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Old 01-31-2012, 12:19 PM   #1
mtnmanut
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Default What year c4 is the best

A friend is wanting to buy a c4.In all your opinions what is the best year to buy and why? any particular year have more problems then others? He's not lookng for a race car,he's not very mechanically inclined. He's been reading threads on this site,and all the problems is scaring the heck out of him. i explained that alot of these problems are due to modifications from stock, and left original probably wouldn't have these problems. any info help thanks
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Old 01-31-2012, 12:24 PM   #2
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you dont see many 96's on here with issues
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Old 01-31-2012, 12:28 PM   #3
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Every older car is going to present maintenance issues. Rule of thumb would be to look for the newest, lowest milage, best condition C4 he can find. And, expect to spend money on maintenance regardless.
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Old 01-31-2012, 12:30 PM   #4
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Every older car is going to present maintenance issues. Rule of thumb would be to look for the newest, lowest milage, best condition C4 he can find. And, expect to spend money on maintenance regardless.
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Old 01-31-2012, 12:35 PM   #5
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The more you drive them, the more reliable they become.
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Old 01-31-2012, 12:36 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by oldalaskaman View Post
you dont see many 96's on here with issues


96 was the only year with ODB2 -- which means it self-diagnoses better than prior model years. Additionally, in the 15 other times this subject has come up, the most common conclusion is to buy the newest and, usually, to focus on the 94-96 model years. Another advantage to this year span is the advent of PS air bag.

Sometimes, people will ask about Optispark...and it's issues. At that point, you just have to conclude no model year is without some potential problem.

I would have to add the model year isn't what you really should be looking for. It should come down to the specimen itself. For example, you will see a current thread where a 91 owner is assessing his potential sale value. Considering the maintenance and condition of his car, you could easily make the case for it being better maintained than the average car in the 94-96 range.

So, find one that's well maintained. I would also add that performance options make the car more fun and desireable. Either buy a car with performance gears or a stick.

If you can find a car with a stroker/suspension mod, that's even better. Especially if it's at the right price. The best deals are usually when a builder is forced to abandon some expensive and hard work. (Not saying I like or encourage that...just that it's true.)
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Old 01-31-2012, 12:42 PM   #7
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Well first of all there have been literally hundreds of posts over the past years about which year is the best or least troublesome and you can easily find these by using the search function.

That being said …. The general rule is to find the newest best condition car with the fewest miles on it that you can afford. However I must tell you to advise your friend that if he is not mechanically inclined or does not have the time or space to perform maintenance on his corvette he will discover that these are not inexpensive cars to maintain. The newest C4 is now 16 years old and a 16 year old car is going to need replacement of parts that simply wear out.

If he feels that “well my maintenance will be minimal because I am going to drive the car only on rare occasions” I will tell you that in my opinion that these cars need to be driven on a regular basis in order to keep them healthy. They like to be driven and tend to bite you more often if you let them sit for months or even weeks at a time.

Back in 2005 I bought a 95 with only 35K on it and have put 100K on it since then … driving it every day year round. I wouldn’t hesitate to get in that car at the drop of a hat and take it on a 1,000 mile trip but I’ve spent a lot of money on professional maintenance and upkeep.

Over the 100K I have replaced the following from front to back:
Radiator
Steering rack
Water pump – twice
Opti, coil, plugs and wires
All four shocks
All four wheel bearings
Exhaust
And that’s in addition to regular replacement of fluids, break shoes, hoses and belts and tires

I think that the best C4s are the 95 & 96 because by then many of the issues with earlier cars had been sorted out.

Last edited by Mr. Peabody; 01-31-2012 at 12:44 PM.
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Old 01-31-2012, 12:45 PM   #8
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That's an easy one!!!

89 best of the old body with L98 and Atari dash
available with auto or 6 speed

91 best of the new body with L98 and digital/analog dash
available with auto or 6 speed

96 simply THE best C4 with the new body/interior 94+, upgraded/vented opti, (brakes 95-96) and digital/analog dash and more...
available with auto LT1 or 6 speed LT4

and a lot of choice and price to chose from there on...
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Old 01-31-2012, 01:06 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fast red 87 vette View Post
That's an easy one!!!

