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SamSpeed
SamSpeed
3/13/22 4:13 a.m.

Hello guys, 

I want to buy 3th or 4th gen Camaro (3,1 /3,8 V6, mot TPI or Z28)) and would like to know:

- which one is more reliable (as daily driver, want to keep repair costs as low as possible) ? 

- Rust: I belive, 4th gen is far better, isn´t it?

- Engine: I belive the 4th gen´s engine is more vulnerable for engine damage. 

Thanks for your advice! 

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/13/22 7:44 p.m.

I would personally look to the 4th gen.  3rd gens are a little long in the tooth these days and they still seem to bring top dollar.  GM also hadn't figured out how to make hp and still conform to EPA regs, so the 2.8 V6 only made about 125 hp.  You could also get it with the 2.5L Iron Duke which was something like 108 hp.

The 4th Gen started out with the 3.4L as the V6 option but switched to the 3.8L in 1995 which at least made enough power to be decently fun.  The 3.8L has proven to be a very reliable rig.  Later model years also get you things like ABS and air bags if that's your jam.

Parts will be available for all of them, but you can probably imagine that the newer model years are more likely to have parts on the shelf instead of "we can get that for Monday if you'd like to order it."

If you're steering clear of the V8 for cheap insurance, I get it, but there is no problem with the V8s for reliability.  The TPI was still in the years of "we don't know how to make power" and they're not really a big jump in power, but the LT1 starting in 93 was a brilliant setup and about the only things you'll have to replace are water pumps.  People talk smack about the Optispark but it's total hype.  They are great engines.  When I sold my last LT1 with 145k on it, I had done two water pumps, one Optispark, and that's really it.  I did plugs and wires when I did the Opti, but it was bulletproof.

Streetwiseguy
Streetwiseguy MegaDork
3/13/22 8:11 p.m.

Third gen is prettier.

Fourth gen handles a wee bit better.

Third gen has easier access under the hood.

Fourth gen had the 3.8 available, instead of the weak sister 2.8-3.1- 3.4.

Third gen is prettier.  

Fourth gen is newer and probably a bit more rust resistant.

pres589 (djronnebaum)
pres589 (djronnebaum) UltimaDork
3/13/22 8:17 p.m.

If you don't want a V8, and you're open to a 4th gen car, I cannot imagine not going straight to a 4th gen 3800 car.  Like, that's the end of this thread.

AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter)
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
3/13/22 8:35 p.m.

The 4th gen 3.8 cars are good runners.  When they were new a guy bracket raced one and won a lot.  It was so consistent.

buzzboy
buzzboy SuperDork
3/13/22 9:42 p.m.
Streetwiseguy said:

Third gen is prettier.

Third gen is prettier. 

Is the 3rd gen the best looking Camaro? Yes.

AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter)
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
3/13/22 9:52 p.m.

In reply to buzzboy :

It's a clean 96 or 97 SS.  

vwcorvette (Forum Supporter)
vwcorvette (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UberDork
3/13/22 9:59 p.m.
buzzboy said:
Streetwiseguy said:

Third gen is prettier.

Third gen is prettier. 

Is the 3rd gen the best looking Camaro? Yes.

Nope. 2nd gen, bumperettes and round taillights. Fight me!

NoBrakesRacing
NoBrakesRacing Reader
3/13/22 11:15 p.m.

In reply to vwcorvette (Forum Supporter) :

I agree on the early second generarion.

SamSpeed
SamSpeed New Reader
3/14/22 1:40 a.m.

In reply to Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) :

Thanks @to all ; yes the 4th gen has  always been my favour, many of them have about 80-90k miles now. Looking for good maintained cars. Also I belive that many german car workshops are not touching the 4th gens. That is also an important point, because I live in countryside. 
 

AClockworkGarage
AClockworkGarage Dork
3/14/22 5:58 a.m.

AS a driver 4th gen 3.8 is going to be hard to beat.

But the third gens are waaay easier to work on.

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
3/14/22 8:58 a.m.

Thir-th???

eastsideTim
eastsideTim PowerDork
3/14/22 9:18 a.m.

You live in Germany?  If so, I'd lean towards fourth gen, just to get something newer and less likely to need oddball parts.  Even more so if you prefer the way they look.

Streetwiseguy
Streetwiseguy MegaDork
3/14/22 9:55 a.m.
NoBrakesRacing said:

In reply to vwcorvette (Forum Supporter) :

I agree on the early second generarion.

Nope.  Flaccid trunk lid, A pillar too vertical.  I would grant that the chrome bumper cars are ok, but they got progressivly worse through the model run.

Danny Shields (Forum Supporter)
Danny Shields (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
3/14/22 11:16 a.m.
vwcorvette (Forum Supporter) said:
buzzboy said:
Streetwiseguy said:

Third gen is prettier.

