They were quite popular here in Europe and can be bought really cheap. I like that there should be no real rust problems because of the Fiero-like build with a galvanized steel frame and plastic/fiberglass body panels.
Any opinions on them? Are they reliable? If any 25+ year old car can be considered reliable... Anything to look at when buying one? I like the styling and I need something with more luggage space than the Fiero. Any parts interchangeble on these with the Fiero?
[This message has been edited by cebix (edited 11-28-2016).]
Ignore Patrick's post; he's nutty. Those won't fit either vehicle, but the windshield washer fluid, brake fluid, coolant, motor oil, chassis grease and tire air will fit ok.
I bought a new '92 with the 3800 V6. For the first 5 years, there were no repairs. After that, it averaged $1500 per year in frequently unusual breakdowns, including 2 harmonic balancers, door latches, seat belt retractors etc. After 17 years, the $1500 needed doubling, the transmission was acting up, the headliner was tacked up - so I donated it to a charity organization looking for old cars.
Back in the 1990s (and early 2000s), the 3.4 V6 in the TransSport was a popular Fiero engine swap. The engines and transmissions use the same bellhousing bolt pattern as the Fiero (i.e. the GM FWD pattern). So basically any engine that would bolt up to a Fiero transmission can bolt up to the TransSport transmission (assuming the engine bay has enough room). Personally, I'd be tempted to put a 4.9 V8 in it.
I owned a '95 Trans Sport for a few years. I liked it.
It had the Buick V6. Great engine. 18 mpg in the city no matter how I drove it and 27 on the highway. I know the Euro versions got different engines and transmissions, including a variation of the Quad4 and a manual!
The drivetrain was solid, even at over 200k when I got rid of it. The subframe is shared with the A-body Century, and the 3.8 drivetrain, suspension, steering, and brakes are from an H-body Bonneville. The entire rear suspension, brakes, and axle are also from an A-body Century. The only "major" amount I spent on it was a little under $800 to refresh the cooling system. The door handles are made of the cheesiest cheese metal and snap if you cough and fart at the same time. The interior is this eclectic parts bin mix, with a gauge cluster from a Grand Prix, light and wiper switches from a Sunbird, HVAC controls from a W-body Cutlass, two glove boxes and a cubby below the cup holder, overhead sunglasses storage from an S-Blazer, and many other things I'm sure I'm forgetting. The dash board is enormous, and takes a while to get used to. The doors are a weird shape, curved at the top, so you have to be careful you don't bean yourself on them. Some of them had a power sliding door, which is about the coolest thing ever, and it makes a sound that anyone who has grown up in one will instantly recognize. The spare tire is stowed under the rear floor much like a truck.
You would need to look at the same sorts of things you would look at with any used car. Drivetrain quality, steering and suspension, tires, brakes, etc. Make sure all the doors and the hatch open and close as they should.
A Trans Sport or Silhouette would make a great runabout for the family.
Are you still thinking about getting a TransSport?
In 1992 I was driving my '84 SE and my wife had an '86 Oldsmobile Calais. We had two boys and twins were on the way so I ordered a '92 TransSport. There were no issues for the 1st 5 years; it was mostly used when the six of us were going somewhere and I used it in the winter to preserve the Fiero. I liked its utility and how it drove, but the brakes tended to pulsate despite many efforts to resolve that issue.
The sixth through 17th year averaged $1500 per year in repairs; in the 17th year it was going to be a $3000 year and the transmission was acting up so I had it picked up by a charity. The 3.8L engine was good except it had 2 harmonic balancer replacements; the rest of the repairs were body and interior issues that I thought were mostly unusual failures. I bought a 2009 Montana as a replacement; so far it's been better for reliability.
I still use the Fiero; it has 375,600 km on it and has about $5000 to go to match the TransSport's repair bills.
Yeah I think I'm over it now. The main thing that attracted me to it was the fiberglass body so I wouldn't have to worry about rust. But I see there's a lot more stuff to worry about. Thanks for the writeup!