Z28 or not?

Francesco

Veteran Member
I got that documentation back in 2015. Learned a few things about my '74z28 that I didn't know before. Believe me, if you have any GM car either built in Canada or directly imported into Canada the documentation is well worth the money and time to secure that information.

Yes it is! What if i check, on the form, the option where they do research
Most welcome, glad you got the info and have your package coming to you, boy, did the prices go up Eh!!

Here's one sheet I got with my package, shows only 8% (178) of the total Z28 production (2,575) units in 1972 came to Canada.

But, looks like the Canadians favored the M22 trans as it made up almost 1/3 rd of the total Z sales, guess we didn't mind the gear noise LOL.
View attachment 128335

Wow...Cool! On the form there is also another interesting option where you can check the box where they do research on the car before importation. Its the 1977 and newer cars built in the US. Its an extra 73 dollars to do the search. In total, its 198$ for the papers. Yes!! Prices have gone up but its really worth it. You get alot of info! This in my opinion adds value to the car. Cant wait to read on this!
 

mallard

Veteran Member
Oct 3, 2013
1,735
SK, Canada
Sure wish that was/is available here in the US.

Unless your second gen was sold new in Canada then yes, you won't have that vintage GM service available to you as no second gens were built in Canada. However, if you own a GM car that was originally built in Canada and sold new in the US, then that service does apply to you.
 

biker

Veteran Member
Gold Member
Dec 7, 2014
4,687
Canada
Contact GM Heritage in Oshawa. I got my GM importation package from them, cost me 48$ at the time, Nov. 2005. GM kept many of the importation records

Number to call is 888-467-6853, or 905-440-7636 Mon-fri EST.

Email was - [email protected]

Or at least this was the information back in 2005. Good luck.
Thanks G! I just emailed George.
 

Gary S

Administrator
Lifetime Gold Member
Apr 14, 1999
24,419
Bismarck, North Dakota
Unless your second gen was sold new in Canada then yes, you won't have that vintage GM service available to you as no second gens were built in Canada. However, if you own a GM car that was originally built in Canada and sold new in the US, then that service does apply to you.

Sadly that won't apply to Second Gen Camaros because none of them were built in Canada.
 

mark e rushton

New Member
Mar 5, 2021
5
Fredericton, NB Canada
After seaching for awhile for a decent camaro to play with I found one. 1978 Z28, Has all the correct exterior components..hood, fenders, wheels and interior badges, gauges but now having doubts its a real Z, also has T-tops but trim tag says hard top. Was the t top code on the trim tag? other wise im happy with he car, minimal rust interior great shape, built 400 small block.. According to trim tag built in Norwood, I payed $9000
Have a look at the rubber bumper stops on the front lower control arms...if they have a 1/2" spacer under them then its a Z28
 

FS87LT

Member
Apr 3, 2010
45
DFW, TX
Until the IROC-Z cars, the "Z/28" was and had been an option, not reflected in the VIN. The automatic-equipped cars all had 350 LM-1 motors, but some could also have 305s in them. In any event, the engine was reflected in the VIN.

There were several tell-tale signs of a Z/28. One is tire size, as evidenced on the tire pressure decal. ALL Z/28s, from day one, were the ONLY Camaros to wear 15" wheels and tires from the factory. Seems like the '78 cars had GR70-15 Goodyears on them, or P225/70R-15 P-metric sizes. Usually Goodyear or Uniroyal (1979).

The OTHER not-normally looked for item is what keeps the larger diameter 15" tires from hitting the fender lip in turns and dips (at the same time). There should be an alunimum 1/4" spacer UNDER the lower control arm bumper. Specific to ALL Z/28s since day one, too. Similarly, the lower control arm bumper has a longer stud to acconodate the taller build stack of the spacer and bumper. ALL verifiable in the Chevy parts book, but not usually supported in the aftermarket (even IF the listing in the vendor catalogs also lists "Z/28" as one of the vehicles their bumper fits).

In the Second Gen cars, as the first gen cars, the tack's orange and red lines are specific to the engine the car left the factory with. Also verified by the Chevy parts books.

To dig deeper, it can get a little trickier. Special springs for the Z/28s, front and rear, which would have adhesive paper tags from the factory attached to them. Some of these items might not have survived this long, though. The rear spring shackle bushings for Z/28s were also of stiffer rubber, although they have the same casting number. There is a specific paint daub to identify the Z/28 items, if that survived, too. The non-Z/28 bushings can be easily compressed when out of the spring with finger pressure. The Z/28 items are harder to compress with the same force, usually not closing the hole nearly as easily. In later years, the Chevy parts book listed only one bushing. When I ordered some for a customer, they had the correct Z/28 paint daub but the non-Z/28 casting number. When I called ParTech about this, they advised that the harder rubber item has superceded the softer rubber item. I suspect that if any generic replacements are found, they will be the harder rubber rather than the spongier rubber of the non-Z/28 item.

