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Third Gen Trans Am or Fourth Gen?

This is a discussion on Third Gen Trans Am or Fourth Gen? within the General Help forums, part of the LSx Technical Help Section category; Hey all, recently I've gotten into the Trans Ams from the 80s and the 90s to 2000s era, and I'm ...

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    Third Gen Trans Am or Fourth Gen?

    Hey all, recently I've gotten into the Trans Ams from the 80s and the 90s to 2000s era, and I'm looking to pick one up in a month or two. However, I'm a bit torn between whether it's worth picking up a good condition third gen or fourth gen. I don't care if it's a V6 or V8, speed isn't a high priority right now, though I don't mind a little speed here and there of course. Anyone got any pros and cons for the two gens?

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

    3rd gens are starting to get more popular. I personally like the IROC Z's over the looks of the Firebirds/Trans Am's of that generation. You can do a lot of stuff with them and for cheap if you stay with the classic SBC. Bore it, stroke it, or LS conversion are all available. I've even read where ppl have taken the 4th gen interiors and made them fit in 3rd gens. The problem is finding one with a solid body and rust free.


    4th Gens - If you get a V6 or a LT1 car (93-97) and later on you want a LSx there are quite a few cost involved besides engine and drive train. Either an aftermarket K member or a OEM LS K member from 98-02 yrs will be required. suppose you could custom fab the engine mounts to make a LT1 or V6 k member work but in the long run if cheaper and faster to just get one of the mention above.


    In regarding V6's throw on a turbo kit and you'll have a nice little monster with the 3.8 engine. The early 4th gens came with a 3.4L, avoid these, weak and not worth the effort to build up.


    No mater what yr/generation the 10 bolt is the major weak point on these cars if you later on decide to put power down. There are several options on upgrades, like everything, it comes down to how much you want to pay & for what purpose.

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    Senior Member Whamhammer's Avatar
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    '02 Trans Am WS-6, 6M

    Quote Originally Posted by Assasinge View Post
    Hey all, recently I've gotten into the Trans Ams from the 80s and the 90s to 2000s era, and I'm looking to pick one up in a month or two. However, I'm a bit torn between whether it's worth picking up a good condition third gen or fourth gen. I don't care if it's a V6 or V8, speed isn't a high priority right now, though I don't mind a little speed here and there of course. Anyone got any pros and cons for the two gens?
    '82 Iron Duke Firebird FTW!!!!


    But seriously, I would recommend that the later, the better (late 4th gen). Third gens had weak metal and rust issues around the steering gearbox, and where the quarter wells meet the "unibody", not to mention the bottom of all of the body panels. I loved my '89 T/A but I don't think I would want to go there again.

    If I was to go back to the third gen era, I'd just buy a primo G-Body.

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

    My 80's list of cars:
    86-88 Monte Carlo SS
    Buick Grand National
    1989 Turbo Trans Am - only because of the how rare it is.

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    Senior Member Whamhammer's Avatar
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    '02 Trans Am WS-6, 6M

    Quote Originally Posted by SMWS6TA View Post
    My 80's list of cars:
    86-88 Monte Carlo SS
    Buick Grand National
    1989 Turbo Trans Am - only because of the how rare it is.
    86-87 Cutlass Supreme coupe, with vertical lined grilles, no chrome bottom trim or vinyl roof; preferably set up for a floor shifter.

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    Senior Member Whamhammer's Avatar
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    '02 Trans Am WS-6, 6M

    Quote Originally Posted by Assasinge View Post
    Hey all, recently I've gotten into the Trans Ams from the 80s and the 90s to 2000s era, and I'm looking to pick one up in a month or two. However, I'm a bit torn between whether it's worth picking up a good condition third gen or fourth gen. I don't care if it's a V6 or V8, speed isn't a high priority right now, though I don't mind a little speed here and there of course. Anyone got any pros and cons for the two gens?
    How about an 05-06 Goat?

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    Senior Member bigrondownhiller's Avatar
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    1996 Camaro Z28 vert

    What are your long term plans for it? Do you live in an area with stringent emission inspections?

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    1999 Camaro Z28

    I had an '89 Formula with the 350 chevy and 700r4 trans. What a fun car that was. Those old 3rd gens were great for what they were, but the newer 98-02 4th gen cars are even better. I just picked up a '99 z28 6m for a song. Seems to me it's getting harder and harder to find decent 3rd gen F-bodies these days. Personally I always loved the WS6 ram air cars that came late in the 4th gen Firebirds. I guess it really depends on your budget.

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