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Old 06-11-2018, 09:49 PM   #1  
JMDesign83
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Default C4 Auto to manual swap questions

So I'm in the market for a C4 within around 300 miles of WV. I had an 85' in high school and I've been feeling nostalgic lately. I'd love to buy one, but the wife gave me a $6500 toy budget. (Which I fully plan on rounding up to 7000 ) Which shouldn't be an issue, there's tons of C4's for under $7000. My problem is finding a manual trans. There are 10,001 automatics for sale in that price range, but I've only come across 1 manual in my area within my budget. And it has several issues. Brakes pull to the right, rough idle while cold, tach doesn't work, radio doesn't work, etc...

So lately I've been considering buying an auto and doing a conversion to a manual down the road. (In other words, when the wife says it's okay) But before I make a decision on it I wanted to get some feedback on what people in the community that know more about them think. I know it'd need a new ecu, and the autos have a weaker rear axle, but I haven't found any comprehensive info yet in what all would be entailed or what something like that would cost. I'm mechanically inclined enough to do the work myself, so I'm mainly looking for a list of needed parts so I can shop around to put together a budget.

Any tips or advice would be greatly appreciated. As difficult as C4's are to sell, I want to make sure the one I buy is the one I'm going to want to keep. So I'd hate to get an auto and then find out the cost is too high to do a swap and be stuck with the auto. Because Corvettes shouldn't have automatics lol ...personal preference, please don't let that start a war

Last edited by JMDesign83; 06-11-2018 at 09:50 PM.
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Old 06-11-2018, 10:20 PM   #2  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JMDesign83 View Post
So I'm in the market for a C4 within around 300 miles of WV. I had an 85' in high school and I've been feeling nostalgic lately. I'd love to buy one, but the wife gave me a $6500 toy budget. (Which I fully plan on rounding up to 7000 ) Which shouldn't be an issue, there's tons of C4's for under $7000. My problem is finding a manual trans. There are 10,001 automatics for sale in that price range, but I've only come across 1 manual in my area within my budget. And it has several issues. Brakes pull to the right, rough idle while cold, tach doesn't work, radio doesn't work, etc...

So lately I've been considering buying an auto and doing a conversion to a manual down the road. (In other words, when the wife says it's okay) But before I make a decision on it I wanted to get some feedback on what people in the community that know more about them think. I know it'd need a new ecu, and the autos have a weaker rear axle, but I haven't found any comprehensive info yet in what all would be entailed or what something like that would cost. I'm mechanically inclined enough to do the work myself, so I'm mainly looking for a list of needed parts so I can shop around to put together a budget.

Any tips or advice would be greatly appreciated. As difficult as C4's are to sell, I want to make sure the one I buy is the one I'm going to want to keep. So I'd hate to get an auto and then find out the cost is too high to do a swap and be stuck with the auto. Because Corvettes shouldn't have automatics lol ...personal preference, please don't let that start a war

If you don't have a C4 now and want a manual trans WAIT FOR A MANUAL TRANS CAR!!!!!!!!!!! Period!

You don't even mention a 'year' that might interest you.

There ain't no A4 to any manual that is done on a 'budget' !!

WAIT !!!!
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Old 06-11-2018, 10:26 PM   #3  
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Im looking for an 85' to 89'. Preferably black/black, but open to blue or white. Manual trans, L98. I've been searching for 3 months and haven't found a decent one yet. There is one in VA that needs some work. But the issues it has makes me wonder how much else it needs. Since I'll be spending my toy budget now it will be next year before I can sink money in fixing something up.

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Old 06-11-2018, 10:30 PM   #4  
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figure on about 2k'ish to buy the parts.

there is a 96 LT4 listed in the Cleveland Ohio area for $6000.00. Needs a master cylinder (they say they have). it is a 6-speed of course.

give me a way (via PM to contact you) and I will show you how to navigate to find it if you are interested. actually I seem to thing there are a few sticks in your price range.

depending on where you are at in WV, it is within that 300 mile range.


