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  1. #21
    I had a blue car once brandonl2000's Avatar
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    Default Re: The 97-03 W-body buyers guide / Common problems

    I do not recommend that especially with you being stock. A hot engine is a good thing, it's efficient at operating temp. Don't change it.
    2003 Grand Prix GTP-3.5 setup, sold it, miss it
    2002 Grand Prix GT-top swap, GT1 Cam, SD Headers, 90# springs, 42.5 injectors, 3.4 pulley - sold
    2012 Chevrolet Cruze LTZ-Summit White, 1.4Turbo

  2. #22
    SE Level Member Garrett Mofford's Avatar
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    Default Re: The 97-03 W-body buyers guide / Common problems

    so what temp should i get..

  3. #23
    I had a blue car once brandonl2000's Avatar
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    Default Re: The 97-03 W-body buyers guide / Common problems

    Stock temp thermostat. 195*
    2003 Grand Prix GTP-3.5 setup, sold it, miss it
    2002 Grand Prix GT-top swap, GT1 Cam, SD Headers, 90# springs, 42.5 injectors, 3.4 pulley - sold
    2012 Chevrolet Cruze LTZ-Summit White, 1.4Turbo

  4. #24
    Grocery Getter x2 goldgp's Avatar
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    Default Re: The 97-03 W-body buyers guide / Common problems

    Stock engine + 180*tstat = worse MPG and no real performance gains
    1998 GTP Mods: Getrag 5 speed ,balanced bottom end,ARP hardware,L32 rods,Federal pistons .20 over,XP Cammed,Double roller,130# springs,and 3.4 Gen V,SSC springs,GMPP sways, C5 calipers,12 inch brakes.2000 Grand Prix SE 3.8 Mods: GT dual exaust,plog,downpipe,Transgo Shift kit,1.9 yella terra rr,strut braces,gmpp kit.Both noob tuned with HP Tuner

  5. #25
    GTX Level Member loopy smurf's Avatar
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    Default Re: The 97-03 W-body buyers guide / Common problems

    Quote Originally Posted by Garrett Mofford View Post
    also with winter approaching.. is 180 stat good?
    I believe my '01 GT has a 180* thermostat in it (not my doing...bought it like that). In the winter, my check engine light comes on. Code says that the engine is not reaching normal operating temperature. This is due to the 180 thermostat.

  6. #26
    Donating Users JLiss's Avatar
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    Default Re: The 97-03 W-body buyers guide / Common problems

    awesome write up

  7. #27
    GT Level Member Kilroy's Avatar
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    Default Re: The 97-03 W-body buyers guide / Common problems

    Quote Originally Posted by copgtp View Post
    Buying a 97-03 Grand Prix / W-Body?

    So I feel like I answer this question, or see it posted, at least once a week on this and other boards. The W-body platform is getting quite old, and they can be had on the cheap. That being said, there are some things one should look into when buying a used W-body……..
    Wow, that is an awesome list of things to check. I know what I'm going to be doing this weekend, as I just got my 2003 GTP Limited Edition two weeks ago. You should consider asking that that get "stickied"

  8. #28
    GT Level Member Kilroy's Avatar
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    Default Re: The 97-03 W-body buyers guide / Common problems

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  9. #29
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    Default Re: The 97-03 W-body buyers guide / Common problems

    Good write up! luckily, my car isnt showing any of those symptoms (knock on wood)
    No gif Signatures.

  10. #30
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    Default Re: The 97-03 W-body buyers guide / Common problems

    Awesome tips. I am actually going to look at one today that the owner thinks needs head gaskets because of water in the oil. I'm thinking it may just be intake gaskets though.

  11. #31
    Donating Users 02NavyBlue's Avatar
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    Default Re: The 97-03 W-body buyers guide / Common problems

    Not a bad thread, although I wish a person who REALLY knows about w-bodies will go through it and fix a few of the things and list price ranges for fixing things. I mean, you see leaking elbows and some may think ah that's a deal breaker. No it's a $4 part.


