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1980 Vette issues?

wvstar

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Dec 31, 2006
Messages
56
Location
West Virginia
Corvette
2000 vert bright yellow
New member to the forum today. I'm contemplating the purchase of a 1980 Vette that I've been looking at the past couple of weeks. Will hopefully get the chance to check it out thoroughly in the next couple of days and take it for a test drive.

The car's exterior (lt beige) appears excellent and the mileage is around 53,000. I know it is the 350/auto but not sure if it is the L48 or L82. The car is currently owned by an older couple who have had it stored for the past several years (inside - thank god). They have told me that they have had a garage go over the brakes and everything under the hood. A new state inspection will be done by them the first of the week.

My question is, being a first-time Vette buyer, is there anything in particular I should look for or know about the C3 - especially the '80 model year and pay particular attention to when I get the chance to fully check the car out?

I am not an idiot when it comes to mechanicals...but I'm no auto mechanic either. I've always wanted a Vette (almost bought a '64 once - have kicked myself many times for not doing it).

Any suggestions/recommendations anyone can provide will be much appreciated.
 
B

bmotojoe

Guest
To know the history of a car is the best way to know if it was taken care of, maintenance receipts, and original and factory dealer documents at the time the car was purchased new. If there are original documents with the car the only one that tells if the motor and transmission are original equipment is a document called “New Vehicle Inspection Procedure”. This document will give you the engine number and transmission number and a checklist of procedures done by a technician before delivery to the original owner. From the Corvette Black book it looks like the 1980 Corvette came with 3 different motors and 5 different engine suffix codes. Looking at the 5th digit on the VIN code 8=L48 6=L82 and H=LG4 (305ci). On the engine block there should be a stamp pad with the engine number and a three letter suffix code. The following codes are ZCA=LG4(305) Calif. ZAM=L48(350) 4 Speed. ZAK=L48(350)Auto. ZBD=L82 (350) 4 speed. ZBC=L82(350) Auto. In 1980 both the L=48 & L=82 came with a factory aluminum intake manifold.
Before even driving the car I would look for oil leaks under the car, power steering, engine and transmission and rear end. Look at the frame rails both sides for rust. Drive the car on a smooth road and at highway speeds to see if the car drives straight. Look for the rear end to track with the front. Below the front windshield there will be the wiper transmission, look at the body fiberglass there and see if there are even markings where the body was put together. If the car has had extensive front end damage this area is not repairable and you will most likely see lots of bondo clumps and tons of undercoat to mask the repair.
Take a garden hose and not using a lot of pressure wash down the tops and doors and look for water coming in. If the car has been stored for 7 years you will most likely have problems with seals drying out and have oil leaks, engine, transmission, power steering, and rear end.
I am sure there will be more ideas from others.
Good Luck,
Brian
 

bill81vette

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Jan 17, 2004
Messages
4,341
Location
Troy,NY
Corvette
1981 dark blue metallic
first of all, Welcome to CAC!!!!:CAC

2nd,chances are if the vette has sat for any length of time the seals will probably leak....
unless its a calif.car it won't be a 305.
I dont know how to tell if its a L-48 or 82.
I believe if you do a search there is somewhere in here,a guide to go by to check out a vette that you are interested in purchasing

good luck
 

wvstar

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 31, 2006
Messages
56
Location
West Virginia
Corvette
2000 vert bright yellow
Brian,

Appreciate your info. I found a lot of the info on this website (appears to be a very good source). The target problem areas are a help. I plan to run it past my buddies shop to put it up on the hoist to be able to check out the underside thoroughly.
I stated the car has been in storage, but after talking to the lady yesterday, I guess they have driven it yearly...just not a lot of miles. As I mentioned they are an older couple (husband has Parkinsons disease really bad). One of my best friends are very common acquaintances with them and I used to work with the gentlement before he retired...so it's not like I'm dealing completely in the dark on this one.

I know they bought the car several years ago from a fellow that also works where I do whom is an avid Corvette owner. He sold the car in order to buy a new one a few years back (apparently his better-half told him he could only keep one).

I'm rambling here...anyway, appreciate your info. I've printed off your post to use for helping with my go-over. There is a nice "evaluation" form on the website here that I have printed to help as well.

Thanks again! I'm hoping this works out...might be a long-time dream come true (would rather have a '69 though...LOL)!

Ron
 

wvstar

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Joined
Dec 31, 2006
Messages
56
Location
West Virginia
Corvette
2000 vert bright yellow
Thanks for the info and the welcome. BTW, I like your '81.

Being the Holidays...I'm having a hard time getting lined up with the current owners to check out the car. They already had plans on Sat and the lady said her grandbabies were coming to town yesterday...so I'm sure they have priority over her time right now. The ball is in their court...if they want to sell they need to contact me at this point.
 

hdkeno

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 12, 2006
Messages
277
Location
CT
Corvette
2005 Victory Red coupe
In addition the all the other excellent advice already mentioned,open both doors wide and look at the front pillar column,just ahead of the doors and below the windshield.
Check that whole area good for rust. also look forward of both rear wheels,inside wheelwells for condition.

