hpaddiction
hpaddiction New Reader
9/20/13 3:12 p.m.

Hi guys, I'm going to look at a 1995 Trans Am with the T-Tops, and I want to know if there's anything I should look out for. I know to check the usual stuff (CarProof, bondo check, transmission, service, does the posi work, etc.), but was wondering if you guys have any tips for this prospective purchase. I'll eventually get around to posting about the CVPI P7B, once I've taken some decent photos. Otherwise, thanks.

Sine_Qua_Non
Sine_Qua_Non Reader
9/20/13 3:15 p.m.

Ring seals and headlight motors

slefain
slefain UltraDork
9/20/13 3:27 p.m.
Sine_Qua_Non wrote: headlight motors

x2

Especially if it has any sort of alarm on it that blinks the lights when you set it. It will make the headlights raise and lower every single time, which of course wears them out faster.

Javelin
Javelin MegaDork
9/20/13 3:32 p.m.

Look really closely at the front of the engine for any signs of a water pump failure. When they fail, they weep water onto the OptiSpark ignition, which does bad things.

Check the rear carpet for dampness (leaky T-tops).

jstancel
jstancel New Reader
9/20/13 4:07 p.m.

Javelin beat me to the optispark...

How much is the car? If it is more than $3k, I would keep looking and find a 1998 or newer with an LS engine.

Will
Will Dork
9/20/13 4:19 p.m.
jstancel wrote: I would keep looking and find a 1998 or newer with an LS engine.

This.

hpaddiction
hpaddiction New Reader
9/20/13 4:51 p.m.

In reply to Sine_Qua_Non:

yup, headlight motors would be a good thing to check out.

hpaddiction
hpaddiction New Reader
9/20/13 4:51 p.m.

In reply to Javelin:

Good to know. thanks for that tip.

hpaddiction
hpaddiction New Reader
9/20/13 4:52 p.m.

In reply to jstancel & will: it's $3500, but you haven't been shopping for Trans Ams in canada.

SEADave
SEADave Reader
9/20/13 5:08 p.m.

The 4th Gen cars are much better about rust than the earlier cars, but you should still look. The front fenders and door skins are plastic, so look carefully at the rockers and rear quarters and underneath if possible.

Also, if it is a manual check that it shifts well and goes into all the gears smoothly. The T56 is possibly the most valuable part of an LT1 4th gen, and are expensive to repair or replace.

As far as holding out for a 98-02 LS1 car, keep in mind that this board is full of folks from all over the world. In my area you can't touch an LS-powered 4th gen you would want to own for under $6k (or I would already have one).

DirtyBird222
DirtyBird222 UltraDork
9/20/13 5:30 p.m.

As stated before. Water pump, headlight motors, etc. Is it an OBDI or II 95? It should have the better vented opti anyways. I would look into opti alternatives too to avoid headaches down the road.

Of course window motors suck on those as well but other than that not a bad price.

06HHR
06HHR Reader
9/20/13 5:47 p.m.

Nothing to add about the problem areas, other than the optispark they are common to all 4th gens. I had a 97 Formula that fell victim to water pump leaking on the optispark, Check for leaks and ask if the optispark or water pump has been changed. I'm pretty sure the 95 and up got the vented optispark, And I think 95 is still OBDI but it could be a changeover car and have OBDII. TBH there is nothing wrong with an LT1 car, they have more low end torque than many folks can safely handle and will top out north of 150, It's as robust and reliable as any other SBC other than the optispark issue. It's just that the LS-powered cars are better in the powertrain and braking departments. I loved mine and didn't miss not having an LS motor one bit. There was a guy in Tampa that sold new brass or aluminum gears for the headlight motors, as most of those problems come from the teeth on the nylon gear that raises the headlight bucket wearing away. He may still sell them as his webpage is still up Headlight gear source

hpaddiction
hpaddiction New Reader
9/20/13 6:04 p.m.

In reply to DirtyBird222:

It's an OBDI and thanks for the comment

93gsxturbo
93gsxturbo Dork
9/20/13 6:16 p.m.

