After sourcing all the parts for our 2004 GTO Fixer Upper she was sent off to a local body shop to straighten and or replace damaged parts. This, including paint, came to a total of $2,400. Although the work was good and the price was fair we were a little disappointed in a couple of areas. When we got the “Goat” back none of the taillights/turn signals or brake lights were working. There were also issues with the front lights. I was extremely irritated that the shop gave a car back to a customer in this condition.
After pulling the light sockets out it became clear that in order to save a few pennies the crew at the body shop did not check or replace any light bulbs before installation of the lights. It would have been a minor task at that point but now it was a bit of a pain, especially with the taillights. I had to order one new socket for the front lights and all new bulbs. With this done everything has worked flawlessly ever since.
With all the new body parts in place and the lights working it was time for a real road test of the car. I had previously driven the car around our 12 acre property and was impressed but taking it on the road was the beginning of a love affair. I have driven newer Corvettes as daily drivers for years and love them. This Fixer Upper GTO was about to replace my ZO6 as my current go to driver. What happened? I let my wife drive it to work one day and I never got it back! She absolutely loves it and at least once a week tells me how impressed she is with the car. If it keeps her this happy I am content to drive the ZO6!
One issue did rear up after I thought the car was done. There was a certain looseness in the drive train and a clunk under heavy acceleration. I assumed it was a worn out u-joint. After doing some research on 2994-2006 Pontiac GTOs it became clear that the two piece factory drive shaft was a week spot in the car’s design. Further study suggested that there really is not a good repair for the problem and the the best solution is a new one piece drive shaft.
These tend to be expensive but I will tell you it was money well spent. As much fun as the car was to drive before the replacement, the new experience was even better. The automatic transmission seemed like it was hooking up almost as good as a manual six speed. Even though it was a $625 expense I was happy I did it. One note to anyone facing the same issue is that you may have to make a couple of minor adjustments with the exhaust and bolts above the drive shaft. I had to trim a couple of bolts and also take the car to a muffler shop to spread the mufflers apart just a half inch or so to keep them from rubbing the new drive shaft.