Third gen is prettier. 

Is the 3rd gen the best looking Camaro? Yes.

Nope. 2nd gen, bumperettes and round taillights. Fight me!

Here we go. 1969. Looked so good, they came back decades later and started building new Camaros to look like it!devil

Gearheadotaku (Forum Supporter)
Gearheadotaku (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
3/14/22 12:02 p.m.

I've owned both, currently have a 2000 3.8 V6 5 speed as a daily driver for the last 7 years.

The V6 third gen from 85-92 are nice and reliable but lack power compared to newer versions. 90-92 3.1 are best.

Avoid the 93-95 3.4 V6 cars. They just don't drive nice and have a strange CV jointed drive shaft.

1998 facelift got a brake upgrade, same as the V8 cars. The Camaro got a new dashboard in 1997.

2000 + are the best. Throttle by wire and new exhaust manifolds made everything under the hood much easier to access.

Starting on 1995 look for option code Y87 on the door tag. This is the "3800 performance package" no changes to the engine but the suspension is upgraded and a limited slip differential  is added.

A manual transmission car will be more fun to drive and get better fuel economy. I acheive over 30mpg on the highway at 75mph.

tuna55
tuna55 MegaDork
3/14/22 12:22 p.m.

I had a second and third gen for a while when I was far younger and poorer. The 3rd gen has not much room under the floors for dual exhaust, but it can be done. Do the fix to attach the torque arm to the chassis and add subframe connectors. From GM, the torque arm was connected to the tailhousing, which was weird and inefficient. I liked the way they both drove.

iansane
iansane Dork
3/14/22 1:36 p.m.

If going for v6 the best answer is 3rdgen with a 3.8 swap.

SamSpeed
SamSpeed New Reader
3/14/22 7:05 p.m.

Hello,

I've found a 1999 3.8 , about 98k Miles. Looks really fine, no rust, only two little scratches, but there is no service history. I want to make Test run straight to car service shop and let that car be checked before buying it. 

GCrites80s
GCrites80s Dork
3/14/22 9:43 p.m.

You'd think 4th Gens are better for rust due to the plastic/fiberglass body panels, but body panels are not where 3rd and 4th gens rust. They rust at the floor pans -- especially T-top cars. I agree that the best dailies are 3.8 4th Gens.

If you're going for performance and are willing to build/buy an SBC (remember, used hot SBCs are cheaper now since everyone wants LS) or swap in an LS it really doesn't matter which car you start with since you're going to be doing almost all the same things to both. Those things being SFCs, shocks, dialing in the swaybars (some of the big stock fronts are perfectly fine on both Gens), wheels and tires, torque arm if you're serious, exhaust, different differential. At least an '98-'02 front brake swap is recommended for the 3rd gens. A rear brake swap is not necessary if you put on the late 4th Gen fronts. In fact if your 3rd Gen has the PBR calipers in the rear the rear brakes will be such beasts after the swap that you'll want an adjustable prop valve.

AClockworkGarage
AClockworkGarage Dork
3/14/22 9:54 p.m.
iansane said:

If going for v6 the best answer is 3rdgen with a 3.8 swap.

This is the end-goal for my 3rd gen.

GCrites80s
GCrites80s Dork
3/14/22 9:55 p.m.

Hot 3.8s are GREAT for autocross.

iansane
iansane Dork
3/15/22 10:41 a.m.
AClockworkGarage said:
iansane said:

If going for v6 the best answer is 3rdgen with a 3.8 swap.

This is the end-goal for my 3rd gen.

Is that what the gold pontiac is for? Engine donor?

AClockworkGarage
AClockworkGarage Dork
3/15/22 9:59 p.m.

In reply to iansane :

No, the gold car was for driving to work. But fun fact: A grand prix can stop for 60mph a full 11 feet shorter than a Chevy Avalanche.

I bought it back from the insurance co fir a couple hundred hoping to use it as a donor, but the more I looked at it the more parts I would have to pull from a 3.8 F-body. it became clear to me that the best route would be a running 5th gen donor car.

Now I'm just stuck with this car I can't give away.

VolvoHeretic
VolvoHeretic GRM+ Memberand Reader
3/16/22 12:40 a.m.

Got my license in a 68 Firebird Sprint which got rear ended in the winter when I let my older sister borrow it while I was at a YMCA teen dance. Someone walked up to me and said that they had just seen my car all smashed up on the other side of town. My drunk neighbor (teenager) (40?? mph) rear ended my sister (teenager) (20 mph) and punted her into my other neighbor's (teenager) parked 64 Mustang convertible. Hmm, what was my point? Oh, yeah, third generation Firebird (Knight Rider K.I.T.T.) - good, fourth generation - ugly. smiley

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