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should I get this ws6?

This is a discussion on should I get this ws6? within the Firebird / WS6 forums, part of the Vehicle Specific category; Hey everyone, I found a ws6 at a dealer online but I have yet to test drive or visually see ...

  1. #1
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    should I get this ws6?

    Hey everyone, I found a ws6 at a dealer online but I have yet to test drive or visually see it in person. (btw I'm completely new to muscle cars so forgive my lack of knowledge)

    Here is the link for it:
    2002 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am $11,980 - Sun Diego Pre-Owned San Diego California 92121

    What my concern is that the engine was rebuilt at 96k (due to some engine knock). Does this usually mean the previous owner drove it like crap? If so, what are the chances of the transmission or any other expensive parts going bad as well? Any input would be greatly appreciated!

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    '02 WS.6 / '07 Suburban

    Sometimes, things just let go in an engine irrespective of how it is driven or cared for. I'd let the overall condition of the car dictate your decision. The add references 16" wheels, however, an '02 should have 17's on it. The wheels appear to be correct, I just can't make out the tire size in the pic. Price I know nothing about, but we have a couple of good threads on both buying and F-body and pricing one.

  3. #3
    Senior Member raynor139's Avatar
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    2002 Trans Am WS6 M6

    With a rebuild it should be good. Llike jeff said it could have let go b/c of anything. My grandmothers 67k mile buicks oil pump went out and caused the engine to seize up. Just happens even to the easiest driven cars. Read up on the threads for what to look for. If it was driven hard you should be able to tell that way. Plus that engine bay looks pretty stock. Assuming that is that they didnt revert everything before trading it in.

  4. #4
    Your friendly policeman FinZ28's Avatar
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    According to Kelly Blue Book, that price is right on the money. Read up on here, as there are several threads regarding buying a used F-body. A few basic things, though.

    Make sure all the lights (headlights, turn signals, fog lights, etc) work. Since it's a T/A, make sure the headlights go up and down as they should. Also make sure the keyless entry remote works as it should.

    Look at belts and hoses for signs of wear (dry and cracked). Same for all the weatherstripping, especially around the doors and rear hatch.

    Look at the paint and see if there are any chips, cracks or other damage. Also look at the body lines and make sure doors line up with fenders, the hood sits right and looks even between the fenders, and check the rear hatch, too. Look at the rubber trim at the base of the side windows and other non-painted areas and make sure they don't have paint on them, which could indicate the car having been repainted at some point in time.

    Check all 4 tires for even wear. Look at the wheels and make sure all the lug nuts are in place. Assuming nobody removed them, each wheel should have one locking lug nut. Make sure you have the key to the lug nut, too. Also look for curb rash on the wheels.

    Check the interior and make sure nothing is missing. Check the center console and make sure the hinge isn't broken. Same goes for the glove box.

    Start the car and let it idle. Does it idle smooth? Do any of the dash lights stay on once the car is running? If they do, find out why. If there is an auto parts store nearby, when you test-drive it, take it there to have the battery and alternator tested. If for some reason the Service Engine Soon light is on, they can plug a code reader up to the car and pull the codes to find out why the light is on.

    Shift the transmission in to drive. Does it shift smooth or does it go in to gear with a clunk?

    Drive the car. Does it drive straight on a good level road? Any vibration in the steering wheel? When you brake, does the car stop smooth or shudder as it stops? Do the brakes squeal any? Does the engine feel like it has plenty of power, are there any misses? Does the transmission shift fairly firm and smooth, or does it feel like it's slipping any? Is the ride relatively smooth, or is it harsh? Any clunks or similar noises when driving over uneven surfaces? Turn the wheels and listen for any whining, which could indicate a issue with the power steering pump. You can check the emergency brake by putting the car in drive on a level surface where it's safe to do so, engine running, with the brake up. The car should not move.

    In park with the engine running, get a friend to rev the engine up a couple of times. Does it smoke any from the exhaust? Blue-gray smoke typically indicates burning oil, while white smoke indicates burning coolant. Shouldn't be an issue with a rebuilt motor, but it doesn't hurt to check.

