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looking at a reatta tomorrow


Guest joeliowa

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Guest joeliowa

hey guys im brand new to the site tonight. been doing a bunch of research and cant find alot of info! i was reffered here by a person in another forum and im asking for some help!

looking at a 89 reatta tomorrow for 900.00 ... 176xxx not sure what other info is relevant

question is what should i look for while i check it out ... it runs and the blinker/headlight is cracked up and the CRT? is blank screen ... thats all i know about it so far ...

any big stuff to check for? are parts mostly readily available online? im not going to restore it yet (maybe a future deal) but i am planning on commuting with it and maybe joy riding just to keep miles off my truck.

thanks in advance!

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Guest Greg Ross

IOWA in January!

It would be nice to be able to turn the heat up and down maybe. Non-functioning CRT is a nuisence since you lose, radio, climate control, and being able to scan and see what's setting codes.

Did the SES stay on after the car was started up? This vehicle is OBD 1 generation so trouble codes are valuable info, with no CRT you're left in the dark. Left side of the instrument cluster are a red and amber set of lamps that tell you a great deal about the ABS, did they stay on longer then about 30 - 45 seconds. '88 to '90 Reatta has the Teves Braking system, pretty complex.

Reasearch the Teves Brake System Test here and it would be very wise to run those tests before buying the car.

CRTs' are readily available, they show up on eBay pretty consistantly. There's several sellers you'll identify pretty quickly after spending some time on this Site. Model specific parts are generally available (replacement new Windshield is very expensive- around $2000.) Engine, tranny, brake parts-calipers, pads etc are generic GM

Body is mostly galvanized sheet metal, if there's significant body/ underbody rust evident you may want to pass. Front fenders are composite (not metal)

I guess seat of the pants feedback on how it drives and handles should tell you a lot.

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Guest joeliowa

So i will look tomorrow since the bank is closed today

And thank you guys! I was told this was the place and it aure seems like it!

I will keep looking around on here and keep you guys posted on if i am the newest to the reatta

Club!!

Anyone have a quick link for the abs test? No clue at all about that but sounds usefull!

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Guest ReattaFan1

Anyone have a quick link for the abs test? No clue at all about that but sounds usefull!

Hey Guy! Here is a link to the ABS test. Reatta Data Page

Welcome to the Forum. This really is a great group of people. Keep us posted on what you find

Here is a link on the unibody sub frame bolt's failure. http://forums.aaca.org/f116/safety-issue-many-gm-v6-front-228595.html 454041-03-23-2007badcarrierisolators-left001.jpg

Since you live in the salt belt It's really important you keep a check on the lower mounts.

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There was actually a recall on W-body cars (e.g., my '90 Regal) back in the mid-90s on those bolts. Interestingly, GM only sent recall letters to owners in specific rust belt states. I only got my notice here in California because GM accidentally sent it to my folks house in Illinois. (My Regal was originally purchased from an Illinois dealer.) When I took the car to my local dealer, the service advisor didn't even know about the recall. He said it was the only bolt replacement they had ever done!

Did GM ever issue notices to Reatta owners?

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I believe Reatta falls in this category. Find the best one you can, where everything works. Unless you are a talented at home mechanic.

I passed on my first 89 when I heard a thump when I started it. I had a local mechanic check, and he found broken motor mounts, or whatever.

Mine was perfect. I bought it for $7,500 and sold it for same. Look for one where it all works.

I lost no money and had great car for several years. If I dared in retirement, I'd look for another!!!

Tom T

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Every so often one gets lucky and buys a Reatta that is in good working order for less then $1500.00. A $900.00 priced Reatta may not be more then a really good parts car.

By all means look at the car, but leave the rose tinted glasses at home, as you won't need them when you look at this car.

Your first Reatta should be the nicest you can afford. Once you learn about them you can buy cheaper knowing what you are in for. For example I flew to Florida 4 years ago and bought my first one for $4200.00 and then paid $1200.00 for a repaint and aprox. $1000.00 for other repairs, struts, pads rotors,hoses, belts,gaskets and a number of other things.

The second one I bought was a southwestern U.S. car for $1500.00 and "only" needed windshield [used], dash pad, rack and pinion [twice], buff out the paint, and misc. electrical issues. Total investment about $2700.00 [includes purchase price].

