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98 Trans Am Quirks

This is a discussion on 98 Trans Am Quirks within the Firebird / WS6 forums, part of the Vehicle Specific category; Many people say 98 have ups and downs, i would love to know them. I have heard the 98s were ...

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    98 Trans Am Quirks

    Many people say 98 have ups and downs, i would love to know them. I have heard the 98s were underrated and have more power than later years. comments? ..

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    None Shall Pass Knight's Avatar
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    They do not have more power. Every year, GM increased the advertised HP rating slightly. In reality, the '01s and '02s were slightly more powerful, due to GM installing some LS6 componants, and even blocks. Anyone telling you that '98s were more powerful doesn't really know what they are talking about....but you already knew that.

    The only "quirks" that I am aware of, if I remember correctly, is the PCM. I do recall a discussion about a single tailpipe too, I think applied to '98s, but I don't recall all the details. There may be some other subtle differences that other members may chime in about.

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    Spaz is My Mentor SMWS6TA's Avatar
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    98 T/A w/a little mods...

    Quirks of a 98"

    Door Panels don't crack that's a plus
    Don't suffer from Chicken Pocks (Sail Panel bubbles) that's a major plus
    98's gauges are the only LS yr that are functional meaning they are mechanical gauges that give accurate readings instead of general readings like the 99<


    Negatives:
    Single tail pipe = restrictive exhaust
    PCM is the equivalent to a Pentium III (99-02 = Pentium IV) = Makes it harder to program a tune
    >98 have an oil pump issue - they've been know to go out. (replace with LS6 or better when you do a cam or timing chain swap)
    98 PCV setup is different then the following yrs (I put this here because the PCV system on these cars is just really bad)
    No low gas warning light
    Last year F-body to use the old 15.5 gallon steel fuel tank (I'm wonder if I can get a bigger tank from a 99< would I have problems with this?).
    Cylinder heads had perimeter bolts and valve covers instead of like the 99< had center bolts instead of perimeter bolts.


    These are just some of a few I can remember.

    Here is a thread that will have more specifics between the yrs:

    Differences between the f-body years






    Most 98 owners feel dramatic improvements because when they remove all the stuff like the following yrs had removed e.g. egr/air/better exhuast and throw on a LS6 intake, they have just a few more hp gains. Now in 99 they went with a slightly bigger cam, but lowered the fuel injectors, In 00 they kept the cam but increase the injectors back to 28 lbs same as the 98. In 02 the cam was changed to a smaller truck cam.

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    Senior Member cpop98ws6's Avatar
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    The 98 side view mirrors have a blueish tint to them.
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    None Shall Pass Knight's Avatar
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    My '99 has them too. I do know that they discontinued using them before they stopped the production of the car, but I don't know when.

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    Member WS6SP33D's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SMWS6TA View Post
    Quirks of a 98"

    Door Panels don't crack that's a plus
    Don't suffer from Chicken Pocks (Sail Panel bubbles) that's a major plus
    98's gauges are the only LS yr that are functional meaning they are mechanical gauges that give accurate readings instead of general readings like the 99<


    Negatives:
    Single tail pipe = restrictive exhaust
    PCM is the equivalent to a Pentium III (99-02 = Pentium IV) = Makes it harder to program a tune
    >98 have an oil pump issue - they've been know to go out. (replace with LS6 or better when you do a cam or timing chain swap)
    98 PCV setup is different then the following yrs (I put this here because the PCV system on these cars is just really bad)
    No low gas warning light
    Last year F-body to use the old 15.5 gallon steel fuel tank (I'm wonder if I can get a bigger tank from a 99< would I have problems with this?).
    Cylinder heads had perimeter bolts and valve covers instead of like the 99< had center bolts instead of perimeter bolts.


    These are just some of a few I can remember.

    Here is a thread that will have more specifics between the yrs:

    Differences between the f-body years






    Most 98 owners feel dramatic improvements because when they remove all the stuff like the following yrs had removed e.g. egr/air/better exhuast and throw on a LS6 intake, they have just a few more hp gains. Now in 99 they went with a slightly bigger cam, but lowered the fuel injectors, In 00 they kept the cam but increase the injectors back to 28 lbs same as the 98. In 02 the cam was changed to a smaller truck cam.
    Nice break down on the difference But yeah tuning a 98 pcm is the biggest difference that most ppl complain about.

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    Senior Member justinmc978's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 90ARAPAJ View Post
    Many people say 98 have ups and downs, i would love to know them. I have heard the 98s were underrated and have more power than later years. comments? ..
    I've already told you this before on your 'story' about how you beat a Z06..

    yes, they were underrated. no, not anymore than anyother year. and no, they do not have 400+hp and were not 'detuned' because they were beating Corvettes, whoever is giving you your info is misinformed himself.

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    Senior Member cpop98ws6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Knight View Post
    My '99 has them too. I do know that they discontinued using them before they stopped the production of the car, but I don't know when.
    My friend had a 99 and they didn't have them, hmmm maybe his was a late build date or they were replaced.

