My parents bought this car new; I took over in 2002 with around 140k miles. Therefore, I may be forgetting some repairs before I inherited the vehicle.
Head gasket failed around 120k, and I suspect my dad drove it for a while, because the cylinder head cracked as well. After labor, 2 grand worth of repairs.
Water pump was definitely replaced at some point... maybe at 120k as well?
Rotors were reconditioned repeatedly and had to be replaced at least once (that I'm aware of), pre-140k.
When I inherited her at 140k, I put about $1500 worth of parts into her, in addition to all my own time of labor. List is as follows:
Loud whirring noise- RF hub bearing contaminated, new hub assy. installed.
Took this opportunity to replace RF half shaft.
One day, when the cat. converter was running especially hot, its innards liquefied and shot out the back toward some unlucky contestant behind. In addition, many leaks in the downpipe and cat-back pipe (oh, and the muffler was practically rusting off the vehicle) prompted replacement of the entire exhaust system. Decided to go for aftermarket performance parts (a good move, IMHO).
At this point, decided to rip out all the unnecessary intake baffling and install aftermarket air filter.
Sparks were arcing- replaced ignition housing as well as spark plugs.
Alternator died around 145k. New battery was needed as well (would not hold a charge)
At 168k, while driving on the highway, heard a loud bang within the engine bay (rather unsettling!), and steering became difficult. Installed new power steering belt, problem solved... except for the large gash in the hood insulation.
Timing belt was replaced at least once, but not sure when.
LF wheel had too much wiggle when inspected (~170k). New LF hub assy installed.
Horrible underbody rust. For instance, I wanted to install an aftermarket set of springs, but my mechanic wouldn't do it. He said the rear spring mounts were rusted so badly that the new springs might fall out of the car immediately.
After about 170k, driver window (non-power) would not close properly within its track.
Mild rust due to paint chips (rocks?). Also, rust toward upper-rear section of LR wheel well. Probably to be expected for a car of its age.
Leak in power steering fluid- high pressure hose replaced at 190k.
Loud valve tap at 192k miles, oil pressure suddenly dropped to zero. Suspect failed oil pump or engine bearing. Either would cost much more to fix than the car is worth at this point.
My hands hurt from typing.
Despite that ridiculous laundry list of problems (GM cars can definitely be money pits!), I became rather attached to the car.
Don't let the bland styling fool you- this car really is a sporty little tiger. YOU HAVE TO DRIVE IT TO APPRECIATE IT.
Brakes are slightly underpowered for my taste.
Car tends to understeer, as any FWD should, but it corners as if on rails. Seriously, I scare my friends on twisties, the whole while knowing I could push 15mph faster and still feel safe.
I heard that, stock, this car pulled over.9 on the skidpad. Wouldn't surprise me.
Engine is peppy (0-60 in 7.5sec), and with the 5spd, I've buried the needle which ends at 120. I'd guess maybe 130+ With a set of quality tires, properly balanced, there was ZERO shake, even at 130. Surprising.
Seats are comfy, even for rather long drives. Backseat room good for a coupe, average for a normal car.
60/40 split rear seat is convenient.
Trunk light and engine bay lights burned out ages ago, but never felt need to replace. Trunk is plenty spacious, though not cavernous.
Interior is typical GM quality: terrible. Even so, if you don't mind cosmetic problems, no big deal.
A/C was ice cold, even at 192k miles. Surprising.
White body coupled with deep maroon interior really looked killer. Hence its nickname: pimpmobile. Had the windows tinted (professionally) to match. Would strongly recommend- looks VERY sharp.
The Dynomax muffler (installed when replacing entire exhaust system) made the car sound more like an 8-cylinder than a 4-cylinder. Received MANY compliments. Noise was incessant at highway speeds. However, the rumble gave a new dimension to the back country twisties. Really makes the car FEEL like it's going faster.
Thanks for reading- this was a long one! But I loved the car to death and almost cried when it died.