    Quote Originally Posted by copgtp View Post
    Oil pan leaks – Another common problem with the 3800 engine. Crawl under the car and look up at the oil pan, if you see oil around the pan where it bolts to the block, you have a leak. This is NOT an easy fix, and requiring the lowering/removal of the subframe. Most of the time, this leak isn’t very serious, but it’s still a leak.
    The subframe does not have to be lowered. The motor mount must be removed and the engine temporarily supported.

    Quote Originally Posted by copgtp View Post
    Pre-mature torque converter lock-up (when cruising anything less than 45mph, torque converter locks and RPM’s dive down)
    Small mistake, but still not true. Torque converter locks at a minimum speed of 30 mph. At 45 mph(sometimes 47) 4th gear activates.


    Quote Originally Posted by copgtp View Post
    most W-bodies didn’t come with a cabin filter installed from the factory, so water gets down into the fan assembly and will seize it.
    That's not why water gets in. Even if there's a filter, water can go straight through it. The leak is caused by a bad or missing seal, commonly fixed by installing a $5 deflector from the dealer.
    Last edited by 02NavyBlue; 11-02-2013 at 04:08 PM.
    2006 Grand Prix GT S/C 98k - Modded Transgo Shift Kit, Gutted Airbox, Dash Cam, and Inlays. Retros soon to come.
    2002 Grand Prix GT N/A 127k - Same as 06 Plus: Trans Cooler, DIY Aux Input, LED lighting, Suspension Upgrades, Tint, Retrofits.
    Sold.

  12. #32
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    Default Re: The 97-03 W-body buyers guide / Common problems

    Very nice and very accurate! This might actually help me with a problem I am having right now I been trying to chase it down for months.

    you would think this list would deter people from buying them but if you are familiar you can get a good one and work on the little bugs and have a great car for years

    * Rusted rear strut tower – This has been happening more often to cars in the “salt belt”, open the trunk and look back towards the strut towers, pull back the carpet and inspect the top of the tower for signs of rust.<<< I HAVE this problem it has actually broken through the body on the passenger side and rusted on the drivers but not as bad... I did not check this before I bought it although i checked the rest of the car so it was my bad.

    * Rocker panels / lower door – The rocker panels are notorious for rusting out, crawl under the car and look at the rocker panel from behind the body molding, you’ll be able to see any signs of rust. Also the lower parts of the doors are known to rust, with the door open, look underneath them. <<< also this although I knew when I bought it about this.

    I am trying to get a price on what it would cost to fix.

  13. #33
    Donating Users Slick2500's Avatar
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    Default Re: The 97-03 W-body buyers guide / Common problems

    When your list of common problems doesnt even take up an entire thread I think its a good thing, there are cars out there that you can list the common problems and probably take pages.
    Last edited by Slick2500; 12-14-2013 at 10:15 PM.
    2003 Redfire Metallic Chevy Tahoe Z71 - Airaid Modular Intake Tube, Flowmaster Exhaust.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Sunfire Guy
    Superchargers take away horsepower

  14. #34
    Donating Users 02NavyBlue's Avatar
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    Default Re: The 97-03 W-body buyers guide / Common problems

    To be fair he listed things only that you can visually find wrong, or test while at a dealer lot. Common problems that just pop up would add more close to filling a thread, like crank sensors, wheel bearings, etc.
    2006 Grand Prix GT S/C 98k - Modded Transgo Shift Kit, Gutted Airbox, Dash Cam, and Inlays. Retros soon to come.
    2002 Grand Prix GT N/A 127k - Same as 06 Plus: Trans Cooler, DIY Aux Input, LED lighting, Suspension Upgrades, Tint, Retrofits.
    Sold.

  15. #35
    Donating Users Slick2500's Avatar
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    Default Re: The 97-03 W-body buyers guide / Common problems

    No those are things that commonly go out on every car.

