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Reliability?

Old 06-13-2019, 12:37 PM
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Reliability?

Hey all I am very new here and to the third gen community in general. I am looking to get a third gen firebird but I am also open to getting a camaro, I知 mostly looking for which deal I find first. My main question is about the reliability of these cars. I知 looking to daily drive one. Is this too out of the question?
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Old 06-13-2019, 12:40 PM
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Car: 89 GTA ASC Conv., Prev: 89 GTA 6.3L
Engine: 5.7L L98 TPI
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Re: Reliability?

Welcome to the forum.

At this point, reliability is dictated by the condition of the car and treatment/maintenance from the previous owner(s) of the vehicle.

Having owned one back when nearly new, they were fine for every day. Drove one from 1991-2005 when I sold it. It was a great car, and had at least 130k mi. Only once do I recall needing a flatbed.

Fast forward, and the TPI Injectors crapped out on my "new" one. Needed a flatbed again. Changed them, and all is fine. Known weak spots are easy to address. Good luck.
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Old 06-13-2019, 12:54 PM
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Re: Reliability?

Originally Posted by Big&BadGTA View Post
Welcome to the forum.

At this point, reliability is dictated by the condition of the car and treatment/maintenance from the previous owner(s) of the vehicle.

Having owned one back when nearly new, they were fine for every day. Drove one from 1991-2005 when I sold it. It was a great car, and had at least 130k mi. Only once do I recall needing a flatbed.

Fast forward, and the TPI Injectors crapped out on my "new" one. Needed a flatbed again. Changed them, and all is fine. Known weak spots are easy to address. Good luck.
Thank you I appreciate it!
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Old 06-17-2019, 11:43 AM
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Car: '02 T/A WS6, '91 T/A, '91 Camaro RS
Engine: LS1, LB9, L03
Transmission: T56, 700R4, 700R4
Axle/Gears: 4.10 10 bolt, 2.73 10 bolts
Re: Reliability?

I've been daily driving my '91 RS for over 2 years now. Hasn't left me stranded yet. I did replace the entire cooling system, battery, alternator, EGR valve, and just about every sensor on the car when I got it though, and also did a full tune-up. It's been extremely reliable, but I'm pretty sure I have the most reliable powerplant that they offered (stock 305 TBI). TPI and carb cars seem to have more problems. I wouldn't hesitate to take it on a trip. Car has roughly 100K on it.
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Old 06-17-2019, 12:17 PM
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Car: 1986 IROC Z
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Re: Reliability?

Originally Posted by searching43gen View Post
Hey all I am very new here and to the third gen community in general. I am looking to get a third gen firebird but I am also open to getting a camaro, I知 mostly looking for which deal I find first. My main question is about the reliability of these cars. I知 looking to daily drive one. Is this too out of the question?
Most buyers of 30+ year-old performance cars are experienced at repair/maintenance of such vehicles; they evaluate a potential car to buy, and then determine if the work required to bring said vehicle up to their standards is worth the asking price. IOW, they don't expect to be buying reliability, but rather, are planning to put it in there themselves.



As always, and especially where buying old cars is concerned, Caveat Emptor.
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Old 06-17-2019, 02:12 PM
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Car: '02 T/A WS6, '91 T/A, '91 Camaro RS
Engine: LS1, LB9, L03
Transmission: T56, 700R4, 700R4
Axle/Gears: 4.10 10 bolt, 2.73 10 bolts
Re: Reliability?

Originally Posted by ironwill View Post
Most buyers of 30+ year-old performance cars are experienced at repair/maintenance of such vehicles; they evaluate a potential car to buy, and then determine if the work required to bring said vehicle up to their standards is worth the asking price. IOW, they don't expect to be buying reliability, but rather, are planning to put it in there themselves.