I would also look at this forum's buy/sell and Ronnies site and you could also find a real nice car for not a lot of money.

For what it's worth...

Edited by DAVES89 (see edit history)
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Guest ReattaFan1

In my case I was lucky, only because I have a limited income was I able to afford a Reatta at $500. The guy selling the car thought it was in pretty bad shape being it had transmission shifting problems. Me being the "talented home mechanic" was able to diagnose a faulty modulator valve, also the throttle valve cable was way out of adjustment. After the adjustments I finished off the job with a transmission fluid/filter change and added quart of Sea Foam Trans Tune. Now it's perfect!

Like you Joe my CRT was in-op. I got a use one off eBay that works for $75 shipping included. After getting the crt working I was able to tap into the diagnostic menu on the onboard computer and was able to diagnose other electrical issues (faulty switches,sensors,etc) that the car had. It's a few other issues I have but lately Ive just been working visual aesthetics. To me the better the car looks the more Im influenced to do other things to it. I admit when I first got the Reatta I was in serious doubt but now Im happy what what all Ive achieved. And I thank everyone off this forum thats helped me along. I wouldn't be at the point that I am now if it hadn't been for the ReattaOwners.com web along with this forum. THANK YOU!!!

Edited by ReattaFan1 (see edit history)
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Might mention here that the diagnostics can also be read with a scan tool. I use an OTC 2000 with 93 pathfinder module for everything from the 86 Fiero to the 92 TranSport. They show up on eBay often and relatively cheap since cannot do OBD-II.

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Makes me want to check my carriage bolts on my '89 ASAP! The '89, being from Michigan, might need them replaced.

Anyways, back to the original subject.

I agree with the others about not making an impulse purchase cause you get in the "gotta have it" frame of mind.

I made this mistake with my '89, and didn't give the car the good looking over I should've given it. But considering I paid only $300 for it, i think I got out pretty decent.

As I said before. don't make an impulse purchase. Shop around, on craigslist, local classifieds, Hemmings, the Reatta Buy/Sell forum here (quite a few nice cars there), and possibly eBay. I say possibly eBay, because you're essentially shopping blind. Sometimes you can have one of the forum members take a look at it if they're close, but I would try to avoid it.

You can also use: site mash : : combined classified and auction listings to look for Reattas in your region.

Bottom line, be VERY careful when going over this car. Write down EVERYTHING that needs to be fixed or replaced. Anything that doesn't work, or doesn't work right.

I've printed out Rawja's selling template and used it a few times. Gives you a good idea of what to look for.

If you buy a junker, and try to fix it up, you'll have a huge headache, no money, and you'll hate the Reatta.

Just be very cautious.

Keep us posted on your findings, and my advice, don't make a deal to buy the car, until you post your findings here, and get some feed back. There are lots of knowledgeable people here who will easily be able to tell you what you should plan on spending on the car, and if you should buy this car or not.

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Guest joeliowa

hey guys! UPDATE! ... went and looked at it tonight after work (in daylight) ... looked underneath not much rust really to even speak of! i could see the red paint still so maybe a bonus? i saw the carriage bolts and washers and they were not corroded on the bottom side at all. head lights popped up right away. motor looked clean didnt look for oil spots underneath but the oil showed good on the stick (old tho needs change) tranny fluid was great nice and lubby! lol thats not a word but good viscosity i guess youd say

over all its in pretty decent shape paint chips, and yes the windshield is cracked on the pass. side vertical 3/4s the way up. why are the windshields expensive on here? cant find em? something special about installing? they offered to lower the price 100 since the windshield needs replaced

so im at 800.00, CRT screen blank but does opperate (blindly), cracked windshield, rust is in check, and front pass blinker/fender minor dent/crack.. other than that im not a mechanic and did not drive it yet.

but i would like your guys advice on my findings so far and what to look for if i did drive it tomorrow with cash in hand. and if i should try and lower the price a little more 6-700? im good at beating car salesmen down but people trying to recoupe or make a little on a car of their own its hard for me to do.

what do you guys think? any questions? if i missed anything ill answer as well as i can

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so im at 800.00, CRT screen blank but does opperate (blindly), cracked windshield, rust is in check, and front pass blinker/fender minor dent/crack.. other than that im not a mechanic and did not drive it yet.
Without photos it is hard to say for sure but... for me the cracked windshield would be a deal breaker. Unless it is nicer than your description leads me to believe (cracked fender?) I would keep looking. I think with a little patience you will be able to do much better. Don't let Reatta fever cost you a bundle... like it did me. :)
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I'm with Ronnie. A windshield will cost upwards of $2000. Unless you get lucky, and find a parts car with a good windshield, and all the parts you need, I suggest you keep looking. There are plenty of nice cars (at least nicer than this one) out there for less than the $2k you'd spend on a windshield.

