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96RivS/C
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PostSubject: New Guy from Wisconsin!   Wed Sep 26, 2012 1:33 am

Hello all, I just recently purchased my first (1996 Supercharged) Riviera yesterday, drove her home today, and couldn't be happier to finally own one! joy I've been looking into these for a long time now and had a hard time actually finding one, let alone one that fit hat I wanted out of the car. Was a long time waiting, but definitely worth the wait. I love the design, inside and out, the performance aspect is just an added bonus, and when I found one that looked in decent enough shape, I jumped on her. She drives great, and doesn't show at all that she's at 178,884 miles. Earlier today, I picked up my friend's father for work, since we work at the same place and carpool. Made me smile and feel good about my new car when the words "She's a pretty car." had left his mouth. Tis true as well, the look of these cars are classy, timeless, and dare I say sexy. love I had previously been driving my stock 1987 Pontiac Grand Prix L.E. as my daily driver. I am now retiring her to "Fun Project Car" status and driving the Riviera daily. However, going from my Grand Prix to my Riviera is like night and day.. I'd much rather drive the Riviera everyday, and I might like her more... Until the mods start happening for the Grand Prix that is.. Just don't tell my Grand Prix that.. scat (Consequently, I've been already thinking of mods for the Riviera.. rolleyes Will the madness ever end? scratch )

Only issues with the car are as follows:
(Light or cosmetic issues I will be getting worked out over time.)

Armrest latch is broken (Sticks up, but I generally rest my arm on it anyway, so it's not too much of an issue for me atm..)

CD player doesn't work (Though radio works fine, even great imo! Then again, I did come from an '87 Grand Prix... lol )

Paint is starting to peel a bit on the trunk, and surface rust on the sides (Common paint issue I've heard, just not liking the slight rush issue.. confused I'll probably get them both done at once with a cheap Maaco paint job soon..)

(Issues I will be checking out soon.)

"Traction Control Off" light is on

Noise coming from the engine area (I suspect this to be the supercharger coupler, since it sounds similar to how I've read it being described as here on the forums. Seems to be a common issue, and it just started making noise.)

Other than that, she drives great, she looks great, and she is great. thumbsup I do suspect, however, that the dealership cheaped out and put half a tank of 87 octane in her.. crazy Will be fixing that tomorrow with some Premium 93. Not too much, but hopefully should be alright until I can put in a full tank of the good stuff in her again and drive more "spiritedly". burnout I will have pictures hopefully up tomorrow of her. Didn't have much time today between driving to the dealership to pick her up, driving back home to get ready for work, and then quickly leaving for work.

Anyway, can't wait to meet everyone here! cheers 3gears

Update: Pic's!! wink Managed to take these just today before I went to work.

















Last edited by 96RivS/C on Mon Oct 01, 2012 12:53 am; edited 2 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: New Guy from Wisconsin!   Wed Sep 26, 2012 10:04 am

about that center armrest latch, you could remove the spring from the back hinge (think about that first don't just do it, you might wanna get a spare hinge first) and put on some self adhesive magnetic tape and glue on a couple washers in place of the latch up front. Alternatively, from another series of posts I learned that a number of Rivs are hitting junkyards so you should be able to get/pull a latch assembly if you wanna do the hunting for it.

The OE radio was used in a number of GM cars and can be replaced/repaired for short money. I would use United Radio in Syracuse for a repair, most likely they will swap your unit for one they have already overhauled, for a fixed repair charge. Be sure the Theftlock is off (see your owners manual) before you mess with the radio.

At 178 K you are overdue for a coupler.

The trac light is probably due to a bad wheel hub. If you ask, most GM dealers will, given the age of your car, scan the thing with a Tech II and tell you what is wrong. Some won't charge you and some will charge you 1/2 hour to an hour of the shop rate for the scan. It can't possibly hurt to ask them. The scan with a Tech II is the quickest most definitive way to figure out what's up. Before you take it in for a scan, though, try turning it back on with the "trac" button and take a good look at the wiring.

So...

