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Old 07-31-2012, 07:19 PM   #1
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Default what are some common things that go out?

hey all, so i finally may be getting myself into an ls1 fbody, and had a couple questions.

first off what should i look for when i go check it out? is there anything specific thats a common problem with these cars (is an 01 firebird t/a btw) other than general wear of course.

second, it does have a lot of miles, which im ok with seeing as i'll be rebuilding it anyway, but with age are there any real concerns as they get the miles on them?

i think that should do it for now, i'll definitely be posting pics if i do get it, from the pics its a beauty so i'm hoping i do but we'll see lol
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Old 07-31-2012, 07:27 PM   #2
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Some of the common problems: the power windows. Big heavy windows really crappy power window motor and regulators. The power antenna: tends to get stuck a lot. Usually can just massage it with wd40 and its good. Stripped gear on a headlight making it sound horrible for a couple seconds after closing. Luckily thats an easy fix. Only takes about 15-20 minutes. Welcome to the wonderful world of the ls1! Theyre tons of fun and hope you enjoy your bird when you get it!
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Old 07-31-2012, 07:40 PM   #3
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Some of the common problems: the power windows. Big heavy windows really crappy power window motor and regulators. The power antenna: tends to get stuck a lot. Usually can just massage it with wd40 and its good. Stripped gear on a headlight making it sound horrible for a couple seconds after closing. Luckily thats an easy fix. Only takes about 15-20 minutes. Welcome to the wonderful world of the ls1! Theyre tons of fun and hope you enjoy your bird when you get it!
Those are the most common issues for sure. One thing to add is the pins in the brake bracket freeze causing uneven pad wear.
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Old 07-31-2012, 07:44 PM   #4
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Electronics in general I'd say are the biggest issue with these cars, especially the Trans Ams with their pop-up headlights. Mechanically, the cars hold up extremely well. I've seen stock LS1's go above 200k on a regular basis.

Also worth noting is the stock transmission tends to die before 100k for a lot of people. If you are looking into an automatic, I'd pay a lot of attention to how it shifts.
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Old 07-31-2012, 07:48 PM   #5
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Electronics in general I'd say are the biggest issue with these cars, especially the Trans Ams with their pop-up headlights. Mechanically, the cars hold up extremely well. I've seen stock LS1's go above 200k on a regular basis.

Also worth noting is the stock transmission tends to die before 100k for a lot of people. If you are looking into an automatic, I'd pay a lot of attention to how it shifts.
No doubt watch how this thing shifts if its A4. Had a 95 formula A4 before my 01Ws6 and drove allllllllmost* perfect when i test drove it. 2 weeks later it was slipping from going from 1st to 2nd baddd
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Old 07-31-2012, 08:01 PM   #6
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the auto trans aka "A4" is known to be a fairly weak trans. if you have the manual T56 trans aka "M6", youll likely have to worry about the weak 10-bolt rear end breaking. the body control module also has issues wit a solder point comingundone causing the interior lights to flicker intermittently. the pcv system could use an upgrade to the ls6 version or get a catch can as a good amount of oil ends up in the intake manifold.

i think all the other things i know of have been mentioned already
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Old 07-31-2012, 08:04 PM   #7
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wow, thanks for all the feedback so far. the car is an m6, which what i've seen is a decent bit sturdier than the a4 these had. obviously i'll still need to pay attention to the clutch to see how well it shifts.

what about the a/c system? are there any notorious bugs there? i live in florida and well... its hot lol, a/c would be VERY nice to have, hopefully this one's is working ^_^


thanks again, and like i said i'll keep everyone updated if i get it!

Last edited by blindcyde; 07-31-2012 at 08:10 PM.
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Old 07-31-2012, 08:20 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by blindcyde View Post
wow, thanks for all the feedback so far. the car is an m6, which what i've seen is a decent bit sturdier than the a4 these had. obviously i'll still need to pay attention to the clutch to see how well it shifts.

what about the a/c system? are there any notorious bugs there? i live in florida and well... its hot lol, a/c would be VERY nice to have, hopefully this one's is working ^_^


thanks again, and like i said i'll keep everyone updated if i get it!
welcome im in flordia as well. since you have a m6 i would watch the rear end they are notoriously weak. ive heard of stock ls1's m6 breaking the rear. it doesnt take much. all the things mentioned above are good to look out for.
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Old 07-31-2012, 08:28 PM   #9
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welcome im in flordia as well. since you have a m6 i would watch the rear end they are notoriously weak. ive heard of stock ls1's m6 breaking the rear. it doesnt take much. all the things mentioned above are good to look out for.
ew, you have a mustang... stay away!!!!

no, im just kidding, what part? im a lil north or orlando, in seminole county

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Old 07-31-2012, 11:04 PM   #10
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Not sure about other a/c units but mine blows VERY cold. In the 93-97 years i think the a/c units went out a lot but the 98-02 seem to blow much colder
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Old 07-31-2012, 11:56 PM   #11
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if it has the power steering cooler check the fluid cooler and levels.
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Old 08-01-2012, 12:27 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by blindcyde View Post
ew, you have a mustang... stay away!!!!

no, im just kidding, what part? im a lil north or orlando, in seminole county

traded my camaro for it and never looked back lol. no but ill be getting a trans am for a project car after deployment. im in jax
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Old 08-01-2012, 09:30 AM   #13
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check clutch (feel and fluid)
check all fluid levels and colors
check rear for leaks (pinion mainly, which there's a 90% chance it will be the question is how much)
check all vaccum lines (PCV valve and line, dry rot here mainly)
check brake pad wear (to see if it's sticking) and on the test driver feel for warped rotors
check power windows (especially the passenger side)
listen to stereo (blown speakers extrememly common)
the t-tops will leak, question is how much (check for water damage)
check head lights (movement and sound on a firebird)
you will heard some valve patter while running, make sure it's nothing excessive
piston slap is common while cold (it should disappear when up to temp)
during test drive listen to the suspension (rattles squeaks and creaks - suspension not body)
squeaks, creaks and rattles are common in the body
how smooth is the trans? how easy is it to shift (especially at higher rpm)? does it pop out of gear when under low rpm high load (especially 2nd)?

That's all I can think of, stuff in () are things I've had to deal with. The good news is all these things are easy to fix and/or are things you'll probably upgrade anyway. It just helps to not have to deal with them asap. The only redflags are excessive valve chatter and piston slap/knocking, smoking and transmission shifting/staying in gear; those mean rebuild time and $$.

Last edited by Kurt D; 08-01-2012 at 09:45 AM.
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Old 08-01-2012, 10:24 AM   #14
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Im in winter park (Orlando) just moved here from Maryland, good luck on purchase. Girls down here LOVE LS1s lol, Been here two months had at least 5 screaming girls out of the window of the car next to me. Let me know if there is some sort of meet in FL Id like to meet some fellow LS1 owners down here.
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Old 08-01-2012, 01:10 PM   #15
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in the market
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Old 08-08-2012, 10:15 PM   #16
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Kurt D pretty much nailed it. Make sure the coolant isnt all gunk, as all 4th generation F bodies should have had the coolant flush AT LEAST twice. I'd also like to mention front lower control arm bushings are a BITCH (the vertical bolt ALWAYS siezes to the bushing inner sleeve).
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1999, 97, brake, common, cooler, discontinued, end, front, ls1, pad, power, problems, steering, trans, uneven, wear

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