    Sent from A Galaxy Far Far Away.....
    2003 Redfire Metallic Chevy Tahoe Z71 - Airaid Modular Intake Tube, Flowmaster Exhaust.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Sunfire Guy
    Superchargers take away horsepower

  16. #36
    Donating Users 02NavyBlue's Avatar
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    Default Re: The 97-03 W-body buyers guide / Common problems

    I guess. I still know that GP's are a little on the high end when it comes to the amount of parts that need to be replaced after 10 years. But sometimes it makes up for it with the prices of the aftermarket being fairly low.
    2006 Grand Prix GT S/C 98k - Modded Transgo Shift Kit, Gutted Airbox, Dash Cam, and Inlays. Retros soon to come.
    2002 Grand Prix GT N/A 127k - Same as 06 Plus: Trans Cooler, DIY Aux Input, LED lighting, Suspension Upgrades, Tint, Retrofits.
    Sold.

  17. #37
    Donating Users Slick2500's Avatar
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    Default Re: The 97-03 W-body buyers guide / Common problems

    Compared to any car that is over 10 years old a gp is probably the same as far parts that need to be replaced or break.

    Sent from A Galaxy Far Far Away.....
    2003 Redfire Metallic Chevy Tahoe Z71 - Airaid Modular Intake Tube, Flowmaster Exhaust.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Sunfire Guy
    Superchargers take away horsepower

  18. #38
    SE Level Member Basslicks's Avatar
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    Default Re: The 97-03 W-body buyers guide / Common problems

    Thanks for posting this. Just what I was looking for. Plan on buying one by February.

  19. #39
    SE Level Member CadVetteStang's Avatar
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    Default Re: The 97-03 W-body buyers guide / Common problems

    I have started looking for a 98-03 GP for my wife who loves her 98 Grand Am (95,000 miles) that has become a money pit.

    I do not want a car with a 3100 or 3400 so the SE is not an option.

    Is there a reliability difference between the GT and the GTP?

    Is there a year model I should avoid?

    Is there a year model I should target?

    Is there any option that is a deal breaker like maybe a sunroof that is prone to leak?

    Great writeup. Thank you for posting it. I will have it memorized before I go tire kicking again.
    Last edited by CadVetteStang; 06-12-2014 at 09:07 AM.

  20. #40
    Donating Users 02NavyBlue's Avatar
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    Default Re: The 97-03 W-body buyers guide / Common problems

    Quote Originally Posted by CadVetteStang View Post
    I do not want a car with a 3100 or 3400 so the SE is not an option.

    Is there a reliability difference between the GT and the GTP?

    Is there a year model I should avoid?

    Is there a year model I should target?

    Is there any option that is a deal breaker like maybe a sunroof that is prone to leak?

    Great writeup. Thank you for posting it. I will have it memorized before I go tire kicking again.
    No reliability difference between gt and gtp for the most part, although GTP's only have a few more parts than a GT (and a few more parts to go bad) Supercharger rotors, coupler, belt, tensioner, vacuum trees always break, etc. Still just about the same overall.

    I'd avoid the 97, being it's the first in the body style and some of the parts are 97 only, and GT's came with the older 4t60 transmission.

    To target? Not really. Usually things always get better as a model gets later into production. In 2000 they put rear wheel well covers to help prevent strut tower rust, in mid 2003 the 4t65e transmission was updated with a few new style of parts that are more reliable, in mid 2005 the 3800's came with more reliable lower intake gaskets, and the 2004+ GP's are less prone to rust overall. 97-03 rots the rockers out in only a decade in the salt belt. Other than that they're almost the exact same car minus the styling. The series III 3800 which is 04+ comes with the electronic throttle body which always fails after the mileage gets up there.

    No options are deal breakers really, the only options that usually have issues are leather seats wearing out, and the heads up display commonly fails if equip.
    2006 Grand Prix GT S/C 98k - Modded Transgo Shift Kit, Gutted Airbox, Dash Cam, and Inlays. Retros soon to come.
    2002 Grand Prix GT N/A 127k - Same as 06 Plus: Trans Cooler, DIY Aux Input, LED lighting, Suspension Upgrades, Tint, Retrofits.
    Sold.

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