First thing to do is press the button a few times and see if the state changes (lite goes out and trac control comes back on). Occasionally it's on due to a glitch or a fluke with the button... but probably not... The problem is probably one of the following: one or more wheel hub sensors have quit working, the wiring to one or more wheel sensors has broken, the traction control unit has rested up and frozen. Done by a dealer this is a mad expensive repair. Done yourself you can cap the cost to under $1,000 no matter what it is. But you have to find out first and you must have a scanner that will read the brake system in order to do so because you can't usually see which wheel hub is bad, if that is the problem, on a visual inspection. You can check the wiring, which mean putting the car on a lift or jackstands and looking at the wires that go to the wheels, You are looking for a broken wire and or corroded connectors. In checking the wiring be sure to bent the wires along their length to determine if any wiring is broken inside the insulation. Copper will "work harden" and get brittle, leading to the wire just breaking inside the insulation usually at the terminal post crimps. If you don't have a lift you can use allow yourself an hour to pull each wheel and check those wires. A telltale of likely problem is that a wire is hanging loose, not tethered to the control arm or strut tower. Wires flopping around tend to bust. Another telltale is a connector that's open in the back letting dirt and moisture in.

If you have to replace the ABS motor or controls cheapest reliable source I've found is RockAuto.com. Pretty much the same for wheel bearings. I don't know what to recommend here. I would use a Timken or SKF bearing, but I see that there are others available. Reason I'd use a Timken or SKF is that pretty much all my driving is at highway speeds and the less expensive bearings flat out are not built for that. I have personally toasted a set of new bearings from http://mibearings.com/ (I note their site has gone white) that supposedly were made by these guys (http://www.wheelbearingsinc.com/about-us.cfm.cfm). Given that mibearings seems "gone" and WBIs still around I suspect mibearings might have been fibbing but I really have no idea... . anyway, I replaced them with a set of Timken bearings, after the toasting.

As for driveability you might want to pull and inspect the rear bank of plugs. Some folks are notorious for not changing them ever because they are hard to get to. You will need a decent ratchet wrench, a sparkplug socket, and a wobble extension along with a 6" or longer extension bar both. (NOT just a 6" wobble extension). And you might wanna wear gloves (knucklescraping in progress). Look at the age and wear of the plugs. Look and see if the brand o fplugs is the same all around. They don't have to be but if they are not it's a sign that they were replaced one by each for some reason. Finally be sure to blow the dirt away from the spark plug holes before you pull any plugs, you must not get any dirt or grit at all into the engine.

This should get you started, please post an update with what you find, and welcome to RivPerformance.
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PostSubject: Re: New Guy from Wisconsin!   Wed Sep 26, 2012 12:45 pm

Welcome! Albert's advice is solid.

What kinds of mods do you have planned for the 87? Is that the RWD platform? (ie monte/regal etc)
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PostSubject: Re: New Guy from Wisconsin!   Wed Sep 26, 2012 1:53 pm

albertj wrote:
about that center armrest latch, you could remove the spring from the back hinge (think about that first don't just do it, you might wanna get a spare hinge first) and put on some self adhesive magnetic tape and glue on a couple washers in place of the latch up front. Alternatively, from another series of posts I learned that a number of Rivs are hitting junkyards so you should be able to get/pull a latch assembly if you wanna do the hunting for it.

The OE radio was used in a number of GM cars and can be replaced/repaired for short money. I would use United Radio in Syracuse for a repair, most likely they will swap your unit for one they have already overhauled, for a fixed repair charge. Be sure the Theftlock is off (see your owners manual) before you mess with the radio.

At 178 K you are overdue for a coupler.

The trac light is probably due to a bad wheel hub. If you ask, most GM dealers will, given the age of your car, scan the thing with a Tech II and tell you what is wrong. Some won't charge you and some will charge you 1/2 hour to an hour of the shop rate for the scan. It can't possibly hurt to ask them. The scan with a Tech II is the quickest most definitive way to figure out what's up. Before you take it in for a scan, though, try turning it back on with the "trac" button and take a good look at the wiring.

So...

