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, 12:36 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, 02:44 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, 02:50 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, 12:50 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, 02:57 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, 11:10 AM
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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, 11:21 AM
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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, 02:11 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 01-15-2019, 02:48 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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Old 01-17-2019, 05:02 PM
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If these cars ever have a chance on lasting another 40 years, some aftermarket support is going to have to step up and start reproducing some of the plastic pieces for these cars. As of now these fbodys are already starting to degrade and fall apart, every interior part is cheap plastic, fenders, bumper covers, headlight housings, taillight housings etc...these 4th gens are nothing like pre 70s cars that are mostly steel.
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Old 01-18-2019, 12:54 AM
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Originally Posted by BFK86 View Post
If these cars ever have a chance on lasting another 40 years, some aftermarket support is going to have to step up and start reproducing some of the plastic pieces for these cars. As of now these fbodys are already starting to degrade and fall apart, every interior part is cheap plastic, fenders, bumper covers, headlight housings, taillight housings etc...these 4th gens are nothing like pre 70s cars that are mostly steel.
About 15 years ago I started building a personal inventory of some of those very items, when assembly line OEM pieces were still readily available from GM. I wish I had acquired more but, of course, cost and storage space are always a limiting factor. Having said that, now at 21 years old, my '98 car hasn't actually needed any of those various plastic pieces/trim/assemblies yet. Hard to say what might happen with it in the next 40 years, but I think many of the original parts will continue to endure pretty well on garage kept, limited use examples which have been carefully preserved since their earliest days. Ones that are driven more frequently and exposed to weathering (and especially extreme conditions) will obviously face a much greater struggle.

FWIW, even my '71 has quite a few plastic/vinyl interior components, exterior lenses and such (the glove box insert is actually made of cardboard). Many of those items are still original and have held up pretty well over the last 48 years, though a few have needed repair or replacement. If you can limit sun exposure, extreme heat, rapid temp fluctuations, etc., you can significantly slow the aging process of these materials.
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Old 01-18-2019, 05:15 AM
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Originally Posted by BFK86 View Post
If these cars ever have a chance on lasting another 40 years, some aftermarket support is going to have to step up and start reproducing some of the plastic pieces for these cars.
In 10 years, all of these things will come out of a 3D printer in your garage. You will have forgotten what "buy things" means, just like (in recent times) you have not forgotten how to:
- write script
- count change
- use a VCR (these were in use when F-Bodies were made!!!)
- buy a newspaper
- dial a rotary phone
- use a phone plugged in to a wall (how silly)
- "buy things" in a "store" with walls (how silly)

You can delay any replacement issues totally by keeping the car in a garage. UV light is a plastic killer. Keeping the car out of the sun does wonders!
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Old 01-18-2019, 10:20 AM
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If you’re going to keep it, put as much money into it as you want. If you want to do a full restoration, it’ll be costly but worth it. If you want to just maintain it and drive it, that’s cool too. I’m in the process of making my 2000 SS into a car I can take to shows and drive on the weekends. It’ll cost a lot to get it where we want, but it’s my car and it’s what I want to do with it. Plus the way I see it, anyone who has an issue with how much I spend on the car need to remember they aren’t helping me at all.
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Old 01-18-2019, 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by wssix99 View Post
In 10 years, all of these things will come out of a 3D printer in your garage. You will have forgotten what "buy things" means, just like (in recent times) you have not forgotten how to:
- write script
- count change
- use a VCR (these were in use when F-Bodies were made!!!)
- buy a newspaper
- dial a rotary phone
- use a phone plugged in to a wall (how silly)
- "buy things" in a "store" with walls (how silly)
I've done 60% of the things on this list in the last week alone. The times have really passed me by. But, I imagine you probably remember my old flip phone.....I'm still using it! Wish I could get a rotary option on one of these. And in that spirit, I've also gone back to using the old alpha-numeric phone numbers. My current exchange is "ORchard".

Originally Posted by wssix99 View Post
You can delay any replacement issues totally by keeping the car in a garage. UV light is a plastic killer. Keeping the car out of the sun does wonders!
Absolutely.

Originally Posted by King Nothing View Post
If youíre going to keep it, put as much money into it as you want. If you want to do a full restoration, itíll be costly but worth it. If you want to just maintain it and drive it, thatís cool too. Iím in the process of making my 2000 SS into a car I can take to shows and drive on the weekends. Itíll cost a lot to get it where we want, but itís my car and itís what I want to do with it. Plus the way I see it, anyone who has an issue with how much I spend on the car need to remember they arenít helping me at all.
I don't think anyone mentioned having an "issue" with how the OP spends his money. But the OP did express concerns about the cost of doing a restoration, to which I replied that it would be more cost-effective to buy an already excellent, well preserved original example than to do a complete and proper restoration on an existing 6-digit mileage car - and I continue to stand behind that statement. This doesn't mean that I have a problem with someone spending their money however they choose, and perhaps there is a sentimental value to a specific car that's worth preserving at any cost. However when speaking of 4th gen F-bodies, and in cases where cost is a concern or limiting factor, the fact remains that complete restoration to high level show standards (if such is the goal) will be significantly more expensive than buying a very low mileage, well preserved original. This is not a judgement against any person or persons, nor how said persons choose to spend their money, just a simple fact that's worth mentioning when someone expresses concern about the cost of restoration.
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Old 01-18-2019, 03:51 PM
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Talking about 40 years from now....

That sorta goes with my comments about some of us being original owners of these cars. If 40 years, I'll be 84 years old. If I make it that long, maintaining my car will probably be the least of my concerns. LOL
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Old 01-20-2019, 01:05 PM
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Originally Posted by RPM WS6 View Post
I've done 60% of the things on this list in the last week alone. The times have really passed me by. But, I imagine you probably remember my old flip phone.....I'm still using it! Wish I could get a rotary option on one of these. And in that spirit, I've also gone back to using the old alpha-numeric phone numbers. My current exchange is "ORchard".
OMG. You must be, like,,, so old.

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