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buyer advice-new member

clok1966

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 10, 2008
Messages
55
Location
ND USA
Corvette
87 Black with gray Interior
If you dont like reading, hit the bold stuff, sorry I'm a bit excited right now :)

Hello all, I have been reading for about 2 hours now on every thing i can find on the net on vettes. I have came across what i think is a great deal (i have been looking for about 2 years) on a 87 vette. it kinda fell in my lap and its a now or never deal. I been looking at prices online and loclaly for awhile and this one is just to good to pass up. All this looking and now finally maybe getting one i have many questions. How scarry is the 4+3 tranny? I have read both sides and right now im not worried, but I cant seem to find any actual stuff on jumpering it. From what i have read the 87 really has almost no changes from the 86, roller rockers and thats about it? I guess what i was wondering is this. What should i look for when testing this car? I know the normal stuff on "regular" cars, leaks, sooty exhuast tips, smoke on start, drive till fully warmed up and till computer has time to "error" if its going to. From my quick reading tonight it seems the electrical (test every do dad) is good idea on vette. Every car has trouble spots, what should i look for?

And i know im breaking the first rule, dont rush it, but its kinda funny I have actually been looking for a couple years, but prices (and my ability to keep from putting money into needed things or stupid stuff was lacking) and so on sorta kept me from thinking i was "really" going to own one.. Now my bank acount, the good price has put this one right in my lap and i relize I'm not quite as prepared as i thought i was to look at one. I have bought many older cars, muscle cars, etc throught he years but the VETTE has always been my dream. I currently have the poor mans vette (fiero) 2 actually, one stock 86GT in great original condition (8/10) and a 84 with a SC3800 in it.. (sorry I know a car with a chevette front end and a citation front suspension on the rear is not even a Poor mans vette, but hey, i could afford it).

What should a 87 with a manual and 80,000 go for? I would put the outside at 9/10 (very good, but not showroom), interior is avg, 7/10, but other then that assuming it runs good (only looked at it, test drive Friday after work) what would the aprox value be. has all the standard stuff, AC, Cruise, EL, EW, aftermarket CD player (no idea on speakers,amps etc (like i care)) New tires (wll 90%), Aftermarket rims (look alot like the ZR1 rims). I know its hard to guage but Im guessing you guys should have a rough idea? From my looking It appears for this mileage and such it should be worth maybe $8-12,000 (roughly).. am I close?

once again sorry for the long post, Im sorta excited a life long dream is getting closer.

Clok
 

Toms007

Moderator
Joined
Sep 24, 2004
Messages
6,489
Location
Southwest Kansas
Corvette
2007 Atomic Orange Coupe
The market on C4s is really soft right now....and I hate it, but what you are describing $8 would be at the top, $5-6k is more like it. I know, I'm being pretty harsh, but that's the market right now. Heck I'm seeing C5s in the $13k-15k range with those kind of miles.

There are lots of these cars out there, take your time and look at them carefully, look at lots of them the one with your name on it is out there.
 

clok1966

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 10, 2008
Messages
55
Location
ND USA
Corvette
87 Black with gray Interior
I have noticed that vettes seems to be at about there lowest value at roughly 10-12 years old, then they start to climb again. Of course with gas... who knows.. Thanks for the reply.. as I say the price is too good (well maybe not as good as I originaly thought, but still good). But I'm still interested in Vette Specific spot to look when I check it out completely, any advice on that? As for Harsh, never... better to be blunt and honest.

Clok
 
Joined
Mar 27, 2003
Messages
3,671
Location
Mustang, OK
Corvette
'13 427 60th vert - '21 Silver Flare Coupe - CTS V Wagon(4-door Vette)
The market is soft as previously said. I'm almost with toms94 on this as for price guess - maybe a little higher, it really depends on how nice the car is.

I'm not a fan of the 4+3 and would prefer an auto in the early C4's. The semiautomatic overdrive has always been a source of trouble.

