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General FAQ: General F-Body Information

What are the GM customer service phone numbers?
Where can I get authentication documents and information for my car?
Where can I get GM original parts catalogs?
Are Technical Service Bulletins (TSBs) available on-line?
Will installing aftermarket parts void my warranty?
What is the difference between Net and Gross horsepower?
What is wrong if my car refuses to turn over or even crank?
How can I keep my car from being stolen?
Are there any car ramps which won't scrape my lower air dam/valance?

What are the GM customer service phone numbers?

Pontiac: 1-800-762-2737 and Chevy: 1-800-222-1020. These numbers can put you in touch with people who can give you information, take complaints, and find out the status of your order.

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Where can I get authentication documents and information for my car?

If you have a Pontiac, send your VIN and $35 to Pontiac Historic Services, P.O. Box 884, Sterling Heights, MI 48311-0884. They'll provide a copy of the window sticker and other info regarding your car. If you have a Chevy which was built in Canada, then call 1-800-263-3830 and ask for the Vintage Department. They charge $45 for the information. As for US Chevys, while there is currently no "official" service which provides such information, a company called AAA Enterprises (317-875-7635) can possibly get you a copy of your window sticker. If you know the name of the original owner and the dealership he or she purchased it through, call that dealership, give them the original owner's name. They should have a file with the original invoice Get a copy of the invoice and you can send it to AAA. They will get you a very close-to-original window sticker. Also, you can give AAA your VIN and every available option down to floor mats, and they will produce a window sticker from that info. It may not be exactly the same as the original, but it's close. AAA provides this for Pontiacs, too.

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Where can I get GM original parts catalogs?

To obtain an order form for parts catalogs, contact:

     GM Photographic
     Publication Processing Center
     31752 Enterprise Drive
     Livonia, MI  48150

The printed parts books have been discontinued since 1993. To get this information on microfiche, contact:

     Bell & Howell Publications Systems Company
     General Motors Representative
     1909 Old Mansfield Road
     Wooster, OH 44691-9050
     800-221-5362 (voice)
     216-264-6616 (fax)
Here are a few examples on fiche:
     11  Chevrolet Passenger Parts & Illus. Catalog - 1965-1975  $10.00
     20  Pontiac   Passenger Parts & Illus. Catalog - 1965-1975  $10.00
     10  Chevrolet Passenger Parts & Illus. Catalog - 1976-1981  $10.00
     21  Pontiac   Passenger Parts & Illus. Catalog - 1976-1981  $10.00
     17F Chevrolet "F" Car   Parts & Illus. Catalog - 1982-1992  $12.00
     22F Pontiac   "F" Car   Parts & Illus. Catalog - 1982-1992  $12.00
     18F Chevrolet "F" Car   Parts & Illus. Catalog - 1993-1995   $5.00
     25F Chevrolet "F" Car   Parts & Illus. Catalog - 1993-1995   $5.00
     89A GM Standard parts, maint. products and Label Catalog     $6.00

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Are Technical Service Bulletins (TSBs) available on-line?

One supplier of TSBs and repair manuals on CD-ROM is a company called AllData. CDs are released on a quarterly basis. For those of you with a WWW browser, AllData is on the Net:


Those of you who don't have WWW access, but can FTP, check out:

 , login: anonymous

But before you open your Web browser or FTP software, note, these are only an INDEX of TSBs online up through July 1994 (as of 12/94). Yes every make and model and year (back to 1978) is there, BUT again, it's only an index of the TSBs. To actually access the body and substance of the TSBs, you must download their software. Then, using their software with a modem you can dial into AllData and access everything that they supply on CD-ROM (including TSBs, repair procedures, maintenance schedules, etc.)

Once you download it, you have to contact them to get a password and then you get 10 free minutes of usage time (BIG WHOOP!) After that, there's a look-up fee per inquiry.

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Will installing aftermarket parts void my warranty?

In most cases, "NO". The only way a dealer can void the warranty is if they can undeniably prove that the part(s) you installed caused the problem you brought in to be fixed. And even if they deny warranty work, the warranty itself CANNOT be voided. That is, if you installed new heads or a cam, engine warranty claims could be denied, but suspension, brakes, and other claims must be honored by the dealership. When it comes to basic intake and exhaust parts, most of that aftermarket equipment is EPA and SEMA approved. That means the car should not fail any emissions testing, and warrant work cannot be denied as such. So denials of this nature should be reported to the EPA at 202-233-9040 or 202-233-9100. For all other denials of implied or expressed warranties, you might want to get the help of the Federal Trade Commission at 202-326-3128.

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What is the difference between Net and Gross horsepower?