The Z/28s also had different (HD) shocks, also identified by paper tags.

Sway bars? The normal Camaro and F-41 bar is 1" diameter. The Z/28 front bar is 1.25", like the TransAms are. The F-41 and rear Z/28 bar should be .562" diameter, whereas the TA WS-6/7 rear bar is .75" (a bolt-in upgrade with the appropriate bushings!). From my experiences, it is impossible to follow the Chevy parts book on adding the 1.25" front bar where the 1.0" was originally. Why? Chevy only listed ONE front sway bar bushing to cover all Camaros. NO WAY that specified bushing will wrap around the 1.25" bar. I know, I tried it! But getting the Firebird front bar braekts and bushings slides right on!

Export Z/28s, about 1979 or so, list different rear brake shoes than non-export models. Further research indicates that export model had 11x2 rear brakes, same as the 1977 MonteCarlo. All others were the normal 9.5" rear brakes. GM being what GM is, the front calipers also accomodate the 1977 Nova COPO front disc brake pads, which also fit later Cadillac Livery Service cars. A full-metallic pad that works well (quiet, no cold weather issues, etc.). With the 11x2 rear brakes, the car stops and has "pedal at the top" like it should, to me. That's what is on my '77 LT. AND they last a long time, too. I did those upgrades well before anybody else knew about them, like the middle 1980s when 4-whl disc brakes were "the thing". The same 11x2 rear brakes also carry on into the 1980s Caprice police cars, too. With an interesting aspect of the backing plates.

On the Camaros and Monte Carlos, the main parking brake cable splits into two cables which enter the backing plates from the front, as the 9.5" brake cables do. For the 1980s Caprices, they use two cables, too, but one goes to the front of the lh rear brake and the other cables snakes around the rear axle to enter the backing plate from the rear. Which means that both backing plates are the same. In reality, the backing plates are the same stamping, just where the holes for the cable entries are drilled makes them rh or lh, or both are drilled for lh use so the rh cable enters from the rear.

All 1977+ Z/28 automatics had 3.42 rear axle ratios as the 4-speed manual Z/28s had 3.73 rear axle ratio. G80 PosiTraction was optional on either one, plus normal Camaro rear axle ratios. The speedometer gear combination in the transmission will reflect these axle ratios/tire sizes, too.

In the VIN, you had base Camaro + FQ or FS (trim option) + engine code. Most Z/28s I saw were of the base model interior trim, back then. Not sure if the TypeLT trim could be combined with Z/28, though. Don't recall anything like that in the Dealer Order Guide or other literature. Certainly not the Rally Sport decal options, which would have conflicted with the Z/28 factory stripes. There should be a decode chart for the VIN in the back of this website, as I recall.

Although the exhaust system might have been changed, the Z/28 system split behind the cat converter, with two resonators going to individual tail pipes. Rather than the single, cross-flow muffler behind the rear axle.

ONE other thing my friend's 1978 Z/28 had was a factory ratchet shifter for the THM350 transmission. IF the plastic slide around the shifter lever has a horizontal slot in it, so the shifter will move to the right, it has the ratchet shifter. If no slot, just a normal automatic trans console shifter.

Put the lever in "1", as you do the manual upshift to "2", push forward and laterally at the same time, ending up at about 2 o'clock angle. The shifter lever will stop at "2", not going any farther until you move the lever back to where it normally would be, then cycle-repeat to get to "D" and no farther. As it turns out, my '77 LT came with it, as possibly many other Camaros did too. I knew the shift lever would move laterally, but did not know why until my friend showed me on his '78 Z/28. By comparison, another friend's '77 TA shifter had no slot and no ratchet action. Seems to be a Chevy-only item from what I found in the parts book. Seems like '79 might be the last year for that part number, too?

Just as in searching for verification of "Z/28" or not, you have to look at the little things which normally would not be changed as the car might have been worked on or maintenanced. On the Gen I Z/28s, I determined that the tire pressure decal on the inside of the glove box door, for 15" tires was "it". Until I also discovered and tracked the use of the alunimum lower control arm bumper spacer as "Z/28 only", too. These same two items will work for the Gen 2 cars also, plus decoding the VIN for engine size.

Hope this might help,
FS87Lt
 

RS79

Member
May 21, 2001
31
Blandford Ma.
The first thing I would do is look for things that somebody who was cloning a 79 Z28 probably would not bother to change that are visible.

Obviously they would add the ground effects and decals, maybe lower the gear ratio but look for other things. 4-speed car? Crawl underneath and determine if it has a Saganaw or T-10. Non Z-28’s came with the transverse muffler, any signs of those hanger locations? The Z-28 came with a larger drive shaft. Are those fender louvers original? Any signs of hacking the fenders to install? Look at the steering wheel, the Z28 had a fatter rope simulated wheel with a Z28 logo on the horn button.

Just a few suggestions on things that may not have been swapped out. But if someone was ambitious and clever enough there may be no way to tell without the VIN and build sheet.
 




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