As always, and especially where buying old cars is concerned, Caveat Emptor.
Couldn't say it better -- my car was definitely not reliable by any means when I first got it. Did almost all the work myself, and I know my way around it pretty well at this point. I would definitely not recommend daily driving anything old (third gen or not) to someone who's not at least somewhat mechanically inclined. I grew up around old cars, and have had to rely on myself mostly when it comes time for repairs.
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Old 06-17-2019, 02:58 PM
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Car: 1989 IROC-Z 305 LB9 AT Convertible
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Re: Reliability?

Originally Posted by ironwill View Post
Most buyers of 30+ year-old performance cars are experienced at repair/maintenance of such vehicles; they evaluate a potential car to buy, and then determine if the work required to bring said vehicle up to their standards is worth the asking price. IOW, they don't expect to be buying reliability, but rather, are planning to put it in there themselves.



As always, and especially where buying old cars is concerned, Caveat Emptor.



CONDITION is Number 1. Also, NO MODS! Compared to (SOME) modern GM, Ford and all Toyota, no they are not that reliable. Never will be.
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Old 06-18-2019, 02:46 PM
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Car: 1989 Firebird
Engine: 5.7 LS1
Transmission: T56
Re: Reliability?

Daily drove mine from 1997 to 2007, I had only three road side repairs.
Ignition control module
Front wheel bearing (it went from ok to wobbling wheel really fast)
Starter hung up at parts store... hey at least I had access to all the parts I needed LOL
Had the 700r4 transmission rebuilt at like 170k miles as it started not shifting right.
AC died in around 2004/5 time frame.
Once it wasn't my daily and was only driving it once in a blue moon the fuel pump went out and I had it towed.
I just finished up a restro-mod with LS1/T56 swap etc thus far that has been extremely reliable and everything works (AC, gauges, etc).

Car has 212k miles on it now. though only the instrument cluster and the body everything else I've redone.
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Old 06-19-2019, 12:13 PM
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Re: Reliability?

How much are you looking to spend? I'd suggest one that has already been LS swapped, or a low mile or excellent condition example. They are reliable cars, but like anything, if its been mistreated its gonna have issues.
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Old 06-19-2019, 12:39 PM
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Car: 1991 Z28
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Re: Reliability?

Buy the best condition car you can for your budget and just plan on changing some parts. You create reliability yourself with these cars as regardless of mileage the parts are still 30+ yrs old. The engines themselves are pretty reliable if maintained through the years, and the chassis parts are predictable on their lifespan.
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Old 06-19-2019, 01:48 PM
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Re: Reliability?

Buy something unmolested and in well cared for condition. If you open the hood or look under the dash and see nothing but wires running every which way, hacked, spliced, jumped, and the like, just turn around and run!
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Old 06-20-2019, 07:08 AM
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Car: 1988 Pontiac Trans Am GTA
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Re: Reliability?

With cars this old, it's not easy to predict reliability. How long will old parts last, even if they haven't been used all that much? But the fact that they still survive indicates that they've likely been well taken care of (if you're not buying a junker) and also that whatever problems might have been inherent to these cars were taken care of long ago.

I bought one new in '90 and it was my daily driver for 8 years and 167K miles, although the last few years I also had another car. I bought another '90 in 2003 with 57,000 miles and it shared daily driving duties with another car. I had that one for about 6.5 years and logged 67K miles. Neither car ever failed to start or stranded me somewhere. Neither ever required a significant repair, and I really can't think of even many minor repairs that were needed.

I bought my current '88 GTA about 16 months ago. I put about 2,000 miles on it the first year I had it, and drive it a bit more than that now. It's not my daily driver and likely won't ever be. But I don't have any reason to suspect that the car couldn't be driven daily.

For all the crap written about 3rd gen f-bodies, I've found them to be incredibly reliable cars in my experience. There's some cheap parts that start warping or cracking often even if the car has been meticulously cared for, like the rear wraparound spoilers or the center console. But otherwise they seem to hold up well. For all the trashing about cheap plastic and other poor materials in the interior, outside of the warping on the edges of my center console (good luck finding an un-warped one), everything else looks to be nearly showroom new after 32 years.
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