1985 Pontiac Firebird Trans-Am 5.0 TPI from Australia and New Zealand


:< a bad experience


Blown holes through pistons due to an incorrect computer reading sent by a faulty or incorrectly set component - (not sure).

Continual steering problems due to a bad conversion.

Cruise control failed (vacuum loss).

Rough, irregular idle. Due to bad injectors and bad wiring.

Overheating (many times) due to sensor not switching on a thermostatic fan and the fan motor not spinning.

Problems getting mechanics who don't rip you off and who actually know what they are doing.

Pop up headlight motor has died.

General Comments:

I have now sorted most problems.

My bad experiences can be put down to three things:

1. It's an American car.

2. It was a bad conversion done by someone who knew very little about what he was doing.

3. I had a lot of bad mechanics cause more problems than solve them.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 28th July, 2001

4th Sep 2001, 14:20

I have had American cars all my life and they run great. I have seen many of them through 200,000 miles. All cars break down, no matter what they claim. Look around and actually see for yourself what cars last. Or look on message boards like this one.

My uncle had a Toyota truck and over the 5 years he owned it, it broke down 23 times. It broke down to the point where he had to call someone to pick him up. But, he used to claim it was a great car because it was the in car at the time.

I enjoy the 3rd gen. Firebird line. I own both an 86 and 85 Firebird and they run great. I use them as my daily transportation. But, this is just my luck with the cars. I would definitely take a look around before bashing American cars. Good luck on your next car.

2nd Sep 2007, 17:03

I had the same car, with the same problem.

I blew holes through the pistons in the middle of Australia - fun!


I would be interested to know where/who you bought the car from.


1985 Pontiac Firebird 2.8L V6 from North America


High performance dependability


The rear end went out at 150,000 miles.

The transmission went out at 175,000 miles.

The dashboard has been cracked since I've owned the car. Nothing a dashboard cover couldn't fix though.

The center console covering has pulled away, but I've heard this is a common problem with most years of the Firebird.

The paint is flaking. I've been told it was a primer problem at the GM factory.

The driver side door sags a little making it frustrating when it doesn't close on the first try. I had the door re-hung in 1997, but the weight of the door is just too much and it started sagging again in late 2000.

General Comments:

This car is very fun to drive.

From front to back this car has excellent styling. It looks fast.

Handling is exceptional.

The 200,000+ miles has really surprised me. I have definitely gotten my money's worth.

I have considered trading this car in for something newer/faster, but so far I haven't seen anything that catches my eye like my Firebird.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 28th June, 2001

1985 Pontiac Firebird Sport Coupe/Hatchback 2.8L MPFI v6 from North America


One of the best sports cars for the money


Rebuilt transmission (partially my fault, let clutch go and burnt gears out, whoops, LOL).

Headlight relay and motor.

Clutch (see above... just age and mileage).

Computer electronic spark/ignition module thing.

Electronic speed sensor (I ran over a big rock which knocked it off).

Engine has nearly 250,000 kms now, runs strong, idles a tad off though (V6s do that eventually) so I had to raise the idle speed slightly so it didn't dip down to the stall range... fixed the problem perfectly, I can drive this still like a sports car and it doesn't complain!

General Comments:

For the age and mileage it runs phenomenally. Still has decent peeformance (for what it is), gets good gas mileage, and don't really have many/any unexpected problems popping up.

The looks on this car are awesome, it's still hard for me to find cars I like aesthetically better.

Fun car to drive, I like the 'feel' of this car much more than other comparable cars I have driven.

Note about the dealer marks, I don't get work done at dealerships, why don't I just flush my money down the toilet, heh.

If I had to redo it I would get a Trans Am (GTA) because of the increased power.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 26th March, 2001

8th Aug 2001, 08:53

I have the exact same engine in my 87 'Bird - I have changed the ignition module about 4 times now - it fails every 5 months or so!! Have had the car for 3 years. Worth it though, definitely.