    Look under the car with the car running and see if you see any leaks (oil, transmission or coolant). Does the oil pan or transmission look wet anywhere?

    Check your fluids under the hood once the car is shut off and cools off. Check and make sure everything is full and clean. Motor oil, at least when new and clean, should be almost an amber color and shouldn't look milky. Transmission fluid is red, and the coolant (assuming it's Dex-Cool) should be orange.


    Check all your switches inside the car and make sure they work (power door lock switches, power windows, trunk release, fog lights, ASR, cruise control, stereo and steering wheel controls). Also listen to the windows as you roll them up and down to see whether the motor is on the way out.

    Listen for engine noises, like knocking or tapping. If you hear either, does the sound go away once the car warms up? Some engine noises can actually be exhaust leaks, which can be a pain to locate unless you have a mechanic's stethoscope.

    Also, check the HVAC. Make sure the blower motor works, and that the heat and A/C work.

    Make sure the power seat works as it should.

    Check the driver door (or door jamb) for the RPO code sticker. It's white with black print and a bunch of 3-digit codes. One of the codes should be WS6, indicating it's a true WS6 car and not a clone.

    I would say look at the tail lights for water damage, but the pics seem to indicate they are okay. Tail lights with water damage usually appear dark and murky. The pics don't indicate this problem.

    Also look in the rear wheel wells and see if you find any old, dried-up rubber indicating the car has been raced or subjected to burnouts.

    Get somebody to show you where the spare tire and jack are (rear hatch, right-passenger side under a plastic cover with 3 screws) and make sure they are indeed there. The amp for the Monsoon sound system is located in the same area, although, if the car has had any work done on the stereo, it may have been removed. On that note, listen to the stereo and make sure the speakers work. This is a good time to check the weatherstripping in the trunk. Also look for any rust around the lower part of where the hatch closes in to the car.

    Any issues that arise can be haggling points for the price of the car. Don't be afraid to lowball their price to get the best deal possible, if indeed this is the car you decide to buy. Get any warranty on the car in writing, and figure out what is covered by said warranty, and what isn't, to prevent headache down the road.

    Good luck!
    Last edited by FinZ28; 04-13-2012 at 04:08 PM.
    2001 Chevy Camaro Z28 A4
    SLP cold air intake/lid, SLP smooth bellow, Pacesetter LT's, ORY, Magnaflow exhaust, BMR STB, adjustable Panhard rod, SFC's, LCA's, 1LE sway bars, cross-drilled rotors

  5. #5
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    i wouldnt pay a dime over ten. look at ls1tech at their massive and very busy vehicle classifieds...

    i spent 6 months looking for my trans am and it still wasnt the smartest purchase...

  6. #6
    Moderator 98TransAmWs-6's Avatar
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    98 TA WS6/ 01 C5 Corvette

    I would just make sure it is actually a ws6 if that is what you want. When I was looking for my ws6 there was this guy saying it was a ws6 when it was not. It was completely cloned to look like one but no ws6 rpo code on the door. Another thing I would do is if you have a mechanic you trust or a shop that you trust, have them look it over completely if you don't have the means to do that yourself. I have been doing that with all my cars minus my ws6 which I should have done and I have been problem free except normal maintainence items. Like others have said some stuff just goes wrong no matter how well it was cared for, my ws6 appeared to be pretty much top shape for a over 100k mile car but about 6 months later the transmission went. Which cost me 5k for some reason looking back at that for a stock transmission.
    1998 Trans Am WS6 - Phantom
    421 CI LQ9, Tick Performance Custom Cam, TFS 255cc LS3 heads, Kooks 2" LT headers, Kooks 3" True Duals w/ high flow cats, FTP 104 lid, Speed Density Tune, 4" silicon tube, LS6 VCT, FAST 102 Intake, NW 102 TB, Oil Catch Can, SLP Bilstein Shocks w/ Vogtland Springs, CTS-V 4-piston Calipers w/C6 Z06 rotors, Stainless Steel Brake Lines, R1 concepts premium rotors, Hawk HP+ brake pads, VFN WSQ Hood, C5-R timing chain, SLP oil pump, E85 tune, Walbro 450 fuel pump, Deatschwerkz 95# injectors, Breathless performance headlights, Frost Tune, !HVAC.
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  7. #7
    Member sjgreen6's Avatar
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    2002 Trans Am WS6 Conv

