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To buy or not to buy!

Old 09-18-2018, 07:49 PM
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MissyMissShayla
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Default To buy or not to buy!

Hello! I was not 100% where to post this so if it is in wrong place please let me know

I found a 1984 Chevrolet Corvette Z51 for $1500, they have replaced a lot of things on it but says that "it builds up way too much pressure in the radiator and blows out the coolant" and when I asked what they thought the problem could be was a "slight head gasket failure" and clarified not enough to suck coolant into the engine but just enough to over pressurize the cooling system. I don't know all that much about cars and after a bit of researching it seems that a head gasket is a super expensive fix to go to a mechanic for, so I would love to be able to do it myself. Do you feel its realistic that I would be able to fix this on my own? From what I have found online its all a bit confusing but a lot of people also say its not worth it to go to a mechanic for it but "you're brave for doing this without knowing much"
So I guess what I am asking is

-How stupidly hard and over ambitious is it to think I can fix a head gasket?
-Is this car worth buying because of the problems it has?
-Are there any questions I should ask them before buying the car if you suggest I do?


Sorry again for the long post, thank you!!

Edit- The car is one I would love but I also am afraid of getting a bit too ambitious and would hate to mess it up.

Last edited by MissyMissShayla; 09-18-2018 at 07:50 PM.
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Old 09-18-2018, 08:00 PM
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ChumpVette
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Originally Posted by MissyMissShayla View Post
Edit- The car is one I would love but I also am afraid of getting a bit too ambitious and would hate to mess it up.

Sounds like it is already messed up. For me it would be a 3 strokes your out policy. 1) head gasket failure. 2) it’s an 84. 3) it’s an 84!

Save some additional cash and buy a car that doesn’t have issues from the start.

Welcome to the group.

Last edited by ChumpVette; 09-18-2018 at 08:22 PM.
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Old 09-18-2018, 08:17 PM
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MissyMissShayla
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Originally Posted by ChumpVette View Post



Sounds like it is already messed up. For me it would be a 3 strokes your out policy. 1) head gasket failure. 2) itís an 84. 3) itís an 84!

Save some additional cash and buy a car that doesnít have issues from the start.

Welcome me to the group.
Oh is that a thing are 84s generally frowned upon? I AM SO NEW FORGIVE ME.
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Old 09-18-2018, 08:31 PM
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Originally Posted by MissyMissShayla View Post
Oh is that a thing are 84s generally frowned upon? I AM SO NEW FORGIVE ME.
The 84 was the only C4 year with the crossfire engine which most people dislike. Plus the 84 was the first year of the c4 since 83's got sidelined due to California emission issues. A lot of people don't like the first model year of any new platform since no bugs had been worked out yet.

As for that particular car, I would run from it. C4 prices are such a buyers market right now and that will just get better as winter gets closer. I'd look for a good deal on something 87 or newer that doesn't have any major issues to fix right out of the gate. I personally prefer the 92+ since they have the 300 HP LT1 engines.
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Old 09-18-2018, 08:38 PM
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Originally Posted by darrensls1 View Post
The 84 was the only C4 year with the crossfire engine which most people dislike. Plus the 84 was the first year of the c4 since 83's got sidelined due to California emission issues. A lot of people don't like the first model year of any new platform since no bugs had been worked out yet.

As for that particular car, I would run from it. C4 prices are such a buyers market right now and that will just get better as winter gets closer. I'd look for a good deal on something 87 or newer that doesn't have any major issues to fix right out of the gate. I personally prefer the 92+ since they have the 300 HP LT1 engines.
I am going to be obnoxious and ask questions on every response apparently, is there a specific reason most people dislike the crossfire engines?
Hmmm alright that makes enough sense about finding something that doesn't have major issues to fix.
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Old 09-18-2018, 09:05 PM
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The crossfire engine is not inherently "bad", but the L98 that came in 85 is just much better.
What is your budget ?
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Old 09-18-2018, 09:30 PM
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It's a corvette for next to nothing. Its gonna need work. The cars are easy to work on, this car I'd be tempted to just yank the engine out and put in a crate engine of some sort. A zz4 in this would be a great setup, and with as cheap as that car is, it's a great entry point to corvettes.
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Old 09-18-2018, 09:38 PM
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RetroGuy
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MissyMS,
Hopefully you can spend approx 5 - $6,000 for a decent Corvette that's a 1987 or newer and ready to go. Run a Carfax on any potential car prior buying. Take someone with you who knows more than you about Chevrolets when you test drive them too. If you have engine issues from the start with this $1,500 Corvette, you could easily throw another 2 - $3,000 of needed repairs into it before you know it. The Corvette you looked at is 34 years old and has unknown required repairs; all good if you have an unlimited budget, or like to gamble.

Last edited by RetroGuy; 09-18-2018 at 09:43 PM.
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Old 09-19-2018, 01:18 AM
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Paul Workman
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"A slight head gasket problem" is like being slightly PREGNANT! Just the way they couched that..."slight headgasket"...sends the red flags flying.
Love to have you aboard - lots of great people hear to help you out. But, I think that unless you were car savvy or have a close friend who IS, you'd be better off letting that one go.
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Old 09-19-2018, 01:57 AM
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Depending on budget I would look for a 89 (first year for a 6spd) if you want a stick and newer. I'd run away from that 84 with all those issues out of the gate.
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Old 09-19-2018, 02:02 AM
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The seller is looking for someone to take their troubles away from them! If it's a "slight" problem, they should fix it! I have an '84, and it's a nice car, but I'm a good mechanic, and like working on it! If this engine has been overheated (which they probably won't admit), there's a good chance the head(s) are cracked, so that's a bit more than a simple head gasket replacement! There's no way to tell which it is without removing the heads!