Prior to 1972, dyno testing was done with an open exhaust, no air cleaner, best fuel and timing for power, high octane leaded gas, and no accessory drives. To correct the observed data, a standard correction factor (29.92 inches of barometric pressure at 60 degrees Fahrenheit dry air) was used. This is defined as the Gross Horsepower rating. In 1972, with the crunch of the fuel crisis and insurance crack-downs, the SAE called for a switch to a Net Horsepower rating. This required the engine to be dressed with all the accessory drives (alternator, power steering pump, AC compressor, AIR pump) and full production exhaust system. Also, the engine was tuned to safe fuel and spark curves, and the standard correction factor was changed to 29.24 inches of barometric pressure at 77 degrees Fahrenheit dry air. All this works to reduced the horsepower measurement on the dyno, and thus the HP measurements advertised by the manufacturers.

While both net and gross horsepower readings are taken at the crankshaft, converting from Gross HP to Net HP is not possible because of the way the engines are configured on the dyno during testing. Therefore, there is no accurate way to compare pre-1972 (gross) horsepower to 1972-and-later (net) figures.

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What is wrong if my car refuses to turn over or even crank?

Assuming the battery isn't completely dead, try these steps:

1) Turn on the headlights and turn the key to "start". If the headlights do not dim, check for an open in the starting system. If the headlights do dim go to step 2.

2) Check the battery.

3) If the battery is OK, check all connections (at the battery, the starter solenoid, and motor).

4) Test the starter solenoid. The starter may turn over during these checks, so make sure car is in neutral. The battery must be charged for theses tests:

A) Disable the ignition (remove the coil wire).

B) Have an assistant turn the ignition key to "start" while you listen for a click at the solenoid. If it clicks, go to step F. If the click is weak or the solenoid chatters, go to step D.

C) If there's no click, remove the wire that actuates the solenoid from the terminal on the solenoid. Check for a bad connection (corrosion, looseness etc.).

D) Connect a jumper wire between the battery positive terminal and the solenoid's terminal that actuates it. A click indicates normal solenoid operation. If there's no click or if the click is weak or the solenoid chatters, check for a loose solenoid, corrosion at the solenoid base, or other causes of a bad solenoid ground. If the solenoid is tight and grounded properly and still doesn't click, replace the solenoid.

E) While an assistant turns the key to "start", check for voltage at the control circuit wire with a voltmeter. If no voltage is at the wire, there's an open in the circuit to the solenoid. Re-connect the wire.

F) Have an assistant turn the key to "start" while you check for voltage drop between the battery cable terminal and the starter motor strap. The voltage drop should not exceed .2 volts. If it does, replace the solenoid.

5) Check to make sure the battery cables can carry enough amperage to start the car by checking for a voltage drop.

6) Test the starter voltage draw. Use an inductive ammeter and have an assistant crank the car for about 10 seconds. It shouldn't exceed about 250 amps. If that is excessive, and there are no large voltage drops anywhere else in the circuit, the starter is bad and need replacement.

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How can I keep my car from being stolen?

Nothing is guaranteed to keep a car from being stolen. If a thief wants your car they can get it. However there are things you can do to make your car harder to steal. An anti-theft deterrent will be enough to stop joy riders and will hopefully be enough to make the potential thief move on to easier targets.

Some tips on things to do:

  1. Steering Column Collar -- a steel collar which locks around your steering column prevents a thief from breaking it open and popping out the ignition tumbler. These locks are much better than the Club.

  2. Ignition Kill -- prevents the engine from being started until a switch has been thrown. Make sure it's hidden in a non-obvious place. A crook scouting out cars might catch on if they see you popping the hood before leaving work each day.

  3. Good car alarm -- while most professional thieves can usually get around any car alarm, it will protect you from joy-riders and the thief who either doesn't have enough time to work around the alarm and is only looking for small items (stereo, air bags, etc.) and doesn't want the whole car or the bother.

  4. Etched windows -- There's a national company which chemically etches a serial number into each window of your car. This number can be reported to the police if the car is stolen. How is it a deterrent? Most cars are stolen for parts (except joy riders). Windows are a common replacement on cars. No glass or window shop is going to buy parts with non-removable serial numbers that are registered with the police. A professional thief knows this and will probably avoid the car. Even if it's taken a local shop, re-VIN'ed and resold, all the windows would have to be replaced. For more information on these companies, check with your dealer.

  5. Common sense -- avoid leaving valuables in plain sight in the car. Lock up/hide everything, even if it's just some plastic bags of junk. Avoid parking the car in dark, out-of-the way areas where an alarm might go unheard or the car is out of sight. (Hence giving the thief more time to defeat elaborate alarms, etc.) Don't assume a parking lot attendant is going to watch your car. Even "manned" parking lots are often left completely unguarded for hours.

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Are there any car ramps which won't scrape my lower air dam/valance?

A company called Rhino Ramps (1-800-283-6188) makes a set at an angle that won't even harm the 4th gen cars or cars lowered by springs. They're molded from glass filled polycarbonate, have non-slip rubber pads on the bottom surfaces and are wide enough for 275 tires.

You could also build your own by nailing some boards together, staggering them at a gentle enough slope so as not scrape the air dam. From the side, they'd look something like this:





Make them as wide as you want to accommodate the width of your tire.

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