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Old 01-12-2010, 12:22 AM   #1
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Default '98 Lumina LTZ with 3800

so, as you all know, thanks to my dad my bonneville was sold to make my tuition payments because i couldn't sell my alero first. so, now i have my alero but absolutely hate it because the 3800 bug has bitten me. I can't really afford anything much but my friend mentioned they were scrapping their 98 lumina ltz because it needs a hood, brakes, and passenger light bracket. I told him i would match what the scrap yard would give them and he said it was mine for $200. the catch? it has 294,000 miles on it. Now, I have a friend with 480,000 on her grand prix with the 3800 so i am not too too worried about the miles. I'm going to go look the car over to see the condition of everything else but I am not familiar with W-Bodies or cars with that many miles so what should I look for that could be a huge money pit?
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Old 01-12-2010, 01:06 AM   #2
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Probably not much you'd be able to tell about the tranny without taking it apart. I'd ask the guy to take it for a drive. You could at least feel if it had any major problems. I have no experience whatsoever with mid-engines though so I'm sure someone else can throw in some more advice on this one.

Other things to look at:
  • Check every surface for rust (a no-brainer)
  • Look to see if factory stickers are missing (Ex: my dad'* tarsus doesn't have any stickers in the front of the engine bay, but has them everywhere else. The car had been in a front-end wreck).
  • Check lights, turn signals, brakes and really anything you can that'* powered
  • Look over the interior, if it is beat up and wasn't taken care of, chances are the rest of the car wasn't either
Here'* some advice I gave another member a little while ago. For only $200 though I wouldn't worry about the little stuff obviously. Check mainly for major rust and look over the entire engine compartment for possible failures. As always if you are able to test drive it you should. Some problems can be felt better than seen in a car.
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Old 01-12-2010, 09:11 AM   #3
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Rust! Check the underside paying attention to where the suspension connects to the body. If you see cancer holes, let it be.
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Old 01-12-2010, 11:36 AM   #4
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Where'* Geoff...paging Jimmyfloyd....

He'* the guy I talk to about the LTZ because he had one.
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Old 01-12-2010, 01:54 PM   #5
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My pager thingy went off...



Had two actually. The first one my parents bought new. The second was mine.

1998 is a good year. First year for the 3800, last year rear disc brakes were standard. Make sure the LTZ has the 3800 in it. They could be had as the appearance package, which only got the cladding and still had a 3.1L under the hood and usually had just the single exhaust.

The motor will be the same as the bonneville as far as what to look for.

The body, like mentioned, look for rust where the front subframe mounts to the car, in the wheel wells, and around the gas door. Check the tops of the strut mounts inside the trunk behind the carpet.

For the interior, the leather seats are often ripped at the door side. Junkyard parts are an easy replacement, and Monte Carlo fronts of the same gen work, along with Grand prix and cutlass seats, but not sure on the year.

The Lumina is considered a Gen 1.5 because it maintained a lot of stuff from the Gen 1 w-body in design, but got the motor and stuff from the Gen 2 w-bodies (based off the Grand prix generations mostly) PCM support should be fine. Your center console lid should be broken. It was a feature GM had that sometime after 75k they were supposed to break if you looked at them wrong. If that doesn't bother you, and yours is good still, remove the console and sell it and you might make half or more of the purchase price back.

Sunroof on those liked to have issues. greasing the tracks, or replacing broken/worn parts can help. If it doesn't have one, even better.

As far as owning one, i loved mine. Would still have it if I didn't need cash. For $200, if it runs and isn't too rusty, you can't go wrong.
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Old 01-12-2010, 03:35 PM   #6
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Well, I will prolly be seeing it this weekend, so I can snap some pictures and report back. They aren't planning to dump it until spring so i have time to accumulate an extra $200.
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