I'm speaking from personal experience here. Welcome to the Forum! Lots of good people here!


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Old 09-19-2018, 06:31 AM
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MissyMissShayla
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I appreciate all of the advice so much and thank you guys for all the sweet welcomes! <3
Ok so I am confidently going to steer clear of this specific car, thank you guys for reaffirming my worries about the car. Going to keep searching for something from the later 80's that is y'know currently running, seems like that is a generally agreed upon idea!
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Old 09-19-2018, 09:06 AM
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Oh, I am loving this. I can't wait for updates on this adventure. Welcome to the vette world.

Nothing wrong with the '84, it is just a c4 as the rest, but has a little character!

Are you on twitch? Are you going to be making videos of the work on this car you buy?

Last edited by pologreen1; 09-19-2018 at 09:09 AM.
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Old 09-19-2018, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by MissyMissShayla View Post
I appreciate all of the advice so much and thank you guys for all the sweet welcomes! <3
Ok so I am confidently going to steer clear of this specific car, thank you guys for reaffirming my worries about the car. Going to keep searching for something from the later 80's that is y'know currently running, seems like that is a generally agreed upon idea!
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Old 09-19-2018, 12:34 PM
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MissyMissShayla
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Originally Posted by pologreen1 View Post
Oh, I am loving this. I can't wait for updates on this adventure. Welcome to the vette world.

Nothing wrong with the '84, it is just a c4 as the rest, but has a little character!

Are you on twitch? Are you going to be making videos of the work on this car you buy?
I am on Twitch! But I wasnt planning on live streaming at least this car because it's more for my close friend than I, but we will be working on it together so I am super excited. We might film parts of it just for reference for ourselves more than anything, how didja know I was on twitch :o?
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Old 09-19-2018, 03:10 PM
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I have an 85 and they're "frowned on" too, to some extent. The price is great. For that price it is hard to get hurt too bad if you're willing to do the work to fix it, and there will be a lot. Heads aside, it's a 35 year old car and even if it ran perfectly, there will be other "issues"

1) As is said above, plan for the worst - a set of replacement or reman heads.

2) It's not an easy job, but if you can follow instructions and are sufficiently motivated, it's not impossible at all. Kids around here do it all the time.

3) The crossfire isn't a highly sought after engine performance wise, but if you don't care about that? It's adequate.

4) Check for contaminated oil. Any milky/foamy looking white or grey stuff in the oil is a no-go because it indicates coolant intrusion, and potentially a replacement or a rebuild of the entire engine.

5) Budget.. If you are handy with the tools and can do the work yourself, a realistic, outside, worst case scenario for a new set of heads and install is about 2K. Gaskets alone? A couple hundred should do it.

Whatever you decide, Good luck!

Last edited by confab; 09-19-2018 at 03:10 PM.
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Old 09-21-2018, 05:19 PM
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Originally Posted by MissyMissShayla View Post
I am going to be obnoxious and ask questions on every response apparently, is there a specific reason most people dislike the crossfire engines?
Hmmm alright that makes enough sense about finding something that doesn't have major issues to fix.
You should spend some time reading up on the C4 history and get some general knowledge about these cars. The crossfire was a carryover engine from the C3 (previous generation Corvette).

Lots of these cars were made, and even with a budget of $2000 you should be able to find a running, driving car. It may take some time searching, and of course at that price it will have issues, but it will drive.

Basically there are two approaches to this:
1) spend less money up front for a car with issues, then spend more money and time fixing those issues; OR
2) spend more money up front on a healthier car and spend much less (if any) more money or time wrenching and instead you can drive and enjoy it sooner.

I understand if you don't have the budget for a healthy car, I'm just giving you the general approach. You can do this either one way or the other.
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Old 09-22-2018, 06:57 PM
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If someone diagnosed it early....may or may not be a big deal. If its been blown and they ran it too long chances are every bearing in that motor is shot.
Buying a C4 "to fix up" can be a costly propostion. If it just needs a little so youre happy with it then a big maybe.

Last edited by cuisinartvette; 09-22-2018 at 07:21 PM.
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Old 09-23-2018, 10:05 AM
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Originally Posted by MissyMissShayla View Post
I am going to be obnoxious and ask questions on every response apparently, is there a specific reason most people dislike the crossfire engines?
Hmmm alright that makes enough sense about finding something that doesn't have major issues to fix.
Beware... Heavy "foggy" advise around RE the crossfire.

The crossfire concept has been used extensively on performance motors, including NASCAR. It's NOT rocket science to really wake up the old crossfire system. The crossfire system gets a bad wrap, but mostly from "experts" with TPI motors that have no actual experience with hot-rodding crossfires. I've nothing against the TPI motors. They've proven themselves to a point. But, personally, if I were wanting to build a motor with a bit of "sleeper appeal" and having something unique, I'd be skewed toward the crossfire over the TPIs. And, there are some real KILLER crossfires out there too! But, everyone's mileage may vary on that score.



Nuttin wrong w/ a crossfire, in other words.

Last edited by Paul Workman; 09-23-2018 at 10:14 AM.
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