I also know where there is a buy it and drive it 1985 (at least it was still there a couple days ago) that is a little further but only has 58,000 miles on it and looks like it is great shape from the pics. They recently raised the price a grand since it is summer, it was listed for 6400.00. It has been sitting on their lot for months.

Here are the options it has. I had them mail me a copy of the RPO codes as I was thinking of going to look at it.

If fits your requirements exactly.

AG9 - Power driver seat
A42 - Standard leather seats
A51 - Sport leather seats deleted
BGR - Bowling Green assembly
C49 - Electric rear window defogger
C60 - Manual air condition
DL8 - Twin remote heated outside mirrors
D3X - Speedometer driven gear 25513049 green
D9B - Speedometer sensor 85007308 ?
E5Z - Delete speedometer adaptor
E9Z - Delete speedometer key
FE7 - High performance suspension
FG3 - Preloaded gas shock absorbers
G44 - Rear axle 3.07 ratio
KC4 - Engine oil cooler
K34 - Cruise control
K90 - 108 amp generator
L98 - Tuned port injection 5.7 L engine
MK2 - Manual 4-speed Doug Nash transmission
MM4 - 4-speed manual transmission
NA5 - Federal emission system requirements
QZD - 16" wheels with P255/50 VR16
UQ4 - Delco Bose four speaker system
UU8 - Delco Bose AM/FM stereo radio with cassette
V08 - Heavy duty cooling
V73 - Vehicle statement certification, US or Canada
Z51 - Performance handling package
Z6A - Rear window and side mirror defoggers
1AZ - Modification stock order or order sold
12I - Graphite interior trim

122 - Graphite leather interior
23L - Medium Blue Metallic secondary (lower) exterior
23U - Medium Blue Metallic exterior

Last edited by drcook; 06-11-2018 at 10:41 PM.
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Old 06-11-2018, 10:55 PM   #5  
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Originally Posted by drcook View Post
figure on about 2k'ish to buy the parts.

there is a 96 LT4 listed in the Cleveland Ohio area for $6000.00. Needs a master cylinder (they say they have). it is a 6-speed of course.

give me a way (via PM to contact you) and I will show you how to navigate to find it if you are interested. actually I seem to thing there are a few sticks in your price range.

depending on where you are at in WV, it is within that 300 mile range.


I also know where there is a buy it and drive it 1985 (at least it was still there a couple days ago) that is a little further but only has 58,000 miles on it and looks like it is great shape from the pics. They recently raised the price a grand since it is summer, it was listed for 6400.00. It has been sitting on their lot for months.

Here are the options it has. I had them mail me a copy of the RPO codes as I was thinking of going to look at it.

If fits your requirements exactly.

AG9 - Power driver seat
A42 - Standard leather seats
A51 - Sport leather seats deleted
BGR - Bowling Green assembly
C49 - Electric rear window defogger
C60 - Manual air condition
DL8 - Twin remote heated outside mirrors
D3X - Speedometer driven gear 25513049 green
D9B - Speedometer sensor 85007308 ?
E5Z - Delete speedometer adaptor
E9Z - Delete speedometer key
FE7 - High performance suspension
FG3 - Preloaded gas shock absorbers
G44 - Rear axle 3.07 ratio
KC4 - Engine oil cooler
K34 - Cruise control
K90 - 108 amp generator
L98 - Tuned port injection 5.7 L engine
MK2 - Manual 4-speed Doug Nash transmission
MM4 - 4-speed manual transmission
NA5 - Federal emission system requirements
QZD - 16" wheels with P255/50 VR16
UQ4 - Delco Bose four speaker system
UU8 - Delco Bose AM/FM stereo radio with cassette
V08 - Heavy duty cooling
V73 - Vehicle statement certification, US or Canada
Z51 - Performance handling package
Z6A - Rear window and side mirror defoggers
1AZ - Modification stock order or order sold
12I - Graphite interior trim