That bump up it had look like it may be a nightmare to fix. They've done something to morph the fender, and then painted it all with rustolium it looks like.

From the dent on the head lamp door, it looks like there's most likely something bent or broken behind everything.

To make this car a decent driver, that looks nice, works right, and all that jazz, WITHOUT putting a windshield in, I would plan on spending about $2k. Add a $2000 windshield on top of that, and you'll have just been better off getting a nice one to start with.

I, like Ronnie, had Reatta Fever, and ended up spending a lot of time and money just to end up with a decent car. If you spend time shopping around, and find one that's really NICE, you'll be much happier, and spend about the same amount of money when it's all said and done.

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With the windshield being cracked thew value of this car is way doiwn. A replacement windshield will cost you from $500.00 t0 $2000.00. Then you need a R front fender , a park/turn signal unit and a another R side headlight unit. Thats only on the outside what lurk inside no one knows. This is a $300.00 parts car.

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Guest joeliowa

im sorry guys ... i may not have said it earlier ... im not looking to restore this car (right now) im looking for a decent/fun smaller car for fuel mileage and to not beat my truck up so bad ... i understand that the windshield and fender need fixed but im not terribly concerned with a dent here or a crack here ... im not being ungrateful i appreciate the help ... and i am listening! my mind is not made up yet ...

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im sorry guys ... i may not have said it earlier ... im not looking to restore this car (right now) im looking for a decent/fun smaller car for fuel mileage and to not beat my truck up so bad ... i understand that the windshield and fender need fixed but im not terribly concerned with a dent here or a crack here ... im not being ungrateful i appreciate the help ... and i am listening! my mind is not made up yet ...
If that is the case I'm thinking you have selected the wrong vehicle. A high mileage Reatta is not a logical choice if you are just wanting a car for daily transportation. The scarcity of body parts, the complexity of the electronics, no chance of most folks rebuilding major Teves brake components and the lack of mechanics willing to work in it would put the Reatta at the bottom of my list of cars that I would want for a reliable, economical daily driver.

Your stated criteria for what you are looking for, a cheap economical beater, suggests something like a Chevy Cavalier or Ford Escort would be a better choice. I really enjoy owning my Reatta. It is a lot of fun but I have owned it long enough to know it's strengths and weaknesses. I don't consider economical and carefree operation to be it's strong points. Again I'm just offering my opinion in an effort to help you make the right decision on this particular car.

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What happens in your state if a policeman stops you and you have a cracked windshield?

at least here in NC, whatever they did to that turn signal would never pass inspection. I don't know what the laws are in Iowa (i.e. if inspection is required, or if some back yard fix like that would pass or not), but I wouldn't risk it.

If you're looking for a decent/fun smaller car for fuel mileage, you should look into the Miata.

IMHO, this car is not for you, this kind of milage, and the things it needs (weather you think it needs them or not), will be a money pit, and a headache.

just my 2 cents..

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Guest Richard D

I would recommend you keep looking. It took me about 6 weeks to find mine plus it was in Sarasota and I live in Miami. The car needed paint but everything else worked. I paid $1,500 for the car, had the oil changed, filled it up with gas and drove it home(200 miles) with no problems. Had a great ureathane paint job and other than oil changes it has been a great daily driver. Keep looking, they are out there!

Oh yeah, it now has 143,000 miles with no oil leaks and dip stick stays at full mark in between 3,000 mile changes. Interior is very good original.

BEST OF LUCK!

Richard

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As others have noted, you should consider trying to find a windshield before purchasing it. There is only one manufacturer of the windshield. Apparently they only make a small batch of them every now and then. And they charge a pretty penny - about $1500 or more installed. But contact some of the folks who specialize in used parts. See the 'Reatta resources' sticky at the top of the forum.

