I've had my 84 Trans Am since September 1984. When my mother overheated the 305 and we had the heads done after 85,000 miles I knew the bottom end wouldn't last long. Before this the car was rock solid so I laid out plans for future revisions.
At 120,000 miles the compression readings warrented a rebuild. Now gone is the 305 replaced with an early model 350 with 882 cast heads with flat-tops buckled to a T5 and Richmond 3.73s. I share the rear disk brake problem however over the years I have learned to make the adjustments myself with the aid of several special tools. After the last wreck I decided to totally restore my battle weary warrior. Though I own: '65 Dynamic 88 CV; '67 Cutlass Holiday Coup;'70 442 CV;'69 GTO Clone, my '84 T/A is my favorite hotrod.
I had an '84 Trans Am I bought new and kept it for 10 years. It was not without its problems. I drove it all over Europe while stationed in Germany and Italy. It even got decent gas mileage if I kept it under 75 (not often). It was a blast on the autobahn and autostrada. Not many others around.
I did have to replace the power steering pump, the air pump, the starter, fan belts (often) and the transmission. I also had the same problem with the e-brake. It would only work with new pads for about 2-3k miles. I drove it hard and it still ran good when I sold it but it had so many other problems I just couldn't keep up any more. It was a blast to drive however. a great hobby but not always dependable transportation.
The rear disc brake system used on the first few years of F-body's was known for issues until GM added PBR calipers. These cars couldn't rot out in 6 years unless one was parked in a salt marsh.
Leather will always crack if not taken care of, especially in hot sunny Florida.
I live in New England and there are tons of rotten cars around, & very few of 3rd Gens are rotted terribly unless they've been sitting in the woods, this some 15 to 20 years after rolling out of Van Nyes, California and Norwood, Ohio where they were produced.
Yes T-tops leak, they always have, a price for the open air experience, much like a convertible.
Things do break, 150k is well past the expected lifetime of any vehicle. Heck GM & Hyundai only recently began warranties to 100,000 miles. After 100k, all expectations of reliability are foolish, unless you are meticulous in care, and even then... These cars were beaten on and there are still tons of them driving around now.
The window issue you mentioned is a sign of an abused car. Mine has 85k on the clock, is garaged, and has none of the issues as described. I have seen this problem, but only on cars that have led a hard life.
Electrical problems, banging sounds, etc, sounds more like an abused, possibly crashed, & poorly maintained vehicle.
I own a 1984 Trans Am. I am 16 years old, and I bought it myself last November for two grand. It's a great car. It is black with gold trim and ground effects. The ground effects are from a 1985. It has an aftermarket hood with about a 2 or 3 inch cowl. I put window louvers on myself, and installed new seats out of a fourth gen Camaro.
The engine is a Chevy 350 from 1979, and the trans is a TH-350 out of a 1972 Camaro. It has several performance parts like headers Edelbrock carb, flowmaster exhaust, flexalite fan etc. I bought a set of 2001 corvette rims which I have yet to install. I love this car. It is very powerful and fast. The 3.23 (stock rearend) gears allow for good acceleration while at the same time retaining a high top speed. I have not done any suspension upgrades, however it handles really well.
The car body has about 106,000 miles, and the engine and trans have unknown miles. Of course it has its share of problems, its 25 years old.
However, with that in mind, I am very happy with my car. And I agree with the other writers, with a car like this when it is this old, you are going to have to do some work yourself, like tuning the carb and such. And when it needs real work (I don't have many tools in my garage) you need to take it to a reliable mechanic that you can trust.
All in all, I am happy with my Trans Am.
I currently own a 1984 Trans Am with a 305 HO,5 speed, WS-6 package, and T-Tops. I special ordered this car new from the factory in November 1983, and took delivery of the vehicle in January of 1984. I have 260,000 miles on the vehicle.
I just recently replaced the old 305 with a new 4 bolt 350 and the original T5 transmission with a World Class T5 to handle the 400 horses of the new 350. Until this point, the engine and transmission had never been touched. The guys that were going to rebuild my T5 said that all it needed was new front and rear seals, and it was good to go for another ? miles. So I have put my original motor and transmission in storage for a future rebuild.
I have owned many cars in my lifetime, but by far this has been my favorite and most trouble free. So much so, that my son will eventually get this car as his daily driver.
My name is Matt, and my 84 T/A was my 1st car. I bought it brand new when I was 16, and I still have it today. I can't believe I am 44.
It has 39k original miles, and because it has been in California its whole life, it looks brand new. It's a rare cream and gold combination T-top 305 5 speed.
I too have the overheating problem... check the head gasket. Back in the 80's I had raced a 300ZX turbo through surface streets in LA... while doing around 90 I bottomed out while going thru an intersection, tearing off the air intake under the car. This caused the car to overheat, and blow a head gasket. A temporary fix is to turn on the A/C while the car is still at around 175, this will turn on the electric fan before it is due to turn on automatically at 220. It's a temporary fix only, you still need to have the car checked out. Oh... for the record... I kicked the 300's ass!
I will forever love Trans Am's. I had two of them. The first one was a grey with black skirt 1985 Trans Am with the 305. My next one was a 1989 Red Trans Am GTA with the 350.
The styling of these cars are amazing. The performance of the 89 Trans Am GTA is awesome. 0-60 in 6.8 seconds.
Although I loved the 85 Trans Am with the 305, it only had 150 HP and did 0-60 in 9.5 seconds, so Matt your claim you beat a 300ZX Turbo is an exaggeration, to say the least. The 300ZX Turbo has a 0-60 time of 6.5 seconds, he would have left you in the dust. If he would have raced you on the tracks, he would have lapped you in no time.
If your car is overheating, refer to the thermostat! It's a big problem if it's stuck, and it's 10 bucks to replace and 5 minutes to install. Anyone can do it, and if you're unsure of what it is, just ask for the part and compare on your car!
I'm sure this is your problem, firstname.lastname@example.org
The best car ever made? A 1984 Trans Am??? I never would have guessed that one in a million years.
I too disagree with this review.
My 1984 SE 5-speed has 1.2 MILLION kms (I'm in Canada) on it; original engine, original exhaust, brakes and clutch only changed once.
As long as you don't drive these in the harsh winters, they will last as long as any car.
Changed the oil more than I needed to, and that seems to have made all the difference with the engine.
Things I have replaced a lot;, alternator and brakes, some front end and suspension parts, but hey, that's to be expected with all those (mostly highway) clicks on it.
I would highly recommend this car, as long as it's been kept away from the salt.