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    None Shall Pass Knight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cpop98ws6 View Post
    My friend had a 99 and they didn't have them, hmmm maybe his was a late build date or they were replaced.
    It's possible. I do know they are hard to find for replacement. If I get a chance, maybe I'll see if I can dig up some info on it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SMWS6TA View Post
    Quirks of a 98"


    Negatives:
    Single tail pipe = restrictive exhaust
    You have about everything else but this correct. The unique 3.5" SOTL exhaust on the '98 WS6s and SS is LESS restrictive than the later years' dual 2.5" system. GM had to tone-down the exhaust for '99 since the SOTL didn't meet new noise standards. While most aftermarket cat-backs were adding 15-20HP on the '99+ WS6/SS cars, the '98s were only seeing around a 5HP bump since the SOTL was already pretty good. When these cars were new and still bone stock, it was not uncommon to find a '98 dip into the 12s (13.2 was the best I've seen for a '98 ragtop). This seemed to be less common for the '99-'00s.

    Also, on the non WS6/SS cars, the exhaust was the same across all years.

    Johnny B - '98 "Triple Black" WS6 Convert, M6, All Options, ASC #3030 (1 of 50)
    KBDDSFC, DGM C/F Tonneau, MTI C/F Lid, K&N, HPP-III, 160 T-stat, Pro 5.0
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    i know this is about the 98s but i got door panels off of a 97 and they werent cracked either also i got the mirrors off the same 97 and those mirrors had the blue tint too,was the blue tinted mirrors only on the WS6s?

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    LSwut tep98ws6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SMWS6TA View Post
    Door Panels don't crack
    No low gas warning light
    Last year F-body to use the old 15.5 gallon steel fuel tank

    Hmmm... my '98's driver door cracked like hell, I have a low fuel light and a smaller plastic tank (+/- 14gal).
    Pros and cons of a salvage title, I suppose.
    I do, however, really love my blue tinted mirrors

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    Senior Member justinmc978's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tep98ws6 View Post
    Hmmm... my '98's driver door cracked like hell, I have a low fuel light and a smaller plastic tank (+/- 14gal).
    Pros and cons of a salvage title, I suppose.
    I do, however, really love my blue tinted mirrors
    was wondering about that cracked door panels comment..I took the steel bars out of mine and they looked exactly the same as the ones that came from my '99...

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    Spaz is My Mentor SMWS6TA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnnyBs98WS6Rag View Post
    You have about everything else but this correct. The unique 3.5" SOTL exhaust on the '98 WS6s and SS is LESS restrictive than the later years' dual 2.5" system. GM had to tone-down the exhaust for '99 since the SOTL didn't meet new noise standards. While most aftermarket cat-backs were adding 15-20HP on the '99+ WS6/SS cars, the '98s were only seeing around a 5HP bump since the SOTL was already pretty good. When these cars were new and still bone stock, it was not uncommon to find a '98 dip into the 12s (13.2 was the best I've seen for a '98 ragtop). This seemed to be less common for the '99-'00s.

    Also, on the non WS6/SS cars, the exhaust was the same across all years.

    I should clarify, non ws6 (like mine) had more restrictive exhaust. However when I got mine the previous owners had changed to dual tail pipe setup. All I did was add LT's, ORY & put on Magnaflow plus tips.

    Quote Originally Posted by tep98ws6 View Post
    Hmmm... my '98's driver door cracked like hell, I have a low fuel light and a smaller plastic tank (+/- 14gal).
    Pros and cons of a salvage title, I suppose.
    I do, however, really love my blue tinted mirrors
    You must have the only one in existance, I've never seen a low fuel light on any >98 Firebird or T/A. I question the 15.5 gal tank too, because I can only get 15 gal when tank was ran out. I used some of the info from the thread I posted and the fuel tank capacity was one of them. I know mine is metal though.

    Quote Originally Posted by justinmc978 View Post
    was wondering about that cracked door panels comment..I took the steel bars out of mine and they looked exactly the same as the ones that came from my '99...
    Not sure why the 98's don't seem to have this issue? Like the sail panel it seems they are not plagued by this.

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    Well i do love the blue tints because when i was little and my brother used to drive the car on cloudy days with the top off but 5% tinted windows up (yes were foreigners) i sed to like the look of it but for some reason my passenger side isnt tinted blue? how can i tint it? Also, what was really wrong with the PCM? I want details. And like Johnny said these things could crack 12s. When i did dyno mine stock back in '99 it dynoed more than it was supposed to have (305HP) and my door panels never did crack at all but i do baby my car. comments?

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    Senior Member cpop98ws6's Avatar
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    The 98 pcm can not be bench tuned. You have to take the car to the place that's doing your tuning. also I don't think you can use a hand held tuner on the 98s.

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    Senior Member justinmc978's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cpop98ws6 View Post
    The 98 pcm can not be bench tuned. You have to take the car to the place that's doing your tuning. also I don't think you can use a hand held tuner on the 98s.
    nothing lost there since those things should never be used anyways..

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    Senior Member cpop98ws6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by justinmc978 View Post
    nothing lost there since those things should never be used anyways..
    That's for sure

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    why whats wrong with it? i use hypertech for the gearing changes and all that but i still dont get what the non rfg and rfg difference is....

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    Quote Originally Posted by 90ARAPAJ View Post
    why whats wrong with it? i use hypertech for the gearing changes and all that but i still dont get what the non rfg and rfg difference is....
    RFG=reformulated gas= oxygenated / gasahol
    NRFG= real gasoline

    Here is a site that explains what RFG is: Reformulated Gasoline (RFG) | Fuels and Fuels Addtives | US EPA

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