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1998 Trans Am - Should I buy?

This is a discussion on 1998 Trans Am - Should I buy? within the Firebird / WS6 forums, part of the Vehicle Specific category; Hello Community, I am new to the LS1 community and to sports cars in general. Computers is my sweet spot, ...

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    1998 Trans Am - Should I buy?

    Hello Community,

    I am new to the LS1 community and to sports cars in general. Computers is my sweet spot, you can ask my anything about it and I can help! However, when it comes to cars, I am slowly learning!

    I sold my GSX-R a few months ago and have been interested in Trans Am's. I really like the way they look and sound with SLP Loudmouth exhaust. I have been looking for a 1998-1999 Trans Am for a few months now. All the ones (in my price range $4,500-$5,500) I have looked at are not in the greatest condition. They either have ripped liners, shattered dashes, or leather is tore to shreds. I know it will not be perfect, but would prefer one where I don't have to dump a lot of money into it.

    On to the real question. I found this 1998 Trans Am for sale with several modifications. I spoke to the guy and he purchased it from someone a few months ago to fix up and then resell. He told me the engine and transmission has been rebuilt - 140K on the body and about 40k on the engine and transmission. Unfortunately, he does not have the papers on the transmission or engine rebuilt. I also asked if the transmission, engine, or t-tops leak and to his knowledge they do not.

    Here is the post for the car:
    "1998 Pontiac Trans Am, 5.7 LS1, A/T, long tube headers with y pipe and aftermarket exhaust, slp lid, egr tube has been shortened, transmission has been rebuilt with a shift kit and has a B&M shift plus controller with 3 settings, rear gear has been changed to a 3:55 gear ratio with posi trac, graphite metallic corvette wheels, t-tops, nice leather interior, seats are soft with no rips or tears, sony CD player with i pod/mp3/usb flash drive ports, ram air hood, car has new black paint less than 1 month old, car runs and drives great, i drive it almost everyday, have clear Ohio title in hand, $5700 or make offer"

    What do you (the community) think? Is it worth the $5,700? Is there any other questions I should as to find out? I would definitely appreciate any advice or opinions.










    Thanks,

    CP

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    Yeah baby! Yeah! silverWS6's Avatar
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    Looks legit to me and not bad at all for $5500, I wouldn't worry about it having 140k either. I had a 98 that had 196k when I sold it and was still running very strong. Also 98's have a few quirks to them like the water temp and oil psi gauges actually show real measurements (so its good to look for good psi when the car is warm and see how high it goes under acceleration). I have heard that the pcm is a bit harder to tune but with todays tuning hardware that should no longer be something to worry about or stop you from making the purchase. A big plus to me is the new paint also and that firehawk hood looks great, might also be indicators of a front end collision so watch for that (nothing wrong with a front end collision if it has been repaired correctly though, my 02 has been in 2 and you cant even tell it was ever totaled). The seats look real good too, I don't know if you know but they are Camaro seats, overall interior looks great from the pics. Like a said a good buy to me.

    Also check this thread out and welcome aboard! Guide to Buying a Fbody

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    Look good. I was also going to point out that the owner replaced interior pieces with camaro also. get a carfax for sure.

    between certain aftermarket additions, interiors from other models and fresh paint, it's always good to do a little research

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    Thanks, I appreciate the feedback. What is a good psi to look for when I test drive it? The guy told me he replaced the interior seats because they were in bad condition. I had no idea they are Camaro seats. They don't look bad though!

    He mentioned the car had scratches on the doors and hood when he traded for it a few months ago. His buddy owns a paint shop and instead of painting the doors and hood he figured he would repaint the whole car black.

    I was just about to ask if I should spend the money on a carfax report. I have plans to see the car Monday afternoon. If I see anything out of the norm I will post it. If not, I will run a carfax report and if it looks good I will make an offer.
    Last edited by LS1curlyp; 12-01-2012 at 05:38 PM.

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    Yeah baby! Yeah! silverWS6's Avatar
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    Good oil PSI for me would be to idle at 40ish and go up to 60ish under acceleration, my 98 at 196k would sit a hair under 40 and would go up to about 50 under acceleration. Make sure the car is warm when you look at oil pressure as it might be higher when its cold. Another thing is don't be alarmed if it sounds like a sewing machine when its cold, very common for LS1's but if it does sound like a sewing machine when its at operating temp then I would walk away. Carfax is a must if you are serious about buying it, it might save you from a bad deal or give you some peace that it hasn't been wrecked or other things.

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    Quote Originally Posted by silverWS6 View Post
    Good oil PSI for me would be to idle at 40ish and go up to 60ish under acceleration, my 98 at 196k would sit a hair under 40 and would go up to about 50 under acceleration. Make sure the car is warm when you look at oil pressure as it might be higher when its cold. Another thing is don't be alarmed if it sounds like a sewing machine when its cold, very common for LS1's but if it does sound like a sewing machine when its at operating temp then I would walk away. Carfax is a must if you are serious about buying it, it might save you from a bad deal or give you some peace that it hasn't been wrecked or other things.
    Okay, thank you for the advice. With the gears being changed, will I have a problem driving it on the street?

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    black on black
    97 ws6

    way too cheap for an ls1

    I could sell my 97 with 01 front clip and no mods for more than that. It looks the exact same with about the same mileage on stock motor an tranny for more than that.

