How reliable are 84/85 hot air cars.


Crazy for Sonya!!!
Oct 21, 2002
Hey guys. I am purchasing an 85 t type. I know that the intercooled cars are very reliable. The car I am buyng is basically stock with a rebuilt motor and transmission. What are the most common problems with the hot air cars? Are replacement parts exspensive or even still around? My 87 never gave me ant trouble. What are the most common mods that do not hurt the performance of the car? Any suggestions. :cool:
I drove mine for three years without any major problems. YOu can still find parts, I bought many used on the board. I recomend a larger downpipe, hi volume fuel pump, afpr, and a good chip to get you started. Later on a larger turbo, converter, and injectors will can get you in the twelves with a good tune.
Welcome to the twilight zone. The Hot Airs share the block and heads with and 86/87 and thats about it. They are very reliable and parts are readily available. The body parts are interchangable with the 86/87. The only part that is beginning to be harder to find is a rebuildable hot air turbo. Keep yours and don't sell it. The above post is correct but you do not need a 3 inch downpipe now until you put a bigger turbo(TA33) and bigger injectors. You do need a Poston or ATR passenger side exhaust manifold. The next step is to get a scan tool in order to read the ECM. This means monitoring fuel pressure and boost (install a adj boost gauge-after you have a scan tool or knock gauge to monitor detonation). Most people upgrade to the 86/87 ECM. Some people install an intercooler(the huge advantage of the 86/87 design) and do other mods. Search this website as well as GNTTYPE.ORG-both have proven lists of how to get a Hot Air moving. Brad
I went from a 13.81 to a 13.58 by installin a 3in dp and a dump pipe with the stock turbo. This may have mostly from the open exhaust though. DEFFINITLY get a scan tool, before you start messin around. I should also mention that I got my results with a 212/212 cam.
Thanks for the info. What is the most common turbo out there that people upgrade to? What would cause a turbo not be able to be rebuildable? About how much does a used turbo go for?
The most common turbo is the TA33, it will bolt on with no problems. I personally would not buy a used turbo because It will probobly need to be rebuilt and you would end spending the same amount. However I strongly sugjest getting at least scantool, and a bigger fuel pump first.
i have a monitor 4000e for sale... it will do all cars from 1980 til 2001 forien and domestic with all manuals and cables. i have pics i can send you if you want me to... selling for $1,500... 4,000 brand new
Hey James, saw this and couldn't help but reply. This 85 T already has a hotwired Walbro 304 pump. My 85 GN had lots of goodies from when I built it in 98 and never had to go back into it. It wasn't that great of a quarter miler until I built the 3" downpipe. Ran consistant 15 flats at 94 with 2.6-2.7 60ft's since it couldn't get all the exhaust out efficiently. After the downpipe it ran it's first 13.06@105. The blocks are not the same as the 109's from the intercooled cars. They are the 25524140 20-bolt blocks with the taller deck. I bought the turbo on this T with 42,xxx miles so said the guy I bought it from. When I had John Craig go thru a hotair turbo for me it was around $265 plus shipping. Hope this helps. :D
comming from a former 85' GN owner,their weak. unless your getting a damn good deal i wouldnt waste my money. plan on keeping it mild and just have some fun with it. i ended up selling my 85 and buying my current 71' GS,but i now have an 87 GN too and its a big diff from my 85.

The HA cars are reliable if you do not push them into the detonation zone.
IC cars seem more reliable simply because they can be pushed a but harder while staying out of the detonation zone.
Keep it stock, keep the maintenance up and not race/beat it, and it will likely go 200K miles.

Gues the answer to how reliable these cars are is ........"It depends"
Relaibility, yes, consistency and repeatability ... That is another page. :rolleyes:

You don't buy a hot air to race competitively.
You buy it for other reasons all of which I am STILL trying to figure out :biggrin:
Id say that hotairs are pretty reliable.l Ive had mine since 1985 and its been a daily driver for a looong time. Its got 140,000 miles on it and still running strong.
Over 140.000 on the stock bottom end and probably the most reliable TR around my area (and there are alot here) if you look at how much it gets driven on the street as well as the track [and takes a beating] my hotair seems to just stay on the road more than most. Until this year which I just didnt have the time or money and only made it 2 times I dont think any other TR around here made it to the track more than me for the previous couple years. Im not afraid to experiment with the tune and the car loves it. These setups can take alot more than you think just know what your doing. Treat them the same as a 86-87 by using a scantool and tuning. The basic principles are the same. Of course there are limits, there always are, but there are ways around that..... combination. As far as reliability I think they are no less reliable than the 86-87. As far as performance sometimes I think the wrong approach is comparing the setup to a 86-87. Take each individual setup and study it, maximizing it by improving the weak links (like the restrictive hotair intake).
109 block vs hotair? The 84-85 blocks are plenty strong. There are plenty of guys with 86-87 setups using "hotair" blocks running 10s [or better?]. Detonation is detonation whichever block you have. They are equally strong to it and will equally break down if you mess up and push it past its limits. They use the same crank and bearings....

I know a guy who has had a 84 for sometime and doesnt want to learn (or just cant :rolleyes: ) and doesnt want to spend the money/time that it takes for these cars (84-87) but always wants to go fast. He use to complain and mention what everyone tells him about the 87. I told him that yeah theyre great and if he could get a stock one in great shape hed probably be happy, but as far as the little silly tuning issues and maintenance that he complained about with the '84 they are no different. More aspects are the same with the two setups than different. There are actually a couple things that you dont have to deal with on the 84 that you do with the 86-87 (one being the Power Disaster/Master). Well he finally got ahold of a 87 and has had one issue after another and its currently sitting with PM problems.
Reliability? Yeah it depends, but IMHO [as far as TRs go] more on the owner than the car, which the same can be said whether 84-87. Some guys need to just drop in a SBC and be done with it. They can start the car right up spin the tires all they want, dog it out, etc. These cars are picky, can be expensive, but you just got to love them because when they are right there is no comparison.
I didnt buy my hotair just to look good, I bought it to look good AND go faaasst :cool: [tip:] GET ALCOHOL INJECTION AND HAVE FUN :D
Over 200k and still the orig valve springs and t chain ( pushing my luck ). If you want to go faster than a stock i/c car and you can do most of your own work and can get a great deal on the car then go for it.
For the record.
I was in no way trying to bash my HA or discourage anyone from purchasing a HA. What I meant to state is: Figure out YOUR goals and go from there.
I happen the purchase my 84GN primarily for its collector value. One of the main reasons I ended up with a T-Top.

You are correct! :tongue:
I AM still in “La – La” land!

“To the moon Alice!” :D
(If you got this one, you dated yourself!)
Very Reliable car, I drove mine to texas and back then to flordia and back (from Indiana) with absolutley no problems.

If you change the oil very regularly, and stay away from exhaust leaks, the car will run great for a long time.

You will most probably find a hotair car for cheaper that has not had the hell ran out of it, much easier than a intercooled car.

Good luck
hot air

1983 T-Type Riviera
231 carbbed Turbo
BF/S NHRA legal stock eliminator
NHRA National Record Holder
13.60 @101.98
23-25psi boost with c16
Exactely what was said. Keep the maintanance up and they'll be good to you.. I kept my car basically stock for the first 4 years I had it. Driveability was excellent. Stock for on stock boost, will last you forever! It's when you start trying to make it go faster is when it starts giving you problems. I had a 82 regal sport coupe and that thing was damn reliable. Never had any problems, even though it ran a ****ping 7psi boost stock :)
If you're just looking for a cruiser around town without wanting to race everything, then you should have no problems. We all know TR's hotair or IC'd need a little extra TLC!