Camaro Transmission Problemsby Wesley Tucker
All Chevrolet Camaro models are rear-wheel, two-wheel drive vehicles. Fitted with either V-6 or V-8 engines, the Camaro over the years has also had a variety of different transmissions. Four-, five- and six-speed manual or four- or five-speed automatic transmissions may be on the V-8 Z-28 and SS models. The smaller V-6 engine model Camaros may have either a four- or five-speed manual or four- or five-speed automatic transmission. All manual transmissions, however, share similar components as do the various automatic transmissions. Common problems may occur in the Camaro’s various model ranges over the years.
The manual (or standard) transmission mounted on the Camaro uses a clutch to engage and disengage the gears for manual shifting. The clutch and pressure plates are two round discs pressed together to transmit power from the engine to the transmission. Engaging the clutch pedal separates the two plates and frees the transmission to engage another gear. Releasing the clutch pedal then presses the two plates together. Over time, the faces of the two plates will wear, leading to slipping or loss of power transmitted through the drive train. The only repair option is to replace the pressure plate, the clutch plate or both.
Automatic transmissions of all types use a hydraulic assist to engage and disengage the gears. As the engine revolutions increase, the transmission recognizes the increasing speed and will change gears accordingly. If the hydraulic assist begins to fail, either because of low transmission (or hydraulic fluid) levels or problems with the gear change assist mechanism, you’ll notice the Camaro will “over rev” when accelerating or stall when slowing down. Adding fluid or repairing the hydraulic assist may fix the problem.
The Chevrolet Camaro is a road-going sports car. Often driven aggressively or even raced at high speeds, the stresses involved can quickly wear the gears. Gear teeth wear, shaft attachments and metal fatigue can all plague the Camaro’s manual or automatic transmissions. Fortunately, the Camaro shares its transmission assembly with many other Chevrolet and General Motors products. Repairing transmission gears is relatively easy as parts are readily available for all models, even the earliest 1968 model-year.
As with all transmission installations, the Camaro’s manual and automatic transmissions have linkages connecting the various components: driver transmission selection (stick shift or PRNDL selector), clutch pedal connection to the clutch, transmission linkage to the drive shaft, etc. As the old saying goes, “a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.” A linkage problem in the transmission assembly will eventually lead to transmission failure. If the clutch pedal feels extremely loose or tight, if gear changes are not smooth or there is any change in acceleration times, the Camaro’s transmission linkages probably need an examination for either adjustment or replacement.
- "GM Camaro/Firebird, Revised Edition: 1993-2002 (Chilton's Repair & Tune-Up Guides);" Christine L. Sheeky; 2006
- "Chevrolet Camaro Pontiac Firebird: 1993-2002 (Haynes Repair Manual):" John Haynes; 2001
Wesley Tucker is a lifelong southerner whose politics are objective, whose sports are many and whose avocations range from aviation to anthropology to history and all forms of media. With a master's degree in mass communications from the University of South Carolina College of Journalism, Tucker has been a writer for more than 30 years, with work ranging from news reports to feature stories.