The turn signal assembly is an easier problem. Used ones are around and fairly easy to find. Especially since you would need the right side.

As with any used vehicle, it might be worth $50 or so to have a mechanic check all the mechanicals and give you a detailed report.

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It may sound like I switching sides... maybe I am.

But if you were to drive to Appleton Wi. You would be able to get from my favorite U pick yard a used windshield for about $100.00 and I know of a guy that would meet you there and install the windshield for another $100.00. The fender, cornering light, headlight door would would cost you maybe another $100.00. [The fender is good, just badly weathered]

I have CRTs and the controller for the CRT. I am not interested in selling you from my inventory, but I would let you try them out so we can determine what you need. Others on the forum will sell you them. There are also Teves pumps and accumulators out there [which I have also bought for my inventory for $20.00].

So for your time and gas to get to Appleton we can get you what we see SO FAR for about $300.00.

Ronnie is correct in regards to these cars not being low maintenance. They are not unless you go thru them and change hoses, belts, gaskets, plugs, wires, ICM/Coil Pack, relays, and even then you may not be trouble free. I drive mine every day, but I have back ups on most every part I think will go bad, EGR, BCM, ECM, IPC, CRT, CRT controller, Brake Controller, etc...

But if the bug bites, you gotta scratch it!

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Guest ReattaFan1

It may sound like I switching sides... maybe I am. ...But if the bug bites, you gotta scratch it!

Hear, hear!!! I know I got the bug. And you all forewarned me just as you all are doing to with Joe. But I had to have my beater Reatta. The car I purchased was nothing more than a parts car really. Lot's of TLC has done her some good.

Joe, Thats a pretty good deal 200 for a windshield install.

Like you Dave, Padgett has offered to help me several times we live pretty close to one another, I still have yet to meet Padgett but I know if I was in a bind he'd help.

Interesting story about Padgetts car and mine. I know Im the third owner of a Reatta that had migrated from Kentucky. Looking at the Reatt data logs I found our cars was manufactured just shortly after one another. Whats the odds specially cars that were delivered from the factory to different states. My car is the one listed on the bottom. Ive sent in an email for the Reatta Data Log to be updated with my info Picture24.png

Edited by ReattaFan1 (see edit history)
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Guest joeliowa

UPDATE again! got it worked out to 600.00 after test drive tomorrow night after work. and i thank you guys for your opinions (good and bad) on the car! i do understand why some say no and i understand why some say yes. maybe im in for trouble but im hoping not. and thanks for the offer DAVES ill send you a PM. thanks again everyone for helping me out with info and ill definately be here often if i get it home and hopefully someday can help "the new guy"

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Story time...

I remember back 5 years or so when I was "bitten". I thought I could buy a nice one locally, but that was not to be the case. I was out on calls one day when I saw a red/tan [The color combo I had to have] for sale by the side of the road. It looked OK, but I could see that the car was dirty inside and of course the drivers seat had tears in it. It also had started to rust behind the wheels. The seller wanted $2900.00 for it, dropped to $2100.00 so he wouldn't have to store it dor the winter,but I passed.

I then started looking much harder and found four for sale almost in a line from Shawano to Eau Claire, Wi. Off I went, every one was a high priced parts car, from $1200.00 to $2500.00. No luck.

So I expanded my search, [never once using this forum as I didn't know it existed at the time] using Autotrader.com. I found one that I thought I would be the one in Dayton Ohio. It was owned by an older guy that was letting his daughter drive, but now wanted to sell it as she no longer wanted to drive it. [That should have set off warning bells, but I was "bitten"]. So I fly down, the guy picks me up and I go to see the car and it is almost the worst car I had ever looked at. The IPC worked, but not the CRT, headliner drooped, and the seats were bad, and the car was dirty with cigarette ash, and while I am still thinking how low can I get this guy down to, so I could at least have a parts car and will it at least make it back home, it does me a favor and starts to drip a steady stream of anti freeze. That was it. Game over.

I politely asked the man to take me back to the airport and flew back home.

