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Thread: Just picked up a Pontiac 6000 STE AWD!!!

  1. #1

    Default Just picked up a Pontiac 6000 STE AWD!!!

    I always wanted one of these.
    45k mi, near perfect condition.
    Now, it's in my garage! About killed me to remove it from the guys nice heated garage all clean and pretty and open trailer it home from OH to MI. in a snow storm. But it cleaned back up just fine!

    Very few minor issues. The biggest one I could find is the rear load leveler system is not working. My guess is bad air shocks or lines. The compressor works, I tested that with the air fill thing in the trunk.






    Last edited by 73blazer; 02-28-2017 at 02:48 PM.



  2. #2
    Senior Member Keiths1976's Avatar
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    Damn sir you are a a-body god now !!! Beautiful hands down take good care of it

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    Senior Member CorvairGeek's Avatar
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    That is a beautiful car!
    Jerry

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    Senior Member Duke George V's Avatar
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    Amazing example of this car. Have you tested the diff lock yet?

    I was just thinking about the AWDs the other day! I'm wondering if you wouldn't mind posting some pictures of the rear of this car. The axle, the driveshaft, the fuel tank, the suspension, how it all mounts to the body. I would appreciate it.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Duke George V View Post
    Amazing example of this car. Have you tested the diff lock yet?

    I was just thinking about the AWDs the other day! I'm wondering if you wouldn't mind posting some pictures of the rear of this car. The axle, the driveshaft, the fuel tank, the suspension, how it all mounts to the body. I would appreciate it.
    I can certainly do that. I have a lift in my garage and it's probably going up on in sometime next couple weeks, for sure I can get some good pics when it's up on the lift.

    And I did not test the diff lock. I was busy testing tons of other buttons and features in there to ensure it was all working, I seemed to have overlooked that one. Actually, I did press it while running and in park and thel ight lit up, but that's not really a test.

  6. #6
    Senior Member turbokinetic's Avatar
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    Wow, what a beautiful car! I am happy to see someone who appreciates it, have it. The burgundy red is one of my favorite GM colors.

    Can't wait to see more pictures of your checkout and minor fixes.

    As with the others here, I am curious as to how the AWD system works and would love undercar pictures. I've built several turbocharged A-body cars but haven't done an AWD yet. My concern for turbo would be the throttle-valve-controlled 125C transmission in the STE. I've had issues with the calibration of these in 2WD turbo conversions.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Duke George V's Avatar
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    Dave, I love that your first thought is to whether the transmission will hold up to turbocharging! I seem to recall a bit of discussion here a few years ago that the seeming remedy, using a 4T65 from an AWD Aztek, would spin the rear end the wrong way, making for one forward gear and four reverse. The solution being to flip the differential, of course. But how does one accomplish that? Is it as simple and rotating the ring gear 180 degrees inside the housing? Or would the housing need to be cut out and rewelded in the new orientation?

    Tangentially, does anyone happen to know the fuel tank's part number, or if it's still available for sale. I'm, uh, doing some research for a secret project. It's a secret. Don't tell anyone.
    Daniel
    Kaiser George IX: 1996 Buick Century Special wagon. 213-SFI. 178k miles. Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down. First documented LX9 swap in an A-body! Click here to read my build thread!
    Goldilocks: 1992 Buick Century Special sedan. 204-MFI. 108k miles. Will be the wife's car soon.
    Susana: 1993 Buick Century Custom wagon. 204-MFI. 121k miles. Garage ornament. Waiting for the L27.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Drop Top Olds's Avatar
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    Nice find! That's similar to finding Sasquatch.Really clean, low mileage and A-body rare to boot. Looking forward to seeing the AWD pictures from underneath too!
    1959 Chevrolet Apache 31 235 I-6 SM420
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    Senior Member Keiths1976's Avatar
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    Daniel if I recall from past post the gas tank was discontinued for the awd 6000 . Those cars have a totally different frame set up in the rear as well as a different tunneling for the drive shaft . Might find the part number though on line searches and see if gm still has the antique warehouse where all there parts go when discontinued and any quantity left goes to . Think if non found a fuel cell could be made to specs but that's cost I'm sure a rare fuel tank New would set ya back a few hundred easily . Let me see if my buddy can dig up the part number he was a old gm parts counter guy with books galore for part numbers .

