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potential new purchase...looking for info on verts

This is a discussion on potential new purchase...looking for info on verts within the Convertible forums, part of the Vehicle Specific category; Hello all, new here and looking to purchase a 2001 trans am vert....here is the add....I have to travel 8 ...

  1. #1
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    potential new purchase...looking for info on verts

    Hello all,
    new here and looking to purchase a 2001 trans am vert....here is the add....I have to travel 8 hours to purchase it so I am trying to do my homework first...


    when I was 16 I had an 82 that I did a sbc/5 speed swap into, then a few yrs after upgraded to a 85 iroc....which performance wise was a downgrade but it looked cooler....that car then got a 383 and was sold off about 10 yrs ago because kids and family....now that I am older (35) and am in a different financial position I am looking to get a ls1 powered car as I love these motors.....now with that being said the above car comes with safety and emission test even though it has a magnaflow dual exhaust setup without cats....that is also why the engine light is on in one of the pics....I have a efi flashscan v2 to resolve any issue and to put custom tune in it asap but what I want to know is what to look for when I go to look at it this week, also is it really worth waiting to find a ws6 car over this one when I intend to change hood, help it breathe better and do the chassis upgrades such as springs, shocks, sfc, and maybe some other stuff too...I originally wasn't looking at verts but my 5 yr old saw a newer vert at Canadian tire parking lot and instantly loved the idea of a car with no roof....so vert it is now....I have been speaking to this dealer allot the past week and he has sent vids of walk arounds and the car looks to be mint inside and out, and when I asked about underneath he responded with it being nicer then what I had saw already and promised I would not be disappointed, I put a refundable deposit on it until I can get down there next week to look at it, but opinions are appreciated....ideally I would like to be making approx. 450-500 rwhp out of this thing and are contemplating boost or hci car...but either way is this a good starting point....price is down to 12995 out the door cdn and it only has approx. 70 k miles or 107 k km.....thanks everyone for their opinions

  2. #2
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    wouldn't allow me to post url but it is advertised at visionfinecarsdotcom

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

    I own a convertible. I will say this as a fellow car guy: for a "proper" sports car, I'd be inclined to look for a hard top (for the rigidity), but for a pony/muscle car, the convertible is the way to go if you are primarily looking for a pleasure cruiser.

    The pros with a convertible are obvious. Here are some cons:

    4th-Gen F-Bodies tend to have an air leak on the driver-side door window (the weather stripping does not seal the aft section of the window). In general, this allows more outside noise into the car when sitting still, and obviously, more wind/road noise at freeway speeds. You will not likely see any water leaking in if you get caught in some rain while driving, however (it's a narrow gap). This is true on coupes, T-tops and verts. But with verts, the noise is probably more because of the nature of the cloth top to begin with.

    The top needs maintenance. If you have a garage, then that's a great start: leaving the top exposed to the elements will wear it out over time.

    NEVER EVER, EVER take it to a drive through/hands-free car wash. Not only do they present a risk to the paint job, but the forced air driers can cause the seal between the rear window and the fabric on the convertible top to separate (it "whips" the fabric back and forth, causing it to come loose). Once it starts, there seems to be no fixing it. I even bought the specific adhesive for sealing convertible tops to the window, and it didn't hold (and the stuff is very difficult to use). Had to fork out $1200 to get it replaced once there was a gaping hole at the back of the car (don't want rain accumulating in the interior).

    Never lower the top when it's gotten wet: it will cause mold to grow inside your car and on/in the fabric of the top.

    Moving on to your goals:
    Just buy the Formula/Tran-am if you plan on swapping chassis/suspension parts. The parts you would buy will outclass the stock parts on the WS6. The general consensus is as follows:

    The first mod should be subframe connectors. If you can afford them, get the three-point (vert-specific) ones. If not, get the two-point (again, vert-specific) ones. 2-point SFCs will make a world of difference over the stock set up (I bought mine before they came out with the 3-points).

    The best suspension set up for the money includes Koni sport shocks (yellows), a spring you like (most choose based on lowering/ride height, but the Strano Springs are generally regarded as the optimum set up for street/track). Choose a sway bar. A lot of folks like UMI (those are solid, which will be stiffer than hollows). I went with Strano's sway bars to save weight (they are hollow).

    Most guys around here put the torque arm high on their priority list. If you like drag racing, then get one. If you don't like a lot of clunks and noises, get the "full length" torque arm. If you want maximum launch performance (with some clunking during street driving), get the shorter one. Others can explain the difference better than I can.