Good luck with your search.
 

JimBobC4

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 17, 2004
Messages
343
Location
Canton Ga
Corvette
1995 Dark Red 6spd Convertible
I watch 'vette prices everyday on the internet. It's a nasty habit I have.

If the car you are describing is an overall 7 or above I would say
around 8k tops. In poor but useable condition 5k. A sweet deal on a nice 4+3 87 in good shape would be 6500 or so.

Also, be VERY sure the tranny shifts well, doesn't jump out of reverse and the OD unit downshifts as it should.

Check the floor pans for cracks and holes. If possible, take the car to the carwash and check for leaks.A C-4 could have a leak from day 1 and the culprit could be hidden deep within the car.

the owner may protest this one , but ... make sure it launches straight.
It could have cracked springs etc. The best way (for me) to check the clutch drivetrain etc is a hard launch. If you break the tires loose on a smooth flat surface ,it should drift about 12 inches to the right maybe a little more. If you get a wild directional change run away.

Smack second gear hard. If you get a chirp and a wiggle your good,
if you get increased RPM's or a clunk, run away.

Check under the storage bins in the rear hatch area, lift the bins and look for signs that someone has been doing some custom bubba wiring.

Check for signs of extra oil dripping out the back of the engine and try as best you can to check the weep hole on the water pump.

Nail the brakes hard one time. It should stop straight, and if you make the ABS kick in you should hear a buzz right behind you as thats where the ABS unit lives.

Lift the passenger side carpet check for past flooding. It has cotton fiber underneath there and mold eats this stuff like candy.

Run your fingers up under the rear fender lip and check for cracks.

Turn the lights on and off at least 3 times. make sure they both raise and lower at the same time.

I wouldn't be real concerned about the durability of the 4+3 unit. It's fairly robust. I know , been there bought the t shirt. Helped my buddy melt off several sets of goodyears in one of these cars.:eyerole

I can tell you a 3 grand launch from a dead stop in an L98 car is a thing of beauty. It's like th car was engineered to do burnouts. very sweet.

However, if the OD hasnt been serviced it could be a nightmare and big bucks.
:puke

Check your RPO codes for cool options. It may influence the price as well.


Other than that Good luck ! Hope this helps.
 

Toms007

Moderator
Joined
Sep 24, 2004
Messages
6,489
Location
Southwest Kansas
Corvette
2007 Atomic Orange Coupe
I can't really think of any spot that is more susceptible to wear then any other, but if you can get underneath and have a look-see it might shed some light on things. I found on the underside of mine that at some point someone had put a floor jack too far under and slightly damaged the floor pan (nothing serious but there is some damage).

I would agree that records are a big plus when buying one of these cars. Mine had 96K on it when I bought it, and I didn't hesitate one bit, because I had complete records of everything, Iknew that the previous owner had taken excellent care of the car and that things had been done to prevent problems. After my trip last month to CruiseFest V in Cleveland (2900 miles total travelled) she now has 117K on the clock and is in better shape than a lot of cars with half the mileage.
 

GS Diva

Moderator,
Joined
Nov 1, 2000
Messages
2,316
Location
Conway, SC
Corvette
2016 Daytona Sunrise Orange Metallic Z06
I owned an '88 convertible with the 4+3 and, although I personally never had any trouble with the tranny, I was always waiting for something to happen. The 4+3 overdrive has a tendency to go bad, and you'd be very lucky if you can find anyone who can or wants to work on it, and the cost is prohibitive!!

I agree with the others that the C4 market is very, very soft right now. An '87 in the description you've given is in the real low end of the price range!!!! I mean $5-6,000, max.

And always remember...there are thousands of Corvettes for sale now. I think you can do a lot better. Keep looking...and look for a newer one. I always advise shoppers to buy the newest with the lowest miles that they can afford.

Let us know how you make out.