  10. #10

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    As far as I remember reading an article back when these cars first came out (yes, I remember weird things) they had to repackage (if you can call it that) the whole trunk due to the AWD system, as such the spare tire is more or less just sitting off to one side in the middle (fore/aft) and the trunk compartment is somewhat smaller than the FWD counterpart and I remember something about the gas tank being unique to the AWD variant, still 16gal. though. Indeed, my spare tire is just sitting there looking like you set it in the trunk for a quick ride to the store or something.


    I just ordered a 1989 GM a-body parts book for it off ebay (actually covers '82 to '91 all Pontiac A). The 2' high stack of paper shipped media mail. It should have all part numbers listed.
    I also found an '89 GM shop manual and '88 GM electrical diag supplement for the AWD system manual and ordered those. Yes, they did sell a few very handful of '88 AWD. That was actually my preferred STE as it had AWD (was an option in late '88 model year) AND the flat back window. My '89 has the rounded rear window which I like somewhat less than the '88 style. I think they only made 200 or so '88's with AWD.

    I've built some 70's and 80's GM full size trucks and I find the real GM parts books come in extremely handy if you can learn how to read them. The real GM shop books are also really nice because each section has a preliminary explanation written by the engineers who created it just doing general explaining on how the system is supposed to function and what happens in certain modes etc. My 1973 C/K trucks manual goes into full blown scientific principles on how air conditioning systems work in general, then how they work on C/K trucks specifically, it's quite detailed.
    Last edited by 73blazer; 12-13-2016 at 12:20 PM.

  11. #11
    Senior Member turbokinetic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Duke George V View Post
    Dave, I love that your first thought is to whether the transmission will hold up to turbocharging! I seem to recall a bit of discussion here a few years ago that the seeming remedy, using a 4T65 from an AWD Aztek, would spin the rear end the wrong way, making for one forward gear and four reverse.
    LOL actually that would make the front wheels pull FORWARD while the rear pulled BACKWARDS. Useless for transportation but boy, oh, boy - could you do some EPIC burnouts with that!

    As far as my turbocharging comment - yeah I am always thinking about boosting any car I see! Whereas most men think most often about sex and food - I think about those two plus boost....

    My comment was more about the transmission calibration though. The 125C is not aware of manifold pressure because it has no vacuum modulator. The only way to increase its torque capacity is to change valving in the trans valve body. The 440T4 takes care of its self by action of the modulator - which senses the boost pressure.

    I have a theory as to how to recalibrate the 125C, but not sure if my machining skills are up to making a small but highly precise valvebody sleeve and spool.

    My Ciera XC has 125C and I have had to limit the boost to about 7 PSI due to the transmission. There are still part-throttle areas where it slips and I have to be careful not to allow it to burn a clutch. I plan to try my experimental valve idea on that car.

    Quote Originally Posted by 73blazer View Post
    As far as I remember reading an article back when these cars first came out (yes, I remember weird things) they had to repackage (if you can call it that) the whole trunk due to the AWD system, as such the spare tire is more or less just sitting off to one side in the middle (fore/aft) and the trunk compartment is somewhat smaller than the FWD counterpart and I remember something about the gas tank being unique to the AWD variant, still 16gal. though.
    Yes, I believe the tank has a "cutout" to it, looking like an inverted butterfly of sorts. There may even be a hose connecting the low points of each side so that the fuel will equalize but not sure may be thinking about another car I've seen.

    Indeed, my spare tire is just sitting there looking like you set it in the trunk for a quick ride to the store or something.


    I just ordered a 1989 GM a-body parts book for it off ebay (actually covers '82 to '91 all Pontiac A). The 2' high stack of paper shipped media mail. It should have all part numbers listed.
    I also found an '89 GM shop manual and '88 GM electrical diag supplement for the AWD system manual and ordered those. Yes, they did sell a few very handful of '88 AWD. That was actually my preferred STE as it had AWD (was an option in late '88 model year) AND the flat back window. My '89 has the rounded rear window which I like somewhat less than the '88 style. I think they only made 200 or so '88's with AWD.