89 best of the old body with L98 and Atari dash
available with auto or 6 speed

91 best of the new body with L98 and digital/analog dash
available with auto or 6 speed

96 simply THE best C4 with the new body/interior 94+, upgraded/vented opti, (brakes 95-96) and digital/analog dash and more...
available with auto LT1 or 6 speed LT4

and a lot of choice and price to chose from there on...
+1 I agree!

Don't let these forums scare your friend out of buying a C4. Yes, every car has there issues, no matter the brand or model, but, more often than not, people sign on here and only post about a problem. So when someone just browses these forums all they will see are the common problems and issues. I drive mine daily, bought it last July with 92k and Already have 102k on it. I depend on it to get to my college and so far it hasn't left me stranded (knock on wood)

Just make sure he sets aside some money for normal wear and tear maintenance, after all, the last C4 made is already 16 years old.

Goodluck!
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Old 01-31-2012, 01:24 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by mtnmanut View Post
A friend is wanting to buy a c4.In all your opinions what is the best year to buy and why? any particular year have more problems then others? He's not lookng for a race car,he's not very mechanically inclined. He's been reading threads on this site,and all the problems is scaring the heck out of him. i explained that alot of these problems are due to modifications from stock, and left original probably wouldn't have these problems. any info help thanks
Sorry, but have to disagree with the last statement. With two C4's in our garage (87' and 95'), I can agree with the others regarding the best year, but with an early C4, there are numerous problems built in the car! Feel free to disagree, but I've been there, done that on the starting problems, VAT problems, MAF Burn-Off sensor problem (code 36) and other fun things to deal with on the 87', including the crappy Multec injectors.

Don't get me wrong, we've nearly sorted out everything on the 87' and have thrown tons of money, sweat and time into it, where it is actually a great car to drive now! Now that the injectors have been replaced on the L98, it's a great car to drive. And as of last weekend the windows don't rattle anymore and the pass. door power lock works!.

I'd tell anybody buying a C4, especially an early C4, plan on having it worked on, plan on throwing money at it, at somewhat regular intervals and plan on it, sometimes frustrating the crap out of you!. If you don't want to deal with it, don't buy a Corvette.

But!!! If you buy the best, garage kept, loved C4, no matter what year, still expect the above, just maybe less of it! And above all, like PLRX sez, drive em, drive em and enjoy them, because they are fun, fast cars that will make the driving experience far more enjoyable than driving any of the puddy-mobiles!
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Old 01-31-2012, 01:29 PM   #11
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I agree with all of the above but...philosophically...

The best year is the one you've got. (or, rather, can get) Once you have it, enjoy it and don't look back.
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Old 01-31-2012, 01:31 PM   #12
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Thanks for the replies,you have pretty well told him what i have been telling. i have a stock(cfi)84 and have very few problems, and your forum has helped me out . I build a lot of cars,restore,repairs,but mostly on old school cars. the 84 is the newest that i have spent time working on. everything else i buy, put on extended warrenties and let ford worry about it.when it takes a comp. to work on a comp. i let them. everything on the 84 i have done ,has kept it stock and set up to f.s.m. specs. and have very few problems. as far as my friend, he understands he'll have problems and normal maintenance. and he also understands that in most cases a stock 92 with 35,000 mi. will probably give him less problems then a 96 with 190,000. He (we) were just looking for opinions on which year had or has more or less problems then others. thanks again. he's reading and taking in everything you say.thanks
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Old 01-31-2012, 01:32 PM   #13
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Tell your friend to drive a minimum of ten of them. Then buy the one he likes the best.
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Old 01-31-2012, 01:54 PM   #14
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"Best" is totally subjective. I prefer the body elements of the earlier C4s (nose and tail specifically) and the interior of the early cars too... just never liked (as much) the 1+1 feel of the 90-96 interiors (ie, they are totally driver centered/focused... I like how the 84-89 cars are driver/passenger neutral). But that's just me... others will totally (and legitimately) see it the other way.

The LT1 and LT4 (not to mention LT5) engines offer more horsepower (but also cost more) than the L98 (or L83). So it's really a matter of determining what a person likes and what a person wants. I'd rather buy a well-kept, well maintained L98 car than a beat 96 LT4. But again, that's just me. I place a premium on those things and on the car being as trouble free as possible (given, it is a Corvette, so that statement is relative... but honestly, my 88 has been a very trouble free car in the 2 years and 16k miles I have owned it).

