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Unread 02-19-2013, 03:02 AM   #1
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Default Tired old '92 Camaro V6 question

We love our Ford trucks, and they're very dependable. But they handle like crap. My dad wants something sporty to drive to work, something that's actually fun to drive on our twisty roads...and something that'll do more than 65MPH...so we've been looking at cars to buy. We've found a rather nice red '92 Camaro V6 to potentially buy.

We went to look at it yesterday. It seems fine aside from one major issue: The radiator is full of rust colored sludge, and the coolant level is six inches below the radcap. Since the car has 240K on the clock I figure it's just routine neglect and old age, not that difficult a fix. New rad, flush the block and heads out, new waterpump and T-stat, and done. Good as new. There is a chance, however, that I'm wrong, that it's something deathly wrong with the engine.

Since the F150 is reliable and we're not trading it in, we're likely gonna buy it anyway, but I want to know what you guys think we should offer for it. It's a dealer sale, same guy we bought the '84 F150 from and the Explorer from, so we've got a good rapport with the guy. Should be able to haggle him down just fine. So here's what I'm thinking:

If it's just neglect: Offer $1500
If it's a bad intake manifold gasket allowing oil into the rad: Offer $1000
If the motor's completely boned, head gaskets toast, etc: Offer $500, build a 350 to drop in.


Sound fair to you guys?
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1985 Ford F150 | 4x2 | 300ci OHV inline six | 4-speed OD manual | 310K | No power brakes | Running 100% - It hasn't driven this good in 15 years!

1984 Ford F150 | 4x2 | 300ci six | granny four | 3.55 rear end | 210K | Brakes shot. Rear drums are doing most of the work. Not fit to drive due to that.
1997 Ford Explorer XLT | 4.0L Vulcan V6 | 5-speed automatic | shift-on-the-fly 4WD | 210,000 miles | Running 95% - Needs brakes on all four corners + bald tires
1989 Ford F150 | 300cid six...again | 5-speed | 4x4 | 160K | Needs brakes done as well. Oi!

Last edited by Kenny McCormick; 02-19-2013 at 03:05 AM.

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Unread 02-19-2013, 03:46 AM   #2
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No offense, but a V6 Camaro? Definitely not the first thing I'd chose for fun in the twisties...

A 350 swap is definitely the best plan, out of those options. But personally I'd be looking for a different car.

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Unread 02-19-2013, 03:55 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MetalBeerSolid View Post
No offense, but a V6 Camaro? Definitely not the first thing I'd chose for fun in the twisties...

A 350 swap is definitely the best plan, out of those options. But personally I'd be looking for a different car.
A V6 camaro can be plenty of fun.
Little underpowered, but works. It's not the car, it's the driver.
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Unread 02-19-2013, 07:47 AM   #4
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Which V6? I know in the late 80s thru early 90s there was the 2.8L, 3.4L, 3.8L(and I think maybe the 3.1L was in there...maybe I am wrong). The 2.8L is not worth paying money for lol.
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Unread 02-19-2013, 10:31 AM   #5
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'92 V6 is a 3.1, 2.8 quit in '89 on those. Though the 3.1 is a bored out 2.8 iirc

3.1 IS notorious for head gaskets. If it's losing coolant I would be VERY careful.

You know the drill on how to check stuff like that. Sniff the exhaust, check the oil color, etc. I'd have a compression test done personally to be sure. Compression test don't lie.
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Unread 02-19-2013, 02:15 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MetalBeerSolid View Post
No offense, but a V6 Camaro? Definitely not the first thing I'd chose for fun in the twisties...
The V6 cars often handled better than the V8 ones due to better weight balance when dealing with Mustangs and Camaros.

Quote:

A 350 swap is definitely the best plan, out of those options. But personally I'd be looking for a different car.
350 swap will likely happen eventually anyway someday. The condition of the V6 determines how long until the swap happens.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lemans81 View Post
Which V6? I know in the late 80s thru early 90s there was the 2.8L, 3.4L, 3.8L(and I think maybe the 3.1L was in there...maybe I am wrong). The 2.8L is not worth paying money for lol.
3.1

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike View Post
Sniff the exhaust
Going to do next time we look at it. They didn't have the keys so we couldn't get it running, but they were going to either find them or have a locksmith cut a set so we could start it and give it a thorough once-over before making a choice.
Quote:
check the oil color
I did do this. Oil is oil colored, and it smells like oil. Level was good, too, maybe a quarter of a quart below full. Given that the oil was pretty far into the brown shades that oil gets as it ages I'd say it's not burning or leaking much at all. No trace of milkshake on the oil cap either.

Quote:
, etc. I'd have a compression test done personally to be sure.
Oh we'll do that before we buy it. When my dad and I go to look at it again we're bringing a tool bag. One of the things in that bag will be a spark plug socket, and another will be a comp tester. We're also bringing a 3' long screwdriver so's we can have a listen to the bottom end.
Quote:
Compression test don't lie.
Neither does driving it. I've had a head gasket go I know the telltale signs firsthand.

My question still remains, though. Are my price ideas fair?
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Tired Iron ain't got no time to wear out...

My rigs:

1985 Ford F150 | 4x2 | 300ci OHV inline six | 4-speed OD manual | 310K | No power brakes | Running 100% - It hasn't driven this good in 15 years!

