Restoring WS6 in the present and future - LS1TECH - Camaro and Firebird Forum Discussion

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Restoring WS6 in the present and future

Old 01-09-2019, 01:36 PM
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Default Restoring WS6 in the present and future

Hi guys, Ive owned a 2002 Firebird/ trans am WS6 since 2014. Car has 113,000 miles but paint is a little rough and seems like it nickel and dimes me at times but the motor and transmission is solid. Iíve come to a realization that it was easier to find parts back when I bought it than today. The junkyards seem to have less and less Firebird parts. Iíve replaced a t top before because it flew off in 2014 and I found one very easily. But itís been getting harder to find parts. And I have to buy things on eBay when itís cosmetic many times. For example, I had to buy wheel caps on eBay because couldnít find them anywhere not in the junkyard, autozone, oíreilly, Craigslist, you name it. The wheel caps got stolen at a parking lot. Also I had to get a used camaro steering wheel from a junkyard recently. I couldnít find a Firebird steering wheel that was in good shape. Wondering if this car has a good future with aftermarket and if it will be expensive to restore in the near future












. Recently Iíve bought a 2006 mustang gt as a daily driver which has plentiful aftermarket just to keep the miles and wear off the WS6. Iíve thought about selling the trans am a few times but canít bring myself to let go of my high-school sweetheart of a car that I got at 17 years old. For your time I provided pics I have of the car.
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Old 01-09-2019, 03:44 PM
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I havent had mine as long as you but i dont think much has changed in the span of 5 years as far as parts availability. I rarely see 98-02 firebirds/TAs or camaros in the junkyard..i pretty much dismiss going to junkyards to find anything for these cars, i go right to craigslist, facebook or ebay for interior parts or anything that typically breaks on them. Theres always people parting them out so with a little effort you could probably find what you need. And as far as aftermarket, theres still alot out there for 4th gens, if anything its growing a bit as they age because used stuff just isnt available anymore in good condition, so sooner or later someone will pick up on this and start reproducing parts that are difficult to find..afterall they are a very popular car.
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Old 01-09-2019, 03:50 PM
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Originally Posted by WS6-S197 View Post
Wondering if this car has a good future with aftermarket and if it will be expensive to restore in the near future

Any true restoration, meaning complete restoration, is going to be expensive and will almost always cost more than the car is worth (even when speaking of the classics, unless you know how to do nearly all of the labor yourself). Having said that, you are correct about premium parts availability not being what it was when the 4th gens were much newer. Like most older models, factory inventory, NOS items and good used original pieces usually end up scarce or exhausted before comprehensive reproduction items come on line (if ever).

If your goal is to have a top-tier, show quality 4th gen Trans Am, it would be more cost effective to buy a super low mileage garage queen than to complete a total restoration of a 6-digit mileage example. But, if your plan is to just keep repairing this one as needed then the break-even point becomes much more fuzzy. It really all depends on your goals and standards, but as these cars are not big money classics I wouldn't expect to see a comprehensive selection of high quality reproduction parts to be on the horizon in the near future. Granted, some things are already (or are becoming) available, but selection won't be as easy or complete as sourcing parts for a much newer (or, in some cases, much older classic) car.
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Old 01-10-2019, 01:50 PM
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To RPM's point, what are the goals here?

Parts can be had. At this point; Classic Industries and YearOne should become more critical to us. The other great thing is that as time goes on, one can usually afford more expensive parts. (Particularly after the car payments are gone!) There are also salvage yards that specialize in F-Bodies. They may not be down the street from everyone, but there are several and they do ship.
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Old 01-11-2019, 03:57 AM
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Thanks for the replies guys. The goal would be to keep the T/A a reliable car in good shape that lasts me many more years. I just wanted to know if the future was bright for this car in that regard. I see many older 90's GM trucks and even fox body mustangs in the Houston, TX area being daily driven(I want to be able to do that in my T/A in the future without having a hard time finding parts). I know that for when the engine in the trans am blows I could easily put a lq9 6.0 or lq4. I'm not worried about the engine since LSX platform of engines is plentiful. I already did a 4l60e rebuild at 97,000 miles. The concern are more in terms of exterior, interior parts and anything besides engine and transmission related. Ultimately my next goal for this car would be to re-paint it and have it be weekend warrior.
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Old 01-11-2019, 12:10 PM
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Originally Posted by WS6-S197 View Post
The concern are more in terms of exterior, interior parts and anything besides engine and transmission related. Ultimately my next goal for this car would be to re-paint it and have it be weekend warrior.
Of all the Pontiacs made, the Firebird is, and will be (I predict) the most supported by the aftermarket, regardless of generation, so you have that going for you. The fact that the 3rd and 4th gens share the drive train with the Camaro helps tremendously too. There was a time when the 2nd gen Firebirds were getting no love from the aftermarket, that has corrected itself as those cars age. I suspect we'll see the same effect on the 3rd and 4th gens as they mature. With few exceptions, on popular cars such as F-bodies, Stangs and 'Vettes, parts availability tends to follow a bathtub curve: When new, parts are available from the manufacturer, as they age this resource dries up, then as they become more collectible, the aftermarket kicks in with a good supply of parts. There are more parts available for my '68 Cutlass in the aftermarket than there were in the '80s and '90s, and one could argue that car is not nearly as desirable as a Firebird.
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Old 01-11-2019, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnnyBs98WS6Rag View Post
parts availability tends to follow a bathtub curve
I'm stealing that line. When I say inverted bell curve peoples eyes glaze over lol
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Old 01-12-2019, 03:11 AM
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This thread gives me hope to keep this car forever. Even though there is always something newer and faster canít beat the look of the WS6.
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Old Yesterday, 03:48 PM
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Some of us here are old enough that we bought our cars new. Since there aren't any new Firebirds rolling off the assembly line, those purchasing them now are at the mercy of their previous caretakers. As mentioned previously, starting with a low-mileage car is going to get harder and harder as time goes on. Folks that are into cars tend to be a crafty & resourceful bunch. If you want it to stay on the road bad enough, you'll find a way to do so.
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