Frizlefrak's suggestion is a good one... drive as many as you can before deciding. 10 seems like a lot, but if you can pull it off go for it! I'd imagine that if after 2 or 3 you ran across a car you really liked it'd be hard not to ****** it up (that's what happened to me).

Tell your friend good luck... and to have fun in the hunt (which is half the fun anyway!)
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Old 01-31-2012, 02:42 PM   #15
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I agree with test driving a few first, but to be more specific an L98 car and an LT1 car, and an LT4 for good measure. Not knocking any of these engines, but there are differences in all of them.
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Old 01-31-2012, 03:03 PM   #16
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I just have to say. if you are worry about. repairs. or problems with the car. them the c4 is not for you. the list older C4 is a 96 model. and this car all ready is 16 years old. So any car that have 16 year or more. it have to give you some kind of problem. is a normal thing.

I say you tell your friend, wait for the C7 to come out a get one of those.
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Old 01-31-2012, 05:13 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by F22 View Post
Sorry, but have to disagree with the last statement. With two C4's in our garage (87' and 95'), I can agree with the others regarding the best year, but with an early C4, there are numerous problems built in the car! Feel free to disagree, but I've been there, done that on the starting problems, VAT problems, MAF Burn-Off sensor problem (code 36) and other fun things to deal with on the 87', including the crappy Multec injectors.

Don't get me wrong, we've nearly sorted out everything on the 87' and have thrown tons of money, sweat and time into it, where it is actually a great car to drive now! Now that the injectors have been replaced on the L98, it's a great car to drive. And as of last weekend the windows don't rattle anymore and the pass. door power lock works!.

I'd tell anybody buying a C4, especially an early C4, plan on having it worked on, plan on throwing money at it, at somewhat regular intervals and plan on it, sometimes frustrating the crap out of you!. If you don't want to deal with it, don't buy a Corvette.

But!!! If you buy the best, garage kept, loved C4, no matter what year, still expect the above, just maybe less of it! And above all, like PLRX sez, drive em, drive em and enjoy them, because they are fun, fast cars that will make the driving experience far more enjoyable than driving any of the puddy-mobiles!


any sports car....any year.
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Old 01-31-2012, 05:25 PM   #18
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Bot last week 1/25 , 89 , I had no idea at the time but I lucked out and missed the opti yrs , so just avoided 1 ,IMHO have dealt with bikes with the same principal of firing cylinders ........ 1 owner with 55K miles , Im making plans of how to spend and on what to do preventative maint . What I havent located is stainless braided brake lines ? Any suggestions on the brake lines ? TIA , Tool .

Will be in storage till approx 4/1 weather depending , I wont take out in the Ohio slop this time of the yr ......
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Old 01-31-2012, 06:12 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by F22 View Post
Sorry, but have to disagree with the last statement. With two C4's in our garage (87' and 95'), I can agree with the others regarding the best year, but with an early C4, there are numerous problems built in the car! Feel free to disagree, but I've been there, done that on the starting problems, VAT problems, MAF Burn-Off sensor problem (code 36) and other fun things to deal with on the 87', including the crappy Multec injectors.

Don't get me wrong, we've nearly sorted out everything on the 87' and have thrown tons of money, sweat and time into it, where it is actually a great car to drive now! Now that the injectors have been replaced on the L98, it's a great car to drive. And as of last weekend the windows don't rattle anymore and the pass. door power lock works!.

I'd tell anybody buying a C4, especially an early C4, plan on having it worked on, plan on throwing money at it, at somewhat regular intervals and plan on it, sometimes frustrating the crap out of you!. If you don't want to deal with it, don't buy a Corvette.

But!!! If you buy the best, garage kept, loved C4, no matter what year, still expect the above, just maybe less of it! And above all, like PLRX sez, drive em, drive em and enjoy them, because they are fun, fast cars that will make the driving experience far more enjoyable than driving any of the puddy-mobiles!
I agree, my 96 garage kept Vert with 27K and had the optispark leave me on the side of the road.................so I had to replace it
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Old 01-31-2012, 07:02 PM   #20
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I would also add unmolested, as it is easier to fix Chevrolet's problems than someone elses hack job.
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Old 01-31-2012, 07:02 PM
 
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