Again ideally you would want to take the car on a test drive,for all the aforementionned usual checks,as well as for brake pull and clunks form the front end when backing in reverse very slowly and applying the brakes.

Check oil and coolant condition and color also.

Good luck with the 80,and welcome again to the CAC.

If you do purchase the car,I would also reccomend in addition to changing the oil,it would be a good idea to change tranny,and rear axle fluids.

later, Ken
 

wvstar

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Joined
Dec 31, 2006
Messages
56
Location
West Virginia
Corvette
2000 vert bright yellow
Ken,

Appreciate your input. I've still not got the chance to check out the car. Hopefully this evening. I've made a note of your suggestions and will add them to my 'check list'.

Ron
 
Joined
Apr 29, 2001
Messages
2,141
Location
Rio Rancho, NM
Corvette
1981 HD Suspension; ZN1 Option
Ron,

If you try to remove the T-Tops, do so carefully. Once unlatched. the top should not be lifted more than about an inch and then pulled side ways toward you (away from the driver's or passenger side).

If While lifting it, watch the front inner corner for flexing/cracking of the glass. Tops that have been installed for a long time tend to stick on to the rail and not let go very easily.

Once removed, go over the metals rail with a cleaner, and go over the top seals with a rubber treatment spray like STP son-of-a-gun or Armor-all.

GerryLP:cool
 

6880 Mike

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Joined
Jun 30, 2006
Messages
2,723
Location
The Bluegrass State
Corvette
1968 convertible; 1980 L-82
...My question is...is there anything in particular I should look for or know about the C3 - especially the '80 model year and pay particular attention to when I get the chance to fully check the car out?...


Nothing out of the ordinary about the 80 models. A good deal of previously optional equipment was made standard. The 305 CID engine was computer controlled and available only in Califormia in order to meet CA emissions standards. L-48 and L-82 '80s do not have the computer.

Check for rust the same as any other Corvette and attempt to ensure the car is complete. Run the numbers. If the sellers bought the car new, you will want to ensure any and all original paperwork they may have for the car goes with the sale.

I love mine.

:)
 

wvstar

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Joined
Dec 31, 2006
Messages
56
Location
West Virginia
Corvette
2000 vert bright yellow
I'm still waiting to hear from the owners to check out the car. Getting a little frustrated.

I'm anxious to see what documentation the car does have. I may go look at an '86 this evening. I do like the older style look much better though.

I see you own a '68 and an '80. Do you know what year Corvette went from points to an electronic ignition?
 

wvstar

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Joined
Dec 31, 2006
Messages
56
Location
West Virginia
Corvette
2000 vert bright yellow
Well I finally got the chance to check out the '80. Holy crap! I aint' gonna be a 'vette owner anytime soon. I could more easily list the things that DID work than the things that did NOT work or needed total replacement. I could not believe the car looked so good from 20' and could be such a piece of crap once inspected!

Anyway...guess I'll continue to be a dreamer rather than an owner.

Thanks to everyone for their input...wish I could have used it more to my advantage.

Have a great 2007 and enjoy those rides!

Ron
 

Evolution1980

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Cleveland, Ohio
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ZZ4, 700R4, Steeroids rack & pinion, VB&P Brakes
I could not believe the car looked so good from 20' and could be such a piece of crap once inspected!
Ahh, you came across a "20 footer", eh? Bummer. But hey, at least you had the ability to walk away from it. That's one of the hardest things to do for first time vette buyers. There will always be more out there, just as you said you were going to be looking at an '86. (Tip? Stick with the C3's or earlier. I'd rather have my '80 than a souped up '86.) The C3 just looks way better, IMHO.
:D

BTW...how much were they asking? What was the major issues with the car?
 

wvstar

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Joined
Dec 31, 2006
Messages
56
Location
West Virginia
Corvette
2000 vert bright yellow
The body / exterior was pretty good. There was one place on the front drivers side corner bumper area where it looked like someone had bumped into something. The paint appeared stressed but the fiberglass appeared to be okay. While I did not bother taking the car somewhere to put it up on a rack, their did not appear to be any rust problems as suggested above (front of rear wheel wells or front door pillar area) - all still solid. No indication of any repair bondo, etc in the wiper dam area.
The interior / misc stuff was the bad part. Other than the lights, nothing much else worked. Heater/fan/ac - nada. A lot of the gauges did not work. Wipers did not work. Steering wheel wrapped with black tape. The interior was beige at one time but everything was faded badly, pieces missing or needing replaced. One door arm rest was missing and the panel about to fall off. Carpet looked like **** and appeared to have gotten wet a few times over the years. Power windows jerked badly and I would guess they may have about 10 moves left in the motors. Inside top panels of roof were falling off. Hood release I thought was going to break before it finally worked. Motor (L48) sounded okay and did not appear to smoke any. I did notice that it had a tendency for the idle to speed up just sitting there running. Tapping the accelerator put it back to normal for awhile. Master cylinder, etc was pretty rusty. They were asking $10,000 for the car. I'm new to this Vette shoping but I thought that was too much for the condition. The lady said they had only driven it about 9 or 10 times in the past nine years. Anybody interested in checking it out, I can give you the owners phone number. The car is located in Parkersburg, WV.

