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Do 4th gens with T-Tops flex more than cars without?

This is a discussion on Do 4th gens with T-Tops flex more than cars without? within the Firebird / WS6 forums, part of the Vehicle Specific category; I can remember reading somewhere that there is no real difference between the two. I think it was a GM ...

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    Junior Member Melissa's Avatar
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    Do 4th gens with T-Tops flex more than cars without?

    I can remember reading somewhere that there is no real difference between the two. I think it was a GM engineer that worked on the development of these cars that said this.

    A friend of mine was telling me I should have bought a Formula without T-Tops instead of a Trans Am because of body flex. He said over time, the car will start to rattle a lot. I do not notice any flexing in my Trans Am, or any rattles. I do not have subframe connectors either.

    Is he correct, or is my memory of what I read correct?

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    KWK N NUF TheKitchenSink's Avatar
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    Ive always heard that cars w/ T-tops arent as "solid" due to the fact that there isnt much holding it together at the top, so it had alot more opportunity to flex.

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    Slow'er'Ass Mr. Luos's Avatar
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    If I recall correctly, average driving won't make any difference in flex.

    If you start launching hard at the track...it may make a difference.

    If I recall correctly, hardtop cars start life as t-tops and have a roof added. In backwards thinking, it wouldn't be that tough to make a hardtop car a t-top car.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Luos View Post
    If I recall correctly, average driving won't make any difference in flex.

    If you start launching hard at the track...it may make a difference.

    If I recall correctly, hardtop cars start life as t-tops and have a roof added. In backwards thinking, it wouldn't be that tough to make a hardtop car a t-top car.
    nah, I did a t-top conversion and it isn't just side braces welded in or anything, they are solid with the rest of the frame on top. They do have the mounting moles for the brackets etc, but there's no way it was actually the same as a t-top car with the roof added on.

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    Member since 1998 DarthD's Avatar
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    Black ASC#7564 May11,2001
    2001 Trans Am WS6

    From what I remember reading, or maybe I saw it on a video, the cars were all manufactured with a solid roof, then, at one point on the assembly line, the tops were actually cut out for the T-Top cars.

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    Veteran 0rion's Avatar
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    Put sub frame connectors on and you'll see just how tight the car can be. They make a huge difference in the rigidity of the car. At least they did on mine.

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    Member since 1998 DarthD's Avatar
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    Black ASC#7564 May11,2001
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    I could not tell a difference with subframe connectors. I have the SLP SFCs.

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    Senior Member Redphoenix1998's Avatar
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    Even with SFC's you can feel some flex but not as bad with T-tops. Stick your finger in the gap between the top and front windshield and you will feel the flex while driving

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    Slow'er'Ass Mr. Luos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DarthD View Post
    I could not tell a difference with subframe connectors. I have the SLP SFCs.
    Those are the ones I put on mine.

    Huge difference.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DarthD View Post
    I could not tell a difference with subframe connectors. I have the SLP SFCs.
    I noticed that the car really lifted a lot on the passenger side when it was stock. I added the SLP bolt-on SFC's and noticed a really nice difference...about half the amount of lift, and it was transferred evenly across the front of the car.

    It has felt tight since then. I drive it hard and love every second of it. I'm just over 30000 miles(53000 kms) and not a rattle. There was a squeek on the passenger seat associated with the seat rails not being greased...I greased up the bearings and not a noise since.

    It is a very solid car...but I would highly recommend SFC's to keep it driving in a straight line for years to come.

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    Yes it does make for more flex,and thats the reason some corvettes don't come with the glass tops.they state that it would cause to much flex.

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    Member since 1998 DarthD's Avatar
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    Black ASC#7564 May11,2001
    2001 Trans Am WS6

    Well, I could not notice anything. I even removed them a while back and drove around for a few months before reinstalling them. I still could not tell a difference. Maybe if I autocrossed the car it would be noticable?

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    It's only noticable on a hard launch and dos'nt make much differance it there off or on.

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    Before I bought my car I had a 94 mustang gt convertible and I heard the same stories about sub frames. Apparently, a convertible would 'feel' the difference the most out of the t-tops and hard top cars. I didnt notice a damn thing. Not shit!

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    Ireally don't care if they flex or not,i love them.But i read somewhere that it did effect the integrity of the car.But thats why God invented sfc's.

