What to look for when buying a 78 TA

Post Reply
Brian R
Tribal Scout
Posts: 17
Joined: June 16th, 2020, 4:13 pm

What to look for when buying a 78 TA

Post by Brian R »

Guys,

I am an A-Body guy (Lemans).

My nephew is looking to buy a 78 TA and would like me to check it out with him.
I am fine with checking out the normal stuff you check on all cars.

It has the Pontiac 400 not the Olds 403. I will check the engine codes, head numbers, intake, carb and all for originality.

I was hoping you guys can give me some input on the specifics of a 78 Trans Am. Northern car.

Weaknesses, common problem points, etc.

Thanks a lot,

Brian
71 Lemans Sport Convertible - Member since the last millennia!

JayS.
Chief Red Cloud
Posts: 175
Joined: June 23rd, 2020, 2:44 pm

Re: What to look for when buying a 78 TA

Post by JayS. »

One place that comes to mind that is different than an A body is underneath the car back behind the spring shackles there is a seam were the back panel attaches to the main truck frame that rust out that goes across the back of the car, if it gets bad enough it will get up into the trunk. Even a pretty rust free car can get some rust back there. To me it that area is kind of a barometer on how rust free/or rusty the car is.

Brian R
Tribal Scout
Posts: 17
Joined: June 16th, 2020, 4:13 pm

Re: What to look for when buying a 78 TA

Post by Brian R »

Thanks a lot
71 Lemans Sport Convertible - Member since the last millennia!

User avatar
Admin
Ye Olde Webmaster (Charter member)
Posts: 102
Joined: May 24th, 2020, 4:50 pm
Location: Plantation, Florida
Contact:

Re: What to look for when buying a 78 TA

Post by Admin »

The car must be driven to determine whether there is any bearing noise on the rear axles. Zig Zag the car while gliding and listen--it should be silent. Look at the rear of the car to determine the extent of lowering from one side to the other. Measure at the bumper. 42 year old leaf springs can sag. Check the condition of the rear shocks. Look for leaks and find out how long ago the shocks were changed. They should be gas shocks. Check for play in the steering. There will be some to be normal.
"Dedicated to keeping the classic Pontiac engine alive."
Image

User avatar
rkellerjr
Sitting Bull
Posts: 42
Joined: June 17th, 2020, 8:13 am
Location: Newport News, VA

Re: What to look for when buying a 78 TA

Post by rkellerjr »

I've been wracking my brain trying to think of something unique to look for but, quite frankly, I couldn't think of any one thing that has always stuck out to look for. Just normal stuff, rusty floorboards, door jams, etc. Does the car run good, does it feel good when driving, are there any bangs when driving from the suspension (could indicated worn bushings), lights, heat, AC (if available), transmission shift OK, etc.
Rich
1975 TA - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCENVXA ... zhw/videos
When you turn your car on does it return the favor

Brian R
Tribal Scout
Posts: 17
Joined: June 16th, 2020, 4:13 pm

Re: What to look for when buying a 78 TA

Post by Brian R »

Thanks again guys. Going to see it this coming week.
71 Lemans Sport Convertible - Member since the last millennia!

Phil400
Two Feathers
Posts: 37
Joined: July 10th, 2020, 8:14 am

Re: What to look for when buying a 78 TA

Post by Phil400 »

Also the dash corners on these cars rot out, and I've seen t-top cars with really bad A-pillars.
78 T/A 4 Speed, mine since '99, Third and final owner as long as I'm alive.

User avatar
rkellerjr
Sitting Bull
Posts: 42
Joined: June 17th, 2020, 8:13 am
Location: Newport News, VA

Re: What to look for when buying a 78 TA

Post by rkellerjr »

Thanks Phil, that does remind me, check the seals on the t-tops, they often leak.
Rich
1975 TA - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCENVXA ... zhw/videos
When you turn your car on does it return the favor

Post Reply