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    Yeah baby! Yeah! silverWS6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LS1curlyp View Post
    Okay, thank you for the advice. With the gears being changed, will I have a problem driving it on the street?
    Not at all, 3.55's should be good and you should still average 20+ mpg. Some came with 3.42's stock and most people upgrade to 3.73's and even 4.10's on auto's. Make sure the car has been tuned for the gears though or your mph's will be off. Speaking of gears/rearend, you should also listen for any whining or crunching/grinding noises coming from the back as those will be signs of the rear going out. These cars came with real weak rear ends and can be broken with stock power. Might be common sense but do not test drive the car with the radio blasting (or let the seller get you into that game) so you can listen for the whining at highway speeds and if the crunching'grinding sound happens then it'll be heard when you make slow turns like a parking lot.

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    Quote Originally Posted by silverWS6 View Post
    Not at all, 3.55's should be good and you should still average 20+ mpg. Some came with 3.42's stock and most people upgrade to 3.73's and even 4.10's on auto's. Make sure the car has been tuned for the gears though or your mph's will be off. Speaking of gears/rearend, you should also listen for any whining or crunching/grinding noises coming from the back as those will be signs of the rear going out. These cars came with real weak rear ends and can be broken with stock power. Might be common sense but do not test drive the car with the radio blasting (or let the seller get you into that game) so you can listen for the whining at highway speeds and if the crunching'grinding sound happens then it'll be heard when you make slow turns like a parking lot.
    Okay, thanks. This may be a dumb question, but what does the 3.55 do? Provide more torque? With the car having around 140k on the body and 42 on the engine and tranny, should I anticipate the rear end going out soon?

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    Yeah baby! Yeah! silverWS6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LS1curlyp View Post
    Okay, thanks. This may be a dumb question, but what does the 3.55 do? Provide more torque? With the car having around 140k on the body and 42 on the engine and tranny, should I anticipate the rear end going out soon?
    Gives you a bit more acceleration, just makes your back wheels turn at a faster rate but doesn't give you more HP/torque. It's hard to tell when the rearend will go out, it really depends on how it's been cared for by fluid changes and abuse its been through. Some people have been able to put down good power 500+hp with the stock rear, while other people bust it with stock power (300ishHP). Your benefit is that you would have an auto so that would be "gentler" on the rear because it obviously wouldn't get any clutch dumps.

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    If the car checks out good, I will most likely have all fluids changed (oil, tranny, and rear end). On rebuilt motors do I follow the same guild lines as regular ones? Meaning after 100k use full synthetic or should I start from day one since it is the original motor?

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    Yeah baby! Yeah! silverWS6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LS1curlyp View Post
    If the car checks out good, I will most likely have all fluids changed (oil, tranny, and rear end). On rebuilt motors do I follow the same guild lines as regular ones? Meaning after 100k use full synthetic or should I start from day one since it is the original motor?
    Yes you would follow the same guidelines as a regular motor. I've never heard the "full synthetic after 100k" idea, I use full synthetic on mine with 83k and been using it since it had 49k and I'm sure the guy before me used it also. That would just be personal preference

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    Quote Originally Posted by silverWS6 View Post
    Yes you would follow the same guidelines as a regular motor. I've never heard the "full synthetic after 100k" idea, I use full synthetic on mine with 83k and been using it since it had 49k and I'm sure the guy before me used it also. That would just be personal preference
    Okay, great. Thanks for your advice silver.

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    Yeah baby! Yeah! silverWS6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LS1curlyp View Post
    Okay, great. Thanks for your advice silver.
    Glad I could help

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    Welcome to LS1 Phil! You've come to the right place Phil. The people here are just awesome. If they can help you, they will. Hey Edgar, isn't that a Raptor hood on that 98 Phil is showing?

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    Yeah baby! Yeah! silverWS6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cowstandmoto View Post
    Welcome to LS1 Phil! You've come to the right place Phil. The people here are just awesome. If they can help you, they will. Hey Edgar, isn't that a Raptor hood on that 98 Phil is showing?
    You are right I initially thought it was a Firehawk hood but it is a Raptor

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    Member cowstandmoto's Avatar
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    Yeah, I thought that for a second also, but it sure looks like a Raptor hood to me.

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    Personally I would want the Trans AM seats and recover them. I think they look much better than the Camaro seats.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cowstandmoto View Post
    Welcome to LS1 Phil! You've come to the right place Phil. The people here are just awesome. If they can help you, they will. Hey Edgar, isn't that a Raptor hood on that 98 Phil is showing?
    Thanks cow, I appreciate it.

    Is the Raptor hood the same hood that comes on the WS6 TA's? If not, it sure looks like it. I've been looking at purchasing this hood below, if the car came with the stock hood.

    DURAFLEX - WS 6 hood: DURAFLEX® 103062 - Pontiac Trans Am 1998-2002 WS-6 Hood

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hot Black Trans-Am View Post
    Personally I would want the Trans AM seats and recover them. I think they look much better than the Camaro seats.
    Honestly, until silver pointed it out, I had no idea the seats were Camaro seats! They look very similar. After a closer look, I see the Camaro seats do not have an adjustable head. Regardless though, from pictures this is the best looking interior I have seen so far. I will find out Monday when I see the car. I guess almost perfect seats are better than worn seats! I am going to ask if he has the TA seats. If not, I guess I could always buy a set from eBay for around $600.00.

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