    The ad does reference 16" wheels but the photos show the correct 17" Speedline wheels for the 2002 WS6. The photos seem to show a car that has been taken care of. If the engine warranty is from GM I'd feel pretty comfortable. Definitely look in the driver's door jamb at the vehicle codes. Among the many codes you should find WS6. If not then it is not an original ram-air car. I would bet this car is a WS6. Price is not out of line but could probably be negotiated a bit more. Good luck!

  8. #8
    Member AKA Speedy's Avatar
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    Spice Red Metallic
    2006 Pontiac GTO

    If this isn't a WS6... it's a VERY good clone. It has the right Speedline wheels, the correct 2 piece Ram air hood w/ inserts located around the nostrils, the WS6 badge is curved to fit the curvature of the rear bumper and the air box has the correct double height opening and ram air decal.

    Looks good IMO.

  9. #9
    024mula 024mula's Avatar
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    Freshly Rebuilt Engine is a BIG red flag. Why was the engine rebuilt? And inspect rest of the car very closly.

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    Your friendly policeman FinZ28's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 024mula:2766908
    Freshly Rebuilt Engine is a BIG red flag. Why was the engine rebuilt? And inspect rest of the car very closly.
    I would definitely investigate what caused the failure of the original engine. If the failure points to owner neglect, I might be weary of buying the car unless everything else on the car checks out okay. As already pointed out, too, parts fail prematurely and cause failure. You should be able to look at the car as a whole, though, and determine whether or not it has been abused or neglected.

  11. #11
    Member AKA Speedy's Avatar
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    [
    Quote Originally Posted by 024mula:2766908
    Freshly Rebuilt Engine is a BIG red flag. Why was the engine rebuilt? And inspect rest of the car very closly.
    Yeah, I missed that on their mobile website as I scanned it on my phone. Could be nothing, could be a sign it was ragged. Bottom line, don't buy it site unseen. Make sure everything else works the way you expect it to. At least the motor has a warranty, but also look into the terms of that warranty.

  12. #12
    **Te@M fBoDy** fbodyNATION's Avatar
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    2000 Pontiac Trans Am WS6

    hey that car looks almost like mine

  13. #13
    Your friendly policeman FinZ28's Avatar
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    OP, have you been to look at the car yet?

  14. #14
    024mula 024mula's Avatar
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    '02 Firebird Formula

    Dosen't Trans Ams have 17" wheels? The ad says 16", interesting

    16" wheels are on Firebirds and Formulas.
    Last edited by 024mula; 04-18-2012 at 03:58 PM.

  15. #15
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    '02 WS.6 / '07 Suburban

    Quote Originally Posted by 024mula View Post
    Dosen't Trans Ams have 17" wheels? The ad says 16", interesting

    16" wheels are on Firebirds and Formulas.

    See Post #2.

  16. #16
    Member ls1nightrider's Avatar
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    I would pass, be patient and I'm sure you'll find one in better milage

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by FinZ28 View Post
    According to Kelly Blue Book, that price is right on the money. Read up on here, as there are several threads regarding buying a used F-body. A few basic things, though.

    Make sure all the lights (headlights, turn signals, fog lights, etc) work. Since it's a T/A, make sure the headlights go up and down as they should. Also make sure the keyless entry remote works as it should.

    Look at belts and hoses for signs of wear (dry and cracked). Same for all the weatherstripping, especially around the doors and rear hatch.

    Look at the paint and see if there are any chips, cracks or other damage. Also look at the body lines and make sure doors line up with fenders, the hood sits right and looks even between the fenders, and check the rear hatch, too. Look at the rubber trim at the base of the side windows and other non-painted areas and make sure they don't have paint on them, which could indicate the car having been repainted at some point in time.

    Check all 4 tires for even wear. Look at the wheels and make sure all the lug nuts are in place. Assuming nobody removed them, each wheel should have one locking lug nut. Make sure you have the key to the lug nut, too. Also look for curb rash on the wheels.