First thing to do is press the button a few times and see if the state changes (lite goes out and trac control comes back on). Occasionally it's on due to a glitch or a fluke with the button... but probably not... The problem is probably one of the following: one or more wheel hub sensors have quit working, the wiring to one or more wheel sensors has broken, the traction control unit has rested up and frozen. Done by a dealer this is a mad expensive repair. Done yourself you can cap the cost to under $1,000 no matter what it is. But you have to find out first and you must have a scanner that will read the brake system in order to do so because you can't usually see which wheel hub is bad, if that is the problem, on a visual inspection. You can check the wiring, which mean putting the car on a lift or jackstands and looking at the wires that go to the wheels, You are looking for a broken wire and or corroded connectors. In checking the wiring be sure to bent the wires along their length to determine if any wiring is broken inside the insulation. Copper will "work harden" and get brittle, leading to the wire just breaking inside the insulation usually at the terminal post crimps. If you don't have a lift you can use allow yourself an hour to pull each wheel and check those wires. A telltale of likely problem is that a wire is hanging loose, not tethered to the control arm or strut tower. Wires flopping around tend to bust. Another telltale is a connector that's open in the back letting dirt and moisture in.

If you have to replace the ABS motor or controls cheapest reliable source I've found is RockAuto.com. Pretty much the same for wheel bearings. I don't know what to recommend here. I would use a Timken or SKF bearing, but I see that there are others available. Reason I'd use a Timken or SKF is that pretty much all my driving is at highway speeds and the less expensive bearings flat out are not built for that. I have personally toasted a set of new bearings from (I note their site has gone white) that supposedly were made by these guys. Given that mibearings seems "gone" and WBIs still around I suspect mibearings might have been fibbing but I really have no idea... . anyway, I replaced them with a set of Timken bearings, after the toasting.

As for driveability you might want to pull and inspect the rear bank of plugs. Some folks are notorious for not changing them ever because they are hard to get to. You will need a decent ratchet wrench, a sparkplug socket, and a wobble extension along with a 6" or longer extension bar both. (NOT just a 6" wobble extension). And you might wanna wear gloves (knucklescraping in progress). Look at the age and wear of the plugs. Look and see if the brand o fplugs is the same all around. They don't have to be but if they are not it's a sign that they were replaced one by each for some reason. Finally be sure to blow the dirt away from the spark plug holes before you pull any plugs, you must not get any dirt or grit at all into the engine.

This should get you started, please post an update with what you find, and welcome to RivPerformance.

Wow, thanks much for the information! I will look into all of what you have listed and come back to you with what I find out. I suspect, however, that I'll need to check everything over on the car. Tune, fluid change (most definitely fluid change.. A little dissapointed at how this dealership didnt change fluids, and it's painfully obvious they didn't.. gripe ), everything you have listed, and anything after that.. I have tried pressing the traction control several times, even holding the button down for a couple seconds, and nothing. Seems to only be going off when in drive, if that makes any difference. I have been babying it as much as I can until I can get her checked out. Most likely will be able too next week sometime. Anyway, thanks for the information.

deekster_caddy wrote:
Welcome! Albert's advice is solid.

What kinds of mods do you have planned for the 87? Is that the RWD platform? (ie monte/regal etc)

Thanks! It indeed is the RWD G-body platform, and actually the last year for a RWD Grand Prix. As far as mods go for my "other" G Body car, I plan on first painting the car Rosewood Firemist, a late '60's to mid '70's Cadillac color, and getting rid of the surface rust (Even though, for up here in Wisconsin, I would say she's pretty "rust free" compared to other G-bodies I've seen and the year of the car.) Then, I will be switching out the 305 in favor of either a 454, 400 Pontiac engine, 455 Pontiac engine, or 455 Buick engine. I would like to have the car being powered by a Pontiac engine, however, I am by no means a purist and I actually love Buicks (No suprise I suppose being a Riviera owner. cool ) so having it powered by any GM engine works just fine with me. Then to handle the power of a Big Block, the 7.5" rear is going to have to go and a modified TH2004R transmission by CK will be going in to replace the old, stock, and pretty tired TH2004R. Most likely going to go with a 8.5" or Ford 9" rear end designed for the G-body chassis. For the interior, it's older and worn out. I have been contemplating leather or vinyl, but probably will go with cloth again. Changing out the column shifter and 45/55 bench seat with a floor mounted shifter and bucket seats. Will be complete with a Pontiac 5500 RPM redline hood tach. happy

