View Full Version : Reliability of higher-mileage stockish F-body?


Longshot LCMS
10-07-2010, 05:01 PM
I'm curious, as I've never owned a stock F-body. Long story short, I've had a ton of issues out of my Z28. Trans problems, false readings from gauges, starter went out once... blah blah blah.

I'm going to sell my Camaro, but I kinda want to replace it with a T/A M6. I've found some nice WS6s in my budget that have around 120k on them and I'm curious about the reliability level of something like this, with an M6, when kept basically stock. I'm planning to probably put a cat-back on it and maybe lower it. That's definitely all for the next couple years until I get out of the military. That being said, what has your reliability been like?

I understand alternators will fail occasionally, batteries may die, maybe even have a starter go, or occasionally a coil pack crap out... But assuming it's driven like a grandma 95% of the time and not had the crap beaten out of it and maintained regularily... is this something that's going to nickel and dime me to death?

RPM WS6
10-07-2010, 05:26 PM
100k on my '02 A4 car. I wasn't the original owner, but the maintenance records came with the car. I got it at 70k, by then all it had needed were regular maintenance items (tires, brakes, battery, fluids, filters). At 80k the alternator started overcharging, so I replaced it. At 90k the water pump started leaking, so I replaced it. The rest of the hard parts are 100% stock. Other than that, all I've done is rotuine maintenance stuff.

As for mods, it's got a muffler, air lid and wheels. That's it. Car drives great.

Edit: Sorry, I forgot to mention that I also replaced the passenger side door speaker and the driver's side power window motor. These were needed around 95k.

ULTIMATEORANGESS
10-07-2010, 07:01 PM
power trains on these cars are solid if maintained and keep at stock levels and not beat on. anything with high mileage will require repairs. just look around for something clean.

LS1W66
10-07-2010, 07:07 PM
Mine is just a hair short of 150K and I've owned it since new. This has easily been the best car I've ever owned. Fast fun and totally reliable.
Things replaced are
Headlight motor @ 22k Warrantied
Fuel level sending unit @ 49k Warrantied
A/C Compressor @ 49k Warrantied
Water pump and front brake pads @ 82k
Plugs and wires @ 88k
Springs Shocks Sways @ 128k
Pads and Rotors @ 132k
Rear gears @ 148k
Car is currently getting an LS9 twin disc clutch.
But the original was fine at 149k+ in fact the guys at Katech told me it looked like it had only 30k miles on it.

myk
10-08-2010, 04:03 AM
I'm curious, as I've never owned a stock F-body. Long story short, I've had a ton of issues out of my Z28. Trans problems, false readings from gauges, starter went out once... blah blah blah.



I can see you've been there, and done that-you've dealt with this before. Whenever someone asks me about buying a 4th gen (I own two), I always tell 'em that these cars are "rolling projects," because that's what it boils down to. If you DD a high mileage car you will be wrenching. If you let it sit, you'll still be wrenching. Keep in mind these cars are over 10 years old, boys. Anyone who says otherwise is the exception, not the rule. And I'll wager that the best behaved F body is still miles behind the worst (insert import or 05 and later domestic car name here) when it comes to reliability and overall integrity...

PS: Stay away from the LT1s...

ProMaroZ
10-08-2010, 04:29 AM
You don't own and drive a F-body for the reliability, we do it for the love of cars, the heritage, the power, the speed, the looks, the sound, the feel, the potential, and many other reasons.

transamtom
10-08-2010, 04:40 AM
You don't own and drive a F-body for the reliability, we do it for the love of cars, the heritage, the power, the speed, the looks, the sound, the feel, the potential, and many other reasons.

And because we are masochists:bang::burn:

omarrakeen
10-08-2010, 07:05 AM
well my 98 Z hit 152K last week ive owned it since 70K ive only replaced fuel pump and water pump( was going bad so i replaced it anyway) thats about it. car runs absolutely perfect and its almost stock (mods in sig) you really cant say battery, plugs wires, these are maintenance parts and not part of the car i think.

CJDZ24_Z28
10-08-2010, 07:18 AM
I can see you've been there, and done that-you've dealt with this before. Whenever someone asks me about buying a 4th gen (I own two), I always tell 'em that these cars are "rolling projects," because that's what it boils down to. If you DD a high mileage car you will be wrenching. If you let it sit, you'll still be wrenching. Keep in mind these cars are over 10 years old, boys. Anyone who says otherwise is the exception, not the rule. And I'll wager that the best behaved F body is still miles behind the worst (insert import or 05 and later domestic car name here) when it comes to reliability and overall integrity...