    I've built some 70's and 80's GM full size trucks and I find the real GM parts books come in extremely handy if you can learn how to read them. The real GM shop books are also really nice because each section has a preliminary explanation written by the engineers who created it just doing general explaining on how the system is supposed to function and what happens in certain modes etc. My 1973 C/K trucks manual goes into full blown scientific principles on how air conditioning systems work in general, then how they work on C/K trucks specifically, it's quite detailed.
    Yep the GM manuals are good stuff. My dad has a 95 Olds Aurora. That was the first year of the 'Rora and it is unique. He has the manuals and they do a good job explaining things such as the highly fiddly and overcomplicated air controls.

  12. #12

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    Not to sound like a fool or anything, but memory seems to tell me that most of the awd components were engineered to handle400hp. The weak link was the coupler that made the tranny awd, I think. And it could barely survive the 3.1's monstrous power......

  13. #13
    Senior Member Duke George V's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1987 Black VR wagon Fam View Post
    Not to sound like a fool or anything, but memory seems to tell me that most of the awd components were engineered to handle400hp. The weak link was the coupler that made the tranny awd, I think. And it could barely survive the 3.1's monstrous power......
    The weak link was the transmission, period. The three speed is not very robust. And the 400 hp claim that gets bandied seems dubious to me. My understanding is that the rear end is a modified S-10 unit?

  14. #14
    Senior Member turbokinetic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Duke George V View Post
    The weak link was the transmission, period. The three speed is not very robust. And the 400 hp claim that gets bandied seems dubious to me. My understanding is that the rear end is a modified S-10 unit?
    Not sure about the rear diff, but as for the transmission. Trying to put it in layman's terms....

    The mechanical parts of the transmission are not the problem. The problem is the "programming" of the transmission. This programming is done with mechanical springs and valves, not electronics.

    All automatic transmissions use hydraulic pressure to engage the clutches. If these clutches don't engage fully, the clutch will slip - causing extreme heat. This will burn out the clutch in just a few seconds.

    When they develop a transmission "calibration" program at the factory, they set the hydraulic pressure so that the clutches will grip "just enough" for the car's engine power. This is because, too much pressure and too much grip in the clutches causes "harsh / bang / rough" shifting.

    The transmission knows how much power the engine is putting out, and it only develops just enough pressure to hold that amount of torque.

    For a 125C transmission (such as the STE AWD; or my Ciera XC) the transmission only has one way to "guess" how much torque the engine is providing. It has a cable connected to the throttle body, so that as the throttle opens (gas pedal pushed down) the cable actuates a valve in the transmission.

    So - the further down the gas pedal, the further pulled out this cable and the higher the pressure in the transmission.

    The problem comes in with swapped or turbocharged engines because they make greater torque than the original engine. This torque comes on with the throttle 30 to 40% open. The transmission cable is pulled out only 30 to 40%, but the engine is making more torque than it originally did at 100% throttle. This causes an imbalance between torque and transmission hydraulic pressure. The result is, very slow, slippy shifting and quickly burned out clutches.

    There is a valve in the transmission called a "boost valve," which sets the ratio of pressure rise to engine load. For the 440T4 transmission, there are several different sizes available, such that you can build a transmission which will hold a small-block V8 or a moderately boosted 3.8V6. But, for the 125C, nothing is available that I have been able to find.

    The guys who are racing the 125C transmissions have usually locked the pressure at maximum and have a manual-shift valve body. Not good at all for street driving, and no good for the transmission longevity either. They are able to put a lot of power to the ground like this - no doubt there have been 400+ HP builds raced this way. But making a streetable 125C which is capable of holding that kind of HP would require some custom made valves.

    One thing that I need to do is break down some 125C cores at the junkyard. Need to see if the factory used different size boost valves for different engines. It may be that the 3300 engine (probably most powerful engine factory used with 125C) has a bigger boost valve - which could be used to upgrade the STE transmission.

    So bottom line - the problem is not a "weak transmission." The problem is the transmission is improperly calibrated for an engine that is significantly more powerful than the original. This problem is compounded by a dire lack of aftermarket support for this transmission.

    Sorry this got long, but I wanted to put out an explanation that hopefully would be easy to understand.

  15. #15

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    Here's a new never installed 125C. This is very close to me. I can pick it up and hold it for somebody if they wish! Seems way dirt cheap. A rebuild kit costs more than this.

    Hell, mabey I'll buy it. While it's not the AWD variant, there's alot of parts in here that are the same.


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