Jump to content

Message to newbies


Recommended Posts

Recently I have seen some people new to the Reatta and postings that resulted in sharp or saterical responses and have not been appreciated.

The reason I believe is because most people here have become accustomed to the wealth of knowlege available to the group on http://www.reatta.net .

The Reatta is an electrically complex automobile and someday will be recognized as being one of the first fully computerized cars. The good news is that the 3800/4T60 powertrain is common to millions of other cars so mechanical parts are available.

What makes it different is nine computers, a large number of electronic modules, and its own LAN. Now consider this in the context of two decades ago when no-one knew what a computer virus was and televisions were a two or three man lift.

Next, the computers were a composite of Delco Radio (which had a large business in military computers at the time), Heath/Zenith (also a computer manufacturer), and Albert Teves (ATI) of Germany. It is really a marvel of systems integration.

To maintain all of this, the 88-89 Reattas had a wealth of diagnostics available through the central touch screen. This included displaying and clearing error codes, displaying sensor inputs, actuator outputs, and even the ability to turn on and off devices like the fans. The 90-91 has this capability also but using a much more limited display.

The Reatta group has gotten permission from GM to post a large amount of troubleshooting and tutorial information on the various system and even complete service manuals for 89-91 (88 can use the 89 service manual).

Many here are familiar with these documents and often reference is made to them such as section 8A (electrical diagnosis) of the FSM (factory service manual). For those entering the world of the Reatta (and much is still being discovered) it is encouraged that this material be downloaded (broadband helps) and get at least a basic familiarity with them.

These cars are now entering their third decade since manufacture. Things break. Few service personnel even remember them since there were only 20,000 built from 1988 to 1991.

Therefore the owner (or the mechanic who cares for them) must have a certain level of knowlege and equipment.

While a Reatta makes a wonderful daily driver, it should not be an essential car since when things go rong, the car should be able to be sidelined while repairs are made otherwise you will trade money for time and perhaps pay for a mechanic's education.

Aside: at the moment, Fiero's can be found that are incredibly cheap, fun to drive, and inexpensive to maintain. I have an 86 GT as a "spare" and it also qualifies for inexpensive collector car insurance. If you need something larger, GM Minivans of the early '90s were available with the same basic powertrain as the Reatta and are also incredibly inexpensive right now. Can buy either for less than a weekend in Vegas and low milage examples exist if you take the time to look.

The other thing really necessary is a place to work on it. Sometime ago I posted a list of tools to have and it was not very expensive. For example Target has a 95 piece tool kit - I have bought 2 similar toolkits with the Durabuilt name (just looks almost identical) that I usually take to junk yards because it has almost every tool liable to be needed to take a car apart, but for a car like the Reatta a garage or at least access to one is almost essential. True, am a sucker for a 20% off HF coupon (just got a 12v impact wrench for $15.95 that beats the heck out of a spinner) & love gadgets but not everyone wants to be able to change and balance a tire.

Not to say I haven't done a lot of work with two wheels on a curb (once did a clutch in a '70 GS on a big tree root) but if you need to leave a car apart while you find the right part there is nothing like a garage (except maybe a barn or a fire house). A carport will work in a pinch but a jack and mud do not mix.

So the warning is that the group tends to be a little insensitive to anyone who has not at least "reviewed the -1". This is a cooperative, not sla^H^H^H grad students.

People here will bend over backwards, sometimes even with illustrations to help even someone just learning but heaven help the person who asks a question that indicates they will not understand the answer.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Almost everyone who comes to this site are not the original owners of these cars. Many times they are the second or even third, fourth owners. Barney has stated on several occasions that a person would be better off paying more for a car that is very good condition and not try to fix up a worn down car. This is not a car to cut corners on. You must do the repair correctly and in a timely manner or future problems and breakdowns will occur.

What I have seen with Reattas that have been reasonably taken care of,is that it has certain componets that will go bad.

In my opinion to properly own these cars, one should have a back up of the ECM, BCM, IPC, Touchscreen, light and wiper pods,ICM and coil pack, low pressure brake switch, Teves accumulator, and at least one relay for the fire wall, in addition to fuses and light bulbs.

Very seldom is the issue the wiring[unless the car has been hacked on]. It is mostly the afore mentioned componets or that the connections need to be sprayed with contact cleaner because of corrosion.

I have a good friend who is a master mechanic and he does the heavy lifting for me. When I bought it he did struts, rear brakes,intake manifold and valve gaskets, hoses, thermostat, belt, IAC, radiator flush and brake flush. He also replaced the A/C condensor and charged it [i supplied the freon]. Most at his shop [$30.00 an hour] and some at his employers shop [at $90.00 an hour]. Sure it cost some money but then I knew where I was in regards to repairs and establishing a baseline for future service intervals.

Reguarding the dreaded electrical repairs, my guy only requires that I learn what needs to be done so that he has a place to start and idea of what needs to be done. That means coming to this site and asking questions. However, to that end, I also look at section 8 to have an idea of what I am looking for when I ask for help. I also reserch previous posts and download to hard copy [i keep a 3 ring binder]that which would seem to me to be a potential problem. [i had the common light/wiper pod doesn't illuminate, the door ajar issue, and the unusual broken wire in the connector box located in the air box area that caused my fog lights not to work.

I also find Ronnies website [www.reattaowmer.com] to be extremely helpful and am proud that I have been able to contribute to it. I also think that there should be a link from this site to his website so that some of the newbies can go there and get an idea of where to start. On the www.Reaata.net website is also a whole section of troubleshooting guides as a place to start.

I store my car in the winter and use it for a daily driver in the summertime. I also keep a backup car in case I should have a breakdown. Which actually happened because I did not have the firewall relays attached to their clips and one melted on the manifold.

I will close in saying that while this website is great, one must take some responsibility to look around and read up on what you are trying to fix before just asking.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">The Reatta group has gotten permission from GM to post a large amount of troubleshooting and tutorial information on the various system and even complete service manuals for 89-91 (88 can use the 89 service manual).</div></div>Who is the "Reatta group"? Are you referring to the owners of reatta.net? I have often wondered who the owners might be.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Lisa Courtney

Hello Padgett,

Looks to me you have had your hands full. Just know that some of newbies really appriciate the knowledge that alot of you guys and gals have. I do have a tendancy to chat but thats me I like to talk smile.gif Also know that school was my worst enemy,I finished even got a degree in culinary arts. Seems when it comes to understanding the mechanical aspects of a car it registers. Give me a math question in a snetece and I am stumped in most cases. I guess that is why I am a chef rather than a accountant or something of that nature. so my punctuations and spelling may not be correct but, I can surely get the point accross. I think you guys are a great asset to this site. Most folks don't even know what a Reatta is, they never heard of it. I have but, never had the opprotunity to buy one till now. Don't forget that some of us newbies soak up the knowlege of you guys that have owned one since they were born and some of us really appriciate that knowledge.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The "Reatta Group" I was talking about is mainly the people here. It was a monumental effort to get the service manuals and P&I scanned and others should be credited for that.

The permission from GM to provide the information was also a long and painful process (why you have to register - all of the documnents in there are owned (copyrighted) by GM).

Tom Jenkins has been gracious enough to host the material and deserves the thanks of everyone who participates.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...