122 - Graphite leather interior
23L - Medium Blue Metallic secondary (lower) exterior
23U - Medium Blue Metallic exterior
Not a huge fan of the blue interior, but I'm starting to give up on being picky lol Everything else looks great though! Time to talk them down on price
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Old 06-11-2018, 11:00 PM   #6  
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Actually, the interior looks more grey than blue. They have it listed as having blue interior though.
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Old 06-12-2018, 08:10 AM   #7  
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First is have you been checking cars for sale on this site and others? Maybe put a WTB ad out there listing what you're looking for.

Second - Find yourself someone that has a dealer license and uses some of the auction sites like Manheim. Yes you're going to likely to have do some traveling but it opens up a lot of options.
When I was looking for one, I found my 86 that way in New Mexico. Yes I had to go get it or have it shipped here. I went and drove it back and it was a fun road trip.

You're going to find a lot of automatics vs. manuals out in the wild because probably 80% or more of the cars sold were automatics. Manuals can be found but typically you will pay a premium. Mine was both a convertible and manual, pretty much the holy grail for many and I was lucky when I found it on an auction site, I got it for a decent price.

You can price out conversion kits via companies like Silver Streak (think that's their name) but they're going to be pricey in most cases what with the expected value of the car in the long haul. If you ever expect to sell it, I doubt you'd get your money back.

My 2 cents. Good luck.
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Old 06-12-2018, 08:24 AM   #8  
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I would also advise not swapping and waiting for a manual car. We just happened to luck out with the black/black 4 speed... For the price and knowing the guy who owned it prior it was a no brainer.

I would reccomend not doing the swap only because it seems very involved and in the long run of you do want to sell it someone may not be as keen to the swap thinking the car could have been butchered to make it work. Not saying you will but people think strange thing when they see mods.
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Old 06-12-2018, 12:04 PM   #9  
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I appreciate the tips. That's really all I was wondering, in terms of cost involved. I'm not too concerned with resale value as I doubt I'll get rid of it. I've regretted selling the one I had in high school for 15 yrs now lol Unfortunately my work keeps me too busy to really travel much except a Saturday or even weekend trip. And my wife would kill me if I used my vacation hrs to go buy a car lol I may check out that auction idea though. I hadn't thought to look. I'm sure I know someone with a dealers licence so I'll start asking around. Thanks again for the input!
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Old 06-12-2018, 12:10 PM   #10  
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I've done this swap twice...Here's my advice.

Wait on a clean 1989 6 speed. It will have the better transmission (ZF 6 speed) and the Dana 44 differential with a decent gear ratio. Your gonna find more than enough other problems to keep you busy with a corvette that old. Tell your wife the budget might stretch just a little for a really nice one, but you will be glad you got it in the end.

Be patient and wait for the right car.....it will come along
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Old 06-12-2018, 12:18 PM   #11  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JMDesign83 View Post
I appreciate the tips. That's really all I was wondering, in terms of cost involved. I'm not too concerned with resale value as I doubt I'll get rid of it. I've regretted selling the one I had in high school for 15 yrs now lol Unfortunately my work keeps me too busy to really travel much except a Saturday or even weekend trip. And my wife would kill me if I used my vacation hrs to go buy a car lol I may check out that auction idea though. I hadn't thought to look. I'm sure I know someone with a dealers licence so I'll start asking around. Thanks again for the input!
From the sounds of things, instead of asking here, you should be asking your wife.
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Old 06-12-2018, 12:20 PM   #12  
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I've done this swap twice...Here's my advice.

Wait on a clean 1989 6 speed. It will have the better transmission (ZF 6 speed) and the Dana 44 differential with a decent gear ratio. Your gonna find more than enough other problems to keep you busy with a corvette that old. Tell your wife the budget might stretch just a little for a really nice one, but you will be glad you got it in the end.

