I have the opportunity to save a 99 Z24 convertible. It has 155,000 miles and is an automatic.
Car currently has a rotted brake line(s), failed power window motor in the drivers door, blown resistor on the heater fan and an erratic gas gauge.
The top shows leakage; current owner has heavy duty tape on drivers pillar and windshield top. Leak in trunk as well. I know the owner and know the car is cared for, stuff just got to be too much and now just want it gone.
How difficult are brake lines to replace?
The leaking top; i have read about window alignment problems on earlier models.
Am I chasing after a bad apple? Any thoughts?
Brake lines are real easy. If you cant get factory ones for a few 20's then you can just make your own for probably under 100. It is mostly the flex lines that cost a bit more.
If your drivers door motor is not working, then yes the top will most likely leak. Mostly because almost every convertible has indexing windows. This means that when the door handle is pulled, the glass comes down about 1/4 inch to clear the top. Then once the door is shut, it will return back up into the top to make a seal.
I have two 1996 Cavalier convertibles. Itís difficult to find a reasonably priced 5-seater convertible with a decent trunk. GM didnít make many Cavalier/Sunfire convertibles and I think these things may be a bit of a collectorís item someday. (Over the last few years, Bluebook seems to be going up, not down.) It's a personal preference, but I could make an argument for saving the convertibleóespecially if you like convertibles. (I live in Northern CA, and drive with the top down 12 months a year. I wouldnít buy anything but a convertible for a daily driver.) I plan to keep my 2 Cavalier convertibles as long as possible-- even if I have to rebuild them someday. The Cavalier was one of the best selling cars in America for several years (and many of the parts were used across several GM models), so most replacement-parts are commonly available at reasonable prices-- though there are a few convertible-specific parts that are harder to find.
If youíre a do-it-yourself guy then:
Power Window Motor:
Itís fairly easy and cheap to replace the power window motor. See my instructions at the following link. I suggest reading my follow-up posts because I figured out a less-time consuming method, and I reposted links to helpful photos (which vanished from my original post).
How to diagnose a broken power window motor: http://www.j-body.org/forums/read.php?f=11&i=170546&t=127755&p=1
Fan-speed resistor replacement:
This is a pretty easy, cheap repair. Iím sure you saw the ďHow toĒ sticky, but following is a link. I didnít follow those instructions exactly because I think itís easier/faster if you donít remove the blower motor (which saves a lot of time) but then you end up working in very close quarters which can make it very difficult to remove the blower-resistorís retaining screws-- unless you use the right tool. However, if you use a swiveling (universal joint) ratchet attachment, you can remove the screw without removing the blower-motor. I think thatís the easiest way to do the jobóeven if you have to buy a swiveling ratchet attachment. I just added my old notes about doing this job to the end of the sticky thread.
Iím not sure what you mean by erratic, but my gas gauges bounce around a fair amount when I get down to about 1/8 of a tank. (Bounces between 1/8 and empty, but mostly stays true.)
If you mean that it leaks at the seal for the driverís window, then try the fix that I posted below. (If you implement this fix when you replace the power window motor, the incremental repair time will be small.) However, if your leak is coming from the seals at the windshield, you may want to replace the seals. You can find them on ebay. (Iíve never had to do that.)
Somebody else addressed this and I havenít done this job.
Good luck with your decision. Let us know if you go for it!