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First Impressions

This is a discussion on First Impressions within the Camaro / SS forums, part of the Vehicle Specific category; So, I bought the car about a week ago. It's a 98 Z28. Until now, I have only posted in ...

  1. #1
    Member Naaman's Avatar
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    Cayanne
    98 Z28 Vert M6

    First Impressions

    So, I bought the car about a week ago. It's a 98 Z28. Until now, I have only posted in the New Members section. New Guy Saying Hello

    Anyway, here we go:

    The car has been well maintained and kept up. The color is far from my first choice, however, the paint is in great shape. People actually check out the car as they pass by, despite how common Camaros are. I've had a few chances to drive around with the top down and it's nice, though, since I'm originally from southern California, living in Washington diminishes the intrinsic value of a convertible.

    The interior is nice and effective; every thing is within reach etc, although there are three things that don't quite "sit" right with me: first, there is no head rest on the seats... I like to be able to lean my head back when sitting in the car parked, or else just creeping along. Second, the lumbar supports are weak. I find that I slide around when going around corners. Finally, the steering wheel seems to be ever-so-slightly off center (to the left) from the driver's seat.

    The clutch pedal squeaks with every shift. My friend tells me that all Camaros, regardless of model year, have squeaky clutch pedals. Whatever... most of the time I'm too busy listening to music or the exhaust note to care or notice.

    Driving on bumpy roads is noisy, although my car came with after market suspension and wheels/tires (it has Corvette wheels with low profile tires). It actually sounds more like the car is slamming into the bumps rather than that the suspension is compressing/expanding... almost as if the car is just one solid piece with no springs/struts. This is, of course, a feature of sports cars that I gladly accept, as I prefer to know exactly what's going on on the pavement. On smooth roads, it's quite nice, though.

    For as stiff as the suspension is, the car feels surprisingly awkward or ponderous around corners. Although, I notice that when driving one gear lower than normal (3rd instead of 4th, for example), the car communicates much better. I feel more sure of what is going on under the tires, which, by way of a placebo effect, I suppose, makes me more confident about driving faster. Generally speaking, when operating above 2000 rpm, I feel like the car is much more responsive to both throttle input and steering input than it is below 2000 rpm. In fact, I get nervous and somewhat scared below 2000 rpm... like I don't understand what the tires/suspension/steering wheel are communicating to me. In 6th gear at about 75 mph, things start to feel better, though. Below 70 mph, 6th gear is scary, but 5th gear feels great.

    On the subject of freeway driving, it seems like people want to pass me or tailgate me way more often in this car than in my wife's Honda, or my previous Volvo. It's like everyone seems to have something to "prove..." even the Corollas and Priuses. I was driving about 68 mph in a 60 zone and a Prius comes charging right up to my tailpipes as if trying to intimidate me to let him by (you know, like drivers of gigantic SUVs and pick up trucks). It occurred to me in that moment that I as sitting behind 5 times the horsepower than the little guy. It mostly seems to be people driving Spectras or Minis or the like....

    As for the speeeeeeed

    It's great to finally own a car with some cajones. Interestingly, the car feels as though its going slower than it actually is. I suspect this is because it does 60mph at just a hair over idle engine speeds

    As of right now, I'm still an amateur with a stick shift (I can tool around town just fine, but I have no experience putting real power to the ground through a manual ). 2 out of 3 times so far, when attempting to go WOT from a 15mph roll in 1st gear, the car wants to go sideways on me. Most of my sprints have started from a 15-20 mph roll in 2nd gear. The only car I've driven that is worth comparing it to is a '00 911 Carrera. I know these cars make similar numbers at the track (straight line, obviously), but they feel fast in distinctly different ways. The LS1 responds to sudden throttle input with great urgency and ferocity. The exhaust roars boastfully loud as rpms climb. And the car seems to dare me to keep accelerating. It's actually kinda scary in a great way.