If you can save your pennies for another year, I would hold out for an LS car. The LT is a bastard child. Of course, 97-98 LS motors are bastards too, but not as bad as an LT.

nicksta43
nicksta43 SuperDork
9/20/13 6:39 p.m.
93gsxturbo wrote: If you can save your pennies for another year, I would hold out for an LS car. The LT is a bastard child. Of course, 97-98 LS motors are bastards too, but not as bad as an LT.

Back when I was still playing with Impala SS's they where very well supported. Been a while though...

yamaha
yamaha PowerDork
9/20/13 7:52 p.m.

In reply to nicksta43:

That kinda fell the wayward side over the last decade. Optispark sucks ass, other that that tragic short coming, they're decent. Also, if it is a 6sp car, it won't go to 2nd gear if you're not on the throttle.....iirc it'll dump to 4th(unless it has a skip shift eliminator)

I too would advise to hold out for a ls1 powered one. Also, all 4th gens have problems with their doors coming apart if they've been slammed.....any rattling in them, run like hell.

carbon
carbon Reader
9/20/13 8:16 p.m.

It is highly immoral to drive one of these cars and not leave everywhere you go, sideways up in smoke like the world is an 80s action movie. That is all you need to know to successfully own one of these. (or anythink else rwd and posi)

novaderrik
novaderrik PowerDork
9/21/13 2:58 a.m.

get it... check all the already mentioned maintenance items.. put a set of headers and a good 3" exhaust on it, along with a cold air kit. if it doesn't have it, an aluminum driveshaft also adds a little bit of pep..

that's all you need to do to those cars to make them more fun than they really should be- and you will still get up around 30mpg if you drive it nice..

jstancel
jstancel New Reader
9/21/13 8:11 a.m.
hpaddiction wrote: In reply to jstancel & will: it's $3500, but you haven't been shopping for Trans Ams in canada.

Sorry, I did not look at your location. I am in Atlanta the land of Craigslist deals.

HiTempguy
HiTempguy UltraDork
9/21/13 7:09 p.m.
carbon wrote: It is highly immoral to drive one of these cars and not leave everywhere you go, sideways up in smoke like the world is an 80s action movie. That is all you need to know to successfully own one of these. (or anythink else rwd and posi)

My girlfriend just shook her head at me while touring Western Canada over the long weekend. Go the wrong direction? Whip a E36 M3ty. Pulling out of a parking lot? Ludicrous tire smoke-sideways action.

God gave v8 powered rwd manual cars to man for one reason and one reason only, and that was to beat the piss out of them at every conceivable and inconceivable second.

06HHR
06HHR Reader
9/21/13 7:48 p.m.

In reply to HiTempguy: Nuff' Said. Only thing I don't miss about mine is every backwards cap wearing douchnozzle asking if it was a V8 and if I wanted to race..

aussiesmg
aussiesmg MegaDork
9/21/13 7:55 p.m.
HiTempguy wrote:
carbon wrote: It is highly immoral to drive one of these cars and not leave everywhere you go, sideways up in smoke like the world is an 80s action movie. That is all you need to know to successfully own one of these. (or anythink else rwd and posi)

My girlfriend just shook her head at me while touring Western Canada over the long weekend. Go the wrong direction? Whip a E36 M3ty. Pulling out of a parking lot? Ludicrous tire smoke-sideways action.

God gave v8 powered rwd manual cars to man for one reason and one reason only, and that was to beat the piss out of them at every conceivable and inconceivable second.

This comment has my seal of approval.

novaderrik
novaderrik PowerDork
9/21/13 9:02 p.m.
06HHR wrote: In reply to HiTempguy: Nuff' Said. Only thing I don't miss about mine is every backwards cap wearing douchnozzle asking if it was a V8 and if I wanted to race..

it is possible to just ignore other people and just drive your car...

sethmeister4
sethmeister4 Dork
9/21/13 9:22 p.m.
HiTempguy wrote: God gave v8 powered rwd manual cars to man for one reason and one reason only, and that was to beat the piss out of them at every conceivable and inconceivable second.

This quote better make it into the next magazine!

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