Elaine
 

clok1966

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 10, 2008
Messages
55
Location
ND USA
Corvette
87 Black with gray Interior
Well, i thank you for all the advice, it helped (more then you know). The car is OK, not quite as good as I figured, but not as bad as it could be. I looked at 3 this weekend and have one more this comming weekend. I'm getting a little frustrated , looked at 3 cars and only one actual owner was there (cant haggle with people who cant change the price (hmm maybe thats intentinal). My funds are only so-so, so I need to look at a car I can wrench on myslef a bit so that does limit my choices. This car is also close (I live in ND, not much to look at here) and gas is an actual consideration now.

One car was sold ( was a great deal, figured it was to good to be true it was still there, well thats cuz it wasnt) one was an 84, good shape but owner thought he had a 94 i think (price wise). The 87 i asked about, had a bra at one time im sure as front was cosmeticly damaged, rear has a a quarter sized chip in paint by gas door. Also is only an OK to good paint job (repainted at some time), looks like prep work was done well, but has more orange peel then I like (but to be honest, after looking at new cars on the lots, its not as bad as some of those). The inside is wore, more then 87,000 miles worth.. Why would somebody take such poor care of a car like that.. i can see an everday driver.. but its just sad. Nothing that couldnt be fixed (its what I did for a living when i first got into job market (upholstery)). Insides would be the easiest to fix for me so that part didnt bother me.. no rips in seats, but very worn (drivers seat and door). Car puffed a tiny bit of white smoke on start, but it has been raining here alot (so humidity is very high and its very warm) Exhuast pitp ( the finger check, run finger insdie exhuast to see how black or oily it comes out, was ok). Oil was dark but smelled fine and was full. Engine was like most 90,000 miles cars (which for a normal car is fine, but should have been cleaner for a vette IMHO). Power stearing pump was oily, and engine had been washed, but still some oil in those tough to reach places.
Overall was just ok, I would have been happy to give himn what i offered (we where $200 apart, so I drove home). Tranny shiffted tight, OD worked well, guages all seemed to work and so did all other electrical (except AC which was low (also work on AC systems so know that one too). I didnt get to drive it hard, but I did step on the brakes some and got it up to more then highway speeds and seemed really solid (good alignment, which was a concern with the damge in front end). No wierd tire wear, but tires where pretty new, used enouhg to show wierd wear i think though.

The worst thing i seen was it looked like it had been curbed bad or possibly hit a small animal as some of the stuff by the front rad (underneath, no outer body panels Is kinda wierd, like it was lifted up and worked on and set down on something.. since there is no damage in to the front bumper or below it) in front had been kinda jury rigged together, again nothing horrible but, some wrenching and a new piece or two would be needed. The actual car body panels all fit good (and nothing damaged in front and Im pretty sure it hadnt been replaced). Weatherstrip all looks good (better then several mid 90's i have looked at).

Right now I'm up in the air, I have been looking for a long time ( 2 years) and my prices range limits me some. I really hate to think I let it go for only $200. You guys are sure right, its hard not to get wrapped up in one when you drive it, i want to drive it more.. damn the problems, its not the first one I have walked away from, but for price and how close I was, its been the hardest.

I may try talk to the actual guy who owns it, maybe without a go between (guy who owns it was out riding motorcycle this weekend) i can get him to my price..

Once again thanks for all the info, I have bought lots of old cars and consider myslef as pretty good at spotting cover ups and hidden problems but he Vette is somewhat new, and with any car they have there "problem" spots. With the net now days the wealth of info you can get from people is unreal, and I'm glad you guys are willing to be so helpfull. I will let you know waht happens, and if I dont buy it this week, will post the pics and info here for anybody else that may have some interest (if any).

cant thank you guys enough.

Clok
 

JimBobC4

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 17, 2004
Messages
343
Location
Canton Ga
Corvette
1995 Dark Red 6spd Convertible
Hang in there ! Keep looking. I looked for almost 2 years myself.