    In the 911, the power surges immediately as the throttle is applied, but the car remains composed and smooth at any speed. The power continues to surge as the rpms climb... a lot like a airplane on the runway, only more Gs. The car seems to encourage me to drive faster. A 911 feels as stable at 100mph as my Volvo at 30mph.

    All in all, I like the car. I'll definitely be putting some money into it and will hopefully be able to pass it onto my son when he's old enough.

  2. #2
    Exalted Cyclops 67CamaroRSSS's Avatar
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    2002 Z28 A4 NBM
    Sadly now demodded :(

    These cars were built more for speed than handling, although they are quite capable stock. Poor mans Vette and all (LOL). Making it go around corners and keeping yourself in the seat is only an aftermarket parts store away.

    If you like to stay stock the seat thing can be partially cured by obtaining a Trans Am seat in the same color and swapping. They actually use TA seats in European models due to the adjustable headrest being a requirement.

    I use my 02 for drag racing and tooling around on club cruises and events. I like them so much I bought a 98 to use as a DD. Then again, I bought my 1st Camaro in 1974 (1969 SS 396) and I've owned some form of Camaro (mostly 1st gens) continuously since 1978.

    I hope you enjoy yours as much as I enjoy mine.
    67 Camaro: K-K + 797-z (look it up), 454/Th400/4.10 12-bolt = 6mpg, PS/PDB/PW tilt, tach, gauges...

    No more 2011. Time to put $$$ into the 67...

    2002 Z28: NBM/Tan, MTI smooth lid, smooth bellows, !AIR, !cats, 1-3/4" QTP SS LT's, 2-1/2" TD's with X-pipe, MagnaFlows dumped at axle, custom welded SFC's, MidWest Chassis body mount adjustable T/A, 3400 stall, 3.23 gears (was 2.73). Tuned: 343rwhp/357rwt (before TD's). Best: 12.559 @ 108+, 1.73 60' @ 3500' DA w/MT ET Street DR's.

    Carbon footprint? CLOWN SHOE!

  3. #3
    Member Naaman's Avatar
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    Cayanne
    98 Z28 Vert M6

    Quote Originally Posted by 67CamaroRSSS View Post
    These cars were built more for speed than handling, although they are quite capable stock. Poor mans Vette and all (LOL). Making it go around corners and keeping yourself in the seat is only an aftermarket parts store away.

    I hope you enjoy yours as much as I enjoy mine.
    I agree completely. I knew going in that it was more of a quarter-mile car than a road course car. I was just surprised that given the increased tracation and tighter suspension, that it feels the way it does around corners.

    As for the seats, that's good to know.

    I'm sure I will enjoy it a lot: I've been doing my research and it's looking like it's going to be a little while before I can start modding it, though. The first thing I'm going to have to do is swap out the 10-bolt for something more substantial.

    My modding goals are not extreme, but I would like to see about 330-350 hp at the wheels.

    The mods I'm thinking of are:

    9-inch or 12-bolt or S60 etc
    Port Throttle Body
    LS6 Intake
    Remap ECU
    LS7 Clutch
    Lighter Flywheel (I forget the brand name)
    A carbon fiber driveshaft (depending on how reliable they are)
    C5 5-Spoke wheels (alloy, not chrome, if I can find them)
    SS hood
    SS spoiler
    RS Body kit or RK Sports body kit
    I would like to paint the car a metallic blue or a glossy black
    I would also re-upholster the interior in a dark red/burgandy color
    Some HIDs or halos up front
    Smoked tail lights in the back
    And a decent (though not too heavy) sound system.
    I'm also toying with the idea of a roll bar over the back seat.
    Last edited by Naaman; 04-23-2010 at 10:29 PM.

  4. #4
    Exalted Cyclops 67CamaroRSSS's Avatar
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    2002 Z28 A4 NBM
    Sadly now demodded :(

    I obtained 343rwhp just by freeing up the exhaust system and dyno tuning. Stock the car put down 306rwhp. Mods are in sig. Granted the 01/02 cars have an lS6 intake, I added a free flowing lid.

