Low end buyer advice

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Legal,proper,whatever. I better look out if the FEDS are scouring these posts looking for Vette owners without cat converters. I'm sure you believe
everything you read about global warming too. My '86 runs better w/o the cat and I don't believe it is any worse than them cows with excess gas : )

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'Is 1986 a decent year for Corvettes? Are there characteristic problems with 1986 Corvettes I should watch for? Is this car reasonably realiable? I could buy now, or wait a year, save a few bucks and start looking at early 90's Corvettes, is that a better plan?'
REPLY: Watch out for the 4 plus 3 manual trans. in late 1980's vettes ; they were only out for 2 years due to the enormous problems and silly engineering with them. If i were you, id definitely opt for an early 1990's Vette with LT1 motor which is durable ,more power., and better for resale. Good improvements were had on Vettes after 1988 and i think youll be happier going with an early 1990's .
Dave
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Close, but not quite.
The Borg Warner second version T-10 four speed (known to many as the Super T-10) or ST-10, was used during the mid to late 70s in Corvettes, as well as other vehicles. Borg Warner had some problems, and Doug Nash acquired the rights to the ST-10. This may be one of the reasons for no 4 speed 1982 Corvettes, but I am not sure.
Corvette needed a manual and they needed an overdrive with the fuel economy issues. Doug Nash offered a solution, his newly acquired Borg Warner-based ST-10 with an electronic overdrive on the rear tail housing. This type of design had been used in several cars before this.
Doug Nash pulled a bit of a switch by using essentially an automatic transmission on the tail of a manual transmission. It worked, it solved the problem, and had potential to be great, but issued came up with the automatic section. See http://www.5speeds.com/dne.htm for more information.
The DNE 4+3 was a good idea in a cobbled design. It became available around mid production in MY 1984 and ran through 1988. In 1989, the ZF six speed became the available manual transmission as option MN-6. BTW, there is no such option ZF-6 which means a 6 speed transmission.
The basic ST-10 which is the main part of the 4+3 transmission is still available through Richmond. http://www.richmondgear.com/01fourspeed.html
If you look at their web page, you will see their line of Australian right hand drive transmissions. (Kidding, they have mirror images posted by mistake - sloppy web work.)
The 4+3 transmissions are not as good as the six speed, but they are not a terrible thing with enormous problems. Once rebuilt by some of the specialized rebuilders now, you can expect long and good service from them.
While many lean towards the LT1, the first couple of years had problems with the Opti Spark which is expensive. Not all have, as there are owners who claim to still be running their original, however, it is more often to be a problem.
Possibly the best choices are the '89-'91 L98 with the six speed or the '95 and '96 if you want the manual transmission cars. While the 700R4 automatic has its own weaknesses, they are typically a $1400 rebuild to get them into good condition and have plenty of service. The later ones are the best, of course, however, the early ones most likely have been rebuilt by now and should be as good.

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I have a '93 40th anniversary coupe, and Tom is correct. I had to replace the opti and yes it cost too much. Still, the original lasted 10 years and 77K miles, so the design isn't totally worthless. I expect (hope) the current one will last my lifetime. I replaced it with a vented version from a later year ,which maybe will solve the issue of condensation in there rusting the cap. Apparentlly the rust got so bad it was floating around and causing havoc with the cylinders firing. The damn thing sits under the water pump, and in addition to that, the car spent its first seven years in Salinas, California (near the ocean, not the desert).
As for the ZF six-speed, it is a pretty rugged trans. IMO first gear winds out a bit too soon, but thanks to the LT-1 the low end grunt in second, third and fourth is great. Fifth has decent acceleration at highway speeds, sixth is for fuel economy only. I might mention that I installed a device that defeats the 1-4 skip-shift "feature".
For anyone who's interested, I recently ordered a Corsa Power Pulse exhaust. Not installed yet. Is there any compelling reason to keep the original? That is, after I install the new system and decide I like it and don't want to switch back.
AJM '93 Ruby coupe, 6 sp (both tops)
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