the car independently.

  A 4-wheel power disc brake option is available on the Trans Am and SE (standard with the special performance handling package) for an absolute degree of braking effectiveness. With a low drag design at both the front and rear (g), fuel economy is accentuated.

  The parking brake is hand-operated and is located in the console for convenient, driver-oriented operation.

  The lightweight Delco-GM Freedom II battery is permanently sealed, requires no maintenance and features a charge condition indicator on top.

  The Delco Remy High-Energy Ignition system delivers a substantially higher secondary voltage (35,000 volts) which prolongs spark plug life and allows the burning of leaner air/fuel mixtures.

  A Delcotron 42 amp generator with built-in solid-state regulator provides optimal battery recharge for normally anticipated electrical loads ... and integrates these two typically separate components to offer the most effective utilization of space in the engine compartment.

-The 1982 Firebird Book, 11/81