    This coupled with a high stall converter (I have a reworked A4 tranny with a 3400 stall) and some sticky tires gave me a mid 12 second car in the 1/4 mile. I'm more of a 1/4 miler than a road racer.

    A better rearend is always a good option. Although I still have a 10 bolt i also have an A4 tranny which is gentler on the launch and shift.

    I have friends that have modified (or purchased outright in the case of an SS with no options) their cars for road racing and they turn impressive times. It's all in what you want the car to do and what you're willing to spend for mods.
    Last edited by 67CamaroRSSS; 04-23-2010 at 11:46 PM.

  5. #5
    Member Naaman's Avatar
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    Cayanne
    98 Z28 Vert M6

    I have a dyno that the previous owner gave me with the car. It put 275 to the wheels that day, which suggests about 316 hp at the crank. I'm guessing that the mods I listed should bring me right about where I want to be.

    I haven't found much info on it yet, but even some after market pulleys that can free up some lost horsepower would be nice.

    I'm not really worried about turning a Camaro into a road course/track car. I don't even plan on taking it to the strip, really. I just want a few mods to make the car my own... starting with the rear end to make sure it doesn't break under load.

  6. #6
    Junior Member pdiddyz28's Avatar
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    navy blue
    1998 z28 m6

    Smile

    you said "despite how common Camaros are". i wanna live where you live lol...where i live i see 1 Camaro/Trans am/Firebird for every 20+ Rustangs!

  7. #7
    Member Naaman's Avatar
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    Cayanne
    98 Z28 Vert M6

    Well, they're not THAT common here in WA, but where I'm from (SoCal), they're pretty much a dime a dozen... but then again... there are tons and tons of very expensive cars there (there seems to be more luxury/exotic/sports cars than regular old beaters).

    Around here where I live, there are maybe a couple other F-bodies, but they're mostly V-6s.

    But Mustangs are common EVERYWHERE!!!!! Ford must've done something right... but I don't really like 'em.... though to be fair, I was never really a fan of the Camaro, either... but I like mine, now that I have it.
    Last edited by Naaman; 04-28-2010 at 12:39 PM.

  8. #8
    Exalted Cyclops 67CamaroRSSS's Avatar
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    2002 Z28 A4 NBM
    Sadly now demodded :(

    Where abouts in SoCal are you from? I was born and raised in the South Bay area (Gardena) of LA.

  9. #9
    Member Naaman's Avatar
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    Cayanne
    98 Z28 Vert M6

    I'm from the West Side of LA.

  10. #10
    Exalted Cyclops 67CamaroRSSS's Avatar
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    2002 Z28 A4 NBM
    Sadly now demodded :(

    Quote Originally Posted by Naaman View Post
    I'm from the West Side of LA.
    Homie!

    West side, like Santa Monica? West L.A.?

  11. #11
    ʢ ൧ ൨ ൩ ൪ ൫ ൬ ൭ ൮Ր Ց Ւ Փ Smittro's Avatar
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    Congrats! In my honest oppy, the reason it feels so sluggish sometimes in corners is these cars were designed to have a nose up aditude exiting the apex of a corner. Nose down there's just so much that can be done with all that weight on the front end. But also imho you need more "seat time" to be more comfortable with the power you have available and get to know her better. It's a muscle car brudda! They where built to be brutal on the street...lol
    Last edited by Smittro; 04-29-2010 at 08:16 PM.
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  12. #12
    Member Naaman's Avatar
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    98 Z28 Vert M6

    Quote Originally Posted by 67CamaroRSSS View Post
    Homie!

    West side, like Santa Monica? West L.A.?
    Both, actually.

  13. #13
    Member Naaman's Avatar
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    Cayanne
    98 Z28 Vert M6

    Quote Originally Posted by Smittro View Post
    Congrats! In my honest oppy, the reason it feels so sluggish sometimes in corners is these cars were designed to have a nose up aditude exiting the apex of a corner. Nose down there's just so much that can be done with all that weight on the front end. But also imho you need more "seat time" to be more comfortable with the power you have available and get to know her better. It's a muscle car brudda! They where built to be brutal on the street...lol
    I agree. The more time I spend driving the car, the more I understand it's capabilities and personality. It feels good around long, sweeping curves. Not too sure how I would do in a slalom or a hairpin, though.