I stopped looking for about 10 months. I started my search again and found one on Autotrader down in Florida, called the guy, spoke to him several times, he sent me pictures, and we agreed upon a price. He told me to buy a one way ticket and assured me that if I didn't think the car was worth it that he would pay for my flight back. How could I lose?

I knew it was the right one when I stepped out of the concourse and saw this beautiful Reatta drive up to take me to his insurance office to have the papers signed and notorized.

Was the car perfect? No, but it has proven to be a dependable summer daily driver. He always had it serviced at the local Buick garage and was good about spending money on it when it needed it. He had replaced the IPC, CRT, A/C compressor, light/wiper pods, radio/speakers, accumultor/pressure switch, and also installed a new GM tranny [Which I later figured out is why he wouldn't come down much on his price]. Overall I think I did well.

The Black/gray story? Simple. I called Jim Finn and asked him if he knew if there were any black Reattas for sale. He knew of two. One about 100 miles from my house. I went to look at it and it was two things, very well maintained and cheap. I passed on it for only one reason, it was rusting behind the wheels. [Jim Finn actually bought it for himself] Jim told me about another one, a car from the southwestern states that a lot of money had been put into, but could be had cheap. I rented a car dolly, drove to Jim's house, met the previous owner [not Jim] and bought the car.

I was warned it needed a rack and pinion [it did], but other then that and my well chronicaled issue with the "show" and headlights [both now resolved] it actually is as nice a car as what I made the red one into.

Not to steal this thread, but anyone else have any stories? [i know we will still hear from Joeliowa, on his progress].

Edited by DAVES89 (see edit history)
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I scratched the bug bite too soon, and bought something I probably shouldn't have.

I bought my car for $300. But it was a rust bucket. Deals come along, and you've just gotta wait for them. But I'm not so sure this was one of those deals to anyone but me. When I bought my car, it was a mess. The rear glass had been smashed by a large pine limb, and hence, a lot of moisture had gotten into the car, resulting in a mess of an interior. I've put a LOT of time, and a good bit of money into it. The car was from Michigan, and therefore, had a lot of rust. Passenger side rear wheel well had a whole about the size of your thumb where the rust had eaten though. I sand blasted the rust out, filled it with bondo, and rebuilt the fender with fiberglass. it looks almost all the way right, but not all the way.

It helped that I had a rust free parts car. I was able to take the gas tank, brake lines, and a lot of underside components.

I've done major cleaning, including removing the seats, removing the carpet, cleaning the seats (Gojo works great), and cleaning every spot of mildew out of the carpet. I've replaced the CRT, rebuilt the headlight motors, and fixed some minor front end damage. The PO had run into a power pole and screwed up the front bumper. I replaced the bumper, unfortunately with a Maui blue one, so I had to paint it. but that wasn't too bad. I also had to fix some pretty major brake problems (the line going to the back was rusted though). I figure I've got about $2700 in it now.

But if I hadn't had the time I've had, and a rust free parts car, i wouldn't have bought it.

Attached are some before and after pictures..

72671d1292808470-amazing-look-90-reatta-up-auction-lucy-012.jpg

72670d1292808470-amazing-look-90-reatta-up-auction-lucy-010.jpg

72669d1292808470-amazing-look-90-reatta-up-auction-lucy-011.jpg

AFTER

72672d1292808470-amazing-look-90-reatta-up-auction-89rearsized.jpg

72674d1292808470-amazing-look-90-reatta-up-auction-89int2sized.jpg

72675d1292808470-amazing-look-90-reatta-up-auction-89-3-4.jpg

72673d1292808470-amazing-look-90-reatta-up-auction-89int3sized.jpg

Edited by NCReatta (see edit history)
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Guest joeliowa

well im not a reatta owner! went and test drove it tonight . seat didnt move at all. blinkers didnt ding both ways but light up. dash said check diagonstics. shifted hard/slow. hesitated at stop lights and it couldnt figure out what gear it wanted to be in. rear shocks BAD rear brakes clunked when i let off the pedal. and little stuff like the cassette player clicking constantly. the driverside mirror broken and half of the glass was glued back to the mirror assembly. too much work and got a bad feeling about it all together so ill keep looking! but if anyone needs a parts car i know where one is for 600! thanks alot for all your help! and i might just stick around the site incase i do end up seeing one somewhere for sell again!

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