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Old 02-13-2018, 11:18 AM   #1
chasb4570
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Default '96 questions

Hey guys and gals, visiting from the C5 forum. I am looking to buy my bride of 40 years a "her" car. Our current driver/trip is an '04, T56 coupe with bolt ons. Even though she enjoys riding in the car, for some reason not known to me, she will not drive it. She does however drive the four speed cars we own. Got me! Anyways, found a very clean '96 Collector Edition vert close to home. Silver/gray/black, 56,000 miles, auto, no mods and senior owned. Heck, at 61, guess I am a senior too. Asking price is $10,500.00.
What are the logistics today keeping a model of this platform and age on the road? Parts availability and known problems? Will not be driven a great deal I suspect, the '04 has less than 24,000 on the clock.
I am asking because the biggest POS I have ever owned was an '85 coupe. I do realize there is considerable differences between the model years.
Thank you for any input and info given and your time taken for answering.
Regards,
Chas
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Old 02-13-2018, 11:38 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chasb4570 View Post
Hey guys and gals, visiting from the C5 forum. I am looking to buy my bride of 40 years a "her" car. Our current driver/trip is an '04, T56 coupe with bolt ons. Even though she enjoys riding in the car, for some reason not known to me, she will not drive it. She does however drive the four speed cars we own. Got me! Anyways, found a very clean '96 Collector Edition vert close to home. Silver/gray/black, 56,000 miles, auto, no mods and senior owned. Heck, at 61, guess I am a senior too. Asking price is $10,500.00.
What are the logistics today keeping a model of this platform and age on the road? Parts availability and known problems? Will not be driven a great deal I suspect, the '04 has less than 24,000 on the clock.
I am asking because the biggest POS I have ever owned was an '85 coupe. I do realize there is considerable differences between the model years.
Thank you for any input and info given and your time taken for answering.
Regards,
Chas
If I was buying a car for my wife I would buy the best newer car with the lowest mileage I could afford. She may not like driving your car because its "your car" vs. her car. Every generation of corvette has its problems however a 1996 vs a 2004 would be any easy decision for me with 8 year less time on the drive line and its associated components the 04 would be my choice for the wife. However is she attracted to a particular body style ?

Last edited by Goldcylon; 02-13-2018 at 11:43 PM.
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Old 02-13-2018, 11:39 AM   #3
4theboy
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That is a great price for a CE 'vert with only 56k on the clock. Have you and your bride had a chance to look at the vehicle? First thing I would do is make sure she is comfortable getting in and out of the vehicle if she will be using it more than a once in a while driver.

I have never run into any major issues with my '96, however others might be able to chime in on parts availability or know problems. Another thing I've heard is, if you don't do a lot of your own work, it's getting harder to find a good mechanic who knows what he's doing. The LT1 is pretty stout engine and nothing magical about it. You may hear some chatter about Opti-Spark issues with these cars. Can be problematic, but I have not heard of anybody I've talked to have issues. I do see a lot of LT1 cars way into the 100k mile range for sale. As you suspect, by '96 you have a lot of bugs worked out. Choices in tires are also getting a little scarce. Not a lot of options for carrying a spare either if the car is so equipped. Keep in mind though the components on the vehicle are 22 years old, so she should have the expectation that it will not be as problem free as more modern vehicles.

Good luck with your decision.

Last edited by 4theboy; 02-13-2018 at 11:43 AM.
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Old 02-13-2018, 01:10 PM   #4
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Good advice in the replies above. I'm not clear on whether this 96 is a manual (ZF6 6-speed) or automatic. If the former, it's a little extra desirable because it will have the LT$ engine. The downside is that good replacement clutch parts are hard to find (all the new replacement parts are crappy Chinese parts, so NOS are the best option but hard to find). OTOH, with those miles and low annual usage, the clutch would probably not need replacement for many years.
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Old 02-13-2018, 01:11 PM   #5
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Some seemingly minor trim can be a pain, things like front fog/turn signal assemblies are hard to find so a minor rock hit or bump can result in a months long search for good parts. There are also not a lot of local shops familiar with the ignition on the LT motors. That said, its at a good price.
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Old 02-13-2018, 01:56 PM   #6
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This is a miscalculated move.
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Old 02-13-2018, 02:56 PM   #7
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This is a miscalculated move.
Older woman will NOT like getting in/out of a C4.
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Old 02-13-2018, 05:17 PM   #8
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Older woman will NOT like getting in/out of a C4.
This 40 yr deal is about to get rocky

Thats a old azz car to hand to your woman. It WILL have problems and the c4 is a rattle trap.. 96 is the best year but that aint sayin much for a 22yr old car.
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Old 02-13-2018, 10:18 PM   #9
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My wife and I are both love Corvettes. After I first got my 6 spd 95 Coupe she would love to go for rides but not drive it... didn't like the manual trans.

Ended up finding another automatic 95 vert with a color she loves. These are not DD, just weekend trip cars. She has no problems in her car... and we're both in our late 50's
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Old 02-13-2018, 10:43 PM   #10
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I would be sure she likes getting in and out of a C4 but if she does they are very comfortable to drive. That sounds like a great price on a '96 with low miles and you are getting the most refined C4 with a '96.

I have a '95 with a 6spd but it is hard for my wife to get in and out of so we usually do not take it if we are going together. I have found the C5 to be much easier to get in and out of so if your wife has any problems physically getting into a C4 then a auto C5 might be a better fit.

I have had to replace the intake gasket and my '95 which has about 59K but this is a common issue and not a big deal. Beyond the intake the '95 is very trouble free for a older vette and a real pleasure to drive.

If you are looking to purchase the '96 make sure the steering wheel does not move up and down much as this can be an expensive repair if someone was using the steering wheel to get in and out of the car ( common problem-look up on you tube ) and make sure your wife does not use the steering wheel to get in and out herself.