    Incidentally, I'm getting more comfortable with the car at low rpms as well.

  14. #14
    Exalted Cyclops 67CamaroRSSS's Avatar
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    2002 Z28 A4 NBM
    Sadly now demodded :(

    Quote Originally Posted by Naaman View Post
    I agree. The more time I spend driving the car, the more I understand it's capabilities and personality. It feels good around long, sweeping curves. Not too sure how I would do in a slalom or a hairpin, though.

    Incidentally, I'm getting more comfortable with the car at low rpms as well.
    1st mod you might want to do (if it doesn't have them already) is put sub-frame connectors on it.

    I used to have a 96 Z28 vert. You could feel the body twist going over railroad tracks or taking a hard corner hanging the wheels out. After a good set of 3-point (bolted to the trailing arm) welded in SFC's it felt like a different car. Much more predictable and easier to steer with the throttle. FYI: Vert SFC's are different from hard or T-top SFC's.

  15. #15
    Member Naaman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 67CamaroRSSS View Post
    1st mod you might want to do (if it doesn't have them already) is put sub-frame connectors on it.

    I used to have a 96 Z28 vert. You could feel the body twist going over railroad tracks or taking a hard corner hanging the wheels out. After a good set of 3-point (bolted to the trailing arm) welded in SFC's it felt like a different car. Much more predictable and easier to steer with the throttle. FYI: Vert SFC's are different from hard or T-top SFC's.
    Interesting. That never would have occurred to me, even though I know that convertibles are less rigid than coupes.

    I've been thinking about doing some drive train mods in the meantime until I can gather up the cash for the rear end (clutch/flywheel).

  16. #16
    Exalted Cyclops 67CamaroRSSS's Avatar
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    Sadly now demodded :(

    Quote Originally Posted by Naaman View Post
    Interesting. That never would have occurred to me, even though I know that convertibles are less rigid than coupes.

    I've been thinking about doing some drive train mods in the meantime until I can gather up the cash for the rear end (clutch/flywheel).
    Consider this then: SFC's will allow the doors to close and the top to line up as the vehicle ages, especially if you subject it rigorous driving.

    An anecdote: Guy in my car club buys a 2000 Z28 t-top car new and starts modding and racing from day 1. 5 years and 50k miles later he decides to install SFC's. I need to fabricate a 1/4" thick spacer for the right side towards the rear (these SFC's didn't attach to the control arm mount) as repeated launches had started to twist the car into a pretzel. Mind you, at this point it was an 11 second H/C/I with a 125 shot car.

  17. #17
    Junior Member Shane2390's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Naaman View Post
    The clutch pedal squeaks with every shift. My friend tells me that all Camaros, regardless of model year, have squeaky clutch pedals. Whatever... most of the time I'm too busy listening to music or the exhaust note to care or notice
    This was like mine, yesterday I took down the cover under the steering wheel, and there are springs at the top of the clutch pedal. Spray some Pb blaster or wd40 up there and have a rag or towel to catch the runoff. no more annoying sqeak!

  18. #18
    Member cancam99ss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 67CamaroRSSS View Post
    These cars were built more for speed than handling, although they are quite capable stock. Poor mans Vette and all (LOL). Making it go around corners and keeping yourself in the seat is only an aftermarket parts store away.

    If you like to stay stock the seat thing can be partially cured by obtaining a Trans Am seat in the same color and swapping. They actually use TA seats in European models due to the adjustable headrest being a requirement.

    I use my 02 for drag racing and tooling around on club cruises and events. I like them so much I bought a 98 to use as a DD. Then again, I bought my 1st Camaro in 1974 (1969 SS 396) and I've owned some form of Camaro (mostly 1st gens) continuously since 1978.

    I hope you enjoy yours as much as I enjoy mine.
    wow owning some type of camaro here or there is my dream!

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