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    Member Hawk241's Avatar
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    Sonyboy, you are right about subframe connectors, the car does flex, and 01 -05's Zo6's are coupes, not sure about 06's, I believe, for similar reasons. My friend talked me into connectors ,he showed me his T-Top SS ,bought the car with 50 k plus miles, and standing over and looking down you can see very super small ripples in his rear quarters, above the tires very small, plus he said his ride quality changed alot for the better, you half to look at the car right on a sunny day, so I went home and looked at my T-top Z, and saw the same thing, both are dark color cars, which might a difference in seeing them, I just purchased a very low mileage Firehawk T/A, and plan on putting subframe connectors on it right away before anything else.
    Last edited by Hawk241; 09-16-2006 at 09:41 PM.

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    Member since 1998 DarthD's Avatar
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    Black ASC#7564 May11,2001
    2001 Trans Am WS6

    All cars will have some flex. The 4th generation Fbody is not a car that is considered to be extremely flexible like the third gen. It is really a solid car.
    Here is a quote from Road and Track in 1993 about the 1993 Firebird "23 hertz bending and 20 hertz torsional on the 1993 car with a T-top, as compared to 18 and 16 for its predecessor. In comparative terms, the Firebird unitized body has been transformed from one of the corporation's most willowy structures to GM's very best."

    I would like to know what the non T-top and convertibles are rated at. It would also be nice to know the ftlbs of torque per degree of flex.

    Here is a quote from Norm Fugate, director of validation and development.
    "We designed this to be a T-top car. We figured if we could do a T-top car, the weakest of the coupes, the solid roof car would be a piece of cake. In the early going, they are all framed up as if they are going to be a coupe. Then, after the car is welded together, we simply go back and clip this section out."


    Another interesting fact:
    The prototype Trans Am was forced through two of GM's toughest durability schedules in only 8 months. It was ran through a 100,000 mile rough road test then a full general durability schedule. "This car went through the equivalent of two 100,000-mile lifetimes." - Andy Lang, durability validation engineer "That would just about kill any car going."

    After a hoist inspection and a walk around with many engineers and other people they had a ride and drive with the F-car staff.

    The conclusion? "This car's built like an M-1 tank," laughs Ted Robertson, platform engineering director. "Usually, when a car comes off one of these durability tests, they're pretty well broken in. They're like a limp noodle. We got this car after two durability schedules, and there wasn't a squeak or rattle. It felt brand-new."


    A few more interesting facts:
    *The Trans Am rear wing provides 9% more down force than the standard wing.
    *"The only things on the car that are carry-over are the rear compartment pan and the rear suspension. Everything else is new. Everything. " Ted Robertson
    *The 1993 Firebird has 700 fewer parts than the 1992 Firebird.
    *The F-car is GM's first "math-data" car. Critical dimensions for every component were translated into numerical data and digitized on the computer. "The whole car is done on the computer, and every part has computer data." - Ted Robertson

    There is a lot more interesting stuff in this magazine. If any one wants it look for Road & Track special series Guide To The All-New 1993 Pontiac Firebird. I found my copy on Ebay. It has 81 pages of information about this car. Unfortunately, It does not answer all of my questions.

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    Member since 1998 DarthD's Avatar
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    Black ASC#7564 May11,2001
    2001 Trans Am WS6

    I just remembered - one of my friends had a 99 Cobra before he bought a Mach I. He jacked the Cobra up in the left front to the point that the left rear tire was off the ground to crawl under it for something. (Not very smart)

    He told me that the car twisted so bad that he could not close his door. I tried the same thing with my car to see what would happen. My door opened and closed with no problems.

    I am supprised that the Cobra would twist that much.

    I think R&T may have mixed up torsional and bending. On every car I have seen info on so far, the torsional is a larger number.
    Last edited by DarthD; 10-22-2006 at 10:35 PM.

  19. #19
    Will Rev for Beer 02 WS6 TA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Melissa View Post
    I can remember reading somewhere that there is no real difference between the two. I think it was a GM engineer that worked on the development of these cars that said this.

    A friend of mine was telling me I should have bought a Formula without T-Tops instead of a Trans Am because of body flex. He said over time, the car will start to rattle a lot. I do not notice any flexing in my Trans Am, or any rattles. I do not have subframe connectors either.

    Is he correct, or is my memory of what I read correct?



    I'm not reading thru all the hogwash, but the short answer is, No. They (all 4th gens) are structually the same.

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