    Check the interior and make sure nothing is missing. Check the center console and make sure the hinge isn't broken. Same goes for the glove box.

    Start the car and let it idle. Does it idle smooth? Do any of the dash lights stay on once the car is running? If they do, find out why. If there is an auto parts store nearby, when you test-drive it, take it there to have the battery and alternator tested. If for some reason the Service Engine Soon light is on, they can plug a code reader up to the car and pull the codes to find out why the light is on.

    Shift the transmission in to drive. Does it shift smooth or does it go in to gear with a clunk?

    Drive the car. Does it drive straight on a good level road? Any vibration in the steering wheel? When you brake, does the car stop smooth or shudder as it stops? Do the brakes squeal any? Does the engine feel like it has plenty of power, are there any misses? Does the transmission shift fairly firm and smooth, or does it feel like it's slipping any? Is the ride relatively smooth, or is it harsh? Any clunks or similar noises when driving over uneven surfaces? Turn the wheels and listen for any whining, which could indicate a issue with the power steering pump. You can check the emergency brake by putting the car in drive on a level surface where it's safe to do so, engine running, with the brake up. The car should not move.

    In park with the engine running, get a friend to rev the engine up a couple of times. Does it smoke any from the exhaust? Blue-gray smoke typically indicates burning oil, while white smoke indicates burning coolant. Shouldn't be an issue with a rebuilt motor, but it doesn't hurt to check.

    Look under the car with the car running and see if you see any leaks (oil, transmission or coolant). Does the oil pan or transmission look wet anywhere?

    Check your fluids under the hood once the car is shut off and cools off. Check and make sure everything is full and clean. Motor oil, at least when new and clean, should be almost an amber color and shouldn't look milky. Transmission fluid is red, and the coolant (assuming it's Dex-Cool) should be orange.


    Check all your switches inside the car and make sure they work (power door lock switches, power windows, trunk release, fog lights, ASR, cruise control, stereo and steering wheel controls). Also listen to the windows as you roll them up and down to see whether the motor is on the way out.

    Listen for engine noises, like knocking or tapping. If you hear either, does the sound go away once the car warms up? Some engine noises can actually be exhaust leaks, which can be a pain to locate unless you have a mechanic's stethoscope.

    Also, check the HVAC. Make sure the blower motor works, and that the heat and A/C work.

    Make sure the power seat works as it should.

    Check the driver door (or door jamb) for the RPO code sticker. It's white with black print and a bunch of 3-digit codes. One of the codes should be WS6, indicating it's a true WS6 car and not a clone.

    I would say look at the tail lights for water damage, but the pics seem to indicate they are okay. Tail lights with water damage usually appear dark and murky. The pics don't indicate this problem.

    Also look in the rear wheel wells and see if you find any old, dried-up rubber indicating the car has been raced or subjected to burnouts.

    Get somebody to show you where the spare tire and jack are (rear hatch, right-passenger side under a plastic cover with 3 screws) and make sure they are indeed there. The amp for the Monsoon sound system is located in the same area, although, if the car has had any work done on the stereo, it may have been removed. On that note, listen to the stereo and make sure the speakers work. This is a good time to check the weatherstripping in the trunk. Also look for any rust around the lower part of where the hatch closes in to the car.

    Any issues that arise can be haggling points for the price of the car. Don't be afraid to lowball their price to get the best deal possible, if indeed this is the car you decide to buy. Get any warranty on the car in writing, and figure out what is covered by said warranty, and what isn't, to prevent headache down the road.

    Good luck!
    Wow, bravo!! Well done. X2 etc etc

  18. #18
    Your friendly policeman FinZ28's Avatar
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    Thanks!

  19. #19
    Junior Member ADICECCA21's Avatar
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    2000 Trans Am WS6 M6

    Quote Originally Posted by 024mula View Post
    Freshly Rebuilt Engine is a BIG red flag. Why was the engine rebuilt? And inspect rest of the car very closly.
    I am the same way. I don't buy anything that has been "rebuilt" unless it has a receipt and a good reason. Just my opinion. Looks like it's in good shape though.

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