Originally Posted by 67projectcamaro
I am in the process of looking for a 4th gen as a driver (while I'm restoring my 1st gen) preferably a Z28 but will not rule out a good 3.8l V-6 RS. I was looking for some insight on some common problem or not so common areas to look out for on these cars.Any help would be greatly appreciated.
My experiences...I would pay the little extra for the LS1..the LT1's were good, but much more maintenance required with those engines (espeically with the opti-spark ignition) The mid 95 (with dual cats) and newer Z's would be preferred with the updated vented opti-sparks and better rods, as well they have the 4L60E that the 93 didnt have.
Carfax's are good and worthwhile, just like their older brethren the Z's are wrecked frequently...I see more with replaced quarters than with thier origninals including the ones I bought.
Also...many of these are getting to the age where bushings will need to be replaced...so look and see if they have just sprayed them to keep the noise down (as the DPO did with mine) or just plan on replacing at least the sway bar bushings if they are noisy.
I would check the coolant level sensor plug to see if it is plugged in..commonly go out and DPO's will just unplug and the light will go off.
If someone installed a K&N I would definitely pop off the plumbing and look into the MAF and intake...as the K&N filter seals are crappy and frequently peel off the air filter housing..
If you do buy an LS1...2000 and newer would be preferred as it does not have the EGR inlet in the intake just behind the throttle bodies...intakes stay cleaner. Also...I think there is an issue with the 2001 Z's burning more oil than others...my mom had a 2001 that burned a quart every oil change...they had similar issues with Vette engines in 2001, so given a choice I personally would not opt for a 2001.
The 2002's can be cool as GM had a surplus of Z06 engine blocks from a botched dual sourcing exercise...some z's got a Z06 block with the unique vents between mains...not worth any extra horsepower but I think it would be cool...you can check with a mirror and flashlight on the rear of the drivers side of the block.
I have also seen some cars come in with hypertech programming on an LS1...the AFR and timing used is too much in my opinion, so a Hypertech prgrammed car I would definitely remove the tune or make sure you get the programmer with it so you can remove.
Other minor points...idler pullies are commonly noisy on these...especially if you live in hot dusty area...as well this is the largest window GM used with the power window motor design, so plan on getting good at replacing power window motors.
I have never owned a 3.8l...but I can tell you the 3.4l I owned was a big PITA to work on.