    Rear control arms are also a good thing to upgrade. Any aftermarket piece will be better than the stockers, but decide if you want a rotating joint on one or both ends. If you don't care about getting any extra articulation, then just get the poly/poly LCAs. If you get roto-joint or rod-end LCAs, you'll also want to get a corresponding panhard bar (same type of joint as your LCAs) to allow proper articulation of the rear suspension.

    If you hope to drive it frequently, consider up-sizing the wheels: it's harder and harder to find good performance tires that fit the stock wheel sizes on these cars anymore. I put $1100 into a set of TSW 18x9 wheels and I really like the results. With that set up, I was able to get the Michelin Pilot Super Sports, which are "all the rage" right now in the world of auto tires. They do live up to the hype, though, so I'd say they're worthwhile. If $1100 is too much, then get a set of replicas (from a reputable mfr) for a few hundred bucks and don't look back (but only if you want to be able to buy tires in the more modern sizes... otherwise, it's slim pickins in the performance tire market for our wheel size).

    There is a LOT more you can do to chassis and suspension (particularly up front), but what you see above are the basics.

    Before you start adding serious power, if you have the cash, get a 12-bolt or a 9-inch (or a custom set up like an 8.8 or something). Otherwise, drive it till you're either tired of it or it breaks. The rear end is one of those things that is cost prohibitive and may or may not be blown up if you start throwing extra power at it.

    For 500 HP, look at a stage 2 transmission package from Tick Performance or a stage 4 from RPM Transmissions. They both have a pretty decent price considering what they do to your trans.

    An LS7 clutch is a nice piece (its what I run), though, if you're making 500 at the wheels, it might be too much for that clutch (it comes out of the C6 Corvette, which makes 505 at the crank). I can't comment on other aftermarket clutches, but McLeod and Monster seem to be well liked around here. Spec seems to be hit and miss.

    I have an HCI engine. And if I had it to do all over again, I'd go with a procharger and be done. Others here run forced induction and may also suffer from the "greener grass" effect. HCI engines make a lot of extra noise (they clatter and chatter). That bothers me. Though, the power is strong and linear and it is great fun nonetheless.

    Bottom line: if you want some extra power early on, stick with basic bolt ons to get you started, but beef up the rest of the car before you start adding serious power.

    Hope that's helpful.

    Let us know what you decide.
    Lid, Throttle Body, LS6 Intake, Stage 1 Heads, Mild Cam, Magnaflow Cat-Back, LS7 Clutch, SFCs, STB, Panhard Bar, Strano Springs, Strano Sway Bars, LCAs, Konis (F), Bilstiens (R), MGW Shifter

  4. #4
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    thanks for that info, that is pretty much what I was wanting to hear...I am not into the drag racing scene anymore, but want the extra power to shut down most fords that wanna play on the road....I had figured the chassis mods first but was hesitant about doing any rear end work until I grenade the stocker as from my experience the weak link will let go first and hopefully that will be my tires, I also figured that with sfc the vert chassis flew wouldn't be much of an issue and the extra weight can be compensated for by extra power...Hehe...It will be garage kept to hopefully keep the top in better shape...and since this car will ultimately go to my youngest son, that was why I was switching to the vert over the coupe....my oldest has to wait until my wallet is fatter for me to buy my #1 dream car, 71 cuda big block as those are a little more pricey...the m6 is also something I wasn't to worried about as in my younger days I was a tranny tech and am still good friends with my old boss who I am sure would let me use his shop on a weekend to drink some beers and upgrade the internals of the trans and do the clutch....with his expertise of course as I cant possibly drink a keg on my own...haha as far as power adders go I was even considering just adding spray to temporarily add the fun factor until I figure out which direction to go...and even a boosted lq4 is something I have been pondering too as an option to make some big power....either way I want to appear and sound fairly stock as another goal as sleepers are my specialty....when I had my f bodies in my teens my winter car was a 90 integra...ugliest car with winter tires but with a few upgrades and a zex spray kit it sure was fun to stomp 5.0 all summer long with it still on winter tires...I miss that car and fun times....enough rambling from me and you help me decide that I will be happy with my choice and I will post pics as soon as I go get it.

    thanks
    Cheers
    Josh

  5. #5
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    bought it and love it....def no regrets about getting the vert....this one is light years beyond my 82 that was fun to drive....all stock except flowmaster y pipe back and a hurst 6 inch pollished chrome shifter.....car is super fun to drive with 3.42 and that m6....too bad it has to go away for the cold months now

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