Be patient and wait for the right car.....it will come along

If at all possible, could you be the one to tell that to my wife? Lol Its good advice though. I've got email notifications on a dozen sites and check them each morning. Someday one will show up lol
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Old 06-12-2018, 12:21 PM   #13  
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From the sounds of things, instead of asking here, you should be asking your wife.
No words more true have ever been spoken lol
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Old 06-12-2018, 12:42 PM   #14  
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I picked up a rebuildable '96 manual w/78k miles for $2500. If I wanted to rebuild it, it would have needed a K-member ($200 used), 2 dog bones, ($150), hood, door and rear fascia, ($2.5k to install and paint).

I've done an auto to manual swap on the race car. I did it on a butchered car so there was a lot I didn't care about. My suggestion, HOLD OUT FOR A MANUAL CAR. It's a TON of work and money. Not counting needing the trans, flywheel, pedals, master and slave cylinder, you also need the different trans tunnel piece and to glass it in. Then you'll need all the associated trim pieces AND wiring harness.

Here's one I'm sure you could get the guy to go down $200 to be in your budget:
https://smd.craigslist.org/cto/d/199...602953763.html

Here's another you might need to work harder to get in your budget:
https://baltimore.craigslist.org/cto...587963328.html

This one (guy is claiming) 34k miles on it; $7500 OBO.
https://frederick.craigslist.org/cto...597688117.html
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Old 06-12-2018, 12:47 PM   #15  
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Yeah, that seems to be the general consensus. The white one in the first link looks great. I'll give him a call. Thank you!
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Old 06-12-2018, 03:28 PM   #16  
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And expand your search area...a lot. This ain't gonna do it:
Quote:
Originally Posted by JMDesign83 View Post
I've only come across 1 manual in my area within my budget.
I live in UT. I bought a boat in Indiana, a car in Washington....how long you going to own the 'Vette? How long does it take to go get a car? Couple days? Expand your search and get a good stick shift car.
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Old 06-12-2018, 07:37 PM   #17  
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Default Other way!!!

I have a manual 94 that I am gathering parts to convert to auto!

Lot of work, not sure I would recommend it. I am old and stiff so the auto makes more sense. Bought the car reasonable but turned out had a bad engine. Bought a good 95 LT1 and decided to do the auto conversion at the same time. If you do a conversion, be sure to get in touch as i will have all the more difficult to find parts left over.

Have tranny, shifter, wire harness, (2)clutch, (2)flywheel, master cyl, slave cyl, pedals, console stuff, radiator, would even trade ECM although they can be reprogrammed to operate either manual or auto.

You can swap in the Dana 44, torque beam, driveshaft etc fairly easily. If you can live with the ratio in the auto car and don't drive real hard you can avoid that part.

Guess I would trade the car before I convert it. Eng goes with it as well as all new Ecklers weatherstrip etc. Black on black,convert good options. Seats worn but no rips.
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Old 06-12-2018, 11:59 PM   #18  
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I use Craigslist pro to search many cities at the same time. There is a 89-96 6 speed with your name on it out there!
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Old 06-13-2018, 02:16 AM   #19  
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This thread illustrates a point I've tried to make. C4s are consistently under valued by my fellow forum members. This forum is supposedly for C4 lover's, but boy, let anyone ask what a C4 is worth and these self same people will give some low ball figure (a psychiatrist might call this "self hate"). Now here's a guy with $7,000 to spend and he can't find a C4 in his price range. WHAT DOES THAT TELL YOU ABOUT THE INCREASING VALUE OF THESE CARS? OH, YOU C4 NAYSAYERS OF LITTLE FAITH?
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Old 06-13-2018, 09:12 AM   #20  
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The car I posted above was priced well below 7K during the winter, the auto dealership bumped it up because it is summer. the car has been sitting on their lot since last fall.

If someone showed up at that dealership with cash, you know they aren't going to allow you to walk away and take a chance it will sit there for another 8 months or more.
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