After all that, I should be pretty squared away. Just haven't gotten to the modding part yet. wink It's going to be a slower project build, but should be fun nonetheless. jump
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PostSubject: Re: New Guy from Wisconsin!   Wed Sep 26, 2012 2:18 pm

Welcome, and congrats on the Riv! Post up some pics when you get a chance. I've got an inexpensive set of KMC chrome rims for sale in the For Sale section if aftermarket rims are in the plans... smile Shipping to Wisconsin via Spee Dee wouldn't even be all that bad.
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PostSubject: Re: New Guy from Wisconsin!   Wed Sep 26, 2012 6:19 pm

96RivS/C wrote:

Thanks! It indeed is the RWD G-body platform, and actually the last year for a RWD Grand Prix. As far as mods go for my "other" G Body car, I plan on first painting the car Rosewood Firemist, a late '60's to mid '70's Cadillac color, and getting rid of the surface rust (Even though, for up here in Wisconsin, I would say she's pretty "rust free" compared to other G-bodies I've seen and the year of the car.) Then, I will be switching out the 305 in favor of either a 454, 400 Pontiac engine, 455 Pontiac engine, or 455 Buick engine. I would like to have the car being powered by a Pontiac engine, however, I am by no means a purist and I actually love Buicks (No suprise I suppose being a Riviera owner. cool ) so having it powered by any GM engine works just fine with me. Then to handle the power of a Big Block, the 7.5" rear is going to have to go and a modified TH2004R transmission by CK will be going in to replace the old, stock, and pretty tired TH2004R. Most likely going to go with a 8.5" or Ford 9" rear end designed for the G-body chassis. For the interior, it's older and worn out. I have been contemplating leather or vinyl, but probably will go with cloth again. Changing out the column shifter and 45/55 bench seat with a floor mounted shifter and bucket seats. Will be complete with a Pontiac 5500 RPM redline hood tach. happy

After all that, I should be pretty squared away. Just haven't gotten to the modding part yet. wink It's going to be a slower project build, but should be fun nonetheless. jump

Awesome! I have many GN buddies and a good friend used to have an olds 455 powered 84 cutlass... I also have a lot of experience with Buick 455s and couldn't think of a more fun motor to drop in there! I currently have one in my '73 LeSabre... Goes like a large barge should not be able to!
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PostSubject: Re: New Guy from Wisconsin!   Wed Sep 26, 2012 9:11 pm

consider these guys for the RWD G upholstery

http://www.customseatcovers.com/

I used them for a resto of a '69 AMC Rebel, they got the color etc. (antique white) correct as well as the piping (a metallic brown that matched the paint), materials were top shelf. For an overhaul of a '75 Dodge Colt that my dad and I did, they used a black basketweave perforated vinyl that was much better than the stock vinyl but matched the grain so I did not have to re-do the doors and what not. Just superb work. Period.

They make what would more properly be called reupholstery kits not covers - they attach with hog rings and some effort just like the OE seat upholstery attaches, definitely a job you prefer to tackle with the seats out in a workshop or work area not in the car. . They do some for JCWhitney and for those kits they throw in a promotional pair of hogring pliers and a whole mess of rings - the pliers are not bad they will last 2-3 jobs but they are not pro pliers like you can get from Aubuchon Hardware on line. For example, they make **copies** of the Riviera seat upholstery, in leather, original colors. Not cheap but no kidding they are copies not also rans. A little tough to install, but once on right can not distinguish from OE (for all I know they might have done the OEs for Lear).

With my AMC and Colt, and probably with your Pontiac, you'll have to phone them to order. You may be able to control costs if you order thru JCWhitney (they are cheaper thru them but the styles they will sell are limited). You can order direct from them, then you're not limited by the JCW program, and if they have the material they will duplicate the OE pattern/material if you want - or do any number of other things.

Oh about the TRAC OFF light, if it is resettable or resetting itself while driving odds are it's just a bum wire or connector, you might should get under the car and have a look. Most people selling or trading them in never bother to look because they "know" a dealer charges a grand for a hub change. No kidding it might not need a hub, just a splice or such.