I have been daily driving high mileage F-bodies since 02 and i disagree with this completly Like stated the drivetrain on these cars are very solid! Now without question these cars have their known problems. Bad window motors,weak rears,saging doors,low coolant sensor etc. but you can pretty much drive the car everyday without worry of them. My current Z has 178+ pictured below. Things that have been replaced since i have owned it are things that would/could be replaced on normal DD.I would drive my car from NJ to CA if i needed to. Its 12 years old and just this weekend i replaced the outter tire rods but never had any major concerns. I don't beat my cars either. Also before this I had a 99 Z28 with 233k that ran and drove and started everytime. Not to mention alot of 120-160k cars over the years. I could never drive a normal everyday car as a DD:) Good Luck with your search

http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e21/CJDZ24_Z28/2010-10-08_mileage.jpg

Z Fury
10-08-2010, 07:45 AM
Reliability is more dependent on the owner than the manufacturer. It gets old hearing that argument.

Joshiedoom
10-08-2010, 08:08 AM
Yeah after almost 50k on my 175k bird, Ive only replaced the waterpump, and that was a factory pump that was barely seeping out the weep hole...The AC died but I was going to kill it anyway :)

Chaotic Deconstruct
10-08-2010, 06:33 PM
I currently have 178K miles on mine and it runs strong. The drivetrain, like others mentioned, is very realiable. I have not had a bit of issue with it, and I do occasionally beat on it. I daily drive it with no problems putting about 10000 miles on it a year. The last item I replaced was the A/C compressor and all part required during change. It was expensive, but lasted to 176K miles so it did its job. The real issue that I have found with higher mile cars is the suspension. Bushing failure, shock failure, etc. Shit can get expensive real fast if you don't turn your own wrenches so be for warned. If you live in the far north it would probably be further compounded.:bang:

y2kmaroonz
10-08-2010, 09:44 PM
208000 miles on my 2000 :) parked it the 1st couple winters...been driving it everyday Had the power window drivers side replaced 3 or 4 times Tranny went out at 40,000 replaced under warranty. Lately replacing alternator, tensioner pullys but still stock internals, I do get a little smoke when I get on it but it runs just as fast as ever, its really amazing :)

Black FormulaLs1
10-08-2010, 09:58 PM
so long as you can find a CLEAN car inside, engine bay and underneath, and double check for bad shocks, leaking seals, power steering pumps, etc..and even better if it comes w/ a service history, you should be fine..but then comes the little things, upgrading the springs,shocks, and all polyeurethane bushings etc..it just never ends..however the cleaner a car you start out with the better off you will be JMO

deadhorse66
10-08-2010, 10:57 PM
Like the guys say, the cars have some typical problems. There isn't a car made anywhere by anyone on the road now that doesn't have some pretty common failings. You can figure on doing some torque arm bushings if you beat on it, you can count on some window motors, blah blah blah. Let me tell you something about the powertrains. I have a 99 Sierra with 242K on the ticker. The poor little 4.8 and 4L60 have been dragging around a ton more than an F body weighs for 11 years now, no rebuilds on either one. Biggest thing is to keep leaks in check, keep your fluids changed when you need to, and do all your routine maintenance. Take care of them, and they'll drive forever.

senicalj4579
10-10-2010, 12:47 AM
well,iv had 3 ls1s since 2003 and knock on wood I havent HAD to replace ANYTHING or never broke ANYTHING. Except for light bulbs and little things like that. The reason I dont still have the first one is cause I totaled it and second one I had to sell. I just had to have another one so im on the third right now. Thats says something right there...

ProMaroZ
10-10-2010, 02:14 AM
I have been daily driving high mileage F-bodies since 02 and i disagree with this completly Like stated the drivetrain on these cars are very solid! Now without question these cars have their known problems. Bad window motors,weak rears,saging doors,low coolant sensor etc. but you can pretty much drive the car everyday without worry of them. My current Z has 178+ pictured below. Things that have been replaced since i have owned it are things that would/could be replaced on normal DD.I would drive my car from NJ to CA if i needed to. Its 12 years old and just this weekend i replaced the outter tire rods but never had any major concerns. I don't beat my cars either. Also before this I had a 99 Z28 with 233k that ran and drove and started everytime. Not to mention alot of 120-160k cars over the years. I could never drive a normal everyday car as a DD:) Good Luck with your search

http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e21/CJDZ24_Z28/2010-10-08_mileage.jpg

Anyone see the irony here?...SES light! Also, your volts don't look to good either :)

mischief
10-10-2010, 02:55 AM
Anyone see the irony here?...SES light! Also, your volts don't look to good either :)

I'm no expert or anything, but I'd guess the car isn't started, just keyed on to look at the mileage, would explain the SES light too.