You will find a babied, well taken car of 'vette if you keep trying. :thumb

My only advice at this point is don't settle, and keep us informed !
 

So Bay Vetter

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 31, 2005
Messages
372
Location
El Segundo, CA
Corvette
1996 Collector LT4
Sounds like your doing your homework and that's a good thing. If your funds are a bit "iffy" Here's a good premis to remember on Vetts; It's one thing to be able to buy a Vette, it's another thing to be able to afford to own it:eek:hnoes! Any older Vette will probably cost at least a couple of grand a year to keep in good condition and that's if you do most of the wrenching!. Don't kid yourself into thinking it won't. Good luck!:thumb
 

XLR8

Gone but not forgotten
Joined
Jun 23, 2004
Messages
6,662
Location
Mississippi Gulf Coast
Corvette
2003 AE Convertible, 1998 LCRM Convertible
You've gotten some excellent advice thusfar and I would add only that the Buyer's Checklist mentioned in post#10 is a very handy list to help you remember all the things to look at / cover, or what you're willing to skip over.

Here's another link to it because it's that good: Click

You mentioned that it looked as though it may have hit a small critter... look at your body panels, especially the gap between the clamshell hood and the panels - opened and closed. If the hood is snagging anywhere, chances are it's been hit.

Good luck with your search and post your questions and candidates here so our more experienced members can offer advice.

Oh, and BTW - welcome to the :CAC !!

:wJane Ann
 

clok1966

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 10, 2008
Messages
55
Location
ND USA
Corvette
87 Black with gray Interior
Well dispite all the excellent advice i got here from people far more level headed then me I did purchase the 87 "fixer upper" With some dealing I got the price down some more and decided i wanted it. Put about 150 miles on it tonight and am one happy new owner, man I love this car! I think I'm going to run into the age old problem, I want to drive it more then i want to fix on it... but no.. lots of little things to do, thankfully none should be to much money, most are just "grunt" work. I have run into a problem that is driving me nuts (idle related) but will do some searching here for answerers (EGR is my guess atm) and if i cant find waht I'm looking for i will pick some more brains here in the tech section.

I hope my long winded posts are not to boreing becuase I think I'm going to be here asking questions alot more.

Will get some pics of my new baby soon, not near as nice as most here, but nice in my eyes :)

Clok
 

Toms007

Moderator
Joined
Sep 24, 2004
Messages
6,489
Location
Southwest Kansas
Corvette
2007 Atomic Orange Coupe
Like I said earlier, the right one will speak to you. I am glad that you are happy with your purchase. By all means post up some pictures and ask all the questions you want, we're here to help


OH, welcome to Corvette ownership. :beer
 

LT4man

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 25, 2003
Messages
2,214
Location
Chicago
Corvette
96 Collectors Edition LT4
Welcome to CAC! :beer

Sounds like you bought the Vette you wanted. :upthumbs

I would advise you to start a new thread under C4 Technical & Performance about your idle issue. You will get a lot of feedback and you will be steered in the right direction.

Looking forward to your pictures.

SAVE THE :w
 

hotshotzny

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 17, 2007
Messages
627
Location
ulster county ny
Corvette
bright red 1984 crossfire
Will get some pics of my new baby soon, not near as nice as most here, but nice in my eyes :)

Clok


hey my 82 is hammered compared to most of the cars on here, but i still wash and wax it like its new every chance i get:D.. and i am still what you would consider a "new" vette owner and i just like you want to drive it as often as i can

and i do:thumb
 

clok1966

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 10, 2008
Messages
55
Location
ND USA
Corvette
87 Black with gray Interior
Since i said I would put a pic up (and Im proud of it ) here is my new toy, cant say how much I like it. Wish i hadnt waited so long to get one. I am already worried I will be joining Corvettes anonymous. :)



Clok
 

JimBobC4

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 17, 2004
Messages
343
Location
Canton Ga
Corvette
1995 Dark Red 6spd Convertible

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