If you decide not to buy the '96 please pass the selling info on to the forum as that CE should go very quickly for that price and low miles.
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Old 02-13-2018, 11:55 PM   #11
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My wife and I are both 70. She is not exactly athletic, but she loves going places in the C4. Getting in and out for her is not an issue.
Show your bride the car. Let her drive it. If she wants it, get it for her. Let her decide.
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Old 02-14-2018, 08:46 AM   #12
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The 96 is very solid and most problems I've had with mine I would call 'old car' issues. Common problems are intake gasket, font seals leaking, bad fuel injectors is very common. The engine leaking oil is so common and generally so incredibly slow that it's accepted to just leave it alone. I don't even have to top off the oil before I change it again next year.

Bought my 96 CE 3 years ago with 72k on it. Have 84k on it now and I've spent about 1k in parts to fix things that have deteriorated. If I had to take it to a mechanic I would estimate another 3k labor. This includes things like rear brake calipers sticking, oxygen sensor going out, coolant temp sensor connector going out, replacing fuel injectors, new plugs and wires etc.

Parts availability is very good and quite inexpensive really. The LT1 was put into a ton of cars. The C4 ran for a long time so there are a lot of parts available. I paid about 35 bucks each for reman rear calipers no core charge from Rock Auto, for example.
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Old 02-14-2018, 11:29 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MatthewMiller View Post
Good advice in the replies above. I'm not clear on whether this 96 is a manual (ZF6 6-speed) or automatic. If the former, it's a little extra desirable because it will have the LT$ engine. The downside is that good replacement clutch parts are hard to find (all the new replacement parts are crappy Chinese parts, so NOS are the best option but hard to find). OTOH, with those miles and low annual usage, the clutch would probably not need replacement for many years.
IIRC, 6 spd manual was available w LT1 but was required w LT4.
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Old 02-14-2018, 12:01 PM   #14
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IIRC, 6 spd manual was available w LT1 but was required w LT4.
In '96 all manual transmissions cars came equipped with the LT4 engine. You could not get one without the other. If it had a manual transmission it had the LT4, if it had the LT4 it was a manual transmission. If it had the LT1 it was an automatic, if it had the auto it was an LT1.
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Old 02-14-2018, 04:55 PM   #15
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95 is tough to get in and out of but once in place its a sweet my wife loves riding and driving it. The manual is nice. Overall fun car. My 95 has 104k miles and no problems. While the clutch is a bit scarce you'll probably never replace it unless the driver doesn't know how to use it. The Optispark was a problem on pre 95 cars as the water pump seal crapped out and leaked on the Opti. Post 05 got a drain hole that took care of it. From what I've read the 95 and 96 cars were no problem. The LT4 and M6 came as a set but for a daily driver it won't make any difference. Its higher HP but not a screamer. By the way, while clutch parts are not a big deal transmission parts can be. From what I've seen its a $3000 plus rebuild, but then what isn't.
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Old 02-14-2018, 07:30 PM   #16
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Thanks for the replies. Hope to look at the car this weekend. The car is an auto. I think I would have a harder time than her with the in and out thing due primarily to my body mods thanks to helping out Uncle Sam. Driving an "older' Vet should not be a problem for Annie. We still have the '67 vert I bought before we got married and drove on our honeymoon, a '66 425 hp coupe and a '73 L82 coupe along with a '69 Chevelle SS vert. She drives all four, that is why I cannot understand not driving the '04. She has driven the '66 with a girlfriend to the wine country in CA, the '67 to Spearfish, SD and the Chevelle numerous times out of state.
My main reason for posting was the reliability aspect and the logistics of keeping this generation on the road.
Thanks again,
Chas
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Old 02-15-2018, 12:00 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lt4obsesses View Post
In '96 all manual transmissions cars came equipped with the LT4 engine. You could not get one without the other. If it had a manual transmission it had the LT4, if it had the LT4 it was a manual transmission. If it had the LT1 it was an automatic, if it had the auto it was an LT1.
Corvette Black Book: "LT1 engines were mated only to automatic transmissions". You are correct. Thanks
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Old 02-15-2018, 03:04 PM   #18
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95 is tough to get in and out of but once in place its a sweet my wife loves riding and driving it. The manual is nice. Overall fun car. My 95 has 104k miles and no problems. While the clutch is a bit scarce you'll probably never replace it unless the driver doesn't know how to use it. The Optispark was a problem on pre 95 cars as the water pump seal crapped out and leaked on the Opti. Post 05 got a drain hole that took care of it. From what I've read the 95 and 96 cars were no problem. The LT4 and M6 came as a set but for a daily driver it won't make any difference. Its higher HP but not a screamer. By the way, while clutch parts are not a big deal transmission parts can be. From what I've seen its a $3000 plus rebuild, but then what isn't.
The real issue with the manual trans cars is finding the supporting parts. It is a pull type clutch release bearing, and there is a pivot stud that tends to wear and will cause clutch release issues. The flywheel is a dual mass and no one makes them anymore. The alternative is a solid steel or aluminum flywheel, which is fine, but will allow some of the transmission noise that is inherent in the ZF6. The ZF6 itself is almost bullet proof, especially at stock power levels.

The optispark is much more reliable than many give it credit for. However, water intrusion was not the real reason for the design change. It is a sealed unit, however the earlier units had vent holes in the cover. The redesign introduced a vacuum line from the opti to the air intake to force vent the distributor. The larger cause of failure in the earlier optis were due to build up of gases from the spark which were acidic and would corrode the electrodes. I actually had the upper radiator hose in my '96 spew coolant all over the opti. It survived this just fine.
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