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It's been too long

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Old 03-09-2017, 08:24 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Manns Harbor, NC
Posts: 122
Car: 1987 Trans Am
Engine: 305 4 bbl
Transmission: The kind that goes "kachunk" in 1st

It's been too long

My first car was a 1987 Trans Am. The previous owners hacked it up pretty good (or bad, as the case may be).

It didn't last me long before I had to stop driving it but I loved that car. Several years ago I tried getting it going again, registered on these forums for help and advice, found a lot of good knowledge here back then that got me started in the right direction. But even so, I ran into too many problems and had to stop due to lack of money, time, and patience.

I went through a really rough period and nearly ended up homeless. That was around the time I was last on here. I took the '87 Trans Am back to my parents' house, pushed it back near the woods, and left it.

It's been there for 7 years now, sad and neglected. I still miss the car but at this point I'm wondering if it's even worth it. The previous owners had abused the car so much, cut up the wiring harness, removed and blocked off vacuum tubes, and some things that seem like they have been spared just... don't work for whatever reason, or they do something completely unexpected (for example, attaching the wire to the choke on the carburetor turns the security light on the dashboard on ).

In the past 7 years nature has decided to try to eat it. Since it was next to the woods, trees, bushes, and vines are starting to grow all around it, in it, over it, through it... I don't have the money to put into it right now but I did clear out the trees enough to hopefully pull it away from the woods today. I'll get it ready to move tomorrow, but the question is still... is it worth it? I see people selling Trans Am's in much better condition than mine for relatively cheap. Some even cheaper than mine cost me in the first place more than 10 years ago when I first bought it. There's a decent amount of bodywork that needs to be done. That's not much of a problem for me, since that's what I do for a living, I can handle that fine. The mechanical aspect of it isn't too bad either, and I'd love to start spending money on parts to bolt on and modify it, but even if I did all that I'm still left with screwy wiring and electrical gremlins that I don't have the patience to figure out.

So my question is... should I start over? Should I say forget my first car and just find one in decent shape that I can deal with? I still love these cars but this one has had a rough life... it might just be time for it to retire.
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Old 03-22-2017, 08:12 PM   #2
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Join Date: May 2004
Location: MD
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Car: too many
Engine: SBC
Transmission: AUTOs and a 5 speed :D
Axle/Gears: you name it


Re: It's been too long

fix it replacement cars are never as fun as the original would be
if you don't have the money now
then
get a good car cover and protect it for yourself in the future
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Old 03-24-2017, 02:23 PM   #3
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Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Escondido, Ca
Posts: 359
Car: 1985 Trans Am
Engine: LG4
Transmission: 700R4
Axle/Gears: 3.08

Re: It's been too long

I feel that is a tough question, and one that you really need to wrestle with your conscience about. Do you feel that the car is worth saving? If you do, then you need to make a list of all the things that need to done to bring the car up to the condition that you are satisfied with. Once you have that list, start looking into how much all of that is going to cost. If you still feel that you want to move ahead, then prioritize the jobs so that you aren't financially overwhelmed.

If you come to the conclusion that the car isn't worth all the expense and effort, see if you can sell it complete or part it out; again, another choice. The other consideration is what the availability of other Thirdgens is in your area. I live in SoCal and looked around for two years to find the Firebird in the color I wanted. If you are looking for a manual trans car, those are getting more rare. So, it depends on what options you're looking for.

You have some decisions to make. Look at all your options.
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Old 03-31-2017, 10:54 AM   #4
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Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Cambridge, MD
Posts: 126
Car: 88 Firebird, 87 Formula
Engine: 2.8, 5.0
Transmission: both 700R4
Axle/Gears: 3.42,3.45

Re: It's been too long

If it's mostly just a wiring issue, find a parts car of the same year (used- or junkyard) and rescue the wiring harness. With interior panels and carpet removed, it is not the easiest job, but not the worst job to transplant the harness. If the underhood harnesses are the only bad ones, then it is only just slightly easier. I did this with a Barracuda I had many ages ago, and turned a useless car with toasted wiring into a real nice car! Good luck on your project!
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Old 03-31-2017, 01:41 PM   #5
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Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Newburg, MD
Posts: 1,086
Car: '89 RS, '89 Iroc
Engine: L03, LB9
Transmission: 700r4, T5
Axle/Gears: 2.73, 3.08


Re: It's been too long

biggest question is what would be your plan?


if you want to keep it easiest and cheapest way to make it into a fun little cruiser is to buy a 305 tpi motor and harness(with ECM) and swap it in. it will be fun but not fast.


if the motor that's in it is still good vacuum lines aren't hard on these cars, get yourself a factory service manual and some rubber vacuum line and go to town, put a want add for a harness for the car and throw that in too and it can be back in business.




once you get it going the bug will bite you again.
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Old 03-31-2017, 04:16 PM   #6
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Location: Milford, CT
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Car: 86 Trans Am
Engine: 305 TPI
Transmission: 700r4
Axle/Gears: 2.77 9 bolt

Re: It's been too long

I feel like your absolute biggest issue now is the condition of the floor pans and anywhere else that may have rotted from being parked in the grass near the woods.

I'd pull the whole interior out since its definitely moldy by now and evaluate the floors, if they're solid then the car is worth it.
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