Albertj
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PostSubject: Re: New Guy from Wisconsin!   Sat Sep 29, 2012 2:27 am

Sorry for the delay, been busy with work lately it seems. confused Anyway, will have those pictures up by tonight on the O.P.

deekster_caddy wrote:
96RivS/C wrote:

Thanks! It indeed is the RWD G-body platform, and actually the last year for a RWD Grand Prix. As far as mods go for my "other" G Body car, I plan on first painting the car Rosewood Firemist, a late '60's to mid '70's Cadillac color, and getting rid of the surface rust (Even though, for up here in Wisconsin, I would say she's pretty "rust free" compared to other G-bodies I've seen and the year of the car.) Then, I will be switching out the 305 in favor of either a 454, 400 Pontiac engine, 455 Pontiac engine, or 455 Buick engine. I would like to have the car being powered by a Pontiac engine, however, I am by no means a purist and I actually love Buicks (No suprise I suppose being a Riviera owner. cool ) so having it powered by any GM engine works just fine with me. Then to handle the power of a Big Block, the 7.5" rear is going to have to go and a modified TH2004R transmission by CK will be going in to replace the old, stock, and pretty tired TH2004R. Most likely going to go with a 8.5" or Ford 9" rear end designed for the G-body chassis. For the interior, it's older and worn out. I have been contemplating leather or vinyl, but probably will go with cloth again. Changing out the column shifter and 45/55 bench seat with a floor mounted shifter and bucket seats. Will be complete with a Pontiac 5500 RPM redline hood tach. happy

After all that, I should be pretty squared away. Just haven't gotten to the modding part yet. wink It's going to be a slower project build, but should be fun nonetheless. jump

Awesome! I have many GN buddies and a good friend used to have an olds 455 powered 84 cutlass... I also have a lot of experience with Buick 455s and couldn't think of a more fun motor to drop in there! I currently have one in my '73 LeSabre... Goes like a large barge should not be able to!

Nice! I've always one day dreamed of having a Big Block car, and it's finally coming to fruition. twisted I've been waiting for the right time to jump on a 455, but nothing has come up here yet, sadly. If I find a 455, and have patients enough to wait for one before jumping on a 454, I'm going to definitely jump on it.. Especially if it's a Pontiac, they seem to be the hardest to find of the 455's in my area. However, any 455 will do, and a Buick 455 is starting to sound like the route I want to go in. cheers Gotta love them Buick's, I know I do.. cool

albertj wrote:
consider these guys for the RWD G upholstery


I used them for a resto of a '69 AMC Rebel, they got the color etc. (antique white) correct as well as the piping (a metallic brown that matched the paint), materials were top shelf. For an overhaul of a '75 Dodge Colt that my dad and I did, they used a black basketweave perforated vinyl that was much better than the stock vinyl but matched the grain so I did not have to re-do the doors and what not. Just superb work. Period.

They make what would more properly be called reupholstery kits not covers - they attach with hog rings and some effort just like the OE seat upholstery attaches, definitely a job you prefer to tackle with the seats out in a workshop or work area not in the car. . They do some for JCWhitney and for those kits they throw in a promotional pair of hogring pliers and a whole mess of rings - the pliers are not bad they will last 2-3 jobs but they are not pro pliers like you can get from Aubuchon Hardware on line. For example, they make **copies** of the Riviera seat upholstery, in leather, original colors. Not cheap but no kidding they are copies not also rans. A little tough to install, but once on right can not distinguish from OE (for all I know they might have done the OEs for Lear).

With my AMC and Colt, and probably with your Pontiac, you'll have to phone them to order. You may be able to control costs if you order thru JCWhitney (they are cheaper thru them but the styles they will sell are limited). You can order direct from them, then you're not limited by the JCW program, and if they have the material they will duplicate the OE pattern/material if you want - or do any number of other things.

Oh about the TRAC OFF light, if it is resettable or resetting itself while driving odds are it's just a bum wire or connector, you might should get under the car and have a look. Most people selling or trading them in never bother to look because they "know" a dealer charges a grand for a hub change. No kidding it might not need a hub, just a splice or such.

