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Need 2 check 99 TA for Vette buddy, have ??

 
Old 03-09-2011, 11:12 AM
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Churchkey
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Default Need 2 check 99 TA for Vette buddy, have ??

My very good friend with a C6 that lives in S FL has asked me to take a ride to N GA to inspect a 99 TA vert he is considering buying. I have an appointment to look at the car Friday AM.

My experience with Firebirds ends with the mid 80's models.

I have a standard check list for used car purchases + a number of particular items the buyer wants me to inspect.

Please chime in if you are aware of particular or unusual problems associated with the 99 era Firebirds.

Thanks for looking.

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Old 03-09-2011, 12:56 PM
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engle1147
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Those were pretty solid cars overall. 2002 was the last year for those so good "used" parts will be harder to find. About 50% of the exposed body panels are metal/steal: hood, roof, hatch, rocker panels & rear quarters.... so look for damage in those areas...also the rear body of those cars are a few inches wider than the front so the rear tends to get banged up first. The rest of the body panels are pretty much plastic.

Not an issue with the vert but on the coupe - Like the chamaro the rear lid/glass weighs a "ton" and sit directly in the sun light so the dampener's internal seals tend to blow out (oil will leak/stain the plastic panels in the back on each side which is nearly impossible to remove if it set on the panels for any length of time).

Those cars tend to "eat" marker and tail light bulbs for whatever reason.

The door panels tend to split on the upper edge about 8" from the trailing end of each door.

The lower (outboard) seat release handles tend to bend and/or break off.

Those car seem to have a high headlight actuator failure rate (internal worm gear strips out main drive gear) but aftermarket repair/ replacement parts can been purchased @ classsic industries for ~$80 for a single kit.

Window actuator motors tend to fail about every 2 to 3 years with moderate useage.......$50 each at NAPA

Other than the stuff mentioned above just look for the normal used car stuff...and don't forget to check for a "spare" tire/jack in the back.


Last edited by engle1147; 03-09-2011 at 12:58 PM.
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Old 03-09-2011, 01:19 PM
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prinzSD455
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Originally Posted by engle1147 View Post
Those were pretty solid cars overall. 2002 was the last year for those so good "used" parts will be harder to find. About 50% of the exposed body panels are metal/steal: hood, roof, hatch, rocker panels & rear quarters.... so look for damage in those areas...also the rear body of those cars are a few inches wider than the front so the rear tends to get banged up first. The rest of the body panels are pretty much plastic.

Not an issue with the vert but on the coupe - Like the chamaro the rear lid/glass weighs a "ton" and sit directly in the sun light so the dampener's internal seals tend to blow out (oil will leak/stain the plastic panels in the back on each side which is nearly impossible to remove if it set on the panels for any length of time).

Those cars tend to "eat" marker and tail light bulbs for whatever reason.

The door panels tend to split on the upper edge about 8" from the trailing end of each door.

The lower (outboard) seat release handles tend to bend and/or break off.

Those car seem to have a high headlight actuator failure rate (internal worm gear strips out main drive gear) but aftermarket repair/ replacement parts can been purchased @ classsic industries for ~$80 for a single kit.

Window actuator motors tend to fail about every 2 to 3 years with moderate useage.......$50 each at NAPA

Other than the stuff mentioned above just look for the normal used car stuff...and don't forget to check for a "spare" tire/jack in the back.

I have a 206,000 mile 93 TA and can offer some general opinions.

They eat taillights because water gets into the rear taillight panel. Ask me how I know?

I have replaced the rear gas struts for the hatch a couple of times but never experienced the oil leak.

The gear on the passenger headlight started grinding at about 200,000 miles.

When fully loaded with passengers the car scrapes on speed bumps no matter how slow I go, I thinks it is the oil pan.

The leatherette on my drivers seat bolster started ripping about 180,000 miles but that is not the norm. The leather/leatherette is of low quality and I have seen it worn out at 30,000 miles. I took good care of my seats.

The headliner just started sagging and lately water sometimes gets in from the top rear of the side windows. The drivers side window motor was replaced.

The radiator was replaced at 180,000 miles.

The car was garaged and covered outdoors until about 2 years ago when it got booted out for my 86 Vette so the paint has held up pretty good.

Otherwise she has been a reliable good car for me even with the LT1 which your buddy won't have to worry about with the LS1 motor.

Last edited by prinzSD455; 03-09-2011 at 01:23 PM.
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Old 03-09-2011, 01:28 PM
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The one I mentioned was a 2000 which had 165,000 super easy "only on Sundays" (j/k) miles on it before we got rid of it....thing needed ~2K worth of work done to it to get it back up to speed to keep it a reliable "driver". No H20 intrusion issues on '00 year.

good car
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Old 03-09-2011, 01:49 PM
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There's 137K km on our 1999 TA Firehawk. Its been a very reliable car, and I've only had to replace the power window motors (about $35 at NAPA, core exchange), and one of the headlight motors (you can do the brass gear replacement mentioned above). Aside from that, it needed a battery replacement, and both front marker lights broke (due to road debris) over the years. Those marker lamps are available on eBay from time to time, and are reasonably cheap.

As also mentioned, the inner door panels tend to crack about 6" from the end of the doors. There is no easy fix for this (some owners have resorted to wrapping the panel in leather or vinyl to hide the crack). You can do some work to the staples on the upper edge of the panel to hopefully prevent the crack from occurring. My driver side panel started to crack, and I luckily scored a mint replacement at a wrecker for $75. Interior bits and plastics are fragile, and most are no longer available. The "leather" used in the interior is very poor quality, and will show wear prematurely, particularly on the outside seat bolsters. The upper panel on the dash also often cracks due to sunlight. The "Monsoon" stereo has its share of detractors; replacement parts (speakers and amp) are also available on eBay, and are quite inexpensive.

Mechanically, these are very reliable cars, and quite easy to maintain. I wouldn't hesitate to buy another one, provided it had a good service history and had been left relatively stock.
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Old 03-10-2011, 09:30 PM
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Thanks for the tips guys.
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Old 03-11-2011, 03:02 PM
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Up date:

Looked at it this morning, nice clean 15K mile car, not even a stone chip on the nose. Huummm.

I knelt down @ the rear to inspect the bottom & the seller turns on a hose & begins to clean the already clean wheels. It was parked on inclined pavement & he starts at the high side wheel & wets the driveway quickly. I guess he did not want me to see anything else under the car.

The test drive was interesting, cowl shake & lumpy tires, at one time the whole car shuddered. I'm talking 100K mile getto cruiser over bad rail road tracks shudder.

LS motor was smooth as glass, Hurst shifter sucked, it would hang in the gate between
1 & 2. The owner claims it was a 500.00 option.

Original owner was not on the title anymore due to "divorce" & the current owner has not "had a chance" to put the car in his name.

Called my bud & told him to pass on this one.

It was a nice day for a 100 mile ride in the Vette on 2 lane mountain roads
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Old 03-12-2011, 08:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Churchkey View Post
Up date:

I knelt down @ the rear to inspect the bottom & the seller turns on a hose & begins to clean the already clean wheels. It was parked on inclined pavement & he starts at the high side wheel & wets the driveway quickly. I guess he did not want me to see anything else under the car.
nice!

Buying used cars is like buying used houses - you have to look at a bunch of 'em.

Glad you had fun on the drive.

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