1984 Ford F150 | 4x2 | 300ci six | granny four | 3.55 rear end | 210K | Brakes shot. Rear drums are doing most of the work. Not fit to drive due to that.
1997 Ford Explorer XLT | 4.0L Vulcan V6 | 5-speed automatic | shift-on-the-fly 4WD | 210,000 miles | Running 95% - Needs brakes on all four corners + bald tires
1989 Ford F150 | 300cid six...again | 5-speed | 4x4 | 160K | Needs brakes done as well. Oi!

Last edited by Kenny McCormick; 02-19-2013 at 02:19 PM.

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Unread 02-19-2013, 03:41 PM   #7
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Well how's the body?

It sounds like you haven't driven it yet so that'll tell how tight the gearbox is. I believe that's a 700R4/4L60 (as opposed to the 4L60E) which ain't known for being a great tranny, but there's worse.

As far as prices, I don't know how they are there. Here you can find a somewhat cancered 4th gen V6 with ~200k for around $1500, a 3800 powered one for another $500 or so. IF the body is in rough shape, with that mileage and questionable problems, $1500 would be a big ask around here. As you know, that varies by location, though. I live in the land of cheap F-bodies.

You might want to bring some extra tools (mirrors, knuckles, etc) with if you're pulling plugs. I don't know about the V6 3rd gen models for sure, but I know the V8 4th gens are absolute bears to do plugs on. Better to have extra tools than not enough.
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Unread 02-19-2013, 06:40 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike View Post
Well how's the body?
Only issue is a rather large dent in the sheet metal just behind the front bumper clip. We checked behind it and there's no damage whatsoever to the core support and the panel gaps are still good, so it's just cosmetic. There's no cancer to speak of. It just recently, and by recently I mean you can still smell the assembly lube on them, had brand new struts installed front and rear. Gearbox feels great, clutch feels okay but with the engine off I can't tell if it's worn or not. Far as we can tell so far there's nothing wrong with the car except the goo in the cooling system.

Quote:
It sounds like you haven't driven it yet so that'll tell how tight the gearbox is. I believe that's a 700R4/4L60 (as opposed to the 4L60E) which ain't known for being a great tranny, but there's worse.
You know us too well to know we're not looking at one with a failmatic in it. Come on now. We wouldn't even be giving this thing the time of day if it was an automatic.


Quote:
You might want to bring some extra tools (mirrors, knuckles, etc) with if you're pulling plugs. I don't know about the V6 3rd gen models for sure, but I know the V8 4th gens are absolute bears to do plugs on. Better to have extra tools than not enough.
Oh that's no big deal. The 3rd gens were still easy to work on. We'll have no problem getting the plugs out with a standard ratchet set.
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Tired Iron ain't got no time to wear out...

My rigs:

1985 Ford F150 | 4x2 | 300ci OHV inline six | 4-speed OD manual | 310K | No power brakes | Running 100% - It hasn't driven this good in 15 years!

1984 Ford F150 | 4x2 | 300ci six | granny four | 3.55 rear end | 210K | Brakes shot. Rear drums are doing most of the work. Not fit to drive due to that.
1997 Ford Explorer XLT | 4.0L Vulcan V6 | 5-speed automatic | shift-on-the-fly 4WD | 210,000 miles | Running 95% - Needs brakes on all four corners + bald tires
1989 Ford F150 | 300cid six...again | 5-speed | 4x4 | 160K | Needs brakes done as well. Oi!

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Unread 02-19-2013, 09:46 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenny McCormick View Post
Only issue is a rather large dent in the sheet metal just behind the front bumper clip. We checked behind it and there's no damage whatsoever to the core support and the panel gaps are still good, so it's just cosmetic. There's no cancer to speak of. It just recently, and by recently I mean you can still smell the assembly lube on them, had brand new struts installed front and rear. Gearbox feels great, clutch feels okay but with the engine off I can't tell if it's worn or not. Far as we can tell so far there's nothing wrong with the car except the goo in the cooling system.

You know us too well to know we're not looking at one with a failmatic in it. Come on now. We wouldn't even be giving this thing the time of day if it was an automatic.


Oh that's no big deal. The 3rd gens were still easy to work on. We'll have no problem getting the plugs out with a standard ratchet set.
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Unread 02-19-2013, 10:59 PM   #10
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We're not driving all the way to South Dakota for a Turbo Coupe. We had one before, we liked it, it was a great car, but it isn't worth driving that far to get one.
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Tired Iron ain't got no time to wear out...

My rigs:

1985 Ford F150 | 4x2 | 300ci OHV inline six | 4-speed OD manual | 310K | No power brakes | Running 100% - It hasn't driven this good in 15 years!

1984 Ford F150 | 4x2 | 300ci six | granny four | 3.55 rear end | 210K | Brakes shot. Rear drums are doing most of the work. Not fit to drive due to that.
1997 Ford Explorer XLT | 4.0L Vulcan V6 | 5-speed automatic | shift-on-the-fly 4WD | 210,000 miles | Running 95% - Needs brakes on all four corners + bald tires
1989 Ford F150 | 300cid six...again | 5-speed | 4x4 | 160K | Needs brakes done as well. Oi!

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