Albertj

Thanks for that upholstery link. It's hard finding people who will do an interior for my car. I could find plenty of people to do a Monte Carlo, or Cutlass of similar years, but not my Grand Prix.. Seems to be the redheaded step child of the group that doesn't get any attention. At least from what I've been seeing. I was going to go through a different place called Gbodyparts. Haven't finalized anything yet, so I will look into that, thanks!
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PostSubject: Re: New Guy from Wisconsin!   Mon Oct 01, 2012 12:50 am

1998 Riv wrote:
Welcome, and congrats on the Riv! Post up some pics when you get a chance. I've got an inexpensive set of KMC chrome rims for sale in the For Sale section if aftermarket rims are in the plans... smile Shipping to Wisconsin via Spee Dee wouldn't even be all that bad.

Sorry, I missed this within my replies some how! Thanks, but no thanks. cheers I'm actually partial to the stock wheels (call me crazy..) and I don't plan on switching them out at all. This is going to be my daily driver and if/when I do mod, it will be lightly since I have my '87 Grand Prix for that. cool Mostly, what I have planned for right now is: Gutted airbox, tune up, and scan to see what little issues I have with the car and then fix said issues. lol I love my Riv though... Easily the best car I have ever bought, and easily one of the better cars that I have driven in. I might change my mind on more mods, later down the road that is. thumbsup

Also, if anyone missed it, I posted up a few pictures on the O.P.! bump
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PostSubject: Re: New Guy from Wisconsin!   Mon Oct 01, 2012 12:59 am

No problem, I sold them a couple days ago anyway. I see you have the chrome rims too, I would just keep them also if I were you. Looks like you need some correct center caps though.
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PostSubject: Re: New Guy from Wisconsin!   Mon Oct 01, 2012 1:17 am

1998 Riv wrote:
No problem, I sold them a couple days ago anyway. I see you have the chrome rims too, I would just keep them also if I were you. Looks like you need some correct center caps though.

Ya, I do have to find matching hub caps. I am missing one on the drivers side aswell (not sure if that's related at all to my "Traction Control Off" light being on..).
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PostSubject: Re: New Guy from Wisconsin!   Mon Oct 01, 2012 12:57 pm

Helllllllllllllllllloooooooooo..[= lol Paint the center caps white maybe?Those rims are sharp, hard to keep clean and take them off in winter!!!
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PostSubject: Re: New Guy from Wisconsin!   Mon Oct 01, 2012 1:56 pm

flyineagle96 wrote:
Helllllllllllllllllloooooooooo..[= lol Paint the center caps white maybe?Those rims are sharp, hard to keep clean and take them off in winter!!!

Well hello there. lol That is an interesting idea.. I should install my Photoshop on my gaming/desktop pc and see how that looks. They are nice wheels though, and just "fit" the car, imo. Now, you have me regretting making my beautiful Riv tiptoe through our Wisconsin winters, along with my '87 Grand Prix.. nervous Given the choice though, I'd rather take the Riv through the winter than the Grand Prix. Easier to drive in the winter and, not sure of our Riviera G-body platform and rusting issues, but the G-bodies of the late '70's and '80's have really bad rusting out issues. In all honesty, I thought I got lucky with my Grand Prix and having no rust issues being a Wisconsin car. (I have all the original documentation of the Grand Prix as well! Including all the original dealership paperwork the original owner filled out. thumbsup I thought that was pretty cool, considering the RWD G-body owners I've ever known/saw do not do this like they would an earlier muscle car.. read )
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PostSubject: Re: New Guy from Wisconsin!   Mon Oct 01, 2012 3:14 pm

Heck, try out some of the newer chrome spray paints, or take them to a shop that does plastic chroming.
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PostSubject: Re: New Guy from Wisconsin!   Wed Oct 10, 2012 4:13 am

1998 Riv wrote:
Heck, try out some of the newer chrome spray paints, or take them to a shop that does plastic chroming.

True, I could go do that also. First I want to get a basic tune up done and out of the way to make sure all is running well though.
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