Haha

LS1W66
10-10-2010, 07:34 AM
The SES light is insignificant. Mine was on for like 7 yrs and I knew exactly what the cause was (AIR) and the car never missed a beat either. Had a street tune done and disabled the AIR and EGR systems last spring and No more SES.
My advantage is I live in a state with absolutely no emissions testing.

CJDZ24_Z28
10-10-2010, 01:11 PM
Anyone see the irony here?...SES light! Also, your volts don't look to good either :)

Car isn't on............:rolleyes::judge:;)

kinglt-1
10-10-2010, 06:02 PM
Reliability shouldnt be any different than most other vehicles... The main issue I see is how well the previous owner took care of the car!!

darkvader0
10-10-2010, 06:57 PM
Just changed the oil today on my 99 Trans Am. It has 215K miles. It didn't burn or leak a drop from the 212K oil change.

It's been my daily driver since 2003 and has never failed to crank and start in something like 20,000 starts. I changed the water pump once in 2004 and an alternator some years back. I'm still on the original battery! Lol... I think it's getting old though. My gauges "sweep" on startup.

Had a transmission mount go bad a few months back that I finally replaced and I'm dealing with a bad rear wheel bearing that I'm fixing tomorrow (along with 4.10 gears :D). I love this car. :usa:

ProMaroZ
10-11-2010, 03:37 AM
Wow so serious around these forums. No one can joke around without a flame session following.

Element
10-11-2010, 08:22 AM
These cars are cheap - that's why so many people love them, because there's a huge performance to price ratio benefit. That leads to a little extra maintenance above a "normal" DD car, though.

My car's got 88k on it as of this morning, and the only thing I've had to replace was the clutch at 45k (couldn't even haze the tires in 1st, the clutch was so shot) and that was without it being beaten on at all, and the stock battery at about 80k. Driver's side headlight motor weatherpack corroded out at about 45k and had to be replaced, and the driver's side window motor died at about 78k. Engine-wise, aside from plugs and wires, nothing's been replaced as a maintenance/failed part. Suspension, LCA bushings were shit at 60k, shocks have been worthless since about 50k (just put Bilsteins in until I can swing Koni's and it made a huge difference from the stock deCarbons). Same as the engine, the only things that've been replaced were for better aftermarket parts, not OEM failures.

Headlight motors, window motors, shocks, and clutch are all what I'd consider "non-standard" maintenance concerns to keep in mind. Everything else is going to be the same as any other DD car - hell, I've replaced more parts in 6 months because of OEM part failure on my 2005 Sunfire that I DD, than I have on my 12-year old Trans Am that I drove through hell for 5 years as a DD.

senicalj4579
10-11-2010, 09:02 AM
That leads to a little extra maintenance above a "normal" DD car, thou

I think that depends on your luck. Like I said only things I have ever had to replace are light bulds and small things like that. 3rd ls1 in 8 years. These cars are tougher than what people give them credit for. Driving 3 hours to new england dragway with the hoosiers in the back,beating the shit out of it,and driving back home,and still no problems. I know something is bound to happen cause things break but damn...reliable? Hell yes:judge:

Opps my bad...EDIT,I forgot I tore the rear end in the 99 car but that was all my fault. Besides that I would have to say...very reliable.

Element
10-11-2010, 09:30 AM
I think that depends on your luck. Like I said only things I have ever had to replace are light bulds and small things like that. 3rd ls1 in 8 years. These cars are tougher than what people give them credit for. Driving 3 hours to new england dragway with the hoosiers in the back,beating the shit out of it,and driving back home,and still no problems. I know something is bound to happen cause things break but damn...reliable? Hell yes:judge:

Opps my bad...EDIT,I forgot I tore the rear end in the 99 car but that was all my fault. Besides that I would have to say...very reliable.

It can be luck, but window and headlight motors are known defects in these cars, whereas most other cars don't even have headlight motors and have window motors that still work when the car gets scrapped. We're talking known issues that no amount of Cadillac driving can prevent.

There's a difference in mechanical reliability (drivetrain), and body reliability (lights, interior, etc).