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Looking to buy a Vette: major problems?

4

4Play

Guest
Hello everyone. I am looking to buy a late 80s early 90s Vette. I'm currently considering an 88 with 52,000 miles on it. This would be my first Vette. What are the major problems with the 88s? I am planning on taking it to my mechanic, but what should I be looking for?

Thanks.
 
Joined
Jun 20, 2002
Messages
2,509
Location
Tallahassee, FL
Corvette
none right now :(
Is it 4+3 or automatic? 4+3 manual trannys have problems with the overdrive unit... that would be the major cost item I would personally look at...

It would help to get a catalog from Ecklers or Mid America (www.ecklers.com, www.madvet.com)... look at the prices of parts... the weatherstripping around the door glass etc. is a common problem, and costs a lot to fix... the leather seat covers, steering wheels, and well, all the leather items are expensive too. Tires aren't cheap, the bose stereos are notorious for breaking....

Keep in mind that C4 Corvettes are pretty reliable cars, I am just giving you some of the more costly repair items that are more common, I am not trying to scare you off...

Another thing to keep in mind when purchasing... mileage is everything on Corvettes... If you plan on driving it a lot, then go for one with more miles... the difference between a vette with 35k miles to 50k miles is big bucks, same goes for 50k - 75k .... get up to 75k, and the prices start to level off more. Just keep it in mind, because you may end up like me, with a low mileage car that I don't want to take anywhere... I drive my honda civic instead... I had way more fun with my '93... bought it at 59k, drove it to 105k miles... never worried about the value thing then...
 
S

sothpaw

Guest
VetteLT193,

Sorry to here you drive it so little, aren't having enough fun. For me,
4-6k a year should be enough. Driving it to work would just be utilitarian,
I wouldn't enjoy it--too much congestion.

Get out there and drive it on weekends! Autocross! Drag race! Road race!
 
4

4Play

Guest
It is a 4+3. I can't imagine getting an automatic (it seems a little pointless, and alot less fun). What kind of problems does arise from the 4+3? Is it expensive to fix?

Thanks for the input.
 

Ken

Gone but not forgotten
Joined
Jan 30, 2001
Messages
8,236
Location
Hermosa Beach, CA
Corvette
1987 Z51 Silver Coupe
Welcome To The Corvette Action Center 4Play!

I agree, I'm one of those who believes in shifting the transmission yourself, especially in a car like a Corvette. :upthumbs

4Play said:
What kind of problems does arise from the 4+3? Is it expensive to fix?

Run a search using the key words "Doug Nash" or "4+3" and you'll find a lot of previous discussion revolving around the transmission and associated problems/fixes. ;)
 

fixvet

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 4, 2002
Messages
139
Location
Clever, MO
Corvette
1998 Two Tone Torch Red& Black Coupe
First of all......Welcome to the Forum!!!!!!! This is a great place to learn about Vettes.

I bought my '88 April, 2001 w/ 145,000mi. for $8500 in near mint condition inside and out. Hopefully you can find one that has been as well cared for and appreciated by its former owner(s). I'm the 3rd owner of mine. Both previous owners were older drivers, like me I'm 57, and took care of the car and replaced whatever needed replacing and did not hot rod it or race it. My coupe gets compliments wherever I go, and I drive it alot. It just rolled over to 160,000 miles last weekend. I haven't had to do anything to it, nor replace anything since I've owned it. The tranny was rebuilt at 105,000 which is about normal, but the engine has never been opened up. You should definitely consider the overall condition of your car, not necessarily the mileage. A low mileage older car, means that it's been sitting around alot with probably alot of dried up seals and parts. I wasn't worried about the high miles on mine when I decided to buy it. I feel like I stole my car!! Fortunately, there are dozens of parts dealers around if you need to replace parts. But, find the best conditioned car first, at the lowest price! Know your budget limitations and stick with it. There are alot of Vettes for sale out there.
Good Luck,
Fix
:beer
 
S

Shadowing1985v

Guest
hey, now,,

i own a automatic and it gets up and goes
but id like ot have a manual, hehe
im going to put a manual in if this auto blows


on the 85 there is only a .2 sec diffearnce in the 1/4 mile

onhaving a standard or auto, i think thats like that with all the vetts,, automatcis on corvettes still are very fast
 
7

78SilvAnniv

Guest
A fan of high miles...

...means it has been a road-reliable vehicle!

If everything looks well taken care of, maintenance records show attention to problems (or before problems appear) and it runs good...I'd consider a high mileage vette before I'd consider a low mileage older vette.

Ours has been a daily driver for 13 years. We have done some costly repairs to keep her safe and reliable, but I've never had to worry about how long she may have sat and 'dried up'.
Silver
 
4

4Play

Guest
Because of budgetary constraints, I will most likely end up with a C4. Are there differences among the years? I've heard of problems with the digital displays. Those are supposed to be reasonably easy to fix, but I'm curious to know if there are any other regular problems I should keep an eye out for in my search.
 
D

ddmau

Guest
I'd suggest picking up the premier issue of "Corvette Magazine"
' September 2002. There is an excellent article -C4 Market Report with the breakdown between the models, etc.

I've had my '85 4+3 for about three months...I would caution you to go through the gears with and without the OD making sure the syncs are in good shape, etc. Mine will pop out of second when winding down in second. Other than that it's a great car at 96,000.
 
L

LarryBible

Guest
I suggest that you read the thread near by about the 4+3. These transmissions get a bad rap, mostly by people who have never owned one.

Mine is at 122,000 miles and has never been out except to replace the clutch. You do have to change the OD fluid and filter occasionally, but if you really love driving a stick as I do, you will love the 4+3.

Good luck,
 
D

dre2013

Guest
also, watch out for coolant smell in the exhaust... our 87, and a few other c4's ive seen have had to have the intake gasket replaced.
James
 

xzvs

New member
Joined
Jun 17, 2002
Messages
2
Location
Escondido CA
Corvette
88 white coupe
yup --look for intake leaks. Also, they tend to blow head gaskets at high miles. I got mine pretty cheap and did the head gaskets myself and saved about 2-3 grand, And I know what I am driving as I basically had the whole motor apart. What the hey I knew where everything was before I even took to the street. Mine had a new trans and exhaust system right before the head gasket went also. It does have just under 150k miles and runs pretty darn good.
 

Edmond

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 1, 2001
Messages
5,218
Location
Louisiana
Corvette
2003 Z06
Bought my 88' a few years ago and haven't done anything major to it.

The exhaust was rusted, so I replaced that. Did the standard tune ups and maintenance.

As for the digital dash, the tach occasionally jumps, but I haven't had any driveability problems. Other than the tach occasionally jumping, nothing else electrical has been acting wacky.
 

jester

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 16, 2001
Messages
173
Location
Savage, MN, USA
Corvette
1988 35th Anniversary Edition
I bought my '88 5 years ago this last spring and have really enjoyed it. The first four years all I did was oil changes and replaced the alternator twice. Last year it was new tires and this year I replaced the lumbar pumps, put on new shocks, and changed all the fluids in preparation for a 5200 mile road trip. The car loved the trip and so did we.

I currently have a head gasket leaking a little oil (occasional drop on the garage floor) and leaky injectors bleeding down the fuel rail. I'll tear into it and fix those two items soon. Great car and I know you would be happy with it.
 

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