BTW, I'm going to check out a '79 tomorrow. Not getting my hopes up too much but I'm going to keep looking.

What do you think a reasonable price is for a 75 - 82 model that is not a show car but attractive and functional enough to be a driver - not a project car?
 

Allthumbs

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Joined
Aug 9, 2006
Messages
142
Location
OHIO
Corvette
1981 white coupe
I think it all depends on the condition... I started by looking at all the vette sites I could find and also just watching sales on ebay.

I purchased mine for $9k.. it had 67k miles on it and the horns and mirror light did not work, it was missing a very minor air hose and had a small tear in the drivers seat and floor carpet.. every thing else was good though.. well .. until about two weeks after I drove it home from PA when the speedo broke !:L

There are project cars and then there are car projects !

Keep up the search ! Just be patient with it.. YOUR vette is out there somewhere !:beer

:w Tom
 

wvstar

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Joined
Dec 31, 2006
Messages
56
Location
West Virginia
Corvette
2000 vert bright yellow
Thanks for your reply. Your find was more along the lines of what I expected. For $10,000, the '80 should have been a LOT more in my opinion.

I like your quote about 'projects'...and you are right. Every moving vehicle is a project of it's own when you like to 'personalize', etc. I don't mind fixing a few things and let's face it...an almost 30 year old car is GOING to have some issues needing attention. However, a totally neglected car is NOT worth ten grand. That owner mentioned she also owned a '92 Camaro (which to me a '92 ain't squat except a name that Chevy killed about 1973)...and if she has given it the attention her Vette received...she definitely ain't got squat! LOL

Heck...half the fun is the search. Wish me luck with the '79 today!

Ron
 

fine69

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Dec 12, 2004
Messages
975
Location
Maryland / D.C.
Corvette
'69 Convertible Vette; '72 Z28 Camaro Rally Sport
What do you think a reasonable price is for a 75 - 82 model that is not a show car but attractive and functional enough to be a driver - not a project car?

You should be able to find a nice vehicle from $10-$12K.

A friend of mine picked up a red '79, black interior, auto, ps, pb for about $8,500. He had to go to Florida to get it. He drove it back to Maryland. The car is beautiful... it had minor problems such as the heater (wouldn't turn off!), weak vacuum, sluggish power window. It's all fixed up now, and it is simply gorgeous. A real head-turner.




:w

.
 

wvstar

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Joined
Dec 31, 2006
Messages
56
Location
West Virginia
Corvette
2000 vert bright yellow
I'll need to keep looking. The '79 I looked at yesterday was also a joke. I gotta say it was generally better than the '80...but it appears to have been pieced together from several sources. It was fast though...as the speedo read 35 mph when the car wasn't even moving. LOL Body was pretty rough too and evidence of some extensive repairs on the drivers side front door pillar.
I noticed one of the homes in my adjacent neighborhood has an early to mid-70's model sitting in the garage when I went for a walk the other day. I may have to inquire about that one if I can catch them out someday.

So the search continues...

Ron
 

fine69

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Messages
975
Location
Maryland / D.C.
Corvette
'69 Convertible Vette; '72 Z28 Camaro Rally Sport
1980 Vette Located

You should be able to find a nice vehicle from $10-$12K....

So the search continues...

Ron

Ron,

A good friend of mine is selling their dark green 1980 Corvette. He told me about their decision to sell the car, and I remembered your CAC post.

It's a nice car that's been well-cared for (garage kept and car cover). A/C, auto, new exhaust. Paint is ok - except for a small spot on the driver's side hood, by the windshield. Grey leather interior, CD player, power windows/locks, cruise control. Carpets have been replaced. All original. They're relocating -- so the extra cars must go.

I believe $7,000 takes it -- appears to be a much better deal than the 80 you looked at before.

They're located in Hagerstown, Maryland --- so it's not too far from WV. Drop me a PM and I'll give you their contact info if you're interested.

Ralph


.
 

Evolution1980

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Messages
4,302
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Cleveland, Ohio
Corvette
ZZ4, 700R4, Steeroids rack & pinion, VB&P Brakes
Grey leather interior...
"Oyster" leather. Maybe the carpet is gray, but the seats (at least on my monitor) are definitely oyster. Looks exactly like my interior. :D

$7000 doesn't seem too bad. I know 10+ years ago I paid $7500 for mine and it was much worse off.
 

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